24 Epiphanies


A relaxing ocean breeze blew over the vast expanse of the shore, disturbing grains of sand and the leaves of palm trees nestled close to the giant buildings erected on the cusp of the coastline. Standing tall and imperious, the hotels were unmoved by the ballad of the romancing east wind, impassive and unresponsive to the repeated calls of the courting breeze.

Overhead the sky was clear, a robin's egg blue; the sun had risen hours ago, shining bright and regal over the ocean vista, her hands reaching out into homes and shops with her longing fingers.

The sun's beams warmed the exposed skin of Clarke's back as she lay, drowsy and lucid. As she opened her eyes, she was greeted with a view that could not be bought. Her fingers played with the wild brown hair, her lips brushing lightly over her now-wife's naked back. The body next to her shifted slightly, and she continued her assault. Even after two days spent exploring Lexa's body, she still could not get enough.

Her lips ghosted over the other woman's shoulder blade, laying claim to the powerful being whose strength was coiled within this lean-muscled body. The fingers that had toyed with the curly brown locks on the pillow dragged downwards, brushing across a toned back and the ridges of the other woman's spine. The nimble fingers went over a certain ridge that had Clarke's eyes drifting to the marks on Lexa's back, a brief moment of hesitation sensed by the other woman even as she rested.

"You okay?" Lexa asked, her voice sleep-addled. Her green eyes blinked away the harsh gleam of the sun as it streamed through the open windows, swiveling her head over her shoulder to meet the gaze of her lover.

"I'm fine." Clarke assured her, and to prove it, the blonde shifted down to the marks, kissed and soothed it as she reacquainted herself with their existence. Lexa released a long, content sigh at the feel of her wife's lips and lowered her head onto the pillow, her eyes closing as Clarke continued to lavish attention to the exposed parts of her back.

The sheets covering what little was left to imagination were nudged away with eager hands, and then Clarke moved lower, her fingers moving to briefly graze Lexa's inner thigh teasingly. The brunette hummed lowly at her wife's antics, a smirk hidden in the soft cover of the pillows.

"This must be a dream." Lexa's words were muffled, and Clarke smiled into the brunette's soft skin.

"Which part?" Clarke asked as she nuzzled into the warm skin at Lexa's lower back.

"It's now late morning, I didn't have to get up at 5am to get stuck in traffic for hours, and I can smell the warm breeze of the Caribbean Sea wafting in through the windows." Lexa murmured as she stretched out her hands from under her head, and she felt a soft hand at her hip.

She was pushed onto her back, and the blonde was hovering over her face, an affectionate gleam in her eyes. "That's all?" She asked, her arms holding her upright, their naked bodies barely touching, "Sleeping in and the weather?" Clarke raised one eyebrow at her, challenging and playful, and Lexa responded with arms that pulled the blonde closer, relishing in the skin-on-skin sensation.

Lexa wrapped both arms around Clarke, their chests pressed tightly together as she connected their lips. The kiss was long and languid, and so Clarke was reasonably distracted when Lexa suddenly rolled them over, reversing their positions. Hesitation was a thing long in the past, Lexa's lips latching onto Clarke's neck and collarbone, her heart rate beating fast in anticipation, each ministration driving her crazy with want.

"Lexa, please." She whispered into the air, her hips rolling up to meet the other woman's, and Lexa made her way back to the blonde's face, directing to her a tender gaze. One hand moved low, trailing down the valley between her breasts and a taut stomach. Her touch set Clarke's body on fire, and the blonde bit her lip as she took her time, slowly positioning her lips to a perk nipple, teasing her with a smug look of satisfaction on her face.

Clarke moaned as Lexa's fingers dipped and stroked at the wetness gathered down there, coming close but pulling away just before she entered her. The blonde was panting heavily, and she wanted to groan in frustration. She rolled her hips desperately up to Lexa's elusive fingers, a hand reaching out to pull the brunette closer to her. "Please, Lexa." She repeated, and Lexa complied.

She entered her with two fingers, pumping slowly. Clarke released a moan of satisfaction as Lexa moved with at a torturously speed, and her hips bucked up in an attempt to get more. Lexa lavished attention to her neck, leaving a trail of wet-hot kisses there as her fingers began to pick up speed, curling as they went.

Clarke felt her walls tightening, and she wrapped her arms tight around Lexa's waist. "Lex, I need more." She gasped breathlessly, and the brunette added a third finger, her hips now rolling with the movement. One hand at the side of Clarke's head kept her upright, and she watched with reverence when the blonde moaned her release into the humid air between them.

Clarke's spine arched up from the mattress, her breasts pressing tightly against Lexa, her eyes closed as she came. She collapsed against the bed, and when her eyes opened, she met Lexa's affectionate gaze. That gaze was reserved only for her, those green eyes glistening with tenderness and love. "This, this could never be a dream." Lexa whispered as she kissed the blonde's shoulder tenderly.

"Why?" Clarke asked as she breathed heavily.

"Because no dream can be this perfect." Lexa kissed Clarke's forehead. "Even dreams couldn't be this absurd, for me to have finally married the love of my life." Lexa murmured, pulling her close. "You are my reality."

"I had no idea you and Mom eloped." Quinn commented through a mouth full of pancake. Anya frowned at her niece from the other side of the booth.

"Oh they so did, and it was heart-breaking for me." Octavia quipped, which only made Lincoln tap her gently on the side of the head in a censoring manner while Anya ignored the couple in favor of teasing her niece.

"Wow, just go ahead and spray me with your food." Anya complained good-naturedly as she directed her dark brown eyes to Clarke. "Didn't you ever teach your daughter not to talk while she's chewing?"

"Yes, I did." Clarke said lazily through sips of her coffee. "But she's an adult now, so if she wants to spray her aunt with pancake, she is at full liberty to do so."

Quinn sent Anya a victorious grin, which only made the older woman roll her eyes and reach for her coffee. Raven, who was sitting next to Quinn, gave her a high five, and for the next few seconds Clarke saw only the whites of Anya's eyes.

"Your mother and I hadn't planned on eloping." Clarke said after the other three had settled. Her blue eyes were lit with joy. "It was more of a," She searched for the right word, "spur of the moment situation."

"Yea, and wow was I pissed." Anya grunted, nudging the blonde with her elbow. "I was supposed to be Lexa's best woman."

"True, but you were pretty nervous in the months leading up to the actual wedding date."

"Why were you nervous?" Quinn's eyebrows rose high in her forehead, clearly unable to reconcile the tough-as-nails, badass aunt that she knew with this new image.

"Because of the speech she would have had to do." Clarke supplied the information with a teasing grin, and Anya rolled her eyes so dramatically, Clarke was concerned that they would never come back down.

"Just had to bring that up." Anya grunted, though she could not contain the wry smile on her face.

"Then why did you two elope?" Quinn asked, still wearing a confused expression on her face as her green eyes swiveled from either woman in front of her.

Clarke smiled affectionately as she looked into those eyes, and had to shake herself back into reality to answer her daughter. "All the wedding planning was getting the best of us." She explained simply. "It was exceedingly stressful, what with my mother's wishes and requirements, coupled with your aunts Raven and Octavia's crazy antics." Clarke took another sip of her coffee amid protesting squawks from the two women.

"Excuse you, we had great ideas, especially for your respective bachelorette parties." Raven argued.

"Ugh, now that was a headache in and of itself." Anya interjected as she finished her glass of water. "You kept asking me if my sister would like to have strippers at the event."

"What?" Quinn's eyes widened, and Lincoln immediately dove into the conversation.

"She's obviously just joking!" He said quickly.

"She so wasn't!" Raven cackled. "And it would have happened too, if you two hadn't just disappeared for two weeks and then came back sporting matching bands and a tan." Quinn laughed, and Clarke smiled at the sound.

"Okay, now I'm starting to think you and Mom made the right decision." Quinn said, and Clarke grinned.

"It was quite the harrowing few months." Lincoln commented casually, "I was losing my mind just having to listen to Octavia and Raven go on and on about how they wanted to 'spice up' the parties." He used his hands to air quote.

"Not to mention the guest list that just kept getting bigger and bigger." Clarke shook her head. "Lexa just suggested to me one night that we just drive down to Vegas, and the rest was history."

"Leaving me high and dry." Anya added sardonically, which only made Clarke's grin widen.

"Well, all we wanted was an intimate ceremony." Clarke defended her wife. "And that is what we got." She added with a winning smile.

"Intimate, translated to: no one but you and her." Raven grunted. "And such a shame, I was looking forward to a wedding in a vineyard."

"Only because you wanted lots of high-quality wine free of charge." Clarke shook her head in mock-disappointment.

"Yea well, you know us," Octavia raised her glass of water. "Couple of freeloaders." She stated proudly before she downed the clear liquid in a gulp.

"But it was so worth it." Clarke sighed. "And that honeymoon in Saint Lucia was a dream come true." Octavia made a farting noise, and this time it was Lincoln that rolled his eyes.

"I for one, think you guys dodged a bullet." He said. "Our wedding was quite the fiasco." He gave Octavia a knowing look, and she shrugged.

"Hey, I've got killer dance moves, get over it." She shot back playfully, which made Lincoln smile and Raven fake gag.

"They're children, I'm eating out with children." Anya muttered under her breath. Clarke gave her a conciliatory pat on the shoulder.

"If it makes you feel better, your sister didn't handle them any better than you can." Clarke commented. "Add my mother into the mix, and suddenly the reasons why she suggested we elope made so much more sense."

"I'll let her know, call you back tomorrow?" Lexa rolled her eyes. She had her phone wedged between her shoulder and ear as she struggled out of her jacket, one hand fiddling with the keys as she attempted to unlock the door. "Great, bye." She was more than happy to end the call. She had been talking with the wedding singer for almost the entirety of the drive home, and as she stepped into the threshold of the two-story apartment, she longed to pour herself a glass of whiskey.

"Lex, is that you?" Clarke's voice echoed off the walls as she called from the bedroom upstairs. Even from a distance, Lexa heard the tinge of annoyance and exasperation in her voice.

"Yes honey. Who else could it be?" Lexa joked lightly as she hung up her coat, tossing her keys into the ceramic bowl. She wriggled out of her shoes, letting her hair down with a sigh of relief before she trudged up the steps.

Her fiancée was sitting on the bedroom floor, a pile of loose-leaf pages scattered in front of her. Clarke looked absolutely frustrated, her hair a wild tangle of golden strands carelessly tied up in a messy bun atop her head. On the blonde's left hand, the diamond on the ring sparkled excitably in the lazy evening sun that filtered through the windows, and Lexa smiled, taking it all in as she leaned against the doorway. She looked beautiful.

"What are you smiling at?" Clarke looked up at Lexa, her brow furrowed at her fiancée unmoving figure.

"You." Lexa said simply before she crossed the room, stepping up behind her before she settled down with her chest pressing against Clarke's back, her arms enfolding the blonde in an affectionate embrace. "You're beautiful, you know that?" She mumbled into the woman's shoulder. Lexa stretched her legs out on either side of the blonde, and Clarke rested one hand on her jeans-covered knee.

"You reminding me every day certainly helps." Clarke joked, turning her head to kiss Lexa tenderly on the brow. She returned her attention to the pages she had in her hands, sorting through them with a huff.

"Wedding details?" Lexa asked, and when Clarke hummed in affirmation, the brunette kissed the patch of exposed skin on her neck before she rested her chin on the blonde's shoulder.

"All this planning is making my head explode." Clarke complained, exhaling loudly. "You know I found a grey hair this morning?" That made Lexa chuckle, the laugh humming deep in her chest.

"That's impossible, you've got nothing but golden locks." Lexa hummed. "But if it's true, don't worry I'll still marry you."

"Jerk." Clarke elbowed Lexa lightly in the ribs, which only exacerbated the laugh that vibrated in the brunette's throat. She lifted two different swatches for Lexa to see. "Which one do you prefer?"

Lexa peered at both, her eyes narrowing. "Aren't they both white?" She asked in confusion.

"No, this one is a pearl white," Clarke nodded towards the swatch in her right hand, "and this one is daisy."

"Oh my god." Lexa buried her face into Clarke's neck, inhaling the smell of sweat and vanilla body wash. "They look the same to me, babe."

"You're no help at all." Clarke complained, letting both pieces of fabric fall to the ground. "The wedding is in two weeks and five days, Lex, and we don't even have a color for the table cloths yet."

Lexa released a low groan into Clarke's skin. "All this trouble just to see two people sign a piece of paper, and in front of a hundred people." She muttered.

"Actually, the guest list is around two hundred now." Clarke interjected, which elicited another groan from Lexa.


"My mom strong-armed me into letting her invite the whole neighborhood."

"She hasn't even met me, and yet she wants all these people that I don't even know – not to mention herself – to come?" Lexa complained.

"See that's why I told you it wasn't a good idea to send her the invitation." Clarke sighed, and the brunette just mumbled incoherently, and Clarke added. "By the way, Raven said she asked your sister about what kind of strippers you'd like."

"No. Strippers." Lexa growled, and Clarke laughed at the brunette's exasperated tone.

"Guess you should call Raven and straighten this thing out." Clarke said. "Maybe set out some ground rules, though she might break them anyway." She added.

She earned a low growl of annoyance from the brunette. "This isn't worth all the trouble, and the grey hair." Lexa grunted.

Clarke tensed, her spine stiffened. Lexa hadn't uttered another word, and in the silence, Clarke said: "Are you regretting all this?" She asked quietly.

"What?" Lexa jerked her head up, and Clarke refused to meet her eye.

"Do you not want to get married?" Clarke clarified, and Lexa frowned.

"Of course not." Lexa exclaimed. When the blonde still refused to look her way, Lexa pushed up off the floor. She scattered the paper lying in front of Clarke's crossed legs, and sat before her with a serious gaze. "Clarke, I still want to marry you." She frowned slightly as she considered the best way to articulate the nagging at the back of her mind. "I just think, maybe there's any easier way to go about this."

"Like what?" Blue eyes met green, and Lexa smiled.

"Let's elope." She suggested, a wild, spontaneous grin on her face.

"What?" Clarke looked at her with surprise, her eyebrows raised so high that Lexa feared that they were in danger of disappearing into the crown of her hair.

"Let's elope." Lexa repeated, before she pulled Clarke to her feet. "You been tearing your hair out in frustration for months, I've been thinking of driving a screwdriver up my temple, all this wedding planning is making us crazy."

"Yes." Clarke intoned as she listened. Lexa could tell she was still unconvinced.

"So let's get married tonight, just the two of us. No crazy friends, no overbearing family members, just you and me, and a minister of course." Lexa proposed. Clarke creased her brow in thought, meeting Lexa's excited gaze.

"Tonight?" She finally asked, and Lexa's smile increased.

"Tonight." Lexa confirmed. "And we can honeymoon, I'll call the captain and let her know I'm taking my vacation early, you've just finished the commission for city hall, timing's perfect." She fell silent as Clarke's eyes clouded in thought. "So what do you think?" Lexa asked tentatively.

The blonde quirked her lips, an index finger tapping her chin in deliberation. Finally, she met Lexa's excited gaze and nodded, her blue eyes shining with eagerness and determination. "Let's do it."

She sat in the studio, each brush stroke finding a shape in the canvas. She was lost in thought today, her eyes unfocused as she worked. Despite her desire to distract herself by working, she could not paint away the memories that plagued her mind.

Clarke heard footsteps at the doorway, and she did not bother turning her head, knowing who it was already.

"Making any headway with that?"

"Nope." Clarke said bitterly, and Raven quirked the side of her lip sympathetically. She took the stool sitting by the work table and brought it up next to the blonde and her canvas.

"Hey there blondie, whatcha thinking?" Raven rapped her knuckles gently against the side of Clarke's head, which elicited a grunt of mild irritation.

"Nothing." She grunted, pressing the brush to the canvas.

"Nothing?" Raven prodded, poking Clarke in the side, and Clarke retaliated by swatting the offending finger away with her unoccupied hand.

"Nothing." She repeated as she busied herself with the paint. Raven allowed her to dwell in the false preconception for heartbeats before she opened her mouth again.

"Then why are you painting a pile of shit onto a canvas?"

"You always have the nicest things to say." Clarke muttered dryly. She finally abandoned the brush, setting it down on the table.

"You know me." Raven winked at her, before her face took on a more serious expression. "Come on Griffin, what's on your mind?" Clarke sighed, shutting her eyes momentarily.

"Lexa." She mumbled through her fingers.

"Okay, no surprise there." Raven grinned.

"I don't even know why I answer you." Clarke complained, running a hand through the tangles in her hair. Raven laughed loudly, and then when she had caught her breath, she asked.

"So what did lover-girl write today in your letter?"

"It's not what she wrote." Clarke said reluctantly. She stood from her stool and padded over to the work table, handing the object in question to Raven.

The brunette grasped it in her delicate fingers and examined it with curiosity. "Is this you two on the Empire State Building?"

"Our first day out in the Big Apple." Clarke nodded. She hugged her arms tightly around her chest.

"That's cute." Raven commented as she looked at the photograph. "You guys looked so happy."

And they did. It had been at Clarke's insistence that they take a photo on top of the Empire State, despite Lexa' grumble about how cliché it was, and as Clarke snapped the lens, she had kissed an indulgent Lexa on the cheek, causing a wide, doe-eyed grin to take place across her features.

"What love sick puppies." Raven chuckled. "Lexa was so whipped." She turned the photo around, and her experienced eyes caught sight of something. "Hey blondie, do you know that this folds out?"

"What?" Clarke walked over, taking the photo that Raven returned to her, pointing to the fold in the back of the photograph. With an anticipatory hum in the air, Clarke opened it, and a small note was written on the back. She laughed, a sigh tumbling through her lips.

"What does it say?" Raven asked.

"'I love your silliness, and even though I threaten to divorce you every time you break out those weird dance moves, you've got me hooked for life.'" Clarke read it aloud, grinning as her tongue twisted the words in her mouth. "She's such a sap."

Lexa had gone through the eighth box of the evening, and currently busy assembling her desk, a screwdriver in one hand and a screw in the other. Outside the safety of the new apartment, taxis bustled through the streets loudly. They had chosen to move into the busier side of downtown Manhattan, as it would be closer to both their workplaces. Of course, such an economical choice resulted in the sacrifice of peace and quiet, something that they definitely would not have. The hustle and bustle of the Big Apple was like a hornet's nest.

They had taken the red-eye from Seattle to New York the day before, and Lexa was currently functioning only due to the multiple cups of coffee that had been drained to the mug, and her experience pulling all-nighters all for the sake of her job.

Despite the pain and the bloodshot eyes though, the apartment was really starting to feel like home. Her limbs felt tired, her mental state groggy as she screwed in the last nail. With a grunt of effort, she stood and righted the desk onto its four legs.

"That looks great!" Clarke sidled up behind her, her hands encircling her waist as she kissed her cheek in barely concealed delight and excitement.

"How are you still so energetic?" Lexa complained as she leaned back against her wife. Clarke laughed, a finger pushing a wild strand of flyaway hair from Lexa's face.

"I unpacked the last box!" Clarke reported with elation as she pressed her cheek against Lexa's shoulder. "We're officially moved in!"

"Great." Lexa sighed in an attempt to sound excited, though the tired lilt of her tone stated otherwise.

"Oh Lex, you tired little baby." Clarke teased her as she squeezed her tighter against her body. "We're married, we have a decent place in New York, you've made Major Crimes, celebrate a little!" She practically bouncing off the walls in excitement, and Lexa smiled blearily.

"You do present some pretty valid points." Lexa agreed wearily, closing her eyes as she allowed her wife to sway them back and forth. She almost fell asleep right there, but then the warm body behind her disappeared, and she opened her eyes in protest, only to see the most bizarre and endearing thing she'd ever seen.

Clarke had released her in favor of dancing about the room, her arms waving wildly – in Lexa's opinion, dangerously – as she shimmied across the hardwood floors in her socks. Lexa shook her head, a long-suffering sigh leaving her lips, holding back the grin.

"What are you doing honey?" She asked, her hands on her hips.

"I'm celebrating!" Clarke exclaimed with a particularly energetic flail of her arms. She was basically wind-milling about, her legs moving in a sort of tap-dancing, moonwalking fusion. "Come celebrate with me!" She invited her, fluttering her eyelashes in a sultry manner that only made Lexa laugh out loud by the audacity of the display.

"No thanks, I don't dance, and apparently neither do you." Lexa quipped as she watched her wife's dancing just get more ridiculous by the second.

"You're just a party pooper." Clarke laughed, and she flipped her off playfully. Lexa shook her head before she caught up with her, lifting her up from the floor and into her arms.

"You really want to flip me off right now?" Lexa asked her as she held her still, her nose nudging Clarke's in the proximity of their bodies.

"Is it working?" Clarke asked, batting her eyelashes again, and Lexa laughed.

"Maybe, I'm too tired to figure out if I'm turned on by your weird-ass dance moves, or if it's a sign that I should divorce you." She rested her forehead against Clarke's, lightly kissing her on the nose.

"You talk a big game, Detective, but we both know you're hooked for life." Clarke joked, wrapping her arms around Lexa's neck to pull their lips together. When they pulled away for air, Lexa had a goofy smile on her face, and when Clarke raised any eyebrow she said: "You mean I've been slapped with the best life sentence?"

"Wow, maybe you should go take a nap." Clarke shook her head, unable to fight the smile on her face. "We can leave the strip search," She waggled her eyebrows suggestively, "to another day."

"Nope, I am totally fine." Without warning, Lexa lifted Clarke over her shoulder and carried her off to the bedroom amid the blonde's yelp of surprise.

They had spent the night rediscovering each other's bodies. Lexa made Clarke's body tense and shudder repeatedly under a well-versed touch and worshiping lips. She made her gasp and moan well into the morning, and under the light of the sun rising high into the air, Lexa could feel her heart overflowing with love and adoration for this woman.

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