“It’s late, Clarke.”
Lexa’s voice jolts Clarke from her train of thought. When she stands up straight her back twinges, and she wonders how long she’s been hunched over the battle plans.
“I have a watch, thanks.”
Clarke glances over her shoulder, ready with another snarky remark because, sure, sarcasm may not be the product of a strong mind, but she’s so damn frustrated with the whole situation and it helps, somehow, to focus her annoyance on the unshakeable commander.
But then she sees Lexa standing at the foot of the bed, undoing the fastens on her coat, and the words die on Clarke’s tongue. Her eyes fall to Lexa’s hands, delicate fingers working to reveal more skin.
“And what time does your watch say?”
Clarke huffs and turns to face her, leaning her back on the table. She lifts her wrist and pretends that the battery hadn’t run out weeks ago.
“It says it’s late.”
The corner of Lexa’s lips slides upwards into a smirk, and Clarke wonders if she knows. But that’s when Lexa’s fingers reach the last clasp, causing her coat to fall open, and, god, she’s so distracting. Unshakeable and distracting and frustrating as hell.
“Is it not the custom of Sky People to sleep when it’s late?”
Clarke narrows her eyes because Lexa’s definitely smirking now, like she’s playing some sort of game and only she knows the rules. It’s getting old -- this clueless act the commander puts on sometimes -- and Clarke’s too grumpy to let this one slide.
“I know that you know that we do,” she says, taking a step closer. “You’re the one who insisted on keeping watch while I slept when we were running from the pauna.”
Lexa lifts her chin and swallows. “Well, there’s no pauna now,” she says. “We can both rest.”
War is on the horizon, hundreds of lives are at stake, and yet, when Lexa walks to the side of her bed and pulls back the furs, Clarke’s pulse speeds up.
“I can’t,” she says, as if her mind isn’t already made up. “I need to go over everything one more time.”
She watches Lexa sit on the mattress and bend to take off her boots, eyes steady on the laces like she hasn’t heard her. As Lexa leans back against the pillow, Clarke hopes that, for the first time since they met, the commander hasn’t taken her words at face value. For once, she’s sick of being strong.
Lexa turns onto her side, facing away from her. Clarke’s chin falls to her chest and she’s about to lose herself in the maps again when she hears her.
“You’re no good to your people if you’re exhausted, Clarke.”
There’s a flutter in Clarke’s stomach and she presses her lips together, fighting against a smile as she walks to the other side of the bed. Her breath catches at the sight of Lexa curled up with her hands tucked against her chest. Her eyes are closed.
“We’re the only ones in here,” Clarke says, toeing off her boots. “You don’t have to say my name.”
A quick flash of a smile lights up Lexa’s face when Clarke lies down on the mattress. She turns onto her side, mirroring Lexa’s position, and when their knees touch she doesn’t move away.
“But I like to,” Lexa whispers.
Heat rises in Clarke’s cheeks but there are goosebumps on Lexa’s skin, so she reaches down to pull the furs over them both. It feels so safe here, beneath the covers, and she scoots closer, nudging one of her knees between Lexa’s.
Okay, it’s not her best attempt at flirting, but it’s hard to think when her mind is focused on the warm press of Lexa’s thighs.
“I like the feel of it on my tongue.” Lexa opens her eyes. “Clarke.”
Their faces are so close, and when Lexa meets her gaze it stirs something in Clarke that she hasn’t felt since Finn. And it scares her because she’s built fences around her heart -- just like Lexa said -- and now she’s the one clearing them like hurdles.
Maybe it’s the power of suggestion or maybe it’s because her mouth feels so damn dry -- whatever the reason, Clarke chooses that exact moment to lick her lips. Lexa’s eyes follow the movement.
In an instant the commander’s eyes are back on hers, wide and hopeful. It’s heart-wrenching, that someone who’s been through so much can look this earnest.
Lexa inches closer until their hands are nearly touching.
“Just seeing how your name feels,” Clarke says, smiling around a yawn. “I guess I like it, too.”
It’s quiet, but Lexa laughs. The sound makes Clarke feel so warm and light and she wants to chase it, so she scoots closer until their foreheads press together. She feels Lexa’s fingers on her wrist, tracing along the band of her watch.
“What is it really?”
Clarke lets out a shuddering breath, one she didn’t realize she was holding. No one’s ever asked; no one else would understand.
“A reminder,” she says.
She feels Lexa nod against her head and then the commander links their fingers together.
“Get some rest, Clarke.”
War is on the horizon, hundreds of lives are at stake, and Clarke is hopeful, because Lexa’s lips are soft against her cheek.
“You too, Lexa.”