“They say in heaven, love comes first.
We’ll make heaven a place on earth.”
The sky is dark as Clarke walks along the pavement, but it's warm even with the breeze in the air.
It’s the perfect night and Clarke wonders if it’s always like this here.
A part of her thinks it probably is.
She passes a group of people, all young. They are laughing at something one of the guys said, and the sound of it makes a smile tug at Clarke’s lips too, even though she doesn’t know the punch line.
Clarke tries to take in as much of the small town as possible, from its people and its buildings, to the way the air always smells faintly of salt from the ocean. Neon signs hang every few steps, tempting the blonde in each time. But one name sticks out the most.
Even from the outside the lively music can be heard, bright coloured lights shining from inside. It peaks her interest immediately.
Her hands shoved in the pockets of her denim jacket, she hesitantly makes her way inside. She hasn’t been in a club for well…years.
She makes her way around the room, wandering really. Her eyes fall to the group of bodies dancing in the middle of the room. They all look fantastic dressed up with carefully touched up hair, studded jackets and perfect make up.
Clarke gazes down at her loose shorts; printed tee, and denim jacket feeling vaguely out of place, but it doesn’t bother her. She doesn’t know anyone there after all.
She finds an empty booth, a few old drinks scattered across the table, but they don’t bother her. Taking a seat, her eyes scan the room again, her foot tapping lightly to the music.
She shuffles where she sits, when she notices a couple in the corner, their lips locked and eyes closed, as if they’re blocking out the rest of the world.
She looks away.
A group of people are talking animatedly a few booths away, but Clarke can’t hear what they’re saying.
Eventually, her gaze lands on the dancers again, something so enthralling about them.
That’s when she see’s her. Possibly the most beautiful girl she’s ever laid eyes on. Her hair falls in perfect waves, framing a sharp jaw and angular cheekbones.
The brunette is dancing; her arms in the air a careless look on her face.
She looks free.
Clarke finds herself going to stand. To talk to the brunette? She’s not sure.
But then a body is sitting down next to her, startling her enough that it keeps her in her place.
Her hand comes up to press over her chest, soothing her beating heart.
She looks at the boy who has claimed the spot next to her and she notices that he’s not unattractive. His hair is a black mop, but he has a kind smile and even kinder eyes.
“You looked lonely,” he says and Clarke shakes her head gently.
“I’m not,” she replies simply.
The boy laughs and Clarke can’t quite figure out what is so funny.
“Here,” he says, holding out a drink that she hadn’t realised he was holding. “Thought you might be thirsty.”
He practically thrusts it into her hands, and so she takes it, holding it precariously between narrow fingers.
“Why did you buy me this?”
“You make it sound like you’ve never been hit on before,” he chuckles.
And Clarke’s cheeks tinge pink.
In her defence, it has been a while.
“Um… thank you, but I’m really not very thirsty,” she says. She places the glass on the table and is leaving the table before the boy can speak.
She doesn’t look back.
Instead she heads over to the bar. Clarke leans her elbows on the counter only to lift them a second later when she realises the surface is sticky. She takes a paper napkin from a dispenser on the bar and rubs it along her arms.
“What can I get you?”
Clarke looks up and finds herself face to face with the bartender.
“Water,” she stammers out and he just nods, before reaching for a glass.
It’s placed in front of her a second later, she picks it up, and then takes a sip. She realises then that she lied to that boy. She was thirsty.
Clarke turns her back is to the bar so she can people watch. It is then that she notices the beautiful brunette making her way over to the bar too. Her heart immediately starts to beat faster, but a feeling of what she could only describe as disappointment settles in her chest when she notices another girl following close behind her.
“Whiskey neat,” the brunette says and all Clarke can’t think about is how mesmerising her voice is. She glances over at the girl next to her, “Make it a double,” she adds.
“Why are you avoiding me?” the other girl asks the brunette. “We had an amazing night Lexa.”
Her name is Lexa.
All Clarke can think about is how fitting it seems.
“Had, as in past tense,” Lexa says, taking a large gulp of her drink. She doesn’t grimace as the liquid burns its way down her throat.
The other girl’s gaze hardens, “You’re a fucking bitch, you know that?”
“Can’t you leave me alone? I told you who I was before we slept together. You knew what you were getting into.”
“You’re a whore,” the girl spits and Clarke finds herself taking a step towards them.
“Hey,” she says, before she can’t think better of it. Two heads snap towards her and Clarke immediately regrets her decision to speak at all. But she’s said something now, so she continues, “That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?” she says to the other girl.
“Who the fuck do you think you are blondie?” she replies.
“This is none of your business,” the brunette says and Clarke feels embarrassment flood through her.
Clarke’s mouth opens and closes a few times before she manages to stutter out the word, “Right.”
She mutters a quick apology, and then she is placing her water on the bar, and heading towards the door, kicking herself the entire way.
She hasn’t felt mortification like this in years, and she certainly hasn’t missed it.
But she barely makes it outside when she feels a hand on her bicep.
She turns, her eyes widening, because there in front of her is Lexa. Lexa, in all her immaculate glory.
Clarke finally notices Lexa’s bright green eyes that seem to shine under the neon lights.
She doesn’t think it’s fair that someone can be this beautiful.
“It’s you,” Clarke says, dumbstruck.
“Yeah… I’m sorry about, you know, sorta blowing up on you in there,” she replies, a hand coming up to rub the back of her neck.
“I shouldn’t have been eavesdropping.”
“You were just trying to help, I realise that now. Besides you were right, that girl was being a bit harsh,” she grins and even though Clarke still feels embarrassed, it lessens ever so slightly.
“Yeah,” she breathes.
“Let me buy you a drink,” Lexa says and Clarke feels herself blush, the boys words from earlier echoing in her mind.
‘You make it sound like you’ve never been hit on before...’
“Oh I couldn’t-”
“It’s just one drink.”
They don’t go back to the club. They find a 24 hour store and Lexa buys them each a beer from the refrigerator behind the counter.
They bring them to a bench that's right by the sand.
They don’t really talk about anything, but make light conversation that goes no where but somehow means something.
Clarke barely takes a handful of sips of her beer but Lexa finishes hers in ten minutes.
“It’s yours,” Lexa says to Clarke when she offers her bottle to her.
“I can share,” Clarke says back.
She doesn’t know when, but somehow they’re closer together, their faces inches apart.
“I’d rather you share my bed,” Lexa retorts with a quirk of her eyebrow and Clarke’s heart flutters.
She wants too.
She really, really wants too.
But she looks down at her watch.
“I can’t,” she replies, regret in her voice.
Lexa’s eyes widen, “Oh,” she says in realisation, “You’re new to town.”
“I guess that makes sense. I would remember a face like yours.”
A small smile appears on Clarke’s lips. Then she stands.
“Maybe I’ll see you next week,” she says, hopeful.
“Maybe,” Lexa replies, but it doesn’t sound sincere.
Lexa hugs her goodbye. Clarke thinks she lingers.
And as she walks away, she can’t help but wonder if she just made a mistake by not even kissing her goodbye.
“I wait for you and you come around.
And the world’s alive with the sound,
Of kids on the street outside.”
One week later…
The Ark is the same. Clarke is pretty sure almost everyone who she saw last week is back again.
She passes by the boy who flirted with her the week before by the entrance and he smiles but doesn’t go to talk to her. She smiles back.
The next person Clarke sees is Lexa.
It’s like she’s drawn to the woman’s presence.
But like last time she’s not alone. It’s a different girl. And she’s stunning, with smooth dark skin and gorgeous brown eyes.
Clarke bites her lip; she looks down at her feet, breaking her gaze from Lexa’s.
She could never compete with a girl like that, and so instead of going to talk to the brunette, she heads over to the bar.
“Something strong,” she orders, when the bartender asks what she wants.
She doesn’t know what she ordered, but it’s blue, and when she takes a sip she finds that she doesn’t hate it.
She takes a bigger gulp.
“I wasn’t expecting you back,” Clarke hears, and she spins at the sound of the familiar husky voice.
“I said I would be.”
“Not many people keep their promises here in San Junipero,” Lexa says with shrug as she leans on the bar.
“Well I am new to town.”
Lexa grins, “Good point.” She glances down at her watch for a brief second. “It’s still early,” she says.
Clarke doesn’t finish her drink before they’re leaving the club hand in hand.
It turns out Lexa has a motorcycle. Clarke has never been on one before, but for some reason she trusts Lexa. So when Lexa straddles the bike and says, “Hop on,” Clarke does without question.
Her arms wrap around Lexa’s waist, her hands sprawled over Lexa’s taut stomach. She presses her front to Lexa’s back and she thinks that the fit pretty well together.
Clarke squeals when they take off and she feels Lexa laughing at her but she doesn’t care.
Her hair flows behind her as they drive.
A wide smile on her lips.
Her eyes focused on the stars.
She barely notices when they pull up to a beach house.
It’s big. That’s what Clarke notices first. She wonders if Lexa ever gets lonely in such a big house.
Then Lexa is pulling her off the bike but instead of heading for the door of the house like she expects, Lexa drags her down the beach.
Clarke tries to run when she realises Lexa isn’t going to stop at the waters edge. But the brunette just picks her up around the waist and marches right in and Clarke can’t find it in herself to care, and she laughs loudly as Lexa drops her in the water.
It is perfect and warm and she splutters as she surfaces.
Her glare lasts all but a few seconds because Lexa is smiling so wide at her that she can’t help but smile back.
“I'm soaking,” Clarke exclaims.
And then Clarke is kissing her. She takes Lexa’s lips in hers, and she doesn’t think she’s ever felt something so right. She sucks Lexa’s bottom lip into her mouth and Lexa moans into the kiss. Her arms wrap around the blonde, holding her tight.
Clarke feels fingers pulling at the bottom of her shirt, and she separates from Lexa for a second so the woman can pull the wet shirt over her head.
Their lips find each others again as Lexa’s hands roam freely over Clarke’s body.
“Not fair,” Clarke murmurs. Then she yanks off the loose shirt Lexa was wearing, leaving her in her tank top, which is quickly removed after that.
“Better?” Lexa asks, smiling.
Clarke pulls Lexa into slightly shallower water, then she turns the brunette around and gently pushes her down until her back hits the sand. Clarke follows her down, lying on top of her. Her hands come to tangle in brown locks, as she savours the taste of salt on Lexa’s lips.
Her fingers fumble with the button of Lexa’s jeans for a few seconds, then she’s dragging them down her legs, throwing them onto the beach behind them somewhere.
“Now who’s not being fair?” Lexa questions.
“Well we can’t have that.”
Neither really knew when, but they end back up in Lexa’s house. Starting in the shower for a few minutes before Lexa grew bored and dragged Clarke to her bed.
Now, they were lying contently next to each other. Clarke’s arm thrown lazily over Lexa’s stomach.
She looks around the bedroom, which is really just a mattress on the floor, a lamp next to it and a chest of drawers against one wall. The whole wall opposite them was glass and it looked out over the beach.
“I think I could just lie here all night,” Clarke hums.
“But you can’t,” Lexa reminds.
Clarke looks at her watch.
“No,” she sighs. “But for a little while longer.”
“When you walk into the room
You pull me close and we start to move
And we’re spinning with the stars above
And you lift me up in a wave of love.”
Clarke’s eyes flutter open and she lets out a long sigh as she takes in the room around her. It’s different from Lexa’s, more clinical, everything in it’s exact place.
She takes a laboured breath. Then she lifts up a weathered hand and removes the white suction bud attached to her temple. She hands it to her carer.
“Do you want to watch the ocean?” Raven asks her in that kind voice of hers.
She lets herself be wheeled out her room and into the hallway of the retirement home. Around her, other frail old men and women live, but all really just waiting for the end to come.
They sit in silence on the terrace; something Clarke does almost every day, the ocean air apparently good for her. She doesn’t know why.
Her mind drifts back to Lexa, a feeling of longing set deep in her chest.
“Are you thinking about San Junipero?" Raven asks curiously and Clarke shakes her head.
"No, just someone I met there."
One week later…
Clarke walks along the streets of San Junipero, one destination in mind, her heart already beating faster at the prospect of seeing Lexa again.
She wears a bomber jacket with an embroidered dragon on the back, and a nice pair of denim shorts. She even made sure that her make up looked perfect that night, something she hasn’t thought to do in a while.
But she doesn’t even make it in the Ark’s door when she see’s Lexa. Lexa leaving… with a girl on her arm and a hand in the back pocket of the other girl’s shorts.
Clarke freezes in her tracks.
She thinks her heart might have stopped too.
And then their eyes meet.
Clarke knows they do, because she sees Lexa’s eyes widen ever so slightly with recognition.
But then the girl is tugging Lexa the other way.
And Lexa, well Lexa follows.
Clarke thinks her heart goes with her.
One week later…
Clarke is back. She doesn’t know why. Well maybe she does. Maybe it’s the prospect of seeing Lexa again. Maybe she just likes hurting herself.
As she walks along the pavement, she thinks she finally understands what that girl who was shouting at Lexa from her first night in San Junipero was feeling.
This time she makes it in the club before she see’s Lexa.
But if anything it’s worse.
Because Lexa’s lips are attached to a girl’s, a different one than the week before, but still someone that wasn’t her.
She doesn’t think Lexa sees her this time.
But she doesn’t think it matters, because the effect is still the same and Clarke feels another piece of her heart disappear out the door with the brunette with the beautiful green eyes.
Clarke’s eyes open, and her room in the retirement home comes into view. She feels a hot tear run down her face and she clenches her eyes shut.
She shouldn’t be crying.
She doesn’t want to cry.
But she is, and she reaches up with a shaking had to wipe it away.
Raven comes up to her worriedly, tissues in hand but Clarke waves her away as she removes the suction bud.
“Clarke, what’s wrong?” Raven asks.
Clarke doesn’t reply.
“They say in heaven love comes first
We’ll make heaven a place on earth.”
One week later…
Clarke thinks she might have a problem. Because she’s back at the Ark.
She’s surprised when she finds Lexa at the bar alone, but she doesn’t get her hopes up.
Not this time.
Instead, she just goes to the bar and orders herself a drink, ignoring Lexa when the girl turns her body to look at her.
Clarke takes her drink and downs it in three large gulps. She clenches her eyes shut at the burn, covering her mouth with the back of her hand as she swallows. Then, she places the glass down on the bar, perhaps a bit too loudly.
“Another,” she calls to the bartender.
And soon another glass is in front of her. She doesn’t finish this one off, instead taking a small sip.
“You weren’t here last week,” she hears Lexa say, and finally she spares the brunette a glance, which she kind of regrets because Lexa looked stunning as always.
“I was,” Clarke states.
Lexa’s eyes cast downwards, “Oh.”
They don’t say anything else to each other after that. Clarke focusing on her drink, once again going back to ignoring Lexa’s stare.
They are barely standing there for ten minutes when a beautiful red head comes up to them, or more specifically, Lexa.
Clarke rolls her eyes at the way the girl runs a hand over Lexa’s forearm and how she leans close to talk in her ear.
She takes one last long drink, and places her drink back on the bar. Then she’s heading towards the door, not sparing Lexa another glance. She can’t watch this.
She decides in that moment maybe San Junipero isn’t really for her.
“Where are you going?!” she hears Lexa shout behind her.
Clarke has made it several feet from the Ark when Lexa calls after her and she doesn’t stop walking when she hears it. She just shoves her hands in the pockets of her jacket and keeps on moving.
She doesn’t expect Lexa to follow her.
But that’s exactly what she does.
She doesn’t make it very far before a strong hand is gripping her arm, bringing her to a standstill.
“Clarke. Stop. Hey. Talk to me for a second.”
Clarke spins to face her and Lexa seems taken back by the suddenness of it. Her eyes are like steel but her will is like jelly when she asks, “What do you want?”
“I…I- Why are you leaving?” she stammers.
“Why do you care?” Clarke retorts and she watches in pained amusement when Lexa just opens and closes her mouth, unable to form an answer. “That’s what I thought.”
Clarke shrugs out of Lexa’s grip and strides away from her, she ducks into the nearest building and immediately the sound of the arcade fill her ears. The bright lights from the games shine around her and she just thinks how they are exactly opposite to how she is feeling.
She rubs at her eyes furiously when she feels tears at their corners, but it doesn’t stop them from falling.
She puts her hands on a machine and leans on them, bowing her head as her shoulders wrack with silent sobs. Because Lexa can’t do this to her, she can’t fuck two or probably even more girls, and the suddenly pretend like she cares.
Just then Clarke hears a rattling behind her.
She wipes at her eyes with her sleeve, then uses her finger tips to rub under eyes, clearing away any running make up.
When she turns she really doesn’t expect to see Lexa, more expecting some guy wanting to play the game she’s crying over, but no, it’s Lexa. She’s standing there holding a yellow tub filled with coins and a nervous look on her face.
“…I have quarters?” she says.
Clarke can’t help but bark out a laugh that sounds more like a chocked sob than anything else.
And even though she hates the brunette, she can’t seem to say no.
So they play games.
Clarke annihilates Lexa at air hockey, beating her by a landslide.
Lexa wins at basketball, getting nothing but net nearly every time.
And they almost tie at skeeball, Clarke narrowly taking the lead, though she feels like maybe Lexa let her win that one.
They both manage to get enough tickets to get whistles at the prize counter.
They wear them like medals.
Clarke doesn’t know what to think about Lexa, but when she smiles at her, she still feels like the most important girl in the world.
“I want to show you something,” Lexa says as they leave the arcade.
Clarke arches an eyebrow, “Oh?”
“I think you’ll really like it.”
“And how do you know what I like?” Clarke responds, slight venom in her voice.
Lexa tries to laugh it off, “Come on Clarke, don’t you trust me?”
Clarke doesn’t even pause when she answers, “No.”
That does make Lexa’s smile drop from her lips and Clarke wills herself not to feel bad.
(She has to look away from the brunette)
Clarke sighs after a minute of silence. “Just show me, Lexa.”
They end up on a roof a few blocks away. There’s nothing really special about it, Clarke thinks. But Lexa seems at peace with it, and so Clarke copies her when she goes and sits at the edge of the building, hanging their legs over the edge.
“This is good place to watch the sunrise over the ocean,” Lexa tells her.
Clarke ignores her, instead saying, “You never did tell me why you followed me.”
“I don’t know why.”
Clarke doesn’t believe her.
“Then tell me why I saw you leave with that girl a week after you slept with me,” she says.
Lexa hesitates. Then she says, “We’re not together," gesturing between them.
That hurts, but Clarke doesn’t say anything because she knows it’s true. She knows they aren’t together.
But damn, does she wish they were.
Lexa clears her throat. “I…I’m sorry,” she says and Clarke thinks she actually sounds sincere. “You know, when I was younger I used to be in love,” she begins, and Clarke’s interest is peaked. “She was my best friend, we met when we were kids and became best friends, and then we started dating in high school.” Clarke watches a fond but pained smile appear on Lexa’s lips.
“What was she like?” Clarke asks.
“Perfect. Intelligent. Funny… Beautiful,” she breaths. “She was killed in a car accident when we were twenty five. I was driving,” she adds and Clarke gasps. “I made it out of that accident without a scratch on me, but she was thrown through the windshield. I always told her to buckle up. She never listened,” Lexa says with a hollow laugh. “She made it to the hospital but she knew she wasn’t going to make it.”
Clarke places a hand over Lexa’s and squeezes, “Lexa, I…”
“It’s ok, you don’t have to say anything,” Lexa waved her off, “You know, she actually called me into her room and told me to find someone else. She was on her deathbed and she was telling me to fall in love with someone else. But it’s what she wanted and I promised her I would try. I never found it, and then… I passed and I guess, well I guess I’m still trying to keep my promise.”
They sit in silence. Clarke unsure what to say just yet and Lexa spent.
And then Clarke says, “But you followed me.”
They look at each other for the first time since stepping onto that roof. Lexa’s eyes shimmer with emotion and Clarke sees her throat bob as she swallows thickly.
“I did.” Lexa nods. She bites her lip, “But you scare me, Clarke,” she admits.
“I scare you?” Clarke asks, bewildered.
“I’ve been searching for years and years and I came to the solid conclusion no one was ever going to replace her. And then you,” she looks pointedly at the blonde, “you walked into my life and fucked that all up,” she says with a laugh, a real one this time.
And for the first time in weeks Clarke feels something like hope bubble up in her chest.
“What…what does that mean Lexa?” Clarke asks timidly.
“I don’t really know, but I think it -“
Clarke opens her eyes, and all she see’s is her retirement room.
She looks at the clock on the wall.
They ran out of time.
Clarke lets out a shaky sigh. She plucks the suction bud from her temple and places it in the box on the table next to her.
Then she puts her hands on either side of her chair and pushes herself standing.
She doesn’t know what happened next, but then she’s on the floor and a searing pain runs down her arm and another from her hip to her knee. She cries out in agony and a second later Raven comes running into the room. As soon as she see’s Clarke on the floor, she starts shouting out the room and more people rush in.
That’s all she remembers before her eyes shut and she passes out from the pain.
“When I feel alone, I reach for you
And you bring me home
When I’m lost at sea I hear your voice
And it carries me.”
One week later…
Clarke stands outside Lexa’s house. The wind whips around her, and her hair falls across her eyes. She brushes it back as she knocks on the door.
“Lexa!” she calls. “Lexa? Damn it,” she swears when there’s no answer.
She’s about to leave when she notices something, or something in the ocean. Clarke shakes her head because of course Lexa is swimming at night by herself.
The blonde heads towards the water, and Lexa must have seen her coming because she meets Clarke on the beach.
“Clarke you’re here,” Lexa says, surprised. “It hasn’t been a week,” she says confused, but excitement laces her voice.
“They let me back early,” Clarke shrugs.
And then they’re kissing and god did Clarke miss it.
“Mmm,” Lexa hums happily into the kiss.
Clarke breaks the kiss, much to Lexa’s disappointment. But her eyes light up again when Clarke speaks next.
“Take me to bed Lexa.”
Clarke and Lexa lie next to each other on Lexa’s mattress, the sheets strewn haphazardly over their bodies. Lexa is running random patterns over the tiny soft swell of Clarke’s stomach, as Clarke lazed back with her eyes half shut.
“We never did get to finish our conversation from last time,” Clarke says.
“We didn’t, did we.”
“I think you were saying something along the lines of what all this means,” Clarke says as she tries to hide her nerves and hope at the same time.
Lexa's voice is soft, gentler than Clarke's heard it.
“Well let’s just say I never thought I could fall in love again… and then I met you.”
Clarke crashes their lips together again.
They both end up falling asleep together, though not for very long.
Clarke glances at her watch.
They’re almost out of time.
“Hey Lexa,” Clarke says quietly, running a hand up Lexa’s side to stir her awake.
“It’s time,” she says.
Lexa’s eyes pop open and she sits up slightly, leaning on one arm. She cups Clarke’s cheek, “Time? You mean…”
Clarke nods. “I fell a few days ago, broke my hip and arm. And my body’s not what it used to be. I guess my body couldn’t heal itself and keep my immune system up. I caught something,” she says with a shrug.
Lexa’s touches suddenly become softer, more hesitant, as if she's afraid she could hurt her even there.
Clarke would laugh if she wasn't so touched, because even in a virtual reality where Clarke couldn't be hurt, Lexa still worried.
“Are you…are you going to stay here?” Lexa asks and they both hear the unspoken question.
“Are you going to stay with me?”
“Well that depends,” Clarke says, brushing her lips against Lexa’s. “Do you want me too?”
“I don’t think I’ll ever want anything else.”