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When Clarke and Bellamy officially meet Raven Reyes a week after they move into their new home, she’s got a welding torch in her hands and sparks flaring up from the metalwork in front of her.
It takes her a couple of minutes to realize she has an audience, and Clarke uses that time to observe the scene in front of her. The woman is seated on a stool, surrounded by scrap metal and tools, with a long ponytail sticking out from the back of her protective helmet and a brace on her left leg. She’s working on fusing two pieces of metal together, which already have some intricate designs cut into them, but Clarke’s not sure if it’s anywhere close to being the end product.
Bellamy calls out a quick hello to grab her attention, and the woman turns the torch off, before twisting on her stool to face them, pushing her visor up as she swivels.
“Hi,” she says slowly, warily.
“I’m Clarke, and this is Bellamy,” Clarke says, gesturing as she gives the introductions. “We just moved in next door.”
“Oh, is that what all those moving trucks were for?” the other woman deadpans, before her mouth twitches into a small smirk. “I’m Raven, nice to meet you. I’d shake your hands, but uh... ” She shrugs like ‘what can you do?’, gesturing to her torch.
“That’s okay,” Clarke says, taking the hint and putting her hand on Bellamy’s arm to start pulling him away. “We just wanted to introduce ourselves!”
“Are you an artist?” Bellamy asks, not moving from his spot and clearly not on the same page as Clarke. “Or is this just a really interesting hobby?”
Raven’s eyes narrow a bit as she readjusts her gaze on Bellamy. “Yeah, I’m an artist,” she says, pointedly, but her shoulders relax a little and she opens up a bit more. “I mostly do sculptures,” she gestures behind her towards a few haphazardly placed pieces of varying sizes in her yard, “but the children’s museum commissioned me for a metal mural on fairy tales for one of their upcoming exhibits, so this is your insider’s peek into the early stages of that project.”
And now Clarke can see the beginnings of a story in the two pieces of metal, castles among sloping landscapes and otherworldly patterns and images almost woven into the metal like delicate lace. “That’s amazing.”
“Yeah, I mean, it’s not my usual style,” Raven says, a bit uncertainly, running her fingers over the opening scenes on the metal, “but I like it so far.”
“It’s breathtaking,” Clarke tells her.
Raven’s smile is uninhibited and radiant, and Clarke feels slightly overwhelmed, her fingers digging into Bellamy’s forearm just as the welding torch unexpectedly flares back to life in Raven’s hands. All three of them jump and Raven rushes to turn it off again.
“That is so weird,” she says, after she triple checks that it’s completely turned off. “It’s never done that before.”
Clarke can feel Bellamy’s glances, knows that he’s probably figured it out given her tendency to affect physical objects around her when she panics, especially anything related to energy.
He’s got her covered, though, and works his full charm into the grin he gives Raven. “First time for everything, right?” he says. “Would you be interested in getting dinner with us sometime this week? So we can get to know each other better.”
Raven’s eyes drop to where Clarke’s fingers are still gripping Bellamy’s arm, then back up to their faces, Bellamy all boyish grin and Clarke rosy-cheeked but hesitantly smiling.
“Sure,” she says finally. She’s got a speculative look on her face, like she’s not quite sure what to expect from the two of them. “What did you have in mind?”
They end up taking her to a small family restaurant that they found a few moves prior. It’s one of their favorite places, but they’re careful to not go often enough to be any kind of memorable. When your aging process is drawn out in centuries instead of decades, keeping a low profile ends up becoming second nature.
For a little over the last half century, Bellamy and Clarke have relocated to different suburbs around the city each time neighbors start to make comments about how they never seem to age and “Clarke, you really have to tell me what skin care line you use”. The moves have always been easier when there are fewer ties to cut and excuses to make (“No, I actually don’t have any social media accounts, sorry! Yes … it does make it pretty difficult to keep in touch.”), but the magical community is only so large and Bellamy has a knack of sensing kindred spirits in the humans around them, so every once in a while they make a cautious effort to reach out to someone.
When Bellamy makes the offer to Raven, Clarke trusts that he’s sensed a connection in her that could lead to something.
Throughout dinner they manage to cover ages (Raven’s actual age: twenty seven, Clarke’s and Bellamy’s ages on the current forms of identification: twenty six and twenty eight), occupations (Raven: retired army mechanic, who discovered her talent for creating metal sculptures while healing from her injury, Bellamy: owner of a small bookstore in the city, Clarke: working temp jobs, supplemented by her family money and previous investments while she works to figure out what exactly she wants to do with her life), and stories from drunken college nights (Raven: mostly related to bar brawls and saving her friends’ asses, because well, army recruit, Clarke and Bellamy: having a wide variety of tales, because well, decades of alcohol).
By the end of the night, Clarke has decided that she wants to do whatever it takes to keep the brilliant woman in front of them laughing. She also knows that it’s only been the steady presence of Bellamy next to her that’s kept her magic in check the whole night.
She doesn’t want to think about what either of those things mean just yet.
It’s not until after their third night out, just the three of them, that Clarke gathers up enough courage at the end of the night to quickly give Raven a kiss on the cheek as they walk her up to her front door.
She thinks, as someone who’s been on this Earth for longer than most people, a pretty woman shouldn’t make her so damn nervous that her magic flares, but in the few moments before Raven speaks, Clarke can hear the noise of the cicadas song wax and wane in tune with each of her heartbeats. It’s only when Bellamy’s hand comes to rest on her lower back in solidarity that the sound finally diminishes some in the summer night.
“So,” Raven starts, her tone lighthearted, “this is a thing that’s really happening?” She gestures between herself and the couple in front of her with a circular motion of her hand.
“If that’s what you want,” Clarke says, hope bleeding into her inflection.
Raven contemplates it long enough for the cicadas to start getting louder again, before she moves closer to them. She puts her hand on Bellamy’s shoulder for balance as she rises to the tip toes of her good leg to firmly kiss his cheek. She drops back down, turning slightly into Clarke and presses her lips softly to the corner of Clarke’s mouth, grinning delightfully at Clarke’s sharp intake of breath.
Raven pulls back, a soft laugh escaping her and says, “I’m in.”
(Bellamy chuckles on the way back to their house and Clarke shoots him a half-hearted glare.
“Not a word, or I’ll turn you into a toad.”
“Oh, please,” he scoffs, “you’ve always been shit at conversions. Honestly, I’m more afraid of literally spontaneously bursting into flame when you’re around her.”
“You’re hilarious,” she says flatly.)
Two days after Bellamy leaves for his trip, the evening sky is just turning a purple dusk when Raven shows up at their front door, Bellamy’s jacket folded over the arm not using her elbow crutch.
“Hey,” Clarke says, quickly moving to open the screen door and motions for her to come in. She takes the jacket from Raven and hangs it up in the front hall closet. On their last date, the summer’s night had ended up being a little chillier than expected for Raven’s sleeveless blouse so Bellamy, who always tends to run hot, had draped his jacket over Raven’s shoulders on the way home. “Thanks.”
“Hi,” Raven says back brightly, and moves in past her to the living room. Clarke watches her take in the room. “You guys settled in pretty quickly. I know a lot of people who would’ve still had boxes sitting in corners months after they moved.”
“Yeah, we uh.. we’ve moved often enough that we have a pretty good system down,” says Clarke, conveniently leaving out the multiple packing spells they’ve picked up over the years. “Do you want a drink?”
“I could go for some water, sure,” Raven says, following Clarke into the kitchen.
Raven props her crutch against the counter by the doorway on the way in, and leans against the kitchen island as she watches Clarke fill two glasses with water.
“So,” she starts, her tone casual, “no Bellamy tonight?”
Clarke walks over to the kitchen island and hands one of the glasses to Raven. “He left Sunday morning for a business trip. He’ll be back in a little less than two weeks.”
Raven raises her eyebrows at that. “I thought he owned a bookstore? What kind of bookstore trip lasts for two weeks?”
“He also works with antiques,” Clarke tells her, using their go to cover story for the main part of Bellamy’s apothecary business for the magical community. “And his favorite supplier only works face to face, so every year he takes off to some random European city to restock.”
“Has the supplier never heard of the internet?” Raven asks wryly.
“That’s what I say!” Clarke exclaims, her hands thrown out in exasperation.
“So, for two weeks you’re left all alone?” Raven says, moving closer towards Clarke. “I bet that could get kinda lonely.”
“Sometimes,” Clarke shrugs indifferently, absentmindedly running one of her fingers along the rim of her glass.
“Good thing you’ve got me for company, then,” Raven says, corners of her mouth twitching upwards, her hands settling on Clarke’s hips, coaxing her to face her. She slowly slides her hands up to wrap around Clarke and pull her in closer, and Clarke can feel the flush spreading across her body, her fingers tingling with magic and making her hesitant to touch Raven back.
Suddenly, the lights in the room flare brightly, and the buzzing of electricity grows louder until all the lightbulbs blink out with loud clinks, making both women jump. They’re left standing in a pitch black kitchen.
“What the... “ Raven moves away to grab her crutch from where she left it leaning against the counter and turns on the light for the dining room next to the kitchen. “Old houses, right? You probably should look into getting a whole house surge protector or something. Is your circuit breaker in the garage?” she asks, already walking in that direction.
“Uh, I think so?” Clarke calls out to her.
She takes a couple of deep breaths, before walking in the direction Raven went, muttering under her breath, “Gonna need more than just a surge protector.”
Two days later, Clarke’s already in a bad mood and it’s not even 11 am. Between not really being able to talk to Bellamy for the past couple of days and dealing with a new spirit who seems to have attached herself to Clarke at some point during the move, she thinks her brain is allowed to be a little on the fritz.
She’s just finished a grating conversation with Roberta, the older female spirit (“Oh dear, you really should work on your housekeeping skills; that vegetation out back truly is becoming somewhat of an eyesore.” “Very constructive, Roberta, thanks. I’ll get right on that.”), when Raven lets herself in through the back door.
“Do you actually work at all? Or do you just grow money on trees?” Raven asks her, pulling herself up onto one of the high back stools at the kitchen island. “And if so, where can I find one of those trees?”
With her nerves already frayed and her brain occupied with remembering the exact potion recipe for getting rid of lingering spirits, Clarke doesn’t think twice about answering Raven more than honestly.
“Hmm? No, counterfeiting plants are notoriously hard to come by. And even if you manage to get your hands on one, you can never be sure if you'll even get the right currency,” she shrugs, eyes still on the ingredients she’s chopping up.
It’s only after more than a minute of silence that Clarke realizes what’s she’s said, and jerks her head up to find Raven squinting at her, head cocked and a contemplative look on her face.
Clarke chuckles nervously, and says, “I mean, of course I work. I just decided to take a couple weeks off from temping for the move and settling in. Hand me that container?”
She gestures to the far end of the island that Raven can reach and steps closer to grab it from her. As she’s putting the packed up potion ingredients into the fridge, Raven lets out a laugh.
“Do you really have to be reminded to eat?”
Clarke shoots her a puzzled look as she shuts the fridge door, and Raven gestures to the whiteboard on the freezer section.
The whiteboard is something she and Bellamy worked out when he first started taking the extended trips across seas, back before international phones or the internet were accessible things. It’s connected to one of his small notebooks that he keeps with him, and what he writes in his notebook shows up on the whiteboard and vice versa. They still use it because sometimes it actually works better than their cellphone service, and well… they’re creatures of habit. It’s not broke, so they aren’t going to fix it.
Bellamy likes to use it mostly to satisfy his mother hen urges of reminding Clarke to take care of herself, but it is really useful when they’re coordinating times to chat via mirrors. The current reminder telling Clarke to remember to eat (“And no, poptarts do NOT count.”) is still on the board from when it appeared earlier that morning.
“I get really invested in projects and kind of lose track of time,” she protests. “And I may or may not also be a horrible cook, but that’s not usually the main issue.”
Raven looks at her fondly. “I know how that goes. However, unlike you, I am an amazing cook. I could make us some lunch if you want to join me next door?”
“I’d like that,” Clarke says, shooting her a smile over her shoulder as she washes her hands.
But Raven’s eyes aren’t on her, instead she’s looking back at the whiteboard, eyebrows furrowed.
“Was.. was this note here just a minute ago?” Raven asks, hopping off the stool onto her good leg and slowly moving over to the fridge to point at Bellamy’s newest note to Clarke.
Chat at 3 your time?
Clarke breathes in quick and holds her breath, but she can already feel her heart picking up, her panic spiking with the possibility of discovery.
Abruptly, the back door slams shut and the windows rattle in their frames. Clarke lets her breath out in a quick whoosh before she tries to focus on calming her heartbeat. Raven looks startled, but not suspicious.
“Woah! That must’ve been a plane flying super low,” Raven says, walking over to the kitchen sink to peer out the small window above it. She cranes her head from side to side, trying to locate a plane that Clarke, while sure is not there, is hoping that by some miracle will show up in the sky as a valid excuse. “Huh. I guess it was going in the other direction.”
“That’s what we get for living so close to an airport,” Clarke says distractedly, eager to get out of their house before Raven can witness any other instances of magic. She holds out a hand to Raven. “I believe I was promised an amazing meal?”
“Yeah, you were,” Raven says to her, and grabs her hand to lead her out the back door and across the lawn to her house, magically appearing notes forgotten for the moment.
Later that afternoon, after Clarke's relayed all her magical mishaps around Raven through their mirror call, Bellamy just laughs at her.
"Helpful," she says grumpily, frowning at him, then changes the topic away from her and her unfortunate magic altering crush.
She adjusts the mirror’s position so there’s not quite as much glare from the afternoon sun. Mirrors have always been popular in the magical community as a form of communication, and most of the people that Clarke knows still prefer them to cellphones; better service and less expensive.
They chat a bit about the specifics of the trade Bellamy is working on and the witch that provides a lot of supplies for the apothecary, who changes her location every few years. Bellamy kind of dreads the two weeks each year it takes him to locate, negotiate, and transport the supplies for the store, but Siobhan has been the best supplier for the last three centuries, so he commits to the annoyance every year at least.
"I just don't understand why she can't just move her business online!" Clarke complains for the thousandth time. "The internet's been around for over a quarter of a century. It's not like it's a new fad going away anytime soon."
"It's how she's always done her trade, and she's the best at it so she gets to make those rules," Bellamy explains, again, annoyance creeping into his voice. "Not every magical being can be a techno witch like you, Clarke."
"I'm not even a techno witch!" she protests pointedly. "I just know how to make my life and everyone else's easier."
Bellamy smiles faintly. “What’s the real reason you’re being like this?”
Clarke sighs, and she swears it’s the sun reflecting in the mirror that makes her shut her eyes tightly.
"I just feel so unbalanced when you're not here."
"I miss you too," he says back.
Clarke watches him for a moment, the breeze from whatever coastal town Siobhan has decided to manage her business from this half of the decade drifting in through his window to muss up his hair. Two weeks really should be nothing in the grand scheme of things, over the course of the decades that Clarke has known, and she knows that she could live her life without Bellamy if it came to it; there were a couple of years during the 1940s that were particularly brutal for her that she shut him out of her life. But still, there is a sort of imbalance whenever they’re away from one another.
“I’ll be more careful about writing to you,” he promises. “But, honestly, I’ve got a good feeling about Raven, I have since we moved. I really don’t think she’s going to take it as badly as you think she will. And we’ll have to tell her eventually, anyway.”
Clarke nods. “I still think I’d prefer to do it together.”
Clarke’s view of Bellamy gets a bit shaky as he grabs his hand held mirror and relocates to recline on the bed. “Well, I might actually be getting done here sooner than expected, so I could be getting back a little earlier.”
Clarke props her head on one of her hands. “Mm, that’ll be nice.”
Bellamy lets out a yawn, and rubs at his eyes with the heel of his palm. “Well, as much as I like seeing your face, I am exhausted, so I’m going to go to bed. I’ll try and let you know the next time we can call?”
“And Clarke?” Bellamy’s voice is rougher than usual, revealing just how tiring the last couple of days have been for him. “You and me? We’ll be okay, whatever happens.”
And just like that, Clarke feels calmer than she has all week.
“I still can’t believe you’ve never seen Pacific Rim!” Raven calls from the kitchen.
“I don’t know, the description didn’t really sound appealing to me when I heard about it,” Clarke answers back, looking at the back cover of the disc case Raven brought over.
During one of their conversations at lunch during the week, Raven made a reference to the movie and Clarke admitted she didn’t know where it was from. If Raven hadn’t been determined to finish her current set of mural pieces before her next delivery of metal on Sunday, she probably would have forced Clarke to watch the movie right then and there. In any case, she managed to finish her mural pieces on Saturday afternoon, and had promptly invaded Clarke and Bellamy’s living room with her special edition copy of Pacific Rim.
“Well, you’ll soon see what a mistake that was,” Raven says as she walks back into the living room with a large bowl filled past the brim with popcorn. She turns the lights off on her way in, and plops next to Clarke on the couch, handing the bowl over to her so Raven can take her brace off. “By the way, what do you have in your crock pot? It kind of smells like it’s on its way to morgue.”
“Oh, um,” Clarke starts. The crock pot has become her favorite way to brew her potions over the last decade, and she’s only about a day away from having a Roberta-free house. “I found a new recipe for…” She trails off, unable to think of an appropriate non-magical substitute.
Raven snorts. “You really weren’t kidding when you said you were a horrible cook, were you?”
Clarke nods, her lips pursed, because honestly she is horrible at cooking so it’s not exactly a lie. Raven grabs the popcorn bowl back from her and settles in closer. Clarke is trying to not get too distracted by the warmth emanating from where Raven’s body is pressed against hers from hip to shoulder, when Raven jostles the bowl of popcorn in front of her.
“Well, you have to try some of my homemade popcorn, and no, I won’t tell you the secret ingredients.”
They start the movie and Clarke figures out pretty quickly that Raven is one of those people who does not appreciate any talking during a movie, so there’s minimal conversation once Raleigh Becket starts his intro. Eventually, the popcorn bowl is perched on the side table and Raven manages to slowly shift into a position with her head on Clarke’s lap. Clarke takes advantage of Raven’s concentration on the film to slowly undo the hair tie keeping Raven’s hair in a ponytail and lets her fingers comb through her dark hair for the rest of the movie.
When the credits start to roll, Raven lets out a content little sigh, before pushing herself into a sitting position and facing Clarke. “So. What’d you think?”
“I’m a little skeptical that if we were to get into a future like that, our instinct would be to build giant robots,” Clarke says.
“Uh,” Raven says, looking insulted. “I would be the first to jump on board designing those beautiful machines.”
“Really?” Clarke says, amused.
“Duh. And let’s be real, you and Bellamy would probably end up being the jaeger pilots for whatever robot I made.”
“Nah,” Clarke says, shaking her head a bit.
Raven gives her an unimpressed look. “Please, I’ve seen the two of you together. If you’re not drift compatible, I’ll eat my brace.”
Clarke lets out a quick laugh, and Raven’s lips twitch into a smile in response. “No, I just mean-- you haven’t seen Bell with his sister. I probably wouldn’t be the one to pilot with him, because those two are so in sync it’s actually a little frightening.”
“Hmm,” Raven hums with her lips against Clarke’s shoulder, the vibrations rushing over her skin and making her shiver. “Well, I guess you could always just keep me company in the shatterdome.”
Clarke raises an eyebrow at that, and Raven smirks, before leaning in for a soft kiss. She pulls back, eyes searching Clarke’s for any hesitation. Finding none, Raven kisses her again, and this time Clarke is quicker to respond. After a few moments, Raven moves lower, nudging Clarke’s chin so she tilts her head to the side before slowly skimming her lips down the slope of her neck, pausing to gently bite the skin above her collarbone. Clarke’s breathing becomes shallow as she bites her lip, her hand that’s not caught between them drifting up Raven’s arm, fingertips tingling as she traces a path to her shoulder where she tightens her grip, needing something stable to grasp.
Raven yelps, and Clarke realizes she’s channeling more through her fingertips than just figurative sparks. She pulls her hands back into herself, but Raven reaches out and catches one of her wrists, staring as little bolts of electricity zap from finger to finger. Clarke hastily clenches her hands into fists to stop the sparks from showing in the dark room.
“You’ve got some mad static electricity going on here,” Raven says, entranced. “It’s like your house is in the Twilight Zone or something.”
“Yeah,” Clarke agrees, scrambling for something to distract Raven. “Hey, what time did you say you were getting your delivery tomorrow morning?”
“Ass crack of dawn,” Raven sighs, reaching out to where her phone is sitting on the coffee table in front of the couch. She checks the time, and then starts to pull her brace back on. “I should probably get back so I can get some sleep before then.”
And as much as Clarke would love to continue what they had been doing, she’s more than a little unnerved by the way her magic has been acting around Raven, so she walks Raven to the door and gives her a quick kiss, waiting to make sure she makes it safely inside her own home.
“Pull it the fuck together, Griffin,” Clarke tells herself, closing the door and resting her forehead against the wood until she feels her magic start to settle once again.
“I’m telling you, I think I’m going to end up ruining whatever we’ve got going on here because I can’t seem to control my magic.”
Clarke picks up the small mirror and walks from their bedroom into the kitchen. She props it up on the counter as she goes to fill a glass with water.
“I’m pretty sure we’ve dealt with worse things over the last seventy years, Clarke,” Bellamy tells her. “Whatever happens, happens. We’ll deal with it however it plays out.”
“Seventy years? Didn’t think you guys were that old.” Clarke jumps at Raven’s voice, not having heard her come in through the back door.
Clarke freezes in place until she realizes that the water from the faucet is overflowing from her glass into the sink. She shuts the water off and leaves the glass in the sink as she turns to shoot a panicked glance towards Bellamy.
“Oh, hey Bellamy!” Raven says to him. “You guys video chatting? What time is it there for you?”
Clarke’s eyes widen, her hands outstretched as Raven gets closer to the mirror in a delayed attempt to stop her from investigating. Bellamy answers Raven quickly, but Clarke can’t pick out individual words as her stress sky rockets. The lights in the house flicker, and Raven tilts her head up to the ceiling, her face narrowed in scrutiny. Bellamy focuses on Clarke again as she takes a few deep breaths.
“I’ll be home tomorrow night,” Bellamy reassures her. Then, right before he ends the connection, he looks pointedly at Raven and says, “Tell her.”
“Tell me what?” Raven asks, picking up the mirror which has reverted back to its original function. “Is this.. is this a tablet?”
Clarke watches her tap on the glass a few times, then turn the mirror over in her hands, her face scrunching in confusion as she realizes it’s not a piece of technology.
“We’re kind of magical?" Clarke says, taking a leap of faith and just going with Bellamy’s suggestion. Raven's expression doesn't change much, so she forces herself to try and explain it the best she can. "Magical in the sense that I was born in the 20s, and Bellamy runs an apothecary, and I can manipulate matter and energy around me, which you've probably been noticing. The Twilight Zone? That would be me."
There's a tense moment where Raven glances down to the mirror in her hands, then straightens up, face clearing into an expression of slight surprise.
"Huh. Wait, so you're saying you're both almost a century old?" Raven asks. "This is going to be so awkward in a couple of decades."
Clarke's heart picks up its pace at Raven's casual mention of their relationship lasting decades. As much as Raven's words seem like she's complaining, she actually looks quite delighted at the prospect.
"Of all the information I just gave you, that's what you focus on?"
Raven shrugs. “I mean, at some point when the evidence is all stacked up, you have to start looking for other possible explanations. The literal sparks from your fingers might’ve been the tipping point.”
“And…” Clarke hesitates. “And you’re okay with all this?” She gestures vaguely in a circle around her.
“If by ‘this’ you mean you and Bellamy and magic? Then, yes to all of the above. However, be forewarned I’m going to probably bug the crap out of you with all my questions.”
Clarke lets out a relieved laugh, feeling like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. “I’m fine with that.”
“Now,” Raven says, grabbing her hand and tugging her down the hallway towards the still lit bedroom. “Not to have a one track mind, but did I hear correctly that Bellamy won’t be back till tomorrow night? Because I gotta say, I’ve been trying to get in your pants for over a week now, and I think we should take advantage of this girl’s night.”
Raven pulls Clarke into her just inside the doorway and Clarke’s laugh is muffled against Raven’s lips. Clarke throws her hand out to hit the lightswitch, but Raven catches it before it can reach its destination, and brings it to her mouth to kiss the palm, the pulse point at her wrist, the underside of her forearm. Clarke’s breath hitches, the lightbulb above them flickering in sync, and Raven smirks at her.
“Leave it,” Raven tells her, pulling her further into the bedroom. “I wanna see if I can make it burst tonight.”