Working on a thing.
Clarke watched silently as Lexa
strapped the vambrace on. She had to think about whether pouting would set Lexa
off or earn her some sympathy points. She decided not to chance it.
“You’re in an awful hurry,” she
observed instead. “One you didn’t seem to be in last night.”
“That was last night. If I am short
with you, it is not because I am angry. It is merely because—“ Lexa looked to
be having trouble adjusting her vambrace. She gave up on it for the moment,
facing Clarke instead. “The role of the Commander does not come as naturally to
me as you might think. I am not without weakness; I simply have to suppress it.
I… school myself in the ways of a good leader before I present myself to my
troops. I prepare myself so that their eyes do not find weakness when it is
“You put your game face on.”
Lexa nodded and said a phrase in her
own language that Clarke didn’t yet know. It actually sounded like ‘game face’
and Clarke guessed it meant the same thing. An actual bit of pidgin English
that had survived all the years. Clarke wanted to laugh.
“Well,” she said, “your secret’s safe
“It’s not,” Lexa insisted. “The way
you treat me in the privacy of this tent is not the way you must treat me
“No kissing for the boss, huh?”
“Not quite. I am the Commander. I am
subordinate to no one. If you were known as my mate, you would be expected to
be… submissive to me. In all things.”
Clarke blinked. “That’s not what I
seem to recall making you come this morning…”
Lexa closed her eyes slowly, opened
them slowly. Grounders didn’t blush, but if they did, that would be it. “And
that is why I have taken no mate—officially. As a fellow leader, you can be
respected. As a lover, you would be my property. That is our way.”
Clarke raised an eyebrow. “That doesn’t
sound so bad…”
“I would not make it so. But you
could not lead your people and be mine at the same time. A new representative
of the Sky People would have to be sent.” Lexa suddenly smiled. “And I just
finished training the old one,” she added wryly.