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An Education

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By the following afternoon, Clarke had perfected her spin kick.

Hammering Lexa’s leather pad for the fifth time in a row, and dodging any of Lexa’s attempts to pull her off balance, she grinned with triumph as she rested her palms on her knees, breathing heavily. “Well done, Clarke,” Lexa nodded with approval. “You learn quickly.”

“Well, I have a pretty good teacher,” Clarke replied. Lexa’s eyes sparkled, failing to suppress a pleased smile.

“You are ready to move on.”

“What now?” Clarke smirked, “Head butting?”

Lexa reached behind her and unsheathed a broadsword with a smooth, impressive movement. “No,” she corrected, walking forward and pressing it into Clarke’s hands.

“A weapon.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Her body was changing every day.

Surveying herself in the floor length mirror of her room, Clarke ran her eyes over the firm muscles of her arms, the tight, flat plane of her stomach. Dressed in soft cotton shorts, she noted the solid, shapely strength to her legs. She felt strong, capable. She had always been resourceful, a survivor. Always been strong in spirit. But to see that strength translated to her physical body, to feel less like a scared young girl, and more like a warrior of Lexa’s army, was a feeling of power that Clarke hadn’t realized she had been seeking.

The events of Mt. Weather, and everything that had happened since she had come to the surface, had shaken her. The horror of the decisions she’d been presented with, and the choices she had made, had taken away her sense of self. Surprisingly, Lexa was the one who had helped her to get it back. She’d also helped her to realize that she was still the same person she’d always been. It had just taken her until now to realize who that was. Clarke was finally learning to embrace that person, faults and all.

A knock at the door pulled her gaze from the mirror, a soft smile tugging at her lips. By now, she knew that no one except Lexa came to see her at this hour. She walked quickly to the door, and stepped aside to let the commander in. As always, Lexa was dressed in a long, flowing nightgown. Though Clarke was nearly positive that slit up the leg seemed to ride up a little higher every time she saw it. Tearing her gaze from Lexa’s own shapely legs, she welcomed Lexa with a soft “Hello,” and gestured for her to come inside.

Lexa brushed past her with a gentle smile. “Hello, Clarke,” she said softly. She walked towards the balcony, silhouetted against the pink and purple streaks painted across the evening sky. The sweet smelling night breeze rushed inside, pulling her hair in gentle twists behind her. Clarke shivered, and it had little to do with the temperature. She saw that Lexa was holding something in her hands, and walked closer to see it was the latest chapter of the book she’d written.

“So, what did you think?” Clarke asked with trepidation. After speaking with Indra who (incredibly reluctantly and only once she got permission from Lexa) had given her a little more detail on Lexa’s past, Clarke had written several more chapters for Lexa’s story. She’d given her the final chapter two nights before, ending the story with her taking up the role of commander, and bringing the twelve clans together. She’d been adding more and more difficult vocabulary into each chapter, and Lexa was learning at an incredible rate.

“I liked it very much, Clarke,” Lexa replied, setting it on the table. “But what am I going to read now?” She seemed in a strange mood, more reserved than usual, and Clarke regarded her with curiosity.

“Oh, well…what about one of the books you got me from the market?” She walked to her nightstand and picked up the book on top, the copy of Pride and Prejudice that had started it all. “This one has really old fashioned language, but once you get used to it, the story is really good.” She turned, handing it to Lexa who took it, flipping through the pages.

“There are many words here I’m not familiar with,” she said quietly.

Clarke stepped over to her, looking over her shoulder at the first page. “Well, we could read it together?”

Lexa nodded, “Yes, Clarke. I would like that.” She walked a few steps and sat on the edge of the bed. “May we read some now?”

Clarke hesitated. Something was definitely going on. “Lexa, is everything alright?”

Lexa nodded again, though she refused to meet Clarke’s eyes, letting her long hair fall over her face. “Yes, Clarke.” Clarke crossed her arms, raising her eyebrows, and waited. After a moment of silence, the only sound the distant laughter of children playing somewhere far below, Lexa ventured a glance up at her. Clarke saw Lexa deflate a little, sighing in resignation. “Sleep…rarely comes easy to me,” she said softly, running her fingers along the bindings of the novel in her hands. “That I believe, is something you know a little about.” Clarke nodded knowingly. With all the difficult decisions she’d made, it was rare she made it through the night without the faces of the dead waking her up. “I found,” Lexa continued slowly, as though it pained her to say these things, “reading your stories before bed, helped me to have a restful sleep. I’ve read all the chapters you wrote many times now, and I was hoping for… something new,” she finished with a breath.

Clarke pressed her lips together with a barely concealed smile. She knew she shouldn’t tease, knew that Lexa hated being the subject of mockery, but the adorable (and fairly heart-melting) request made it impossible not to. “Lexa,” she asked, a smug smile stretching across her face, “are you telling me you came for a bedtime story?”

Lexa glared at her and stood to leave, but Clarke stepped forward quickly. “Alright, alright, I’m sorry,” she apologized, reaching out and pressing her palm to Lexa’s shoulder. Lexa sat down again, though her expression was still fairly venomous. Clarke sat next to her on the bed, knowing exactly what she needed to say to make amends. “You know, my dad always used to read before bed.” Lexa’s posture softened, her eyes jumping to Clarke’s face. “He said it relaxed him, calmed his thoughts.” She paused, biting her lip to keep herself steady. “You remind me of him, you know.” Lexa continued to watch her, silent. “You’re brave, like he was. Selfless. Kind.” Lexa reached over and wrapped her fingers around Clarke’s. Clarke smiled, for once not feeling like there was a massive, gaping hole in her chest when she talked about her father. “He used to read to me before bed, too. It would be nice to carry on the tradition.”

She lifted her eyes to Lexa who was watching her with something like gratitude in her expression. Lexa nodded slowly, a smile spreading slowly across her face. “I have always been a strong believer in upholding tradition, Clarke.”

Clarke rolled her eyes, “Come on.” She moved up the bed, pulling back the covers and settling in against the pillows. Lexa followed suit after a moment’s hesitation, sliding in next to Clarke so closely their shoulders were pressed together. Clarke couldn’t suppress the grin at how readily Lexa snuggled in next to her, and at the feeling of closeness between them. It was something that she’d been so sorely lacking since she came to Earth.

Even her brief time with Finn had felt empty, simply clutching at any connection she could in her first few terrifying days on the surface. But with Lexa, there was something between them. A deep knowing. A connection that couldn’t seem to break, even when Clarke had tried her hardest to do so. This time together over the past few months had only served to strengthen it. Clarke took a deep breath at the warmth of Lexa’s body pressed against hers and opened the book.

“Would you like me to start? We can take turns,” she suggested. Lexa nodded. Clarke cleared her throat. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Lexa turned to her with a scowl.

“What kind of a book is this, Clarke?”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Lexa fell asleep in her bed that night.

She had felt Lexa’s head sink heavily onto her shoulder, her dark hair spilling across Clarke’s chest. She laughed softly, put a hand to Lexa’s hair. The thought crossed her mind that perhaps she should wake Lexa, let her stumble sleepily back to her room. But the thought left as quickly as it had come. Clarke wanted her to stay, wanted to keep the feeling of Lexa’s warmth pressed against her for as long as she could. She needed it. They both did. And so she’d set the book down and let her eyes close as she was lulled to sleep by Lexa’s warm, steady breath rushing against her chest.

She’d woken briefly in the early morning to find that they’d shifted in the night, Lexa lying with her head on Clarke’s chest, one arm slung possessively across her stomach. Clarke’s arms were wrapped tightly around the commander, one hand still tangled in her hair. She felt a shiver of warmth and contentment ripple through her body, and held Lexa a little tighter as she had drifted back to sleep. When she woke a few hours later, Lexa was gone.

In a sort of unspoken agreement, neither of them acknowledged what had happened, but the timing of their reading lessons shifted to the evenings.  Each night, Lexa came to read the next chapter of Pride and Prejudice, though she spent just as much time arguing about the pointlessness of the female characters’ lives as she did reading. So far, she absolutely hated Darcy, which entertained Clarke to no end.

Some nights, they fell asleep in each other’s arms. Clarke often woke to find herself wrapped around Lexa, tucked tightly against her back, nose buried in Lexa’s shoulder. On those nights, Lexa was always clutching Clarke’s hand firmly against her stomach, as though afraid that if she let go Clarke would turn away. Other nights, Lexa would slide out of bed as Clarke’s eyes started to get heavy.

Either way, she was always gone in the morning.  

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Good, Clarke.”

Lexa’s voice echoed in the sunny arena, her eyes bright with pride. Clarke had just managed to deflect her sword and strike a swift blow to Lexa’s armored chest. Clarke smiled, her breath coming heavily. She’d been practicing swordplay for a few weeks now, and her improvement had shown with each passing day. Lexa had taught her basic thrust, and parry to begin. Now she was advancing to more difficult strikes and cuts.

“Yes, very good Wanheda,” a voice boomed across the yard, the two of them turning in unison at the sound.

One of the younger, and larger warriors from Lexa’s battalion stood at the edge of the area, leaning on the fence. “Jaken,” Lexa called, her voice edged with warning. “Explain your presence here.”

Jaken stood straighter, eyes cold. His long braids shifted in the gentle breeze. “Indra sends word that you are needed in the war room, as soon as you are able.”

Lexa took a threatening step from the center of the arena. “And why is it that a warrior such as yourself should be acting as a messenger?” Her eyes were narrowed to glittering slits. Clarke looked from Lexa, to Jaken and back, unsure what was happening.

“I confess, heda, I wished to see the progress of the Wanheda. There are many who say that the Skaikru are soft, and cannot be taught to fight without their guns.”

Clarke felt a ripple of anger flow through her body, and apparently, so did Lexa. “Well, as you see, Clarke is progressing as well as any of us. Maybe better,” she replied in defiance. “You may go and tell that to the ‘many’ who doubted her.” Clarke’s heart twinged at the tone of pride in Lexa’s voice.

Jaken shook his head gently. “I have not seen enough to say so, heda. If I may be permitted to spar…”

“You may not,” Lexa snarled.

Jaken shrugged, an infuriating smugness playing across his rugged features. “As you say, heda. Only there are some that question your spending so much time on a task that may amount to nothing. If the mighty Wanheda cannot learn to fight, what hope have we that her fellow Skaikru will be of use to us in battle?”

Lexa’s teeth were nearly bared in fury, but Clarke stepped in before she could reply. “Skaikru has already proved themselves useful in battle, Jaken. Unless you have already forgotten the events at Mt. Weather?” A look of irritation flickered across Jaken’s face. “But if you are so interested to see what I’ve learned, why don’t you come and see for yourself?” The words were out of Clarke’s mouth before she could stop them, driven by fury and a protectiveness over Lexa.

She felt Lexa’s gaze whip towards her, eyes wide with panic. “Clarke, no,” she whispered.

“I have to,” Clarke replied. Jaken was already entering the ring, and Clarke could see now that he was closer, just how gigantic he really was. She swallowed, her mouth running dry. I can do this.

“Clarke,” Lexa hissed. “You cannot do this.”

Clarke’s nostrils flared, blue eyes flashing. “They’re blunted swords, aren’t they?”

“A blunted sword matters little when it strikes you with enough force to break your ribs,” Lexa replied in a rush, her eyes full of fear.

“Well then,” Clarke replied with more confidence than she felt. “I hope you have a lot more of that muscle salve ready for me later.”

Lexa swallowed, then glanced over Clarke’s shoulder to where Jaken waited, swiping his sword so heavily through the air that it whistled. Clearly realizing there was nothing she could do to stop this now, she stepped forward. “Remember, Clarke. Light on your feet, and fast. Your agility is your strength here. His size and strength do not matter if he cannot strike a blow.”

Clarke nodded. “Okay,” she breathed. She watched Lexa curl her fingers tightly into fists, as though she was using all of her strength to resist reaching out to Clarke.

Instead, she nodded once. “Please be careful.”

“I will,” Clarke promised, turning to face Jaken. Seeing his formidable size and strength, Clarke realized that promise may have been a hollow one. She walked towards him, chin up.

Wanheda,” he called. “The first to strike three blows is the winner.” Clarke nodded grimly and stepped towards him, unsheathing her sword. She watched his movements as he circled her, predatory. Her eyes watchful, calculating, she saw that Lexa was right. He had strength, but no agility. His footsteps were heavy, predictable. She saw him readying to take his first lunge long before he actually swung his sword, seeing his meaty calf muscle contract a full second before his upper body moved.

Clarke spun easily out of range, and turned back to see a look of surprise flicker across Jaken’s face. He moved to strike an overhead blow, but again, Clarke saw his movements long before he acted, and darted deftly out of the way. Clearly frustrated, Jaken quickly hammered down a second blow, one that Clarke saw coming but did not have time to dodge. She held her sword up to block it and felt the connecting metal of their weapons vibrate into her bones, rattling her teeth.

Every moment seemed in slow motion. The air was heavy with energy, the light golden. Each breath Clarke took seemed to fill her with purpose and confidence. She darted out quickly, arms close to her body as Lexa had taught her, and struck a rapid blow to Jaken’s lower leg, causing his knee to buckle. He stumbled, letting out a growl of rage. “One point for the Wanheda,” Lexa called, her voice wrapping around Clarke, encouraging her.

Becoming increasingly frustrated, Jaken swung a mighty blow at Clarke’s abdomen, and she just managed to jump back out of the way. His sword moved so intensely that the air in its path seemed to ripple. Clarke swallowed, wondering what it would feel like to be struck with such a force, then shook her head, knowing she’d much rather not find out. Keeping her feet moving constantly, Clarke circled him stealthily, now more predator than prey. He swung out erratically several times, but she easily darted out of the way, or blocked his bone-quaking blows with her sword. Clarke had lost all sense of time, couldn’t tell how long they had been doing this dance, but she could see that he was tiring, that his movements were becoming more based in frustration than calculated swordplay. He struck out again at her and she spun out of the way, Jaken’s sword whistling past her, and Clarke saw her opening.  She darted in quickly to swipe a strong blow of her sword to Jaken’s back. “Two points,” Lexa called immediately, emotion evident in her voice.

Howling with rage, Jaken kicked out heavily with his powerful leg, something Clarke was not anticipating. His foot connected with her ribs with a sickening thud, and sent Clarke flying back into the mud, sliding limply on her back for several feet. From a distance, she thought she heard Lexa calling her name, but she was too stunned, too out of breath to know for sure. She could see the looming image of Jaken crossing the arena towards her, sword drawn. Her breath was coming heavily, eyes blurring, as he came further into her field of vision. His sword raised, he stepped up next to her, his face becoming clear, features etched with fury.

Clarke, in her dazed state, let out a low chuckle the moment she realized Jaken’s error. He was so distracted by his need to win, he hadn’t been paying attention to his opponent. She swung a leg out and swept it under his feet, kicking him hard in the backs of his Achilles. His legs flew out from under him in the slippery mud, landing heavily on his back. Clarke struggled to her knees as she brought her sword up from the mud beside her and thrust the blunted tip heavily into Jaken’s gut. Not penetrating the armour, but hard enough to leave a healthy bruise. As soon as she landed the final blow, it was like everything came back into focus.

The sound of cheers brought her out of her stupor, and she realized with shock that a crowd had gathered, and they were all chanting her name. She felt strong arms pull her to her feet as Jaken groaned pathetically to a sitting position. He gave her a weary nod of acknowledgement as she felt herself being yanked roughly out of the arena and around the corner, behind the storehouse and away from the crowd.

It took her a moment to realize it was Lexa towing her unceremoniously from the arena, her eyes bright with fury. Once they were out of sight, Lexa grabbed a fistful of Clarke’s shirt and shoved her aching body roughly against the wall, Clarke letting out a soft “uh” of surprise. “Lexa,” she stammered, currently far more terrified of the small woman in front of her than she had ever been of Jaken. “Look, I’m sorry, okay?!”

“Clarke,” Lexa seethed. She stepped closer, nostrils flaring, eyes searching her face.

“I know, I know,” Clarke shook her head, reaching up to touch her fingers hesitantly to Lexa’s face, too overcome with pain and emotion to say anything else. They stood there, motionless for several long moments before Lexa leaned in and kissed her, hard. Their teeth clicked together, Clarke’s head hitting the wall behind her as her body exploded with heat. But Lexa was already pulling away, even as Clarke’s lips chased hers, and she could feel Lexa’s body shaking where it was pressed up against her.

“Don’t ever do anything like that again!” Lexa snarled.

“I won’t,” Clarke shook her head, grabbing Lexa’s shirt and yanking her roughly back up against her own body. She kissed Lexa viciously, her body pumping with adrenaline, her tongue licking inside Lexa’s mouth. Lexa let out a small moan, stepping closer and pinning Clarke against the wall as her hands came up to thread roughly into Clarke’s hair. They kissed deeply, almost ferociously, licking and biting at each other, lips smacking loudly. Lexa’s fingers were tangling so roughly in Clarke’s hair the pain was bordering with pleasure. Her other hand clutched at Clarke’s hip, pulling at her shirt until fingers met skin.

Lexa pulled back a second time, “You could have been killed, Clarke,” she panted, emphasizing the word killed by tugging harshly on Clarke’s hair, and pressing her harder into the wall.

Clarke nodded, “I’m sorry, Lexa, I’m so sorry,” she gasped. Pulling Lexa back against her, she pressed hot, open mouthed kisses to Lexa’s neck. Lexa let out a soft growl and Clarke suddenly felt her feet leave the ground, Lexa picking her up easily by her thighs. Automatically wrapping her legs around Lexa’s waist, she leaned down to kiss her again, pushing her tongue roughly into Lexa’s mouth. Her head was swimming, and her ribs were aching, her body throbbing and pulsing with pain and pleasure and Lexa. Her fingers were pulling at Lexa’s armor, trying in vain to pull it off, she needed it all off.

Clarke let out a gasp as Lexa’s hand moved further up inside her shirt, running over Clarke’s bound breasts. She grabbed Lexa’s hand where it rested on her left breast and squeezed, and Lexa let out what sounded nearly like a sob of pleasure. She felt Lexa’s lips close over the pulse point in her neck, her teeth nipping at the tender skin there. Clarke thrusted her hips involuntarily at Lexa’s, cinching her legs tighter around the commander’s legs. “Lexa,” she breathed, “I need you.”

Lexa pulled back at that, her eyes heavy with lust as she met Clarke’s gaze. Her expression was one of awe, and tenderness, and heat. Before she could respond, a voice calling for heda caused both their heads to turn, and Lexa quickly put Clarke down and took a full step back as one of her attendants rounded the corner. Clarke’s legs could barely support herself, her breath coming in heavy gasps. “Yes, Kaia,” Lexa said calmly, her voice and expression giving nothing away.

“You are needed in the war room,” the young girl informed her, her eyes darting to Clarke with an expression of awe. She must have been witness to the fight.

“Thank you, Kaia,” Lexa dismissed. The girl nodded respectfully and left. Lexa turned her attention back to Clarke, who watched her cautiously, still breathless. Lexa took a step back towards Clarke, their noses nearly grazing. Her eyes were still flashing with anger, and lust. “This isn’t over,” she growled. Without another word, she turned and walked away, Clarke watching her round the corner with swift, confident strides. As soon as Lexa was gone, she allowed her knees to buckle underneath her, sliding to the ground in a puddle of hormones and pain.

“You’re damn right it isn’t.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Clarke paced her room, mind reeling. She’d bathed, barely noticing the deep purple bruises blossoming across her ribs, and changed hastily, but she still felt as though adrenaline was pumping through her body. Her breath was coming quickly, heart racing, head full of Lexa. The smell and the taste and the feel of her. Clarke shivered, nearly stumbling in her pacing at the overwhelming sensation of just the memory of their encounter. All she could think was more, more, more. She craved Lexa, ached for her. This thing they’d started, this thing they’d been dancing around, it was so much more intense than she ever could have imagined. So much deeper.

It had been over an hour now since Lexa had been called away and Clarke felt like she was jumping out of her skin. The sun was now setting, the sky an inky blue, but Clarke hadn’t even bothered to light a candle. She felt like the fire inside of her was bright enough to light all of Polis. She continued to pace, wondering when Lexa would come for her, wondering whether she would still be so angry. Gnawing at her thumbnail, her head snapped up at the sound of a knock on the door. Before she could cross the room to open it, a small girl, Kaia, entered the room timidly. Clarke swallowed a scream of frustration.

“Wanheda,” Kaia said softly. “The commander requests your presence in the throne room.”

Clarke frowned, the words barely registering as the girl lead her down the hall, through a series of twisting passages. Her mind raced, having no idea what she was walking into. Kaia stopped outside the door to the throne room, ushering her inside with a gentle wave of her hand. Clarke swallowed, her heart thumping in her chest as she walked into a room…full of people. Her heart sank. She didn’t know what she was expecting, exactly, but it definitely wasn’t this. She glanced around in confusion before her eyes landed on Lexa, who was seated regally in her chair.

“Clarke,” Lexa called, her voice all commander now, none of the needy whine evident in her tone. The crowd parted for her as Clarke stepped forward, stopping at the stairs to Lexa’s throne. Her eyes flickered across Lexa’s face, her body, head spinning at just seeing her again. Lexa’s rigid posture, the tightness in her eyes, the sharp tone of her voice all said one thing: not now. Clarke blinked, focusing, and nodded her head in acknowledgement.

“You requested my presence, heda?” She so rarely used that term for Lexa, except perhaps in jest, being one of the precious few that got to use her given name. Though lately, in their lessons, she had resorted to referring her with nothing more than a frustrated growl. Lexa’s eyes darkened at her use of Trigedasleng, and Clarke quietly filed that away in the back of her mind for later.

“Yes, Clarke.” She gestured with a graceful hand towards the gathering of men and women at Clarke’s back. “The news of your victory against Jaken has travelled quickly. Some of the clan leaders were there to witness the fight. Needless to say, they were impressed.” Clarke ventured a glance over her shoulder at the fairly earnest faces that looked back at her. She turned back to Lexa, unsure if she should respond, however Lexa continued quickly. “Though there were some initial misgivings about Skaikru joining the coalition, the leaders present today would like to extend their invitation to Skaikru to come and train with them.”

Clarke frowned, unclear on what was happening. “Train?”

Lexa nodded. “They are hopeful that some of the younger members of Skaikru might also learn to fight, as you did. Thus strengthening our numbers.” If nothing else, the look in Lexa’s eyes conveyed the significance of this. An understanding coming over her, Clarke realized that the formal ceremony did little to solidify Skaikru’s participation in the coalition. Her fight, however, seemed to have convinced them that it truly was for the best.

She nodded, “Thank you, heda.” She watched Lexa swallow at the use of the title again. “I know that Skaikru would be honored to join ranks of any of the clans that welcomed them.”

Lexa nodded in approval. “Good, then we are in agreement. In the following weeks we will lead a convoy to Arkadia to recruit willing warriors.”

“Of course,” Clarke replied, “I’ll send word with the next group of scouts to expect us soon.”

Lexa nodded again, “Thank you, Wanheda.” She turned her gaze from Clarke to the other men and women in the room. “You may go, Clarke and I have much to discuss.”

Clarke swallowed thickly as she heard the shuffling of everyone filing out of the room. Admittedly, watching Lexa order people out of the room was something that Clarke always found incredibly attractive. Now, after everything, the authority in her voice made Clarke’s knees feel as though they were about to give way beneath her. Knowing that she no longer had to wear the title of Wanheda, she allowed the wild rush of thoughts she’d been keeping at bay to flood her brain. She stared at Lexa with open lust, heat slithering in her belly, as the last of the people left the room, the door shutting with a resounding thud behind them.

Lexa kept her back straight, though Clarke saw her press her lips together, something she knew Lexa did when she was feeling out of control. They regarded each other for a few moments in silence, Lexa staring down at Clarke from where she sat regally atop her throne. The air between them was heavy, full, electric. Clarke felt as though she could reach out and touch it. Lexa’s fingers trailed along the carved edges of the arms of her chair, fingernails tracing the intricate patterns there. Clarke watched her, breath becoming more labored, as the sky behind Lexa darkened, the candles casting dancing shadows upon their faces.

Lexa was good at silence, too good. Clarke felt herself about to burst, and after what seemed like an eternity, she took a step towards Lexa’s throne. Lexa’s eyes glittered in the candlelight, watching. Clarke could tell by Lexa’s tense posture, by the tightness around her mouth, that she was still angry. Aroused, yes, that too. But angry first and foremost.

“I said I’m sorry,” Clarke said softly, her voice raspy with emotion. “What more do you want?”

“A guarantee,” Lexa replied. “A guarantee that you’ll never do anything that foolish again.”

Clarke shook her head. “No. I can’t promise you that.” She took a step forward, Lexa’s eyes flashing with anger. “If I had to, to protect you, or anyone else I love, I would do almost anything.” Clarke stopped, eyes widening, a soft rush of breath leaving her body. Fuck. She’d said it. And she’d meant it.

Lexa’s eyes widened a fraction, her nostrils flaring, lips parting ever so slightly. She heard. She knew. Her gaze danced over Clarke’s features, fingers now clenched on the arms of her chair. “I don’t accept that,” she breathed.

Clarke shook her head, taking another step closer. “I don’t care. Tell me you wouldn’t do all sorts of reckless things for me, Lexa, and then maybe I could promise you the same.”

Lexa raised her chin, the candlelight stretching the shadows across her face. “That would be different.”

“Why?” Clarke asked immediately, taking the first step up towards Lexa’s chair.

“Because I am the heda,” she replied, taking a deep breath as Clarke climbed another step, now towering over her.

“So? I’m the Wanheda,” Clarke retorted. She stepped up for the third and final time, leaning over Lexa who was now trapped in her throne.

“No,” Lexa swallowed.

“No?” Clarke replied, barely above a whisper. She stepped forward, her knees brushing Lexa’s legs, and leaned over, putting her hands on either side of Lexa’s chair. “Then what am I?”

Lexa was practically panting now, but this was a standoff, and Clarke knew it would take more than this to break her. “Mine,” Lexa answered, her tone almost vicious, her teeth flashing in the candlelight.

Clarke’s eyes widened. Her face was only inches from Lexa’s and she couldn’t take it anymore. Giving in, she grabbed a fistful of Lexa’s braids and yanked her forward, locking their mouths together. Lexa moaned softly into her mouth and immediately parted her lips. She pushed her tongue into Clarke’s mouth, planting her hands on Clarke’s hips and pulling her down.

Taking the hint, Clarke moved forward, straddling Lexa in her chair. They kissed ferociously, hands grabbing, teeth clashing. Clarke rocked her hips against Lexa’s lap, pulled a ragged gasp from both of them. Clarke pulled Lexa’s head to the side and bit down on the pulse there, running her tongue along Lexa’s skin. “Clarke,” Lexa panted.

Breathing heavily, Clarke pulled her head back up to look Lexa in the eye. Lexa grabbed either side of her head, looking into her eyes so intensely Clarke couldn’t understand how she hadn’t burst into flames from Lexa’s gaze alone. “Clarke,” she said again, “I…” she trailed off, her face so etched with emotion Clarke could hardly breathe.

Clarke knew what she was struggling to say, saw it in her eyes, felt it in her touch. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she breathed, kissing Lexa’s face, resting their foreheads together. “I know,” she panted, “I know. Me too.” She felt Lexa nodding against her, and felt as though she were falling, couldn’t believe that after everything this was happening between them, couldn’t believe that after everything they’d waited this long. “Lexa,” she said, her voice deep with arousal.

Lexa raised her head, looking into her eyes. “Yes, Clarke?”

“Touch me,” Clarke ordered, grabbing Lexa’s hand and sliding it under her shirt. Lexa groaned, running her hands over Clarke’s skin, leaning up to kiss her again. She paused briefly, grabbing Clarke’s shirt at the hem and yanking it upwards. Clarke lifted her arms and helped Lexa pull it from her body, followed by the bindings for her breasts. Lexa’s eyes widened, taking her in, and wherever she looked, she touched.

Clarke’s eyes slid shut as she felt Lexa’s fingers explore her body, dropping open mouthed kisses along the way. She slid her fingers through Lexa’s hair, rocking gently against Lexa’s lap. As she felt Lexa’s mouth close around her nipple, she cried out, hands gripping Lexa’s hair, her body bursting with heat. After several moments, she pushed Lexa away, needing to even the score. She pulled at Lexa’s pieces of armor, tossing them aside, growling impatiently at the various layers that the commander wore. Lexa laughed softly as she helped Clarke rid her of her many layers, until they were both bare from the waist up. Clarke leaned back, drinking in the image of Lexa, half naked on her throne, the candlelight softly tracing the angles of her body, the swell of her breasts.

Clarke could barely breathe for how beautiful she looked. After a few moments, Lexa pulled her in for another searing kiss, then dropped her mouth to nip roughly at her jaw, before sliding down further still and returning her attention to Clarke’s breasts. Clarke’s belly was bursting with heat and electricity, her body uncontrollably rocking against Lexa, who dug her short fingernails harshly into Clarke’s back.

Unable to wait any longer, Clarke slipped her hand between them, down the front of Lexa’s pants, dragging her fingers across the wet skin she found there. Lexa let out a loud gasp, her head snapping back, eyes scrunched shut. Clarke wrapped her other hand around Lexa’s neck, pulled her tightly against her chest as she slid her fingers further down between then, bending her wrist to angle her fingers inside of Lexa. Clarke’s eyes nearly slid shut at how wet, how hot Lexa was for her. She dropped sloppy kisses to the side of her head as she felt Lexa grind against her hand, spreading her knees wider apart so Clarke could get at her more easily. Lexa raked her fingers down Clarke’s back, Clarke could practically feel the red streaks blossoming across her skin, as she continued to push inside Lexa, harder and faster. Lexa’s eyes were slammed shut, her face buried in Clarke’s chest as she pushed her hips upwards as much as she could. Clarke grabbed at the back of her head, pulled her back until they were looking into each other’s eyes.

“Hey,” she whispered, “stay with me.” Lexa nodded, eyelids heavy, as Clarke swept her thumb gently across Lexa’s clit. Lexa’s mouth dropped open, her eyes briefly rolling back in her head, before refocusing on Clarke’s face. Clarke could feel Lexa moving faster, and sped up her fingers, moving her thumb rhythmically across Lexa’s clit. Lexa’s eyes were unfocused now, pupils blown, as she looked into Clarke’s eyes. Her lips were swollen from kisses, chest starting to glisten with a thin layer of sweat, and Clarke thought quietly to herself, as Lexa came against her fingers, their eyes locked, that nothing had ever, or could ever, look so beautiful as Lexa in this moment.

Clarke slowly removed her hands from between them, Lexa’s head dropping heavily to her chest, as they both panted. After several moments, Clarke pullled back, Lexa watching her languidly as she rested against the back of her chair. Making sure Lexa’s eyes were on her, Clarke raised her damp fingers into her mouth and sucked Lexa’s wetness from her hand.

Lexa’s eyes widened, nostrils flaring. Before she could even finish, Clarke felt herself being lifted into the air by strong arms, a soft oh! of surprise escaping her lips. Clarke’s legs straddling her waist, Lexa stepped forward, carrying her easily down the stairs. Lexa kicked off one boot, shimmying out of her pants, shucking off one leg and part of the other, before realizing it was stuck on her other boot. Clarke laughed gently as Lexa kicked at her shoe with irritation, but couldn’t seem to get it off. So instead, she let Clarke’s legs drop to the ground, and then pushed at her shoulders until Clarke got the hint and lay back on the cold, stone floor.

One pant leg still on, Lexa ignored her predicament in favor of yanking Clarke’s shoes off instead. She reached up and flicked the button of Clarke’s fly open with nimble fingers, and Clarke felt like she was about to come from that alone. She lifted her hips off the ground, helping Lexa to grab hold of the waistband of her pants and pull them off. Completely exposed now, she looked up from where she lay and saw Lexa, also mostly bare, dragging her body up Clarke’s. Their hot skin touched, brushing in various places as Lexa pulled herself up level with Clarke and let her weight rest fully on her. Clarke looked up at her, heart full, and reached for her face, pulling her in for a long kiss.

They moved against each other, clammy skin starting to stick, until Clarke felt Lexa reach down between them and slide her fingers directly inside of her. She let out a soft groan, her body thrumming with excitement as she felt Lexa exploring with her fingers. She pulled Lexa tightly against her, wanting to feel her right there, wanting to sink right into her, to wrap herself up in Lexa. She could feel a tightness starting to twinge in her belly as Lexa pushed inside of her, her own body brushing against Clarke with every movement.

Lexa moved suddenly, disappearing from where she lay on top of Clarke, and Clarke let out a soft cry of protest, until she saw that Lexa was sweeping her hair quickly over one shoulder, settling between Clarke’s knees. Clarke muttered, “Oh holy shit,” as Lexa closed her warm, damp mouth over her clit, ran her tongue roughly up the length of her. Fingers still moving, Lexa ran her tongue over Clarke’s body over and over, until Clarke started to pant so loudly it had turned into a whine. Her back grinding harshly against the rough stone floor beneath her, the stars glittering through the window over top of Lexa’s shoulders, Clarke felt herself starting to tip over the edge. Just before she started to come, Lexa lifted her head, bringing herself back up level with Clarke’s face, and finished her with her fingers, whispering, “I’m right here, Clarke.”

Clarke came so hard that tiny white stars burst across her field of vision, mixing with the constellations spread across the night sky until she could barely tell which was which. She pulled Lexa down to her with a kiss, tucking Lexa’s head onto her shoulder and wrapping her arms around her. “Wow,” she panted.

“Yes,” she heard Lexa say breathlessly.

She traced her fingers along Lexa’s spine, smiling as she saw that Lexa’s other boot was still on, her pant leg now tangled hopelessly around her calf. They lay in silence for a long moment, feeling each other, their skin cooling, before Clarke, as always, was the one to break the silence.

“Lexa,” she whispered. “What are we going to do now?”

Lexa pushed up, propping herself on an elbow as she took Clarke’s hand in hers, dropped a kiss to her palm. “What we do best, Clarke. Lead our people. Together.”

Clarke smiled, nodding. “What about our lessons though? I mean, I’m pretty decent in a fight these days. And you just finished the final chapter of Pride and Prejudice without any help from me.”

Lexa briefly scowled. “I still think Elizabeth should have chosen Charlotte Lucas as her mate.”

Clarke rolled her eyes, “Lexa, that’s not…” She shook her head, letting out a raspy laugh, “That’s not how the story goes.”

Lexa half snorted. “Well in any case, I should think there are plenty more books that I could read. Perhaps one about Clarke of the Sky People?” she asked, a smile playing across her lips.

Clarke laughed. “Yeah maybe. But…do you think we should still have our lessons?”

Lexa’s eyes darkened, as she ran her fingers over Clarke’s breasts thoughtfully. “Oh, yes. Definitely.” She looked back up at Clarke who was watching her intently. “We still have much to learn from each other.”