Two Years Ago
The door was shut with finality when the family returned home. Lexa was last up the stairs and through the threshold. Blue was already eagerly greeting Clarke and Quinn at the door, yipping loudly, the tail-wagging directed mostly at her girl. Quinn showered the dog with attention with her free hand, the other in a sling. Even from the other side of the hallway, Lexa could see the bright neon orange cast, and she leaned against the doorway, steeling herself for the conversation she most definitely would be having with her quietly tempest of a wife.
While Quinn went off to take a shower, her plastic bag over the cast, Clarke prepared dinner in silence, largely ignoring Lexa's attempts to engage her in conversation. The brunette sat at the kitchen table, swirling her scotch around and around in the glass. She had resigned herself to the cold-shoulder treatment at this point, and so she sipped the alcohol uneasily.
Dinner was a subdued affair, and Quinn kept her eyes downcast, sharing guilty looks with Lexa across the table. Blue seemed to detect the tension in the room, and she lay down on the rug, quietly watching her humans with inquisitive eyes.
The longer Lexa sat there chewing, the more convinced she was that if looks could kill, she would have been dead the second Clarke's eyes had met hers in the ER this afternoon. In her head, Lexa debated how many days she'd be spending on the couch.
"Can I be excused?" Quinn asked quietly. Lexa looked over, and noting that her plate was wiped clean, she turned to Clarke, and when the blonde nodded curtly, Quinn shot up from her seat.
"Don't think we won't be discussing this later." Clarke called towards Quinn's retreating back, and that only made the girl's footsteps hasten, Blue hot on her heels.
The two women sat, finishing their meal in silence. After she had swallowed the last bite, Lexa squirmed in her seat, standing abruptly. "I'll clean up." She suggested. When her wife offered no contradictory statement, she set to work on washing the dishes and packing away the leftovers in containers in the fridge.
It wasn't until she had finished up and had wiped the surface of the dining table with a damp cloth that the dam finally burst forth, drowning Lexa under its intensity.
"I'm furious with you." Her voice had been so hushed as she sat on the recliner in the living room that Lexa had almost missed it. She swallowed nervously, her throat bobbing.
"Now Clarke, I know it might look pretty bad right now-" She began, but then the blonde chuckled humorlessly, and Lexa silenced herself.
"Stop talking Lexa Woods, and you listen to me." Clarke stood and marched over to Lexa, poking her hard in the chest. "You maimed our daughter!" She hissed furiously.
"Maimed?" Lexa exclaimed. "That's a little exaggerated Clarke." She protested. "It was an accident, people fall off motorcycles all the time when they're starting up."
"She shouldn't be 'starting up' at all!" Clarke snapped, using air quotes as she spoke. "You shouldn't have brought her out there." The woman stalked away from Lexa, moving to the other side of the sofa, bending down to pile scattered magazines neatly on the coffee table. "I only barely tolerate your idiotic attempts to throw yourself off cliffs and ride crotch-rockets of death, but this is not something that I will allow my daughter to do."
"She's our daughter." Lexa retorted coldly. "And she had fun, Clarke."
"Really?" Clarke challenged as she stood to her full height again, her blue eyes filled with rage. "Did she actually tell you that, or did you just make an assumption?"
"Oh my god," Lexa ran her hands over her head in irritation, "not this again."
"Yes, this again." Clarke shot back. "She only participates in your stupid ideas because she wants to please you."
"I don't know why we're still talking about this." Lexa huffed in frustration. She stood in the middle of the living room with her hands on her hips defiantly as she stared her wife down.
"We're still talking about this because it's true!" Clarke snapped. She glared at Lexa, her blue eyes dark with anger. "You are always going off on stupid adventures with her, hoping to make you proud, and now look at her!"
"What?" Lexa's eyes were wide in astonishment. "You're blaming Quinn's broken arm on me?" Her voice was filled with a mixture of fury and bewilderment.
"Who else is there to blame?" Clarke replied angrily. "You brought her off-roading! On dirt bikes!" She threw her hands in the air in annoyance. "She's just a kid, you can't take her out on your ridiculous adrenaline-infused hobbies."
"She's eighteen!" Lexa retorted. "It was an accident Clarke, and I did much worse when I was her age." She crossed her arms.
"And look how you turned out!" The blonde snarled, pacing back and forth in the living room.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Lexa asked quietly, her eyes following the irate woman marched along the hardwood floor.
"It means that she chose you!" She sounded bitter and heartbroken, and Lexa flinched at the way Clarke's voice cracked. The blonde's cheeks were wet, her eyes blinking away furiously at the tears pooling there.
"Clarke," Lexa stepped around the coffee table in an attempt to move closer to her distraught wife. She reached out, wanting to hold her, but the blonde jerked away from her.
"Out of the two of us Lex, she decided she wants to be a cop." Clarke confessed quietly. "She chose you, Lex." The fight had left her eyes, her gaze downcast and her posture concaved as she stood solitary, unwilling to be touched.
Lexa stood unsure – for the first time in twenty-two years of marriage – on how to handle her wife. Clarke buried her face in her hands, trying to get a handle the sudden influx of emotions. Wordlessly, Lexa walked forward until they only stood inches apart, and resisted the urge to initiate any contact.
"Clarke, she never told me." She said quietly. She watched her wife fall apart before her, and Lexa cautiously reached for her. This time Clarke did not shrug away, and instead she collapsed into her chest. She rested her chin on top of the blonde's head, her arms pulling her tightly to her.
"I feel horrible for thinking like this," Clarke admitted in a watery gasp. "I just don't want her to get hurt, not the way you've been." At her wife's admission, Lexa slowly readjusted her head so that she could look into the eyes of her wife.
"We can't protect her forever." Lexa said softly. "We can try our best, burn ourselves out keeping the dangers away, but no matter how hard we work to do that, someday she'll be in this world without us." She wiped a stray tear from Clarke's cheek with a gentle touch of her hand, lingering on the soft skin there.
"But why?" Clarke asked disparagingly. "Why of all careers, does she want to emulate yours?"
"She's young." Lexa said calmly. "She could change her mind in a few years, or after she finishes college." Her lips grazed Clarke's forehead. "You'll worry yourself silly if you keep thinking this way."
"I know." Clarke acknowledged, her arms around Lexa's neck as she hold her close. "I just want her to be happy."
"Then let her be." Lexa advised. "She'll make up her mind later, don't fret about something you can't change."
"Why can't she chose to be a doctor or an artist, like me?" Clarke asked quietly, and the question made Lexa chuckle bodily.
"Are you kidding? An artist?" Lexa laughed again as she held her wife. "She hardly has the patience to create the way you do." She chuckled at the thought. "But a doctor, now that," Lexa paused as she imagined it, "that is a possibility. I could retire sooner if she makes the big bucks." She sighed dreamily, and Clarke hid her smile in the junction between Lexa's neck and jaw.
"Well she has your stubbornness and your pride on that front." Clarke joked wearily, and she felt Lexa's grin against the skin of her shoulder.
"No Clarke," Lexa pressed their foreheads together, a smile grazing her lips and a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Her stubbornness was gained from you, not me." When Clarke opened her mouth to protest, Lexa kissed her, placating and soft. "The best we can hope for," Lexa said quietly, "is that when either – or both of us – are gone, our daughter can stand on her own two feet."
"How was your third year at Washington?" Anya asked as she peeled the potatoes at the sink. Quinn, who stood next to her, in charge of cutting the carrots, grinned happily.
"Great! My professors are engaging, and the courses aren't too hard right now." Anya smiled, pleased with her niece's eagerness to learn.
"I couldn't be more proud." Anya sighed in contentment. "My niece the surgeon." She grinned as she affectionately bumped the girl's hip.
"Careful there, I don't to see anyone cutting off their fingers by accident." Clarke reprimanded them as she walked over to them from the office, Lexa's letter folded and in her hand. She took a seat at the kitchen island, giving the two women a curious stare. "What were you talking about?"
"Just this nerd's happiness level at U-Dub." Anya explained, giving her sister-in-law a lopsided smile. "I still can't believe my niece is studying Medicine." She exclaimed. "You're clearly smarter than both of your mothers combined."
"Excuse me?" Clarke raised an eyebrow. "I was studying Medicine too."
"Valid point, except you didn't finish." Anya corrected her.
"That's because my passion was with a paint brush, no a scalpel." Clarke groused lowly. "And Lexa was smart too!" She defended her wife, and Anya rolled her eyes.
"Yes, sure she went to law school, but she didn't stay in that field for very long."
"Not because she couldn't do it." Clarke argued. "She felt it wasn't her calling anymore, especially if she was to prosecute potentially innocent people."
"True, true." Anya conceded. She patted Quinn on the shoulder. "I guess you're a real chip off the old block then." Quinn glowed at the words of praise that her aunt directed to her, and from her position, watching the exchange, Clarke could not ignore the pang of unhappiness at the pit of her heart, barring her from being able to fully appreciate the moment. Lexa should have been here.
"Hey, so do you want to know something that I've noticed for the past few days?" Lexa's voice filtered in from the bedroom, and Clarke, who was getting ready for bed, called back to her fiancée from the ensuite. She was busy removing her earrings, her fingers moving deftly to complete her nightly ritual.
"What?" Lexa didn't respond, and Clarke was about to poke her head through the door when she saw her in the mirror, pausing at the threshold of the bathroom.
"I've noticed, that you haven't been wearing your ring." She commented, crossing her arms as she leaned casually against the doorframe, a smirk on her face. Lexa was wearing a simple t-shirt and sweatpants ensemble, and she'd never looked more distractingly attractive to Clarke.
"Yea well that's…" The blonde paused, quickly scouring her mind fast for an excuse. She would never confess to losing the ring. She remembered wearing it at some point a few days ago, and then after removing it to paint, she had forgotten where she had left it.
Clarke had searched all over the apartment, upturning every loose-leaf page scattered on the tables, flipping over furniture. But her search had been in vain, because she still could not find it days after she had lost it. Lexa hadn't mentioned it the first few days, but clearly she had caught on now.
"I might have, um," Clarke stalled, looking around in an attempt to look busy, opening the drawers searching for the hairbrush that she knew was on the sink, which Lexa decided to point out.
"Hairbrush is on the left side of the sink." She tilted her chin towards the object, and Clarke flashed her nervous smile.
When she finally met Lexa's gaze from the mirror, meeting knowing green eyes flashing with amusement, she blurted: "I might have misplaced it."
The smile reflected from the mirror in response stunned her, and she turned so that she was facing Lexa. "Why aren't you mad?" She asked. "That ring must have cost a fortune, and yet you're just acting all nonchalant, and smiling?"
Lexa's grin only increased in magnitude. Slowly, she uncrossed her arms and walked up to Clarke, backing her up until the blonde's backside met the sink. "You mean," Lexa reached into her pocket, pulling out a familiar, shimmering object, "this ring?"
Clarke stared at the ring in Lexa's palm, mouth wide open in astonishment. "How," She shook her head in disbelief, "where did you find it?"
"In the bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter." Lexa explained as she reached for Clarke's left hand, but then she paused mid-way. She scrutinized the ring for a few heartbeats. "You know, there's a rule about losing engagement rings." She remarked.
"Really, and what is that?" Clarke asked, intrigued. Lexa looked at the ring, the corner of her mouth turned upwards.
"If you lose it for more than 42 hours then the person who proposed to you has to do it again." Lexa joked good-naturedly. "Did you lose it for that long?" She asked, her green eyes flashing at her.
"It might have been 41 hours," Clarke sighed in mock disappointment, "you think the rule still applies then?" Lexa chuckled, and then she knelt down on both knees, her hands on either side of the blonde's hips.
"No, but at least you get this back." She grinned, taking Clarke's left hand and slipping the ring onto its rightful place. She stood, and Clarke leaned forward to press her lips against the brunette's. When they pulled apart, Lexa grinned at her. "Better not lose it again." She warned her playfully.
"Why, you going to return it, punk?" Clarke asked teasingly, pulling at the waistband of Lexa's sweats, her hand wandering and finding the brunette more than ready for probing fingers. The brunette shook her head at the blonde's antics.
"Yes, and I'll buy you one of those cheap-ass ones from the dollar store." Lexa said dryly. "Now those are easily replaceable."
"How sweet of you." Clarke replied, her voice dripping with sarcasm as she brushed her lips against Lexa's chin enticingly. Under the waistband of Lexa's underwear, Clarke's hands were working their magic, and Lexa groaned, grinding against the other woman's hold.
"We should take this somewhere more appropriate." Lexa grunted in between each thrust, her breath hot on Clarke's ear. Clarke nipped at the skin on Lexa's shoulder teasingly.
"I agree, my legs are kind of tired." Clarke whispered back, and Lexa released a low moan as she came. The blonde slowly pulled out, cleaning each finger deftly with her mouth before she tilted Lexa's chin up from where it rested on her shoulder. Lexa could taste herself on her fiancée's tongue, and as she gathered her thoughts, she frowned at Clarke questioningly.
"Are your legs actually tired, or is this just another lame excuse to get me to carry you to bed?"
"Hey!" Clarke nudged Lexa with her nose. "I'll have you know that I went to the gym today after work."
"Uh-huh." Lexa hummed, already sweeping Clarke up into her arms.
Clarke sat on the sofa, re-reading the letters that she had up to this point. She chuckled to herself, and then Anya padded over, two glasses of wine in her hands. The blonde took the offered drink, and they sat in relative quiet. If Anya wanted to approach the topic of Clarke's almost catatonic state at dinner, she was rather subtle about it. Instead, the older woman reached out one hand, and Clarke passed the letters to Anya after a moment of hesitation.
Anya was silent as she read yesterday's, and Clarke observed as the other woman's eyes moved fast from side to side. "She always was a great writer." Anya finally commented as she handed it back to Clarke.
"Well, I never knew that until a few weeks ago." Clarke admitted. She looked at the letter again, memorizing the ordered and neat writing of her wife.
"I can't believe you lost the ring." Anya remarked. Clarke gave her a sheepish look.
"It's not like I planned to." She argued. "I had already explained this to your sister. I just forgot where I put it. Besides, I wasn't used to wearing a ring then." She glanced down at her left hand now, adorned with both the wedding band and the engagement ring. "But I got used to it."
"I never did." Anya said, sighing as she leaned back against the sofa, draining her glass before she set it down on the coffee table. She waved her hair, untangling a few knots. "Then again I never found anyone worthy of me."
Clarke chuckled. "You and Raven seemed to hit it off the other day." She grinned as Anya pulled a face.
"Please, that girl is straight." She argued, and Clarke shook her head.
"She's just like you." She hinted before she took a sip of the wine. Anya's eyes widened, but before Clarke could call her out on the reaction, she quickly reined it in. She replaced it quickly with a mask of indifference, the typical Woods look.
"Well even if she is, I think I'd prefer staying single." Anya sighed. "Relationships, and children, are too much for me."
"But they're worth it!" Clarke sing-songed and Anya rolled her eyes.
"Are you forgetting that night in NYC when you woke us up in the middle of the night, calling about Quinn?" Anya nudged Clarke with her elbow.
"That is literally what Lexa wrote about today." Clarke chuckled. "Imagine the odds of that."
The calm and quiet of the night was ruined by the cries that echoed off the apartment walls. Clarke groaned, burying her face into Lexa's back.
"Baby." She mumbled into her wife's skin, and there was a resounding grunt.
"Again?" Lexa's question was muffled by her arm, her eyes snapping open for the third time that night. Clarke nodded against Lexa's back. The brunette untangled herself sleepily from her wife's arms as she shrugged off the covers. As she looked over her shoulder, she saw Clarke shuffle into her side of the bed, the pillow she'd abandoned hugged tightly to her chest. Exhausted and sleep-deprived, Lexa still smiled at the sight. The cries of her daughter echoed again, and Lexa started moving.
When she padded over to the crib, her daughter's face was wrinkly and fussy, her cries growing louder. Lexa bent down and scooped her up, checking to see if she had to change her. She frowned, there was nothing. She soothed the toddler with calming strokes on her back, but after minutes the crying only intensified. Lexa pressed her chin against Quinn's forehead, and that's when she felt her entire being snap into a clear-headed consciousness. "It's okay baby." She soothed.
She quickly scooped up her daughter's favorite blanket and tossed it over her shoulder before she hurried back to the bedroom to wake her wife. "Clarke." She shook her shoulder with one hand, the other holding her daughter steady against her chest. "Clarke wake up!" She snapped loudly, and the blonde jerked up.
"What is it?" Clarke asked, a note of irritation in her voice, she blinked blearily at Lexa, who hovered inches from her face. "Why are you talking so loud? You're going to wake Quinn." Clarke said crossly, and Lexa rolled her eyes.
"The baby's right here, and she's really warm." Lexa explained, and immediately Clarke scrambled out of the bed, rubbing her eyes before she opened her arms wide. Lexa placed their daughter into Clarke's arms, and the other woman pressed a hand against her forehead.
"It's a fever." Clarke informed her wife, and Lexa grunted in annoyance.
"Wow, no shit Sherlock." Lexa snapped. Clarke glared daggers at her, and Lexa shook her head impatiently. "I'll get the thermometer." She turned and hurried off to the bathroom, returning with the object in need. Clarke worked quickly and efficiently, and not for the first time, Lexa admired the natural talent she had with handling children.
"This is worryingly high." Clarke said as she looked at it. Her eyes were filled with fear as she showed it to Lexa. "What do we do?"
"I'll call Luna." Lexa said. "And I'll see what she says."
Two Hours Later
Lexa's eyes were bloodshot and dry as she stared at the vending machine. She did not remember what it was she wanted. She was unclear how long she had been standing there, and it wasn't until someone suddenly slapped a hand over her back that she jerked to full-alertness. "What the heck?" Her eyes snapped open, fists brandished in preparation until she realized her attacker was her sister.
"Hey there Lex." Anya greeted her, the coffee in the space between them a peace offering for the fright she'd given her. Lexa took the coffee without complaint, drinking greedily under Anya's scrutiny.
"Where's Clarke and the baby?"
"Room 9c. Quinn just fell asleep," Lexa explained, "and Clarke is watching her."
"What did Luna say?" Anya asked as Lexa leaned heavily against the adjacent wall, the bags under her eyes even more pronounced in the fluorescent lights.
"Well, your wife said that Quinn needs to stay over-night for observation, but she's otherwise okay." Lexa said, and Anya let out a sigh of relief, and the younger woman looked at her quizzically. "But why are you asking me? Can't you weasel information from your wife?"
"Shut up." Anya grunted, and she pulled Lexa upright. "Now why don't we go back to your wife and kid?" Lexa sighed in agreement. They were walking quietly when Lexa blearily glanced at her sister.
"So why aren't you talking to Luna?" She asked. She was wondering if perhaps her sister had not heard her, or maybe she had imagined opening her mouth, when Anya answered.
"We're not on good terms right now." She said curtly.
"Again?" Lexa grunted in exasperation.
"We don't communicate well." Anya stated in lieu of an explanation, and Lexa chuckled tiredly.
"Yea sometimes Clarke and I are the same way." She commented, just barely avoiding a wet floor sign as they walked down the hallway.
"We're divorcing." Anya blurted, and Lexa's eyes widened.
"What?" She squeaked in surprise, jerking to a stop in the middle of the hall. She pulled Anya to a stop next to her. "Why?"
"Like I said, we don't talk much." Anya downplayed it. "And you're right, we've been going at it for ages, it's not a healthy relationship anymore."
Lexa exhaled noisily at the information, shaking her head. "I can't believe it."
"Believe it." Anya quipped. "Because all I have to do is sign on the dotted line, and we're through."
"My god." Lexa exclaimed. "So it's been going on for a while?" She asked. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Anya rubbed her neck awkwardly.
"Well, because it's not really surprising Lex." When the younger woman looked at her with a confused expression, Anya grunted in frustration. "Come on, we both know that I've always had commitment issues."
"Well yes, but you were in love with Luna." Lexa protested, but she knew it was a lost cause.
"Love fades away, it dies down and it moves on." Anya retorted. "The woman I married three years ago and the woman I've been waking up to recently are two different people."
"You can't just give up because you've grown apart from each other." Lexa argued, and her sister only shook her head and huffed at her words.
"You don't think we've tried?" Anya said quietly. "We've tried for months, and there's still no spark. It's dead now." Lexa opened her mouth again but Anya cut her off. "Lex, let's not talk about this right now. Your kid's in the hospital and Clarke is probably in need of you, so let me get your ass over to them, okay?"
Lexa nodded reluctantly, and the rest of the walk was quiet. After Anya kissed her niece on the cheek and left, Lexa moved to occupy the chair next to Clarke. The blonde simply pressed her forehead against Lexa's cheek, and the brunette put an arm around her shoulders.
The only sounds were Quinn's breathing and the IV drip slowly emptying into the infant, and Lexa's eyes had shut when Clarke shifted slightly in her seat. "Lex?"
"Luna was acting weird when she was carrying out the exam." Clarke murmured in hushed tones, and Lexa hummed again.
"They're getting a divorce." Suddenly the warmth at her side was gone, and when Lexa opened her eyes she saw Clarke sitting upright, mouth agape at the news.
"But they were solid." Clarke said, her eyebrows high above her forehead. Lexa sighed, rubbing her chin wearily.
"Well I guess that's what happens when you don't really talk to each other." Lexa commented.
"Is that what Anya said?" Clarke asked.
"Yea," Lexa nodded tiredly, "she said that they're no longer in love anymore."
"That's too bad." Clarke sighed, and Lexa's eyelids drifted down again when suddenly a hand was swatting her shoulder.
"What?" She asked wearily.
"Don't ever stop talking to me." Clarke stated. As Lexa met her wife's gaze, she noticed the concerned look on her features, and she groaned inwardly.
"That would be impossible." She murmured quietly. "Babe, even when I'm falling asleep you're talking to me."
Clarke flicked her in the middle of the forehead. "I'm being serious."
"I know," Lexa grunted before she gave her wife a lopsided smile, "so am I."