Disclaimer & Notices: See Chapter 1.
Started: December 7, 2016
Series: One Shot
AN: Happy Holidays! Hopefully everybody is enjoying the season. It's been fairly hectic with my family. I was able to sneak in this post because I had the chapter mostly done awhile ago. For those also following Hedatu, it won't get an update 'til after New Years Eve. I'm spending about a week in Wisconsin. The drive to and fro will give me a chance to work on feedback and that's about it. Sorry about that!
I hope y'all enjoy the update!
Beauty and the Alpha
by Red Hope
At first, it was quiet and almost peaceful until a rotten scent crept under Clarke's nose. She struggled away from it and nearly toppled over until a firm grip was placed on her shoulders. It was a comforting touch that soothed her fears. Another breath filled her with an enticing smell that called to her spirit. She followed it forward through the darkness until she saw a person's outline.
"Wanheda," Anya warmly greeted the Sky leader.
Clarke frowned at the loathsome title, but she took another step forward. "Anya..." She was unsure what to ask and stared confusingly at the yellow misty lands in front of her. "Where are we?"
Anya canted her head and replied, "Wantof." She narrowed her eyes. "Your homelands, Klark."
"Wantof?" Clarke repeated. She looked at the grounder general then grew wide eye with alarm. "You're hurt, Anya." She quickly pressed her hands into Anya's bloody stomach. "Oh my god. You've been shot."
Anya had an amusing smile. "I was shot a long time ago, Wanheda." She clutched Clarke's wrists and pulled them away. "Don't you remember?"
Clarke frantically shook her head and peered up into the grounder's pure white eyes. She stiffened because they were brown moments ago.
"I was shot after we escaped Mount Weather... by one of your people."
"N-n-no," Clarke argued. "I saved you." She ripped free and took Anya's hands into hers. "I got you into Camp Jaha before you bled out."
Anya reached up and pressed a cool hand against Clarke's cheek. "My fight was over." She then smiled slightly and nodded towards the misty lands. "It matters not now that you're home, Wanheda."
"Wantof," Clarke recalled. She worriedly stared at the dark lands that was cloaked in yellow mist.
"Deadlands," Anya translated for the leader. "And your people are here." She took Clarke's hands and guided her forward into the Deadlands.
Clarke drifted deeper in and the yellow mist parted for her. Slowly more figures started emerging from the mist and wolfishly smiled at Clarke. They were all familiar faces that had died since Clarke landed on Earth. First it was a Sky person then a Trikru warrior and another Trikru warrior and Mountain Men. Their eyes flashed white under the blood red sunlight.
Clarke turned at hearing a voice she had forced from her memory. Instantly her throat clenched at seeing the boyish features of Finn Collins. She was barely older than him, but she felt aged compared to him and his idealism.
"Welcome home," Finn offered. He pushed past a Trikru warrior and then Dante Wallace. He stood close to Clarke and studied her worried features. "I've missed you."
Clarke backed away from Finn, but she accidentally pressed into Wells Jaha. She jumped away from him. "This isn't real."
"It's as real as your spirit," Anya argued. "Wanheda."
"We've been waiting for you," Finn explained.
Clarke pointed at Anya. "Don't call me that," she growled.
"She might have some grounder in her after all," Dr. Tsing commented from her spot beside Dante Wallace.
"We're waiting your command," Tristan, a former Trikru warrior, told the leader.
"Command?" Clarke echoed. She tried backing away further from them, but she was surrounded by white eyes and dead spirits.
"Your command to take on the thirteen clans," Anya clarified.
"It is your time to break free," Finn explained.
Dante Wallace was next to speak up with his firm tone. "We will take back our lands, Clarke."
"No." Clarke shook her head and glared at all the dead. Then somebody from behind Finn emerged and offered a tender smile.
"Clarke," she gently called.
Clarke broke inside at hearing the delicate voice she had missed for so many months. "Allison," she breathed.
Allison took trembling hands into her own. "I've waited so long for you."
"No... no." Clarke was frantic now but Allison's grip was strong. "You died... on the Factory Station." The news that the Factory Station had slammed into a cliff side had destroyed much of Clarke's hope.
"I did," Allison agreed. "I've been waiting here for you." She smiled sadly.
Clarke whimpered and freed her left hand. She brushed her fingertips along milky white skin that was once tan. Allison's eyes were also amber like honey and now were hollowed with frost white. She ached even more. "I.. I've..." She could barely confess her heart.
"It's okay," Allison whispered. "I knew you would come for me... Wanheda."
A tear fell from Clarke's face. Her torn features fell at hearing the ugly title. "Don't call me that." She dropped her hands from Allison's beautiful features and backed away again. She refused to be Wanheda or command Wantof. "Leave me alone," she growled at them all, but they ignored her, including Allison.
"Wanheda," a Trikru warrior called out. He was echoed by others.
"Wanheda. Wanheda. Wanheda," the dead chanted.
Clarke tried escaping, by she was snared in the middle of the dead. She was sharply grabbed by Anya, who now had pastel green eyes.
"Clarke, you're safe," Anya commanded. "It's just a dream." Her voice deepened in timber and took on authority that called to Clarke. "Come back to me." Green eyes replaced her pastel ones, and her features became chiseled with strength.
Clarke jolted up from her horizontal position. She nearly slammed her head into another person, but a firm hand on her chest pushed her back down.
"You're safe... it's okay."
"Lexa," Clarke rasped and fell back into the furs. She was freed from her nightmare but cut through by her leg's injury. She sucked in a breath and groaned deeply. Once she settled down, the pain also lessened to its normal throb. Slowly the room came into focus, and she found she was alone with Lexa. It surprised her that Lexa was even here.
"What time is it?"
"It is dinner time," Lexa replied. She was seated on a stool next to the bed. She had been on it for twenty minutes and watched Clarke. Shortly ago she had come by with a tray of food for Clarke and herself. She insisted Abby leave for dinner.
"I am hungry," Clarke admitted. She sniffed the air, which was heavy with food smells. An appreciative rumble from her stomach filled the quiet space.
Lexa took that as a good sign. She stood up and collected the two plates from the table near the roaring fireplace. She came back and handed one to Clarke. "How do you feel?"
"Not as tired," Clarke replied. She was upright, plate in her lap, and using the worn fork to poke around the food. She loved the food on the ground. Thankfully the daily exercise and stress kept her from gaining weight. "Where is my mom?"
"She went to dinner with Marcus," Lexa explained. She had a smaller plate of food, if she could bare to eat it. She had skipped dinner last night and today's morning meal. Her appetite was less on food and more on other things. However, Clarke's recent injury only served to provide a minor distraction from her own pain.
Clarke ate because her breakfast had been small. She was slightly embarrassed by how fast she consumed the food compared to the commander. But Lexa made no comment and merely took her plate. She noticed Lexa had picked at her food. "You're still sick," she noted aloud after Lexa reclaimed the stool. Clarke saw the stiffness in Lexa's gait, the perspiration across her forehead, and lack of appetite. Earlier today when she was being carried, she had felt the heat radiating off Lexa.
"I'm fine," Lexa rebuked.
Clarke slumped against the headboard and playfully muttered, "Liar." She and Lexa sat in a thick silence that nobody wanted to slice open. Nobody wanted to make the first move in the game, but Clarke was willing to face it more than Lexa. She shut her eyes and whispered, "We both know what I saw." She looked over at the commander. "I want to know the truth, Lexa." She struggled against the commander's intense stare. A few seconds back in the woods when Lexa saw her behind the holly bush made her shiver. Clarke pushed it away and fought the silent battle with Lexa.
"You could have been hurt far worse." Lexa attempted deflection, but she already sensed it failed her.
"Don't," Clarke argued, "Make this about me." She crossed her arms, in the only attempt to show strength when she was the injured one. "Just tell me," she demanded, harder. She was breathing heavier with each word. "Tell me what you are." Her frantic heart leapt into her throat when Lexa popped up from the stool. She growled in frustration when Lexa headed to the door. "Walk out that door, and I'll lose all trust in you."
Lexa was rooted and stared coldly at the sealed door. She had made years of promises and planned so much for her people. But somehow that was unraveling in the shadows each day the Sky people stayed here. Each day that Lexa spent more time with Clarke.
Lexa fought hard to shield Clarke from the truth. In the end, their shared determination to either seek out or hide the truth ended with Clarke being ridiculously injured. She should have known that Clarke, in her stubbornness, would go to any length to find out. Anya was right. Slowly, her hand slid off the door handle because her own resolve was cracking. A secret howl in her chest urged her to confess every tiny detail, and Lexa wanted to give in for the first time.
"Tell me," Clarke softly pleaded, in hopes to break the bonds around Lexa. "Beja, Leksa." She realized her heart ached more than her leg's injury.
Lexa shut her eyes after Clarke's plea burrowed deep into her chest. There was an unheard snap in her that made her finally accept the truth. "In my people's tongue we are called Caineblida."
For a beat, Clarke thought she misheard the truth or made it up in her mind. But Lexa had truly told her. "Caineblida," Clarke softly repeated. She asked, "What does it mean in English?"
Lexa pivoted on her feet and looked over her shoulder at Clarke. "In Gonasleng it means wolf blood." She dared to return to her seat. Somehow telling Clarke her people's true name broke the very wolf in her blood free. In the firelight, her eyes shined a reflective white that hinted at her real nature.
Clarke blew out a low breath and tried keeping a steady head. She wanted the truth and now she had to listen or ask meaningful questions. "So you're not human? None of the grounders are human?"
"My people are not human," Lexa explained. She was bent forward, arms on her knees for support. Clarke's scent had been enveloping her since she came into the quarters house. It was a fiercer struggle to stay in control when she was so close to Clarke. But, she owed this to Clarke after today's accident in the woods. "But there are some humans left."
"Besides Sky people?" Clarke countered. She hung onto everything Lexa was telling her.
"Sha." Lexa took a painful breath then straightened up more. "There are humans who survived the apocalypse but the radiation disfigured them."
"So they're outcasts," Clarke guessed. She knew from being in Mount Weather that her people had evolved from the solar radiation over time. It was why Dr. Tsing wanted their bone marrow. "Then how did your people begin?"
"Nobody is certain," Lexa replied. She reached for her jacket's top button but faltered from undoing it. She was flushed, and her clothes utterly uncomfortable. "But we were born from the ashes."
Clarke mulled it over with a scientific eye. She wondered if the radiation somehow altered the ancestors of the grounders. Yet it seemed so quick and sudden for it to be evolution, even one affected by radiation. She shelved the ideas and instead focused on the commander, who was still in obvious pain.
"Does this..." Clarke indicated Lexa's stiff posture. "Have to do with you being a caineblida?"
After a low nod, Lexa better explained their culture. "We are divided into paka that we call Alphas and Omegas."
Clarke guessed paka was another word for groups. She hardly needed a translation to guess what an Alpha or Omega might be in the culture. "You're not sick then?" She received a wolfish smile that made her blood chill.
"No." Lexa instantly hid her predatory smile and took a deep breath. Normally, breathing practices helped her during a rut, but it was useless when Clarke was in front of her. "I am in my rut."
Clarke stared oddly at the commander. She wondered how such a statement answered anything for her. She wanted to ask more, but their conversation was an obvious strain on Lexa. She shook her head and offered, "Maybe we can talk more about this tomorrow."
Lexa was quiet for a moment then slowly nodded. It was the best idea. Her self-control was thin and nearly shattered like glass. She stood up and stared down at the Sky leader.
Clarke easily saw the war in the commander's eyes. She had no idea what the war was about or why it was there, but she would know far more tomorrow. She tried shaking Lexa from her daze with a strong voice. "Thank you... for telling me."
Again, Lexa only nodded then left the bedside. A hint of strength returned to her posture. She collected the tray with the plates then silently left the room. All her inner battle flowed out the door behind her and left the quarters lighter.
Clarke inhaled sharply and sunk against the headboard. She touched her brow and wondered how Lexa could function through the day. A tendril of guilt and sympathy rose in her belly. She wondered what a rut meant to a caineblida and what could be done to ease Lexa's own. Such troublesome thoughts cut into her sleep for the rest of the night.
At dawn, Clarke rose from bed and had her mother help her move through the quarters. She was ready to face the day rather than lay on her back. She decided to stay in her sweatpants because they were less constricting than her jeans. While her mom cleaned and check her wound, she considered the day's plan. She wondered if they would have a meeting about the alliance, but first she wanted to learn more about caineblida. It could affect everything.
Abby wanted to eat breakfast in the quarters, but Clarke insisted they go to the dining hall. She refused to be any weaker after yesterday's mess up. Marcus decided to accompany them as they left the quarters house. It was a slow, chilly walk, but they went into the dining hall near the center of the village. The long stares from Trikru warriors were normal, but they were still served by the villagers. Just as they finished eating, Anya approached their table.
"Heya, Klark," Anya greeted.
"Heya." Clarke was grateful to see the general.
"How do you feel today?"
Clarke considered how much Anya knew about yesterday. "It's better." She was in pain, but it was manageable. She wanted to talk more, but waited until Anya left them. She turned to her mother and Marcus Kane. "I'm going to stay with Anya."
"Are you sure?" Abby double checked.
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Clarke promised. She gave an assuring smile to her mother, who patted her shoulder on the way up from the table. She watched her mom and Marcus leave then she patiently waited for Anya.
Anya took the silent invite and slid into a chair across from the young Sky leader. "I heard you walked into a hunter's trap." She had a slight smirk.
Clarke rolled her eyes at the grounder's dark humor. "More like jumped into it."
"You and Lexa may share similar blood," Anya teased further. She noticed how her joke fell flat so she stayed quiet now and waited for whatever was obviously on Clarke's mind.
With one simple word, Clarke lit up the air. "Caineblida."
Anya paused with a mouthful and swallowed it down first. "She finally told you." A hint of pride swelled in her chest. "What do you know?"
Clarke shrugged then admitted, "Not much." She sighed and stared down at the small table space between her and the general. "We're suppose to talk more today." She curiously eyed Anya again. "Have you seen her?"
"I saw her speaking to Briggs this morning," Anya mentioned.
Clarke considered her options and decided she would gain little by sitting here further. She was antsy to learn more about caineblida and what it meant for the future. There were numerous questions swirling through her head.
"Clarke?" Anya waited until the Sky leader's attention came back to her. "You must have an open mind when you learn more about our people." She sensed the hint of confusion from Clarke. "The Mountain Men were... less willing."
Clarke frowned and softly argued, "I'm not them." She relaxed when Anya gave her a slight smile.
Clarke nodded. She shifted in the seat, about to go but curiously studied Anya. "Are you an Alpha or Omega?"
Anya's smile slid wider and revealed her sharp teeth that were wolf-like. "Omega."
What 1ittle Clarke knew about caineblidas, she expected Alphas to be the more dominant paka while the Omegas were probably gentler dispositions. To learn that Anya was an Omega cut apart her assumption. She had a lot to learn about the grounders and their unique culture. Clarke nodded once then got up. "Chof."
Anya curiously watched the Sky leader leave the building. She was a little relieved that Lexa had broken the code for Clarke. But, it also meant the pending alliance could suffer. She kept her hopes up that it would be different with the Sky people than the Mountain Men.
Clarke was at a steady pace as she visually scanned the village for Lexa. She stood outside the dining hall on the street.
Clarke turned to the grounder and returned the warm greeting. "Heya, Lincoln."
"I heard what happened yesterday." Lincoln was obviously concerned. "I'm glad Heda was with you."
"Me too." Clarke shifted her weight onto her right leg. "I imagine that hunter will get Hell for setting up that trap so close to the village."
Lincoln gave a low rumble of agreement. "Heda assigned two warriors to track him down." He folded his muscular arms. "How's your leg?"
"It's okay... better today." Clarke turned her attention back to the street. "Have you seen Heda?"
"She was actually by the training fields with Indra. I just came from there." Lincoln pointed in the direction.
"Great." Clarke flashed a smile at him. "Thanks." She bid goodbye and left the Trikru warrior. She hoped she could catch the commander. As she approached the fields, she was relieved to see the commander and Indra were coming her direction. She decided to wait rather than drain herself further.
Indra noted the Sky leader in front of them. She huffed and departed from the commander's side.
Lexa went to Clarke after she finished talking to Indra. She tilted her head at the other woman's persistent nature. "You are walking."
Clarke slid her chilled hands into her jacket's pockets. She tasted a hint of pride in Lexa's tone. "It'll take more than a stupid trap." She enjoyed Lexa's pleased rumble. "Is it a good time to talk?" She wanted to be closer to Lexa, but she fought down the natural urge. "I'm concerned whether or not your people being caineblida will affect an alliance."
Lexa slightly inclined her head. As a leader, she sympathized with Clarke's concern, but it also made her Alpha bristle. She peered over her shoulder at the area. "I prefer to talk in the open." If they were indoors, she knew her instincts would be bombarded by Clarke's scent and only encourage her rut further.
Clarke nodded. "Wherever you're comfortable."
"Can you walk past the village?" Lexa wanted space from her people so they could talk in private. She was also concerned about Clarke's strength.
"Sha," Clarke agreed. She took the commander's side. "Just a slow walk."
Lexa matched the shorter woman's pace.
Clarke worried her bottom lip. She had so much on her mind and could barely wait until they were outside of prying ears. After a sigh, she offered, "Thank you... for saving me from that trap."
The appreciation stirred a few ounces of guilt in Lexa's belly. She remembered why Clarke was out in the woods. Anya had been right that Clarke would find out somehow. Lexa had hardly expected Clarke to go to such lengths and end up injured in the process. She inwardly groused at herself.
"And it's not your fault," Clarke softly added. "I just... freaked out... and didn't watch where I was going." She struggled with a flash memory of Lexa's masturbation, which had freaked her out. At least it was a cool day to calm her flushed cheeks. She hoped Lexa missed it.
Lexa was quiet. She concentrated on the walk out of the village and ignored the pending conversation ahead of them. She could only focus on one item at a time due to her rut. Earlier she had checked with Indra about training for the seconds. Already she had chewed off Indra's head about proper training for the seconds. Her flared temper was bottled up, but it lingered near the surface. Her lack of self-control only compounded the situation.
Clarke noticed they passed the last homes. They went north out of the village, the same direction as yesterday. There were no fields on this side of town, most likely due to the thick woodlands.
"This way," Lexa ordered. She led them into the woods and traveled only for a minute or two. She scanned for a spot and located a cropping of large rocks that were half buried in the ground. She decided it was a good, secluded location for them.
Clarke went directly to a rock and claimed it for a seat. She expected Lexa to occupy the one next to her, but instead the commander collected wood. She was chilled but hardly expected Lexa to build a fire. With patience, she allowed Lexa the silence.
Lexa setup the fire relatively close to Clarke. She was knelt down and organized the branches correctly. Then with a flint and striker rocks, she sparked the kindle first before igniting the branches and small wood. Shortly small curls of smoke rose up and filled Lexa's nose. It was a welcoming smell that helped mask Clarke's own scent.
As Clarke watched the commander, she thought back to the day they had escaped the pauna. Much like then, Lexa had built them a small fire while Clarke rested on the soft moss. She had needed the rest after their escape from the oversized gorilla. But today they were around the fire for much different reasons.
Lexa ensured that the kindling grew and remained knelt next to Clarke. After another heavy breath, she mentally stepped into a difficult conversation about her people. "There is a tale about how my people came to be." She tilted her head slightly but continued staring at the small fire. "After the apocalypse, humans had suffered greatly except for one named Bekka."
Clarke folded her arms against the cold air. She studied the commander's profile but carefully listened to the story.
"The story goes that our god, Caines, emerged from his home in the woods. He went to Bekka with an offer to save life. He offered to breed with her and promised their breeding would bring a new, better race than man." Lexa paused as the story continued swirling in the growing flames of the fire. "There are different accounts whether Bekka truly agreed... or if she was forced by Caines." A slight rumble thickened her words. "But Bekka conceived three pups. They were more beast than man though... aggressive and violent with fur and fangs."
Clarke had curiously realized Lexa called the offspring pups rather than children or even triplets. She bit her bottom lip. There was more to the story by the look on Lexa's face.
"Bekka couldn't control them once they grew of age. The three beasts were nearly feral and attacked the humans that were still alive." Lexa huffed low, angrily. "Humans were raped and killed but the offspring between man and beast were the first caineblida."
Clarke sat in distraught silence after the ugly tale about the caineblida.
"The happy ending is that Bekka assembled the caineblida and hunted down the beasts... and slayed them." Lexa released a heavy sigh and mentioned, "Bekka became Pramheda of the first caineblida." She peered up at Clarke. "Our beginnings were in blood."
Clarke shook her head and argued, "Sometimes it isn't about how you start... but how you finish." She heard Lexa's low rumble of agreement, and it nearly made her smile. She was realizing that the growls, hisses, snarls and other animal-like noises were hardly an intimidation act of a grounder warrior, but one of a caineblida's true nature.
Lexa rocked back until she was seated on the ground. She crossed her legs, which felt more comfortable than most positions at the moment.
"Why didn't you tell me sooner that you were a caineblida?" Clarke gently started.
Lexa flinched from a low pain in her stomach. She grounded her teeth against the spike of aggression under her skin. "It's our code." Her voice was thicker and heavier. "Many years ago I started a code for my people... to be better than just animals."
Clarke shifted her right leg against the side of the rock. She bit down her instant argument and reminded herself to stick with questions. "Your code includes not telling your allies?"
"All our allies are caineblida." Lexa then shortened, "Caine." She huffed and better explained, "Before my time, the Mountain Men and my people met on peaceful terms. But, it turned ugly when the Mountain Men learned of our true nature. We were snarling, savage dogs in the eyes of the Mountain Men... and perhaps we were at the time."
"Meanwhile they stole and consumed your people's blood... like vampires," Clarke muttered. Strips of guilt for the Mountain Men's demise started falling away in her heart.
"As a caine, we try not to speak often of our nature." Lexa breathed in the fiery scent around her. It burned away some of the fog in her head so that she could talk to Clarke. But, the hot ache in her gut was ever present.
Clarke had many thoughts on the topic, but she kept it to herself. There was much more to the caine's code and another time to learn it. Right now, it was the code that put direction in Lexa's methods as a leader of her people. She tabled the caine's code and instead focused on what mattered now. "What are the differences between a caine and a human? Alphas and Omegas?"
Lexa balled her hand in her lap. Her body was smoldering under the long coat and from the campfire's heat. She struggled with staying focused on the conversation. "Compared to humans, a caine is usually stronger, better instincts, high sense of smell, and age slower." There were plenty of other differences, some more significant than others.
Clarke was startled by the news that a caine would age slower than a human. "How old are you?" When she first met Lexa, she had guessed Lexa to be close to her age, perhaps a year or two older.
"Twenty-seven," Lexa revealed. A whiff of Clarke's shock drifted under her nose, and it stirred a wolfish grin from her. "But, in a human's lifetime, I am your age." She peered up at the Sky leader. "I am entering my prime."
"When did you take the throne?" Clarke was still dumbfounded.
"Twenty." Lexa considered what that may mean in human years. "I was around twelve in your people's eyes."
Clarke blew out a low breath. She had hardly expected it. It also made Lexa a more seasoned leader than Clarke first thought. In ancient history, she had learned of many rulers that took their thrones at young ages. She cleared her throat and curiously focused on Lexa again. "You're an Alpha."
After a slight nod, Lexa explained, "There were three paka in the beginning, but only two have survived over time. We started with Alphas, Omegas, and Betas." She took a deep breath. "Omegas are usually smaller than an Alpha. They were originally viewed as breeders. They're known for caring for a family... instinctively protective."
Clarke considered how Anya was willing to protect her from Indra and even Lexa.
"Alphas are more territorial and aggressive." Lexa paused and considered the differences further. "We like order."
Clarke absorbed what she was learning, and it was a lot at once. She doubted she would remember every detail. She lowered her head and stared at the rock under her legs. Brief flashes from yesterday in the woods resurfaced and made her flush. Gradually blue eyes wandered to Lexa's pants where she knew there were more differences about caineblidas. She hastily closed her eyes as she decided whether to face yesterday's mishap. A low rumble from Lexa made her look again. She could make out the perspiration across Lexa's brow. She wondered why Lexa continued to sit in front of the fire when she was obviously hot.
After a nervous swallow, Clarke rallied her courage and attempted nudging the mental door between them. She softly asked, "So there are male and female Alphas and Omegas?" She hardly expected an amused rumble from the commander.
"We do not gender, like humans." Lexa's tone was thick and heavy again. "I am a ruusen Alpha." She lifted her attention to Clarke. "What you would perceive as a male Alpha is a rousen Alpha."
Clarke blew out a breath and straightened up. "And Omegas?" If she made it through the conversation without a headache, it would be a miracle.
"A female one is a juusen and male is a jousen." Lexa stared ahead again. "Be careful who you assume is male or female because it may not be true. You may see a male Alpha when in fact they're ruusen."
Clarke opened and closed her mouth twice before she finally asked, "Can you tell a difference between... all four?" She was unsure what to call the four types if they were not genders. Paka, she reminded herself.
"Sha." Lexa tapped her nose in silent explanation.
Clarke nodded. "Right," she whispered. "You can smell the differences." She shifted on the hard seat and asked, "Will I insult anybody if I call them an Alpha instead of an Omega? Or vise versa?"
"It is better to ask," Lexa offered.
The advise was true, Clarke decided. She had asked Anya earlier, which Anya seemed to appreciate. She studied her own hands and realized she had sweaty palms from being nervous. She willed her heart to steady, but it was difficult. Still she pressed forward further. "Yesterday you were... trying to deal with your rut?"
Lexa took a shallow breath and decided how best to answer Clarke. How necessary it was to get into the conversation about an Alpha's body, particularly hers, was a debate. Inside her chest, the Alpha gloated at the sheer idea of presenting herself. She struggled to stay in control rather than give into her inner desire, but the rut made the desire nearly tangible.
Clarke watched the internal war in the commander. She could see waves and strikes roll through Lexa. It made Clarke sympathize for Lexa, and she seriously considered whether right now was the best time. Most likely the rut was making it excessively hard for Lexa to function as a leader. "We don't have to talk about this," she offered.
"A rut lasts three to five days. This is my second day," Lexa rasped. She clutched her jacket's lapel. She took a deep breath.
Clarke nodded and considered what a rut was to animals. She took medical classes on humans, not animals, but she knew humans were still mammals. And right now, she understood the commander was facing sexual excitement at its fullest. "Maybe it's one more day," she softly offered.
However, Lexa highly doubted it because she sensed her rut well. She was still building up to her peak before it could wane off again.
A long stretch of silence made Clarke more tense. She burned with the need to voice what she saw yesterday, but she had no idea how to say it carefully or how Lexa would respond to it. In her people's culture, sexuality was off topic. Yet, the medical side of Clarke craved to understand a caineblida's biology. With a gentle tone, Clarke pushed the limits further. "Yesterday I... I noticed that... that you have... equipment." Her own embarrassment flushed against her cheeks. Lexa's responding rumble made her heart lurch for a beat. She relaxed slightly at the brief amusement on Lexa's face.
"Sha." Lexa heard her Alpha's excited howl, and she inwardly sneered at it.
"Is that..." Clarke shook her head and rephrased her question. "Are all female..." She sighed in frustration because she already lost the word for Lexa's type of Alpha.
"Ruusen," Lexa supplied. She met the Sky leader's crimson features. "And yes. All Ruusen Alphas have... equipment." Again, she was amused by Clarke's choice of words for an Alpha's anatomy.
Clarke turned her head away because Lexa's slight smirk was making her more self-conscious. She ran her fingers through her hair and was grateful for the cool breeze against her face.
Lexa scowled her inner Alpha's continued excitement about the conversation's direction. Sharply she stood up and put distance between her and Clarke. She soaked in the autumn weather that helped her rut's intense heat although it did nothing to sooth her body's pain or the sheer discomfort from her pants.
"There's a lot to think about," Clarke softly mentioned. She hoped the different topic would calm them both. It was obvious they touched into something neither of them were ready for. She studied the commander's figure and tried ignoring what she now knew was different about Lexa's anatomy. It had no bearing on an alliance, yet Clarke still knew.
"I do think my mother and Marcus should know your people are caineblida," Clarke pressed. "Obviously not all the details." Again, she felt a damn blush and chided herself for it. She was hardly a child, and they were both adults.
"I agree," Lexa consented. She had designed the caine's code years ago, but she could admit it needed an adjustment. The caine's code instilled silence about their true nature. Perhaps Anya had a point that the silence would hurt them.
"I guess Octavia already knows," Clarke concluded aloud. She frowned at her pseudo friend's neglect to tell her.
"Lincoln had told her," Lexa revealed. "She held her silence to protect Lincoln and the alliance at the time." She had moved closer and stood in front of the fire.
Clarke nodded. She was still displease by Octavia's choices. Yet, Clarke had just lied to her mother yesterday about her injury, to protect Lexa. She sighed and hoped the pending truth flushed out all the secrets between her people and Lexa's own.
"You should rest," Lexa suggested. She sensed the human's weariness after their talk.
"Are we planning a meeting today?" Clarke was torn between wanting to have one and postponing it until Lexa's rut ended. Whatever hold the rut had on Lexa was clearly affecting many things, especially Lexa's leadership skills.
"Perhaps just a discussion about caineblidas."
Clarke nodded. "I think that would be good. It'll give my mom and Marcus time to think about it... talk about it." She pushed her hands into the jacket's pockets for warmth. She also hoped it would give time for Lexa's rut to end. However, if Lexa's rut lasted the full five days then she needed a better idea to delay the alliance talks. She knew, without doubt, Lexa would refuse to hold off the alliance talks due to her rut simply because it would be a display of weakness.
"Clarke?" Lexa called again. She waited until blue eyes finally sharpened on her. "We should return to the village."
Clarke agreed and sighed at being tired already. The day had barely started, and she was drained from what she learned about Lexa's people. She cursed her own stupidity for getting hurt by the hunter's trap.
Lexa had put out the fire then waited for Clarke to join her. She stood near the rock that was the Sky leader's seat.
Clarke stood up and applied all her weight to her injured leg out of sheer habit. Her mistake produce a bolt of pain up her leg, and she whimpered as her strength bled out.
Lexa was fast and latched onto the falling human.
Clarke instinctively clutched Lexa's arm for support. She released a strained breath when the pain settled down. "S-sorry." Yet again, her face was flushed from nearly falling and especially being held by the commander. She realized Lexa's hold was quite firm. "I'm okay now, Lexa."
For another second, the commander stared down into reddened features. Clarke's scent enticed her Alpha further, and a pleased growl began in the back of her throat. Only Clarke's pat to her arm stirred her daze.
"You can let go now," Clarke ordered. She was freed and created more space by taking a step back. "Thanks." She smiled at the commander.
Lexa dipped her head then turned on her heels. She started back towards the village.
Clarke blew out a low breath and struggled with collecting herself. Her first steps were shaky thanks to her natural reaction to Lexa holding her. She chided herself for acting like a silly thirteen year old girl with her first crush. She was a leader of her people and even slightly revered by the Trikru for Mount Weather's defeat.
The commander painstakingly walked slow, for Clarke. With her rut, she preferred to be moving and doing faster in hopes to burn energy. She unknowingly sniffed the confused scent radiating off the Sky leader. Lexa barely bit down a groan because Clarke's confusion was laced with excitement too.
Finally the walk brought them to the village again. Clarke was quite ready to depart the commander's side. There had been a few previous frustrating times that she needed space from Lexa, but this time it was a little different. Also the leg pain was wearing against her. "Do you want to meet in a few hours?" she offered. "To talk about your people."
"Sha." Lexa decided the time would give her a chance to train with the seconds and Indra. It was a perfect opportunity to let her Alpha gain more control.
Clarke nodded then gave Lexa a weak smile before she went down the intersecting street. She headed directly to the quarters house. Once inside, she released a sigh and went to her shared room. She hoped her mom was there to check her wound then she could sleep before the meeting. She refused to guess what her mother and Marcus Kane would think of the grounders being caineblidas. It was an impasse that could wait until after the meeting.
To be continued.