Chapter 1: Strawberry Chocolate Chip
Rubber squeaks on the slippery curb and Clarke needs to balance herself once out of the car. She fishes her old phone from her back pocket, hands damp from the storm. Raindrops slide down the screen and it turns black as soon as Clarke touches it, enticing a groan from the alpha. She chides herself for not remembering to charge it at the airport.
Clarke looks back at the uber driving away and hopes, prays for Raven to have gotten her message.
Cold wind and chilly rain dampen the happiness of the house, an unusual storm for the early summer. Clarke feels an anxious tug in her gut at the sight of the dark windows. Her steps are clumsy and loud as she approaches the front door, the residential neighborhood silent in the dead of the night. Her drenched jacket weights on her shoulders, her wet hair falls limply on her face; if this was a bad idea, it’s too late now. Her eyes fall upon the wooden door, hands clutching the strap of her backpack tighter as she takes a deep breath.
Clarke doesn’t want to ring the bell. Her watch blinks two in the morning, but the wind picks up on her damp clothes and her trembling fingers press the button before she can convince herself otherwise.
One quiet, slow minute passes before any movement is heard within the house. Clarke’s bright eyes well with tears, because fuck, maybe this was a bad idea.
She’s about to turn back when the door opens to reveal a sleepy Raven. The woman’s brown eyes wide in surprise, and maybe a little bit of relief. Or so Clarke wants to think.
“Holy shit,” Raven breathes, and with her words, the sky decides to strengthen the downpour that accompanied most of Clarke’s trip. “I thought the message was some bad, bad joke.”
“Hi Raven,” she says with a tight voice and cold lips.
“Come inside. You’re soaked.” Raven steps aside, and under the small light of the entrance hall, Clarke sees that her friend’s face is different. Older, more mature. Happier. She doesn’t want to think what Raven might be seeing in hers.
Clarke finds Raven’s eyes when the door closes behind them, and the smaller alpha offers the first hug Clarke has received in months. They don’t talk, though Clarke plans to do it in the morning. Raven is kind enough to ignore the tears in Clarke’s eyes when they meet hers again.
“I’ll prepare the guest room for you. Is that your only bag?”
Clarke nods, one arm adjusting the wet backpack.
“I’ll get some clothes, too,” Raven adds, a small smile on her face that relieves Clarke because it’s not from pity.
“Raven, thank you, I really—”
“Raven?” They both look up at the stairs, where the voice came from. “Who’s at the door?”
Clarke watches Anya on the mezzanine, and the smile starting to tug on her lips dies in a gasp of surprise.
The omega squints down at Clarke, and in the moment Anya recognizes the alpha, her stoic, beautiful features turn into a deep scowl, amber eyes on fire.
“What is she doing here?” Anya hisses, careful not to wake the precious bundle in her arms.
Raven offers an apologetic smile to Clarke before climbing up the stairs to speak with her wife. They exchange a quiet conversation that only aggravates Anya’s frown. She relaxes when the, until now quiet, baby in her arms wriggles in annoyance at the noise. Another whisper from Raven and Anya disappears into the dark hallway above.
Clarke doesn’t want to think why Anya might hate her. She is still processing the pup Anya carried, and the known yet new scent it had, a sweet combination of Raven’s warm alpha aura and Anya’s earthy omega tones.
“You have a pup?” Clarke asks in reverence when her friend meets her at the bottom of the stairs.
“Our little Liam.” There’s nothing but pride in Raven’s voice. “He’s almost two. You can meet him tomorrow.”
Clarke follows Raven silently to the guest room. That boy, happily curled around the protectiveness of his mother, is more proof of how long Clarke was gone and how much she missed.
“Raven.” She touches the tanned arm before Raven can go for the dry clothes she promised. “This is just for tonight.” Clarke sees the questioning look that turns into defensiveness right away and hurries to explain. “I mean, my bank account is frozen and all I had was the money in my wallet. Tomorrow I’ll check on that and …” She trails off, unsure on how to complete her sentence.
“Abby will be happy to see you.” Raven smiles at her. Clarke nods and thanks her friend.
Later that night, when Clarke lays down on a comfortable bed, fresh sheets wrapped around her, the name comes back to her mind, making the faded scar on her shoulder tingle in response. The whispered word weights on her tongue, making her mouth dry. It has been so long, and she allows herself the pleasure of having it click on the roof of her mouth, lips forming each sound.
She doesn’t have the right; Clarke doesn’t feel entitled to be whispering that name into the night, though it has accompanied her for the past years like a warm shadow. Clarke ran away to deal with her inner demons, but she could never forgive herself for what she left behind.
It rolls off her tongue one last time before empty oblivion embraces her.
Clarke wakes up to the smell of bacon and eggs. The warmth in her bed is strange and she panics for a moment. The sight of a high ceiling and white walls calms her, helps her remember where she is.
When she walks into the kitchen, wearing one of Raven’s shirts and a faded pair of jeans, her heart pumps with the possibilities she threw away.
Raven is in the middle of an argument with Liam, who apparently doesn’t want to drink the juice his sire offers in a yellow sippy cup. Anya has her back to them, filing a plate with eggs.
“Clarke!” Raven acknowledges, giving up on the sippy cup — which Liam promptly throws on the floor with a loud huff.
Clarke smirks at Raven’s grunt when the juice spills on her shoes. “Good morning.” Clarke laughs at Raven’s poor attempt at drying her shoes with a cloth.
Anya scolds Raven with a groan and nods at Clarke from the stove.
“What are your plans today?” Raven asks, but for the moment Clarke is entranced by curious brown eyes looking up at her. Eyes like Anya’s, but the soft edges of the pup’s face reminds everyone who sired him. From the high chair, Liam is fixed on Clarke’s figure, his light auburn hair shining in the morning sun. Raven picks him up and steps closer to Clarke.
“Liam, this is Clarke.” The pup keeps staring at Clarke before glancing back at Raven. “She’s mom’s friend.”
The quiet boy wiggles in Raven’s arms to feel Clarke’s scent. He scrunches his little nose at the strong, unfamiliar alpha scent, and both Clarke and Raven laugh.
Anya watches the exchange in silence from the other side of the room.
Not discouraged, Liam tries once more and sniffs close to Clarke again, who leans in to allow the pup exploration. His dark eyes shine with recognition, and his arms shout in excitement as he looks at his sire.
“‘Erah!” he screams, “‘Erah!”
Anya is there in a second, sweeping the boy from Raven’s arms. They share a serious look Clarke doesn’t understand.
“What does that mean?” Clarke asks when Anya leaves the room with Liam.
Raven waves it off, guiding her to the table. “He’s a pup, he babbles stuff all the time. Do you want a ride today?”
Clarke makes note of the change of topic, but doesn’t push it, instead serving herself a plate with eggs and bacon. “That would be great. I need to go to the bank and the hospital.”
“Sure. You can catch Abby there.”
Clarke nods, mouth full of scrambled eggs.
Throughout the ride to downtown, Clarke can’t stop thinking about the happiness in little Liam’s face when he recognized something in Clarke’s scent. It’s her instincts playing with her and she should let it go, but for some reason, it doesn’t leave her mind until she enters The Ark Hospital.
A chill welcomes her with the sterilized scent. She watches heads turning her way as she walks in the direction of the administration wing. Clarke doesn’t stop to satisfy the curious glances, hoping she will have time later.
Clarke has many memories in this hospital, including the worst of her life. She pushes the thought away when she reaches Abigail Griffin’s office, noticing the door slightly ajar.
She tells herself she’ll rewrite bad memories with good ones. That was the point of coming back.
It doesn’t stop the tears that fills her eyes at the sight of her mother, older than she remembers, as familiar brown eyes find hers.
“I … I’ll call you back.” Abby ends her phone call. The device has barely hit the receiver before she hurries to catch her daughter in a tight embrace.
At that moment Clarke’s tears are happy ones.
The drive to Abby’s is as long as she remembers. After leaving downtown and getting to the highway, the buildings lining the skyline change to soft green leaves and tall trees. Abby still lives in the same house Clarke grew up in, and it’s something familiar to cherish after a long time away.
The familiarity ends the moment she passes through the door. The house is different, more alive, even a little messy. There are plants, the fruit bowl is full. The wooden floor is new and the walls are different colors. Toys fill the living room, scattered around.
“Do Anya and Raven come here often? With Liam?” Clarke asks as her mother guides her to the guest room. She doesn’t ask what happened with her old room.
“Sure,” Abby replies. “I work part-time these days. I babysit those rascals all the time.”
“Mother …” Clarke leaves her small backpack on the bed and turns to face her mother.
“Take a shower, change your clothes,” Abby interrupts her. “We’ll talk over dinner.”
Clarke bites her lip, but lowers her head in submission. There’s much she wants to ask her mother, but there’s even more Abby needs to ask her.
Dinner is simple, but Clarke finds herself eating with renewed hunger.
They wait until dessert to talk, and Abby is the first to break the silence.
“Why didn’t you call?”
Clarke stops with her fork mid air. She lowers her hand and clears her throat.
“I needed time. Time alone to think and to put everything back into place in my head.” It sounds like a ridiculous excuse, but it’s as close to the truth as Clarke can get.
“Five years, Clarke. You left to spend three months with the Red Cross and disappeared for years.”
Clarke finches at the harsh tone her sire uses, but she deserves it.
“I couldn’t come back … not like I was.” She can’t meet Abby’s eyes.
“You were depressed, we get it.”
Clarke notices the plural pronoun, keenly. “But running away like that? It hurts people, Clarke.”
“I’d have hurt you more if I had stayed,” she defends.
“We’ll never know that now, will we? After the process was settled, two years ago, we thought you would be back. The hospital was ready for you. But again, nothing.” The anger is gone from Abby’s voice, and a deep concern replaces it. “How are you now?”
“What was the last thing I told you before … before I disappeared?” Clarke finds the courage to meet her mother’s eyes. Abby holds her stare and answers evenly,
“That you’d come back when you were ready.” She takes a deep breath, not breaking their eye contact. “Are you?”
“Every day, every … every hour away from here,” Clarke says with a voice laced with tears. “I was trying to get better to be back. It took longer than I expected but … I’m better, Mom.”
The first smile of the evening paints Abby’s lips. “Good to know.”
They finish dinner with small talk. There’s a question gnawing at Clarke, but she’s ashamed to voice it. It tickles her lips, toys with her tongue, but the words don’t come out. When she gathers the courage to ask, dishes clean and her mother’s back to her as she heads to bed, her voice is weak and trembles at the first word. “Mother?”
Abby stops and turns to look at her.
“How …” Her voice betrays her like an adolescent pup and Clarke has to try again. “How is she?”
It hurts people, Clarke , Abby’s voice replays in her mind. “She’s healthy, that’s all I can say. The rest you’ll need to figure out by yourself.”
It’s final; Abby won’t tell anything else, even though she knows. Emotional pain bonds people; Abby and Lexa were the ones that most loved Clarke, which means they were the ones Clarke hurt the most.
“Can you at least give me her number? I know she doesn’t live at our old place anymore.” Clarke had tried a letter earlier that year, discovering Lexa had moved from their apartment.
Abby stops halfway up the stairs. “There’s an appointment book near the phone.”
“She knows I’m back, right?” Clarke asks, and there must be some intensity to her gaze because Abby smiles at her. Clarke had a feeling she would have to move earth and sky to try and reach Lexa.
“Anya told her,” Abby replies, turning once more.
“Did you talk to her since then?” Clarke is pushing, but she hopes her mother gives any clue as to Lexa’s reaction to her return.
“Give her time, Clarke.”
That night, when the name fights its way out her mouth, burning the old scar on her skin, Clarke realizes that’s the only way she can find the peace to sleep.
She fought her inner demons, but in the battle she lost what grounded her to happiness.
Clarke is able to wait for a week until she can’t handle it anymore and calls Lexa. Abby growls low when she catches Clarke next to the phone that night, and Clarke growls right back. It lacks aggression, and Abby sees it as it is: a veiled ask for support.
Clarke watches her mother leave the hall, a frown still in place. She’s giving her space, and the younger alpha is thankful for that.
The line beeps until it goes to voicemail. Clarke tries again, with the same result. She’s about to dial the apartment’s number for the third time when she hears Abby’s cell phone ring tone from the hall. Clarke slowly steps towards the living room, her heart accelerating; it might be Lexa.
Abby answers the phone with a low voice, and Clarke has to edge closer to the living room entrance to hear her.
“... I know, dear, I know. I’ll tell her.”
Clarke hears her sire’s loving tone, and it confirms that her mother and Lexa grew closer the years she was away. People bond through pain.
She steps back to the hallway when Abby turns off the phone. She doesn’t try to call again, waiting for the reprimand. Abby walks to her side, one hand on her shoulder.
“Clarke. That was—”
“Lexa. I know,” Clarke finishes for her. “She doesn’t want to talk to me. I get it.”
“Give her time, okay? She’ll eventually come around,” Abby insists. “Are you working tomorrow morning?”
Clarke shakes her head. Her working hours were building up; beginning to resemble her normal hours, but she still has a free morning in the week.
“We could watch a movie together?” Abby’s voice is hopeful, and it brings a smile to Clarke’s face.
“I’ll take a shower and meet you upstairs.”
The ensuite bathroom of the guest room is slowly growing on Clarke. It helps the feeling of coming home become true. Part of her knows she won’t live with her mother forever, but for now it’s the comfort she needs.
She tries to keep her thoughts away from green eyes; she hopes they will vanish from her mind, but after five years she should know better. Warm water falls on her golden locks, running down her tired back and massaging her shoulders. She wanders off to her secret place where Lexa doesn’t hate her; where Lexa wants her back and learns to forgive and love her again.
Pearly teeth close over her lip as images form unabashedly in her fantasy. Lexa’s plump lips find hers, mouth wet and hungry. Slender bv arms wrap around her waist, pulling her closer, pulling her in, and Clarke’s right hand closes around her erection. She pumps with the same pace Lexa welcomes her in silky warmth in her mind, where a sly smile turns into moans in a steamy room.
Her other hand finds a perked nipple, and Clarke pumps faster. She swells angrily in her hand, wanting, growing, thick need between her legs. She should — but refuses — to be ashamed that Lexa is still the only woman, the only omega that calls to her, that awakens and moves her alpha. Clarke's time away didn’t involve any romance, and whenever it became too much for her body, it’s Lexa’s smile, Lexa’s touch and Lexa’s body that aroused the alpha. Memories of Lexa are all she has.
She moves her hand from her breast to brace it against the tiled wall, helping her maintain balance because of the strength of her grip. Quiet, suppressed moans and her name escapes her throat, opening her lips in the foggy stall. The scar on her shoulder burns down to her spine and back to the memory of blunt teeth biting on pale skin.
At the end, it’s the memory of a tight ring of muscles closing in an iron grip around her knot that brings her over the edge. Clarke muffles her moans as best as she can, hand in a haphazard rhythm over her spilling length.
Lexa still controls all of Clarke’s pleasure.
Her hair is still damp when she climbs the stairs to her mother’s bedroom. The door next to Abby’s room, where Clarke’s room used to be, is closed, and she tries it out of curiosity. It’s locked.
Abby’s door is ajar and she ignores her old room in favor of her sire’s comfort. Clarke finds her mother’s embrace and settles in silence as Abby surfs through channels.
Clarke lets out an exaggerated sigh, and Abby mutes the TV.
“I won’t talk about Lexa, Clarke. She’ll talk to you when she feels ready.”
“If she feels ready …”
Abby beckons her daughter closer, and Clarke doesn't hesitate to lay her head on her lap.
“She’s hurt,” Abby continues. “It’s not easy to forgive. Give her time, Clarke.”
Clarke looks up, and sees the hurt she caused reflected in dark eyes. “You forgave me.”
Abby chuckles at that. “I’m a parent, Clarke. It’s easier for us to forgive our children.” Amusement shows itself in the brown eyes locked on Clarke’s. “Maybe someday you will understand.”
The idea of being a sire herself stirs something in Clarke’s chest. She can’t think about it right now, since the only person who she imagines starting a family with hates her at the moment.
She falls asleep, her head on her mother’s lap, Lexa’s name tumbling out her lips as she surrenders to exhaustion.
Clarke’s body falls back into the routine easier than she expected. A few weeks after coming back, and she’s used to the long shifts and odd hospital hours.
She finds herself at a park downtown, near the hospital, looking for a distraction before going home after a 16 hour shift that turned into 20. It’s not even 9 am, but Clarke deserves strawberry chocolate chip ice cream after a long shift. It’s Saturday, after all, and that's her excuse when she approaches the park.
Kids play in the playground at the center of the park, and Clarke follows their loud laughs in search for her ice cream. She smirks in triumph at the colorful cart close to the pups and gets in line.
Her hand closes around the strawberry cone, the chocolate chips the exact proportion she likes, and she’s about to get her first lick when something collides against her legs. The ice cream in her hands almost falls down, contrary to the girl who blindly ran into her legs and sits on the ground, astonished.
“Hey,” Clarke says in a sweet voice, trying to push the tiredness away. “What a tumble. You okay?” She offers one hand to help the girl up, and as if out of a trance, the slim kid is up in a blink. “Your ice cream fell down”—Clarke points to the pink mess next to the girl’s feet—“and I see you like strawberry too. Do you want mine?” Clarke kneels to meet the pup’s eyes, a pale shade of green like new grass after a cold night. “I also love strawberry with chocolate chip,” she encourages the shy girl.
“The best,” the girl agrees, extending her hand to get the still untouched cone.
As fast as she appeared, the girl runs back to the playground in a flash of brown hair and swift limbs. Clarke smiles watching her go, and turns to get another ice cream because she deserves sugar after that shift.
She finds an unoccupied bench close to the playground, sitting to enjoy the calm morning. She’s halfway through her ice cream, mindlessly watching the pups playing around monkey bars, when she hears it.
She knows that voice, that scent.
“... she gave me ice ‘ceam!”
It’s the girl from before, that’s for sure. But next to her, that tone, that—
“Did you say thank you?”
Clarke freezes. There’s ice cream on her lips as she gasps, and she stands up in a hurry to compose herself.
The girl is in front of her bench, holding hands with a woman. “She got me ice ‘ceam, mommy.” She eyes Clarke curiously before turning to her mom again. “She’s pretty.”
Clarke swallows hard, because holding the girl’s hand is Lexa.
Lexa composes her facial expression sooner than Clarke, smiling down at her daughter and using a low tone. “Say thank you, Serah. That’s what you do when someone is nice to you.”
Clarke listens attentively to Lexa’s tone, motherly, new … and yet familiar.
“Thank you!” Serah says to Clarke, craning her neck to look at her face, showing her brightest smile.
Lexa uses her sleeve to clear off the last remains of ice cream from Serah’s cheek, eyes avoiding Clarke’s curious glance.
“Why don’t you play around a little bit more, honey? I’ll wait here,” Lexa suggests, pumping protective pheromones around her daughter. If they are meant to scare Clarke away, they fail miserably. Clarke misses her scent.
Serah smiles again, waves at Clarke and runs to where other kids are playing tag.
Lexa sits down next to Clarke, and it takes a second for the alpha to react and follow.
“I didn’t plan this,” Clarke says quickly, feeling Lexa’s pheromones peak. “I didn’t know you would be here, I—”
“I know.” Lexa’s voice is calm, certain. A contrast to the way her green eyes move between Clarke and Serah. Her voice calms Clarke, who visibly deflates.
“She’s beautiful,” Clarke comments. She chooses not to think who the sire is. She was away for years, of course Lexa — beautiful and single Lexa — would find a new mate.
Stupid. Clarke sinks further in her seat, defeated.
Children laugh and squeal, filling the silence. Clarke sees the tension bunched in Lexa’s shoulder, and scowls at herself and her instinct to massage it away.
Clarke hears Lexa’s deep breath, the light grinding of her strong jaw. Birds sing playfully above them when Lexa says the next words with the same calmness and serenity that one talks about the weather,
Clarke gasps in shock, then almost chokes on her bite of ice cream. She had certainly not expected that answer from the omega, who stares at her in surprise. Lexa wordlessly offer her a bottle of water.
“What?” Clarke asks between gulps of water. They don’t do much to help recover her stolen breath. “What do you mean?”
“I mean you’re her sire,” Lexa says matter-of-factly. Clarke hands the water back with trembling hands, shaking her head to assure that she’s alright. She’s not sure that Lexa cares at all.
“Why …” But the question doesn’t come to life. Clarke should know why.
Lexa answers anyway, anger coating her clipped voice. “I tried to contact you throughout the pregnancy, but you disappeared in Africa. After Serah was born and Abby found you, I asked her not to tell.”
Green, stony eyes meet Clarke’s, daring her to ask why, to push. She feels Lexa wants any excuse to end this conversation.
Clarke doesn’t, though. There’s nothing but regret and pain in her bluish eyes, and Clarke looks back at their pup.
Serah plays among other pups with a lopsided smile Clarke is able to recognize as her own. The way the girl cringes her nose is familiar too, but what swells Clarke’s chest with pride is how the girls looks like Lexa. Tall forehead, sharp chin and beautiful, high cheekbones.
The tears come faster than expected — faster than she can stop them — and Clarke wipes at them with the back of her hands. Clarke uses her napkin to wipe away her tears, aware that Lexa is watching her. The omega silently offers her a decent tissue, strawberry-free. Clarke shudders when their skin touch, but she gulps down her hope.
Lexa pulls her hand away and bites her lips.
Clarke doesn’t see it, though. She’s too focused on messy brown hair, carefree smile and the hearty laugh Serah has to pay attention to Lexa. She curses herself in her mind. How could she abandon Lexa like that? A tired voice answers it, but she doesn’t give it any attention; she spent too long listening to that voice. It didn’t matter how bad the state of her mind was, Clarke would be back to help Lexa and her pup.
Clarke’s pup .
“I have a pup?” She asks with a shaky voice, clearing her throat to get rid of the tears.
Laxa sighs, nodding. “We will continue this conversation at your sire’s house. I’ll call her and set the details.”
Clarke watches Lexa stand up and go to Serah. The pout which graces Serah’s little plump lips — a copy of Lexa’s — brings a smile to Clarke’s face for the rest of the day.
More than anything, she wants to set things right.
Chapter 2: Cheetos
There’s a light breeze coming through the trees, gently nudging the leaves in promise of rain. The bright orange, green and blue of the day care facade shine bright under the setting sun, doing nothing to help the headache building behind Lexa’s eyes.
She stands quietly among other parents, grateful for the ten minutes of peace she has before the myriad of kids flow into the small reception. Her head rests heavily on the wall, eyes closed to avoid unnecessary interaction.
Try as she might, the frown never leaves her face. Thoughts swim around in her troubled mind, and work had been a harder task than usual that day. All because of a ghost from the past; one she buried for years that now haunt her days and, when her inner omega wins the battle, hot, sweaty nights.
The person she had taught herself and her child not to miss. The person who had come barging back into their lives with the same grace of a flash summer storm.
Clarke better not expect to be part of their lives as if the last half-decade hadn’t happened. Lexa is not the same omega she left behind; she has new scars. Not on her skin, though that one refuses to leave its earned place over the pulse-point of her neck, but in her soul, carved into a heart that cried itself to sleep for far too many nights.
She knew Clarke had been in town since the day she arrived. Anya called, delivering the information in a fit of anger and threats.
Lexa tried to push away the nagging feeling of being close to her mate, shoving it away from the barrier she took years to build around her heart. She ignored the alpha’s attempts at contact and tried to live her life as if Clarke was still an ocean away.
Then the park happened.
Clarke found them through pure chance. A bad shot of luck through Lexa’s perspective.
Like the currents are dragged towards the moon, Serah had been the one to encounter Clarke. And Clarke … she cried when Lexa delivered what was supposed to be a blow, emotions raw in a display of vulnerability.
For all the alpha’s reactions Lexa could possibly imagine, she wasn’t ready for tears. She expected confusion, maybe sorrow, and shame. She wanted shame; a trace of anger to match her own. But no. All Clarke offered was the only thing she could not deal with: love.
Lexa wasn’t ready for Clarke’s love.
“Mom!” Serah drags the vowel, thin arms wrapping around Lexa’s legs. Lexa picks her up and takes a deep breath, nose nudging the hair that fell from Serah’s braid.
In the scent she loves the most, Lexa finds Clarke and she has to force the smile at her daughter.
“We saw a movie with a gi’affe today!”
Serah securely attached to her hip, purse under her left shoulder and colourful, small backpack on the other, Lexa trots to the parking lot, nodding her good-byes to the other parents. Serah goes on about her day as Lexa opens the car door with a rusty creak.
It needs oil , she catalogs in her mind with the grocery list.
The bouncing pup doesn’t pause in her tale of the day’s adventures, and Lexa feels relaxed at her daughter’s happiness.
Her reprieve is short lived though, when Clarke’s face ventures once again into her mind. Lexa tries to push away the memories of her ex-mate, but her mark is everywhere. The better car and apartment she can’t afford by herself, her scar that burns every heat, and, the worst and best of all, in the way Serah scrunches her nose when she doesn’t understand something.
“Mom?” Serah tugs at Lexa’s long sleeve.
Lexa blinks her anger away, adjusting the backseat for her tiny alpha. “Mom’s tired, that’s all.”
The knot between Serah’s eyes keeps firmly in place, and her stubbornness is just another of Clarke’s traits.
“Do you want to watch a gi’affe movie? Makes you laugh.”
Lexa kisses her daughter’s forehead, a genuine smile blossoming. “That sounds great. I like giraffes.”
It earns her another hug.
As the car pulls away from the parking lot, Serah mumbling to the kids radio, Lexa makes a promise. Not only to herself, but to her daughter.
Clarke won’t ruin this.
A dinner was out of the question. It would look too much like a date for Lexa to function.
Public open spaces did not feel private enough, strange eyes prying into their lives.
A cafe two blocks down from the hospital was the middle ground Lexa relented to, and only after weeks of Abby insisting she should give Clarke a chance at talking.
She is half way through her double espresso when the alpha shows up, hair up in a messy bun and eyes dark with the long hospital hours.
There’s hope in her light blue eyes, and Lexa watches as Clarke hesitates by her small table, finally offering a handshake. The alpha’s palm is humid, a slight tremble to it, and Lexa wonders who is shaking the most.
“Thank you for meeting me.” Are Clarke’s first words, tentative and unsure.
Nodding shortly, Lexa bites her lip to hold back the comment that she’s only doing this because Abby insisted.
Clarke orders an espresso with some caramel topping, and Lexa rolls her eyes as she always used to do at Clarke's frivolous drinks.
“I missed caramel on coffee,” the alpha defends herself, preparing packets of sugar as if she isn’t drinking a calorie bomb already. A tense silence settles over them as Clarke sits down to wait for her drink.
Lexa waits, eyes fixed on the nearly empty mug in front of her. A rueful smile finds her lips at seeing herself waiting again. She’s good at waiting. Maybe too good , she thinks frustratedly. She’s wished many times that she could just let it go, let Clarke go, but no matter how much effirt she put into making her life seem like a full one, a piece of her was always waiting for a call, or the door to unlock at the alpha’s hands. Stupid , she thought every time it crossed her mind. Clarke wouldn’t have even known where she lived after the move, nor her new number. She tried so hard to make herself unavailable to Clarke out of spite and yet kicked herself every time she wished she’d find her anyway. Now that she’s here, sitting in front of her — messy light hair framing her face — Lexa isn’t sure if she wants to run for the hills or stay.
“I didn’t know. Back then I … I just couldn’t think. And I had no idea you were pregnant. I’m sorry,” she adds the last bit at Lexa’s continuous silence. A waitress places Clarke’s coffee in front of her, interrupting the thick moment. Lexa notices Clarke’s gaze return to her, waiting on her response.
“It doesn’t matter now.”
“It does to me.” Clarke’s fingers toy at the edge of her hot mug, eyebrows furrowed in the same fashion Serah’s does. “It matters because I’d never, knowingly, leave you like that.”
Lexa grits her teeth, glancing away. The pregnancy would’ve been the only thing to make Clarke stay, and Lexa’s heart aches at the thought that she wasn’t enough to help Clarke back then. To keep her from running. Afterall, isn’t home the only place you want to be when nothing makes sense anymore? Did she stop being Clarke’s home? Lexa had asked herself these questions countless times before finally resigning to never understand why. The rejection and pain had made her angry; angry enough to not let Abby tell Clarke about Serah once she was born.
But today, today the anger has subsided, and she isn’t sure how she feels about Clarke.
“I want to be a part of her life.”
Green eyes focus on Clarke, who glances down at the table. It almost looks like submission, and it shocks Lexa.
“If you let me, of course,” the alpha completes, tired eyes meeting Lexa’s with an unexpected pleading look. It becomes clear then; the calls, Abby’s request.
Clarke is afraid.
Afraid Lexa won’t let her be part of her daughter’s life.
The power Lexa has over Clarke’s well-being is dizzying for a moment.
She looks at the alpha, really taking her in for the first time.
Her skin remains fair, not marked by sun, and Lexa thinks about how it must have looked when Clarke lived in tropical countries. The lines on Clarke’s forehead and adorning her lips are more prominent, marks of her worries.
Or sadness , her memories whisper.
None of that affects her beauty, though. God, Lexa had forgotten, or had wanted to forget, Clarke’s beauty. It thrives in her seasoned features, wild hair and bright, bright eyes. The alpha had changed, matured.
Lexa isn’t the only one who is different.
“I don’t intend on not letting you be a part of Serah’s life, Clarke.” The name tastes strange in her mouth, nostalgic. So long whispered in fury and pain, then faux indifference, until erased from her vocabulary.
Relief flows over the alpha’s face and pheromones, and Lexa feels herself relax. She scolds her body for reacting to the alpha.
“But you’re not responsible for her, you need to know that.” Lexa’s nose picks up on the flaring in Clarke’s pheromones, but she doesn’t relent. With a curt nod and tight lips, Clarke agrees.
Conversation flows after the second coffee, never straying into anything too heavy or emotional. They mostly talk about their jobs and the places Clarke has been. They don’t speak about Serah’s life, who she is or what she loves, they don’t speak about partners — to Lexa’s absolute relief — and they most definitely do not venture into the dark territory that was once Clarke’s mind and their life.
They agree to a weekly encounter, and Lexa is adamant they should wait to tell Serah who Clarke really is. Walks at the park, dinners at Abby’s, movies … Clarke accepts anything Lexa offers, and when they shake their hands in goodbye, Lexa is the only one trembling.
Lexa considers herself well prepared for most tasks in life. An omega that can face any kind of danger, protect her child and still be an exemplary worker.
But she’s not, by far, prepared for Clarke in a bikini top and board shorts.
And that’s how the alpha emerges from the changing room at the waterpark, all smirks and laughs when Serah follows her to the kids pool.
If Clarke notices Lexa’s blush, she hides any reaction.
“You should pick that up from the floor,” Abby jokes and Lexa looks at her questioningly.
“Your chin,” the older alpha quips and follows her daughter and granddaughter to the pool.
After two solid months of meetings, Lexa complies to an entire day with Clarke and Serah, though Abby is a much needed buffer if anything goes south.
“Just relax, okay?” Abby had told her that morning, before Clarke entered the car. “Serah is starting to adore her.”
Serah had been dying to visit the new water park, and Clarke jumped at the opportunity to buy the tickets.
So here they are, in clothes too tight for Lexa’s taste, covered in shameful layers of sunscreen and armed with water toys. She finds herself in the shallow water, watching in half amazement, half scrutiny, as Clarke plays with Serah and Abby around a giant mushroom fountain.
And maybe she’s watching the muscles on Clarke’s back shining in the summer sun, how they flex when she picks Serah up and growls mockingly at her. Her body had changed too, leaner than before. The scar on the alpha’s shoulder is more vivid than the one marking Lexa’s neck, and Lexa feels a strange, nostalgic feeling of pride.
“That one yours?”
She’s startled at the voice, looking up to find a smiling beta. The blonde woman nods in the direction of Clarke and Serah.
“Yeah, she’s four,” Lexa answers proudly, never missing an opportunity to talk about Serah.
“Not the pup.” The beta’s smile turns mischievous, her brown eyes twinkling. “The alpha,” she says as she very obviously checks Clarke out.
Under the noon sun, Lexa freezes, unable to compose a response.
Is Clarke Serah’s pup? Yes. But is Clarke her alpha?
Her blush has gone down to her cleavage and the beta smiles knowingly. Lexa wants to smack it off.
“It doesn’t hurt a woman to ask,” the younger beta comments, with a final glance at Clarke.
It starts in Lexa’s stomach, bubbling up to her throat and shaping her mouth in a silent snarl. When Lexa realizes what it is, one hand clasps around her mouth and she burns in shame. Thankfully the beta had missed it as she walked away. Though a tiny part of Lexa — the omega in her that she can only control and reason with so much — wishes she had seen it.
The sun is the only witness to Lexa’s possessiveness over the alpha.
Green eyes fly to the three alphas playing, all soaked and laughing, unaware of what just passed mere feet away.
She finds herself fighting a smile, yet again, when Clarke pretends to be a giant monster chasing after Serah. It seems Serah isn’t the only one warming up to Clarke; Lexa is too, and it frustrates her to no end. That realization accompanies the omega until later that night, alone in a bed that smells nothing like the alpha.
She tries to think of anything else, but it’s Clarke’s flexing back muscles, clinging shorts, and teasing lips that follow Lexa into sleep.
Clarke can’t look away. Throughout dinner, she ignores her mother and Lexa’s comments in favour of gazing upon the most mesmerizing sight she has ever seen:
Her pup trying to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce.
Trying is the key word, because Serah is so excited to tell Clarke and Abby about her day that she misses Lexa’s guidance entirely, ending up with half the sauce on her once yellow blouse. Clarke comments that the stains look artistically modern, Lexa scolds her half-heartedly, and Serah finishes her dinner shirtless.
“I always cook it for Serah. She adores it,” Abby says when Lexa gives her an annoyed glare.
“I love ‘paghetti!” Sarah agrees enthusiastically, getting the last spoonful from her plate. Half of it falls before she can wrap her mouth around the pasta.
“I’ll get another shirt,” Lexa sighs, defeated.
“There are clean ones in her room upstairs,” Abby offers as she stands up to clear the plates from the table.
Lexa studies Clarke carefully before heading to the stairs, but there’s nothing but awe in the way Clarke looks at Serah. It’s been weeks, but she still can’t help herself; her maternal instincts are strong. She can’t help but fear for her daughter’s heart, knowing just how much it hurts to be abandoned by Clarke. She shakes her paranoia off and climbs the stairs.
Serah tugs at Clarke’s shirt once Abby disappears in the kitchen.
“Clake,” Serah whispers, though it’s loud. Clarke smiles down at her daughter, fascinated. She bites her lip not to smile at Serah’s mispronunciation, knowing that she sometimes gets the “R” wrong.
“You an alpha too?” Serah must have felt her alpha pheromones through the weeks. Clarke is aware her first pup is a small alpha herself, another reason Clarke is over the moon with her.
“Yeah,” Clarke admits, pushing her chair closer to Serah’s.
Serah bites her plump lip while thinking, and combined with the tomato sauce on her cheek and her shirtless state, it’s the most endearing thing in the world. She beckons Clarke closer.
“Can you pee standing up?”
The question surprises Clarke, who looks up to find her mother watching them closely. At Serah’s blush, Abby understands.
“I’m an awful teacher, and Raven wasn’t much of a help either,” Abby confesses from the kitchen.
An idea brightens Clarke’s eyes. “We have cheetos in the pantry. Can you get them for me, Mom?” Clarke stands and helps Serah to climb into her arms. Serah may know instinctively who Clarke is, but they haven’t had “the talk” yet. Lexa claims their daughter needs more time to warm up to Clarke. What better way to warm up than by spending some alpha time together?
Abby gives her the orange package and chastises, “You should stop eating this stuff. Not exactly heart-food, Doctor Griffin.”
“Not for eating this time.” Clarke adjusts Serah against her hips, smiling when the girl wraps her arms around her neck.
“Wanna try a new trick?” she asks, eyes locked with Serah’s and pale green lights up with excitement. “Do you wanna go?” Clarke eyes Serah’s pants and the girl nods, a new blush coloring her face.
Lexa has Serah’s new set of clothes, a clean towel and shampoo in hand when she stops abruptly before leaving the bedroom upstairs. Clarke passes with Serah glued to her hips and they chat while heading to the bathroom. The omega listens to Clarke open the door and Serah’s happy laugh when Clarke whispers something at placing her down.
Lexa takes a small step away from the room, just enough to see the bathroom door. With the door ajar, she can see Clarke’s back and Serah next to her, the young alpha on a small plastic stool.
“Do you like firefighters?” Clarke asks and Serah nods, shaking her brown curls. “Let’s pretend we’re firefighters right now.”
Serah squeals in delight.
“Okay, you’re a big alpha already, time to pee standing up. What do you think?”
Lexa cocks her head at that, watching from the hall. Serah has been struggling with that, especially after she learned a lot of alphas her age could do it already. Lexa hasn’t paid it much attention, since she can’t help with it herself, and it’s another reminder that Serah has an absent sire.
Well, things change.
“First, get the toilet seat up.” Clarke waits for Serah to lift the toilet seat and nods in approval. “Now, lower your pants. It’s okay if everything goes down, you need to take off your boxers too.”
Serah’s pale butt is in full view for Lexa when the small alpha unties her shorts. A chuckle starts in Lexa’s throat but it turns suddenly dry when the clear sound of a zipper being pulled down overpowers Serah’s giggle.
Of course she’ll show her!, the rational side of Lexa’s brain argues with the other side that makes her cheeks burn.
Images of the water park, Clarke’s bare back and wet shorts invade her mind uninvited.
Unlike Serah’s, Clarke’s pants bunch a little around her waist but don’t hit the floor.
Thank god , rational speaks, but the emotional side of Lexa’s brain lets out a disappointed sigh.
“Okay.” The alpha’s voice grounds Lexa back from her thoughts, her fingers clutching the towel in an iron grip.
“Use both hands.” Clarke demonstrates, waiting for Serah to copy her actions. “Make sure you’re close enough to not let any miss. Here.” Clarke takes a step closer to the toilet, and Serah wiggles on her stool.
“But you’re way bigger than me,” Serah whines at her disadvantage. “I need to get so close.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll be as big as me in no time.” Clarke uses one hand to ruffle Serah’s hair, and Lexa cringes. Alphas , she thinks just as Clarke’s hand goes back to her front and Lexa has to bite back a whimper.
“Fuck,” she murmurs to herself. That was not the reaction she wanted to have around a pantless Clarke. She’s getting emotional whiplash as she struggles between her maternal side, her omega, and the part of her that refuses to let Clarke break down her walls.
“Now …” Clarke opens a cheetos package and throws one in the toilet. “Pretend the cheeto is a boat on fire. And what are we?”
“Fi’efights!” Serah answers with a bright smile, turning her body to look at Clarke. Clarke laughs and uses the same hand from before to align Serah’s body with the toilet again.
“Keep facing it,” she instructs. “So our job is to put out the fire with all we’ve got. You ready?”
Serah agrees in quick motions, giggling when, under Clarke’s lead, the sound of liquid hitting the toilet echoes in the corridor.
“Keep going,” Clarke encourages as Serah pokes out her tongue in concentration.
Something melts inside Lexa’s heart. Something she craved under tears and hate, for years, and the faded scar on her neck makes itself known with a low burn on her olive skin. She doesn’t dwell on it, focusing on Serah’s smile as she looks up at Clarke.
“Shake it only twice. More than that and you’re playing with it,” Clarke warns, and uses her right hand to show how it’s done.
“Why I can’t play with it?” There is such innocence in Serah’s tone that Clarke laughs.
Lexa herself has her ears tinged pink.
“You need to wait a few more years for that.” Clarke tucks herself back into her pants and helps Serah with her shorts. “Don’t forget to lower the seat and flush the toilet.”
Serah does as instructed, and Clarke helps her wash her hands.
“See? You did great!” The young girl jumps at Clarke’s neck at the praise. In her hurry to get out of the bathroom, she tumbles into Lexa.
“Mommy!” Serah beams, one hand secure in Clarke’s grip. “I peed standing up! And I didn’t miss!”
Lexa meets Clarke’s eyes, who is still blushing, and smiles when Clarke mimics “a little bit” with her fingers.
“That’s amazing, baby girl.” Lexa kneels in front of her daughter. “What about a bath now, huh?”
“Can Clake come too?” The girl pulls Clarke closer.
Apology and hope battle in Clarke’s eyes, but she doesn’t push and waits for Lexa’s call. She always waits for Lexa’s permission in every milestone, as she promised she would, and it warms Lexa’s heart.
“She can help wash your hair,” Lexa says to Serah. The pup squeaks victoriously and pulls Clarke back inside the bathroom.
It’s not just Clarke’s pheromones. It’s more than pure instincts that guide the caress and love Clarke demonstrates towards Serah. It’s true devotion that washes Serah’s hair and tries to learn how to brush it without much of a fuss.
Lexa wonders if Clarke is capable of being Serah’s parent; or if the true question is whether or not Lexa is capable of allowing her to be.
The pup is sound asleep, securely tucked into Clarke’s shoulder as she carries her to the car in front of Abby’s house. Clarke uses the delicacy of a healer’s hand to ease the sleeping Serah into her car seat, and not without a kiss on her forehead.
“Liam’s birthday is next week,” Lexa comments, eyes down. She’s angry with herself for being nervous, but Clarke is affecting her in ways she doesn't expect, or doesn’t want to admit. “Raven will call you.”
“Yeah, it’s a day after I move to the new apartment,” Clarke slips the information as casually as she can, but Lexa sees her nervousness in the way she doesn’t meet her eyes. “It’s closer to the hospital.”
Lexa nods, and Serah whines in her sleep.
“See you next week.” Without prolonging the goodbye, Lexa walks to the driver’s side and gets in.
Clarke watches until the car turns the curve down the street.
“She’s amazing,” Clarke breathes, admiration in every syllable.
“Which one?” Abby provokes, and Clarke can’t hide a smile.
Inside the car Serah sleeps peacefully with Lexa’s eyes moving to her every now and then in the mirror. With a deep breath, Lexa feels Clarke’s remaining scent on both their skins, the alpha unconsciously marking her territory on her mate and pup. It happens quite frequently when they go out with Clarke, her mate needing to feel her own scent on them.
It’s a foreign word for Lexa.
And whose fault is that?
The snarl is out her mouth before she can suppress it, and Serah stirs in her sleep. Lexa forces herself to relax, pumping calming pheromones out for her child. Behind them, Abby’s house is out of sight, and so is Clarke with her pleading pale eyes.
And great pale butt.
Lexa swallows the snarl at her reaction this time.
It’s a familiar feeling when a little piece of warmth freezes in her heart again.
There’s something magical about kids birthdays. A house full of souls too young to understand the weight of life, too preoccupied with eating cake and candy to realize the nostalgia of time passing. It’s beautiful and precious, a party of royals and knights and jesters from imaginary kingdoms.
And today, Liam is the King.
Even stoic Anya melts at the cuteness that is her pup wearing a blue crown as he celebrates his second birthday. Kids run throughout the backyard and the living room, and with Raven making balloon animals (snakes in all sorts of colors) and Clarke leading the art corner, the party is a success.
Lexa sips a soda while she watches Clarke painting Serah and Liam’s faces. Both kids giggle and wiggle under the ticklish brush, their laughs a beautiful, happy sound.
“She’s good to her.” The voice brings Lexa out of her thoughts, and she turns to find Anya sitting next to her on the couch.
“Yeah.” Lexa takes another sip from her beverage and the omegas watch as Clarke paints a colorful rainbow on Serah’s cheek. Liam protests that he wants one too.
“Doesn’t it bother you? Because it bothers me,” Anya says somewhat irritated.
“It’s complicated,” Lexa responds tersely. She refuses to meet Anya’s eyes, preferring to look at Clarke and the pups. The alpha finishes the rainbows and moves to flowers on their cheeks.
“Have you talked to Serah?” Anya’s tone softens, and she also turns to the scene.
“Not yet,” Lexa admits.
“You should. I still don’t think Clarke should be off the hook that easily, but … she’s good to her,” Anya admits. “That has to count for something.”
Liam runs to Raven — who finishes another perfect snake balloon — to show Clarke’s paint job.
Anya focuses on her son, but Lexa’s eyes remain on Serah. Her daughter watches with interest the way Liam throws himself in Raven’s arms, smudging the flower on his cheek. The alpha praises her son, cleaning up the paint to stroke it on his nose.
Serah looks down at her feet, her eyes losing their mirth and lip caught between her teeth. Lexa’s heart breaks because she knows that expression: sadness.
Clarke notices too, and it only takes a whisper from the alpha to get Serah laughing again. Clarke tickles her belly and Serah runs to the backyard, Clarke following on her heels while growling like a dinosaur.
The brief, but all too familiar, moment of sadness in her daughter’s eyes pushes Lexa to make a decision.
“You’re right. Clarke is good to her,” she agrees with Anya and rests her head on her cousin’s shoulder.
Hours later, when parents can’t take another hour of sugar high pups, Serah finds herself atop Clarke’s shoulder, being carried to Lexa’s car.
“She’s staying at Abby’s tonight?” Clarke asks, helping Serah into her backseat.
“Yes, because I’m working tomorrow morning. I believe you already moved to your new apartment?”
“Yeah, I’ll take a cab later.” Clarke hides both hands in her pockets. Lexa has a sudden need to brush the stray curls that have fallen from her ponytail, shaking the thought away with a frown. She steels herself for what she says next.
“Maybe we can have dinner next week at that Italian place with the ball pool.”
Clarke agrees, smiling at Lexa. “Sure. Can you pick me up? I can text you the address.”
Clarke has no clue what Lexa wants to discuss that night. It sounds too much like any another dinner, and Lexa likes it that way. Gives her the chance to back away if she can’t do it.
“See you, Clarke.” Lexa nods, hoping Clarke can’t see her nervousness.
She doesn’t, eyes fixed on the back seat as she waves goodbye to Serah.
Clarke is still waving at the car when they turn down the street.
Chapter 3: Mustard Hot Dog
It’s not a hot summer night, but sweat pools on Clarke's lower back. She clears her throat, Lexa’s SUV approaching the curb close to her apartment. She sees Serah’s smiling face at the window, waving excitedly from her chair and Clarke grins at her, grounding herself at her daughter’s smile. She needs to control her reactions — pheromones and mind — before Lexa stops the car. Taking a deep breath, she adjusts her jeans and shirt, leaving the last button up undone for fresh air.
If only Lexa knew how much breathing can be a challenge when Clarke is around her.
“Hey,” Clarke greets Lexa with a kind smile and reaches to pat Serah’s knee. “I like your shirt,” she comments at the red and blue on Serah’s t-shirt.
“It’s Spide-Man!” She throws both hands in the air, fingers twisting in an attempt to copy the super-hero’s trademark gesture.
Clarke laughs, turning to put the seat belt on. “I thought you didn’t like spiders,” she says at Lexa, whose eyes are fixed on the road.
“I had to learn how to deal with them on my own.” The blow behind the words hits Clarke, the unspoken since you weren’t there to kill them for me hanging heavily.
Clarke swallows, unsure if the reply requires a response. She remembers how Lexa would whine and beg until Clarke expelled every eight legged creature from the apartment — one of the few weakness Lexa allowed herself to show.
“But I’m okay if they are red, blue and human,” Lexa completes, stoic as ever, green eyes still unmoving from the street ahead of them.
Clarke suppress any further comment. She’s getting used to the passive-aggressive bombs followed by what sounds suspiciously like humor from Lexa. It’s a glimpse at what must be the omega’s mind towards Clarke: anger, frustration and resentment pilling up with Lexa’s natural reaction to her mate and Clarke’s unshakable willingness to make things right.
Lexa’s face is impassive under the passing streetlights, the shadows cast over her high cheekbones highlighting the mix of greens in her eyes. That look says what Clarke’s instincts tells her: being worth of Lexa’s forgiveness is going to be the hardest thing she has ever done; and she had once led an appendectomy without electric power.
The alpha is taking the first step to a long walk to redemption.
Blue and yellow tremble to the left, and Serah turns hurriedly, not blinking to catch any sign of movement. Red and green bubble from behind her, too fast for the pup to follow, and a rainbow explodes on her when Clarke emerges from the plastic balls, picking Serah up in her arms and growling wildly, blowing raspberries at her belly and extending the endless giggles.
It’s a corner in a simple restaurant, but Clarke loves the pup in her arms and the plastic castle with the colorful ball pool is her safe heaven tonight. Lexa avoided any kind of conversation when they ordered, and running to the kids playground was Clarke's escape route. A silent Lexa is more deadly than anything, she has learned.
After the pup has made a few friends — and introduced Clarke to them as “she likes Spide-Man too” — Clarke walks to their table. She isn’t surprised when Lexa’s eyes remain on the kids area for a minute after Clarke takes a seat.
“I want you to tell her,” Lexa says after a long gulp of her lemon flavored water. Clarke looks up from the beverage menu to find green eyes locked on her face.
“I want you to tell Serah that you’re her sire.”
Clarke’s face lights up, her mouth open in agreement, but Lexa’s doesn’t let her interrupt.
“I want you to answer her questions when she asks why you left; why you weren’t there for her birthdays, and why you are here now.”
The effect is immediate on Clarke’s features, the soberness of Lexa’s tone washing her hope away. Clarke nods, taking it silently, focusing on the menu. She feels like ordering a vodka, but relents to orange juice.
When the waiter walks away and Lexa keeps watching Serah, Clarke wonders if Serah is the only one with those questions; the only one wondering why she came back home.
“You know why I left,” she starts, gauging Lexa’s reactions. It’s nothing but the clench of a jaw. “Do you want to know why I came back?”
Lexa shrugs, but the display of nonchalance is the giveaway to her curiosity.
“It took me years of getting my shit together,” Clarke forces the words out, wanting to see Lexa’s eyes, but the omega never turns her head. “It took me years to be whole again. To battle and win against shame, nerves and pain.” Clarke’s nose flares at the way Lexa refuses to meet her eyes, like if she did, she would see how vulnerable Clarke is being, how open and raw the alpha is, and that she wouldn’t allow Clarke to be vulnerable, human . “I wanted to be whole for you.”
That earns her a sideways glance. And silence. It hits a nerve and Lexa doesn’t talk until the food arrives and she has to call Serah.
The pup eats fast, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese everywhere while she tells Lexa and Clarke about her friends at the playground. She accepts Lexa’s help with her spoon when she fails for the third time to catch the olive on her plate, but defies her mother’s assistance all together after it pops into her mouth.
Clarke catches on Lexa’s lips forming a thin line.
After the usual change of shirts, Serah runs to the other kids. Clarke orders dessert, extending the dinner and challenging Lexa’s silence.
A deep breath later, Lexa finds Clarke’s blue eyes.
“She gets that from you. The stubbornness.”
A golden eyebrow shoots up. “You think I’m the stubborn one?”
“If you came back only for me — ” Lexa glances at the glass window that opens to the avenue bordering the restaurant. The sun sets quietly, unaware of the battles fought in the table — “you shouldn’t have bothered.”
The waiter chooses the unfortunate moment to place the slices of apple pie on the center of the table. Lexa thanks the man with a polite nod, while Clarke frowns and feels the hole in her chest deepening, clawing and laughing at the last remains of her hope.
“Do you really mean that?” Words fight their way out of her dry lips, shaking against her will.
Silence again. A light shadow of a tremble crosses the omega’s chin, her jaw working relentlessly, but not a single vowel comes out those beautiful plump lips.
The caramelized pie mocks Clarke, the noise of the restaurant diminishing to a continuous tune, high and deafening. The alpha stares at her plate, questioning herself if she should keep trying.
The scratching sound of Lexa’s chair against the wood floor breaks her induced haze. Clarke stands up on reflex, and it’s when she hears it.
Serah is crying.
It’s the first time she hears it, really hears it besides eventual tantrums. She follows Lexa between tables, waiters and other kids passing by her waist, but her focus is solely on her pup’s wail.
Lexa hesitates at the entrance of the small plastic castle, but Clarke pushes the fragile wall down in a demonstration of a surgeon calmness and strength, a calculated move to get to Serah.
The pup stops her loud cry when Clarke approaches her, nose running and knee bloodied and scraped. She looks up at Clarke with clear eyes, almost blue when washed by tears. Two other parents stand next to the crying pup, but they give space to Clarke as soon as she crouches to inspect Serah’s knee.
When she’s sure it’s nothing serious, a smile tugs at her lips.
“Stand aside, I’m a doctor. Do you know the verdict?” She says in the most serious tone she can muster at Serah, the emotional roller coaster from her conversation with Lexa pushed away in her mind.
Serah sniffles, shaking her head and accepting when Clarke picks her up.
“We need a special medicine, or I’m going to cut the foot off.”
Green-bluish eyes widen, red-rimmed but drying. “I don’t like medicine,” Serah wines.
“Clarke.” Lexa finally makes her way to the commotion, scolding Clarke’s antics with one hand at Serah’s small back.
When the other parents don’t give them space to leave the playground, Clarke nods to the now silent girl in her arms. “It’s okay, she’s ours. Thank you.”
Clarke passes Serah to Lexa in a fluid motion, careful with the bruised knee. “Do you know what the medicine is?” Clarke asks as they walk to the table, the pup’s head tucked on Lexa’s shoulder and Clarke following behind, eyes on her daughter.
Serah shakes her head again, eyes turning to their usual shade of green without tears.
It’s beautiful how the same lungs that can wail in pain can do it in excitement mere moments later. Serah uses her hands to eat the pie and, for once, Lexa let it go.
Clarke feels Lexa’s eyes on her, studying, analyzing, thinking and overthinking. She focuses on Serah, cleaning her knee when the waiter offers a first aid kit.
She wants to tell Serah. She wants to affirm the young alpha that she loves her, cherishes her and misses the years they’ve been apart.
Not tonight, though.
Tonight her heart has been broken by one pair of green eyes already. Clarke can’t take another rejection.
Few moments in life can be described as an epiphany to relief or simply heaven ; and one of those moments is the sweet second a tired body hits the mattress after a twenty-four hour shift at a public hospital.
If Clarke had to perform another long surgery in another tiny body, she would promptly collapse.
Collapse she does, in her new apartment, thousand-something threads sheets undone and crumpled around her towel-clad body — too tired for pajamas.
Her eyelids have been closed for precious fifteen minutes when the shrill sound of her ringtone dares to disturb her deserved rest. She considers ignoring it, but forces an aimless hand to grab the device from her purse on the floor.
“Dr. Griffin.” Her voice drips exhaustion from every minute she hasn’t slept in the last three days, not only work pushing her away from sound sleep. Since Lexa’s rejection, Clarke has been having trouble sleeping, thinking of how she could convince Lexa to give her another chance — or if she should keep trying at all.
Clarke braces herself for an impromptu work call, but instead, Lexa’s voice comes through.
“Is it a bad time, Clarke?”
The apha is up in a second, phone almost hitting the floor in her hurry. Lexa hasn’t called her since the dinner, and her next encounter with Serah would be in three days.
“Lexa. Hi.” She covers her chest with the towel before realizing Lexa can’t see her. “Hi.” She’s happy Lexa can’t see her blush either.
“I need a favour.”
Clarke nods and hums in consent. She wonders if the favour will include wearing pants and concludes wearing pants around Lexa would be wise.
It takes another second and Lexa clearing her throat for Clarke’s brain start to function properly.
“My battery died and my car is in the shop right now. Can you pick up Serah and wait until I get it fixed?”
Red-rimmed eyes glance at the alarm clock next to the bed, bright green showing it’s a quarter to three pm.
“Sure. Text me the address.”
“Are you sure it’s not a bad time? I tried calling Anya, but—”
“Lexa. I can pick her up.”
Stretched seconds pass until Clarke hears a long exhale. “You can wait at the park near the daycare. She’ll be hungry, so give her lunch.”
“I’ll be there in an hour or so. Thank you.”
Clarke tries to ignore how the sound of Lexa’s voice and breathing is not helping her current sleep-deprived, pantless and slightly horny state, focusing on keeping her voice even.
The cellphone falls heavily on the bedside table, Clarke standing up and stretching her tired limbs.
It’s about time she feels in her own skin that having kids means no decent sleep.
The ice cream shop has a direct view to the park, strategically situated so kids and parents could see it from every angle. It takes the slightest of pouts for Serah to convince Clarke that ice cream is good enough for lunch.
The pout never quite faded from Serah’s lips. It remains, full and red while the pup colors the drawing given to her by the shop staff. Clarke has her own copy of the black and white Spider-Man, sharing the pencils with Serah in the same fashion they share the ice cream.
Black, grey and brown flourish on the pup’s drawing, harsh stokes rather impaling Spider-Man than coloring it. Clarke frowns at her daughter's art.
If Serah needs to express something, Spider-Man will agree it is anger.
“How was your day?” Clarke asks, eyes on her own drawing. Serah takes a deep breath and shoves her drawing aside, grabbing another spoonful and chewing slowly, pout stained with the pink ice cream. She is so much like Lexa that it hurts.
“I’m not doing the play. I wanna, but they said it’s sie’s day, so I can’t do the play.”
It’s a hurried babble and part of the ice cream falls on her shirt (Lexa is going to adore another stained shirt), though Clarke understand the gist of it.
Serah wants to do something and someone told her she won’t be able to do it.
“The forest play!” Serah answers with conviction, and Clarke is still at the first step of the “understanding a stressed four year old” climb.
“Like a theater play?”
“Yeah,” Serah mumbles, and just like that drops the subject, focused on her monochromatic Spider-Man.
Clarke studied for a decade in prestigious schools to get her title of surgeon, and still can’t figure out what her daughter means. Is it a holiday play? The alpha contours the red uniform of her own Spider-Man while thinking.
It hits her with the force of a train.
Sire’s day. Play.
“The school said you couldn’t be on the sire’s day play because you don’t have a sire?” Clarke rambles and Serah stares at her with big green eyes, shining with anger and resignation.
Lexa is going to kill Clarke.
She looks at Serah and sees vivid forests, trees that flew to flirt with the sky and crashed back into newborn vales; and like that, coloring a Spider-Man and eating strawberry chocolate chips with her daughter, Clarke understands she has to tell those beautiful eyes who she is.
“Do you know why you call Abby your grandmother?”
Serah seems to genuinely think about the question, chestnut eyebrows knit in concentration.
“She’s my sie’s sie?”
“Yeah,” Clarke laughs quietly to herself. “Yeah she is. Do you know that Abby’s my sire?”
Tangled curls sway when Serah shakes her head.
Clarke takes a deep breath to steady herself, but Serah beats her before the confession.
“Do you know my sie? Mommy said she left.”
Beautiful, beautiful eyes. Serah is the most marvelous thing Clarke has ever had the chance of making. It breaks her heart to hear the defeat in the tiny voice.
“She never wanted to leave you. She loves you so much.” Clarke’s voice breaks and she clears her throat. Green eyes had always anchored her, and now is no different. “And she is back now.”
Serah’s eyes squint in Lexa’s fashion, confused and suspicious. Her four-year-old brain tries to process the information; Clarke’s hands tremble around her empty ice cream cup.
“I’m your sire, Serah. I’m sorry I wasn’t here before, but … I am here now. And I won’t leave.”
Green widen in surprise, then squint in the same suspicious way and Clarke’s heart is so loud she can’t hear herself breathing. Serah doodles on the hero’s head in silence, and Clarke is sure she is going to have a heart attack if the pup doesn’t say something.
Crystal green meets Clarke with whiplash speed, cheeky grin to match. “Can you go to sie’s day with me? Than I can do the play!”
Yes. Yes, yes, yes, Clarke can.
Clarke swipes Serah from her chair, growing used to the weight of little arms around her neck. “You will be awesome in that play. I love you, Serah.” She kisses Serah’s high cheekbones, and the arms around her neck tighten as the pup buries her face on Clarke’s neck.
“I like the way you smell,” she says quietly, voice muffled on Clarke’s golden hair.
“And I like the way you smell.”
They have a second ice cream before Lexa arrives, and this time Serah’s Spider-Man is a mix of green, blue and yellow. Clarke reads Lexa’s text to meet at park’s fountain; she carries Serah and her small backpack, the tiredness from earlier forgotten due to the adrenaline rush of telling Serah she’s her sire.
Clarke stiffens when she sees Lexa, the calming sounds of the flowing water not making a dent at the tense muscles. Serah reacts in the same way when Clarke’s pheromones peak, frown and pout in place.
Next to Lexa is an alpha. She’s tall, dark skinned and athletic built.
Clarke doesn’t like it.
“Hey, baby,” Lexa greets Serah first, allowing Clarke to handle her the pup. “What’s wrong, are you okay?” she asks at Serah’s pout, but the small alpha nods and tucks herself on the safety of her mother’s embrace.
“Thank you, Clarke.” Lexa finally acknowledges the other alpha’s presence, nodding gratefully. “She wasn’t much trouble was she?”
“Not at all.” If Lexa picks up on the undertone in Clarke’s voice, she doesn’t comment on it. But it is impossible to miss the icy stare Clarke shoots at the other alpha.
“Clarke, this is Costia. She works with me and gave me a ride, since my car won’t be ready until tomorrow.”
Tall, dark and handsome offers a handshake and Clarke uses extra force in it.
“Detective Costia,” she says with all possible alpha innuendos and Clarke’s fair hair on her neck bristles.
“Dr. Clarke Griffin.”
A clearing of throat breaks the stare contest. Clarke flushes when she sees the annoyed expression on Lexa’s face.
Costia tries to say hi to Serah, who doesn’t bother looking up from the comfortable spot on Lexa’s neck. Clarke loves her daughter even more.
“All set to go, Lex?” Detective Costia asks and Clarke bites her tongue not to growl.
“Costia is giving us a ride home,” Lexa explains and Clarke swears it is a blush on her cheeks.
“I can give you a ride.” Clarke steps closer. After the apartment, getting a car was the next step. “I got that new car seat, you could check it out.” It is true, but still a weak argument. Costia narrows her dark eyes and has the audacity to place a hand on Lexa’s lower back.
“It’s no problem to take you,” she says in a low tone.
Serah mumbles something in Lexa’s ear, and the omega frowns at Clarke, ignoring both alpha’s statements.
“What did you give her for lunch?”
Clarke hisses and answers not meeting Lexa’s eyes. “Ice cream?”
“She has a stomachache.” It’s short, harsh and on point, and Clarke looks at the ground. It’s a defeat, and the smug smile on Costia’s face tells her so, but she tries to turn it on her favor.
“So you guys should come with me. I’m pretty sure Detective Costia would hate some pup’s puke on her leather seats.”
Costia has the grace to try and hide her grimace. It doesn’t work.
“Let’s go so I can make her some tea.” There’s resolution on Lexa’s voice. She nods her thanks to Costia and follows Clarke to her car, whispering at Serah and caressing the pup’s hair.
Serah doesn’t throw up on Clarke’s car, much to her sire’s relief, though the pup’s well being is an excuse to call Lexa’s apartment later that night.
“She got better after some warm tea,” Lexa replies over the phone. She sounds as tired as Clarke is.
“Lexa,” Clarke starts, nose flattening with a deep breath. “This afternoon, when Serah—”
“I know,” Lexa cuts her in an emotionless tone. “Serah told me.”
Holding her breath, Clarke waits for a comment that doesn’t come. She threats her fingers through her hair, pacing on her living room.
“And?” she asks when Lexa offers anything else.
“Sire’s day is in two weeks, on Saturday, five o’clock. You can pick us up.”
Lexa can’t see the fist pump Clarke celebrates in her quiet living room.
“Thank you, Clarke.” It’s softer than before, though said in exhaustion. Clarke wants to ask what’s wrong.
She wants to ask what the problem is so she can fix it; she wants to ask about Costia; she wants to ask Lexa to trust her.
Instead, she says good night and imagines Lexa’s lips moving in the quiet yawn she hears, then the blush when she whispers, “See you later.”
A forgotten soccer game plays on the TV as Clarke downs her second beer. It’s her night off, and there is nothing in this world she wouldn’t do to spend time with Serah and Lexa, but it’s not that day of the week yet.
So Clarke sits in sweatpants and an old college hoodie, watching soccer and drinking overpriced beers.
Louder than the referee’s whistle, the intercom chirps angrily, and it takes Clarke a whole minute to get up from her leather chair to placate the buzzing device.
“Griffin!” comes Raven’s outraged voice and Clarke groans before the other alpha can continue. “Open up, it’s Raven.”
Clarke forgot their meeting, much like she had done last week.
When Raven barges through the front door, she thrusts a six pack into Clarke’s chest.
“You forgot it, didn’t you?”
Clarke’s shrug goes with a sheepish smile. “I have to write this down.”
“The point of a weekly meeting is that it happens every week.” Raven throws herself on Clarke’s chair, pulling up the footrest, a relieved sigh escaping her along with the squeaking leather. “God, I’m in love with this chair. Where did you get it?”
Clarke opens one of the cans and handles it to Raven. “Internet. And I finally managed to charge the battery.” She points to the hidden set of buttons at the armchair and Raven’s eyes sparkle. When it bursts to life with vibration, Raven moans.
“This is better than sex.”
Clarke takes a long sip from her own beer. “Fuck off.”
Brown eyes open from their haze, crinkling at the corners in what seems empathy. “Sorry, man. Didn’t mean it like that.”
Clarke’s sexual frustration is no secret; any mated alpha is painfully aware that having your mate close but not having them is pure torture.
Raven clicks off the chair and swallows a mouthful of beer, fingers tapping the can. “So … you spilled the beans.”
Clarke, now comfortable on the couch, raises an eyebrow from behind her beer.
“The An-Lex radio works twenty-four-seven, Clarke. I know you told Serah.” Raven smiles, and Clarke can’t read if it’s sympathetic or just happy.
“Yeah. She invited me to Sire’s Day.” Clark doesn’t meet Raven’s eyes, suddenly focused on her empty beer can. “You know, at the daycare.”
When she gathers enough courage to look up, Raven’s smile is still there.
“That’s great, Clarke. Really it’s … I know it means a lot.”
How Clarke can put it into words? How can she say that having Serah in her life gave her purpose? She came back thinking she was finally complete, only to understand she left behind the one thing that could heal her.
Clarke clears her throat, searching for the remote control to mute the TV. “Can I ask you something?”
“It’s about Lexa.”
Raven squints at her. “C’mon, Clarke, don’t do this to me. Anya always, always knows when I tell you something and I hate sleeping on the couch.”
“Just one question.”
“The couch, Clarke. That’s how serious she’s about it.”
“Help me out here, please.” Clarke’s eyes shine a soft blue, and behind it there’s a hint of pain. The doubt is consuming her mind, her body … she needs to know.
Raven huffs, motioning for another beer. “Okay, okay, don’t look at me like that. What about Lexa?”
Clarke fumbles with the remote control, not meeting Raven’s eyes as she asks, “Did she date anyone while I was … away?” She looks up at the last word, unable to read Raven’s eyes, dark and mysterious.
Raven focus on the TV for a moment, teeth closed on her lower lip. Clarke fears she won’t say anything when she sighs the only thing Clarke is not ready to hear.
“Yes. She did.”
It’s hard not to react, so Clarke doesn’t try. She frowns, thinking of the tall detective in the park.
“Who?” she forces the phrase out, though Clarke expects the answer.
Raven won’t ask if it matters. She’s an alpha; she knows.
“It wasn’t serious. An alpha from work, for a few months.”
Of course it would be Costia.
“How do you know if it wasn’t serious?”
At that, Raven smirks.
“Serah didn’t like her. And Lexa was alone when she was in heat.”
The notion that no other alpha knotted Lexa fills Clarke with some subtle sense of pride.
“What about you?”
Clarke hears the faint trace of anger behind the question. She wonders if Raven will tell Anya, and then the information would undoubtedly reach Lexa.
So she tells the truth.
“There was an omega in Kenya.”
Raven’s attention changes from the TV to Clarke in a second. She must have picked up on Anya’s glare.
“She called me to her apartment one afternoon, and we used to hang out with other doctors, so I assumed it was another get together.” Clarke licks her lips, Niylah’s scent a forgotten memory. “She was in heat.”
Raven straightens her shoulders, eyes searching for Clarke’s face. “Did you—”
“I couldn’t do it.” Clarke’s admission falls heavily between them.
“You couldn’t?” Raven cocks her head like a confused puppy.
Red-rimmed eyes meet Raven’s stare. “There was an omega in heat and I couldn’t do it.”
It’s fast, clashing and leaves Raven agape; Clarke sees the moment Raven understands. Those five years weren’t easy on Clarke. Sure, it was hard for Lexa too, but the alpha went through her own hell.
“Here.” Raven tosses her another beer, a small smile in place. “You’re okay now, though?” She points to her own head, and Clarke nods.
“Liam learned how to say dick,” Raven changes the subject with gracious ease, motioning for the remote control to Clarke raise the volume. “Anya is pissed with me, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t get it from me.”
Clarke laughs, quiet and free, a weight she didn’t know she was carrying lifted from her shoulders.
They watch the game in silence, only Raven’s curses when the local team miss a shot interrupting the calm. It is almost over when Clarke asks in the dim lit living room, “Do you think she will ever want me again?”
As a mate.
“Make her see what I saw today. Show her you weren’t out there running for five years.”
“Do I really have a chance?”
There’s a spark under Raven’s eyes. “She had five years to get over you and she didn’t. Don’t ask questions you know the answer, Clarkey.”
Clarke smirks until the end of the game.
The collar of her shirt bites on the base of her neck while she keeps tugging on it. She’s at her third orange soda cup, going for refills every time a parent tries to talk about something she has no idea, like taking care of pups.
Clarke feels somewhat out of place.
Lexa, on the other hand, flows easily between parents and teachers, more comfortable in the territory. Serah and the other kids play at the court in the day care, and Clarke watches her mate making small talk.
It would be better for everyone if there was something stronger than soda in this Sire’s Day celebration.
“I want you to meet Serah’s teacher.” Lexa feels the tense aura around the alpha and decides to take pity on her — not that she’s enjoying Clarke squirm in her feet while other alphas approach her to vaunt about their kids. Not at all.
“Sure.” Clarke plays with the buttons of her shirt as she follows Lexa.
The teacher turns out to be friendly with Clarke, and it’s her first real conversation of the night. Talking to the teacher attracts more attention to the single alpha, and Lexa is the one frowning when she notices omegas approaching Clarke.
When Serah calls Clarke to play with her friends, and Clarke obviously agrees, more omegas and betas feel the pull of the strong alpha. Throughout the night, Lexa has to grit her teeth not to snarl at omegas and female betas getting too touchy with her alpha.
The thought strikes her in a sudden gasp, and she has to excuse herself for fresh air at the way her instincts don’t seem to get the memo that she’s not with Clarke.
Lexa’s nerves calm down at the subtle breeze, the wooden bench outside being her refuge.
She looks up at the voice, frowning, but it softens when she sees who is approaching her.
“Is it okay if I sit down?”
“Of course, Monty.” She smiles at the alpha, another single parent from the daycare.
“Not that I didn’t know she’d be pretty, because Serah’s gorgeous.” His smile never fades and he handles her a cup of something sugary.
Lexa accepts the beverage, but doesn’t say anything. Monty rushes to apologize, “I didn’t mean to pry.”
Lexa gives her best attempt at a sincere smile. “She left for five years and she’s back now. Not so complicated.”
“Seems pretty complicated to me,” he mumbles and takes a sip of his own cup.
She closes her eyes, a deep breath expanding her chest. Monty is the only parent in the daycare she enjoys talking to, and his son is a close friend to Serah. Also being a single parent, he is one of the few qualified to understand her.
“She didn’t know.” The confession is out her mouth before she can rethink. “She was sick when she left, and … she didn’t know I was pregnant.”
Monty looks at her from the corner of his brown eyes. He purses his lips and searches for a flask in his jacket.
“This might help.” He doesn’t ask and pours a hearty quantity in Lexa’s cup.
With a chuckle, Lexa takes the first gulp. “Serah adores her, though.”
Monty completes his soda with the liqueur too. “Good. As long as you agree to everything she’s doing to her.”
Her teeth bite the edge of the plastic cup at the bitter taste mixed with soda. Clarke isn’t pushing her luck and they are trying at friendship again.
So why is she so scared?
Lexa’s second cup is dry when they make their way back inside the daycare. She decides to get something solid in her stomach after Monty’s moonshine and heads for the snack table. Lexa doesn’t have enough time to prepare when a familiar, warm arm sneaks around her shoulder, a known weight for her body.
“Who is that alpha?” Clarke’s voice is raspy with intimidation, dominance. Lexa can’t think straight with the musk scent invading her senses, mouth agape when she tries to respond. She looks up with wide green eyes and Clarke blushes, arm falling at her side. “I’m sorry, I didn’t—”
“It’s okay.” Lexa swallows in her dry throat and curses silently when she takes a step closer to her alpha on pure instinct. Her inner omega wants to cherish the attention and protectiveness.
Her alpha .
“That’s Monty,” Lexa explains, a need to clear the air nagging at her chest. “His son is a good friend of Serah.” A smile tugs at the corner of her full lips when a new flush colors Clarke’s cheek.
The alpha starts to babble another apology when something small and excited stumbles against her legs, making her falter.
“Hi!” Serah looks up at Clarke with the brightest of smiles, receiving a matching one from her sire.
“Did you just have a hot dog?” Clarke pulls her up into her arm, and the pup nods, if the mustard stain on her shirt isn’t proof enough.
“I have another shirt in the car,” Lexa sighs, thumbing off more mustard from her daughter’s cheek. “She needs to be clean for the presentation.”
Clarke kisses Serah’s cheek, laughing while saying she tastes like mustard. She adjusts Serah on her hip and offers a hand to Lexa. “Let’s get you a new shirt, hot dog!”
Serah squeals in delight when Clarke kisses her cheek again, feigning a bite.
It takes a second, but Lexa accepts the hand. It trembles under the warmth of Clarke’s palm, but honestly she isn’t sure who is shaking. “You’ll be great at the play, baby,” Clarke says, leading them back to the parking lot. Serah’s cheek must hurt from her smiles; Clarke had been using different endearment nicknames and Serah adores each one of them.
It’s hard to understand the play because the kids spend half their time on stage waving to their parents. Serah enrolled late into the play, so her role is to be part of the scenery.
She’s a beautiful, laughing and exciting … tree.
The most beautiful tree in the world, Clarke says to her after the play. Serah laughs uncontrollably when Clarke teases her with tickles, and Lexa warns her that she will make their pup throw up all over the car if she keeps that up.
Clarke carries a sleeping Serah up to the third floor in Lexa’s apartment building. The alpha frowns at the old staircase, the out of order note on the elevator yellowed.
Lexa ignores the frowning, emotionally drained for the night. The apartment is clean at least, and she guides Clarke to the bedroom. “She usually sleeps with me,” she says when the alpha follows her to a small room with a bed, a wardrobe and a nightstand.
Silently, Clarke places Serah on the bed. The pup stirs in her sleep and opens groggy green eyes at Clarke once her head hits the pillow.
“Clake?” Her tiny voice makes her parents smile.
“Yeah, munchkin?” Clarke caress the light brown of Serah’s hair.
“Will you stay?”
Clarke hackles at the fear exhaling from Serah. Lexa watches her chest slowly expanding and relaxing, knuckles clenching and releasing as Clarke calms herself. It must be a challenge for Clarke to get used to the pup’s scents, so often an exaggeration of fear or excitement. She almost steps in, but Clarke smiles with certainty, calm, and Serah soften under the light kiss on her forehead.
“I’ll never leave.”
“I promise,” Clarke reaffirms, placing another kiss to her daughter’s head. “You can sleep. You’re safe.”
Serah smiles, and with closed eyes she searches for something. Lexa grabs the stuffed raccoon from the nightstand and handles it to her pup.
“She never sleeps without Mr. Snuggles?” Clarke asks in amusement as Serah’s breathing evens out with her arms around the toy.
“Not if she can choose,” Lexa whispers, leaning down to take off Serah’s shoes.
They leave the room and Lexa wonders if Clarke’s smell will linger on her sheets.
“Do you want coffee? You can call a cab later.”
A thin line covers Clarke’s lips, and blue eyes explore each corner of the apartment. “Sure.”
Heavy silence fills the room until the boiling water cuts it in a sharp whistle. Lexa focus on the pot in front of her, ignoring the worry flowing off Clarke in waves.
“How long have you been living here?”
Lexa serves two cups in absolute silence. She turns and leaves one on the counter for Clarke, who doesn’t stand up from the stool to get it. Clarke’s eyes are set in determination, waiting for an answer.
Long fingers tighten around Lexa’s mug. She should have known Clarke’s reaction to her apartment.
“Before Serah was born,” she admits, eyes on the floor. She doesn’t want to feel intimidated, but Clarke’s pheromones cloud her head with a submission she doesn’t want to give.
“Abby said you sold the old apartment. What happened to the money?”
Lexa finds Clarke’s eyes. “A part is in a fund for Serah, and the other bought this one.” Her eyes are fire and she dares Clarke to ask; dare her to inquire what happened.
Clarke sees something in Lexa’s eyes, mouth open but no question comes out. With a slow blink, the alpha breaks their stare.
Lexa answers anyway.
“I couldn’t get many shifts at the station after Serah was born. Field jobs were out of question. Christ, I don’t even carry my gun anymore.” Lexa closes her eyes, the memory of her life before Serah was born just a blur to the detective. “It’s desk jobs for me now.”
The blush erupting on Clarke’s cheek is pure shame. “Abby …”
“She offered and I refused.” Steel drops from each word and Clarke stands up to meet Lexa’s stinging eyes. “I get along, Clarke. Serah has everything she needs.”
Clarke knew the consequences of her leaving would affect Lexa financially. But with a pup in the equation, her surgeon income made a drastic difference. She takes a step in Lexa’s direction with pleading eyes.
“Move to my apartment.” At Lexa’s eyebrows shooting up to her hairline, Clarke amends quickly, “It’s a three bedroom apartment. Serah would have her own room, and I can take the guest room until I find somewhere else.”
Lexa squints, looking down at the pleading in her mate’s expression. She had wanted to move for years, but the expenses grew each month.
“I’m painting her room,” Clarke continues, hoping to persuade her. “It’s with her favorite colors and animals. She’ll love it. See it before you make the decision.” She takes Lexa’s hand for the second time that night. “Please.”
Instead of calming, the gesture ignites something rooted deep in Lexa’s chest.
“You can’t do this.” She pulls her hand away, clasping it firmly around her mug. Clarke has to take a step back at the fierceness in Lexa’s voice. “You can’t just vaunt into our lives like nothing happened and try to save the day!” Her voice escalates and Clarke show her palms up, but Lexa doesn’t stop. “You left , Clarke. I took care of Serah the best way I could and there’s anything she doesn’t have! So what that we have a small apartment? It’s better for us to sleep in the same bed when she cries at night missing someone she never even met !”
“Lexa, please—” The alpha tries to placate her tone, but Lexa is furious.
“You fucking abandoned us! And what happened was not an excuse to have done what you did!” Tears streak down Lexa’s high cheekbones, trailing to drop down her chin.
They turn their heads at the same time when a quiet sniffle fills the room.
“Serah, wait—” Clarke recovers first from the shock, but Serah closes the bedroom door, her crying louder when Lexa is silent. Clarke tries to pass through Lexa to get to the bedroom while the omega tries to do the same. They bump and Lexa’s coffee spills, falling on her shirt but mostly on Clarke’s hand.
The alpha bites back a yelp, a cursed hiss escaping her lips.
“It’s okay, just go,” Clarke says between grunts as she places her hand under the running water in the sink.
Lexa mumbles an apology and jogs to the bedroom.
Long minutes pass before she emergers, calmer and silent. Her presence calms Clarke, who sits on the stool with a frozen peas bag over one hand.
“You calmed her,” Clarke deduces from the omega pheromones. “Is she okay?”
“She had never seen me yell before.” Lexa doesn’t meet Clarke’s eyes and searches one of the cabinets, finding a burn ointment. “She’s asleep.” She looks up to ask a silent question and Clarke nods, extending her hand.
Wordlessly, Lexa applies the medicine on the angry red skin.
“I’m sorry.” Lexa doesn’t move her hand over Clarke’s.
“I deserve worse.” Clarke’s phrase dies in a dry chuckle, and Lexa looks up from their joined hands to find red rimmed eyes.
“I …” Lexa takes a deep breath, finger twitching under Clarke’s. “I can come over to see the apartment this week.”
Clarke’s eyes brighten at that. “Of course. We could sell this one and put it in Serah’s college fund.”
Lexa nods. The tension slowly leaves their bodies, and exhaustion sets in at the late hour.
“You can stay, if you want.” Lexa pulls her hand away and turns as heat burns her face and down her neck. “The couch is shitty, but you can manage.”
“I can manage,” Clarke repeats, standing and placing a hand on Lexa’s shoulder. When the omega meets her eyes, she smiles. “Thank you, Lexa.”
The touch on her shoulder burns, not entirely unpleasant feeling. She shrugs it off and pretends not to see the hurt on Clarke’s eyes.
The golden frown is deeper on Clarke’s forehead when Lexa comes back from her room with a blanket and a pillow. She doesn’t let Clarke help while she prepares the couch. With a deep breath, she breaks their long silence.
“Clarke? I need you to ask you something.”
The worry line extends from Clarke’s forehead to between her eyes. “Anything.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”
The alpha’s eyes harden for a moment, then settle in softness, caress. Lexa wonders if it’s also love.
“Never.” The response is final and true.
If Clarke ever breaks that promise, Serah won’t be the most devastated left behind.
Hidden in the breeze there is a promise of cold later in the day, an assurance today is the last sunny Saturday of October. The blue sky shines peacefully, unaware of the grey clouds growing on the horizon.
Clarke’s golden mane whips aimlessly against the open window, the longer strands tickling at her face. A song about animals and animals’ sounds — that’s all Liam is about these days — plays on the SUV radio, Raven mumbling the song with the same enthusiasm as her son in the backseat.
“Are we there yet?” Serah asks while hugging her precious Mr. Snuggles close to her chest, the seat belt protecting not only her but the stuffed animal too. Liam tries to bite her toy’s ear, though it’s clear is simple to annoy Serah, who snatches it away every time his tiny teeth close around the pointed ear.
“Almost there, sweetie.” Clarke pats her daughter's knee from the passenger seat, glancing sideways to Raven, who grunts her agreement without taking her eyes off the road. “What are you excited to do when we get there?”
Green and hazel sparkle and the pups look at each other before replying in unison, hands in the air. “Monkey roll!”
It’s an excited shriek, but Clarke has been listening about the kids roller coaster for two weeks now and she understands it. Raven denies to this day that the roller coaster is in the shape of a monkey, but relents to it when Liam cries that it is.
That’s how a new commercial about the amusement park an hour long drive away got Clarke and Raven to spend their Saturday with their precious kids.
Precious and loud when the pups start babbling about all the monkey, giraffe and every other possible animal shaped attraction. Anya was supposed to be with them too, but was called at work late yesterday.
Clarke has a feeling Lexa would not have allowed Serah to spend the entire day with her without Anya, since Lexa had a Saturday shift. But the parents had promised Serah and Liam that they would go, and none of the adults was ready to face the pup’s wrath; not on a Saturday at least.
A stop for the bathroom later (plus another requested hourly text update to Lexa) and they make it to the amusement park. Clarke has a light but secure hand on the back of Serah’s neck — there’s too many kids running around and if they lose one of the pups, Raven says castration is the least of their problems — and Liam alternates between holding his sire’s hand and perching on her hips. Clarke carries him after the Monkey roll and on their way to the Zoo Carousel because of Raven’s bad leg, though Raven covers it by taking Serah’s hand.
The texts Clarke sends Lexa at the park consist of photos: Liam and Serah’s excited grins before entering the first attraction (a classic caterpillar ride); Raven’s green face when she complained about her vertigo; and an extra selfie of Clarke and Serah making bubble gum bubbles — well, Serah tries, half of it falling from her plump lips at the image.
After two hours in the park that feel like an entire day on Clarke’s lower back, they have a lunch consisted of corn dogs and apple juice — one part of it should be healthy. Both Serah and Liam have their fingers greased from the food and ketchup stains on their cheeks when Clarke snaps another picture.
It’s the happiest Clarke has been in years.
“Anya’s getting them too, right?” Raven asks with her mouth half full.
“I guess Lexa is sending them over to her.” Clarke sighs when another blob of ketchup falls from Serah’s mouth as she talks about the last ride. There goes t-shirt number two (number one fell after the ice cream incident first thing in the park).
Serah finishes her corn dog with a satisfied burp that neither Clarke nor Raven have the guts not to laugh at. Serah and Liam join in the laugher and Clarke wonders how angry Lexa would be if it happened at the dinner table.
“What’s a knothead, mom?” Serah asks still in mid-laugh, making both Clarke and Raven stop and look at each other.
Clarke doesn’t know if her deepest shock is from Serah saying “knothead” or calling her mom. Raven graciously steps in. “It’s a way people call stubborn alphas. But you shouldn’t repeat it.”
“Knot'ead,” Liam tries the word to himself and Raven rolls her eyes, murmuring, “What did I just say.”
“Where did you hear it, sweetie?” Clarke asks and pushes down the tremble in her voice.
“Mommy said it on the phone. She said you and Co’tia are knotheads.”
“It wasn’t our fault, thank god,” Raven breathes, relieved. “We blame Lexa if Anya asks, that’s the plan.”
“Knot'ead!” Liam repeats with more glee and Raven sighs defeated.
“Your mommy meant that I acted a little …” The park day swims in Clarke’s head and she remembers how her pheromones sparked at the presence of the other alpha. “Angry.” It’s a better word than possessive, which would incite more questions. “It’s like calling someone silly-head when they are silly,” she completes, hoping for the best.
Serah digests the information, green eyes lost in thought and Clarke hopes the questioning is over.
“What’s a knot?”
No such luck.
“We are not having this conversation for another ten years. At least,” Clarke declares the subject closed ruffling Serah’s hair. “Let’s get another shirt, shall we?”
Raven taps Clarke’s shoulder as she is digging into her backpack for one of the five clean shirts she packed. “Wanna check the gift shop? They will be excited and there won’t be spinning things,” Raven whispers the last part, one arm messing with Liam’s short hair.
Clarke nods; even though she can handle the rides, there is no way they will be able to keep up with the pups now that they recharged, and the toys will distract them from coming up with complicated questions.
The gift shop is huge and has way too many stuffed animals on the lower shelves — it is harder to say no when the child gets a hold of the present. Raven answers Clarke’s lift eyebrow with a shrug and, “I prefer to spend fifty dollars here than riding with my stomach full.”
Serah’s eyes sparkle with a giraffe stuffed animal that is almost her size and Clarke smiles back at her.
There is almost a complete zoo in their bags when they manage to drag the kids out of the store. Clarke and Raven’s credit cards will feel that part of the trip, though the smile in Serah’s face affirms Clarke that it is worth it.
Saturdays are meant to be enjoyed under the sun, around family and having loud picnics and barbecues. Not buried in paperwork in an office with a broken coffee machine, though that’s all Lexa gets this afternoon.
She worries. How could she not? Her once mate and kid are an hour away in a park full of potential threats. She’s a cop, she knows how many kids get lost or kidnapped in places like that.
Clarke’s texts are the only thing keeping her at work and not running to Serah’s rescue. Her pup’s smiling face in the photos are the most beautiful thing, with blushed cheeks from laughing too hard, hair up in a messy ponytail (Clarke has some serious issues trying to braid Serah’s hair) and green sparkling eyes. And maybe Lexa liked Clarke’s matching grin. Just maybe.
Another beep from her cellphone and Lexa smiles; it morphs into a full grin and she has to suppress a laugh in the middle of the police station.
It’s the first photo with the four of them. Clarke and Raven have identical serious faces, eyes covered by aviators sunglasses. The same sunglasses cover the pups’ eyes, both on their sire’s laps by the angle of the photo. Unlike their progenitors, the pups tried and failed at a serious face that reminds Lexa of when Serah had gas as a baby. However, the aviators on the small kids’ heads is the cutest thing she had ever seen and she sends it to Anya.
The penguin hat is a great touch to Clarke’s serious frown.
Lexa catches herself staring at the alpha’s face when Anya’s messages pops up.
“I’m sure Raven spent at least sixty dollars at the gift shop.”
“Make it a hundred,” Lexa replies with another photo of Serah and Liam hugging an enormous stuffed giraffe.
The rest of her day is defined by moments between Clarke’s texts, until the last one of a sleeping Serah and Liam in the backseat of Raven’s car.
Lexa hesitates when she turns the key. Clarke had given it to her, but it feels foreign to enter Clarke’s apartment as if it is her own.
Clarke doesn’t turn to look at her when Lexa opens the door. Serah is almost asleep on her sire’s lap, wearing pajamas full of little monkeys on it that Lexa suspects is one of the purchases from the park. Clarke has the penguin hat on, chin on top of Serah’s head as the pup lays on her chest.
It’s a beautiful scene, so quiet Lexa doesn’t want to interrupt.
The TV plays a cartoon while Clarke caress her daughter’s hair, still humid from a recent shower.
Lexa’s heart melts a little when blue eyes catch hers, a tired smile forming on Clarke’s face.
“Mommy!” Serah finally notices Lexa by the door, but the day must have been exhausting if the pup doesn’t jump on her feet, only open and closes her tiny fists for Lexa to join them on the living room floor.
Maybe it’s better to reprimand Clarke about the half dozen new stuffed toys scattered around them after Serah is asleep, though Lexa frowns at the fluffy jungle. She makes her way between a crocodile and the immense giraffe, her thigh touching Clarke’s when she leans down to place a kiss on Serah’s cheek.
“How was it today?” Lexa takes a breath while Serah starts an endless tale about her day, telling about the attractions, the food, the gifts, the roller coasters… Lexa’s strongest reaction is when she notices Clarke is wearing a matching pajamas, with monkeys climbing all over green leaves. Serah is on about her day when she arches an eyebrow at Clarke, eyes on the new pajamas, but Clarke simply shrugs and whispers, “We got one for you too.” The whispered confession along the ` penguin hat steals a laugh out of Lexa.
“You insisted on the hat, didn’t you? It’s not even child size.”
Clarke’s smile widens when Lexa caress the penguin’s beak jutting from her forehead. “It was that or the crocodile one. Penguins are cooler.”
Lexa rolls her eyes at Clarke’s bad pun. There’s a familiar warmth in the pitch of her stomach, but she ignores it with a fierce resolution as she kisses Serah’s cheeks one more time.
Serah insists she’s not tired and wants to finish the movie, settling between her parents. Lexa does her best to touch as little as possible of Clarke’s skin, because every time she does … she doesn’t want to think about it. Better to keep ignoring it.
The weight of a day with two pups in a park falls heavily on Clarke’s shoulders, and maybe she is not even noticing the warmth between them. It’s the heater, Lexa decides. Nothing to do with the alpha scent close to her, definitely not.
Serah is almost falling asleep, legs on Clarke’s lap and head on Lexa’s shoulder when she mumbles, “Mom?”
Both Clarke and Lexa answer at the same time. Lexa first reaction is to frown, confused, and Clarke blushes. Unfazed, Serah yawns. “Can I sleep here for a little bit?”
Is Serah calling Clarke—
“Yeah, little penguin. I’ll carry you to bed in a minute,” Clarke answers and the knot between Lexa’s brows deepens.
Once the pup’s eyes are closed, Lexa adjusts Serah against her chest to make sure she’s asleep.
The next five minutes ticks by with dinosaurs on the screen. Lexa waits until Serah’s breathing is even, taking a deep breath herself.
“Is she calling you mom?” It’s whispered, quiet. A secret.
Clarke answers with the same delicacy, “It started today. Are you mad?”
Fear and insecurity shines on the clear eyes looking at Lexa, and she shakes her head.
“No, of course not… it’s just …”
“I’m still getting used to it too,” Clarke confesses.
“It’s …” There must be a word that Lexa can say that won’t give away the battle in her heart. “Good.”
Clarke beams, a smile stretching from cheek to cheek. It’s contagious, and Lexa smiles too. She looks back at the colorful dinosaur on the screen and rests her head over Serah’s soft hair; it smells like lilac and baby powder, with a hint of alpha that Lexa is painfully aware is not from her daughter.
She closes her eyes to rest a little bit from the long day of paperwork, funny texts and the news her daughter is calling Clarke mom .
The voice comes from far away. She’s cozy and sleepy and tired and wishes the voice would stay far away.
“Lex? Lexa? Wake up.”
A soft touch to her shoulder accompanies the voice, and Lexa surrenders to opening one eye. The other follows when realization hits.
Clarke, penguin hat gone but monkeys pajamas still on, kneels next to the couch, eye level with Lexa. Serah’s warm body is long gone and Lexa lays on the comfortable sofa. The TV behind Clarke is off, and Lexa looks away from the blue eyes so close to her to try and find a clock.
“It’s late. Stay over the night,” Clarke suggests. “I’ve made the bed for you. I’ll sleep on the couch.” She offers a hand to Lexa and after another lazy blink, Lexa agrees.
“Your new pajamas is on the bed. And feel free to use the bathroom. There’s a new toothbrush on the counter,” Clarke rambles.
Lexa isn’t sure why the alpha is nervous. Clarke stands awkwardly on her own bedroom’s doorstep, hands clasped behind her back. “I’m working tomorrow. I’ll leave around 8am, so don’t worry if you sleep in or …”
“Clarke.” She’s sleepy and watching Clarke squirm is making her nervous. “It’s okay.”
“Okay. Okay, so …” Clarke looks behind herself, hand on the door handle. “Good night.”
The wood clicks shut and Lexa is alone in her mate’s bedroom.
She puts on the monkey pajamas and don’t dwell on the fact that a picture of the three of them on the cute pajamas would look perfect for a funny Christmas card. Her mind wanders to places she would not allow when fully awake, like a family card with Clarke. Lexa shakes the thought away and falls heavily on the soft bed, releasing a long exhale.
The clock on the nightstand marks midnight. She’s about to fall asleep when her eyes focus on the photo frame next to it. She rests her head on one palm, squinting to recognize Clarke, all sun kissed skin and smiles holding a little boy on her shoulders. Children hug her knee and hips, swarming the doctor with hugs. It’s from her time in Africa.
The picture changes and Lexa notices the digital photo frame; her surprise is swallowed by a gasp at the next image.
Her first thought it Abby . Abby must have given it to Clarke. The anger she expects to build up in her chest never comes, and instead she finds herself reaching for the frame, touching it with curious fingers.
A baby Serah sleeps on Lexa’s shoulder; she’s two, tops. Lexa, all loose curls and sad eyes, looks up at the camera with a small smile.
Lexa remembers that day. It was the first time Serah had seen the sea, exhausting herself with colorful sand toys. Abby had insisted Lexa would go out, enjoy life a little more.
Lexa remembers. She still missed Clarke back then.
The picture changes to the one of this afternoon, Clarke and Serah with matching grins.
She puts the frame on the nightstand and can’t decide if she ever stopped missing Clarke or simply learned to live with the feeling.
Warmth wakes her up. Lexa gasps at the sudden heat, the pajama scorching her skin. Her head hits the pillow and she looks up at the unfamiliar ceiling.
Right. Clarke’s apartment.
When the strong alpha scent fills her nose, Lexa is acutely aware of what woke her up. Her body tingles with arousal, and her mate’s smell in everything doesn’t help her wandering mind.
Lexa kicks the sheets away from her, breathing the cool air on her skin.
If there is one time and place Lexa can surrender to her desires, it is at 3am drowning in her mate’s lingering scent.
She wants Clarke. Physically, her body responds to the woman that loved her, cared for her, possessed her.
“Fuck,” Lexa curses in the silent room, sitting up on the bed to try and think of anything else but Clarke on this bed, naked, moaning, heavy and full and—
And it is not working.
Lexa tugs at her shirt, discarding it somewhere on the floor. Her pants fall as she stands up, tumbling to the in suite bathroom.
Lexa is a strong omega, though she can't fight this need. It claws its way up from her lower belly, harden her nipples and makes her mate mark burn on her neck.
A shower. She needs a long, cold shower.
The bathroom is ridiculously clean, not even a towel out of place. Maybe Clarke prepared it for her, the thought strikes, since the alpha was never this organized.
Memories from a life before, before Clarke left, before Serah, moisten her eyes. A tiny apartment, a crumpled bed and an even tinier bathroom. Clarke's towel on the bed, wet and wrinkled, and how it used to anger Lexa. How Clarke loved to tease her, only to cover her with caress later and beg forgiveness in the most ridiculous romantic gestures.
In the quietness of the bathroom, Lexa can't pretend she doesn't miss that life. She does, and she misses Clarke's happiness, she misses how her mate used to be before .
She washes her face in the sink, cold water sliding down between her breasts and the fine hairs erupting in goosebumps. The drop runs down until it dies on the waistband of her underwear, kissing bronzed skin and never venturing into the scorching heat in her panties.
Lexa dares to look in the mirror. Alert green eyes greet her, plump lips open and panting hard. Her reflexion begging release is too much and she opens the mirror cabinet to divert her eyes, but it's a mistake.
Clarke's smell, in a mix of her perfumes and creams fill her nose, her mind, and she's back at square one with the alpha’s hand all over her body.
She pushes herself away from the sink, a futile attempt to run from the scent following her. An acute noise of plastic hitting the floor gives her a second away from growing fantasies, but Lexa crumbles again when she sees the new toothbrush on the floor.
Clarke had indeed separated one for her. Clarke cared for a mate that didn't offer her more than a sideways glance.
Was Lexa wrong? Should she actually give Clarke a second chance?
Is she already doing that?
She picks up the toothbrush in a huff, throwing it on the countertop.
Lexa threads both hands through her hair, thick locks fanning her shoulder and back. She should try and go back to sleep, forget about the alpha sleeping a couple rooms away, and just …
It's an easy decision to turn on the hot, scalding water instead of the cold jet when the throbbing between her legs is making the calls.
Part of her is angry. Angry with her body readily responding to a relationship she buried years ago; angry with the hope that insists on deepening its roots down her soul, like a dying vine that refuses to let a new flower bloom.
And at the same time, other part of her keeps coming back to images of their last heat together. Flashes of strong hips moving in sync behind her, deep into her. Broken promises whispered against soft, warm skin.
Under the unrelenting jet of her mate’s shower, her skin hot with lust and want, a wandering hand already buried between her legs, Lexa admits,
“I want you.”
Her hand, light with the water and raw need, moves to rub a merciless pace that will end sooner than what she needs, but it's all she can offer herself now. It builds, deep and heavy, bucking her legs and forcing her hips to find a pattern.
Clarke uses this shower. Clarke probably touches herself here too, quietly, one hand against the cold, tiled wall as the other pumps herself to completion. Does she think of Lexa? Does she moan Lexa’s name in the same breathless plea Lexa fights not to moan Clarke’s?
It's over with a last push into her dripping center, a groan barely muffled by the wee hours of the morning.
She can't run anymore. She wants Clarke.
What scares her the most is the realization she wants Clarke for more than just a heat.
Lexa wants her mate.
Warmth rises her again but it's a different kind. Lexa smiles into the dim lit room, a familiar giggle erupting from under the sheets.
Serah’s head pops up from under the sheets to show her toothy grin, all dimples and happiness.
“Mommy, wake up! Breakfast!”
Lexa kisses Serah’s forehead, though the pup squirms away when experienced fingers try to tickle her belly.
“C'mon!” Serah whines, pouting. She pulls at Lexa’s feet, mumbling about pancakes.
“Breakfast is ready.”
Lexa looks up from the bed with wide eyes, surprised at seeing Clarke at the door. Clarke has a white tee and jeans, scrubs draped over her shoulder. Smell of coffee and eggs enters the room, though the alpha stays at the doorway.
Lexa checks to make sure she made it back to her pajamas and breathes relieved.
“There’s coffee, cereal, fruits … basically everything,” Clarke says, shoulders squared. “I have to go to work, but I’ll be back before dinner. Don’t worry,” she completes before Lexa can protest. “You’re at home, Lex. Call me if you need anything.”
With a last nod, Clarke leaves the room and a flushed Lexa on the bed.
“Mommy! I want Froot Loops!”
Lexa looks down at Serah, still in her pajamas but with an energy that promises a long Sunday.
She’s peeling a banana while Serah chews loudly when it hits her:
She’s happy. This , whatever she’s building with Clarke again, makes her happy.
It is this realization that scares her the most.
The wine bottle is half full when Anya ventures the subject to more personal matters. Lexa suspects it is all a plot to make her drunk enough to talk without reservations.
“You’ve been spending a lot of time at Clarke’s,” Anya says as she pours them another glass.
“It’s a big apartment.” Lexa shrugs, taking another mouthful of wine. She knows it’s a lost battle, but she will drag this conversation as much as she can.
“Lex,” Anya almost whines, a rare occurrence for the usually stoic omega. “C’mon, I know you want to sell your apartment. Are you moving in with Clarke?”
Oh, red wine. Lexa should have known better as she gulps another mouthful.
“It’s a big apartment.” If the deflection isn’t enough, the blush gives her away.
“It’s a big step,” Anya counters, half of her face hidden behind her glass.
“It’s logical. The money will go to Serah’s college fund.”
“And you will go to Clarke’s bed.”
“Anya!” Lexa censures, but she’s unsure.
This last month she has been spending at least three days a week at Clarke’s apartment since that weekend at the amusement park. Clarke has taken official home at the guest room, turning it into her bedroom. Serah is beyond happy and complains when they don’t sleep at Clarke’s.
“I’m just saying that you can’t say it’s only because of Serah that you are moving in with her.”
“It’s … the main reason.”
“Jesus, Lexa,” Anya breathes, exasperated. “Have you two, you know?”
Lexa blushes the color of her wine at Anya’s vague hand gestures.
“No!” she replies and almost drowns herself with a large gulp of wine.
“You do look stressed, I should have known.” Anya swats Lexa’s weak slap on her thigh and presses on. “It’s a matter of time, then.”
Lexa glares at her glass, empty and swirling. “Do you think so?”
Anya laughs, harsh and frustrated. “She’s in love with you.”
Lexa avoids Anya’s eyes, the pity and care in those hazel depths. She hates the wine now, since it’s the only reason she wants to cry.
“If you couldn’t forget her after five years, you are not forgetting her now.” Anya pours them the final glasses of the bottle, and an uneasy silence fills Anya’s living room.
“I don’t like it, so that we’re clear,” Anya comments. “What stops her from doing it again? Running away like that.”
Lexa never expected anything different from Anya. Anya loves her family and trusts Lexa, but she has a hard time with the concept of forgiving.
But Lexa … Lexa is learning how to do it. Forgiving Clarke is the greatest challenge she has ever faced, but her heart has been dragging her down that road besides her mind’s protests.
“She’s different. She’s not the same, Anya.”
“How’s work for her?”
“Abby says there’s a chance she will get a promotion to chief of pediatrics in a few years. It’s a big deal after … after what happened.”
Silent falls on them again.
Clarke is a pediatric surgeon, following a long line of Griffin physicians. She’s an excellent doctor and loves her career, one of the reasons young detective Lexa had fallen for the alpha.
But five years ago Clarke made a mistake.
It didn’t matter if it was after 18 hours straight of work. It didn’t matter the team made the decision together when Clarke was the lead surgeon. When a three year old omega boy dies from a medical error, someone has to take the blame. Her name was leaked to the press, her medical license was temporarily suspended, but worst of all, Clarke doubted herself.
Lexa watched her lover succumb to depression. Clarke lost weight, lost her vigor. With her name on the news as a child murderer, Clarke got to a point where she barely left their bedroom. Lexa had her own career to worry about, and thought it would be a phase. When Clarke left to spend three months in Africa to serve the Red Cross, Lexa thought it would be for the best.
“Just promise me to take care of yourself, okay?” Anya stops Lexa’s train of thought with a palm on Lexa’s knee.
Anya’s phone beeps and Lexa leans closer to see the picture.
Liam sits on Raven’s shoulder, hands tight on his sire’s ponytail. Clarke has Serah hanging from her neck, messy brown hair to the camera. Abby appears by the side of the selfie, winckles cracking free at her smile. Behind them, on the basketball court, there are cheerleaders.
“It’s an outrage we are not at that game,” Anya complains.
“You forgot the part where they’re dealing with sugar high pups.” Lexa grabs the phone to zoom in at Clarke’s face.
“God, you’re so whipped.”
“Shut up,” Lexa mumbles and pushes her cousin away.
“Do you think they will notice we are drunk?”
“We have at least an hour to sober up,” Lexa finishes her sentence with a hiccup.
“So, another bottle?” Anya stands, stepping wobbly to the kitchen.
Lexa laughs, looking down at the photo again. She bites her lip at the sight of Clarke’s smile.
“Another bottle, please!”
Moving day rolls on without much fanfare. Lexa is not moving a lot of furniture, and Sunday morning consists of bringing up clothes and toys. Raven helps out with her car, while Clarke and Lexa carry most of the suitcases. Anya designates herself the kids’ caretaker, claiming it is as tiring as carrying Lexa’s wardrobe, if not more.
Clarke tries her best not to look as an excited puppy, though Raven tells her over a beer at the end of the day that she failed miserably.
“And the looks between you two, like, really?” Anya quips when there are only the three of them in the kitchen, with Lexa busy sorting out her new closet by color patterns.
Clarke blushes at Anya’s remark, hiding it with her beer. “I’m just happy we’re living together again.”
“You know that if you screw up, I’ll make sure she mourns you for the last time,” Anya adds with a cold tone, enough for Raven to hiss a warning. Clarke takes another long gulp of beer.
“Anya,” Raven argues because there’s a fire on Anya’s eyes, something buried deep inside that she needs to say.
“No, Raven, she’s got to hear this.” Amber finds the hardening blue on Clarke’s eyes. “Five years, Clarke. Don’t forget those when you’re jumping on her bed again.”
“For Christ’s sake, Anya—”
Anya interrupts her wife’s pleading with a strong hand on Raven’s good thigh.
“Five years. Don’t forget it,” the omega states a final time.
Never leaving Anya’s gaze, Clarke puts her beer down on the kitchen island. “There isn’t a day I forget it,” she says with conviction, teeth grinding, left hand tightening around the can.
“Good.” It’s Anya’s last word on the matter.
“Have anyone seen — oh, there it is!” Lexa’s voice cuts the heavy silence as she strolls back to the living room. She looks up to find Anya stoic as ever, Raven looking like she just disarmed a bomb and Clarke with a tight smile. “Is everything alright?”
“Perfect!” Raven answers, but Lexa’s confused expression doesn’t ease. Getting a bag from the couch, Lexa shrugs and walks back to her new bedroom.
Later that night, with Serah asleep in her room and Raven and Anya long gone, Lexa makes them tea, a scented mix of ginger, cinnamon and something sugary Clarke can’t recognize.
“This afternoon, when I was in the bedroom,” Lexa starts the phrase looking down at her cup, a crease between her eyes as she studies the light brown liquid. “Was Anya threatening you?”
Surprised, Clarke’s eyebrows shoot up to her hairline, and she busies herself with her tea while searching for an appropriate answer.
“She loves you.”
Lexa waits for a more elaborated response, but it doesn’t come.
They finish tea in silence and Clarke catches a glimpse of a smile before closing her bedroom door.
The dark, sturdy film of the radiography cracks as Clarke twists it over again, trying to change the angle to see it better against the ceiling light. It doesn’t work and she blows on the hairs that fell from her bun, deciding she will go to the lab first thing in the morning to discuss the images with the technician.
She leans heavily on the chair in the office — her bedroom now — pushing her laptop away and using the heel of her hand to massage the tiredness in her eyes.
Maybe tomorrow after the surgery they could go to the park. Serah would enjoy the last days in the playground before the snow, and Lexa used to love the hot chocolate they sell this time of the year.
Clarke stretches, both arms up in the air to relax her limbs after an entire day standing up in the hospital. Her hands rest behind her head and she closes her eyes, plans for the next day already forming.
She imagines Serah, penguin hat covering her little ears from the growing cold, running around the park and doing things with the monkey bars that leaves Clarke’s heart in her throat.
Lexa’s lips, full and burgundy, closing around a steaming cup of cocoa, her cheeks tainted pink from the cold, green eyes dark with only the sparkling lights of the holidays illuminating the want in them.
And bingo, Clarke’s mind is in the gutter again.
She grunts in annoyance with herself. She’s aware her mate lives three yards from her bedroom and nothing, nothing is supposed to happen.
It doesn’t stop her sneaky hand to find its way under her pants, cupping her herself through her underwear.
Clarke sighs, the weight of months of frustration on her shoulders. She respects Lexa’s boundaries — that are somewhere between holding hands and quick hugs — but it doesn’t stop her body from desiring more.
Her mind loses itself in the image of Lexa’s lips, the memory of what those lips can do, of how they freeze in mid-orgasm, a hoarse scream locked on that beautiful exposed throat, throbbing with Clarke’s mark and—
“Clarke?” The voice startles the alpha, and she tightens both hands: one on the desk and the other, unfortunately, still cupping her erection that stands at attention. Clarke hisses at the shudder it sends down her spine, biting her lip not to moan out loud.
When Lexa calls from the other side of the door one more time, Clarke is ready and has all her hands on the desk. “Yes?”
Lexa opens the door slowly and Clarke prays to any deity for her mate not to notice the fog of pheromones clouding the room. Lexa takes a step into the room but stops, frowning, nose flattening as she takes a deep breath.
Clarke can feel the heat on her cheeks and ears, burning, and it’s a tenth of what is going on inside her pants.
“You okay? You look …”
“I’m fine!” Clarke replies, eager. “Just tired.”
Lexa opens her mouth to say something, but shakes her head against it, swallowing loudly. “We’re making soup for dinner. Do you want beef or chicken with yours?”
Clarke nods, replying “Beef” with the weakest of voices and Lexa leaves the room.
A shower before dinner sounds good.
It’s a cold Tuesday afternoon. Clarke checks her computer on the kitchen island, buying utensils she had heard Lexa complaining about in the first weeks they moved in together. Clarke isn’t a great cook and had never needed things like measuring cups, but Lexa had learned a lot in those past years.
Something tells her Lexa had to learn because of Serah, playing the single mom part the best she could. The image comes uninvited, wrapped in the longing Clarke is getting used to feel: Lexa, disheveled hair and crumpled uniform; Serah on her shoulder crying while she tries to follow a cooking video from an old phone on the counter.
Clarke blinks the image away while ordering a steel colander.
She hears Serah playing in her room, or maybe it’s the living room now. Clarke had picked her up from the daycare, had successfully given her lunch and convinced her to go down for a nap. They went for groceries and bought mostly vegetables and would wait Lexa for dinner. A bubbling kind of joy fills Clarke; even though she and Lexa are not together as mates, they can live together for Serah.
She hopes this balance will remain.
“Vroom!” Serah plays next to her, running a lap around the kitchen island with something in her hands. Clarke looks up to blow a kiss at her pup but does a double take, chin hanging open.
Is Serah holding a …
“Serah!” She calls the girl, who is already in the living room doing explosion sounds, back into the kitchen. “What are you playing?”
“Rocket!” Serah says excitedly, moving her new toy in front of her.
Yes. It is definitely a dildo.
“Where …” Clarke takes the longest breath of her life. “Where did you find it?”
Serah, holding her rocket behind her back, blushes. “Mommy's closet.”
Cause of death: fantasies of her mate with that toy . This could easily be Clarke’s epitaph.
“Serah.” Clarke tries slowly, calm, mind turning with possible strategies to put the thing back without Lexa noticing. “Were you messing with things you should not?”
Serah’s blush deepens and she looks down at her socked feet.
“It’s okay, I mean …” Think, Griffin. “If I put it back in place, mommy won’t be mad, right?”
Green eyes shot up to find Clarke, and Serah nods enthusiastically. “We not telling?”
“It’s going to be our secret.” Every word pains Clarke, but she has to deal with this situation before dinner. And it only took her a few months to learn how to to bargain with her daughter.
“Okay.” Serah nods and leaves the toy on the table, running back to her room.
Clarke’s hand trembles as she closes it around the object that she’s sure will be filling her sexual fantasies for her next long shower. Lexa’s closet is a little messed up, a sign of Serah’s passage, with a ladder propped up between the pantsuits and dresses.
Clarke ignores the fact she didn’t listen to a four-year-old grabbing and using an aluminum ladder and climbs the steps herself. Inside an open shoebox, too common for Clarke not to be suspicious, there’s also a half-full lube tube and Clarke whimpers. There’s only so much she can handle to know — she was a happier lonely alpha without the certainty of what her mate did in what used to be her bed.
She guards the toy in its respectful place, hoping her scent won’t linger on it — though she can’t suppress a part of her mind that wants her mark on it, that wants Lexa to think about her next time she will be using Rocket. She’s two steps down the ladder when she catches sight of something between other shoe boxes on the top shelf of Lexa’s closet.
When Clarke used this room, there was nothing on this shelf. Now it brims with life, trinkets and secrets.
She won’t risk opening another shoebox — who knows what else she could find — and rests her hands on a pink photo album.
Princess , the title says. Her heart beats faster as she opens the album.
My first picture . It’s written in Lexa’s perfect handwriting, a contrast to Clarke’s doctor garbage. The photo is of baby Serah, bundled up in a light pink blanket, only her cheeks and big, baby-blue eyes staring up at the camera.
With a shuddering breath, Clarke turns another page.
She is under the ladder, sitting indian style with the third album on her lap when she hears the door to Lexa’s bedroom open.
“Clarke? Are you here?”
“Fuck,” Clarke whispers to herself and hurriedly stands up, only to hit her head under the ladder, tumbling back into a messy heap of pantsuits and a dresses. “Fuck!”
It’s how Lexa finds her.
There’s a frozen baby corn bag on Clarke’s forehead some time later. Maybe the swelling of her forehead was the perfect escape, avoiding the whole “what were you doing in my closet” conversation.
But when Lexa places a warm cup of tea in front of Clarke and doesn’t say anything else, Clarke knows what’s coming.
“I know what you were doing in there,” Lexa says, calm, and suddenly Clarke remembers why Lexa is a cop.
“I … I …” Clarke takes a large gulp of tea and it burns her tongue, though it’s better than admitting why she was in Lexa’s closet. “I’m sorry, but what should I have done with it —”
“I saw the albums, Clarke.”
“Serah’s albums. Do you want to see the others?”
Relief is a blessed feeling. For a moment Clarke forgets the pulsing pain on her forehead or the scalding on her tongue.
“Yeah. I do.”
Lexa smiles at her, drinking her own tea with a measured pace.
They spend the rest of the night checking the albums. Serah shows up after the second one, claiming her rightful place on Clarke’s lap. At the fourth one, she moves to Lexa’s lap, where she falls asleep at the end of the photo collection.
Clarke pretends not to see the dark pink hue of Lexa’s ears throughout the night, and hopes her smitten smile is equally ignored.
One thing is sure: she’s never entering Lexa’s closet again.
A cold morning greets Clarke when she leaves the hospital. It was a good shift, and she grabs coffee and muffins at a nearby bakery before going home.
She leaves her purse by the kitchen counter and expects Lexa to be home, though Serah should be at the daycare already. Clarke has half a muffin inside her mouth when her phone rings.
No, not her phone. Lexa’s phone, which is on the counter next to her purse. She swallows her vanilla muffin before taking a look at the screen.
The sweet almost chokes her at the name flashing on the screen.
She downs the bite with coffee and waits patiently for Lexa to pick it up, since it’s not her business.
But Lexa doesn’t show up. Clarke looks around the kitchen and living room, leaving her white coat on the couch, but there’s no sign of Lexa but a mug forgotten by the sink.
When the phone rings again, Clarke bites her lower lip not to growl, because really ?
Clarke gets to another muffin and finishes her coffee before the next time it rings.
She can’t suppress her next growl and picks up the phone.
“This is Clarke Griffin. Who is this?”
Clarke doesn’t like Costia’s voice. Or the fact she’s calling Lexa. But definitely not her voice.
“Who is this?”
She likes this stalemate where she pretends she doesn’t know it’s Costia while Costia pretends she doesn’t know why Clarke picked up the phone.
One. Two. Three, four, five seconds of silence.
“I’ll call her later.”
Clarke hangs up and places the phone on the counter, right where it was. She’s halfway through her last muffin when Lexa opens the door in complete winter running gear glory. Clarke watches Lexa discard her gloves and hat before locking the door.
“Hey,” Lexa greets Clarke with a pale lips smile. “How was work?”
“Great. I got muffins on my way back but ate all of them.”
“Why would you tell me that? Just to tease?” One eyebrow shoots up at Clarke, and the alpha licks the telltale muffin crumbs at the corner of her mouth. Lexa rolls her eyes at that.
“Didn’t know you would be out.”
“Do you want tea?” Lexa asks while swiping her phone from the counter.
“Yeah, sure.” Clarke stretches and feigns nonchalance heading to the hall.
Clarke is about to enter the hall bathroom, but turns to see Lexa scratching the back of her neck.
“There’s a Thanksgiving party in the city hall, and the station was one of the invited to attend. Serah has never been to any of those, and I thought maybe this would be an opportunity. We make a good team and she can be a handful.”
It’s not exactly an invitation, but Clarke gets it. She nods, almost forgetting about the upcoming holiday. It’s her first Thanksgiving in years. Clarke nods, knowing she will never miss a chance to parade next to Lexa in a dress. Especially for a certain fellow officer.
“Don’t pick up my phone again.”
Clarke wanted to rock a sea blue dress in the city hall event, but decided against it when she learned all officers would be in uniforms. If Costia is going to be wearing a navy blue suit with shining medals, Clarke will be wearing a midnight black suit with a shining … red tie with tiny turkeys on it that Serah chose and they got a matching pair. But it’s still classy.
Her job is to keep Serah from breaking anything, and so far so good. Most of Lexa’s colleagues knew Clarke, and most of them — probably under Anya’s influence — glare at her when Lexa introduces Serah’s sire.
Anya and Raven sit close to them at their round table and while Anya wears the requested uniform, Raven drops jaws to the floor with a flowing red dress. Anya smirks at her wife when she thinks no one is looking, so Clarke figures it must be a thing for them.
Of course big, tall and broody is at their table too, accompanied by a man twice as big as Clarke, though with the gentlest voice she has ever heard.
Lexa navigates around the tables with the same grace she does between teachers in the daycare, though Clarke sitting as far away as possible from Costia is a good call, because then Raven is the only one hearing her low warning growls whenever Costia touches Lexa.
“The government is paying us a free meal and you want to ruin it because of that alpha.” Raven pinches Clarke’s forearm to make her stop glaring at the detective currently telling a joke.
“She knows Lexa’s not interested and still …”
“Well, does she?”
Clarke feels her face contorting in confusion when she looks at her friend.
“All I’m saying is for you to chill,” Raven explains between sips of champagne. “Don’t pick a fight with a cop in a room full of them. No matter how white you are, you will get shot. And imagine that mess.”
“Lexa doesn’t like her,” Clarke defends while helping Serah with a cup of soda.
“Maybe you should ask her that. How’s married life going, by the way?”
“Living together, communication problems and no sex? You sound pretty married to me.” Raven counts the problems on her fingers, earning a sideways glance from Anya. “You know I’m kidding, darling,” she whispers to her wife.
“We’re fine, but … it’s complicated.”
Directly opposite to Clarke on the round table, Costia leans down to say something to Lexa that ignites her mate’s ears on fire. Clarke’s first reaction is to defend Lexa, but it is not necessary as the omega pulls her hands away from Costia’s and excuses herself.
When Costia stands up to follow, Clarke is up in a second. “Don’t you fucking dare,” she threatens until Costia sits down again.
“Mom said the F word,” Serah says while tugging at Raven’s dress.
“Remind her later and you will probably win a dollar.”
Clarke doesn’t listen to the rest of the conversation as she follows Lexa.
At the bar, Lexa downs a champagne flute before nodding. “Fine.”
“Lexa, if she’s bothering you, I could—”
“Clarke.” She fixes Clarke with steely green eyes. “This is not your problem.” Lexa squares her shoulders, brushing non-existing dust from her uniform.
Clarke takes the blow with tightening jaw, but relents to a small smile. “I’m here if you ever need anything.”
Lexa orders two champagnes, taking a deep breath before facing their table again.
“Wanna get out of here and watch cartoons with Serah for the rest of the evening?” Clarke whispers with an honest smile, accepting the drink.
“Is it going to be the one with the yellow dog?”
“It could be the one with the adventurous bears.”
Clarke knows she’s won when Lexa has to hide a smile behind her glass.
They ended up watching, again, the one with the dinosaurs. Serah snores between them on the couch, wearing her monkey pajamas and the turkey tie she refused to take off.
Clarke doozes between the scenes, but it’s too warm and cozy to go to bed yet.
“I dated Costia for a few months a couple years ago.”
The phrase is like cold water and Clarke blinks awake.
“It didn’t work out.” Lexa’s hair is off the intricate bun she wore for the party, falling in waves by her shoulders. Clarke loves her hair.
“I haven’t dated anyone,” Clarke confesses between the cartoon’s lines, the happy sound from the TV dampening the charged conversation. Clarke looks at Lexa but the omega refuses to look her in the eye, green stare focused ahead.
They finish the movie in silence and Clarke feels lighter.
Sweat clings to her shirt collar when Lexa enters the station. She had been assigned to follow a case in court, and it’s the closest to real action she has seen in a while.
Gustus, a fellow comrade of the force, waits by her desk, more paperwork with him.
“Everything okay?” Lexa asks while searching for a tissue by her desk to clear the sweat. December is here, but she feels her skin tingle with every breath.
“Your daughter’s daycare called,” the tall man says in his deep voice. Lexa gets her phone from her purse and sees the missed calls. Her thumb is swiping through the phone screen when Gustus continues, “They said it’s urgent.”
Sharp green eyes find him and she nods at his concerned gaze. She’s in her car when the voicemail plays, making her miss a red light.
Serah is at the hospital.
Lexa shows her badge to get access to the call room, though once identified as Clarke’s mate and the mother of Abby’s grandchild, all doors open to her. The last time she went to the hospital because of family was when Liam was born. Anxiousness builds up in her stomach and in the cold sweat at her neck, the disinfectant smell and loud thud of her heart making her dizzy. But she keeps going, gray corridor after gray corridor until a nurse shows her the call room.
Serah’s laugh erupts in the hallway when she pushes the door open, and the sight of her pup, well and resting on Clarke’s lap, dissolves Lexa’s nervousness in a heartbeat.
“Mommy!” Serah cheers when she sees her, crooked smile faltering.
“Careful there.” Clarke stands up, one hand over the bandage on Serah’s head and the other holding her firmly against her chest.
“What happened?” Lexa doesn’t trust her trembling arms to hold Serah and hugs the pup still cradled to Clarke.
“Stumbled while playing, three new stitches,” another doctor answers for Clarke, and Lexa carefully studies the bandage on her daughter’s head.
“I’m gonna have a scar!” Serah chimes in, much to the other doctors amusement.
Lexa takes a deep breath, basking in the relief of knowing Serah is okay. She exchanges a silent look with Clarke and takes in the room. She notices the other doctors, all fanning around young, charming Serah. She understands that being Clarke’s pup gives the kid a lot of attention, even from the couple of beta and omega women that look more interested in Clarke than the tiny patient.
Lexa places a hand on Clarke’s lower back and hopes the alpha understands. They leave the room to the privacy of the hallway, Serah in Clarke’s arms.
“She’s fine.” Clarke smirks, not moving Lexa’s hand. “It’s not gonna scar too bad.” She kisses the side of Serah’s head, smiling when the pup yawns. “She’s exhausted, though. Can you take her home?”
“You’re not coming with us?” Lexa clears her throat when her voice sounds pleading. But the way that doctor looked at her mate …
“I need to finish my shift,” Clarke apologizes, and after a nod of confirmation, pass the half-asleep Serah to Lexa’s arms.
“But you’ll be home for dinner?”
Clarke opens her mouth to answer, but stops before any words come out.
This is new. This domestic dynamic, not only as roommates but as a family, inside and outside of their apartment.
“Yeah,” Clarke answers with a half smile, the bright light of the hall illuminating her faint blush. When Lexa doesn’t turn to go, Clarke leans in just enough, asking for permission. The omega adjusts Serah in her arms and nods slowly.
Clarke’s lips close the gap between them, a chaste, delicate kiss on Lexa’s cheekbone.
“See you at home,” Clarke whispers against warm skin, her scent sending shivers down Lexa’s spine.
The smile doesn’t leave Lexa’s lips all the way to their apartment.
Whatever her inner omega wanted Clarke to prove, she did it today.
Clarke takes a deep breath when she leaves the operating room. She assisted at a colleague’s surgery, and it didn’t end well. Her hair is greasy and she aches to be home and take a long hot shower.
She glances at the waiting room and sighs in relief she won’t be the one to face the patient’s family, and walks swiftly to the changing room. At least she’s going home to Serah and Lexa.
The thought of the omega sends a bad timed jolt down her spine. Her jeans are harder to zip up once she takes off the scrubs, and she knows it’s downhill from there.
Lexa accepting her as mate is a slow, delicate process, but Clarke is positive it’s a matter of time. The biting mark burns on her shoulder and she yearns to be with her mate; she also scolds her body, knowing Lexa needs time.
The thoughts of being reunited with Lexa keep swimming in the alpha’s mind, until she’s at the Ark Hospital front door. Clarke almost crashes into Abby, seeing relief in her mother’s features.
Clarke’s stomach clenches at the urgency in her mother’s tone.
Abby pulls her to the parking lot, a slight hurry in her steps. Clarke spots Serah playing with Mr. Snuggles in her mother’s backseat.
“You and Serah will be staying with me for a few days,” Abby says once they’re in the car. Serah doesn’t pay attention to the adults, more interested in her stuffed raccoon.
“What do you mean? Is Lexa—”
“Lexa’s in heat.”
Simple words. Clear as day and direct.
The snarl leaves Clarke’s chest before she can swallow it down, and Serah frowns from the inside of the car. The young alpha hasn’t developed her protective instincts yet, but Clarke is overflowing with them. Abby glances at her daughter, and seeing her sire’s glare gives clearness to Clarke’s mind: Lexa doesn’t trust me to help her through her heat .
Rationally, it makes sense. However, it doesn’t stop the rejected whine that escapes the alpha’s throat.
“Give her time,” Abby tries to comfort her daughter, and through the mirror she winks at the confused Serah. “It’s too early for that, Clarke.”
Clarke takes a deep breath, turning on her seat to look at Serah. “How was your day, kiddo?”
Clarke forces a smile the entire night until Serah is asleep.
Her muscles ache from the effort. Each time her chin touches the bar, her shoulders, spine and abs protest with the flexing. But she needs more, her body needs more, and the whimper she releases at another dozen done is a mix of relief and frustration. Sweat runs down her burning muscles and pools at her shorts, sending chills up and down her spine.
“It's two in the morning.”
Clarke’s hands hurt when she releases the bar between the bathroom door frame. She wipes them at her shorts, leaving dark stains on her thighs.
Sweat runs from Clarke's temple, trails down her neck and dies sliding into her cleavage. Abby wrinkles her nose.
“You’re in rut.”
Clarke doesn't spare her a second glance. With a slight jump, she’s on her push ups, grumbling something under her breath.
“Do you want suppressants?” The concern is clear on Abby’s voice.
“Is Lexa on suppressants?” Clarke grunts the question between a new series of exercise.
“It doesn't mean you can’t use them.”
“No, thanks.” Clarke stands up and grabs a towel from the bathroom. “I'm going for a run.”
Abby rolls her eyes at Clarke stubbornness. “Just try not to wake up the entire house,” she complies, defeated.
It’s a hard week for Clarke, in all senses of the word.
She learns Lexa doesn’t use suppressants since Serah was born. Maybe like Clarke, her heat wasn’t intense while away from her mate. However Lexa dealt with her heat, Clarke will find out later tonight.
A tired arm covers her sensitive eyes, the on call room silent for the first time since her shift begun. Clarke’s rut has dampered to inconvenient boners, the sweating and rage episodes all gone. Her eyes burn from lack of sleep, like her tired muscles with unspent energy. She thinks about going home soon and tries to drift off on the last hour of her shift.
The wooden door cracks open, though Clarke’s eyes are too tired to check which doctor has entered. As long as nobody is calling her name, she’s staying in the warm bed with thoughts of her mate.
She’s close to sleep, and her mind tells her she’s dreaming when a soft hand grazes her hips, slim fingers she remembers from years ago. A smile graces the alpha’s lips and she drawls sleepily, “Lexa …”
Clarke gasps at the proximity of the breathed plea, arm flying from her face to find one of the nurses in bed with her. An unmated omega, her body tells her, and she feels curious twitch in her pants.
“What are you doing?” Clarke hisses when the nurse refuses to leave the lower bunk bed, body heat suffocating the alpha.
“It’s okay,” the younger woman says, and the thickness spilling from her voice fogs Clarke’s mind for a brief moment.
“I’m mated.” Clarke uses the word as a shield, the wall behind her leaving no room for escape. The alpha inside her howls for any chance of contact, of mating, of fucking , but Clarke is more than pure instincts.
“It’s okay,” the omega whispers with hungry blue eyes and Clarke looks away to not focus on parted lips. The alpha fights her way out of the bed, pushing curious hands off her chest.
“I’m sorry about that,” the alpha excuses hurriedly, feeling the omega’s call. “But I’m mated and I … I’m out of here.” The words tumble out of Clarke’s mouth, searching the doorknob behind her as the omega looks crestfallen on the bed. Clarke needs to be away from the pheromones, because without Lexa’s renewed claim on her skin and at the same time Lexas's call so close, they affect the mated alpha.
“Oh my god,” she breathes a sigh of relief when the sharp smell of alcohol from the hallway hits her nose, cleaning all traces of wanting omega. She limps a cautious gait to the locker room and hide her state, and more than ever in this painfully slow week, she needs to go home.
Laughter greets Clarke when she opens the door to their apartment. The living room is tidy, with the exception of the toys in front of the TV and the two exhausted pups sleeping on pillows askew on the carpet.
“Look who’s back from the dead,” Raven, who was laughing, says from her place perched on the kitchen stool. Clarke smiles at her friend, but it freezes when she finds green eyes.
Lexa is as beautiful as ever, if not more. The knowledge that she was in heat mere days ago doesn’t help Clarke and her struggling pheromones.
“Hi, Raven.” She shakes herself from the trance and nods at her friend. “Lexa.” She forces a smile, ignoring the omega’s frown when Clarke slips past them to grab a glass of cold water — God knows she needs to calm her racing heart.
“Got the mini Lex from the daycare, but they already partied hard,” Raves quips and jumps off the stool to kneel next to the sleeping Serah and Liam on the floor. She grunts when she gets her son up in her arms, cradling his head on her shoulder. “Everything okay for next week?”
“Sure, bring him over before work on Monday.”
“What’s going on?” Clarke asks and takes greedy gulps of water, commanding her eyes not to search Lexa’s.
“You know how awfully synced Anya and Lexa can be.” Raven rolls her eyes and adjusts the pup in her arms. “She’s in preheat already, and we usually leave Liam with Abby, but since Lexie here was early” — she wiggles her eyebrows at Clarke, who forcefully clears her throat — “we thought it would be okay for Liam to stay here while I fulfill my duty as a wife,” Raven whispers the last part and looks down to make sure both pups are still asleep, though her toothy grin shines when she glances up.
“Not a problem for you, I see.” Clarke teases, leaving her glass by the sink and walking to the living room.
“Have you seen my wife?” Raven jokes, turning to Lexa. “I’m the luckiest woman in the world!”
“I have to disagree,” Clarke replies but continues fast enough that Lexa barely has time to blush. “Good to see you, Raven. Liam is always welcome here. Now I really need to get rid of this hospital stench.” She pads Raven’s shoulder and kisses Liam’s little forehead before disappearing in the hallway.
Silence grows uncomfortable when Clarke closes the bathroom door.
“She smells like another omega,” Lexa whispers and turns panicked eyes to Raven, who shrugs.
“And like fading rut. Really Lexa, if she had done anything, it would be worse,” Raven ponders, brown eyes soft at Lexa. “It’s really not my place, Lexa,” she starts, an unusual hesitant tone to her voice. “But Clarke is trying. And while you keep her in this gray area, she’s quite a suitor for others.”
Lexa hackles at the thought, standing from the stool and glaring at Raven. “I was in heat, it was too soon—”
“Hey, hey.” Raven nods at Liam, who squirms in silent protest at the noise and Lexa deflates. “I’m not questioning your decision. But, as an alpha, I can say that this isn’t easy on Clarke.”
Lexa worries her bottom lip, nodding once.
“See you next week?” Raven asks by the door, a kind smile on her full lips.
With a last goodbye, Lexa closes the door behind Raven. She carries the sleeping Serah to her room, snuggling her closer to feel her scent. The pup is exhausted, barely flinching with the movement until she’s on her bed.
Lexa heads to her bedroom, but stops by the hallway bathroom door. The shower runs loudly inside, and even though her heat is gone, her lower belly clenches at the thought of Clarke, naked and wet and oh so close.
Lexa can’t remember the last time her heat had been intense up to the level she had to stay away from work for a week. She will never admit the agonizing hours she spent in her bed, buried in Clarke’s sheets and clothes to try and satisfy the fervent omega inside her. She fought tooth and nail not to bring the alpha to her bed, knowing it has to be a decision made with a clear head, not under the desperate fog of desire.
She can’t help herself when she leans on the wooden door, ears sharp to hear any sound coming from the alpha that grows in her heart again.
She gets more than she bargained for when a muffled moan echoes from the bathroom, the lost sound mixed with water hitting on scalding skin. Lexa’s mind take a detour of its own, painting the scene with excruciating detail; pale skin burning an angry red under hot water, teeth closing on lip to prevent a moan from escaping, her scent fogging the room and calling for Lexa to barge inside.
The omega pushes back from the door, dizzy from the image her mind conjured. Her belly clenches with renewed heat and she squirms in place, legs electric where skin touches skin.
Why am I fighting this so strongly?
She wasn’t able to answer Raven, and she isn’t able to answer herself now. Though a tiny, unwanted voice in her head has the answer, Lexa refuses to acknowledge it.
It nags at her heart, clouding it with the darkness of doubt. How can she surrender to Clarke if she fears the alpha will abandon her? No matter how Clarke proves herself again and again, this doubt festers Lexa’s heart like worms growing on rotten meat.
Don’t live life in fear.
She doesn’t remember where she learned that. It is an old saying in her mind, and she swallows the bile rising in her throat. She wants Clarke, so she will tell her as much.
Lexa takes a deep breath and steels herself. She’s about to go to the living room, maybe brew a light tea for them, when the door pulls open.
Lexa’s mouth hangs agape in both surprise and unveiled desire, and Clarke’s face is a mirror to hers.
Clad in a towel covering her waist and another draped around her neck, strategically covering her breasts down to her nipples, Clarke takes a step back into the steaming bathroom. She is flush with heat, though if it’s from the shower or the encounter, Lexa doesn’t know.
Lexa feels her own cheeks burning, and she doesn’t have any excuse but the throbbing between her legs. Dark blonde hair falls wet over Clarke’s shoulders, and Lexa wonders if they are as soft as she remembers.
“Lexa?” Clarke cocks her head to the side in the same fashion Serah does when confused, and it would have made the omega smile if her mouth could do anything but remain agape. With an inhuman effort, she snaps it shut when the seconds tick by and Clarke doesn't say anything else.
Words fail Lexa, her mind racing with everything and nothing. Her hands twitch and she follows Clarke a step into the bathroom. Shampoo, perfume and alpha hit her nose, and Lexa gasps for more of it. Her lungs burn in the steam, and the color on Clarke’s cheeks deepens when she sees her mate’s reaction.
When deep forest lock on her eyes, Clarke whimpers under the heaviness, the need of the gaze.
The door shuts loudly behind Lexa and, with a breath fogging their lips, she finds the warm space in Clarke’s hug.
The thudding of Clarke’s heart is all Lexa can listen for an ethereal second. Her cheek damps with moisture still on Clarke’s skin, and the arms that hold her close are surprisingly gentle. Lexa closes her eyes at the trembling hand pulling her closer, and they sigh together in unison relief.
They fit together, molded as one in each other's arms.
“I’m sorry,” Lexa confesses against damp, pale skin, turning to rest her forehead on Clarke’s collarbone. She needs her alpha’s comfort, and even if she refuses to acknowledge it sometimes, offering submission is the easiest way for that.
“There’s no reason to apologize.” Clarke’s voice is tired, and when Lexa looks into her eyes, they are bloodshot and dripping with fatigue. “I understand.” A smile paints Clarke’s lips and Lexa focus on it, on the beauty mark that Lexa never fails to admire and the pink tongue that appears to wet suddenly dry lips.
“I miss you.” It’s whispered reverently, a secret inside tiled walls, and Lexa doesn’t meet blue eyes when she says it.
She hopes Clarke expects the kiss. Lexa leans a breath closer, and feels it tickling her lips with a mouth so familiar to her own. She doesn’t expect Clarke’s reaction, though.
The moan surprises Lexa, but she accepts it with everything she has and opens her mouth to swallow the next. The towel around Clarke’s neck hits the floor when slender arms sneak around expansive skin, but Clarke doesn’t make a move to cover herself. Long fingers find their place up Clarke’s naked back and around her neck, fingertips playing with the sky of freckles on her shoulder blades.
Clarke offers her body the same way she offers her soul, her heart, her everything to the woman that breathes life into her at each kiss.
Lexa falls into the embrace, encouraging the hands grabbing at her hips, first tentative but developing to hungry need as the omega submit to the touch. Her legs part when Clarke hops her up the countertop, toothbrushes and deodorant hitting the floor sharply. A gasp fights its way out of Lexa’s mouth when hard nipples graze the soft material of her shirt.
The mouth devouring hers never stops, and Lexa throws her head back when Clarke searches for the mating mark at her neck. It pulses, challenging the alpha to sink in and renew the bite, but Clarke only sucks and provokes a lonely whimper from Lexa’s throat.
The bulge under Clarke’s towel throbs, demanding attention. Lexa pushes her away to place a brief kiss over one of Clarke’s ample breasts before tugging at the towel. It falls in a heap around the alpha’s feet, and the sight of the hard erection brings Lexa back to the moment, what she’s doing, what they’re doing and she gulps the overwhelming feeling.
Clarke pulls her into an embrace. Her member snugs warmly into Lexa’s covered abs, and another moan escapes the alpha.
“We don’t have to—”
“I want to,” Lexa interrupts her, eyes pleading into disappearing blue, devoured by black. Clarke can’t pretend she doesn’t want it either, the evidence pulsing between them. “But one thing at a time,” the omega completes, and Clarke’s face contorts in doubt until it flattens in pleasure when trembling fingers close around her.
“Shit,” Clarke breathes into Lexa’s neck, forehead abandoned on her shoulder as the hand starts a rhythm. Strong fingers dig into Lexa’s hips to feel her closer, her heat, her body, molding to her as the pressure in their bellies builts. Clarke groans on Lexa’s skin, closing her mouth against it to muffle the renewed moans.
“Lexa,” Clarke pleads to the mark on Lexa’s neck. Lexa doesn’t want to extend this, aware of who shares the bathroom with Clarke, and wants the alpha not to last when weeks of frustration claws at her skin.
Lexa’s brows knit in concentration and her other hand joins her partner around Clarke, circling the knot that hints formation at the base. It has been long, too long since she last did this, but Lexa is determined to bring Clarke to complete, utter pleasure.
When hips push against her hands, Lexa knows it’s close. Lexa herself throbs in jealousy, and her inner muscles clench in need. She doubles her efforts, small whimpers leaving her lips. Lexa tucks her head in Clarke’s neck, both their bodies shaking with unspent tension, need, and the most primal of desires.
“Lex!” Clarke holds her until their bodies are flush, Lexa’s hands a messy mingle in her strokes, but they need their bodies touching. “I’m, I’m—”
Lexa finds her lips then, her tongue poking out to trace the letters as Clarke moans her name one last, desperate time before her clumsy hips freeze.
Lexa’s fingers pressure her at each thick arc of come that shoots from the angry red head, aiming it at herself, her own hips chanting in tandem with Clarke’s. Clarke comes and comes, trembling and only surrendering to the aftershocks when she’s completely spent. Lexa takes it all, hands never leaving her, and their long moans fade into tired, satisfied whimpers.
Clarke trembles from head to toe, and Lexa hops down the countertop to steady her when the alpha wavers on her feet.
“I’m here,” Lexa says to tousled blonde hair, holding her mate close as she finally comes down from her high. “I’m right here.”
Clarke can’t fathom the last time she came so hard, so willingly and so much, and color flushes her cheeks. She would feel embarrassed if her mind could manage anything else but sweet, complete bliss.
“You okay?” Lexa asks in a tired voice herself, her desire surrounded by the intense need to care and comfort.
A chuckle huffs on her shoulder, and Lexa smiles. “I missed you,” Clarke drawls in a voice Lexa hasn’t heard in years, her lazy post orgasm timbre.
“Bed?” Lexa pulls away enough to make sure Clarke is steady on her own, and half lidded eyes nod at her. Lexa laughs at herself while helping Clarke into an oversized shirt and all but drags her to the bedroom. She finds a clean shirt for herself and buries the soiled one under layers of dirty clothes in the hamper. They leave the bathroom hand in hand.
Recognition breaks through Clarke’s exhaustion as they lay on Lexa’s bed, clean sheets covering their tired bodies. “This okay?” Clarke mumbles, eyes darting lazily around Lexa’s room.
“Yes,” Lexa whispers on an exposed shoulder, ghosting the mark she left there years ago.
“Do you want me to …”
Lexa can’t hold a bark of laughter at the way a blonde eyebrow rises in uncoordinated invitation, and the idea of Clarke doing anything but breathing now is out of the question.
“One thing at a time,” she says over a kiss to Clarke’s pout.
“I could totally do it,” the alpha argues to the pillow, eyelids surrendering to the lead over them.
“Sure, champ. But rest now.”
Lexa watches Clarke’s chest even with deep breaths, her smell warming her. She barely hears it when Clarke whispers over the pillow, the truth bright in the dark room.
“I love you.”
Lexa swallows hard and kisses her alpha’s forehead.
Clarke wakes up with a fuzzy tickling in her toes, her feet brushing against the mattress in search of warmth. She blinks under the force of a yawn and looks up at the ceiling. There’s a warm presence against her body and she shivers awake. Confused, she turns on the pillow.
Lexa’s sleeping face greets her good morning and the alpha’s cheeks hurt from the widest of smiles.
Last night happened. Last night was real.
The door cracking in the silent room stirs Clarke out of her haze. Her arms search blindly until they rest on the uncovered waist next to her, pulling Lexa closer. She feels the omega’s scent, a burst of life like fertile earth in a new forest, brimming with growth. She buries her nose on rich earth hair to sleep and dream of blooming flowers.
She never gets to it, though, when a messy brown mane wiggles itself under Clarke’s arm, breaking her contact with warm skin. The small body crawls its way under the blanket between Clarke and her mate, and after some fussing, Serah sets with Clarke’s arm covering her and rests her head on Lexa’s stomach.
Clarke chuckles at the welcomed intrusion. Serah doesn’t say anything as she adjusts for another hour of sleep.
Lexa wakes up with a low whine, opening sleepy green eyes and smiling a half smile that sends a shudder down Clarke’s spine. Lexa leans down enough to reach a kiss atop Serah’s head, but the girl is already out, one hand clawing at Clarke’s shirt, the other to the always present Mr. Snuggles. Clarke’s touch on Lexa’s hip whispers of longing, and Lexa arches a lazy eyebrow up at her mate.
Silently, she places a chaste kiss on Clarke’s lips, but the alpha chases her when she pulls away. Lexa laughs airily after the second kiss, brushing her nose against Clarke’s.
“Go back to sleep,” Clarke whispers in the quiet morning.
The sun has just started to disturb the peace in the room.
Lexa nods, her eyelids falling under the weight a week of heat can bestow upon an omega.
Clarke holds tight on both her mate and pup the most she can without waking them.
If she can define happiness, it is now .
Laughter bubbles high above hats, gloves and heavy coats. Wind gives up the fight to strip down most of the trees from their last leaves, allowing a gentle breeze to flirt with naked branches.
Lexa feels her cheeks warm like her palms as she holds spiced tea and hot cocoa in each hand, the steam from the hot cocoa blurring her sight as she sips it.
“It’s cold enough to drink. Here.” She gives the cup back to Serah, who would have burned her tongue if Lexa hadn’t interfered as soon as Clarke bought their drinks in the cozy tent at the park.
Clarke, who defied Lexa’s warning that her cappuccino would be too hot, had indeed burned her tongue, much to Lexa’s amusement.
“I want cookies too!” Serah smiles from between her parents, chocolate staining her upper lip. Clarke opens her mouth, but Lexa is faster.
“You already filled your sugar quota, baby.”
Serah frowns at the new word, and Lexa completes, "No, Serah."
“But just one!”
“Oh, just one, Lexa,” Clarke joins the pleading and Lexa purses her lips.
“We’re supposed to be a team,” she argues with the alpha while Serah watches their discussion like a ping pong match.
“It’s just one, and it’s early for dinner.”
“She won’t want dinner and it will be your fault.”
“I’ll eat half of her cookie.”
“I wonder if this was your plan all along.” Lexa chuckles and nods at her daughter, who whoops triumphantly and runs back to the stall with the cookies.
“You okay?” Clarke finds Lexa’s hand, their fingers brushing until they fall into place, together, as they follow their daughter.
The touch is light and innocent, but it’s enough to set Lexa’s skin alive, memories from last night vivid in her mind: Clarke’s face, that now smiles contently, shaped in the freeing pleasure of an orgasm; her breasts, full and inviting, moving with Lexa’s desperate thrusts to —
“Look mommy, I got the one with M&M’s!” Serah is Lexa’s saviour from her treacherous mind, and the blush peeking on Lexa’s cheeks is not from the cold.
“That’s great. What about we watch the squirrels before going home?”
Green eyes shine brightly and Serah nods, finishing off her half of the cookie and hot chocolate at the usual speed of a hungry four-year-old. She holds both her parent’s hands so they can swing her — something the pup has recently discovered as an advantage of having two moms.
Serah runs ahead of them to try and catch a squirrel, and neither parent has the courage to say she will never be faster than the furry ball. Lexa watches as Serah, now pairing up with another adventurous kid, plays in the expanse of the park’s open lawn. She has to enjoy it before the snow sets in.
Silence sits comfortably between Lexa and Clarke in the cold park bench. Lexa accepts her quarter of the colorful cookie and it crunches in her mouth, the noise loud enough to distract her from more heated memories.
That is until Clarke finds her hand again, pulling closer to lay her head on Lexa’s shoulder.
Clarke must feel her shuddering breath, because she turns to press a soft kiss on the covered shoulder.
“Do you regret it?”
Lexa remembers Clarke’s face this morning, all bleary eyed and happy and refuses to look down at the hesitant tone in her voice.
“No,” she answers simply, her cheek resting on top of blonde curls.
“Can I repay the favor tonight?”
Her heart beats so fast that Lexa feels it under the layers of coats and scarf.
“I didn’t mean to assume.” Clarke leaves the cozy spot on her mate’s shoulder to find green eyes. “Really, Lexa, I understand if what happened wasn’t what—”
Cold lips on her cheek are what stops Clarke’s rambling, a chaste and soft kiss in a forgotten park corner in early winter.
“I think that sounds nice.”
“What?” Clarke blinks her haze away, laying back on the comfortable shoulder.
“I thought you were talking about my rambling.”
“That’s cute, too.”
Clarke’s cold nose snuggles under Lexa’s chin and they share a laugh.
It’s light, it’s simple and Lexa feels blessed. Some of the weight she always carries disappears when she laughs with Clarke.
“Mommy!” Serah breaks their bubble with red cheeks after her jog. “I found these!”
Lexa looks at the nuts and breadcrumbs in the pup’s hands and grimaces. “That’s the squirrel’s dinner, sweetie. Maybe you should put it back where you found it.”
Serah forms a perfect ‘o’ with her pink lips in surprise, but nods, the ponytail escaping at the top of her winter hat bouncing.
“She was gonna eat them, wasn’t she?” Clarke says as Serah runs back with the other kids.
“High chances she already ate some.”
Clarke kisses her mate’s cheek because she can, smirking at her daughter’s antics. Her cell phone rings when she gets the courage to sneak an arm around Lexa’s shoulder.
Lexa knows the work tone of Clarke’s voice, and she doesn’t think the lower timbre of her voice is sexy. Nope, not at all.
But Clarke’s forehead wrinkles and Lexa feels what’s about to come.
“Yeah, yeah sure. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“I thought you weren’t on call today.”
With a deep breath, Clarke pockets her phone. “It’s a friend asking for assistance. I’ll take a cab, you guys keep the car.”
“What friend?” Part of Lexa knows she shouldn’t ask questions she doesn’t want to hear the answers to, but she just can’t hold it.
Clarke turns her head as if curious, and Lexa sees where Serah gets that ‘confused puppy’ look.
“Do you know Dr. Alex? Beta, brown hair? She was on call the day Serah fell.”
Of course. Dr. Sexy Alex.
Lexa looks away and mumbles an affirmative, pulling her hand from Clarke’s grip. “Just be careful.”
Clarke still looks curious and a little confused with a slight pout, but she doesn’t have another chance to say anything.
Serah chooses that moment to come back and unceremoniously wriggle her way between her parents, like she did this early morning.
“Can we go and try to see the fishes too?”
“Muchikin, I have to go to work,” Clarke explains, pulling the girl up to her lap. “You will stay with mom, okay?” She places her next to Lexa with a loud kiss to the top of her head.
Clarke stands to leave, hesitating just one moment before kissing Lexa’s cheek.
“See you soon.”
Lexa adjusts Serah’s hat, the pout on the pup’s lips growing with each step Clarke takes away from them.
“You know your mommy saves pups like you, right Serah? That’s why sometimes she’s late for dinner.”
Serah nods, huffing and finally accepting Lexa’s hug.
“But she will be back, right?”
The weight of the question is beyond what most kids should feel. Lexa nods, pulling Serah closer to kiss her forehead.
“Yeah, baby, she will.”
The glowing of the television is the only light in the apartment when Clarke steps in as silently as she can. She leaves her shoes by the door and goes to drop her purse on the armchair, but there’s a sleeping lump on it, curled on itself and not snoring.
Midnight news play on the muted TV and Clarke gives herself a minute to watch Lexa slumbering, hugging Serah’s giraffe as if it is a lost lover.
She envies the fluffy giraffe clutched tightly by long fingers. Clarke thinks about how these same hands held her one night ago and, blushing, makes her way to the kitchen to heat up dinner.
The dishes are done and Lexa haven’t moved, so Clarke takes matters into her own hands and carries the sleeping omega to her bedroom. She’s heavier than Clarke expects, stirring when Clarke failed to lay her softly on the bed. Lexa doesn’t wake up though, murmuring before turning on the pillow. With a kiss on her nose, Clarke leaves the bedroom smiling to herself and stretching her lower back.
It’s dark when Lexa wakes up and she isn’t sure how she made it to her bed. The collar of her button up shirt bites on her neck and she changes into pajamas. She checks Serah’s room first, finding her daughter and little Liam fully asleep — she had picked up the young boy earlier today so Raven and Anya could have a peaceful heat. Lexa closes the door silently and pads into the living room, following the light in the kitchen.
She finds Clarke, loose t-shirt and sweatpants on, drinking what smells suspiciously like coffee and frowning at her phone on the kitchen counter.
“What time did you get home?”
Tired blue eyes look up at her, a smirk forming once Clarke sees the monkey pj’s.
“About an hour ago. You feel asleep on the couch.”
Lexa ducks her chin to her chest, heat invading her face and neck. “I was waiting for you.”
“Well—” Clarke stands up from the stool, taking a few steps until she’s close. She lifts Lexa’s chin with her finger so she can see green eyes. “I’m here.”
It’s easy. Almost natural; movement inertia, the simple first law of motion.
Lexa closes her eyes and feels the kiss warming her lips, cheeks and chest. It plunges down to her stomach, daring lower to the secret place between her legs and it pushes her hands to cradle Clarke’s face, opening her mouth in invitation.
Clarke, alpha, eager and dreaming, accepts her touch and deepens the kiss, hands lowering to Lexa’s waist.
Even when air is a necessity, neither pull away. Lexa marvels in the way her nose nuzzles Clarke’s, in how suddenly shy lips peck her cheek. She feels the buried need hidden behind fingers that grip too hard on her waistband.
“Bed?” Lexa whispers, a low question in the dark apartment. She feels the affirmation in the nod against her forehead, in the shuddering breath against her lips, and finally in the pool of dark blue that opens for her.
Clarke tiptoes when they pass in front of Serah’s bedroom. She sees the smirk Lexa tries to hide and murmurs, “Never hurts to be careful.”
They do need to be careful, because explaining what they are about to do for Serah is a conversation that will happen only when Serah is close to her first rut — so in a long, long time if Lexa can choose.
Clarke closes the door behind them once in Lexa’s room, and Lexa is suddenly surrounded by the familiar spot of Clarke’s arms, blonde curls resting on her shoulder. Clarke’s nose is a cold spot on her neck, a grounding presence. Lexa relaxes against the body behind her, Clarke’s full chest grazing her back.
The cold disappears and it’s warm and wet, an open mouth kiss to Lexa’s skin that makes her regret that the pajamas has a collar.
Lexa feels the question on her skin as much as the fingers toying with her buttons and she nods, yes she nods, because that’s Clarke and she’s undressing her and Lexa’s fighting the urge of it being too much.
Last night was fast, layered with despair and eagerness. Clarke pulls away to place a delicate kiss on Lexa’s chin, then her lips again, just a peck by the corner of her mouth, sharing a calming breath. Lexa realizes that tonight it’s more than only desire.
Exploring hands peels the soft shirt away, and the cold against Lexa’s nipples make she shiver. Clarke’s arms hold her tighter, and there’s a new kiss to her exposed neck.
“Thank you,” Clarke murmurs, but she can’t see Lexa’s frown. She continues, quietly. “Thank you for giving me another chance.”
In Lexa’s heart there is a mix of fear and love, opposing feelings that battle for victory in her chest.
One hand holds the back of Clarke’s head, holding her there as Lexa takes in a deep breath of Clarke .
“Don’t leave me again,” the fear in Lexa begs, terrified. “I could never not give you another chance,” love insists on an afterthought, and Clarke leans her weight more heavily on Lexa’s back.
Clarke’s hands are the ones moving, but Lexa is setting their pace. Every inch is touched only after consent, a nod here and a whispered ‘yes’ there, until they make it to the bed. Lexa’s bottom pajamas is halfway down her thighs and she missed when Clarke tossed her own shirt somewhere on the floor. Strained nipples graze Lexa’s expanded back and she moans when Clarke settles her firmly against her chest. They lay on their side, clothes gone, Clarke holding Lexa in a mix of care and reverence.
“Tell me what you want,” Clarke whispers into mahogany hair, the color changing in the low light.
Lexa feels the wet of Clarke’s tongue on her ear, the warmth of a breath skinning her collarbone, the smell of home in the body behind her. She feels everything and her belly twitches with longing and apprehension.
Her breathing accelerates and she understands her body’s need to take it slow.
“Your touch,” Lexa breathes when lips find her in a deep kiss.
Clarke is hard behind her, the thin material of underwear the only obstacle between them. But Clarke doesn’t say anything, content with the cozy spot and focused on Lexa instead.
The first touch to Lexa’s breasts brings tears to her eyes, which Clarke kisses away and asks one more time if it’s okay. Lexa smiles through her tears.
“It’s been a long time,” she offers, and Clarke hesitates before touching her again. A moan, satisfied and encouraging, is what relaxes the alpha to continue.
Lexa squirms, the loose cage Clarke’s arms offers her a refuge and a delicious prison at the same time. A gasp locks her throat when trembling fingers brush the coarse hair between her thighs, but before Clarke can second guess herself, Lexa spreads her legs wider and nods in the forest of light hair tickling her cheeks.
Curious fingers prob, a little lost, and Lexa huffs a laugh to which Clarke promptly growls. It reminds her of the first time they did this and how equally unsure Clarke had been, her confident charisma melting the first time they were together.
However, tonight is not that night; tonight Lexa kisses a pout away and gives time for Clarke to reacquaint herself with her body. Lexa’s not the same; a six pound baby made a few decorations changes a few years ago, so she is happy that Clarke is learning her body again.
They sigh together when Clarke finds the rhythm Lexa enjoys, teeth closing over one shoulder but not drawing blood. One of Lexa’s hands runs to the back of Clarke’s neck, holding her there, and the other pushes her closer by the hip.
“I’ve dreamed about this,” Clarke confesses, the phrase mumbled between her teeth that don’t give up Lexa’s heated flesh.
Clarke moans at Lexa’s confession and speeds up her hand, her hips falling into motion on their own accord.
Lexa is surrounded by Clarke: Clarke’s scent fills her nose, Clarker’s fingers between her legs, Clarke’s grinding on her backside; her hips move to catch up the tension coiling in her stomach, sweat breaking in all her pores.
Clarke changes the angle and one finger ventures inside. Lexa bites her tongue not to cry in pleasure. “Don’t stop,” she pleads instead, feeling the effect her words have on the eager alpha.
“You close?” Clarke wheezes, her hand moving so fast Lexa fears she’ll cramp and stop.
“Yes, keep going.” Her words slur and neither care, because bliss is so close that they both sense it.
Lexa feels it, aware of every inch in her body. The harsh pants on her neck, the hand holding her hips, the other that slid back up to attack her throbbing clit. Her legs tremble, half trapped by Clarke’s, her thighs strain and she turns to muffle a loud moan on pale, sweaty skin.
And it floods, down her legs and up her chest, a warmth that she only realizes how much she missed it now that she feels it again.
Lexa comes whimpering on Clarke’s skin, and when the alpha tries to slow her movements, one hand latches over Clarke’s and keeps moving to incite new shockwaves.
Her body trembles from foot to hairline, and Clarke holds her again, panting but content, murmuring incoherently as Lexa calms down.
Lexa blinks and blinks again because her eyes can’t focus. She’s drenched; sweat and body fluids and whatever, and she smiles.
“You okay?” Clarke asks and leans on one elbow to catch fogged green eyes.
The only response Lexa is capable of forming is a lazy smile and a lazier nod.
“Good.” Clarke’s smile is more electrified, and the kiss is half eager and sated.
“Can I?” Clarke asks under the dim light and Lexa is completely content in their monolog. She nods again and watches, one hand still in Clarke’s hair and the other sleepy between them, as Clarke shrugs off her boxers to free herself.
Realization dawns on Lexa’s face, but Clarke kisses the new frown away. “Not for that, only … can I?” Blue eyes dart between Lexa’s leg and the springing erection not trying to be discreet between them.
“You wanna rut on me?” Lexa’s voice sounds as tired as she is.
“It’s not very encouraging when you put it that way.”
Lexa kisses the nervous laugh from Clarke's lips and turns so the alpha will lay comfortably against her back again.
They resume the earlier position, but the attention is on Clarke snugged between Lexa’s cheeks and lower back instead of between her legs.
Fingers lock on wild blonde hair to pull Clarke close, and strong hands hold on Lexa’s hips.
Clarke’s teeth find Lexa’s old scar on her neck, prickling enough to bruise. Lexa’s arousal sparks when Clarke starts to move, but she won’t come again tonight.
It’s a slow process, this reconstruction of what they once were.
Sweat warms the entire bedroom. Noises of skin on skin and the moans and whimpers Clarke fails to contain inspire Lexa to push back, to move as one, and even though there’s no penetration, it’s the most connected she felt with Clarke in years.
“Lex,” Clarke whines on her neck, her hips jutting and Lexa’s heart flutters at the realization.
“It’s okay, Clarke, come for me,” she encourages her alpha, her mate , drowning in everything that is Clarke. It’s the first time in the night she regrets not seeing Clarke’s face, because she craves to see her face, her clenched jaw and tensed muscles melting into pleasure.
With a final shudder and spasming hips, Clarke jerks erratically and Lexa feels warm spurs on her back.
Her inner omega wails, but she shushes it with a promise.
Clarke’s still coming when Lexa turns, finding her mouth in a deep kiss.
“I missed you,” Clarke mumbles, eyes half mast and filled with tears.
“You got me.” Lexa rubs their noses, pushing Clarke’s wet hair behind her ears.
“It never felt like this before.” Clarke’s eyes fall shut, her lips partly open at her losing battle against sleep.
“We are not the same as before.” Lexa places a last kiss on her temple. “And that’s okay.”
It’s wet and warm, and she will wake up in the middle of the night for a much needed clean up, but for now, Lexa falls asleep in her cocoon of warmth as an early snow falls.
It’s not spoken outside their bedroom, like a secret Anya imposed and never had to say it’s a secret. Raven adores it, a side of her wife that is exclusively hers, to be cherished and loved.
But the truth is, Anya loves to be the little spoon. Especially if she’s in heat.
With their height difference, the position on their side helps Raven tower over Anya without being forceful. Being the caring, loving alpha Raven is, it’s everything Anya needs.
Raven picks up her pace from behind her wife, thrusting deeper and gritting her teeth to hold a painful hiss.
Anya moves back to meet each push, bodies pressed seamlessly together, hips joining again and again.
“Raven!” Anya turns to nuzzle Raven’s jaw on her neck, kissing it until she finds full lips on hers.
“Me too,” Raven puffs, mouth bruising into the intense kiss before latching on supple skin.
Anya grunts once, twice, and Raven breaks into a smile because that shows Anya is close. The bed hits the wall louder than she intended, but it doesn’t stop Raven from pressing further.
“I’m gonna …” Raven doesn’t need to finish it, and Anya nods, legs opening wider to accommodate the growing knot pushing through her entrance.
They come together, silently, muffling groans and tears in skin and sweat until they're both spent and panting.
Raven’s painful groan breaks free in her moment of weakness, and she curses herself when Anya freezes.
“Your leg,” Anya rasps, voice thick with relief and concern. Raven whispers an apology and thrusts lightly inside her wife again.
“We’re rolling,” Anya resolves, hands stilling Raven’s hips.
“An, I just knotted,” Raven reasons as if Anya can’t feel the enlarged member inside herself. Raven hisses at the pain in her leg and imagines the glare her wife would be giving her if she could see her face.
“We’re rolling on three.” Anya unceremoniously turns them both so their weight is on Raven’s good leg. Raven can’t suppress a relieved sigh when they do, her body betraying her. Anya finds her hand and intertwines their long fingers, kissing Raven’s knuckles.
“You good?” Raven mumbles behind her wife’s ear, nudging close.
“Yeah.” Silence fills the room until Raven resumes the thrusting, emptying herself. They crash down and up again, in a series of give and take until they can’t move anymore.
“Do you think it can work this early?” There’s reverence in Raven’s voice, and her hand runs down to rest protectively over Anya’s belly.
It’s Anya’s first heat after Liam that they try for another pup. They won't settle for one, and their plan was to try after Liam’s second birthday.
Raven inhales deeply into her mate’s hair, the trends caressing her cheek. “Anya?” she tries again, and Anya takes a deep breath against her chest.
“We’ll find out.” Her voice lacks the hope Raven wants to hear in it.
“Do you think it’s too soon after Liam?” Raven frowns into dark blonde hair. Does Anya not—
“I’m just worried about Lexa,” Anya admits into the pillow, and Raven has to lean closer to listen the whispered confession.
“Are we really talking about your cousin right now?” Raven laughs and wiggles her hips for emphasis. They share a moan, lost in the moment until Anya reaches behind to slap Raven’s good thigh.
“She’s close to Clarke again.”
“And that’s bad because …” Raven fears she knows where this conversation is going. And they have a tendency to venture into the endlessly discussion between ‘the best friend’ and ‘the cousin’.
“If Clarke leaves …”
“She won’t. She would never leave Serah.”
“You are an alpha. How can an alpha leave her pup?”
“She didn’t know, Anya.” Raven nips at the scar on Anya’s neck. Her member twitches and she groans as it starts to shrink. “And you know I’ll never leave you.”
“I’ll kill her if she leaves,” Anya says, her head falling on Raven’s shoulder. “And I’d follow you to the end of the world just to kill you if you tried to leave me.”
Raven doesn’t doubt it for a second. Her hands find Anya’s belly once more, thumbs circling the soft skin.
“Do you think it worked?”
“I hope so.”
And there’s the smile Raven fights so hard to see.
Come December, Christmas carols take over every single store, supermarket and even the hospital. It is an inspiring season, and not the only reason Clarke has a smile plastered on her face as she steps into the pharmacy next to the hospital.
Lexa had given her a list with their usual meds, mostly for Serah considering the pup uses the first aid kit quite vigorously, and Clarke feels like a responsible parent as she loads her basket with children’s aspirin and colorful band-aids. Later this afternoon she promised Lexa they would buy decorations for Serah’s upcoming birthday — and Clarke had learned that no matter the proximity, Serah requires two gifts: one for Christmas and the other for her birthday — that will be celebrated two weeks before the holidays at Abby’s house. It’s a day Clarke feels like a real mom.
She’s almost done with her list when she finds herself in an aisle she hasn’t been in quite a while.
It feels the entire store is staring at Clarke as she eyes the endless colors and textures of condoms.
Her blunt nails scrap her basket handle as she, discreetly, inches toward alpha condoms.
God, she can’t even remember the last time she bought those.
Lexa used to take birth control, which Serah is an adorable proof that it does not always work. They had been getting more intimate this past week, but they haven’t gone all the way. Clarke hopes it is a matter of time, but she’s deeply aware that’s a decision Lexa has to make, not her.
So, maybe, she can be prepared. Just in case. They are definitely not ready for Serah #2, even if Clarke smiles at the idea of being close to Lexa during an eventual second pregnancy.
Her left hand brushes over the different brands. Lexa never liked anything with flavors — it crosses chocolate, strawberry and mint out. Textures? It will look like Clarke is trying too much. She ponders between two remaining boxes and decides over the most expensive one.
Jingle bells fill the store as she pays and there’s a new reason for Clarke’s smile when she leaves the pharmacy.
Snow peppers the windows white, a monochrome contrast to the colorful sea of coats in the mudroom of Abby’s house. Excited pups and adults (Raven’s snake balloons are a success one more time) run around the house to celebrate Serah’s fifth birthday. Abby’s couch will have scars, and there are stains on the floor for generations to come, but none of it matters when Serah smiles happily and content.
She’s having the almost perfect birthday party.
“Serah, we need to cut the cake,” Lexa says solemnly, knowing her daughter’s reaction.
“You said we’re waiting for mommy!” the five-year-old complains, brows knitted in the same fashion Clarke’s does. Unshed tears in her daughter’s eyes stir a pit of anger inside Lexa, though she forces another smile.
“I know, sweetie.” Lexa kneels to look into her daughter’s eyes. “But don’t you want to cut your birthday cake while your friends are here?”
Unfazed, Serah keeps frowning. “Clarke not coming?”
“Remember when I told you her job can make your sire stay in the hospital for a long time?”
Serah nods, looking at her feet, and sighs defeatedly, high above her years.
Lexa kisses Serah’s forehead. “She can eat cake with us tomorrow. What about that?”
Serah relents to a weak smile when Lexa tickles her side. “We can wake her up with some cake on her face. What about that ?”
That brings a devilish grin to her pup’s face. They are in so much trouble when the candles on the cake are enough for the little one to be a teenager, rutting and getting into all kinds of high school adventures.
Raven scoops Serah up to carry her to the cake, and Lexa nods gratefully. She sees Abby leaving the kitchen with her phone and follows her.
“Still nothing?” Lexa asks, and for the first time in the night, anxiety battles with the anger at Clarke being late for her daughter’s birthday.
“She’s not picking up.” Abby explains, lips pursing in thought.
“If she ran away, I’ll kill her so it will be the last time you mourn that idiot,” Anya whispers to Lexa, and she jolts in surprise at her cousin’s proximity. They approach Abby, who tries her daughter’s phone for the umpteenth time that night.
Lexa scowls at Anya, but her heart plummets with dread.
Flashes of Clarke leaving behind a devastated Serah scare her, and Lexa feels bile rising in her throat.
“She’s just late,” she replies, weak and unsure.
“I’ll keep trying.” Abby places a comforting hand on Lexa’s shoulder. “You should go cut the cake.”
In the company of her friends, Serah smiles and claps, laughing at Raven’s antics. The cake is green and with candy animals on top, and the kids fight for the lion and the giraffe.
It’s with cake in her hands and blouse, cutting more slices for the sugar thirsty pups, that Lexa catches Abby’s eyes. She pauses, plastic fork midway into diving in a sea of colorful icing, and watches the exact moment Abby’s face pales.
“Raven, could you?” Lexa doesn’t look back to see if her friend takes her place, and the walk to the foyer, maneuvering through a sea of children, is one of the hardest steps she ever took.
“Abby?” It’s a whisper, a question that can change everything, a cold breeze in her summer happiness.
“Clarke had to assist an emergency surgery and … it didn’t end well. Alex, a new doctor, she’s Clarke’s friend and led the surgery. She just called and …” Abby fumbles for her words. The whispered conversation is heavy in a house full of innocent laughter.
“And what?” Lexa pushes when Abby’s hands move more than her mouth. “What happened?”
It’s regret. Pity; maybe fear. It’s everything that Lexa loathes in one single glance.
“Lexa,” Abby exhales, her shoulders slumping as she searches for her keys in her pocket. “They don’t know where Clarke is.”
Her brain understands what it means. She makes the connection, fill the dots and knows what that phrase entails.
Who doesn’t place it is her heart.
“What?” It’s a whispered prayer to which Lexa doesn’t really want the answer.
“I’m going to the hospital,” Abby completes, unsure, her pheromones a mix of fear and protectiveness. It’s a mess.
No. Lexa’s heart is starting to process and the answer is no. Not again. Not on her watch, no sir, she has a five year old and she will drag Clarke back from whatever the hell she went this time.
“Alex.” The names tastes bitter on her tongue, but Lexa swallows it anyway. “I need to talk to Dr. Alex.”
Confused, Abby handles her phone and pulls Lexa in the guest room downstairs, away from curious eyes.
Dr. Alex picks on the second ring.
“Dr. Griffin, I told you that we—”
“It’s Lexa, Clarke’s mate.”
A second of silence and Lexa wipes the drop of sweat forming on her forehead.
“What happened? What did she tell you before leaving?”
“I’m not sure I can—”
“There’s much more at stake here, and it includes a five-year-old that adores that asshole of an alpha. So you will tell me exactly what happened so I can help my mate.”
The coldness of her voice must do it. After a second, Alex speaks,
“We lost both mother and infant in the surgery. She was quiet, but who wouldn’t be? I … might have lost a little of my temper and she helped me calm down. Then she just … she said she would change her clothes and leave. I saw her speaking to the family, and then, nothing. She left.”
Lexa digests the information, her brain on full speed. If Anya heard this, she would alert the police just to watch Clarke being chased.
“What did she tell you when she talked to you … to, ‘calm you down’, as you said?”
“I don’t remember the exact words, but ...” A second. A thought; Lexa’s life-line. “Maybe something about her family? Look, I’m not in a great place too, that’s all I’ve got.”
That’s all Lexa needs.
“Thank you, Dr. Alex.”
Lexa gives the phone back to Abby, who watches her silently. Abby looks conflicted between hugging Lexa and running, and the omega takes a deep breath.
“I think I know where she is.”
Abby perks up, but she’s still confused.
“Abby, can you stay with Serah? Raven can drive me, so I can bring her car back too.”
“How are you so certain?” Abby touches Lexa’s forearm before she can leave the room.
“I’m not. But the other option is despair, and I’m not falling for it again. If we don’t find her, I’ll call in the station.”
Abby holds tight, understatement in her brown eyes.
“Call me, okay?”
Lexa nods, but stops halfway outside the room. “Sugar coat it for Anya, please? Otherwise the pups will be traumatized with the swearing.”
It’s a lonely figure, small and almost imperceptive in the dark night. The falling snow makes it harder to see, and Raven asks if Lexa’s sure three times before stopping the car.
But Lexa knows. Her heart knows.
The park is ethereal in a night like this. The lights from the street are not enough to make it shine; the beams die in cold, wet spots. A place that can burst with life utterly dead under winter’s heavy coat.
Clarke doesn’t see her approaching. She stares ahead, watching the blurring playground and disappearing leaves. She has her jeans, but is still in her scrubs, a light pink that appears gray in the low light. She’s not trembling. She’s just … there. Car keys clutched in both hands, hair up in a wet, messy bun. Some tears have frozen, but they don’t fall anymore.
The first thing Lexa does is to take off her coat to cover Clarke’s shoulders. Clarke looks up, slow and tired, and when she opens her mouth to speak, only a sob escapes.
She finally starts to tremble.
“It’s okay,” Lexa murmurs, hugging the cold form of her mate in the same park Clarke had seen Serah for the first time. “Everything is going to be okay.”
Clarke is so cold, her hands, her face, her breathing. Lexa wraps a scarf around her exposed neck.
“I, I didn’t, I just …” Clarke tries to speak, words trashing under clashing teeth. Lexa soothes her, helping her up. With Raven’s help, they make it to the car and the drive back is scorchingly warm with the heater blasting, but Clarke keeps trembling.
The house is quiet when they make it back. Anya and Abby are doing the clean up, and Raven stops her mate when Anya goes over to Clarke.
“Not now.” Raven’s tone is commanding, rare. Anya submits, eyes fuming.
Clarke doesn’t look up from her spot on Lexa’s neck.
“Is Serah asleep?” Lexa whispers to Abby as Raven carries a sleeping Liam to their car.
“She’s out, in her room.” Abby feels Clarke’s forehead, but her daughter flinches away from the touch.
“I’ll sleep downstairs with Clarke. Call me if Serah wakes up.” Lexa doesn’t look back to see Abby’s nod.
Lowering Clarke to the bathtub is easy, but waking her up to pull her out is more of a challenge. Lexa manages, and they communicate only through whines and grunts, but it’s clear.
They don’t need words for what happened. The acrid scent of shame hangs over Clarke, and Lexa isn’t sure if it is for another medical failure or for having to go to extremes to calm her mind.
Clarke lets Lexa dry her with a fluffy white towel. Meticulously, Lexa dries every inch of skin, nuzzling Clarke’s neck and shoulders when the alpha shivers. It pains Lexa to see her weak, small and vulnerable.
Was Clarke like that when she left? Had Lexa been that blind not to see it?
She helps Clarke into spare clothes they have at Abby’s, thick winter pajamas and socks.
The room is dim when Clarke falls heavily on the mattress, nose and cheeks red, hair frizzy and dry.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, a late tear marking her face. “I needed some time to think. I would never —”
Lexa kisses the tear away, a pale smile gracing her lips. “I know.”
“Where’s Serah?” Clarke asks with her eyes closed, hand blindly searching for something and setting on Lexa’s waist. “Can I see her?” Blue, red-rimmed eyes find Lexa and she gulps, nodding.
They fall asleep as a family, the three bundled up under a blanket.
Clarke’s not perfect, but neither is Lexa. It’s a relationship of give and take, hurt and forgiveness. It’s human. It’s vulnerable and messy and it’s the only way Lexa will take it.
It’s the first time in a long time she has Clarke’s trust, and she will take care of it with her own life.
Thank you for reading, your comments and kudos make this story happen.
Winter doesn’t let morning light burn her eyes, but Lexa knows it’s later than she usually wakes up. Hands search the mattress and blankets around her to find nothing. She startles awake, heart racing, and for a terrifying, brief moment, Lexa thinks Clarke left.
Until she hears giggling from the living room, followed by a hearty laughter. Clarke’s laughter.
She walks slowly and stops by the living room entrance, resting her shoulder on the wall to watch Clarke and Serah.
Clarke sports a red nose and Lexa can bet she has a nasal congestion, but the alpha smiles through the consequences of last night. She widens clear blue eyes every time Serah shows a new gift she got from her birthday.
“And auntie Raven gave me this!” Serah’s grin could light up the Christmas tree behind them when she takes the toy car from the box.
“Oh wow, this is cool,” Clarke whispers reverently, checking the bright red firefight truck.
Serah pushes a button and the thing erupts in a loud siren, making Lexa wince. Clarke laughs with her pup, pushing the toy truck between them.
Of course Raven and Anya would choose the loudest toy possible. Lexa swears to buy something equally obnoxiously loud for Liam this Christmas. Maybe a toy ambulance or police car.
“Mommy!” Serah is the first to notice Lexa, running to hug her legs, hands lost in soft sweatpants. “I’m showing mom my gifts! She likes them!”
Lexa hoists her daughter up to her hip, but Serah is so excited that she can’t stop squirming. “We were waiting for you to wake up to have breakfast!”
Clarke joins them with a shy peck on Lexa’s cheek. “Good morning,” she says with a faint smile.
Frowning, Lexa puts Serah down, who runs to the kitchen singing something about pancakes. Without asking, Lexa palms Clarke’s forehead, feeling it hot.
“You have a fever.”
“It’s nothing.” Clarke takes the hand from her forehead and kisses Lexa’s palm. “I just need some rest.”
Lexa is painfully aware they need to talk about what happened. She needs it, Clarke needs it, and they own it to Serah.
Something clatters in the kitchen and Lexa clears her throat.
“We should go before she burns Abby’s house down.”
Lexa turns to the kitchen, but an insistent hand stops her and pulls her close. The next second she is between Clarke’s arms.
“Thank you,” Clarke murmurs against her hair, warm nose snuggling a soft spot. It’s a gesture searching for comfort, and Lexa hugs her mate back. "I … thank you, Lex.”
“You’re not alone,” Lexa replies in her own low whisper, finger threading blonde tresses.
“Mom!” Serah calls from the kitchen, blowing their small bubble.
Lexa kisses Clarke’s forehead and takes her hand.
It’s quiet that night, in their bedroom. The bed is theirs again, after caring for each of them separately and finally feeling complete with two bodies nesting on it.
Winter doesn’t bother them, hidden behind the thick window and blowing heater. Serah sleeps soundly in her room after an entire day playing with her mothers; she’s exhausted, but happy.
Wounds heal. With time, care and a touch of forgiveness, but they heal.
In the quiet, under the dim light of the solitary lamp on the nightstand, Lexa holds part of her heart. She holds a sobbing Clarke that chooses the darkness to confess.
Clarke’s hair smell like vanilla, Lexa’s shampoo and the tanginess of relief.
They talk. Clarke talks about her fears, her shame and five years of regret. What she gained, but also what she lost. And Lexa, Lexa understands: she has a choice. If she chooses Clarke, nights like that will happen again, one way or another. Will Clarke leave? No. But will she fight it every time the need comes, resuming to a boneless pool of tears? Probably.
When Clarke finally stops, her tears marking Lexa’s shoulder, Lexa takes a deep breath. She steadies herself in the trust Clarke gives her. There’s no reason to lie or to pretend anymore. She knows Clarke’s lowest; she knows what Clarke can offer.
And God, Lexa wants it.
So she talks, too. She tells about the dark days, pregnant with no one to care for her aching ankles and lower back. Alone with a small pup that used to cry every single night, fussing at a terrified, first-time mother. She swears. Silently, Clarke takes it all, eyes wide in awe of the sacred, secret thing that is Lexa baring her heart.
Blue eyes shine and Clarke nods, lips parted reventely. Listening. The blows, the excuses, the names. She receives all with the patient silence one only learns after great losses.
Lexa notices her tears when Clarke thumbs them from her face. It feels good to be cared for, to say what she feels and to reconnect.
Clarke’s sorry she didn't try harder to contact her when in Africa.
Lexa promises not to use it against her.
Clarke accepts her role as alpha, caregiver and protector. Lexa, after years of silently longuing, accepts to receive such care. Being mates is an endless give and take.
Forgiveness heals the soul, and the best feeling is when one achieves it for themselves.
Lexa cries and it’s cathartic.
She falls asleep to the sound of her alpha’s heart, head tucked warmly on Clarke’s chest.
It’s like being reborn.
Clarke opens the door to her mother’s house to the sound of laughter and a worryingly burning smell. It’s Christmas Eve afternoon and Abby’s house is full of life.
Life and smoke as Anya and Abby open the kitchen window under the cold to let the burnt smell out.
Raven, cozy in the living room with Liam on her lap, laughs at her wife’s angry stare.
Clarke almost takes a step back at the commotion, but Serah barges in to follow Liam.
“What happened here?” Lexa, the last to enter the house, places the pie they brought on the dining room table. She follows a smirking Abby and a mumbling Anya to the kitchen, a grin blossoming in her face.
“Anya said she would make a better meatloaf than I do,” Raven breathes between puffs of laugher. “She forgot a plastic spoon inside the oven and baked it.”
“Oh boy.” Clarke takes a deep breath and swallows her comment at the murdering glare Anya gives her from the kitchen entrance.
“Everything is under control,” Abby calls from the back door, where the once meatloaf lies in the garbage outside. “The turkey is enough anyway.”
“Since Anya insisted on cooking, I got wine and kids duty.” Raven smiles at the half empty bottle on the table. Liam is already engrossed in a whispered conversation with Serah about her new fire truck.
“Wine duty sounds great.” Clarke goes to pour wine for herself until Lexa calls her.
“No way. It’s your first Christmas with us in so long, so you’re definitely helping Abby with the potato salad.” Lexa walks back to the living room and takes Clarke’s glass from her hands. “I got wine duty this year.”
Clarke fake growls and kisses Lexa’s cheek.
In the kitchen, peeling potatoes while Abby prepares some dressing and Anya washes fresh tomatoes, Clarke feels content.
“It’s been a while,” Abby says next to her and puts three more potatoes next to Clarke.
Abby dries her hands with a dishcloth, tossing it on the counter when she’s done. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen any of you —” she turns her head to the living room, where Lexa has Liam on her lap and is reading him a book; the rosiness of wine and happiness tinges her cheeks “— really happy.”
Anya mumbles an agreement from the sink.
Clarke smiles, but then frowns at the potato in her hand. “I want to make them happy.”
“Well, Clarke.” Anya places a hand still wet on her shoulder “That’s the secret.”
Abby nods and complains about Clarke’s potatoes.
Christmas dinner has too much food, wine and laughter; the perfect mix for the small family. Raven and Anya developed a habit to spend Christmas with Lexa, Serah and Abby. Clarke doesn’t dwell on why, focusing on being together with her family again.
Raven, an entire wine bottle down, tells the same joke more than once, though Liam and Serah laugh every time.
Before cutting the turkey, Abby stands to give a speech, drinking a long gulp and taking a deep breath.
“Once more I thank you for accepting my invitation and being in my home.” She smiles, locking eyes with each person at the table. Liam uses a high chair and Serah sits on a cushion so her dinner won’t be a complete disaster. Shirt #2 is already on.
“Raven, Anya and Liam are family and good friends.”
Raven raises her glass and holds Anya’s hand, whispering loudly, “We’re awesome.”
“Lexa,” Abby continues, meeting Lexa’s eyes. “You’re a daughter to me, and a wonderful mother to my favorite grandchild.” She winks at Serah, who giggles and hides her face in Lexa’s chest.
Clarke swallows thickly when warm brown eyes meet hers.
“And Clarke ... ” Abby’s fingers tighten around her glass, and her smile trembles with emotion. “I’m so happy you’re here.”
Abby was never one for long speeches, except for when Clarke was a teenager, and it ends with clapping and a hooray from Raven. Clarke releases the breath she was holding, searching Lexa’s hand on the table.
She doesn’t feel like an intruder. After years searching, Clarke is finally home.
Raven and Anya have the guest room upstairs, next to Serah’s room where the pups will sleep. Clarke and Anya are on cleaning duty downstairs while a tipsy Raven and an excited Lexa try to get the pups to sleep.
“And that’s the story of how Santa Claus had to buy a new magic sleigh due to a massive recall of reindeers.”
Two pairs of tired, but curious eyes stare at Raven as she finishes the story. Lexa tries her best not to burst out laughing.
“Is Santa using the new sleigh to bring us presents tomorrow?” Serah asks shyly. Lexa adjusts the collar of her fluffy pajamas and Liam yawns, more used to Raven’s unconventional stories.
“Yes, baby, he will,” Lexa answers before Raven can start a new plot twist in what is supposed to be a short bedtime story.
Satisfied, the pups snuggle close together in Serah’s bed. Both Raven and Lexa kiss their foreheads and tiptoe out of the room.
“If Liam presents as an omega, we’re having problems,” Raven sighs once they’re in the hallway.
Lexa opens her mouth to argue, but stops herself at Raven’s playful eyes. “It’s not a problem, but they’re technically cousins,” Raven completes.
“Raven, Serah’s five.”
“It’s never too soon to be vigilant!”
Anya and Clarke climb up the stairs, finding their mates in a whispered argument about their pups.
“An, tell her it’s never too soon to be vigilant!” Raven whines and Anya raises one eyebrow.
“Is she worried about Liam and Serah again?” Anya asks, exasperated.
“About what?” Clarke tries to enter the conversation, but Lexa places both hands on her shoulders to guide her back downstairs, where their guest room is ready.
“Don’t worry about it. Raven gets super protective when she’s tipsy.”
“Do I need to give Serah the talk?” Clarke jokes when they get downstairs.
“She just learned how to pee standing up. Let’s enjoy it while this is the only activity she uses her penis for, okay.” They laugh under the blinking lights of the Christmas tree. Clarke and Anya had arranged the presents, a colorful pile of boxes. Chances are high the kids will wake up early, so they thought it was better to sleep with everything ready than to explain why Santa was late.
“Clarke?” Lexa takes Clarke’s hand, stopping the alpha before she can enter their room.
“What?” Clarke turns and faces Lexa, a timid smile tugging at her lips.
Lexa’s eyes drift to Clarke’s lips and she leans forward.
The kiss is soft, warm, and Lexa melts into it, her hands wrapping around Clarke’s neck. After a night of celebration, the house is quiet, safe. They hear the wind outside, the dying music of the neighbors, and a solitary dog barking.
Red, green and blue dance in Lexa’s eyes, a layer of longing coating the blinking lights.
They meet in another kiss, deeper, longer, and Clarke doesn’t hear anything else but the moan trapped in Lexa’s throat. Hands that were peacefully resting behind Clarke’s neck roam down to her back and waist. Their heaving chests touch, and under the soft layer of Lexa’s shirt, Clarke feels peaked nipples.
Lexa breathes hard when their foreheads meet, licking her lips and tasting wine and Clarke.
“Today was the best night of my life,” Clarke whispers in the stillness of Christmas Eve. “And it’s thanks to you.”
Lexa kisses her open mouth, and then latches on Clarke’s neck; the alpha shudders.
“I want to make you happy too, Lexa.” Clarke struggles to say the words as Lexa’s tongue maintains a steady work on her pulse point. “Let me take care of you.”
At that, Lexa stops. She leaves feathery kisses on Clarke’s chin, nose, cheeks, until finally meeting her eyes. She looks deeply into Clarke’s eyes, into the layer of tears dancing under the lights. Lexa opens her mouth to respond, to say anything, but her words die in silence. After a deep breath, she tries again.
“Yes.” It’s a single word, but clear.
Honestly, Clarke’s alpha wants something else. But it’s not to be given in the quiet of the living room with a pile of toys as witness.
So Clarke accepts what Lexa has to give and kisses her again.
It’s Lexa who suggests the bedroom when Clarke pins her next to the Christmas tree and a decorative bell rings in the room filled with gasps. Clarke smirks and follows Lexa, stealing small kisses here and there until finally, the door locks behind them.
Clarke doesn’t know how far this will go. It’s Lexa’s call, as their encounters have been. Her growing member has its own opinions, and the memory of the condoms in her backpack flashes vividly when Lexa finds her pulse point again. However, giving up control to the woman she loves is the most freeing feeling Clarke has ever felt.
She is Lexa’s.
Lexa’s hands are soft, but secure when she unbuttons Clarke’s blouse. Clarke allows the hands to touch, explore, expose. When Lexa leans down to capture one nipple with her mouth, Clarke tries to keep her eyes open, to watch it, but when Lexa adds pressure, she’s gone. She rolls her eyes back at the sensation of Lexa sucking her, tasting her.
Lexa pulls back with a loud pop, mouth agape at Clarke. She takes a step back to the bed, hands pulling and holding and wanting and Clarke follows. Lexa sits on the bed first, and doesn’t resist a lick to a stiff nipple. Clarke moans and places her knees next to Lexa’s hips, the omega using the space to shed her blouse. Clarke takes the advantage to open her zipper, but Lexa’s hands stop her.
It’s a clear gesture of dominance and Clarke’s erection throbs.
“I want to kiss you,” Lexa says in the dim room and Clarke is the happiest of alphas to comply, kneeling on the bed to find Lexa’s lips. It’s getting messy, hard and there’s more teeth than tongue, but it’s theirs.
When they pull apart, Clarke latches on her old mating mark by Lexa’s neck, whispering into the hot skin, “And I want to taste you.”
She doesn’t go lower than Lexa’s exposed collarbones, hands itching to discard the bra teasing her. But Clarke waits, she waits in the certainty that Lexa has waited enough.
It’s the most beautiful nod Clarke has ever seen. “I love you,” she confesses to the mating mark, feeling Lexa’s body shiver for a second; only to melt under her mouth again.
Clarke doesn’t waste the gift that is presented to her. She makes every touch, lick and nip count. She loves Lexa’s breasts with care, patience and reverence. Lexa is the one not subtly pushing her down, which owns the omega a playful growl.
Though Clarke’s patience evaporates the second Lexa breathes, “I need you.”
Clarke’s alpha takes place and she aims her attention lower.
She ventures through hips that discarded pants expose. She kisses the secret path under Lexa’s belly button, nosing her way between coarse, dark hair until she smells, tastes and lives Lexa’s arousal.
Lexa’s gasps, whimpers and muffled moans are Clarke’s breath of life. She works diligently, watching for every reaction, every crease, every inch that needs caring. After consent, one finger gives Lexa pleasure, and it’s everything Clarke thought it would be and more.
She is Lexa’s.
A hand fists Clarke’s wild locks, desperate; moans escalate, testing the thin walls; a whispered yes hits Clarke’s ears; and through all, Clarke never stops. She plunges and tastes and risks her muscles to the limit until Lexa freezes.
Then melts in sweet aftershocks and an obscene moan that almost make Clarke come on the sheets.
But Clarke is not satisfied with one.
She gives Lexa a break by focusing on light licks at trembling hips. After a long, teasing bite, blue eyes meet tired green over an expanse of skin. Clarke finds the abused clit again and Lexa’s head falls on the pillow, unable to hold itself.
The second orgasm is quicker, shorter, but Lexa is still trembling when Clarke climbs to claim her victory kiss.
Clarke rests her head between Lexa’s breasts, breathing in her sweaty skin and listening to a rapid heart calm down. A hand plays with Clarke’s messy hair and she sighs contently.
“Merry Christmas,” Lexa mumbles, a little drowsy, and Clarke lifts her head to see Lexa’s face.
Lexa’s smile grows into a smirk and Clarke mirrors her.
They have to use their hands so the mis of giggles and laughter won’t wake up the house.
“Merry Christmas,” Clarke says, catching her breath. “Do you think that was my present for you?”
Lexa’s eyes shine with something Clarke risks to call happiness. “I’m not complaining if that was.”
“I guess I can return the other one, then.”
“No!” Lexa leans forward to catch Clarke’s lips, hands behind her head. “I’m okay with two gifts.”
“Two? I thought that would make it three.” Clarke raises an eyebrow, her teeth showing at her proud smile.
Lexa rolls her eyes, but finds Clarke’s lips with another kiss. It deepens and the light mood turns into arousal, hands touching breasts and naked backs. With a push of her hips, Lexa turns them so she’s on top.
There’s no way she hasn’t felt Clarke’s erection by now, snuggled between them and requesting attention.
With her back fully on the mattress and her mate hovering over her, Clarke rests her head on the pillow and stares up at Lexa. Eyes hooded, a darker shade to the usual green, brown hair falling in cascades framing a bashful smile.
“I love you,” Clarke says and watches that smile grow.
Lexa leans down enough so only their noses touch, soft, gentle. “I love you too.”
Clarke distracts herself in the kiss until a hand slips between them, slow but sure, and holds her.
“Lex?” She more moans than asks, trapped in the feeling of Lexa’s warm hand.
“I want to do this.” Lexa meets Clarke’s eyes and tugs once, slowly, up and down. Clarke whimpers.
“Sex?” Clarke needs all possible consent before doing anything stupid. She gets harder, if possible, when Lexa nods and breathes a tiny yes.
But then Lexa frowns, her lips pulling down and she shakes her head.
“I don’t have any—”
“Condoms!” Clarke offers, too far gone to contain her excitement. “I have some, I mean, I bought it, I didn’t think we’d actually use it, but I kinda got them and—”
“Clarke?” Lexa places a finger from her free hand on Clarke’s blabbering lips. “It’s ok.”
Clarke grips harder on Lexa’s hips, nodding. When she doesn’t say or do anything, Lexa completes, “Aren’t you going to get it?”
“Yes, right, yes!” Clarke blinks harder to bring herself back to the moment. Lexa leans back, sitting on her haunches to free the trapped alpha.
Clarke hops from the bed to search through her backpack, hands blindly going through her things. Her phone charger, laptop and toothbrush on the floor, she finally gets the small box, a triumphant exclamation leaving her lips.
Amazed, Lexa hides her smile poorly as Clarke flops back onto the bed. She tears the box with her teeth and rips the foil package, a clean extraction.
“What?” Clarke asks as she cuddles closer, condom rolled in place.
Smiling, Lexa straddles her alpha. “You look eager,” she jokes.
“I am eager.” Clarke runs her hands up and down Lexa’s back. “I’ve been imagining being with you like this for years. Lexa, this—” She nuzzles Lexa’s neck, pulling her close and mouthing her mating scar. “—this, you … you’re my mate. I’m sorry if I wasn’t the best mate.” Her voice muffles on soft skin, but Lexa hears each word. “You gave me the most precious things in my life. Serah.” Clarke kisses the sensitive skin under Lexa’s chin. “And your love.”
Clarke feels the sigh Lexa breathes when she pushes her head back. But Lexa doesn’t use words to express herself, instead using a hand to guide Clarke inside.
It’s not the desperate lovemaking from separated mates. Neither is innocently slow when memories come to life: where to touch, where to kiss and where to push to give pleasure. When Lexa hisses in discomfort, Clarke offers reassurement. When Clarke is too close, Lexa brings her down with care.
But when Lexa is the one peaking, riding her mate until she’s covered in sweat, Clarke encourages her, pushing up and going to her limit.
Clarke kisses the tears away, panting while holding her own pleasure back.
“Clarke?” Lexa whispers, finding her voice after suppressing a scream, her body relaxed with another orgasm, but feeling the shaking in Clarke’s body beneath her, the tension.
Lexa looks down confused when Clarke exposes her neck, eyes glistening, baring herself. “What …” It dawns on Lexa what she’s doing, green eyes widening.
Clarke, an alpha, offering submission. Not only offering, needing it , by the way nails sink on Lexa’s skin, pleading.
Lexa doesn’t break skin, an action reserved for the fog of rut and heat, but she sinks her teeth hard enough to bruise a new mark on Clarke’s neck. And it’s what the alpha needs to finally, beautifully, reach release.
The hold of Lexa’s mouth waivers as Clarke moans, but it doesn’t break. Only when Clarke is calming down Lexa frees the marked skin. She finds Clarke’s eyes, vivid and clear with tears. Clarke’s breath fans Lexa’s lips, warm and slowing. One hand pushes Lexa’s hair behind her ears, a timid smile tugging Clarke’s cheek.
“Let me love you,” Clarke whispers in the bedroom too warm for a Christmas night. “Let me take care of you.” She punctuates the words with a kiss on Lexa’s blushing cheeks. “Let me be yours.”
Lexa thumbs the new mark on Clarke’s neck, a sister to the faded one on her shoulder. Lexa is the only woman to mark that skin, to make a promise to this alpha and to renew what once was lost.
Lexa cries when they kiss again.
Lexa wakes at the winter sunrise, that mid morning, lazy change when the skies get clearer. She dresses in her pajamas and helps a sleeping Clarke into sweatpants and a shirt. She frowns at the sheets and promises herself to bring them home to wash them for Abby — the idea of Abby getting a sniff of what happened here is cringy enough.
She unlocks the door and lay next to Clarke again, laying down a new blanket and playing with light curls of blond hair. It’s not long until tiny and overexcited feet scramble upstairs, and not a minute later a ball of energy burst into their room and jumps on the bed.
Serah lands on Clarke’s chest, who wakes up with a surprised gasp — half surprise and half pain. Lexa grins as Clarke situates herself, first holding the pup jumping on her chest, then realizing she’s actually wearing clothes, up to finally murmuring a good morning to her family.
“ — and grandma pancakes, and presents and snow balls and —” Serah is in a rampant speech about Christmas morning and all Lexa can do is watch Clarke doing her best not to feel overwhelmed.
Pitying her mate, Lexa rolls off the bed and pulls Serah off Clarke, settling her on the floor. The five year old never stops talking and runs away from the room as soon as her socked feet hit the carpet.
“Is it like that every Christmas?” Clarke asks from the bed, one hand to her chest.
“She hasn’t had sugar yet. Just you wait.” Lexa sits back on the mattress, leaning to press a soft kiss on Clarke’s cheek as she yawns. “Merry Christmas.”
Clarke touches Lexa’s cheek, turning so they can meet in a soft peck. “Merry Christmas.”
“Mommy!” Serah once more enters the room with the delicacy of a tornado, prolonging the first vogal with a high pitch only a frustrated kid can reach. “Let’s go open the presents!” She’s off again before any of them can say a word.
They hear clatter from the kitchen, Liam excited squeak and what sounds suspiciously like a mumbling Raven.
“C’mon.” Lexa stands up and offers her hand to help Clarke.
It’s simple, warm and the best Christmas morning of Clarke’s adult life.
Raven nurses her third water bottle and insists she’s not hungover, ignoring Liam when he asks what hungover means. Abby is kind to explain that it is when adults make poor decisions involving wine.
Anya manages to not burn the frittata, bringing an unusual smile to her face, which only grows when Liam opens the present from his parents: a card telling him that he will be able to choose a puppy or kitten after the holidays (that Raven reads in Santa's voice). He jumps on his moms and it takes Raven a few tries to explain the puppy is not there yet. Understanding, he doesn’t stop babbling about names. ‘Police Hat’ is name number one until now.
Abby fills the pups with sugar in the form of all colors of candy canes and brushes off Lexa’s concerns. “It’s Christmas, let me be an irresponsible grandma for once.” Neither Liam nor Serah complain.
When Abby notices the new mark on Clarke’s neck, when they’re doing the dishes, she takes an entire minute to hug her daughter.
Raven groans out loud when Liam opens the present Clarke and Lexa give him: the most indecently loud police car they could find.
Serah likes her new superhero collection, but she keeps whining about a puppy since that’s all Liam talks about. Lexa wrinkles her nose and suggests a kitten in the hope they could have it in the apartment. Clarke can imagine the fur on the bed, but doesn’t say no at her daughter’s puppy eyes. It’s a new apartment, but maybe they should consider a house.
Abby makes hot chocolate in the kitchen with Anya’s help. Raven is the living mountain that Lexa, Liam and Serah have to go through with a new police car and superheroes. Clarke sits on the couch making videos everytime Raven groans.
The house smells like cinnamon, snow and happiness.
The cat is a scrawny little calico kitten that cannot meow for the life of her. Lexa and Serah picked her up from the shelter themselves, and when Clarke comes home to a kitty scratching her couch, but lovely nonetheless, she knows it’s a lost battle.
They name her Quiet, a cat that does quite the rackous for her lack of voice.
Winter is filled with Quiet’s fur and Serah’s laugher.
Having Clarke back in her life meant little changes that bundled up in a complete metamorphosis for Lexa. With more time for herself and work, now that she’s not a single parent, spring brings what she never thought she would deserve again: a promotion.
It’s still desk jobs, safe and sound in the precinct, but it’s another symbol of how things can change.
She picks up flowers on her way back home.
In the summer wedding season, Clarke looks beautiful in her blue dress as Lexa shines in a salmon gown at Costia and Alex’s wedding.
Yes, who would have thought.
Serah chases the flower girl after the ceremony in an endless game of tag and by the end of the night both Lexa and Clarke are tipsy.
They make love in their bathroom with Lexa’s dress bunched up around her hips.
Serah loses a baby tooth in the fall, a little earlier than most children. Clarke takes pictures and Lexa promises the tooth fairy will visit her if she places the tooth under her pillow.
She promptly loses the tooth and Clarke is pretty sure Quiet ate it.
A five dollar bill still appears under Serah’s pillow and they all have M&M’s cookies at the park.
Winter comes with a surprise.
“Are you sure?” Clarke hovers over Lexa as the omega sits down on their bed, hands massaging her temples and an infuriating smile fighting its way through her nauseated grimace.
“Yes,” Lexa says tiredly, memories from the last time her body rebelled against her that way.
Clarke tries to look sympathetic, a hand on Lexa’s lower back and she joins her mate on the bed, but her cheeks hurt from her smile. She buries her nose on Lexa’s neck, breathing the ripe scent of omega.
“I love you,” she whispers to the marked skin, nosing the spot fondly.
“I’m glad you’re with me this time,” Lexa says after a heartbeat, but it lacks the usual weight of a bitter confession. It’s a simple acknowledgment of her relief, besides the reason to be scared.
They stay in bed and have an impromptu Wednesday afternoon nap.
On the Christmas season that Serah just turned seven, Abby had to get a bigger table for the family.
Raven has Hannah on her shoulders as Anya plays with Liam and Serah on the floor. Clarke her one of the twins against her chest and the other nurses quietly on the couch with Lexa. From the kitchen, Abby finishes the last touches on dinner, and even though there’s a silent understanding to not be loud because of the babies, a warm coat of excitement fills the room.
As Aden burps loudly on Lexa’s lap and Jacob whines hungrily at the sound of his brother, Clarke lets this feeling settle into her tired bones. Serah smiles toothless from the floor and rushes to play with her brother’s turf of blonde hair.
Snow falls outside and Abby calls everyone for dinner.
Hey guys, thank you for reading. The point of this story was to show Clarke and Lexa’s process trying to get to know each other again, so this is a good stopping point. I do like this universe though, and might post some one-shots in a series involving this story. What do you guys think? Any requests?
More stories coming along, including a werewolf!AU (whaaaaat?)