LOST – CHAPTER 14
Clarke had become a light sleeper since she had landed on Earth, since she had lost the sense of safety and protection. So when Lexa came back in, Clarke's eyes fluttered open but she closed them again, pretending to be asleep. She held her breath, waiting for the Commander to spot her on her bed. After a few moments, she opened her eyes a little and found the Commander looking down at her. Clarke could see how tired Lexa looked. She was about to make Lexa aware that she was awake and get up when she saw, through the slits of her lids, the Commander bend forward, then felt Lexa over her body. Clarke froze. Lexa hovered over her a moment, as if hesitating, then quickly retracted and sat on the edge on the mattress.
Clarke frowned; she knew Lexa was no longer looking at her. She opened her eyes completely and saw that Lexa was looking very intently at something in her hands. Clarke lifted slightly her head to get a better angle at the woman, peeked and her stomach dropped. It was her sketchbook. She contemplated announcing her woken state again to take the book back before any damage was done but, just as she was about to do so, Lexa's expression stopped her. Lexa had a small smile playing on her lips and her eyes showed...admiration. She was enjoying Clarke's work. Clarke watched mesmerized as Lexa's fingers turned the next page. She knew what she'd find there – her own self with her father, smiling. She'd find the old Clarke; the Clarke that didn't experience the ground, the Clarke that wasn't changed by loss…the Clarke that Lexa didn't get to meet. She wanted to rip off the sketchbook from Lexa's hands but didn't. Instead she watched as Lexa took in the picture, took in a piece of her soul. Lexa was still smiling widely as she got to the next page. Then the smile quickly disappeared.
Her eyes were now wide, filled with something Clarke couldn't quite define from her position on the bed. But from the tension of her body, Clarke guessed Lexa had been taken off guard, hadn't expected to find drawings that resonated with her. Clarke felt vulnerability there; the woman, who was feared in all the lands, looked so fragile. So broken. So conflicted. A glassy layer of water formed in Lexa's eyes and she quickly blinked them away. She then took a shaky breath and turned another page. Clarke knew she hoped to find something that would distract her from grief. And it did.
The look in her eyes, combined with the crease of her brows, changed from vulnerability to anger to fear. These were the only emotions Clarke could easily read but she could see a storm of more of them in the girl's eyes.
Lexa got up to leave but Clarke grabbed her wrist half way. She couldn't let her leave, couldn't let her hide herself again. She couldn't pretend she didn't know what happened tonight, like Clarke knew Lexa was planning to do. She pulled her back on the bed and, cupping her tear soaked face, kissed her gingerly, chastely. Clarke broke the kiss and moved back a bit to observe the Commander who had her eyes closed, probably still getting over the surprise. But Clarke wasn't going to let Lexa slip away from her, not this time. When the green eyes looked into hers, she opened her mouth to say what she wanted from Lexa but Lexa didn't need words; it was all in Clarke's eyes for Lexa to see. Understanding filled Lexa's and she dipped her head lightly.
She slowly got up from the bed and Clarke watched her light up all the candles around them, patiently. Silence filled the room until Lexa reached the last candle.
"When I was younger, I used to be scared of fire." Lexa spoke up.
"I used to be too. I mean, it is scary." Clarke said, smiling, and recalling her childhood.
Lexa shook her head.
"My parents died in a fire, Clarke."
"Wha-? I am so sorry, Lexa." Clarke said, her eyes wide.
"It was a long time ago, Clarke." Lexa said dismissively.
"But I know what losing a parent is Lexa, I know it hurts and the pain never goes away."
"They died because of me." Lexa said after a moment.
"What are you talking about?" Clarke asked, getting up from the bed and walking up to Lexa.
Lexa sighed and explained.
"As soon as a child who is intended to become the Commander reaches the age of 8, they show the affinity to hold the Commander's spirit. Warriors come and test them. If it is positive then they are taken away for training."
"Is it always accurate?"
"No. Out of ten to twelve, only one gets the Commander's spirit." Lexa said and turned around to face Clarke.
"That's interesting Lexa, but what has this got to do with your parents' death?"
"Everything." Lexa said ominously.
Clarke frowned and waited for Lexa to continue.
"The Tree Clan is the clan with the best warriors. All the other clans feared it and that's why they never wanted to have a Heda from among us. As soon as they got the news about me, they came one dark night and burned down all of my village."
"I saw my mother burn to death in front of my eyes and I couldn't do anything. My father was not inside our home at that time but once he saw the fire, he came running back to save me. Not her but me because I was to be Heda. The chosen child. The one responsible for all the destruction. He managed to save me but I lost him in the process." Lexa said, bitterness in her voice evident.
Clarke's eyes were glossy with tears at this point but Lexa recounted the events like it was just a story. Like it didn't affect her. Like she was immune to the pain. Like it didn't break her heart.
"What happened then?" Clarke managed to ask.
"My father had gone to welcome my mentor. Anya found me and took me with her to Polis." Lexa said looking away from the blue, tear filled eyes, fearing she might break down if she looked at them for a little longer.
Lexa expected Clarke to tell her again how sorry she was and feel all the pity that she really didn't want. Instead, Clarke moved past her towards the list of names on her wall.
Her fingers traced the first two names and she whispered them.
Clarke turned around and walked back to Lexa.
"They were your parents, weren't they?" She inquired.
Lexa nodded once in confirmation.
"Lexa, they were not your kills. Not your victims." Clarke's voice pleaded.
Finally a tear slid down Lexa's left eye. "But they were, Clarke. They died because of me, just like the people who died at my hands."
"No Lexa. They died saving their daughter, not the Heda but their daughter." Clarke argued, turning Lexa's head towards her and keeping Lexa's face in her grip so she couldn't face away.
"The fire was caused because I was there, Clarke. " Lexa countered.
Clarke opened her mouth to protest but Lexa roughly grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the wall again.
"Do you see all these 58 names on the list? They were all my village people that died because of me. I was the one who killed them, Clarke. It's on me." Lexa spat, pointing at the names listed in the beginning of the list.
"You blame yourself for them? That's pathetic." Clarke said, equal amount of anger in her voice.
"You do not know what you are talking about." Lexa whispered menacingly.
Clarke ignored her retort as she said, "Did Anya know about this pathetic list of yours?"
"She was my subordinate. She did not have-"
Clarke cut her off, "Because if she did, trust me, she would not have been proud. She would have been ashamed of you."
Lexa pushed Clarke to the wall and shouted, "Shut up!"
Then she instinctively pulled a dagger from her belt and embedded it into the wall, next to Clarke's ear.
Clarke's eyes widened in surprise but she did not break eye contact with the fuming Commander.
"So this is what you do, huh? You make people fear you, run away from you, whenever they approach you? Tell me, is this what you did to Costia too?"
"Clarke, please stop." Her voice begged her now. It quavered in pain.
"Lexa, listen to me. It was not your fault. These deaths were not your fault. They are not your burden to bear." Clarke tried to coax her, cupping her face delicately and brushing off the few strands of hair that had fallen on her face.
"You were not there, Clarke. I saw them; I saw all of them burn down to ashes. I heard their screams, their cries, Clarke. I did."
"I know you did. You were just 8, it's not fair you had to go through that at such a young age but Lexa, you did not do this. It is not on you." Clarke murmured and then wiped off the tears that had escaped Lexa's eyes.
Lexa moved back all of a sudden, and spoke as if coming out of a trance.
"What is done is done, Clarke. I cannot change the past and neither can you."
"Don't you dare shut me out, Lexa. It's not going to work." Clarke said harshly.
"I don't know what you are talking about." Her steel-like Commander voice echoed in the room.
Clarke huffed, folded her arms around her body and walked towards the Commander.
"Very well then. I am glad we agree that we cannot change the past. Will you please erase the first 60 names then, that includes the first two names."
Lexa clenched and unclenched her jaw before answering.
"Clarke of the Sky People, it is not your place to tell me what or what not to do."
"You shouldn't have bothered to tell me your story then, Commander." Clarke said hurtfully. She had called her by her title for the first time in a long time in a private discussion.
Lexa didn't say anything as she sat on the bed and picked up Clarke's sketchbook.
"You followed me." Lexa accused.
"I don't know what you are talking about. I was just walking outside for fresh air." Clarke replied insolently.
"It was very foolish of you to follow me, Clarke." She said, ignoring Clarke's defiance.
"And why is that so?" Clarke pressed, taking a seat next to Lexa on her comfortable bed.
"Your name might have ended up on that list, if I had deduced that I was being followed. It's not wise to shadow a Commander, Clarke." Lexa warned.
"I see." Clarke said.
Silence enveloped them for quite some time.
"You admitted that you followed me." Lexa said amused. Clarke turned around to see a smile in her eyes, her face being obviously stoic.
"When did I do that?" Clarke asked in a playful tone.
"I did not know you suffered from memory loss, Clarke." Lexa teased.
"Tell me my exact words when I admitted that."
"You didn't." Lexa said, realizing she had fallen for Clarke's trap.
"Ha! You've got nothing on me!" Clarke triumphantly exclaimed.
"No?" Lexa said, her eyes pointing towards the sketchbook.
"It can be an imagination of my mind, Commander. I repeat, you've gotten nothing on me." Clarke said cheekily.
Lexa rolled her eyes but preferred to remain silent, or maybe she had run out of retorts. Clarke liked to think it was latter.
The room turned silent again and the earlier tension somehow seemed to seep back in.
"You are right, Clarke. I shouldn't blame myself for what happened then." Lexa said, exhaling a long breath.
Clarke smiled and covered Lexa's hand with hers.
Lexa sighed. " I don't know why I needed to hear you say it when it was obvious."
"Lexa, sometimes things clear up when you discuss them with others." Her thumb rubbed soothing circles on Lexa's hand.
"I am Commander, I do not have that liberty. I cannot let anyone in, for my people."
"But you let me in." Clarke stated in a small voice.
"You are very persistent." Lexa said and Clarke rolled her eyes.
"I'll take that as a compliment."Clarke said cheerfully and Lexa's lips twitched upwards.
"So Anya took you in for training at 8. I am sure that has been fun." Clarke said sarcastically.
Lexa glared at her and Clarke realized she might have overstepped.
She quickly tried to explain herself, "I meant…during the few days that I spent with Anya, she taught me a few things. Told me how clumsy I was and once threw mud at me to camouflage in the forest but it was clear she enjoyed it."
At this Lexa laughed a throaty laugh.
"Anya was a good mentor, yes. But she sometimes did that to me too when I was being annoying or impatient."
"You? Impatient?" Clarke asked in disbelief.
"Patience is taught, Clarke. It isn't magically handed over to someone."
"So you are basically saying that Anya didn't approve of me as her student?"
"She wouldn't have taught you if she didn't approve. I had to prove myself to her when we got to Polis."
"That sounds interesting. Will you tell me about it?"
"I had to swim in a lake filled with snakes and make my way back to a horse she told me she had tied on a tree trunk at the bank. But obviously it was a loose knot as, when I reached the bank, there was no sign of the horse. Thus I had to walk all the way to our camp and then, when she saw me without the horse, I was sent back to retrieve it."
"And you were 8 at that time?"
"She wasn't happy with me when the white horse had turned all black because I couldn't control it and it fell in the mud. I had to scrub it clean to get myself in her good books." Lexa said smiling at the memory.
"Okay, Anya was a harsh teacher. I am not really surprised."
"She was what was needed for survival." Lexa said firmly.
Clarke somewhat disagreed because she thought what Anya made Lexa do at such a young age wasn't a remarkable thing, but she couldn't really argue against it for the simple reason that her teaching had been successful; Lexa had turned out to be a remarkable individual as well as the best warrior.
Lexa let Clarke think whatever she was thinking and laid back comfortably on the bed, leaning on her elbows and quietly observed the blonde beauty. Suddenly she recalled something.
"Why did you draw her, Clarke?"
Clarke half turned towards Lexa and, following her example, laid down on her left elbow, facing her.
"Lexa, I saw you there laying motionless. I didn't know when you'd wake up or even if you would wake up at all. It gave me a lot of time to think and I couldn't really sleep." Clarke laughed nervously.
Lexa nodded in understanding and encouraged her to continue.
"I thought about us, about what I felt for you, about how we met and I couldn't help but think if it wasn't for Anya, we probably wouldn't have followed this path. In a way it all started because of her and I just felt the need to see her face so I drew her. I never got to thank her."
Lexa was in awe of the other woman and Clarke felt her cheeks heating up as she looked into Lexa's admiring eyes. Then Lexa brushed Clarke's cheek very softly with her thumb. Clarke could do nothing but stare at those beautiful green eyes as they followed the movement of her thumb.
"You are too pure, Clarke. I do not deserve you."
The trance broke and Clarke flinched, moving away from Lexa's hand.
"What are you talking about? I am pure after everything you know I have done?"
"If I asked you to kill a man Clarke, will you be able to do it?"
"What is his crime?"
"That's not your concern. You just have to kill him."
"Will you be able to do it?"
"No, I will need-"
"I had my first kill when I had seen 10 winters. It was part of my training. Anya hadn't told me the reason why he needed to be killed, I just had to perform the act."
"How did you do it?" Clarke asked, gulping.
"I slit his throat. I remember he screamed for mercy and, by the spirits, I wanted to spare him, but I did what I was told." Lexa said, her voice finally showing some emotions, showing pain.
"I am so sorry, Lexa." Clarke said in a small voice.
"Don't be. I later found out he deserved it."
"I am sure he did. I am not sorry for that. I am sorry for what you had to do at such a young age."
"I was to be the Commander, Clarke. It was necessary."
Clarke nodded and then asked,
"But what does this have to do with-"
"Clarke, draining someone of their blood for their crimes is no longer a big deal for me but you, it's a nightmare for you. You cannot personally kill someone. "
"…haunted you despite you giving him a gift, freeing him of the pain he would have had to face."
"What is the point of this?" Clarke asked through gritted teeth.
"The point of this is, I don't want to turn you into a monster Clarke." Lexa whispered.
"You think you are a monster?" Clarke asked in shock.
"You know I am."
"Bullshit. Have you seen how your people worship you? You are an angel to them!"
Lexa laughed a bitter laugh, "Clarke, I realized what a monster I am after I met you."
"What?" Clarke turned her head with the speed of light towards Lexa.
"The guilt you feel after your kills. I've lost that feeling. My soul is dead." Lexa said impassively, stood up and walked to the other end of the room, away from Clarke.
"Don't be sorry for me. I am what my people need me to be; I am not weak. But I am not what you need or want me to be. I can't be that person, I am sorry." Lexa spoke over her shoulder, chin down, not looking at Clarke.
"I can't believe that you actually believe that. You think you don't feel something. Correction, you think you don't feel anything? Are you freaking kidding me? What do these names on this wall show? They show remorse. What does my sketch show? It shows the compassion in you. What did you letting me kill Finn show? Empathy."
Lexa turned around and watched Clarke, unable to tear away from her eyes. She tried to walk away as Clarke decreased the distance between their bodies with each step she took but she couldn't move; her mind was too busy to process the words that were coming out of the blonde's mouth to allow her any movement.
"And should I tell you what you felt when you kissed me, Lexa?" Clarke whispered.
Lexa couldn't breathe, let alone form words. Clarke solved her problem, by answering it herself.
"You felt love, just like I did. You love me Lexa."
"And I know it scares the hell out of you so you find excuses to run away from it. You make it about me, about how I don't deserve you, about how we are very different, about how I don't want you. Don't you think I know why you finally agreed to tell me about your past?"
"I wasn't done, Lexa."
"You thought I would run off in the other direction, knowing what you have done. But guess what, I am still here because I understand you. I understand what survival is. I understand why you did what you did and I trust you Lexa."
Lexa's eyes finally let go of tears.
Clarke took another step towards Lexa and enveloped her in a hug. Lexa stiffened at the contact before melting in Clarke's arms.
"I love you, Lexa. I am in love with you."
She raised her head from Lexa's shoulder and looked into the bottle green eyes as she said,
"Lexa, I want to love you. I want your hate, your love, your confusions, your doubts… I want it all."
She took another step forward, bringing her body closer to Lexa's as she said. "I want your mind." She ran a hand over Lexa's face, slowly, her eyes following the movement of her fingers. "Your soul." She lightly placed her palm over Lexa's rapidly beating heart. "Your body." At this she retracted her hands and let her heated gaze run over Lexa's chest.
"I want all of you."
She then took a step back and whispered," But the question is, are you willing to give it to me?"