Actions

Work Header

i think it's called love

Work Text:

“Need a ride, princess?”

She debates ignoring him. It would certainly be much easier on her ego if she continues to stare up at the night sky with boredom and pretend she’s crossing her arms over her dress as a show of stubbornness instead of her just freezing her ass off and trying to get warm. She wonders at how long it would take her to just walk home— sure, she’s a little tipsy, but it couldn’t be that bad, could it?

But really, it’s worth it— if only for the single benefit that she won’t have to actually speak to the guy currently leaning out the window of his idling piece-of-shit truck.

Just when she’s gathering the resolve to walk away, a sharp gust of wind blows through the street, causing her hair to whip harshly around her face and assaulting her bare arms into goosebumps. She can’t help the shiver right then that escapes her.

Hey,” she hears him say, and there seems to be a smidgen of concern there instead of the mockery that was there before. “Get in. You’re hardly wearing anything and it’s fucking cold. I’ll give you a ride.”

Her eyes finally betray her and flicker to his face unconsciously. It’s a mistake.

Bellamy Blake. Senior at Ark Academy where she’s Junior, all lean muscles and cocky grins and raised eyebrows and curly dark hair and big veiny hands.

She hates him.

And she’s pretty sure he hates her.

(They have a bit of a history.)

He’s still leaning a bit out the window, one hand on the wheel and one hand holding a half-eaten apple that he’s apparently been munching on. When their eyes meet, he says in a tone of almost awe, “Holy shit, you’re drunk.”

She finally speaks at that, voice wobbly. “I’m not drunk.”

He blinks. “What?”

“I’m not drunk,” she insists, except this time she consciously makes sure not to slur the words.

He half-laughs, leaning back into his seat. She hates his stupid laugh; it always has the capacity to get on her nerves. “Whatever you say, princess. Do you need a ride or not?”

She debates it again. She turns her face back to the house, where the dull thudding of shitty music can still be heard, light streaming from every window, and laughter from a few guys sitting on the porch in the front, passing a bottle around. She really doesn’t want to go back in there, either.

Of course, the alternative is Bellamy Blake, which she doesn’t exactly want, either.

One of the guys sitting on the porch notices her looking. “Hey babe! Nice rack!” This comment is followed by guffawing from the others. “Come have a beer!”

Well then. Decision instantly made, she walks briskly over to the passenger side of Bellamy’s truck and hops in without ceremony. No matter how much she might dislike Bellamy, she feels a lot safer with him than standing alone in the front of a house party. No, she will never admit that out loud. But.

Meanwhile he’s staring hard out the window at the guys who are still yelling at her.

“Where you going, blondie?” they hoot.

“Drive,” Clarke advises Bellamy dully as she maneuvers her uncooperative body into his truck, ignoring the obscene gestures one of the guys is now demonstrating.

Bellamy squints out the window. “You know these dicks?” His tone communicates great disgust.

“No,” Clarke says shortly. She sits down heavily on the seat, and a loud farting sound makes her jump in surprise and irritation before she realizes what it is and is instantly disgusted. “Really, Bellamy, a whoopee cushion? Could you sink any lower?” She pulls the thing out from the seat and waves it in front of his face.

Grinning, he snatches it from her hand and tosses it in the back seat. “It’s not mine. Jasper put it there earlier.”

“And you didn’t think to remove it before I sat inside.”

“Nope. Totally slipped my mind, actually.” His overly-innocent tone of voice isn’t fooling Clarke.

She shakes her head, not wanting to get into it. “Just drive me home,” she spits at him, making sure every word is filled to the brim with loathing. “I’ve got a bitch of a headache.” And she’s tired. As he puts the truck into drive, she leans her head back onto the rest.

There’s a minute or two of blissful silence before he speaks again. “So what happened to your ride, anyway?”

She doesn’t respond, choosing instead to curl up against the seat and get more comfortable.

“So Finn just got you drunk and then left the party,” he murmurs when his question is met with silence. “Typical.”

Her eyes fly open for a brief moment to glare at him. “Fuck you, Bellamy,” she hisses, because he doesn’t know jack shit about her life and yet he’s almost perfectly deduced the situation. “There was an emergency. He had to run.”

He sounds unconvinced. “Without you.”

“You know what I like about you most, Bellamy?” she says in return.

She can almost feel him turn his head curiously in her direction, although her eyes are closed.

“The fact that you don’t usually talk to me much.” When he laughs, a little huff of amusement, she elaborates. “I can almost forget for a second how much of an ass you are.”

“You’re a mean drunk, aren’t you?” he says, sounding amused. “Silence it is.” And there is silence, for at least one minute before she hears him turn the radio on. Pop music immediately begins to blare, pounding in time with the pain in her temples.

She groans, covering her ears. “I hate you.”

He turns the volume up in answer.

After muttering a few curses, Clarke shifts in the seat until she finds a semi-comfortable position, and eventually even the obnoxious volume of music isn’t enough to keep her alert. She drifts off a little bit despite herself, letting her head fall onto her shoulder.

It’s a minute or two after this that she hears the ear-splitting level of the music go down considerably in volume.

Curious, she opens her lids infinitesimally to see what’s happening. Bellamy has his fingers on the knob, turning it down slowly; then he glances at Clarke— she shuts her eyes quickly for a moment before reopening them— and he turns off the radio all together.

Well, that’s… interesting.

The rest of the ride is completely silent, save for the sound of Bellamy munching on an apple. She’s pretty sure he throws the core out the open window after he’s done but she’s not awake enough to berate him on his poor composting technique.

A few minutes later, she feels the truck pulling into the driveway of her house, wheels running over that familiar bump in the asphalt, and the engine falling silent. Her eyes remain closed, and she waits for Bellamy to order her out of the vehicle.

He doesn’t.

There’s a minute of silence, actually, before he releases a sigh and unbuckle his seatbelt. Then she hears him climb out of the driver’s side and the door falling shut heavily behind him. She doesn’t hear anything for a few moments; and just as curiosity gets the better of her and she’s about to open her eyes, the door on her side opens.

She can’t see him, since she’s curled up with her back to him, but she hears his steady rate of breathing for a few seconds before suddenly there’s hands sliding beneath her back and under the crook of her knees. Before she can properly grasp what’s happening, he’s lifted her up like that. She lets her muscles stay relaxed, head lolling, because she’s rather curious as to what he’ll do. He seems to buy that she’s asleep because then he’s moving.

With some difficulty, it seems, he manages to close the truck door, and he carries her like that into her house using the key in her boot (how on earth did he know it was there?), up the stairs, and to her room. There, he lowers her slowly onto the mattress, one hand supporting her head to gently let it fall the small distance to the pillow. She thinks that’s it. But then she feels the back of his warm fingers gently brushing against her cheek, and it’s so uncharacteristic, so unexpected, that she flinches at the contact.

His fingers still immediately. “Clarke? You awake?” His voice feels too big for the small, dark room.

She sighs inwardly. The gig is up. She makes a show of blinking her eyes open blearily and stretching her arms and legs out. “Bellamy?” she sighs, and maybe it’s just the alcohol affecting her but he looks really, really delicious in that shirt.

He looks a little amused at the show, but straightens up from where he was leaning over her. “You need to sleep it off.”

She pouts in the most petulant way possible. “I’m not drunk.”

Maybe it’s just the fact that she is, but his gaze seems remarkably fond to her as he makes to turn away. “Right.”

Well, he isn’t getting away that easily. Clarke’s legs wrap around his torso and her ankles hook behind his back, reeling him back in. He’s clearly not expecting that, if the way his eyes widen with surprise is any indication. “Where are you going?” she pouts a little sleepily, and yes, maybe she’s a little more inebriated right now than she thought.

He sighs and reiterates. “Clarke, you’re drunk.”

She frowns and pulls him forward with her legs suddenly. He’s not prepared. To prevent himself from falling on top of her, he has to brace himself, hands planting on her mattress on either side of her. Leaning over Clarke closer than before.

Clarke distantly notes his lips, very pink and very inviting, are mere inches away. And she can see the warmer flecks of brown in his otherwise dark irises from here.

His voice is lower than usual and a little strained. “Clarke, let go.”

His eyes are pretty, she decides, and reaches a hand up to run a finger over an errant lock that has fallen over his forehead. It’s just as silky as it looks. She sighs loudly. “You’re sooo pretty.”

Despite himself, his mouth ticks up. “That right, princess?”

She shivers at the nickname. “I loooove it when you say princess,” she tells him. She’ll regret that later, she knows.

“Noted.”

She nods fast. “Yeah. It just rollsssss of your tongue. It sounds so good, Bellamy,” she murmurs, tossing her head back and watching him through half-open lids.

His amused grin fades and he swallows visibly, trying again to push off the bed. This time he reaches behind him to gently uncross her ankles, and she doesn’t stop him.

He’s halfway to the door when she whispers, “Stay.”

He stops in his tracks but doesn’t turn around.

She doesn’t know what came over her. She doesn’t even like the guy. They’re adversaries in every sense of the word. And yet, the words fly right out of her mouth. “I don’t want to be alone right now.” She sounds more pitiful than even she’d bargained for.

She can’t be sure, but he seems to be fighting with himself for a few seconds, standing stock still, before he turns back around, expression inscrutable. “I’ll leave the ‘cuddling with sad drunken Clarke’ part to your boyfriend, I think.”

She stares at him, mouth agape. Did he really go there?

His lips twist into an ugly smile. “But Finn isn’t here, is he?” When she doesn’t answer, he shrugs and walks towards the door. “Too bad.”

There’s a beat where she’s just shocked, but then she’s out of it and just angry. “You’re such an asshole!” she slur-shouts at his retreating back. She throws a pillow at him, and surprisingly it actually hits its target (his back) as he closes the door. His quiet laughter and his murmured, “You’ll miss me when I’m gone,” is the only response she gets before the door clicks shut.

She lies there fuming in the dark for a few seconds, listening to his footsteps pad off not downstairs, but just down the hall. He knows all her fucking buttons, and that her biggest one these days is Finn Collins. God, how she hates Bellamy Blake.

He’s the most infuriating person alive, and the fact that they live under the same roof probably makes it about ten times more.

-x-

Things weren’t always this way.

In fact, it used to be worse.

It wasn’t that Clarke and Bellamy truly hated each other, no; they just had an understanding. They had mutually and silently agreed to only barely be civil, in order to avoid confronting the complicated predicament in life that they had found themselves in. And for Octavia’s sake. Also, to avoid jumping each other's’ bones.

That last part was entirely on Clarke’s wishful thinking back in the day, though. Whatever, she’s over it now.

It had all started, naturally, when Clarke’s mother was running for mayor some three years ago. The election was running hot, and as the day drew nearer, it had become more and more apparent that things could go either way.

That was when the pipeline blew.

The lower west side of Ark City, already stricken by poverty, had seen the worst of it. Buildings damaged, environmental impacts off the charts, and several people died.

One of those people was Aurora Blake. Her story was one of the ones in the papers, a heart-wrenching tale of love and sadness and two children she’d left behind. It was a sensation- there had been letters flooding into council, angry ones why didn’t you do anything why didn’t you see this coming why wasn’t the pipeline maintained properly and all of this could have been avoided but now two children are orphaned

And that was all Abby Griffin needed, wasn’t it? One day Clarke came home from school and her mother and her stepfather (Marcus, but Clarke preferred to call him by his last name: Kane) were sitting on the couch and opposite from them sat a girl who couldn’t be older than ten and a surly-looking, brown-skinned boy that looked to be just a little older than Clarke.

“Clarke!” Abby had said brightly, rising, but with the smallest hint of warning in her voice. “Meet your new brother and sister.”

Granted, that really hadn’t been the best way to introduce them.

After Clarke had come back to the house hours and hours later after running off, her mother and Kane sat her down in the kitchen alone and quietly explained they’d taken in the Blake siblings.

“Because you want to win the election,” Clarke stated flatly.

“That’s not it,” Kane defended Abby immediately. “They’re two children in desperate need of a good home.”

“A good home?” Clarke had snorted, folded her arms, because she’d always known her mother was a politician, even before she was voted to city council. “You two aren’t even home most of the time. But whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep at night,” she’d hissed, and then she’d gotten up and left to go upstairs.

She’d run straight into Bellamy Blake, bumped right into his chest on the next floor.

She had no idea what to say to him, and it was clear from his disgusted expression he had heard the entire conversation.

He didn’t give her an opportunity to speak anyway. “Get out of my way,” he snarled.

Well, that immediately riled her up; he didn’t have a right to speak to her like that. She put her hands on her hips. “Excuse me?”

His lips curled into a sneer at her indignant tone. “What, you think just because your rich parents took me and my sister in, we should be grateful to you? Is that it?” She didn’t speak, and he leaned in closer so she could clearly see his dark brown eyes framed by thick lashes. “The only reason I’m tolerating this bullshit is for my sister. So get over yourself.”

“Well, there’s definitely no need to be so unpleasant,” she snapped, bristling. “Especially since we have to live with each other from now on.”

He watched her balefully. “Don’t worry. Three years until I turn eighteen, and I’ll be out of your pretty blonde hair.” It wasn’t said as a compliment, but rather mockingly in a way that made her blood boil. And then, when she said nothing, he huffed and brushed by her roughly.

Abby had caught up to Clarke later in her room, where she had been lying on her bed and fuming at the ceiling. “Look, I know Bellamy is your age and I don’t expect you to consider each other as siblings,” she had said firmly. “But can you at least do that for his sister Octavia? She’s only ten years old, Clarke,” she’d insisted as Clarke looked away, lips pressed together. “She needs someone. She needs a big sister.”

Clarke had bitten her lip because dammit she hadn’t asked for this responsibility, she could barely keep up with life as it was, but Abby knew Clarke’s weakness (she cared) and did well to exploit it. “Fine,” she finally bit out, and slammed her bedroom door in her mother’s face. And she didn’t speak to Abby for a long while, not when she knocked on her door right after and not when she won the election in a landslide and not when she pulled her in for a photo that made it to the front page of the very same paper that had blared Aurora Blake’s story only weeks ago.

To say the least, life’s been a bit more complicated since then.

-x-

Clarke wakes up the next morning with a start, sitting up in bed, and is immediately assaulted with a splitting headache. Groaning, she falls back into the pillows, rubbing her eyes against the bright glare of the sun outside, and suddenly becomes aware of her phone vibrating in her jeans pocket.

She wriggles it out, squints at the screen. Finn.

Heart leaping, she picks up. “Hello?”

“Hey,” he says cheerfully, and suddenly Clarke smiles at the familiar sound of his voice. “How are you? Did you get home okay last night? I texted you but you didn’t answer.”

“I’m fine,” she reassures, nudging the phone into the crook between her cheek and her shoulder and standing to stretch. “Bellamy gave me a ride, and I’m sure he’s going to rub it in for the next three weeks at least, but it’s alright. Did everything you had to look after last night go okay?”

He sounds sort of off when he replies, “Without a hitch.”

She waits for an explanation but doesn’t get one. Okay. Maybe it’s a private family matter. Having two politicians as guardians, she knows all about those. “Are you okay?” she finally asks instead, walking out into the hallway and to the bathroom. The bathroom door, as usual, gets stuck in the frame. They really need to get that fixed— it’s not like they don’t have the money to do it, but as usual the attention Abby pays to the state of things in her own home leaves something to be desired.

Since she’s struggling with the door, she almost misses the slight pause between her question and his answer. “Yeah.”

Clarke pushes at the door again, but it’s really stuck today. Making a face, she hipchecks it, causing it to fly backwards. She releases an irritated breath. “So— ” Her sentence is interrupted by the extremely loud blaring of an airhorn. It’s so near in vicinity and sudden that she can’t help but jump and scream. Her phone clatters to the tile floor.

She can hear FInn yelling from the speaker but her heart is thundering in her ears and she’s now painfully wide awake. The sound has stopped now, as the door rebounds slowly away from the wall. Breathing shallowly, she peers around the door and immediately finds the source of the noise; an actual airhorn taped sideways to the wall, right where the doorknob hit when she busted the door open.

She grinds her teeth together for a moment, feeling blood rise to her cheeks.

Still ignoring Finn’s yelling from the phone, she props the door back open and pokes her head out into the hallway. “Bellamy!” she screams, knowing he can hear her. “What the f—” she catches herself just in time, just in case her parents were still here, “I’m going to kill you!” Probably not that much better, but still. At least Octavia is off at ballet camp this weekend.

She hears him laughing downstairs. She’ll deal with him later. Harrumphing, she turns back to the washroom and picks up her phone, smoothing back her hair. “Hello?”

“What was that?”

“Bellamy being a prick, nothing new,” she replies, trying to sound dismissive. “So—”

He cuts her off. “Look, I gotta go right now, but I’ll call you later, alright?”

She frowns. He called her and now he wanted to hang up? “Fine,” she replies shortly. “Love you.”

This time there is definitely a pause before he returns the sentiment. “Love you, too.” Dial tone.

Brow furrowed in puzzlement, she tucks her phone back into her pocket and faces the bathroom mirror.

A few minutes later, when she gets downstairs, she’s treated to the sight of Bellamy Blake leaning his forearms on the kitchen sink, spitting into it with disgust.

She grins, sauntering over to the fridge. “What’s wrong, Bellamy?” she asks, voice sugary sweet.

He takes a moment before answering in a low growl. “Let’s not play this game where we pretend it wasn’t you who replaced the orange juice with a jug of Kraft Dinner-packet flavoured water.” He looks a little green when he turns around. “And you call me the asshole.”

He must have taken a pretty huge gulp. She grins wickedly and pulls the real orange juice out from the back of the fridge to pour herself a glass. His glowering eyes follow her movements. “It’s payback for those toothpaste Oreos— which was so unoriginal, by the way.”

“You don’t mess with a perfect recipe,” he retorts. “And besides, that was payback for when you covered my bar of soap with your fucking clear nail polish so it wouldn’t lather, remember?”

She downs her orange juice before answering. “That was payback for something too.” It’s kind of hard to keep track after a while, though.

“Hell it was.”

“It was.”

He’s not even paying attention because he’s turned to spit into the sink again. “Jesus Christ, that’s disgusting,” he mutters.

The front door opened before she can reply, and Mayor Abby Griffin walks into the house.

Both Clarke and Bellamy stiffen. It’s a little strange, but Clarke immediately feels tense around Bellamy when her mother is around. Like she’ll see through things. Which is ridiculous. There’s nothing to see through. Nothing at all.

Abby interrupts Clarke’s internal monologue, eyeing them both wearily where they’ve squared off in the kitchen. “Are you two fighting again?” she asks in an exasperated tone, dropping a grocery bag on the counter.

There’s a beat of silence where Clarke makes eye contact with him and they both quickly look away. Bellamy plasters a wide sarcastic grin on his face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Abby. We never fight. Clarke’s the most pleasant person I’ve ever known.”

Abby frowns at his tone, and Clarke hides a smile by ducking her head. If there’s one thing she and Bellamy are in solidarity about, it’s a sometimes playful (sometimes not) annoyance at her mother.

Abby blinks but ignores that. “Well, in any case, good morning,” she says stiffly instead.

“Why are you here, Mom?” Clarke asks bluntly, pouring cereal into a bowl.

Her mom turns back to her, eyebrows shooting up. “Should I not be?”

Clarke rolls her eyes and pours milk into her bowl as well. “You know what I mean.” The fact that she hasn’t seen her mother face-to-face for three days straight (she gets super busy at the office and in town) tells her right now that something is up.

“I just want to see my daughter, that’s all,” Abby insists. “Is that such a nefarious purpose, Clarke?”

Clarke isn’t buying it. “And?”

Abby held Clarke’s unwavering stare for a few seconds before sighing and smoothing down her hair. “There’s a City dinner tonight and you need to be there.” Bellamy immediately makes to leave the room at this news, his face twisted into a disgusted expression, but Abby stops him. “Bellamy, I want you and your sister to come too. This is a family event.”

Bellamy snorts quietly. “Right. Family.”

Abby narrows her eyes at his tone. “Yes. That’s what we all are, aren’t we?” She smiles, too big to be real. “A happy family.”

-x-

“I’m sorry about ditching you last night,” Finn whispers into Clarke’s ear when they finally got a moment to talk, after the speeches of the banquet and sitting with their coffee and desserts at the reserved table at the head of the large ballroom. “You look beautiful tonight, by the way. As always.”

Clarke makes a face into her cup. She almost regrets taking Finn as her plus one. He’s still acting a little off.

“You do look really nice,” chimes in— Roma, she thinks— Bellamy’s plus one, a beautiful and leggy brunette. “That colour looks so good on you!”

Clarke glances down at her shimmery green dress. It is nice, she admits. It’s beautiful, in fact. But her mother gave it to her to wear specifically to this party; even though she’d wanted to go more reserved, her mother had insisted that it was important her daughter looked good tonight. And that alone makes it unworthy of praise in Clarke’s eyes. “Thanks.”

“That colour looks like vomit,” Bellamy comments helpfully. Clarke idly wonders why the planners have seated them at the same table.

“Be nice,” Roma chides him with a tinkly laugh, hitting his shoulder. He remains unrepentant, sipping his drink and raising his eyebrows challengingly at Clarke.

Clarke glances around, making sure none of the adults are around before replying, “Go to hell, Bellamy.”

Bellamy pretends to check his watch. “I’ve already been here for two hours.”

Wells, seated nearby Clarke, snorts into his creme brulee. Clarke remains unamused, shooting Wells daggers. He immediately smooths his expression into an almost robotically neutral one.

“At least it’s almost over,” Octavia remarks sullenly, sinking lower into her seat. Almost unconsciously, Bellamy and Clarke exchange concerned looks. She knows just as well as he how much the thirteen year old hates these functions.

“That’s true,” Finn remarks after a silence, trying to make conversation. “And I’ve never been to one of these things before. It was interesting though, in its own way, wasn’t it?”

There’s a long pause where no one answers.

Finally, Wells, not one to leave anyone in the dust, replies slowly in a way that seems almost painful to him to agree, “If you can look past all the bureaucracy, you could say these things are interesting. Hypothetically,” he adds thoughtfully. Clarke hid a grin.

Bellamy gives Wells a sceptical look. “What, because your dad got the citizenship award?” His tone implies exactly what he thought of that decision.

Bellamy,” Clarke scolds, a little defensively. “He did some good work this year.”

“But not three years ago when he was mayor and shooting down every proposal to inspect the pipeline in factory district,” Bellamy mutters, friendliness gone.

Clarke is left a little uncomfortable and irritated. Wells is her best friend, but she can’t argue with Bellamy. If Thelonius Jaha had taken the time to get the pipeline inspected, they might have all had warning for what was now regarded a historical disaster. A disaster that left Bellamy and Octavia orphans.

Bellamy mutters “whatever” and pours himself another drink. He really doesn’t look like he gives a shit about the conversation anymore, which is honestly a positive when it comes to his attitude about things.

Clarke silently turns to send her best friend a reassuring glance; he shrugs, looking unbothered. Wells doesn’t take it personally, of course, this thing against his father that a lot of people in town have. He just sighs and moved on. He’s a good person that way. He’s trying, always trying, to just keep the peace. He just isn’t the politician his father was and Clarke loves him for it.

Still, Bellamy is an ass for bringing it up. She settles on a heavy glare burning into his profile, but he either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care. Most likely the latter.

Luckily, Abby approaches the table before the silent antagonism between Clarke and Bellamy can reach critical levels (it’s happened more than once that they both have to excuse themselves from a function to have a shouting match in the hallway). She’s got a practiced politician smile set on her face, which doesn’t bode well. “Can we get everyone in a picture, guys?” she asks sweetly, beckoning towards the photographer. Clarke makes a face. Always about the publicity.

In any case, everyone at the circular table humors her and scoots closer together for the photo. Clarke slips on her own practiced smile which drops immediately after the flash.

They’re accosted afterwards by some of Abby’s colleagues.

“This is your daughter, Mayor?” exclaims a blonde councillor, coming up behind her. “Oh, she takes after you.”

Abby’s face stretches into a wide grin. “Doesn’t she?” Clarke makes a face at her mother. “Clarke, this is Diana Sydney. She’s new to the council but she’s going to do some really good work here, I can tell.”

“Nice to meet you,” Clarke says, smiling. Diana’s returning one is slick, a little more obviously practiced than Clarke’s.

“And you,” Sydney returns, and glances to Bellamy and Octavia. The way her eyes flicker over Bellamy a moment too long makes Clarke shudder internally. “And this must be your brother and sister!”

“He’s not my brother,” Clarke snaps at the same time Bellamy says, “She’s not my sister.”

It’s a sticky moment; Sydney’s brow furrows, and she’s looks like she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Abby’s mouth opens and closes a few times. Clarke knows she’s made a blunder. They’re not supposed to act like this in public.

Bellamy recovers first, adding, “Octavia’s my sister,” smiling widely, and reaching to hug her close. Octavia smiles too. Clarke smiles. Abby smiles through her teeth. They’re all fucking smiling. It’s insane.

“Right, of course,” Sydney finally says with her own awkward-looking smile. “I suppose three years isn’t quite enough to really get used to it.”

“That’s right,” Bellamy replies, but he sounds terse. Clarke folds her arms and looks up at the ceiling, fervently hoping it’ll open up and swallow her whole.

Abby claps her hands together suddenly, making them all jump. “Alright! Who’s up for more dessert?”

-x-

That’s life with Bellamy. Angry, awkward, confusing for reasons even she doesn’t understand. Whatever. She doesn’t care for him. And Bellamy doesn’t care for anyone outside of himself and his sister.

That’s what she tells herself, anyway.

-x-

She’s lying face down in her room, crying into the pillow when she hears creaking on the staircase.

She knows it must be Bellamy (Abby and Kane are at work and Octavia still at school), but today she can’t even bother herself to care if he sees her like this.

Sure enough, he throws open her door without ceremony. “Is your cell off? Loverboy keeps fucking calling the house phone every five minutes, either go screw him or tell him to do the job himself, I don’t really care which because he’s driving me up the fucking wall—” he stops when she doesn’t respond; at this point she usually tells him to turn around and try again by knocking because he has a serious problem. But she remains face down in her pillow.

His voice is curious now. “What’s up, princess?”

To her mortification, the word ‘Princess’ sets her off immediately. She bursts into a fresh set of tears.

There’s a pause and then she hears him drawing closer, voice with an edge of… concern? “Clarke?” And then he’s touching her shoulder.

“Go away,” she manages to say between hiccoughs, trying to push the sobs back into her chest because she really doesn’t want to give him fuel to mock her with later.

“What happened? Should I call your mom?” His hand is solid on the small of her back now, and it soothes her in its own way. She feels the mattress sink as he sits down on the bed.

She shakes her head mutely.

“Kane?”

“Fuck no,” she mutters into the pillow.

He barks out a laugh. Clarke almost- almost smiles into the fabric. It seems Bellamy’s callous language has crept up on her steadily over the years, and she finds suddenly she doesn’t mind.

“I’m fine,” she continues, voice still muffled.

“Really.” He sounds amused now.

“Mmhmm.”

“Then look at me.”

She squeezes her eyes shut tightly.

“Clarke.” His voice turns gentle, something she didn’t expect. In fact, she almost doesn’t believe it’s him speaking, so gentle as he sounds. So she lifts and turns her head slightly to see for herself.

His eyes are soft for once, and without his expression twisted into a sneer she can really fully appreciate his full lips and high cheekbones— wow, is she really doing this right now? She is so not doing this right now.

He quietly observes her puffy eyes and red-stained cheeks. “You’re not okay,” he summarizes.

She snorts then. The air that escapes her nose blowing a strand of her hair forward into her vision; noticing but not really registering the way his eyes follow its path. “Thanks for the tip.”

“What happened?” he asks again, sounding almost nonchalant.

She chews her lip, feeling tears gather in her eyes again, but suddenly she really wants to talk to someone. Not her mother, not Wells, not any of her friends.

No, she wanted to speak to someone who probably couldn’t care less. Someone who won’t judge her.

“Finn,” she says finally, voice sounding raspy even to herself.

He waits.

She goes on, swallowing. “He moved to Ark half a year ago and we’ve been together for most of that time... but remember that party you drove me home from, a while ago?”

“The one he ditched you at?” A muscle in his jaw twitches. “Yeah.”

“Well, that was Raven from New York flying in to surprise him,” she can’t keep the edge of bitterness from her voice, “with the news that she’s here to stay. And then she showed up at school, and kissed him on the mouth right in front of me.”

He continues to sound casual, but the hand still resting on the small of her back tenses. “If this happened at school why didn’t I hear about it?”

She rolls her eyes. “Maybe because you skipped today with Miller?”

“Right,” he says as if just remembering. She rolled her eyes. “Carry on.”

She picks at the loose thread on her pillow. “When Finn left New York, he and Raven were apparently going to do a long distance relationship,” she murmurs. “But they didn’t talk much. That’s what he told me, anyway. But they didn’t cut it off, either.” She looks up from the pillow to look at him and is surprised to find he’s watching her very intently, apparently hanging on to every word. “You should have seen the way she was looking at me, Bellamy. Like I was the bitch that stole her man. And the worst part is she’s right.” Her vision blurs with tears again.

“Or maybe Finn’s the bitch that two-timed the both of you,” Bellamy suggests.

She shrugs half-heartedly. “It doesn’t matter. It happened, and I feel…dirty. He made me feel dirty,” she whispers, admitting the real problem to herself.

He’s silent for a while, and she’s grateful for that. She doesn’t want to hear about how she isn’t the one to blame. She doesn’t want reassurances that won’t make her feel any better anyway. She just wants to be able to speak and have someone hear.

“I don’t really care,” he finally says, and it’s almost like he’s trying to convince himself more than her.

She glances at him, takes in the indiscernible look in his eyes, and decides she didn’t care either way; he’s served his purpose as a sounding board. “Fine.”

There’s a silence between them. Clarke notes that his hand hasn’t left its position resting on her lower back, and the realization makes her feel very warm for no reason at all.

The phone rings distantly again downstairs before the situation can get too awkward. Bellamy raises his eyebrows at her. “Are you going to tell him to fuck off, or what?”

She rolls her eyes, feeling a little bit better despite everything. “I’m not going to tell him anything. He’s not worth my time.”

He nods, almost approvingly, and starts to stand up. She misses the weight of his hand on her back “Then I am, because I’ve been dying to for ages,” he announces.

“Don’t say that,” Clarke says with a weak giggle.

“No,” he replies with a serious expression. “Of course I won’t.”

She lies back into her pillows as he leaves the room. And when she hears him pick up the phone downstairs and simply say, “Fuck off, Finn,” she has to slap a hand over her mouth to stop the snort from escaping. He slams down the receiver and his low chuckle can be heard from where Clarke Griffin lies silently shaking of laughter on her bed hours after having her heart broken.

-x-

And after that, they have something of an… understanding.

-x-

Despite that, Clarke Griffin’s heart is still fucking broken. So she’s unsurprised to find herself at Monty and Jasper’s house party later in the week, with plans of getting absolutely wasted while Wells sits beside her, looking distinctly uncomfortable.

“Lighten up,” she tells him, cracking open a bottle as they sit down on the couch amidst the partiers.

“Since when did you become an alcoholic?” Wells returns.

She scoffs, tipping her bottle back. “Don’t be so dramatic. I’m not an alcoholic.”

He continues to watch her wearily. “I don’t even remember a time that you went and got drunk two weekends in a row.”

“Well, I’ve had two shitty weekends in a row,” Clarke retorts. “This week, I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. Last week…” her voice dies away.

Now he’s curious. “Last week what?”

She takes another gulp of beer. “Nothing.” She’s not about to tell him that she walked in on Bellamy and Roma in a very R-rated situation at that last party, and was suddenly overcome with the urge to drink. She’d rather pretend that the two events were unrelated. “The point is, that life is shitty and I’ve come to accept it. You should too.” She offers him the bottle.

“You know I don’t drink.”

“Yet,” Clarke says in a sing-song voice, bringing the bottle back to her lips. He sighs and leans back. “I can’t believe you convinced me to come to this.”

“I know, parties suck, right?” says a new voice, and both of them turn their heads.

She’s brown and skinny and beautiful, and Clarke knows exactly who she is because the last time she saw her she was locking lips with Finn— Raven Reyes. And she looks decidedly drunk. Excellent. This should be sufficiently awkward.

When neither of them reply, Raven comes closer and shoves Wells in the shoulder. “Move.” He does, shifting to give her room to sit down. She sits in the most brazen way possible, swinging her legs over Wells’ lap. His eyebrows raise at Clarke in the universal ‘help me’ sign. She looks away.

“So, Clarke,” Raven says loudly, putting emphasis on the “K” sound, “We never really got a chance to talk earlier. How do you know Finn?”

Clarke suddenly wishes she were anywhere but here. “We’re friends,” she says shortly.

“That’s all?”

“Mhmm.”

“Bullshit.” When Clarke glances up with surprise, Raven snags the bottle from her fingers and takes a drink. “You two were banging.” There’s a pause and Clarke is still trying to gather her thoughts without panicking when Raven adds, “because my dick of a boyfriend didn’t mention to you he had a girlfriend from across the country.”

Clarke swallows. “I’m so sorry.” She is. It was true what she told Bellamy earlier; she feels dirty.

Raven shrugs. “Don’t be. Like I said, he’s a dick. And whether he supposedly meant to or not, he played us. Both of us,” she adds, indicating between then with one lazy finger. “I can’t believe I moved across the country for him.”

Wells finally spoke, sounding shocked. “You moved your whole life for a guy?”

“Oh, fuck off with the judgment,” Raven says with an eye roll. “He’s the only family I have. I grew up with him, and then he had to move. So I thought, you know what, I’ll make as much money as I can so I can afford to come over here and graduate with him. That’s what we said we’d do, you know. Graduate together. So that’s what I fucking did. Problem?”

“No,” Wells replies slowly, shooting Clarke a she’s-nuts look. Clarke shrugs.

“And now I’m here,” Raven adds after chugging what’s left of the drink. “At this sucky party. To get smashed and fuck someone who isn’t Finn.” Wells seems to take issue with her language if his wincing is any indication. Clarke doesn’t; she’s heard worse from Bellamy. Raven suddenly turns her head to scrutinize Wells with new eyes, gaze flitting up and down before she suddenly says, “You wanna fuck, Mr. Righteous?”

Wells emits something of a choking sound before forcibly removing her legs from his lap and standing up. “You know what, I’m going to get some air,” he tells a grinning Clarke, who can’t help but sort of like this girl.

“What, am I not hot enough for you?” Raven bellows after him.

“Not sober enough, more like,” Wells responds, and then he’s disappeared in the throes of the crowd.

Raven settles back into the couch. “Dick. Is he a dick?” she asks Clarke.

Clarke thinks about it. “Not really,” she answers honestly.

Raven’s already turned her attention to someone else. “Oh, never mind. I know who I wanna fuck now,” she says. Clarke follows her gaze, and lo and behold, Bellamy Blake is leaning against a doorframe talking to Miller, beer held loosely in his hand. Something in her gut tightens.

When Clarke doesn’t say anything, Raven turns her head to look at her. “Do you know him? What’s his name?”

Clarke doesn’t respond for a good minute. “Bellamy’s a real dick,” she finally says, suddenly wishing she had another drink in her hand. Because on any other day she might say that with vehemence, but today it just sounds half-hearted, after their last encounter. Bellamy’s gaze shifts and it’s like he heard her words from across the room, because his mouth quirks up and then he’s clapping Miller on the shoulder and approaching them. Raven sits up straighter as he walks closer. “God, he’s even hotter up close.”

(Clarke can’t agree more.)

“Clarke,” Bellamy greets Clarke when he gets to them, in his usual mocking tone. “And…” He cocks an eyebrow up at Raven.

“Raven,” she replies promptly.

Bellamy’s eyes turn to Clarke, and an understanding passes between them. “Raven,” he says slowly, still looking at Clarke. “Nice to meet you.” It almost ends up sounding like a question; Clarke knows it’s up to her to answer, to tell him that things are okay. She nods and shrugs so infinitesimally that anyone else might not see it.

Even she’s not sure what the exchange means, but it seems Bellamy gleaned something from it. He turns his wide smile on Raven.

A drunk Raven appears to have no time for niceties. “Clarke says you’re a real dick.”

He barks out a laugh at her bluntness. “She’s right.”

“Good,” Raven responds. “Finally, some transparency around here.” She stands up suddenly. “Wow, I need another drink. I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere,” she shoots at Bellamy.

He grins. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

When Raven disappears into the crowd, Bellamy collapses onto the couch next to Clarke and looks at her. She remains stiff, now perched on the edge of the seat. “How you holding up?” When she doesn’t respond, he sighs and hands her his beer. “That bad, huh?”

Clarke takes a large gulp without hesitation. “Unfortunately,” she says grimly. And then, it must be the alcohol because she normally wouldn’t disclose this: “Raven wants to fuck you.”

He’s quiet for a moment, which seems uncharacteristic. She might have thought he would grin, puff out his chest, etc. But instead, he looks like he’s thinking about something. “And?”

“And what?” Clarke snorts.

“Why are you telling me this?”

She doesn’t know why. “So you can decide whether you want to or not.”

“Should I?”

She snorts again, unattractively. What the hell kind of question is that? “Why are you asking me? Go fuck her for all I care.”

He ignores that. “You want me to?”

“Like I said, I don’t care,” she lies carelessly. “Fuck her, fuck everyone… you know what, fuck this entire world. Fuck Finn,” she says suddenly, feeling suddenly angry.

“I’m not really interested in fucking Finn.” She can hear the grin without looking at him.

“You know what I fucking meant.” She takes another gulp of beer. “God, I hate Finn.” She knows she doesn’t mean that; Bellamy does too. “Maybe I should fuck someone,” Clarke says suddenly. Maybe this is exactly what she needs; a new start.

He doesn’t say anything for a moment. “Who?”

She looks at him, and he’s staring at her far too intensely for her liking. Her eyes flit down to his mouth and back up before she swallows. “I don’t know.” Their gazes hold for a beat too long, and it’s uncomfortable because Clarke is this close to just leaning over and ending everything, but then Bellamy says quietly, “I could give some recommendations.”

The moment is over. She leans back. “What?”

“Oh, you know…” One of his eyebrows lifts. “We have the same taste in girls, Clarke. I mean, remember that one time— ”

“We don’t talk about that,” Clarke hisses at him. “And I still maintain that you hooked up with her to irritate me.”

“Did it work?”

“You’re such a— ”

“Clarkey!” A new voice sings out, and suddenly Clarke is being wrenched up by the forearm, met by the glazed-over eyes of one Jasper Jordan. “We’re playing Seven Minutes in Heaven, you have to come with us!”

“I— I don’t—” Clarke stutters, caught off guard.

“Back off, Jasper,” Bellamy advises, standing up as well. “She doesn’t want to play.”

Well, that does it. “I want to play,” she announces. Maybe this will be for the best. Hooking up with a stranger in a closet suddenly sounds like the best idea she’s heard this entire week. Bellamy sighs in the background.

Jasper grins. “That’s the spirit! Come on.”

Somehow Bellamy gets tugged along as well, and she’s not quite sure exactly how it happens but then they’re sitting down in the circle with a chorus of drunken “Mom and Dad!”s at their arrival. Clarke isn’t really sure how they somehow became “Mom and Dad”, but she has a feeling if Jasper, Monty, Miller, Harper and Fox all weren’t drunk they wouldn’t be saying it, and Bellamy definitely wouldn’t be tolerating it. She looks around and sees Raven and Wells also sitting at the circle. Wells looks distinctly uncomfortable.

The game starts and Clarke settles in to watch the gongshow. It starts out relatively good, with already-established boyfriends Monty and Miller making the best of their time in the storage closet; and then moves into murkier waters, pairing up Jasper and a stranger across the circle with wild black hair (they go in looking awkward and come out looking more awkward in the way only a random hook-up can do), and then Raven is matched with Wells (she nudged it a little bit in his direction, but no one is sober enough to care), and when they emerge from the closet Raven is complaining about how “the one time I want to fuck a stranger and I get stuck in a closet with a gentleman” but she doesn’t look all that bothered about it.

And then it happens. Clarke should have predicted it, really, with how the game was already progressing; her turn to spin the bottle comes, and it directs itself decisively, pointing at Bellamy.

He raises his eyebrow at her as soon as the bottle slows. There’s a collective “ooh” as soon as everyone realizes what just happened.

“Mom and Dad!” Jasper crows, throwing his hands up. “You’re up.”

Clarke is too overcome with shock to resist the hands shoving her and Bellamy into the dark space together; and then Jasper’s shutting the door with a cheesy wink and a “have fun in there!”, dropping the two of them into complete darkness.

They stand on opposite sides of the closet, and both have their arms crossed tightly over their chests. It’s silent for a few minutes, save for their breathing, too loud for the small space, and the dull thud of music in their ears. She’s just beginning to think that the whole seven minutes will pass uneventfully when he speaks.

“So,” Bellamy says. “Interested in making out?”

His tone is humorous, but it makes her feel tenser. “Don’t even joke about that.”

“Why?”

She doesn’t reply for a moment, choosing instead to take a long sip of beer from the can still in her hand. There are so many reasons why. Number one being that he sleeps just down the hall. “Because you’re an asshole,” she replies, but the words hold no fervor.

“Says the girl who replaced the orange juice with —”

“You’re still not over that?” Clarke huffs with amusement.

“It was fucking disgusting!” He sounds outraged, and she can barely make out his indignant expression in the dark. “I couldn’t even look at cheese for a week.”

He actually sounds distressed about this. Clarke hides a smile. Out of all the things they’ve done to each other, this is the thing that wrecked him. It’s hilarious, really; the mighty Bellamy Blake, brought down by a few boxes worth of Kraft Dinner flavouring. “Good.”

“Why do you hate me so much?” She hears the light tone in his voice, the mild amusement there, but for some reason she frowns and answers honestly, like it was posed as a serious question.

“I don’t,” is what flies out of her mouth, soft and sincere. Following those two words is a long beat of silence, and her eyes are adjusting to the dark now so she can see him blink slowly, several times, at those words, and his lips parting slightly. She thinks he’s going to make a joke out of it, and she’s mortified— she can feel the heat rising to her cheeks. But then she figures, before he can draw breath, that the least he can do in the light of this is give her is an honest explanation back. “Why do you hate me?”

She thinks it’s just her, but this closet feels like it just got a little smaller. Or maybe he’s gravitated closer. Either way, she can see his eyes glinting in the dark. They are definitely too close, so close that she can see the sudden solemness in his expression and feel the breath from his lips puffing against her cheek when he replies softly, “I don’t.”

“You don’t,” she repeats, and then his large hands are placing themselves far too deliberately on either side of her jaw, cupping her face with his warm palms. She tells herself she’s swaying on the spot suddenly because of the alcohol.

“Never,” he replies, voice ragged. And then, quite simply, his lips are on hers. Just like that— one moment, they’re staring at each other, and the next he’s leaned forward infinitesimally to press a kiss on her mouth.

It’s not what she expects, honestly. And if she’s being honest, she’s spent far too much time wondering what kissing Bellamy Blake is like. She never imagined anything like this.

It’s far too gentle, slow and patient a kiss. The way they stand with a distance between their bodies is far too innocent for this dark musty closet, it’s too gentle for what she would expect from Bellamy Blake, it’s too patient as if they’ve done this before, it’s too slow, it—

It feels like a lover’s kiss.

She wants more.

They part for a moment to breath, and it’s just a second of their eyes connecting as they both breathe heavily as if they just swam a mile in the ocean. And then she sees his eyes flicker back down to her lips and— oh.

She’s seen that expression before. When he’s reading his mythology books, or trying to cram for exams late at night at the kitchen table.

Focus.

His hands wrap around her waist suddenly, and then he pushes her against the back of the closet, causing coat hangers to clatter against one another at the disturbance, and kisses her again.

But now it’s fierce. It’s a little rough, the way his hands are suddenly flexing on her hips and then one of his hands slides under her thigh and hitches it up onto his hip. She gasps into his mouth. In response his lips trail away from her lips and she moans in protest, but he makes up for it when his teeth latch gently onto her pulse point and— oh. Her head falls back, hitting the closet wall with a dull thud. It’s too much sensation, and her hips roll almost helplessly into his. This time he groans into her neck, and then he’s kissing her again, hard and messy, and grinding into her fiercely, and she honestly feels like she’s about to combust.

She’s fumbling with the hem of his shirt when there’s banging on the closet door, making them both jump apart. “Thirty second warning!” Raven calls. “Get your pants back on!” She cackles distantly.

Clarke hardly hears. She’s too busy feeling overwhelmed by the tingling in her body and the intensity in his eyes and the singular thought what the hell was that running on repeat through her head.

He takes a step back, and heart leaping, she mindlessly tries to follow. His hand shoots out and lays on her shoulder, stopping her at a respectable distance.

“Stop,” he says, voice rough.

She’s confused. “I thought you wanted this.”

“Maybe.” He pauses. His eyes have shuttered off. “But you don’t.”

“Yes I— “

“You’re just broken up about Finn.” He sounds angry suddenly; not at her, she realizes, but at himself.

“I don’t care about Finn,” she shoots at him breathlessly, even as she smooths down her hair and straightens her shirt. “I don’t care— “

Stop,” he retorts, and it makes her reel backwards a bit, this desperate and pleading way he says it, as if he can’t handle it if she comes a step closer. “But he clearly broke your heart. And I don’t care to add to that. You’re drunk. Go home, Clarke.” He shakes his head and turns away, towards the closet door that will open any moment.

“What if I said even before Finn, I thought about you?” she asks to his back. He stiffens. “What if I said I’ve been wanting you for years?”

He takes a long time to reply, and when he does, his voice is completely even. “I’d say you wouldn’t be saying this at all if you were sober.”

I’m not dr— “ she begins angrily, but then the closet door opens and the harsh light of the room is stripping her of her confidence, the anonymity of darkness and closed doors, and she shuts her mouth.

At this point, they’ve both fixed themselves enough that it looks like nothing at all happened. They don’t look at each other when they leave the closet to the disappointed onlookers who see no evidence of the hot makeout session they were clearly all hoping for.

She doesn’t talk to Bellamy for the rest of the party. Rest of the week, actually. And when they do speak again, it’s with double the nastiness.

Because everything has changed. Again.

-x-

Finn comes up to her at school one day, while she’s at her locker.

“Do I have a chance with you again?” he asks, voice pleading. Clarke looks up at him, his beseeching gaze, and without her consent her eyes flicker down the hall to where Bellamy Blake is standing. She can’t quite explain how she can tell when he’s there, burning a hole into her head, but she can.

When he notices her looking, his eyes glance away, and he goes back to leaning against the wall, chatting up some girl.

A blonde girl.

She slams her locker shut with unnecessary force. “You broke my heart, Finn.”

And then she walks away.

-x-

Somehow, she and Raven become friends. It’s strange, she knows; and the whole school knows, too; she can practically see the collectively raised eyebrows of everyone in her class. It doesn’t make any sense.

And yet, it does. Raven is funny and smart and athletic and Clarke begins to like her. They start hanging out outside of class.

Clarke learns Raven is a pretty damn good mechanic, and that she makes money fixing cars. Clarke (shyly) shares her artwork with her, and she’s impressed.

-x-

The two of them are at a party one night.

Raven nudges her arm and nods to a brunette in the corner of the room, sulking. “That’s Lexa. Senior year. Recognize her?”

Clarke glances at the girl Raven’s nodding to. She’s pretty, of course, and with piercing green eyes. Definitely Clarke’s type. “And you’re telling me this because…?”

“Because,” Raven announces, stretching, “She’s been staring at you for the past fifteen minutes. She wants your D. Your metaphorical D,” she amends with a grin when Clarke gives her a look.

When Clarke doesn’t say anything more, Raven nudges her again. “Come on. You need to get over Finn somehow.”

“What about you?” Clarke shoots back.

“Let’s just say I’ve taken care of that already,” Raven replies with a wicked grin. Clarke idly wonders who fell prey to Raven’s charm. “With Bellamy. It was practically hate sex,” she adds quickly when Clarke’s mouth drops, incorrectly interpreting her shock. “Just to get over Finn, you know? I know, he’s an asshole, blah blah blah, and I’ll dismantle his shitty truck for you or something to make up for it, okay? But it’s your turn now.”

Well, clearly Bellamy hasn’t had any trouble moving on from— whatever they were. Which admittedly, even Clarke doesn’t know. And yet, she still feels betrayed somehow. But whatever. She’s here to move on.

So Clarke goes and says hello to Lexa.

And then she kisses Lexa.

And then she has sex with Lexa.

She thinks maybe that’ll be the end of it; but the thing is, she really likes Lexa.

So the next day, she asks her on a date.

-x-

Clarke brings Lexa home one day with her, and Bellamy sits up straighter.

He’s always been able to tell, somehow, unerringly, the difference between her platonic friends and her romantic conquests. She’s not sure what it is, but as soon as Lexa walks through the door, he sees it. And his eyes narrow.

Clarke tells herself she doesn’t care. She takes Lexa up to her room and they talk for a while and kiss for a while and she doesn’t care if Bellamy sees. In fact she sort of wants him to.

She doesn’t care. And neither does he.

-x-

She regrets it, sometimes. What she said to him, spilling all her feelings out in heartbreak. She hates to admit it but he was right— she never would have said what she did if alcohol hadn’t been warming her veins.

She knows she can’t have him. He sleeps two doors down the hall. And his sister, right next door. And that’s reason enough to leave it well alone.

But that doesn’t stop her heart from skipping a beat in those brief lapses in meanness, when he leans against the counter and laughs at something she says, and she can’t help but grin too, and she sees his eyes flicker down to her lips, and hers down to his, and then Octavia walks into the kitchen complaining about her homework and suddenly they’ve got mutual scowls etched into their features.

-x-

Bellamy’s eighteenth birthday comes and goes. There’s chocolate cake that night and Bellamy’s tipsy from earlier in the evening but he’s quite good at not letting it show. Octavia gives him a homemade card, Abby and Kane give him a book of Greek mythology. Clarke gives him a punch in the stomach because when they’re alone in the kitchen he asks conversationally if she’s still fucking Lexa. It’s an uneventful birthday.

The day comes and goes.

But he doesn’t leave.

-x-

Graduation for seniors at Ark Academy is eventful, to say the least. Bellamy puts his hat on top of his sister’s head and they both grin; Clarke makes accidental eye contact with him over Octavia’s brown hair and she immediately walks away towards where Lexa is standing, talking to one of her teachers.

She wraps her arms around Lexa’s waist from behind when the teacher walks away. “Congratulations, babe.” She kisses her cheek.

Lexa stills and then, to Clarke’s surprise, removes her hands from around her waist. “Clarke, we need to talk.”

“What?” Clarke asks, confused at the coldness in her tone, the way she’s shut off her expression as she turns around.

“I’m going to college across the country in a few weeks,” Lexa says, “And we won’t see each other. You realize that, right?”

Clarke swallows. She doesn’t like where this is going. “Well, yeah,” she replies, heart thundering. “But I didn’t think that was such a big deal, we’ll still be able to text and Skype and visit sometimes and—”

Lexa cuts her off. “I think we should end things.”

“End things?” Clarke echoes, feeling her heart plummet. “Break up? Lexa, why?” And here she’d been thinking things had been going so well.

“Long distance relationships don’t work,” Lexa says in monotone, folding her arms. She looks really pretty today, brown hair shining in the sun, eyes cloaked in black eye shadow. “It would be better for both of us if we just…cut it off.”

Clarke’s already shaking her head. “So that’s it? After everything, you’re done? I don’t get any say in this? Do you even care what I think?” Her words rise in volume, with a tint of hysteria. This can’t be happening.

Lexa observes the tears pooling in Clarke’s eyes in what seems an almost clinical way. But Clarke knows her. She sees the thin line of her girlfriend’s mouth. The tightening around her eyes, the tensing in her shoulders.

“I care about you. Continuing our relationship would only serve to hurt both of us. I’m doing this for you,” Lexa says, and then: “I’m sorry, Clarke,” is how Lexa parts, uttering the words softly and turning to walk away, back to her family. Leaving Clarke in the dust, standing alone in the grass between Lexa’s family and her own.

-x-

It’s late August, and Bellamy moves out. Clarke wouldn’t even know that at all, but she’s running down the stairs to meet Wells at the door when she bumps into his chest, reminiscent of many years ago.

He glares at her, and she notices he’s carrying a box tucked under his arm. “What’s that?” she asks curiously, forgetting to glare back.

His hand tightens on the edge of the box. “I’m leaving.”

She looks up at him, and it’s like her heart catches in her throat. “You’re— leaving?” she squeaks. “Where?”

He stares at her for a good moment, and Clarke thinks he might just be debating whether to tell her or not. Then: “I’m starting at Ark University this fall.” It’s a testament to how little they’ve spoken to each other the past few months that she doesn’t know that.

Her brow furrows. “But that’s not far—”

“I wanted to stay close to Octavia,” he interrupts. “But I also thought it was time to leave.” His words hold too many accusations, too much hurt, too many unanswered questions.

She answers one right there, crossing her arms. “You know, it would be a lot easier if you just stayed— “

“I don’t care,” he interrupts, voice frosty.

She recoils at the hardness in his eyes. “Well, I don’t care either,” she replies, and it sounds empty even to her. “Go. I’m glad.”

And she watches him go, brushing past her out the door past a confused looking Wells and to his truck, where she can see a pile of boxes growing. She feels her heart sinking inexplicably as she watches him set down the box.

When did things get like this?

-x-

“Clarke!” her mother yells up the staircase, months later. “Come down for dinner!”

Clarke has every intention of staying up here on her bed for as long as she can. She’s got a ton of homework to do and she’s trying to subtly hint to Finn, who keeps texting her, that she really doesn’t want to talk—

“Clarke!” Octavia shouts up the stairs as well. She sounds excited. “Bellamy’s here for dinner!”

After a moment, Clarke sighs and rolls off her stomach.

When she gets downstairs, Octavia is grinning ear-to-ear. “It’s been such a long time since we had dinner together,” she says happily, beckoning Clarke into the kitchen. She follows, trying to prepare herself.

As always, she can never quite prepare herself for the sight of Bellamy Blake. Those eyes of his always leave her strangely caught off guard. She halts involuntarily in the doorway, taking in his curly hair, a little longer than usual, the small amount of scruff growing on his face.

She’s suddenly aware she’s been studying him too long, especially when his lips begin to spread into his trademark mocking grin. “The beard doesn’t suit you,” she finally tells him to save face.

He seems to accept that as a reason. “Nice to see you too, pr— Clarke.”

Kane chuckles softly. “I was just telling him that the scruff makes him look more mature.”

“Well, he needs as much of that as he can get,” Clarke mutters, sitting down opposite.

Bellamy snorts. “I could say the same for you. Maybe you should grow a beard.”

Clarke smiles sweetly. “And I’d probably grow a better one.” Bellamy’s face drops into one of indignation and he opens his mouth to respond but he’s cut off.

“I can’t believe this,” Octavia exclaims suddenly with a giggle. “You two are literally so competitive that you’re arguing over who could grow a better hypothetical beard.”

Clarke admits it’s a little ridiculous with a conceding smile at the younger girl. But then again, their relationship has always kind of been.

The phone rings.

“I’ll get it,” Kane says, dropping his fork and waving down Abby as she rises up. “You keep enjoying dinner.”

Abby sits back down and turns to Bellamy. “It’s so good to have you here, Bellamy. Octavia and I were just talking the other day about how you don’t come by very often.”

Bellamy takes his time answering, sipping from a glass of water. “I’m sorry about that,” he says softly, but he’s looking directly at his sister, not Abby.

Octavia shrugs, trying her best to look unbothered. “It’s okay.”

Clarke knows she’s just making an effort to act strong. She and Bellamy exchange half-amused glances, and as soon as they realize what they’re doing, they look down quickly at their plates.

“Abby?” Kane calls from the other room. His tone is strange. “This is for you.”

Abby shoots the three of them an apologetic look. “It’s probably work. I’ll be right back.” All three of them know that it’s just as likely she won’t as she will. That’s always been her modus operandi. Clarke’s accepted that a long time ago (grudgingly), as she know Bellamy and Octavia have, by the way their mouths set.

“How’s college?” Octavia asks after a few minutes of silence and scraping cutlery on plates. “I mean, I know you’ve been texting me and stuff, but I feel like you’re leaving out the really good stuff.” Clarke is irrationally jealous that Bellamy doesn’t text her.

Bellamy shrugs noncommittally. “It’s busy, O. With all the studying and everything else, I hardly have time to shave.” At the smile she hears in his voice, she looks up; he’s grinning at her. Despite herself, she feels her own lips curve upwards.

And she admits to herself that she’s kind of missed him, to be honest. She’s missed everything about him. She’s missed the way he smiles, the way he laughs, the way he makes her laugh now and then, the way he can get under her skin in the best way, the smell of him lingering in the halls, his shampoo sitting in the shower, and even his fucking pranks. After the fact, she just misses everything about living with Bellamy Blake. Maybe it’s misplaced nostalgia, she doesn’t know. But it’s not the same thing as the way she has lived with Octavia, or her mother or Kane. It’s different with him. Always has been.

She’s this close to opening her mouth, letting those words fall out: I missed you. She can feel her heartbeat racing as soon as she decides to say it, and her eyes flicker up to his and she can tell he’s already realized she’s going to say something and he looks so expectant, ready for their usual banter but she can’t wait to surprise with him what she’s going to say—

Her mother reappears in the room, clutching the phone to her chest. “Clarke?”

All three of them look in her direction, at the odd tone of her voice. Kane is behind her, looking sombre.

“What?” asks Clarke, and she can’t explain it but there’s a bad feeling rising in the pit of her stomach.

“Something’s happened,” Abby says quietly.

Clarke’s already rising from her chair when her mother says it.

“It’s Wells.”

-x-

She can’t get over how pale he looked.

So pale and colourless despite his brown skin. When she saw him, hours ago being whisked off by nurses, she couldn’t stand the sight of him. She couldn’t stand the lifeless way his hand dangled off the side of the gurney as they pushed it down the hall.

“Wells!” Clarke had cried hysterically, trying to push past the doctors in her way. “Wells!”

Another arm pulled her back— her mother. “He’s going into surgery right now,” Abby said into her ear tersely. “Don’t make a scene.”

Now, Clarke is sitting in one of the chairs in the ER waiting room, her mother on one side and Bellamy on the other. Kane stayed home with Octavia. Thelonious Jaha is not sitting; he’s pacing the room aggressively, eyes manic. Clarke can’t blame him.

She glances to her right. Bellamy is staring at the ground, tapping his foot. Clarke isn’t entirely sure why he came along. She never thought he really cared for Wells. She turns to her left.

“What happened?” she asks her mother. “What fucking happened?”

“Don’t swear,” Abby automatically chastises.

Clarke gives her mother a look. Abby gets it.

“He was stabbed,” Abby says quietly.

Clarke wipes an angry tear from her eye. “Obviously. Why?”

“They think whoever did it was trying to get to Thelonious,” Abby replies quietly. “Do you know what day it is, Clarke?”

She’s not sure. She’s not sure what her own last name is right now, actually.

Abby answers her own question. “It’s the anniversary of the pipeline explosion incident.” Beside Clarke, she can see Bellamy’s shoulders stiffen upon hearing that. “They think it might have been an act of revenge by someone affected by the explosion.”

“So they don’t know who it is?” Clarke asks.

“Not yet.” When Clarke doesn’t say anything, Abby adds, “Don’t worry, Clarke. They’ll find who did this.”

Clarke isn’t sure she feels comforted by that.

It’s a while later when the nurse comes out and speaks to Thelonious quietly. Clarke jumps up. “Is he out of surgery? Is he going to okay?” she asks. The nurse glances at Thelonius and he nods at her quietly. His own eyes are full of tears.

“He’s going to live, Clarke,” he says, voice trembling. “He’s just resting now. He’ll live.”

Clarke claps her hands over her own mouth, feeling tears resurging to her eyes. She feels Bellamy coming up behind her, and he places one hand on her back. It’s soothing in a way she doesn’t normally associate with him. But she appreciates it.

They get to see Wells; he certainly looks peaceful, even though he’s hooked up to machines and with tubes everywhere. She can hardly see her best friend through all the stuff they’ve wrapped him in.

She holds his hand— he’s hot to the touch. She cries a little bit and chants his name over and over, and through it all she feels Bellamy’s hand on her back, now rubbing slow circles into her skin over her sweater, and it feels like the only reason she doesn’t fall over completely in her overwhelmed state.

She’s sitting in the chair beside Wells later, and her head is drooping a little bit when Abby says, “I think it’s time you go home for the night, Clarke.”

Her head immediately shoots up and she’s alert. “No. I’m staying with him.”

Abby huffs at the certainty in her voice and walks out of the room, where she knows that Bellamy is standing outside drinking coffee.

“Bellamy, take her home,” she hears Abby say.

There’s a pause before Bellamy speaks. “What about you?”

“I’m going to stay with Thelonious while he talks to the police. He needs someone right now. Take Clarke home.”

“I don’t think she wants to go home,” Bellamy says slowly.

“She doesn’t have a choice. There’s nothing more she can do here.”

“She wants to stay with Wells,” Bellamy retorts, and Clarke is kind of amazed that he’s sticking up for her. “That’s her best friend in that bed. Maybe there’s nothing she can do for him, but staying with Wells can do something for Clarke.”

There’s a silence. Abby appears to be mulling it over. Then:

“Take her home, Bellamy.”

“Abby— “

She cuts him off, voice frosty. “Take her home or I will. Your choice.”

Clarke definitely does not want to go home with her mother. Maybe Bellamy knows that, because seconds later he’s appearing around the corner with an inscrutable expression on his face. “I’m taking you home,” he says shortly, and his tone is flat as usual, as if he doesn’t care at all. Gone is the argumentative tone that she overheard a minute earlier.

She thinks about denying him, but then she realizes how tired she is. So then she’s pushing herself out of the chair and following him out to his car after one last glance at Wells through the door.

“Need a ride, princess?” Bellamy asks when they clamber into his truck, tone light.

She half laughs even though she can’t feel anything but empty right now. He never calls her princess anymore, and it hits her suddenly that it must be because of Finn. “Just don’t take me home.” She doesn’t want to be there right now, where it’s cold and lonely and she’ll be sitting on the couch all night wondering about Wells.

He accepts that. “Where to, then?” She doesn’t respond for a good minute, just thinking. He presses further. “Want food? I think there’s a twenty four hour McDonald’s just up the road. Or— “

“Your place,” she responds softly. He’s surprised; she can tell by the way he grips the wheel tighter. There’s an insinuation in those two words she’s uttered that he’s trying to shake.

“Not so sure if that’s a good idea.” His voice is terse.

She turns her head to look at his clenched jaw and confirms any suspicions he has. “Do you believe me right now when I say I’m in my right mind?”

“You’re grieving,” he replies.

“Wells isn’t dead,” she snaps. “In fact, they say he’s stable. I just want a distraction.”

“A distraction,” he echoes dully. “And you want me to be the distraction.” It’s not a question; it’s something that’s never really quite been in question. It’s a statement.

“And you want me,” Clarke takes a gamble on saying. It’s not framed as a question, either. He answers it anyway with the way his eyes dart towards her and then back to the road. “Besides, I thought you didn’t care?”

His jaw works at the words spat back into his face. He takes the next left. Clarke knows it leads to his place. She’s glad.

She’s tired of fighting against her feelings for him. She doesn’t want them, but she’s ready for a solution. To place those feelings into a box that she can actually identify.

She settles back in the seat.

When they get there, he’s barely closed the door behind him when Clarke tries to kiss him. He lets her, but his own lips are listless, uninvolved. In frustration, she seizes a fistful of his hair and tugs his head down at a better angle. He lets her, but he’s still not reciprocating, and her eyes blur with angry tears.

“Kiss me back,” she demands after parting for a moment.

He regards her with sad-looking eyes that he really has no right to turn on her. “No,” he says softly.

“Kiss me,” she repeats, and it sounds like begging. Something occurs to her. “Do you not...want to?” she asks uncertainly.

He shuts his eyes tightly for a moment at that. “I do.”

“Then what are you waiting for?”

He replies with another question. “You realize that you’re crying right now, right?”

She swipes at the tears running down her face absentmindedly with the back of her hand. “It’s nothing. Why do you care? I told you, this doesn’t mean anything to me,” she lies. “I just want a distraction.”

“I don’t want to be a distraction,” he replies.

She presses herself closer to him, and feels a part of him react to her close proximity. The rest of him doesn’t, save for the hands at his sides balling into fists. She leans in and bites his earlobe. “I thought you said you didn’t care,” she whispers into his ear, and she feels him shudder. “Are you saying that you do care about how I feel?” She leans back to cock an eyebrow up at him.

“Maybe.” She watches, mesmerized, as his Adam’s apple bobs when he swallows. “Or maybe it’s about me caring how I feel.”

She stares at him, trying to understand what that’s supposed to mean, when he gently puts his hands on her shoulders and pushes her away from him. She goes with him. And he leads her to the bed (neatly made, as always with Bellamy) and quietly tells her to get some rest. She doesn’t lie down. She just stands there, looking down at his bed; and when the bedroom door clicks shut behind him, she lets her head fall into her hands and she cries.

And when she falls into bed and buries her nose into his pillow (it smells like him), it’s with the ever-growing respect for Bellamy Blake, and the silent vow that one day, when she’s not drunk or driven mad with grief, she’ll tell him how she feels.

-x-

Clarke expects that the attempted murderer will be caught. What she doesn’t expect, is that Bellamy would be a suspect.

Clarke finds that out when she accidentally overhears an argument Thelonius Jaha is having with her mother. She can’t help but lurk, curious as to what they’re talking about. And then she’s shocked. Because Jaha is blaming Abby for not having a better handle on those kids from the hood she took in.

Clarke is furious.

Abby later tells her to be cautious of Bellamy, and that’s the last straw. She whips around to look at her mother. “You can’t seriously tell me you think it was Bellamy.”

She watches Clarke solemnly. “We don’t know that, Clarke. It could have been. No one knows where he was today, he wasn’t in class, he wasn’t on campus— so far he doesn’t have a solid alibi.”

“A solid— “ Clarke scoffs and shakes her head. “An alibi? Mom, you adopted them. Aren’t you supposed to have faith in him?”

“He’s lived here three years. Maybe we don’t know him as well as we thought,” Abby reiterates. “I’m not saying he definitely did it, Clarke, but we have to let them investigate.”

Clarke can do nothing but continue shaking her head in disgust. “You took them in to win your mayoral campaign, and now that that’s all over, you don’t care what happens to them?”

“I care what happens to him,” Abby protests.

“No,” Clarke shouts. “You don’t. You’re always too busy with the job that taking them in got you!”

Abby glares, folding her arms. “Like it or not, the Blakes would have been in far worse hands if it wasn’t for me. We did the right thing.”

Clarke takes a step forward, into her mother’s face. “You did the right thing for the wrong reasons,” she hisses. “That doesn’t absolve you of guilt.”

She’s walking away when she hears her mother’s voice, and it’s small. “Is that really what you think of me?”

Clarke takes her time answering. She’s never heard that regretful tone of voice from Abby before. “It’s what I know,” Clarke says clearly, and walks out of the room without a second glance.

She’ll apologize later.

-x-

She goes to visit Wells the next day. He’s awake now, and trying his best to crack as many bad jokes as he can in order to stop Clarke from ‘flooding the room with tears and drowning them both’, and she laughs and hugs him gently as she can in order not to hurt him any further.

“Do you know who it was?” she asks quietly, at some point.

He shrugs. “No. They stabbed me in the back. Literally. And it’s all kind of a blur. The police already grilled me on this, you know,” he smiles at her. “I don’t know who it was.”

She smiles back but she’s thinking hard. “Okay.”

-x-

He opens the door after three knocks.

Bellamy seems to be a little surprised to find her standing there at his apartment door, hands stuffed into pockets of her peacoat, expression drawn tight. But he lets her in.

As he closes the door behind them, Clarke tries hard not to think about what happened the last time she was here.

“Why are you here, Clarke?” he asks gruffly behind her. She doesn’t answer for a good moment; she’s looking around, taking in the papers on the desk, the open books, the furniture, the everything about the space he lives in that she didn’t take in the last time she was here.

“Wells is awake,” she informs him after a few moments. “Totally lucid, even cracking bad jokes and everything.”

“Don’t care,” he responds offhandedly, and she rolls her eyes to the ceiling.

She finally turns and gets out what she wanted to say. “Thelonious pointed you out as a possible suspect of stabbing Wells.” Her own voice is detached as she says it.

She’s watching him very closely, though, so the way he blinks slowly is the only indication that he’s shocked by this. “What?”

She shrugs. “That’s what they’re saying. Because you have no alibi or something.”

His jawline tightens. “That’s what they think? That’s what Abby thinks?”

Clarke shrugs. “She thinks maybe.”

“Maybe what?” he growls. “Maybe I tried to murder Jaha’s son because his father is the reason my mother is dead?”

Well, he hit the nail on the head. “What is it about that that bothers you?” she inquires curiously. “The fact that you’re a suspect, or that Abby and Kane and Thelonius suspect you after all this time of knowing you?”

The way his eyes flash murderously tells her all she needs to know.

“I don’t care what they think,” he tells her coldly, folding his arms.

“Is that right?” she asks mockingly, because suddenly she’s angry with him and she doesn’t even know why. “You don’t care that she thinks you might be a murderer?”

“I don’t care,” he repeats indifferently with a sardonic smile at the ceiling.

She’s not having it. Not this time. She’s done. “Who are you trying to convince, me or you?”

“Fuck off.” His words hold no venom, just tiredness.

Clarke takes a step closer. “But I know you, Bellamy.”

He watches her wearily and she continues.

“You want everyone to think you don’t care,” Clarke declares. “But you do, don’t you? You care more than anyone would be able to believe. That’s what scares you.”

He still says nothing, but the muscle ticking in his jaw tells her she’s hit a nerve. She goes on.

She leans in further. “I think it scares you that you care so much about people who aren’t Octavia.” She takes a deep, shaky breath. “It scares you that you care about what people think. It scares you that you care about Miller and Raven and Wells and— I think it scares you that you care about me.” He is so silent at that, almost not seeming to breath, that a flicker of doubt goes through her. “You— you care about me.” It ends up sounding like a question instead of the steadfast statement she’s been trying to make.

He releases a shaky breath, glaring now. “Obviously I care about you, Clarke.”

She steps right into his space, heart thundering. “Yeah?” He doesn’t back down, and she doesn’t even try to stop her gaze from flickering down to his lips before rising back to his eyes. “Be more obvious.”

One moment he’s glowering at her with something like hatred but when he suddenly moves forward, crushing his lips against hers, Clarke realizes it’s just the opposite.

The kiss has a searing fire to it, but there’s a steady burn underneath; his lips are hard and insisting, but the way he cradles her face with his hands like she’s precious, strokes her cheeks with his thumbs, is so touchingly soft. In turn, she winds her hands into his silky hair (god how she loves his hair) and pulls him down further.

When they part for air, they’re both breathing rapidly. They don’t get too far, mere inches between them.

“Do you believe it?” His voice is raspier than usual, and his eyes aren’t hard anymore; he’s stripped bare in front of her, undone. His hands are trembling a little bit on her face.

“That you tried to murder my best friend?” she asks shakily, looking directly into his eyes. “Not a chance.”

His eyes melt. That’s the only way to explain his expression when he hears the surety in her voice. She goes on.

“You may be a total ass half the time,” she says, “but I know you, Bellamy. You’re a good person.” If there’s one thing she knows, after everything, it’s that.

This time he leans forward quite deliberately to drop a chaste kiss on her lips. It’s quite a different kiss than the one that just occurred; it’s almost a thank you, in its own strange way. And then he leans his forehead against hers and they both try to just catch their breath.

“Thank you,” he says softly. “For believing in me.”

“You want to thank me?” Clarke retorts, her hand curling around the back of his neck. He nods at her.

She’s tired of playing games. She leans forward and captures his earlobe between her teeth, biting down lightly like she did on that other night. She hears his sharp intake of breath. She lets go and whispers into his ear, in her most throaty, raspy voice, “Then fuck me.”

His hands tighten on her waist and there’s silence for a split second.

She hears him growl, “Yes ma’am,” and then her back is being slammed against the wall and his entire body is pressing against her. She gasps at the sensation; his hands fall to her hips, and they’re gripping her hard, flexing on her skin before falling even further to her thighs and hoisting her up. She follows his lead, hooking both her legs around his waist. He presses her even further against the wall, and even as he kisses gently at her throat, he’s pulling her against his front roughly.

She shudders at the friction, and when he smiles into her skin and does it again she tries to follow his lead, tries to arch her back into it. But his hands on her hips slam her back into the wall, keeping her back straight. She tries again, but she realizes quickly that he’s definitely doing it on purpose, keeps forcing her back at the wall with his hands every time she tries to get closer. He’s rolling his hips into hers at his own maddening pace and it infuriates her and at the same time it’s making her burn in the most delicious of ways.

She moans into it and it seems to undo him a little bit. He unleashes something of a growl from the back of his throat and now his lips are back on hers, and he’s licking straight into her mouth, hot and dirty.

She didn’t know she could feel any more turned on than she already was, but there you go.

She pulls at his shirt and clumsily with his help, manages to get it over his head. And then she doesn’t even know where to look. She’s aware of how hungry her gaze is as she takes in all the skin she’s uncovered, and then she hitches her legs higher onto his waist and rakes her her fingernails lightly down his bare back. And when he ruts against her again it hits a whole new angle, making her cry out. “Bellamy,” she moans, and it falls from her lips like a plea.

The next thing she knows, she’s being pushed gently into his bed, into the sheets that smell like him and she’s suddenly aware that they’re both wearing most of their clothes which seems impossible considering how wound up she feels.

“Clarke,” he returns in a rasp. It sounds like question.

“Yes,” she manages to get out. “Yes.”

“You sure you’re not drunk or emotionally compromised?” he asks against her collarbone, and she swats his arm.

“I am very awake, functional and capable of making choices right now,” she tells him, and finally he believes her.

Indeed, she is totally aware of what this means when they relieve each other of their clothes, garments flying everywhere in their haste.

She’s fully alert when he drags her underwear down her legs with his teeth.

And when he finally sinks into her and they both sigh, she’s never felt more alive.

-x-

They’re lying in his bed later when he speaks again.

“My mother.”

She turns her head at his tone of voice. “What?”

He’s staring up at the ceiling. “I went to visit my mom’s grave,” he says quietly. “I do it every year. Buy flowers and everything.” He scoffs. “Cheesy, I know. But that’s what I do. Every year on that day, by myself. That’s why I have no solid alibi.” When she says nothing, he swallows and goes on. “I just want her to know that I’m still alive and me and Octavia are…you know…reasonably happy. I think she deserves to know that, even when she’s not here anymore. I know that makes no sense.” He chuckles and shakes his head.

Clarke watches his profile for a moment before saying quietly, “It makes sense to me.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” she replies, because now she’s thinking about her dad and how he’s long gone, and yet she too would like him to know that she’s still alive and here and reasonably happy. “It’s kind of beautiful.”

He smiles and pulls her in, tucking her right into his side. “You’re kind of beautiful.”

“Kind of?” Clarke repeats with a sleepy smile, snuggling a little closer into his body heat. “You want to try that again?”

He chuckles. He doesn’t respond for a long time, but when he does whisper into the darkness Clarke’s already drifted off and she’s not sure if she’s already dreaming.

“You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”

-x-

Clarke wakes up to a text from her mom: They found who did it— call me.

It’s the second best thing she could have woken up to that morning.

The first best thing is Bellamy, spooning her from behind and nuzzling his face into the back of her neck.

-x-

Things are different again. They don’t tell anyone, though.

But Bellamy comes by a lot more, even when Octavia isn’t around the house, and the antagonism has faded exponentially. Clarke’s fairly certain that Abby and Kane and Octavia have noticed it, if she’s going by the raised eyebrows that she sees after she tells Bellamy “Thanks,” when he passes her the salad and he smiles at her in response.

Oh yes. They’re the picture of a platonic friendship.

And if he fingers her once in a while against the bookcase in her bedroom with a hand clamped over her mouth, well, that’s really got nothing to do with it.

-x-

Wells comes by for the first time since he’s been discharged from the hospital and he and Clarke lie on her bed for hours, just talking. Wells tells her Bellamy said he was glad to see him back on his feet and that it creeped him out, and Clarke just laughs because Bellamy cares so much it’s ridiculous.

-x-

The person who stabbed Wells is a twelve year old girl named Charlotte. From what Clarke is told, her entire family died in the pipeline explosion and she thought killing Wells would take away the nightmares.

In any case, they say she’ll remain in state custody and maybe move into rehabilitation programs if she’s convicted.

Clarke doesn’t know how to feel about it, and if the way Wells’ mouth twists down at the information is any indication, he feels the same way.

-x-

One night, all three of them, Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia are hanging out in Clarke’s room, playing Monopoly because for some reason O loves that game. When Octavia finally retires to bed after several reprimands from both Abby and Bellamy, Clarke expects him to leave immediately. It’s quite late at night, after all.

He doesn’t.

He helps her clean up the game, and they talk for a while. Mundane things, mostly. When Bellamy goes to put the board game on the shelf, he ends up picking something else. “What’s this?”

She turns around and instantly blushes; it’s an old sketch of hers, back before she even knew the Blakes. It’s white chalk on black card paper, a sketch of the Earth as she imagined it from space. “It’s shitty, that’s what,” she snorts, marching up to snatch it from him and put it back on the shelf, this time face down.

He picks it up again and stares at it. “I didn’t know you were so good at art.”

“I’m not,” she mutters.

He looks up at her. “How is it that I’ve been in your life four years and I didn’t know you were an artist?” He sounds disbelieving.

She smiles, a little self-deprecating. “We didn’t exactly spend our time together talking about ourselves.”

“Yeah, we just argued a lot, didn’t we?” He looks to be mulling it over as he stares at her artwork. “That’s all we did. For no reason.”

“How much time did we lose?” she wonders aloud, and she feels it in her heart, a pang of something like regret over all the time they could have had to get to know each other that she thinks they’re just discovering now.

“Nothing that we can’t make up,” Bellamy says, and is it just her or is his voice a little raspier than usual? He slowly puts the piece of black paper down on the table, and she’s suddenly mesmerized by the way his tongue darts out to lick his bottom lip.

He takes a step closer and Clarke feels her own lips part in anticipation.

He’s going far too achingly slow for her, so she reaches out and winds her arms around his neck, drawing him closer. His hands close around her waist as if it’s the most natural thing to do.

Their faces drift closer, patient, as if they’ve got all the time in the world. When their noses bump against each other, Clarke tilts her head slightly in expectation, lips parting slightly.

The door opens just as Bellamy smoothly takes a large step back.

Abby pokes her head through the doorway. “Bellamy? You’re still here?” She sounds surprised. “What are you two doing at this time?”

Clarke is incapable of speech at this moment. She’s certain there must be a flush on her cheeks giving away to everyone in the world that she’s romantically involved with Bellamy Blake.

“I was just leaving,” Bellamy replies, and Clarke feels the loss of him for every step away from her he takes. He pauses at the door, though, and his eyes are piercing. “I’ll see you later, Clarke.”

“See you,” echoes Clarke in a squeak. It’s then that she notices the curious expression on her mom’s face at her tone. “Hopefully not too soon, asshole,” she adds quickly, and watches the curiosity drop off Abby’s face and an eyeroll take its place.

She hears Bellamy laugh as he walks down the hallway. “Feeling’s mutual.”

Oh, it certainly is.

-x-

Some days of pretending they are nothing to each other are more difficult than others.

The CEO of the corporation that owns the pipeline running through Ark City comes to town, and Abby invites him over to a dinner with the family. That means everyone is in their best attire, and Clarke is wholly unprepared for the sight of Bellamy Blake in a white dress shirt and crisp black pants. She’s not sure why her heart rate kicks up at the sight of him all freshened up— she’s seen him like this many times before, but this is the first time she has since they…well, started hooking up. And when he rolls up his sleeves to his elbows in the middle of his easy “hello” to her, she feels like she’s about to combust and has to quickly turn away to hide her mortification.

Maybe she’s just particularly horny today. Yes, that must be it.

“It’s so nice to finally meet the Mayor of Ark City,” Dante Wallace says with a wide smile as they all sit down. “And her wonderful family, of course.” He looks in Clarke’s direction and she smiles back.

Octavia and Abby sit down at the heads of the table; Kane and Wallace on one long side. Clarke and Bellamy sit down beside each other on the side across from them, and she’s taking great care not to look at Bellamy. She thinks her mouth might start watering if she does.

She’s wound so tight, in fact, that a few minutes into idle chit chat over dinner when his hand brushes her arm on its way to the water jug she actually jumps a little.

“Whoa,” he says in an undertone, and it goes unnoticed by the adults, as engaged in their own conversation as they are. “Why are you so uptight today?”

“I’m not uptight,” she practically spits at him.

He sounds a little affronted at her tone. “Then why…” His fingers are brushing against her waist under the table, and she jerks a little away from him and reaches for her water glass because she’s feeling too hot right now. His voice dies away and she can almost hear the cogs turning in his head as he stares at her.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” he says finally, and even though she’s not looking at him she can hear the smug grin widening on his face. “You’re turned on, right now?”

She slams her glass down. “I’m not,” she hisses.

“You’re so horny. Jesus.” His quiet tone could almost be classified as wondrous if she couldn’t hear the undercurrent of playful mocking.

‘I’m not,” she insists, and when he continues grinning, she snaps, “in fact, you’re not attractive to me at all.”

He scoffs, but before he can get a word in edgewise, the argument is broken by Wallace.

“So, Clarke,” the older man says, setting down his fork momentarily. Clarke snaps to attention immediately, sweet smile back in place. “Your mother’s told me quite a bit about you.”

Clarke opens her mouth to answer when she feels Bellamy’s hand place itself quite deliberately on her thigh under the table. She side-eyes him briefly, wondering what he’s up to.

“Has she?” she asks Wallace, while shooting Bellamy a hard look. He’s not looking at her, though; he’s staring down at his plate and munching on a piece of steak as if he doesn’t have a care in the world.

“I have,” Abby says, but Clarke barely hears what she says next because suddenly the hand slips further, over her leg and to the inner thigh. She suddenly feels very warm. Unconsciously (and to her immediate horror), she shifts her body closer to his hand, scooting up in her chair until his large palm is flat on her center overtop her panties.

She desperately tries to scoot back, but his hand so gently follows and curls between her legs. She feels heat rising to her cheeks when she feels one of his fingers slip past the thin fabric.

As he slowly begins a torturous rhythm, she can feel sweat pooling on her lower back. She tries to tune back in to what Wallace is saying.

“Quite the star high schooler you’ve been, Ms. Griffin,” he’s saying, steepling his fingers and offering a smile again. Clarke smiles a horribly fake one in return. She’s too busy fighting the strong urge to roll her hips against Bellamy’s hand to care. “Perfect GPA, president of the Student Association— “ Bellamy’s palm suddenly moves, grinding down straight into her heat. She can’t help but make a little gasping sound but at the last second manages to disguise it as a cough, reaching for her glass of water with a slightly trembling hand. If he keeps this up and she can’t control it, this dinner could get horribly awkward very fast.

And yet, she doesn’t look at Bellamy. Doesn’t tell him to stop.

Wallace is still going. “— National level debater, artist and avid community volunteer. How do you do it?”

Everyone turns to Clarke for an answer. She isn’t sure she can even form words right now; all her focus is on that large hand between her legs at this moment. She takes another long drink of water before replying, and perhaps Bellamy takes pity on her because his hand quite suddenly removes itself, trailing back to her thigh and leaving a burning sensation in its wake. She clears her throat, fighting back disappointment.

“It— it’s just a matter of managing your time right,” she manages to utter, and is proud of the fact that she doesn’t sound as jelly-like as she feels at this moment. “If you enjoy doing something, you can find the time to do it.”

“What an excellent answer,” Mr. Wallace remarks with a chortle.

Abby beams at her, satisfied for once. Meanwhile, Bellamy has totally removed his hand from her, and now that the conversation turned to other topics, she glares daggers at his profile. Really? He’s as just going to leave her all hot and bothered now?

“So, Bellamy,” says Wallace. “Abby tells me you’re attending Ark University. What are you studying?”

As Bellamy begins to speak, Clarke has a devious thought.

Under the table, she lifts her foot and trails it down his leg, rubbing her bare leg slowly down his. It’s a lot more difficult to see the flush that graces his browner features, and he answers the questions gracefully, if with large pauses between words.

As much as she’s enjoying watching him squirm and bolt down copious amounts of water, it’s honestly backfiring. Seeing him turned on is just getting her all that much more riled up.

God, she’s so hot she needs to be out of here right now—

Fantastic steak, Abby, I must say,” Wallace remarks, dabbing at his mouth delicately with the cloth napkin.

Abby beams. “There’s more to come.” She looks between Clarke, Bellamy and Octavia. “Can someone get the dess—”

“I’ll get it,” Clarke and Bellamy say simultaneously, their chairs scraping back against the wooden floor at the same time. Abby raises her eyebrows but says nothing. She can’t, really, not with their guest here. Kane and Octavia are looking at them oddly as well.

After a pause, Abby says, voice syrupy sweet, “One of you get the pie and one of you get the ice cream from the freezer downstairs, will you?”

Clarke nods jerkily and strides out of the room. She wonders if her gait looks a little off to the people watching her go.

Bellamy is close behind her, body heat radiating.

She chances a look over her shoulder when they’ve rounded the corner and the lazy conversation behind them has resumed. His hands are in his pockets, and there’s a hooded look to his eyes as he trails behind her. “You get the pie,” she tells him nonchalantly. “I’ll get the ice cream.”

She holds her breath for his response, but he just nods and disappears into the kitchen without a word. She’s not sure if she’s really relieved or not.

Down in the basement, she opens the freezer and nearly bends her body halfway in to grab the ice cream from the bottom. She keeps her head there, feeling the cold wafts of freezing air for a good few moments before withdrawing completely. As soon as she closes the lid, she finds herself shoved against it.

She recognizes his rapid breathing “You got the pie?” she asks without turning her head, and she’s proud of how steady, how mocking she sounds.

“Stop teasing,” he says, voice ragged.

“You started it,” she retorts, and rolls her hips back, rocking into him. His head tips forward onto her shoulder and he lets out a muffled groan against her skin.

“Gonna fucking kill me, Clarke,” he mutters, and when she rocks back again he matches her with his own hips, grinding into her ass. They both groan simultaneously at that. His hands tighten on her hips before quite suddenly spinning her around; and then he’s kissing her, so ferociously she is bent back by the force of it.

She meets the kiss just as passionately, because damn that part of her that the freezer had cooled is already thawing. She snakes her arms around his head and pulls at his hair; he hitches her leg up on his hip and tips her all the way back so that she’s lying on the freezer top. Then he breaks from kissing her to grab her legs in both of his hands and hook them around his shoulders.

Oh. Oh. She can get on board with this, she thinks dazedly as he leans back down between her legs to kiss her.

The angle they’re at, with her legs around his shoulders and him leaning down, makes for a very interesting sensation in which her skirt hiked up and his his torso pressed up right between her legs. The friction makes her whimper into his lips helplessly.

He stills, head pulling away. “Clarke?” His voice is raspier than usual. “Is this okay?”

She almost sobs because after the last half hour she needs him so badly right now. “Yes, yes it’s okay,” she reassures, not able to help the way her eyes flitted down to where she’s trapped him with her legs.

His confusion is replaced with a smug understanding. “What was it you were saying during dinner, Princess? Something about me not being attractive to you?”

Clarke is so past this. “Just go down on me already,” she hisses, because if the conversation stalls upstairs her mother might start wondering what’s taking so long. “And be quick.”

“Bossy,” he murmurs, but he’s already dropping onto his knees and dragging her panties down her legs. Then his gaze returns to her, unwavering, and she felt self-conscious until he grinned. “Well, don’t worry, because this won’t take long.”

“Fuck off,” she snaps breathlessly, propping herself up on her elbows to watch, and she feels him laugh into her inner thigh.

-x-

“That took you two a while,” Abby remarks when they returned.

Clarke fixes her mother with a benign, apologetic smile, and when Abby doesn’t smile back right away, she does a mental catalogue of her appearance. She’s combed her hair out, fixed her make-up, smoothed down her clothes. She’s checked; she looks fine. There’s no way to possibly discern that Bellamy had brought her to climax with his tongue in about five seconds and then they both did when he fucked her on that same freezer lid right after.

It was a very quick quickie. It wasn’t that long.

Bellamy, sitting down beside her looking equally calm, sets the pie and the ice cream on the table. “Clarke couldn’t find the ice cream in the freezer, so I went down there,” Clarke hides her slightly hysterical giggle by drinking some water hastily, “and it was in the bottom, under all the other stuff. Sorry, Abby.” He doesn’t sound repentant at all.

“Strange,” Kane says, looking vaguely amused for some reason. “I could have sworn it was right on top. Oh well,” he said, “let’s dig in.”

“Dig in,” Bellamy echoes with a straight face, and then the bastard winks at her and— oh, she’s done, absolutely done.

Dessert and coffee pass by uneventfully, but Clarke’s smile for the rest of the evening is entirely natural.

-x-

Clarke graduates on a sunny spring day with the rest of her peers.

She reuses a certain shimmery green dress under her graduation gown, and when the gown comes off later in the afternoon, Bellamy’s eyes skate over her figure appreciatively.

“You look beautiful,” he tells her quietly when they’re left alone for a brief moment.

“I thought you said this colour looks like vomit,” she laughs, calling up memories of a dinner from a very long time ago.

He smiles, humoring her. “Yeah, but today you actually chose to wear it, didn’t you?” When she nods, he says, “So it looks fucking brilliant.”

-x-

She leaves for college that fall. It’s tearful goodbyes to her friends and family, even though she promises to drive down on weekends.

She and Bellamy continue their relationship long distance, and it’s hard sometimes but it works because they know it won’t be for too long and because— well— she kind of loves him. And when they reunite and he hugs her, arms tight around her middle and breathing almost dazedly into her shoulder as if he can’t believe she’s in front of him, she knows it’s worth it.

So suck it, Lexa.

-x-

Bellamy goes on to do his Master’s at a different college, near Clarke’s. So it’s easier.

-x-

When Octavia graduates high school, they finally go public with their relationship. They tell everyone that they grew closer at college, which led into their attraction to each other. Abby takes it relatively well, but she probably thinks it’ll be a short term thing if the thinning of her lips is any indication. Clarke kind of understands; her mother doesn’t think anyone will be good enough for her daughter. Kane looks unsurprised. Octavia squeals and claps her hands together and sings, “I’ve been waiting for this!”

Lexa texts her regards— they still talk now and then, and Lexa is happy with her long-time girlfriend Costia that she met in college. Clarke’s glad it worked out for her. Finn doesn’t say much at all besides a “happy for you guys.” Raven smacks Wells on the arm and tells him he owes her twenty bucks. The rest of their delinquent group of friends hoots about it and Jasper proceeds to take to social media so that everyone and their dog will know that Bellamy Blake and Clarke Griffin, once rivals, enemies, siblings by social standards, are now dating years later.

No one will ever know about their attraction to each other when they lived under the same roof, and that’s fine with Clarke.

-x-

It’s years later when Bellamy tells her, randomly one day, that he’s taking her on a date to a fancy restaurant. He’s wearing his best and she’s wearing hers, a plum strapless dress and her hair carefully teased into curls because she knows.

She knows he’s going to propose to her tonight because, well, she’s not a fucking idiot and she knows Bellamy Blake far too well not to recognize his nervous ticks. He’s been distracted as of late, and she knows why.

All that’s left is how he’s going to do it. They chat idly over dinner, but she feels like they’re both analyzing each other’s every move.

When dessert comes, she’s prepared. But he doesn’t do anything. At least, until she reaches to take a gulp from her orange juice and immediately gags.

It tastes horrible— it tastes, it tastes like fucking Kraft Dinner.

And he’s grinning like a loon at her as she makes a puckered expression at him, trying to control her facial features but the taste is honestly so disgusting. And then he speaks.

“Now we’re even.”

“We’re even?” she repeats in outrage, spitting into her plate as she decides she doesn’t want to even see macaroni for at least ten years. “How many pranks did you play on me over the years, you ass?”

“I finally have revenge for that particular injustice so I can marry you in peace,” he loudly proclaims, ignoring this. “Because yes, I know that you were probably fully aware I was going to propose to you today—”

“Hiding the ring in the sock drawer was not your best idea, I’m going to say that right now,” Clarke cuts in before taking a long gulp of water (after sniffing it suspiciously). When she puts the glass down, she adds, “It’s a really nice ring, though. You have good taste.”

“Hell yeah I do,” he retorts, and then he rises off his chair only to sink to one knee in front of hers. “Because I want to marry you. So Clarke Griffin,” and now he fishes in the pocket of his freshly ironed pants to retrieve the little white box and pops it open, “will you marry me?”

She feels like the whole restaurant is silent, watching them, but she’s not too sure because she’s too busy drowning in the depths of his brown eyes.

That ring catches the light of the candles and sparkles. She was being honest; she loves the ring. A little too much. Not so much because of its outward beauty, but because of what it means.

They’ve got a whole complicated sordid hell of a history behind them, and she’s eager to continue that story into the future.

She pretends to ponder it for a minute, looking up at the ceiling in thought. She hears him sigh in exasperation and a thought comes to her. On a whim, she snatches her glass of Kraft Dinner hell off the table and dumps the whole thing over his head. The orange liquid splashes over his hair, down his face, and soaks the shoulders of his crisp shirt.

He hardly blinks, not seeming fazed in the slightest. Maybe he was expecting it.

She’s aware of the gasps of the other diners but she doesn’t care.“Now we’re even.” she retorts, and then she grabs his sopping wet head in her hands and leans down and kisses him. He tastes like the gross cheese flavouring she just dumped on him.

It’s probably the best kiss she’s ever had.

When they part, she can’t help but be too conscious of the weighty silence around them. “Everyone’s looking at us,” she whispers, lips brushing his as she speaks because their faces are just that close together.

He grins rakishly, and what he says next makes her laugh.

“I don’t care.”

 

— end —