Bellamy woke to the sound of laughter.
Blinking sleepily, he looked at the clock — almost 10 a.m. — and frowned at the echo of his sister yelling, “I know!” followed by giggles and shushing sounds.
He didn’t remember drinking last night, but he must have had something, because he felt disoriented and his head was pounding like a bitch.
With a groan, he rolled out of bed and stumbled down the hall to the kitchen, scrubbing a hand over his face before leaning in the doorway. Octavia was sitting cross-legged on the counter eating cereal and talking a mile a minute, not really trying to keep her voice down, while Clarke was leaning on the center island —
— Clarke? Wait. Clarke isn’t here. She’s … gone. She left. Didn’t she? —
— tiny running shorts showing off her tan, lean legs. She’d obviously just gotten back from a run; her skin looked flushed and damp and strands of hair were escaping her ponytail and sticking to her neck. She gulped water out of a plastic Minnie Mouse cup, and his eyes traced the column of her neck as she swallowed, lingering on the mark that he’d left there yesterday. He could practically still taste her skin, hear her gasp when he used his teeth and tongue on that sensitive spot.
She was so beautiful, he was crazy about her, and he didn’t think there would ever be a moment when he didn’t want her. If O wasn’t in the room … But since he was standing there in nothing but his boxer briefs, it was probably best not to linger on memories of that late night last week, when he’d had Clarke half-naked and bent over that very same counter.
“Oh, shit, we woke him up,” Octavia said, jerking Bellamy’s attention away from his girlfriend’s assets and onto his sister frowning at him.
“Aww,” Clarke said, setting her cup to the side and moving over to put her arms around him. “Poor baby, you must have had to work late. I didn’t hear you come home at all.”
“Yeah,” he said, bumping his nose into hers. “Miller called in sick, so I had to close up by myself.”
He looked down at Clarke, curled around him, warm and soft (—alive —) against his skin. She smelled of vanilla and the strawberry of her shampoo, mixed with the scent of perspiration, and she smiled sweetly as she pushed up on her toes and pressed a kiss at the edge of his mouth.
“May we meet again,” he murmured without thinking.
“Hmmm?” she burrowed back into his chest. “Did you say ‘may we meet again’?”
He wasn’t really sure where the words had come from. All he knew was that it gave him a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, and he didn’t like hearing her say them at all. Thinking about it made his head hurt even more. “I don’t … I think it was in a dream.”
“Well, you should go back to bed,” his sister said. “You look like hell.”
“Thanks, O,” he said dryly, trying to shake off the gloomy feeling. “But it’d be easier to sleep if you possessed something like an indoor voice.”
“I’m leaving in five,” she said with a shrug. “I’ve gotta get to work.”
“In that case, I will go back to bed,” he said, smiling at Clarke. “I don’t suppose I could convince you to come with me?”
“Ugh,” Octavia said, hopping down from the counter and dumping her bowl in the sink. “Nevermind; I’m out. See you two losers later.”
“I hate to turn down an offer to get you in bed,” Clarke said, grinning up at him. “But I’m a sweaty mess; I’ve got to have a shower.”
He nodded and dropped a kiss on her mouth before she pulled away, dragging her nails lightly down his bare chest as she went. “However, I could always use some help in there, if you’re up for it.”
Laughing, he watched her walk down the hallway, clearly putting a little more sway in her hips, a gesture he greatly appreciated. “Babe, it hurts me that you even have to ask.”
Following her down the hall, he paused for a moment, looking at the photos hanging on the wall. Bellamy, Octavia and their mom. O’s first bike. Aurora and O hugging him on graduation day. One of him with Clarke, dressed up for some boring-as-hell hospital fundraiser and making goofy faces that were completely at odds with their formalwear.
He was hit suddenly by the sense of something wrong, like someone had shifted every photo just slightly out of position. It wasn’t like he was OCD or anything, but the change nagged at him. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what was off, but —
“Get a move on!” Clarke called as her tank top landed on his head. He chuckled and tossed it to the side, following his girl, weird moment forgotten.
She was already stripped and standing in the shower when he got to the bathroom, and he peeled off his briefs, pulling back the curtain to join her.
“I missed you,” he said, moving behind her and kissing her shoulder while his arms snaked around her waist. “Feels like I haven’t seen you in forever.”
“It’s been less than 24 hours,” she said, laughing and turning her face up into the spray of water. “Don’t be so dramatic, Bellamy.”
She turned in his arms, tugging his head down to kiss him.
— “Bellamy! Bellamy! Dammit, wake up! We don’t have time for this!” —
Clarke pulled back with a frown. “What did you call me?”
“I wasn’t …” he closed his eyes, confused, wincing as his headache spiked. What the hell was wrong with him? “I thought I heard Raven.”
She reached her hand up and cupped his face. “You really are out of it. Raven and Wick are at his parents’, remember? In Ohio?”
“I don’t —”
— “Bellamy, I’m not kidding, you need to wake up right now, dammit!”
“Reyes, we’re running out of time,” a voice growled. Was that … Murphy?
“Bellamy! Bellamy Blake!” —
Bellamy jumped to attention, meeting his commanding officer’s eyes and pushing aside the headache that he couldn’t seem to shake. “Yes sir!”
Kane was frowning at him, never a good sign. “Am I boring you?”
“Never, sir.” Bellamy held back a wince at his own flippant answer. Yes, Blake, way to antagonize the man who could put you on latrine duty for the foreseeable future.
Kane looked like he wanted to ream him out, but instead he continued. “I asked if you think you can get Green in there?”
Bellamy glanced at the young scientist, who was sitting on the threadbare, puke beige couch in Kane’s office, slim fingers picking at the knees of his worn-looking khakis. Monty Green was clearly nervous, but he returned Bellamy’s nod with a small smile.
“Yes sir, no problem. I’ll take a small team; we’ll be in and out before they ever know we’re there.” Bellamy spoke to Kane, but his confident words were mostly for Monty’s sake.
He wondered if he’d imagined the tiny quirk of a smile on Kane’s face. The man was a total hardass, but even he, like everyone else in their unit, had a little soft spot for Monty.
The kid was young, too young to be involved in something like this, but war was hell. They had to use whatever advantages they could, and Monty Green’s brain was one of their best assets.
“Agreed,” his commander nodded sharply. “Miller, Griffin!”
Bellamy bit back a grin as the two entered Kane’s office. Given his own choice of a team, he’d have picked those two, exactly. Nathan Miller was one of his best friends and a damn good soldier. He wasn’t always the most outwardly friendly guy, but you knew he’d have your back no matter what. Clarke Griffin was smart and strong, dependable and ruthless. She would literally do whatever she had to do to protect the team, especially Monty. As an added bonus, she hated Bellamy’s guts and made no effort to hide it. It amused him to no end; antagonizing her was his greatest source of amusement in this shitty world.
Nathan nodded back, and Clarke glared at him —
— No, that’s not right, not anymore. Clarke is … she’s my friend. Isn’t she? —
“He’d do anything for her. To protect her,” his own voice echoed in his head as his vision blurred.
Clarke was just where he’d expected to find her, legs stretched out, toes and fingers digging under the sand, watching a bunch of the kids playing in the surf while the sunrise bloomed bright behind them. It was a gorgeous sight: A beautiful girl on a beautiful beach, with no conflicts or enemies to be found. It was almost enough to make him forget what a hellhole earth had turned out to be.
But they were past the worst now, he hoped. They’d made a run from the Grounders, and miracle of miracles, they’d succeeded and made it all the way to the coast. He’d thought they wouldn’t stand a chance, and he had never been happier to be wrong in his life. They were safe, and they hadn’t lost a single person in the trip. It was time to focus on the future.
He dropped onto the ground next to Clarke, eyes on his sister, who was screaming with laughter as Monty and Jasper double-teamed her, dragging her into the ocean with them.
“We made it,” he said, rolling his eyes at himself for speaking the obvious.
“We did,” Clarke said, turning to gift him with a smile full of hope and promise. “What now, though? ‘Whatever the hell we want’?”
“Sure, maybe,” he said, reaching out to slide his hand under the sand and link his fingers with hers.
Sighing, she pulled her hand away, folding both in her lap and looking back toward the ocean. “You know we can’t.”
“Bullshit. You’re not even with him.” His voice sounded whiny and pathetic to his own ears, and it pissed him off. He was not that guy, the one who pined over a girl he couldn’t have. He rubbed at his throbbing forehead and scowled. Part of him wanted to get up, walk away now. He could think of several girls off-hand who would be happy to go off somewhere private with him right now. Surely some meaningless sex with a willing girl would cut through this weird limbo he was in with Clarke.
Despite the thought, he didn’t move from her side, and he knew he probably never would.
“I know, but he … he needs me. If he finds out about us, I don’t know what he’ll do. You know he hasn’t been the same since he killed those Grounders to save me.”
He shook his head. “What he needs is to pull his shit together. We’ve all done things to survive down here, and it’s a bitch, but this is our life now. We all have to suck it up and move forward.”
“He’s getting better,” she argued, looking back at him, almost pleading. “I just need a little more time. Finn is —”
“Dead.” He wasn’t sure where the word came from, but once he’d said it, he knew that it was true. His headache suddenly spiked, then faded. Though he could see with his own eyes Spacewalker sitting further down the beach with Raven, he somehow knew. “Finn’s dead. You killed him.”
“What?” Clarke looked horrified. “What the hell, Bellamy? He’s right there!”
Shaking his head, Bellamy turned to look again, watching as Finn literally blinked out of existence, leaving Raven alone.
“What. The. —”
Bellamy opened his eyes.
“Oh, thank God,” Raven said, looking to the side. “He’s awake!”
Murphy came up beside them while he took in his surroundings.
“What … where?”
Raven and Murphy exchanged a look.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Raven asked.
He tried to put his hand to his hurting head, eyes widening when he realized he couldn’t move. Instantly he panicked, trying — and failing — to move his arms, until he felt a hand on his arm.
“You’re restrained,” Raven said calmly, waving a screwdriver at him. “I’m trying to get you free, but you’re hooked up to a bunch of wires and shit, and I don’t want to electrocute myself. Or you.”
She bent to her task, and he felt her nudge his hip. “Tell us what you remember.”
“Um.” Bellamy stared at the ceiling. He remembered Clarke leaving. “May we meet again.” Fighting the urge to go after her. Fighting that urge every damn day for weeks. Then, being on guard duty when …
“The drone,” he said. He’d wanted to shoot the flying robot out of the sky, but Kane wanted to see who it belonged to; technology like that was unheard of among the Grounders, and thanks to him and Clarke all the Mountain Men were dead. “It had a message from Jaha.”
In a video carried on the drone, the former chancellor had warned of a threat that he had to share in person. He’d included a map and asked for help.
Bellamy hadn’t trusted Jaha at all, and probably never would, but the excuse to get the hell out of camp and do something was too tempting. And maybe it crossed his mind that he might run into a certain blonde out there. It was stupid, he knew. The world was a big place, and what were the chances that they’d end up in the same place again, unless she decided to come home?
Octavia had insisted on coming, which meant Lincoln would, too. Jaha had mentioned needing help with a bomb, so Raven and Wick had made up the rest of the party. Miller had wanted to come, but Bellamy didn’t feel comfortable leaving the rest of the young people without someone to look after them, and he’d asked Miller and Monty to stay. Clarke’s mom had been much better lately, and they’d even kind of bonded a little bit over missing her, but he still felt wary of the adults’ leadership.
“The mansion,” he said hoarsely, remembering where the map had landed them. The journey had taken over a week, and they’d ended up at a giant house with a perfectly groomed lawn, the only building for miles, looking untouched by war. A flock of drones soared around the grounds like birds. They’d never even seen Jaha but had been immediately attacked by strangers.
“Look,” Murphy said hurriedly. “There’s no time for this. You got captured by some nutcases who think this … hologram bitch is their god. She runs this place, and they do whatever she asks. They hook people up to this virtual reality thing. It shows them different worlds, different lives, better lives …”
“Murphy helped some of us get free before they could hook us up,” Raven said, shooting an unreadable look at the guy. Bellamy was kind of shocked to find them working together. Murphy had nearly killed her, and she had tried to turn him over to the Grounders last time they’d seen him. “But they got you and Lincoln. If I don’t get you guys free, your sister’s gonna kill me.”
“They’re coming,” Murphy hissed. “We’ve got to hide.”
Raven sighed, reaching for something out of Bellamy’s vision. He immediately felt his mind getting cloudier. “I’m putting you back under,” she said. “Just … don’t fight it. Think of it as trying to get back to a good dream. I promise, Bellamy, I promise I’m coming back for you.”
This time, he knew it was all in his head, but he still marveled at how real it all felt. Stretched out on the bed, he felt the softness of the sheets under his legs and the pillow propped up behind him. The book he held (an actual paperbound book) was solid in his hands, its pages worn from being read so often. And he had actual memories of times he’d read it before, the first time when he was 12 years old and it had been a gift from his mother. He could hear someone — Clarke, it was Clarke — coming down the hall, humming a Taylor Swift song.
It was all so real.
What even was this place? Who — what? — was the “hologram bitch” Murphy mentioned? Some kind of artificial intelligence? Why would it create this dream world, and why would it want to keep people here?
Clarke came into the room, and he realized she was wearing his jersey from last summer’s bar softball league. He had a head full of memories — fake memories — of the dust and heat and camaraderie of playing games with his friends all summer. As she turned to shut the door, his stomach tightened, and he fought a wave of possessiveness at the letters spelling BLAKE across her back, peeking between the golden strands of her hair. She turned back toward the bed, and he couldn’t stop his eyes from dropping to her legs, showcased perfectly in the shirt.
Mine, he thought — though he was wise enough not to say it out loud. Either version of Clarke would probably kick his ass if she knew what he was thinking.
He considered himself just as much hers, though he didn’t say that out loud either.
Shoving the sheets down the bed, she slid in, raising her eyebrows as she saw him checking her out. “I’m out of clean clothes,” she said. “I didn’t think you’d mind.”
“I didn’t say anything.” He leaned over and dropped a chaste kiss on her mouth. Despite the part of him that knew none of this was real, he felt himself settling in to this world. It was comfortable, like a happy memory. He definitely wouldn’t mind hanging out here until Raven came back for him. “You know I like it when you wear my shirts.”
Clarke dropped back on her pillow, turning on her side and smiling up at him. “I seem to recall something about that.” She sighed. “I guess I’ll have to go home tomorrow for some more clothes and do some laundry. Hopefully, Mom will be at work.”
“Or … you could actually try to talk to her,” he pointed out.
“I know.” Clarke sighed again. “I love her, I do. And I know she loves me. It’s just … we don’t see eye-to-eye on anything these days. I’m tired of arguing about everything. If I can just make it through the summer, I’ll be back in the dorms, and we always get along better when we’re not living together.”
He swallowed hard, setting his book on the nightstand and turning on his side to mirror her pose. He may have had two sets of memories floating in his head, but he knew exactly what he wanted to say here, and both versions of himself were afraid of scaring her off.
“You could move in here,” he said, as casually as possible. “You’re here most of the time anyway.”
“You wouldn’t mind having me here the rest of the summer?” she asked hesitantly, her eyes watching her fingers as she plucked at the sheets. He wondered how the hell she couldn’t know that he wanted her around forever. Then again, if she knew how often he thought about marrying her — having kids with her, growing old with her, the whole nine yards — she would probably run away screaming. She seemed so mature that he often forgot she was still only 19 years old.
“I’ve already talked about it with Octavia, and she thinks it’s a great idea.” Before he could lose his nerve, he continued. “If … if you’re happy here, you could stay longer. You know, if you wanted. It’s a little bit of a commute to school, but O will be making it, too.”
Her eyes flew to his, and she smiled; it was like a weight lifting off his chest. “I don’t know, I might miss being sexiled by my roommate.”
He grinned and twirled some of her hair around his finger. “Hey, I have a real soft spot for that roommate. If she hadn’t locked you out so often, we might never have hooked up.”
“Yeah,” she agreed, poking him in the chest. “Because you were a stubborn ass.”
He couldn’t argue, shrugging instead.
It amazed him that he had such clear memories of something that had never happened. But he could see it in his mind, could remember exactly how he felt like it was yesterday. Clarke had always come to the house and made him watch movies with her when she got locked out of her dorm. It was pure torture, having her snuggle up against him on the couch watching movies and feeling like he couldn’t touch her because she was O’s friend — and five years younger than he was.
But the night that a huge thunderstorm had taken out the power while they were watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” he was left sitting in the dark with her, wind and rain raging outside.
“So,” she’d said, sliding into his lap before he could move, just like she’d planned it all along. “What should we do to entertain ourselves now?”
Even Clarke Griffin couldn’t control the weather, but she hadn’t hesitated to take advantage of the moment. And she’d apparently had hopes of something happening, since she’d had a condom in her pocket. It was one of those times when he’d wanted to thank God that she was the most prepared person on the face of the planet.
Now he trailed his hand down her side, fingering a tear near the hem of the jersey. “I have a drawer full of shirts that aren’t falling apart, you know.”
“Hmm, I like this one,” she said. “Reminds me of last summer, going to all your games with Octavia. It was fun, watching you get all hot and sweaty and competitive. Mmm, I just stared and stared at your arms. I mean, you have fantastic arms. I may have mentioned a time or two.”
He smirked, trailing his fingers lower, tracing patterns on the soft skin of her thigh. Was this his imagination, he wondered, or was it some computer telling him how Clarke would feel and taste? How she’d sound when he finally slid his hand further up, discovering that she wasn’t wearing panties?
He looked up at her face, and she just shrugged. “Laundry.” She reached out to his arm, scratching her fingers lightly against his skin.
“You were hot as hell,” she continued. “And I’d go straight home after and get myself off thinking about you.”
He froze, meeting her eyes before deliberately dipping his fingers in her wet heat. The idea of Clarke fingering herself and thinking of him was the hottest fucking thing he’d ever heard.
“That right?” he said, knowing his voice was unsteady.
“Mmm, yeah,” and he didn’t know if that was an answer or a comment on the way he was touching her. Both, probably. She widened her legs and dragged her nails down his arm again as he plunged two fingers inside her. “I imagined you were touching me. I didn’t know — oh — didn’t know how good it would really feel. You’ve got amazing hands.”
“What else?” he asked.
“I … ungh, Bellamy,” she rocked her hips into his hand.
“What else did you imagine?” he asked again. “Babe, tell me.”
“I imagined you going down on me,” she said. “I didn’t really know I’d like it but — oh, Bellamy!”
He slowed his fingers, skimming his thumb over her clit just enough to make her hips jerk. “But?”
“You didn’t know if you’d like it …?”
“But thinking about your mouth on me got me hot,” she panted. “God, would you just …”
He chuckled, pulling his fingers out of her and scooting down the bed, spreading her thighs and taking a long, slow lick up her center before diving in.
Clarke’s high school boyfriend was a total dumbfuck, as far as Bellamy was concerned. He obviously hadn’t been that good in bed, and the only time Clarke had mentioned it was the first time he’d eaten her out; she’d told Bellamy afterward that her boyfriend had tried it once, and neither one of them had enjoyed it, so he never did it again.
It was rude to speak ill of the dead, but Bellamy thought Finn Collins was a tool in any version of reality.
He loved going down on Clarke: the way she tasted, the way she sighed and moaned and twisted her fingers in his hair, the way she lost total control of her body, and looked at him like he hung the moon after she came with his name on her lips.
The only downside was the fact that he thought his dick might explode from how turned on he got, and he ground his hips into the mattress in response.
He knew just how to get her off, using his mouth and fingers to leave her trembling and clutching at him, sighing out his name the way he loved.
Would the real Clarke be like this?
He shook off the thought and kissed his way up her body, stopping only to slip one hand under the shirt to cup one of her breasts.
“Damn, you’re good at that,” she said, shooting him a brilliant smile before pulling him into a deep kiss. One of her hands snuck down his chest and into his boxers, pushing them out of the way enough to palm him.
She pulled back, teeth biting gently at his bottom lip. “Want me to return the favor?” she asked, nudging him onto his back and helping him pull off his underwear, tossing them to the floor.
He wasn’t about to argue when she trailed her tongue over his cock, swirling over the tip just the way he liked. He slid his fingers into her hair and closed his eyes while she took him into her mouth, licking and sucking until his eyes were rolling back into his head and he had to let go of her hair to twist his hands almost painfully in the sheets instead.
He was close, really damn close, when he realized it wasn’t exactly what he wanted.
“Wait. Clarke, wait.”
She pulled back and stared up at him with wide eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” He shook his head. He just wanted to look into her eyes when he came, but he didn’t want to say it out loud. “Get up here,” he said instead.
She tilted her head to the side, then grinned up at him while crawling up his body. “I thought you said I wasn’t allowed to be on top anymore,” she said lightly.
He remembered — so clearly, dammit — what had happened the last time, the way she’d drawn it out and out and out, until he’d actually begged her to come. He’d loved every moment of it; they both had. “Cause you’re a fucking tease,” he growled, hands moving to her hips as she hovered over him, dragging her wet heat over his cock.
“Maybe I’ll have to tie you up again,” she said.
“No!” His hands tightened on her hips, probably hard enough to bruise. Taking a deep breath, he forced down the rising panic and deliberately loosened his grip on her.
She stopped, looking alarmed. “Bellamy?”
“No tying up, I don’t want that.”
She sat back on her heels, studying him. “Okay, that’s okay. You … I thought you liked it last time? Did you … Bellamy, you should have told me you weren’t into it.”
He had memories of that, too; it wasn’t anything hardcore, just a couple of scarves that he easily could have gotten out of if he’d wanted. Truthfully, he hadn’t wanted to get out of them. He remembered enjoying the torture of wanting to touch her but not being allowed to and loving the way that she’d taken control, slowly exploring every inch of his body. The sex had been great, and they’d spent a lot of time laughing that night, he remembered.
But now he also remembered being a prisoner at Mount Weather, being bound and drained, and he couldn’t bear the thought of allowing even Clarke to restrain him.
“I …” he said, sitting up and leaning back against the headboard, urging her move with him. He didn’t want her to think his problem had anything to do with her. “I did, Clarke, I loved it. But I’m sorry, I just … I don’t —”
“It’s fine,” she said gently. “You don’t have to apologize.”
He let go of her, scrubbing one hand over his face, feeling embarrassed and stupid. He couldn’t exactly tell her the truth, since it wasn’t the truth in this … reality or whatever. But he didn’t want her to feel bad for something that they’d both enjoyed, either.
“Hey,” she said, leaning closer and bumping her nose against his. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” he said, knowing it was true in any — every — reality. He hadn’t even realized it was true until she left him at Camp Jaha, kissing his cheek and walking away, but his heart was hers before he could do anything about it — before he could protect himself. He slid a hand into her hair, pulling her into a slow, deep kiss that left them both breathless.
“So,” she said, leaning back and stripping off the jersey, taking hold of his hands and bringing them up to her breasts. “Where were we?”
Before he could answer, she was sinking down on him, and they both groaned in unison at the feeling of being joined together.
“Is this okay?” she asked, her voice shaky.
“Perfect. You’re perfect,” he assured her. He was pretty sure he’d never felt anything as good in his life as being surrounded entirely by Clarke Griffin.
“Watch,” she said, moaning as he plucked at her nipples. “Watch us, Bellamy, the way you fill me up. God, you feel so good in me.”
“Fuck. Clarke.” He did watch, couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the sight of their bodies merging, getting closer and closer as Clarke kept talking, keeping up a breathless, dirty commentary of how much she loved him and loved being fucked by him.
Remembering what he wanted in the first place, he slid his arms around her and flipped them over, changing the angle on each thrust until he found one that made her dig her nails into his shoulders.
“There, oh there, Bellamy, like that,” she hissed, and he happily obliged.
“Clarke, look at me,” he said. “Look at me, I want to see you.”
Her eyes met his as her body started fluttering and trembling under him. Giving her the extra push she needed, he rubbed circles on her clit until she came apart, and it only took two or three more thrusts for him to follow.
Again he wondered if it was just his fantasy or a computer program that made him and Clarke fit so well, angrily pushing the thought aside as he spooned her from behind, pressing a kiss on her hair. “Goodnight, babe.”
“Night, Bellamy. Love you,” she whispered, the words warming him all over.
Real or not, he was going to enjoy every moment while it lasted.