hello I'm back from the war & have returned with 8.7k of clexa. pls enjoy accordingly.

To Lexa, time had always moved at an untouchable rhythm. Sun up to sun down, the minutes and hours moved at a steady march that never lost its beat. It was just as much a part of the lifestyle at Polis as the uniforms, the training, the cemented schedules. You lived at a pace that did not care for anyone or anything—it slugged from whistle to whistle, morning reveille to dinner call, from lights on to lights out.

But with Clarke, everything changed.

Time ebbed and flowed like a living thing—like the blood that coursed through Lexa's veins when they were together and the slow breaths that stifled her when they were apart. She felt eons age her as she waited for her morning classes to finish, felt hours tick like seconds when she and Clarke took long, winding walks around campus and discovered all its hidden corners or when they sat on their little hill by the fields, talking until they were the only ones outside and the stars were just as bright as the lamps that lined the walkways.

All at once, Clarke had become a force that seemed to control time and Lexa was at the mercy of it all.

Several weeks had passed since the night when everything came out and Lexa had admitted her fears. Not all of them, no, but the ones that seemed to matter at the moment. The last 24 days had snuck by Lexa like a thief, but only because she never realized how quick, how sly and blindingly fast it could be when something—or rather, someone—had all your attention.

Weekdays were spent catching quick minutes together, waiting for lunch to see each other and eat with friends, spending quiet evenings when Lexa studied and Clarke read or drew or simply watched the careful, focused girl sitting in front of her.

Weekends were something else entirely—the most satisfying blend of hard work and blissful peace. Lexa very quickly discovered that the best remedy for a rough training session or an exceptionally difficult officer's meeting was an afternoon with Clarke.

Both girls were enamored and a little wondrous at what they had found, at what they had allowed themselves to have despite everything. It was unbelievable, really.

Which was exactly why Lexa was afraid to burst the bubble.

She had come to realize what exactly could break their little spell when the first snowflakes of the year fell from the sky, peppering her hair and resting on her eyelashes. Suddenly, she felt the brisk cold in her bones, the bite of the wind through her uniform, the icy air on the skin of her hands.

It was winter, which meant it was time for the annual military ball.

All at once, she saw the flyers for it everywhere. Heard quiet murmurings and serious discussions at every hour about the date, the dates, the day itself.

It had crept up on her, or rather, she hadn't even thought about it considering it had been outside of her radar the past two years, but now—

Now, it carried a weight.

As a corporal, she was to attend the ball for the practicalities—the award ceremony, the graduation announcements, the official dances and officer recognitions.

But as Lexa Woods—not the corporal, but a college girl with a schoolgirl crush—she wanted to attend the ball for one reason and one reason only.

To go with Clarke.

Now the issue was plucking up the courage to actually ask her to the biggest annual event at Polis.

She wondered about it, pondered the possibilities and weighed her options as she sat in her weekly officers meeting. She spun a pen around in her fingers as the presiding colonel droned on about changes to training schedules and new practice drills for the freshmen blocks. The dilemma had settled in the very bottom of her stomach just two days ago when she had overheard two of her colleagues talking about who they were going to ask to the ball.

She had ripped a flyer off the wall, folded it into a very small, neat square, and tucked it into her backpack because she hated herself and hated obligation but loved the idea of having Clarke beside her on the best night of the year.

She wanted to take Clarke, obviously.

But would she want to go with her?

And asking her meant there was a chance Clarke would say no, and Lexa didn't know if she could take that kind of rejection when—


Lexa immediately sat up straight and looked to the front of the room.

"Yes, sir?"

"What do you think would be the best approach on scheduling practice drills and PT rounds in the same block?" The colonel's voice rang deep through the silence of the room as Lexa scrambled to form a coherent answer.

"I believe splitting the officers between drills and throughout several checkpoints of the route will be best." She cleared her throat once, trying to shake the foggy thoughts of Clarke out of her mind. "We can rotate duties on a daily basis as well as the order of the blocks to keep the freshmen from getting used to the routines."

The colonel nodded once, accepting her answer.

"Very good, Woods."

She relaxed a little in her seat when he continued onto the next subject—regulating student demerits—and let out a quick breath in relief. She was never really distracted in class or meetings, even after Clarke had infiltrated every facet of her life, but the whole Winter Ball thing was really taking a toll on her.

What was she supposed to do?

Bring it up like it was nothing? Make a huge deal and ask her in spectacular fashion?

Ignore it completely until it goes away on its own?

She racked her brain for a logical approach to something so abstract, something that required so much more thought and consideration and emotion than she was used to.

She let herself sigh just a little as the debate raged on inside her and finally settled on doing what she does best—ignoring her feelings until just before the problem would blow up in her face.

Lexa tuned her attention back to the colonel at the front of the room and felt the switch flip inside her, pushing the warm, swirling feelings far and away from the thoughts of music, of dancing, of Clarke in a dress just for her.

"You two are disgusting."

"Okay, Raven, I get it." Clarke rolled her eyes, taking another sip from her warm mug. She turned to Octavia who was still fiddling with her uniform name tag. "O, stop her."

"No, I completely agree with her. You guys are gross." She didn't even look up. Clarke glared at the top of her head and settled deeper into the couch.

"No, we—it's not even that bad."

Octavia's name plate clicked together with a small snap and she sighed in victory, lifting a hand to brush back the hairs that had escaped from her bun. She looked at Clarke with sympathetic eyes.

"It's pretty fucking bad," she said, resting a hand on Clarke's knee in faux pity. Raven laughed loud and victorious from the armchair she was lounging on. Clarke smacked Octavia's hand away and the dark-haired girl just smiled.

It was a quiet Sunday evening and the three girls had finally found a bit of time where they could all be together. It was just them lounging around in Clarke's living room, mugs of hot tea and blankets at hand and too much to catch up on, but it was enough.

"As if you and Lincoln haven't been all over each other for the past few weeks," Clarke shot back. Octavia leaned against a cushion, crossing her legs under her.

"True, but that's expected of me considering he's built like a god." She splayed her hands in front of her and closed her eyes in reverence. She scoffed in surprise when she received a face-full of pillow from Raven's general direction.

"Yeah, we know you can't keep your hands off Mr. Senior Officer," Raven quipped.

"But we are not the kind of gross that Clarke and the Commander are."

Raven hummed and pointed a mocking finger at Octavia in agreement.

"Fair point. From what I've heard, you guys are all gooey and cutesy and it makes me want to throw up."

Clarke stuck her tongue out at Raven and set her mug down on the coffee table, reaching for her phone instead. It was true—Lexa was all kinds of cute and sweet and caring, and truth be told, Clarke was all about it.

Lexa was everything she wanted, wrapped in a military-precise, hot bow.

"Here I wanted to spend some quality time with my best friends and instead I'm getting torn to shreds about my love life."

Octavia and Raven gave each other a look, the former raising an inquisitive eyebrow at Clarke's very specific use of the L-word. Clarke's ears burned when she realized what she said, but kept her eyes glued to her still-dark phone screen to avoid it at all costs. Raven cleared her throat to usher in a change of topic, but unfortunately, the subject didn't stray too far.

"If you expected anything less from us, then you're delusional," she said, swinging her legs up and over the couch's armrest. "So, enlighten us. How is it dating the most intimidating girl in a 50-mile radius?"

"We're not dating, per say—"

"Cut the crap, Clarke, you guys have been exclusive for weeks and she's clinical for you. It's 'dating'," Octavia said, raising her hands to quote the last word in the air. Raven nodded emphatically in support.

"Just tell us. How is it?"

Her friends looked at her with inquisitive, genuinely curious eyes, and all at once, Clarke had no idea what to say.

She spun her phone in slow circles in her hand and contemplated her words.

"It's easy. Just, like, really easy and fun and it feels so natural. It's so nice to be around her." She paused to take a breath and was surprised when no one interjected to tease her. "She's sweet. Funny. I miss her when she's not around which is crazy, but I do."

She finally looked up at Raven and Octavia, who were both smiling huge and sappy-like. Clarke rolled her eyes when they both burst into too-high squeals of happiness. Raven clasped her hands together and held them to one cheek, pretending to swoon. Octavia, whose sworn duty was to egg her on, fell apart in laughter.

Clarke felt the blush creep up her neck and being unable to process her embarrassment in any other way, threw the pillows next to her at them with as much force as she could muster.

Octavia expertly dodged hers, but Raven's laughter was immediately quelled as it smacked her right in the face.

"You guys are the worst."

"Probably, but it's hard not to be when you guys are so gooey," Raven said.

"Maybe if you guys were a bit more like hormonal teenagers like the rest of us, we wouldn't make fun of you that much," Octavia offered.

"What, like you and Lincoln?"


"Well, who says we aren't?"

At that, her friends froze and Clarke almost laughed at their shocked expressions. They stared at her, their mouths open and eyes wide. Octavia was the first to recover.

"Shut. Up."

"It's true." The words are kind of hard to say, but she willed them to be true. To build up something that was totally unlike the weeks of slow frustration that Clarke had been suppressing.

"Oh my god, why didn't you tell us?!"

"It's, y'know, like on the DL and really, uh— casual."

Raven squinted at her, the suspicion arising at her choice of words, but Clarke valiantly avoided eye contact. Octavia, on the other hand, was completely convinced.

"Dude, like, wow. With Lexa? Jesus, tell me everything. Is she good? She seems like she's really fucking good."

"I mean, yeah obviously like it's crazy how much, like, we just—"

"You're bluffing."

Raven stopped the words in Clarke's mouth, but the pointed look in her eyes were what ended the ruse. Clarke sighed. Raven saw right through her.


Octavia groaned in frustration and Raven laughed in victory. It seemed that the afternoon was intent on seeing just how many times Clarke could blush and embarrass herself and so far, she was taking a beating.

"You little liar," Octavia exclaimed. She looked personally offended at falling for her little white lie.

"Fuck," Clarke said, repeating her earlier sentiment. "Okay, fine, we haven't yet."

"Somehow, that seems totally unbelievable to me," Raven said. "You guys are all over each other."

"Well, yeah, but not in that way." Clarke peered down at her hands as she picked at a loose thread on the blanket around her. "She seems intent on taking this slow and it's driving me insane."

"Who knew the Commander was such a tease?" Octavia said, a wicked grin on her face.

"I swear, she's completely aware of what she's doing and it's awful."

"I'm surprised you haven't turned up the sexy and broken her," Raven joked.

"I don't know. This is…different. I'm okay with slow and steady if she wants it to be. It's just—" she paused. "it's so hard."

"If you were a guy, I'd agree with that statement," Octavia said. Raven leaned over to high five her and Clarke groaned quietly at the awful pun.

Just then, Raven's phone chimed with a notification. She swiped the screen and looked over the message quickly before standing abruptly out of her seat.

"Well kiddos, I've got a physics project to finish by tonight so I have to go." She stretched slightly from side to side and grabbed the jacket that was hanging over her chair.

"Tonight? Way to save it till the last minute," Octavia said.

"It's called smart planning. I do my best work under pressure," she responded as she pulled on her boots. Clarke smiled at her and waved.

"Get home safe, Rae. Text me when you get a chance."

"Sure thing. Oh!" Raven whirled around, remembering something. "Are you doing the thing tonight?" Clarke blushed a little and shook her head with a small smile.

"No, it'll be tomorrow morning." Raven's smile was blinding.

"You're such a fucking romantic, it's disgusting." Clarke rolled her eyes and Octavia chuckled.

"I'm just hoping nothing happens tonight so I can actually go through with it."

"She's gonna have an aneurysm when she realizes you asked her," Raven said as she did the buttons on her coat. Clarke considered the possibility and prayed it wouldn't be that extreme.

"My only hope is that she'll like it and say yes." She pulled at the edges of the pillow on her lap. "I don't think she even knows I know what it is."

"Like I said, aneurysm."

"Bye, Raven." Raven just laughed and threw a peace sign over her shoulder as she left the living room. Clarke and Octavia shouted their goodbyes as she swung the front door open and walked into the blistery cold evening.

The two girls shivered as the breeze from outside swept through the house for a brief moment, but settled in when the warmth of the fireplace took over the room once more. Clarke turned to Octavia.

"Isn't it Sunday? Why are you in your uniform?"

"My bunk's having a practice run tonight for this week's uniform eval. I wanted to be ready." She sat up straight and fixed her collar. Clarke noticed how easy the movement was, how habitual and practiced it seemed. She smiled.

"You're doing really well here." It was a statement. Plain, unsurprised, slightly proud.

Octavia nodded thoughtfully. She looked down as she pulled at the cuffs of her sleeves.

"Yeah. I like it." The words were short and quiet, but both girls could hear how honest they were.

"I'm glad."

Something shifted in Octavia's expression then—something that resembled barely concealed concern, like she wanted to say something but didn't know how to say it. Clarke looked at her, trying to figure out what she was thinking, but Octavia was carefully eyeing the floor.

"Uh, I should go," she said suddenly. "The eval's in a little bit and I don't want to be late."

"Oh, okay." Clarke was surprised, but didn't point out the sudden change in mood. She stood and followed Octavia to the door, her arms crossed against the slowly permeating cold that crept from the front door.

They both muttered quiet "bye"s and exchanged quick smiles, but Octavia stopped with her hand on the doorknob. She turned to Clarke, eyes hard and intent and serious.

"Clarke," she said, her tone controlled and even, "what you said earlier about missing Lexa."

She nodded, small and short.

"That—you—I think you should talk to Lexa about it. What it could mean for you guys in the future."

Clarke furrowed her eyebrows in confusion.


"It's—Just remember who Lexa is and what this place is. What it means to be at Polis." At that, Octavia turned and opened the door, letting in a sudden wave of cold wind and a colder quiet that bit through to the bone.

Octavia's words were cryptic and coded, as if she wanted to tell her something but couldn't.

Everything had been so great, so perfect with Lexa the past few weeks. What was Octavia talking about?

Clarke stood there for another beat, then shook her head free of the overwhelming thoughts swirling inside.

She walked back to the living room and plopped down on the couch again. Suddenly, her phone buzzed on the table. She picked it up and swiped it open, a slow smile growing on her face when she read the name.

L: I just got out of my
meeting. See you in 20?

Every thought about Octavia's words disappeared in an instant. She had Lexa to herself for a lazy Sunday night and there was nothing that could take that away from her.

C: sounds perfect.

When the presiding colonel had dismissed the officers from the meeting, Lexa's first instinct was to pull out her phone and tap out a quick message to Clarke.

Although Lexa had been nothing but focused and attentive during the rest of the session, Clarke had been a constant presence in the back of her mind. She was always there at the corner of her thoughts. Not enough to be distracting, but enough for Lexa to always be aware of how much time was left till she could see her again.

It was a buzz under her skin, in her ears, that had taken up residence a few weeks before. It came part and parcel to being able to call Clarke hers, so it was good, really.

Oh who was she kidding, Lexa was over the fucking moon.

She gathered her stuff and shouldered her backpack before heading out of the classroom, steps only slightly hurried with the thought of a lazy Sunday night with nothing to do but Cl—


Her hazy thoughts were interrupted by Lincoln falling into step with her.

"Hi, Lincoln."

His leisurely pace kind of pissed her off because damn it, she was walking pretty fast, but as always, he just had an easy smile on his face.

"I wanted to ask your opinion on something, since your girlfriend's best friends with my girlfriend."

Her heart skipped at the word.

"Well, technically, she's not my girlfr—"

"Oh, cut the crap, Lexa, you guys have been together for weeks!" Lincoln all but yelled. She slapped his arm in an attempt to get him to quiet down, but it probably hurt her more than it hurt him.

"Shut it."

"You two seriously still haven't talked about—"

"No," Lexa deadpanned, cutting off the rest of his sentence. She cleared her throat and pulled her backpack higher onto her shoulders. "So, what was your question?"

"Oh, yeah. It's about the Winter Ball." He smiled, his eyes lighting up. "It's going to be incredible, Lex. Music, dancing, aw man."

Lexa's heart had seemingly jumped to her throat because she had trouble swallowing. The music. The dancing. Clarke. The thought of this stupid ball was everywhere and there was no escaping this freakin'

Lincoln punched her in the arm and she winced in surprise, the pain snapping her attention back.

"Oh my god, ow."

"Sorry, but I lost you there for a second. Did you hear what I said?"

Lexa cleared her throat and straightened her sleeves.

"No, sorry. What was it again?"

"I said, do you think I should go all out with asking Octavia to the ball or should I just do like a small thing between us? Like we always go on these walks and—"

The words caught up to Lexa and her mind immediately raced, speeding through the logic and finishing at one terrifying conclusion. She stopped in her tracks and looked at Lincoln with huge, panicked eyes.

"What?" Lincoln said, uneasy with how scared Lexa looked.

"When are you asking her?"

"Uh, I was planning on tonight—"

"Tonight?" she yelped. Lincoln gave her a weird look and she closed her eyes, exasperated and worried and entirely caught up in the implications of his easy bravery.

"Octavia is best friends with Clarke." Lexa made her way through the reasoning once more, voicing the trail her mind had blazed in seconds. "If you ask her tonight that means Clarke will know about it by at least tomorrow morning and that gives me less than 12 hours to figure out how to do this because I don't know how."

He stared at her in surprise while Lexa did her best to control her heaving breaths and heart rate. But in clear Lincoln fashion, his face immediately shifted to a blinding grin.

"So you are going to ask her," he said, nudging her. She turned to slap him away, cheeks burning, but he just laughed.

"Really, Lincoln. I don't—Like, I can't—How am I even supposed to do this?"

He thought for a moment, lips slightly pursed and eyes regarding her carefully.

"Lex, just ask her. You don't need anything fancy or over the top. The ball will cover all that." He chuckled, but rested a hand on her shoulder to ease the tension that had crawled up her neck.

"I—what if she says no?" Her voice was small and she never liked showing this side of her to anyone, but Lincoln was someone she trusted with her life.

"She won't. There's no way she would say no to a night of music, good food, and you in your full uniform."

She scoffed, but the words seemed to soften the weight in her chest.

"She'll say yes, Lex," Lincoln assured her. She nodded once, knowing in her head that, logically, Clarke would respond positively, especially after weeks of them spending all their spare time together and how she was sure that their feelings were real.

But her heart screamed with the possibility of rejection, with the fear and doubt and hesitation that had clouded her judgment with Clarke all those weeks ago.

"You're right," she breathed. Another, deep to the bottom of her lungs. "You're right."

"Damn, I don't think I've ever seen you this nervous."

"Shut up."

"Well, corporal, you have about—" he lifted a hand to check his watch, "four hours to do it before me, so I suggest you get going." She glared at him, but he just smiled reassuringly.

"You'll be fine." He was being supportive, but Lexa couldn't shake the frown on her face.

"Okay. I'll do it. Tonight." The words were short and heavy on her tongue. Lincoln nodded once in response and gently pushed her down the sidewalk.

"You got it, Lex. Now go, your girlfriend's waiting for you."

"She's not—"

"Four hours." With that, he turned on a heel and walked the other way, leaving Lexa in the red, waning light of the evening. She bounced a few times on the balls of her feet as she considered the monumental task planned that night.

It'll be easy, she lied to herself. It'll be easy and fast and she'll say yes.

Taking a deep breath, she clenched and unclenched her hands, bringing one up to pull her hair out of its ponytail and shake it out in the wind. She shivered briefly as the full force of the cool air registered on her skin. But without another thought, she started down the path again, eyes blinded by the bright rays of the sunset but still, still making her way because Clarke was waiting for her.

After the quickest, hottest shower she had ever taken and approximately 22 minutes had passed since she sent that text, Lexa hustled to the house by the flagpole with a genuine fear of freezing her ears off.

She rapped on the door and was happy when Clarke opened it in the next second.

"Come inside, you must be so cold." She ushered Lexa in and watched with concerned eyes as she pulled her jacket and shoes off. When Lexa looked up, she saw Clarke eyeing her wet hair. Shit.

"I thought I told you not to walk outside with your hair still wet. It's freezing outside! You'll get sick."

Lexa rolled her eyes and padded into the living room.

"I'm indestructible, remember?"

"I remember the exact opposite being true."

"Yeah well, I have a nurse on call at all times so I'll be okay." She smirked as she sank into the couch. It was Clarke's turn to roll her eyes, but she couldn't help but smile.

"Are you hungry?" she asked, making her way to the kitchen.

"Not really. Could I just get some—"

"Tea? I already set the kettle."

Lexa felt the affection spread through her like warm water seeping into her bones.

Clarke returned in just a moment with two steaming mugs in her hands. She handed one off to Lexa and curled into the sofa next to her. She watched as Lexa lifted it to her lips and took a careful sip, reveling in the heat.

"Jesus, that's good stuff." Lexa hummed with her eyes closed as she felt the heat creep through her hands. She turned to Clarke. "Thank you."

One corner of Clarke's mouth lifted as she ducked behind her mug for a sip of her own.

"You're welcome."

Lexa turned in her seat to face Clarke a little better and rested her head against the back cushions.

"So how was your day?"

"Relatively boring. But Raven and Octavia both came over earlier to hang out, so it was nice to catch up." Lexa smiled at the way Clarke's eyes softened at the thought of her best friends.

"I'm glad you had a good time with them."

"Yeah, it was good. We talked a lot." Clarke's words trailed off and her eyes darted down to the mug in her hands, as if she had remembered something delicate. Lexa frowned slightly, but scrambled to think of something to switch the mood back.

"Any cool gossip?" she asked. Clarke immediately looked up, eyes teasing and gloriously excited at the chance to make fun of her.

"D'you know how uncool that question is?"

"Hey, I'm hip." Lexa joked, feeling slightly victorious when Clarke laughed in response. A warm smile settled on her lips, the faraway look now gone from her eyes and replaced by soft blues that seemed to melt everything else away. Words fell from Lexa's lips before she could stop them and she prayed Clarke hadn't heard them.

"What was that?" Clarke asked.


Clarke poked her side.

"Tell me."

Lexa sighed, turning her head into the couch cushion.

"I missed you."

"Didn't quite catch that."

"I said, I missed you," she yelled into the pillow. Her face was blazing.

"Now was that so hard to say?" The teasing in Clarke's tone was enough to draw Lexa up and away from the couch, to make her brave and make her confident.

"Y'know what would be hard to say?" she said, creeping closer and closer to Clarke, who slowly leaned back into the sofa. "That the thought of you distracted me through the entire meeting."

The words were quiet and barely fell from Lexa's lips, but she spotted Clarke swallowing, eyes almost glazed over. When her face was just inches from Clarke's and she was sure she had her on the ropes, Lexa plopped back onto the armrest of the couch again, smug and smirking at her ability to fluster.

Clarke blinked a few times, trying to recover from the onslaught. Her eyes came back into focus, but they were still dark, still dangerous. Very slowly and very carefully, she set her mug down on the coffee table and looked at Lexa.

The gaze was enough to make her heart jump to her throat, her skin tingle, her blood simmer and race.

"You're playing a very risky game." It was her turn to crawl over to Lexa, gaze blazing and hands burning a slow trail like a spreading fire.

Lexa became hyper-aware of every part of her senses, as if she was in battle training. She felt her heart rate slow to almost a stop—each beat echoed through her body and her blood crawled like lava in her veins. Each breath felt like a lifetime, but she was still lightheaded.

Clarke got closer and closer, stopping only to sit on her lap.

She placed her hands on the back of Lexa's neck and leaned in until her nose brushed against hers.

"You've been a tease. And Lex," Clarke whispered. Lexa could taste the words. "I think this is a game you'll lose."

Lexa gasped at the flush she felt from Clarke's quiet declaration, but it was quickly swallowed by Clarke's lips. They melted together and hands blazed trails and mouths fought for air and skin with equal fervor.

And as Lexa felt herself pull at Clarke's shirt and Clarke's heart hammer in time with her own, Lexa realized that, in a way, she was right.

Lexa will lose herself to Clarke.

Clarke was losing it.

She was fucking losing it because the girl underneath her was the hottest thing Clarke had ever laid eyes on and she didn't even know it.

Lexa's eyes were screwed shut as Clarke licked a trail down her neck and ran her hands down her flat stomach. She was both breathing hard and not breathing at all and it made her head spin, but it didn't matter because Lexa was topless and under her and god, Clarke was losing it.

She nipped at Lexa's collarbone and bit her pulse point, drawing a low hum from the back of Lexa's throat. Her hands tugged at Clarke's neck to pull her up for another kiss, which she gladly accepted. She ran her hands down Lexa's sides and pulled at her knee to bend and curl around her.

Lexa's hips twitched as Clarke leaned and pushed closer, closer and Clarke wondered for a moment if this was how addictions began.

She was so caught up in trying to see if she could coax Lexa into making that sound again that she hadn't noticed Lexa's hand sneak between them and tease the waistband of her shorts.

Clarke sucked in a breath through her nose, surprised at the touch and how all the blood in her body rushed to a single point at the base of her stomach. She pulled back a bit to groan and try to stop her head from spinning.

"Off," Lexa whispered, taking advantage of Clarke trying to breathe and pulling at her waistband again. She hummed in frustration, as if she was completely floored by the complexity of pants and the process of taking them off.

Clarke ran a hand through her hair, the air clearing her head and making her very aware of where this was heading.

"Wait," she said, "wait wait wait wait wait."

"What?" Lexa breathed, eyes glassy and hands still roaming and pulling and touching.

"Wait." Clarke ripped herself off of Lexa and stood at the center of the room, hands on her hips and chest heaving as she tried to regain sanity.

Lexa looked at her incredulously from the couch, leaning on both elbows and eyes slowly coming back into focus.

"What's wrong?" she asked. Her tone was concerned more than anything.

Clarke chanced a glance at her and immediately looked away because she could not exercise this much self-restraint if she saw how fucking good Lexa looked topless and lying on her couch.

"I just—" she ran both hands through her hair again. "I don't want our first time to be a crazy makeout session on an old sofa."

Lexa's mouth was still slightly open in surprise as she processed her words. Clarke watched as her eyes slowly ran down her body and couldn't help the flush she felt.

"This sofa isn't that old," Lexa insisted. "And—"

"Please don't try to talk me into this because I will cave," she breathed deep again, head hanging and eyes shut, "and I really don't want our first time to be like this after all this waiting."

Lexa was quiet. Clarke looked up at her after a few moments, worried that she had screwed everything up. But Lexa just regarded her softly and sat up in her seat. She rubbed her face a couple times and pulled her hair back into a ponytail, hands working neat and fast with the small elastic band she always kept on her wrist. She sighed again.

"You're right. I'm sorry,," Lexa said. Clarke just smiled and crossed her arms, slowly walking back to the couch again.

"No need to be sorry. Let's just," she paused in thought for a moment, "save it for a later and more appropriate time."

Lexa's eyebrows lifted once in agreement.

"That's fair."

"I'm glad you think so. Wouldn't want my mom walking in on—"

The sound of the front door creaking open interrupted her words, as if sent by whatever higher power is out there themselves. Clarke's blood ran cold and Lexa froze next to her.

They both exploded into action in the next second, scrambling to find their clothes and fix themselves.

"Clarke, I'm home!" her mom called from the entry way. She heard one boot fall to the floor and knew that they had mere seconds.

She tossed Lexa her shirt as she scrambled to pull on her own. Lexa did her best to sit casually on the couch as Clarke tried to tame her hair.

Literally the moment after they'd accomplished some semblance of normalcy, Abby walked into the living room. She stopped at the sight of two girls instead of just one and looked inquisitively between them.

"Hi, mom!" Clarke exclaimed, internally wincing at how high her voice was. Abby eyed her suspiciously, looking back and forth between her and Lexa.

"Hello, Clarke," she said. "And who is this?"

Lexa stood then, at attention as if she was in her uniform.

"Corporal Lexa Woods, ma'am. Third-year." Her tone was clipped and careful and lightyears more controlled than Clarke's.

"Nice to meet you in person, Lexa. I've heard great things about you," Abby said as she shook her hand. She glanced at Clarke. "Some of which came from my daughter."

Clarke felt her cheeks burn as Lexa looked at her in surprise, while she did her best to melt into the floor.

"Thank you, ma'am." Lexa's eyes flicked to Clarke's and both girls knew that their night was over. With a curt nod, she turned to Abby.

"I should be going though. It's getting late."

Clarke barely suppressed a sigh and turned to give Lexa a small smile.

"I'll walk you out." Lexa nodded again in gratitude and Clarke tried not to notice how her face had shifted into an expression meant for training, for practice and Polis.

"Goodbye, Lexa," her mom said, watching the two of them inch away.

"Yes, ma'am. Good night."

The two girls were quiet as Lexa pulled her jacket and shoes on near the front door, both listening to the sounds of Clarke's mom moving around in the kitchen. Clarke was the first to speak.

"I'm sorry. Her administration meetings usually run really late." Lexa just looked at her and shook her head.

"Don't apologize. To be honest, it's probably a good thing or else we would've—" She immediately flushed at the thought of what could've happened. Clarke swallowed against a suddenly dry throat and wondered where all that self-restraint had come from.

"Yeah," she rasped, unable to say anything more.

"I'll see you tomorrow?" Lexa asked.


Clarke's heart started hammering at the thought of what she had planned for the next day. She did her best to stay casual, to hide the enormity of her idea and pretend that nothing was out of the ordinary.

"Uh, yeah. Of course."

Lexa smiled small and leaned in to kiss Clarke once on the cheek before turning to open the front door. The cold air blew into the hall and bit right through to the bone, and Clarke couldn't help but shiver.

"Jesus, it's so cold. Winter's officially here, I guess."

At that, Lexa seemed to freeze, her hand still on the knob and feet mid-step out the door.

She whirled around to Clarke, her eyes wide and mouth open as if searching for words.

"I—" she said, "I—"

Clarke eyed her carefully, confused at the sudden shift in mood. Lexa looked like she was at a complete loss.

"Is everything okay?" she asked, taking a step closer. Lexa seemed to breathe again in the proximity, sighing as she looked down and away from her.

"Yeah, I just—" she smiled slightly, but it didn't reach her eyes. "It's nothing. Good night, Clarke."

Clarke wasn't convinced, but she nodded and raised a corner of her lips.

"Good night."

Lexa turned and walked out the door, huddling in the chill as she made her way down the path. Clarke watched until she couldn't see the small shadow in the yellow light of the street lamps and shut the door with a soft click.

She listened, hearing the water still running in the sink and the rattle of dishes being cleaned and put away. With a sigh, she made her way to accept her fate.

"So, that's Lexa, huh?" her mom said as Clarke entered the kitchen. She leaned against the fridge and tried to avoid her mother's eyes.


"She's pretty."


"Are you guys, you know, official?"

Clarke barely swallowed a groan.

"No. Well, I guess—" She stopped to take a breath. "I don't know."

"Well, it seemed like there was some official business going on here before I walked in—"

"Mom." Clarke said, incredulous at her mother's embarrassing declaration of the truth she was trying to deny.

"Honey, her shirt was inside out. It doesn't take a detective."

Her face immediately burst into flames, but Abby smiled, much to her surprise.

"What?" Clarke asked.

"Nothing," her mom said, cleaning the counter with an old towel. She looked up at Clarke, whose eyes were insistent and a little curious.

"It's just," Abby paused to wipe her hands on the dishrag. "You seem happy."

The words hit Clarke square in the chest, emptying her lungs and quieting her heart for a moment. The silence gave her a chance to reflect and gauge and realize that, yes, she was happy.

Clarke was happy.

The feelings exploded under her skin and she couldn't help the small laugh that bubbled out of her throat. She smiled and looked at her mom.

"I—I am."

Abby sighed, eyes never leaving Clarke's face. Her eyes crinkled at the corners and her lips twitched once as they widened into a bigger smile.

"Good." She turned back to the sink. "That's great. I'm glad."

Clarke watched her mom busy herself with the dishes and felt her heart warm at their small revelation. She turned to leave, but was stopped again.

"Lexa's a good girl, Clarke," her mother said. "But she's trained to be an even better soldier."

"I know."

Abby turned to face her. Her eyes were still happy, but something in the press of her mouth looked guarded, careful. Worried.

"Remember where we are, sweetie. What this school is. That's all I ask."

The words bit at something in the back of Clarke's mind. They were eerily similar to Octavia's cryptic words that afternoon.

"I know."

Her mother nodded once, as if satisfied with the fact that she had shared the veiled words of warning.

"Good night, mom."

"Good night, Clarke."

Clarke made a quick exit. She was alone with her thoughts as she got ready for bed and laid alone in the dark.

The quiet was deafening, but not as loud as the buzzing in Clarke's ears from the feelings that warred in her head. Confusion from the warnings about Lexa's place in Polis, frustration from her evening with Lexa, concern about the future, anticipation for her plans the next morning. She tried to shake them all clear, but decided in the next moment that it was best to just sleep and let it be tomorrow.

Clarke turned on her side, clicking her phone open.

There was a message from Lexa.

L: The couch isn't that old.

She laughed once, the sound sharp and loud in the empty room. She felt a light flush creep up her neck at the thought of what had happened on that sofa earlier that night. Tapping out a quick message and sending it with a whoosh, Clarke committed to getting a respectable amount of sleep before her early morning.

C: maybe, but we deserve better
than a middle-aged couch

L: You're too good to me.

C: good night, lexa. have a good
run tomorrow morning.

L: Thank you. Good night,

She closed her messages and set her alarm for 4 AM before placing the phone on her nightstand, turning in bed to face the ceiling. She went through the plan one more time, her eyes drifting shut as she wondered and imagined how Lexa would react.

She'll say yes, she told herself. It'll be easy and perfect and she'll say yes.

Thankfully, sleep overtook her fast.

She had a lot of work to do before sunrise.


Lexa: I couldn't do it, Lincoln. I
chickened out and didn't ask
her. I completely failed.

I don't think I can do it.

It's not even that hard. Why
is this so hard?


Lincoln: Oh god lexa I'm so sorry

I just left O at her dorm and
saw your message don't worry
it will be okay. I'll help you
figure something out tomorrow.


Are you asleep?

I'll see you in a second in the

It'll be okay.

When her alarm rang the next morning, Lexa's eyes were already open.

She had been awake for an hour or two, stirred from sleep by a dream where the colors were a bit too bright and the music was a bit too loud.

She reached a hand over to quiet the alarm and pushed the covers off, turning to set her feet on the icy floor.

Lexa could feel the grim set of her mouth and a tight feeling in her chest, the memory of what she couldn't do the night before weighing heavily on her mind.

Relying entirely on muscle memory, Lexa made her way through her morning routine and seemed to really awaken when she stepped outside. She felt the freezing air creep and unfurl through her lungs and it jarred her out of her trance.

She breathed deep several times, trying to get accustomed to the coldness spreading from her chest to the tips of her fingers and the bottoms of her feet. The clouds of warmth lost from inside her swirled with the slight wind, but before Lexa could think twice about running in weather that could turn her into ice, she took off down the sidewalk.

Because what was cold to someone who had lived most of her life with ice inside her?

Lexa braced against the temperature that seemed to make itself known on every inch of her skin. She willed and waited for the warmth inside her to burn and spread with the rhythm of her feet pounding on the concrete, but the air fought valiantly against it.

Her eyes stayed on the path in front of her, following the lines of concrete as the bobbed and passed. She let her mind focus entirely on the frosty air enveloping her, refusing to linger on the feelings that had plagued her since she left Clarke's home without asking the one question she had wanted to ask.

"Will you go to the Winter Ball with me?" Jesus, Lexa, is that so fucking hard to say?

She berated herself, at a complete loss for why she couldn't do it.

It was dumb, it was stupid, and it made no sense, but apparently Lexa was incapable of making a simple request to the girl who had become the very definition of lo—

What the hell is that?

Her eyes caught something on the sidewalk ahead of her.


Someone had drawn a giant word with chalk onto the cement. Lexa eyed it as it passed under her feet, not stopping to wonder what it was or why it was there.

She continued on, finally and thankfully starting to feel just a bit of heat spreading from her chest and pumping from her legs. The small clouds continued to puff from her breath as she soldiered on.

Before long, she spotted another word slowly come into view.


Lexa wondered what the hell these people were doing, drawing random words onto the path in the middle of the night. The words certainly hadn't been there the morning before and to be honest, she felt a little offended that someone had defaced her—


The next word greeted her as the turned the corner by the fields. They seemed to be only on her running route and it was strange—


Little drawings began to litter the edges of the sidewalk, lining and leading the way on Lexa's track. As if something inside her had figured it out before Lexa could, she felt her mind blank and her heart start to race more than a run could ever cause.


In the corner of her eye, she spotted the flagpole rise in the distance. She started to wonder if—


Lexa's heart sputtered and she began to sprint faster, needing to know if this was really—


She breathed harder and harder.


Her eyes never left the path, watching and wanting and needing every word that passed under her feet.


The last word was just several yards from the flagpole itself. When Lexa finally looked up, physically unable to comprehend the sum total of the words she had run past and in complete disbelief of the enormity of Clarke's affections, she spotted the girl of her dreams standing in front of her house, hands folded behind her and watching Lexa with eyes so blue, she could see them from where she stood on the road.

Lexa stopped running, chest heaving and breath swirling like mad. She stared at Clarke and slowly walked through the fence and into the small yard.

Both girls simmered with nerves and anticipation as she approached Clarke, who was standing behind the biggest question mark Lexa had ever seen. The chalk was a sharp white against the ground, like ice or snow that had fallen in that exact shape just for them.

Clarke cleared her throat, as if she couldn't keep quiet any longer. Lexa could see that she was nervous—her mouth was set in a small smile and her eyes searched Lexa's for any sign, any hint of what she was thinking.

"I—uh. Surprise," Clarke said. With that, she pulled her hands in front of her and revealed a large bouquet of flowers that she held to her chest and kind of hid behind.

This was it. This was how Lexa would die and leave this world.

From a heart too full.

Before she could say or do anything, Lexa rushed forward to pull Clarke into a kiss. It was deep and slow and everything Lexa wanted to say but couldn't. It was thank you and I love you and you are perfect for me.

They both pulled back slightly and Clarke looked at her with big, apprehensive eyes.

"So, is that a yes?"

It was then that Lexa finally let her feelings explode out of her chest. She laughed, high and loud and happy about what her life had become. She sighed and looked at Clarke, heart on fire and on her sleeve.

"Yes. That is most definitely a yes."

Clarke's face broke into the biggest smile she had ever seen. She seemed to sag in relief, then reached out to gently take Lexa's hand.

"Thank god, because I am absolutely freezing."

Lexa's smile felt easy, like she had been this happy all her life and had never known anything else.

Suddenly, the reveille sounded from behind them and pierced their little bubble. Lexa was suddenly reminded of just how cold it was outside and shivered. Clarke gripped her hand a little harder and motioned towards the front door.

"Want to come in for a bit to warm up?"

Lexa almost said that she didn't need to, because the hand in hers was the definition of warmth. That she felt it to her very core when Clarke was just standing next to her. She almost said that when Clarke was with her, she forgot every time in her life when she thought she was incapable of being anything more than ice, than cold steel that was built for survival and survival only. She almost said the three words that were repeating over and over in her head.

Instead, she just smiled and nodded once, letting herself be led up onto the porch and through the door. Because Lexa realized that she was happy to follow the girl in front of her to the ends of the Earth, through the gates of hell or heaven, into the home that had once been her own.

let me know what you think. i'm onehedalexa on tumblr & monolaug on twitter.