Disclaimer & Notices: See the Prologue.

AN: I was going to post this tomorrow... but I could obviously not wait. I have been dying since the start of this story to write this chapter. And I'm well prepared for the reader retribution after this wee little cliffhanger. Hehe.

Please enjoy and... good luck! :)

Started: July 26, 2017
Series: Series 1, Story #2

Volume II

by Red Hope

Chapter 42

Clarke adjusted her grip on the long branch then glanced back at her friend. She could tell Octavia was just as worn out as she was from the early afternoon hunt. Already the air was cooling off as the sun hung low in the western sky.

"Heda should be there by now," Octavia mentioned.

Clarke trudged up the incline of the mountain. "I hope so."

Suddenly Ares zipped past them and flew up the side of the hill. He halted and turned towards the women. His tongue hung out, and he happily wagged his tails. Ares was excited by today's hunt and the kill that dangled upside down from branch. He had enjoyed sniffing out the deer. After Clarke shot it with an arrow, Ares tackled it to the ground for a final blow.

"Especially because we have enough meat now," Octavia commented.

Clarke grinned but agreed with her friend. She hated for the deer to go to waste. The comforting scent of fire drifted down the hillside and excited Clarke. It was a good sign and made her pick up the pace.

Octavia huffed but matched her friend's speed. Like Clarke, she looked forward to sleeping in tents outside of Mount Weather. She considered their past week and was drained at the mere thought of all the travel. Yesterday they had been at Camp Jaha and assisted with the move, which was a feat in itself. Thankfully the commander had sent horses and wagons at Clarke's request and along with the help came a promise that Lexa would be visiting Mount Weather. Today Clarke decided to take a break from the move and simply be grounders rather than Sky people. Octavia was thrilled to join Clarke and Ares on the hunt.

"Has Raven gotten those vehicles working?" Octavia asked.

Clarke shook her head. "She's been too busy dismantling hardware at Camp Jaha." However, Clarke had worked out an arrangement with Raven and Monty for the vehicles and helicopter. An arrangement that was kept from Marcus Kane and Abby, even after the exciting reveal of the vehicles and helicopter. Clarke was grateful that Raven and Monty trusted her so greatly. But like Clarke, Raven and Monty understood the importance of the delicate alliance between Sky people and Trikru. If they all could make it through the winter with trust then the alliance would become solid ground in the spring. It would mean a future for the Sky people, especially if there was indeed a pending war.

"Do you think she can fix the rovers and helicopter?"

Clarke weighed Raven's initial analysis of the vehicles and helicopter. She took a deep breath and replied, "The rovers, definitely but probably not all of them."

"She'll have to piece them together," Octavia guessed.

"And they'll probably have to work off solar power," Clarke mentioned.

Octavia imagined it would take time for Raven to retrofit everything. It was time better served over the winter than right now. The move into the Mountain was the most important objective for the Sky people.

"The helicopter..." Clarke considered its future. "It's hard to say." She glanced over her shoulder at Octavia for a second. "Even if it can fly again, who can fly it?"

Octavia blew out a breath. Clarke had an excellent point. "Raven," she joked.

Clarke grinned a little. It was true that the mechanic would hardly go through all the labor to fix it then have nobody to operate it. Raven would surely try her best to learn it, even if it killed her. "We will see."

"Why do you think the Mountain Men never used the rovers?"

Clarke chewed on her bottom lip. Like Octavia, she had wondered the same thing. She came to the same conclusion each time and offered, "Air."

Octavia had a frown. "They could have stored more on the rovers... gone further than just around here."

Clarke was unsure why the Mountain Men stored away and forgot about the rovers and helicopter. It was strange and curious at the same time. Perhaps one day they would understand why, but the Mountain Men were gone. It hardly applied to the new residents of the Mountain.

Just ahead, there were horse whines and voice chatter that signaled more people than just Lincoln's presence. The noise added more energy to Clarke and Octavia's steps. Then Ares's sudden disappearance over the top of the hill confirmed that they had new guests.

"Heda is here," Octavia concluded.

Clarke smiled and excitement fluttered in her stomach. Quickly she and Octavia came over the hilltop and were greeted by the comforts of grounder life. There were tents, a corral of horses, and a dozen warriors moving about the new camp.

"Thank the gods," Octavia muttered under her breath.

"Come on," Clarke ordered. She and Octavia took their kill to the nearest campfire. Gingerly, they set the deer down and rested it there until it could be cleaned, skinned, and cut for meat.


Clarke turned to her right at hearing the familiar voice. She smiled happily.

"Heda." Octavia gave a slight bow.

Lexa remained ridged, hand on her hilt, and her green eyes glowed behind the war paint. "Octavia." Her eyes cut to her second.

Octavia hid her smirk before Clarke or Lexa saw it. "I'll find somebody to prepare the deer for tonight." She quickly left the pair.

Ares bounded up to his two favorite humans and sat down next to Lexa. He looked pleased with himself.

"You have been busy," Lexa remarked.

Clarke peered over her warrior's shoulder at the Mountain's open entrance. There were full wagons and countless Sky people doing their best to move things into the Mountain. She shrugged and looked at the commander. "We decided to take a break today." She indicated the deer next to them. "Feed the masses tonight." A quick scan of the camp told her there were about a dozen warriors that had come with Lexa. She was glad they had a deer for tonight.

"I saw Abby moments ago," Lexa mentioned. "She reported the move is going smoothly."

Clarke nodded her agreement. "Thank you for the wagons and horses."

Lexa took a step closer so that their voices could be lower. "You are worn."

"Only a little," Clarke admitted. She was becoming use to functioning on tired. "Has Mom given you a tour of the facility?"

"No. We only arrived a candlemark ago." Lexa indicated the camp, which silently explained what they have been doing since their arrival.

Clarke nodded after another glance at the camp. "Do you want a tour? I can show you around now... or later." She wished they were in a tent rather than in public eye.

As if reading Clarke's mind, Lexa offered, "Perhaps you need to wash up before we do."

Clarke nodded then looked down at Ares. She smiled at his happiness because they were all reunited again. "He's missed you," she softly mentioned.

Lexa considered the black wolf, who peered up at her. She hummed low then replied, "That seems to be going around these days."

Clarke grinned but quickly hid it. She started into the camp with Lexa leading them to their shared one. Once inside, she took off her jacket and looked over at the commander. "I'm glad you are here." She had expected Lexa to do a tour of the Mountain later in the month. She knew it had nothing to do with trust between them or the Sky people.

Lexa approached her second and mentioned, "Checking on the Mountain is a perfect excuse."

Clarke smirked because she knew it was a cover for Lexa to see Clarke. She pretended to play along and offered, "It is important as Heda that you ensure your second is doing the right job."

After a long silence, Lexa closed in the short distance between them. "I trust you wholly, Klark but..." At Clarke's raised eyebrow, she softly confessed, "But I miss you."

Clarke dropped her shoulders and sadly smiled at the tenderness in her warrior's eyes. She saw the same weary lines in Lexa's face as her own. They had spent so many nights apart that it was eating at them both. Over the months, they had become each other's support and comfort. She leaned into Lexa and brought her hands to Lexa's cheeks, mindful of the war paint.

"My days are long and draining," Lexa whispered, "Our bed is lonely and cold at night." She searched for the life source in Clarke's features. She found it thriving in Clarke's beautiful blue eyes. "I feel myself becoming weak for you." She leaned her forehead against Clarke's own. "My heart wars with my spirit."

Clarke was the one weakened by Lexa's words. She trailed her hand down behind Lexa's neck and hooked it, hard. "We will find a balance."

Lexa lifted her head and shakily asked, "What if my spirit becomes weak?"

Clarke smiled and tightened her grip against the back of Lexa's neck. Idly her thumb trailed along Lexa's cool lips. "Your heart and your spirit can never be weak, Lexa... with or without me."

Lexa leaned into Clarke's warm touch. It was so contrasting from the coldness of the day, and it soothed Lexa's worries. Her troubled days without Clarke made her believe she was weak for opening up to Clarke. Titus was clearly right that love was a weakness. Until she saw Clarke again. Until she stood before the fire to her spirit. If Clarke believed in them then Lexa could only believe too. After a heavy breath, Lexa felt the internal war between heart and spirit sooth into peace.

Clarke eased in closer until her lips heated against cooler ones. She brushed their lips together and slowly life lifted to the surface. They pressed their lips a little tighter each time until they were locked together. Every heartbeat of missing each other came out in a whimper. The difficult nights alone made their tongues touch in desire. Clarke warmed Lexa's heart after so many battles of wills and spirit. There would come a day that Lexa's spirit and heart would work together.

After the kiss, Clarke smiled at the light in her warrior's eyes that even the war paint failed to hide from her. "There you are," she gently declared, a hint of teasing.

Lexa sighed, dramatically. Somehow Clarke could settle her commander spirit and still make it safe to just be Lexa. "How about the tour?"

"Sha, Heda." Clarke was barely phased by the indirect order. She leaned in for another kiss. A kiss that forced Lexa to grab Clarke's hips before they both fell back.

Lexa pulled out of the kiss before she lost her better sense in the middle of day. "Tour... now."

Clarke chuckled and teased, "Losing your focus, Heda?" She quickly slipped away and went to the washbasin.

Lexa took a deep breath then went to her things. She dug out a cloth and started wiping her face clean of the war paint. Curiously, she gazed over at her second on the other side of the tent. Lately she had noticed that Clarke was becoming more bold with her sexuality and their relationship. It pleased Lexa. She knew Clarke was obviously ready. Oddly Lexa found herself to be confused about the next step in their relationship. She had realized Clarke was right all those days ago. They would share more than just their bodies, and it would mean everything.

"I can hear you thinking all the way over here," Clarke said. She was patting her face dry after washing up. She looked over at her warrior.

Lexa was done with the war paint. She tossed the cloth onto her saddlebags. "I was thinking about us."

Clarke hung the damp towel then came over to her warrior. "Hopefully that's promising," she teased, in hopes it kept their good mood.

"I was thinking maybe I am not ready," Lexa mentioned. She glanced over at their bedrolls where Ares was happily laying on the furs.

Clarke tensed at this news. She settled down after she reminded herself to listen first. She came over to Lexa. "But?" She tasted the hint of hesitation in Lexa's words.

"But I think I'm just scared now," Lexa explained. She sighed but looked down when Clarke brought their hands together. She met Clarke's steady gaze. "It's been a long time since I've been with somebody I love." She sadly smiled and whispered, "It will change everything."

Clarke squeezed Lexa's hands and confessed, "Under my bravado, I'm still scared too... but it's not going to stop me."

Lexa smiled and knew it was true. "Sha." She then nodded at the tent flap in silent reminder of the tour.

Clarke chuckled then started out of the tent. She saw Ares get up and follow them for the tour. The tour of the Mountain facility took the entire afternoon, and it included a quick pass through Philpott Dam. Twice Lexa had commented about Raven's skill and drive to repair the electricity to the facility. Clarke was secretly proud of the mechanic and made a mental note to tell Raven later.

On the return walk to the Trikru camp, Lexa was rather quiet and deep in thought. Clarke suspected the commander was mulling over the vehicles, helicopter, and ammunition in the Mountain. Clarke doubted the ammunition worried Lexa as much as the vehicles and helicopter. She already had a solution that Monty would bring her tonight, but Clarke could only tell Lexa once they were in private. It was still a few hours before they would be in their tent, alone. Back at camp, dinner was being prepared in the last streaks of sunlight.

"Heya, Klark," Connor greeted.

Clarke smiled at the warrior. "Ha yu?" She and Ares separated from the commander.

"Ai ste os." Connor stood next to Clarke by a bonfire. "Yu?"

"Ai ste don fatog," Clarke answered. "Yu don sin Bethani?"

Connor huffed at the tease. "Sha."

Clarke chuckled because she knew that was all she would get from the warrior. She and Connor sat down and continued talking quietly. It had been awhile since Clarke had a chance to enjoy the warrior's company. Clarke learned that Connor was one of the warriors assigned to rebuilding Tondc. It made sense because Connor had no close family. The worked sounded rewarding to Connor.

"What happens after the Sky people move into the Mountain?" Connor prompted.

Clarke was petting Ares, who rested in front of her feet. She stared at the wolf's beautiful features. "We're due in Polis in a fortnight... maybe three weeks."

"I heard there is an assembly."

Clarke nodded a few times.

Connor worried her bottom lip. Any assembly meant politics, especially dramatic politics that could sweep through all the clans. She sighed and muttered, "The damn Senate complicates every assembly."

Clarke remained quiet but peered over at Connor.

"You will see," Connor promised the second.

Clarke huffed but focused on Ares again.

"Have you heard about the Meukre activity?" Connor softly inquired.

A thick furrow creased Clarke's brow. She sat up and pulled her hand out of Ares's thick fur. "No. What about them?"

"It just happened this past week," Connor explained. "They've been moving further west. A small horde of them were spotted just over the Bull Run."

"That's about a day's walk," Clarke estimated.

Connor gave a low nod. "A hunter spotted them and reported it back to Tondc." She toyed with her leather gloves that she had taken off earlier. She continued to speak softly so that others would miss their conversation. "Heda doubled patrol around Tondc." She nodded towards the entrance of the Mountain. "You may want to warn the Skaikru."

"Sha," Clarke agreed.

"I have not seen them this far west in my lifetime," Connor mentioned. She sighed then looked over at the group of warriors by another fire. She could tell that dinner was ready for everybody.

Clarke remained quiet. Over a month ago she had formally met the Meukre and nearly died until Lexa's arrival. Their jagged teeth could shred leather and skin, and their white eyes were hollow with Hell. Clarke remembered their huffy breath and territorial growls when she entered their lands. A shiver skittered down her back and made the memory snap to an end.

Connor indicated that dinner was ready so together they went to eat. Lexa soon joined them along with Bluemont and Ryder. They sat around a campfire and quietly ate the deer, carrots, and apples.

Later Clarke found Octavia and Lincoln, who were playing cards. She decided to join them while Lexa talked with Ryder. Most likely they would stay tomorrow night then leave for Tondc. Lexa had barely spoken to Abby Griffin and Marcus Kane.

Just as the third game of War was about to start, it was interrupted by Monty's arrival. Like the others, Clarke happily greeted her friend. Octavia attempted to have Monty join their game, but he was obviously too tired. Clarke felt for Monty because he and many others were working long hours to finish the move into the Mountain. After a few minutes of conversation, Clarke handed over her cards to Octavia then said goodnight.

Monty followed Clarke and Ares through the camp. He stayed close to his friend, especially when a grounder or two passed near them. He was still leery of them, but more at ease than in the past.

Clarke paused just beside her tent and scanned the campsite. She narrowed down to Lexa and waited until the commander sensed her. She was hardly surprised when Lexa broke away from Ryder and headed in their direction. Clarke pushed into the tent and held a flap up for Monty.

Ares went in last and took his favorite spot in the furs by the bedrolls.

Clarke was grateful a small fire had already been started in their tent. It was warmer and comfortable than being out in the cold night. "Sit down, Monty." She indicated a stool by the fire then grabbed another one, which she unfolded by him.

Monty was glad to be by the fire. He started fishing around in his maroon jacket until he had his prize. "Sorry this took so long."

Clarke shook her head at the needless apology. "There's a lot going on."

Monty sighed and looked over at his friend. "You're tellin' me." In his hands, he turned over the smart phone that Clarke had given him awhile ago.

"Were you able to get it to patch into the satellites?"

Monty was about to answer until the commander came into the tent. He nearly stood up except Clarke's firm hand kept him on the stool.

"Heya, Heda," Clarke greeted. "Monty has something for us."

Lexa nodded and decided to get another stool, which she placed opposite of Clarke.

Monty flicked his dark hair out of his eyes but peered over at the commander to his left. He gave a soft smile and offered, "It's good to see you again, commander."

"You as well, Monty." Lexa rarely smiled, but her tone was welcoming to him.

"I uh..." Monty held up the smart phone. "I got it to work." He looked at Clarke. "And more than just communicating to Mount Weather."

Clarke was curious and watched Monty start up the smart phone. "What else did you do?"

"You'll see... but it's an insurance policy... for you both." Monty waited until the smart phone greeted them. "So there's this app." Monty was seated between both women, who could easily see the screen. He pointed at the app on the screen. It was simply an "M" icon. "M... for Monty," he joked.

Clarke smirked and watched as Monty loaded the application on the phone.

"You see that icon up here?" Monty indicated the small round icon with a line through it. "That's the satellite icon that shows it's using the sat chip." He then moved his finger to the left. "These bars indicate the strength of the connection." He looked over at Clarke. "If you go inside buildings, it'll get weaker."

Clarke nodded because it made sense. She then studied the application that simply showed a call button and a hang up button. Then at the top were two tabs with the current one being a phone icon. The second tab had a pencil icon.

"So all you do is hit this call button, and it'll call to the Control Center," Monty explained. "Later I'll set it up to route calls to Abby and Marcus's tablets so they can answer you." He then tapped the pencil tab. "This lets you send texts to us. And same thing, I have to set up this app on their tablets."

Clarke nodded and was pleased by Monty's engineering with the phone, satellites, and communications. She felt the smart phone's ability to link them would benefit the alliances. "So what else did you do?"

"Well, I gave you both eyes inside the Mountain." Monty closed the phone application then opened another one that had a video icon. He held up the smart phone in front of them so they could all see it better. He smiled at his handy work.

In seconds the screen loaded with a full view of the Control Room. With a gentle swipe, the screen flipped to Corridor 12. Another swipe brought up Corridor 11.

Clarke was wide eye and looked at Monty. "You..."

"Are the greatest? I know." Monty smiled at his friend. "Every single camera is on here including..." He did a special double tap that caused the smart phone to suddenly project twelve cameras in front of them.

Lexa was startled by the sudden holo images projected from the device.

"Jesus," Clarke breathed. She was in awe at the smart phone's technology.

Monty was confused and looked at Clarke. "You didn't know it could do that huh?"

"No." Clarke was staring at all the cameras being projected in front of them.

"All you do is a double tap with two fingers then the phone will project from here." Monty indicate the tiny eye on the device's side. He then recalled his earlier mention about a particular camera. "Andromeda, bring up Hangar camera."

The smart phone responded by clearing the twelve projected cameras and switched to one large projection from the Hangar camera.

"There's the helicopter," Monty explained.

Clarke smiled at her friend's skills. "This great." With a quick glance at the commander, she could tell that Lexa was pleased by it too.

Monty briefly smiled, but he lost it. He closed out the camera program and softly mentioned, "There is one other thing." He stared down at the device for a long moment.

Clarke was concerned and squeezed Monty's knee. She waited patiently then watched Monty tap a third application that had a cloud. She slotted her eyes at three zeros with a colon after the first number. Below the numbers was a green and red button.

"As I was poking around the systems in Mount Weather," Monty explained, "I found out there's a self destruct system in the facility."


Monty met Clarke's surprised gaze. "There was a sequence of numbers that probably only the President knew... or a select few."

Lexa narrowed her eyes at the news. She and Clarke exchange a silent conversation before they both focused on Monty.

"I changed the code." Monty was staring at the phone's screen again. "And then I gave this phone access to it." He swallowed hard then finally met Clarke's gaze. "You touch that green button and Mount Weather blows up in ten minutes... along with whatever and whoever is in it."

Clarke tried ignoring her thundering heart. She had been handed too many buttons and switches of death since coming to Earth. She feared carrying yet another one.

"The red button will stop it," Monty added, weakly.

Clarke was inwardly trembling at the power in the small device.

Monty bit his lower lip then looked at Clarke again. "The device will only send the trigger to the self destruct system if you're holding the phone. It'll do a biometric scan of your hand and retinal scan too." He pointed at a tiny cog in the upper corner of the application. "You can add Lexa too, but you'll need to add her to the phone's system first."

Clarke only moved her head in acknowledgement.

Monty closed out the application then locked the screen. He toyed with it for a moment before he held it out to Clarke. "Just don't blow up the place with me in it."

Clarke grabbed Monty's shoulder and squeezed it hard. "I promise." She received the smart phone from her friend. "Thank you."

Monty released the smart phone into Clarke's hand. He then turned to the commander. "I want you to trust us... not just Clarke." He indicated the phone in Clarke's hand. "Now you have the power to blow us to Hell."

Lexa admired that Monty entrusted her and Clarke with the Sky people's lives. All her days of worry about what could happen with the Sky people moving into Mount Weather were now secured. She would honor Monty's trust. "Thank you," she sincerely offered him.

Monty nodded.

"Does Mom know?"

Monty shook his head. "I'll let you tell her."

Clarke huffed and joked, "After our people move out of the Mountain."

Monty sadly smiled at Clarke still seeing the Sky people as hers. It was part of the reason he felt comfortable giving Clarke access to the self destruct system. "I have to go," he mentioned and started getting up.

Clarke did the same. "I have your holo." She went to the saddlebags and dug out the tiny device. She returned it to him.

"I put that article about Rebecca Wordah on your phone." Monty tucked the holo into his pocket.

"Thank you." Clarke traded a quick hug then she and Lexa watched him head to the tent flap. "I'll see you tomorrow, Monty."

"Goodnight." Monty offered a last smile before he left the tent.

Clarke sunk down onto the stool that Monty had vacated and looked at her warrior. "So..." She held up the smart phone. "Are you going to sleep better at night now?" She made a mental note to add Lexa to the device's system as a user. She would need to teach Lexa how to use it.

Lexa released a low breath. "I think so." For weeks she was troubled by what to do if the Sky people betrayed the alliance. All the power in the Mountain was enough to make every single clan nervous. But now they had a way to keep control over that power, especially if an enemy attempted to take it.

Clarke nodded and also felt relieved by the new controls they had over the Mountain. She powered the phone off for now and stowed it away in her saddlebags. "I was talking to Connor earlier. She said that there was a sighting of the Meukre near Bull Run?"

"Sha." Lexa was on her feet and started preparing for bed. She was exhausted and ready to curl up under the furs with her second. "I have sent out scouts to check on the Meukre."

Clarke shook her head at the worry. They had enough to handle at the moment but now the Meukre were coming closer to them. "I can't imagine they would trek through the cold... and snow."

Lexa had stripped down to just her pants and thin shirt. She set her weapons down by the furs. "It is not normal." She took off her pants then crawled under the cool furs. "The hunter reported that there were four of them that he found at daybreak. They were huddled together for warmth."

Clarke was confused by the Meukre and knew so little about them. "Were they traveling?"

"I do not know," Lexa admitted.

Clarke was free of her heavier layers and came over to the furs. She kicked off her boots then shimmied out of her pants. She hastily got under the furs.

Ares stood up and circled over his furs a few times before he settled again.

"At this time of year, they only hunt and stay in their nests," Lexa explained

Clarke decided to let it go for tonight. Perhaps the scouts would tell them more. She sighed and curled up against Lexa's side. "Thank you for coming."

Lexa slid her arm under Clarke's neck. She placed her other hand on top of Clarke's hand that rested on her stomach. "I did wish to see the changes in the Mountain."

"Tomorrow we'll talk to Mom and Kane then leave at first light?"

Lexa gave a faint nod. She was already starting to fall to sleep.

Clarke nuzzled her warrior's cheek. "Sleep well, Leksa." She received a soft squeeze to her hand. Shortly she slipped into her dreams. Tonight's rest was much more fitful than the past five nights since she left Tondc.

Dawn brought a promise of warmth against the night's chilly hold. Slowly the Trikru camp outside of Mount Weather stirred with life. The campfires were rebuilt and offered comfort to the warriors. After breakfast, Clarke and Lexa spent their day with Abby and Marcus Kane. They discussed the winter plans for the Mountain and then the return to Camp Jaha in the spring.

Lexa was hardly surprised to learn that thirty-two Sky people had elected to stay in Camp Jaha over the winter. One such person was Jasper Jordan. Abby had decided that the Engineering team could rig up a heating system for a part of the Alpha Station. It would be enough to get them through the winter. Then they would be able to supply Camp Jaha with food and medicine. Fortunately their radios reached to Camp Jaha, and it was enough assurance that they would be fine in the camp.

By mid-afternoon, Lexa and Clarke found themselves training with swords. Clarke was rusty after spending all her time with the Sky people. She was schooled on the basics again but remembered them faster than last time. By dinner, Clarke was famished and eager to get her meal. Lexa seemed mostly pleased with Clarke's ability to pick up the sword again. But, Lexa made a mental note to start heavy training when they returned to Tondc.

The next morning, the Trikru broke camp at first light. They were nearly prepared to go when several Skaikru came out to say goodbye. Clarke was happy to exchange hugs with her mother and friends. She promised to see them soon. Her thoughts were heavy about leaving again, but her spirit was ready to return to Tondc.

Tondc had somehow slipped through the cracks and sunk into her heart. She and Lexa had built a small, familiar space in the quarters house. There were faces that Clarke recognized and started learning names. It was no longer a village made up of structures and filled with strangers. It was becoming a home and a safe place to rest. And it was something she shared with Lexa.

After completing her mission to assist the Skaikru with the move into the Mountain, Clarke found a new routine in Tondc. The ride back to Tondc gave Lexa every chance to map out how she planned to train Clarke and Clarke's schedule. It was a new test of endurance as Clarke bounced between weapons training, helping to rebuild the village, and also performing patrol. Thankfully Clarke had company every step, the furry kind of company. Ares was ever faithful.

Today's weapons training had gone better than the past two days. Clarke's technique with a single sword was improving, at least with her left hand. She struggled using a sword in her right, but she hoped it would improve with more practice. Some day she had to master both swords in both hands, but not today.

In the afternoon, Clarke was assigned work on a house that was nearly complete. She worked with three other warriors including Connor, Bluemont, and Jericho. The recent snowfall last week had mostly melted away, but it would snow again. It was enough of a chance for more buildings to finish up before all outside work would cease until spring.

The three warriors labored hard. There was barely any time for talk, but Clarke was happy to see Connor. At sunset, they were dismissed for the day.

Clarke was drinking water from a skin during her short walk across the village. At her side, Ares bounded along and was happy to leave. Clarke felt rewarded by her afternoon to complete another house. She had a hand in letting Tondc burn down, and she now had a hand in rebuilding it. It helped ease the brutality from the village's destruction during the war.

Near the quarters house, Clarke gave pause and realized that Lexa probably was still at the meeting house since there was no light from their quarters' window. She and Ares continued until they came to the guarded meeting house. She exchanged a greeting with Ryder then entered into the meeting house. She heard voices in the main room so Clarke headed through the open door.

"Sha, Heda." Indra slightly bowed to the commander then turned on her heels. She eyed Clarke before they exchanged a quick hello. She then left the meeting room.

Clarke smiled when Ares went over to Lexa. "Are you almost done for the day?" She hoped they could eat dinner together.

Lexa moved away from the table that had a map of Tondc, or at least what was built so far. "Sha." She was about to ask about Clarke's afternoon, but she noticed Clarke's attention was pulled to the throne.

Clarke stared, oddly at the trophy hung on the wall, above the throne. "Is that..." She neared the throne and gave a low snort of surprise. "Lexa." She shook her head then looked over at her warrior. "I can't believe you..." She cut her eyes back to the white mountain lion's head on display above the commander's throne.

Lexa folded her arms. Her features were impassive, other than the gleam in her eyes.

Clarke huffed at the obviously flaunt Lexa was giving off to anybody that stood before her throne. She sighed and came back over to her warrior. "Is there any part of my kill that you haven't used yet?"

A sly grin slid across Lexa's full lips. "No."

Clarke shook her head. She had heard stories about how warrior's took pride in their seconds. A warrior would go out of their way to make public displays of their second's accomplishments. Lexa mounting the lion's head was both embarrassing and enduring to Clarke.

Lexa had her hands behind her back as she approached her second. She proudly gazed upon the mountain lion's head in its frozen state. His jaws were open and baring thick canine teeth. His blue eyes were still life like even though he had been bested by Clarke. Slowly, Lexa turned her attention to her second, who still bore the subtle claw marks from the battle against the mountain lion.

Similar to the commander, Clarke was reliving the match against the white lion. The memory charged her veins with a hint of adrenaline until she took a deep breath. She calmed again and focused on Lexa with a smile. "Dinner?"

Lexa returned the smile. "Are you cooking?"

Clarke chuckled and replied, "I was planning to." She looked over to the fireplace where Ares was resting in front of the heat. "Do you still need more time to finish up?"

"Sha." Lexa considered what she had left to do. "Half a candlemark or less."

Clarke nodded at the commander. "I'll go get it started then." She started buttoning up her jacket again but paused and leaned into Lexa. For a few seconds, they shared a tender kiss. "See you home," she murmured at the end.

Lexa sighed contently and watched her second leave the meeting house. Surprisingly, Ares decided to stay with her. She considered whether he had a silent agreement with Clarke to make sure Lexa made it home in a timely manner.

Outside, the cold air bit against Clarke's face. She dug out her leather gloves and warmed her hands. She walked quickly across the village and hastened into the quarters house. She offered a smile to Indra and her company by the fireplace.

Indra simply nodded back then returned her focus to the other two warriors. Their conversation was soft and barely carried past the common room.

Clarke went directly to her shared quarters. She lit a few candles then started a fire in the fireplace. In minutes, she was out of her jacket and swords hung by the bedside. She only had her handgun and dagger left on her, which was enough. Clarke left the room and went to the newly finished kitchen. It had taken a few attempts to get accustom to the oven, but Clarke learned it quickly. She started by loading logs into the oven and sparked a fire.

Clarke went to the exterior door and went outside to the small in-ground cellar. Down in the cellar, there were a few chilled meats that hung from hooks. Clarke grabbed a chicken and went back into the kitchen. It would only take a hour to prepare dinner for them. She looked forward to a quiet, easy night with her warrior. It was the first one in months.

Lexa had come home on time. She took advantage of the kitchen's heated oven and went into the bathroom. She discovered that the water was indeed warm from the oven on the other side of the wall. She stole the chance to clean up with heated water. Afterwards, she checked on Clarke and offered any help. Clarke only had her set the table in their quarters.

Ares yawned. He lifted his head from his comfortable spot by the fire. He sniffed the air when Clarke entered with plates of food. He knew something was for him and patiently waited for his bowl.

Like the wolf, Lexa waited for dinner and sat down only when Clarke did the same.

Clarke picked up the handmade fork and considered the hot meal in front of them. She peered over at her warrior, who curiously looked at her. At Lexa's raised eyebrow, she mentioned, "This is real, isn't it?"

Lexa reached across and rested her hand on Clarke's wrist. "It's real, Klark." She sympathized with her second because there were moments Lexa thought she would wake up in a nightmare rather than this life.

"I don't know how long this'll last for us," Clarke started, "But I'm glad we have it at all."

Lexa sadly smiled and squeezed Clarke's wrist. She withdrew her hand and focused on the dinner. Like Clarke, she was realistic that their comfortable life would be shattered by war, death, and demands. Lexa pushed away the fear and instead stayed in the moment.

Clarke was pleased with her preparation of the chicken. It was moist and the herbs added a soft aromatic hint to it. The vegetables had been roasted over an open flame after being oiled and spiced.

"Thank you for cooking," Lexa offered. She was thoroughly enjoying every mouthful. "It is very good."

Clarke smiled at the compliment from her warrior. "I have my moments." She was hardly diverse in her cooking, but she knew that would come in time. She peered over at Ares, who finished up his bowl of food. She wondered if he even tasted it.

"You have patrol tomorrow morning?" Lexa checked.

"Yes," Clarke replied. "I'm on alpha shift."

Lexa grumbled at how early Clarke would have to start her day. But, she had ordered Ryder to put Clarke on rotating patrol until they went to Polis. "We will train tomorrow afternoon."

"Sha," Clarke agreed. She and Lexa further discussed the village's rebuild.

After dinner, Lexa took care of the plates in the kitchen. She was nearly done when Clarke came up behind her. She leaned back into Clarke when strong arms hooked around her waist.

"Done?" Clarke whispered. She nuzzled into Lexa's soft, inviting neck.

"Sha." Lexa dried her hands on the cloth by the sink. She had her sleeves pushed up on her arms, and her hair pulled back behind her shoulders. She softly jumped when Clarke nipped her skin under her jaw. A puff of hot air against her neck made bumps appear across her arms.

"Come with me," Clarke instructed. She released Lexa but took a small hand into her own. She had her arm behind her back and their linked hands between them. She guided Lexa out of the kitchen and into the closed off bathroom.

Inside the bathroom it was steaming from hot water and a floral scent surrounded them. Clusters of candles were lit in each corner of the room. In the center, the filled tub had dried flower pedals floating across the steamy water.

Clarke turned to her warrior and smiled at her. Without words, she reached for Lexa's belt and worked the buckle. She reached around her warrior and unclipped the sheathed dagger. Slowly the belt was drawn out of each loop of the black pants. She set the items down near the sink then knelt down in front of the commander.

Lexa initially felt awkward to let Clarke do this until she noticed deliberate touches and soft presses against her skin. She barely managed to step out of her boots and socks when Clarke silently ordered her. Her thoughts became scrambled by her body's reaction to Clarke undressing her slowly. Just as Clarke grabbed the hem of shirt, she latched onto Clarke's hands.

Clarke grinned when Lexa pulled her hands away. She allowed her warrior to take command for a moment. She watched Lexa undo her belt and set them down with her dagger and handgun by Lexa's own set. Her boots and socks were tossed aside next. She pressed forward into Lexa and heatedly kissed her.

Lexa broke from the kiss. She trembled softly and peered into blue eyes. "Klark," she pleaded.

Clarke held Lexa's cheek and smiled at the emotions dancing across Lexa's features. She wanted to remember Lexa this way, open and human in front of her. She soothed Lexa with a tender kiss then tangled her fingers in Lexa's shirt again.

Lexa helped Clarke take off her black shirt. She leaned her head against Clarke's own. She felt nimble fingers work the buttons of her pants. After Clarke was done, she too removed Clarke's shirt. She was hardly surprised by the few bruises to Clarke's body from training, and she admired it.

Clarke was a new warrior that tripped, fell, and failed repeatedly, but Clarke would become a rivaled warrior among the Trikru. Already, Clarke's body was redefining itself from a pudgy Sky girl to a toned warrior. Lexa's fingertips trailed down a lean stomach and under the skin there was a new tightness of muscles.

After a deep breath, Clarke slid her fingers between Lexa's unbuttoned pants and started pulling them down. She smiled when Lexa did the same with her pants. It was a pleasant torture for them both. Soon they stood in only their breast wraps and underwear. With Clarke's help, Lexa unraveled the breast wrap until it fell away and left bare skin. Clarke repeated the motions with her own breast wrap.

With a few steps backwards, Clarke guided her warrior to the heated bath that waited for them. This time, she removed her underwear in a silent challenge to the commander to follow her lead. She went up the single step on the tub's side then slipped into the inviting water.

Lexa grinned at Clarke before she took off her underwear. She quickly climbed into the tub and happily moaned at the comfortable warmth of the water.

Clarke was on the other side of the tub. She had several baths in this particular tub, but it was the first time she was just relaxing in it. It was certainly the first time she shared one with her warrior.

Lexa remained seated on the one step inside the tub. She smiled over at Clarke, who was just as content.

"Best feature of the quarters house," Clarke joked with her warrior.

Lexa chuckled then teased, "As long as Indra does not join us."

Clarke rolled her eyes and promised, "I bolted the door." She would have personally saw to Indra's death if they were interrupted by the general. She pushed off from the tub and went to the left side. She grabbed the waiting cloth and soap.

Lexa enjoyed the citric sandalwood soap that Clarke had chosen. She was about to retrieve the soaped cloth until Clarke started using it along her chest. Lexa inhaled sharply but slowly relaxed as Clarke continued with the intimate touches.

With her freehand, Clarke ran her fingers along Lexa's skin. Each passing heartbeat soothed away Lexa's initial tension. It was the first time they had been nude and so close, breathing in and touching each other. Lexa's last self-restraint was breaking under Clarke's tenderness.

Lexa retrieved the soap and cloth after Clarke was done. She returned the tender favor and even soaped Clarke's wet hair. She hardly realized how thick the blond strands were until her long fingers threaded through it. Clarke's moan made her grin, and she massaged around Clarke's head.

Clarke hummed happily. Lexa's strong fingers worked out hidden veins of tension in her head and neck. She remained seated on the same step as Lexa with her back pressed into Lexa's front. After Lexa finished, Clarke ducked under the water and rinsed her hair. When she resurfaced, she noticed Lexa was quickly soaping her own hair. Clarke smiled in appreciation.

Lexa returned the soap to its dish then set the cloth by it. She slid off the step and waded through the warm water. "Are you done?"

Clarke grinned and replied, "With the bath, yes." She reached down until her fingers located the plug. She yanked it free and set it by the soap.

Lexa climbed out first at a measured pace. Water rolled down her tan skin. She glistened under the candlelight.

Clarke had a dry mouth at the beauty that was Lexa. She waited a beat to collect herself before she followed out of the tub. She took a deep and went over to the towels.

Lexa had mostly patted herself dry. She handed Clarke a fresh towel then went to the small stool near the door. She used it to proper up one leg and dry herself further.

Clarke ogled at her warrior. She admired the taut muscles that worked in Lexa's legs. Then when Lexa switched legs, perfect stomach muscles tightened against her skin. Previously Clarke had only brief glimpses of Lexa's abdomen, but now it was there for her appreciation. Suddenly the need to be toweled off and into their room was priority.

Lexa almost had her hand on the sheathed dagger but was suddenly pressed against the door. Her lips were consumed by a hungry kiss. She hooked her arm around Clarke and tangled her fingers into damp blond strands. She struggled to stay ahead of her body's passion, but Clarke's warring tongue against hers made it impossible. Lexa used her arm to pull Clarke in until their naked bodies molded together.

Clarke tore their kiss apart and brought her burning lips against Lexa's neck. She barred teeth against flesh. Lexa's gentle moans grew with intensity. She was nearly close to pulling Clarke's hair. Clarke dragged her teeth and lips across Lexa's shoulder. Quickly she lifted her head near Lexa's ear and demanded, "Bed. Now."

Lexa grabbed the door's bolt and slid it. She briefly looked at their things on the sink counter. Fuck it, she decided silently.

Clarke pushed off the door with her hands. Her skin peeling off Lexa's body was maddening, but she jerked open the door.

Lexa was unaware if anybody was in the hallway. She was only focused on one task. She shoved open the door to their quarters and allowed Clarke in first. She slipped in next and bolted the door.

Ares lifted his head at the loud interruption. He yawned at the naked women then went back to his sleep by the fire.

"Good, boy," Clarke joked. She grinned back at Lexa, but became serious as Lexa came closer to her. She drew Lexa against her, and they searched each other's eyes.

"Are you sure?" Lexa whispered.

"I'm sure." A soft smile pulled across Clarke's features. She stole Lexa's lips and healed what had been a broken heart in Lexa for years. Clarke edged them to the bed then gently pushed Lexa into it.

Lexa was enveloped by soft furs. She hungrily took in every detail of Clarke's body. Her chest became heavy for air. She twisted her fingers in the furs as Clarke leaned down over her.

A whimper passed Clarke's lips when her skin melted into Lexa's damp body. A sheen of wetness coated her, and Clarke feverishly kissed Lexa. Long fingers latched onto Clarke's ass but every bite to Lexa's neck caused nails to dig into her cheeks. Clarke trailed up to Lexa's ear and teased it with the tip of her tongue.

Sharply Lexa lifted her leg until her muscular thigh buried itself between Clarke's legs. A moan tore between them at the contact. Lexa rubbed her leg and felt Clarke's arousal pooling against her thigh. Passion burned through Lexa's belly.

A low growl broke between Clarke's lips. She almost had Lexa's nape between her teeth until she was rolled onto her back. Somehow she was in the center of the bed, sunk in the furs, and flooded by want for her warrior. Thick breaths for air started heavy in her chest.

A taut nipple twisted between Lexa's lips. She teased it further with her tongue and grabbed Clarke's ass. A soft hiss escaped her after Clarke tugged on her hair, but she switched to the other breast.

Clarke latched onto the headboard with her other hand. "Fuck," she hissed. Her back arched into Lexa's mouth.

A brief grin curled against Lexa's lips from Clarke's curse. She scraped her nails across Clarke's ribs. More moans filled the space between them and excited them both. Lexa slowly kissed the salty expanse of Clarke's stomach. Every kiss burned against Lexa's lips. She slipped her hand down further, past a tense hip.

With a growl, Clarke lifted her hip for another touch. Only a feather light caress passed up her thigh, closer to the ache in her. Lexa continued further down, kiss by kiss. Finally her mouth pressed against the crest of Clarke's desire.

"Leksa," Clarke pleaded, "Beja." She was hollow yet filled with want. An ache that had never been in her until now. She gasped at the faintest stroke along the edge of her folds. Every fiber in her craved to be consumed by Lexa. Another soft touch across her folds elicited a whimper.

A shiver traced down Lexa's spine at the pure scent of desire from Clarke. She wanted to tease and drive Clarke further, but Lexa had even less control. She shifted her body down enough until her lips could seal across Clarke's folds. Her first taste brought moans tearing from both of them.

Lexa stroked her tongue up against Clarke's throbbing clit. Clarke quickly matched her rhythm with the movement of her hips. With one strong hand, Clarke repeatedly jerked on the headboard, which creaked in response. But her moans drowned out every sound in the room. Suddenly her hips halted, and she stiffened against Lexa's mouth. Every flicker of Lexa's tongue over her clit pulsed heat through her body. She gasped louder and begged again.

With a firm suck, Lexa released the swollen clit. She wanted more fire and craved to drive the passion deeper into Clarke. She kissed slick skin and brushed her fingertips through wet folds. Another wave of desire cut from Clarke's throat. Lexa met it with a firmer touch. Her two fingers teased a tight entrance. She shouldered into Clarke's closest thigh and was rewarded with a wider opening for her hand. She pushed her fingers in deeper and wet heat coated her fingers. A moan left her lips that matched Clarke's own. For an instant, Lexa savored the hot silk inside of her new lover.

"Leksa," Clarke tried again. She panted heavy and lifted her head. She shared a passionate plea with her warrior. But an abrupt drive of fingers through her walls made her arch off the bed.

Lexa slowly drew out then sharply pushed back in, harder. She paced it slow and deep. Every plunge drove Clarke closer to the edge of passion. Screams built louder. Fingers twisted harder in the furs. The headboard bent forward in protest. Lexa slightly curled her fingertips as Clarke's heat tightened across her digits.

A more rapid rhythm swept over them both. Matching moans came from Lexa now. Drive after drive flooded Clarke's senses and heat boiled over until her silky walls clenched around Lexa's skilled fingers. A raw scream ripped from Clarke's chest when the wave of pleasure rushed through her.

Lexa was panting and dizzy from the heat. She kept her fingers still and deep in Clarke. Silky walls twisted her fingers together and wet heat pooled along her palm. She placed several kisses against Clarke's inner thigh. Ever so slowly, the tension receded, and Lexa gingerly withdrew her fingers. In seconds, demanding hands pulled her up the length of Clarke's trembling frame. Lexa collected her lover into her arms and grounded Clarke once again.

Clarke hid her face in her warrior's damp neck. She inhaled the woody scent that was Lexa. She felt her throat constrict and then a few tears broke from between her closed eyes. In the past, she had been with others, but with Lexa it was different and profound. It was rare and beautiful. They were whole together. If she lost Lexa, she would be broken and split. Gradually her raw emotions came back down, and she finally heard Lexa's Trigedasleng whispers.

With renewed strength, Clarke drew back and tenderly smiled at her warrior. She trailed her fingertips along high cheekbones. She whimpered at the beautiful smile on Lexa's features. How her soul melted into it. This was their night together that would carry them through all the ugly days. Tonight would keep them in passion's grip for hours until Clarke was due for patrol.

Two hours before dawn, Clarke stirred from only sleeping for a hour. It was enough to hold her over for the day. Last night tingled against Clarke's skin and lived at the tip of her memory. She would be exhausted by the end of the day, but she loved the reason why.

Quietly, Clarke moved through the quarters and prepared for her morning patrol. She slipped into the bathroom and hastily cleaned up rather than giving too many indicators that she and Lexa had been fingers deep in each other. Not that she expected anybody to dare question why their commander was tired.

Clarke returned to the quarters and set Lexa's clothes on the table. On the top was Anya's dagger that she had gifted to Lexa. For a moment, Clarke played with the dagger's hilt. She considered when and how her warrior received the treasured weapon. One day she would ask for the story.

With a low sigh, she peered over at the slumbering commander on the right side. She grinned at the memory's whispers of desire and pleasure from last night. The memory built up to Lexa's scream for Clarke to fuck her harder. Then the orgasm rocked Lexa hard, and they both had collapsed into each other.

Clarke came back to the present and was now flushed down to her neck. She clicked her tongue once at Ares, who lifted his head. She went over to him and ruffled his fur. Silently she grabbed her leather jacket and swords then left the quarters.

Ares trotted behind his friend and gave a unnecessarily loud yawn.

Clarke rolled her eyes at the dramatic wolf. She loved him though and was happy he could stay with her during patrol. As far as the other Trikru warriors were concerned, Ares was another set of eyes and very good nose for trouble.

The cold air tried engulfing Clarke, but she was too heated to even notice the winter weather. In the low torchlight, wisps of smoke rose from Clarke's body and into the night air. She traversed the village in haste and smiled when she saw Octavia by the gates.

"Sonop," Octavia greeted.

Clarke smiled brightly. "Os sonop."

Octavia had a deep furrow across her brow. She had never seen Clarke glow, and it was plainly obvious even in the dark. She opened her mouth to ask then decided against it because a guard approached them.

"Be careful," the Trikru guard warned the women in Trigedasleng. He looked between them both. "There's reports of wolves out there tonight."

Clarke tucked her hands into her jacket pockets. "We have our own wolf."

The guard grunted and looked at the black wolf. Like many, he was cautious around the wolf that was the shadow of Heda's second.

"You ready?"

Clarke nodded at her friend. "Let's go." She and Octavia passed the gates and followed the road.

"North side, right?" Octavia checked.

"Sector 103," Clarke reminded. She watched Ares trot ahead of them, scouting for trouble.

The walk to the patrol sector took nearly fifteen minutes. With three exact whistle calls, Clarke and Octavia relieved the two current warriors. Like normal, she and Octavia started walking the sector for any issues. A half moon offered enough light for them.

Octavia knew this sector the best because it was in the direction of Camp Jaha. She suspected it was why she and Clarke were assigned it often times. She wondered when Ryder would move them to a new sector to learn it.

After walking the perimeter, Octavia took her post in the woods. Clarke did the same and went to her post near the road that went towards Camp Jaha and the mountains. Ares easily hid in the darkness after Clarke climbed into the tree. In half hour, they would patrol the perimeter again.

Ares eventually slumped down into the fallen leaves. He was chilled but the leaves helped buffer it. A low whine puffed from his lips.

Clarke agreed that she was bored. It was the hardest part about patrol duty. If she had a daytime shift, she would sometimes sneak paper and a pencil so she could draw. She suspected Lexa knew but pretended to be ignorant to it. At thoughts of her warrior, last night drifted to the surface again and flushed across her skin. Clarke pulled at her collar.

Ares sharply sat up on his haunches and perked up his ears.

Clarke took notice and wondered what caught his attention. She fingered her handgun behind her waistband but reached for a sword with her other hand. She silently unsheathed the blade and glanced down at Ares.

The black wolf stood on all fours and snarled low. All his attention was on the darkness of the road. Another heavy sniff filled his nose with a strange scent.

Clarke squatted down and gave a soft whistle to the wolf.

Ares's ears twitched, but he understood the order. It was one of two that he and Clarke had trained together in the past weeks, especially for patrol. He did his best to hold down his growl, but a low rumble vibrated against his chest.

Clarke spun her sword then carefully jumped off the tree branch and landed on the neighboring one. She was hardly fast moving through the trees, like Lexa. But she had learned to keep her balance, which was the most important step. She focused on the next tree and jumped onto its thickest branch. Clarke went to another tree that drew her further down the road. As she stilled, she finally heard what had caught Ares's ears.

Another low scuff followed by a drag of feet. A low groan mixed in between the heavy steps. It was an unnatural movement that twisted low in Clarke's gut. She pictured a mangled face of a Meukre that was following its nose to the village. Clarke worried her bottom lip but kept a sharp eye for the figure to emerge closer to her. She hunched lower and raised her sword.

A few more steps brought the creature into the soft moonlight under Clarke's tree. A tangled mess of dirty blond hair confirmed it was a human rather than a Meukre. Clarke was slightly relieved, but she still waited until the person passed her. She counted to three then launched herself off the branch.

The intruder barely registered the attack from behind and spun around with a weak punch.

Clarke ducked under it and landed a blow to her attacker's side. A low grunt broke the fight first then her attacker toppled to the ground. It was too easy, but Clarke took advantage of it. She pressed the sword tip against the intruder's exposed neck. Before she could make a demand, dark yet familiar long features lifted up to her.

A gasp rushed from Clarke, and she nearly dropped her sword. She lowered the tip so she had a better view of the ghost kneeling at her feet. Clarke weakly rasped, "Anya?"

Behind the dirt and blood, brown eyes registered the unknown grounder that attacked her from the tree. Anya gave a raw smile and her voice came out gruff but real. "Hello, Clarke."

To be continued.

Trigedasleng to English

Ha yu? - How are you?

Ai ste os. - I am good.

Ai ste don fatog. - I am tired.

Yu don sin Bethani? - Have you seen Bethani?

Sonop. - Morning.

Os sonop. - Good morning.