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Room 615

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Clarke stretched best as she could, legs hitting the seats in front of her. The backseat of Raven’s car was crowded, Clarke the lone passenger amongst a mountain of luggage and homegoods. In vain, she shifted a duffle bag to free up some space to try and get comfortable. She had spent the last few hours in relative silence, listening to Raven and Octavia laugh and sing along to the radio, taking mental pictures of crumbling rock and towering trees lining the sides of the highway. She checked her phone more out of habit than curiosity, and was silently relieved when there were no new messages.

“Since when is Clarke this quiet?” Raven asked Octavia, presumably trying to annoy Clarke into joining the conversation. She was right though, Clarke normally wasn’t quiet. There was just a lot on her mind.

“Since never.” Octavia laughed, turning around in the passenger seat to face her.

“What’s the deal, Clarke?”

“No deal, just taking it all in.” Clarke shrugged. It was the truth, mostly. She was taking in the scenery more as a distraction from the knot in her stomach. The summer was over. She was on her way to a new school with her best friends, miles away from home, from her mom from all the people who wanted something from her. She knew in her mind that she should feel good, but apparently the message didn’t make it to her body.

“So are you going to tell us, or what?” Raven asked plainly.

Clarke furrowed her brow. “Tell you what?”

“Tell us about your mysterious summer hookup, duh.” Octavia said. “And don’t try to deny it, because I know you started reblogging a bunch of romantic shit for a reason.” She laughed, looking at Clarke expectantly.

“Are you going to acknowledge how creepy that is, or should I?” Clarke chuckled. It was weird to think about now, those few weeks of calm in the middle of her shitstorm of a summer.

“Oh whatever! I wouldn’t have to be creepy if you would just tell us things.” Octavia huffed, slumping dramatically in her seat.

“Seriously Clarke, talk, because if I have to hear one more time about how gorgeous Lincoln is, I’m going to drive us right off the road.” Raven said.

“Hey!” Octavia pouted. “You’re both just jealous that I went to orientation and got a boyfriend and you guys didn’t.”

“Why would I have gone to a freshman orientation?” Raven chuckled.

“Not the point, and anyway, he is gorgeous!” Octavia shouted.

“That’s it!” Raven shouted, laughing as she intentionally swerved into the empty right lane, threatening to move even further.

“Oh my god Rae stop! Stop!” Clarke couldn’t help but join Raven in laughing at Octavia’s shrieks. “That was so not funny! You could’ve killed us!” Octavia said, breathless and clutching her chest.

“It’s not like I didn’t warn you.” Raven laughed. “Anyway, Clarke, don’t think I forgot about you. Come on, spill.”

“Yeah, spill!” Octavia joined in, momentary terror suddenly forgotten.

“It wasn’t serious, if that’s what you’re wondering,” Clarke shrugged. She had been debating on whether or not to tell her friends about her coffee shop romance when it had started, eventually deciding the fling wasn’t worth coming out for.  

“That’s not what we were wondering and you know it, Clarke,” Octavia said flatly. “If you don’t give us deets, Raven really is gonna drive us off the road, right Rae?”

“No, that’s reserved for you and your obsession with your new boyfriend,” Raven said.

“Hey!” Octavia punched Raven on the shoulder, “you’re supposed to be my bad cop!”

“Sounds kinky,” Raven smirked. Clarke stifled a laugh at Octavia’s expression. “Anyway, why do I have to be the bad cop? You’re the one bullying poor Clarke,” Raven teased.

“Do you or do you not wanna know who Clarke’s been secretly hooking up with?” Octavia asked.

“Are you ever going to drop this?” Clarke asked.

“Nope,” Octavia grinned. “I’ll ask you about it every single day if I have to.”

Clarke groaned. “Fine,” she said. Octavia looked as surprised as she was elated. Clarke could only roll her eyes. “She was just some girl who worked at a coffee shop I hug out in.” Clarke said finally. She went there every day, sitting in the same corner spot, ordering the same caramel latte, staring out the window as she sketched. And every day, the girl would bring her free refills when her father left. It was innocent, but undoubtedly flirty. After a while Clarke realized she was spending less time sketching the park across the street and more time sketching her barista.

“I didn’t know you liked girls.” Raven smirked, hands draped loosely over the steering wheel. After they had found themselves intertwined in storerooms, bathrooms and alleyways, it was undeniable. Clarke liked girls. She liked them a lot. “I guess I didn’t either.” Clarke shrugged from the backseat.

Octavia turned to look at her, grinning as she lifted up her sunglasses. “I totally knew.” She said, proudly.

“What?” Clarke asked, blinking hard in disbelief, trying to fight the warmth creeping up her neck. “How?”

“You’re always staring at pretty girls.” Octavia said plainly.

“Everyone stares at pretty girls. And anyway, it’s not like I don’t stare at guys too!” Clarke defended.

“Plus you had such a crush on Raven when the three of us first started hanging out.” She said.

“Seriously?” Raven laughed, quickly glancing into the back seat at Clarke.

“I did not!” Clarke blushed a shade darker.

“Oh, hell yeah you did.” Octavia laughed. “Everything was all, Raven’s so pretty, Raven’s so smart, Raven’s so funny-”

“Oh god.” Clarke groaned, covering her face with her hands.

“And here I thought you didn’t like me.” Raven said, tone low, teasing. Clarke peeked out from between her fingers to look up at Raven, catching half a smirk.

“You guys are the worst.” Clarke said, muffled by her own hands.

“You love us.” Octavia laughed.

“This reaction was not at all what I was expecting.” Clarke said, unsure of whether that was a good or bad thing.

“What’d you think? We’d disown you or something?” Raven teased.

“Seriously, what do we care?” Octavia agreed.

Clarke smiled at her friends. Sure, in her head she knew that her friends wouldn’t treat her being bi as big deal, but there was something comforting about having that reassurance. And yet, the knot in her stomach was still here, heavy and distracting.

 


 

They arrived on campus in surprisingly good time, despite Octavia’s protests to slow down. From what Clarke could tell, it looked a lot different than her last school. Sprawling lawns of lush green lined neatly paved walkways. Young people with backpacks and cigarettes were everywhere, smiling, laughing, strolling across the grounds.

Octavia grinned, pointing out anything she thought looked cool. “Look, there’s coffee! And is that a cupcake shop?” She asked. “Ooh! He’s cute! Hey there!” She yelled as they passed a boy with dark hair. The window was up, he couldn’t hear her. Raven and Clarke laughed at their friend’s excitement.

Moments later, Raven pulled into the parking lot of what was apparently their dorm. It was the largest building they had seen so far, towering over the short shops and houses in the small town, looking too new for everything else.

“You guys wait here.” Raven muttered while exiting the car.

“Worried we’ll slow you down?” Clarke asked.

“Absolutely.” Raven laughed before disappearing through huge glass doors.

Clarke stared up at the tall building, examining the way the early afternoon light reflected off the paneled glass. Second time’s the charm, Clarke thought darkly. She sighed, frustrated with herself. She should feel good. She should be happy about this. But as much as she tried to convince herself, she felt worse. She looked down at her phone again, nothing new. She really should relax. “I can’t believe the summer is already over.” Clarke sighed, breaking the silence in the car.

“I can’t believe I’m actually starting college.” Octavia grinned. Clarke couldn’t help but feel a surge of pride for her friend. She had worked so hard to get here. To prove to her family that she could, that she was independent. Clarke was happy to be a part of it, but she was worried about her friend’s expectations.

“It’s a lot less fun than it sounds.” Clarke said.

“Yeah, but that’s because you were doing all that crazy science-y shit, holding people’s lives in your hands and all. That doesn’t sound fun.” Octavia teased.

“How many times have I told you that no one’s life was ever in my hands?” Clarke sighed, shaking her head.

“Uh, then why is it called pre-med if you don’t do anything medical?” Octavia asked obviously.

A moment later, Raven reemerged with what looked like a cardboard box on wheels. Both girls got out of the car, meeting her by the trunk.

“What is that thing?” Octavia asked, pointing to the box.

“This is how we’re getting all of your shit up to the room.” Raven said, opening the trunk of the car. Clarke couldn’t help but laugh at the contraption. It was exactly what it looked like. An oversized cardboard box sitting on a wood frame with wheels. She joined Raven in the back, loading bag after bag into the makeshift dolly.

“You didn’t make this, did you?” Clarke asked her.

“I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult.” Raven laughed. “Nah. I didn’t. But I’m sure someone in engineering did.”

It didn’t take long for them to unload, despite Octavia’s insistence on watching instead of helping. They followed alongside as Raven took the lead, pushing the box in a way that kept it from slipping off of the wheels.

“This is really cool.” Octavia grinned as they entered the building, watching the hustle and bustle of students loading in, waiting for elevators. It was one of the larger dorms on campus and it showed, students traveling in effortless packs, all smiles and high fives and cigarette breaks. “Lincoln lives in this building, too.” She beamed. “On the fourth floor.”

“We know, you’ve only mentioned it seven thousand times.” Raven said, smirking.

“Leave her alone.” Clarke laughed. “She’s happy.”

“You know it’s annoying.” Raven said.

“It totally is-” Clarke started.

“Hey!” Octavia exclaimed. “Whatever, you bitter single people can think whatever you want.”

“I’m not bitter.” Raven said, through gritted teeth.

“Oh, I definitely am.” Clarke said, making her friends laugh.

They stepped on to the elevator, Raven shoving in the box despite the limited space between the additional passengers. “Excuse me.” She huffed until the doors shut.

“You're amazing, you know that?” Octavia laughed.

“Someone around here’s gotta get things done.” Raven said, sticking her tongue out.

Six floors up, they stepped out, dragging the dolly along the hall to room 614. “Key?” Raven said expectantly. Clarke fumbled with hers more quickly than Octavia could and managed to open the door first.

“This is so cool.” Octavia said, grinning as she stepped into their room. Normally, Clarke admired her friend’s extraordinary talent for appreciating the mundane, but now she envied it. The room was about as standard as you could imagine, a small gutter of floor space between the two sets of everything pushed against the white walls. Two long and skinny waist height beds, with low dressers shoved beneath them, two desks, and two sets of chairs tucked into the corner. Somehow, despite not expecting much, she was still let down. It was no bigger or better than her last dorm. For a fleeting moment, she wondered if she had made a mistake. Clarke sighed, looking back out toward the hall. Across it was another room, 615, and it had an apparently makeshift sign above it that read: RA. Clarke sighed again. Of course she would be directly across from the RA. The only thing that would be worse is if they shared a wall.

Octavia was busy poking and prodding everything, opening drawers, squeezing mattresses and looking out the window. Raven and Clarke both watched her, amused. “Why would you ever move out of the dorms? It's so cool here!” Octavia asked, still peering out the window. “And look, we’re so close to everything!” She said, beckoning them both to the view. Clarke took the bait. The window was surprisingly large, and unsurprisingly didn't open. She watched as other students crossed campus and made a mental note that it would be a good angle to draw from.

“Trust me, one year in the dorms is enough.” Raven laughed. “You’ll see what I mean.” She pulled an orange flyer from its position taped against their door and held it out, as if it was evidence.

Octavia took it, scanning with squinted eyes. “What the fuck is a floor meeting?” She laughed.

“Oh god.” Clarke groaned.

“Aren't you so happy to live in a dorm again?” Raven teased.

“What?” Octavia asked, now very curious. “What is it?”

“It's just this dumb thing you have to go to. It's like dorm orientation. You meet your RA and they make you watch videos about fire safety and like, not bringing home strangers and shit.” Raven said.

“RA?” Octavia questioned.

“They didn’t tell you about RA’s at your regular orientation?” Raven asked.

“Me and Lincoln might’ve skipped a few events,” Octavia said with a scandalous eyebrow motion.

“Oh my god, wasn’t he working at orientation?” Raven laughed. “You’re bad. Anyway, they’re students that get paid by the school to make sure everyone on their floor follows the rules.”

“Like a babysitter?” Octavia asked, brow furrowed.

“Can't we skip it?” Clarke groaned again.

“Nah, here they make you sign something at the end so they know everyone goes. It sucks” Raven said, quickly helping empty the dolly of her friend’s belongings. Clarke joined her, thankful for the busywork.

“Alright.” Raven clapped her hands together once it had been emptied. “I think you guys can take it from here.”

“Aw, boo. Leaving already?” Octavia pouted. “You didn't even wait to see me and Clarke fight over who gets which bed.”

“And she won't need to, because I'm taking this one.” Clarke chuckled as she hoisted herself up onto the bed on the left side of the room.

“Glad that’s resolved.” Raven teased. “Anyway, yeah, I gotta go back to the apartment, I’m sure Bell’s there by now and he’s been plotting to steal my room for the last year,” She huffed.

“Now that you mention it, he did say something about finally getting a bigger room when we were packing last night,” Octavia said.

“That motherfucker!” Raven sprang up and toward the door.

“Wait! Are you going to come hang out later?” Clarke asked. “We’ve gotta break this room in.”

“Yeah.” Raven said. “I’ll grab us some beer and we can chill. Later.” She gave them both a little nod and shut the door behind her.

Now there was one less distraction. Typically, that would be a good thing, but in this case, it gave Clarke a twinge of anxiety. Soon, she would run out of things to do. She would have nothing left but to sit and think. She shook that thought away and resolved to deal with it when the moment came. For now, she had a room to unpack and a friend to catch up with.

 


 

Six thirty came far more quickly than Clarke had anticipated. It felt like only moments had passed between their arrival and the present as she sat on the floor of their hallway next to Octavia. She giggled nervously amongst the chatter, nudging Clarke and pointing every time someone potentially attractive came out of their room.

“You okay?” Octavia asked quietly. “You seem kinda off today.”

The sincerity caught Clarke off guard. “Uh, yeah. Fine. Just a little, overwhelmed I guess.” She stared down at the carpeted floor, a little guilty for half lying. Octavia didn’t seem to notice though, Clarke watched from the corner of her eye as her friend turned from side to side, trying to take in everyone and everything in the hallway. Clarke wished she could share in her excitement, but she couldn’t help but feel like there was something inherently sad about doing something for the first time all over again. She picked at the carpet, hoping no one aside from Octavia would try and talk to her. She just wasn’t in the mood.

Suddenly, the hall fell silent, Clarke’s curiosity got the better of her and she looked up to see what was going on. Standing across from her, was a tall, thin girl with cascading waves of brown hair. When she noticed her face, Clarke understood what had gotten everyone’s attention. She looked intense and deeply focused, an air of superiority with sharp cheekbones, light eyes and full lips. Clarke might have been intimidated by her if she wasn’t so curious about her.

“Hello everyone.” The girl addressed the crowd, sounding self-assured. Clarke had decided she looked like a model. A very angry, intense model. “Thank you all for being on time, this shouldn’t take long.” It was then that Clarke realized the girl didn’t have everyone’s attention because of her looks. It was because she was the RA.

“For those of you who haven’t yet checked your campus email-” She paused to glance up and down the hall, meeting eyes with Clarke who immediately shifted her gaze to the floor. “I’m Lexa, and I will be your RA for this year.” She turned her head to make sure everyone along the hall understood before continuing. “Show of hands, how many of you are freshmen?” Lexa asked. A good amount of people including Octavia had their hands raised, some looking more excited than others. “Welcome.” She said without smiling. “My job is to make sure that you all have the best possible experience here. Which means that you can come to me with your questions and problems, and I will do my best to resolve them. In the email with your residence life handbook, you will also find my open hours, which will be the block of time that I will regularly be available to voice your concerns. I’ll also have them posted outside of my door.”

Lexa went on to talk about the dorm rules, about how drugs and alcohol can get you kicked out, how having any pets other than a fish could result in disciplinary action, but Clarke was more interested in how Lexa’s moving lips looked soft. She didn’t realize she had zoned out until the face that she was staring at stared back. Lexa gave her a look. It was confident, and curious, almost questioning. Clarke nearly coughed, immediately tearing her gaze from the girl to the floor.

“Alright. That’s my speech.” Clarke could hear Lexa sigh, but didn’t dare look up. “Please stand and make your way to the common area on the second floor, there are safety videos we need to watch.” People on all sides began to stand, and make their way to the stairs at either end of the hall. Octavia who grabbed Clarke by the arm, hoisting her up. As she stood, she caught Lexa eyeing her again. It made her stomach feel weird, a different feeling than the one she’d had all day. In a sudden surge of confidence, she met the RA’s gaze.

“Hi.” Clarke said, tone friendly. She smiled and held her hand out to Lexa. “I’m Clarke.” Lexa took it and shook. Her hand was cold on Clarke’s warm skin, and she tried not to notice how her long fingers tickled at the base of her wrist.

“Good to meet you.” Lexa said. She was all business, almost dismissive, and it only made the strange feeling worse. Lexa turned her head, apparently watching as the hall emptied.

Octavia pulled on Clarke’s hand, trying to lead her to follow everyone else out of the hall, but Clarke didn’t move. Instead, she turned to face their door and opened it, beckoning Octavia to follow. She wasn’t interested in sitting on the floor of a too crowded common room while poorly produced videos explained things that should be common sense.

“Where are you going?” Clarke heard suddenly, her body involuntarily gave a nervous jolt. She turned to face Lexa, who’s expression had gone from curious to combative.

“We were just going back to our room.” Clarke said, sounding more confident than she felt. She glanced over at Octavia who was staring at her, wide eyed.

“Clarke-” Octavia started.

“It’s not optional.” Lexa said. There was something in her voice that made Clarke almost give up right away. She spoke like someone with authority. But it was that tone that made Clarke want to test her even more. She always did have a problem with authority.

“I’ve been through all of this before.” Clarke said. “This isn’t my first time in college.” She laughed, but stopped short seeing Lexa’s glare.

“It’s not optional.” Lexa said again, looking Clarke in the eyes.

“Can’t you make an exception?” Clarke asked, meeting Lexa’s gaze. It was intense. Serious.

“Even if I could, I wouldn’t.” Lexa said in a low voice, taking a step closer to Clarke. She cocked an eyebrow, and gestured toward the stairs.

Clarke opened her mouth to speak, but before she got the chance, Octavia pulled on her arm. “Let’s just go.” Octavia muttered. Clarke glanced backward, to see Lexa following them, apparently not trusting they could make it to the second floor on their own. A sudden surge of irritation coursed through Clarke. Who did this girl think she was, anyway?

 

The next hour was excruciating. Clarke sat cross legged on the crowded floor, supporting her head in her hands as yet another video played about how hot plates are absolutely not allowed in the dorms. Her eye wandered across the room to where Lexa was standing, surveying. She looked effortless, and it made Clarke angry all over again. Why were people able to be that attractive and have their life together, too? It didn’t make any sense, and it only made Clarke feel worse about herself. Her life was a mess. She transferred schools just to have an undeclared major, she had hardly spoken to her mom before she left, her ex-boyfriend kept trying to call her from unknown numbers, and now here she was, staring across the room at a girl who she wished she was like. The angry model. Clarke looked her over again, taking her time to examine the tight jeans over long legs, long fingers resting comfortably near her thighs, serious face temporarily at peace. The longer she looked, the more frustrated she became. Normally, if she saw a pretty girl she might’ve stared, wondered how they did their makeup, what they used in their hair, wishing they could be friends. But ever since her first kiss with the girl from the coffee shop, she started noticing more. Wondering how their lips might feel against her neck. How their hands would feel in her hair. She didn’t want to be wondering these things about Lexa. She had already decided that Lexa was her enemy. But that didn’t stop Clarke from imagining Lexa’s cool hands on her skin for the rest of the meeting.

Raven and Octavia entered the room after the latter excitedly volunteered to sign her into the building. Clarke opted to sit on the floor in front of her bed, not having put the sheets on yet.

“So, how was it?” Raven asked Clarke. She immediately dropped her bag to the floor and unzipped it, revealing a pile of beer cans.

“Brutal.” Clarke said, reaching down for a beer.

“Yeah, our RA seems like a real hard ass.” Octavia said, tossing herself on the floor in front of her bed. She held her arms out, and Raven tossed a beer to her.

“Who is it? I might know them.”

“Her name is Alexis or something.” Octavia said.

“Lexa.” Clarke interjected.

“Oh.” Raven said, eyes wide. “I hope it’s not the same Lexa that Monty and Jasper had last year.”

“Why? Was she bad?” Clarke asked, opening her beer and taking a sip.

“They said she was a nightmare. Way too strict.” Raven explained, cracking a beer for herself.

“That sounds like her, she looked so serious the whole time.” Octavia said, taking a gulp of her beer. “I don’t think Clarke minded, though.” She snickered.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Clarke asked incredulously.

“I mean duh, I saw you staring at her.” Octavia said. Raven suddenly looked a lot more interested in the conversation and took a seat on the floor between them.

“Obviously I was looking at her, she was talking.” Clarke said, cheeks heating up.

“Was she talking while we were watching the videos, too?” Octavia teased.

“Ooh! You’ve got it so bad!” Raven laughed, pointing to mock her.

“I’ve seen the girl once!” Clarke defended.

“But you definitely liked what you saw.” Raven wiggled her eyebrows.

“I mean yeah, I guess she’s kind of attractive-” Clarke feigned nonchalance, trying to keep her mind from thoughts of her RA’s long legs.

“Ha! I knew it!” Octavia laughed. “You totally were staring.”

“I was not! Plus she seems like an asshole.” She sighed. “I knew I never should've told you guys I like girls too.” Clarke groaned, covering her face with her hands.

“Oh come on, we’re just fucking with you.” Raven said, reaching out to shove Clarke.

“Yeah, yeah.” Clarke huffed, gulping down her beer.

“Come on Clarke, there are so many positives now that we know.” Octavia beamed.

“Like what?” Clarke asked, half annoyed.

“Like we can wingman for you.” Raven said. “You would not believe the things girls get up to at parties around here.” She tilted her head and looked up at Clarke, devilishly.

“Plus, now that you’ve got another whole gender worth of people to explore you and Raven don’t have to worry about dating the same guy again.” Octavia laughed. Both Clarke and Raven glared at her. “What, still too soon?” She asked in mock concern.

“It’ll be too soon for as long as he thinks he still has a chance with Clarke.” Raven said, taking a few more gulps of her beer than usual.

“He doesn’t.” Clarke said seriously, reaching to put a comforting hand on her friend’s leg.

“Especially not with girls in the mix!” Octavia laughed again. A light smile pulled on the corner of Raven’s lips as Clarke rolled her eyes.

“So are we getting drunk or what?” Raven asked as she crushed the empty beer can in her hands and reached for another. “Let’s shotgun some!” Clarke looked from her to Octavia, knowing in that moment that the semester would be nothing but trouble.

They had been drinking for a while, a few hours had slipped by unnoticed once they had turned on some music. For a moment, Clarke wondered if they should be out meeting new people instead of sitting on the floor of their small room, talking shit on all the people they grew up with. She felt good though, tipsy, finally rid of her ominous sinking feeling.

“Jasper is totally losing his shit.” Raven shrugged.

“Over that girl he’s been seeing?” Octavia asked.

“Yeah, he’s all bugged out because he told her he loved her and she didn’t say it back.” Raven sighed.

“I mean, wouldn’t you be?” Clarke asked.

“First of all, I wouldn’t have told someone I loved them after knowing them for two weeks.” Raven said. The other two girls couldn’t help but laugh. “Did he ever tell you he loved you back when he was obsessed with you?” She asked Octavia.

“Aw, leave him alone.” Octavia defended, laughing lightly. There was a knock on the door, barely heard over the sounds of music and laughter.

“Hey Clarke, I think that’s Lincoln. Can you let him in?” Octavia asked, pointing to the door.

“Yeah.” She said, standing so quickly she almost fell. The girls laughed in unison at the mishap and Clarke continued to the door, now aware she was a little more drunk than she had realized.

“Just so you know,” Clarke turned to Octavia, “there is a strict no fucking while I’m in the room rule, okay?” She shouted while opening the door, so Lincoln could hear her, too. When she turned, though, it was not Lincoln in the doorway. “Oh, uh, hi.” Clarke said, coughing awkwardly as she came face to face with Lexa. Clarke tried to bite back her momentary panic when she realized it was her RA. The very RA who she had been accused of staring at. Suddenly, she couldn’t figure out where to look, worried to be accused of checking her out again. She settled on her face, which was hard, because while under the influence, her intense gaze was that much more unnerving. There was a knot in her stomach that felt a lot like she was in trouble. She could hear Raven and Octavia in the background, laughing at her discomfort.  

“You need to keep it down.” Lexa said, expression cold. Her eyes flickered in the fluorescent hall lighting, either blue or green, Clarke couldn’t tell, but she knew that she liked them.

“I- uh- we- sorry.” Clarke said. “I didn’t think we were being that loud.”

“You are.” She said, expression unchanged.

Clarke turned back to her friends, quickly making a face that they both understood to mean kill the music, because it immediately went off. “Sorry about that, again. We’ll keep it down.”  Clarke said. Her voice didn’t sound like her own, a strange mixture of fearful and flirty. Lexa nodded curtly and turned to leave before Clarke blurted out, “do you want a drink?”

Lexa stopped and looked at Clarke, examining her in a way that made her shift uncomfortably. It gave Clarke time to regret saying anything. She watched as something like a smirk appeared on the corner of Lexa’s lips. “What do you mean by that?” She asked, tone even.

“I mean, you know I-” Clarke stopped herself before she accidentally said anything else. The knot in her stomach only grew, worse and more guilty by the second, worried she would get her friends in trouble.

“Because I hope,” Lexa paused to examine Clarke once again. “That you’re offering me a water. Or a soda, maybe a juice.” Her eyes were piercing. “Anything, other than alcohol.” Clarke tried her best not to look guilty, but the booze already in her system made her want to laugh.

“Nope, definitely not alcohol.” Clarke said nearly giggling with nerves. Lexa watched her intently, and Clarke couldn’t help but watch her lips as she spoke.

“Because if you paid attention at all in our meeting-” Lexa continued. “You would know that alcohol is strictly prohibited in the dorms.”

“What about outside of the dorms?” Clarke said, feeling like she had no control over her speech. Dumb things kept slipping out. For a second she wondered if it was because of the alcohol, or because Lexa made her nervous.

“Are you asking me about the legal drinking age? Or if it’s okay to get drunk in class?” Lexa stared at her in disbelief. Clarke may have imagined it, but it almost looked like Lexa wanted to laugh, too. “Either way I think you know the answer.” She said.

Clarke saw Lincoln enter the hallway, she recognized him from the pictures Octavia showed her. He was an impressive sight, all tall and fit, but she almost felt like she needed to warn him to turn back, to protect him from Lexa. It seemed Lexa had noticed him too. By the time he had reached them, he and Lexa made eye contact and exchanged a knowing nod. “Your friend has a rule she wants to tell you.” Lexa said, corners of her mouth turning up slightly. Lincoln looked curiously at Clarke, then back at Lexa. “Make sure they keep it down.” She said to him before turning her back and entering the room across the hall.

“You know her?” Clarke asked him as they re-entered the room. Lincoln nodded.

“Who, the RA?” Octavia asked.

“Her name is Lexa.” Lincoln said, mostly to Octavia. “We grew up together.”

“Seriously?” Octavia asked.

“Has she always had that stick up her butt?” Raven laughed.

“You weren’t kidding about your friends,” he chuckled, taking a seat on the floor next to Octavia.

“Okay, what lies has she told you about us?” Raven asked.

“You don’t have to answer that,” Octavia laughed, pressing a kiss to Lincoln’s cheek. Clarke joined them on the floor.

“It’s nice to meet you both, I’ve heard a lot about you over the last few weeks,” Lincoln said. Clarke was surprised at how soft spoken he was.

“Let’s not change the subject,” Raven said. “What’s the deal with your RA friend?”

“Don’t mind Raven, she has no filter,” Clarke said.

“Don’t mind Clarke, she’s got a huge crush,” Raven teased.

“I do not.”

“I heard last year, Lexa got a bunch of people kicked out of their dorms.” Raven said.

“Were they breaking the rules?” Lincoln asked seriously.

“Well, yeah, they got caught with a bunch of pot and molly during inspections, but still. Pretty messed up.” Raven said, taking a gulp from her beer.

“Rules are rules. What else should she have done?” Lincoln shrugged. Raven scowled in response.

“You wouldn’t have turned me in, right babe?” Octavia asked, laying in his lap.

Lincoln half-smiled down at her. “No.”

“See!” Raven said, holding out her beer. “Now why’s that any different?”

“That’s his girlfriend.” Clarke shrugged, picking up her drink from the floor.

“You protect your own.” Lincoln said, reaching to push a strand of hair from Octavia’s face. “That’s what we were taught.”

“I like that.” Octavia smiled at him.

“Again-” Clarke cut in, “just to make it super clear, please, no fucking each other while I’m in the room. And that includes while I’m asleep!” Octavia laughed and something like a blush crept over Lincoln’s tanned cheeks.

“Aw, don’t be jealous of them, Clarke.” Raven teased.

“I’ll be jealous all I want.” Clarke laughed.

“So anyway, Lincoln, Clarke thinks Lexa is super hot . You should put in a good word.” Raven smirked, teasing her friend again.

“I did not! I only said she was kind of attractive-” Clarke said, trying in vain to suppress her reddening cheeks.

“What do you think her chances are?” Raven asked Lincoln.

He looked at Clarke, eyes soft, but dark. “There is no chance.” He said quietly.  

“Why not?” Clarke asked indignantly, before she could stop herself.

“It’s not my place.” Lincoln said quietly. It was obvious he was through talking about her, but questions continued to plague Clarke. What could have possibly made him so sure? Was she a homophobe or something? Did she have something against blondes? Was she just too involved in school? It made Clarke want to dash across the hall and ask. She hated suspense. But she knew that would be a bad idea, because intrusive drunk girls from across the hall are not the kind of people you reveal your secrets to. As she wondered about what the mysterious RA could be doing behind the sets of closed doors it occurred to her that yet again, her friends were right.

 

Chapter Text

"This isn't a great way to start the semester." Lexa said. It had been three weeks, and she had already visited the room across the hall no less than six times on noise complaints. There was something about her tone that confused Clarke. It was almost playful, teasing, but the seriousness of her set jaw and lowered eyes said otherwise. She wondered if she was overthinking it. It seemed like she over-thought every single interaction they've had, which had been quite a few. Aside from the school sanctioned reprimands, on two days a week they left for class around the same time, ending up waiting for the elevator together. The conversation never progressed past small talk, but every movement and glance felt loaded. She needed to know more about Lexa, she was hell-bent on it. The mystery of Lincoln’s words hung heavy over every interaction they had.

"I know, I know. I'm sorry." Clarke said, stepping out of the doorframe to shut it behind her. Upbeat pop music thumped through the walls, vibrating the floor. "My friend, her boyfriend just told her he loves her for the first time, so she's a little excited."

"She can't be excited without making everyone else suffer?" Lexa asked, ghost of a smile sneaking into the corners of her mouth. "Some people have work to do."

"Come on, it's not even quiet hours. I checked." Clarke said proudly.

"I'm surprised you've even logged into your email." Lexa said. She cocked a knowing eyebrow at Clarke.

"I couldn't figure out my password for a while." Clarke muttered quietly, avoiding Lexa’s eyes.

"It's your student ID number and birthdate." Lexa chuckled. It made Clarke's breath catch. Never did she imagine that a laugh so small could sound so pleasant.

"Well, I know that now." Clarke looked up at her quickly, to see her expression before staring back down at the carpet. She was unsure of how to continue the conversation, but desperately wanting to.

"Tell your friend she has ten minutes before I lower the music myself." Lexa said. The transition from pleasant to serious was jarring. Clarke looked up at her again, catching a mysterious gaze before Lexa turned and retreated to the room across the hall. Clarke sighed, disappointed that this wasn't the time their interaction lasted a little longer. She entered her own room to Octavia lying back on her bed, grinning up at the ceiling. She looked over at Clarke, waiting for the verdict.

"Lexa says turn it down or she will." Clarke relayed to her friend. She turned down the volume as she passed the speakers and hoisted herself up to sit on her bed.

"So does she love you yet, or what?" Octavia asked, quickly sitting up on her bed.

"O, come on. You did not set us up." Clarke laughed, rolling her eyes.

"Well, eventually you'll have to have an actual conversation with her considering how much time she spends in our doorway." Octavia raised an implying eyebrow at her.

"Yeah," Clarke started, lifting herself onto her bed. "Probably a conversation about the future disciplinary action she'll take against us."

"Why don't you just go over there and talk to her?" Octavia prodded, now turning so her legs dangled over the side of the bed. It made Clarke nervous, like Octavia knew something she didn't.

"Why do you assume I want to talk to her?" Clarke asked. She crossed her arms defiantly.

Octavia gave her a look. "Come on."

"I'm serious." Clarke said, shaking her head for emphasis.

"So am I." Octavia laughed and rolled her eyes at Clarke. "You act like we're not best friends. I know you. I see the way you look after you talk to her, and I know you always slam the door when you leave in the morning hoping she'll come out and yell at you."

"I do not!" Clarke defended. "Just because you know I like girls does not mean that I like every girl."

"I didn't say you liked every girl." Octavia said plainly. "Just Lexa." Clarke groaned in response. "Seriously, Clarke, when was the last time you got any? Coffee shop girl?" Clarke was silent. It had been a long time since she had received any type of romantic attention, not including Finn's constant calls and online harassment. But he and her summer fling were both miles away now. She had convinced herself that she was too busy, looking away when she caught someone's eye in class, not making the extra effort to continue a conversation with a friendly stranger. "Seriously, why don't you just go talk to her?" Octavia pleaded.

"She's probably straight. Lincoln said I had no chance." Clarke huffed.

"That's not necessarily what that means." Octavia said quietly. She and Clarke exchanged a knowing look.

"Lincoln told you about her, didn't he?" Clarke asked, trying to feign disinterest.

"Barely!" She threw her arms up in frustration. "I pretty much had to torture it out of him. And what I did find out wasn't much, he's so into secrets." Octavia huffed.

"Well what did you find out?" Clarke asked, inching more towards the edge of her bed.

Octavia frowned. "Can't say. I promised."

"Seriously?" Clarke groaned.

"Seriously. I can't just go around telling Lincoln's secrets about other people. Totally uncool."

"So then why did you even bring it up?" Clarke laughed out of frustration.

"I didn't! You asked." She shrugged. "Just- go talk to her already."

"What am I even supposed to say? It's not like I know anything about her." Clarke sighed.

"You know that she's the RA." Octavia shrugged. "Just go over there and pretend you're having roommate problems. Or like, that someone is bullying you." She laughed, apparently imagining how that conversation would go. "Wait, no! You should invite her to Raven's party tonight!" She decided, excitedly.

"You think she would come?" Clarke asked, hating how hopeful her own voice sounded.

"I don't know. Lincoln will be there. You can use that if you need it." Octavia said.

Within minutes, Clarke stood mere feet from her own door, facing room 615. The printed RA sign still hung, along with a timetable for open hours. Friday at four pm was on the list, but Clarke already knew that. She had practically memorized the sheet over the last three weeks, constantly trying to pick a time and commit to starting a conversation with the mysterious girl. Clarke ran a hand through her hair to smooth it down and pulled down down on the sides of her shirt before tapping twice lightly on the door.

"It's open." Lexa called, a disembodied voice from the other side. Clarke took a deep breath and entered. Lexa was sitting cross legged on her bed, laptop open in her lap. Clarke was surprised to find that instead of the two sets of everything like she had in her room, there was only one. Her bed was on the left, lower to the ground than Clarke's because it didn't need to accommodate a dresser underneath. There were piles of books and papers neatly stacked on her desk, with solid dark green sheets. The window was the same size as Clarke's, but it felt bigger, catching more of the afternoon sunlight. The only thing mildly decorative in the room was an assortment of candles across the desk and the dresser. Clarke fought back the urge to mention that you weren't supposed to have candles in the dorms.

Lexa looked up at Clarke, expectantly. "Let me guess, locked yourself out of your email again?" She asked. It took a few seconds for Clarke to realize she was teasing her.

"That was one time." Clarke laughed, light pink blush on her cheeks.

"Apparently for three weeks." Lexa smirked at her. Clarke panicked. She really hadn't planned what she was going to say, and even if she had chances are she would've forgotten it anyway. She was not expecting such friendly version of Lexa. "What can I do for you, Clarke?" Lexa asked, momentarily looking down at the computer in her lap before closing it and setting it aside. Clarke opened and closed her mouth, unsure of how to answer and genuinely shocked to hear Lexa using her name so casually. She had only told it to her once, when they first met at the meeting. Quickly she cycled through all of the possibilities. Maybe Lexa was just as interested in her, maybe Lincoln talked about her. Clarke's mind reeled until it dawned on her that she was on Lexa's email list for the floor. Of course she knew her name. "Clarke." Lexa said again, causing her to snap out of it.

"I uh, sorry." Clarke said, looking down at her. "I'm here because I was wondering if you wanted to come to a party tonight." Clarke said quickly, almost closing her eyes.

"Please tell me you're not planning on throwing a party in your room." Lexa said. She brought a hand to the bridge of her nose, looking up at Clarke.

"No! Trust me, if I was, I wouldn't be dumb enough to invite you ." Clarke laughed, but cut herself short, rethinking her choice of words. "I mean- That sounded bad." She shook her head as if it were an etch-a-sketch, trying to undo.

"I don't take it personally." Lexa said. To Clarke, it sounded like she did.

"It's at my friend Raven's place, she has an apartment off campus." Clarke added, reassuring. She looked at Lexa, whose expression was unreadable. "Uh, Lincoln will be there. You guys are friends, right?" Clarke asked.

"Did he say that?" Lexa asked, eyes suddenly going dark.

"Uh, no. He said you guys knew each other. I just figured-"

"What is this?" Lexa asked, cutting her off.

"What do you mean?" Clarke asked, brow furrowed.

"I mean, what is this? What are you trying to do here?" Lexa stood from her bed, Clarke instinctively took a step back.

"It's just a- party." Clarke stuttered out, suddenly unsure.

"Why are you inviting me?" Lexa asked, taking a step closer to Clarke. Her eyes were threatening, as if she was waiting for Clarke to say the wrong thing. To make the wrong move. Clarke felt her words sticking in her throat, trying to formulate an answer.

"I just want to get to know you." Clarke said, finding her voice. Lexa's expression changed, softening, almost like she might laugh.

"You want to get to know me?" She repeated, incredulously.

"Yeah." Clarke said. She couldn't believe how badly this was going. She couldn't believe that she went out of her way to invite someone who was mocking her. "But honestly, you could just say no instead of being a dick about it." Clarke huffed angrily. "This was a bad idea. Sorry for bothering you." She said. With a dismissive wave of her hand, she turned to exit.

"Clarke, wait." Lexa said, reaching to catch her by the arm. Clarke spun around, heart pounding again from hearing her own name and feeling Lexa's cool hands on her wrist. They locked eyes, and Clarke decided that they were green-blue. There was something in her gaze, or maybe her frown that made Clarke want to kiss her. "I'm sorry." Lexa said, suddenly unable to meet Clarke's eyes. She let go of her arm, and Clarke almost wished she didn't. "I'll come to the party."

"Really?" Clarke grinned in total disbelief.

"Yes." She nodded, beginning of a smile forming. "But I have three conditions." Lexa said.

"Three? That's so many!" Clarke whined.

"You haven't even heard them yet." Lexa said.

"I don't need to hear them to know three is too many. How about one?" Clarke offered.

"My three conditions will be met or I'm not going anywhere." Her tone was less than a growl, more of an order. If it was anyone else, Clarke probably would've told them to fuck off, but another look at Lexa and she complied.

"Fine." Clarke groaned.

"Good. Number one, I am not getting in a stranger’s car."

"Raven lives within walking distance, so we're good on that." Clarke smiled involuntarily, counting one on her finger. Lexa didn't acknowledge her response.

"Number two, I need your guarantee that this is not some sort of trap to get me to talk to Lincoln."

"Why?" Clarke asked curiously. "What's wrong with talking to Lincoln?"

"Do I have a guarantee, or not?" Lexa asked sternly.

"Yeah, fine, no one is going to force you to talk to Lincoln." Clarke said, brow furrowed.

"Number three, if you and your friends are disorderly when we return, I was never with you. I don't even know you. You're just the girl that lives across the hall." Lexa said, looking very serious. Clarke's breath caught. Is that not what Lexa already thought of her? Was she more than just the girl from across the hall? "Clarke." Lexa called.

Clarke wished Lexa would stop saying her name. She wasn't sure she could handle the shock. "Got it. We don't know each other." She nodded, unable to hide her grin.






A few hours and an excessive amount of outfit changes later, Clarke was outside of Lexa's door again, knocking. She took a deep breath, thinking longingly of the flask tucked into the waistband of her jeans. It was cold and uncomfortable, but Clarke had stopped carrying a purse to parties a long time ago, after her fourth one went mysteriously missing. She tried to keep her hands still as she heard sounds of Lexa rummaging from the other side of the door. It door swung open and it was too late for Clarke to realize how close she had been standing to it. Lexa came out and stepped directly into her. "Shit. Sorry." Lexa said, grabbing Clarke by the arms to still her. Clarke wasn't sure which part of the interaction had dazed her the most, the full body contact, the arm touching, or the way Lexa said 'shit'. She looked up, Lexa was frowning at her.

"You okay?" Lexa asked. It wasn't particularly soft or sweet, but Clarke's heart still started in a quick, dull thud. Lexa's eyes were blue green pools.

"I'm fine. Sorry. I shouldn't have been standing in the doorway like that." Clarke shook her head, offering a friendly smile. Lexa straightened up, without meaning to, Clarke looked her over, light jeans over long legs and exposed collarbones above the arcing neckline of a tank top. She wore a flannel like a jacket, open, with the sleeves rolled up. Clarke tried not to put much thought into that, because all kinds of people wear flannels. As far as she could tell, she liked casual Lexa.

"Where are all your friends?" Lexa asked. There was something insinuating in her tone.

"Well, we could've walked over with Octavia, but I didn't want you to accuse me of forcing you to interact with Lincoln, so we're just going to meet them there." Clarke said.

Lexa examined her once again, and Clarke wondered if she was just going to have to get used to her constant intensity. Something new crossed her expression. "Thank you." Lexa said softly, corners of her mouth lifting. She tried not to notice how amazing Lexa looked with a smile. Suddenly, Clarke wasn't so sure she would survive the night.

Mid-September hung dark over the small town. It was crisper than it had been in a long time, finally free from the clutches of humidity. Clarke was silently thankful, she hated drinking when it was warm out because it made her face flush. Friday night was in the air, it was evident from the time they stepped outside. Crowds of students stood by the ashtray, talking loudly about plans at clubs and parties. It was more lively than she remembered her last school being, and it gave her some hope.

Clarke and Lexa walked closely together. Not too close, Clarke was sure, but close enough. They made it about fifteen feet from the front doors of their dorm before Clarke slipped her flask from her waistband and unscrewed the cap. She took a swig of the whiskey inside, relishing in the way it warmed her throat and chest. Lexa eyed her suspiciously.

"You like whiskey?" Clarke asked, offering the flask to her.

"Are you even old enough to drink?" Lexa asked. The question caught Clarke off-guard, she opened and shut her mouth a few times, trying to decide on whether or not to tell the truth. "You know what, I don't want to know." Lexa decided, taking the flask from her hands.

Clarke was surprised that she had given up that easily, and even more so that she actually took the flask. "Are you old enough to drink?" Clarke teased.

"I am." Lexa said, very dignified as she took a sip from the metal canister.

"Seriously?" Clarke asked. It wasn't unbelievable though. To Clarke, Lexa seemed significantly older than she was, more confident. More together. Lexa nodded, with a slight smirk. "How old are you?"

"Twenty one." She said, drinking from the flask again.

"I didn't actually think you would take any." Clarke laughed, watching her.

"Why'd you offer if you didn't plan on sharing?" Lexa asked, smirking as she took an exaggerated gulp to mock her.

"I'm more than willing to share." Clarke said. "It's just, unexpected."

"Do I strike you as a nun?" Lexa laughed, passing the flask back to Clarke discretely as a cluster of other students passed.

"No. Just a little uptight." She laughed. Lexa chuckled lightly.

"And for some reason you still invited me to come with you." Lexa shrugged.

"Yep." Clarke said with a little extra pop on the p. She swirled the flask around, trying to gauge how much liquid was still inside. Lexa apparently had quite a bit.

"Why?"

"I told you," Clarke said without hesitation "I want to get to know you." Lexa hummed in response, and Clarke couldn't tell if the sound was accepting or skeptical. There was a moment of silence as they continued down the block. "Anyway, in the spirit of getting to know you, I have a few questions." Clarke said, after willing herself into swallowing some more courage.

"Okay." Lexa nodded, looking over at her. It was too dark to see clearly, but Clarke could tell her eyebrows were raised expectantly.

"Okay, uh-" Clarke realized now that she probably should've thought of some questions. "What's your major?" She asked as it came to her. She silently cursed herself for not thinking of anything cooler.

"Political science." Lexa said, proudly.

"Don't people have to like you for you to be a politician?" Clarke asked, words coming out a lot ruder than she meant.

Instead of the the glare she was expecting, Lexa smirked in response. "No." She shook her head. "Succeeding in politics relies on strategy, intelligence, the ability to make hard choices. Not just how well liked you are."

The smirk emboldened Clarke, wanting to make it appear again. "But it can't hurt, right?" She laughed.

"It doesn't hurt, no. I'm not interested in being a politician, though." Lexa said.

"You're not?"

"I'd rather be a strategist. It's the people behind the scenes that really make politicians work."

"You don't belong behind the scenes." Clarke laughed.

"Why not?" Lexa asked, looking concerned.

"Have you seen yourself?" Clarke said loudly, eyes widening as she heard it. She didn't have time to regret what she said, Lexa's cheeks twinged with pink as she bit down on her own lip. It made Clarke want to keep complimenting her, but she couldn't think of anything else to say that wouldn't sound creepy. "My mom and her boyfriend are both on city council back home." Clarke said. She wanted to relate, to show Lexa what she knew about politics, but she immediately regretted bringing it up. She didn't want to talk about her mom. Luckily, before Lexa could ask any follow-up questions, they reached their destination.

Clarke led the way up the wooden stairs on the side of an unassuming red brick building. They could hear the music before they made it to the second floor. Clarke wondered how long it would be before the police showed up. She didn't need to knock once they got to the top of the landing, the door was open, and she could see through the screen door inside. Octavia caught her eye before Clark could move for the handle and her high pitched screams rang out above the music. Clarke opened the door and immediately Octavia's arms were around her neck. She could hear Lexa laugh from behind her.

"Clarke! I'm so glad you're here! We're having the besssssst time!" Octavia shouted practically into her friend's ear.

"Isn't that your roommate?" Lexa asked. Clarke could hear the laugh in her voice. She didn't get the chance to explain that Octavia is an overly affectionate drunk before she was screaming again.

"Lexa! Hi!" Octavia said, releasing Clarke in favor of her RA. "I can't believe you came! Ahh! You don't know me. Well, you probably do because you're always yelling at us-" Octavia stopped to laugh hard at that thought. "I'm Octavia." She said, holding out her hand. Before Lexa could move to shake it, though, Octavia wrapped her arms around her. Clarke felt obligated to pull her off once she noticed Lexa's body stiffen uncomfortably. "What? I'm just hugging our new friend!" Octavia yelled at Clarke.

"I think Lincoln is looking for you." Clarke said, pointing inside.

"Lincoln?! I love him! Did you know that?" Octavia shouted.

"I did." Clarke laughed. "Come on, let's go inside." She opened the door and held it, making sure Octavia went in ahead of them. "Sorry about that." Clarke muttered to Lexa. She was worried Lexa would want to leave now, that her friends were too much and they hadn't even made it to the party yet.

"If I wasn't prepared to handle drunk people I wouldn't have came to a party." Lexa smirked, and Clarke couldn't help but smirk back. She entered, now confident enough to lead Lexa inside.

It wasn't Clarke's first time in Raven's apartment, but the place looked drastically different than usual. It was more crowded than she would've imagined, every seat filled and every wall lined with people around her age holding red cups. The couch and coffee table were pushed out of the way, freeing up floor space for a folding table set with red cups. Bellamy, Octavia's brother was there, on one end of the table shooting a ball to the other side. He was one of the roommates in the apartment and Clarke liked him well enough. That is, when he wasn't picking fights with her or being possessive over his sister.

"Look who finally bothered to join us." Bellamy shouted at her over the music.

"Yeah, yeah." Clarke rolled her eyes. "Where's Raven? And the booze?" She asked him, shouting back. He looked away from his game long enough to point towards the kitchen.

"Come on." Clarke said to Lexa. She nearly reached down to grab her hand, but stopped just short as she lead the way to the kitchen. It wasn't a far walk because it wasn't a particularly large apartment, but it took quite a bit of shifting and squeezing to get through the crowd. As they crossed through the arch into the kitchen, a boy Clarke had never seen before barrelled into Lexa, nearly tipping his drink down her shirt. Lexa scowled at him and Clarke heard a rushed apology before he disappeared. "You okay?" Clarke asked, looking over at her.

"I need a drink." Lexa said. Her honesty made Clarke laugh. She grabbed Lexa by the wrist, deciding that it wasn't too intimate and continued to lead.

"Hey! Look who's here!" Raven called as they entered the kitchen. She was sitting up on the counter, red cup in one hand, nozzle for the keg in the other.

"I've heard it already." Clarke laughed as they approached. "What's up?" She asked.

"Not much." Raven said. "Stuck here on guard duty because some assholes my neighbor invited kept trying to do keg stands. Like, this isn't some trashy high school party in the woods, go get your own tap to put your gross mouth on." Raven huffed.

"Is that who all these people are?" Clarke asked.

"Yeah. All the neighbors take turns throwing parties, we all chip in for booze and shit and invite whoever. It keeps one apartment from getting too fucked up, and nobody calls the cops. Pretty much a win win."

"Except for the assholes." Clarke added.

"Exactly." Raven said. She looked up and apparently noticed Lexa, because her frustrated expression twisted into a smirk. "I'm sorry, who's your friend, Clarke?" Raven was messing with her. She knew exactly who her friend was.

"I'm Lexa." She said, stepping forward to offer Raven her hand.

"She lives on my floor." Clarke added, trying to reinforce the idea that she had never so much as mentioned Lexa to anyone.

"The RA?" Raven asked. Clarke glared at her, hoping she would understand it to mean shut the fuck up , but she knew Raven wouldn't care either way. Lexa looked over at Clarke curiously, almost smugly.

"You talk about me?" Lexa asked.

For once, Clarke felt prepared. "Well, when you get visits from your RA as often as I do, it's bound to come up once or twice." She laughed. "That's Raven, she lives here. Anyway, Rae, can we get some beer?" Clarke asked, grabbing two red cups off of a nearby counter. "I promise I won't put my mouth on your tap." Raven reached out for the cups.

"What if I want your mouth on tap?" Raven laughed, tilting the cups to fill them.

"Then you'll have to wait until later." Clarke laughed too, taking the now full cups and passing one to Lexa.

"We'll be back." Clarke said, grabbing Lexa by the wrist again.

"Go find the rest of our friends. Jasper and Monty are around here somewhere. Maybe you can convince one of them to watch the keg for me." Raven called after them.

"Is that your girlfriend?" Lexa asked.

Clarke couldn't look over at her for fear that she would notice her embarrassment. The question felt like a trap. If she went for a flat out denial, Lexa might think she was straight. And she said something like 'no, but I do like girls' it might seem like she was hitting on her. Clarke took a gulp of her beer to buy some time to think up a witty response. "If that was my girlfriend, don't you think I'd be hanging out here instead of causing trouble on your floor?"

"Good point." Lexa said. From the corner of her eye, she swore she saw a smirk.

Somehow, in the overcrowded living room, they managed to find an open corner spot. They stood close together to hear over the music, talking and laughing. Clarke was amazed at how easy it all felt. Maybe it was the whiskey they had finished together, or the beers they sipped on, but for once, she didn't feel nervous around Lexa as they talked. It was mostly about school and their plans after graduation, until Clarke awkwardly admitted she was undeclared. It was the second most uncomfortable she had felt all night.

"You said you're a transfer, were you undeclared before, too?" Lexa asked. Her eyes were light, she leaned against the wall slightly to be closer to Clarke's height.

"No. I was in pre-med at Arcadia-" Clarke said, but she was cut short by the sound of Lexa coughing up her drink. "Holy shit, you okay?" Clarke asked, grabbing Lexa by the shoulder to steady her.

"Yeah," Lexa laughed. "I'm fine, I just-" Lexa stared into Clarke's eyes, examining as they so often did. "You left Arcadia to come here?" She laughed again, in disbelief.

"I did." Clarke nodded, trying not to blush at the look of admiration Lexa was giving her. Her hand was still on Lexa's shoulder, but she pretended not to notice.

"That's unbelievable."

"You seem surprised." Clarke laughed, taking a drink.

"Don't get me wrong, Polis is a good school, but Arcadia is great. Especially for medicine." Lexa said, shaking her head. "Why did you leave?"

That, was not a question Clarke was prepared for. "I had some, personal stuff." She muttered quietly.

"Yo Clarke!" A voice called. Her head snapped up, ready for any distraction from her current conversation. It was Bellamy. "Ready to lose?" He called from across the room. He bounced a ping pong ball off the table and into his hand, looking confident.

"He's such a cocky asshole." Clarke rolled her eyes, laughing to Lexa.

"Is he any good?" Lexa asked curiously.

"He's the best out of all of our friends and he knows it." She laughed.

"Come on Clarke, don't be scared." Bellamy laughed, bouncing the ball again.

"I don't have a teammate." Clarke yelled back over the music.

"Don't worry, your new friend can lose too." He grinned, raising the ball to point at Lexa.

Clarke turned to Lexa. "You don't have to play. I'll find someone else. Maybe Lincoln will want to-"

"I never turn down a challenge, Clarke." Lexa said, suddenly intense. Before Clarke could get out another word, Lexa led the way to the table. Bellamy stood next to Murphy, a greasy looking kid who Clarke was sure she didn't like.

"Good to know." Clarke laughed.

"You guys both know how to play, right?" Bellamy condescended. Clarke liked him better sober.

"Yes, dick." Clarke huffed, outstretching a hand to demand the second ball. She glanced back at Lexa, expression unreadable. Honestly, Clarke had no idea whether Lexa knew how to play or not. Really, she had no idea if Lexa had ever even been to a party before this. She tried to imagine it, Lexa in positions she herself had been in, but it all seemed too bizarre. She couldn't picture Lexa drunkenly slumped over strange guys, or vomiting out of a moving car. Not taking Jell-O shots, body shots, or chugging from a beer bong. Hell, she could hardly imagine Lexa drinking alcohol at all and it was happening right in front of her.

Clarke lined up across from Bellamy, who counted back from 3 before they both tossed the balls toward the opposite side of the table. Clarke's bounced off the back left cup, rolling on to the floor, Bellamy's sunk cleanly into the center.

"Shit." Clarke huffed. She picked up the cup and fished out the ball, chugging the lukewarm beer inside.

"You should've warned me you were bad at this." Lexa said into her ear, catching Clarke off guard. She hadn't realized Lexa was standing so close.

"I am not!" Clarke pouted. Murphy took a shot and landed it in another corner. She frowned, reaching for the cup.

"No, let me." Lexa said, wrapping a hand around Clarke's wrist to stop her. She didn't let go until after she had grabbed the cup with the other hand. Clarke would be lying if she said it didn't turn her on, they way Lexa's eyes fluttered shut as she brought the cup to her mouth. She stared at her throat, fighting the urge to press a kiss against her neck after every gulp. Maybe Clarke was more drunk than she thought.

Bellamy shot again and by some miracle it rolled along the rims of two far cups and off of the table. "No! Shit!" He cursed.

"Ha!" Clarke laughed, pointing to mock him.

Wordlessly, Lexa demanded the ball, holding her hand out to Clarke. She obliged, bracing herself for the worst, but instead it landed soundlessly in a cup across the table before she even saw it leave Lexa's hand. Lexa looked over at her and flashed a smirk as Bellamy scowled.

"Whatever, beginner's luck." Murphy heckled.

Clarke looked back over at Lexa, all confident smirks and lowered eyes. Her expression made Clarke think that she wasn't a beginner. Not at all.

Within fifteen minutes, she knew that to be true. She was certain that if they didn't have to alternate Lexa could've taken Bellamy and Murphy herself, and faster, because Clarke missed more shots than she landed. Lexa handed Clarke the ball, an intensity in her gaze that she couldn't believe. There was one cup left. It was up to Clarke. If she missed, Bellamy would have the ball, and there were only two cups left for the girls. She couldn't lose the game for them. For Lexa, really. She took a deep breath. Her head started to feel heavy, and she knew that all the alcohol was catching up to her. She just needed to make one shot.

"You don't need to throw it hard." Lexa said in her ear. "It's a light ball, but it still has mass. Throw it gently and it's less likely to bounce off the rim." Lexa whispered. Clarke shivered, startled by the closeness, and nodded. Lexa's hands were on her waist. She took a deep breath, trying to ignore how much she liked it. She wound back her arm, and watched as the ball flew through the air, landing in the cup with a satisfying splash. As soon as it landed, Lexa erupted in cheers, nearly lifting Clarke off the ground in a victory hug. Clarke choked on air, Lexa knocked the wind out of her. A split second later, she was released. Lexa's cheeks were tinged pink and Clarke couldn't tell whether or not it was from all of the alcohol.

"Sorry." Lexa choked out, staring at the ground. "I've been told I'm a little competitive." She smiled softly, looking mostly at the ground.

"That, was fucking awesome." Clarke said, looking up at her. Lexa didn't need to know she wasn't talking about the game.

Chapter Text

"Holy shit, Clarke!" Lexa yelled. It was only seconds before Lexa's arms were around her again. Everything was warm, her face, her hands, her head, yet somehow, Lexa remained cool, their touching skin made Clarke shiver. She had never seen anyone so invested in a game of beer pong before. Well, four games of beer pong to be exact.

Clarke was drunk, there was no point in denying it. She was certain her eyes were small and red, that her face was flushed and hair was wild, but it didn't matter. She was having too much fun to care. And apparently, Lexa was too, grinning wide and laughing even louder with each passing victory. Clarke stared up at her, fixated on the rarity that was her smile. Lexa stared back, eyes glossy.

"What?" Lexa asked a little louder than she should've considering how closely together they stood.

Clarke grinned back at her. She couldn't help it. It was infectious. "You really like winning, huh?" She said.

"I love winning." Lexa breathed like it was a well kept secret. "Can we win another one, Clarke?" She pleaded. "You're getting really good."

Clarke would've blushed if she wasn't already red from the alcohol. She knew that they should probably stop, they were drunk enough and it wasn't getting any easier to suppress the thoughts of wanting Lexa's lips on her skin. However, she was more interested in hearing Lexa say nice things and wrap her arms around her than she was in being responsible. "Yeah, let's play another one." Clarke smiled. Lexa's eyes lit up and Clarke watched as she immediately straightened up and started glancing around the room to find a pair of new challengers.

If Clarke didn't know better, she probably wouldn't be able to tell Lexa was drunk. She held herself just as still and regally as ever, though now she looked more approachable. Warmer, more relaxed. It had to be the smile, the way it reached all the way to her eyes.

No one around met Lexa's gaze after watching the last few rounds. No one wanted to be the next loser. "Lincoln." Lexa called suddenly. Lincoln's head popped up from where he was seated, whispering into Octavia's ear. He said something to her before he stood and walked up to Lexa. "Play." She commanded, gesturing to the table with her head. He smiled slightly and took his place across from them on the other side of the table.

"I thought you didn't want to talk to him?" Clarke asked quietly, brow furrowed.

"I don't." Lexa said, chin raised defiantly. "But he's great at beer pong." She whispered, covering her hand with her mouth so Lincoln couldn't read her lips. Clarke laughed. Lexa was probably the only person she had ever met who would voluntarily play against someone who could beat her.

"I need a teammate." Lincoln called to them.

"Octavia?" Clarke asked.

"No. I cut her off an hour ago." Lincoln said. All three of them looked over at Octavia who was laughing to herself, slumping over the arm of the couch.

"Yeah, probably a good plan." Clarke laughed loudly. It was uncontrollable. Lexa laughed too, staring down at her almost curiously. Clarke was drunk enough think freely of how much she loved the attention. She would keep laughing all night if she needed to. Suddenly, something swirled around in Clarke's stomach. It took her a minute to place the sensation, but once she did, she laughed again. "Can you guys hold on? I gotta pee." Clarke asked, looking back and forth from Lincoln to Lexa. She bounced slightly back and forth for emphasis, so they would know she was serious. Lexa watched her with an expression she didn't understand for a moment before she shook her head.

"Go pee." Lexa laughed. Clarke immediately dashed out of the living room and down a dark hall, already familiar with the layout of the apartment. She was lucky, there was no line for the bathroom, the light was on and the door was left open.

On the toilet, Clarke became aware of just how drunk she really was. Her head was heavy. Experimentally, she moved it from side to side, laughing to herself as it swam. When she finished, she washed her hands, staring into the mirror. Her hair was even more wild than she had imagined, probably from Lexa's victory hugs. Clarke grinned at the thought. She couldn't believe any of this was happening. After she left Lexa's room earlier, she had hardly expected Lexa to speak to her during the party, let alone get drunk and touchy. She smoothed down her hair with a little bit of water from the sink, and splashed some on her face to try and clear up the redness. She wanted to look good. Who knows how Lexa might thank her if they kept winning? She left the bathroom with purpose, ready to collect another hug. No, another compliment. Wait, no. Win. To collect another win.

Clarke made it halfway back to the living room when she heard someone call her name. She looked around, but before she could find the source a warm hand was on her wrist and she was being led into one of the bedrooms. Only brown hair registered in her mind, but she knew it wasn't Lexa. The hair and body were too short. The hands were too warm. As soon as Clarke moved her mouth to speak, to ask what was going on, the figure turned to face her. Her stomach dropped. She felt like she was going to puke.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Clarke all but shouted. Her heart pounded. It was something between fear and shock, as if she was seeing a ghost. Finn wasn't supposed to be here. He was supposed to be far away. Miles and miles away, back at Arcadia. He half smiled, eyes apologetic. She looked around the room, there was a desk light on, dimly lighting Finn's face. She realized that it was familiar, they were standing in Raven's room. The realization made her feel even worse.

"I've been trying to call you, Clarke." Finn said. He looked exactly how she remembered, which made her stomach turn again. It had been months, shouldn't he look at least a little bit different? Seem different? In her mind the Finn she had dated was gone. He was gone a long time ago, replaced by a stalking stranger. He wasn't supposed to look the same.

"I know, I've had to block like four thousand different numbers!" Clarke shouted. She was too drunk to care who might hear, but not drunk enough to try and hear him out. She stepped backwards, trying to put space between them and tripped over the threshold of the door. She couldn't deal with this right now. She wasn't planning on ever dealing with it.

"I just had to talk to you." Finn said. His voice was quiet, like somehow that would keep her from yelling back at him. It made Clarke furious. Her eyes watered and she immediately brought balled fists to them to force it back. She wasn't upset. She was angry.

"So you drove a hundred and fifty miles?" Clarke laughed. It wasn't funny, but she couldn't stop the laughter. Alcohol made it seem hilarious, like this was all a bizarre joke. Finn hesitated clearly rethinking his word choice, so she continued. "To say what, Finn? Isn't it obvious I don't want to talk to you?" She yelled, stooping forward combatively.

"I- I didn't drive here just to talk to you." Finn said, shaking his head. Clarke swore she could see red.

"So you drove here to start drama in Raven's apartment? In her bedroom?" Clarke yelled again. "You better fucking hope she doesn't see you because I swear to god Finn you will not make it out of here-"

"Clarke." Finn said seriously. Hearing him say her name made her cringe. He shouldn't be allowed to say it. It was too harsh, too deep, not like how it sounded when Lexa said it. The thought of Lexa only made her more anxious to get away.

"What? What do you want from me?" She begged, using her arms for emphasis. Clarke wanted nothing more than to disappear. To not have to deal with this. She thought she had escaped the drama once she left Arcadia, once she left home. But here it was, following her.

"I transferred." Finn said. He reached out and grabbed Clarke's arms, staring at her, waiting for a reaction.

" What? " She swore she hadn't heard that right. It couldn't be. He didn't mean-

Finn's face fell, but he recovered quickly. "I transferred to Polis so we can be together. I've been trying to tell you for weeks-"

"What part of I don't want to see you did you not understand?" She yelled, snapping her arms from his grip. She turned to the door, desperate to be through with this conversation.

"I still love you." Finn pleaded from behind her.

Clarke snapped back around to face him, nostrils flaring. "You don't get to say that." Her voice was low, serious. "Just- God! Don't- Please just- Don't fucking follow me." She spun back around and slipped through the door before hearing another response.

In the living room, things were almost the same as Clarke had left them, even though it felt like so long ago. There was a stranger next to Lincoln, apparently his teammate. It looked as if he and Lexa hadn't spoken a word to each other, both looking off in other directions. If she wasn't in such a bad mood, Clarke might've laughed at serious they looked for two people about to play a game of beer pong. Lexa noticed her before she made it all the way over to the table.

"It took you long enough." Lexa laughed. "I was considering sending out a search party." She smiled. Clarke did too, despite herself, but it quickly faded. "Something wrong?" Lexa frowned. All Clarke could think of was how much she wanted to kiss her.

"I have to go." Clarke said quietly. "I'm sorry."

"Okay." Lexa nodded. She looked across the table to Lincoln. "We're leaving." She said to him. Clarke didn't even consider that Lexa might want to leave with her, and it made her face feel even warmer. She looked up at Lexa who was holding Lincoln's gaze. They looked like they were communicating through telepathy. There was something between them that Clarke couldn't place. It was understanding, like they knew each other much better than they let on. Almost like they were together once. Clarke decided that had to be it. Lexa and Lincoln must be exes! That would explain why he didn't want to talk to Octavia about her, and why they didn't speak now. She wanted to ask them, but the part of her that retained rational sense kept her quiet. Lexa's hands were on Clarke's wrist again. Her grip was delicate, like she was worried she might hurt Clarke as she led her out of the apartment and into the night.

They stood, waiting for a traffic light to change. Clarke was certain they had only just left the apartment, but she knew the intersection they were at was at least five blocks away. She found herself doubled over, catching her breath. Did they run here? She looked at Lexa who clearly was nowhere near as winded. All of the red cups she drained during beer pong were catching up to her. She took a seat on a nearby planter, trying in vain to will herself back into sobriety. She was sure she was going to throw up. Throw up or cry, and she didn't want Lexa witnessing either. This night was not going the way she had hoped. She felt Lexa take a seat next to her.

"Are you going to tell me what happened?" Lexa asked, as if Clarke was withholding a secret. Momentarily, Clarke wondered whether or not it should be a secret, but the alcohol in her wanted nothing more than to divulge.

"My ex showed up." Clarke said. The words took longer to fall out of her mouth than she had intended, almost slurred.

"Oh." Lexa said. Clarke worried that Lexa sounded disappointed in her lame reasoning.

"It was really bad though! Really bad- not like regular running into your ex at a party." Clarke defended herself. Lexa's expression didn't change. Her eyes were still glassy, but her jaw was set in a familiar way. It looked like Clarke was making too much noise and Lexa had come to tell her to keep it down.

Instead of a lecture, Lexa frowned. "Why is that?" She asked. Clarke's eyes stung.

"He’s from back home. He went to my old school." Clarke said. She stared at the ground, trying to steady her swimming mind.

"Does he have friends down here or something?" Lexa asked.

"He transferred here." Clarke laughed. She couldn't help it. It really was funny. Maybe not the kind of funny you could laugh at, but funny nonetheless.

"You both transferred together?" Lexa asked, brow furrowed. Clarke glanced over at her and wanted to laugh again. Of course she didn't get it, it was fucking ridiculous. It made no sense.

"No." Clarke shook her head lightly, as not to disturb the equilibrium. "He said he transferred to be with me."

"Wow." Lexa chuckled lightly in response.

"I know!" Clarke yelled, a momentary delay before she realized that Lexa was not mad at her, and a quiet relief filled her. "He said he was gonna like- tell me or whatever but I didn't answer his calls."

"Why not?" Lexa asked, face serious again. Or was it curious? Clarke couldn't tell. It was dark and the streetlights did her no favors. She shifted closer to Lexa to get a better look. "You okay?" Lexa chuckled again.

"Yeah, I just couldn't see your face and how am I supposed to know what you're thinking if I can't see your face?"

"Can you normally tell what I'm thinking by looking at me?" Lexa laughed.

"Not at all." Clarke said, laughing too. It was nice to laugh with Lexa. Easy, even. It almost made her forget about all of the drama that had ruined the night. She looked at Lexa who looked back, wishing she could tell the color of her eyes in the dark. "I'm sorry for fucking up your night." Clarke frowned, putting her head in her hands. Lexa deserved only good nights. Nights free of ridiculous drama. She was sure that Lexa avoided things like this, and it made her feel guilty. "I usually am like waaaaay cooler than this. Super no drama." Clarke said, waving her arms for emphasis.

"Something tells me that's not true." Lexa said cooly. Clarke looked over to see her smirk, and it made her want to kiss her for probably the twentieth time that night. "You didn't fuck my night up, by the way." Lexa said softly. Clarke tried to ignore how hot Lexa sounded when she swore. "You're the only reason I had a night. I probably would've just stayed in and studied."

"Do you really study all the time?" Clarke asked. It was a dumb question, but already out there.

"I study a lot." Lexa laughed.

"How come you're not drunk?" Clarke asked, scooting close enough to Lexa that their thighs touched. Lexa glanced down at contact, but decided to ignore it.

"What do you mean?" Lexa asked.

"I meannnn-" Clarke dragged out. "We drank all of the same stuff." She chastised herself for sounding so dumb. "Consumed an equivalent amount of alcohol, if you will." She said, eliciting a loud laugh from Lexa, though she wasn't sure why. "Why am I more drunk? You're the lightweight!" She said, pointing a finger in Lexa's general direction.

Lexa laughed again. "Well, chasing you down the block to make sure you didn't get hit by a car was pretty sobering-" So they did run here! One mystery solved. "But what makes you think I'm a lightweight?"

"You don't drink." Clarke said, as if it was obvious.

"Again," Lexa laughed. "What makes you think I don't drink?" Honestly, Clarke had no idea. She just couldn't imagine Lexa at a bar. Or at a party. Anywhere that involved alcohol, despite watching her drink like a champ for the last few hours. "Is it because I told you that you can't drink in your dorm?" She laughed. "Rules are rules, Clarke."

"Do you do drugs, too?" Clarke asked, wide eyed. Suddenly, there was a whole new side to Lexa that she was imagining. Lexa laughed hard.

"I want to go into politics in the age of social media, so no. Too risky." Lexa said.

"Me and my friends smoke weed sometimes." Clarke said before she had the chance to filter it out. "Never in our room though!" She added quickly. Lexa could only shake her head, laughing in response. Clarke loved that she was making her laugh, but she tried not to think about it, worried to say something wrong.

"Are you feeling better now Clarke?" Lexa asked. She nodded, feeling incapable of vocal response after hearing Lexa say her name again. "Good. You were looking pretty green for a while." Clarke's heart beat hard, she couldn't believe Lexa had just called her pretty. Maybe she was better at this than she thought.

"Like your eyes." Clarke smiled, looking up at her. Lexa blushed slightly, caught off guard. It was then that Clarke realized that being told she was 'pretty green' wasn't a compliment. "Sorry." Clarke chuckled. She wasn't sorry though.

"Have you eaten anything today?" Lexa asked her, eyes lowered in concern once more.

Clarke tried to think back over everything she had done that day, but was coming up empty, alcohol making things blur together. "Uh, a bagel I think. No wait maybe that was yesterday." Clarke laughed, putting her head in her hands. She peeked over at Lexa who pulled a cell phone from her pocket. It shocked Clarke, she had to reason with herself again. Of course Lexa had a cell phone, how else would she communicate with people? Carrier pigeon? But that didn't make it any less strange. Probably because she pictured Lexa as this woman out of time. Like she didn't belong here, too prim and proper for modern life. Slowly though, Clarke was starting to realize that wasn't true. Lexa belonged here. She had a better grip on life than Clarke ever would.

"Come on." Lexa said, standing. She held her hand out to Clarke to help her up. "Let's go get you some food."

It wasn't long before they were stuffed into a small booth in a diner Clarke had never seen before. It was obvious Lexa was a regular. The hostess smiled wide at her as they came in, mentioning how she was surprised to see her at this time of night. When the waitress came by, she gave Lexa similar treatment, asking if she wanted her usual. Lexa nodded, and Clarke suddenly felt as if she was being left out of a secret. What was even weirder was that she found herself jealous of this waitress for knowing that Lexa even had a usual. That is, until she took Clarke's order, referring to her as Lexa's 'pretty little friend'. She ordered pancakes without a second thought and nearly blushed when the waitress gave her a knowing wink.

"You have a regular?" Clarke asked.

"I come here a lot." Lexa admitted sheepishly, as though this was new information. "It's the only good place on campus to get breakfast."

"What about the dining hall?"

"Have you ever eaten breakfast at the dining hall?" Lexa asked incredulously.

"I don't really eat breakfast." Clarke said quietly.

"Well, that explains that." Lexa smirked. Clarke looked around the diner. It was tight, like a traditional dining car, with neon lights and red vinyl topped bar stools. The seat under her was springy, she tested it by bouncing up and down slightly. "You having fun there?" Lexa laughed. She was, but instead she stopped, smiling lightly at her new friend. Clarke definitely did not expect to end up in a diner with Lexa by the end of the night, but it was probably better than any of the outcomes she could've dreamed up. Not including the one where they ended up in bed together, of course, but pancakes were a good second choice.

Feeling as if her thoughts had summoned them, the pancakes had arrived, along with what looked like eggs, homefries and toast for Lexa.

"You girls enjoy now. Let me know if you need anything." The waitress smiled at them again before disappearing behind the counter.

"So, you like eggs?" Clarke asked. Lexa laughed immediately at what was apparently a funny question.

"Yes." Lexa said, trying to contain herself. "I like eggs."

"What? I said I wanted to get to know you." Clarke defended. She picked up her fork and stabbed a pancake, bringing it to her mouth without bothering to cut it. She could feel Lexa's eyes on her, but she didn't care. She didn't realize how hungry she was until that second.

"You didn't put syrup on them or anything." Lexa laughed, still watching her. Clarke looked down at the pancake hanging halfway out of her mouth in horror, quickly using the fork to rip the chunk that she hadn't yet chewed back down to the plate. She looked up at Lexa again, eyes pleading.

"Here." Lexa chuckled, passing the syrup to her from the end of the table. Clarke wanted to say thank you, but her mouth was still full of pancake. Lexa laughed out loud as Clarke tried to grunt a thanks. "Swallow, Clarke." She laughed. "Seriously, before you start choking." Clarke did as she was told, despite the thickness of the dry pancakes.

"Thanks." Clarke smiled slightly, cheeks pink. She poured the syrup all over the remaining pancakes, practically flooding the plate.

"Jesus Christ, Clarke." Lexa laughed again. Clarke couldn't handle hearing her name twice in such a short span of time. She set the syrup down, looking up at Lexa who had apparently already finished her eggs.

"I like it when you say my name." Clarke said softly. Lexa blushed instantly, but before she could respond, there was a loud sound seemingly from under the table.

She must have looked confused, because Lexa asked, "Is that your phone?"

Her phone! Clarke reached down into her back pocket and retrieved it. She rolled her eyes at the ID. It was a random number, definitely Finn.

"I take it you don't plan on answering that?" Lexa asked.

"It's my ex." Clarke sighed. "He's the only person who ever calls anymore."

"The one from the party?" Lexa asked.

"Yep." Clarke sighed, stuffing some more pancake into her mouth. Thinking about the party reminded Clarke of a question she wanted to ask earlier. "Did you and Lincoln date?"

Clarke watched as Lexa's expressions cycled through things she couldn't quite read. She paid as much attention as possible, trying to decipher, something like confusion and maybe disgust until Lexa finally laughed. "What?" She asked in complete disbelief.

"You know, you guys are so weird about each other I figured you guys probably used to bang or whatever-" Clarke explained, twirling her fork in the air.

"Ew, god, no. No!" Lexa laughed. "That's gross. So gross. We grew up together." Lexa said, as if somehow that explained everything.

"That doesn't mean you guys can't bone!" Clarke defended.

" Please stop saying that." Lexa cringed.

"Fine, but only if you tell me what's actually the deal with you guys." Clarke huffed.

Lexa sighed, suddenly finding the windowsill very interesting. "That's a story for another day." She said eventually.

"Another day like, you wanna hang out with me again?" Clarke beamed.

"Yes. But maybe no alcohol next time." Lexa said, smirking.

"I can handle that." Clarke smirked. They sat in silence for a little while, just eating and listening to the ambiance of the diner. It wasn't uncomfortable like Clarke thought it might be, though it could've been just because she was still intoxicated.

"So what happened between you and the ex?" Lexa asked after a while. She had finished her food, only two slices of white toast remained.

"What do you mean?" Clarke asked through a mouthful of pancakes.

"I mean, obviously something dramatic must have happened if he's borderline stalking you." Lexa laughed. Clarke shook her head. "No? Then why'd you break up?"

Clarke swallowed, and cleared her throat. She took a gulp from her glass of water, not realizing until then how thirsty she was. She almost drained the cup completely before turning her attention back to Lexa. "He had another girlfriend."

Lexa made a face that Clarke understood to be disgust. "That's fucked up."

Clarke fought the urge to tell Lexa how much she liked it when she swore. "I know. It was my friend Raven. The one you met earlier."

"He was cheating on you with your friend?" Lexa asked, eyes widened in surprise.

"Well, not really. Technically he was cheating on her with me. And she wasn't my friend at the time. I didn't really know her. We just all went to the same high school. She was older than us." Clarke shrugged, staring down at what little was left of her food.

"That's the girl I thought was your girlfriend, right?" Lexa asked. Clarke blushed at the mention of the word girlfriend, as if somehow Lexa knew. Why else would she assume Clarke would have a girlfriend?

"Yeah." Clarke nodded. "Uh-" Clarke cleared her throat. "So uh, what gave you that idea?"

"The flirting, mostly." Lexa smirked.

"What, you don't flirt with people for fun?" Clarke asked, a little louder than she meant to.

"No, not that I know of." Lexa shook her head.

"Why not?" Clarke shrugged again, taking her last bite of pancake.

"Typically I reserve flirting for its actual purpose. That way I don't give off mixed signals." Lexa said, looking directly at Clarke. Was Lexa flirting with her? Is that what she was trying to say?

"That's good to know." Clarke nodded. "Now if I ever catch you flirting with me I'll know your intentions." She grinned. It was so smooth that she couldn't believe it came out of her mouth without any thought. Lexa blushed right away.

"You should be so lucky." Lexa said quietly.

After Lexa insisted on paying for the food, claiming, 'I can't take a drunk girl's money' they made it back to the dorm without incident. The conversation was light and easy, mostly about campus and their breakfast foods of choice. Lexa didn't even insist on walking in separately, though Clarke did notice she walked slightly ahead of her, not speaking until they stood waiting for the elevator.

The trip up to the sixth floor was over too soon. Clarke barely even had the time to contemplate making a move before the doors were opening again. They walked down the hall in relative silence, Clarke panicking internally. Should she try to kiss her goodbye? Do nothing? Hug her? She remembered how Lexa looked when Octavia had forced a hug on her earlier and decided against it. Lexa wasn't touchy. She witnessed it. Though, she quickly thought back to the game of beer pong, how Lexa nearly picked her up. Clarke's face flushed. That was drunk Lexa. Drunk Lexa was different. This was mostly sober Lexa. Clarke was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't realize they were standing in front of their respective doors. Lexa was looking at her.

"Goodnight, Clarke." Lexa smiled slightly.

"Night." Clarke nodded. She watched as Lexa turned away from her and unlocked the door to her room. She stood there for a moment, staring at the now closed door before turning to her own, retrieving her key.

In was dark in her room, she could hear movement, and light voices. Octavia must have gotten home before her. Clarke habitually flicked on the light and was shocked frozen.

"Clarke holy shit turn the light off!" Octavia yelled.

"Oh my god ew!" Clarke yelled back. Octavia was on top of Lincoln, no shirt or bra, with her arms wrapped around to hide her bare chest. Lincoln was shirtless, but Clarke didn't look any lower. He looked as if he was going to have a heart attack, either embarrassed from the intrusion or startled by the screaming. "I said not while I'm in the room!" Clarke shouted.

"You weren't in the room!" Octavia defended.

"I am now!"

"Turn off the light and go away!" Octavia shouted, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. It took Clarke another moment to react, actions still delayed by alcohol. She did as she was told, closing the door behind her. She slumped down to the carpet, leaning her head against the wall. Sleeping out in the hallway couldn't be that bad, could it?

Just as she shifted around to make herself comfortable on the floor, the door across from her opened. Lexa looked down at her, now in a loose fitting white tank top and a pair of comfortable looking shorts. She stepped out of the doorframe, smirking, almost like she wanted to laugh. It confused Clarke, until she realized Lexa must have heard what happened. It's not like they were quiet about it. She outstretched her hand, offering it to Clarke.

"Come on." Lexa said. "You can't sleep out here." Clarke took her hand and Lexa helped her up, not releasing it as she led her into the room. Clarke had never been more thankful to walk in on someone.

Chapter Text

Clarke awoke to a hand on her shoulder. Her eyes were bleary as the sun streamed in through the window, she reached up to shield them with her arm. "It's on my desk. Just take it." Clarke muttered, sure it was Octavia looking to borrow her eyeliner again. Her head pounded in a dull way. Not quite a hangover, but it was obvious she didn't make it out of last night scot free.

"Clarke." In her sleepy haze, Clarke realized that it was not Octavia who said her name. It was Lexa. She shot upright in shock, looking quickly from side to side to get a sense of her surroundings. Once her eyes adjusted to the light, she realized she was in Lexa's room, green sheets draped loosely over her legs. Momentary confusion resolved, Clarke looked up at Lexa who was standing next to the bed. She looked down at Clarke apologetically.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." Lexa said. It was obvious she was holding back a laugh, her lips were closed tight in a straight in a straight line, but her eyes were wide. It made Clarke think of last night, of how much Lexa smiled. She shifted awkwardly, bringing a hand to the back of her neck. The laugh disappeared from her eyes. "I was going to let you sleep but-" She raised the other to reveal Clarke's phone, and held it out for her. "Your mom has called four times, and it doesn't look like she plans on stopping. It could be an emergency." Her eyes were urging.

Clarke took the phone from Lexa, fighting the urge to laugh. Of course her mom would be calling. She hasn't called once since Clarke left to start school, it's only fitting that she would call just in time to embarrass her in front of Lexa. Lexa. Whose room she slept in last night. Whose bed she slept in. Upon that thought, Clarke looked down around herself, trying to figure out where Lexa could have slept. Was there even space for the two of them? Out of the corner of her eye Clarke noticed a pillow and blanket on the floor. Did Lexa seriously sleep on the floor? Was sharing a bed with someone you sort of know really that big of a deal? Clarke thought again of last night, of how obviously uncomfortable she was to be hugged, and realized that yeah. To Lexa it probably was a big deal. Before she could ask and get verbal confirmation, her phone rang again. Clarke panicked, not knowing whether or not she should answer it in front of Lexa. She wasn’t sure what to expect from the call, but she knew it probably wouldn't be pleasant.

"I can step out, if you need me to." Lexa said, almost as if she knew what Clarke was thinking.

"I'm not gonna make you leave your own room." Clarke chuckled. She considered going back to her own room, but then worried about what she'd be walking into. "Actually uh, if it's not too much trouble-" Clarke frowned. Lexa simply cocked an eyebrow at her before nodding and slipping out of the room.

Clarke sighed and slid her finger across the screen to answer. "Five calls in a row? I guess I have a new stalker now." Clarke said dryly into the phone.

"Not funny Clarke." She responded. It was almost weird to hear her mom's voice now. She had gotten used to not hearing it.

"Well, who died?" Clarke sighed.

"What are you talking about?" Abby asked.

"Well since you're not stalking me, someone dying is the only acceptable reason to call five times in a row. So who was it?"

"You haven't called in a month." Abby said sternly.

"You haven't called me !" Clarke said defensively.

"So now phones only work one way? You're an adult now, Clarke. You should know better. I was worried about you." Clarke let out a dry laugh in response. She didn't have to see it to know her mom was glaring at her. "Look, clearly, you're trying to punish me for-"

"Can we not go there?" Clarke pleaded quickly. This was not the time or place. In fact, Clarke wasn't sure anywhere would be the time or place.

"You can't just run away from your problems." Abby said obviously.

"Sure I can, I already did." Clarke gave a hollow laugh.

"Clarke."

"Mom." Clarke huffed back. She stared around the unfamiliar room. It was unbelievable how neat Lexa was, everything had a place, her books, her candles, even her hamper was empty, as if she washed her clothes immediately after using them. Clarke looked to the floor where an obviously makeshift bed was set up with a single pillow and a thin sheet. It couldn't have been comfortable.

Abby sighed hard into the phone. "Are you at least planning on coming home for Thanksgiving?"

"It's September." Clarke said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Clarke." Abby said in a way that only a mom could.

"What? I'm just saying, how am I supposed to know how I'm going to feel in two months?" Clarke laughed again. She couldn't help it, she was uncomfortable. It was easier to laugh than to do anything else.

"Can you at least think about it?" Abby asked. There was something pleading in her voice that made Clarke feel guilty.

Clarke sighed. "Yeah, I'll think about it."

"And please, call me once in awhile, okay?"

"How often is once in awhile?" Clarke asked.

"Weekly." Abby said.

"Gee, I don't know mom. I'm pretty busy-" Clarke started.

"Clarke." Abby said, cutting her off.

"Fine. But I might not have anything to say." Clarke said, voice breaking slightly on the last word. Her hands started to shake slightly, she panicked, knowing what that meant.

"That's fine, I just want to know you're okay." Clarke groaned in response. "I love you, Clarke. We'll get through this." Abby said. Clarke didn't believe it.

"I love you too. Bye." Clarked huffed into the silence of the room as she hung up the phone, trying to still her breathing. Her eyes stung, so she opened them as wide as possible, trying to fan away any potential tears. There was a reason she hadn't called her mom, and this was it. She didn't want to cry. Not in front of Octavia, and definitely not on Lexa's bed. She was good at holding back, well practiced. Almost as soon as it had come, it was gone, no lingering evidence but a slight shake in her hands. She was good at holding back. A moment later, the door opened and Lexa returned.

"What, were you listening at the door?" Clarke half-smirked. Lexa looked completely unphased.

"Just good timing, I guess." Lexa shrugged, ghost of a smile on her lips. They were silent for a moment, watching each other. Clarke hoped Lexa couldn't tell she was shaken.

"Thank you." Clarke said quietly. Lexa raised a questioning eyebrow at her. "You know, for letting me sleep here and all. You didn't have to-" Clarke trailed off. She wanted to say, you didn't have to sleep on the floor, but the words got caught in her throat.

"I'm the RA. Letting someone sleep on my hallway floor would come back to haunt me eventually." Lexa said. It sounded serious, but the upturned corners of her mouth said otherwise. Clarke was silently thankful that Lexa took so much attention to decypher. It gave her something else to think about aside from the conversation with her mom.

"Is that in the handbook?" Clarke teased. "Sleeping on the hallway floor will result in disciplinary action?"

"It's implied." Lexa said, obviously fighting a smile. "Not to mention it would be a huge fire hazard."

"A fire hazard?" Clarke asked incredulously.

"You'd be in the way of people trying to escape." Lexa said.

"Then I guess everyone else should be thanking you, not me. You know, for potentially saving their lives and all." Clarke teased again.

"Ah, right. Too bad no one will ever know about my heroism." Lexa shrugged. They stared at each other for a moment. Clarke didn't know what else to say and thought better than to push it. She stood up from the bed.

"Well, I should probably head back now." Clarke said, gesturing to the door with her head. "Thanks again."

"No problem." Lexa said curtly, shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

"Later." Clarke gave a small smile before turning to Lexa's door, and within a few steps, she was standing in front of her own. She pounded on the door, trying to startle anyone inside awake. "Are you decent?" She yelled.

"Shut up and come in." Octavia yelled back. Clarke smirked and entered the room. It was dark inside, the shades were drawn. Clarke could see the outline of her friend's form from the sunlight that leaked in, she was lying back with her arms over her head.

"Can I turn the light on?" Clarke chuckled.

"Do you have to?" Octavia groaned.

"Kind of."

"Fine." Octavia huffed quietly.

Clarke flicked on the light and Octavia shifted to her side, preparing herself to sit up.

"Hangover?" Clarke laughed.

"Just a little." Octavia quietly. She stilled her head with her hands before looking up at Clarke. No amount of hangover could apparently keep her from what she had been wanting to say though, because a mischievous grin spread across her face. "How was your night?" She asked. It should've been a normal question, but Octavia's voice was full of implication.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"What? Oh come on like I didn't totally see you leave the party early with Lexa ." Octavia said her name in half a whisper, like it was risqué.

"It wasn't like that." Clarke sighed.

"So you just came sneaking back in the room at two am for no reason?" Octavia asked.

"Which Lincoln is super embarrassed about, by the way."

"I'm sure it won't be the last time I walk in on you. We've gotta develop a system." Clarke chuckled, lifting herself up on to her bed.

"What, like a sock on the door or something?" Octavia asked. Her eyes were half closed, Clarke could tell she was struggling with a headache.

"Maybe a little less obvious, but yeah. Something like that. Should we go get you some aspirin?" Clarke asked, concerned.

"Is that your recommendation as a medical professional?" Octavia teased, Clarke glared at her. Octavia knew she hated doctor jokes.

"I'm fine. I just need something in my stomach before I puke. But first, you were about to explain how you sneaking back into the room was definitely not sex related." Octavia smirked through her grimace.

"That's just when we got back." Clarke shrugged.

"From your hot lesbian sexcapade?" Octavia wiggled her eyebrows.

"Oh my god. Seriously? She took me to get pancakes." Clarke laughed, partially out of frustration.

"Okay, that is definitely code for something." Octavia said, pointing accusingly at her.

Clarke suddenly remembered why her and Lexa left the party in the first place. "Finn showed up last night."

" What? " Octavia exclaimed, leaning forward on her bed. "Where? At the party?"

Clarke nodded solemnly. "He told me he transferred here."

" What?" She shouted louder.

"I know." Clarke agreed, eyes wide.

"What the fuck! How did none of us see him? Does Raven know? Holy shit-"

"I know." Clarke nodded. "I don't know if Raven knows. I left right after he tried to corner me-"

"Oh my god ew what a creep!" Octavia exclaimed.

"In Raven's room of all places!"

"Ew! What did he even say?" Octavia asked.

"You mean aside from, 'I transferred here to be with you and I still love you'?" Clarke said, the last bit made her stomach turn.

"Ew! We have to tell Raven. You have to tell Raven. You can do it at the recap." Octavia said.

"We're restarting the recap?" Clarke asked.

"Actually I don't think they ever stopped. Raven, Jasper, Monty and a few other people we went to high school with have been doing it this whole time." Octavia shrugged.

"Shouldn't we be out making new friends instead of like, forming an Arcadia gang?" Clarke asked.

"You mean like Lexa?" Octavia smirked. "You still didn't tell me what happened with her."

"Yeah I did, Finn showed up so we left and got pancakes. Well, she got me pancakes. I was pretty much one drink away from total disaster and she made sure I didn't die." Clarke smiled. She couldn't help it.

"Really?" Octavia gaped. "That doesn't seem like her at all."

"She's nice." Clarke shrugged. She looked to the floor so her friend couldn't see her smile.

"Nice?" Octavia asked. "We are talking about the girl who just got two people put on probation last week, right?"

"To be fair, those guys were trying to hotbox a shower in the middle of the day. They kinda deserved to get caught."

"Ooh, defending her now?" Octavia wiggled her eyebrows again. Clarke laughed, her insistence wasn't worth being frustrated over.

"I'm not defending her, I'm just saying." Clarke said, trying her best to keep from sounding defensive.

"So where the fuck did you sleep last night if it wasn't with her?" Octavia asked, brow furrowed.

"I didn't say I didn't sleep there-" Clarke trailed off.

"Oh my god, so you did fuck her!" Octavia exclaimed.

"No, and holy shit could you scream it any louder? She can probably hear you." Clarke said in a loud whisper.

"Good, maybe she'll get the hint." Octavia laughed.

"I'm going to kill you." Clarke laughed, too.

"Well were you at least the little spoon?" Octavia grinned.

"No." Clarke sighed. "She actually slept on the floor."

"You made her sleep on the floor?" Octavia asked, eyes wide.

"No! Honestly I don't even remember falling asleep. I think she just-" Clarke gestured to the floor with her hands. "Did it."

"Maybe she was just worried you'd suffocate or like, puke or something." Octavia asked, looking off at the door as if she could see through walls.

"Maybe." Clarke sighed. "Anyway, when's the recap?"

The question seemed to snap Octavia back to reality. "Like now. I've gotta get dressed and then Raven told us meet her on 4th and Redwood, but I honestly have no idea where that is."

"Seriously?" Clarke laughed. "It's like five blocks from here."

"Whatever, you can lead us, then." Octavia stood from her bed, taking a moment to steady herself before stooping over her dresser to find clothes.

"Isn't it a little early though?" Clarke asked, looking toward the still covered window.

"It's noon." Octavia said.

"Are you serious?" Clarke asked, pulling her phone out of her pocket for proof. How didn't she notice before? She suddenly felt guilty for taking up so much of Lexa's day by sleeping.

 


 

 

"We're here, where are you?" Octavia said into her phone. Clarke noticed Raven standing no more than ten feet away from them, but decided not to say anything, more interested in seeing how long it would take for her two friends to notice each other. "Yeah I know, I'm standing right here. South east? How the fuck am I supposed to know which direction is south east? What do you mean you see me? Just come to me then! You know I'm not good with directions-" Octavia huffed. A second later Raven was behind her, her hands on Octavia's shoulders. She spun Octavia around to where she had been standing.

"South east." Raven teased.

"Jerk." Octavia smirked.

"Come on." Raven said. She led them through a glass shop door, one of the many that lined the block, and into a small burger shop.

Everyone else was already there, Monty, Jasper, and two other people Clarke recognized but didn't know, an attractive boy with wide eyes and a closely shaved head and a friendly looking blonde with a wide smile. Raven took a seat next to Monty, leaving two open for Clarke and Octavia at the round table. "Miller, Harper, you guys know Clarke and O, right?"

"I don't think we've ever met." Clarke said to them as she took a seat next to the boy.

"Well, now's as good a time as any." Raven laughed. "Just in time for you guys to judge each other over your drunken shenanigans."

"Miller?" Clarke asked.

"Nathan, Nate. It doesn't really matter, everyone calls me whatever they want. I have like eight names now." He chuckled.

"And all of them are well deserved." Harper laughed.

Octavia nudged Clarke in the ribs with her elbow to get her attention. She widened her eyes, and glanced back and forth between Miller and Harper before giving Clarke a questioning eyebrow. Clarke knew exactly what she meant, and shook her head no in response. They were both cute, sure, but Clarke knew better than to think of getting involved with friends of friends. Plus it didn't help that she already had someone else on her mind.

"Alright, let's get it started!" Jasper grinned. "Welcome to the annual party recap, I will be your host-" He said dramatically.

"No, no. Annual would mean we only do it once a year." Monty corrected.

"Oh come on, you know what I mean." Jasper groaned.

"I'm just saying." Monty shrugged. Clarke laughed. She forgot how nice it was to be around people. Around her friends. Sure, it was great hanging out with Raven and Octavia, but sometimes it was easier just to sit and listen. To not have to be an active participant in conversation. Monty and Jasper went back and forth on how to properly open the recap for another minute or so, and Clarke couldn't help but think about how they were more like brothers than best friends, constantly fighting.

The recap was born out of necessity after a party in Clarke's sophomore year where Bellamy made jungle juice and no one could seem to remember the entire night. A handful of them, Clarke included, decided to go grab food after the party and fill each other in on the ridiculous things they did. It caught on, much to Monty and Jasper's credit. They promoted it throughout school as if the recap was the party. The more people, the better so no one would have to suffer the consequences of blacking out.

It was weirdly familiar. The people, the conversations, even the food. Clarke couldn't count how many times she had sat next to Octavia, across from Monty and Jasper, eating burgers and listening to them dispute details with one another. It was comforting, and definitely entertaining.

"And then you!" Monty yelled, pointing across the table. "The both of you!" He said, signaling Harper and Miller. "You guys were both trying to make out with me at the same time!" Monty said. Everyone at the table laughed, except for Miller and Harper who both looked mortified.

"Don't you have a boyfriend?" Jasper asked Miller, who put his head in his hands.

"Yes." Miller groaned.

"Well, luckily for your relationship I stopped you in time." Monty laughed. "And you too."

He looked at Harper, who shrugged.

"What? I'm not ashamed." She laughed.

"Tequila makes me handsy." Miller shrugged.

"You guys had tequila and didn't share?" Octavia asked, mouth half full of french fries.

"If you got ahold of the tequila, Lincoln probably would've had to carry you home." Raven teased.

"I won't deny that." Octavia laughed.

"Anything interesting happen to you and your date , Clarke?" Raven asked, eyes narrowed mischievously.

"Yeah, we didn't even see you last night." Jasper said to her. "Raven said you were with your hot boss or something?"

"She's my RA, and we're just friends." Clarke said seriously, trying to control the blood rushing to her cheeks. "Actually, I don't even know if we count as friends yet. We've only hung out once."

"Please tell me by 'hung out' you mean you were three fingers deep in her-" Raven laughed.

"Rae!" Clarke exclaimed, bringing a hand to her face.

"What?" Raven laughed. "It's not like you weren't thinking about it." Everyone else did too, at Clarke's embarrassment.

"We hung out. We talked. We played beer pong. No sex." Clarke said, slowly and deliberately. "Something did happen last night that we need to talk about, though." Clarke frowned. She didn't want to bring Finn up, but she had to. What if they ran into each other on campus?

"Uh, okay?" Raven said, brow furrowed. Everyone but Octavia stared at Clarke, waiting to be let in on the big secret.

"Finn was there last night." Clarke said quietly.

"What?" Raven asked. Her face was uncharacteristically serious, teeth ground together. Clarke only nodded in response.

"Shit." Jasper said quietly. "I thought I saw him, but I just figured, it couldn't have been, you know?" He frowned.

"He was in my house?" Raven asked again, in complete disbelief.

"He told me he transferred here." Clarke said, not meeting her friend's eyes. It was too uncomfortable.

"You talked to him?" She asked Clarke, it was almost accusing, but Clarke tried not to notice. She nodded.

"He cornered me when I was coming out of the bathroom. I left right after. I was worried he would try to follow me." Clarke said. She wished she still had food on her plate to pick at. Anything to keep her from looking so obviously uncomfortable. She looked across the table at Raven.

"He didn't say anything?" Raven asked.

"Just that he had been trying to call me to tell me he'd transferred." Clarke sighed. "Then I told him he'd better leave before you saw him and kicked his ass."

"Damn right." Raven softly. The air was tense.

"So to be clear, Clarke." Jasper started. "You didn't have sex with your hot boss?" Everyone laughed, and Clarke was thankful. Jasper always knew how to ease tensions.

It wasn't long before they were cleaning up, tossing out trays of food and heading separate ways. Clarke stood on the corner with Raven and Octavia.

"Are we doing anything tonight?" Clarke asked them.

"I'll be busy cleaning up all of the beer off of the floor of my apartment." Raven laughed.

"Yeah, and I'm going out with Lincoln." Octavia smiled. "Why don't you go hang out with Lexa?" She grinned.

"That's a great idea." Raven smirked.

"You guys are the worst." Clarke huffed.

"No, we just want you to get laid." Raven said.

"You have been abnormally cranky." Octavia nodded.

"I have not!" Clarke defended.

"Perfect example, right there." Raven said, pointing at Clarke.

"Whatever." Clarke smirked.

"Just go talk to her. See what's up. Maybe you guys won't even make it out of the room." Octavia giggled suggestively.

 


 

Octavia had been gone for two hours and Clarke thought she was going to lose her mind. She tried to do some homework, to watch a movie on her laptop, even picked up a pencil to draw. None of it could keep her racing mind off of Finn, or her conversation with her mom. She thought she was finally safe. Finally free from both of them, but it was short lived.

She sat at her desk, scraping lines on paper. She didn't know what she was drawing, really. Just that she needed to move her hands and focus on something else. Anything else.

Octavia was gone for who knew how long and she wasn't sure she could hold back this time. Clarke snapped off the point of her pencil from drawing too aggressively before she threw it aside altogether. What gave them the right to make her feel this way? Clarke tried to still herself. It wasn't worth getting upset about. It wasn't worth getting angry over, but that didn't stop her eyes from stinging.

"Fuck." She said to herself. "Fuck." She dropped her head into her hands, desperate to ignore the anger that began to bubble up. Why the fuck should she call her mom, anyway? It's not like she deserved it. Family was a fucking sham, a manufactured lie like romantic love. None if it was fucking real, not a single interaction they've had since her dad- "Fuck!" Clarke said aloud. She brought the back of her fists to her eyes, as if she could get rid of the oncoming tears by force. She was just so tired of not feeling like herself. She just wanted to feel normal again, not weighed down by other people, by things she couldn't control. She wanted to go out and talk to someone. For them to listen. To be the confident future leader of anything her dad always insisted she'd become. To feel sure of herself again. Clarke looked across the room to the door, and before she knew it, she was standing in front of it. She knew that couldn't stay in the room alone for the rest of the night. She couldn't torture herself with thinking. She was going to take control of her life again. She had to. She pulled the door open and crossed the hall in two steps, knocking on 615 without waiting a beat.

"It's open." Lexa called. It surprised Clarke. For some reason, she half expected that she wouldn't be home. She didn't have any open hours listed for Saturday. For a second, Clarke panicked feeling unprepared. What if she looked as bad as she felt? What if she was interrupting something important? She took a deep breath, deciding there was no way she was going back to her room. Another deep breath and she opened the door.

Lexa was in the exact same position Clarke had found her yesterday, sitting on the bed with her computer in her lap. She wondered if she ever stopped studying. Lexa looked up at her with an expression Clarke couldn't read before she looked back down at the computer. It was almost like deja vu. "Did you forget something?" Lexa asked. Her tone was cold, it made Clarke's stomach drop. There was no way this is what they were back to. What happened to all of the progress they made last night? Clarke half wanted to leave, just turn around and walk back out of the door, but she stayed put. Lexa was going to be her friend even if she had to do all of the work herself. She was confident.

"No." Clarke said. "Actually, I'm bored." She said, ignoring the way her heart beat harder.

"Is that your way of warning me I'm about to field a bunch of noise complaints?" Lexa asked, looking up at her slightly.

"No. That's my way of saying I'm bored. Let's go do something." Clarke said, forcing a smile.

"Let's go do something?" Lexa repeated, skeptically. It was practically a repeat conversation. But this time, Clarke knew how to handle her.

"You do, do things, right? Like, aside from reprimanding me, studying and eating breakfast foods-" Clarke teased, confidence rebuilding. She had this, she knew Lexa liked it when she was a smartass.

"Yes Clarke. I do things." Lexa said. Clarke could see a smirk forming on her lips.

 

"We're talking fun things, right? Not like going to class or RA meetings or whatever-" Clarke asked. Lexa glared at her in response. "Because you already promised we would hang out again."

"I made no such promise." Lexa said, chin held high.

"Okay, fine, it wasn't a promise. But you did say we'd hang out!" Clarke said.

"Doesn't it seem a little soon?" Lexa asked, looking up at Clarke. Clarke's face fell. Was it too soon to want to hang out again? Was she being creepy? Creepy and obvious? No. It wasn't too soon. Clarke was not going back to her room.

"Nope." Clarke said.

Lexa sighed and closed her laptop. "What exactly are you planning on doing?"

"I don't know, you're the vet. Take me somewhere cool." Clarke shrugged. It felt good. Normal. Natural. She smiled without having to force it

"The only places worth going around here are bars, and seeing as you're underage-" Lexa started.

"I don't have to drink." Clarke said. She watched as Lexa thought it over, expression shifting slightly until she finally settled on a straight face.

"Fine." Lexa said. Clarke beamed. In a second, Lexa was standing. "Come on." She said before grabbing her wallet and leading Clarke out of the room.

 


 

The noise of students outside died down immediately as they entered. The place was narrow and dark, crammed in between what seemed like a set of more popular ones. A long bar stretched almost all the way from the door to the back wall on the left, a few patrons sat on stools, others at high tables that lines the right wall. Lexa walked to a table in the corner before taking a seat. Rock music played lightly under the sounds of conversation.

"This is a cool place?" Clarke asked. It didn't seem like it. She caught Lexa's glare out of the corner of her eye.

"I like it here. It's quiet." Lexa said.

"I'm not sure quiet makes for a good bar." Clarke laughed. Talking to Lexa was much easier now that she knew she could make fun of her.

"What would you know about a good bar?" Lexa asked.

"Why does that question feel like a trap?" Clarke quipped.

"It might be." Lexa smirked.

Clarke looked around the room and caught the glance of a bartender who was staring at her as she made a drink. Her hair was nicely waved, darker at the roots then at the tip, with high cheekbones and dark eye makeup. She looked angry, like Clarke had pissed her off somehow, and for a moment she reminded Clarke of Lexa, the way her gaze was so intense. Even as she looked away, she could feel the girl's eyes on her. Not a minute later, the stranger was at their table, holding the drink she made. Lexa looked up at her.

"Thanks." She said without smiling as the bartender put the drink down in front of her. Was Lexa seriously a regular everywhere she went?

"Who's this?" The bartender asked, tone matching her gaze. Clarke dared to look back at her, willing to test her temporarily renewed confidence.

"Clarke." She smiled, offering her hand. The bartender glanced down at it and turned back to Lexa, as if she didn't trust Clarke's answer.

"Classmate." Lexa lied. The girl cocked a questioning eyebrow at her, before nodding and walking back to the bar. The whole interaction was bizarre. It was like the one she witnessed between Lexa and Lincoln from the night before, as if they could read each other's minds.

"She didn't even ask if I wanted a drink." Clarke chuckled.

"Sorry. Anya is not a people person." Lexa said, almost like she was about to laugh.

"Well she's probably in the wrong line of work." Clarke said. She turned to the bar. "Can I get a soda? Coke please." She called. Anya scowled at her, but reached down to grab a glass. Lexa's jaw was clamped shut, she reached up to cover her mouth, definitely hiding a laugh. Anya walked over and all but dropped the cup to the table in front of Clarke. She glared at Lexa who struggled to keep a straight face.

"Tell the classmate to keep it down before I check her ID." Anya said to Lexa.

"I'm having a soda." Clarke said.

"You're in a bar." Anya snapped back. She looked at Lexa again. "Watch yourself." She said before disappearing once more. What was that supposed to mean? And why did Lexa have such weird relationships with everyone she knew?

"She's a friend." Lexa said, twirling the straw in her drink. Clarke's face must have gave her away. "An old friend."

"Do you have any normal friends?" Clarke teased.

"I'm sure you and I have two very different ideas of normal." Lexa chuckled dryly. Clarke must have said the wrong thing, because Lexa's demeanor changed. The smile faded from her lips as she looked across the room, no doubt having some sort of telepathic exchange with Anya. They sat in silence for a moment. Clarke sipped her drink for something to do. "So what's your play here, Clarke?" Lexa asked, in the same tone she so often used when coming to the door to tell Clarke and Octavia to keep it down. She picked up her drink, taking a sip through the straw. Clarke almost forgot she was spoken to, too busy looking at the way Lexa's lips pursed around it.

"My play?" Clarke repeated, confused.

"Yes." Lexa said, setting her drink down. She folded her hands on the table, giving Clarke the impression this was some sort of business negotiation. "What is it that you plan on gaining from this relationship?" She asked, light eyes piercing. Clarke nearly choked at the mention of the word relationship, even though it was clear what kind of relationship Lexa meant. She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, Lexa cut her off. "Do you think I could protect you? Is that it?"

"I - uh, no?" Clarke said. "I told you, I just want to get to know you." It was the truth.

"This is a terrible idea." Lexa said flatly.

"Why?" Clarke asked, trying her best not to sound desperate. She couldn't tell if it was working or not.

"I have a job that requires me to enforce rules. You, like to break those rules. You really can't imagine how that might become a problem?" Lexa asked, looking directly at Clarke. Of course she could see how it would be a problem, but she wasn't about to admit that.

"You say that like you don't already come to my room and enforce rules on a regular basis." Clarke smirked. It was a good argument, she knew. "If I was going to use you for your power don't you think I'd keep that a secret, anyway?" Clarke laughed. It was the wrong thing to say though, she could tell because Lexa immediately stiffened in her seat, gripping tighter on her glass. "That was a joke, by the way." Clarke said, offering her a small smile. Lexa gave her half a nod, but didn't relax. Why was Lexa trying so hard to keep them from becoming friends? Clarke was going to find out. She had to. "You should probably start drinking that faster." Clarke said, pointing at Lexa's drink.

"Why's that?" Lexa asked.

"Because you're way nicer when you're drunk." Clarke said, a wave of relief as a smirk crept over Lexa's lips.

"So I've been told." She said, looking over at Clarke with apologetic eyes. It was then that Clarke realized maybe, just maybe, becoming friends with Lexa wouldn't be so hard after all.

Chapter Text

"What are you supposed to be?" Clarke asked, laughing a little as she looked over her friend. Raven had re-entered the room in a skintight white bodysuit, with a zipper down the front and small American flag patches on the arms.

"Are you a stripper ghost?" Octavia laughed, giving her friend another once over before laughing again. "Yeah, I'm going with stripper ghost." Raven glared at both of them, and pointed to a patch on her chest that said NASA.

"So, a NASA stripper ghost?" Octavia asked slowly.

"I'm a sexy astronaut! Goddamn, do you guys know me at all?" Raven huffed.

"Okay hold on, how were we supposed to know there's a such thing as a sexy astronaut costume?" Clarke laughed. September had come and gone in a haze of past due papers and late night walks alone, just like October had, in dropping temperatures and closed doors. She couldn't help but wonder where the time went.

"Come on Clarke, there's a sexy version of every costume nowadays." Raven said.

"It's true." Octavia agreed. "I saw a sexy Ebola nurse like two years ago."

"And it's been way too long, so, I'm trying to get laid tonight." Raven said with a confident smirk.

"Shouldn't you have worn something a little more accessible? Like, what if the moment strikes? What's the guy gonna do, spend ten minutes trying to peel it off of you?"

"If he's cute enough, I'll let him take ten minutes to peel it off." Raven said, they all laughed.

"Are you open to girls? Because I hear Clarke is single and desperate." Octavia asked.

"I am not desperate." Clarke defended. "Just very painfully single." She laughed. Raven looked her over, then back to Octavia.

"Eh, she's cute and all, but I prefer brunettes." Raven winked, Octavia rolled her eyes. "Speaking of Clarke being single and desperate-" Raven said, ignoring Clarke's glare. "Is sexy Lexi coming tonight?" She wiggled her eyebrows at her friend.

"No, and please God do not call her that again." Clarke laughed.

"Boo, why not?" Raven pouted.

"Why isn't she coming? Or why shouldn't you call her that?" Clarke asked.

"Why isn't she coming? Duh." Raven said obviously, dropping down to take a seat on her bed.

"She said Halloween gets crazy in the dorms and she has to make sure people aren't getting out of hand." Clarke sighed. The conversation had gone like every other time she'd invited Lexa to come to a party with her, initial resistance, bargaining, and finally, acceptance. Until of course she realized the party was on Halloween.

"At least we won't have to deal with her and Lincoln giving each other weird looks all night." Octavia said.

"Yeah, what the fuck is up with that?" Raven asked, looking between her two friends for answers.

"I have no idea." Clarke said. "Every time I ask her about it she just says something like, that's a story for another day, or I'll tell you eventually, or leave it alone."

"Do you think they're like, exes?" Raven asked, a scandalous hint to her tone. Clarke's gaze flicked to Octavia, who looked like she had been wondering the same thing but was too nervous to ask.

"She said they weren't." Clarke said. "And she seemed super grossed out by the idea of it." She laughed.

"You actually asked her?" Octavia asked Clarke, eyes widened.

"Yeah, I was drunk. It was dumb." Clarke laughed. "Plus, she's kinda the same way with one of her other friends, too."

"Lexa has other friends?" Raven asked. Clarke lowered her eyes at her. "What? You know what I mean. I just feel like she's always busy either being a nerd or staring at you all intensely. Where does she find the time?" She chuckled.

"Staring at me intensely?" Clarke laughed.

"Hell yeah. You can't seriously tell me you've never noticed? Sometimes I swear she's plotting to murder you." Clarke knew exactly what stare Raven was talking about.

"That's just how she looks." Clarke laughed.

"No, I've only ever seen her look that way at you." Raven said. Clarke looked to Octavia for support.

"Rae's right." Octavia nodded.

"So Lexa's planning on murdering me, that's what you're saying?" Clarke asked, laughing at her friends.

"Yeah, in bed." Octavia said. Clarke could only roll her eyes.

"I don't think that's a thing people say." Clarke chuckled.

"You mean no one's ever told you they wanted to murder you during foreplay?" Octavia asked.

"Please tell me you're joking." Clarke pleaded.

"Yes I'm joking." Octavia rolled her eyes. "If anything Lincoln's too vanilla-"

"These are things I don't need to know." Clarke cut her friend off, grimacing.

"You're not gonna mope all night without her, are you?" Raven asked Clarke. "Because you know O and Linc are gonna be too busy swallowing each other whole to be any fun."

"I'm fun!" Octavia protested.

"You're fun when you're single. I need a wingman." Raven said. Octavia pouted in response, but didn't protest.

Clarke sighed. "Fine. I can be your wingman."

"We could even be each other's wingmen!" Raven said. "Finally get you laid so you can stop being so emo over Lexa."

"Emo?" Clarke laughed.

"Yeah, old school emo, too, like any second you're gonna pull out the eyeliner and start singing Fall Out Boy songs. Have you not noticed how much of a downer you've been lately?" Raven laughed. Clarke rolled her eyes, but she knew Raven was right. She had been a downer, and it was getting more obvious by the day. It wasn't necessarily about Lexa, though, she might've been a contributing factor.

"Well if you'd rather me stay home-" Clarke joked.

"I bet you'd love that, just to stay in and cuddle up with your girlfriend-"

"She's not my girlfriend." Clarke sighed. She'd heard it so many times from her friends that it hardly phased her.

"Remind me again why you haven't made a move?"

Clarke sighed. Honestly, she didn't know. She told herself it was because Lexa was straight, but she had no evidence of that. In fact, Lexa hardly talked about anyone romantically. Clarke knew of at least one ex, but knew absolutely nothing about them. Lexa's romantic relationships were another one of those 'eventually' topics. She had a lot of those. At the beginning of their friendship, after Clarke first met Anya, she was sure all of those 'eventually's' were going to get exhausting, but every day that they remained friends, eventually got a little closer. It excited Clarke, the step-by-step unraveling of some great mystery. It made her appreciate all the little things she was able to learn, too. Like Lexa's favorite color, her favorite foods, books, movies, tv shows, that she went to school on a scholarship, that she grew up in D.C., that she-

"Hello? Earth to Clarke?" Raven smirked.

"Leave her alone, she's daydreaming about Lexa." Octavia grinned.

"I am not." Clarke said, only a little embarrassed that she got so distracted.

"You didn't answer the question." Raven said.

"Hm?" Clarke questioned, absentmindedly.

"Why haven't you made a move?" Raven asked again.

Clarke sighed. "Look, it's not like picking up guys. You can't just hit on girls and hope for the best. They could get all freaked out."

"Do you think Lexa would freak out?" Raven asked. Clarke looked over to Octavia whose face was strange, but unreadable.

"I have no idea. Honestly." Clarke shrugged.

"Hey guys, I'm gonna go. Lincoln just texted me, he's outside." Octavia said.

"I still don't understand why you guys decided to wait until halloween to buy costumes." Raven said.

"You know I'm indecisive." Octavia laughed. "I'll see you guys later." She said, laughing as she shut Raven's door behind her. They sat in silence for a moment, as Clarke looked down at her phone. Lexa hadn't texted her back in an hour. Not that she was counting.

"So, we need to talk about something." Raven said. Clarke looked up at her friend, who was suddenly serious.

"Don't tell me, you want to break up with me." Clarke said, feigning hurt.

"Shut up." Raven chuckled. "This is serious."

"Okay, I'm serious." Clarke said. She waved her hands over her face, wiping away a smirk and replacing it with a straight jaw.

"I talked to Finn." Raven said, chewing on her bottom lip.

"Oh shit." Clarke said, eyes widening. "How'd it go?"

"Really well, actually." Raven smiled. "It was good."

"Well, good, I'm happy for you." Clarke said. She trailed off, waiting for the follow-up.

"I invited him to the party tonight." Raven added quietly.

"I'm sorry, you what?" Clarke asked.

"It's only right. He is one of us, you know? We're good now. We worked it out." Raven said, avoiding Clarke's gaze.

"That doesn't mean I want to be around him!" Clarke shouted.

"I know, I know, and the whole stalking thing was super fucked up-"

"You seriously don't see anything wrong with asking me to hang out with my stalker?" Clarke snapped.

"I know, Clarke, seriously. But when I talked to him he promised that he would leave you alone. I made it a condition if he wanted to be back in my life." Raven said.

"I just don't get it." Clarke said. "He cheated on you, broke your heart, fucked me over, then literally became obsessed with me, and now you think it's a good idea to just bring him back like nothing ever happened?"

"It's not like that." Raven frowned.

"Then what's it like?" Clarke asked, brow furrowed.

"I love him." Raven said with a sad smile.

" What ?" Clarke asked in disbelief.

"No, I'm not like, in love with him. Not anymore. But I think I'll always love him, you know? He's important to me."

"So you guys had one conversation and suddenly you went from wanting to kick the shit out of him to caring?" Clarke asked, trying hard to keep from snapping on her friend.

"Finn was all I had for a long time. We looked out for each other." Raven said. "I always cared about him. I was just upset."

"And now you're not?" Clarke asked.

"I'm not. I'm over it. I just miss him." Raven said. "As my friend." She added, noticing Clarke's expression. "So yeah, he's coming to the party."

"Should I stay home?" Clarke asked.

"There you go again, trying to stay home with your girlfriend." Raven smirked.

"I just don't want it to be weird." Clarke frowned.

"If it's weird, then we're done. I won't talk to him anymore. You're more important to me than he is." Raven said seriously.

"Aw, I had no idea you could actually be sweet." Clarke smirked.

"Don't get used to it." Raven chuckled.

 


 

 

Clarke entered her dorm not an hour later, planning on taking a nap and filling her flask before the party. She exited the elevator and walked down the hall to her room. As she neared the door, she couldn't help but look over toward Lexa's room. Clarke wondered if she was even home, she hadn't texted her back in a while. She supposed Lexa could've been busy, but busy with what? It's not like she didn't always text Clarke back, even if she was studying. Without a second thought Clarke reached for the handle of Lexa's door. She had no real game plan, just that she would say something to get Lexa to come to the party. She didn't want to have to deal with Finn on her own, since it was obvious her friends would be no help. When she opened the door, though, Clarke was startled to find that Lexa wasn't alone.

"Oh shit, uh, I'm sorry." Clarke mumbled. A man she had never seen before was sitting across from Lexa, who as usual was sitting on her bed.

Clarke decided immediately that she didn't like the guy. His hair was shoulder length, like Finns, but darker. His features were hard like jagged rocks, obscured under a short dense beard. She didn't like the way he was looking at Lexa, and she definitely didn't like the way he leaned over on his chair, a thick hand on Lexa's knee. Clarke stiffened in the doorway as she looked at Lexa, waiting to be acknowledged, to be assured she wasn't interrupting anything. In what felt like a long time but probably was only a second, Lexa looked up at her with an expression she had never seen before.

"Can I help you with something?" Lexa asked. Her voice sounded strange, not like Lexa at all. It was like they were strangers. Clarke's stomach turned, she was definitely interrupting something. She tried to ignore her obvious jealousy and think of something to respond. She just wanted this guy gone. The perfect solution came so quickly Clarke almost couldn't believe it.

She could play this game too. "Actually, yeah." Clarke said, her voice full of fake innocence. "You're the person I come to if I have a problem with my roommate, right?" For a second, the man glanced over at Clarke before returning his heavy gaze to Lexa, another twinge of jealousy. Clarke looked at her, too. And there was a quick flash of change in her expression.

"That's right." Lexa nodded, almost smiling.

"Okay well, mine keeps stealing all of my tampons right before I get my period-" Clarke said. She could see the man cringe. "And I have a heavy flow, so-" He stood suddenly.

"I should let you get back to work." He said to Lexa, his voice was not as deep as Clarke would've expected by looking at him. He offered them both half a smile before slipping through the door, avoiding Clarke like she was a land mine.

As soon as it closed behind him, Lexa's broke into a relieved smile. "I don't think I've ever been more thankful to see you." She said, chuckling. Suddenly, Clarke's body relaxed, fears dissipating. She walked over to Lexa, and took the seat the strange man hadn't bothered to put back. "Seriously, he probably would've tried to sit here with me for another hour if you didn't show up. Thanks for playing along."

"For a second I thought you were into it. Like I was interrupting your foreplay or something." Clarke admitted.

"Gross." Lexa said, nose wrinkled in disgust.

"What?" Clarke laughed. "It's not like I know what you're into!"

"Yeah, not that." Lexa said seriously. They met eyes for a moment, and Clarke thought Lexa might be able to hear her heart beating.

"So who was he, anyway?" Clarke asked, trying to sound casual. "You don't seem like the type to take creepy dude's shit."

"I'm not, usually." Lexa sighed. "It's a little harder when it's your boss though."

"That sucks." Clarke frowned. "Good thing I could come to your rescue then, huh?" Clarke smirked, nudging Lexa on the knee.

"Yeah, good thing." Lexa said. "So, was there a reason you so graciously decided to barge in here? Or were you just trying to catch me changing?" Her eyes were lowered at Clarke.

"Come on, if I was going the peeping route, I'd have way better luck just waiting for you in the shower. You know, now that I know your favorite stall." Clarke smirked. They had been flirting like this often, and it confused her. One of the first conversations she remembered having with Lexa was about how she doesn't flirt with anyone if she doesn't mean it. But it never felt like Lexa meant it. It felt like they were getting comfortable with each other.

"And to think I trusted you with such classified information."

"I think that's secretly why you did it." Clarke said.

"Maybe it was." Lexa said. Her voice was low, suggestive. Clarke swallowed hard, throat suddenly thick.

Clarke had to change the subject before she did something stupid, like try and kiss her. "I actually came over to try and bully you into coming with me to the party tonight." Clarke said.

"You know I can't." Lexa frowned.

"Yeah, but now my creepy ex is gonna be there, and you're probably the only person who could scare him off."

"You think?" Lexa smirked.

"Oh yeah, you're fucking intimidating." Clarke laughed. "Plus we could always tell him that you're my girlfriend-" Clarke said, cutting herself short. She had no idea why she had said it. It seemed like a good idea for the half a second it lingered in her mind before coming out of her mouth.

"I bet you'd love that." Lexa said, a smile in the corner of her lips.

A sudden confidence worked through Clarke. "Whatever happened to not flirting with people unless you meant it?"

"Who says I don't mean it?" Lexa smirked. Clarke thought she might pass out. "You were right though."

"Hm?" Clarke choked out.

"It is fun." Lexa said.

Clarke stared back at her in disbelief. "Uh. Anyway, so you seriously can't come to the party?" She asked, clearing her throat.

"I really can't. Anya invited me to a party tonight and I turned her down too." Lexa frowned.

"Now how am I supposed to believe that you're going to be here all night and not out with Anya?" Clarke asked.

"You don't have to believe me, but you're welcome to sit here while I finish up an economics paper and periodically reprimand a bunch of drunk Captain Americas."

"That sounds way better than having to be Raven's wingman and try and avoid my ex all night." Clarke sighed. "But Raven would probably drag me out of here by my hair before she let me ditch her."

"Anya is the same way. I get it." Lexa smiled only in the corners of her mouth. Clarke watched as something unfamiliar flashed across her expression.

"Hey, can I ask you a question?"

"Is it a question I'm going to answer?" Lexa chuckled.

"What's the deal with you and Anya?" Clarke asked. It would be hard not to notice how Lexa's body stiffened. She straightened her back, sitting taller and more dignified.

"What do you mean?" Lexa asked back. She attempted causal, but there was an edge to her voice.

"I just mean, it seems like she's your best friend. You talk like she's your best friend. But then whenever I see you guys together you hardly act like you know each other, and I know better than to think you guys were together because you're the same way with Lincoln, but-"

"Clarke." Lexa cut her off. "Please. Enough."

"Why?"

"I don't want to talk about her." Lexa said. Clarke could tell her teeth were ground together.

"You're the one who brought her up!" Clarke said, punctuating with her hands.

"Yes, anecdotally, to relate. Not as an invitation for you to start poking and prodding at my relationships." Lexa said. Her eyes were cold and dismissive. It made Clarke furious. She suddenly regretted all of the pleasant thoughts she had about Lexa throughout the day. This happened all the time. And maybe it was just because she had been talking to Raven about Finn less than an hour ago, but it reminded Clarke of him. More than once while they were together, she had asked him simple questions and he would go cold. But that's because he was cheating. Lexa wasn't cheating. Lexa wasn't her girlfriend.

"Why do you always do that?" Clarke asked. She tried to keep her voice level, wanting more to get answers than to instigate a fight. Lexa simply raised her eyebrows in question at her. "That!" Clarke said, pointing to Lexa's face as if it were evidence. "One minute, we'll be fine, talking, normal, and then out of nowhere you just shut down. It drives me fucking nuts." Maybe she did want to instigate a fight.

Lexa examined her for a moment. "Sorry." She said flatly.

"No!" Clarke exclaimed, nostrils flared. "You always do that, too. I point it out and then you give me this half-ass apology with no explanation just so you can de-escalate the situation or whatever-"

"What else would you like me to do, Clarke?" Lexa asked, jaw set.

"Uh, I don't know, maybe tell me what the fuck I'm doing wrong so I can stop?" Clarke asked. It should've been a plea, but it came out like more of a challenge. Lexa's expression only hardened. She stood up from the bed, rounding on Clarke.

"Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, if you weren't so goddamn pushy I wouldn't have a problem opening up?" Lexa dared.

"So now it's my fault?" Clarke gave a hollow chuckle, standing to Lexa.

"You're pushy, you're loud, you gossip constantly, you and your friends share way too much personal information with each other-" Lexa growled.

"At least I actually talk to my friends!" Clarke snapped back.

"I knew this was a bad idea." Lexa said, shaking her head.

"What?" Clarke asked, softening at the change in expression.

"This. Us, being friends." Lexa sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. She took a deep breath in. "You should go."

"Are you serious?" Clarke asked.

"Yes, Clarke." Lexa nodded curtly.

"So, what? That's it?" Clarke asked. "We're just- not friends anymore?"

"Please, go. I have work to do." Lexa said, not meeting her eyes.

"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean to piss you off-" Clarke pleaded.

"Clarke. Go." Lexa said, holding open the door.

Clarke crossed the hall to her own room too quickly, trying not to flinch as Lexa slammed the door shut behind her.

"What the fuck?" She huffed as she unlocked the door, immediately slumping herself into her desk chair. "What the fuck." She said again, dropping her head into her hands. She just wanted some answers for once. Was that so wrong? Was it so wrong to want to get to know someone? Was she too pushy? "Shit." Clarke muttered. She wondered quickly if she should go apologize, before realizing she already tried. She stared around her empty room, looking for something else to focus on. She pulled open the drawer in her desk, grabbing paper, an eraser and a handful of pencils, tossing it all haphazardly to the desktop. Drawing was calming. Well, it used to be calming. Within moments, it was obvious she only ever tried to draw when she was angry anymore, the tip of every single pencil, across various hardnesses all broken. She huffed out loud before returning to the drawer for a sharpener.

"What the fuck?" She asked frustratedly when no such sharpener was found. Of course there would be no distractions. Why should she have the luxury of distracting herself from the way she felt? Clarke stood from the desk and walked to her bed. She might as well sleep. Deal with it tomorrow. Apologize tomorrow. She wasn't about to let two months of seriously working to be Lexa's friend just slip away.

There was a knock, and it took a second for Clarke to realize it was coming from her door, not someone else in the hall. She crossed the room almost instantly in two great strides and ripped the door open, certain it was Lexa coming to apologize so Clarke didn't have to. Her face fell.

"Geez, don't look so happy to see me." Octavia chuckled, arms full of colorful costumes in thick plastic bags.

"What'd you do, rob the place?" Clarke asked. It was more of a genuine question than a crack, Octavia looked like she was exhausted, and carried way too many costume pieces for one person.

"Can you believe they ran out of shopping bags?" Octavia said, passing Clarke to drop everything she was carrying on to her bed.

"Yeah, I can. It's halloween." Clarke said. Octavia shot her a look. "What is all that, anyway?" Clarke asked, lifting herself up on to her own bed.

"Well I figured since I know you don't have a costume yet-" Octavia grinned. Clarke groaned.

"I told you O, I really don't feel like it this year."

"Yeah, but I can't show up to a party standing next to someone in regular clothes. What's the point even? This is the one day a year you can be someone else and everyone just accepts it."

"I think I'm just going to stay here and sleep." Clarke said.

"Raven will kill you.”

"Would that really be so bad?" Clarke asked. Octavia rolled her eyes.

"Come get dressed so I don't look like an idiot, okay?" She pleaded.

"Aren't you going with Lincoln, anyway?" Clarked asked.

"No." Octavia smirked. "We're going separately and then we're gonna pretend we don't know each other, hot right?"

"Your idea?"

"Of course."

"I'm guessing your boyfriend doesn't realize you've tricked him into roleplay, huh?" Clarke chuckled softly.

"It's Halloween, the world is role playing." Octavia laughed. "Now come put on something sexy before I strip you myself."

 




Clarke kept pace with her friends as they walked quickly down a densely populated street. People were everywhere, spilling onto the sidewalk from packed bars. It was entertaining, she watched as an Iron Man puffed openly on a blunt before passing it over to a girl who might've been Amy Winehouse. Maybe coming out wasn't such a bad idea after all. It was hard to be upset with so much going on, so many things to see. For a moment, she thought about texting Lexa, just to see if she would respond. How mad could she really be? She would get over it, right? Clarke pulled her phone out of her pocket, opening up her text thread with Lexa. She smirked, reading them back. She loved that Lexa's texts read exactly how she spoke. It made it easy to picture her saying it.

"Look out-" A man said. Clarke looked up just in time to move out of the way of a Spiderman on a skateboard. Octavia and Raven laughed at the near miss. Clarke scowled at them.

"Maybe if you weren't so busy texting your girlfriend-" Raven teased.

Clarke frowned, not even bothering to protest. She didn't have the energy to tell her friends what happened. "Whatever." She huffed. Her phone vibrated in her hand, startling her. Like the knock at the door earlier, there was a split second of excitement that it might be Lexa, calling to make up.

It wasn't. Even worse, it was the second to last person she wanted to talk to. "Yeah?" She sighed as she clicked to answer. It wasn't worth ignoring. She knew that her mom would just call again.

"Clarke, we need to talk." Abby said.

"Is someone dead?" Clarke asked flatly.

"Why do you always jump to the worst possible conclusion?" Abby asked.

"People die around you, is it really such a stretch?" Clarke shrugged, not caring that her mom couldn't see it.

"Do you really want to do this now? Really?" Abby snapped. "You may not like it, but I'm your mother, Clarke. You need to respect me."

She wanted to tell her that respect is something you earn, but she thought better of making the conversation any worse. "What do we need to talk about?" Clarke sighed, trying to make her boredom as evident as possible. Abby sighed too, heavy into the phone. Clarke imagined her mom absentmindedly rubbing circles on her own temple like she always did when she was frustrated. Clarke tried to ignore the way the thought made her miss her. Even if it was just a little.

"I think Marcus is going to propose." Abby said after a deep breath.

" What? " Clarke hissed into the phone. It was like she was full of liquid and someone suddenly pulled the drain plug, an exodus of feeling, a vast emptiness. "You're gonna say no, right?" Clarke pleaded. Her hands stung with pins and needles.

"I think I might say yes."

" What? " Clarke couldn't even try to hide her rage.

"It's been almost two years, Clarke. Marcus is a great guy, don't you think it's time for me to move on?"

"Are you seriously asking me that question?" Clarke asked. "Like, honestly?"

"You don't think I deserve to be happy?" Abby asked, obviously angry herself.

"Do you really want me to answer that?" Clarke asked, voice low.

"I'm not trying to replace him, Clarke. I just think it's time. Am I supposed to stay a widow the rest of my life?"

"You don't even care! You never fucking cared! Jesus Christ mom, you, you-" Clarke cut herself short, noticing her friends had stopped walking and were now watching her. "You know what? I don't have time for this right now. It was great talking to you, I hope you and your husband have a great life." Clarke huffed.

"Clarke-" Abby started, but she was cut off with a tap of Clarke's finger to the screen.

"You okay?" Octavia asked, coming up to her side. She hadn't realized she'd stopped walking. She also hadn't realized that strangers were staring at her, but now both facts were painfully obvious.

"I'm great!" Clarke laughed too loudly. "This is a great day."

"Clarke-"

"Let's go get fucked up, right?" Clarke flashed a crazed grin and led the rest of the way to the party.

 

 

 

Clarke's heart hammered and her hands shook. The party was packed to capacity with an army of students dressed in lingerie and superhero costumes. Dance music thumped quickly, reverberating off of the walls and floor. Clarke scanned the room, couples danced pushed up against each other, grinding to the beat, laser lights pulsed, and cheers were heard. It was amazing, but Clarke wanted nothing more than to leave. This was not where she needed to be right now. She needed to be in her room with the lights off, asleep. Away from these strangers and this shitty day. But that didn't stop her from taking steps forward.

"I think I see jungle juice over there-" Octavia shouted to her friends over the music. She grabbed them both by the hand and lead them to the other side of the room, where a clear plastic storage bin was filled high with red liquid. Before it even registered in Clarke's mind, Octavia had thrust a full plastic cup into her hands. Clarke looked up at her friends who were already raising their drinks, grins on their faces. She brought her own cup together with theirs in a plastic click before bringing it back to her lips. It was delicious, fruity, with a hint of coconut. If there was alcohol in it, Clarke couldn't tell. She drained the entire cup in a few gulps, motioning to Octavia to get her a refill.

"Hell yeah, that's what I'm talking about." Raven cheered, grinning at Clarke before finishing her own drink.

"You guys are reckless." Octavia laughed. She shook her head at them as she refilled their cups. "I just saw Lincoln walk in, so I'm gonna go grab him."

"Aren't you supposed to be strangers?" Raven asked.

"Right. Shit." Octavia laughed. "I see a real hot guy over there that I want to go talk to." She grinned.

"We'll be here." Raven chuckled, leaning toward the jungle juice.

Clarke said nothing, too busy draining another cup. And another. And another. She just wanted to feel it, but the juice wasn't like taking shots. There was no instantaneous reaction, no burning throat, no flushed cheeks. "Is there anything harder around here?"

"I don't know if I want tonight to be the first time I try coke." Raven laughed.

"No, like liquor." Clarke said too seriously.

"I'm surprised you didn't bring your flask."

"Oh shit, I did." Clarke said. She had almost forgot it was there, tucked into the cup of her bra, more focused on how much her head itched. She pulled it out, soft plastic sticking slightly to her skin. The flask looked like a juice pouch, metallic and bendable. Lexa bought it for her after she noticed the old aluminum one Clarke so often tucked into her waistband, claiming 'you're going to get yourself in trouble carrying that thing around'. She unscrewed the plastic cap and took a swig of liquor, it ran down her chin when she squeezed it too hard.

"You alright there?" Raven asked, chuckling. Clarke nodded, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. It was the truth. Her throat burned, her face warmed. It was exactly what she was looking for. She just wanted to feel it. "Come on, dance with me." Raven said. She grabbed Clarke's hand and led her to the middle of the room, amidst a crowd of other costumed students. Clarke was surprised that she didn't mind it, the light jostling back and forth of people on all sides of her, the contact with strangers. An electronic song pounded on, one beat into another. Raven grinned at Clarke, putting a leg between hers, she grabbed Clarke by the waist.

"You see anyone you like?" Raven asked, leaning up to talk into her friend's ear. Clarke didn't have to look around to know what her answer would be.

"Do you?" Clarke asked.

"Kinda hard to tell when everyone is in a goddamn mask." Raven huffed, still moving against Clarke to the beat. "I can't wait for the superhero trend to die out-"

Clarke laughed. "Oh come on, you are so Iron Man."

"Tony Stark's got shit on me." Raven said seriously.

"Perfect, that can be your pickup line." Clarke laughed. It was amazing how much better she felt. It was easy not to think about anything, to just focus on the music, on her friend, on draining her flask.

Clarke wasn't sure how long they had been dancing when Raven disappeared, pulled away by a stranger. She didn't mind though. Instead, she danced alone, drunk, and distracted, swaying and pressing her body against whoever was behind her. She felt good, light. A stranger's hands were on her hips. She bumped back into them, grinding away until she was lost in space.

 


 

 

Clarke was standing at a makeshift bar, taking shots next to a dark haired guy who looked at her too hungrily. She wasn't sure how she got there, what time it was, or where her friends went. He put his hands on her waist, and she didn't back away when he put a mouth on her neck, kissing sloppy and warm.

"Do you want to get out of here?" He asked. His voice was too rough. He wanted too much. But Clarke must have nodded, because he grinned before turning to lead toward the front door. Clarke wobbled behind him, laughing at all the costumes and colors she passed. She noticed Raven easily recognizable in the bright white bodysuit, standing in a corner, making out with a short boy with long brown hair. Clarke laughed at that, too. It was a good night. This was good.

"Clarke?" A voice called. Clarke stopped to spin in place, breaking the hold that her new friend had on her hand. Clarke laughed out loud when her sights finally landed on Finn.

"IIIIIII don't want to talk- to you." Clarke practically sang, pointing at him.

"Are you okay?" Finn asked, looking between her and the stranger.

"I am- so, fucking awesome." Clarke laughed, swaying in place. "Isn't that why you like me? Because I'm fucking awesome?"

"We should go find Raven." Finn frowned.

"No, I'm not going anywhere with you-"

"Is this your boyfriend or something?" The stranger asked Clarke. "Cause I'm not trying to get into no drama."

"He's my ex. " Clarke hissed, drawing out the x sound, but as Clarke looked over, he was gone. She glared up at Finn. Well, she meant to glare, but the alcohol that made her body feel heavy had control. She could only laugh. "You're really good at ruining things for me." Clarke said. Her face felt like she was smiling, grinning, though she wasn't meaning to. Her cheeks felt strange and stiff. She turned her back to him and continued out on to the street alone. It was almost jarringly quiet, only noise on the street was of that that leaked out from the party.

"Clarke wait-" Finn called from behind her. Involuntarily, she stopped and turned to him.

"What?" She snapped.

"Look, I'm sorry okay?" Finn said. "For everything. But me and Raven had a great conversation, and I really feel like we can all be friends."

"I don't want to be your fucking friend, Finn." Clarke laughed. "What the fuck don't you get? Jesus christ what the fuck does everyone want from me?"

"I don't want anything from you."

"Everyone does! You want me to be with you! And I don't want that because you fucking lied to me and lied to Raven and now you’re stalking me! And my fucking mom wants me to say it's okay for her to get married! Can you believe that? It's only been two years! Two years! And she thinks okay to just move the fuck on-" Clarke wasn't sure when Finn wrapped his arms around her, or when she started crying. It hurt. Her chest was tight and her eyes stung and she just wanted to go home. Finn broke from the hug, holding Clarke a little closer than arm's length.

"It's gonna be alright, Clarke." Finn said, offering her half a smile. He wiped a tear from her face gently.

"It's not." Clarke laughed through her tears. "It just keeps getting fucking worse." She stared at him, examining his face. "How is this even happening?"

"What?" He pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

"This. Everything. You here. Everything being such fucking shit-"

"I'm here for you, Clarke." Finn said. "It's all for you." His eyes sparkled, like there were tears there. Clarke only stared back at him. In a second, he pulled her in for a desperate kiss. Clarke kissed back out of sheer instinct before whatever semblance of sober sense she had left bubbled up. She pulled away from him, bringing a heavy hand to his jaw to push his face to the side.

"No." Clarke said.

"What's wrong?" He asked.

"I don't want you." Clarke said, tripping as she stepped backward out of his grasp. She landed backwards on the pavement in a dull thud, laughing to herself at the way the fall made her feel. Finn stepped towards her, hands outstretched.

"Don't fucking touch her!" Someone shouted from behind her. Clarke swore she imagined it, because it was Lexa's voice. Lexa wasn't here. It didn't make any sense. Then everything blurred around her, the sidewalk moved, blending with the street. It was like she was on a carnival ride, sick and swirling. She stopped, straining against the hand that was around her waist to vomit. It hurt her chest even more than crying did, and she was only vaguely aware of being moved. Then everything was still. Clarke was sitting on a curb, facing a brick wall on a small street.

"What happened?" It was Lexa's voice again. Clarke focused, feeling at least a little better for having thrown up. "Clarke."

Clarke looked to her left, where the voice came from and was surprised to find Lexa staring at her. "Holy shit!" Clarke laughed.

"What?" Lexa's gaze was intense.

"When did you get here?" Clarke asked, touching Lexa, just to make sure she was real.

"A few minutes ago. I saw some guy push you, are you okay?"

"That was Finn." Clarke said, making eyebrows at her.

"The stalker?" Lexa asked. Clarke nodded. "Shit. I knew I should've-"

"Why are you here?" Clarke asked, still amazed.

"You called me." Lexa said, brow furrowed.

"I did?" Clarke laughed. "Did I tell you I missed you? I really hope I didn't because I've been trying not to think about it."

"You told me you couldn't find your friends. I was worried about you." Lexa said.

"But you're mad at me." Clarke said.

"I overreacted."

"So you still want to be friends?" Clarke grinned.

"Do you have to be so cheesy all the time?" Lexa chuckled. "Why were you crying when I found you? Did he hurt you?"

Clarke shook her head no. Like they had never left, tears sprang to her eyes. "My mom's getting engaged." She said softly, like it was a secret.

Lexa looked at her, curiously. "You don't like her boyfriend?"

"He's nice." She shrugged, a couple tears slipped down her face. "But he's not my dad." Clarke covered her face with her hands. She felt Lexa move closer to her, and peeked out at her from behind her hands.

"Was it a hard break up? Your mom and dad."

Clarke shook her head no again. "They didn't break up."

"Wait, then how-"

Clarke dropped her hands and stared at Lexa freely. "My dad is dead." Clarke said. It was a simple fact. One she had known for a long time. That didn't make it any easier. That didn't keep her from heaving and crying as soon as it came out. Lexa wrapped an arm around her and pulled her close, letting Clarke cry. All of the heaving made her feel like she might vomit again, but she couldn't stop. She was sick and sad and everything felt heavy. It felt like a long time had passed in silence.  "He didn't get to see me graduate. Or even go to prom." Clarke said quietly. A sob ripped through her. "Stupid fucking prom. I didn't even want to go." Clarke shook her head, looking at Lexa. "She made me. She said I'd regret not going. She said my dad would've wanted me to go. Isn't that fucked up?" Clarke said, eyes wide, mouth half open, waiting for Lexa to agree.

"Did you at least enjoy yourself?" Lexa asked. She looked so soft, so nice, Clarke just wanted to touch her face, she thought it would make her feel better. Instead, she settled for dangling a hand against Lexa's, trying to focus on her cool skin.

"I spent most of the night in front of a toilet trying not to get puke on my dress." Clarke laughed. It was a chuckle that evolved, mutating into a wild laugh, one that shook her body and made her eyes water. Clarke threw her head down into her own lap, Lexa drew her in tighter, a strong hand on Clarke's waist.  "She just- she fucking- just keeps acting like everything is fine! Like he isn't fucking-" Clarke heaved, dry sob sputtering out of her. "Like he isn't fucking dead-" Clarke said, staring up at Lexa through her tears. "And now she's got this fucking boyfriend and it's like- he never even mattered, you know? Like he never fucking existed-"

"Clarke." Lexa said softly. "You know that's not true, right? Your dad mattered." It only made Clarke sob harder. Her dad did matter, she just wished her mom would act like it. "Everyone grieves differently. You're angry, that's normal. Your mom trying to move on? That's normal too. You can't hate her just because her process is different than yours." Clarke looked up at her, a soft smile on Lexa's lips.

"I like your voice." Clarke said quietly. She didn't know when her hand interlocked with Lexa's, but it was nice, comforting. With her free hand she traced over the lines of Lexa's long fingers. "You should be a hand model." Clarke said, examining it appreciatively. Lexa chuckled in response. Clarke wasn't sure how long they were quiet before she spoke again. "I thought I hated you, you know." Clarke said. She looked up at Lexa who's eyebrow was raised, questioningly.

"Yeah?" Lexa asked.

"When we first met." Clarke nodded. "You were a bitch." She sniffled, giving half a smirk.

"You were trying to break the rules." Lexa smirked back.

"You remember that?" Clarke asked, watery eyes wide.

"It's not often that someone starts trying to defy me not five minutes after our first meeting." Lexa chuckled.

"You were just so like, serious and put together and hot and perfect-" Clarke said, noticing Lexa's reddening cheeks. "What?" Clarke asked. "It's not creepy if I say you're hot right? Because you know that you're hot. And if you don't know, well, now you know." Clarke laughed.

"I'm not perfect, Clarke."

"You sure seem like it." Clarke said, sighing as she dropped her head onto Lexa's shoulder. She didn't care what it looked like anymore, she just wanted to be close for as long as Lexa would let her. "Good grades, hot, responsible, job, scholarship, and you even have time to let your drunk mess friend cry on you." Clarke laughed to stifle a sob. "How the fuck am I supposed to get over this?" Clarke asked, looking up at Lexa seriously. "I mean, how the fuck do people get over this?"

"Time." Lexa said, smiling sadly at her.

"It's been almost two fucking years, how much time does it take?" Clarke asked.

"It takes however long it takes. But I don't think you're going to be able to move on if you're holding grudge against your mom."

"I don't want to move on." Clarke said. A few tears slipped down her cheek and she wiped them away quickly, even though Lexa had already seen plenty. Clarke thought they might sit in silence forever.

"Three years ago, right before I started school here, I lost someone I loved too." Lexa said. It was quiet, but certain. Clarke stared up at her, listening intently.

"Really?" Clarke asked. Lexa nodded softly.

"My girlfriend, Costia." Lexa said, there was a small smile on her lips, but her eyes were sad and dark. It took a moment for the statement to register before Clarke's heart pounded. Did she really just say-

"Your girlfriend?" Clarke asked, throat suddenly dry. She opened her mouth, trying to find the right words. "You never, mentioned-"

"Is that a problem?" Lexa asked, voice suddenly hard.

"No! No! I like- Uh. I- No. Not even a little bit of a problem." Clarke stuttered. Lexa seemed amused by Clarke's sudden loss for words. "What happened?" She asked softly.

Lexa took a deep breath, sighing as she relaxed her body. "We had gotten into this stupid fight." Lexa said shaking her head. It made Clarke sad, the way she looked so guilty. "She wanted to go to a party, and I told her that I couldn't. I had to write a paper for pre-college summer course I was taking. She insisted I needed the night off, that we deserved some fun, I told her just to go without me." Lexa stared off across the street. Clarke swore she could see her eyes swimming. "Three days later I got a call that the police found her body."

"Oh my god." Clarke gasped. "Fuck, Lexa, oh my god." Lexa nodded, forcing a sad smile.

"I should've just gone to the stupid party." Lexa said. The regret in her voice made Clarke's heart hurt.

"It's not your fault." Clarke said, violently shaking her head.

"I know that now. But it took time." Lexa said. "Some days are still hard. Isolating yourself from people that care about you only makes it worse."

"That's not what I'm doing." Clarke said defiantly.

"Do your friends know?" Lexa asked seriously.

"That my dad is fucking dead? Yeah." Clarke laughed a hollow laugh.

"No, do they know it still hurts?" Lexa asked. Her eyes were soft, sincere. Clarke stared at the ground, worried looking at them would make her cry again.

"No one wants to listen to someone complain about the same dumb shit over and over again, Lex." Clarke said, taking a deep breath to stifle a sob. She chuckled lightly at the new nickname. "Do you mind if I call you Lex?" She asked, poking the tip of Lexa's chin. Lexa bit back a smirk.

"I'd rather you didn't." Lexa said. "And it's not dumb if it's bothering you."

"Are you drunk?" Clarke asked softly.

"No. Why?" Lexa chuckled.

"You're being so nice." Clarke said. Lexa laughed at that, too.

"You think I'm only capable of being nice while drunk?" Lexa asked.

"No, but you definitely are nicer. You know that."

"Yeah, well, you make me a little nicer." Lexa shrugged.

"I do?" Clarke grinned.

"You do."

"I can't believe you've been gay this whole time." Clarke said quietly, running a finger over Lexa's hand. She knew it she probably shouldn't have brought it up, but she couldn't stop thinking about it. She looked at Lexa, whose expression was somewhere between confused and insulted.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Lexa asked, angling her body away from Clarke.

"No! It's not like that!" Clarke laughed. "I'm not like, a homophobe or anything if you're worried. I just wish I knew-"

"Let me guess, you're regretting flirting with me now?" Lexa rolled her eyes.

"Nope. It's fun." Clarke grinned. Lexa looked back at her, relaxing a little. They examined each other again, more reserved than usual. Clarke leaned in a little, removing any additional distance from between her and Lexa. Lexa looked at her like she was going to ask what she was doing, but decided against it. Clarke was thankful, because honestly, she had no idea what she was doing, only that she needed to be closer. She dropped her hands into Lexa's lap, testing, which was met with a curious look. She glanced down at Lexa's mouth before deciding that if she didn't do it now, it would probably never happen. Slowly, she moved in another inch, until she could feel Lexa's breath on her lips.

Lexa's entire body stiffened and she shot up, standing more quickly than Clarke could even adjust her gaze. She cleared her throat awkwardly, and extended her hand. "We should get you back home." Lexa said.

Clarke focused all of her efforts on not feeling dumb. It was nothing. It was stupid. She took Lexa's hand and the help standing, and was surprised when she didn't let it go.

 

 

The walk back to the dorm was quick and quiet. They had done enough talking, and Clarke was starting to feel sick again. Every movement was too much.

"Fuck." Clarke whispered as she neared her door. A small black sock was draped over the handle, no doubt Octavia's.

"Is that a message?" Lexa chuckled, glancing across the hall at the sock as she unlocked her own door.

"Absolutely." Clarke frowned, ready to slump herself against the wall. She looked over to Lexa who stood with an amused smirk, holding her door open.

"Come on." Lexa said. Clarke didn't need to be told twice.

Lexa was already stretching a sheet out on the floor when Clarke crossed the threshold of her door.

"You don't have to sleep on the floor." Clarke said quickly.

"It's a twin bed." Lexa chuckled.

"We can both fit." Clarke shrugged. "I feel bad when you sleep on the floor." She admitted.

"I really don't mind." Lexa shifted awkwardly.

"And I don't mind sharing. Really." Clarke said, hoping she wasn't coming off as creepy. Lexa stared at her for a moment before complying.

"Fine." Lexa said softly. "But I need you to do something for me first." Clarke's breath hitched. She nodded, unable to form a response. She took a step toward Lexa, ready for whatever came next. Lexa smirked lightly at her. "Before you breathe all over me all night-" Clarke's heart beat harder. "Please go brush your teeth."

Chapter Text

"Clarke." Lexa whispered softly. Clarke was certain it was a dream, because she could feel that she was warm in her bed, clutching her pillow. "Clarke." Lexa said again, a little more urgently. She could feel Lexa's breath, hot on her chest and it was clear this was not a dream. Clarke opened her eyes to where she was laying partway on top of Lexa, gripping tightly around her neck.

"Shit, I'm sorry." Clarke grunted quietly, peeling herself off of her friend. They laid next to each other, narrow bed not leaving much space between them. Lexa's face was red, strands of her hair matted to her face with sweat. Goosebumps raised near Clarke's collarbone where her skin was the warmest, from the sudden exposure to cool air. She ignored her sore body and the pounding in her head as she watched Lexa take a few gulping breaths.

"I was pretty sure I was going to die." Lexa said, smile in the corners of her lips. "I don't understand how you're such a heavy sleeper."

"You should've just pushed me off." Clarke said, trying hard not to be embarrassed by her sleeping position.

"I didn't want you to fall off the bed or anything. It's not like there's a whole lot of room." Lexa shrugged. There really wasn't. Clarke could feel Lexa's still irregular breaths on her face, only inches away on their shared pillow. She wanted to run a finger over her cheekbones, to feel if the skin there was really as soft as it looked, but instead she stuffed her hand into the pocket of the sweatpants Lexa had lent her to sleep in. "How do you feel?" Lexa asked softly.

"Everything hurts." Clarke groaned. It felt like she had done some serious exercise, but she was knew that wasn't the case.

Lexa chuckled. "Did you sleep okay, at least?" She asked.

"No actually." Clarke mumbled. "I had this terrible dream that Finn kissed me and my mom is going to get married and I spent Halloween crying all over you."

Lexa smirked at her. "Good to see none of that affected your ability to be a complete smartass."

"Shit. I was really hoping none of that was real." Clarke said quietly. Lexa frowned at her apologetically. "I can't believe you even found me."

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"Last night. You came and found me even though you were mad at me." Clarke said.

"I wasn't mad enough to let anything happen to you." Lexa said seriously. "And it's a good thing I got there when I did, that guy, your ex or whatever, did he hurt you?"

"Who, Finn? No." Clarke shook her head. "He just seriously misread the moment, I think." Clarke frowned.

"I should've just came with you. I could've looked out for you." Lexa sighed.

"I should've just not gotten so drunk. It's not your fault. Plus, you know, we were fighting anyway." Clarke smirked.

"Maybe if you weren't always trying to pick a fight with me." Lexa shrugged, sitting up on the bed.

"I am not!" Clarke sat up, too.

"Listen, um, about all that." Lexa said. She chewed lightly on her bottom lip. Almost like she was nervous. Was she nervous? Clarke wondered for a moment. What could possibly make Lexa nervous? "I was thinking yesterday, after you left-" Lexa started.

"You mean after you made me leave?" Clarke teased.

"There you go, picking fights again." Lexa said, corners of her mouth upturned.

"I am not! Anyway, what were you saying?" Clarke huffed.

"I was saying, after you left yesterday-" She swallowed. "I decided that I want to tell you things." Lexa said. The look on Lexa's face said that this was a big deal, but Clarke didn't quite understand.

"What do you mean?" Clarke asked.

"Things about me." Lexa bit her bottom lip again.

"Oh." Clarke said, surprised. That's what had her so nervous?

"Yeah." Lexa nodded softly.

They sat in silence for a moment, Clarke watched as Lexa looked awkwardly around the room. "So, are you going to?" Clarke chuckled.

"Going to what?" Lexa asked.

"Tell me things." Clarke said.

"Well, I need to be prompted first. Asked questions, you know." Lexa shrugged, as if it was completely obvious.

Clarke fought the urge to roll her eyes. "Fine. Uh, why don't you tell me about-"

"Not here." Lexa said quickly.

"Why not?" Clarke asked.

"It's too much." Lexa said.

"It's too much?" Clarke repeated. "You're worried about telling me personal information in your room because it would be too personal?" She asked, teasing.

"Yes." Lexa said, as seriously as ever.

Clarke chewed on her own lip in thought. "How about we go get breakfast?"

"We definitely need breakfast, but that's not where we'll talk." Lexa said.

"Why not?" Clarke pouted. This was getting frustrating.

"I don't want you ruining my favorite diner." Lexa said simply.

"Why are you assuming it's gonna get ruined?" Clarke asked.

"I don't want to associate it with bad memories." Lexa shrugged.

"Wait a second, does that mean you're gonna associate me with bad memories?" Clarke asked. Lexa rolled her eyes. "What? I'm serious!"

"You're dramatic." Lexa smirked.

"Says the girl who's kept me in suspense for two months." Clarke smirked back.

Lexa rolled her eyes again. "Whatever." A phone vibrated, consistent rumble coming from underneath them. "That's probably yours." Lexa said. She stood, crossing the room to her dresser.

Clarke reached under the bed, feeling around blindly for the phone. By the time she reached it, the vibrations had stopped, and instead she was greeted by the sight of sixty-seven notifications, mostly calls and texts from Octavia and Raven. "What the fuck." Clarke breathed. She swiped to return Raven's most recent call. It rang for less than two seconds before she picked up.

"Clarke! Holy shit!" Raven shouted. Clarke winced at the unexpected noise and clicked to lower the volume. Lexa chuckled, apparently having heard it, too. "We thought you were dead!" She said.

" I didn't." Clarke heard Octavia say in the background.

"Whatever." Clarke could practically hear Raven's eyes roll. "When Finn came back and said you were leaving with some dude but some girl came off and took you instead I figured it was probably just a sex thing-" Raven said, voice somehow still way too loud from the speakers. Clarke looked up at Lexa who was biting back a smirk. "But then you didn't text anyone back and I started to get worried."

"Aw, you do care." Clarke teased.

"Whatever." Raven laughed. "Anyway, what the fuck happened to you last night?" She asked. Clarke opened her mouth to respond, but shut it immediately. On the other side of the small room, Lexa faced the wall and pulled off her shirt, exposing a pale back spotted with intricate tattoos.

"Well, first I got wasted." Clarke said quietly, trying not to look.

"I was there for that." Raven said.

"Then I really don't remember what happened. Then uh, Finn tried to kiss me. Actually, no. He did kiss me."

"Fuck. Seriously?" Raven breathed, her disappointment was obvious.

"Yeah, but then uh, Lexa rescued me." Clarke said. Lexa peeked back toward Clarke at the mention of her name, working a clean black tank top down her rest of her torso. Clarke swallowed hard, trying not to look guilty.

"Lexa? Shit." Raven said quietly.

"I knew it! Ha!" Clarke heard Octavia shout in the background. "Pay up Reyes!"

"You couldn't have lied?" Raven asked dejectedly into the phone.

"Did you guys bet on whether or not I died?" Clarke asked, half offended, half amused.

"Well, technically I just bet against Octavia." Raven said.

"What did she bet?" Clarke asked.

"That you got drunk and slept with Lexa." Raven laughed.

"Rae!" Clarke shushed.

"Oh my god, did you?" Raven asked. Clarke could imagine her face, eyes wide and a splitting grin.

"No!" Clarke said, watching Lexa for any signs of acknowledgment. "Not like that."

"Oh my god, are you still in her room?" Raven asked scandalously.

"Yes." Clarke said in a hushed whisper.

A moment later, there was a knock on the door. Lexa furrowed her brow and crossed the room in three strides to open the door.

"What the fuck?" Clarke said out loud. Raven was on the other side of the threshold in Clarke's Arcadia class of 2014 shirt and a pair of her pyjama shorts.

"Morning." Raven smirked, looking back and forth between Clarke and Lexa.

"How did you get in here?" Clarke asked.

"I slept in your bed last night. Since, you know, you didn't." Raven said, raising her eyebrows slightly.

"You mean you didn't mind listening to O and Lincoln fuck?" Clarke asked, trying to make Raven as uncomfortable as she was.

"They spend the night in his room." Raven said smugly.

"So why was there a sock on the door?" Clarke asked.

"Would you believe I needed beauty rest?" Raven asked, faking a sheepish smile.

"Yes." Clarke growled, eyes lowered.

Raven scoffed, feigning offense with a hand to her heart. "Anyway, I'm here because one, I wanted to personally thank Lexa for saving you from my mistake." Raven said, turning to Lexa. "Thanks for looking out for her." She said.

"No problem." Lexa said, giving her a curt nod before she looked to Clarke for reassurance Raven was being serious. Clarke gave Lexa a small nod in return.

"And the other thing. I think I want to have a small get together at my place tonight. You guys in?" Raven asked.

Lexa looked to Clarke again, an obvious question. "How small?" Clarke asked.

"Small. Just us, O, Linc, Monty, Jasper, Harper, Miller. The usual." Raven shrugged. "I just feel like we're all due for a chill saturday after last night.

Clarke looked to Lexa, raising her eyebrows to question back. "That sounds nice." Lexa said. "I don't think Clarke has ever taken me to a calm party." She chuckled.

Clarke tried to suppress her grin, Raven didn't. "Awesome. Bring anyone you want, it'll be fun." Raven said. "But uh, yeah. I'll let you guys get back to whatever you were doing." Raven said, cocking an implying eyebrow at Clarke before she turned and headed back across the hall.

Lexa shut the door behind her, a bemused smirk on her lips as she examined Clarke for a moment. "So, breakfast?"



 

"Why not here?" Clarke asked, pointing to a short bench.

"Too public." Lexa said.

"Are you looking for a place to talk, or somewhere to murder me?" Clarke teased.

They walked slowly down the block back toward their dorm, now full of eggs and pancakes. The streets were surprisingly quiet for a Saturday afternoon, majority of students no doubt coping with a post Halloween hangover.

"Possibly both, depending on how it goes." Lexa smirked.

"Why do I get the feeling the most interesting thing I'm gonna get from you is some lame story? Like how once in the fifth grade you called your teacher mom by accident or something-" Clarke asked.

"Wow, that is an oddly specific insult, Clarke." Lexa teased with a knowing eyebrow. "Please, tell me more."

"Okay, it wasn't my fault she actually looked like my mom!" Clarke whined. Lexa laughed. "You've really never called a teacher mom?"

"Not even once." Lexa said.

"Shit." Clarke chuckled. "How about that tree, over there?" She asked.

"Uh, it's a nice tree, I guess?" Lexa said, brow furrowed. "I'm more into flowers than trees though-" Clarke couldn't help but laugh.

"No, Lex, like to sit under. Talk." Clarke said, biting back her laugh.

"I thought I asked you not to call me that." Lexa said, corners of her lips upturned slightly.

"Did you? Hmm, must've blacked that out." Clarke shrugged, grabbing Lexa by the wrist to lead her into the grass.

Clarke plopped down at the base of the tree, crunchy orange leaves flying out from underneath her. Lexa joined her, sitting a little more gracefully. "Alright, well-" Lexa sighed, pushing the sleeves of her cardigan up on her forearms. "Let's get this over with."

Clarke frowned at her expression. "You don't have to do this, you know." She said. "I mean, trust me, I would love to finally get some straight answers-" Lexa bit her bottom lip to hold back a smirk. "But I don't wanna force you into anything."

"You're not forcing me." Lexa said, suddenly very interested in examining a fallen leaf. "I just-" She sighed. "It's been a while." She caught Clarke's eye with half a frown.

"What, since you've had an actual conversation with someone?" Clarke shook her head. "Why does that not surprise me?" She smirked.

"Do you usually get the things you want by insulting people?" Lexa asked, bemused.

"It's worked so far on you." Clarke shrugged, and at that Lexa smirked. They looked at each other for a moment, a honking car on the street briefly catching Clarke's attention.

"Okay." Lexa said suddenly.

"Okay what?" Clarke asked, fighting the urge to chuckle at her friend.

"I'm ready to be questioned now."

"You're ready to be questioned?" Clarke laughed. "What is this, an interrogation?"

"Just ask me some goddamn questions." Lexa sighed, smirking.

"Alright, fine. Since you're so pushy- " Clarke said.

"I thought we were past that." Lexa rolled her eyes.

"Whatever." Clarke said.

"Any day now, Clarke." Lexa said. Leaves crunched underneath her as she shifted, angling her body more toward her friend.

"Right, uh-" Clarke thought for a moment, staring across the grass to the street. "Okay. What happened with Lincoln?" Clarke asked.

"How did I know that would be your first question?" Lexa chuckled. Clarke shrugged, sheepish grin on her lips.

"I've only been asking for weeks." Clarke said.

Lexa took a deep breath, looking off into the distance. She refocused on Clarke's face for a moment. "How much of last night do you remember?" She asked.

"Most of it, I think." Clarke said.

"Do you remember what I told you about Costia?" Lexa asked softly. She looked as if saying the name caused her physical pain, Clarke felt guilty for even witnessing it. She nodded at Lexa. She remembered everything Lexa said last night. In fact, she couldn't stop thinking about it. Lexa took a deep breath, stilling herself. "When she died, Lincoln was here, at school." Clarke watched her intently. "He had to take summer courses through his freshman year as a part of his scholarship." Clarke nodded because it seemed like Lexa was through talking, though she didn't quite understand. "He didn't come to the funeral." Lexa said quietly.

"Oh." Clarke said, wide eyed.

"It wasn't his fault, really." Lexa frowned. "But I was-" She looked to the tree for a moment, apparently searching for words. "I was fucked up, I wasn’t in my right mind. I never forgave him for not being there."

"I understand." Clarke nodded. She felt like she should've said something better, something more eloquent and comforting, something that would let Lexa know she really did understand. A small smile crossed Lexa's lips and Clarke realized that maybe in this case, 'I understand' was enough. Lexa looked resigned to her silence. "What was she like? Costia." Clarke asked. The stranger's name felt strange on her tongue, like she shouldn't have said it.

Lexa smiled sadly, glancing at Clarke. "She was wild. Way too much fun for me. Always talking to people, wanting to explore." Lexa chuckled. "It's amazing we were together for so long. She was much cooler than me."

"It sure sounds like it." Clarke teased.

"What was your dad like?" Lexa asked.

"He was the best." Clarke breathed. The question caught her off guard, but it didn't make her answer any less immediate. "I mean I know everyone thinks their parents are the best or whatever, but, he really was." Clarke smiled slightly. Lexa's expression was strange, almost sad.

"I believe you." Lexa said. Clarke wanted to touch her, to hold her, somehow, those three words felt safe. It was more than anyone else was able to give her in a long time.

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the wind shake the leaves, the mutters of passerby, the cars on the street. "So what about Anya? What's the deal with her?" Clarke asked.

"There is no deal." Lexa shrugged.

"Then why are you guys so weird around each other?" Clarke furrowed her brow.

"We're not." Lexa said.

"You so are! Everytime I see you guys you're having some crazy stare down." Clarke said.

Lexa smirked, looking over at Clarke. "You really want to know?" She asked.

"Uh, yeah." Clarke said obviously.

"She doesn't like you." Lexa laughed.

"What?" Clarke exclaimed. "Why?"

"See, I knew you wouldn't take it well." She laughed again. "That's why I never wanted to talk about it."

"What did I ever do to her?" Clarke groaned.

"Anya doesn't like anyone I hang out with other than her." Lexa sighed. "Nothing personal.”

"Not even Lincoln?" Clarke asked.

"She's known him as long as I have." Lexa said.

"Are they friends?"

"They used to be." Lexa frowned. "Before everything happened." Clarke nodded at that, a meaningful silence surrounding them.

"Why don't you invite her to the party tonight?" Clarke asked. "Maybe you guys can all finally make up."

"I don't know, Clarke." Lexa frowned from one corner of her mouth.

"Come on, you can't tell me I need to stop holding a grudge against my mom while you still haven't forgiven Lincoln." Clarke insisted.

"I have forgiven him." Lexa said.

"Does he know that?" Clarke asked.

"No."

"Well alright then." Clarke said, very self satisfied. "Why don't you invite Anya to the party tonight?" She added. "You guys can all hang out."

"Uh huh." Lexa said, skeptically.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"You just want a chance to impress Anya, don't you?" Lexa asked.

"Why can't I want both?" Clarke smirked.

"So predictable." Lexa chuckled.

"Whatever, don't act like you don't like it." Clarke shrugged.

"Who says I'm acting?" Lexa teased.

"Thanks." Clarke said seriously.

"For not acting?" Lexa asked, confused.

"No. For telling me things." Clarke clarified.

"Oh. It was only fair." Lexa shrugged.

"Regret it yet?" Clarke asked.

"Not yet."

"Good. Hopefully you never do." Clarke smiled, hoping Lexa would ignore how presumptuous that sounded. "Anyway, call Anya. Invite her to the party. I promise it'll be a good time."

"Yeah." Lexa smiled. "I think I will."



 

 

Clarke and Octavia walked in to Raven's apartment to find Lincoln, Lexa and Anya standing in a loose huddle toward the kitchen, all holding beers and laughing together. It was bizarre, not only to see them interact for once, but to see Lexa so open and unguarded around other people. Lexa noticed her come in before anyone else. She grinned as she approached Clarke.

"Hey." Lexa smiled. Clarke's heartbeat a little faster at her affectionate tone. As they met in the center of the room, Clarke could tell her eyes were glassy. Without warning, Lexa pulled her in for a hug, too warm and smelling of whiskey. Clarke almost didn't care that she was drunk. "I'm glad you're here." Lexa said when she finally released Clarke.

"Yeah, well, I am the one who invited you." Clarke laughed.

"Right." Lexa chuckled.

"So how long have you been here? Considering you've had enough time to get drunk-"

"I am not!" Lexa laughed. "Okay. I am. A little bit. This much-" Lexa said, gesturing with a space between her fingers. "We, the three of us-" She said, gesturing to Anya and Lincoln, who now had an arm around Octavia's waist. "We went to get drinks before we came here."

"Ah." Clarke nodded. "So it went well?"

"Really well." Lexa grinned. "I feel good."

Clarke couldn't help but grin back at her. "I'm happy for you."

"Thank you. For helping me do this." Lexa said seriously.

Clarke felt her cheeks warm up. "Well, really you were just taking your own advice."

"I never would've without you." Lexa said, placing a hand on Clarke's cheek. Clarke felt like she couldn't breathe, vaguely aware of Lincoln and Anya watching them.

"Ayo! Party's here!" Jasper shouted. The rest of their friends must have came together, because within seconds the living room was crowded with delinquents fanning out, lots of nods and hello's and hugs.

"Someone needs to teach Jasper what low key means." Raven said, entering the room from the hallway.

"Someone needs to teach Raven what fun means." Jasper said as he and Monty unloaded their bags onto a small round kitchen table, filling a plate with brownies.

"Remind me why I always invite you to these things?" Raven asked as she approached them.

"Because you can't invite Monty without inviting me?" Jasper asked, laughing as he stuffed a brownie into his mouth.

"Exactly." Raven smirked. She put on some music, upbeat pop hits kept the mood up as the friends mingled.

Clarke noticed Anya wandering toward where she was talking with Lexa. "So, how is the classmate?" Anya asked, directed more toward Lexa than to Clarke, despite it being about her.

"The classmate is great." Clarke said. "Just having a great ol' time in class with Lexa."

Lexa rolled her eyes at Anya. "She knows, Clarke." She laughed.

"Knows what?" Clarke feigned innocence.

"She knows we're not classmates." Lexa said.

"It was a shit lie, anyway." Anya chuckled.

"Sup bitches?" Raven said, slinging an arm over Clarke's shoulder. "I'm glad you came, Lexa." She smiled. "And I'm sure Clarke is, too." Clarke glared at her in response. "You guys wanna play a game or something?" She asked. Lexa's eyes lit up.

"Where's your cocky friend?" Lexa asked.

"I thought I was the cocky friend." Raven chuckled.

"So you're cocky?" Anya asked. Raven bit her lip.

"Confident, really." Raven said.

"It's well deserved." Anya said in a low voice.

Clarke looked to Lexa, trying to get help assessing their friend's strange behavior, but Lexa apparently hadn't even noticed.

"He's like this tall-" Lexa gestured. "Dark curly hair-"

"Oh, you mean Bellamy?" Clarke asked.

"He lives here, so I'm sure he'll be by at some point." Raven said.

"Excellent." Lexa said. Clarke had no doubt she was looking to challenge him in beer pong again.

"Yo! Assholes! Should we play a game or something?" Raven asked, drawing everyone's attention.

"Yeah. But please, no pong. I'm so tired of it." Jasper groaned.

"No. You're tired of losing." Monty laughed.

"I know! Since we have some new friends, why don't we play never have I ever?" Raven grinned devilishly. Clarke groaned as the rest of her friends hummed in agreement. It seemed like everyone in attendance was interested in figuring someone else out. Clarke was, too, but this didn't seem like the best way to do it. Everytime she played never have I ever with her friends, she came out of it drunk and looking very bad. "Make sure you have a drink!"

"It's been forever, hasn't it?" Lexa laughed, looking over at Anya who nodded with a smile. She passed Clarke a beer before turning back to Raven.

"Alright, everyone come sit." Raven commanded, patting the space next to her on the floor. Clarke sat on the right of Lexa, between her and Harper. She was directly across from Raven in the circle, and she knew immediately that it was a mistake.

"Can we at least pretend that we're gonna play it right instead of using it as an excuse to learn way too much about each other's sex lives?" Monty asked as he took a seat between Jasper and Miller.

"You can, but I won't." Miller laughed.

"Why don't you start, Monty?" Raven asked. "We can go counter clockwise so Nate's last."

Monty nodded. "Alright, never have I ever- uh, been to California."

"Wait so, do we drink if we've done it? Or if we haven't done it?" Harper asked.

"If you have." Raven said.

Harper nodded and took a sip of her drink, so did Clarke. She caught Lexa looking at her out of the corner of her eye and raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Was it nice there?" Lexa asked quietly.

"It was beautiful." Clarke said. "But I was fourteen and my parents dragged me along on their romantic vacation to Napa Valley, so it wasn't a whole lot of fun." She laughed. Lexa smiled back at her.

"Never have I ever-" Jasper started, cut short by his own laughter. "Never have I ever taken a massive hit from Monty's gravity bong without coughing." Jasper laughed again.

"You can't do that! It's way too specific! I'm literally the only person here who would have to drink." Monty huffed.

"That's why it's so funny!" Jasper said defensively.

"He's right." Raven said. "House rules. No intentionally specific ones allowed."

"Boo, you guys suck." Jasper groaned.

"Try again." Raven smirked.

"Fine. Uh, okay. Never- never have I ever- shit. Uh- I've never- flown a kite?" Jasper said.

"You've never flown a kite?" Clarke laughed.

"Have you?" Jasper asked.

Clarke thought about it for a moment, and she couldn't think of a single instance of a time she'd actually flown a kite. "I guess not." She shrugged. No one took a drink.

"Seriously? None of us has ever flown a kite?" Jasper asked. "Well that's gotta be some fucked up depraved childhood shit." He laughed.

"Never have I ever- had a sibling." Raven said. Clarke noticed Lexa look to Lincoln, who shook his head at her. No one picked up their drink aside from Octavia.

"What the hell, Rae?" Octavia huffed. "You just said no specific ones!"

"How was I supposed to know you're the only person here with a sibling?" Raven laughed. "Don't be a baby." She teased. Octavia stuck her tongue out at Raven before taking a sip from her drink.

"Never have I never not had a sibling." Octavia said, staring defiantly at Raven.

"Aw come on, she can't do that!" Jasper said.

"Just drink." Raven chuckled. "Or else we'll never hear the end of it." Quietly, everyone but Octavia sipped their beers and shifted their attention to Lincoln.

"Never have I ever failed a class." Lincoln said.

Clarke groaned, but cut herself short at the way Lexa grinned. What a nerd. Clarke, Octavia, Jasper, and Harper all drank. She noticed Lexa eyeing her again, and understood it to be a question. "It was the ninth grade and I thought I was too cool for health, so I never went." Clarke laughed. "My mom was livid."

"I can imagine." Lexa smirked.

"Never have I ever seen Harry Potter." Anya said, staring across the room to where a Ravenclaw banner was hung.

"What?!" Raven exclaimed in complete horror.

"How is that even possible?" Harper asked.

"Yeah, have you even been alive for the past twenty years?" Jasper laughed.

"I never had the chance as a kid." Anya shrugged. "And by the time it became a big deal I just didn't have an interest."

"That's crazy, you would love it." Raven insisted.

"How would you know?" Anya asked.

"Because everyone loves it. The only people who don't love Harry Potter are liars." Raven huffed.

"Are you all going to drink, or what?" Anya asked. Raven glared at her. Everyone raised their drinks aside from Anya, Lincoln and Lexa.

"Aren't you going to drink?" Clarke asked.

"I've never seen it either." Lexa admitted.

"I can't believe you kept that a secret!" Clarke said. "I mean how many times have I told you that you're a total Slytherin just to find out you don't even know what that means-"

"I do have the internet, Clarke." Lexa laughed. Clarke couldn't help but laugh too, at the idea of Lexa actually looking up what a Slytherin was. "But maybe we can watch them sometime." She added.

Clarke bit back a grin. "Yeah, we will."

"Whenever you two are finished, it's Lexa's turn." Raven said, giving Clarke an implying look.

"Right, sorry." Lexa said, she looked back to the circle to address the group. "Never have I ever been on an airplane." Lexa said.

"Seriously?" Raven asked. "I'm gonna be fucked up by the end of this game." She raised her drink and again, everyone but Anya, Lincoln and Lexa drank.

"Never have I ever- shit. I probably should've thought of one, huh?" Clarke asked.

"You think?" Octavia giggled.

"Never have I ever- been to D.C." Clarke said, she looked over to see Lexa smile at her before she took a drink. Anya scowled, first at Clarke, then at Lexa. She and Lincoln drank, too.

"I thought you were trying to get Anya to like you?" Lexa laughed, whispering to Clarke.

"I panicked." Clarke shrugged.

"It was funny." Lexa said.

"Never have I ever had a real boyfriend." Harper said.

"As opposed to, what? A fake boyfriend?" Monty asked.

"No." Harper rolled her eyes. "Like, an official boyfriend. With a title."

Clarke sighed, feeling deliberately victimized. She raised her drink to her friends, Octavia, Raven and Miller in an unofficial cheers before drinking yet again.

"Oh no, here we go." Monty laughed, looking at Miller.

"Alright, you guys ready?" Miller grinned mischievously. "Never have I ever had sex with a woman."

"Really?" Raven asked.

"Well, when you figure out you're gay by age twelve, you don't really feel the need to experiment." He laughed.

"Well, you bitches gonna drink or what?" Raven laughed. There were a couple of chuckles and the sound of shuffling for drinks. Miller, Octavia and Raven were the only ones who didn't move. Clarke smirked as Lincoln and Anya quietly clicked their cans together in cheers before they turned to Lexa and did the same. Clarke tried her best to be subtle, but she couldn't help but stare as Lexa took a long gulp from her beer.

"Hey Clarke." Raven called. Clarke quickly looked over at her, terrified she would make fun of her staring.

"Hmm?" She hummed.

"Shouldn't you be drinking?" Raven asked, a menacing twinkle in her eye.

"Right." Clarke blushed, feeling several pairs of eyes on her as she tipped back her beer, finishing it. When she set it down, she tried not to notice the way Lexa was examining her.

"Well, now I know how I'm going to win this game." Miller laughed.



 

"Never have I ever fucked in a car." Lexa laughed. The game had gone on for a while, getting increasingly explicit as everyone got drunk. Clarke felt like her cheeks matched her cup, bright red.

"I thought fucking in cars was a teenage staple for like, everyone?" Raven laughed.

"When I was a teenager none of my friends had cars." Lexa shrugged.

"It's a city thing." Anya said.

"That sucks." Raven said. Clarke couldn't help but imagine being in a dark car with Lexa on top of her, seat belt buckle digging into her back as she moved to unzip her jeans- Someone needed to change the subject.

"Hey, anyone wanna come smoke?" Jasper asked. There were a few murmurs in agreement from the right side of the circle.

"We're good." Octavia said after momentarily conferring with Lincoln. She sat in his lap, head back, looking relaxed.

"So what, game's over?" Raven asked.

"Yeah, wanna come hotbox your bathroom?" Jasper asked, helping Monty up as he stood.

"I'm good for now. Just don't set fire to anything." Raven smirked.

"That was one time!" Jasper said.

"And you'll never live it down." Raven laughed. Jasper led the way down the hall toward the bathroom, Monty, Harper and Miller followed. "Alright, I think I need some liquor." Raven said, stretching as she stood. Anya stood quickly, too.

"I'll join you." Anya said. Clarke looked between the two of them, still confused. She looked to Lexa, who again was not paying attention as they disappeared into the kitchen.

"So, you like girls?" Lexa asked suddenly. Clarke nearly choked on her drink. "Or was it just a one time thing?"

Clarke immediately flashed back to the game, when Raven made sure she drank for having slept with a girl. She could feel her face burning. "I- I- uh. Yeah. I like girls." Clarke nodded awkwardly.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Lexa asked. Her expression was strange.

Clarke shrugged. "For the same reasons you didn't tell me, I guess." Lexa nodded, a quiet understanding between them.

"Was it Raven?" Lexa asked, looking across the room to where Raven and Anya had reemerged with refreshed cups.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"The girl you slept with."

"Ew! No. She's one of my best friends."

"Friends can't find friend's attractive?" Lexa asked, staring at her. Clarke swallowed hard.

"I didn't say that." Clarke managed. "She's just, Raven. Plus, she's straight."

"Doesn't look so straight to me." Lexa laughed, watching Raven again as Anya ran a thumb over her hand.

"Holy shit." Clarke laughed. "Have they been like that since you got here?"

"They were weird. Like they knew each other or something." Lexa shrugged. She laid back on the floor, smiling at the ceiling. Clarke scooted closer to her, for a better look at her face.

"I can't believe we've been friends this long and this is the first time I'm seeing you like, actually drunk." Clarke said.

"I know, I know. I don't get drunk around you." Lexa laughed.

"Why not?" Clarke asked.

"Because drunk people can't keep secrets." Lexa laughed. "And you always ask so many questions."

"But you're drunk now." Clarke said.

"I've decided that secrets are too stressful. I feel good today. I don't need secrets today." Lexa said.

"What about tomorrow?" Clarke asked. Lexa only shrugged and smiled in response. "It's nice to see you smile."

"You make me smile." Lexa said.

"You're going to hate yourself for saying that tomorrow." Clarke knew that she was blushing, but she bet Lexa didn't notice. She glanced around the room, Raven was engrossed in conversation with Anya, Octavia and Lincoln were busy kissing, no one was watching them. Clarke relaxed a little.

"Do you?" Lexa asked.

"What?"

"Hate me for saying it." Lexa said.

"No." Clarke smiled.

"Good." Lexa nodded.

In what seemed like way too short a time, the rest of the party returned, heavy lidded. "Let's do body shots!" Jasper yelled.

"What part of low key and chill did you not understand?" Raven chuckled.

"Come on, we didn't bring that tequila for nothing." Jasper said, pointing across the room to the bottle.

Clarke noticed Lexa perk up. "You a fan of tequila?" She smirked.

Lexa nodded. "First liquor I ever had. I was twelve."

"As in twelve years old? Holy shit." Clarke said. She couldn't tell whether or not Lexa was joking.

"I know. It's not the worst thing I did when I was twelve, either." Lexa laughed. She shook her head suddenly, as if she was trying to clear it out. "I shouldn't talk about that stuff though. We're having fun. You're having fun, right?" She asked.

"I'm having fun." Clarke nodded.

"Good." Lexa smiled. "You deserve it."

"I've gotta use the bathroom real quick, are you gonna be okay here?" Clarke asked her.

"Okay? I'm great. Today is great." Lexa laughed.

"Alright, I'll be right back." Clarke said. She trekked down the hallway as quickly as she could without looking silly, feeling responsible for her drunk friend.

By the time she returned, Clarke noticed a drunk Lexa very enthusiastically eating a brownie out of the corner of her eye, encouraged by Monty and Jasper. Immediately, she dashed to her side. "You know those are space brownies, right?" Clarke asked, note of panic obvious. Lexa cocked a questioning eyebrow at her. "They're pot brownies, Lex." Clarke said. Lexa's eyes widened in surprise, larger than Clarke would've thought possible.

"Oh shit." Lexa laughed. She opened her mouth and started spitting the remainder of the brownie out onto her plate. Clarke hated that it was more endearing than gross, particles of spongy chocolate still stuck to the sides of her mouth. She rolled her eyes, despite being thankful that for once she wasn't the one who needed taking care of. She grabbed a napkin from the table and quickly swiped it along Lexa's cheeks and mouth.

"How many did you eat?" Clarke asked.

"One? Two maybe." Lexa chuckled. "I don't know."

"Okay, that's fine, cause people don't get high the first time anyway-"

Lexa laughed again. "It's not my first time getting high."

"It's not?" Clarke asked. "You told me you don't do drugs."

"Yeah, not anymore." Lexa laughed, rolling her eyes a little, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Clarke wanted to ask more, but it felt like she would be taking advantage of her. She resigned to ask her about it in the morning. There were more important things right now.

Within twenty minutes, she was on the floor again, sitting next to Lexa as she laid on the floor with Monty and Jasper. It was a hilarious sight, Lexa with a wide seemingly-permanent grin and eyelids mostly closed. She pretended not to notice as Lexa stroked a long finger under her chin and along the skin of her neck.

"How am I supposed to get you back home?" Clarke teased.

"I can walk, Clarke. I still have legs."

"You do." She chuckled. "Long ones."

"Do you like them?" Lexa asked.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"My legs." Lexa said, propping herself up on her elbows.

"Uh, yeah." Clarke coughed. "I do."

"Your's are nicer." Lexa hummed.

"You think?" Clarke asked.

Lexa nodded, a long swing of her head. "I look at them a lot."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. I like to look at you." Lexa said. Clarke was blushing once again.

"We should head back to the dorm. I'm sure someone on our floor is being too loud." Clarke said. "You're missing out on busting them."

"You ever realize you're like the cops?" Jasper asked Lexa.

"What?" Lexa laughed.

"You're like the cops, man. Cause you gotta dime people out and shit." Jasper said.

"No dude, she's like- the leader. Like the captain or whatever." Monty said.

"You're like- you're like- the fucking captain of the 6th floor, you know that? Like the fucking president! The president of the sixth floor!" Jasper laughed wildly.

"You ready to go?" Clarke asked Lexa, standing from the floor.

"Are you disrespecting her?" Jasper asked.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"Are you fucking disrespecting your president? Are you kidding me, Clarke? Is this serious? That's the fucking president, Clarke! She's your fucking president!" Jasper yelled. Lexa watched, laughing. "You need to show some goddamn respect for your president! Okay?" He asked.

"Yeah, yeah, okay-" Clarke started, just to shut him up.

"No! You can't just say okay! You can't! She's the goddamn president, Clarke. She's your fucking commander-in-chief-"

"Technically, no one voted for her, so she can't be the president-" Clarke said.

"Clarke I swear to god, I swear to fucking God. Disrespect your president in front of me again and I'm gonna lose it. She's not even my president! She's not even my commander in chief and I have more respect for her than you do!" Jasper yelled.

"You do need to respect your commander, Clarke." Monty nodded.

"Yeah Clarke." Lexa grinned. "Respect your commander."

"You guys are never hanging out again." Clarke laughed. Lexa took her hand and she pulled her up, yelling out goodbyes before they slipped out of the door into the night.

 

Chapter Text

"You're drunk," Clarke said, squeezing tighter on Lexa's hand to keep her from trying to climb a tree they passed.

"I'm high," Lexa disagreed with a giggle through heavy lidded eyes.

"You're both," Clarke said, suppressing the smirk creeping into the corners of her mouth. It was a quiet night, surprising for such a crisp Saturday. Lexa grinned at her.

"This is a great day," Lexa said softly.

"I'm glad," Clarke said. She took Lexa's hand and lead her into their dorm, trying to pass the security desk and swipe in as quickly as possible.

Lexa's sober facade cracked the moment she crossed into her room. Clarke hardly had the time to close the door behind her before a fit of laughter had Lexa curled onto her bed.

"I think it's time for you to go to sleep," Clarke chuckled.

"I don't want to," Lexa rolled over on to her back to face Clarke, defiantly.

"Oh no?" Clarke laughed.

"No. I want to talk."

" You want to talk?" Clarke asked.

"Mhm." Lexa hummed. She sat up, pulling up the hem of her half buttoned cardigan until it was stuck covering her face, evidently tangled into her long hair, grunting as she struggled.

"Oh my god, Lex," Clarke laughed, rushing to her side. "What are you doing?"

"It's hot," she said, still trying to shrug her way out of the garment. For a moment, Clarke watched her, amused and bewildered by the girl she thought she knew. Tonight, it became obvious that she was missing crucial evidence that added up to who Lexa was as a person. This was another missing piece. Though, now, Clarke was more confident than ever that in due time, those pieces would be filled. She smirked and grabbed the end of the sweater, pulling it off in one motion. Lexa smiled breathlessly at her. "Thanks."

"It has buttons, you know," Clarke said, holding the sweater up to her.

"Fuck buttons," Lexa laughed, tossing herself back down to the bed. Clarke sat near her legs, watching as she stretched lazily, letting out a little moan as she arched her back.

"Bed time?" Clarke asked, trying hard to sound casual.

"Why are you so far away?" Lexa asked, patting the space next to her with a loud thump.

"I'm not," Clarke said, forcing a chuckle. Lexa looked as if she was going to argue, but instead, she sat up and grabbed Clarke by the shoulders to pull her down next to her. "Lex," Clarke laughed.

"Look, this is so much better," Lexa said, shifting to make as much room as possible for Clarke. "See?" They laid inches from each other. Lexa was flattened, back against the wall, and Clarke almost felt like telling her to come a little closer. "It's good, right?" Lexa asked, smiling at her again.

Clarke couldn't help but smile back, nodding as a cool hand rested on skin of her waist she hadn't realized was exposed. "What did you want to talk about?" She asked.

"I don't know," Lexa laughed lightly. "I just didn't want you to go yet."

Clarke bit back a grin. She wanted to ask something, to get Lexa to confirm that she meant what she said, that she liked having Clarke around. It might've been the first time she had ever been in Lexa's company without feeling like she was intruding, but she wouldn't push anymore. It wouldn't be fair, not when she was sober and Lexa was a few different types of fucked up. "I never would've pegged you for a cuddler," Clarke teased, glancing down at the spot where Lexa had tightened the grip on her waist.

"I'm not, but I am a person, Clarke," Lexa smirked through heavy lids.

"Really? I'd never noticed," Clarke teased again. She couldn't help it, Lexa's dazed smile made her stomach clench.

"It gets lonely here," Lexa said, in the same dazed, dreamy tone she'd been using. Clarke shifted uncomfortably under the weight of it. More than anything else that was said that night, Clarke was sure it was something sober Lexa never would've admitted.

"In your room?" Clarke asked, trying to imagine living in a single for herself. Well, at least if she had a single she'd never be sexiled from her own room. Lexa lightly shook her head no.

"Everywhere," Lexa said. That made Clarke's chest hurt. It came out so easily, so aware that she knew Lexa must have thought about it all the time. She wanted to hold her, but there were invisible lines drawn, Lexa wasn't sober.

Clarke frowned at her, though her face was soft. "I'm sorry."

"I'm used to it," Lexa said, smile in the corners of her mouth. That only made Clarke feel worse, though. Lexa yawned. "You're going to stay, right?" She asked, eyes watering with sleep.

"Tonight?" Clarke asked. Lexa stared tentatively at her for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, I'll stay," Clarke said softly.

 

 


 

Clarke wasn't sure when she had fallen asleep, or how long she had been awake before she got out of Lexa's bed, peeling her body away from her friend's. She wasn't sure when she had wandered over to Lexa's desk, drawing on the back of a flyer for the now passed residence life Halloween party, either. Or when the lines of Lexa's face began to look back at her from her lap. Clarke stared between the two Lexa's, editing lines and curves for accuracy. The lines on the sleeping Lexa's brow were furrowed, and suddenly she awoke with a start, shooting upright in the bed. Clarke rushed over to her.

"You okay?" Clarke asked.

"I'm fine," Lexa huffed. Noticing Clarke's frown, she softened. "Just- dreams." Clarke nodded at her, making herself a little more comfortable on the bed.

"How's your head?" Clarke smirked, happy to finally be the one without a headache.

"Nothing breakfast can't fix," Lexa said, looking defiant.

"Oh come on, don't tell me you're one of those people who can drink themselves into a coma and be fine," Clarke groaned. Lexa only smirked at her. "Yeah yeah, you're great at everything, I get it."

"I can't believe you let your friends drug me," Lexa said, ignoring her. Clarke looked at her, relieved to find that she was still smirking.

"You should've known better," Clarke said. "I was gone for like two minutes."

"Two minutes too long, apparently," Lexa said.

"I'll kill Monty and Jasper for you next time I see them," Clarke offered.

"No," Lexa smiled, apparently grateful for the offer. "It was harmless, and I probably deserved it," she shrugged. Clarke shot her a questioning look. "I was their RA last year."

"Oh shit, that's right," Clarke laughed. "I heard you were a hard ass."

"It was my first year and their room constantly smelled like weed, what was I supposed to do?" Lexa chuckled.

"They never got busted, though?" Clarke asked.

"Every time there was an inspection they either managed to get rid of everything or hide it," Lexa shrugged. "It's not a police state. It's not like I went barging in there every night." She stood up from the bed, crossing the room to her dresser, shifting through a drawer.

"Oh you mean like what you do to me?" Clarke teased.

"Maybe if you stopped being so disruptive-"

"Yeah yeah, studying, whatever-" Clarke waved a hand dismissively, and Lexa shot her a glare that reminded her distinctly of Raven. "Hey wait, I tried to ask you last night but you were too drunk, what the fuck was the deal with Raven and Anya?"

Lexa looked like she was thinking hard. "I don't know," Lexa said. "When we came in there was an awkward moment, they said hi like they knew each other. Then Raven showed us where the alcohol was and disappeared until you and your friends showed up. I've never seen Anya act like that."

"They were flirting," Clarke said.

"Where they?" Lexa laughed. "Oh, that's weird."

"I mean, yeah, because we all thought Raven was straight-" Clarke said.

"You can't just assume people's sexualities, Clarke," Lexa said.

"You mean like you did with me?" She asked, immediately regretting having brought up her own sexuality at all. Lexa looked taken aback for a split second, before a mischievous grin snuck across her face. Clarke hated that she loved the way Lexa eyed her.

"No, I mean like you did with me," Lexa said. It wasn't quite what Clarke had expected (or hoped) she'd say, but she gave a small sigh of relief that at least they were still talking about it.

"Honestly, I assume all hot girls are straight," Clarke shrugged, feigning nonchalance as her heart beat harder. She watched Lexa, as she too slowly put the pieces of the complement together. Just as she began to smile, Lexa turned toward her desk, apparently noticing something. Clarke was a second late to realize that Lexa had noticed her drawing.

"You drew me?" Lexa asked, picking the flyer up. There wasn't much for Clarke to say. It wasn't like she could deny having done it, not when Lexa was holding the evidence, so she nodded. Every second Lexa took to examine it made her feel worse, like she was going to be sick. Just when Clarke considered crossing the room to snatch it from her hand, Lexa turned to look at her. "Why didn't you tell me you were an artist?" Lexa asked softly.

Without meaning to or even being aware of it, Clarke's eyes clouded with tears. "I'm not," she said quickly, turning her head to blink hard and force the tears back. Lexa settled next to her on the bed, looking curiously at her. "I'm sorry- Stupid- I'm being stupid-“

"I didn't mean to upset you," Lexa said, resting a hand on Clarke's thigh. For a moment Clarke looked at her, just to make sure she wasn't still high. She'd never imagined sober Lexa could be tender, too.

"You didn't," Clarke said. She took another deep breath until she felt still again. "I'm sorry," she frowned. "I just- no one's called me that- in a long time," she swallowed. "Not since my dad." Lexa nodded at her, in a way that made her feel like she had said enough. Clarke was sure she'd never stop being thankful to finally have someone who understood.

"You're really talented," Lexa said, the rushed air of someone telling a secret.

"Thanks," Clarke half smiled.

"I'm serious, Clarke," Lexa said. "Why aren't you taking art classes?”

Clarke stiffened. "It's not practical."

"Who gives a fuck?" Lexa chuckled. Clarke marveled at her for a moment. She was sure that if anyone would agree with her family, it would've been Lexa. Smart, responsible, Lexa.

"What's the point of being in school if you're not studying anything worthwhile?" She asked. Clarke shrugged.

"I don't know, because it's what you're supposed to do? Go to college, get a degree, figure it out from there," Clarke sighed.

"School's not about biding your time until you feel like you're old enough to face the world, Clarke. It's about learning enough so that once you're out there, you have something you like, something you're good at, that makes the world more bearable," Lexa said seriously. "I see it all the time. You wouldn't even imagine how many freshmen come crying to me about how they hate their major, but they can't switch because of their parents. All it does is perpetuate this idea that we should accept misery," Lexa said, voice raising passionately. "Degrees in subjects we don't like, to get jobs we hate, to pay for things we don't have time to use. Why waste the time?"

Clarke shrugged. "What if I'm not good?"

Lexa let out an exasperated laugh. "You're good, Clarke. I just told you that."

"You saw one drawing."

"I only needed to see one," Lexa said with certainty. "Judging by the fact that I've known you for months and you've been keeping this a secret, means you probably know you're good, too."

Clarke looked at her, nearly rolling her eyes. "What makes you say that?"

"You're afraid."

"Of what?" Clarke asked.

"I don't want to make any assumptions," Lexa said. Clarke actually did roll her eyes at that. "Listen, I know I'm not an artist-" Lexa stopped suddenly, looking worried about having spoken the a word.

"I'm fine now," Clarke said, smirking slightly as she gestured for Lexa to continue.

"But maybe you could talk to Lincoln if you don't trust me. He's talented, too," Lexa said softly.

"I didn't know Lincoln was an artist," Clarke said.

"Yeah, well, I guess all of you artsy types are the same," Lexa laughed. "Modest and secretive."

"I guess we are," Clarke smiled. Lexa watched her for a moment, glancing quickly down at the drawing before returning to Clarke's eyes.

"I just think that, after you go through, you know, the things we've gone through- It just, gets obvious," Lexa said.

"What?"

"We deserve a life worth living," Lexa said. She looked at Clarke seriously, as if this was the single most important thing she had ever said. Her gaze weighed heavy on Clarke's chest, constricting her breathing until she absorbed the words and realized that Lexa was right. It was time to try and live again. The very least she could do was try. She thought again about Lexa's 'we' and her heart swelled a little. If Lexa continued to talk like this, art and living would be the least of her problems.

 


 

"Well is she coming or what?" Octavia asked as Clarke shut the door to her room behind her. She sat cross legged on her bed, holding her phone to her ear with her eyebrows raised as she waited for Clarke to answer.

"She said she has to help out with the res-life thing they're having down in the party room," Clarke frowned.

"She's working," Octavia relayed into the phone.

"It's fucking thanksgiving!" Clarke could hear Raven's voice from across the room. Octavia looked to Clarke for a better answer. Clarke shrugged at her.

"Clarke says there's nothing we can do," Octavia translated.

"Put her on the phone," Raven commanded.

"Who, Lexa?" Octavia asked.

"No, Clarke." Octavia held the phone out for her to grab, knowing full well that she had already heard the exchange.

"No, I'm not going to drag her out," Clarke said as she took the phone.

"I figured as much," Raven sighed. "I really have to do everything around here-"

"I don't think she likes holidays, anyway," Clarke said. "She doesn't seem like she's in a great mood."

"Just go over there and give her some head, I'm sure she'll feel much better," Raven sniggered.

"Why is that always your suggestion?" Clarke asked.

"What? Is it a crime that I wish you two would just fucking do it already?" Raven asked. Octavia smirked.

"No, but it is a little creepy," Clarke said.

"I'm just worried about you. One of these days you guys are gonna suffocate under all of that crushing sexual tension," Raven said. Octavia must have pictured Clarke and Lexa suddenly dropping dead, because she laughed out loud.

"Don't encourage her!" Clarke said to Octavia. She could feel Raven's grin.

"Anyway, uh, so- Kind of important-" Raven said. Clarke hummed for her to continue. "I invited Finn-"

"Are you fucking serious?" Clarke snapped.

"Listen, it's-"

"What happened to severing ties with him if he kept being a creep?" Clarke accused.

"Well he stopped, didn't he?" Raven asked. It was unlike her to sound so unsure.

"Yeah he stopped calling, but that doesn't change the fact that last time I saw him he kissed me while I was drunk-"

"I know, I know, but we talked and-"

"And what? He convinced you he's over me?" Clarke asked. She glanced up at Octavia who was looking pointedly in the other direction, avoiding involvement.

"Well, yeah, it’s been almost a month that he’s left you alone, complete radio silence. He’s trying," Raven sighed.

"I just don't get it," Clarke huffed. "Why is he so important to you? He was a piece of shit."

"He just is," Raven said softly.

"Maybe I just shouldn't come," Clarke said.

"No, come on, you've gotta come," Raven pleaded. "Look, we have to deal with it sometime, right? The three of us? I'm just ready for this to be over. I want us to all be together again." It was so unexpectedly sad, so uncharastically Raven to plead that it softened Clarke up. She sighed deeply.

"I don't know Rae," Clarke started. "I'm not into Finn or polyamory."

"Asshole," Raven laughed. "I'm sending you and O a grocery list, don't take too long."

"Yeah yeah, love you too," Clarke chuckled into the phone before hanging up.

Clarke and Octavia got dressed in relative silence, quickly, because Raven had implied to Octavia that there were very few ingredients in the apartment for her and Bellamy to start with and that the success or failure of Thanksgiving dinner rested solely on how quickly they could make the trip to the supermarket. Clarke's phone buzzed at least four separate times, but she ignored it, assuming it was Raven calling to say they were not moving fast enough.

They took the elevator, sending impressed glances at each other, as if it was by some miracle they had made it out of their room at all. Clarke smiled as they walked out into the windowed entrance hall, colored leaves brightly littering the sidewalk. She would have to sit down here and draw soon, before the trees got too bare. She smiled a little wider at that thought, a renewed interest in art that had almost everything to do with Lexa. Clarke had spoken to Lincoln and only after another three pep talks with Lexa about how life isn't worth wasting, she'd decided. She was going to major in art. Of course, she still had to meet with an advisor and get her portfolio reviewed, so she hadn't told her friends yet.

Clarke and Octavia had wordlessly passed the security desk when someone called her name. "Clarke?" It was a familiar voice, Clarke looked to Octavia for a wild moment, certain her friend must have called her without opening her mouth. "Clarke?" It called again, before Clarke realized she knew exactly who that voice belonged to. She whipped around to the chairs lining the walls and saw her.

"Mom?" Clarke called, mouth hanging open dumbly.

"Would you believe they wouldn't let me up without having you sign me in?" Abby asked, crossing the floor to meet them with a hard clack of heels on tile. "I mean honestly, what if it was an emergency?" Octavia stared scandalously between them as Clarke tried to think of something to say to quell the shock. "And don't pretend you didn't see my calls," she added. It took another moment for Clarke to put that together, the calls she assumed were Raven. She didn't defend herself, though. If she had known it was her mom, she would've ignored them anyway. Despite how well reconnecting with loved ones had gone for Lexa, Clarke wasn't ready to mend anything. She'd been ignoring all contact since Halloween.

"What are you doing here?" Clarke asked, finally.

"Well, seeing as you weren't coming home for Thanksgiving, I thought that I would come to you," Abby said, shrugging.

"I have plans," Clarke said.

"Change them," Abby commanded.

"I don't want to," Clarke said quietly. Dealing with her mom when she was miles away was one thing. It was easy, out of sight, out of mind. She could pretend her mom was a stranger, someone who didn't deserve respect or common courtesy. But this- here, was entirely different. Her mom was standing in front of her, and she looked exactly as Clarke remembered her, same important eyes, always looking a little tired, same straight back and kind smile. Even her hair was the same. Clarke suddenly felt sick.

"Hi, Ms. Griffin," Octavia said, as if she was interrupting a teacher. Abby looked over to her and smiled.

"Octavia," Abby said warmly. It seemed wrong. Abby Griffin was not warm. She was cold and distant and unloving-

"We were just on our way to pick up some things from the supermarket, we're all having dinner over Raven's tonight," Octavia said. Abby seemed to consider this for a moment.

"I'll give you a ride, then," Abby said, smiling between them.

"No, we don't need-" Clarke started.

"What are you going to do, carry it all?" Abby asked. She had a point.

"That would be awesome, actually," Octavia said. "Raven's already rushing us as it is.”

Clarke glared at her friend who shrugged innocently. "Fine." They followed Abby out to where she had parked in the lot, approaching a shiny black Mercedes she clicked to unlock. "New car?" Clarke asked tersely.

"If you would ever answer my calls I could've told you about it," Abby said. Octavia sniggered at her, Clarke groaned. This was going to be a long trip.

 

 


 

The supermarket was a nightmare, despite Raven's insistence it would be empty because everyone would've gone home for the holiday. Clarke, Octavia and Abby had pushed through aisle after overcrowded aisle collecting things Raven deemed absolutely crucial for a Thanksgiving dinner, until they emerged an hour and a half later. The aggressive holiday shopping environment didn't improve Clarke's mood at all. If fact, by the time they had reached the car to load it with bags, Clarke was practically fuming, because her mom had insisted in paying for all of it, despite her protests.

In the car, Octavia hummed lightly along to the radio, occasionally pointing out a turn before Clarke could correct her.

"Sorry," Octavia said, scrunching up her face. "I really thought I had it that time." Abby chuckled, apparently unphased that they had returned to the same intersection for the third time.

"So Clarke, what do you think about me and you getting a cup of coffee before you have your dinner? I don't mind giving you a ride back," Abby asked.

Clarke couldn't think of any objections that weren't disrespectful. "I don't drink coffee," Clarke said dully.

"You don't? I'm sure I remember you going to that coffee shop on Maple street every day when you were home," Abby said. Octavia giggled, but whether it was because Clarke was caught, or because she was remembering the story Clarke had told them about visiting the coffee shop because of a girl who worked there, she didn't know.

"Fine," Clarke grumbled, defeated.

Octavia called Raven and Bellamy out to help with the bags once they finally arrived at the apartment. "Momma G? Oh man, what're you doing here?" Raven grinned.

"I came to have thanksgiving with Clarke," Abby smiled. "How's school? You doing alright?"

"Kicking ass as always," Raven laughed. Neither of them noticed Clarke glaring at them.

It only took one trip for the five of them to unload the car completely, mostly due to Bellamy's refusal to make more than one. Clarke felt like tripping him when she saw no less than eight bags hanging off of each of his arms.

"I won't keep her too long," Abby smiled to Clarke's friends before the two of them descended the stairs to the car once again. This time, there was an obvious shift to the air between them, and it was obvious that they were finally alone.

They probably could've talked in the car, since it was clear that's what Abby had actually come to do. Clarke assumed that she suggested a coffee shop for the sake of minimizing the hysterics. It was dark by the time they sat down with their drinks. Clarke had picked a table by the window, determined to stare out of it instead of talking.

Clarke's phone vibrated. Quickly she checked it, a text from Lexa saying 'Just talk to her.' She had sent (and subsequently been embarrassed about) Lexa a text while they were in the supermarket, asking her for help. She should've known Lexa wouldn't have wasted time telling her what she wanted to hear. Clarke glanced over at her mom, who was looking curiously around the shop. She didn't look evil, or cold, or like any of the bad things Clarke had been telling herself she was. She trusted Lexa. She knew her mom. Finally Clarke sighed, getting her mom’s attention.

"So," Clarke said. "Where should we start?"

 


 

 

The lights were off and the door was locked when she had arrived back at Raven's. "Ha ha, very funny-" Clarke called as she pounded on the door. She grabbed her phone, and called Raven. It rang for what seemed like too long before it went to voicemail. She tried again, for the same result. Then she tried Octavia, who didn't answer her phone, either. She called Bellamy, no answer. Monty, nothing. Jasper, nope. "What the fuck, guys?" Clarke yelled. This was going on for too long to be a joke. Clarke trudged back to her mom's car, she'd apparently been waiting for her to get inside before leaving.

"What's the matter?" Abby frowned.

"No one's home," Clarke said. Even as the words came out, they didn't feel right. Her phone rang, it was Raven. With a sigh of relief, Clarke answered it. "I'm outside you jerks. So not funny-"

"Clarke listen-" Raven said quickly. The urgency in her voice made the weird feeling come back immediately. "Some bad shit went down, there were drugs and booze and- we're all being detained right now-"

"What?!" Clarke exclaimed. "What the fuck? Where are you? Why aren't you home?"

"Monty and Jasper needed help bringing some of their food, so we all went to meet them back at your dorm- and-" A loud, indistinguishable sound of voices drowned her out. "Can you guys shut the fuck up for two fucking seconds?" Raven snapped, to someone Clarke couldn't see. "We all came over here and Finn was fucked up, he started making a bunch of noise- and- asking what floor you lived on-" Raven choked out. "And fucking Jasper's high ass told him it was the sixth- then we were all trying to stop him but- Lexa caught us."

Clarke blinked hard, trying to absorb all of the information. "What do you mean, she caught you?"

"She caught us, Clarke. She turned us in," Raven said. Clarke wasn't sure when her heart had started pounding, but now it had gotten so hard it almost hurt. "They've got us all held in the fucking mailroom- I don't know if they're waiting on the campus police or something, but you've gotta do something-"

"I'm on my way, okay?" Clarke said, trying to sound calm for her friend. She hung up. "I need to get back to my dorm." Clarke said as her mom examined her. She threw herself into the car, and sensing the urgency, Abby took off. Four minutes later, they were outside of the building. Clarke offered her mom a rushed thanks before she sprinted into the building.

Peering through the window of the mailroom door, Clarke could see her friends, all of of them looking very concerned as they were spoken to by a man Clarke recognized as Lexa's boss. "Fuck," she said out loud. She was hoping just to let them out. There was only one other option. In one stride she crossed the hall to the elevators, jabbing the up button.

"What the fuck did you do?" Clarke stormed into Lexa's room, not bothering to knock. Lexa hardly moved, apparently completely unphased by the sudden intrusion. She glanced up from her textbook and calmly shut it, standing up from her bed.

"What do you mean?" Lexa asked, brow furrowed slightly.

"To my friends! What the fuck did you do?" Clarke yelled, stepping closer to her. She looked up to meet her eyes defiantly. Lexa frowned, but only slightly.

"Rules are rules, Clarke. When you break them, you risk facing consequences," Lexa said.

"That's bullshit and you know it!" Clarke shouted.

"That's life," Lexa said flatly. "Your friends are adults. They can make their own decisions, and they certainly don't need you standing up for them."

"Apparently they do, because you won't!" Clarke snarled.

"What did you want me to do, Clarke?" Lexa sighed.

"You could've just left them alone!" Clarke said.

"You weren't here, you didn't hear the noise they were making," Lexa said.

"You sold my friends out because they were too loud for you? Are you fucking kidding me?" Clarke yelled.

"Am I supposed to just pretend it isn't happening?" Lexa shouted back, clearly insulted. "They were drunk, they were high, they were carrying trays full of pot brownies as they went screaming through the halls trying to break your door down! How was I supposed to turn a blind eye to that, Clarke? I can't protect them."

"You protect me," Clarke said quietly. For a moment, Clarke swore Lexa's gaze softened. It must have been a trick of the light, because a second later her teeth ground together, jaw set.

"I know you," Lexa said, emotionless.

"You know them, too," Clarke pleaded.

"I don't. Not really," Lexa said. Her gaze tore through Clarke. She felt vulnerable, powerless, and invisible.

"Lexa. Please," Clarke begged. Lexa's expression did not change.

"I'm sorry, Clarke," Lexa said. But her voice didn't sound sorry. She sounded like she was tired of the conversation and was looking for Clarke to shut up and leave, it sounded like how she used to dismiss her. Weren't they past all of that? They were friends now. They knew each other now. It made Clarke furious.

"You're sorry? That's it?" She snapped. "They could get kicked out of school! You could've ruined their lives!"

"They shouldn't have broken the rules if they weren't prepared to accept the consequences," Lexa said. She continued to look past Clarke, through her. It made her want to scream.

"I've broken rules too!" Clarke shouted.

"Keep your voice down," Lexa snapped.

"I have! I get drunk in my room all the time and you know it!" Clarke shouted, punctuating with violent pointing.

"Clarke," Lexa said, another warning.

"You probably do too!" She yelled.

"Enough," Lexa growled.

"No! You can't make me keep quiet about this! It's bullshit!" Clarke huffed, beginning to pace. She could hardly even look at Lexa now, her head hurt from clenching her jaw and her heart pounded so loud she was certain that Lexa could hear it.

"They shouldn't have been parading around with it," Lexa said. She didn't yell, but she might as well have. Her tone was sharp and aggressive, almost shaky, betraying more emotion than her face would. "They were testing me!" Lexa growled, eyes widening in surprise at her own aggression. She stilled herself for a moment as Clarke watched, taking a few deep breaths. "I have a job to do here, Clarke. Don't you understand that? This is my job . It's not just some co-ed free for all, I can't just make exceptions for everyone you deem worthy."

"No one is worthy enough for you," Clarke snapped back, chest heaving as she stared into Lexa's eyes. This time, she was sure they softened. She looked almost pained, and it made Clarke's stomach lurch.

"You are," Lexa said softly. Clarke immediately stopped moving. She stared back at Lexa who swallowed hard, eyes darting quickly around Clarke's face. They both moved to speak at the same time, and both immediately closed their mouths when they saw the other open. As quickly as the softness came, it was gone, and Lexa was stone once more. She took a step toward Clarke, raising her hand. Clarke was sure she was going to slap her. She winced, bracing for impact, but instead, she felt the hand wrap into her hair. Before she could process, Lexa's lips were pressed against her own, hot and soft. Her breath on Clarke's lips like a drop of ink in water, swiftly spilling warmth in intricate waves over her. In a haze, Clarke ignored the warning signs of stinging nervous fingers and rational thought until a sudden cool air shocked her into opening her eyes. Lexa was staring at her, intense and uncertain. It felt like hours that they stood, faces nearly pressed together, neither girl with enough sense or courage to move. Clarke's hands shook, stinging with pins and needles as she opened her mouth to speak. She wanted to scream, to yell, to do anything other than stand in emotional limbo with a girl who she dreamt of kissing of the better part of three months. But just as she consciously thought back away , she raised both hands and wrapped them around the back of Lexa's neck, pulling her back in. Clarke kissed her so hard she almost hoped Lexa would suffocate. Anything to end the conflict waging war on her conscience. She hated how good it felt, to finally have Lexa's lips against her own, moving desperately, hungrily, as if Lexa had been waiting for this, too. She held Clarke by the waist, pulling her roughly so that their bodies pressed together. Clarke nearly moaned at that action alone, never would she have imagined that the day would come that Lexa would be desperate for her .

Suddenly it clicked, she remembered her friends, their fate in the balance, and her stomach churned again. "Fuck!" Clarke growled. She pushed Lexa back by her shoulders, a sudden need to escape. "Fuck!" Her chest was tight, every breath labored and painful.

"What?" Lexa asked quietly. Her normally light eyes were dark and narrowed, calculating.

" What ? Seriously ?" Clarke yelled. "Fuck. I can't do this with you right now!"

"Clarke," Lexa said. It sounded like a warning, which made Clarke even more furious. She felt like pacing again, trying to think of a solution and keep her gaze off of Lexa, to solve the problem and not get caught up. "Clarke," Lexa said again, reaching out to wrap a long hand around her wrist. Clarke couldn't help but look at her then, eyes rounder and wider than she could've ever imagined. It took all of her self restraint not to grab Lexa by the face right then and shove her down to the bed. The obvious concern shook her. In this situation, she could deal with cold Lexa, she knew that. A Lexa who cared could only mean certain disaster. At once, it gave her an idea.

"I'm gonna turn myself in," Clarke said, wildly. It was perfect. Completely perfect. There was no way Lexa could deny her now.

"Don't be stupid," Lexa said. Her expression was caught somewhere between compassion and disregard. Eyes still round, body stiffened.

"I'm not! I'm accepting the consequences of my actions," Clarke said through gritted teeth, raising her chin.

"No, you're being ridiculous," Lexa said, shifting completely back to feigned indifference.

"I was a part of it, too. I deserve to be punished like the rest of them," Clarke gave an exaggerated shrug.

"You weren't a part of it. You weren't even there," Lexa said.

"I guess you'll have to tell your boss or whoever the fuck is in charge of the punishments that," Clarke challenged. "Since you're so honorable."

"You're making a mistake, Clarke," Lexa said gravely.

"So fix it," Clarke asked, voice coming out a desperate whisper. She quickly wondered how she was back to begging.

"Is that what you think I am?" Lexa nearly laughed. The sound was strange, coming with such a vicious glare. "The be all end all? Someone to wait around and fix every problem you create?"

"I thought we were friends," Clarke said softly. She hoped that maybe, just maybe she could catch Lexa care again, for her to soften just a little.

"No," Lexa said, standing straighter and taller, chest puffed. "What you thought, was that I could be your free pass. That you could do whatever you want and I would be there to divert the attention. To excuse you."

"That's not true," Clarke frowned.

"Thank you for making that clear," Lexa said with a curt nod.

"If you care about me at all," Clarke pleaded. "Please, please stop this." Her voice was quiet and soft, interrupted by two hard knocks on the door behind her.

Lexa looked passed Clarke, as if she could see through walls. "Come in," she called, sounding almost relieved. Clarke could hear the door open, she panicked, knowing her opportunity was ending. She caught Lexa's eye for a second, again pleading, but it was ignored. "Goodbye Clarke," Lexa said sternly.

Clarke's eyes stung, she knew what was coming. Quickly she spun around, ready to escape the hopelessness in front of her and collided directly into a solid figure.

"Clarke," it was Lincoln, she could tell by his voice, but she didn't dare look up. She couldn't let Lexa have the satisfaction of seeing the tears streaming down her face. She took a deep breath to still her voice. "Do something," she pleaded before slipping past him and out the door.

 

Chapter Text

Clarke did her best to still her breathing, pressing hard at her eyes with the backs of her hands. She couldn't do this right now. Not while her friends were still in trouble. Her hands shook as she pressed the button to call the elevator, trying hard to ignore the lingering feeling of Lexa's hands on her waist, her breath on her lips. How did it all go so fucking wrong? The elevator opened with a soft ding. Clarke took a deep breath and entered, stilling her nerves. She was going to fix this.

Clarke could hear quiet voices as soon as the doors opened to the lobby. A few feet from her, near the mailroom door, a sharp looking blonde woman was apparently very upset with Lexa's boss.

"You told me she was being lenient, Roan," the woman said angrily.

"She is! I swear!" Roan defended, his palms up.

"Does that look like leniency to you?" She growled, jabbing toward the mailroom.

"I have proof! There's a girl who says she's been complaining to Lexa all semester about the noise from 614, but I checked and Lexa never filed any reports about it-" As if Clarke wasn't already guilty, this revelation nearly made her sick. Lexa had been keeping her from getting in trouble all semester.

"Those kids are from 614 you imbecile," she snapped. "Your information is outdated and useless."

"No, only one of them is. There's this blonde girl that I've seen Lexa talking to, I think that she's-" Roan trailed off as a group of students entered loudly, tossing a football. Immediately, he noticed Clarke, looking almost alarmed. The woman followed his gaze to where Clarke stood.

"Can I help you?" She asked, visibly irritated.

"I think so," Clarke said, taking another breath as she stepped toward them. "I live in room 614," Clarke said. If looks could kill, Roan would've been buried by the glare the woman gave him. "And this is all just one big misunderstanding."

 

The tension in the mailroom was palpable. Clarke had entered and joined her friends, having been told she'd had to plead her case with the dean of discipline. Finn sat in one corner of the room with his head in his hands, quietly rocking himself back and forth. He hadn't even looked up when Clarke came in. Bellamy sat not too far away along the wall, looking completely bewildered with an arm slung over Octavia's shoulders. Monty and Jasper were in the middle of the floor, lying on their backs, and Raven had secluded herself to the far corner. Clarke could only bring herself to stand close to the door. With each passing moment, she felt closer to crying. How could it have all gone so wrong?

"So I guess she turned on you, too, huh?" Raven called bitterly from across the room. Clarke had no idea what to say to that. Lexa hadn't 'turned on her', she just didn't help. She was doing her job. Involuntarily, Clarke let out a dry sob. If Lexa didn't betray her, then why did all of this hurt so much?

"Are you kidding me?" Octavia snapped at Raven, shrugging her brother's arm away as she got to her feet. She joined Clarke against the wall, giving her a sympathetic rub on the shoulder.

"What?" Raven asked in the same bitter tone.

"You're the one who invited him!" Octavia snapped, pointing an accusing finger at Finn, even though it was obvious who she meant. He didn't look up.

"Oh," Raven chuckled darkly as she stood. "So you're saying this is my fault?" She asked, slowly crossing the room.

"He shouldn't have been here," Clarke said quietly, trying to still her breaths. "You should know he can't control himself."

"He said he was over it! Everything was finally going alright!" Raven shouted, glancing over to where Finn still sat, yet to acknowledge the conversation going on about him.

"And you believed him?" Clarke asked. Octavia cocked an eyebrow as if to concur.

"Yeah," Raven breathed. "I did," she frowned, glancing over to Finn again.

"Why?" Octavia asked.

"I told you, he's important to me," Raven said quietly. She looked down, and Clarke was sure she was fighting back tears.

"But why?" Octavia asked again. Clarke looked at her, almost surprised by her persistence. Raven only let out a ragged breath. "I just don't get it."

"It's not yours to get!" Raven snapped. "Why can't you just trust me on this?"

"Uh, hello! We did trust you! Now look where we are!" Octavia shouted. Clarke flinched from her. It was all too much.

"Can we please just drop it?" Clarke asked quietly, bringing the backs of her hands to her eyes again.

"Lexa didn't have to do this," Raven said. The mention of Lexa made Clarke feel sick. The guilt was crushing. It was all Clarke's fault. It had to be. It was Clarke's fault anyone even knew Lexa. It was Clarke's fault Lexa was upset. It was Clarke's fault her friends were in trouble. Her breaths felt sharp and painful in her chest.

"Hey, it's gonna be fine," Octavia said quietly to Clarke. Clarke stiffened. She had to fix this. She couldn't be breaking down, she was the one who had to fix it. She pressed hard against her eyes until she was sure she could open them without tears welling up.

Raven was back in the far corner of the room, but now Bellamy sat in front of her, talking in intense whispers. Raven was pinching the bridge of her nose, expressions growing more hysterical as Clarke watched until she was sure she saw tears slipping down Raven's cheeks.

Suddenly, the mailroom door opened, nearly colliding with Clarke.

"Oh! Sorry about that!" A short man exclaimed. "Didn't see you there." He was dressed casually, a relaxed pair of jeans and a v-neck shirt, looking much younger than his tired features and graying hair suggested. He walked easily into the center of the room, drawing the attention of everyone. Monty and Jasper sat up. Clarke looked to her friends faces, all of them just as confused as she was. "Alright, so I'm told that you were all having some kind of party in the middle of a sixth floor hallway?" He asked looking around to them. The man must have noticed the general confusion, because he added. "Matthew Gaines, dean of discipline. Let's all just pretend I'm dressed appropriately, I came straight from Thanksgiving dinner with the family."

Clarke felt a pang of guilt. They pulled this man away from his Thanksgiving dinner, not a good start.

"No, we were just looking for someone," Raven said.

"You kids don't seem drunk to me," he said, suddenly scanning the room with squinted eyes.

"I'm not. We're not. Seriously, this whole thing has just been one big misunderstanding," Raven said. Clarke felt guilty again. She should've been the one talking.

The dean examined them all curiously for a moment before laughing. "Look, I'm going to be honest with you all. I hate Thanksgiving, I hate my mother in law, and God do I hate having to listen to her chew. When Nia called me, I was thankful to have a reason to get out of the house," he laughed again. Clarke stared at him in amazement. "Now, I hate Thanksgiving, but, there's nothing more that I love than a good deal on a tv. Black Friday is possibly my favorite day of the year. My wife is on her way to Walmart right now so she can hold our spot. You guys are adults now, right?" He asked. They all nodded. "I get it, I do. It's college, everyone wants to party and have fun. If I had to seriously take action against every kid around here who's ever had a drink, we'd have no one to pay my salary," he laughed again. Clarke could hardly believe what was happening. Could it all really be this easy? "Now, I don't know what happened tonight, and I don't really care. Most of you look sober, so I just want to know- who had the drugs?" he asked seriously.

"I did," Finn said, raising his hand before Monty or Jasper could move to speak.

"Uh huh, well I guess that makes sense," he said, eyeing Finn. "Alright kid, you can wait with me until the police show up. The rest of you can go. But! If I ever have to see any of you kids again, I won't be so forgiving," the dean said. Everyone but Finn stood up, headed toward the door, though Raven lingered.

"The police?" Clarke asked. Finn couldn't go to jail. She couldn't imagine him there. Finn was going to go to jail and it was all her fault.

"Underage drinking is one thing, but once you start carrying around drugs-"

"Pot isn't even completely illegal in this state!" Clarke defended.

"Clarke, what are you doing?" Octavia asked. "He said we can go."

"Roan caught your friend here with several prescriptions that do not belong to him," the dean sighed. "Drug abuse is not something we can overlook."

"He what?" Raven asked, looking down at Finn. He nodded softly back up at her. "Are you fucking kidding me? After I fucking defended you? After I made a complete ass out of myself-" Raven shouted, cut off by Octavia grabbing her by the arm.

"Come on, Rae, we should go-" Octavia said.

"Just expel him!" Clarke said suddenly.

"What?" Raven snapped.

"This isn't just a matter of school rules, this is the law," the dean said.

"So is underage drinking!" Clarke said.

"Would you rather be punished?" the dean chuckled.

"An arrest will ruin his life," Clarke breathed. "Please, he just needs help. He could do a program or something. Expel him if you need to, but please don't have him arrested." Clarke stared at the dean. It looked like he was considering it.

"You all go," he gestured toward the door. "Go on, while I figure out what to do with Mr-"

"Collins," Finn offered quickly.

"Go on," the dean said again. Octavia grabbed both Clarke and Raven by the arm and quickly led them from the room, all the way to the street in front of the dorm. Clarke took in a few gulps of the cool air, wondering how she could possibly feel so breathless.

"What the fuck, Clarke?" Raven rounded on her. "You were supposed to help him! Not get him fucking expelled!"

"I did help him! They were going to arrest him, Rae, jail is way worse than expulsion!" Clarke yelled back.

"This is bullshit!" Raven said, voice breaking.

"He shouldn't have been here in the first place!" Octavia defended.

"I just thought- If I- If he could have friends-" Raven started.

"You!" The sudden voice started the girls, causing them all to jump. To Clarke's shock, it was Anya, stomping toward them with purpose. "What the fuck did you do?" She asked with a finger pointed sharply at Clarke.

"Anya? What are you doing here?" Raven asked.

"Stay out of it Reyes," Anya warned. "What the fuck did you do, blondie?" She asked, now so close to Clarke she could feel her breath.

"Me?" Clarke asked dumbly.

Anya could barely contain her fury. " Me? " She mocked. "Are you serious? You know she told me not to do anything stupid but fuck if it ever stopped her-" Anya took a step up and thrust out her arms, knocking Clarke back.

"What the fuck?" Clarke exclaimed, regaining her balance.

"Hey!" Octavia shouted, quickly jumping to grab Anya by the arm. "What the fuck is your problem?" Anya shoved her off, too.

"It's a shame, me and Lincoln were just getting along again. I don't think he'll forgive me for beating the shit out of his girlfriend-"

"I'd love to see you try," Raven said, stepping directly in front of Anya.

"Who's going to stop me?" Anya asked in a low voice. "You?" Raven didn't answer, but instead stood resolute between them. "Oh, what, like I didn't hear your screaming match just now? You're really going to choose them over me?" Anya asked defiantly, but she added the last part quietly, like she'd prefer the others didn't overhear.

"They're my friends," Raven said.

"Then what am I?" Anya asked. Raven only stared, clearly struggling for words. "You know what? I don't even care. All you fucking small town kids never fight fair." Anya turned and disappeared into the building.

"What the fuck was that about?" Raven asked.

"I think I have an idea," Clarke sighed, trying not to feel guilty again. The three girls stood in silence for a few minutes.

"So, what now?" Octavia asked.

"We go home, I guess," Raven said.

"I can't go back in there," Clarke said quickly.

"What the fuck happened with Lexa?" Raven asked, softly. Clarke could only shake her head, closing her eyes hard against any tears. "You can stay at my place if you need to." Clarke shook her head again. She knew exactly where she needed to go. She took a few steps from her friends and pulled out her phone to make the call.

"Hey, can you come pick me up?" Clarke asked.



 

 

Within a half hour, Clarke was lying sprawled out on the bed in her mom's hotel room. It was surprisingly comfortable, which only invited her to wallow for as long as possible. Abby made herself a coffee, presumably preparing for a long night.

"So are you going to tell me what happened?" Abby asked, bringing her travel mug with her as she sat next Clarke.

"I messed everything up," Clarke said into the duvet.

"And how did you possibly do that?" Abby took a sip of her coffee, and Clarke began to unravel the series of events that led to this awful night, including her crush on Lexa, completely forgetting that she hadn't come out yet. If her mom was surprised, she didn't show it.

"So, you like this girl, the RA?" She asked.

"Yeah," Clarke huffed. "But it doesn't matter now because she'll probably never speak to me again."

"She will. You just need to apologize. If she's as great as you're telling me she is, she'll understand," Abby said, stroking Clarke's back.

"She was the one who told me I should stop being such a bitch to you," Clarke chuckled ironically. "Not in those words, of course. But you weren't there, mom. You didn't see her face. She hates me now."

Abby looked down at her, smirk in the corner of her lips. "Can I let you in on a little secret?" Abby asked. Clarke nodded, half-heartedly.  "You sure? Because I don't think it's something you'll want to hear," Abby said. Clarke groaned, throwing her head back down on the bed.

"I don't see how tonight could get much worse," Clarke said, voice muffled by the comforter.

Abby took a seat by her daughter's legs. "You and I are a lot alike, you know." Clarke groaned. Abby laughed. "We both think that everything is ours to fix. I'm sorry if I passed that down to you," she chuckled. "But you have to learn it's not. Not everything is your problem to fix, Clarke."

"This is, though," Clarke said.

"So fix it. Tomorrow after things have cooled down you'll go apologize to her," Abby said. Clarke nodded.

"What if she doesn't want to talk to me?" Clarke asked.

"She will. I promise," Abby said, smiling at her.




 

 

After a long night of catching up with her mom, a shockingly restful sleep, and a continental breakfast, Clarke decided she was ready as she'd ever be to face Lexa. Her mom dropped her off at the dorm, and she had even given her a hug as they departed. But now, now that she stood facing Lexa's door, she was considerably less certain that this was the right move. Against her better judgement, she knocked, silently hoping Lexa wouldn't be home. Those hopes were dashed immediately as she heard rustling on the other side of the door. It opened slowly.

"Hey," Clarke said, hoping Lexa didn't hear her voice shake. "Can I come in?" Lexa examined her for a moment before widening the door and stepping out of her way. She shut the door behind her. "I just wanted to apologize," Clarke said, holding her own hands together.

"Now that your friends are alright," Lexa said coldly.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Clarke asked.

"You want to apologize, now that there's nothing more important happening. Now that there's no use for me," Lexa said, more forcefully.

"What? No! Lex, it was never like that! I just got caught up in-"

"Right," Lexa said. Her expression was much more severe than Clarke would have imagined. Clarke gaped at her, the familiar sting of tears welling up in her eyes. No. No crying. "Why are you here, Clarke?"

"I told you," Clarke said defiantly. "I came to apologize."

"I'm not interested in an apology," Lexa said.

"What, do you want me to fucking beg?" Clarke asked, voice breaking. "Look, I know I messed up, okay? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-"

"It doesn't matter," Lexa shook her head. "It's just confirmation of what I've been afraid of all along."

"Which is?" Clarke asked.

"We can't be friends," Lexa said coldly.

"Why not?" Clarke asked, note of panic obvious.

"What happens the next time you or one of your friends gets into trouble?" Lexa asked. "Do I look the other way to keep you happy? Or upset you and wait for a half hearted apology?"

"It's not that big of a deal!" Clarke exclaimed.

"To you! You're not the one who's been crucified! You don't have to make hard decisions!" Lexa snapped, a cold fury emanating from the hard lines of her face.

"I-" Clarke stammered.

"Do you know why I am an RA, Clarke?" Lexa asked. Clarke frowned and shook her head. "It's because my scholarship doesn't pay for food. It doesn't pay for books. Not a single simple luxury or added necessity outside of a way to get into classes or a place to sleep," Lexa said. "We can't be friends. Friendship is not more important than what I've been working years for."

"But-" Clarke tried, knowing she must have looked desperate.

"Goodbye, Clarke." Lexa said, finally, reaching for the door.

This was not how it was supposed to go. Everything was wrong again and Lexa was practically shoving her out the door and Clarke was certain her brain short circuited because all she could think to say was- "Are we just going to pretend that you didn't kiss me?" Clarke breathed.

"Right, how could I forget?" Lexa asked, sarcastically. "Remind me, was that before or after you tried to manipulate me?"

"Lexa, I-"

"You what, Clarke? You're sorry?" Lexa gave a hollow laugh. "I should have known better."

"Can't we just-" Clarke pleaded.

"No," Lexa said, holding the door open for her. "Goodbye."

 

Chapter Text

 

It had been a week. An entire week that Clarke had gone since she last spoke to Lexa. Lexa, who up until a week ago, she had spent every single day with. A week, nine hours, and forty seven minutes. Not that Clarke was counting. At the thought, Clarke drug her pencil down hard along the page and snapped off the tip again. Rather than dare to sharpen it, instead, she threw it down in a huff and hoisted herself onto her bed.

"Ooh, are you being a moody artist again?" Octavia asked from the other side of the room. Clarke glared back at her. "Yikes, okay, sorry," Octavia raised her hands in defense. "So, just wondering in a completely normal non-judgemental way, are you planning on studying for finals at all?" She asked. Clarke gave her a look. "I know you're upset and all, but come on, is it really worth ruining the semester over?" Logically, no, it wasn't. Clarke knew that, but she also knew that moping made her feel better. "Come on, Clarke," Octavia said, walking towards her. "I'm going down to Lincoln's to study, you're welcome to come. We actually came up with this system where-"

"O, I'm fine, really," Clarke said. "I'm gonna study, I just-" she sighed. "I just need a break from all the school shit for a little."

"Fine, Octavia sighed. "But if you change your mind you know where to find me." She picked up a few textbooks and left, leaving Clarke alone with the silence in the room.

She tried to take a nap, but couldn't get her thoughts to slow down enough to let her sleep. She was used to feeling like this; tense, distant, but this time it was worse. Everything beyond her room felt too far or too much. She glanced guiltily toward her desk where her textbooks lay unopened. Before she could coax herself into studying, there was a knock at the door.

Clarke buried her head deeper into her pillow, ready to pretend she was asleep once Octavia came through the door. Normally, she would knock first, then look for her key, always complaining things get lost in her bag when Clarke would reprimand her. Strangely, the knocking didn't end after a minute like it usually did. Octavia must have forgotten her key. Clarke sat up, barely containing her annoyance as she crossed the room to open the door.

"Can you please stop leaving without your key?" Clarke huffed into the hallway. Immediately, she realized the person in front of her was not Octavia.

"Hey," Raven said. "Can we talk?" She asked after a beat, frowning into the the crack of the door.

"How did you get up here?" Clarke asked with barely contained contempt. She hadn't forgot about the mailroom. If fact, it's all she had been thinking about. She definitely hadn't forgot Raven's role in all of it.

"We do still have mutual friends, you know," Raven sighed softly, picking at the paint on the doorframe.

"I'm not really in the mood to talk," Clarke said quietly.

"I can do most of the talking," Raven shrugged. Reluctantly, Clarke opened the door, widening it just enough to let Raven pass. "So, you're the final stop on the Raven Reyes apology tour," Raven joked, clapping her hands down awkwardly at her sides.

"Apology tour?" Clarke cocked an eyebrow at her. "I thought Raven Reyes doesn't apologize to anyone ." She said, mocking. She pulled out her and Octavia's desk chairs and turned them to face each other, gesturing for Raven to take one.

"Yeah," Raven sighed as she sat. "Well, as painful it is for me to admit this, I fucked up." The corners of her mouth were turned up, but her eyes lacked any hint of a smile. Clarke didn't smile back.

"Why am I the last stop?" Clarke asked almost accusingly. It was hard not to look at Raven and think about why Thanksgiving was officially her least favorite holiday.

"Because you're the most important," Raven said seriously. "Look, I'm not really good at this kind of thing." She sighed. "You have every right to be pissed at me. I put you in some shitty positions more than once, and I'm sorry," Raven frowned, glancing up at Clarke's unchanged expression. "I never meant to hurt your feelings or make you uncomfortable. I just thought I was doing the right thing, you know? I thought it would all be fine and Finn could just come back and we would all be okay."

"You told me I was more important than he was," Clarke said. Her eyes stung at the thought.

"You were! You are! It's just-" Raven sighed. "Me and Finn, we just have history, you know? Sometimes it gets hard to say no when you owe someone so much. And that's not an excuse, I know, but I just want you to know that it's not you. I didn't mean for any of this shit to happen and I just want to fix it," Raven sighed.

"Rae, me and Finn's relationship aside, I just don't understand how you can defend him when he cheated on you! Shouldn't that have been your first clue that he fucking sucks?" Clarke fumed, nearly standing up from her chair.

"Okay, and that was my problem to work through! That has nothing to do with you!"

"It has everything to do with me! It was me!" Clarke snapped back.

Raven visibly shrunk, taking several deep breaths. "Clarke, I'm trying to apologize here. Please," She frowned.

"Fine," Clarke nodded. "You want to apologize? I want you to tell me what happened with Finn."

"What do you mean?" Raven asked cautiously.

"What happened with Finn that makes you feel like you owe him?" Clarke clarified. Raven visibly stiffened, looking awkwardly between her lap and the door for a few seconds before letting out a deep sigh.

"Look, nothing I say is gonna justify that fact that I was an ass aside from some good old fashioned groveling and some serious pentenance. What happened with Finn doesn't really matter. I still fucked up," Raven frowned.

"I think it does," Clarke said defiantly. "I think you owe me that. I just want to know what could've possibly happened that made you think any of this was okay."

"I didn't think it was okay," Raven defended. "I just thought, I don't know. That I could make it work, I guess," she frowned, picking at her nails.

"Rae," Clarke said.

"Alright, fine" Raven took a deep breath. "I've never told anyone about this shit, because I'm not looking for pity. Okay? I need you to promise me that you're not going to pity me, okay?" Raven pleaded. Clarke eyed her curiously before nodding. "Okay," Raven said, taking another deep breath. "Everyone knows I don't talk to my family. My mom left when I was a kid, and like, whatever, I'm over it, and my dad was a fucking drunk. He was a-" Raven took another breath and stared down into her lap. "He was a piece of shit."

It was amazing how in so few words, Clarke went from wanting to scream at Raven to wanting to put an arm around her. Her voice sounded different. Not like any version of Raven that Clarke had ever met before. It took an excessive amount of willpower just for her to remember she was supposed to be mad.

"He would come home all fucked up-" Raven brought a hand to the bridge of her nose to support her head. Her voice shook. Clarke could see tears dripping slowly into her lap. "And I guess one day putting his fist through the fucking wall just wasn't satisfying anymore," Raven said. She looked up at Clarke, tear stained face twisted into a bitter smile. "So naturally, I mean obviously, the only fucking solution was to put his hands on me," Raven shrugged.

Clarke felt sick. "Rae," She shook her head sympathetically, she wasn't sure she wanted to hear anymore.

"Anyway, when I started dating Finn, we never hung out at my house. He knew my dad was a drunk, but not- you know," Raven breathed. "I had him convinced I was just a fucking klutz," she gave a watery chuckle. "One day we were going to a party, me and Finn, and I just wanted to change my clothes, you know? It was so fucking stupid. It's not like anyone from school would've noticed," she gave a frustrated sigh. "I didn't think my dad would be home yet, it was a Friday and it was right after school. I just-" Raven shook her head.

"Rae, you don't-" Clarke started.

"I didn't realize he was in the house until me and Finn were already in my room," Raven sighed softly. "He came in and dragged me out by my hair, just- fucking screaming and I- Fuck," she huffed, holding her head in her hands. Clarke stared at her friends for a moment, sick and heartbroken. "He was so fucking angry. I thought he was going to kill me," Raven said quietly, choking back a sob. "He was screaming, calling me awful fucking things and he wouldn't let go. Then Finn fought him off, he fought him and told me to run, to get the police. So I did," Raven sighed again. "By the time they showed up, he broke Finn's nose, two of his ribs- I had to beg his parents not to press charges."

"He didn't go to jail?" Clarke asked, dumbfounded.

"I didn't want him to," Raven said quietly, wiping her eyes on her sleeves.

"Why not?" Clarke asked, brow furrowed.

"I couldn't fucking deal with the pity. I already got enough pity as it was, being the daughter of the fucking town drunk. I didn't want people to know," Raven frowned. "It was dumb, but I couldn't take it. Fuck, I still can't. I mean, obviously, right? It's still a secret," she said, sighing deeply. "Anyway, after that, Finn's parents let me stay with them until I graduated. They were the only family I had in the crowd when it came time to get my diploma. They were the people that helped me get into this stupid school."

"Fuck. Rae, I'm so sorry," Clarke said, cringing at how lame it sounded.

"It's not your fault," Raven shrugged.

"No, for- making you, tell me all of it," Clarke breathed. "I'm really sorry."

"Yeah, well, I was bound to tell someone about it someday, I haven't been to therapy in a while. Plus, you know, better you than some unsuspecting bartender, right?" Raven chuckled.

"You really should go to therapy," Clarke said seriously.

"I talk to your mom sometimes," Raven said. If it wasn't for the completely still delivery, Clarke would've thought she was joking.

"Seriously?" Clarke asked.

"Yeah, but you can't be too mad at her for not saying anything. Patient client privilege or whatever," Raven sighed.

"I'm not," Clarke shook her head. "I just- my mom's not a therapist," she said.

"I know," Raven nodded. "She was actually one of the doctors that patched Finn up after the whole thing. I guess I must have looked like a mess because she sat and talked to me a while. After that, she gave me her number, told me I could call whenever. I liked talking to her more than the therapists. She never made me feel like she was analyzing me, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," Clarke nodded. She reached over and grabbed Raven's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. Clarke chuckled suddenly at a memory.

"What?" Raven asked.

"I just thought about the time I first introduced you to my mom," Clarke smiled slightly, shaking her head.

"Right," Raven chuckled. "You asked us how we knew each other and I said that I'd had more than a few visits to the hospital."

"It all makes sense now," Clarke shook her head. "Plus why you never agreed when I'd call her a heartless bitch."

"Yeah, well," Raven shrugged. "She's not."

"I know," Clarke sighed.

"Okay," Raven said, wiping her eyes again as she took a deep breath. "So, I'm ready to prove that I will never betray your trust again. I'm thinking something symbolic like, maybe I have to walk over hot coals or something-"

"Shut up," Clarke laughed, tossing Raven's hand as she moved to wipe her own tears.

"Fine, no hot coals, but I could always-"

"Rae, please just shut up," Clarke chuckled.

"So, are we good?" Raven asked.

"Yes you asshole," Clarke rolled her eyes.

"Fuck yeah, o for six on the apology tour!" Raven said, giving herself a high five. Clarke could only laugh. Raven had way too much enthusiasm for someone whose eyes were rimmed red with tears.

"So who were the other five?" Clarke asked.

"You know, O, Bell, Monty, Jas, basically everyone who suffered through Thanksgiving in the mailroom because of me," Raven shrugged.

"That's four," Clarke said, narrowing her eyes. Raven looked slightly startled.

"Wow, I guess I really am terrible at math. That douche in my trig class was totally right," Raven said awkwardly.

"Who else did you apologize to?" Clarke pressed.

"No one. I miscounted," Raven said.

"You don't miscount." Clarke said obviously.

"It was no one," Raven said.

"Rae."

"Fucking Anya, okay?" Raven huffed. Clarke gave her a look

"So, you guys-" Clarke started, cocking an implying eyebrow.

"She asked me not to say anything," Raven said, hands up in defense.

"Oh my god, are you dating her?" Clarke asked.

"No!" Raven said. "Just- we've been hooking up."

"Holy shit, Rae! When were you gonna tell us?" Clarke asked.

"Uh, ideally never," Raven laughed.

"Why not?" Clarke asked.

"You guys hate each other," Raven said.

"So you didn't think it was worth mentioning that you like girls?" Clarke asked.

"Why? Were you thinking of hitting on me?" Raven teased.

"Shut up," Clarke laughed.

"I don't like girls," Raven shrugged. "I like a girl."

"So, you like her," Clarke smirked.

"Shut up," Raven rolled her eyes.

"How long have you guys been, you know-"

"Fucking?" Raven cut her off. "Uh, well, we met at that nightmare of a Halloween party and we made out a lot there-" A vague memory of Raven making out with someone who had long brown hair came back to Clarke.

"Holy shit, I saw you guys!" Clarke said.

"Thank God you were drunk, huh?" Raven laughed. "But yeah, I had no idea who she was, so you could imagine my complete and total embarrassment when this girl walked into my house the next day with Lincoln and Lexa."

"I knew something weird was going on between you two!"

"Yeah, well, I guess you didn't know that much," Raven teased. "Anyway, more importantly, what's the deal with you and Lexa?"

"There is no deal," Clarke sighed. "She won't talk to me."

"Did you apologize to her?" Raven asked.

"Yeah. Well, I mean, I tried," Clarke frowned. "She was so mad, I could barely get a word in and then when I did I just made it worse." A familiar stinging at the back of her eyes returned.

"Look, Clarke. If there's anything I learned this week, it's that sometimes the only thing you can do to make up is good old fashioned groveling. You can't be worried about how pathetic or dumb you might look. If it's that important, it's worth looking pathetic and dumb for."

"You're right," Clarke said. She checked the time on her phone and stood.

"What are you doing?" Raven asked.

"I have to go on an apology tour of my own," Clarke said. Determined, she crossed the room.

"I don't think it counts as a tour if there's only one stop!" Raven called out to her. If she said anything else it was lost as Clarke's door clicked shut behind her.

She didn't give herself time to overthink or second guess, instead, she knocked on Lexa's door, not needing to consult with the open hours chart to know that she was home.

"It's open," Lexa called from the other side. Clarke walked in, only faltering slightly upon seeing Lexa's less than enthusiastic expression. She was, as always, sitting on her bed, laptop open. The familiarity should've been comforting, but instead, it was awkward. Clarke stopped in the center of the room, a sudden panic when she realized that yet again, she should've planned what to say. "Are you here for something that I can help you with, as your RA?" Lexa asked, sounding bored.

"Yes," Clarke said.

"What's the problem, Clarke?" Lexa sighed. Clarke's heart hurt at hearing Lexa say her name. The last week felt so long.

"I'm having a conflict with another student," Clarke said. "I made a huge mistake and I don't know how to fix it, but I miss her."

"Clarke," Lexa warned, setting her laptop aside.

"Lex, please just listen," Clarke pleaded. Lexa watched her for a moment before giving her an acknowledging nod which Clarke took that to mean continue. "This week has been completely fucking miserable. Everything is shit, and it's worse because I know it's my fault," she breathed. "I never meant to hurt you, and especially not put your job in jeopardy. Ever since we became friends, my whole life has been so much better, school doesn't seem like such a waste of time, fuck, I'm even talking to my mom now because of you," Clarke said seriously. Lexa's expression remained unchanged. "I really fucked up, Lex. I know I did, but I swear I was never trying to manipulate you, I was just freaked out and I acted like a dumb asshole, but I'm ready to do whatever it takes to earn your forgiveness. I don't care about looking dumb or desperate or whatever, because I know that whatever weird thing we have going on is worth something," Clarke said. Lexa looked like she was in pain.

"Clarke," Lexa said quietly.

"And look, I promise, I'll be so quiet, you'll never have to tell me to keep it down even though I like it when you do. And I would never dream of asking you to bend the rules for me and my friends again, I promise. Please, just tell me what I need to do."

Lexa stood up, but only stared for a moment, eyes round, looking wounded. Clarke started back, hands stinging from nerves. Lexa took a deep breath. "I accept your apology," she said, head raised.

"Wait- seriously?" Clarke asked, breathless.

"Yes," Lexa said. Clarke nearly flung herself across the room to Lexa, wrapping her arms around her.

"Lex, fuck, I really missed you and I know that's probably lame but-" Clarke stopped suddenly, noticing Lexa stiffen underneath her. She immediately dropped her arms. "Shit, I'm sorry I was just excited and-"

"Clarke," Lexa said. Clarke looked at her. She swore she could've seen Lexa's lip tremble. "You misunderstood."

"I- what? How?" Clarke panicked.

"I accept your apology," Lexa said. "But I stand by what I said. We can't be friends," Lexa shook her head slightly.

"Why not?" Clarke asked, tears involuntarily welling up. "I promise I can-"

"Clarke," Lexa said again. "Please don't make this harder than it has to be."

"But I-" Clarke started.

"Please," Lexa asked. Clarke swore her eyes looked wet. She swallowed hard and nodded, crushed under the finality of it all.

"I'm sorry," Clarke said softly.

"I know," Lexa nodded. Clarke moved, blinking back her own tears before she turned from Lexa for what was probably the last time.

She was across the hall in seconds, leaning against the inside of her own door for support as a sob heaved through her. Raven was at her side immediately.

"Hey, come on, why don't we go lay in bed," Raven said softly, guiding Clarke across the room. Clarke couldn't speak, she only followed until they were both under one of Clarke's blankets. "Good thing it's only finals week, right?" Raven teased.

 


 

 

After her last exam, Clarke walked alone, bundled up to the cold toward Raven's apartment. Finals went better than she could've expected, due in part to Raven's insistence that Clarke stay at her place for twenty-four seven studying. She knew Raven was just saving her from the awkwardness of potentially running into Lexa, but was thankful nonetheless. They did actually manage to get some studying done.

Clarke's phone rang, she answered it without bothering to see who was calling.

"Wow, that was probably the fastest you've ever answered one of my calls," her mom said from other line.

"Ha ha, good one," Clarke groaned. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I just realized we never went over your plans for break," Abby said.

"Right," Clarke said. "Well, I'll just fly home whenever you can get me a ticket for, I guess."

"The problem is, Marcus and I had planned a trip to Punta Cana for the holidays, before you had decided to speak to me again," Abby said. "I don't mind buying you a ticket to meet us there, though. If you wanted to."

"Gross. I'm never third wheeling you on a romantic vacation again," Clarke said, nearly laughing.

"I thought you might say that," Abby said.

"I guess I'll just come home whenever you guys get back, then," Clarke said.

"Alright, we should be home three days after New Year's. I'll get your ticket for you."

"Thanks mom," Clarke said.

"Alright sweetheart, I love you," Abby said.

"Love you too, bye" Clarke said before hanging up. She turned and changed directions, typing out a text explaining to Raven that she had to stop at home and pick up some things, because she was going to be staying over longer than she thought.

Being back in her room after so many days was strange. It had the air of something abandoned. Clarke knew that in her absence, Octavia had been staying with Lincoln more nights than not.

She reached under the bed for a long forgotten duffle bag, shaking off the dust. Then, she turned her attention to her chest of drawers, haphazardly pulling out clothing and stuffing it away. She always was terrible at packing.

After a few minutes of this, Clarke sighed, looking around her room. She was trying to decide whether or not to pack drawing supplies when there was a knock at the door. Octavia didn't know she was home, so why would she be knocking? Unless it wasn't Octavia. Clarke opened the door cautiously, nearly letting it go once she saw who was standing behind it.

"Lexa?" was all Clarke could manage, shocked by the sudden appearance like she was an apparition. Before Clarke could even register what was happening, Lexa forced her way through the open door and strode purposefully into the center of the room. "Did I do something? Or is this some kind of inspection I don't know about?" Clarke asked, nearly panicked. Lexa turned to her, looking more unhinged than she would've believed possible.

"What kind of sick fuck would write this?" Lexa asked, wildly swinging a book toward Clarke.

"What are you talking about?" Clarke asked, brow furrowed in confusion.

"This fucking book!" Lexa exclaimed, now holding it so Clarke could see clearly; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone . Clarke nearly laughed before she looked up at Lexa's face, genuinely pained.

"You hated it that much?" Clarke frowned.

"You're telling me, that this kid gets abused his entire life by his shitty family, until he finds out he's magic and can get away from them and be happy with people who love and accept him, only to have it be completely ruined because some evil asshole wants to murder him? It's so fucked up!" Lexa huffed, dropping her shoulders.

"Lex, are you drunk?" Clarke asked.

"No, I just- Ugh," Lexa huffed. "It's just bullshit," Lexa's voice broke. Without hesitation, Clarke wrapped her arms around Lexa, running a soothing hand down her back. Lexa drooped, letting Clarke support some of her weight. She buried her face into the crook of Clarke's neck, breath hot. Clarke was sure she could feel the wetness of tears.

"Lex," Clarke murmured, still gently stroking her back. Lexa shifted her position, Clarke dropped her arms, not wanting to make her feel trapped. Lexa looked at her, and Clarke couldn't help but think of how beautiful Lexa looked when she cried, eyes glassy and vulnerable. They looked at each other seriously for a moment, before Lexa took a deep breath, glancing back down at the book she was still holding.

"Do you know what it's like?" Lexa asked. Clarke wasn't sure what she meant, so she stayed quiet, willing herself to keep a relaxed face. "To have a family who doesn't give a fuck if you live or die?" Lexa's voice broke again. "Because you can't express the gravity of that in a few chapters of a children's book."

"Is that why you don't talk about your family?" Clarke asked quietly.

"They're not worth talking about," Lexa said seriously.

"Lex," Clarke frowned. Without realizing, her hand was on Lexa's cheek, lightly stroking the skin there with her thumb. Lexa glanced down, closing her eyes as she leaned into Clarke's touch, reminding her a little of a cat. When they met eyes, Clarke's stomach dropped, Lexa stared back intensely, openly. When her lips parted, she understood, but still she was shocked when Lexa wrapped a hand into her hair and pulled her close. The kiss was so much different than the last. Not intense and desperate, but slow and deliberate. When they parted Lexa looked at her, nearly through her, like she did the first time she pulled Clarke in for a kiss. Staring, waiting. Again, Clarke looked back at her in complete confusion. What the fuck was happening? How could she say that they couldn't be friends and then show up like this? It was confusing and painful but Clarke couldn't voice any of these concerns. She didn't try. If this was what Lexa wanted from her, she would give it to her.

She answered the stare quickly, sharply, pulling Lexa back toward her so hard that they stumbled, hands around each other's necks until Clarke's back was pressed against the frame of Octavia's bed. She was sure she couldn't breathe, that she might never breathe again, but what was the point in worrying about air anymore? Lexa's lips were soft, breath hot and heavy. She dug her fingers into Clarke's waist recklessly, maybe not meaning to. Clarke made an involuntary sound at the action and Lexa immediately pulled back, staring at Clarke intently.

"What?" Clarke whispered, not wanting to disturb the air. "What's wrong?"

"I can't- I have to go," Lexa swallowed.

"Are you kidding me?" Clarke asked, an edge to her voice. Lexa dropped her hands, but didn't back away. "What the fuck, Lex?"

"I shouldn't be here," Lexa shook her head.

"So then what the fuck is this? Some kind of fucked up revenge plot?" Clarke asked. She didn't know when she had come so close to crying but her voice was suddenly as shaky as her hands. Lexa didn't respond, but made her way to the door. Clarke followed her. "Can you please just fucking say something?" Clarke begged as Lexa moved to twist the doorknob. "That this isn't just you fucking with my emotions for fun-"

"Clarke," Lexa cut her off. She looked down, taking a deep breath. "We can't be friends."

Clarke might have started crying before the door shut, but she wasn't sure. The only thing she knew was that she was left alone in her room, yet again.



Chapter Text

Clarke had spent the last week in the comfort of Raven's near empty apartment. Bellamy and Octavia had gone home together for break, and Raven was nice enough to pretend to invite Clarke to stay and keep her company.

She liked it at Raven's. There was a large window in the living room that faced the street, during the day she would sit on the arm of the couch and look out, sometimes drawing, often people watching. It was quiet without Bellamy there to bring in friends, too. At night when she and Raven would curl up on the couch to watch netflix, it almost felt like she was supposed to be there, rather than that she was avoiding her own place.

Clarke sat on the couch, Raven on an armchair across from her, sipping coffee from a mug. It had been a relaxing Saturday so far, the pair of them woke up at a respectable ten thirty am to watch the Harry Potter movies from the beginning.

"See, now this is so dumb," Clarke pointed at the tv. "First of all, who decided that they were all gonna wear muggle clothes around school suddenly?" Clarke asked. "And secondly, why did they make Hermione wonder what her hair looked like from the back? That's so not Hermione." Clarke glanced to Raven for back up.

"Preaching to the choir, kid," Raven chuckled.

"It's like the director didn't give a shit," Clarke sighed.

"He probably didn't," Raven shrugged. Clarke watched as Raven checked her phone, looking slightly alarmed. "So uh, as much as I like you hiding out here, I kinda need you to take off for a few hours." Raven said.

"Booty call?" Clarke asked.

"You know it," Raven smirked.

"How is the demon these days?" Clarke asked.

"Oh come on, she's not that bad," Raven said.

"Uh, did you forget that time she tried to fight us? Because I didn't," Clarke said.

"She apologized for that," Raven said.

"Not to me!" Clarke said. Raven laughed.

"Well, you'll just have to take my word for it," Raven shrugged.

"To be fair, you don't have a great track record of vouching for people," Clarke shrugged.

"Yikes, true," Raven pulled her lips back, miming pain. "No but really you should probably go because she's supposed to be here any minute."

"Why did you wait until now to tell me?" Clarke asked.

"Would you believe I didn't want to be alone?" Raven asked. Clarke rolled her eyes.

"It's fine," Clarke sighed as she stood from the couch. "I should probably head back to my room anyway. It's inspections week. Gotta make sure there's no contraband lying around," Clarke said as she disappeared into Raven's room to change out of her sweatpants.

"Don't you just love living in the dorms?" Raven teased.

"As soon as next semester ends I'm out of there," Clarke shouted loud enough so Raven could hear. "No more inspections or dumb alcohol rules or temperamental RA's-" Clarke stopped short hearing a violent knock on the door. "Shit," she muttered, grabbing her shoes and pulling them on. Raven had already opened the door by the time she returned to the living room. Anya looked just as intense as ever, standing stiffly near the door.

"Uh, hey," Clarke said awkwardly.

"Clarke," Anya nodded curtly.

"Sorry, I'm leaving," Clarke said.

"An, you can go to the room, I'll be in in a second, just gonna lock up behind her," Raven said. Without a word, Anya walked down the hall and out of sight.

"That was, weirdly civil?" Clarke said quietly.

"I'm telling you, she's not as bad as you think," Raven shrugged.

"Just text me when you're done," Clarke said, stepping out onto the porch.

"You got it," Raven smiled as she shut the door behind her.

 


 

The walk back to her dorm felt longer than usual, due in part to the emptiness of the campus. There were no almost no other students to keep pace with.

Clarke was surprised to find that Octavia had cleaned her side of the room, normally littered with clothes from the outfit changes she managed to make three times a day. Clarke picked one of her own shirts up, frowning at the state of her half of the room. The drawers were half open, clothes spilling out of them from the last time she was here. She hadn't realized how rushed her last pack job was. Clarke picked the remaining clothes up from the floor, stuffing them haphazardly into the drawers before shutting them. She glanced around the room, observing how quickly it went from disastrous to clear. Clarke looked at her phone and groaned. It had only been twenty five minutes since she'd left Raven's. She moved to lift herself up onto her bed when she noticed Octavia's bluetooth speaker. She grabbed it and connected it to her phone without much thought, setting it down on her desk as she picked out music to play. She had settled on a playlist of today's hits, when she remembered there was a bottle of vodka tucked into her bottom drawer. Who knew how long Raven would be? Getting drunk seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to wait it out.

Clarke took the bottle from its hiding place, sloppily filling an empty water bottle with it's contents before tucking it back under a pile of folded clothes. She took a long swig of the water bottle, coughing hard as the vodka burned her throat. "Shit," Clarke muttered, holding her throat. It might've burned, but at least she didn't gag, so Clarke decided to take another sip. Maybe waiting it out wouldn't be so bad.

Clarke wasn't sure how much time had passed when she started toying with the idea of knocking on Lexa's door. She was still sober enough to know it was a bad idea, but she couldn't shake it. What was Lexa's problem, anyway? It had been a week since she came over crying and Clarke hadn't seen or heard from her since. Was it because she had been at Raven's? Did Lexa knock while Clarke was away? Why didn't she say anything? The song transitioned to another, and Clarke got an idea. She twisted the volume knob on the speaker three fourths of the way over, flinching a little at how loud it suddenly was. She took another swig of the now half empty bottle of vodka and sat back in her chair, waiting.

Two songs went by until the knock Clarke was expecting came. She stood slowly, straightening herself out and fixing her hair before she opened the door.

"Clarke," Lexa said sternly. She tried to suppress the little thrill of hearing Lexa say her name.

"Lex," Clarke tried to imitate her tone, but accidentally laughed.

"I swore I could remember you promising to keep it down," Lexa drawled.

"That offer was for my friend," Clarke shrugged. She tried not to look as proud as she felt for sounding so disaffected. Plus, it was true, Clarke had promised to keep quiet so she wouldn't put her friend in any situations. Lexa didn't want to be friends, Clarke remembered her saying so all too well.

"Turn the music down," Lexa commanded. Her voice lacked any kind of playfulness it might've held in the past.

"It's the middle of the day on a Saturday and classes are over," Clarke said. "There are like no people here, who even cares?"

"I do," Lexa said. Clarke rolled her eyes. "Three minutes until I come turn it off myself."

"Whatever," Clarke said as she shut the door behind her. She walked over to her desk and put extra force behind twisting the knob on the speakers to its end. The upbeat pop music blasted through the room. Sure, it was only a matter of time before someone actually complained, but Clarke reviled in the fact that a few feet away Lexa was probably fuming.

The song had hardly ended before Clarke heard pounding at the door. She sighed aloud. "Yeah, yeah, I'm turning it down," Clarke shouted as she lowered the volume. The pounding on the door did not cease. Clarke crossed the room, stumbling a little and flung it open. "I turned it down, what do you want?" Clarke huffed. Lexa didn't respond, instead she stormed passed Clarke into the room. "What the fuck?" Clarke shouted. "I have fucking rights, you know. You can't just come barging in here like-" Lexa reached Clarke's desk, grabbed the speaker and whipped around. "What are you doing?" Clarke asked, brow furrowed.

"Confiscating this," Lexa said plainly, holding out the speaker as evidence.

"You can't do that," Clarke panicked.

"I am doing it," Lexa said, passing Clarke again on her way out the door.

"It's not even mine, it's Octavia's." Clarke wasted no time following her out and across the hall. She stepped into Lexa's doorway, catching the nearly shut door with her foot.

"You should've thought about that before you caused a scene," Lexa said with barely contained fury. The door clicked shut heavily behind Clarke as she strode up to Lexa.

"I turned it down!" Clarke defended, taking a step toward her RA. The speaker was still in Lexa's hand. If she could just grab it-

"After you turned it up!" Lexa growled.

"Can I just have it back?" Clarke asked. "I don't think you're allowed to do this-"

"What I can and can't do is not for you to decide, Clarke," Lexa snapped. She set the speaker down on her bed, watching as Clarke eyed it. "You can't have it back," Lexa said, crossing her arms. Clarke reached towards the speaker experimentally. Lexa caught her by the wrist. "You need to leave," Lexa said.

"I will as soon as you give me my speaker back," Clarke said. She took another step towards the bed, Lexa strained her body against the movement like a human shield.

"I thought it was Octavia's," Lexa said sarcastically.

"Let go of me," Clarke groaned as Lexa caught her other wrist.

"Leave," Lexa said.

"How am I supposed to leave if you won't let go of me?" Clarke asked.

"Clarke," Lexa said. Clarke looked at her, realizing suddenly that she was close enough to feel Lexa's breath. Her chest was against Lexa's, whose legs were spread to keep her balance against the bed frame. Lexa had Clarke's wrists gripped so tightly she swore they were bruising. Clarke hated herself for thinking about how hot it was. Maybe it was the liquor. It had to be the vodka that would make her think something like that at a time like this. She was supposed to be pissed. Lexa stole her speaker and wouldn't give it back. Lexa said she accepted her apology but they couldn't be friends. Lexa didn't want anything to do with Clarke, but that didn't stop her from showing up unannounced and kiss her. "You broke a rule, this is the consequence," Lexa said.

"How else am I supposed to get your attention?" Clarke asked softly. Lexa let go of her wrists, staring at her in a familiar way.

"You don't need my attention," Lexa said, jaw clenched.

"I want it," Clarke said. Lexa gave a snort of indignation.

"Why?" Lexa asked. "I'm sure there are plenty of other-"

"I want you," Clarke said seriously. Lexa froze, staring intently at Clarke as if she was waiting for her to say more. Without thinking, she grabbed Lexa by the face and pulled her close again, pressing their lips together. It was like a fire, violent and quick. She wrapped a hand into Lexa's hair and pulled down on it hard, tripping them both over in a mess of entangled limbs on to the bed. Lexa's head knocked into the wall with a thud, leaving them half seated, Clarke nearly straddling her waist. "Shit, Lex, I'm sorry-" Clarke started, leaning up from her lap.

"Are you drunk?" Lexa asked in a serious half-whisper.

"What?" Clarke asked dumbly.

"You smell like alcohol," Lexa said.

"I had a drink," Clarke shrugged, hoping Lexa couldn't tell it was a lie.

"Clarke," Lexa said seriously.

"What? I'm fine," Clarke said defensively.

"We're not doing this if you're drunk," Lexa sat up.

"We're not doing anything if you keep talking," Clarke pressed, leaning in to kiss Lexa on the neck. She shuddered underneath her.

"We shouldn't do this," Lexa said quietly. Clarke didn't miss the way her voice shook slightly. Clarke pulled back to look at her, draping her arms over Lexa's shoulders.

"You don't want to?" Clarke asked tentatively. Lexa groaned.

"You're killing me", Lexa breathed.

" I'm killing you ?" Clarke chuckled, tracing a finger down Lexa's jaw. She flinched instinctively, twitching her head like she had caught a chill.

"Yes," Lexa whispered. Clarke leaned back in, bringing her lips to Lexa's soft as a whisper. The heat from her mouth made Clarke shiver. She pulled back slowly, relishing the way Lexa lifted her chin slightly toward her. Clarke put an inch of space between them, looking at Lexa expectantly. "Shit," Lexa breathed.

"You never answered me," Clarke said.

"Hm?" Lexa looked dazed.

"Do you want this?" Clarke asked.

"Of course," Lexa sighed. Clarke smirked and leaned in again. Before she connected their lips again, Lexa spoke. "But we can't."

"Fine," Clarke said flatly. She lifted herself off of Lexa's lap, straightening out as she turned toward the door. She didn't need this. She needed another drink.

"What are you doing?" Lexa asked, sitting up completely.

"Leaving," Clarke said obviously. Her hand was on the door when she heard Lexa stand behind her.

"Clarke, wait," Lexa said. Clarke turned toward her. Lexa stood looking shockingly uncertain. She chewed on the corner of her lip. "Maybe just this once," Lexa said, giving a little nod, like she was giving herself permission.

Clarke stepped back towards her. "Just once?" She asked. Lexa nodded stiffly. They stared at each other for a moment, Clarke tried not to breathe. "I guess I can live with once," Clarke whispered. She grabbed Lexa by the hair with one hand, the other at her throat pulling her close. Lexa's hands were on her before she realized, fingertips digging hard into Clarke's sides. It was too much, too quick, the heat of Lexa's breath, the unusual warmth of her skin. Clarke's head swam, but whether it was from the alcohol or the sensory overload, she didn't know. Lexa raked her nails down Clarke's back unexpectedly. Clarke couldn't fight the moan that escaped her. With more force than she meant, Clarke shoved Lexa down to the bed in a seated position. Lexa hardly had time to register the surprise before Clarke was on top of her, across her waist and kissing hard. Lexa's hands moved quickly, catching Clarke's shirt by the hem and pushing it up along her chest. Clarke pulled away from her slightly, just enough space to allow her to pull the shirt off and away. Clarke wasn't sure where she tossed it, she didn't really care. It was chilly in Lexa's room, she shivered from the new exposure but Lexa's hands were so warm. Clarke didn't think for another second before she reached for Lexa's shirt.

A knock at the door startled them both apart. Before Clarke could open her mouth to speak, Lexa roughly covered it with her hand. Her eyes were wild, it only made Clarke want to pull her back.

"Get under the bed." Lexa said in a heavy whisper. Clarke looked back at her in complete disbelief.

"Are you serious?" She whispered back. Another knock came.

"Just a second." Lexa called toward the door. She turned back to Clarke, intense as she had ever seen. "Under the bed." Lexa commanded, gravely serious before she all but shoved Clarke to the floor. Without time to protest, Clarke slid herself in between the bedframe and the floor, reaching out to pull her discarded shirt with her just in time to see hall light flood the doorway. She couldn't see much other than their feet, the carpet, a pair of familiar looking shoes inches away from Lexa's socks. "What are you doing here?" Lexa asked.

"Am I interrupting something?" It was Anya. Clarke instantly tried to curl herself up as much as possible. She watched as Lexa shifted her weight from one foot to the other. It was obvious she was uncomfortable, even from where Clarke was lying.

"How'd you get in here?" Lexa asked.

"Well, since you've been ignoring all of my pleas to come to the bar, I had Lincoln sign me in so I could make sure you weren't dead," Anya said. Clarke watched her feet move out of the door frame and closer to where she was hidden.

"Not dead," Lexa said dully.

"You're in an even worse mood than I thought," Anya said. "Oh my god, did I stop you in the middle of touching yourself or something?"

"Jesus Christ, An," Lexa snapped.

"I totally did! Look at you, you're all flushed and shit-" Anya laughed. Clarke felt her plop herself down on the bed. The metal springs separating them flexed under the weight. She hoped Anya wouldn't move again, if she sat any closer to where Clarke's head was, her forehead would be scraping metal.

"Anya," Lexa growled.

"Alright, alright, fine," Anya said. "You can finish when I leave, but we have to talk about something." The transition from playful to serious was jarring, especially because Clarke couldn't see what was happening. She squinted, turning to the left, hoping to catch some context clues from the shifting of Lexa's feet across the room. Lexa's slow pacing didn't tell her much.

"What?" Lexa groaned.

"Clarke," Anya said. Clarke instant stiffened under the bed at the sound of her own name. How did Anya know she was here? Did she see her?

"What about her?" Lexa asked, voice noticeably panicked.

"What the fuck are you doing with her?" Anya asked.

"I'm not doing anything with her!" Lexa defended.

"Right," Anya said sarcastically. "So, you're not totally leading her on by showing up in her room and making out with her?"

"How do you even know about that?" Lexa asked.

"So it's true?" Anya asked. Lexa groaned.

"I really don't want to talk about this right now," Lexa said.

"Sucks for you, because we're talking about it," Anya said.

"There's nothing to say," Lexa said stiffly. "And since when do you give a shit about Clarke, anyway? Last I heard you tried to fight her in the parking lot."

"Which, for the record I stand by. But, now whatever weird thing that you guys have is interfering with my life, so I care," Anya said.

"Interfering with your life? How is it-" There was a moment of silence, Clarke knew the face Lexa was making without having to see her. Her brow was furrowed, eyes a little scrunched. She was sure Lexa was connecting dots. "Shit," Lexa said, not seconds later. "You're still sleeping with Raven, huh?" Lexa asked. Lexa knew about Raven and Anya? And she didn't mention anything to Clarke? What the fuck?

"Well, not that it's any of your business, but-" Anya started.

"Oh, so Clarke and I are your business, but you and Raven are none of mine?" Lexa asked accusingly.

"Uh, yeah," Anya said obviously. "Apparently, you're completely unstable and Clarke keeps complaining to Raven who complains to me, and trust me, talking about you is not the best use of her mouth." Anya said. Clarke suppressed the urge to gag out loud.

"Ew," Lexa said.

"What? It's true," Anya said. The springs shifted a little, Clarke could only imagine she was shrugging.

"Are we done talking yet? We could go get a drink-" Lexa said.

"No, we're not done until you tell me what's going on," Anya said. "Trying to tempt me with booze won't help." Lexa groaned again. Clarke had been friends with Lexa for a few months now, and never had she heard Lexa and Anya exchange more than a couple sentences. It was weird to hear them talking like this now, in an almost sisterly way, and it was even weirder to hear Lexa in a conversation where she didn't hold the power.

"Nothing is going on!" Lexa defended.

"So then what was up with the impromptu make out and leave?" Anya asked. Lexa was silent. "Don't give me that face." Clarke pushed her head a little harder against the floor, trying to angle herself to see Lexa's face. It didn't work. "So now suddenly you don't want to talk about it?" Anya said, clearly annoyed. "Christ two weeks ago I couldn't get you to stop talking about her-"

"Anya," Lexa growled. Clarke's heart pounded a little harder, her cheeks burned. It was probably dumb to think that meant there was hope, Lexa could've been saying anything about her, she could've been saying horrible things, but there was something about the way Lexa cut Anya off that said otherwise. It sounded like Lexa could've missed her too.

"Look, I know what this is about," Anya said.

"Oh, you do?" Lexa asked sarcastically. "Do you mind letting me in on my own secret?"

"Costia," Anya said. It was quiet, not as firm as everything else she had said.

"What?" Lexa asked, a brutal edge to her voice.

"You're still not completely over Costia," Anya said, quieter still. "And that's okay, but-"

"How fucking dare you," Lexa said. Clarke flinched at Lexa's tone and it wasn't even directed at her. She watched Lexa's feet get closer to the bed. "How fucking dare you," Lexa repeated, quieter this time.

"Lex, I just want to help," Anya said. If Clarke didn't know that Lexa and Anya were the only other people in the room, she would've sworn someone else said it. The voice sounded nothing like Anya, not defiant and self assured, but soft, delicate.

"You can help by leaving me the fuck alone," Lexa said.

"Come on, Lex," Anya pleaded.

"It's not Costia!" Lexa snapped, stomping back across the room.

"Then what is it?" Anya asked.

"Clarke!" Lexa exclaimed. Clarke flinched again at the sound of her own name, against the instinct to respond.

"Okay, then what about Clarke?" Anya asked, voice regaining it's usual confidence.

"We're nothing. We will always be nothing," Lexa said. Clarke's stomach dropped, her hands felt numb. So much for hope.

"Right, makes sense, I show up unannounced to make out with girls I have nothing with all the time," Anya said sarcastically.

"That was a mistake," Lexa said. Clarke wasn't sure she could feel any worse. The bedframe felt like it was pressing closer. This all had to be some kind of sick joke. Her eyes stung involuntarily. Hiding suddenly didn't seem worth it.

"Lex," Anya said softly. Just as Clarke made the decision to show herself, something strange happened. Anya stood up, springs moving after her and she moved to where Lexa was standing. "Fuck, Lex, I'm sorry," Anya crooned. Clarke could see only a portion of their legs, they faced each other. For a wild moment, Clarke thought they might have been kissing. Then, there was a watery breath.

"I can't do this with her," Lexa said in a small voice, cracking on the last word. She had heard Lexa sound like that only one other time, when she came in a week ago with the Harry Potter book. Suddenly it made sense. Lexa was crying.

"Why not?" Anya asked softly.

"There are so many fucking reasons," Lexa said with a quiet, humorless laugh. Clarke tried to ignore how that stung.

"That just makes it sound like you don't have any," Anya said. Clarke hoped she was right.

"She doesn't care," Lexa said.

"What do you mean?" Anya asked.

"She doesn't fucking care about any of this. She doesn't get how important this stupid fucking job is. How important getting through school is. She doesn't care," Lexa breathed. "And I don't have the time, anyway."

"You had plenty of time for her before you started overthinking all of this shit," Anya said. Lexa said nothing. Clarke shifted uncomfortably under the bed. "Look, I'm about to get kind of emotional for a second, okay? But only because I feel bad for coming here and starting shit." Anya took a deep breath. "I know how easy it is to just shut people out when you think they deserve it. But we can't live like that anymore. This place, it isn't home. These people aren't from the neighborhood. Some of them are actually worth forgiving. You know? Wasn't that the point of leaving? To get away from the bullshit? But here we are, fucking carrying it around with us. I know it's weird, but people around here aren't trying to put us down. I mean, shit, look at Linc, he's all happy and in love and only minimally traumatized," Anya chuckled, and Lexa did too. Clarke wasn't sure what about that was funny, though, she didn't understand most of what Anya was talking about. Anya took a step back from Lexa.

"I can't believe I'm actually getting advice from you that isn't 'suck it up'," Lexa laughed. She didn't sound like she was crying anymore.

"Yeah well, I guess I'm a dumb sap now," Anya said dryly.

"I didn't know you had it in you," Lexa teased.

"Neither did I, thanks, therapy," Anya said.

"You've been going to therapy?" Lexa asked.

"Yeah, did you know at the health center they give you ten free sessions a semester?" Anya asked.

"No, I didn't," Lexa said. "Should I have known that?"

"Probably," Anya chuckled. "Raven told me about it."

"So you two talk," Lexa said. "Outside of sleeping together."

"Shut up," Anya said.

"Are you together?" Lexa asked.

"NO!" Anya shouted.

 

There was a knock at the door. Lexa crossed the room to open it. Clarke could only hope it wasn't someone else she knew. "What's the matter Aiden?" Lexa asked the pair of unfamiliar shoes.

"My roommate is just such a - dick," Aiden said. The boy sounded like he was on the verge of tears.

"What's he doing now?" Lexa asked. Apparently this was a common happening.

"He keeps throwing away all of my books!" Aiden said hysterically. Lexa sighed softly.

"Come on, let's go talk to him together," Lexa said. "An, out."

"Only if you come visit me at work later," Anya said.

"Fine, but I have to handle this. It'll probably take a while," Lexa said. For some reason, Clarke was sure that Lexa meant that last part to be her cue to get out from under the bed. Anya's feet joined them across the room and a moment later the door was shut, they were distant voices in the hall. Clarke slowly shifted out from under the bed, momentarily blinded by the brightness. She spread out the shirt she still had balled up and pulled it over herself. She listened at the door until she was sure the hall was empty and quickly slipped back into her own room. Clarke checked her phone. A text from Raven had gone unread for the last twenty minutes. You can come back now. We still have five movies to get through. It said. Clarke dropped her head against the door, standing there for a moment in the silence before she head out.

 


 

"That is all super fucked up," Raven said from where she sat on the armchair. Clarke had just finished a recount of what happened, a dull headache the reminder of a now fading buzz.

"I'm so fucking tired of this, Rae," Clarke sighed. "Why is she so fucking cold all the time?"

"I don't know, emotional trauma?" Raven chuckled.

"Yeah, but-" Clarke's phone vibrated in her hand, startling her. She forgot that she was holding it. Her heart hammered as she read the name at least three times, it hadn't popped up on her phone in weeks.

"Is that from her?" Raven asked, sitting up on the edge of the chair. Clarke nodded. "Hello! Open it!"

We should probably talk. It read. Clarke nearly snorted. Of course Lexa would find a way to make her feel worse. No thanks. She typed back, hitting send without another thought. "What'd she say?" Raven asked.

"She wants to talk," Clarke shrugged. "I don't care. I'm over it. I can't keep doing this."

"She probably wants to apologize for being an asshole," Raven said.

"Do you know what it's like to hear someone you have feelings for talk about how terrible of a person you are? To have them say there's no chance in hell they'd ever want to be with you?" Clarke asked. "Cause it fucking sucks."

"So you have feelings for her?" Raven asked. Clarke glared at her. "What? I'm just saying, I'm pretty sure that's the first time you've ever admitted it." She shrugged.

"Yeah, well, doesn't matter now, right?" Clarke huffed. "Anyway, Goblet of Fire?" She asked, turning toward the tv. "There's no way we're getting through all of these by morning." Raven stood, popped the dvd into the player and joined Clarke on the couch.

They sat in silence together for a long time, watching the movie. The third task was in full swing when an unknown vibration on the couch startled them both. Raven shifted some blankets around, looking for the offending phone.

"Lexa's calling you," Raven said, having found the phone between two cushions.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"Answer it!" Raven grinned wildly, flinging the phone toward Clarke.

"Wait, shit- Now?" Clarke asked.

"Do it!" Raven shouted, guiding Clarke's hand that held the phone toward her face.

"Uh, hello?" Clarke answered awkwardly.

"Where are you?" Lexa asked, sounding strange.

"I'm at Raven's, why?" Clarke asked.

"I'm here, come open the door," Lexa said.

"What? Here? Like, here, here?" Clarke panicked. Raven tore off of the couch and to the door, swinging it open dramatically. Lexa swayed slightly in the open door frame. Clarke didn't have to get closer to know that she was drunk. "Lex," Clarke started, walking toward her. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to talk," Lexa said smiling strangely.

"How did you even know where I was?" Clarke asked. Lexa giggled.

"Anya might, maybe, possibly have mentioned you've been here," Lexa said.

"Is she with you?" Raven asked.

"No," Lexa laughed. "She told me, don't under any circumstances-" Lexa pointed aggressively, apparently imitating Anya. "Go over there tonight." She laughed again. "What a bitch, right?" Lexa grinned.

"We should take her home, right?" Clarke asked Raven, who grimaced.

"I'll call Anya," Raven said, disappearing to get her phone.

"We'll get you home," Clarke said.

"No," Lexa said. "We need to talk. I came to talk."

"That's probably a better idea when you're sober," Clarke said.

Raven returned. "Anya didn't answer."

"Maybe she's drunk too," Clarke shrugged.

"Wait, shit. Earlier she mentioning having to work tonight. She's probably still there. You wanna haul her home?" Raven asked.

"No, we have to talk. I came to talk," Lexa said.

"Lex, you're drunk," Clarke said.

"Yeah, I know. That's why we have to talk. Cause I get drunk and then I can say things that are hard to say. It's easy like this," Lexa said. "Anya says I'm a pussy. She's probably right," Lexa shrugged, screwing her face up in laughter a second later. "You are what you eat, right?"

There was a sharp yelp to Clarke's left. She looked over to find Raven doubled over, shaking hard with laughter.

"Oh my god," Raven cried. "Holy shit," she straightened halfway, wiping a tear from her eye as she continued to shake. "Holy shit I had no idea you were funny."

"Don't encourage her," Clarke glared.

"Clarke, come on. That was fucking hilarious," Raven defended.

"Can you give us a minute?" Clarke asked.

Raven sighed. "Fine. I'm gonna go smoke. If either of you want to join me, you're welcome to." Raven disappeared into the house.

"So, you want to talk. Let's talk," Clarke said, crossing her arms. It was going to be a long night.



Chapter Text

"Can we sit? I think I need to sit." Lexa said.

Clarke sighed and plopped herself down onto the couch. Lexa followed her lead and nearly dropped herself into Clarke's lap.

"Lex," Clarke said. Lexa laughed, giving her some space as she straightened out.

"Okay, look, you're mad, right?" Lexa asked, waving her hands in a way that looked more spastic than she probably intended.

"Yeah, I'm mad." Clarke said stiffly. Lexa looked at her as if she expected her to keep talking. "Do you even know why I'm mad?" Clarke asked, exasperatedly.

"Because of the whole Anya thing," Lexa said, swinging her hands obviously.

"No, not because of 'the whole Anya thing'," Clarke snapped. Lexa furrowed her brow, drooping forward slightly.

"No? But that was bad, wasn't it?" Lexa asked thoughtfully. "It was bad."

"Why do you think it was bad?" Clarke asked.

"Because we were, you know, in the middle of things and-" Lexa started.

"That was your concern? Not getting off?" Clarke fumed. "Or was it that Anya almost caught you trying to fuck a girl you'll never be with?"

"Wait, no, Clarke, look, that's not what I meant-" Lexa said. She reached out to grab Clarke's hands, but Clarke pulled them back.

"I was there, Lex! I had to listen to you say terrible things about me!" Clarke said. Her eyes stung. She pressed at them hard with the backs of her hands.

"Wait, please, just, shh, for a second. Shh," Lexa said, bringing a finger to her lips. "I just need a second to make the words right because I keep messing them up."

"Because you're drunk! After all the shit I had to deal with today, you decide that a bullshit drunk apology is gonna be enough? I mean fuck, I know I messed up but you've been making me pay for it for fucking weeks, it's bullshit!" Clarke yelled. "And not only that, but fuck who knows if you're even going to remember this tomorrow-"

"Clarke," Lexa said tenderly.

"What?" Clarke groaned.

"I miss you," Lexa said. Clarke nearly groaned again. She pressed her hands hard against her temples.

"You don't get to just say things like that," Clarke sighed.

"I do. I miss you," Lexa said.

"You don't even want to be my friend," Clarke said.

"I can't be your friend," Lexa frowned.

"What the fuck?" Clarke snapped. "This is officially the worst apology in history-"

"You scare me," Lexa said softly.

"What?" Clarke asked, dumbfounded.

"We can't be friends because you scare me," Lexa said.

"Wait but- why?" Clarke asked.

"Every time I see you, I want to kiss you," Lexa said.

"Lex-" Clarke tried in vain to fight her creeping blush with anger.

"And that's scary because I didn't think I would feel like that again. And this probably isn't a good apology but I just wanted to give it to you as soon as I could because I knew you were upset and that I fucked it up," Lexa said.

"You know we need to actually talk, right?" Clarke asked. "Like, sober, I mean."

Lexa nodded. "Tomorrow. I promise tomorrow," she said.

"Are you gonna remember that promise tomorrow?" Clarke chuckled.

"If I don't, you'll remind me," Lexa shrugged. She stood up from the couch, stumbling slightly.

"What are you doing?" Clarke asked.

"Leaving," Lexa said.

"You can't leave," Clarke said.

"Are you kidnapping me?" Lexa laughed.

"No," Clarke said. "But it's late and you're drunk and I don't feel like walking you back to the dorm, so you're gonna stay here."

"No, I can't. I should go home," Lexa shook her head.

"Come on, the sixth floor will be fine without your drunk ass for a night," Clarke said. She pat the space next to her on the couch. "Seriously, Lex. You going home drunk and alone would be more trouble than it's worth," Clarke insisted. "I'll even start the Harry Potter marathon over for you."

"Okay," Lexa said. Clarke got up and switched the movie, before taking a seat back on her spot on the couch. "Do you mind if I sit a little closer?" Lexa asked as she watched Clarke get settled. Clarke sighed, chewing her lip slightly.

"I guess not," Clarke said. Immediately, Lexa shifted, dropping her head into Clarke's lap. "This is not what I meant," Clarke said, trying not to smile back at Lexa, who was grinning, apparently pleased with her con. She turned to face the the tv and Clarke sighed, deciding it wasn't worth the fight.

They sat in silence like that for a while, watching the movie. Clarke fought the urge to recite lines from memory. Harry had just gotten on the Hogwarts Express when Lexa spoke."They really played down the whole child abuse thing, huh?" She asked.

"Downplayed," Clarke said.

"Right, sorry," Lexa said.

"But yeah, it's a kid's movie, so they always do. Kinda like Matilda," Clarke said.

"What's that?" Lexa asked.

"Matilda?" Clarke asked. "You've never seen Matilda? Were you just born fully formed at the age of twenty-one?"

"I wish," Lexa sighed. "I usually just watched whatever my mom was watching."

"Like what?" Clarke asked.

"I don't know," Lexa shrugged. "Scarface. Boyz N The Hood, stuff like that."

"Sounds age appropriate," Clarke said sarcastically.

"My mom wasn't very good," Lexa breathed. She turned to lie flat on Clarke's lap, looking up at her.

"Should you be talking about that kind of stuff when you're drunk?" Clarke asked, frowning.

"When else am I going to talk about it?" Lexa asked.

"I don't know. Sober. Maybe with a therapist," Clarke offered.

Lexa chuckled. "That's what Anya keeps saying too."

"It's probably worth considering," Clarke said.

"I don't want to talk about it sober," Lexa said.

"Why not?" Clarke asked.

"Because it hurts," Lexa said.

"Lex," Clarke frowned. She moved a piece of hair from out of Lexa's face. "You know I worry about you, right?"

"You do?" Lexa asked, brow scrunched up in confusion. "Why?"

"Sometimes I think you're too independent for your own good," Clarke shook her head. "Asking for help doesn't make you weak."

Lexa examined her with glassy eyes, looking very serious. "I missed this," she said.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"You," Lexa said. "Talking to you. Being around you. It makes me feel warm," she said, jabbing a finger towards her chest.

"Lex, stop," Clarke said, trying to ignore the way her stomach flipped. "You're gonna hate yourself for saying that tomorrow."

"But it's true," Lexa said.

"I know," Clarke said softly. Lexa stared up at her for another moment before turning back to the tv.

 


 

 

"Hey, Clarke, raccoon face, time to stop gaying up my couch," Raven called. Clarke opened her eyes slowly, vaguely aware of a weight on her lap. "Good morning princess," Raven smiled sweetly. "Please wake up your lover, she looks like a human disaster." Clarke could only blink to clear her blurred vision, still confused. She tried to shift her legs, but was stopped by what she realized too late was Lexa's head. Lexa's eyes shot open, she sat up quickly before immediately doubling over with her head in her hands.

"Shit," Lexa muttered. "What's happening?" She asked, putting down one hand to look between Clarke and Raven.

"I, am going out for a little while," Raven said. "You guys, I guess can stay here while I'm gone. Or don't, whatever you want to do. I just figured I'd wake you up because it's almost noon."

"Are you kidding me?" Lexa groaned.

"Not all all," Raven said.

"I feel like shit," Lexa said with a hollow chuckle.

"You don't look much better," Raven teased.

Lexa looked at Clarke. "Is it really that bad?"

Clarke grimaced. "The eyeliner," she said, gesturing to where Lexa's makeup had smeared around her eyes. "It is a little raccoon-y."

"You look like roadkill," Raven laughed.

"Wonderful," Lexa said sarcastically.

"Alright, well, I'm off. Don't have sex on my couch," Raven said as she pulled her shoes on

"Rae!" Clarke said, but Raven had already opened the door, shutting it behind her without another word. Clarke turned her attention to Lexa, who was clearly suffering. "I thought you didn't get hangovers?"

"I don't, as long as I'm not drinking on an empty stomach," Lexa said, shaking her head slightly. "I have to get some food." She stood from the couch with some difficulty, scanning the floor for something.

"What are you doing?" Clarke asked.

"Walking to the diner," Lexa said.

"You can't go out without at least washing your face," Clarke said. "Why don't I just order us some food? It doesn't look like you'll survive the walk," she teased.

"Fine," Lexa said begrudgingly.

"You probably should still go wash your face though. I can't take you seriously looking like that," Clarke chuckled. "And we have a lot of serious things to talk about."

"Do we have to?" Lexa groaned.

"You're the one who decided to get hammered and show up here," Clarke shrugged. Lexa groaned and trudged off toward the bathroom. Clarke could hear the water running from behind her. She took a few breaths, trying to fight the sudden knot in her stomach. What's the worst that could happen?

"So, did I do anything stupid?" Lexa asked as she returned. She took sat back down on the couch, leaving an almost excessive space between her and Clarke. "I mean, other than show up here, obviously," Lexa joked, but it fell flat.

Clarke watched her for a moment, looking so guarded and tentative. She almost wished Lexa was still drunk. "You mean aside from trying to give Raven a lapdance and professing your undying love for me?" Clarke teased. Lexa went stark white for a moment before she assessed Clarke's smirk and realized she was joking.

"Not funny," Lexa sighed.

"Man, you really believed me for a second. Glad to know both of those things are within the realm of possibility," Clarke chuckled.

"I don't trust drunk me," Lexa shrugged.

"You shouldn't," Clarke agreed with a knowing smirk.

"Do I even want to know what that's supposed to mean?" Lexa asked.

"Probably not," Clarke said. She grabbed her phone. "What do you want to eat?"

"I don't know. I don't really care," Lexa said pathetically. "Whatever will get here fastest."

"How about burgers?" Clarke asked.

"Burgers sound amazing," Lexa breathed.

With a few more taps on Clarke's screen, their food was on its way. "You wanna watch some more Harry Potter?" Clarke asked. Lexa nodded lightly.

They sat in silence for awhile, watching Chamber of Secrets. A knock on the door announced the arrival of their food.

"Thank god," Lexa muttered.

Clarke answered the door, taking the prepaid food from the delivery man without much interaction. She brought it back to the couch, setting the large brown bag on the coffee table as she emptied its contents. She passed a burger to Lexa who hardly hesitated before immediately taking huge bites. Clarke couldn't help but laugh. "Jesus christ, Lex. You're gonna choke."

"Worth it," Lexa mumbled between bites.

Clarke smirked back at her before giving her attention to her own food. After a few minutes, Clarke set her half-eaten burger down on the table. "Alright, now that there's some food in you, the grace period is over. You've got some serious explaining to do," Clarke said.

"I can't finish my breakfast first?" Lexa asked, gesturing to a pile of french fries.

"Nope," Clarke said.

"Seriously?" Lexa asked.

"Seriously," Clarke said.

Lexa sighed. She reached across the table for a napkin and wiped her hands before settling back onto the couch. "Where do you want me to start?" Lexa asked half-heartedly.

"How about with you when you decided it was a good idea to show up here drunk," Clarke said. Lexa sighed again and grabbed a french fry.

"I was at the bar with Anya and she just kept bullying me to talk to you, so that's when I texted you. I wasn't planning on coming over then, but you know, I got drunk and drunk me got it in her head that if I didn't come talk to you immediately that everything would be ruined," Lexa said, grimacing.

"You mean like it wasn't already ruined?" Clarke asked. Lexa frowned. "Not to mention you topped it all off with the world's shittiest apology."

"I'm sorry," Lexa sighed.

"Yeah, I know," Clarke sighed. In the silence, they both reached for some french fries, crunching quietly. "You did mention something about wanting to kiss me every time you see me, though. Is that true?" She asked.

Lexa's blush was immediate. "Clarke," Lexa shook her head uncomfortably.

"I'll take that as a yes," Clarke smirked.

"So is that all?" Lexa asked, looking intently at her fries.

"Is what all?" Clarke asked.

"Is that all you wanted to know?" Lexa asked.

"You're joking, right?" Clarke asked. Lexa looked up at her, uncertainly. "Not even close. I had to listen to you tell Anya all about how shitty I am, how you'd never be with me, just for you to show up here drunk and apologizing. Not to mention all the hot and cold shit you've been putting me through since thanksgiving. It's bullshit," Clarke said.

"I know. I'm sorry," Lexa frowned.

"Right now, I'm looking for a little less apologizing and a little more explaining," Clarke said.

"There really is no way to justify it, if that's what you're looking for. I'm just an asshole," Lexa sighed, pushing her fries around. "But I really am sorry."

"That's such bullshit, Lex." Clarke breathed. "I wish you were just an asshole, really, I do. I've dealt with so many assholes in my life, it's easy. I know how to deal with them. You're not an asshole. You're doing shitty things, but fundamentally, as a person, I don't think you're an asshole."

"I don't know what else to tell you," Lexa shrugged.

"The truth?" Clarke asked. "Last night you told me you're scared of me, you're scared because you have feelings for me. Is that true?" She asked. Lexa shifted uncomfortably, avoiding Clarke's eyes. "Lex," She said.

"Yes," Lexa said.

"Yes what?" Clarke asked.

"It's true," Lexa said.

"Okay," Clarke said, ignoring the way her stomach twisted. "So, if you have feelings for me, why have you been acting like such a jerk?"

"Because you scare me," Lexa said. "You answered your own question."

"It can't be that simple," Clarke said.

"Why not?" Lexa asked.

"Because you are probably the single most complicated person I've ever met," Clarke chuckled.

Lexa smirked at that. "I don't know where to start," she sighed.

"Anya was saying something about this not being like where you're from, or something?" Clarke asked. "I didn't really get it, but it sounded like a big deal. Why don't you start with that?"

Lexa sighed deeply, looking across the room. "Do I have to?" Lexa asked.

"You don't have to do anything," Clarke said obviously. "But I think I deserve a little bit of explanation, at least."

Lexa nodded again, still looking across the room at nothing. She glanced down at her own lap before her eyes flitted toward Clarke. "Fine," Lexa said. "I'm sure you've probably figured it out by now, but, where I'm from is not a good place."

"What do you mean?" Clarke asked. "I thought DC was nice? It's got all the museums and shit."

"DC is nice, if you have money. Or, if you're visiting. My neighborhood was not a good place. We didn't have money. It was dangerous," Lexa said.

"Okay," Clarke nodded slowly.

"Trusting people was hard. Everyone had motives, none of them were good," Lexa shrugged. "I guess I just haven't gotten used to being away from there yet. It was toxic," she sighed. "After so many years, I guess I just got used to living that way," Lexa looked across the room again.

"What way?" Clarke asked.

"I don't know. Detached, I guess? Not trusting new people. Skeptical. Cynical. Jaded. All the big cliches, really," Lexa said, corners of her mouth upturned. "I never thought I'd be able to get out of there," she added seriously.

"What about school?" Clarke asked.

"What about it?" Lexa asked.

"Didn't you know you were going to college?" Clarke asked.

"You don't understand, Clarke," Lexa sighed. "When you live in a place like that, no one plans for the future. There is no future," she said solemnly. "There was tonight, tomorrow, maybe next weekend, but no one thinks long term. No one in my neighborhood was thinking about college. People were lucky to make it to their next birthday," Lexa said, frowning. "I never thought I'd be here. I thought I'd end up just like my mom."

Clarke wanted to press, to ask about her mom, but thought better of it. "So then what changed?" She asked.

Lexa smiled slightly. "I had this history teacher sophomore year, Ms. Indra," she started. "She wasn't like the other teachers. Every few years we got some well meaning yuppie that would come in and try to connect with us underprivileged kids like we were the Freedom Writers or something," Lexa joked.

"Wait, so you've seen Freedom Writers but not Matilda?" Clarke asked.

"A teacher made us watch it in class, then we played the line game. I guess they were trying to inspire us or something but- That's not the point. Those teachers never lasted. Ms. Indra wasn't like them. She wasn't trying to change people, but she did anyway," Lexa said, taking a bite of her last fry. "Everyone went to her class. Everyone. She was just one of those people who commanded respect. You know?" She asked. Clarke nodded. "One day she held me back after class and asked me what I was planning to do with my life. I felt so dumb for not having an answer for her," Lexa chuckled. "But she helped me out. Wrote me letters of recommendation when it was application time, I mean fuck, a couple times in senior year she let me sleep on her couch. I owe her everything," Lexa said.

"You really never thought about college before her?" Clarke asked.

"Never," Lexa said. "I didn't know anyone who went to college," she shrugged. "Me, Lincoln, Anya, she helped us all."

"That's unbelievable. I swear, my mom was prepping me for college in the fourth grade," Clarke joked. "And look at me now, in a few weeks, I'll be an art major," she chuckled.

"You talked to your advisor?" Lexa asked.

"Yep, made it official a few weeks ago. I thought I told you," Clarke said, brow furrowed. "I guess we weren't talking."

"I really am sorry about that," Lexa said quietly.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"The whole, not talking thing. It was dumb. I thought I was doing the right thing for me," Lexa sighed.

"But why? Just because you were scared?" Clarke asked. Lexa stared back at her for a moment before taking a deep breath.

"Okay, look. I'm about to say something that I've been thinking for a long time but have avoided saying out loud, and I need you to pretend that it's not a big deal, okay?" Lexa asked. Clarke nodded, uncertainly. Lexa took another deep breath and stared down at her lap. "I know I said that it wasn't about Costia, but that isn't completely true," she exhaled, looking at Clarke for any kind of reaction. Clarke remained impassive, unsure if that was the end of the revelation. "When I lost her," Lexa said, voice catching on the word lost. "It was because I was busy writing a paper for school. This school," she breathed. "I still don't know what happened to her. I don't know if she got into a car with someone, or if she took a wrong turn down a rough block. Every single day I have to wonder what would've happened if I would've gone with her. If I could I have saved her-"

"Lex-" Clarke started.

"And that's why this is so important. I chose a future for myself over her life," Lexa said, blinking back the obvious tears in her eyes. Her breaths came out as if she was counting them.

"You can't think about it like that, that's not what happened," Clarke said softly.

"That's how it feels," Lexa shrugged, looking up at Clarke before staring down at her lap. "So I have to do it for her, and for Indra, for every kid trapped in a shitty situation that feels like they have no escape and fuck, for me. Because without a degree, without that stupid fucking piece of paper, I go right back to being nobody from nowhere with no fucking future," Lexa said, trying to wipe her eyes. Clarke watched her for a moment as she calmed herself down.

"Why didn't you just tell me all of this?" Clarke asked quietly.

"I shouldn't have had to," Lexa shrugged. "You knew school was important to me. That my job was important. You knew I took it seriously. That should've been enough."

"You're right. I'm sorry for that," Clarke said seriously. She watched Lexa breathe for a moment. "Actually, you know what, no," Clarke said. Lexa looked over at her, confused. "I already apologized for that. You accepted that apology. Don't you remember?" She asked. Lexa nodded. "So, that definitely doesn't justify the fact that you've been stringing me along for weeks," Clarke said seriously.

"I didn't mean to," Lexa said.

"But you did," Clarke said. "And then I had to listen to you while you told Anya about all the reasons you'd never even consider being with me, which, even if it has an explanation, still really fucking hurt," she frowned.

"Is that what you want?" Lexa asked.

"What?" Clarke asked, reaching to taking a sip of her soda.

"To be together," Lexa asked seriously. Clarke choked on her drink. "Shit, are you okay?"

"You really lack tact, huh?" Clarke asked.

"What do you mean?" Lexa asked, confused.

"I mean I'm in the middle of trying to get some apologies from you and you're asking me out?" Clarke asked, unsure if the hammering in her chest was from nearly choking or something else.

"No!" Lexa exclaimed. "I mean, not that I- not that it would be- not that- shit, uh-"

"Lex, breathe," Clarke smirked, hoping to sound more confident than she felt.

"That's not what I was trying to say," Lexa said after a moment. "I just meant-" Lexa looked at Clarke seriously. "I never know what you're thinking. I didn't think you were interested at all. In me, I mean."

"Are you serious?" Clarke asked incredulously. Lexa nodded. "Why did you think we made out all those times?"

"I don't know. Obligation?" Lexa said.

Clarke laughed. "Well, to clarify, I am interested- I mean, you know, I was."

"Right," Lexa said awkwardly. They sat in silence for a moment, avoiding each other's eyes. "So what do we do now?" She asked.

"With what?" Clarke asked.

"With us," Lexa said.

Clarke drummed her fingers against her own thigh in thought. "I guess we should probably just start over, right?" Clarke asked looking over at Lexa.

"Start over?" Lexa asked.

"You know, as friends. That way we can pretend we're two normal people instead of two complete assholes," Clarke smirked.

"I thought you said you didn't think I was an asshole?" Lexa asked with a smirk. Clarke rolled her eyes. "Yeah, okay," Lexa smiled slightly. She held her hand out to Clarke. "Friends?"

"What is this, a business transaction?" Clarke chuckled. "Handshakes are not friendly, Lex."

"Handshakes are a universally recognized symbol of coming to an agreement," Lexa said.

"Yeah, well, we're agreeing to forget we're both dumb, not signing a treaty to stop firebombing each other's home countries," Clarke said.

"Fine," Lexa rolled her eyes. "Do you have an alternative in mind?"

"Uh, yeah. We hug. Like normal people," Clarke said.

"Clarke," Lexa groaned.

"What, are you scared to hug me or something?" Clarke teased.

"Shut up," Lexa said.

"Oh my god," Clarke grinned. "You totally are!"

"I am not!" Lexa said defensively.

"Aw, look at you, getting all pink," Clarke laughed, pointing to Lexa's quickly reddening cheeks.

"Clarke," Lexa said threateningly.

"I can't believe it, Lexa gets embarrassed. She just may be human after all," Clarke chuckled. "This might be the best day of my life."

"You must have a pretty pathetic life," Lexa said, annoyed.

"If you must know, I do," Clarke laughed. Lexa only rolled her eyes. "Are we gonna hug or what?" Clarke asked.

"Weren't we supposed to be hugging in celebration of not being assholes?" Lexa asked.

"Oh come on you big baby," Clarke teased. "I'm just messing with you. I promise I won't even tell Anya how red you turned." Lexa scowled at her. "Okay, fine, I get it. Jokes over," Clarke said, holding her hands up in surrender. Lexa stared at her for a moment before taking a deep breath. She held her arms out, looking only mildly tortured. "Oh no," Clarke said, glancing at her as she stood from the couch. "None of that weird fake side hug bullshit, we're doing this for real," she said, gesturing for Lexa to follow her lead. Lexa did so reluctantly, until they stood inches apart. "It's only fair to warn you," Clarke said. "This is probably gonna be a long hug because I've really been missing human contact."

"You have?" Lexa asked, holding her arms out again. Clarke stepped in toward her, wrapping her own arms around Lexa.

Clarke spoke into the crook of Lexa's neck. "Yeah. I mean, Raven's hugs are okay, I guess. But-" She moved her head to look Lexa in the eyes. "Wait, what the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"No, Clarke, it's not like-" Lexa said.

"Are you seriously implying I'm some huge slut?" Clarke asked, dropping her arms. "Like I have so much company all the time how could I possibly miss-"

"Clarke, that's not what I meant," Lexa said.

"Then what did you mean?" Clarke asked, nostrils flaring.

"I just meant, I don't know," Lexa sighed. "You have all these friends and people around all the time-" Lexa stopped short.

"What?" Clarke asked. Lexa looked down, shifting awkwardly. "What were you gonna say, Lex?"

"Just that," Lexa hesitated again. "There are just so many people in your life," she sighed. "I didn't think you would miss me." Clarke stared at her in complete disbelief.

"What?" Lexa asked.

"You really have no idea, huh?" Clarke asked, vaguely aware of her sudden urge to touch Lexa's face.

"Hm?" Lexa hummed.

"How important you are to me," Clarke said. Clarke didn't realize she'd put her hand on Lexa's cheek until Lexa moved, stepping toward her.

"Clarke," Lexa breathed, moving a hand to the back of her neck.

"What?" Clarke asked, suddenly tense and breathless.

"You can't say things like that if we're supposed to be friends," Lexa said softly. Clarke could feel her breath and wondered when she got so close.

"Why not?" Clarke asked.

"Because it makes me want to kiss you," Lexa said. Clarke swallowed hard, looking back at her. Lexa's gaze was intense, Clarke ignored her thrill at Lexa's slowly tightening grip.

"I mean-" Clarke breathed. "Friends can kiss, right?" She asked quietly.

"They can," Lexa said. "But we probably shouldn't."

"You're right," Clarke said. Lexa started to relax her grip. "But maybe we could. Just this once," Clarke said. Lexa looked at her. "You know, to get it out of our system."

"That seems logical to me," Lexa breathed.

"Completely," Clarke said, moving a hand to Lexa's waist. Clarke wasn't sure which of them closed the distance first, only that Lexa was warm and soft and pulling hard against her. It wasn't enough. She moved her hands to Lexa's neck, one slipping into her hair, pulling down near the root. Lexa tipped her head back slightly, either to breathe or to moan, Clarke wasn't sure. She was preoccupied with pressing hot kisses on either side of her throat, holding Lexa's head back with a thumb against her jaw. Lexa shivered under her. It made Clarke want to grip harder, to touch more, to be closer. Impulsively, she bit down on soft skin of Lexa's throat.

"Fuck, Clarke," Lexa said, taking a step back.

"Shit, uh, I'm sorry-" Clarke said, chewing her own lip. The look that Lexa gave her was not at all what she was expecting, her eyes were darker than Clarke had ever seen.

"Fuck," Lexa said again. Not a second later she grabbed Clarke again by the sides of her face with such force that she stumbled backwards onto the couch, pulling Clarke with her. Clarke settled onto Lexa's lap with only a passing thought of how well she fit there. Lexa moved her hands easily, one into Clarke's hair, the other on the side of her neck, long fingers nearly wrapping all the way around the back. Lexa didn't give her a chance to take a breath, immediately guiding Clarke back to her lips. Lexa's skin was so warm it almost burned, Clarke couldn't understand how it was possible when her own skin felt like it was on fire. Lexa moved her hands to Clarke's waist, thoughtlessly pushing up the fabric of her t-shirt to touch her skin. There were goosebumps everywhere her hands weren't. Clarke buried her hands into Lexa's hair, pulling though they were already as close as they could get. Lexa pulled away, looking up at Clarke. "Can I take this off?" Lexa asked, tugging on the hem of Clarke's shirt with a ragged breath. Clarke nodded, not entirely sure that her voice could be trusted. Lexa hooked her thumbs outside the garment sliding her hands up along Clarke's ribs, but stopped short of the clasp of her bra.

"What?" Clarke asked. Lexa's brow was furrowed as she looked passed Clarke, like she was thinking something over.

"Shh," Lexa said, apparently straining to hear something. A second later, Clarke heard it too, the clunk of a key turning in a lock. Lexa ripped her hands back like she'd been burned, flattening herself against the backrest. It took Clarke a little longer to transition. She threw herself across the couch torso first, leaving Lexa flushed and alone with a tangled mess of hair.

"I said no sex on my couch," Raven said knowingly as Clarke straightened herself out.

"We- weren't- we- uh- just-" Clarke defended breathlessly. Clarke watched as Lexa stood, quickly walking toward the door. She stooped down to pull on her shoes.

"Uh huh, totally," Raven nodded sarcastically. "Glad you guys made up. When's the wedding?"

"We're not- we're- just friends," Clarke said, looking toward Lexa who nodded back at her.

Raven looked between them, smirking at the obvious discomfort. "Ah, well, who am I to judge?" She chuckled.

"I'm going to go," Lexa said, picking her jacket up from the floor where she left it the night before.

"Aw, so soon?" Raven teased.

"I guess I'll talk to you later?" Lexa asked Clarke. Clarke bit back her grin and nodded.

"Alright, bye," Lexa said, as she walked out the door.

"So, that was fun," Raven smirked, taking a seat on the arm of the couch.

"Shut up," Clarke said, looking down as she fought her own smile.

"Obviously things went well, then?" Raven asked.

"Better than I thought," Clarke said, looking up at her friend.

"But somehow you're still not dating?" Raven asked.

"We decided to start over, as friends," Clarke said.

"Right. So, friends with benefits?" Raven asked.

"No, just- friends," Clarke said a little awkwardly.

"Do you mind texting that to Octavia?" Raven asked with a sly grin.

"What?" Clarke asked, brow furrowed.

"That you and Lexa are just friends," Raven said.

"Uh, why?" Clarke asked.

"Because she owes me ten bucks," Raven said with a triumphant chuckle.

"Can you guys stop betting on me?" Clarke groaned.

"We'll stop betting on you when you being easy to bet on," Raven laughed.

"What was it this time?" Clarke asked.

"Last night when I went to smoke I called her about it and she bet me that you and Lexa would be together by this afternoon. She has too much faith in you," Raven laughed.

"Shut up. What makes you think I even want to be with her?" Clarke said. Raven gave her a look.

"Come on, we have a Harry Potter marathon to finish," Raven said, throwing herself down on the couch.

Chapter Text

Raven slipped out a few hours later, pausing the movie to answer a mysterious phone call. Clarke sat with her phone in her hands, debating on whether or not to make a call of her own. She tapped her screen to her recent calls. The phone rang only twice before there was an answer.

"A phone call? This must be serious," Lexa teased.

"Well, I didn't want to give you the chance to ignore me," Clarke said.

"I could've just not answered," Lexa said.

"That's true, but a missed call is way more urgent than an unanswered text," Clarke said.

"It is," Lexa said. "So do you ever plan on telling me why you called?"

"Shut up," Clarke said, chewing lightly on her bottom lip. "Anyway, I was thinking, now that we're friends again, wanna hang out tonight?"

"Okay," Lexa said.

"Wow, I was not expecting that to be so easy," Clarke laughed. "I thought for sure I was gonna have to fight you about it."

"Yeah, well, I'm trying to be less of an asshole, remember?" Lexa asked.

"Right, right," Clarke said. "So I guess I'll just come over?"

"Actually, we should probably go out," Lexa said.

"Really? Why?" Clarke asked.

"It's probably safer," Lexa said, a moment's hesitation before she added "you know, considering I have that dilemma where I want to kiss you everytime I see you."

"Right," Clarke said, swallowing thickly. She was thankful Lexa couldn't see her, because she could feel her cheeks heat up. "I'll meet you outside the dorm then?" She asked.

"When?" Lexa asked.

"Twenty minutes?" Clarke asked.

"Okay, see you then," Lexa said.

"Bye," Clarke said as she hung up.

 


 

 

"So where are we going, anyway?" Clarke asked after they had gotten a few blocks from the dorm.

"The bar, I figured," Lexa said.

"Wow, you're ready to drink again already? I would've thought with that hangover you'd be steering clear of booze for a little while," Clarke teased.

"No," Lexa chuckled, "I'm not planning on drinking. You can though."

"Uh, no, I'm underage, remember?" Clarke laughed.

"Shit, I completely forgot," Lexa said, rubbing her forehead. "Bars are just easy, uh, but we could always go-"

"Why don't we just like, sit and talk?" Clarke asked, pointing to a low retaining wall that ran along the inside of the sidewalk.

"Talk about what?" Lexa asked.

"I don't know, life?" Clarke laughed. "I know this might come as a shock, but I did actually miss talking to you these past couple weeks. I don't even know how finals went for you," she said as she took a seat.

"You don't care how finals went," Lexa said with a smirk. She took a seat next to Clarke.

"You're right, but that's only because I know you aced them all. I mean, shit, you better have considering all the extra time you had to study without me interrupting," she joked.

"I did get a B," Lexa frowned.

"A B? You? Did you have pneumonia or something?" Clarke asked.

"No," Lexa rolled her eyes.

"Was it a class about maintaining personal relationships? Cause that would make perfect sense," Clarke smirked.

"Shut up," Lexa said. "If you must know, I was mildly distracted."

"By what?" Clarke asked.

"You, obviously," Lexa said.

"I wasn't even there," Clarke said.

"I think that was the problem," Lexa said, glancing over at Clarke. Clarke wasn't sure why it made her cheeks warm up. This was a perfectly normal, platonic conversation. She must have been quiet for longer than she thought because Lexa shifted. "Sorry, was that weird to say?" She asked, putting a hand on the back of her own neck.

"No, it was fine, I just- didn't really know how to respond," Clarke shrugged.

"This is weird," Lexa said.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"This. Us, trying to be normal. I just don't know where the lines are anymore," Lexa said, kicking her heels at the crumbling brick beneath them.

"Why do there need to be lines?" Clarke asked.

"Because we're trying to be friends. There are things that friends don't say to each other, and I'm not sure what they are," Lexa said.

"Okay," Clarke said, thinking. "How about, if you wouldn't say it to Anya or Lincoln, don't say it to me?" She suggested, watching as Lexa thought it over.

"Okay, makes sense," Lexa said.

They sat in silence for a few moments, watching cars and people pass. Clarke stuffed her hands in the pockets of her jacket, they started to feel stiff from the cold breeze. "So, anything exciting happening on the sixth floor lately?"

"Not really," Lexa sighed. "I got roped into helping organize the holiday party because I'm one of the only people that doesn't have family coming in."

"I'm sorry," Clarke frowned.

"It's fine, I'm sure no one will actually show up anyway, not a lot of people stick around during break. It's usually just kids taking winter session classes and ones who live nearby who still want to get drunk every night for the next month," Lexa chuckled.

"Which, actually doesn't explain why you're still here," she said, as if she was just realizing something. "You didn't make up with your mom?"

"No, I did," Clarke nodded. "I'm going home for a few weeks after the holiday, she's on a romantic vacation."

"She goes on a lot of those, huh?" Lexa asked.

"Yeah, well, when you've got the money, why not?" Clarke shrugged. "Wait, speaking of romance, I've been dying to talk to you about this whole Raven Anya thing. What the fuck is going on?" Clarke asked.

"Trust me, I probably know as much as you do," Lexa laughed.

"They're both being so weird about it!" Clarke laughed. "I swear, when I called you earlier Raven was on the phone with someone talking all quiet."

"Do you think they're dating?" Lexa asked.

"They have to be, right? I mean how serious can friends with benefits be?" Clarke asked, watching as a girl in a leather jacket walked down the street toward them. It was a cute jacket, Clarke decided she was going to ask her where she got it as she passed.

"I don't know, if they were dating why wouldn't they just say so?" Lexa asked.

"Lexa?" It was the girl in the leather jacket. She had stopped as she approached them, looking down at Lexa. She was pretty, Clarke noticed immediately, all red lips and dark hair. It took Lexa a moment to realize she was being spoken to. Clarke watched as she looked up, eyes widening.

"Oh, hey," Lexa said, clearly surprised.

"Long time no see," the girl smiled.

"Yeah, uh, how've you been?" Lexa asked, moving her head with each word.

"Alright, last semester really kicked my ass," she laughed. "But if everything goes well next semester I should graduate in May."

"Congrats," Lexa said with a smile.

"Thanks," she smiled. "I should get going though, on my way to meet up with some friends, but uh, we should totally hang out sometime, do you still have my number?"

"Uh, yeah, I think I do," Lexa said with an expression Clarke was sure she'd never seen before.

"Good, don't be afraid to use it," she smiled. "Nice to meet you," she said to Clarke.

"You too," Clarke muttered. The girl turned from them with another smile and continued on her way. "Who was that?" Clarke asked scandalously once she was out of earshot.

"No one," Lexa shrugged stiffly.

"Okay, she was definitely someone. The vibes were super weird." Clarke said.

"The vibes were completely normal," Lexa said.

"Wait," Clarke said. "Don't tell me you used to date her."

"No," Lexa chuckled.

"Oh my god, you used to fuck her!" Clarke said, laughing.

"Clarke," Lexa admonished, biting her lip.

"You totally did! Wow," Clarke laughed. "So did you break her heart or what?"

"Never took the chance," Lexa shrugged.

"So, what, it was a one night stand?" Clarke asked.

"Do you really want to know?" Lexa asked incredulously.

"Uh, yeah. What else are friends for if not for sex stories?" Clarke asked.

"I don't know, pretty much anything else," Lexa chuckled.

"You don't talk to your friends about sex?" Clarke asked.

"Not really," Lexa said.

"What? That's insane. You just keep all of that to yourself?," Clarke asked.

"Generally, yeah," Lexa said.

"Well, I talk to my friends about sex, so spill. One night stand?" Clarke asked.

"No thanks," Lexa said.

"Oh come on, don't be such a prude," Clarke teased.

"I'm not a prude, I just keep my sex life to myself," Lexa shrugged.

"Sex life, huh? So you did fuck her?" Clarke asked with a self satisfied smirk. Lexa rolled her eyes.

"Once or twice," Lexa said.

"I can't believe it. You totally don't seem like the type," Clarke said.

"The type of what?" Lexa asked.

"To have a one night stand," Clarke said.

"Why is that?" Lexa asked.

"I don't know, I guess because we've never talked about it," Clarke said.

"I told you, I'm not a nun," Lexa chuckled. "But I also I don't advertise the details of my one night stands."

"Wait a second, one night stands as in multiple? Oh my god," Clarke said. Lexa shook her head, smirking.

"Not a nun," Lexa said.

"Well now I need details," Clarke said. "Like, did you initiate it?"

"Why?" Lexa asked.

"Because I'm curious?" Clarke said. "Come on, we're supposed to be friends. Friends talk about sex."

"I don't," Lexa said.

"You've really gotta be more sex positive," Clarke teased.

"I'm sex positive enough, I just don't think it's a great idea for us to talk about," Lexa said.

"Why not?" Clarke asked.

"Seriously?" Lexa asked. "You don't see why us talking about sex might pose a problem?"

Clarke examined Lexa for a moment as she searched for her reasoning. It wasn't until she realized she was making a conscious effort to not look at Lexa's lips that it made sense. The realization made her stomach flip. "Do you think I'm gonna judge you or something?" Clarke asked slowly, feigning ignorance.

"Are you messing with me?" Lexa asked, looking at Clarke intently.

"No," Clarke said.

"I don't think us talking about sex is a great idea for the same reason us hanging out alone in my room is not a good idea," Lexa said quietly.

"Because you want to kiss me?" Clarke asked, swallowing hard.

"Because there are a lot of things I want to do with you," Lexa said. Clarke was thankful to be in the semi-darkness of the night, she could feel her cheeks heat up and she was sure they'd betray her in trying to play it cool.

"Like what?" Clarke asked, hoping Lexa wouldn't notice that she shifted closer toward her.

"I think you know," Lexa said quietly, looking pointedly in the opposite direction.

"How about you tell me?" Clarke asked, suddenly aware of how shallow her breathing had become. "So I don't have to guess."

"Clarke," Lexa said, a warning.

"Lex," Clarke said imitating her.

"I wouldn't be talking about this with Anya," Lexa said.

"So?" Clarke asked.

"So I shouldn't talk about it with you," Lexa said softly.

"Shit," Clarke said, looking up at the sky with a heavy exhale. "We're not very good at this, are we?"

"Not at all," Lexa said with a small smile. She stared off across the street for a moment and Clarke tried her hardest to do the same, knowing that a prolonged look at Lexa would be trouble. Though, she was finding it hard to convince herself that trouble really was as bad thing. "Maybe we should call it a night. Try this friends thing again tomorrow. You know, in the daylight, with actual plans," Lexa chuckled, almost self-deprecatingly.

Clarke looked over at her and sighed. "Alright," she nodded even though it didn't feel alright. She resisted the urge to reach out to Lexa.

"I can walk you back to Raven's if you want," Lexa offered as she stood. Clarke nodded again, following her lead. They walked in relative silence as Lexa took them down small streets Clarke had never seen, mentioning something about a shortcut. The word made Clarke's skin crawl, as if Lexa couldn't bear to spend a second more than she had to with her. Why else would they need to take shortcuts? It was an obvious rejection. The street they were on might as well have been an alleyway, small enough for only one car to drive down. It looked like a loading area for the businesses on the block before it, large garage doors and dumpsters broke up the long stretches of old brick. "Are you okay?" Lexa asked, snapping Clarke out of her thoughts.

"Huh? Oh. Yeah. Fine," Clarke said.

Lexa stopped suddenly. "Clarke," she said.

"What?" Clarke asked, looking anywhere but at the girl in front of her.

"You're upset about something," Lexa said.

"I told you, I'm fine. Come on, I don't want to hold you up," Clarke said, taking a step forward.

"I'm not in a rush to get anywhere," Lexa said.

"Sure seems like it," Clarke said.

"You're mad that I want to head home?" Lexa asked

"I just don't get why you'd offer to walk me when you obviously can't wait to get rid of me," Clarke said with an ironic smile. "Look, I get it, okay? This is weird and if you don't want to be friends, I won't be mad but-"

"Clarke, stop," Lexa said. "That's not what's happening."

"Then what's happening?" Clarke asked.

"Shit," Lexa breathed.

"What's the problem?" Clarke asked.

"I need to get home," Lexa shrugged, unhelpfully.

"Okay?" Clarke asked, confused.

"Look, I just- can't be around you right now," Lexa grimaced.

"Well, that's comforting," Clarke said sarcastically.

"I don't want to do anything wrong," Lexa said.

"Wrong?" Clarke asked, taking a step toward her, brow furrowed.

"As in, not strictly platonic," Lexa said quietly. Clarke worried Lexa would be able to hear her heartbeat quicken, but she continued to step closer.

"Do you want to do something like that?" Clarke asked.

"It's been pretty hard not to think about," Lexa said, visibly swallowing. "Since you brought it up."

"That's understandable," Clarke nodded. "I don't think it's a problem just to think about it," she added quietly, as if someone might overhear. Lexa nodded too. "What exactly are you thinking about?" Clarke asked in a whisper as she hooked her fingers into the pockets of Lexa's jacket.

"You," Lexa said thickly.

"What about me?" Clarke asked, ignoring her better judgement as she surrendered to the strange urge to press the issue.

"Clarke," Lexa said, nearly groaning.

"Hmm?" Clarke hummed.

"Why are you making me spell this out?" Lexa asked softly.

Clarke swallowed, picking at the edge of Lexa's pocket. It was uncomfortably warm inside her jacket. She looked at Lexa who looked back with shocking intensity. Clarke's heart was overworked, every moment she stood in silence more dangerous. How could trouble be a bad thing when it felt like this? Lexa grazed her thumb over Clarke's fingers inside her pocket, reminding her that she was waiting on an answer. "Would it be crossing the line if I said it was because I think it's really fucking sexy?" Clarke breathed, cheeks heating up with her forwardness.

"Fuck," Lexa muttered, taking a few steps backward.

"Shit," Clarke frowned, following her. "I shouldn't have-"

"No, it's fine, I just- fuck," Lexa said, stumbling a little as she accidentally backed herself into the wall. "Fuck."

"Lex, I-" Clarke started.

"Can you say that again?" Lexa asked suddenly. Her eyes were wild, like she was just stirred awake.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"Can you just, say it again?" Lexa asked in a whisper. She stood against the brick wall, head tilted back, looking mostly up at the sky. She breathed slowly, deliberately. Clarke stepped up to her, close, pressing their chests together.

"You want me to say that I think it's sexy again?" Clarke asked cautiously. Lexa nodded. The street was so quiet that every word felt heavy, like they had to speak quietly so their words wouldn't echo. Clarke looked at her for a moment, trying to think of what to say. It had to be perfect, Clarke knew. Something about the silence made it feel important. "How about you tell me what you were thinking about?" She asked. "Then I'll tell you what else I think is sexy." Lexa looked at her, almost startled, she stared at Clarke for a moment before she took a deep breath.

"I was thinking about you," Lexa said softly. Clarke almost interjected that Lexa already said that before she realized she wasn't finished. "About your skin," Lexa added, a hot edge to her voice. "About how you're always warm, and soft, how I just want to touch you."

"Fuck," Clarke breathed. She pressed into Lexa, partially to be closer, partially for support. Her legs felt weak.

"About how it felt when you bit me," Lexa said, running a finger along the side of Clarke's throat. Clarke tilted her head toward the touch.

"Did you like it?" Clarke asked in a breathy voice. Lexa nodded, chewing lightly on her own bottom lip. "It was really fucking sexy, the way you moaned." Clarke said. She looked at Lexa, who was still looking upward. Without thinking, she brought a hand to one side of Lexa's neck and pressed her lips against the other. She could feel Lexa hum at the action. Clarke pulled back to look at her, Lexa wrapped a hand into Clarke's hair. She was familiar with the look Lexa was giving her by now. She knew that Lexa was going to kiss her, but it didn't make it any less surprising when Lexa grabbed her and kissed her with fervor. Lexa had a hand on her waist, she could feel it, but her jacket was in the way. For a wild moment she thought about taking it off, it was too warm anyway. She slipped one of her own hands inside of Lexa's coat, gripping her waist tightly. None of it was enough. She shifted, settling a thigh between Lexa's.

"Shit," Lexa breathed. "You're killing me."

"I'm killing you?" Clarke asked.

"I just want to touch you," Lexa whispered.

"So touch me," Clarke nearly moaned.

"I can't," Lexa said. "Not here."

"Please," Clarke said, more of a command than a question. She took Lexa's hand in her own, guiding it to the waistband of her jeans.

"Are you sure?" Lexa asked breathlessly.

"Please, Lex," Clarke said. "I'm really fucking wet."

"Yeah?" Lexa asked, eyes dark as she moved her hand passed Clarke's waistband. Clarke shivered at her touch, colder than usual from the wind. It was instinctual, the way she moved her hips towards Lexa's hand. Clarke was expecting her to be slow, teasing, she couldn't contain her gasp of surprise when pushed her panties to the side with a familiar ease. "Fuck," Lexa muttered, dropping her head into the crook of Clarke's neck. Clarke shuddered embarrassingly as Lexa ran a finger along her, and again when she grazed her clit.

"Lex," Clarke breathed. Lexa withdrew her hand, resting higher, near her stomach. Clarke's hips followed involuntarily. "Can you please just fuck me?" She asked, not caring how desperate she sounded. Lexa looked at her with an almost murderous intensity before removing her hand completely. "Seriously?" Clarke whined. Before she could protest any more, both of Lexa's hands were on her waistband, unbuttoning and unzipping. She ran a finger along Clarke over her panties, pressing the damp fabric against her before pushing it out of the way again. Clarke shuddered again at Lexa's touch even though she was expecting it, hips moving almost to beg for more contact. She pushed Lexa back against the brick, pulling on her hair with every deliberate movement against her clit. It was too much, it was not enough. Every touch was too light, it made Clarke's body jerk, feeling spastic and desperate. She wished she could be on top of her, almost entertaining the idea of throwing Lexa to the ground before she grabbed one of Lexa's thighs and pulled it between her own legs to grind down. If Lexa noticed, she made no acknowledgement, rolling her fingers steadily as she pressed hot kisses against Clarke's neck.

"Hey, what's going on down there?" A man's voice called. Lexa yanked her hand back immediately, almost knocking her head into the wall behind her. Clarke spun around, noticing the man halfway up the block, apparently taking out the trash.

"Shit, we have to go," Lexa said urgently, grabbing Clarke by the arm in one swift motion. They ran out down the block with Lexa leading, though no one was following them. They didn't stop running until Clarke noticed they were in front of Raven's house, both doubled over from exhaustion, Clarke with her pants still unbuttoned. She zipped them back up, giving Lexa a look before they both started to laugh.

"So, that was-" Clarke started.

"Kind of ridiculous," Lexa said.

"Yeah, definitely," Clarke said.

"Clarke?" Raven called, startling them both from the landing near her door. Clarke and Lexa looked up to where she stood, now leaning over the railing. "I didn't think you were coming back."

"I said I'd see you later," Clarke said.

"Yeah, but later is an incredibly vague amount of time," Raven said.

"You invited Anya over, didn't you?" Clarke asked, sparing a glance at Lexa.

"A girl has needs, Clarke," Raven said.

"Ew," Clarke said.

"Plus, I assumed you'd be busy," Raven said, looking pointedly at Lexa. "So if you guys could extend your date for a few hours, that would be really great." Clarke looked over at Lexa who sighed.

"I guess I will have that drink after all," Lexa said.

 


 

Within minutes, Clarke followed Lexa through the door of her favorite bar. It was slightly more crowded than usual, which surprised Clarke. She was certain that the no more than ten patrons that could typically be found there were the only ones keeping the bar afloat. It almost looked like a different place, the excited chatter nearly drowning out the underlying rock music completely. Clarke followed a step or two behind Lexa as she approached the bar, apparently locking eyes with a dark haired bartender.

"Hey, Lexa," The bartender said. "Back so soon?" She teased.

"Glutton for punishment, I guess," Lexa shrugged, leaning her elbows casually on the bar. It always took Clarke aback to see Lexa interact with people she didn't know. It was strangely natural. Clarke stood behind her, leaving an awkward amount of space. She shifted on one leg, looking around the room so she would feel a little less intrusive.

"What are you having?" The bartender asked. Clarke turned her attention back to Lexa.

"Whatever's cheap," Lexa laughed. She looked back at Clarke for a moment before adding "make that two of whatever's cheap." The bartender nodded before turning from them to grab a bottle of liquor. She set two shot glasses down on the bar in front of Lexa and filled them with a mysterious dark liquor. "What do I owe you?" Lexa asked, as she reached for her wallet.

"It's on me. Just don't tell Anya I hooked you up, she'll kick my ass," she laughed.

"As long as you don't tell her I only hang out here to see you," Lexa smirked.

"You better watch her," the bartender said to Clarke with a laugh. "She’s clearly in a mood. Anyway, let me go deal with that guy at the end of the bar, holler if you need anything" she called before heading back to work. Lexa slid the extra shot to her left, beckoning Clarke to take the space.

"Look at you, ordering drinks for underage girls,” Clarke said scandalously. “You really are in a mood, huh?”

“What was I gonna do? Get drunk while you watched?” Lexa chuckled.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Clarke said, grabbing the glass in front of her.

“Usually Anya’s here to make sure I don’t liquor you up anyway,” Lexa shrugged.

“Well I appreciate you breaking the rules for me, even if it’s only because your scary friend isn’t here,” Clarke laughed, downing the shot in an easy motion.

“Seems like I’m doing that a lot tonight,” Lexa said quietly.

“Hmm?”

“Breaking the rules for you,” Lexa said, gulping down her shot.

Clarke could feel the air between them shift. Running away from the alley ruined a moment, they could ignore it. They did, but all of a sudden it was like the tension had never left. “What are we doing here?” Clarke asked, voice almost a whisper.

Lexa brow furrowed, giving Clarke a curious look. “Drinking?”

“No Lex, I mean like,” she gestured between them “what are we doing?”

“Trying to be friends,” Lexa said, uncertainly.

“Friends don’t do what we just did,” Clarke said. Lexa bit her bottom lip, staring down at the bar.

“I thought we were pretending that didn’t happen,” Lexa said, toying with the empty glass. Clarke couldn’t place her expression.

“We were,” Clarke said. “But it’s getting harder for me to ignore it.”

“Why’s that?” Lexa asked.

Clarke shifted a little closer to her, absentmindedly wishing for another drink. “Maybe I should tell you in private. It’s not exactly the kind of thing I want everyone in the bar knowing,” Clarke said quietly.

“There’s a break room, if you wanted-“ Lexa said quickly, pointing off across the bar. “We can talk in private-“ Clarke must have nodded because a moment later Lexa’s hand was on her wrist, gently guiding through the crowd. They stopped at the far wall in front of a blue door with a red sign that read “Employees Only”. Lexa grabbed the handle, shaking it roughly. “It’s locked,” Lexa huffed. “I guess we’ll just have to-“ She stopped short as Clarke grabbed her hand, taking the lead.

She didn’t really have a plan, but who needed one? A few feet away, she pushed a different door open. It was lighter than she expected, it swung violently on the hinges as she shoved it out of the way, slamming back hard as it closed behind them. The bathroom was small and dark, walls covered in pathetic graffiti, quotes, girl's phone numbers. “This is where you want to talk instead?” Lexa almost laughed. “I was going to say we could go-“

Clarke stared Lexa who stopped in the middle of her sentence. She stared back, eyes dark, biting her own lip. Clarke didn't bother with another word, instead she sunk a hand into Lexa's hair and pulled down, bringing their lips together. They had hardly connected before Lexa's hands were on her, grabbing tightly at her waist, pulling her close. Lexa tasted like cheap whiskey, Clarke was sure she did too.

Lexa slid a hand under Clarke's shirt, fingernails pressing into the skin of her back. It was too much. Clarke let go of Lexa's hair, stepping back from her slightly so their bodies were no longer flush, though they continued to kiss hard. One of Lexa's hands was in Clarke's hair, the other on her neck. Clarke struggled for a moment with the button on her own jeans before she popped it open and slid her hand into her panties. She couldn't prevent the little moan from slipping out when she grazed her own clit. She closed her eyes, leaning into her own hand, desperate for any relief. Lexa loosened her grip.

"What are you doing?" Lexa asked breathlessly. Clarke opened her eyes for a moment to look at her. Lexa was staring at her in a way that almost made her feel like she was in trouble. Clarke bit down on her own lip, continuing to move her fingers as she leaned her head against Lexa's shoulder for support.

"Touching myself," Clarke said with a quiet carelessness, breath coming out in spurts.

"Why?" Lexa asked.

"Because I need to," Clarke whispered.

Lexa groaned, dropping her head to Clarke's shoulder for a moment, breath heating up her neck. In a second, Lexa grabbed Clarke by the throat, pushing her chin up with her thumb, making room to press a few kisses against it before she bit down hard. Clarke jolted forward into her. "Fuck," she groaned. Lexa massaged the mark with her thumb, moving to Clarke's mouth. The kiss was searing, Clarke was sure she was melting. With her free hand, Lexa caught Clarke by the wrist above her waistband and pulled, pinning her arm to the wall. Lexa let go of Clarke's throat, pushing her panties to the side again, dragging a long finger painfully slowly against her. "You're such a tease," Clarke whined as she pulled down on Lexa's hair. "Such a-" she was cut short by an involuntary gasp as Lexa slid two fingers inside her, thumb lightly stroking her clit. "Fuck," Clarke whimpered. "Oh fuck." Clarke wrapped her hands around the back of Lexa's neck for support as she curled her fingers slightly, sinking further in, then out so achingly slowly. "Lex, just- fuck- just- please," she growled, unintelligibly. "Just- god- harder- please," She begged, eyes half closed. She could see Lexa smirking slightly, it only made her angry. It wasn't funny, she was suffering. Clarke pulled on Lexa's hair roughly and she gave in with a hard thrust of her hand before she slipped it out of Clarke's pants completely. Clarke thought she might cry. "What the fuck?" She growled. Lexa pressed into her, pinning her even more so against the wall. Lexa looked at her, her eyes looked black.

"I want to taste you," Lexa said, raising her hand. Her fingers were slick, shining slightly in the dim light. Before Clarke could respond, Lexa opened her mouth and licked slowly down her middle finger before taking it into her mouth. Her eyes fluttered shut, moaning slightly. Clarke was sure, watching Lexa was going to make her spontaneously combust, perfect lips forming a perfect circle around her finger until she pulled it back out with something close to a slurp. Clarke was going to spontaneously combust. She was absolutely sure of it. Lexa leaned in close to her ear. "You taste so fucking good, Clarke. So fucking good," Lexa said. Her voice was almost unrecognizable, an extra click on the k sound the only thing familiar under the husk. Clarke slid down against the wall slightly as she exhaled, knees feeling shaky. She was stopped by Lexa's thigh between her legs "Fuck," Lexa breathed.

"This is fucking torture," Clarke managed, eyes closed. Lexa shifted her hands to Clarke's waist, pushing down on the waistband of her jeans and panties. "What are you doing?" Clarke asked.

"I need to-" Lexa said. Whatever it was that she needed to do, Clarke didn't know. Lexa was preoccupied. She managed to get the clothing down to the middle of Clarke's thighs before returning to her waist. Clarke opened her mouth to complain before Lexa pulled her away from the wall and lifted her up slightly, setting her down part way onto the sink. Clarke shivered against the cold porcelain but before she could complain, Lexa was kneeling. She pushed the jeans a little further down toward Clarke's knees before pressing into her face first, running her tongue along Clarke needily. Clarke almost slipped off of the sink from shuddering so hard. She held on tighter to the sink, knuckles turning white as she fought to keep herself upright.

"Fuck," Clarke muttered as Lexa's nose brushed her clit. Lexa gripped Clarke's thighs tightly, like she knew how hard it was getting for Clarke to stay put. It only made sense that the door would swing open. Lexa stood up so fast she knocked Clarke off of the sink. Lexa caught her before she fell completely, both of them sent stumbling into the wall.

"Holy shit, oh shit, fuck, I'm sorry," a red faced drunk girl apologized too loudly before stumbling backward out of the door.

"You didn't lock the door?" Lexa asked, eyes dark.

"To be fair, I wasn't expecting this to happen," Clarke breathed. She looked at Lexa who stared back, a tense silence between them.

"We should probably stop doing this in public," Lexa breathed.

The walk back to the dorms was completely silent, as if talking might've disturbed whatever it was between them. Like if they didn't talk they could pretend that the walk didn't happen, that they just went from the bar to the dorm without any extra time to think. To reconsider. As soon as Lexa's door shut behind them, though, it was obvious that things were different in private.

"Should I- leave the lights on? Or off?" Lexa asked, avoiding Clarke's eyes. Clarke didn't blame her. Something about being alone for real settled awkwardly over them. This was it.

"Off, I guess?" Clarke said. "Unless it'll be too dark?"

"I could light some candles?" Lexa suggested, shrugging.

"First of all, aren't those not allowed in dorms? And secondly, isn't that a little gay?" Clarke asked.

"Uh, I don't know if you know this, but this whole thing, you know, us hooking up. It's pretty gay," Lexa said with a slight smirk. She walked toward the window, peering out.

"You know what I mean," Clarke huffed.

"I don't think I do," Lexa teased. "Please, Clarke. Explain to me how my candles are homosexual-" She twisted the blinds a little, filling the room with stripes of orange streetlight.

"You know what I mean, gay, like sappy," Clarke said.

"I didn't know they were synonyms," Lexa said.

"Oh come on, you're gay! Don't tell me you've never used gay an adjective," Clarke said. "Even you're not that PC."

"Uh, yeah I am. Poli-sci major, remember? I have to be PC," Lexa said.

"In this political climate?" Clarke chuckled. Lexa rolled her eyes.

"As much as I would love to talk politics with you," Lexa said, "I think we have more important things to do." She took a step closer to Clarke.

"Yeah?" Clarke asked. "Like what?" Lexa grabbed her by the waist and pulled her in for a kiss. As soon as they touched, any semblance of awkwardness disappeared, like they had never stopped. Lexa pulled tightly on Clarke's waist, drawing her in. A familiar impatience flooded through Clarke, Lexa was moving too slow. Too gently.

Clarke drove Lexa backward until she folded at the knees, stumbling into an upright seated position on the edge of her bed. Lexa looked up at her for a moment, startled, eyes wide, breathing heavy. Strips of light from the blinds highlighted her eyes and mouth, skin glowing gold against her green eyes. Clarke hesitated for a moment, frozen as she stared down at the girl in front of her. Lexa raised her eyebrows at her, a silent question. Clarke responded with a knee on either side of Lexa's waist, settling into her lap. She sunk both of her hands into Lexa's hair, tilting her head upward. She rested her forehead on Lexa's, using the opportunity to take a few deep breaths. She offhandedly wondered when her heart started to beat so hard as Lexa's steady breaths warmed her face. Clarke ran her thumb from the tip of Lexa's chin down the front of her throat subconsciously, like she was trying to reassure herself that Lexa was real.

"Clarke," Lexa said softly. Clarke pulled back from her, just far enough to look at her properly. Her eyes still glowed in the streetlight. "Are you okay?" Clarke nodded, swallowing hard. If she was okay, why was that question so unnerving? Should she be okay? This all seemed so much easier an hour ago. "Hey," Lexa said, trying to get her attention again. She must have zoned out. "It's okay if you changed your mind," Lexa said softly. "I won't be upset. We can stop. Just, tell me what you're thinking."

Clarke hadn't realized Lexa's hand was on her waist until she began stroking the skin with her thumb. Clarke knew then that this was a terrible idea. In the low light, with glowing concerned eyes, Lexa looked more beautiful than Clarke had ever seen her. It made her ache to kiss her.

"I don't want to stop," Clarke whispered. She could feel Lexa tense underneath her.

"Are you sure?" Lexa asked.

Clarke nodded. "Do you?" She asked, almost nervous to hear the answer.

"No," Lexa said. Instead of waiting, drawing out the moment, or giving more room for doubt or reconsideration, Clarke pulled her in for a kiss.

Lexa's hands slid up Clarke's shirt with a cool familiarity, though she was surprised when Lexa didn't hesitate to hook her thumbs over the hem and pull it up. Clarke let go so that Lexa could remove it, tossing the shirt to the floor. Clarke did the same with Lexa's shirt, taking a moment to admire all the newly exposed skin. She had seen Lexa without a shirt on before. She knew from all the times Lexa changed in front of her where her tattoos were, small beauty marks, she expected the plain black bra she had seen a few times before, but it still made her weak to see it now, underneath her. Lexa's hands lingered by the band of Clarke's bra.

"Take it off," Clarke whispered. Lexa looked at her like she was about to ask if she was sure. Clarke held her by the sides of her face, to make sure she was listening. "Please, Lex. I want you to," she put a hand over Lexa's, guiding it over the cup of her bra and down the front of her stomach. "I want to feel you everywhere." Lexa pulled at the clasp of Clarke's bra, unhooking it in one motion before slowly removing it and tossing it to the floor. Clarke felt a little self conscious from the way Lexa was staring at her, unmoving. "What?" Clarke asked

"I just don't understand how you're so fucking perfect," Lexa said quietly. She brought her hands to Clarke's hips, sliding along her skin. Clarke fought against a blush, deciding not to respond to how romantic that sounded. Lexa ran a thumb over Clarke's nipple, startling her. She opened her eyes wide and caught Lexa examining her with a dark curiosity. Experimentally, she repeated the action, causing Clarke to shudder again, senses heightened from the hour of excitement without relief. Lexa continued to watch her. Just as Clarke was about to complain about her brutally slow pace, Lexa leaned in and took Clarke's other nipple into her mouth, sucking lightly before releasing it with a slight pop. Clarke groaned, grasping at the back of Lexa's neck.

"I'm getting really tired of all this teasing," Clarke said, voice raspier than usual.

"I'm getting tired of being called a tease," Lexa said.

"You know what they say, if it looks like a tease, acts like a tease, it's probably a-" Clarke said, cut short by her own moan as Lexa slid two fingers inside of her.

"I'm sorry, what were you saying? I couldn't quite hear you," Lexa smirked. She stroked gentle circles over Clarke's clit with her thumb, keeping a steady pulse with her other fingers.

"Fuck you," Clarke breathed, cutting herself off with another little moan. Lexa held her by the back of the neck, pressing kisses and scrapes of teeth along her collarbone as Clarke moved on top of her. Clarke let go, closing her eyes, focusing on Lexa's touch until there was nothing else.

 




"It's strange, isn't it?" Lexa asked, long fingers slowly traveling over the skin of Clarke's back. They had been lying together quietly in the darkened room, listening to each other breathe. It probably should've been awkward, Clarke thought, lying together naked and exposed with nothing to say, but it wasn't. In fact, it was probably the most comfortable Clarke had ever been on Lexa's bed. There was nothing to hide anymore. She looked at Lexa, who stared back at her, lips perfectly parted, eyes light, almost blissful.

"What is?" Clarke asked.

"That I can just kiss you," Lexa said, the hint of a smile turning up the corners of her mouth.

"You've been kissing me for a while now," Clarke said with a chuckled. "What's so strange about it?"

"This is different," Lexa said.

"How so?" Clarke asked. Lexa looked at her for a moment before smirking wider. She brought a hand to Clarke's cheek and pulled her in for a soft kiss.

"We're not rushing," Lexa said. "No one's crying," she added with a self deprecating chuckle. "It's just so strange that you're here, next to me. It feels like it's been so long. But I guess in the scheme of things, these past couple months have been nothing-"

"Please don't get all existential on me," Clarke laughed softly.

"I'm not," Lexa smirked, letting her hand linger on Clarke's cheek. "I just-" She stared at Clarke for a moment before sighing. "It's just nice," she said. "Thank you."

"For what?" Clarke chuckled. "Fucking you?"

"No," Lexa rolled her eyes. "Well, yeah. But no. Just, thanks for being you."

"Are you always this mushy after you come?" Clarke teased.

"No, usually not until after the fourth consecutive orgasm," Lexa joked.

"Man, you have this amazing ability to make something that's supposed to be sexy sound so clinical," Clarke laughed.

"Oh, what? So now, I'm not sexy enough for you?" Lexa asked.

Clarke bit her lip, appraising Lexa in the low light. "Hm, I think I'll have to get back to you on that one."

"You're the worst," Lexa said

"I have a feeling I can change your mind about that," Clarke smirked as she pulled Lexa in for a kiss. Somewhere in the room, a phone vibrated for a moment, a missed call. In a moment, it rang again. Lexa pulled back.

"You gonna get that?" Lexa asked softly.

"Wasn't planning on it, no," Clarke chuckled, pulling Lexa in for another kiss.

"It's probably one of your friends. They're going to think you died, or got kidnapped or something," Lexa said between breaths.

"They'll figure it out," Clarke said. "They always do," she smiled, ignoring the phone as it continued to vibrate. She pulled Lexa in closer and settled in on top of her, ready to shut out the world for as long as she could.

Chapter Text

Clarke opened her eyes slowly, vaguely aware of her overwarm skin sticking lightly to Lexa's, who was partially beneath her, breathing evenly. For a moment, she decided to pretend she was still sleeping, settling her head a little more comfortably into the crook of Lexa's neck. She listened intently as Lexa's soft breaths synchronized to her rising and falling chest. It wasn't normal to want to listen to your friends breathe. Clarke knew that. She tried to push away the thought that waking up like this again wouldn't be so bad.

Somewhere on the floor, a phone vibrated quickly, a text message. Clarke ignored it, assuming it was Raven, or maybe Octavia looking for information to collect on a bet. It vibrated again, Clarke resisted the temptation to look for the phone. Who knew when the next time she would be able to lay like this? In another moment, the sound started once again, but it didn't stop right away, obviously a phone call. Beneath her, Lexa stirred.

"Clarke," Lexa said softly, running a hand along her back. Clarke faked an awakening, rubbing her eyes before she looked at Lexa. The phone continued to vibrate. Clarke gave Lexa a little grunt of acknowledgement and smiled, unable to bite it back at the expression Lexa was giving her. "Why must your friends always interrupt us?" Lexa smirked.

"I wish I could tell you," Clarke said, matching Lexa's tone. The looked at each other for a moment, far too tender for whatever it was they were doing. Then, almost as if Lexa could read her mind, she shifted from underneath her, putting a little more space between them. Clarke almost pouted but she caught herself, noticing that Lexa's expression didn't change from a soft smile.

"So," Lexa said.

"So," Clarke mimicked.

"So I was thinking," Lexa started.

"Thinking? Or overthinking?" Clarke teased.

"Shut up," Lexa said, lightly biting her own lip. "I was thinking, uh, that I wouldn't be opposed to this happening again."

"What?" Clarke asked coolly, hoping Lexa couldn't feel her heart beat a little faster.

Lexa rolled her eyes. "You know what."

"You mean laying in your bed? Actually sleeping in past eight?" Clarke asked.

"You're the worst," Lexa chuckled.

"You love it," Clarke retorted. Lexa looked as if she was about to speak when a loud knock at the door startled them both.

"Who is it?" Lexa called.

"Lex, open up," it was Anya. Clarke and Lexa shared a look.

"I'm not getting under that bed again," Clarke said with a smirk. Lexa rolled her eyes.

"I'll get rid of her, but, you should probably get dressed just in case," Lexa said.

"Lex, seriously, open the door," Anya called.

"Give me a minute," Lexa shouted back. Clarke and Lexa got up. Clarke reached for her clothes on the floor, pulling them on quickly. Lexa crossed the room to her dresser to search for something clean to wear, Clarke tried her hardest not to stare, instead looking around for her missing phone. She found it, half under the bed, but was confused to find she only had three notifications, a missed call and two texts from Raven. She was sure the phone rang at least seven times, last night alone. Clarke looked up at Lexa and caught her as she pulled on a shirt, covering up the intricate tattoos dotting her back. She wondered if it would be weird to kiss her now. Lexa looked at Clarke and motioned for her to join her on the other side of the room, where she wouldn't be seen when the door opened. When she crossed the room, Lexa looked at her for a moment before dropping her head slightly to give Clarke a quick kiss.

"Open the door Lexa, I'm not letting you hide in there," Anya called again.

"Jesus Christ I'm coming," Lexa yelled. She looked at Clarke apologetically. "I'll just be a minute," she said softly to Clarke as she walked over to the door. Clarke looked back down at her phone, unlocking it as she heard the door open. It was only 8:45 in the morning, way earlier than she'd expected.

"Why are you beating my door down?" Lexa asked. "And why did you let her up here again?" Clarke furrowed her brow, Lexa sounded like she was talking to someone else.

"We were worried about you," Lincoln said. Clarke was even more confused now, what could Lincoln and Anya both want? She clicked to check her unread texts from Raven, the first was from last night; Please tell me you guys finally did the do. Clarke rolled her eyes at that, not ready for Raven's reaction when she inevitably found out. The second text was from earlier that morning; Are you with Lexa? Anya's looking for her, it's serious. Clarke resisted the urge to peer out to see what was going on at the door. She quickly typed back, Anya found her.

"Worried?" Lexa asked dumbly. "For what?"

"You haven't been answering your phone," Lincoln said. "We just- we thought maybe-"

"Maybe what?" Lexa asked, a sudden edge to her voice. "What the fuck is going on?"

"Shit," Anya breathed. Clarke really wished she could see what was going on now, she was just as confused as Lexa. "You don't know?"

"What don't I know?" Lexa asked.

"You haven't checked your phone at all?" Lincoln asked.

"Not since, I don't know, maybe nine last night?" Lexa said. "I'm not even sure where it is. But what does that have to do with anything? Did you think I got abducted or something?" She gave half a chuckle.

"Fuck, Lex," Anya said softly. She sounded so unlike Anya.

"What?" Lexa insisted. "Can you just tell me what the fuck is going on?"

"Your mom," Anya said.

"Shit," Lexa breathed with an understanding sigh. "What'd she do this time?"

"Can we come in? I don't think we should do this in the hall," Anya said.

"No, just tell me what's going on," Lexa said a little more forcefully.

"Lex," Anya sighed. "Just, let us in, we'll talk about it,"

"No, tell me what's going on," Lexa growled.

"You don't want to do this out here," Anya said.

"Lincoln, what happened? What did my mom do?" Lexa asked.

Clarke could hear a deep sigh. "She passed last night," Lincoln said.

"What?" Lexa asked slowly. Clarke went cold at hearing it, it was so familiar, only this time, it wasn't happening to her. She couldn't imagine how Lexa must feel.

"Come on, let us in, we can talk about it inside," Anya said.

"Hold on," Lexa said. It sounded much farther away than all the other words. Clarke heard the door click shut. Lexa approached her. "Do you mind?" It made her heart hurt, the way Lexa asked, apologetic eyes, biting lightly on her bottom lip as if she was somehow inconveniencing Clarke.

"No," Clarke said softly. "Whatever you need."

"Thank you," Lexa said quietly. Clarke tried not to put too much thought into the way Lexa grabbed her hand, leading her gently toward the door.

"Just- Let me know if you need anything, okay?" Clarke said. Lexa nodded lightly at her. It was like she had gone missing, her eyes looked hard despite the softness she was handling Clarke with. She let go of Clarke's hand as she opened the door to Lincoln and Anya's surprise.

"Well, that explains a lot," Anya said dully. Lincoln nudged her, warningly. They separated, leaving Clarke space to exit. She crossed the hall, trying to ignore the heavy awkwardness as she fished for her keys. She unlocked her door, looking back as Lincoln and Anya followed Lexa into the room.

Clarke turned some music on low, not wanting to risk accidentally eavesdropping on the conversation across the hall. She felt like she needed to do something. She always did in situations like this, but none of the speeches she came up with in her head meant enough. She tried to think of things she wished people would've said to her when her dad died, but she kept coming up empty. All she wanted to do when her dad died was drink until she couldn't feel her face. Maybe she should bring over some liquor. No. That was a bad idea. Clarke paced around her room, waiting to hear the door open. She wasn't sure how long it took, only vaguely aware of the passing time until she heard Anya's voice in the hall.

"Just, call me, okay?" Anya said.

"I will," Lexa said. She sounded more level than Clarke expected. Clarke turned the music off, listening at the door until she heard the elevator ding and shut down the hall. She hesitated for a moment before she opened her door. Was it too much to go over there right away? Before she could answer her own question though, Clarke crossed the hall again and knocked on Lexa's door.

"It's open," Lexa called. Clarke opened the door to find Lexa sitting cross legged on her bed as always.

"Hey," Clarke said softly. "I just wanted to check on you," she said a little awkwardly, clearing her throat as she lingered in Lexa's doorway. "But uh, I can go if you wanna be alone."

"It's fine, Clarke," Lexa sighed. "I don't mind the company."

"That's a first," Clarke teased as she entered the room, shutting the door behind her. Lexa smirked slightly as she rolled her eyes. Clarke took a seat next to her on the bed, far enough so that they could face each other.

"So do you know who's making the arrangements?" Clarke asked. "I could come with you if you wanted."

"Arrangements?" Lexa asked.

"For the funeral," Clarke said. Lexa laughed without hesitation. The sound was hollow, it rung off the walls of the quiet room darkly. "Uh, I'm sorry?"

"Unless one of the people from the squat she lived in happens to be secretly rich and particularly generous, there won't be a funeral," Lexa said obviously.

"What? What do you mean? She doesn't have any family?" Clarke asked.

"She has me," Lexa shrugged. "Fuck, I mean, she had. Had," Lexa stared across the room, like something on her desk was suddenly very interesting. Clarke tried not to notice the way Lexa curled and uncurled her fists in time with a few heavy breaths. "But fuck if I have the money for a funeral."

"What about life insurance?" Clarke offered. "If she had a policy it could probably cover-"

"What the fuck don't you get, Clarke?" Lexa snapped, turning to face her. "My mom was a miserable addict who ruined her own life and tried to take everyone down with her," Lexa took a deep breath. "There is no one alive who would pay for her funeral, much less show up," she added bitterly.

"But she's your mom," Clarke said, frowning. It was getting impossible not to say the wrong thing, but something in her wanted to press.

"Barely," Lexa said stiffly.

"Lex-" Clarke started.

"No, Clarke. You don't get it," Lexa said, looking at her with hard eyes. The contempt almost made Clarke flinch. It took a lot of effort to remember that Lexa wasn't angry with her. Not yet, at least.

"Maybe I don't because you've never told me about her," Clarke shrugged. "You brought her up a couple times when you were drunk, but I really don't know anything about her."

"You want to know about my mom?" Lexa asked. "Fine," she breathed, but it almost seemed like she was planning on talking before Clarke prompted her. "My mom never knew when to stop," Lexa said, looking at Clarke seriously. "I remember her throwing parties in our apartment when I was a kid. Watching as she drank too much and took bumps of coke, watching strangers put their hands on her. It was my life. Every night, people in and out of my house. I thought she was so cool," Lexa said with a frown. "Other kids in my grade had bedtimes. Their parents made them eat vegetables with their dinner. Their parents made them do their homework. Mine didn't. I stayed up until I fell asleep. We ate McDonalds and pizza. I went to school with an empty backpack. God, I thought she was so cool," Lexa sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose with her hand. "She had me young, she never really figured out how to treat me like her kid instead of her friend. By the time I was twelve she would pass me the bowl at parties. We celebrated my birthday with shots of tequila. All of her friends thought it was hilarious, watching a kid get fucked up" Lexa breathed, shaking her head.

"Lex, I'm sorry," Clarke frowned. She rested a hand on Lexa's thigh, stroking slowly with her thumb.

"When I met Lincoln, I couldn't believe how calm it was in his house. He had a single mom, too, but she was so different than mine. They didn't have money either, but somehow there was always food in his fridge. She always made him dinner, either when she got home from work, or before she left. The house was always clean. It was almost, surreal. I couldn't believe that anyone lived like that. I always thought that home cooked meals and doing your homework was something boring. That I was cool, that my mom was cool because we did things differently. But the more time I spent at Lincolns, the more I wanted his life. A quiet, calm life. But my mom, she never felt that," Lexa said, shrugging slightly. "She never wanted things to calm down. She just wanted to get high and stay high for as long as she could. I think she was afraid of the comedown. It just kept getting worse. She kept finding worse guys to date, who came with harder drugs and more problems. She stole from my grandparents until they disowned us both. God, she ruined her own fucking life and almost ruined mine too," Lexa laughed dryly. "If I didn't have Lincoln, Anya, Ms. Indra, that could've been me. It would have," Lexa sighed deeply. "You know, it's fucked up, but I've been preparing for this day for years. I've known it was coming since the first time I saw her overdose. The EMT's came in and dosed her with something like narcan, I swear to God, it was just like Pulp Fiction the way she shot up, like nothing had happened. It was like she got disconnected and all they had to do was come plug her back in. I thought she was dead, I really did. It was a miracle DHS didn't take me that night. I don't think they knew I was there though. I watched the whole thing from the top of the stairs," Lexa said. She looked like she had disappeared into the memory for a moment, staring down at the edge of the bed before she snapped back up. "When she came back, I thought she was going to stay clean. I mean, you'd think that if anything, OD'ing in the middle of a party in your own house in front of your kid would be the moment that helps put it all in perspective, but no. As soon as I saw her do a line after that I knew. I knew that she wasn't gonna stop until she killed herself," Lexa said. Clarke looked at Lexa, expecting there to be tears in her eyes, but there were none. Her jaw was set, almost angrily. Clarke shifted closer to her, wrapping an arm around her waist. She felt like she should say something, but no words she could come up with felt like enough. Lexa was right, she didn't understand. She had no idea what Lexa was feeling, so she hoped that being there would be enough.

After what felt like a long time sitting together in silence, Lexa spoke again. "I have enough money for a cremation, but that's it. A cremation and the shittiest urn they offer.

"It's something," Clarke offered, encouragingly.

"The only problem is that I have no way to get to D.C. And there's no one there who could take care of it for me," Lexa sighed.

"I can see if I can borrow Raven's car, we could drive," Clarke said, excited to be able to help.

"I couldn't," Lexa said. "I don't like asking for favors."

"You wouldn't be asking, I would," Clarke said.

"That doesn't make it any better," Lexa frowned.

"Please Lex, I want to help. Okay? Let me help. Because you're right, I have no idea what you're feeling. God, I can't even imagine. Nothing I can say is going to help, but maybe getting you back home will," Clarke said.

"Why are you being so insistent?" Lexa asked.

"Uh, because I care about you? Because even if it's complicated, losing someone fucking hurts, because that's what friends do," Clarke said. "Take your pick." The corners of Lexa's mouth turned up slightly.

"So, this is friendly concern?" Lexa asked, smirking.

"Were you expecting something else?" Clarke asked.

"Fine," Lexa sighed. "If Raven lets you borrow the car, we can go."

"She will," Clarke said confidently. "She owes me."

 

 

 

"Borrow my car? Are you insane?" Raven asked with a slight laugh. Clarke made the walk to Raven's house in record time despite the bitter cold. She was on a mission, barely giving Raven the chance to question her about last night before she cut to the chase.

"What's the problem?" Clarke asked, frowning. For whatever reason, she had not been expecting resistance.

"Do you even know how to drive?" Raven asked.

"I have my license!" Clarke said defensively.

"That does not answer my question," Raven said with a chuckled.

"It should!" Clarke said.

"Clarke," Raven said. "How many times in your life have you actually driven a car?"

"I've driven plenty of times!" Clarke said.

"After getting your license? Without another licensed driver in the car telling you what to do?" Raven asked.

"It's not my fault my mom never trusted me to take her car anywhere!" Clarke whined. Raven laughed at that. "Come on Rae, you owe me."

"I know, but I also don't want you and Lexa to die. D.C. isn't exactly around the corner," Raven said. "How about I drive?" She asked after a moment of thought.

"Won't that be kind of- weird?" Clarke asked skeptically.

"Well, I'm sure Anya will want to come if that makes it any better," Raven shrugged.

"I think that makes it worse," Clarke chuckled. "Like we're going on some big gay road trip."

"She's Lexa's friend, and I'm sure she knew her mom. Honestly, she'll probably want to come with you guys whether I'm there or not, so wouldn't you rather me be there?" Raven asked.

"I guess you're right," Clarke sighed.

"I know I am," Raven said. "So we're settled?" Clarke nodded.

"I'll call Lexa," Clarke said.

 

Within the hour Clarke and Raven were parked out front of the dorm, attracting the disapproving attention of security because the spot in front of the door was supposed to be no parking anytime.

"Do you know what's taking them so long?" Raven asked Clarke, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel.

"I think they're on the phone with the crematory, trying to figure out what the cheapest option is," Clarke grimaced.

"Isn't it fucked up how you can't even die without it costing someone money?" Raven asked. Lexa and Anya emerged from the front doors. Clarke slipped out of the passenger side door, leaving it open as she reentered in the back seat. Anya took Clarke's place in the front and Lexa followed her.

"We managed to talk them down to five hundred," Anya said triumphantly.

"She fake cried and told the woman some story about how I was a poor orphan," Lexa said.

"You say that like it's not true," Anya said.

"I'm twenty one," Lexa said flatly.

"And? You don't have parents. That makes you an orphan," Anya shrugged.

"It only makes you an orphan when you're left with no guardian. I'm an adult," Lexa said.

"Anyway, the point is, I saved you like three hundred bucks," Anya said. "I'm pretty sure she mentioned something about giving the ashes back in a cardboard box though."

"Are you serious?" Raven asked. "What are they even charging you for?"

"They have to transport the body from the morgue to the crematory, refrigerate it until we get there, put it in a box that goes in the furnace, cremate it, then process the ashes," Lexa said. Clarke noticed that she seemed far away again. It was strange the way she talked, like it was all scientific. Like the body was an abstract concept, rather than her mom. Maybe that's how she needed to think, Clarke wondered, to make the whole process easier.

"What are you, like an expert on cremations?" Raven asked.

"The woman on the phone walked us through the process," Lexa said.

"Oh," Raven said. "That makes it a lot less creepy."

"This whole thing is-" Clarke searched for the words for a moment. "It's pretty fucking morbid."

"That's death for you," Anya shrugged.

"We ready to go?" Raven asked.

"No," Anya said. "Lincoln should be down in a minute. I had to convince him he wouldn't be a fifth wheel," she chuckled.

"Fifth wheel?" Raven laughed. "Here? In this car? He's got it all wrong, this is just a car full of casual friends having causal relations. Right Clarke?" Raven asked, turning in the seat to face her. Clarke could only manage an eyeroll. Lincoln joined them after a moment, getting in the car on Lexa's other side. "Alright, let's do this thing," Raven said. She passed her phone to Anya. "Can you pull up some directions?" She asked as she shifted into drive.

The car was mostly silent as Raven navigated through the college town, radio playing too low to be distinguished. Clarke looked over at Lexa, wanting to talk to her, but not sure what to say. She still seemed so far away. Clarke almost wished the music was up, so that she could whisper to her. For some reason, she was sure that anything she could think to say would be too personal to share with anyone else. She sighed and turned her attention to the window, watching as the town slipped away, replaced by the tree lined highway on ramp. They had barely merged onto the interstate when Clarke felt Lexa take hold of her hand, lightly, almost apprehensively. Clarke didn't look at her, but gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and immediately felt Lexa relax. Then, Clarke realized, maybe she didn't have to say anything at all.

 

 

The crematory was not like any place Clarke had ever seen. It was a small building, tucked into a long block lined with warehouses, almost hidden completely. The windows were obscured under heavy metal bars secured by thick padlocks, the white paint on the cinderblocks was peeling and gray. Clarke would've assumed it was part of one of the surrounding buildings if it weren't for the maroon awning, labeled Rodriguez Funeral Services on the edge. Back at home, any funeral Clarke had ever been to was held in the same ornate hall with glittering white stone and detailed woodwork. She wondered what this place looked like on the inside.

It had been a while since Lexa and Anya had gone inside. Lincoln joined them at first, but quickly returned to the car after learning only two people were allowed to watch the process.

"Has Octavia been calling you guys nonstop, too? Or is she just particularly obsessed with me?" Raven asked, turned around in the front seat to face Clarke and Lincoln. Just as she went to check, Clarke's phone vibrated in her hand. She laughed at the name on her screen, turning it to show Raven.

"Does this answer your question?" Clarke chuckled. She clicked to answer. "Hey O, to what do we owe the stalking?"

"Uh, are you kidding? You guys all decided to go on a road trip without me?" Octavia asked hysterically. "Like it's my fault I had to go home for break-"

"O, relax, we're not on a vacation or anything-" Clarke said into the phone.

"I can't believe you guys are on a road trip with my boyfriend! I haven't even gone on a road trip with my boyfriend yet!" Octavia whined.

"O, Raven didn't tell you?" Clarke asked. "Lexa's mom died."

"Wait, what?" Octavia asked. "Oh fuck, is she alright?" She asked seriously. "And tell Raven I'm gonna kick her ass! She made it seem like you all were going on a fun little trip to see the museums and shit." Clarke looked up at Raven who was biting back a smirk.

"She said she's gonna kick your ass," Clarke said to Raven.

"I heard," Raven said. "Forgive me for wanting to pretend this trip wasn't quite so depressing."

"You just wanted to mess with me and you know it!" Octavia yelled, apparently having heard her.

"I won't deny that," Raven shrugged.

"Anyway, she alright? Lexa, I mean," Octavia asked Clarke.

Clarke sighed. "I don't know. She seems like she's kinda, checked out. She's holding it together though."

"God, that's fucking awful. I can't even imagine," Octavia said. "Can you tell Lincoln to call me?"

"Yeah," Clarke said.

"Alright, I love you guys, please be safe out there," Octavia said.

"We love you too, O. Bye," Clarke said. "She wants you to call her," Clarke said to Lincoln.

"I heard," Lincoln nodded before he moved to get out of the car. Clarke watched as he closed the door behind him, pressing his phone to his ear.

"Do you think she's gonna be alright?" Raven asked, drawing Clarke's attention.

"Who? O? Yeah, she probably already forgot about you messing with her," Clarke said.

"No, I mean Lexa," Raven said. "Anya told me that she wasn't really close with her mom anymore, but, it's still gotta hurt," Raven frowned. "I just keep thinking, like, what would I do if my dad died? How would I feel? You know? I haven't spoken to him in years. Would I cry? Would I feel guilty? Relieved? It's just- it's a lot. I can't believe how calm she's been."

"I'm worried," Clarke said. "I just- it seems like she's not treating it like it's actually happening."

"Maybe she just like, expected it. If someone told me my dad died, I wouldn't be surprised, you know? He's been drinking longer than I've been alive. I think the shock is what gets a lot of people," Raven said.

"I guess so," Clarke said. She brought a hand to her head as she looked out the window at Lincoln. "Honestly, all this stuff makes me feel kind of dumb."

"What do you mean?" Raven asked.

"I mean, I just, this year, everything that's happened. I-" Clarke trailed off, in thought. "I used to think that my life was so shitty, you know? With my dad dying, my mom being who she is, all the shit with Finn. I thought I had it so hard, and now, I just- feel dumb. I had no idea how much worse other people have it. Shit, how much worse you had it," Clarke sighed.

"Clarke," Raven shook her head. "You know that's not how it works, right?"

"What do you mean?" Clarke asked.

"I mean, you can't just invalidate your own shit because someone else has it worse. That's not how trauma works. Someone else having it worse doesn't mean that you didn't have it bad," Raven said seriously. "Plus, worse is so subjective. There's always going to be someone worse off. Lexa and Anya, they've had a way harder life than I have, do you think that means I should just get over it?" Raven asked.

"No," Clarke said quietly.

"Trust me, there are plenty of people out there who are gonna tell you that your pain isn't real. That it's time to pick yourself up and forget about it. Those people are assholes. Don't be an asshole to yourself, alright?" Raven asked. Clarke nodded at her, feeling particularly affectionate for her friend. Raven must have felt the weight of Clarke's gaze, because she shifted, looking out the car window. "Hey," she started, pointing. "They're back." Clarke turned too, watching as Lexa and Anya returned to view, looking not much different than when they first left the car. Raven moved first, exiting the car to meet them on the sidewalk. Clarke followed. "How'd it go?" Raven asked them. Clarke looked over to Lincoln who was trying to rush Octavia off the phone.

"As good as watching a body burn can go, I guess," Anya said darkly as she shrugged.

"Right. Sorry," Raven muttered awkwardly. Clarke stepped closer to Lexa as Anya followed Raven back to the car.

"I know this is a dumb question but, are you alright?" Clarke asked. Lexa frowned slightly before she sighed.

"I'm fine, Clarke," Lexa said. It came out softly. "They won't have the ashes for us until tomorrow morning though. We got here so late, it was the last one of the day." She started walking toward the car, Clarke kept pace with her.

"Oh, well, that's okay. We can just get a room or something," Clarke said.

"I've been telling you guys to get a room for months," Raven said, flashing a smirk at Clarke before she slipped back into the driver's seat. She was out of sight before she could catch the brutal glare Clarke shot her. Clarke reentered the car, sliding down the seat to leave Lexa room.

"I don't have any money for a room," Lexa said. "I pretty much drained my savings for the cremation."

"I can handle it," Clarke said. Lincoln opened the door, sliding in on Lexa's other side.

"Hey, what's going on?" Lincoln asked.

"Look's like we're spending the night," Anya said. "We can't pick the ashes up until morning."

"I was just about to call a hotel," Clarke said. "Find out what the rates are."

"Are you kidding?" Lincoln chuckled. "My mom would have a heart attack if she found out I was in the city and didn't come home."

"Oh, I wouldn't want to impose-" Clarke started.

"No," Lexa cut her off. "It's perfect. I miss her." Clarke looked over at Lexa, who smiled slightly, though it didn't reach her eyes.

"Alright," Clarke nodded.

"Lincoln's mom's house it is," Raven said. "Someone give me directions." The someone Raven mentioned couldn't have been anyone other than Anya, who she passed her phone to. After a minute of fiddling with it, they set off again. Clarke watched as the scene around them changed, shifting from neatly maintained tree-lined streets to something more overgrown. The farther they traveled, though, the more Clarke could feel Lexa relax next to her. They drove past what looked like an abandoned warehouse when Anya turned off the navigation. "What gives?" Raven asked, looking quickly over at Anya.

"We don't need it anymore," Anya said. "I know where we are. Just keep going straight for now." They continued down the block. Clarke could feel Lexa lean toward her, like she wanted her attention.

"That was our elementary school," Lexa said. She pointed out the window to a large stone building on the opposite corner. "And over there is where I got in my first fight," she chuckled, gesturing to an empty lot directly across from it.

"Don't you mean where you lost your first fight?" Anya teased, turning slightly in her seat to look at Lexa. She hardly acknowledged her.

"I was nine," Lexa shrugged, still talking to Clarke. "And I never lost a fight again."

"Yeah, that's because you had me," Anya interjected again. "Make a right up here," Anya said to Raven, pointing at the next intersection. Lexa continued to point out areas of interest in a quiet voice, like she was only interested in sharing them with Clarke until at Anya's instruction, Raven pulled into a parking spot. They unloaded from the car, Lincoln leading the way up a short set of stairs toward a house with a black and white striped awning. It was connected to the house next door, in stark contrast. Where Lincoln's house was neat, little pavers lining the grass, the house next door was overgrown and filled with trash, flipped over lawn furniture, car tires. Lincoln walked up another short set of steps to the door. Fishing in his pockets for something.

"You carry around your house key?" Anya asked, eyeing the object he produced from his pocket.

"I figured since we were coming home it wouldn't hurt to bring it," Lincoln said as he opened the door. "Come on," he said, gesturing for them to follow. The five of them were crammed in a small entryway, following Lincoln's lead as he took off his shoes.

"Hello? Is someone there?" A woman asked from another room. In a moment, Clarke saw her. She was small and thin, with dark hair. Even from far away, Clarke could tell she was Lincoln's mom, they looked strikingly alike. "Ah! Oh my god!" Lincoln's mom clutched her chest, jumping backwards at the sight of her unexpected guests. "Lincoln?" She screamed. "Lincoln? Oh my god!" She shouted as she approached them. "You almost gave me a heart attack!" She shouted. She cracked into a smile and shoved him slightly, immediately pulling him in for a hug. "My heart isn't what it used to be. You could've killed me," she laughed. "You couldn't call first?" Her soft curls bounced as she spoke, using her hands.

"I wanted it to be a surprise," Lincoln laughed.

"What are you even doing here? Shouldn't you be at school?" She asked as she pulled back. "Oh no, what happened?" She immediately frowned. "Lincoln I swear to god, I will head down there right now, did they mess with your scholarship?" She asked frantically. "Cause my cousin Toni said that happened to her friend Manny's son Chico and-"

"Mom, mom, stop before you give yourself a heart attack," Lincoln laughed, steadying her with his hands on her shoulders. "Everything is fine with school."

"Something's wrong," she said with a knowing look around the room. "You didn't bring your friends all the way here just to scare me on my way to work."

"Lexa's mom, she passed yesterday," Lincoln frowned.

"What?" She asked. "Lexa? You haven't-" She looked around the room, apparently noticing Lexa for the first time. "Oh, baby," she said, crossing the room in one swift motion. Clarke hardly saw her move, mostly comprehending when the small woman wrapped her arms around Lexa. "I'm so sorry," she said quietly, squeezing Lexa tightly. Lexa murmured unintelligibly in response. Lincoln's mom pulled back to look at her. "Do you know when the service is? I'll try and switch shifts with someone."

"No service," Lexa said quietly to her. "She was cremated today."

"Oh, alright baby," she nodded. She held Lexa at arm's length, looking at her. "Look at you," she said softly. "Such a beautiful woman you've become. You know I missed having you around here." She gave Lexa another quick squeeze before she let go. "God, I'm sorry I've been so rude, introduce me to your friends, sweetheart," she said, grabbing Lincoln by the arm.

"Well, you know Anya," he said, pointing her out.

"Anya, my god, how long has it been?" Lincoln's mom asked, outstretching her arms. "You look so grown," she said as she released Anya from the hug, running her hands through her hair appraisingly. "How come you never visit over the summer?" She asked.

"I work during the summer," Anya said. "School doesn't pay for itself," she shrugged. "Well, unless you're one of those two," she said, rolling her eyes as she gestured vaguely to Lincoln and Lexa. Lincoln's mom turned around to beam at him before returning her attention to Anya. "I'm very proud of you mama. You keeping those grades up?" She asked.

"I have a three point four," Anya shrugged. "Trying to get it up though."

"You will," Lincoln's mom smiled, patting Anya on the shoulders reassuringly. She then stepped back, turning toward Clarke and Raven. "And who are the two of you?"

"I'm Clarke," Clarke smiled at her, giving a little wave.

"Raven," Raven added, mimicking Clarke.

This news must have meant something to Lincoln's mom, because immediately she turned to her son with a scowl. "You didn't bring your girlfriend?" She asked.

"Don't say it like that," he laughed. "She's been home for the break."

"Trust me," Raven said. "She's distraught that we're all here without her."

"You'll bring her soon?" Lincoln's mom asked him.

"I promise. As soon as I can," he nodded.

"Alright," she said, turning her attention back to Clarke and Raven. "So, you ladies are friends of Lincoln's girlfriend? Is that how you all met?"

"Actually, Lexa is my RA," Clarke said. "We didn't know they were friends at first."

"Huh," Lincoln's mom said. "You three couldn't get away from each other if you tried," she chuckled, looking between Lincoln, Anya and Lexa. "I'm Rosa, by the way. I really need to get to work, but there's no food in the house-" She said, deep in thought. "Why don't you all come with me? The food at the diner is always good."

"Mom, it's alright. We can go get pizza from T's," Lincoln said.

"Okay, okay," she said. "Let me give you some money for it," she said, reaching into her purse.

"No, mom, we're okay, we don't need anything," Lincoln said, trying to push her hand back. They struggled for a moment before she relented.

"Alright, alright, fine," Rosa said. "I won't be home until late, but make yourselves at home. Are you all staying the night?"

"If you'll have us," Lexa said.

"If I'll have you," Rosa repeated, mockingly. "Always so polite. Of course I'll have you. What else would you do? Pay for a hotel? No, no way. Here, you need me to show you where the extra blankets-"

"Mom, you do know that I've lived here before, right?" Lincoln laughed. "Lexa's practically lived here, too. We don't need a tour."

"Fine, fine. I should get going, I'm gonna be late anyway. Just, let me get one more hug," Rosa said. She pulled Lexa in for a crushing hug and slipped passed them to the door. "Be good," she said, shutting it behind her.

"Did she just touch your butt?" Anya asked Lexa.

"I think she did," Lexa said, brow furrowed.

"Lincoln's mom?" Raven asked. "Look out Clarke, you've got competition," Raven laughed, nudging Clarke with her elbow.

"Shut up," Clarke muttered. Lexa moved her hand to her back pocket, and produced a folded bill.

"She slipped me a twenty," Lexa said. They all laughed. "Same as always, huh Linc?"

"You know mom," he shrugged.

 

 

Clarke and Raven followed as the others led them down the block, listening as the three friends shared stories about points of interest on the way to the pizza shop. They reached a large intersection, busy and more populated than any of the other streets they had taken, like the rest of the neighborhood was asleep and this was the only place still awake. Lexa stopped in front of a building painted bright blue, a strip of colored lights flashed in the window, begging for attention against the other stores.

"You wanna grab the pizza while we get drinks?" Lexa asked Lincoln. He nodded. "What do you want?" She asked.

"Whatever you get," he said. "How many pizzas should I get?"

"Two?" Lexa asked. Lincoln nodded again and continued to walk up the block. Lexa turned to the door and pulled it open, gesturing for the rest of them to head inside. Anya led the way to a wall of refrigerators full of beer.

"How about a Loko, An?" Lexa grinned. She pointed to a row of brightly colored beverages with bold lettering.

"You know as well as anyone I will never touch that poison again," Anya said.

"That sounds like a fun story," Raven interjected.

"Oh it was," Lexa said.

"What even is it?" Clarke asked, stepping closer to the glass to get a closer look.

"A Loko?" Lexa asked. "You've never had a Four Loko?"

"I've never even heard of it," Clarke said.

"Your high school parties must have sucked," Anya laughed.

"I thought you said it was poison?" Raven teased.

"Oh, it is. Terrible, awful poison. But fuck, it's fun," Anya laughed.

"It's malt liquor, it comes in a lot of different flavors for people who don't like beer. Plus it's got a higher alcohol content," Lexa said.

"That doesn't sound bad at all," Clarke said.

"It also used to be packed with caffeine, but the company that makes it got sued or whatever because people kept dying from the combination of uppers and downers," Anya said.

"Oh shit," Raven said.

"They're still pretty good though. If you want to get really drunk for really cheap, that is," Lexa laughed.

"I mean, who doesn't?" Clarke laughed too.

"Fuck it, you sold me," Raven laughed, opening the fridge door. "Which flavor is the best?"

"I used to like peach, I don't think I could ever drink it again though," Anya said.

"What happened?" Raven asked.

"Once you throw something up enough, it kind of scars you," Anya chuckled.

"Oh come on, that's not the whole story," Lexa said.

"What's the whole story?" Raven asked, a devilish glint in her eye.

"You want to tell it, or should I?" Lexa asked. Anya shot daggers at her.

"Are we even friends?" Anya asked.

"Oh come on, there's nothing to be embarrassed about, An," Lexa laughed.

"You're lucky you're grieving or I'd kick your ass," Anya muttered to her.

"You wish," Lexa chuckled, reaching into the fridge to grab a green and red camouflage can.

"Go on," Raven said, staring at Anya. She motioned for her to continue.

"You want one?" Lexa asked, looking at Clarke. Clarke shrugged back at her.

"Why not?" Clarke said. She watched as Lexa grabbed two more of the tall cans.

"There's really not much to tell," Anya said. "I don't remember most of that night. All I know is that I woke up at six am on a stranger's front porch two neighborhoods over," Anya said.

"And that you were missing a shoe," Lexa said.

"And I was missing a shoe," Anya chuckled.

"And you were missing your shirt," Lexa said.

"Oh shit," Anya laughed. "I forgot about that."

"And that you called me crying about a hundred times because you thought you took a train and got lost in Virginia," Lexa said.

"I was lost in Virginia!" Anya shouted defensively.

"You were a block over the state line!" Lexa laughed.

They walked up to the counter, setting their drinks on a little ledge. The cashier was on the other side of a thick sheet of acrylic, operating through a small metal tray, like a bank teller. Lexa raised the drinks to the acrylic for the cashier to scan across.

"Sixteen," the cashier said. Lexa fished her wallet out of her pocket and handed him a twenty as he slid the drinks into individual paper bags. It wasn't until they were out of the store that Clarke let out the breath she was holding.

"He didn't card us," Clarke said.

"I don't think I've ever been carded around here," Lexa laughed. "Not that it matters, I'm legal anyway." She passed the bags out, keeping two of them. She led the way down the block, stopping short of the pizza shop Lincoln disappeared into earlier. Lexa tucked one of the bags under her arm, freeing her hands to fiddle with the car. She peeled back the plastic seal to reveal the tab and cracked it, taking a long gulp before leading the way into the pizza shop.

"Hey! Look who it is, what'd they do, kick you all out of school?" A thin bald man shouted from behind the counter. Lincoln sat on the other side of it, on a red vinyl topped stool.

"It's winter break T, you know that," Anya said. Lexa slid a bagged can to Lincoln, sipping carelessly from her own.

"What's in the bag?" Another man asked, entering the room through a set of double doors.

"A beverage," Lexa said without looking back.

"You know I don't like you drinking that stuff," the man said.

"I'm an adult, Gus. We're just waiting for pizza," Lexa sighed, turning to face him.

Gus sighed too. "Sometimes I forget," he said. "How you holding up?"

"I'm holding," Lexa said, taking a long gulp from her drink.

"We heard about your mom," T said. "Real shame." He drummed his fingers on the counter, staring Lexa.

"Like you care," Lexa said bitterly.

"You think I don't care?" He asked, leaning forward on the counter. "You know how many times I tried to help her?"

"Are the pizzas ready? Or should we go up the block and get Chinese instead?" Lexa growled.

"Don't act like I did nothing, you know I gave her every opportunity I could," T said.

"Enough," Lexa said.

"When's the funeral?" Gus asked.

"No funeral. She was cremated today," Lexa said stiffly. Clarke watched as something changed in T's expression.

"Let me grab the pizzas," T said, turning from them to the oven.

 

 

Lexa led them down a different street than they came up on the way back to Lincoln's. Clarke walked closely next to her, taking conservative sips of her drink. It tasted kind of like someone dumped candy into a beer, not completely repulsive, but still weird. Anya Raven and Lincoln followed behind them at a little bit of a distance, whether it was to give them privacy or because Lexa was walking fast, Clarke didn't know.

"This was my old block," Lexa said as they made a left turn.

"Was?" Clarke asked. "Not is?"

"Yeah, by the time I was a junior my grandparents had already cut us off," Lexa said, taking a swig of her concealed beer. "They owned the house and charged my mom rent to live in it. As soon as she missed a month, they had us evicted," Lexa sighed. "We moved around a couple times before I graduated. Not that I spent much time at home anyway."

"Your own grandparents had you evicted?" Clarke asked repeating slowly, in disbelief.

"Yep," Lexa said, popping the p. "Then they rented it out to someone else."

"That's awful," Clarke said.

"That's life, I guess," Lexa sighed. "She always loved this house though. She used to say it was the longest she ever kept an address." Lexa sighed, stopping suddenly.

"Is this it?" Clarke asked, following Lexa's line of sight. Lexa nodded as she stared at the building, looking a little confused. It was obvious the house was once grand, large pillars on either side of the front door supporting the weight of the roof. It looked like it had been standing for a hundred years with the way weeds and vines had taken over peeling paint and boarded windows spotted with green. There was something bright orange, too, reflecting brightly under the streetlights. It seemed to be the focus of Lexa's gaze, the orange notice affixed to the door. Clarke was about to ask what it was when Lexa tore across the front lawn, barely hesitating over the uneven pavers.

"They just-" Lexa said, turning to face where Clarke stood on the sidewalk. Their friends had caught up, joining Clarke. "They just fucking abandoned it."

"The fuck happened here?" Anya asked, crossing the lawn to Lexa.

"I can't fucking believe-" Lexa laughed, wildly. "They kicked us out, for what? So they could leave it here? Fucking empty? They kicked us out of our goddamn house so that no one could have it?" She laughed again, though it was obvious nothing was funny. "Well I hope they're fucking happy now," Lexa sighed. "You know what's funny? They probably don't even know she died. I mean, how would they? Who would've told them?"

"Lex, breathe, okay?" Anya asked. Clarke, Raven, and Lincoln followed them across the lawn.

"This is such fucking bullshit," Lexa said.

"Come on," Anya said, grabbing Lexa by the arm. "Let's go back to Linc's. The pizza's getting cold." Lexa allowed herself to be led away from the house. She was silent the rest of the way back to Lincoln's house.

 

 

Clarke hadn't realized how hungry she was until they opened the pizza boxes. She sat at a small round table in the kitchen with Raven, Anya and Lincoln. She was already on her second slice when she noticed Lexa was leaning against the counter, no plate in her hand.

"You're not eating?" Clarke asked.

"Not hungry," Lexa said. No one else seemed to notice, too preoccupied with scarfing down their own pizza. They hadn't stopped for lunch.

"So, what do you guys do for fun around here?" Raven asked, looking up from her now empty plate.

"Drink, mostly," Anya chuckled.

"You guys wanna play dominoes?" Lincoln asked.

"Did you mean do I want to kick ass at dominoes? Because that's what I heard," Anya grinned.

"Oh, you don't know me," Raven said. "I can fuck you up in dominoes."

"So, I'll take that as a yes?" Lincoln chuckled.

"I've never played dominoes other than like, setting them up and knocking them down, so someone will have to teach me," Clarke said.

"What?" Raven asked. "You've never played dominoes?" Clarke shrugged in response. "That's insane. Alright, so the object of the game is to get rid of all your dominoes first. You do that by matching up the number of dots on either end with-"

"Clarke, can I talk to you for a second?" Lexa asked.

"Oh, uh, yeah," Clarke nodded as she stood up. "You guys can start without me, I'll just try to watch you when I come back." Lexa started walking up the stairs before Clarke could join her, motioning with her head to follow. She headed down the narrow hall and slipped into the second door on the left. As soon as Clarke crossed the threshold into the small bathroom, Lexa shut the door behind them. "You okay?" Clarke asked. She had barely gotten the words out before Lexa was on her, one hand in her hair, the other on her waist. She backed Clarke against the door so quickly that Clarke stumbled backward, the sound of her head hitting the door echoed hollowly. Lexa pressed her lips to Clarke's like she hadn't even heard it, gripping hard at her waist. Clarke melted into her touch, it was exciting to have Lexa on her again, to be kissed so hard and held so tightly. Clarke tipped her head back, eyes closed, letting Lexa trail hot kisses down her throat and along her collar, biting down in spots. Clarke peered down at Lexa as she reached a hand under the fabric of her shirt and caught Lexa's gaze for a moment. Her eyes were dark, but not in a way Clarke had seen before. It wasn't passion, it looked like she was angry, she looked violent in a way that made Clarke shift uncomfortably. Lexa continued moving under Clarke's shirt, pushing it up. "Wait, fuck, Lex, stop," Clarke said suddenly. Lexa stopped, still holding on to the hem of her shirt.

"Something wrong?" Lexa asked, her voice was hard.

"I could ask you the same thing," Clarke said, taking Lexa's hands off of her waist.

"I'm fine, Clarke," Lexa said harshly.

"Obviously you're not," Clarke said.

"So now you're going to tell me how I feel?" Lexa asked.

"You're being weird! What am I supposed to do?" Clarke asked.

"I don't know, shut up and let me fuck you?" Lexa said.

"This isn't you," Clarke said.

"How would you know?" Lexa said.

"Are you kidding?" Clarke chuckled. "I know you. You're not this aggressive."

"We fucked for the first time last night, I don't think that really gives you enough to go on," Lexa said, a bite to her tone. "Can you please just let me fuck you?" She asked, a new desperation in her voice.

"You can talk to me, Lex," Clarke said softly. "I want to help."

"Stop," Lexa said, clenching her jaw tightly.

"Just talk to me," Clarke said again, stepping toward her.

"Stop!" Lexa yelled as she turned, facing the bathtub, putting space between them.

"Lex," Clarke crooned.

"Fuck," Lexa said quietly into her hands. Clarke could hear the tears in her voice. "Fuck!" She screamed, turning quickly to drop her head against the wall. "What the fuck-" She breathed, pounding against the wall with balled fists. She curled her head slightly, the top still against the wall and hid her face with her hands. "Fuck," Lexa said again, cut off by her own heaving sob. Clarke walked toward her slowly, carefully, and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. Lexa's body shook beneath her, sobs like earthquakes.

"It's okay to cry," Clarke said, rubbing light circles on her back.

"I just- god- fuck-" Lexa choked out. "What the fuck did she do?" Lexa asked. "What the fuck did she do?" Clarke knew the questions weren't meant for her to answer, so instead she held Lexa by the waist, rubbing small circles on her skin with her thumb. "What the fuck did she do to herself? God, what the fuck did she do?" Lexa cried. "So- fucking- selfish-" She pounded her fists against the wall.

"Come on, let's go lay down," Clarke said, pulling at Lexa's waist. "You can punch the bed if you want." Lexa didn't respond, but allowed Clarke to lead her back into the hall. "Where's Lincoln's room?" She asked.

"Right here," Lexa said quietly, gesturing to the door on the other side of the hall. Clarke didn't bother switching on the light as they entered, enough streetlight poured in through the blinds. Lincoln's room, like the rest of the house, was small. His bed took up most of the space, only other furniture a long dresser against the opposite wall. Lexa dropped herself to the bed comfortably, lying back. Clarke sat on the edge of the bed, listening to Lexa's breathing still. "This fucking sucks," Lexa said after a while.

"I know," Clarke said, shifting slightly to look at her.

"I'm sorry," Lexa said.

"For what?" Clarke asked.

"For being aggressive with you," Lexa frowned. "You're right. It's not me."

"I know, it's alright," Clarke nodded. "And you know, if you even want to be aggressive with me again, just make sure we pick a safe word first," Clarke teased. She could see Lexa smirk. They sat together in the dark silence for a while. Clarke could feel the bed move along with Lexa's body, residual trembling on it's way out. Lexa was still before she spoke again.

"I know that I said I expected it," Lexa started quietly. "But, I don't know. I guess part of me always believed she'd outlive me. People like her, they always do. It's the people who start and stop that usually die. Shocks their system, you know? People like her, though, they're the ones who live. It's the consistency. The body gets used to it," Lexa said. It wasn't like she expected Clarke to respond, more like she was talking out loud to herself. There was another silence. "You can lay down, if you want," Lexa said softly. "You don't have to sit like that. Slowly, Clarke laid back. Lexa turned on her side to face her.

"I didn't want to invade your space," Clarke said. Lexa stared at her for a moment, but Clarke couldn't quite make out her expression.

"Thank you," Lexa said.

"For not invading your space?" Clarke asked.

"For being you," Lexa said. She put a hand on Clarke's cheek and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

"You keep saying that," Clarke said softly.

"It's because I mean it," Lexa said stroking Clarke's cheek. Either she didn't feel the intimacy of their position, or she didn't care because they stayed like that for a while, breathing softly.

"Should we go back downstairs?" Lexa asked after a while. She moved her hand from Clarke's cheek to the side of her neck. "I'm sure there will be a lot of talk about our prolonged disappearance," she chuckled.

"They won't miss us," Clarke said with a smirk.

"I don't know, Lincoln is probably exhausted from having to play referee," Lexa said.

"Are you kidding? Octavia probably convinced him to facetime her and give her a tour of the neighborhood and Raven and Anya probably ran off to hook up in the car," Clarke laughed.

"It has been abnormally quiet down there," Lexa said.

"I'm telling you, that's one hundred percent what happened," Clarke chuckled. "You wanna go down and check?"

"I'll take your word for it," Lexa smirked. She examined Clarke for a moment, curiously.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"Can I kiss you?" Lexa asked.

"What, like you need to ask now?" Clarke chuckled, hoping it would mask the butterflies in her stomach.

"I just, don't know where the line is," Lexa said. "Or if there even is one. I don't know what's okay."

"Do you not making out with me against a door twenty minutes ago?" Clarke laughed.

"I made you uncomfortable," Lexa said seriously.

"Because I could tell something was wrong, not because you kissed me," Clarke said reassuringly. "I don't think there are lines anymore. That whole idea kinda went out the window last night," she smirked. Lexa smirked too, biting lightly on her own bottom lip. "I think it would be more normal for us to just, do the things we want to do, you know? You don't have to think yourself into paralysis every time you want to kiss me."

"Shut up," Lexa laughed, shaking her head.

"Plus, you know, I kinda like kissing you, so it would be shitty if we suddenly had to stop," Clarke smiled.

"Yeah?" Lexa asked.

"Oh, like you didn't know?" Clarke asked.

"Maybe I like hearing you say it," Lexa shrugged.

"I know you do," Clarke whispered, pulling Lexa a little closer. "Who would've thought you'd be into dirty talk?"

"I am not," Lexa insisted.

"I don't know if you know this but, asking me to tell you how I want to be fucked totally counts as liking dirty talk. Not to mention the alleyway situation that started all of this-"

"Shut up," Lexa said, biting her own lip again.

"You know for someone who likes to hear me talk you sure do tell me to shut up a lot," Clarke said. Lexa laughed at that, appraising Clarke for a moment before she pulled her in for a kiss. It was lazy and warm, it made Clarke's stomach flip, but it was nothing compared to the look Lexa gave her once they separated. "What?" Clarke asked, trying to suppress a grin. Lexa stared at her, mouth parted, like she was trying to speak.

"How do you do that?" Lexa asked.

"What do you mean?" Clarke asked.

"You always have this way of calming me down, it's weird," Lexa said.

"I do?" Clarke asked.

"Today was fucking awful, there's no denying that. But I don't know, for most of it, I didn't feel so awful. I think it's because you were there," Lexa said. "You don't have to respond to that," she chuckled. "It's been an emotionally exhausting day. Sorry for being a sap."

"Is it crossing a line if I say I kinda like when you're a sap?" Clarke asked.

"I thought you said we were past lines," Lexa said.

"We are, physically," Clarke said.

"You saw me cry a few minutes ago, I think we're past emotional lines too," Lexa said.

"You say that like it was the first time I've seen you cry," Clarke said.

"Shit. You're right," Lexa said. "Well, we're far past it then," she shrugged. They laid together quietly for a while, staring again. "Thank you," Lexa said.

"You already thanked me," Clarke said.

"No, I mean for today. For all your help. I couldn't have done it without you," Lexa said.

"You should really be thanking Raven, she did all the driving," Clarke said.

"I will thank her, but right now I'm thanking you," Lexa said.

"Fine, but you don't need to. It's what friends do," Clarke said.

"Friends," Lexa nodded with a smirk. They were silent after that, until they both drifted asleep listening to each other's breathing.

Chapter Text

“Can you like, stop trying to eat your way to Lexa’s heart for like three seconds?” Clarke flinched. Raven’s voice was too loud to be so close to her ear. She reached up to where the phone was pinned between her head and shoulder to turn the volume down.

“Shut up,” Clarke groaned, reaching back into her dresser for more clothes.

“Ah, so you don't deny it,” Raven said.

“Was there a reason you called?” Clarke asked, tossing a t-shirt across the room into a suitcase.

“Someone’s testy,” Raven sniggered.

“I'm not,” Clarke sighed. “Just, stressed about going home.”

“Stressed about going home? Or stressed about not seeing Lexa for two weeks?”

“I can't be both?” Clarke asked, shifting aside some clothes in the drawer.

“So I take it you haven't talked to her yet?” Raven asked.

“No,” Clarke sighed. “It's just- there hasn't really been a good time-”

“You literally live across the hall from each other,” Raven deadpanned.

“Yeah, I know, it's really been making it hard for me to think clearly-”

“Because you're too busy fucking-” Raven said.

“No!” Clarke defended. “Because we’ve been- hanging out at lot.”

“And in all the time you've been hanging out there's somehow never been an opportunity to ask her what you guys are doing?” Raven asked.

“I mean, ugh, there probably has but, I don't know. It's just weird. Things are good right now, we’re good and everything is finally where I want it to be- I just don't want to fuck everything up and have her shut down again,” Clarke sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.

“Okay, but obviously things aren't where you want them to be.”

“It's better than before,” Clarke said.

“If you say so,” Raven concluded, an obvious skeptic. “Anyway, I was calling to remind you about the party tonight since I'm sure you haven't been keeping track of the date in your haze of post-coiltial bliss”

“Oh my god-”

“What? Not judging, I've totally been there,” Raven chuckled.

“Right, when is it again?” Clarke asked.

“Tonight,” Raven said obviously.

“Wait, like tonight tonight?” Clarke asked incredulously.

“No Clarke, I mean tomorrow tonight,” Raven said. Clarke could practically hear the eye roll in her voice.

“I just can't believe it's already New Years, I was at your place for Christmas like two days ago” Clarke said.

“That's what happens when you disappear into some sexcapade with your not girlfriend, you lose all track of time-”

“You would know all about that, wouldn't you?” Clarke teased.

“Got me there, Griffin,” Raven humorlessly. “Anyway, come over soon, I could use a hand setting up.”

“How soon is soon?” Clarke asked. “I don't even know what I'm wearing yet.”

“Soon is like, now. Don't wanna risk you disappearing with Lexa and not coming back until next semester. You can borrow something.”

“Fine,” Clarke sighed. “I just gotta go over and remind Lex about the party.”

“Alright but if you're not here in a half hour I'm gonna show up there and embarrass the shit out of you,” Raven said.

“I'll be quick, see you soon,” Clarke said as she hung up. She looked across the room to her suitcase and back to the dresser, which was now more than half empty. She decided that was enough packing for the day, and stood. Without hesitation, she crossed the hall to Lexa's door and knocked.

“Come in,” Lexa called. She was sitting at her desk when Clarke entered, which was strange, she normally preferred to work from her bed. “Needed a change of scenery?” Clarke asked.

Lexa turned to face her, brow furrowed. “What do you- oh-” she said as she glanced around the room. “No, I just wanted to straighten up around her box,” Lexa said softly.

Clarke looked over at the desk where the small cardboard box containing her mom's ashes sat, surrounded by meticulously staggered candles. It reminded Clarke of an altar. “We definitely need to get her an upgrade from the cardboard,” Clarke said, matching Lexa’s tone.

“We?” Lexa asked with a teasing smirk.

Clarke rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean,” she said, internally cursing herself. She’d been so careful to not let ‘we’ slip, but Lexa caught it every time, like she was waiting for it. It had gotten so hard not to include Lexa in all of her thoughts. They spent more nights than not together, sitting up, late into the night, laughing and kissing and touching. Talking of aspirations, fears, and dreams. It was getting harder and harder for Clarke to keep telling herself that this was all temporary; that eventually Lexa would realize things were getting too deep and run. But sometimes, she would catch Lexa watching her with delicate eyes. As if Lexa looking at her too hard might break her. It made Clarke think that maybe Lexa wouldn’t run at all. But why risk it? Why take the chance to send her running when Clarke could have her like this?

“I’m planning on it,” Lexa said. “I just have to save up the money first.”

“I could help, you know,” Clarke offered.

“Please Clarke, I know you’re rich, but I’m not in this friendship for the money,” Lexa smirked.

“I am not rich,” Clarke rolled her eyes again.

“Right, you’re mom’s rich. Sorry,” she chuckled.

“We are not rich! We’re just- well off,” Clarke defended.

“I’m pretty sure “well off” is a phrase only rich people say,” Lexa laughed.

“Whatever,” Clarke huffed.

“Really though, I appreciate it. I do, but this is something I feel like I should do myself,” Lexa said.

“I understand,” Clarke nodded.

“Are we still going to Raven’s tonight?” Lexa asked.

“Yeah, I actually came over to remind you,” Clarke said.

“How could I forget? It’s New Year’s Eve.”

“I forgot,” Clarke shrugged, sheepishly.

“You? Forgot about one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year?” Lexa teased. “I’m shocked.”

“Yeah, well, I’ve had a lot on my mind,” Clarke said.

“Oh yeah? Like what?” Lexa smirked.

“Well, there’s this girl I’ve been hooking up with-” Clarke said vaguely. “She’s hot, but a total pain in the ass-”

Lexa rolled her eyes. Clarke chuckled. “What time do you need me to be ready?” Lexa asked.

“Uh, I guess you can meet me there around ten?” Clarke said.

“Meet you?” Lexa asked, frowning slightly.

“Yeah, Raven doesn’t trust that we’ll actually make it if I stay here to get ready.”

“What would make her think that?” Lexa asked playfully, lightly biting her bottom lip.

“If you keep doing that, we definitely won't make it over there,” Clarke said.

“Doing what?” Lexa asked, feigning innocence before biting back down on her own lip. Clarke grabbed her with both hands, bringing Lexa crashing into her, a mess of mouths and hands and teeth. She tried to make Lexa feel what she was feeling through the kiss, like the suddenness would jumpstart her. She wondered if Lexa could feel how hard her heart was beating, if she’d even be able to tell it was from more than her touch. Clarke pulled out of the kiss at that, worried of saying too much without speaking.

“I should go,” Clarke said softly. Her lips brushed against Lexa’s as she spoke.

Lexa hummed in agreement. “You probably should, or we really won’t make it to the party.”

“You know, I’m not all that interested in the party anyway,” Clarke said without thinking.

Lexa smiled lightly. “Raven would probably murder us both.”

“You’re right, and they wouldn’t even find our bodies until next semester.”

 


 



“Holy shit Rae, how many fireworks did you buy?” Clarke asked, examining the pile of boxes in the corner of Raven’s bedroom.

“You’re crazy if you didn’t think I was putting on a show,” Raven said. “It’s one of the two days a year I get to play with pyrotechnics without the cops showing up. Let me live.”

“As long as you don’t hurt yourself,” Clarke shrugged.

“If I do, which we both know I won’t, you can patch me up,” Raven said.

“I can put some ointment and an Ace bandage on you,” Clarke said. “I can’t stitch your fingers back on.”

“You're gonna eat your words when you and Lexa are having your New Year’s kiss under the most badass fireworks display this school has ever seen,” Raven grinned.

“What makes you think Lexa’s gonna be my New Year’s kiss?” Clarke asked. Raven gave her a patronizing look. “Whatever, doesn’t that mean you’re going to be too busy to have your own New Years kiss?”

“I guess so,” Raven stiffened.

“You think Anya’s gonna be cool with that?” Clarke asked.

“Doesn’t really matter anymore,” Raven said quietly.

“What do you mean?” Clarke asked. “Did something happen?”

“Come on, I gotta start setting these up.” Raven said, piling boxes into her arms and leading the way outside without even putting on a jacket.

Clarke had never seen Raven so aggressively focused and for someone as brilliant as Raven, that was saying something. Clarke watched in awe for a full hour as her friend meticulously unboxed and arranged what seemed like hundreds of fireworks. Then, they moved on to the living room to rearrange the furniture. Instead of pushing everything against the far wall like they usually did, Raven had Clarke help move every single piece of furniture into a new position.

“Why are we doing this again?” Clarke asked, panting as she set down her half of the couch.

“Do you want this party to be amazing or not?” Raven asked.

“Of course I do, I just don’t know what putting your couch over here has to do with it.”

Raven sighed, “it’s science, Clarke. It’s all science. We’re promoting movement, we’re keeping people from the walls, we’re making someone doesn’t come in and sit on the couch all night.”

“How is moving the couch to the middle of your apartment doing any of that?”

“No one wants to sit in a high traffic area if they’re trying to lay low, so that’ll deter the more socially awkward of us. No drunk person can sit still for too long without having a distraction, we moved the couch away from the tv and it’s too public to get hot and heavy. And a sober person who’s sitting in the middle of all the debauchery isn’t gonna stay sober for long,” Raven concluded.

“Wow. You’ve thought a lot about this, huh?” Clarke asked.

“Yep. Now I need to figure out the perfect volume for my perfect playlist. Not too loud so that you can’t hear your date whispering sweet nothings, but not too low so that you can’t pretend to not hear some gross dude hit on you.” Raven said, hand on her chin in thought.

“Hey, you alright?” Clarke asked.

“Huh? Yeah, why do you ask?”

“You’re being a little-“ Clarke hesitated.

“What?”

“I think- extra, is the nicest way to put it,” Clarke said.

“I’m not extra. I’m regular. Normal. Medium. Whatever,” Raven snapped. Clarke gave her a look.

“You know you can talk to me,” Clarke offered.

Raven sighed after a moment, pinching the bridge of her nose. “It’s fucking Anya.”

“What about her?”

“I don’t even know. I guess we’re done or whatever it is that you say when you breakup with someone you never dated-“

“What? Seriously? What happened?” Clarke asked.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“I just don’t know what went wrong,” Raven sighed, dropping to the couch. Clarke joined her. “One minute we’re fine, laughing, whatever and the next, she’s out the door and not answering my calls or texts.”

“That can’t be all, did you guys get into a fight or something?”

“No,” Raven groaned. “But I did do something really stupid.”

“What?”

“I asked her to be my girlfriend,” Raven said.

“And she ran out on you?” Clarke asked.

“Yep. Didn’t even have the decency to just say no.”

“Wow,” Clarke said.

“I didn’t want to tell you because I’ve been trying to get you to talk to Lexa. Didn’t wanna scare you off of it,” Raven said.

“Well, I’m not gonna lie, if I was stressed before I’m even more stressed about it now,” Clarke said.

“Don’t be. You and Lexa have been making big dumb heart eyes at each other for too long for her to pull an Anya,” Raven said. “Now come on, help me figure out this volume thing.”

 




Clarke wasn’t sure exactly when the party started. All she knew was that at one point Raven was taking Monty and Jasper outside to see the firework arrangement, and the next, it looked like everyone on campus had managed to squeeze into the apartment. Clarke spent most of the time in the kitchen with Raven, sitting on the countertops with a drink in hand, keeping an eye on the keg and the jungle juice. The party was going well, if watching Raven grin was any indication. To be fair, it could’ve been all the booze.

“Hey look, your girl’s here,” Raven said, chuckling at the way Clarke whipped her head toward the door. “Who’s that with her?”

“With who? Lexa?” Clarke asked. Following Lexa through the door was a shorter curly haired girl, laughing, like Lexa had just said something funny. Raven gave Clarke a look that she caught out of the corner of her eye. “I have no idea,” Clarke said. Something stirred uncomfortably in her stomach.

“Hey, relax,” Raven said quickly, “I’m sure it’s nothing. They probably just walked in at the same time.” But after a second of scanning the crowd, Lexa picked Clarke out, said something to the stranger and they both started toward her. Clarke and Raven met them in the middle, near the strategically placed couch.

“Hey,” Lexa smiled at Clarke and Raven. “I can’t believe how crowded it is already, it’s only ten.”

“Yeah, well, it’s New Year’s Eve. There’s kind of a time limit,” Clarke said obviously. Lexa furrowed her brow at her, but before she could respond, Raven cut in.

“So who’s your friend, Lexa?” she asked.

“Lexa smiled as she glanced to the girl next to her. “This is Luna, she’s the RA on the fifth floor. I ran into her on the elevator and decided to bring her along.”

“Thank god, too,” Luna laughed lightly. Her voice was too friendly, too comfortable. Clarke had never even heard of this girl before, now suddenly here she was, familiar enough with Lexa for her to be invited to the party. Clarke involuntarily ground her teeth together. “I was on my way to the party room to watch the ball drop on tv with all the other stragglers, I didn't know there were enough people left on campus for a party,” she smiled.

“You must not get away from the dorms often,” Raven said. “There's always something going on out here.” Clarke glared at Raven, deciding she was guilty by association for even acknowledging the stranger.

“I really don't,” Luna shrugged. “Sometimes I wonder if being an RA is even worth it.”

“It probably isn't,” Raven laughed. “Here, let me get you guys some drinks, Clarke, you want to come help?”

Clarke grunted in response, not sparing a glance at Lexa as she followed Raven toward the kitchen. She stopped short of the counter where Raven grabbed a few cups. “What?” She asked, noticing Clarke’s expression.

“What the fuck was that?” Clarke asked.

“What? I'm just trying to be a good host!” Raven said, crossing her arms.

“You think she's cute,” Clarke said.

“Hold on, are you jealous of Lexa, or me?” Raven chuckled.

“You're not supposed to be nice to her if I hate her!” Clarke huffed.

“You've literally known the girl for two minutes,” Raven said. “She seems nice.”

“You're just defending her because you think she's hot,” Clarke said.

“So what if I do?” Raven laughed. “You should be happy. If I'm fucking her that means Lexa’s not, right?”

“You think they're fucking?” Clarke panicked, whipping around to pick Lexa out of the crowd. She was still standing with Luna, chatting with a smile.

“No!” Raven said. “Not what I meant, you're going off the deep end here, Griff.”

“What about Anya?” Clarke asked, turning to face Raven again. Her smile dropped into a scowl.

“What about her?” Raven asked coldly.

“Sorry. I- forgot,” Clarke muttered awkwardly. “But still. You're my friend. You’re supposed to back me up.”

“I can't back you up by getting her out of your way?” Raven asked. Clarke glared in response. “You could just talk to Lexa, you know. Ask her what's up instead of being pissy all night.”

“You mean so she can walk out on me?” Clarke asked.

“You're being ridiculous,” Raven said, putting her hands on Clarke’s shoulders.

“Am I? You and Anya have been hooking up way longer than me and Lexa, and look how that all fell apart!” Clarke could feel the heat rising behind her ears. Lexa was making her look stupid and Raven was looking at her like she wanted to hit her and of course everything would blow up like this. All because she couldn't get the nerve to ask Lexa what they were. Clarke’s eyes stung. She kept her head down as she stormed out of the kitchen and down the hall.

As soon as she shut the bathroom door behind her, Clarke let out a ragged breath, steadying herself on the bathroom sink. She stared into the mirror, nearly groaning. She could do this. She just needed to avoid Raven until she was drunk enough to not be mad, and avoid Lexa for the entire night so she didn’t do something dumb like hit Luna. It wasn’t Luna’s fault. She probably didn’t even know who Clarke was. For all Clarke knew, Luna and Lexa could be dating. Maybe Lexa was lying the whole time, and Clarke was a side girl… again. No. Lexa wasn’t like that. But, she didn’t think Finn was like that either. Clarke groaned again. This was going to be a long night.

Once she left the bathroom, Clarke ran into Monty and started up a conversation about the best way to keep browsing history private, knowing it would buy her at least a half hour. Then, she talked to Jasper about his best edible recipes, which kept her busy for a long time, despite being mind-numbing. She almost talked to Murphy, before his equally greasy girlfriend threatened to break her jaw. It was times like this she really missed Octavia. Hell, even Bellamy would do right now. Clarke walked back toward the kitchen for another drink, hoping Raven had found something else to do for the night.

“Hey, I know you,” a girl grabbed Clarke by the arm to stop her. Clarke examined the stranger for a moment, she did look vaguely familiar. “Did we have a class together?”

“We might’ve,” Clarke said, examining her. She couldn’t place her though.

“This is gonna bother me all night if I don’t figure it out,” she said with a laugh, swaying on the spot.  “Just, hold on. Let me look at you,” she said, putting her hands on Clarke’s waist to keep her from moving. She hummed as she looked Clarke over, stepping into her personal space. It was probably the alcohol that made it seem more funny than intrusive. Just as the stranger stepped closer, there was a voice in Clarke’s ear.

“Can I talk to you in private?” It was Lexa. Clarke didn’t have the chance to respond or excuse herself before Lexa’s hand was on her, leading her away from the party and to Raven’s room. Lexa shut the door behind them.

“Did I do something?” Lexa asked quietly. Her hand lingered on Clarke's wrist longer than it should've, like she was worried Clarke might run if she let go.

“Why do you ask?” Clarke responded coldly. Lexa frowned.

“Uh, because you’re the one who invited me to this party and all you’ve been completely avoiding me all night,” She said.

“I just figured you already had company,” Clarke shrugged, trying and failing to keep the bitterness out of her voice.

“That’s what this is about?” Lexa asked, almost sounding relieved. “You’re mad at me because I brought Luna? Why didn’t you just say something?” Lexa asked, as if it was the most obvious thing it the world, like Clarke was an idiot for it thinking of it. Clarke opened and closed her mouth a few times, so furious that she couldn't find the words.

“What was I supposed to say, Lex?” Clarke snapped. “Since it's so simple, what was I supposed to say?”

“Clarke,” Lexa said.

“That I’m jealous? That it felt fucking awful to see you walk in here with someone that wasn’t me?” Clarke continued, fuming. “That I’m scared to go home because what if you don’t care when I come back-” Clarke said. She was trying to sound angry, but her voice kept shaking.

“Clarke,” Lexa said softly. Clarke stared pointedly at the ground. “Clarke. Look at me,” Lexa said. She placed a cool hand under Clarke’s chin and guided her upward. “I’m not interested in Luna. There's nothing to be upset about.”

“She's not the point, Lex,” Clarke huffed, pressing her balled fists to her temples. “Of course you would go and oversimplify it-”

“I'm not oversim-”

“Why did you bring me in here?” Clarke asked suddenly.

“What do you mean?” Lexa asked.

“I mean, why, out of all the opportunities you’ve had to talk to me tonight, did you decide to pull me away when I was was talking to someone you didn’t know?” Clarke asked. Lexa examined her for a moment.

“I’m not afraid to admit that I was jealous, if that’s where you’re going with this,” Lexa said a little too quietly.

“What?” Clarke asked, unsure if she had heard her right.

“She was all over you. I was jealous,” Lexa said, sighing softly. Clarke could only stare at her. Lexa was jealous. Lexa was jealous that she was talking to another girl. Lexa gives a shit. “We're being stupid,” she gave an apologetic half smile. “Look, I know I haven't been making this easy and I'm sorry.” Lexa hesitated for a moment, looking smaller than Clarke could've imagined. “I know it's not fair to ask but please, please just give me a little more time.”

“I don't know what you mean,” Clarke said, watching Lexa curiously.

“I mean,” Lexa paused to take a deep breath. “I want this.” She gestured between the two of them. “And I want to do it right, okay? But the idea of saying it- of making this thing we have- something real, something serious, it honestly scares the shit out of me,” Lexa breathed. Clarke could feel her stomach in her toes. Nothing was real. Lexa took Clarke’s hands. “I haven't done this in a long time, Clarke. Not since Costia. And before her there was- there was nothing real . And this, you, you deserve a real effort.” Lexa’s eyes were shining and her hands felt shaky in Clarke's. Clarke could only stare. “I want that for you. I just need a little more time to work it all out up here,” Lexa said, tapping at her forehead. Clarke could only stare, dumbfounded. “I mean, if you don’t want to wait I understand, you’ve been more than patient with me and I know it’s pushing it to ask for more time-“ Clarke almost laughed. “What?” Lexa asked, staring back at her.

For a second Clarke just stood there with Lexa holding her waist, unable to tell whether the feeling in her stomach was a knot or fluttering. Lexa wanted to be with her. She cared enough to want to do it right. And Clarke wasted most of the night sulking and trying not to punch a stranger.

“Clarke, say something,” Lexa said, holding her a little tighter. She looked genuinely afraid, like Clarke would even dream saying Lexa was asking too much of her. “Clarke.” She had no idea how long she was silent, too busy trying to memorize every detail of Lexa’s face, to keep this moment. When Lexa started to look genuinely panicked, Clarke grinned at her. “What?” Lexa asked.

“You like me,” Clarke said.

Lexa chuckled, moving her hands to Clarke’s neck. “Well, yeah. I thought that was obvious.”

“I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this, but you’re really hard to read,” Clarke laughed.

“Are you kidding? I’ve been hearing that since the first grade,” Lexa smirked.

“Did you just make a self deprecating joke?”

“I might’ve,” Lexa shrugged.

Clarke couldn’t take it anymore. She laced her hands into Lexa’s hair without even thinking, roughly pulling their lips together. When they finally separated, Lexa didn’t drift, they stood, foreheads pressed together, smiling through heavy breaths. Clarke laughed, holding Lexa against her. Lexa started to laugh too. A sudden bang made Clarke jump, a chorus of explosions followed, casting colorful light through Raven’s window. “I guess we missed the ball drop,” Clarke chuckled, still a little breathless.

“I guess we did,” Lexa smiled at her.

“Happy new year,” Clarke said softly, stepping back toward her.

“Happy new year,” Lexa said, bringing a hand to her cheek. They stared at each other again, Clarke was sure she looked insane. Her cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling, but it didn’t matter. For the first time in a long time, she was sure that this year was going to be a good one.

Chapter Text

“O, you’re suffocating me,” Clarke breathed into Octavia’s neck.

Clarke had been back in Arcadia for a little less than three hours, and most of those were spent in the airport waiting to get her bag. Her mom insisted on picking her up from the airport, even though it meant she had to rush there and drop Clarke off at home before heading out to deal with a city council meeting. Instead of taking the time to relax and unpack, she called Octavia.

“I’m sorry!” Octavia said, releasing her. “God, I just feel like I haven’t seen you in forever! It’s so weird to go from seeing you everyday to not at all for weeks. I’ve been losing my shit out here, Clarke. I swear to god. Has there always been absolutely nothing to do in this town? I’m really losing my mind from boredom. I swear to god yesterday I watched Bell play Call of Duty for like seven hours straight because the only other alternative was smashing my head into a wall. I’m so fucking glad you’re here. It’s freezing. Let’s go get some coco and you can tell me all about what’s going on with Lexa,” Octavia grinned.

“I’m sure you already know all about it,” Clarke rolled her eyes.

“Yeah but I’d rather hear it from you, duh,” Octavia said, hooking her arm through Clarke’s and pulling her up the block and through the door of a coffee shop Clarke knew all too well.

It was too late. The bells on the back of the door clanged together, alerting the barista to their arrival. Clarke hesitated before looking up to find her summer fling staring back at her.

“Look who’s back in town,” Niylah said with a smile. She pulled her apron over her head and set it down on the counter before approaching them. “I didn’t think you’d be coming home for break, with your mom and all.” When she reached Clarke, she opened her arms for a hug. Clarke did the same, albeit, a little awkwardly. She looked over at Octavia who had clearly pieced it together and was looking scandalized. “Anyway, I’m sure you didn’t come here just for me,” Niylah said as she released her. For some reason to Clarke, it sounded like that’s exactly what she thought. “Let me get you a drink.” She walked back behind the counter. “You want your usual?”

“Uh, yeah, usual’s fine for me,” Clarke said. “O?”

“Can I have a hot chocolate? I’m Octavia by the way,” Octavia said, offering her hand across the counter.

“Oh! I’ve heard so much about you,” Niylah said, shaking Octavia’s hand. “You’re gorgeous, way prettier than Clarke gives you credit for.”

“Hey!” Octavia said, shoving Clarke.

“Oh no, don’t worry, I’m sure she was only trying to flatter me,” Niylah chuckled. Clarke could feel her cheeks burning. “Why don’t you go sit? I’ll bring these over to you.”

Octavia led the way across the store to a seat by the window. “Is that who I think it is?” She asked in a whisper. Clarke nodded. “Oh my god,” Octavia contained a laugh with her hand. “Why didn’t you say anything? We could’ve gone somewhere else. Oooh, unless you wanted to see her. Did you? Trying to forget about Lexa? Wanna see if she’s as good as you remember?”

“Oh my god, no. None of that. You didn’t give me a chance, we were in here before I realized,” Clarke said.

“Oh man, this is so awkward.”

“You think?” Clarke asked sarcastically.

“She’s clearly still in love with you,” Octavia said.

“She’s not in love with me.”

“Fine, but she’s definitely in love with whatever it was that you did to her,” Octavia sniggered. Before Clarke could respond, Niylah was back with their drinks. She joined them at the table, nudging Clarke over with her hip.

“You still have such great timing, this is the first time we’ve been slow all day,” Niylah said as she settled in next to Clarke.

“Lucky me,” Clarke said.

“God, you have no idea how boring it’s been around here. Especially without a distraction,” Niylah sighed, dropping her palm to Clarke’s thigh. Octavia coughed and it sounded suspiciously like she was choking back a laugh. Clarke glared across the table at her, hoping she would pick up on the ‘help me’ in her eyes. If she did, she ignored it and sat listening with rapt attention as Niylah talked about Clarke.

Eventually, Octavia took pity on Clarke and made up a lie about a hair appointment they needed to get to. On their way out, Niylah made sure Clarke knew she was welcome back as long as she was home. Clarke didn’t have to think about it, she wouldn’t be back.

 



It was weird to be sitting at the kitchen island. For the first time in her life, Clarke actually felt out of place in her house. It had only been a few months, but it was the first time she had ever really left home. Maybe she was being melodramatic, but it had the air of something abandoned. Sure, things were crisp and clean, but nothing felt quite lived in anymore. She watched as her mom busied herself with scooping their takeout on to plates. Some things never changed.

“Sorry I’m late,” Marcus, her moms boyfriend arrived, grocery bag in hand. He stopped and rest the bag on the counter, revealing a bottle of wine before he kissed Abby on the cheek. “Figured we needed this, seeing as we’re celebrating.”

“No, you’re perfect. I was just about to bring these to the table,” Abby said.

“What are we celebrating?” Clarke asked.

“You being home, of course,” Marcus smiled. Clarke wanted to roll her eyes, but stopped short of her moms expression. Clarke realized that Marcus was being serious. It was in his eyes, and her moms, too. They were happy to have her back. The feeling settled strangely in her rib cage. She followed them to the table, carrying her own plate and settled in.

Her first dinner back home was nothing like Clarke had expected. Her mom and Marcus recounted their vacation, smiling lightly at each other, tapping in and out, finishing each other’s sentences. It felt so normal. They asked her about school, about her friends, and none of it felt forced. So Clarke talked, she told stories through bites of food and only rolled her eyes a few times.

They had all finished their food, and sat, still sipping glasses of wine when Marcus stood. “Hey Clarke, do you mind coming for a walk with me?” He asked.

She shot her mom a look, who responded with one that clearly said ‘I have no idea’. “Uh, yeah, sure,” Clarke said. “Just, let me get my coat.” She did, pulling it on quickly before she followed him out the door. They walked in silence for almost a block, until her porch light was just a dot in the distance.

“So, you’re probably wondering why I asked you to join me,” he started.

“Not at all. It’s totally normal to want to go on a walk with your girlfriend’s kid at ten at night in the middle of January.”

Marcus smiled lightly. “Abby is always talking about your sense of humor.”

“Fondly, I’m sure,” Clarke chuckled. They walked in silence for a moment, the cold stinging at Clarke’s cheeks.

“Well, I guess there’s so sense in beating around the bush,” he said suddenly. “I’m going to be straight with you, Clarke. I love your mother. I’m planning to ask her to marry me.”

“Duh,” Clarke said. “She’s been waiting for you to pop the question for months, what’s your deal?”

“Well, I wanted to talk to you about it first,” he said softly.

Clarke furrowed her brow. “What? Why?”

“You’re her daughter. You’re her entire world, Clarke,” he said. “I know your mom well enough to know she would never agree to marry me if it would hurt you.”

“That seems like an exaggeration,” Clarke said quietly, staring down at the pavement.

“I promise, it’s not,” Marcus said seriously.

“She called me in October thinking you were going to propose, and told me she was gonna say yes. You never needed my approval.”

“I want it,” he said seriously. “I want us to be a family. And I don’t want to get in the middle of you and your mother.”

“Trust me, me and mom had our issues way before you showed up,” Clarke chuckled. “But we’re trying,” she sighed. “I’m trying, you know, to grow up. So, even though you never needed it, you have my blessing. Just, please promise you’ll ask her to marry you before she has an aneurysm.”

Marcus beamed. “I was thinking of doing it before you go back to school. Maybe next week? Luckily I have enough pull to get a nice reservation on such short notice-“

“You have a ring?” Clarke asked.

“I’ve had it for a while,” he chuckled.

“Well fuck it, why don’t you go back in there and just do it?” Marcus looked at her like she was crazy for a moment, eyes wide. He stopped walking, then, after a moment of thought, he turned and lead them back home.

They reentered the house to find Abby in the exact same spot as when they left, though now the table was clear. Marcus whispered a quick “Be right back,” to Clarke and disappeared into the house. Abby gave Clarke a puzzled look.

“What was that all about?” Abby asked.

“You know Marcus, good guy, wanted to bond,” Clarke said lamely.

Abby cocked an eyebrow at her. “He wanted to bond?”

“Yep.”

“Well, did you?” Abby asked.

“What?” Clarke asked.

“Bond,” Abby said with a strange smile.

“Oh, yep, we’re super tight now,” Clarke said, trying not to cringe.

“You’re, super tight ?” She asked incredulously. “Didn’t you once describe him as the white devil?”

Clarke fought back a laugh. “Okay, to be fair, it definitely happened during a phase where Raven had me calling every old white guy the white devil.”

“Oh Raven. She’s such a handful,” Abby chuckled. Marcus returned, both hands behind his back. “Clarke here says you bonded,” Abby said to him.

Marcus smiled lightly. “She’s a good kid.” He looked to Clarke, who nodded, then, he approached Abby and slowly lowered to one knee.




An hour later, Clarke laid in her bed, champagne tipsy, smiling at the ceiling. She had done a good thing. Her phone vibrated suddenly, humming off the springs of her mattress, it took her a moment to find it, folded into the pile of blankets draped over her. She answered with a passing glance to the ID. “Well this is a surprise,” Clarke said, grinning into her phone.

“Is it?” Lexa asked from the other end. “I mean you did say you wanted to hear from me. In fact, I’m sure I remember you threatening to burn all of my candles if I didn’t.”

“I wouldn’t say threatened,” Clarke chuckled. “It was more implied.”

“You really should look up what the word implied means,” Lexa teased.

“Well, I’m sure you didn’t call to lecture me on my vocabulary,” Clarke said, rolling her eyes even though Lexa couldn’t see her. “Actually, wait. That sounds exactly like something you’d do.”

“And here you are, still on the phone with me,” Lexa said.

“I guess I am.”

“I was just wondering how your day went,” Lexa said softly. Clarke’s stomach flipped.

“You were? I mean, we have been texting all day,” Clarke said, leading.

“Yeah well, I might’ve missed your voice a little bit,” Lexa didn’t sound as confident as usual, and the sincerity made Clarke want to pull her through the phone.

“I missed yours too,” Clarke said, smiling up at her ceiling. “Today was actually kind of insane.”

“Really? Your texts seemed pretty standard.”

“Excuse you, nothing about me is standard,” Clarke teased.

“Right, sorry. Please, go on,” Lexa chuckled.

“So my mom got engaged,” Clarke started.

“What? Out of nowhere?”

“Well, okay so, we’re all eating dinner, kinda late because of some budget crisis or whatever, and then her boyfriend-“

“Marcus, right?” Lexa asked.

“Yeah, you remembered his name?” Clarke asked, taken aback.

“Why are you always so surprised that I listen when you talk?” Lexa laughed softly.

“I guess I’m just not used to it,” Clarke shrugged even though Lexa couldn’t see it.

“Well, you better start getting used to it,” Lexa said.

“Is that a threat?” Clarke asked.

“More of a promise.”

“God, here I am trying to tell a story and you gotta go and derail it by making me wish I could kiss you.”

“In my defense, I didn’t mean to.” Clarke could practically feel her smiling through the phone.

“I can’t believe I have to go without seeing you for an entire thirteen days.”

“Oh so we’re counting down the days now?” Lexa chuckled. “Well, you know what they say, absence make the heart grow fonder.”

“You hate cliches,” Clarke laughed.

“They’re low effort,” Lexa agreed.

“So why use one?”

“I don’t know. It feels accurate, I guess.”

“So you’re saying you’re growing more fond of me?” Clarke grinned.

“I’m not sure I can get much fonder of you, Clarke.” Lexa said. Clarke’s cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling. “But it’s pretty lonely without you here. I’ve gotten used to having you around. But, please, I want to hear your story.”

“Okay,” Clarke said. She recounted the evening, how she encouraged the impromptu proposal, how her mom cried, how Marcus did too, how they both held her until she couldn’t breathe, then Marcus found an old bottle of champagne and they all drank until they were dancing around the kitchen. Lexa listened was rapt attention, laughing and interjecting at all the right parts and Clarke could feel the attention warming her chest. It was different than the feeling she had earlier, from knowing her mom was glad to have her. It was warmer, somehow. It made her blood feel more fluid, and her face warmed up. She told Lexa about the awkward encounter with Niylah, and instead of being upset or angry like she imagined, Lexa teased her. It was bizarre. If she so much as looked at an ex when she was with other people, there was always a fight. Clarke knew then, but honestly, she always knew. Lexa was different. This was different. And god, did it feel good.


It had been a week, and Clarke had settled into a routine. Wake up at 11, hang out with O all day, then a late dinner with her mom and Marcus, and talking on the phone with Lexa until they both fell asleep.

“Being back home as awful as you imagined?” Abby asked. Clarke sat in the passenger seat, phone in hand, waiting for Lexa to text back.

“It’s not, but I kinda miss being at school,” Clarke said.

Abby gave her a look. “Do you miss school? Or do you miss someone at school?” Clarke hesitated. “You never told me what happened with you and your RA. Did she forgive you?” Abby asked.

“Eventually,” Clarke chuckled.

“So?” Abby asked, corners of her mouth upturned.

“So what?” Clarke asked.

“So are you dating or what?” Abby asked.

“Mom!” Clarke covered her face with her hands.

“Is that a yes?” Abby asked. “You know I don’t care, right? I mean, unless you want me to care. What I’m trying to say is, I love you no matter who you date. In case you were worried about that.”

“Honestly, I wasn’t.”

“Well?” Abby asked.

“I don’t know, mom. I mean, we’re kind of together. It’s kind of, unofficially exclusive-“

“You’re not letting this girl string you along, are you? Are you sure it’s not another Finn situation?”

Clarke glared at her. “She’s not like that. It just-“

“Clarke.”

“I’m serious, her mom just died from an overdose and her last girlfriend was murdered-“

“Jesus,” Abby breathed.

“I know. She’s been through a lot of shit and I’m trying not to scare her off and we’re in a good place right now and she said she wants to be with me but she just needs time-“

“Clarke,” Abby laughed.

“What?”

“Does she respect you?”

“Yes,” Clarke answered without hesitation.

“She’s nice to you?”

“Yes,” she said obviously.

“Do you love her?”

“Yeah- wait. Wait. No. Wait, what?” Clarke laughed. “Mom.”

“Well do you, or not?” Abby asked.

“I mean, I guess I’ve never thought about it,” Clarke said quietly. “We haven’t known each other that long. And most of that time we were barely even friends. But, I don’t know,” Clarke shrugged.  “She’s kind of amazing. Like not even counting the fact that her life was hard and she’s still a functioning human being,” Clarke paused for a moment, staring out the window. “She’s just so smart and secretly funny and god, she’s beautiful. So beautiful, mom. And it’s like, it’s like- there’s a light in her. Which, now that I say that out loud sounds stupid, but I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s like everything else is just dark. I’m pretty sure she’s gonna change the world. I mean, she’s already changed mine,” Clarke trailed off, staring out the window again. Looked over at her mom, who was already looking at her. Then she knew. “Oh no. Shit. I love her.”

“It seems like it,” Abby said, fighting a smirk.

“Why did you do this to me?” Clarke groaned. “How am I supposed to talk to her now? Oh my god. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“That’s not usually how people view falling in love, Clarke,” Abby laughed.

“Mom! I’m not even her girlfriend! This is a disaster!”

“You said you’re going to be, what’s the concern?”

“I’m definitely never gonna be her girlfriend if I accidentally tell her I love her and freak her out! Oh my god. What if I say it over the phone and then she hangs up and I never hear from her again? Oh my god, or what if I accidentally tell Octavia and she tells Lincoln and he tells Lexa and then I never hear from her again?”

“You’re being a bit dramatic, sweetheart.”

“I’m having a crisis mom,” Clarke whined.

“Listen, I don’t know this girl, but I do know things about her. I know she’s been supportive of your art. I know she encouraged you to reconnect with me, and I know that she was hurt on thanksgiving, which I remember you saying was because of something you did. She cares about you, Clarke. I didn’t even have to meet her for it to be obvious.”

“You have to say that,” Clarke pouted.

“I really don’t.”

“You think she loves me?”

“I don’t know her, but she’d be crazy not to,” Abby smiled, stroking her thumb over the back of Clarke’s hand. Clarke’s phone vibrated. A text from Lexa. And it might’ve been dumb, but god did it feel like a good sign.

 



Clarke sat at the kitchen island, eating leftover Chinese cold, straight from the container in the middle of the afternoon. Her phone buzzed against the marble countertop. She glanced at the ID with a little surprise, sliding to answer. “I thought for sure you were gonna pretend you didn’t miss me,” Clarke said into the phone.

“I’m not your robot girlfriend, Clarke. I can admit that I miss you taking up space on my couch,” Raven said from the other end.

“So sweet,” Clarke said. “But since when do you call over texting?”

“Well, I figured I should tell you that you were right,” Raven said.

“Woah, okay, now I know something’s wrong,” Clarke smiled.

“Yeah well, even a broken Clarke is right twice a day.”

“Clever. D’you come up with that all on your own?”

“I might’ve had Anya help me brainstorm.”

“Anya, huh?” Clarke hummed.

“Yeah, that’s kinda why I called. We- well, she- she finally got her head out of her ass and came back,” Raven said. Clarke could hear the grin in her voice, and it made her smile harder.

“So you’re together? Officially?”

“Fucking finally,” Raven laughed.

“I’m happy for you. God knows I couldn’t spend all semester with you in hyperfocus. You need a distraction to mellow out,” Clarke laughed.

“See, broken Clarke. Right again,” Raven said. “Now we just gotta work on your situation.”

“Honestly, for the first time, I think my situation is working out fine,” Clarke said softly.

 




Saying goodbye to her mom was weirder than she imagined. Maybe because this time, she wasn’t running. They hugged outside the terminal before she got her boarding pass. Clarke could feel her eyes sting when her mom told her she loved her and was proud of her, and again as she took a last glance back once she made it through security.

Being early was a mistake. Clarke didn’t have a problem with flying, but for some reason she could feel her stomach tense up as she took a seat at her gate. She checked her phone for the time, still an hour and a half before she could board, then, she checked her texts. There was nothing new from Lexa. Her stomach twisted a little more. She stared down at her own blue bubble, I can’t wait to see you. Was it too much? It was. Lexa probably saw right through it. She had to know that Clarke loved her. Maybe that’s why she didn’t respond. Or maybe she was just busy. Texts in the early afternoon were usually slow from her. Clarke listened to a news broadcast from across the walk and tried to tune out her thoughts. She was going back to Polis. She would see Lexa soon. Hopefully, Lexa wanted to see her too.

It was the worst flight of Clarke’s life. There was somehow turbulence through half of the trip, despite the sky’s being completely clear, and she was stuck next to a mom and her toddler, who insisted on having the volume on his reading game at full blast. When they finally landed, Clarke shot out of her seat, trying to pass all of the people removing their carry-ons. Of course, that only meant she had to wait even longer at the baggage claim, breathing a sigh of relief when her luggage finally came down the belt.

Clarke rolled her suitcase with purpose through the airport, ready to catch a taxi back to campus when she saw her. Lexa was there by the taxi stands, grinning, all legs and soft hair and light eyes. She was even more beautiful than Clarke remembered. It made her heart beat hard in her chest. She wanted to run to her, but she stayed calm and walked a little quicker until she was close enough to get pulled into her arms.

“What are you doing here?” Clarke breathed into the crook of her neck. “How did you even get here?”

“Raven,” Lexa said. And sure enough, standing twenty feet away to give them space was Raven with sunglasses the size of her face and a grin to rival Lexa’s. Clarke fought a prickle at the back of her eyes. This was the real homecoming.

The ride back to the dorm in Raven’s car shook the stress from Clarke’s shoulders. Any apprehension she had about seeing Lexa had melted away as she watched her bob her head slightly to the music on the radio. Every once in a while, Clarke would catch Lexa looking back at her, holding her gaze with such an intensity that Clarke was sure she knew. Lexa had to know how she felt. She had to see it.

Raven filled most of the silence, catching Clarke up. She had planned a welcome home party for Clarke, Octavia and Bellamy, who got back the day before. Clarke and Lexa agreed they’d be there, but if Clarke was being honest with herself, she’d rather lock herself in Lexa’s room and stay there until the semester started.

Raven dropped them off at the dorm and left to prepare for the party. Clarke dropped her bags off at her room, then immediately crossed the hall.

“So, what’s up?” Clarke asked, bouncing a little on Lexa’s bed. She looked around the room to see if anything had changed. Nothing did. She found that was comforting.

“Not the DOW, that’s for sure,” Lexa shrugged.

“You gotta know that wasn’t funny, right? That was like an economics dad joke.”

“I tried,” Lexa shrugged. The smile from the airport was gone, and the air between them suddenly seemed tense.

“Did you?” Clarke chuckled. Lexa gave her a weak smile in return. “You okay?” Clarke was not about to let nerves or whatever this was dampen her first chance alone with Lexa.

“I’m fine,” Lexa said, unconvincingly.

“I know what’s going on,” Clarke said. Lexa cocked an eyebrow at her, probably looking more concerned than she meant to. “You forgot how hot I was while I was gone and now you’re worried I’m out of your league,” Clarke teased.

“How did you know?” Lexa laughed with her back to Clarke, straightening piles of paperwork on her desk.

“To be honest, I was expecting something like this. But don’t worry,” Clarke stood, crossing the room to wrap her arms around Lexa’s waist. She pressed a kiss to the side of Lexa’s neck, and Lexa stopped what she was doing. “I still think you’re insanely hot.”

“Yeah?” Lexa asked, turning to face her.

“Mhm,” Clarke hummed, slipping her hand into Lexa’s hair. She pulled her closer, until their foreheads were pressed together. “Lex,” Clarke said. Lexa avoided her eyes. “What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing,” Lexa said.

“Come on,” Clarke said. She could practically hear the gears turning in Lexa’s head. After a moment, Lexa took a deep breath, and worked an easy expression on.

“I’ve been seeing a therapist,” Lexa said. Clarke could tell she wanted this revelation to seem casual, so she obliged, fighting the urge to cheer for her. “You know, through school. Free sessions and all.”

“That’s great Lex,” Clarke smiled. “That’s really good. How’re you feeling about it?”

“Okay. Pretty good,” Lexa nodded, pressing her slightly shaky hands to her thighs, like she was trying to steady them. Clarke watched her, curiously. “There’s one thing that’s been bothering me though,” she said quietly, taking a deep breath.

“What’s that?” Clarke asked, concerned.

“When I went in for the first time, for my evaluation, the lady, the therapist, kept asking me questions about my life. She kept pushing on my mom or Costia, my childhood, but honestly, all I really wanted to talk about was you,” Lexa finished.

“Oh,” Clarke said a little stiffly. “Well, that sounds bad.”

“No, no, it wasn’t anything bad,” Lexa added quickly, wringing her hands. “I just- I needed to talk to someone about you and- Look, I think the point is, that yeah, I have a lot of issues. And I have a lot to work on, but for some reason right now all I want to work on is you. No, wait, not like you need to be worked on-“

“Lex,” Clarke laughed. “Relax, breathe, what are you saying?” Clarke took one of Lexa’s shaky hands into her own. Lexa looked hard at her for a moment, making a decision.

“What I’m trying to say is, while you were back home, I wasn’t,” Lexa breathed. Clarke stared back at her, trying to process. “I think- I think it’s because I’ve made a home in you.” Holding Lexa’s hands was a mistake now, Clarke’s hands had become just as shaky. Something settled in the bottom of her stomach, heavy like a rock but warm, so fucking warm and bright. She turned the sentence over in her mind a few times, smiling so hard it hurt.

“Lex,” Clarke breathed. She shook her head, smiling, trying to find exactly the words, because this was important. It was so fucking important that she tell her.

“I’m in love with you,” Lexa said in a rushed breath. If it wasn’t so quiet in the room, Clarke might’ve missed it, but instead, it hit her, near violently, stopping her thoughts in their tracks. Did she just-

“What?” Clarke asked, dumbstruck. “No! Wait! That’s not what I want to say back! Shit, I fucked it all up. You just took me by surprise and my dumb mouth did the thing before my brain and-“ But instead of being upset, Lexa laughed. Genuinely laughed, looking easy and light through her watery eyes, and then, for a moment Clarke laughed too, holding her hands. “Can you say it again? Let’s have a do over, I promise I won’t fuck it up this time,” Clarke asked softly.

“I love you, Clarke,” Lexa said, more confidently this time.

“I love you too,” Clarke beamed. Lexa pulled her in for a kiss, then one kiss became twenty, a hundred, Clarke was sure they would both die before they stopped kissing. Then Lexa pulled back for air, gently resting her head on Clarke, grinning. “So, does that mean you wanna be my girlfriend now? Or did you wanna wait until after we get married and adopt a dog?” She asked.

“Who said anything about marriage? It’s patriarchal,” Lexa smirked.

“Of course you would think so,” Clarke rolled her eyes.

“I do,” Lexa said softly.

“I didn’t propose for real, Lex,” Clarke chuckled, a hand on Lexa’s cheek.

“No,” Lexa rolled her eyes. “I do want to be your girlfriend.”

“Good, I was pretty worried you were gonna make me open up a joint checking account first,” Clarke teased.

“What did I get myself into?” Lexa asked. “Is it too late to take back?”

“Yep, way too late. You’re stuck with me,” Clarke said, squeezing Lexa’s hand. Judging by Lexa’s expression, she didn’t think that was such a bad thing.

“I got you something,” Lexa said.

“What?” Clarke asked.

“Well I never really got to properly thank you for all your help with my mom, so I wanted to get you something,” Lexa shrugged.

“Lex, you didn’t need to do that. You’ve thanked me about a hundred times, and I barely did anything. I kinda just successfully bullied Raven.”

“Please don’t be difficult,” Lexa smiled softly. She stood, and retrieved something from a bag under her desk.

“Fine,” Clarke sighed.

“Here,” Lexa handed her something that felt like leather. It was a shoulder bag. Clarke undid the clasp of the bag and opened it. It had flaps like an accordion with dividers between them. “I figured that you’re going to need something to carry all of your artwork around in between classes.” Clarke put her hands to the back of her eyes, trying to stop the tears before they came out. “Is it okay?” Lexa asked.

“I think you just like watching me cry,” Clarke chuckled.

“You are an exceptionally pretty crier,” Lexa smiled.

“Come here,” Clarke said, beckoning with her finger. Lexa did as she was told and Clarke pulled her into a crushing kiss. It was perfect. Clarke could feel it in her bones. It was right.







Raven’s apartment was already crowded with familiar faces by the time Clarke and Lexa arrived. Lincoln and Octavia were in a corner, kissing and whispering to each other. Anya and Raven were in the kitchen, Raven mixing drinks as Anya pressed a kiss to her neck. Monty, Jasper, Harper and Nate were around, laughing with each other. Across the room, Bellamy and Murphy played beer pong, reminding Clarke of the first party she brought Lexa to.

Raven must have noticed them, because she and Anya approached. She pulled Clarke away, apparently needing to show her something in the kitchen. Anya and Lexa hung back, sharing glances.

“Seeing as this is partly your party,” Raven said. “I thought you needed a cake.” Raven pulled the cake along the counter, so Clarke could see it better. In bright red lettering it read: CONGRATS ON GETTING YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES. Clarke could only laugh. “I wanted to get you a congrats on the sex cake when you finally hooked up, but the timing was not great,” Raven laughed.

“You’re an asshole,” Clarke laughed.

“But I’m your asshole,” Raven grinned. “Wait. No. That did not work.”

“I love you,” Clarke said.

“I love you too,” Raven said. “Thanks, for everything.”

“I don’t know why people keep saying that,” Clarke shrugged. “I didn’t do anything.”

“Not to be all emo about it, but you forgave me when I didn’t deserve it. You supported me even though I was involved with a girl you hate, you didn’t tell anyone what happened between me and Finn, I could go on,” Raven said. “Just. Thanks. And fuck, what a hell of a semester, right?”

“It really was,” Clarke smiled. Lexa approached with a soft smile.

“So, did you tell her?” Lexa asked, wrapping a hand around Clarke’s waist.

“That we’re official? Did you see the cake?” Clarke laughed. Lexa peered down at the cake and laughed out loud.

“No, about your major.”

“You finally picked a new major?” Raven asked.

“You wanna grab O? She’ll be pissed if she finds out I told you first.”

“You might as well just make an announcement about it,” Raven laughed. The three of them walked into the living room, joining the rest of their friends. “Yo! Bitches! Clarke’s got some news!”

“Is it that she’s fucking Lexa? Cause we been knew,” Jasper called.

“You’re the worst,” Raven said.

“I’m going to major in art. My portfolio got approved and I figured it all out with an advisor,” Clarke said.

“You bitch! You didn’t even tell me you were considering!” Octavia exclaimed.

“Yeah well, I didn’t want to tell people if it ended up not working out.”

“What made you decide on art? I mean, it’s not really practical,” Bellamy asked.

Clarke felt Lexa slip a hand into her own. “Who said school was about being practical? For once, I want to be fucking passionate about something.”

“Fuck yeah!” Jasper shouted. “Oh come on, that was a fuck yeah moment.”

“He’s actually right,” Raven smiled. “I think this calls for a toast. Everyone, get the fuck up.” In a moment, everyone stood around in a loose huddle, drinks in hand. “Clarke, toast away.”

“Uh, alright,” she chuckled. “Well, let’s toast to being passionate.”

“Boo,” Octavia called.

“What?”

“That’s the worst toast ever,” Octavia said. “You see how much shit we have to celebrate?” She was in Lincoln’s arms. Clarke looked around the room, at her friends, at Raven’s apartment, at Lexa beside her, then she realized that Octavia was right.

“Fine, a toast,” Clarke said, raising her cup a little higher. “To my friends, my dumb, reckless, amazing friends,” she said, catching Raven’s grin. “To making up, to making out,” Clarke saw Anya pull Raven a little closer. “To liquor,” Clarke continued. Jasper let out a little hoot of approval. “To RA assignments,” Lexa held her hand a little tighter. “To second chances, to taking chances and, shit, to fucking love,” Clarke rushed. She could feel warm tears prickling at the back of her eyes. Everyone raised their drinks in agreement

“A-fucking-men!” Octavia shouted, shaking Clarke by the arm with a grin. There was so much laughter around her, and cheering, and smiling. Lexa held her by the waist, smiling into her cheek.

She turned to face Lexa, who looked a little breathless. “It was a good toast,” Lexa smiled softly.

“I’m glad you liked it,” Clarke said, matching her tone. “I don’t know if you could tell, but it was mostly about you.”

Staring into Lexa’s eyes, Clarke knew. This was why she left home. This was what it was for. The hurt and the doom and the misery. It was an accident, but when she was running away, Clarke ran somewhere good. To someone good. Lexa smiled and held her tighter, pulling her in for a kiss. Clarke knew.

It was all fucking worth it.