Actions

Work Header

Riarkle Ficlet Week (Ed Sheeran Inspired)

Chapter Text


Farkle can recite a textbook definition for the word friend because he has shamelessly looked it up numerous times throughout the years, and the conclusion he is constantly coming to is this: The way Riley treats Farkle does not fit within the limits of the definition.

Since as far back as he can remember, Farkle’s always felt like friend didn’t quite fit the two of them, even if he never fully understood what word should replace it. As they grew up side by side, Riley always made Farkle feel things that he understood in simple ways: he always wanted to be near her, he adored her laugh, he felt butterflies when she hugged him. All of those thoughts were pushed aside, though, when he got caught up in his relationship with Smackle. He distanced himself from Riley and discovered entirely new ways to feel and think about someone. And if nothing else, his relationship with Smackle made it blatantly clear what being truly just friends with someone felt like.

When Farkle and Smackle broke up at the end of high school, his heart followed a familiar path back to his old feelings for Riley. But he wasn’t expecting them to come back even stronger: close was never close enough, her laugh was practically the energy that got him through the day, he got goosebumps even by the lightest graze of her hand. He didn’t have to review the definition for friend again to know that those feelings don’t match the words in the dictionary.

Now, at the start of their NYU college experience, Riley’s been seriously pushing the limits of the definition.

Because of this, lately Farkle has been painstakingly taking note of all the little things Riley does when the two of them are alone. Part of him feels like he’s doing it to convince himself that Riley is secretly in love with him. If this was the case, he would have some damn good evidence to prove it.

Watching a movie together is Farkle’s favorite time to observe her actions because it provides totally reasonable excuses for cuddling and, a personal favorite of his, roaming hands. Movie nights are a tradition that they’ve kept going for a while now. In Farkle’s dorm room, a small but cozy single, they make do with his laptop screen and convenience store snacks.

“You realize that nothing in this movie is realistic, right?” Riley scoffs as she picks up a few chips from the bowl next to her and pops them into her mouth. Her words shift Farkle’s attention away from the screen which is resting at the end of his bed, opposite of where the two of them are sitting. “It’s way too dramatic,” Riley continues with a whine.

Farkle laughs, “Oh, I don’t know. Passion, deceit, twists of fate. I wouldn’t put it past Maya and Lucas to be in a situation like that.”

“Oh my god, you’re right. They could literally write a series of movies about their crazy relationship.”

As Riley settles back against a set of pillows behind her, she shivers lightly. Without warning, she leans over Farkle, grabbing at the blanket next to him. Squirming uncomfortably, he asks, “What are you doing?”

“Trying to get the blanket,” she huffs.

“Are you cold?”

“Yeah.” Riley wraps the blanket around both of them and slides closer to Farkle. Then, in a low voice, she asks, “Keep me warm?”

Friends don’t say things like that.

But Farkle accepts the invitation, wrapping his arm around Riley’s shoulder underneath the blanket. When she rests her head on his shoulder, he gives her a gentle squeeze and then forces his focus back to the movie.

They watch the rest of the movie in silence, but despite this, Riley is still able to find ways to communicate with Farkle. Her fingers teasingly trace up and down his arm during the slow parts of the movie, and her legs, long and smooth, slowly brush against his as the characters on the screen share a heated kiss.

Friends don’t touch each other like that.

But Farkle doesn’t want her to stop, so he silently encourages her with light touches of his own. Subtle enough to not break the mood, but bold enough to make her notice.

When the end credits roll, Riley picks her head up from Farkle’s shoulder and yawns. “I should get going. I have an early class tomorrow.”

“Right, I forgot. See you at noon for lunch?”

“Of course,” Riley confirms with a smile. She quickly leans in toward Farkle, her lips catching the corner of his mouth, just barely grazing it. “Goodnight,” she whispers as she gets up from his bed.

Even before she closes the door, Farkle, with his hand held up to his mouth, mentally records one more note.

Friends don’t kiss each other like that.

Chapter Text

After the kiss, Farkle spends most of his time staring at Riley, and the rest of the time, he’s actively pretending not to stare at her. That’s almost always unsuccessful, though. Even right now as they share an afternoon study session in the library, he’s fighting the urge to watch her twirl her hair in concentration.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t think Riley even notices the more frequent lingering stares or incessant pining, because whenever she lifts her head up to return his gaze, she always just smiles at him. It’s the same smile he’s seen his whole life. It’s soft and warm, like home.

Farkle is graced with that smile now as they study together, but suddenly, he watches it slowly fade, and Riley closes her textbook with a sigh.

“My brain can’t handle any more information,” she groans, rubbing her eyes with her hands.

Farkle reaches across the table and grabs on to her arm. He moves his hand back and forth comfortingly and suggests, “Go take a break. Get something to eat, maybe?”

Riley nods and asks, “What about you?”

“I’m going to stay here a little while longer.”

Riley nods and gets up from her seat. She tiredly walks over to where Farkle is sitting and hugs him from behind, whispering a soft goodbye in his ear before letting go. He closes his eyes, as if it will make the moment last longer, and catches the scent of her perfume as she walks away.

Farkle skims through his textbooks for another hour, and then without even realizing it, he dozes off with his head resting on the table.

-----

The halls of Abigail Adams High are dim.

Farkle’s alone, but he’s surrounded by bright red and blue lockers and worn, wooden banisters. He hears footsteps coming up behind him. He knows he should feel scared, but then there's a familiar voice in his ear, and he knows he doesn’t have to be afraid.

“Come find me,” he hears Riley whisper.  

Farkle turns around and tries to grab her hand, but he’s too late. She’s already running down the hallway. He tries to run after her, but his legs won’t move. He looks down at them in confusion, and just as he looks back up, he catches a glimpse of Riley making a sharp left into a room at the end of the hall.

Finally, he’s able to move and follows her path, but when he looks through the door into the small room, she’s not there.

So he plays along with her game of hide and seek. He chases her through the hallways, in and out of doors, and up and down staircases, but no matter how close he gets, he can never catch her.

After running for what seems like forever, Farkle stops in the middle of the hallway where he started and asks himself why he’s even chasing her in the first place. The answers come to him so quickly it’s almost overwhelming. He clutches his chest and closes his eyes as he imagines the taste of her lips and the feeling of her skin on his. He wants it so badly.

Farkle hears the sound of light breathing, and as he slowly opens his eyes, he sees Riley standing in front of him.

She’s so close. Her lips are on the edge of grazing his, but when he moves forward, she smirks and turns around, running away from him once again.

This time, as he watches her go, he calls out to her, begging desperately, “Love me.”

----

Farkle wakes up with a start, his body jolting up in his seat. He runs his fingers over his lips, mourning the loss of the almost kiss from his dream. He’s startled again when he notices that Riley is back, sitting by his side and looking at him worriedly.

“Are you okay? I think you fell asleep for a while.”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Dream about anything good?”

“Depends what you mean by good.”

Covering his face with his hands, Farkle waits for the warm, tingly feeling low in his stomach to subside. But it never does.

Farkle has always wanted Riley, but now, he’s craving her even more.

Chapter Text

Farkle’s not a big partier, but when he’s with his friends, he doesn’t mind the stuffy rooms and constant barrage of people tripping over him. He figures it’s just part of the college experience. So when Farkle gets a text from Lucas on a Friday afternoon telling him that there will be a party at his and Zay’s apartment that night, he can’t think of any reason to say no. Lately, it feels like his classes are demanding more than he can give, so he figures he deserves to take his mind off of school for one night.

He enters the apartment expecting a crowded room and loud music, but finds instead a group of about ten people huddled around in a circle sitting on the floor in the middle of the living room. All of his closest friends, and a few other people he’s met more than once, are gathered together. He sees alcohol in the middle of the circle and chuckles to himself. It looks like a jumbled array of whatever the hell they could find, but it doesn’t matter. No one will be complaining.

Riley immediately notices his entrance and pulls him into the circle, situating him in between herself and Lucas. He tiredly waves to everyone around him and then leans back against the couch behind him.

After catching up and joking around for a while, Zay holds up a bottle of red wine and asks the group, “What do you think about cracking this one open?”

Everyone cheers in response, which means Lucas is forced to go find a bottle opener in their small kitchen. As the bottle gets passed around, Riley stays silent, but her eyes are lit with intrigue. After Maya takes a big sip, and then two more for good measure, Riley takes the bottle from her. She gracefully tilts her head back and closes her eyes as she takes a sip of her own.

Farkle’s eyes become fixated on her exposed throat as she drinks. In that moment, her neck seems far too bare to him; it should be covered by a pair of lips, his lips, pressing softly against her skin.

Riley finally takes a heavy breath in when she’s done and passes the wine to Farkle. He immediately presses his lips against the mouth of the bottle, anticipating the taste of Riley more than the alcohol, but he winces when all he gets is a bitter taste on his tongue.

Disappointed, Farkle finishes his turn and starts to pass the bottle to Lucas, but before he can, Riley unexpectedly grabs it out of his hand. Speechless, Farkle watches as she takes another quick sip and then hands the bottle back to him. Their eyes meet during the exchange, and Farkle can see oh so clearly the way Riley, looking deep in thought, licks her bottom lip as her gaze stays focused on him. Farkle, on the other hand, turns away flustered and thrusts the bottle toward Lucas.

As the night continues, the wine, and whatever else is left in the middle of the circle, gets passed around a few more times, leaving everyone in the room a little more than tipsy.

Riley, still sitting on the floor next to Farkle, tugs on her hair tie, a soft violet color, releasing the ponytail and letting her hair fall over her shoulders. She puts the tie on her wrist and tilts her head to the side as she runs her fingers through her hair. Farkle blinks his eyes a few times and forces them to focus on Riley’s face. She looks back at him through clouded eyes, and out of nowhere bursts out into laughter.

He pushes her bangs out of her face and jokes, “Tell me when it kicks in, yeah?”

“Think you’re funny, huh?” she snickers.

“Only when I’m kind of drunk, like right now. The rest of the time, I’m horribly untalented at humor.”

“What?” she blurts out. “You’re brilliant, Farkle. You’re literally great at everything.”

“No, apparently not everything, Riley,” Farkle whispers under his breath.

Not hearing him, Riley continues, ‘Where did Maya go? She’ll tell you how great you are, too.”

Riley goes to stand up, ready to seek out Maya, but instead she accidentally stumbles back down to the ground. Farkle instinctually puts his arms out to catch her, which luckily breaks her fall. His arms close around her as she falls onto him. Farkle groans at the immediate impact, but then sighs in relief when he realizes Riley is okay. She turns her whole body to face him and settles more comfortably in his lap, leaning forward and fitting her head in between Farkle’s neck and shoulder.

“I think I’m a little drunk, Farkley.”

“You don’t say,” Farkle chuckles.

Riley’s arms wrap around his waist, and she nuzzles into him. “Take me home, Farkle,” she mumbles against his skin.

“Do you feel sick?”

“No, I just want to go home.”

When Riley goes to stand up this time, Farkle helps. He maneuvers her onto his back, and after saying goodbye to everyone, he carries her all the way back to their dorm. Even on the walk back, he can still feel the alcohol running through his bloodstream, and with every step he takes, he feels it coursing through him.

A few minutes later, they arrive at the entrance of Riley’s room. Farkle gently nudges at Riley with his shoulder.

“Riley, where’s your key?”

“Hmm.”

“Your key, Riley,” he insists.

“I don’t know,” she mumbles into the back of his neck.

Farkle searches his pocket for his own keys and when he finds them, he changes the plan.

“We’ll just go to my room then, okay?”

“Yeah.”

So with Riley still on his back, he anxiously walks them to his room.

Chapter Text

Farkle quietly opens the door to his room. He doesn’t even bother turning on the lights in favor of making a beeline for his bed. After he places Riley down, he helps her take off her shoes and tucks her under the covers. She whispers an affectionate thank you to him, and then he goes over to his closet, taking off his own shoes and jacket. For a few seconds after, he stands there frozen, not sure where he should go next, but Riley’s voice breaks the silence in the room.

“Farkle, come lie down with me.”

“Riley, I should probably—”

“This is your bed, isn’t it?”

Farkle bites his lip, his mind racing back and forth between an intense longing for Riley and crippling fear of rejection. There’s no competition in the end, though. Any opportunity to get closer to Riley, especially one in which she’s inviting him to do so, would always be the right answer in Farkle’s mind. So, he slips under the covers and lies down on his side next to her.

“You’re really warm,” Riley says as she moves closer to him and digs her feet under his.

With his head now resting on his pillow, Farkle feels the alcohol running through his system again. His arms and legs feel heavy as they sink into the softness of the bed and tingly where Riley’s skin is pressed up against his.

“It’s probably just the alcohol making you feel that way,” Farkle explains.

“I hope not.”

“What do you mean?”

“If alcohol can make you feel warm, can it also make you feel other things? Does it make you…want to do things you normally wouldn’t?”

“Such as?” Farkle asks worriedly. The last thing he needs is for Riley to sneak out in the middle of the night and commit a felony just for the hell of it.

“Such as kiss people,” Riley replies matter-of-factly.

Farkle stutters, “W-well, it can make you lose inhibitions.”

She quietly laughs and says, “I think mine are long gone.”

“Do you want me to go find them for you?” Farkle nervously jokes.

“No, I don’t want them back.”

Riley moves her face forward slightly, just enough so Farkle can now make out her eyes, and, lord help him, her lips. His heart is beating faster than he would like. It’s actually quite distracting as he tries to listen to Riley talk, but the more she talks, the more she does anything, the faster it beats.

“Riley,” he breathes.

Riley closes her eyes and turns her face toward the pillow. If Farkle had to guess, he would think she’s trying to hide, almost like the sound of her own name on his lips is too much to handle.

When she turns back to face Farkle, she admits, “I’ve see the way you look at me lately, Farkle. Why haven’t you said anything?”

Flustered, Farkle asks back, “If you knew how I felt, why haven’t you?”

“I was scared.”

“Of what?”

“Crossing over from friendship to something more, I guess.”

“Were we ever really just friends, Riley?”

Farkle watches Riley contemplate this idea, her brow furrowed in deep thought as she says, “I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

“Do you want to find out?”

“Yeah.”

Farkle leans in slowly, and when his face comes within inches of Riley’s, he instinctually flinches. He expects her to run away like she does in his dreams. But Riley isn’t moving. She isn’t going anywhere. She’s right beside him, waiting for him with her eyes closed and lips pursed. She’s waiting.

And when his lips finally meet hers, he immediately knows that they’re more intoxicating than all of the alcohol he had back at the party. They still taste like the red wine they drank before, sweet with a hidden bitterness in the aftertaste. He chases that sweetness, deepening the kiss and linger there.

When Riley’s mouth opens, Farkle’s follows. He’s searching for air because the alcohol and the heat and her lips are enough to leave him breathless for the rest of his life. When her tongue timidly grazes his, all he finds is the taste of her, and at that point, he doesn’t even care that he can’t breathe.

They break apart when they hear hushed laughter and loud footsteps pass by outside the door. Farkle turns his head toward the door for a moment, and when he turns back, he sees Riley bring her hand up to her bottom lip and run her fingers back and forth over it.

She whispers, “Now I know what it’s like to kiss my best friend.”

Still in a daze, Farkle asks, “And now that you know?”

Riley grabs hold of Farkle’s hips under the covers and says, “I hope you weren’t planning on sleeping tonight.”

Her words shake Farkle to the core, making him shudder into her embrace as she pulls his body close to hers. Riley leans in for another kiss, but at the last second Farkle lightly tilts her chin up and kisses his way down her throat. When his teeth graze her skin, he can feel the gasp she makes against his lips. He can hear her breathy sighs and feel her hands all over him.

This is real.

Chapter Text

Farkle wakes up disoriented. He has a slight headache, and his is brain is still clouded with images of Riley. When his eyes focus, he sees that he’s alone in his bed. He leans over to his nightstand to check his phone, but there are no new messages.

Farkle sits himself up and swings his legs over the side of the bed, dangling them off of the edge. When he places his feet on the floor, he feels something soft underneath them. Lifting his feet up, he notices a small purple hair tie below. Farkle picks it up and toys with it a little, letting himself mull over the events of the previous night. If he didn’t find the hair tie, he would have thought it was all a dream.

He wears the hair tie around his wrist all day. It sits there inconspicuously under the sleeve of his hoodie, reminding him of Riley wherever he goes, which is bittersweet because as the day goes by, he doesn’t hear from her.

After an afternoon study session with some classmates at the library, he decides he can’t take it anymore. He pulls his phone out of his pocket as he leaves the building and starts typing.

Going to get dinner now. Want to meet me at the dining hall?

Farkle smiles, optimistically anticipating her response, and walks a straight path to the dining hall. He picks up some fancy premade salad and an apple and sits down at a table near a window. He moves the lettuce back and forth with his fork as he waits, playing but not eating. And for the next hour, that’s all he does. He waits, and waits, and waits. When he realizes Riley’s not coming, Farkle gets up from his seat with a sigh and leaves.

The first thing he does when he gets back to his dorm is throw himself face down onto the bed. He stays like that for a long while, breathing in the smell of detergent from his sheets. He blindly reaches for his phone and lifts his head up to check it for what has to be the hundredth time that day, but there are still no new messages. He snaps the hair tie against his wrist out of anger and winces, not expecting it to hurt so much, and then he places his phone back down on the bed.

What could have changed Riley’s mind in the last twenty-four hours is beyond Farkle. He thinks back to the last kiss they shared before drifting off to sleep and remembers it as being perfect. It was gentle, lazy and just as sweet as all of the others before it. It doesn’t make sense.

Farkle’s startled when he hears his phone suddenly ring. His hands fumble as he touches the green button on the screen.

“Hey,” Riley says in a soft voice.

Farkle scowls and replies, “Oh okay, so we’re pretending nothing’s wrong.”

“Farkle, I’m-”

“Look, Riley, if I want to be let down, I can just do it myself next time.”

“I’m sorry. I woke up and saw you sleeping next to me and…and I panicked. You looked so perfect. Everything was so perfect.”

“I’m not understanding what the problem is. Is it the idea of us being more than friends now? Because like I said, I think that’s sort of always been the case, honestly.”

“No, I guess there isn’t really a problem, but that’s the most terrifying part, isn’t it?”

“I don’t get that, Riley.”

“No?”

“No, because I know what I want.” Farkle looks down at his wrist and snaps the hair tie against it again before asking, “What do you want, Riley?”

“I guess you’re just going to have to wait a little longer to find out.” There are a few beats of silence, and then Riley continues, “Seven o’clock. Tomorrow. Meet me in front of the literature building.”

“Fine.”

Chapter Text

At exactly seven o’clock, the large, old structure that is the literature building comes into Farkle’s view. He stops and looks around and notices that the courtyard in front of the building is quiet. There are no footsteps and no chatting, just the sound of trees rustling in the wind.

Riley is sitting on a small bench in front of the building. When Farkle reaches the bench, he stops and waits for her to make a move, to even look up at him, but she doesn’t. She seems more preoccupied with something in her purse. Farkle looks down at his feet and shuffles them before asking quietly, “What are we doing here?”

“This is my favorite spot to sit and think. It sort of takes the place of the bay window, for now at least.”

Farkle sits down on the opposite side of the bench and watches as Riley takes out a pen from her purse. She twists the cap off and then puts it up to the backing of the seat, which looks like it's made out of an old, maple-colored wood. She scrapes the surface a few times before pressing in more deeply, carving over other writing. Some are faded, washed away by years of storms; Some are fresh, as if they were just created yesterday.

“Riley,” Farkle shouts in a whisper. “What are you doing?” He slides closer to her on the bench and observes the way her hand moves the pen back and forth to create sharp lines. She’s already written an “R” by the time he looks.

“I…I just want to leave something that shows we were here at this exact moment.”

“Is it an important moment?”

“I hope so,” she whispers.

She pulls out another pen and holds it out toward Farkle. Farkle nervously takes it from her and starts carving his name next to hers.

“Riley.”

“Hmm?”

During the pause, the only noise that breaks through the silence is the scratching of their pens against the wood.

“We should talk.”

“I know,” she says somberly. She presses in deeply, finishing the last section of the “y” in her name.

Farkle finishes carving his name as well and looks at Riley. Her eyes move from the pen in her hand to his eyes, and then she brings her hand back up, adding something in between their names. She creates two quick straight lines, one on top of the other: a plus sign.

“I don’t want you to ever question what I want. I want it to be clear.” Riley runs her fingers over their names and says with a smile, “That’s what I want. Riley and Farkle.”

Farkle moves his hand so his fingers brush over Riley’s against the bench. With a smile, he says, “I was hoping you did.”

A sudden muffled ding can be heard from Riley’s purse. She quickly checks her phone and sighs, “Sorry, that’s Maya. She wants me to come back to our room.”

“Go,” he says as he squeezes her hand. “We can talk more tomorrow, maybe figure out what ‘Riley and Farkle’ really means.”

"Yeah, I would like that," Riley says with a smirk. Getting up from the bench, she adds, “Goodnight, Farkle.”

“Night.”

Farkle turns away from Riley and starts walking toward his dorm, but after taking only a few steps, he hears Riley call out from behind him.

“Wait!” she yells. Farkle whips around to face her, watching her run back in his direction. Now out of breath, Riley gasps, “That’s not how it was supposed to go.”

“What?”

“That’s not how I wanted today to end,” she explains. Then, Riley stands on her tip toes, and with both of her hands cradling Farkle’s face, she says, “This is how I wanted it to happen.”

She quickly moves forward, kissing Farkle so hard on the mouth that he stumbles back a few steps. When he gains control of his footing, he places his hands on Riley’s hips and leans into the kiss. Farkle doesn't know exactly how long their lips stay connected, but he can tell that he let the kiss go on a little too long because when they finally separate, they’re both gasping for air.

After pulling Riley into a tight hug, another high-pitched ding suddenly resonates from Riley’s phone. It makes her jump a little, but their embrace doesn’t falter.

With her head leaning against Farkle’s shoulder, she says, “I’m sure that’s Maya again wondering where I am. It’s probably getting late.”

Noticing that Riley makes no effort to move from her place in his arms, Farkle reasons, “I’ll let go as soon as you do.”

“That’s going to be a problem, because I’m not letting go. Not ever.”

Chapter Text

One day after a long morning of classes, Farkle arrives back at his dorm room and discovers a note hanging on his door. It’s a small, light pink piece of paper with only a few words scribbled in the middle.

Two o’clock. Washington Square Park. Wear something nice.

Farkle’s heart starts beating fast after reading the words because he knows Riley wrote them. He can’t wait until he can see her again. They’re schedules have been far too tight the past week, and the time away from her is driving him insane. It doesn’t matter if it’s been a day, an hour, a second; he will always want to be beside her.

He tucks a striped dress shirt into a new pair of jeans and runs out the door. After wandering around the park for a few minutes, he spots Riley, sitting on a bright yellow, gingham blanket. She’s wearing a short, flowy backless dress and her hair, in loose curls, cascades down her back. A flower crown of white daisies lays softly upon her head.

She catches Farkle’s eye and stands up as he approaches her. “You look great,” Riley beams as she smooths out a wrinkle on his sleeve.

Farkle smiles and carefully touches one of the daisies. “Did you buy this?”

“No, I actually made it.”

“You’re stunning, do you know that?”

“Oh stop,” she blushes as she playfully hits his arm.

“Did you make us lunch?” Farkle asks, pointing to a large bag on the blanket.

“Yes! I brought some pastries from my mom’s café, and I made an apple salad. I’ve known that apples are your favorite fruit ever since we were six. And can you believe it, no casualties while making it!”

They both sit down on the blanket, and Riley takes one of the small pastry boxes out of the bag. She starts to hand it to Farkle, but just then her hands fumble, and the box opens as it falls to the ground.

“Well, at least the salad is safe,” she laughs, and Farkle laughs right along with her.

They eat lunch, talking about everything from their classes to family in between bites. When Farkle’s done, he lets out a satisfied sigh and looks up at the clear, blue sky above him.

“I don’t know exactly why, but everything feels really good right now,” Riley points out.

Farkle tilts his head back down toward Riley and agrees, “Yeah, it really does.”

“Oh,” Riley starts, giggling a little, “you have something, just right here.” She brings her hand up to Farkle’s cheek and lightly swipes away a trail of crumbs. Even after they’re gone, she keeps her hand in that spot, her thumb moving back and forth lovingly over his cheek.

“Farkle, do you think we’re…”

Riley goes silent, so Farkle prompts, “Hmm?”

“We’re in love, aren’t we?”

Hearing those words, Farkle’s heart emits yes, yes, yes in his mind with every beat that passes. He cards his fingers through Riley’s hair and pulls her head closer so her lips meet his. With the warmth of the sun on his skin and the sweetness of Riley on his lips, Farkle answers, “Yes, honestly and absolutely in love.”