Clarke stops Lexa’s bleeding.
It seems impossible, but if she’s learned anything on the ground it’s that anything can happen, here – the breadth of the earth allows the best and worst of life to play out to its full potential.
And so Lexa lives. Clarke removes the bullet and stitches her back up and holds her as the color returns to her face.
Lexa sleeps. She’s lost a lot of blood and her body needs to heal. There’s nothing Clarke can do at this point – nothing but sit vigil, stroking Lexa’s cheeks and whispering words that were always there, heavy on the back of her tongue; words that spill from her so easily now, that feel so good she wonders why she ever staunched their flow.
Night settles gently around them and a breeze extinguishes the candles in the room. They’re only left with moonlight, then, and Clarke wonders if Lexa knows it’s a misnomer – moonlight. She whispers it to her, tells her that she is like the sun, that even when she dips beneath the horizon her light cannot be doused.
Hours later the sky is awash in the brilliant colors of dawn – hopeful streaks of pink and orange – but Clarke doesn’t notice, because Lexa’s eyelids begin to flutter.
Clarke says the words again, slowly, carefully, like she’s stitching the most delicate wound. She says them as she cups Lexa’s jaw, fingers black with dried blood. She says them as Lexa’s lips part to pull in a sharp breath. She says them as the first morning rays drift in through the window, casting out Clarke’s lingering despair.
Two gray-green eyes find hers and she sags against Lexa, collapsing from the weight of relief. Clarke feels shaky fingers sifting through her hair and she sobs into Lexa’s neck.
Lexa tries to talk but her voice is hoarse. Clarke leans back, shushes her, rubs her thumbs over her cheeks, but Lexa clears her throat and tries again.
“I love you, too.”
(And so Lexa lives.)