Clarke stirs herself awake slowly, with a sleepy growl and a reluctant huff of breath pushed out through her nose. She sniffs keenly at the air while only half-conscious, quickly satisfied to note that the sweet scent of the omega she had rested beside bears no trace of fear or alarm. She is definitely still in heat, the alpha registers swiftly, and Clarke certainly wakes wanting, but the strength of her scent is just the slightest bit milder, which likely means that she has found the strength and energy to make the shift.
That realization alone is enough incentive for the white wolf to blink bleary, tired eyes apart in order to sate her curiosity and take in the scene.
The alpha lies on her stomach, front paws tucked beneath the white fur of her torso. Her snout both turns inward and lifts upward, weighing gently over top of a slender, beautifully curved hip, and a calloused palm rests – but does not stroke – in the space between Clarke's newly attentive ears. The white wolf's body is pushed tightly into the omega's warm side – chest to tail – offering as much physical contact as she can, even in sleep, and the omega does not seem eager to move away.
Instead, the omega is propped up with her spine pressed into the wall, one long leg bent at the knee, and its opposite fully extended across the mattress to accommodate Clarke's full-bodied touch. She watches Clarke wake with observant, openly inquisitive eyes, her dark emerald gaze peeking out from an oval-shaped face with black shadows smeared messily across its length in paint. Her jaw is defined and proud and enviable, her lips bare, pale pink, and full. The column of her neck is long and slim, stitches standing starkly against injured flesh – a strange working of biology between wolf and human that Clarke has long given up on trying to understand – and dark, brunette braids spill mostly untamed across strong, lean shoulders. She wears some kind of armor – at least, that's what Clarke thinks it must be, because it's too thick to practically be anything else – and, over top of it, a crimson sash offers more color to this small bunker than Clarke thinks it's probably ever seen before. A small, golden gear marks the center of the omega's forehead, pinned over smooth, sun-darkened skin, just between her eyes, and Clarke wonders idly at where it came from, and what it means.
The blonde's alpha is eager to see what the pretty omega will do next, and Clarke isn't entirely sure how to react otherwise, so she settles into her wolf and shuffles her nose off from the human hip it rests upon. She extends her paws a little further, lowering her chin to rest lazily over top of them, and languid blue eyes take in the omega before her without shame.
"I am Lexa, Heda kom Jus, and Commander of the twelve clans," the brunette announces after a lengthy pause, her voice surprisingly soft, yet unmistakably firm, "and it would seem that I owe you a great debt, Klark kom Skaikru."
The alpha adjusts her angle, head maneuvering curiously to the side.
Clarke knows practically nothing about the people and wolves who exist outside of Arkadia. Her Pack has been told that they exist, of course, but the Council has made it very clear that the Grounders are extremely hostile entities – savages, Clarke thinks Jaha called them, once – and the Pack is forbidden from interacting with them in absolutely any capacity. Up until now, obeying that law has never been a problem for Clarke. No stranger ever enters the lands of Arkadia, and all members of her Pack are strictly prohibited from leaving them – which begs the question of what Lexa had even been doing there in the first place, but Clarke stows it away for later.
The important part, Clarke thinks, is that there are apparently at least twelve separate clans thriving outside of Arkadia's walls. The people of those clans clearly have their own language – Clarke won't even try to translate Lexa's foreign words without help – and if they have a Commander, then they clearly have some kind of government, too, even if it is a militaristic one.
This omega hasn't shown Clarke a single sign of hostility thus far; this omega is educated and polite and respectful. This omega is clearly no savage, and this omega is their Commander.
Which means, Clarke considers with a resigned, but burdened snort, that she has likely stumbled across the most dangerous omega that Arkadia and its Council could ever even fathom.
And of course this is the one her alpha wants.
"You will be well reimbursed for the trouble I have wrought upon you. Please accept my apology for placing you in such a difficult position with your Pack," Lexa offers diplomatically, though her voice quivers noticeably when the white wolf offers a quick, but vicious growl partway through.
Clarke's Pack had threatened Lexa. They had hunted the omega – relentlessly – all through the forest, and the white wolf frankly doesn't give a damn about whatever difficult position she might be in, if her actions are discovered.
If the Council imprisons her, so be it. Ideally, Lexa will be long gone from here if or when that happens, and even if she isn't, Clarke will at least be able to sleep well at night knowing that she had tried; her alpha will know that she protected this omega, at least as long as she could, and both the wolf and the girl will be satisfied in that knowledge.
No omega deserves to become all but enslaved to an alpha they never Chose, and Clarke would never forgive herself if she allowed that to happen when she could've done something to stop it. Clarke doesn't need reimbursement for that.
"You do not wish for compensation?" Lexa asks after a long, hampered silence.
The white wolf growls again, slow and rumbling and clear, teeth bared in disgust. She snaps her jaws once in anger, and feels Lexa tremble against her side desperately at the powerful demonstration.
"Then what is it that you wish for, Klark kom Skaikru?" The brunette demands on a shaking whisper, omega pheromones pulsing out from her in heavy, needful waves.
The alpha exhales sharply once, but Clarke forces the shift before her next breath in. She does not trust her wolf to behave under the alien weight of that decadently sweet scent, and Lexa's question requires a true, worded reply. Her wolf is no longer needed here, and Clarke needs to escape the strength of those pheromones as much as she can.
It is the only advantage Clarke has ever found in her weaker human senses.
Contemplatively, Clarke frowns, briefly stretching her limbs and scratching idly at the uncomfortable material of her jeans before shuffling onto her side. She props her arm up near the brunette's stomach, supporting her jaw in her palm as she searches out emerald eyes that stare into Clarke's blue like Lexa is trying to crack her open, just to see what lives inside.
"Why would you assume I want something?" Clarke asks, offended.
"Our world is not that kind, skai gada," Lexa replies dryly.
Clarke hums thoughtfully. "What does that mean?"
"It means that it is rare, in this time, to receive a gift without being expected to one day return one of equal or greater value," Lexa answers pointedly, if not also impatiently.
"That's not what I meant," Clarke smirks playfully.
"Then what?" Lexa demands curiously.
"Those words. What you called me…" Clarke swipes her tongue over her lips in thought. "Skai gada," she recites after a pause. "What does that mean?"
"Sky girl," the omega translates easily. "Though you are the first I, or any of my people, have encountered in many years."
"I don't come from the sky," Clarke argues lightly. "My people did, once, but that was a long time ago."
"Then what is it that you call yourself, Klark nou kom Skaikru?" Lexa questions with a quiet, confident purr. "If not the sky, then from which place in this world do you hail?"
"Our land is called Arkadia," Clarke offers helpfully. "It's named after the Ark – the space station that fell from the sky."
Knowingly – and somewhat arrogantly, Clarke smiles fondly when she notices – Lexa's brow arches upward. "Skaikru," she reaffirms with a blatantly determined nod.
"But we aren't from the sky," Clarke laughs breathily, and tries not to take in more of the omega's scent than absolutely necessary, because, stars above, this girl smells perfect. "Not anymore," she insists.
"Perhaps," Lexa acknowledges thoughtfully. "However, the city of your people is named for the vessel that once lived in the sky; through this, it is clear that your Pack is quite proud of their heritage. Why, then, should we not name you for the sky from which you fell?"
Clarke considers her point, and she agrees that it's a fair one, but that's hard for Clarke to accept. Mostly, she wishes that she couldn't see the truth in it, though she suspects her reasons differ greatly from Lexa's.
"My people are proud to have survived the bombs, and the Ark was what made that possible," Clarke shares eventually with a tired sigh. "It's hard to be inside of it, though. Our entire city is built in or around the broken remnants of that spaceship, and it's- it's massive, Lexa," the blonde swallows thickly. "It's cold, and entirely made of metal, and it's so unnatural; there's no wind, or rain, or trees – just metal and machines," Clarke tries to explain, though she knows that no words can ever be enough to describe the injustice of a wolf trapped within the tin can of the Ark. "My Pack is proud to live on the ground, now, but- there are so many restrictions on how we must live that it almost feels like we aren't even here at all. It's a waste," Clarke spits distastefully. "The people of Arkadia – not the wolves," she clarifies, roughly clearing her throat, "but the people– They never have the chance to even see the world outside Arkadia's walls. Many of my people have never even seen a river, and even the wolves have never seen the sea," she laments wistfully.
Clarke takes a moment to collect herself, but she doesn't feel rushed. Lexa is patient and quiet, pumping out much softer, gentler pheromones meant to soothe the anxiety that Clarke knows she must be able to feel radiating out from her alpha. Lexa seems genuinely interested in Clarke's reply, so the alpha takes her time, drinking a few breaths of air into her lungs and shuddering when they fill with nothing but that damn omega's scent, before she tries again.
"You're right, I guess," Clarke confesses eventually. "My Pack hasn't changed much, from their times in the sky. Life in Arkadia– it still feels like a cage," she blinks tear-filled eyes and turns her gaze away from the open scrutiny of Lexa's. "It still feels the way that I imagine the Ark felt, when it was still in the sky," she sighs again and shakes her head. "My people are proud to live on the ground, but we aren't actually allowed to live on it. Not really. We just survive here, and I don't think most of them even realize it. So maybe we are from the sky," Clarke shrugs tiredly, but with fire in her eyes, "but I do not want to be."
"Then I wonder," Lexa murmurs solemnly, "what you will choose to become instead."
Clarke smiles grimly, and can't help wondering if she even has a choice. If she doesn't belong to her Pack, then there is nowhere else for Clarke to go.
"What are your people like?" The blonde asks after a moment.
It's partly to redirect Clarke from her own increasingly morbid thoughts, but mostly Clarke asks because she can't even imagine what life outside of Arkadia might look like, and she's curious to know where Lexa comes from.
The brunette bristles briefly at the inquiry, but Clarke furrows her brows in earnest confusion, and Lexa forcibly relaxes before the blonde can question it.
"Ai Pakstoka – my Pack – are at peace for the first time since the bombs," Lexa tells her slowly, though Clarke thinks she detects a small current of pride, too. "The clans trade freely amongst each other as they never have in past, and they travel freely, too. Floukru live with Trikru, Trikru live with Sankru, Sankru live with Yujledakru, and war does not emerge. It is- new," Lexa settles with a faint smile, "but it is peace, and it has long been fought for."
Clarke doesn't understand half of what she'd said, but she hears what's important. She hears that Lexa is content, with the peace between her people, and she believes that – as Commander – Lexa must have played a role in establishing that peace, for her to be this proud of it.
"That sounds nice," Clarke answers honestly.
"Sha," Lexa nods her agreement with that same, absent smile.
"That means yes?" Clarke guesses lightly, nudging softly into Lexa's hip with her spare palm.
"Sha," Lexa teases with a coy smirk, pheromones spiking violently at the alpha's touch, and Clarke all but chokes on the renewed strength of her scent.
It itches at the back of Clarke's throat and dries out her tongue and mouth. She feels half-crazed with sudden need, and she growls with tested restraint as her wolf howls with want from within. She has to shuffle somewhat awkwardly as she feels her clit begin to tighten, lengthen, harden, and Clarke huffs her displeasure with herself before standing from the bed, hurriedly inquiring, "Are you thirsty? Hungry? I'm going to get some water. I can get you something, if you want?"
It's a noticeable deflection, Clarke knows, but she can't help it. Her alpha has Chosen this omega, and Clarke wants her. Lexa is beautiful, wise, and purely fascinating, and while Clarke might be unhappy with her physical reaction to the omega, she certainly isn't surprised by it, and she isn't ashamed.
Still, the last thing she wants is to make Lexa uncomfortable – even if the omega is quite obviously preening over Clarke's obvious response to her, from the bed, her smirk turning sly and the ring of green in her eyes barely visible around pupils blown wide with lust.
"Sha, alpha," Lexa replies with an overtly seductive purr, and Clarke practically falls into the kitchen counter with an immediate groan of distress to answer it. "You may get me water, if you wish, though there are other things I would happily take from you, instead," the omega taunts mercilessly, staring pointedly at the straining fabric of Clarke's pants.
The alpha doesn't growl – the omega's evident interest in fact makes the white wolf unmistakably proud, and far more eager than Clarke would like – but the blonde shakes her head and refuses to let it emerge.
Lexa is in heat, Clarke reminds herself firmly – which means that the omega's interest is only partly genuine, at best.