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once bitten

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Clarke is 17 when she meets the man she’s going to marry. 

It’s nothing romantic at all. There’s no lightning, no fireworks, no fabled mate bond snapping into place. The alpha just looks her up and down, turns back to her new stepfather, and says: “She’ll do.”

And that’s it. 

She barely has a chance to get a look at him before she’s hustled off: Bellamy Blake, capo of the New York Outfit. He looks— young. Much too young for the sort of reputation he’s already amassed. 

The Rebel King, they call him. And now, her fiancé. 

It’s not until later that Clarke is told of the arrangement. 

It’s normal, in her world. Clarke never expected to be allowed to marry for love, but she never really considered the alternative either. Perhaps if her father hadn’t died, if her mother hadn’t immediately married Kane, if Marcus’s claim to leadership had been a bit less shaky, if he’d had any children of his own; maybe Clarke would’ve had more choice, and more time. But she doesn’t. Being engaged to a man she’s seen once before she’s even graduated high school isn’t exactly what she envisioned as a little girl. And to someone like Bellamy—

Clarke isn’t afraid of many things, and she’s not afraid of him, but if she were to be afraid of anyone— Bellamy has earned fear. His name is whispered in dark rooms and spit as a threat across battlefields. He’s a beast, a boogeyman: a monster amongst monsters.

He’s handsome, she thinks, when she allows herself to think about it. At least he’s handsome.

She’s put on suppressants immediately after the bargain with Bellamy has been struck, even though she hasn’t presented yet. They all know she’ll be an omega, have known since she was born. It’s rare to test for designation, the procedure exclusive and expensive, but the Griffins have never been known to shy away from something so little as a price-tag.

Sometimes she wishes the test had been wrong. That she’d been born a beta, or an alpha even, and then she wouldn’t have to go through with the idiotic farce of a marriage. But then she thinks harder and realizes there’d be no escaping. Her mother’s beta status hadn’t saved her from not one but two arranged marriages, not that Clarke has ever heard her complaining. If she’d been born a different designation, she’d simply be engaged to someone else. Still, she’d be spared the humiliation of the biology.

With Bellamy an alpha, and her an omega, marriage and mating are synonymous. She’ll have her heats suppressed until the time comes for them to marry, at which point she’ll be married, knotted, and mated; all before she has a chance to get to known her husband-to-be. And everyone will know.

She knows in normal society that people have partners before they marry. That her friends at school aren’t virgins, and that alphas see omegas through their heats without mating all the time. But that’s not an option for her.

Clarke would like to rebel, would like to have someone of her own, on her own terms. Let biology take its course and screw the plans. But it would be a death sentence for that person, if not for Clarke as well. Bellamy won’t take her if she’s soiled. No one will.

For some reason the idea doesn’t scare her as much as it should.

Anyways, it’s a moot point. She’s as safe as it can get barring her own mistakes. It’s traditional in circles like hers to have the wedding right before an omega’s first heat, but these days that can mean anything if you’re lucky enough, and with the help of the right suppressants. Clarke’s got the best money can buy. Bellamy is being relatively generous, even, for letting her go to college first. Maybe she’ll push him again as it closer to the end, aim for grad school, med school maybe. She could buy herself another five years.

College is the closest to freedom that she’s ever had, even with the bodyguard who follows her everywhere. She doesn’t have friends, not really, but she’s off-campus, and she loves her work. She loves going to class, she loves learning. It’s depressing to know it means nothing— she be a trophy wife to Bellamy no matter how many degrees she gets; women in her world don’t work. But still, she’s good at it and that’s—  it feels good.

It goes well for three years, no bumps, no mishaps, no failed classes or assassination attempts. No missed suppressants, no unladylike behavior, no loss of innocence. But then— her mother visits.

“Come,” Abby tells her. “We’re going shopping.”

It becomes clear immediately that they’re shopping for something, not just doing something fun. Her mother’s eye is too calculating as she looks Clarke over, too critical as she tugs the fabric tighter around Clarke’s waist, watching the way her breasts spill out of the tops in the size she used to wear.

“You’ve gained weight,” she tells Clarke gravely, like it’s a terminal diagnosis. Clarke rolls her eyes and pulls back, snatching herself away with a frown.

“Who cares?”

Abby raises an eyebrow, crossing her arms over her chest. She’s tall, willowy. Not like Clarke in the slightest, but why should she be? She’s not an omega, after all. “Your fiancé might.”

Clarke glares at her own reflection. She likes her body just fine as it is. “And I repeat, who cares? I have a year and a half, he can sneer at me disdainfully himself if he’d like.”

“You will see him tonight.”

Clarke whirls at the words, her mouth dropping open. “What— no! He agreed, til the end of college! I haven’t graduated.”

If Abby was the type to roll her eyes, she’d do it now, but she isn’t. Instead she just looks down her nose at her daughter, taking in her wild eyes and flushed face with cool indifference. “He would like to meet you. Speak to you. This has no bearing on the wedding.” She looks Clarke up and down, lip twisting. “God willing, that is.”

Clarke isn’t sure how best to play along. She’s numb through the rest of the day, letting Abby take her into the salon, wash and buff and trim her to a shine, and shove her into a dress that if Clarke was in a better mood she’d describe as lawyer-whore chic and heels that make her look slightly taller than she actually is, although it’s still not a lot.

She looks like a little doll.

If this had been a courtship, if the wedding was not already set, there’d be a chaperone, but it’s too late for that. Her mother drops her off with a sniff and an oblique threat to not fuck this whole thing up. Clarke feels nothing.

He’s waiting when she walks in. She’d like to say she’d almost forgotten his face, but it’s not true. She recognizes him instantly, and the scent that overwhelms her. She steels herself, rolling her shoulders back and shaking her hair. Typical fucking alpha.

Bellamy watches her approach with a small smirk, sipping on a glass of something amber. Whiskey, most likely. He stands as she gets closer, pulling out the chair across from where he was sitting. Clarke resists the urge to take the seat he’s just vacated, just to see what he’d do. It’s too early to show her cards.

She takes the hand he offers and allows him to help her into her chair. He pulls her hair back over her shoulders as she sits. It’s a move Clarke would normally never allow, but as he does it his fingers graze her neck, barely brushing over her scent glands. Her mind goes completely blank, a shudder running through her body.

He’s smiling as he takes his seat across from her, eyes gleaming black with satisfaction.

“You look very beautiful tonight, princess.”

Clarke blinks at him. The haze begins to clear from her head, the butterflies in her stomach going sour. “My name is Clarke.”

Bellamy raises an amused eyebrow. “I am aware of that, yes.”

Clarke opens her mouth to say something biting like ‘you could’ve fooled me’ or ‘then save the pet names for your dogs’ or ‘please, alpha, don’t make me marry you’, but she thinks better of it and closes it again. She takes a sip of water, examining the edge of her napkin.

“Would you like a drink? Wine, maybe?”

She shrugs in response.

He seems content to just watch her, not that she’s checking. His scent is heavy with pleasure though, warm and bright and chokingly good. It makes her almost dizzy, and she tries to subtly breathe through her mouth to avoid it. She’s quiet for a long time, wrapped up in her thoughts. He must have missed a blocker, or maybe he takes low doses to maintain his alpha schtick for the Outfit, Clarke’s not sure. Either way, it’s inconvenient for her, and likely any other omega he comes across.

How many others is he around?, her omega wonders nervously. Does he want them? Do they make him smell like this too?

Clarke takes another sip of water. She doesn’t look at him.

“Is this how it’s going to be, then?”

She startles at the sound of his voice, pulling her out of her reverie. He’s still looking at her, but his expression is resigned, shoulders tense. His grip around his glass is tight enough his knuckles have gone white. His scent, though still regrettably delicious, is less overwhelmingly intense.

“How what’s going to be, sir?”

Bellamy frowns. “Our marriage,” he says, sounding tired. “And you don’t have to call me sir.”

Clarke bristles, lips tightening. Her voice is hard, and Abby would kill her if she heard the next words out of her mouth. “I will not call you alpha.”

Bellamy actually cracks a smile at that. “You will eventually, omega,” he purrs. Clarke shivers involuntarily, heat shooting between her legs at the crude use of her designation. She rubs her thighs together and his grin widens. “But Bellamy will do fine for now.”

He’s so— irritating, for someone who could have Clarke and her entire family killed at any minute. Who could kill her right now, if he wanted. She’s heard stories of his brutality, and yet, here he is, grinning at her. Boyishly charming, and handsome. He’s wearing a suit, and it should make him look official, but it’s artfully disheveled. His long dark curls graze the collar in a way her stepfather would never allow.

“How’s school?” Bellamy asks, and her eyes snap back to his.

“Fine.”

“What are you studying?”

“Biology.”

“What an excellent conversationalist my fiancée is.” He gives her a wry smile over his whiskey, raising his glass. “You can’t bore me into finding another wife, you know that as well as I do. We may as well make some attempt to get to know each other at least little bit before—” Bellamy trails off, his eyes falling to her neck. Clarke resists the urge to pull her hair over her scent glands. They prickle, itchy with just the idea of being touched.

Of being bitten.

“How’s work, then?” Clarke shoots back, sitting back in her seat. “I’d love to hear about your life too. About the— family.”

It’s a trick, and he sees it, but his smile doesn’t fall. If anything, he looks even more satisfied at her challenge. “Oh, how easy it would be spill my secrets to a Griffin,” he says, shaking his head. “But I know better than that. Once we’re married, princess, I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Will he? It would be unusual, to let a woman in on business secrets, even if she is his wife. Even Abby isn’t privy to the inner machinations of Kane’s Outfit, nor was she privy to Jake’s before his untimely death. Clarke looks Bellamy over thoughtfully, holding her water to her mouth. “I’ll still be a Griffin.”

His lip curls. “Not by name. And not where it counts.”

She considers him, searching his face for— something. Some sign that he’s joking, or being cruel, but there’s nothing. He’s an open book, or at least he seems like it. “I’m an art minor,” Clarke offers eventually, setting her glass down on the table. It’s a concession. “Painting. And my biology thesis is on differential metabolomics between designations. Or it will be once it’s finished.”

“What does that mean?”

Clarke hesitates. Abby would hate if she answered, hate it if she bored him with the details of her research. That in itself is enough to make her continue.

Bellamy nods as she speaks, asking questions in the right places. He seems more interested than she would’ve expected, given how obvious it is that the subject is well outside his scope of knowledge. She tries not to allow it to endear him to her.

They order, and chat, and eat. He tells her about his sister, Octavia, and abashedly admits he wanted to be a historian when he was growing up. She laughs at that, and he doesn’t get angry. It’s shocking, given his reputation, his alpha-ness, but she’s really not afraid of him. No, Clarke feels regrettably at ease.

Of course, not enough that she wants to marry him. There are times, odd lulls in the conversation, where she can tell he’s holding something back. He’s a crime boss, a lord of the underworld she was born into, and there’s no escaping that. There’s no escaping that she wouldn’t have chosen him, if she’d been allowed a choice.

Clarke sees an opening. She wasn’t planning on asking so early in the year, and hadn’t even entertained the idea of asking him directly, but— he’s here, and he’s listening, and he seems interested.

“I was thinking,” Clarke broaches carefully, giving him a shy smile. Her hand inches across the table, coming to rest lightly beside her water glass. Every move is calculated, every glance and flutter of her eyelashes a glue trap waiting for him to get stuck. “Maybe I could continue my research. I know there’s no need for me to work, but I like it. And I really do think this could be useful to other people.”

“Yeah?” He smiles, and Clarke tries not to shiver as he slides his fingers across her palm. She’s got him, she thinks.

“Yeah. And grad school isn’t that long really, only a few years. Four, maybe five—”

His fingers wrap around her hand, squeezing slightly. “I’m sure something could be arranged.” Clarke’s heart leaps, success roaring through her chest. She beams at him. “I’m sure there are plenty of programs in New York.”

She freezes. “New York?”

“Of course,” Bellamy says, nodding. “I don’t expect my wife to just stay home all day, but we’ll have to make sure it’s a manageable commute.”

My wife.

He’s misunderstood her, possibly on purpose. “I—” she stutters, her throat thick as the wheels spin in her head. “I really like my advisor, actually. I was hoping to apply to the graduate program here.”

Bellamy frowns. “That won’t be possible, Clarke, you know that. Once we’re married, and mated—”

“We don’t have to be.” The words leave her in a rush, spilling out on top of his. Clarke gives him a weak smile. “Or— not yet, I mean.”

Bellamy’s expression is hard, his eyes burning. His hand clamps down around hers. “This advisor of yours, is he an alpha?”

Clarke’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. “Yes, but—”

“You expect me—” he continues darkly, “—to just leave my fiancée, my omega, unmated so she can spend more fucking years working with another alpha, smelling like that?”

She stiffens, insulted. She takes her suppressants everyday, and she still hasn’t even presented, technically. She doesn’t smell like anything. And she is not his omega. “It’s not like that. He’s not interested in me, nor I in him. And besides that, I’m on suppressants—”

“Not enough, clearly,” Bellamy sneers. Clarke glowers, attempting to wrench her hand back, but he holds fast. “I could smell you the second you walked in. Suppressants can’t keep your heat in check forever, princess. You were close, when I first met you, and it’s been five years. You really think they’ll last another six?”

He leans in closer. His fingers extend down her wrist, clasping around the scent glands there. Twisting, he turns her hand over, frowning at the bare spot on her fourth finger where a ring would sit. “I’m not a patient man, Clarke. I gave you your college years; don’t ask me for more.”

Bellamy drops her hand, and the conversation is over.

****

The rest of the dinner is awkward. They’re both enraged, but both too stubborn to admit it. She can smell it on him though, a sharp tang that makes her feel like she needs to hide, or show him her belly. She does neither, and her cutlery scraping over her plate is deafening in the silence that follows.

He drops her off at her apartment with nary a word. She’s not sure how he knows where to go.

The next day she goes to class as usual, and to the lab. She works with a sort of self-righteous fury that leaves her uncomfortably warm. Her advisor sends her uneasy looks but says nothing, keeping his distance after she snaps him when he points out she’s accidentally borrowed his lab coat. Her bodyguard is equally silent, his menacing presence in the corner of the lab a given at this point. Clarke doesn’t understand why her advisor keeps looking at him, too.

Bellamy is waiting at her apartment when she gets home. She stalks past him without a glance. “What do you want?”

“I have something for you,” he says, his voice husky. “Invite me in, and leave your dog at the door.”

Clarke glances at her bodyguard, who looks unmoved at the rude nickname. He nods slightly. Clarke huffs, and finishes unlocking the door. She doesn’t hold the door for Bellamy, but he follows her anyways.

“This is…charming.”

Clarke rolls her eyes, setting her bag on the breakfast bar. Her apartment is smaller than it needs to be, but still more luxurious than any normal college student would be able to afford. She wanted to blend in at least a little, but the security was non-negotiable.

She turns, crossing her arms over her chest. “Well?”

“I wanted to—” he pauses, searching for a word, “—clear the air, before I go back to New York. The next time we see each other won’t be until the engagement party in December.”

Good, Clarke thinks, her nose in the air. Even that is too soon.

“The way I acted at dinner was… regrettable. I know this is an adjustment for both of us, and I shouldn’t have been so— forceful.”

She wishes he wouldn’t look at her like that. His eyes are so dark, pupils huge, and it makes funny things happen in her belly. She hates him, and his stupid alpha scent that she won’t be able to get out of her apartment for days.

“Have you changed your mind?” Clarke asks, expression carefully blank.

“No.”

Her heart sinks, but she does not allow herself to show it. “Fine.”

Bellamy steps closer, taking something from his pocket. “I have something for you.”

Clarke glances at the dark velvet box and flinches internally. She should’ve guessed.

She stands still as he invades her space, taking her hand. She can feel the satisfaction rolling off him as he slides the ring into place. Marking her as his. “There.”

Clarke pulls away, turning from him, and Bellamy goes still. His muscles tense, chest puffing, and his nostrils flare. She frowns. “What—?”

He tugs her towards him, sealing his body against hers. She can feel the growl that vibrates through his chest, the bump of his nose against her neck as he shoves his face into her hair. “I can smell him on you, omega.”

Clarke feels a hot rush of fear and— something else. Something that makes her panties damp, makes her ache for something inside her. For him.

“B-bellamy, wait, it’s just—” Her words cut off into a moan as his tongue slides down her neck, running over her scent glands. He marks her again, with his own scent this time, so there’s no mistaking who she belongs to.

Her omega purrs at the thought, but her conscious mind jerks back.

Mine.”

No. She’s not his, not anyone’s. Not yet. For now, Clarke belongs to herself. She only has a year left of freedom. She will not submit to him before she must.

His smell though, is overwhelming. So strong, so good; it makes her reactions slow. Makes her head foggy. Makes her want— him. She arches her back, feeling the hard press of his cock against her ass. He grinds forward, fingers sliding over her stomach, over her thighs—

Alpha, please—”

Bellamy freezes. Clarke whimpers as he peels himself off her, pushing her away, and feels bereft until she gets a whiff of clean air. Her eyes widen, and she backs away.

“Clarke—” He looks apologetic, but she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust him.

She shakes her head. “No,” she says, voice trembling slightly. “Go away.”

Bellamy holds up his hands, taking a big step back. “It’s fine, I won’t—” his teeth grit together, like he has to force the words out. “I’m not going to touch you.”

His eyes are still black though, and she hears the word he doesn’t say. Yet.

“Just go.”

“I will, but Clarke— you have to call your mom. You can’t— your scent.”

“There is nothing wrong with my scent,” Clarke spits. Her whole body is hot, stomach cramping. She feels shaky, dizzy like she has a fever. Her panties are soaked, like she’s gotten her period. “It’s you. I don’t smell like anything, so it must be you.”

“It’s not,” Bellamy swears. He takes a half step forward. “Clarke—”

She can’t listen anymore. She turns tail and runs, locking herself in the bathroom. She sets the shower on cold and pops a couple of fever reducers for good measure, stripping off her clothes. There’s no blood on her underwear, of course. Just slick. More than she’s ever seen. Clarke’s throat closes.

She’s— she’s fine. She’s just sick. Bellamy will leave, and she’ll go to sleep, and when she wakes up everything will be back to normal. He’s just— imagining things. Being an alpha.

Alpha.

Clarke shudders, struck by the unrelenting need to open the door, to check if he’s still there. She gets all the way across the room, fully naked with one hand on the doorknob, before she catches herself. She throws herself into the cold shower.

It’s going to be fine, she thinks, shivering under the icy water. She feels just fine.

****

It’s not fine.

She feels so horny she can’t breathe, even after the shower. She stays under the water so long her lips turn blue, and even that isn’t enough to stop it.

By the time she gets out, Bellamy's gone. Clarke doesn't have a chance to be grateful. In his place, standing impatiently in her hallway is Abby, car keys in hand.

“Get dressed,” she orders her daughter, voice rife with irritation. “Let’s go.”

“It’s a breakthrough heat,” the doctor tells her mother once they arrive at the clinic. Nobody looks at Clarke where she sits flushed and sweaty on the exam table. She clenches her thighs together, wincing as the paper crinkles underneath her ass. It’s humiliating, sitting there in the hospital gown, her thighs dripping with slick. She’s not even fully in heat yet, not even close, but the fire in her belly is almost overwhelming. She can’t even imagine what a true heat will be like.

The room is cold, AC blasting in an attempt to keep her heat at bay, and it makes Clarke’s nipples prickle uncomfortably beneath the gown. The fabric feels rough on her skin. She wants to tear it off, needs to tear it off, but—

She crosses her ankles, squeezing her fists tight.

“Can you stop it?” Abby asks.

A doctor shrugs. She’s an alpha, Clarke can smell it despite the woman’s blockers, but just barely. Not like it was with Bellamy. Her hair is long and dark and shiny, hanging down in sheets over her white coat. “We can postpone it. For a time.”

Abby waves a hand. “Do it.”

Still, no one acknowledges Clarke. Not when they grab her arm, not when they inject her with the emergency suppressants.

“How long will they last?” Abby asks brusquely. Her eyes follow the needle, not bothering to check her daughter’s face.

“Three months, give or take. If you bring her back in next week, we can do some bloodwork to pin it down more precisely.”

“Yes, we’ll do that. We have an entire wedding to plan so it needs to be exact.” Abby sniffs at the inconvenience, like it’s Clarke’s fault she has to move up the wedding, and it’s not fair. Clarke didn’t ask to see Bellamy, and she sure as hell didn’t ask for him to skip his blockers and throw her into heat. Hell, she didn’t ask to be engaged to him in the first place.

“Of course.” The doctor nods like this is all fine, all normal. Like her patient’s life isn’t about to be uprooted, like she’s not going to be pulled out of college and married off like chattel. Like Clarke wants this. Or like it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t. “She’ll have to keep her distance from the groom until then. If his scent was enough to set her off now, then a second exposure before the marriage could result in—”

Clarke glares at the ring sparkling happily on her finger. She wonders if he did it on purpose, because she asked about grad school. If this is her punishment.

“I won’t do it,” Clarke says quietly. Two sets of eyes turn towards her, two sets of neatly plucked eyebrows arched questioningly. Her fists clench. “I won’t marry him.”

Her mother’s eyes flash, expression darkening. Clarke resists the urge to shrink back, to hide behind the exam table.

Abby’s annoyed gaze flicks to the doctor, who shrugs apologetically. “A side effect of the suppressants, most likely. They have a tendency to make omega patients a bit less”— she searches for a word here, hands waving dismissively—“pliant.”

Clarke flinches.

“The effects are temporary, of course, nothing to worry about,” the doctor continues. “But perhaps we should move this conversation to my office.”

The two older women exchange a meaningful look, moving towards the door without another word towards Clarke. She’s left alone, three months ticking down over her head like a pipe-bomb ready to blow. She could give in now, let it happen. Let it tear her life apart in one ugly explosion.

Instead, she starts to plan.

Chapter Text

“In a little more around the waist, I think.”

The seamstress pulls the heavy white fabric slightly tighter around Clarke’s body and she shrugs. “Whatever you think is best.”

The woman looks at Abby, who nods. She’s got the final say on all of this stuff anyways.

It’s her final dress fitting before the wedding. The dress had been one of the first things they picked, after she left school. There was no reason to stay, and Clarke hadn’t fought her mother when she suggested dropping out. The wedding is set for nearly a month before the end of the semester, too long before finals for Clarke to be able to finish early. Better to just withdraw immediately, rip off the bandaid. Her advisor had been shocked when she told him, and disappointed in a way that made Clarke’s stomach clench. Didn’t he know that this was always how it was going to be for her?

Probably not, if she’s honest. Mob connections aren’t exactly anyone’s first assumption, and she’s not even sure he knew she was an omega. Before her unfortunate encounter with her fiancé she had smelled like any other beta student.

Not anymore.

Once the dress is pinned and painstakingly peeled from her body, she only has three more appointments to get through. The wedding preparations are elaborate, each successive step leaving Clarke more and more filled with an impending sense of doom. All of these people celebrating how her life is about to begin, and all she can feel is it drawing to an end. 

There’s an energy in her, slightly unsettled, and she knows that the doctors were right. Her heat is coming, right on schedule. In three days, if all goes according to the prescribed plan, Clarke will be ensconced in her marriage bed, taking her husband’s knot for the first time, and that will push her over.

The thought makes her sick. 

Clarke has made other plans. She may be sheltered, but she grew up in a family where crime was a way of life. She’s nothing if not resourceful.

The wedding ceremony is set to take place at the family church, with the reception to follow at a nearby hotel owned by her stepfather. Clarke arranged to stay there in the months before the wedding instead of moving home. Abby was concerned about all the alphas coming and going from the house, seeing Kane for business or— at least she was when Clarke oh-so-casually wondered about it.

So many scents, she had said. But they only said to stay away from Bellamy, so it should be fine. Right, Mom?

The hotel is equipped with a state-of-the-art indoor pool, and Clarke took to swimming laps for exercise. She was supposed to keep as cool as possible, after all.

She goes again today, when she finally finishes with the prescribed activities. They’ve set aside times specifically for her, a perk of being the owner’s stepdaughter, so she’s alone in the locker room. No need for a bodyguard inside, not with all the security on the outside of the building. That means theres’s one to watch her as she adds the last passport to her stash.

She’s developed somewhat of a collection, over the past few months. The lockers are the kind with settable codes, so any hotel-goers can use them. Clarke uses a random one each time she swims for her clothes, making sure her scent is diffuse across the lot of them, but there’s one she returns to each time: B12.

Inside is a backpack containing everything she needs to run.

Before leaving school, she applied for multiple of the high-limit credit cards offered to her as a college student. She also sold all the furniture in her apartment for cash, and slowly started taking withdrawals from her trust. With some of the cash, she bought passports: all from different sellers, all with the same photo of her with her hair pulled back, wearing glasses. With the cards she bought plane tickets: to Mallorca, to Prague, to Tokyo, to Cancun, and more. Big and small cities, all over the world. So long as they aren’t in the US.

Also in the bag are clothes she’s thieved from other lockers, scent-reducing body wash, scent-concealing spray, and another dose of emergency suppressants. They’re the pill form, which don’t work as well as injection, but they’re fine as a contingency plan. A second dose at this point will hold her heat off for maybe 48 hours at most, enough to get her wherever she needs to go, but Clarke doesn’t expect to need them if she gets away before the wedding night.

And she will, god damn it.

She has to.

****

One of the benefits of having her supposed purity used as a bartering chip is that she’s spared the ordeal of a bachelorette party.

Unfortunately the alternative is a prolonged bridal shower with a bunch of evil Abby clones of various ages who all like Clarke even less than her mother does. Clarke gets the idea that marrying Bellamy is somewhat of a coup for the Griffin name, and for Kane in turn, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem here. No, the issue with these women is that they’re jealous of her not because of the power she’s wedding, but the man.

The body.

Everyone else is enjoying the benefits of an open bar, inhibitions falling as their blood alcohol content rises. Clarke is permitted only one drink, so she’s stone cold sober. She can see the way they’re all eyeing her critically, hear how they whisper just a little too loud.

Too small, she hears. Too curvy. Not what he normally goes for, that’s for certain. And like a punchline; whispered between two girls not much older than her, their brows raised speculatively: Does she really think she’ll be able to take him?

If all goes according to plan, she won’t have to try.

It makes her feel uncomfortable: all the talk. It’s not even the judgement, or the insults. It’s the fact that the bitterness coming from the women her age appears to be based in something real, like they know him. Not the ones from her side necessarily, but the guests from New York seem like they know Bellamy personally. Like they know what he goes for. Like they know just how much Clarke would have to take, because they’ve had him. Taken him.

He’s supposed to be her fiancé, her future mate. Has he fucked every woman in New York, all while Clarke has been practically locked in a chastity belt?

The idea makes her seethe.

It’s not— she doesn’t care who he’s been with. Why would she? A man who looks like Bellamy does—an alpha with power who looks like Bellamy does—could have whoever he wanted. Probably has had whoever he wanted. And she’s not planning on sticking around anyways, so why should it bother her if he’s a philanderer? She’s just angry because it’s not fair.

Besides, some small part of her crows bitterly; Clarke is an omega. Of course she can take him. She’s built to take him.

She just doesn’t want to.

“They all hate you, you know.”

Clarke startles slightly, her face relaxing in confusion. She hadn’t realized she’d been glaring. At her side is a tall brunette, her long hair falling in shiny sheets down the back of a midnight blue gown. Her makeup is intense, nothing like the peachy virginal look Clarke’s been allowed, but she can’t be much older if at all. 

Clarke turns back to the room, watching the eyes that flick not so casually away from her as she does. “They could be a bit more subtle about it.”

The girl laughs, something gritty and raspy that surprises Clarke in its inelegance. “Don’t hold your breath.” She grins mirthlessly at Clarke and extends a hand. “Octavia.”

Clarke’s eyes widen as she takes it. “The sister.”

“The sister,” Octavia agrees, somewhat bitterly. She looks Clarke over. “You know, you don’t seem as excited as I’d expected. Shouldn’t you be arrogant as fuck, lording it over all of them? You’ve won, after all.”

And what a prize it is, Clarke sighs internally. She considers Octavia for a moment, weighing her words with what she knows about the girl, about her possible motivations.

“No offense to your brother, but would you be? Marrying someone you don’t know, dropping out of school, moving halfway across the country. Leaving everything you know behind.”

Octavia raises an eyebrow. “Is what you know really that good?”

“No,” Clarke concedes, shrugging lightly. “But is he?”

The other girl snorts. “Touché. And for fairness, I wouldn’t be excited either. Thankfully my brother knows me well enough not to try and pull this shit with me.”

“Why’s that?”

“He’s not entirely stupid,” Octavia says, grinning conspiratorially at Clarke over her champagne. “He knows I’d run.” The blonde shifts uncomfortably, unsure of how to respond. She laughs, a beat too late, as if Octavia had just been joking around. The forced sound of it earns her a curious look. “Thought about it, haven’t you?”

Clarke shrugs, smiling weakly back. “Maybe once or twice.”

“It wouldn’t work, you know.” Clarke blinks at the sudden change in tone, at the way the brunette’s eyes go piercing. All of Octavia’s attention is fixed on Clarke, her words like ice down down Clarke’s spine. “The only reason I’d get away is because he’s my brother and he’d let me. There’s no getting out of this world, not if someone’s looking for you. And if you’re caught—”

“I know.”

Octavia lets out a deep breath, shoulders relaxing. Her expression gentles. “For what it’s worth, I don’t hate you. In fact, I think I might actually be happy to to have a sister, so long as it’s you.  Bellamy could’ve chosen a worse girl to force to marry him.” She makes a face. “One who would’ve been excited about it.”

Clarke feels a little guilty at the other girl’s pleasure, knowing she will be gone before they even head back to New York. She won’t ever be Octavia’s sister, or even her friend. She’ll just be gone.

She tries not to let the girl’s previous warning shake her resolve.

“How awful that would’ve been,” Clarke replies drily.

Octavia beams. “See that right there? I can tell you’re going to be trouble. And since we’re going to be sisters, I can let you in on a little secret.” She leans closers, whispering conspiratorially. “Trouble is a Blake family favorite.”

Clarke clinks her glass with the other girl’s in a mock toast, grinning tightly. At least that’s something she can deliver.

****

She doesn’t get back to her room until late.

The night was exhausting. Abby had pulled her away from Octavia shortly after their conversation, not even sparing the other girl a look. After that Clarke had been shuffled from matriarch to matriarch of the New York families, forced to stand in front of them while they looked down their noses at her and sniffed to Abby about how lucky she was, that Clarke had been born an omega.

Pretty enough, but if she’d been a beta, well— they’d said, letting the thought trail off. Luckily that’s not the case!

Clarke did not appreciate the implication.

Nor did she like the way some of the younger women had stuck their noses into the conversations. She’d met some real characters, not the least being a woman named Echo who looked her over with a sneer and immediately asked her mother: How old did you say she was, again?

Younger than she’d like to be, given the circumstances. But twenty-one was a normal age for a woman to get married, in their circles. At least, for a woman of Clarke’s social stature. Especially an omega.

Clarke had tuned out the rest of the brunette’s snide remarks. She didn’t need to hear her mother agree with them.

She tells her bodyguard goodnight in the hallway, tiredly unlocking the door to her suite. Normally he’d come in and check it for her, but he’s tired too, and the hotel is essentially on lockdown.

It’s dark inside, the smell comfortingly familiar. She kicks off her heels at the door, unpinning her hair. It falls in soft golden curls over her shoulders. Clarke lets out a soft groan at the relief, her scalp aching from the weight of having it up for so long.

Her feet pad across the floor to the bedroom, bypassing the sitting area and kitchenette. She hardly ever uses them, after all there’s no real need. It’s not like she has anyone to invite over. Her dress is unzipped and kicked unceremoniously off, leaving Clarke in just her underwear as she shuffles through her dresser. The lights of the city shine in through the open blinds, illuminating the room in a soft orange glow.

She extracts a nightgown from her drawer and tosses it on the bed. Her fingers reach behind her, finding the clasp of her bra.

“Clarke.”

She jolts at the voice, spinning towards it. She tries and fails to keep from stuttering.  “You—you’re not supposed to be here.” Bellamy steps forward and she inches back. “We’re not supposed to see each other until the wedding.”

The backs of her knees hit the bed and she stops, snatching the nightgown off the covers and clutching it to her chest. It barely covers anything.

Bellamy stops in the doorway of the bedroom, not coming any closer. He gives her a wry smile, but Clarke can see the black of his eyes even in the dim light. “I don’t think twelve hours will make much of a difference at this point. They gave us an extra two days, so that you wouldn’t go into heat until you’re—”

Knotted.

Clarke cuts him off, flushing deeply. “Yes, thank you, I’m aware. But it’s still not safe.”

She wants him out, as fast as possible. She doesn’t want to have to look at him—smell him—and lie to his face. Clarke personally doesn’t mind, but her omega rebels against it. She’s worried her scent might change, give her away. That he’ll know she’s lying, know she’s going to run. Unlike Octavia, she doesn’t expect him to let her go.

Stay, her omega pleads. Alpha will provide.

Clarke takes another step back.

Bellamy’s eyes follow. Clarke can see the twitch of his muscles, the tick of his jaw as he keeps himself from giving chase. She swallows hard and turns, pulling the slip over her head. The nightgown is too short—and too thin—but it covers her slightly better on than off, and frees her arms in case she needs to use them.

“Why are you here?”

She’s proud of the steadiness of her voice, the strength of her words.

“I came to—to speak to you. I know that this”—he gestures vaguely around the room, but it's clear he means the situation as a whole and not just her accommodations—“isn’t what you wanted.” His eyes soften slightly, drinking her in. Clarke resists the urge to cross her arms over her chest, hide the remaining skin from his view. “I didn’t mean to trap you.”

“Didn’t you?”

“Not like this. I’m a man of my word. I told you you could finish college. I didn’t mean for this to happen.” Bellamy sighs. “I want you to know that this isn’t some kind of punishment.”

“I never considered that,” Clarke replies, even though she certainly did. She had eventually deemed it unlikely, due to the unpredictable nature of breakthrough heats, but not implausible.

She hates him, good and truly. He can take his half-hearted apologies and go to hell. If he truly cared about her feelings, he wouldn’t be forcing her to marry him at all. He wouldn’t be looking at her like that, like he owned her.

“I’d like to make you a deal,” he says, and Clarke blinks.

“Me?”

No one ever makes deals with her. Everything in her life goes through Abby, or Marcus, or Jake before him. Clarke’s wants, Clarke’s agreement— they’ve never mattered.

She supposes it’s different in this case. She’s supposed become his wife, his mate. Almost a part of him, in a way. Once they were mated, he’d be able to feel her unhappiness, her discomfort, her rage. It makes sense that he’d want to placate her.

Of course, Clarke doesn’t intend to let that happen, but she’s curious.

“I cannot let you go back to your school immediately. The bond will be too fresh to allow it, and things are—unstable, right now, in New York. But—” He grimaces, as though the words are physically painful for him to say. “After a year, maybe two, we could revisit it. You’d have to take guards, of course, and return on weekends. But you could finish your degree.”

“That’s—generous,” she says cautiously, and in a way, it is. It’s far more than she’d ever expected him to give, far more than she’d thought he would even entertain. Far less than it would take to make her stay, however.

Her fingers fidget with the hem of her slip, running over the satiny fabric, and his eyes narrow. “What are you thinking, princess?”

Her heartbeat kicks up a notch, pounding hard in her chest as she looks up. Her eyes are wide, mouth dry. “Nothing.” It comes out a squeak. She licks her lips and shakes her head. “Just— I didn’t expect it. Thank you, alpha.”

The word slips out of her unbidden, but it serves its purpose.

Bellamy relaxes. She can smells the satisfaction rolling off of him and half expects him to starts purring. She’d roll her eyes if he couldn’t see it.

“There’s something else.” He pushes off the door frame, walking towards her. Clarke clenches her fists and swallows, refusing to move as he comes closer and closer still, stopping just in front of her.

He takes her hand, turning her arm in his grip. She feels the cool brush of metal, the slight weight of stones. They clink softly as he fastens the bracelet around her wrist.

“This—” Bellamy swallows slightly, his eyes fixed on the jewelry, on the scent gland it shifts to cover. Clearing his throat, he turns her wrist back over and releases it. His voice is gruff. “This was my mother’s. It’s— well, something old and something blue, I guess.”

Clarke blinks, her breath caught in her throat. Slowly, she lifts her wrist, watching the way the gems sparkle against her skin. Sapphires.

“It’s—lovely.” Clarke is disarmed, her omega cooing at the gift. She shakes her head, trying to clear the pleasurable haze that clouds her thoughts. “But—I can’t take this. It was your mother’s, it should go to Octavia, or—” Your daughter, she thinks, but she can’t say that. After all, his daughters are meant to be hers.

“It’s yours, Clarke.” She looks up, catching a flash of a catlike grin on his lips. He shrugs. “Matches your eyes.”

She looks down at the delicate bracelet again, admiring the way it gleams. “Thank you,” she says, her throat slightly thick. “I love it.”

Bellamy steps forward, sliding a hand beneath her chin and tilting it up. Clarke freezes as he leans in, brushing a soft kiss over her lips. Her whole body is on edge, ready to shudder, eager to feel his hard muscles against her.

She steps back, spine stiffening. Her arms wrap around her torso, holding back the shivers. “You should go.”

Bellamy cocks his head, clearly confused by the hardness in her tone. Did he really think it would be that easy? That he could throw her some baubles and she would just give in and simper at his feet with the rest of them?

His lips thin. “Till tomorrow then, omega.”

Clarke feels her temperature tick up a few degrees at the word but all she does is nod.

“Tomorrow.”

****

She throws herself in the shower as soon as he leaves, scrubbing at her skin. His scent is overwhelming, lingering everywhere he touched. She can feel the itchiness of her glands, the heaviness in her stomach that she had been so quick to dismiss last time.

There’s no mistaking what it is.

It’s too soon! If she planned on staying it would be fine, they’d simply leave the reception early and spirit her away to be fucked and mated, her heat quenched by Bellamy’s cum. But Clarke refuses to let that happen.

It’s too early for her to leave now, with the bulk of her stepfather’s security focused on guarding the hotel before the wedding. She briefly entertains the idea of heading to the pool now, taking just the suppressants from the locker and coming back up, but it’s too risky. There’s no reason for her to be there now, and if she’s caught they’ll be suspicious if she's seen heading there again tomorrow during the festivities. 

Instead she scrubs her body raw and opens the windows, letting the frigid November air fill the room and wash Bellamy’s scent away.

She sleeps fitfully, naked except for the bracelet around her wrist and the ring on her finger. Abby finds her like that the next morning: sprawled out on top of the covers, her lips purple. Clarke jerks awake at the disdainful cough.

“Get up,” her mother tells her, one eyebrow raised. “Time to get ready. We've got a long day ahead of us.”

Clarke flushes, slinking out of bed and slipping a robe over her shoulders. She’s ice cold, but that’s a good thing. And she can’t smell Bellamy at all. Maybe it’ll be fine, she thinks. Maybe her plan isn’t ruined. Not yet, at least.

“And close the windows,” Abby adds. “It’s freezing in here.”

Clarke grins, and leaves them cracked.

Chapter Text

Getting ready is a whole production.

A lot of things in Clarke’s life, being who she is, are a whole production, but this— it really takes the cake. The twelve layer, buttercream frosted, artfully decorated meyer-lemon cake, to be exact.

After Abby arrives a veritable slough of beauticians, who poke and prod Clarke into bridal acceptability without saying a goddamn word to her. She sits in a chair in front of a mirror, but it’s not like she can actually see a damn thing they’re doing to her. There’s too many of them blocking her view. 

They wash her face, pluck her eyebrows, paint her eyes and lips and cheeks until she’s fairly certain she looks nothing like herself. Which is fine, why does Clarke care? The wedding is clearly not for her benefit. 

She gets warmer as they work, glands itchy and uncomfortable as her skin is touched and touched and touched, but there’s nothing to be done about it. One of the girls, a small waif of a thing with kind eyes, looks at her apologetically as she dabs medical grade scent blocker over her glands. It won’t stop them from blowing off pheromones like crazy, but it should neutralize them enough to keep her fit for public consumption. The girl sprays a bit of perfume over them to mask the slightly antiseptic smell. It stings.

Her hair is brushed and pulled and somehow both straightened and curled, she thinks, though it’s hard to tell. It gets braided and twisted into a stylish but tasteful chignon, or so Clarke assumes, studded with tiny enamel flower pins that dig into her scalp. They leave little pieces free around her face, cooing over the natural curl as if they hadn’t attempted to beat any sort of naturalness out of her hair in the first place.

When they finally step back, Clarke blinks at the girl in the mirror. She’s wearing the same silk robe that she is, and her hair and eyes are the same color, but— 

She looks away, a lump in her throat. “It’s fine,” she tells them, waving a hand. They hover nervously, looking for tears that could ruin all the work they’ve put into making her look so— bridal. “It’s good.”

The team shuffles out once Abby gives her approval, switching in with the clothing team. Clarke isn’t familiar with any of them, and it’s deeply uncomfortable to have them help her dress. Especially when they bring out the garments she’s expected to wear under her gown.

Clarke, so easily going along with every other irritant that morning, finally balks.

“No,” she says, shaking her head. If she could physically retreat, hide in the bathroom until they put that— that ridiculous thing away, she would. “There’s no way.”

Everybody freezes, unsure of what to do. The girl holding the lingerie set blinks at Abby, as though asking if Clarke is even allowed to say no. 

She’s not, of course.

“Don’t be a child, Clarke,” her mother commands imperiously. “I had my girl pick this out for you. It should be tailored to Bellamy’s exact tastes.”

It’s mere scraps of fabric, basically see through. There’s a bra, if you can call it that, and a thong and a garter belt, all in the most beautiful white eyelash lace Clarke has ever seen, and she’d probably think it was pretty if she wasn’t intended to wear it in front of him . If it wasn’t intended to be torn off her.

“It’s impractical,” she argues weakly. “It won’t hold anything up.”

“It doesn’t need to,” one of the girls adds snidely. “The dress is tight enough you could’ve gone without a stitch.”

Clarke looks at her mother, begging her not to make her, but Abby just raises an eyebrow. “Well?”

Clarke puts on the stupid lingerie.

She feels warmer just wearing it. The lace feels like silk against her skin, which knowing her mother it probably is, but it makes her shiver. She steps into her dress and holds still while the attendants pull it up her body, holding it in place while someone does up the million buttons studding the back. The veil is tucked into her hair with a comb, cascading down over her shoulders.

Clarke stares at herself in the mirror. Her fingers fidget nervously, twisting the bracelet around her wrist. Abby snags her hand, holding it up so the sapphires catch the light. She gives Clarke an approving look.

See , her eyes seem to say. He’s not that bad after all, is he?

Clarke snatches her wrist back and turns away from her reflection. She doesn’t know the girl looking back.

****

It’s not until the ceremony that the heat becomes truly unbearable. She can feel it as she walks down the aisle, a bead of sweat dripping down her spine. Bellamy’s scent is overwhelming, hitting her like a truck with each step she takes nearer to him. His eyes are glued to hers—piercing, possessive—and something in her belly cries victoriously.

Her steps falter.

It’s only a split second, just a moment of hesitation, but it’s enough. She knows he sees it, knows by the way his eyes tighten slightly, by the way his scent sharpens. If she runs now, he will chase her.

She continues on.

Marcus steps forwards as she hits the altar, taking her arm and drawing her the last few steps towards her fiancé. Clarke keeps her eyes down. She does not smile as she takes her place beside Bellamy.

She’s practically vibrating in her own skin. Heat radiates off her like a furnace, and while hopefully the medical grade scent suppressants are keeping him from smelling her, she knows at least he can feel it. Her fingers clench hard around her bouquet, crushing the stems of the bundle. A drip of water runs down her wrist, blissfully cool.

The officiant drones on and on, the words buzzing past her like flies. It doesn’t matter what he says anyways, not to Clarke. It’s not like it means anything.

Either she stays and is trapped, or she gets away. Nothing else matters.

She’s so distracted she barely catches the priest’s direction to face Bellamy, whose hands are extended for her to take. For a moment, Clarke fumbles, unsure of what to do with her bouquet. There’d been no rehearsal, not when she’d been banned from seeing the groom. A bridesmaid, one of the girls Abby chose for purely aesthetic reasons, steps forward and takes it, giving Clarke a gentle smile. 

Clarke tries to smile back, but it’s more of a wince. Hopefully her veil obscures it.

Her hands slip limply into Bellamy’s. The lace edge of her veil flutters back, skating over the swollen glands in her wrists. Clarke shudders, and Bellamy’s fingers tighten around hers. She looks at their joined hands instead of meeting his eyes.

“Do you, Bellamy, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” Bellamy rumbles, the words wrapping around Clarke’s neck like a set of chains. She doesn’t fail to note they’ve chosen to leave out the part about forsaking all others. She feels her heart thump loud in her chest as the priest turns to her, posing the same questions with a relaxed expectation of submission. 

“Do you, Clarke, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and obey him for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, as long as you both shall live?”

Obey.

Her body rebels against the word, no matter how much they claim it’s in her nature. Her spine straightens, chin lifting defiantly. She meets Bellamy’s eyes and he stares at her. His lips almost curl, daring her—

“I do.”

She has to force the words out from between her teeth.

Her head spins, feeling the full weight of what she has done. She hardly moves, hardly even blinks as they exchange rings. The metal is ice cold around her finger. 

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the priest crows, grinning magnanimously. He gestures Bellamy forward. “You may kiss the bride.”

Bellamy steps into her space, eyes blazing. She can smell the satisfaction dripping off him, the pride—ownership—as he lifts her veil, exposing her face to the waiting crowd. His palm slides down to her cheek, cupping her face in a soft caress. Clarke’s heart squeezes hard in her chest.

There’s a roar of applause as he crushes his lips to hers.  

Clarke practically melts into him, the heat in her blood reaching a new crescendo. His arm loops around her waist, dragging her body against his, pressing her soft breasts against the hard muscle of his torso. She can barely think— all her senses, all her fight drains out of her. When he pulls back, her cheeks are a fever-bright, eyes wide and glassy.

Bellamy’s pride morphs into concern. 

He can tell now, she realizes. Maybe he still can’t smell her—and that’s a big maybe— but it’s written all over her face: just how close she is.

He wraps his arm around her, hand splayed on the small of her back as he leads her down the aisle. He’s still smiling, but it’s tight now. He walks with a purpose, not bothering to stop and talk to any of his cronies in the pews.

They’re supposed to take photos now on the steps of the church, but Bellamy rushes them through it. Clarke is practically boneless against him, sweating in the heavy layers of her dress, and she hardly complains. Instead of the full wedding party, he allows just one of the two of them, and one of them with their families. Abby and Marcus for her, only Octavia for him. Clarke feels her lucidity return as the cold November air blows his scent away from her, cooling her skin.

She sits as far away from him as possible as they climb into the limo that will ferry them between the church and the hotel. The heat is on and she adjusts it immediately, changing the temperature to a cool 60 degrees before pouring herself a glass of champagne. She doesn’t drink it, just presses the glass to her neck beside her scent glands. She can feel Bellamy staring at her, but she doesn’t spare him a glance.

“Are you okay?”

Clarke nods, irritation flashing across her face. “Just warm.”

He creeps towards her, she feels rather than sees, and Clarke scoots slightly farther back. “Is it—?”

She can hear the dark excitement in his tone, barely concealed by his weak attempt at concern. “No,” she informs him, lying through her teeth. “It was just— a lot.”

Bellamy deflates slightly. His nose twitches, scenting the air with a hint of disbelief, but he leaves her obvious lie untouched. He leans back against his seat, pouring his own glass of champagne. “Yeah,” he snorts. “Yeah, it was.”

****

The reception begins with a meal. 

You’d think Clarke would be hungry, having eaten almost nothing that morning, but she can’t seem to stomach anything. She sits as far away from her new husband as possible, which is not very far all things considered. Someone seems to have told the staff about her— predicament, however, because the air is on full, cooling her skin and keeping Bellamy’s scent from overwhelming her again.

She hardly says a word to him, sitting stiff backed with a soft smile plastered on her face. Her dress doesn’t allow her much movement anyways.

She can feel him looking at her, though, can feel the way his body faces hers, the way he puts himself into her space whenever someone approaches. Overbearing. Possessive. It makes her shiver, makes her ache between her legs, makes her— 

Makes her absolutely furious. Who does he think he is?

Your alpha , her omega coos. Your husband.

Right , Clarke thinks. Just great. She rolls her eyes internally. 

The first dance is somehow both better and worse. Better because it gives her a view of the room and the security at the doors, and worse because she’s right next to him, with his hands hot on her feverish skin. It makes her mind fuzzy, makes her mouth water. Almost distracts her enough that she doesn’t notice the door by the kitchens, where the staff are entering and exiting.

Almost.

And just like that, she has her out. Clarke has memorized her way around this floor of the building, traipsing through it during her time as if she hadn’t a care in the world when really she was building a mental map. She knows that that door leads down a hall to the laundry and the kitchens, and it will take her two rights and a left to get to the powder rooms, to the locker, to the pool. To freedom.

She waits, though, biding her time. She has to let the crowd get a little more inebriated, let the focus shift off her and Bellamy. Let Bellamy get caught up with the other men and their—business. 

And eventually, he does. Marcus leads her in a dance, something excruciating and awkward and deeply uncomfortable, and then slaps Bellamy on the back, leading him over to a table of the other Chicago high-ups in the organization. She can still feel his eyes on her, but when she doesn’t immediately get snatched into a dance with someone else, his attention shifts. 

Perfect.

She slips back, moving along the wall. She doesn’t move too fast or too slow, doesn’t make any special expression, just acts—natural. Or as natural as she can when she’s finally, finally making a break for it. 

She’s sweating out of her skin at this point, right on the verge of the heat being too much for her to take. It’s still not quite the right moment, but it’s as good as she’s going to get. If she waits any longer, she’s not going to be able to leave at all.

Clarke holds her breath as she slips out the door. Nobody notices.

Her heart beats like a drum. She lifts her skirts, dropping her shoulders back, and marches purposefully ahead. Some of the staff are in the hall, but she doesn’t acknowledge them, so they don’t acknowledge her back. They are too well trained.

When she makes it to the powder room, she deflates. Her feet race for the lockers, skittering to a stop in her heels in front of B12. Her hands are shaking, fingers stuttering as she attempts to put in the combination. It takes her three tries, desperation rising high in her throat. She feels like her skin is boiling by the time she finally grabs the bag, digging the emergency suppressants out of the front pocket where she’d tucked them. Clarke settles the bag back in place in the locker for a moment while she fumbles with the blister pack, popping the pills into her waiting hands.

Just then, there comes a subtle squeak. The sound of the outer door opening. She’s still concealed in the locker area. 

“Clarke? Are you—?“

Fuck.

Her heart slams into her chest, panic racing through her veins. She gulps the pills down dry, shutting the locker as quietly as she can. The door swings shut and latches, all her carefully laid plans disappearing from view in the blink of an eye. 

“I’m fine!” 

“Do you want me to get someone?” Octavia’s voice is tentative. “You mom or— Bellamy, maybe?”

Clarke’s eyes fly open wider. She spins, searching for something—anything that can explain what she is doing here of all places. Her hands grab a towel and she flits to the sink, soaking it in cold water. 

She holds the towel to her wrists and steps out. The grin she plasters onto her face is weak and probably more than a little guilty, but Octavia has no way of telling what she’s interrupted. “I’m fine, really,” Clarke says. “I just—,” She holds up the towel, shrugging wryly like she’s embarrassed to have been caught instead of terrified. The flush that paints her cheeks is genuine. “I got a little too warm.”

“Oh,” Octavia says. She blinks once, understanding passing over her face. “ Oh ! You mean—”

Clarke backpedals. “ No , no, just—” She winces, looking for an out. If she can get Octavia to leave, maybe she still has time to make her move. “I think I need a few minutes alone to cool down. It’s not— that , yet.”

Octavia bites her lip, shifting from side to side. Her eyebrows are furrowed in concern. “But it’s your first one, right? So you can’t know— I’ve heard omegas push people away, when it’s happening, and don’t realize why. I’ll just— I’ll go get my brother. He’ll know, and then—”

No! ” Panic bubbles through her chest like an over-carbonated soda. She smiles again, tossing the towel into a laundry basket. “No, I’m fine. Let’s go back.”

“Are you sure?” The other girl looks so worried that Clarke actually feels bad for lying. Well, she would, if the crushing despair of her chance at freedom crumbling to pieces allowed her room to feel anything else.

“I promise,” she says, stepping forward to put a hand on Octavia’s arm. Her sister-in-law, for better or for worse. “Let’s go back.”

****

Octavia delivers her straight to Bellamy, much to Clarke’s chagrin. He’s finished his conversation with Marcus apparently, the older man sitting back and looking satisfied with himself. 

“What was that all about?” Octavia asks her brother, looking suspiciously between the two men. Clarke is grateful she asked. She’d been wondering herself.

“Nothing, O.” Bellamy brushes her off, to no one’s surprise. “I’ll tell you later.”

The siblings share a look, something that confuses Clarke to no end. Did he— mean it? He would actually tell his little sister about Outfit business? Or, maybe it wasn’t anything to do with business. Maybe he was asking for restaurant recommendations. 

Clarke doesn’t believe that for a second. 

“Come, Clarke,” Bellamy says, holding a hand out expectantly. She eyes the appendage like it’s going to bite her. “Let’s dance.”

Reluctantly, she slides her hand into his. Bellamy leads her out onto the dance floor. He turns as they reach the center, pulling her close against him, hand circling her waist. Clarke moves slowly, her wrists tentatively coming up to link behind his neck. The stones of her bracelet press between her skin and his, biting into his flesh. Bellamy hisses slightly, his lips turning up.

She doesn’t apologize, but then again it doesn’t seem like he wants her to. His eyes look her over appraisingly, searching her face. “How are you?”

The question shocks her, startling an answer from her before she can think. “Fine.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Fine?”

Clarke’s eyes narrow. What is he trying to ask? What does he want her to say? Should she be thrilled that she’s married, that he’s trapped her? “Yes.”

“I just wanted to check in after— earlier.” After the way she’d practically melted against him at the ceremony, he means. Clarke flushes, looking away. “We can leave whenever you need.”

“How generous,” Clarke says, her tone absolute acid. She enjoys his confusion, the way he doesn’t understand why she isn’t falling at his feet like he expects. Why she isn’t panting after him, her alpha.

Her alpha.

Her breath stutters. Suddenly his hands on her waist are burning into her flesh. Her lips part, eyes looking up to find his, black and wanting and right there. Right there. Her belly twists, thighs rubbing together. 

Bellamy’s hand lifts from her waist, finding her jaw. His thumb strokes softly over her cheek. “Clarke?”

She blinks. She can feel the exact minute the emergency suppressants kick in, washing the heat from her heavy abdomen, leaving her feeling sick. She stiffens, flinching away from the hand on her cheek, and she understands.

He’d seen her leave, earlier. He’s the one who sent Octavia after her. He’s been waiting all night, waiting for her heat to take over and leave her brainless, so he can fuck her. Too bad, she thinks. He’ll have to wait.

“Not yet,” Clarke tells her new husband. She steps out of his grip.

Not yet.

****

She holds out till late. Till the party starts to wind down, and her eyes start to grow heavy, and there’s no possible reason she can think of for staying.

They go back to the room together, Clarke herded a half step in front of him as if he’s concerned she’s going to run. She wants to laugh, or maybe cry, at that thought. She would’ve run already if she could’ve. She would’ve been halfway to China by now, or Italy, or Peru. 

They come to a stop at the honeymoon suite, not Clarke’s room. Clarke’s room, which is no longer hers, she supposes. Just another hotel suite. Anyways, it wasn’t deemed big enough, or fancy enough or— she doesn’t know. Romantic enough, for their purposes. For the wedding night.

For her heat.

It’s almost funny, how afraid she’d been of losing herself to the heat. Now, with the emergency suppressants coursing through her body, the idea of being touched seems awful, like the worst possible thing. And not just to her conscious mind, either. It’s like the spot inside her, the hunger she feels around an alpha, around Bellamy in particular, has been frozen. Now, the idea of being touched makes her physically nauseous instead of dizzy with need.

Maybe she prefers that, maybe it’s better this way. At least if he fucks her now, she won’t have to like it. At least she’ll still be herself.

Funnily enough, it doesn’t help.

She’s in front of him still as they reach the bedroom, as he closes the double doors behind him. As he steps towards her, hands settling onto her hips. As his nose presses into her hair, inhaling her scent. As his head dips, as his lips find her neck.

She hates him.

It’s the only thing she can think as Bellamy’s fingers move down her spine, nimbly undoing each of the tiny pearl buttons. She’d kind of expected him to just rip it open, send them spraying across the floor. She can even imagine the sound it would make: the clatter as the buttons hit the floor and the hiss as they rolled away.

He reaches the end of the row. Her dress is loose now around her body, held limply by the tension in the primarily decorative straps. Bellamy’s hands slip over her shoulders, and the fabric falls.

Clarke fights the urge to cover her body. Instead, she steps out of her heels, steps away from the pile of her dress on the floor. She doesn’t look back towards Bellamy behind her, but he follows.

She can feel his eyes hungry on every inch of her. Can feel the way they linger on the lace and bows and ribbons that wrap her like a present, just for him.

She stands stiffly, hardly moving. Her breaths come shallow as he circles her like he is a predator and she is his prey; which—in a way—she supposes she is. Her hands tremble at her sides, clenched into fists, but she keeps her chin lifted high.

Clarke refuses to meet his gaze as he comes around to the front of her. He’s so tall, so broad, stepping into her space like he owns her already. Her throat ticks as he reaches out, cupping her jaw. His fingers slip around behind her, loosing the comb that holds her hair in place. The pins slip, dragged down by the weight of her curls.

Bellamy wraps a little bit of golden hair around his fingers, running his thumb over the strands, and then he pulls her in. His lips find hers, and Clarke’s mouth opens.

He tastes the same, like whiskey and sin. Like fire.

It doesn’t burn her now though, at least not in the way it had. It’s still— there’s still something intoxicating about it, about the feeling and the attention and him , here, with her. Something that makes her almost wonder if it’s not just her omega that wants him. 

But it’s no surprise that he’s attractive, even to Clarke. It’s no surprise that Bellamy is good at kissing. He’ll probably be good at the rest too, if he bothers to care about her pleasure. If he bothers not to break her, like all those girls said he would. And now that she won’t be in heat, he just might actually be able to. Able to break her. And even if he doesn’t, is that any better? 

Clarke’s eyes begin to burn behind her lids.

He hasn't done anything to her yet, not really, but he’s trapped her. He’s made her marry him, and made her stay. And now he’ll take her, and take what she has left that still belongs only to her. He’ll knot her and bite her and mate her and she’ll never be able to leave. She had been so close to freedom, so close she could taste it, and now she’s never been so far. 

Clarke sucks in a ragged breath. She hopes he thinks it’s pleasure, hopes he’s fool enough to believe she’s playing along. Because she is, by god, she is. There’s nothing else left for her to do.

She starts as he pulls back, looking at her with dark eyes. “You’re crying.”

Her hand flies to her cheek, and sure enough, it’s wet. Fuck. She hadn’t meant for that. She doesn’t want him to see her fear.

“Do you care?”

Her words are a challenge, foolish and unrestrained. He doesn’t care, or at least, he’s not supposed to. Clarke shouldn’t ask, shouldn’t be impertinent to him: her alpha, her husband. She should just— hold still. 

She gulps in a shuddering gasp, the very edge of a sob.

Bellamy’s hands fall away from her and he takes a step back. Her head jerks up, taking in his furrowed brow, the tight line of his body. The way his fingers clench, knuckles white. Clarke flinches.

“I’m not a monster.” His voice is low, rough, and from the guilty way he meets her eyes they both know it’s not quite the truth. “Not that kind of monster,” he amends.

Clarke doesn’t dare move, unsure of just what he means. He lets out a heavy sigh, rucking a hand through his dark curls. He shucks off his jacket, tossing it over the back of a chair and stalking out of the room. When he returns he’s got two glasses of whiskey in his hands.

Bellamy pushes one towards her. “Take it.”

Her fingers feel stiff as they close around the cold glass. She doesn’t take a sip. He watches, waiting, but when she makes no move to drink he simply downs his own. 

“You flinch when I touch you,” he observes, his tone a studied shade of indifferent.

“I don’t.”

Bellamy raises an eyebrow, taking a half step towards her. Clarke sways back instinctively and his mouth tightens. He doesn’t seem pleased to be proven right. “You do.”

She feels irritation start to rise through the panic, annoyance tinging the fear red, burning her reticence away. “Can you blame me?”

His lips curl slightly. “There she is.”

Clarke looks at him incredulously, hating the way the smirk crawls across his face. Hating the way something warm sings in her chest at the sight. She huffs and throws back that whiskey. There, at least now she has a reason for the burn.

“I’ll make you a deal.”

Clarke sets the glass down on the bedside table, crossing her arms over her chest. She tries not to shiver. “You say that a lot.” She turns, wiping the stubborn tears from her face. “Well?”

“I won’t touch you when you’re begging me not to. I’m not going to fuck a woman who’s sobbing at the idea of it, not even if she is my wife.” Clarke looks up sharply, her eyes wide. There’s no hint of a lie on his face.

She lets out a breath, relaxing slightly.

“But Clarke…” Bellamy trails off, a tight sort of edge to his sigh. When he looks up again, there’s steel in his black eyes. “Soon you won’t be feeling so strongly opposed. And I’m not a good enough man to turn that down.”

His gaze pins her, holding her in place in front of him. Her lungs feel tight, like he’s reached his fist inside her chest and squeezed the air out of her. Slowly—so slowly—she nods.

He nods back, his eyes deadly serious. They stare for a moment at each other, unmoving. There’s something thick in the air between them, something like understanding or maybe suspicion. His or hers, Clarke isn’t sure.

“Well then, dearest,” Bellamy says finally. He gestures grandly to the bed. “Right side or left?”

****

She waits until his breathing is even and quiet. 

It feels— a little like taking advantage, honestly. His face is so soft as he sleeps, betraying his youth. But she knows who he is in the daylight, who—and what—she will be tied to forever if she stays. And she doesn’t even know him, not really. What has he given her except consolations, things that were rightfully hers in the first place? Just because he didn’t assault his wife on their wedding night doesn’t make him a good person. He said so himself.

Still, Clarke can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt as she slips silently out from between the sheets she was meant to lose her virginity on. 

She moves as quietly as possible, tiptoeing across the room. She doesn’t have any real clothes here other than the dress, so she pulls Bellamy’s shirt off the floor instead. It’s probably a bad idea, surrounding herself in his scent, but she’ll need to wash herself anyways. 

The hallway is silent as she slips out of the room, empty of guards. Clarke lets out a sigh of relief. She’d thought they’d clear the floor, expecting them to be holed up in the room until her heat was over, but she hadn’t been certain. Apparently they deemed an alpha in rut a good enough final line of security.

The next hurdle is the elevator. Clarke knows the stairways will be guarded, so she can’t risk using them. The elevator on the other hand, is a risk, because there’s no telling if it will stop, or who will be there when it does. She presses the down arrow and waits, nervously looking over her shoulder at the door to the room she’s just left. She half expects him to come storming out after her.

Her heart clenches as the bell dings, and the doors open.

The hall is clear, lights dimmed for the night. It’s quiet, only a murmur of voices floating down the corridor. Clarke sticks close to the wall, walking as quickly as she can without being suspicious. She’ll be suspicious enough, if anyone recognizes her.

The voices get louder as she reaches the hall where the locker rooms are. She peeks around the corner. Her pulse races in her ears, calculating her chances. There’s a guard at the end of the hall, because of course there is, but he’s talking to someone she can’t see behind his broad torso, a girl by the sound of it, and seems distracted enough she may just be able to get to the door unnoticed. She takes one careful step forward, two—

Clarke freezes as the man shifts, catching the eye of the brunette behind him. Her expression, caught in a laugh, sobers instantly at the sight of Clarke.

Octavia.

She sees recognition, confusion, and understanding pass over the girl’s face in quick succession. Clarke’s own expression is one of panic, one of heart crushing despair. She begs the other girl with her eyes to consider what she’s been asked to do, what she's told Clarke she would’ve done in her place. 

Clarke feels the hope drain out of her as the guard begins to turn, noticing Octavia’s distraction. The brunettes expression shifts to resignation, and Clarke takes a half step back, preparing to run—

Octavia catches the man’s arm and smiles beatifically, forcing his attention back on her. Clarke doesn’t hesitate. She darts down the hall, only stopping once she’s reached the door to the locker room. Only then does she look up, back to the girl at the end of the hall.

Thank you , Clarke mouths, catching Octavia’s eye once more. The girl’s head dips in an almost imperceptible nod, and then Clarke is gone.

She’s shaking as she unbuttons Bellamy’s shirt and strips off the lingerie. Her shower lasts only seconds, just long enough to coat herself with the scent reducing body-wash and send the lingering sweaty pheromones from her earlier close call swirling down the drain. 

She picks up the shirt and underthings with her towel, careful not to let them touch her skin. She’s being paranoid, of course: it’s not like alphas are bloodhounds, but it’s better safe than sorry.  The shirt and towel both get shoved unceremoniously into the laundry, buried under the other discarded towels.

Clarke dresses quickly in her stolen clothes: a pair of leggings, a t-shirt, sneakers, a nondescript hoodie. She’ll be freezing when she gets outside, but a coat would’ve been too obvious to steal.

Her rings come off, shoved in the pocket of her leggings. She considered leaving them in the room, but it would’ve been too much of a statement. Everyone would’ve known immediately that she’d run of her own volition, and it would’ve enraged her alpha.

No, not her alpha. His alpha, Bellamy’s alpha. Not— Clarke doesn’t have an alpha.

She can feel the heat clawing at her suppressants, desperate to prove her wrong. She won’t stick around long enough to let it.

The backpack is heavy, both with physical weight and meaning. Clarke hefts it onto her back, feeling it pull on her like stone. Her hair is untucked from the straps, balled up at her neck. She forgot to bring a hair tie, unused to not having one around her wrist at all times. She brings her hood up, tucking the damp tresses into the sweatshirt instead.

Something snags on the fabric. Clarke holds her arm out, eyes landing on the string of blue gems around her wrist.

She’d forgotten it, somehow.

She should take it, same as the ring. Leaving it would mean something, but— it’s not hers to take. It was his mother’s— Octavia’s mother’s too, Octavia who just helped her leave. Clarke can’t just abscond with it.

She takes a moment to think it over, staring into the empty locker she pulled her backpack from. After a few long minutes Clarke stands, shutting the locker door and striding towards the exit to the pool. She leaves no trace of her presence as she slips out the side door of the aquatic center into the cold night: no scent, no clothes, no evidence to prove she was ever there at all.

The sapphire bracelet sits inside locker B12, a delicate circle glinting lonely against the dark cherry wood.

Chapter Text

It’s cold outside. 

That’s all the better for Clarke, as it keeps the heat down while she steals into the night. She walks four blocks before hailing a taxi, making sure to keep away from any brightly lit places or stores that might have security cameras. From there she heads to the greyhound station, where she uses her credit card to pay for a ticket on the next bus out of Chicago, which happens to be headed to Nebraska. She hands it to a battered looking girl outside the station who doesn’t seem to care where the destination is, so long as it’s not here.

Clarke can relate. 

From the bus station she heads to the subway stop across the street and takes the airport line to O’Hare. She chooses a passport and a ticket from her backpack at random, heading through security with the pair of thick glasses she’d sported in her photo. 

This is where the plan starts to get tricky. Clarke heads to her gate and waits, sitting carefully in a blind spot by a potted plant. She looks for the right target, getting increasingly anxious with each passing minute. She has a plan B, and a plan C for that matter, but this was her best one. She finally spots her five minutes before her flight takes off. Clarke gathers up her bag and heads out of the waiting area. One exaggerated stumble later, and her phone—battery carefully drained to zero—finds its way into a man on her flight’s bag. It will ping when he inevitably finds it and charges it, which she assumes he will. He looks like the type. She gives him an apologetic glance and follows the woman she’d picked into the women’s restroom. 

Clarke heads straight for a bathroom stall. As quickly as possible, she strips off her hoodie and pulls her second bag out of the backpack. Her hair is covered by a brown wig, glasses shoved into the trash can. 

The girl she identified is doing her makeup, which is even better than Clarke had hoped for. She picks the sink next to hers and surreptitiously knocks the makeup bag off the counter. The contents go everywhere, rolling across the floor every which way. In the resulting commotion, Clarke snatches the girl’s coat, wrapping it around herself as she exits. 

She keeps her face down as she heads out back out through security, hands buried deep in the pockets of the coat. She exits the international terminal, taking the sky rail across to domestic. Clarke folds the coat up and tugs it into the strap of her bag as she enters, smiling at the ticket agent.

“Hi,” Clarke says. She thumbs open the girl’s wallet and pulls out a credit card. The blue eyes on the girl’s driver’s license stare back at her, bearing just enough of a resemblance to get her back through security. “How much for the next flight to New York?”

****

The thing is, Clarke doesn’t expect to be able to run forever. 

She didn’t even expect to make it this far, feeling her skin itch as the plane’s wheels leave the runway. She leans against the window, pressing her face into the plastic, trying to reach the chill of the glass behind it. The lights of Chicago sink into jewels beneath her, twinkling against the velvet black of Lake Michigan. 

She knows Bellamy won’t let her go easily, but she just needs to be gone long enough. To provide enough misdirection and dead ends that by the time he finds her, it will be too late. She needs to make him not want her, enough that he leaves her be. For all his sharp edges, Clarke isn’t afraid of him, not when it comes down to it. If he were someone else, being found would mean death, but with Bellamy— she thinks he’ll be disgusted enough to let her go. 

She’s relying on it. 

He could always make her a whore, send her to one of the many establishments she’s sure he operates in the city. And if not, she’s sure Marcus would happily find one for her. But Clarke doesn’t think he would do that, if only because he’d have to know. Have to know that men were having her, and that he was not. 

She’s hoping, mostly, that he will give up. 

Clarke doesn’t want him to find her at all, because she doesn’t want to see him again. Doesn’t want to have to look in his eyes and see the anger, the betrayal. Doesn’t want to feel the aching guilt that her omega projects onto her whenever she thinks about him waking up alone. He will think she’s been taken at first, but he’ll realize the truth quickly enough. He’ll realize how long she’s been planning this, the lengths she’s gone through just to get away from him. The lies she’s told, the concessions he made for a wife who would never have him. 

She picked New York because it’s the last place he’ll think to look, when he realizes she’s not on any of the flights she’d paid for. Who would run to the very place they’re trying to escape?

Clarke wants him to decide she’s not worth it well before he realizes where she’s gone. She wants him not to care anymore, so she won’t have to. 

The heat begins to rise again before they touch down in New York. It’s not supposed to yet, not so soon, but the oral suppressants can only do so much. Clarke got too close. She turns her air on full blast, squeezing her thighs together and closing her eyes. 

She needs to stop thinking about Bellamy. 

It’s making it worse, like his scent is actually here with her on the plane. It isn’t, of course, but she can remember it so clearly, the heady musk of pine and whiskey that went straight to her head. She can feel her glands prickling on her neck where he’d licked them, and her lips burn with the memory of his kiss. 

Her hands clench around her armrests, knuckles white. 

“Scared of flying?” asks the kind old lady in the middle seat. 

Clarke nods, wincing. “I’ll be fine once we’re on the ground.”

It’s a lie, of course.

She’s ten times worse when they finally land, screeching to a stop at LaGuardia. She rushes through the airport as fast as she can, bursting through the doors to gulp in the morning air. It’s not as cold here as it was back at home, but it’s good enough. 

Clarke digs into her bag for the burner phone she’d purchased months ago and activates it. She downloads two apps: Uber, and a heat matching app. Her panties are still dry, the suppressants still managing her physical symptoms even as they lose their grip on her mental ones, but it’s going to be close.

She makes an Uber account under a fake name, using a card from the girl’s stolen wallet. She hopes the girl hasn’t had a chance to cancel all of them yet. Thankfully, the card number goes through without issue.

Clarke calls a ride to the nearest airport hotel. The car comes fast, her driver giving her an odd look as he notices the destination. Clarke shoots back a wan smile, and he looks away. She looks strung out as hell, she knows, and he probably thought better of asking. Some things aren’t worth knowing.

As the car pulls away from the terminal Clarke pulls up the heat app, and makes a profile. The unfamiliar cityscape rushes past the windows, sky streaking with pink as the first glints of morning sun start to color the air. 

She’s free, she tries to tell herself, feeling her heartbeat hard in her chest. There’s a tight feeling in her stomach, something that has nothing at all to do with her burgeoning heat. She’s free, but for how long?

Has Bellamy realized yet that she’s gone? Is he still in bed, or still in Chicago even? Is he chasing the trails she’s left him? Is he angry with her?

Does he still want her?

Clarke shivers, and looks back down at the phone. Fingers trembling, she starts to swipe.

****

The next few days pass in a blur of sweat and slick and pain. 

It’s excruciating, like nothing Clarke has ever experienced. She’s not fully cognizant, and that’s the only saving grace. If she’d been fully aware of her actions she’d be disgusted and humiliated. As it is she is already bereft: horny out of her mind and feeling the violent pang of abandonment. An omega isn’t meant to spend their heat alone, especially not a triggered heat.

Her body is prepared to take and take and take, but she has nothing to give, and no one to give it to her. She spends half the time crying, fucking herself uselessly on her fingers to unsatisfying climax after unsatisfying climax, and the other half on the floor in the bathroom, shivering against the cool tiles in an attempt to keep herself from burning to ash from the inside out. She can’t bear to shower and wash her own scent away, some fucked up instinct from her omega that longs for an alpha to smell her and find her. To fuck her.

She doesn’t eat, barely sleeps. Half the time she orgasms it’s with her husband’s name on her lips. Her body is always momentarily confused by his absence, by the lack of a cock splitting her open and a knot filling her up. If she had better control, Clarke wouldn’t think about him. She’d think of some faceless, nameless alpha, like the ones she could find on an app, the one whose scent is on her neck, and her sheets. But she has no control at all, so she thinks of Bellamy, and sobs into her fist as she imagines him pumping her full of his cum, filling her with his pups. Knotting her, biting her, making her his. She thinks about the very things she’s run from, and wallows in guilt when they make her come.

He finds her just as her heat ends. 

Thankfully, she’s in possession of her faculties by the time he does. She would have begged him otherwise, and made it all useless, but he arrives mere hours after the ache in her belly dies down, and her mind settles back into bleak consciousness. Everything hurts, every muscle in her body screaming at her in protest like she’s run a marathon. She sinks into a restless sleep for the first time in days, and wakes up to the sound of the door being thrown open.

Clarke is still sweaty, still naked, tangled up in the sheets of the shitty motel bed when Bellamy bursts in. His nose flares, eyes blazing. 

“You’re too late,” she says primly.

She can see him sniffing, taking in the heady scent of heat slick and fertile omega, and knows he’s looking for something else. He takes a step towards the bed, and she can see when he finds it. She’s not sure whether to be glad or terrified that she’d failed to shower, failed to wash the evidence away.

Bellamy inhales deeply, eyes going black as pitch. Clarke struggles to keep calm. She can smell his anger, the way his painfully delicious scent turns metallic in the air. “Tell me I’m wrong,” he says, and it’s half-threat, half-plea. “Tell me that isn’t—”

Clarke tugs the covers up further, inadvertently wafting the scent of unfamiliar alpha towards him. A low rumbling noise begins to vibrate out of his chest, a sound Clarke feels through her bones, down to her very core.

You’ve displeased Alpha.

She swears at her inner omega. She hasn’t done anything wrong, not really, even if she refuses to tell Bellamy otherwise. This was the whole point, to make him not want her. The alpha from the heat app hadn’t even touched her except to scent-mark her. Her virginity—Bellamy’s prize—remains regretfully intact, not that anyone would believe her now, anyways. And wasn’t that the point?

Where is he?

The alpha command startles her so much she doesn’t even bother to fight the compulsion laced into the question. “I don’t know.”

She waits for him to ask what they did— exactly how he touched her—and ruin her ruse, but he doesn’t. 

His jaw tightens, eyes still black with fury. She expects Bellamy to come at her, to hurt her; but he just stands there, glaring. “Go take a shower,” he spits, but it’s a normal demand this time, one she can refuse if she’s stupid enough to try. “We’re leaving.”

The door slams shut behind him.

****

Bellamy, as Clarke probably should have expected, drives like an absolute maniac. 

She’s glued to her seat, fingers clutching at the seatbelt as he weaves through traffic. His mood has not improved, if his scent is anything to go by, but even with that bitter tinge of anger he smells appallingly good.

“Can I roll down a window?”” she asks, aiming for nonchalant and missing by a mile. Her heat may be over, but without an alpha cock or even a good fake knot to satisfy her omega, Clarke is almost drunk on his scent in the enclosed space. Her lower body—blissfully—is not physically reacting, but the lightheadedness is still highly disconcerting.

Bellamy’s reply is curt. He does not look over at her, but his fingers tighten on the wheel. “No.”

Clarke shifts uncomfortably, turning her attention out the window. They’re flying down the highway, scenery zooming past. She doesn’t recognize it, but why should she? She’s never been to New York before.

She swallows hard. “Where are you taking me?”

“Home.”

Clarke’s heart leaps, panic rising in her throat. She can’t— they’ll kill her. She knew he wouldn’t want her after this—couldn’t want her after this— and that was the point, but if she goes back to her family she’s as good as dead. They’ll count this as a betrayal, and there’s no way out, not through them. Even if Bellamy annuls the marriage, she’s tarnished goods now. Worthless.

But— the airport is behind them. So if he meant to take her back to her family, he’s going the wrong direction. 

“Whose home?”

“Mine,” Bellamy says tersely, then glances over at her, his eyes leaving the road for a beat before focusing back ahead. “Ours.”

He can’t mean that, can he? Even after all this, even after he thinks she’s betrayed him and fucked some other alpha, he’s still going to keep her?

“I thought—” she starts, not even really knowing where the sentence is intended to end, but he cuts her off with a near growl.

“I know what you thought.” His mouth is twisted in a bleak grimace, and it’s a bold statement considering Clarke isn’t even sure she knows what she thought. She sinks lower into her seat. When Bellamy speaks again, it’s so low she almost doesn’t catch it. The words are silky smooth, his tone impossible to decipher: venomous, she thinks, or maybe fond. “Did you really think I’d make it that easy?”

Clarke gulps. 

No. No, she most certainly did not.