24 Epiphanies


Lexa rubbed her eyes for the fifth time that afternoon, trying to focus on the words that sprawled across the white page before her. She had been glued to her desk all shift. Occupying the desk across from her, her partner tossed a wadded up piece of paper at her face.

She managed to swat it away before it made contact with her forehead, shooting him a curious gaze. "What?"

"You looked like you were about to fall asleep." Ryder shrugged innocently enough. "I just wanted to make sure you didn't, keep you on your toes."

"I was never on my toes." Lexa raised an eyebrow, and Ryder grunted.

"Always the smartass." He muttered into his beard. "I should request a new partner."

"Go ahead, I've never been a fan of your scraggly facial hair anyway." Lexa jibed good-naturedly as she typed away, her eyes flashing from one side of the screen to the other as she wrote up a warrant for a search and seizure.

"What?" Ryder put a hand over his chin, giving Lexa a look of astonishment. She glanced up from her screen, frowning at him.

"Come on, this can't be news to you." She challenged, her fingers moving fast over the keyboard. "Don't you remember me saying that a few years back?"

"I thought it was just your twisted way of breaking the ice!" Ryder gawked, which elicited a loud snort from his partner.

"Please, I've never been in the business of breaking ice, ever." Lexa chuckled as she returned her attention to the computer monitor. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ryder balling up another piece of scrap paper. "You're a child." She commented.

"At least I'm honest with my partner." He said, putting a large hand over his heart. "Before you no other partner liked my beard." Ryder said, shaking his head in a playful manner, before he tossed the ball at her.

Lexa caught it in her left hand and crumpled it, dropping it into the trashcan on the side of her desk. "Buddy, only your wife likes your beard."

"Well at least that's one person." Ryder sniffed, a mischievous gleam in his eye. "I've settled for less."

"Uh-huh." Lexa shook her head as she finished up the warrant. "I can testify to that for sure," She glanced at him teasingly, "you've definitely settled for much less." Ryder was about to protest, his mouth forming a circle, when Lexa's phone began vibrating on the desktop.

She had barely even said a word into the phone when her wife's frantic voice was heard on the other end. "Clarke? Slow down, I can't hear a word you're saying."

"I'm bleeding, Lex." Now that, Lexa heard loud and clear. Panic flooded her at the implications of that statement.

"When did it start?" She asked, already standing from her desk and reaching for her coat.

"A few seconds ago," Clarke's voice was fearful and anxious, "I was just walking down the stairs when I saw the blood flowing down from my legs." She gasped in pain. "Lex, I don't know what to do."

"Call an ambulance." Lexa said as calmly as she could; if she panicked too Clarke would certainly lose it. "I'll meet you at the hospital as soon as I can." She was already hurrying out of the office, waving off Ryder's concerned look, her heart in her throat.

Lexa hovered next to Clarke as Luna ran her tests on the blonde. When she finally looked up at them with mournful brown eyes, Lexa felt her throat constricting in pain. Luna bit her lip, clearly trying to find a way to break it to them gently, but Lexa already knew what she was going to say.

"I'm sorry." Was all the doctor managed, and immediately Clarke's face crumpled inward, covering her face with her hands to muffle the quiet sobs. Luna hung her head, and she placed a hand on Lexa's shoulder.

"You did everything you could." Lexa said, grief filling her entire being. She wanted to say more, but she simply couldn't open her mouth, her jaw clenching as she held it in. Luna nodded, and she stepped out of the room, giving the two distraught women some space.

Lexa wanted to break something. Her knuckles turned white from the bone-crushing grip she was exerting on the hospital chair. She wanted to fling it across the room in her grief, but she could not. Not when her wife was lying on the bed, absolutely catatonic and withdrawn. Her needs came before Lexa's. "Clarke?" She asked uncertainly, and that's when the crack in her armor appeared. She watched as the mask of impassivity collapsed inward on itself, and the first tear began to fall.

Clarke was completely and utterly despondent, and Lexa sat on the edge of the bed and held her in her arms as she broke down into tears. The brunette whispered incoherent words of comfort to her wife, pressing kisses into her hair. She ignored the grief and loss that consumed her; she had to be strong for her wife.

Later, when the tears had momentarily stopped flooding, Clarke jerked away from Lexa's arms. The brunette was shocked by the sudden movement, and she frowned. "Clarke?"

"Don't hate me." Clarke mumbled quietly, eyes downcast and red. Lexa gave her a perplexed stare.

"Why would I hate you?" The word sounded foreign even as it left her mouth, and Clarke glanced sideways at Lexa's confused expression.

"I lost our baby." Clarke said, and even as she said it she flinched in pain and sorrow. Lexa shook her head, her eyes brimming with tears that she had refused to let fall.

"No Clarke, I can never blame you for this." Lexa protested, and she tilted her wife's chin to meet her gaze. "I love you, and this won't change anything."

"I lost our child." Clarke repeated, twin streams pouring down her cheeks. Lexa gently wiped away the salty tears with her hands. "I lost our baby." The brunette shook her head in distress, refusing to listen to what her wife was saying.

"Clarke, stop blaming yourself." Lexa commanded sternly, fighting the swelling of pain and torment that tried to break over her in a torrent, threatening to pull her into a deep dark abyss of inconsolable anguish. Clarke's gaze snapped up at her, the grief and remorse darkening her beautiful blue eyes.

"But I did this." Clarke said through the sobs that shook her shoulders. "You told me not to overexert myself, but I didn't listen to you, and now-" She hiccoughed, burying her face in her hands, ashamed and overcome.

The sight of her wife falling apart at the seams was too much for her, and Lexa pulled Clarke into her arms, allowing a solitary tear fall from her eye as she pressed kiss after kiss into her golden hair, her cheeks, her forehead, her nose.

"I could never hate you." Lexa confessed into the wild locks of blonde hair as her wife completely crumpled into her chest. "I love you more." She said quietly, her arms locked tight around her wife's body. "This sucks, and it hurts me too." Lexa kissed the tip of Clarke's nose, and then the corner of her lips. "But I will never hate you."

"How could you not?" Clarke asked, morose and afraid, and Lexa only held her tighter to her, trying to absorb all the pain and sorrow from her wife. She wanted to take it from her, to relieve her from the guilt and the anger and the loss, but she knew she could not. She settled for what she could, and she brushed her lips over the tear tracks on her wife's face.

"Because I love you more."

Because I love you more.

Clarke went over that last sentence with her finger, brushing the paper reverently. She was sitting on the bench, down by the water. She was the only one at the park this morning. Around her, the birds chirped cheerily and the squirrels leapt up and down their woodland domain. She cleared her throat, the words overwhelming her as her eyes scanned them again.

I love you more.

Her wife the sap. It had been decades since she had thought of that fateful day. Clearly Lexa had never forgotten that conversation in the hospital room, when she had been completely filled with anguish and woe.

Quinn had never known about it. After the miscarriage, it had been three years until they had both been in the right mindset to even entertain the idea of having a child. Lexa had never blamed her for it, not once. She had swallowed her own heartache, and for the next few months she had doted on a heartbroken and near-catatonic Clarke. There had been moments where Clarke had almost felt herself edging that black chasm of endless and consuming desolation. It was Lexa's presence, her soothing touch and her calming voice, her physical presence next to her that had kept the loneliness at bay for months, mending her with gentle words and understanding green eyes. She had put her back together piece by piece, drawing her out from her vigil of despair and healing her with a never-ending patience.

Now as she sat, alone, Clarke longed for the feel of Lexa's breath against the back of her neck, of fingertips lilting upon her shoulders. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again she looked outward upon the body of water that ebbed and flowed peacefully against the shore.

She saw her wife, swimming strongly in the water, carrying their infant daughter on her shoulders, throwing her off the dock with a booming laugh that seemed to echo timelessly across the lake. Clarke saw Lexa's loving devotion – previously reserved only for her – extend to include their daughter with an effortless grace, instantaneous and natural. She had been an observer, watching from behind the scenes as Lexa protected Quinn with her entire being, with all that she had. She had stood witness to that look of sheer pride that consumed Lexa's features when Quinn had taken her first steps under the far-reaching fingers of their favorite tree.

Lexa had swept Quinn up into her arms, parading her around in delight, and Clarke had giggled at the ridiculous sight of them, happy tears welling at her eyes. When their daughter had fallen asleep between them on the picnic blanket, Lexa had bridged the distance between them, kissing her tenderly, that affectionate gleam ever-present in her gaze with promises of a life filled with an eternal love that would overcome all the tribulations that they would face.

She had gotten the call late at night. The other side of the bed was empty, an occurrence that had ensued for fourteen days now. Lexa had been assigned graveyard shift for the past two weeks, often coming home just as Clarke was leaving the house to get to the studio. That had left them with little time for each other, and Clarke was eagerly anticipating when the torment of it would end. She had been counting down the days, and there were only a few more nights of sliding into bed alone before her wife would be joining her.

Her head was buried under her pillow, the sheets tangled around her splayed limbs when the phone rang loudly and obnoxiously. Clarke's heart leapt in surprise, her head jolting up, her eyes wide and her hair a mess as she scrambled to answer.

"Hello?" She asked groggily.

"Clarke Griffin?" The recognizable gruff voice of Ryder filtered through the speaker, and Clarke rubbed her eyes, her brain connecting the dots quickly. He only ever called for one reason.

"Where is she?" She asked, fully alert and already rushing to the closet to find something to throw on in the dark. She pulled a sweatshirt over her head, shoving her wallet into the pockets of the large hoodie.

"Bellevue, but listen Clarke," Ryder's voice was suddenly muffled, and then Clarke heard the unmistakable voice of her wife, and she sounded annoyed. There was a whooshing sound on the other line, and then Ryder continued talking. "She didn't want me to call you, but I thought you should know."

"I'm coming down there right now." Clarke said sharply. "And Ryder, you better make sure she doesn't take her ass off that hospital bed.

"Yes ma'am." He answered, chuckling lightly before the sounds of a punch and the following grunt of pain were heard. Clarke rolled her eyes, ending the call as she hurried to find her keys.

Clarke was marching through the glass doors, and standing at the reception area was the tall hulking figure of Ryder. The detective waved her over, and she stalked up to him. "How bad is it?" She asked as he led her down the maze of hallways.

"Two cracked ribs and a grade-1 concussion." He filled her in as they walked. She barely looked at him, her gaze fixed determinedly on each step she took closer and closer to the woman she was going to kill.

"What happened?" She growled.

"There was a violent suspect resisting arrest." Ryder stated, and when she shot him a glare, he elaborated. "She took two slugs to the vest." The blonde's irritation seemed to radiate off her, and Ryder added quickly: "She's fine."

"She won't be once I get my hands on her." She gritted her teeth, and Ryder gulped as he led her past three doors until he stopped at Lexa's room. He gestured to her, and Clarke marched through the open doorway.

Lexa was leaning heavily against a reclined bed, wearing a polka-dotted gown on her body and a grimace on her face. She opened her eyes when she had heard light footsteps, and instantly fiery blue eyes pierced her own. Immediately, Lexa shifted in an attempt to sit up without the aid of the bed, and Clarke crossed the distance in two long strides.

"Don't you dare move." She hissed, two hands pushing her wife down, keeping her firmly against the mattress.

"Clarke, I can explain." Lexa started, both hands raised in a placating manner, but Clarke silenced her with a glare.

"You got shot, and you didn't want to tell me?" She kept her voice low, aware of the open door and the other patients next door. Lexa glared back at her defiantly for a few heartbeats, before the look disappeared, a resigned expression replacing it.

"I didn't want to worry you." She sighed in defeat, and Clarke had to resist the urge to grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her wife. Instead, she brought her face inches from Lexa's an annoyed expression on her face.

"You could have died." She growled lowly, and Lexa looked at the foot of the bed sheepishly.

"But I didn't." Lexa supplied, her voice quiet and timid, and that only set Clarke into the deep end.

"Not today, but tomorrow, that's a different story." Clarke snapped, irritated with the flippant manner at which her wife toed the line between life and death. "Is it your desire to scare me to death for as long as I live?" She asked, her eyes narrowed at her wife.

"I'm sorry." Lexa muttered lowly, and Clarke rolled her eyes.

"Wrong, try again." The blonde fixed Lexa with her intense gaze, and Lexa exhaled loudly, wincing as she did.

"I'm sorry, and you're right." Lexa leaned her head back against the pillows in defeat, finally looking up earnestly at her wife.

"Better." Clarke said, and she shook her head as her wife shut her eyes, exhausted, and she couldn't help but forgive her wife at the sight of her bruised and injured before her. With a long-suffering sigh, she pressed her lips to her wife's forehead, keeping contact for a heartbeats before she pulled away to look at her wife.

"You're an idiot." She whispered softly to the woman, and Lexa blinked open one eye.

"I really am sorry." Lexa murmured, looking more than a little put-off, and Clarke chuckled lightly as she took Lexa's hand in hers.

"I know." Clarke said, her thumb stroking her wife's bruised knuckles. "But sometimes, I just can't help but think you like this sort of thing." She confessed quietly, and Lexa opened her other eye.

"I don't." Lexa countered under the dim lights. "It was part of my job, but no longer." Clarke frowned at her use of past tense.

"What are you saying?" She asked cautiously, and Lexa gestured with an outstretched arm to where her jacket hung over the chair at her bedside. The movement elicited a groan of pain, which Clarke soothed with another kiss on her cheek and a hand on her shoulder.

"In the left pocket." Lexa instructed her through gritted teeth, and Clarke padded over, one hand reaching in to where she had directed her.

At the tip of her fingers, she felt a piece of paper, folded several times, and she pulled it out. "What's this?" She asked her wife, who was watching her with an intense gaze.

"It's a transfer notice." Lexa announced, to Clarke's astonishment. The blonde gaped at her for a second, before she regained the ability to talk.

"What?" She asked, her eyes wide as she looked at her wife in surprise.

"I'm moving to Intelligence." Lexa explained, shifting slightly to sit up higher on the bed. "There was a sergeant's opening in the unit, and I passed my exam last week," The brunette glanced briefly at the paper in Clarke's hands. "I got the job."

"You did?" Clarke was still stunned by the news, and Lexa gauged her expression with a careful eye as she nodded.

"It's mostly an office job, no arresting perps or chasing suspects down alleyways in the ungodly hours of the night." Lexa informed her. "I'd only ever have to go out into the action if there was something pressing that required my attention, but otherwise," She gestured to her injured ribs, "you'll be seeing this less often."

Clarke stood there gaping at Lexa. "Why are you doing this?" She asked, an eyebrow raised in suspicion.

"For you." Lexa said simply, and she watched as an elated expression suddenly spread across Clarke's face, lighting up the entire room with the brilliance of her smile.

She returned to Lexa's side, looking deeply into her eyes, adoration and affection reflected in her wife's gaze. "I love you." She whispered as she bent down and kissed Lexa on the lips.

It was after realizing that today was the twentieth of July that the cloud that Clarke had been floating on came crashing down. The knowledge that there were only four more left until the end made her heart clench with pain; her wife's last gift to her would soon be meeting its end, and Clarke could not bear the thought. It was three days until their anniversary, three days until the day that Clarke's life had really started to begin.

As she swiveled around on her chair to take in the view from the window, she looked out toward the lake that she knew was hidden by the different buildings and trees. Tuesdays were their days, a time devoted to each other, no kid, no dog, and no work. Cell phones were turned off and laptops abandoned in the study, and for a day, the only thing they thought about was each other.

Her wife had written eloquently about it, eliciting a chuckle as she recalled fond memories of their first excursion out on the lake.

Clarke watched through the shade of her sunglasses from her spot by the lake as Lexa pushed out of the water. The woman walked over to join her on the blanket, droplets leaving trails down her body. Clarke couldn't help but stare at the toned muscles rippling as her wife moved, the book she had been reading abandoned.

"You're drooling." Lexa commented as she threw herself down on the blanket, lying next to the blonde. Clarke rolled her eyes at Lexa's words, closing her book.

"Shut up." She scolded, but she did not complain as her wife moved to greet her with a chaste kiss. As Lexa pulled away, Clarke quickly snaked an arm around her neck, drawing out the contact for a bit longer before releasing her.

"Did you see something you like?" Lexa asked, breathless as she grinned at her wife. Clarke nudged Lexa hard in the side.

"You're very sexy, is that enough for you?" She asked in a playful tone, and Lexa's grin increased.

"More than enough." She said, rolling Clarke onto her back and hovering over her with a knowing glint in her eye.

They kissed under the gaze of the vigilant sun for ages. Clarke burrowed into Lexa's side as they lay, content to stay here forever. Lexa's chest moved rhythmically, lulling Clarke into a drowsy state, her eyes closing as she listened to the steady thump of her wife's heart against her chest.

This day had been reserved for them. Schedules had been cleared and a babysitter in the form of Lincoln and Octavia had been arranged. It had been their first weekend alone since they had moved back to Seattle. It had been a hectic few months, and travelling with a three-year old on a plane had been challenging, but finally there was peace and quiet.

The house was a ten minute drive from downtown, and with its enormous backyard and spacious rooms, they had pounced on it immediately. It was also to their benefit that there was a park only blocks away with a gorgeous lake spanning far and majestic, and its beautiful scenery ultimately had been their destination getaway for the next twenty-four hours of just the two of them.

"We should do this every month." Lexa broke the companionable, drowsy silence between them, and Clarke grinned as she rested her chin on the brunette's chest.

"Every month?" She repeated incredulously before she settled more comfortably, her cheek pressed against Lexa's warm shoulder. "More like every week." Lexa's laughter vibrated in her chest, and Clarke savored the feeling of it in her bones.

Clarke had an arm flung out across Lexa's waist, and she entangled their fingers, playing with each digit as Lexa closed her eyes, relaxed and sleepy.

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