A/N: Well, this happened. I purposely left a few things vague/didn't mention them, left that part up to your imagination. Please tell me if you find any errors, also, all constructive criticism is welcome. Enjoy!
Please don't do this!
The lone figure laying on the bed of fur pelts startled awake with a sharp intake of breath. Her dreams—no, not dreams, something that haunts you so should never be called a dream. Her nightmares—yes, those—are constant and unrelenting. The second her eyelids droop low and her conscious mind slows to a crawl she sees them, those piercing blue eyes that are begging, pleading, beseeching. And the voice, that melodious voice that she has grown to love so, it sounds broken. It's always the same, the eyes, the voice, the words spilling out of her mouth, the realization of betrayal written all over her face.
She remembers, she remembers every detail, every word, every look—she wishes she didn't. Her nightmares are different from what actually happened, reality was twisted by her subconscious and molded into a finely sharpened dagger, a dagger that visits her every night as she closes her eyes and cuts deep into her soul—she is in pieces.
Even in her waking hours, no matter how hard she tries, there is always a small voice in the back of her head—mocking, taunting, accusing.
You trusted me.
So I trusted you.
You betrayed me.
You really are heartless.
Lexa remembers the moment she had to make a choice—the hardest choice she's made since Costia's death—she'll never forget.
She had taken a group of warriors up to the bridge and flanked the shooters, the attack was quick and ruthless, it was a bloodbath. One swift movement away from ending the last shooter he cried out, "A deal! I have a deal!"
Lexa paused, sword mid-strike, "Speak," she snarled.
"Your people, every single one being held captive will be returned to you," he paused and Lexa glared, her face hardened. There's always a catch, she thought. The man continued, "If you march your whole army away from the mountain and cease all attack."
She brought her sword to his neck and stared him down, if looks could kill this man would be dead a thousand times over. "And why would I take this deal when I have an army ready to break into your precious mountain and make every single one of you pay in blood?"
"Because you're the Commander and you have a good head on your shoulders," a smirk tugged at his lips, "You know first-hand what our weapons are capable of, no matter how big your army is the losses will be great, hundreds even. Tell me, Commander, are you willing to sacrifice so many of your people?"
The grip on her sword tightened, she wishes she could just end him, him and the rest of his people who are guilty. She wants them all to pay, for decades her people have been haunted by the presence of the Mountain Men. For decades they have suffered and lost countless lives to the hands of these monsters. Now they have a chance to do something about it but at what price? Breaking into the mountain is no small feat, even if this is meant to be a rescue mission lives will be lost. Hundreds of lives, all by her orders, more blood staining her hands.
Is this effort worth such a loss? Is she willing to fight her way into the mountain and lose even more of her people? For what purpose? This rescue mission is only meant to save their people, nothing more. Fighting their way in would bring just as many deaths as it does lives. If she takes this deal…Wait, he never mentioned the Sky People.
"What of the Sky People?" she asks, hoping against hope that she is wrong in her assumption.
"They're not part of this. The Sky People stay, you get your people back and walk away with minor losses, that is the deal."
Lexa swallows, her throat feels incredibly dry. They came here with the intent of getting both of their people back. This is Clarke's plan, this plan works, this plan will bring them victory. This plan will get hundreds of her people killed. For what? For a rescue mission? A mission that can potentially get most of her warriors killed? If Lexa knows one thing like she knows the sky to be blue, it is this: plans don't last very long in battle.
She wishes things didn't have to be this way, she'd give her life for Clarke but not this, not her peoples lives. She wishes there was a way to storm into the mountain and not lose any of her people, she loves her people, she puts her people and their needs before herself every single day of her life. This should be no different, she thinks. But it is. She's grown to care for Clarke as well—headstrong Clarke with her piercing eyes who stormed into Lexa's life making demands for her people. Clarke, who also cares for her people more than she cares for herself. Clarke, who would do and give everything she is and will ever be to get her people back.
Clarke, who will never look at her the same again because of this betrayal. Lexa is torn. Her duty is to her people, she knows this, it has been this way ever since she was chosen. But her heart is screaming, yelling, howling at her:
Don't do this!
You'll lose her!
She'll never forgive you!
The one person she wants with all her being, the person she's willing to change her ways for. The one person she has to betray. She should have known better, she should have stood by her mantra Love is weakness. She should have done many things, but she is weak and she is torn.
I'm sorry, Clarke.
My people come first, they always have.
Lexa will never forget that last look, it haunts her.
She is broken.
"Commander!" a voice breaks her out of her brooding memories, "Commander!"
She stands up off the bed and takes but a moment to slip the stoic mask of the Commander back on. These days it's easier, she realizes, she's done this for so long. Her heart is no longer, Clarke took that with her. But then why does it hurt so? No heart should mean no pain but the pain is endless. Questions plague her mind, what if's, thoughts of their almost future. It hurts, it all hurts, her mind is her own worst enemy, it tortures her day in and day out. But she is Commander, and she is strong, all this agony, all this torment, she turns it around and makes herself stronger—she is iron, she is steel, she will not succumb, she will live on.
"What is it?" she asks, no, demands to know as one of her warriors ducks under the flap of the tent.
"We have word from Tondc, General Indra is requesting your immediate presence in the village. The leader of the Sky People has crossed the border of our lands and wishes to speak with you."
A flurry of emotions hit her; she's happy—Clarke lives—she's excited at the prospect of seeing her again, she craves to see her face and know she is well, she's curious—why would Clarke want to speak to her? Why now? She's scared of facing her—she has betrayed Clarke, abandoned her, left the Sky People to die—surely she loathes her. If one thing is true it is this: Lexa hates herself enough for both of them. Her heart thumps painfully against her chest, her face shows no sign of emotion, not a trace. She's good at this, really good at this, showing no outward emotion when it suits her comes as naturally as breathing now.
"Prepare the horses, get me ten of our best warriors, and pack provisions, we ride out as soon as possible." she orders.
"Yes, Commander." he gives a curt nod and quickly steps out of the tent.
The ride from Polis to Tondc was swift, no breaks, no rest, the party made it to the village in just under three hours. Lexa has already turned over every question in her head—at least five times each—yet she can't, for the life of her, figure out why Clarke would wish to speak with her.
Her arrival receives a jovial welcoming, her people love her, praise her, they think her a hero for saving them from the clutches of the Mountain Men. She doesn't think she deserves it, she has betrayed the person she cares for the most, she wishes she would be punished so she could atone—maybe forget—she would welcome it with open arms.
She is quick to dismount her horse and stalk towards the largest tent in view, it is the leaders tent, it contains all the maps of the area, it's where councils are held and plans of attack are hatched, it's where she'll find Indra and—
"Lexa," Clarke breathes out, eyes wide, she had heard the commotion outside, she could tell Lexa had arrived by the chants of Heda, Heda, Heda! She could hear coming from the hearty crowd of Grounders. Clarke thought she had prepared herself. She thought wrong. The second those bright green eyes met her sky-blue ones she lost herself.
"I—you—I'm—," her mouth hasn't caught up with her brain, she doesn't know what to say.
"Clarke," Lexa cuts Clarke off with a nod and straightens herself, she will face her demons head-on, she will not back down from this. She's staring into Clarke's eyes now, she can't seem to look away. Lexa thought she'd find pure hatred there but she doesn't, she's not sure what it is she sees but it definitely isn't hatred.
The sudden clearing of someone's throat breaks the trance and they both turn to find Indra standing off to the side of the large tent. Lexa is astonished, how had she missed Indra so obviously standing just a few feet from Clarke? Lexa considers herself a well-trained warrior of the Woods Clan, one of the best, she prides herself in noticing things before anyone else—yet the second she saw Clarke all other thought fled her conscious mind.
Clarke, who has now broken out of her daze, speaks, "I need to speak with you," she glances at Indra from the corner of her eye, "In private."
Lexa eyes her wearily and wonders, what could this be about? What is there to say?
"Leave us," she directs at Indra, her eyes never leaving Clarke's. Indra nods and walks past them both, she stops by the flap of the tent, "If you need me," she motions outside. Lexa turns to her and nods, thankful that her General does not question her decisions as much as she used to.
"You may speak, Clarke of the Sky People," their eyes meet again and Lexa's breath catches in her throat, she sees so much pain there.
"You can drop the act, Lexa, I can still see right through you, that hasn't changed these last few months," Clarke makes to step closer and Lexa takes a step back, she can't do this, not again, it hurts, it hurts so much. Clarke stops in her tracks, her head tilted to the side, contemplating.
"I know why you did it," she looks down, her eyes sad, "I just didn't understand, not at the moment," she's shaking her head now, "I thought you were being selfish," Lexa's heart is breaking all over again.
Stop, she wants to say.
No more, I can't take this any more.
"I tried to reason with myself that if it was me making that decision I would have found a way, somehow, I felt so betrayed," Lexa closes her eyes.
Betrayed, that word again, it always comes back to that doesn't it? She betrayed Clarke, she has lost her trust, she can never have what she really wants, can never have her love—not now, not ever.
"But I get it," Lexa's eyes snap open and Clarke is standing so much closer than her previous position, too close, she wants to move but she can't, she's frozen in place. Those blue eyes that haunt her in her sleep are staring back at her, full with unshed tears.
"I've thought about it all this time and I just wanted you to know that I don't blame you," a pause, "I would have done the same." Lexa frowns.
No, you should blame me, I betrayed you.
I chose my people over you.
You shouldn't forgive me this easily.
You should be mad at me.
You should be angry.
You should be enraged that I turned around and did this to you.
You should be yelling at me, screaming, accusing, just like my nightmares.
Just like I am.
And just like that tears are streaming down Lexa's face, she can't stop them, not this time. A choked sob escapes her, "I'm sorry," her head is angled down, she doesn't want Clarke to see her like this, "I'm so sorry."
The tears won't stop, her soul is in tatters, she can't control this. Seeing Clarke has finally pushed her over the edge, her emotions in turmoil, she doesn't know what else to say so apologies and confessions of guilt are all that fall from her lips.
"I know," Clarke cups her cheek, "I know." and slowly, as if dealing with a frightened wild animal, she moves forward the rest of the way and envelops Lexa in a firm yet gentle embrace.
"I forgive you," Clarke whispers into her ear, "I won't leave you."