Bellamy Blake does not participate in camp gossip. He doesn’t participate in it, and he certainly doesn’t take it at face value. He’d never be foolish enough to listen to the words of a giggly, drunk on moonshine, relief, and being alive member of the 47 they just recently rescued from Mount Weather.
No. He would never do that.
And that’s why he’s staked out between two tents, hunkered down in the shadows, to see if it’s true for himself.
It’s early, too early really, but he just wants to make sure. He’s pretty sure it’s 100% bullshit and that Shana and the other girl he overheard around the campfire last night have no idea what they’re talking about, but still. Better safe than sorry. Although he’s not sure which would be worse in this situation - safe or sorry.
He ignores the weird, hollow feeling that he gets in his chest and continues to watch. And wait. And wait… which makes no sense because he knows that Clarke isn’t much different from him when it comes to sleeping in. Sure, he’s more of a morning person and it usually takes her a full hour before she can speak in complete sentences, but she never sleeps late. It’s why, every morning without fail, they’re two of the first people in the mess, and their day (their week, really) is planned out well before it even begins.
That’s another reason that he can’t begin to believe the gossip. She’s been there, once even before him, for the past week. They’ve made plans to raid a couple of depots farther out on the map that they hadn’t managed to get to before having to abandon the dropship site. They’ve rolled their eyes at Kane’s shitty attempts to strengthen the camaraderie between the Arkers and the remaining members of The 100. Just yesterday she even went as far as to lick the extra roll on her plate to dissuade Wick from nabbing it because she knows that they’re Bellamy’s favorite. (And that they’ve shared so much since being dropped on the ground that a little spit won’t stop him from enjoying it.)
They share everything really. He’s not sure when it began or if it’s something that sprung up out of necessity or not, but he’s gotten used to it. He maybe even likes it a little. He thinks that he maybe even likes her a little, but shakes the thought out of his head as quickly as it came.
But why else would he be sitting here, ass resting on the heels of his boots, freezing his balls off, watching the flaps her tent like his life depends on it? Why else would he actually look forward to those early morning meetings? Yeah, he enjoys getting shit done as much as the next person, but deep down it’s hard to deny that getting shit done with a pretty blonde at your side is much better. A pretty blonde that’s also smart as a whip, keeps him on his toes, and yeah…
Maybe he likes her more than just a little.
But another thing that Bellamy Blake doesn’t participate in is that whole letting himself acknowledge his feelings thing. Unless that feeling is anger or particularly ragey, of course. So even though there’s a word that probably encompasses exactly how much he really does like Clarke Griffin, he pushes it down until it’s nearly buried there inside him. Because he’s only let himself feel that way toward two people in his life, and he’s lost one of them and nearly lost the other countless times. And Princess… Well, Princess puts herself out there more than the other two combined. His heart would never stand a chance if he were to lose her, too.
So he pushes what feels a lot (exactly) like love down until it settles like a rock deep in his belly. He holds it there, and lets something else take its place. He’s not sure that love and jealousy are interchangeable, but he makes it so.
And this is what he’s able to convince himself has him waiting in the damp morning air like some kind of lovesick puppy, just waiting to get his heart broken. Because it’s not love, he tells himself. Jealousy is not love. He might even be right on that one, but he knows that they’re not mutually exclusive either.
He also knows that he’s never felt jealousy as such a living, breathing thing, clawing at the inside of his chest and tearing its way up his throat, as he does when he watches Miller duck out of Clarke’s tent.
He hadn’t wanted to believe it. Even staring it in the face, he still doesn’t want to believe it.
“It’s been going for like, a week.”
“It’s so sweet because after she fought her way out of Mount Weather alone, Miller never gave up hope that she would get the rest of us out.”
That part he could believe. Because Miller trusted Bellamy and his judgment, and therefore Miller trusted Bellamy’s belief in Clarke Griffin. He thinks that they all trust Clarke at least partially because of how much Bellamy’s grown to trust her.
Does that mean this is his fault? Does that mean that every gangly-limbed, wet behind the ears kid that followed her around camp, half in love and half in awe of her did so because of the way that he felt himself?
Doesn’t make this any easier to process though. No less painful.
He’s been hunched over too long and concentrating too hard on the way that Miller and his stupid, beanie covered head turns from side to side, making sure that no one’s around to see him exit the tent, that Bellamy doesn’t hear the footsteps crunching over the ground behind him. He doesn’t feel her presence as she lowers herself beside him, and definitely isn’t prepared for the hand she lays on his shoulder.
He’s falling and finding himself ass first in the mud puddle behind him before he knows what hit him.
She jumps up and back, covering her chest with one hand like she’s the one that’s just gotten the shit scared out of her. (But it only takes a second for her to extend that same hand, and even less time for him to take it in his own.)
“Damn it,” he mumbles, only just starting to feel the cold, wet feeling seep through the already dirty fabric of his pants. He brushes at it uselessly and refuses to meet her eyes until he gets the heat he can feel in his face under control.
“Are you okay?” She asks, her head cocked to the side in that way that lets him know she’s about three seconds away from checking him over for bumps and bruises. He sees her hand twitch at her side, and reaches to grab it without thinking. Anything to keep her hands off the flashlight she’ll inevitably pull out to shine right in his fucking eyes any second now.
“Fine. You just scared the shit out of me, Princess. What the hell are you doing skulking around out here so early anyway?”
Her eyes narrow and she snatches her hand away.
“Good,” he thinks. Pissed off is always better than perceptive in his book. Pissed off he knows how to deal with.
“Me? I’m not the one hovering all hunched over in the dark here!” The words leave her mouth in a hiss and she leans farther out, craning her neck from left to right. “Who were you spying on anyway?”
He reaches for her hand again, set on pulling her back into the shadows. Maybe making up some excuse that he hasn’t thought of quite yet, or saying something else that’ll piss her off to take her mind off of just what he’s out here so early for. Instead his hand falls in the space between them and she steps directly into the tent-lined path. Directly in front of Miller.
He can’t watch. He doesn’t want to see whatever happens between the two of them, or hear whatever it is they have to say.
He can’t look away either.
“Clarke, thanks again.”
Miller’s voice is quiet, careful not to disturb anyone who might still be asleep, but oddly not as intimate as Bellamy’s prepared himself for.
“Anytime, Nate. And tell Monty to drop by medical to see me later. I know it’s just a cold, but Jackson and I have been working on this new formula for a natural decongestant. Maybe it’ll help with the snoring.”
Miller nods, a still grateful look on his face that quickly turns into a flush when he spots Bellamy emerging from the shadows. He clears his throat a little and, with a nod of his head, is off.
Bellamy watches the sincere smile on Clarke’s face morph back into an unimpressed, flat line as she turns back in his direction. Still, she jerks her head in the direction of the mess hall and starts to walk backward while addressing him.
“So, do you want to tell me what’s crawled up your ass this morning?”
He figures that Jackson is at least half in love with Clarke if only for the mere fact that the (only slightly) older man is completely in love with her mother.
And seeing as how Abby obviously has some kind of thing going on with Kane that no one, not even the guy whose little sister is in love with a grounder, turned reaper, turned grounder again, can understand, it’s only natural that he should turn his affections toward Clarke. Bellamy isn’t sure what pisses him off the most - that Jackson’s affections are aimed anywhere near his Princess, or that she’s been delegated to the role of second best.
It’s that thought that lets him know that he’s definitely in love.
It’s the one of the most awful things to ever happen to him.
And it’s that thought that lets him know that it’s serious, and that he’s fucked. Beyond fucked.
He accepts his fate quietly, letting it seep into his bones as he watches Clarke enter the med bay, Jackson smiling and laughing at her side. Smiling a little too wide and laughing a little too loud, really. Princess has her moments, but in general Clarke is not a funny ha ha kind of person. She has more of a that’s funny if you think about it and can convince yourself not to want to cry kind of sense of humor. It compliments his own brand of dry, you probably shouldn’t laugh unless you want me to make you cry quite nicely.
She compliments him quite nicely.
Ugh. So beyond fucked.
O checks his hip with hers and snatches an apple right off the tray in his hands. When he doesn’t even bother to respond, she lifts a brow and follows his gaze to entryway. A slow, sneaky, obnoxious smile creeps across her face. He tries not to react as Jackson places his hand on the small of Clarke’s back, lower and for longer than strictly necessary, moving her out of the way of another group of people moving through the doorway. He tries, but he fails and his knuckles turn white around the hard plastic.
His sister drops the apple back onto the tray, pats his shoulder, and leaves without a word.
He watches in horror (in a sense of agony) as Octavia taps Clarke on the shoulder and tilts her head back in Bellamy’s direction. She’s gone, out the door with nothing more than a wink thrown over her shoulder to her big brother, two seconds later. So he doesn’t worry about her having said anything. O’s never been one to get to the point so quickly, and he just knows that she’s going to torture him over this for days… possibly weeks.
It’s also hard to worry about anything with the way that Clarke is smiling at him. He feels his cheek twitch before he has to bite the inside of it to keep from smiling back. Smirking. Smirking is what Bellamy Blake does. Smiling is reserved for little sisters and maybe the occasional bad pun that Jasper manages to slip under his radar.
He watches as Clarke bids Jackson a farewell that’s devoid of both eye contact and more than two words, and fuck it . He smiles. He turns his head to the side a bit, and maybe ducks in an attempt to hide it from everyone else in the room, but he smiles.
“You are a life saver,” Clarke breathes the words out, taking the tray from his hands and setting it down on one of the many overturned crates lining the walls.
“Nah,” he says, leaning back against the wall and looking down at her. “Just trying to keep you on your feet so that you can be.”
She snorts and isn’t the least bit embarrassed when a chunk of apple flies from her mouth. It’s simultaneously adorable and disgusting.
“That,” she starts, and then pauses to swallow. “Is almost as bad as the line that Jackson was trying to use on me earlier.”
He opens his mouth, retort not quite settled on, but she just stuffs a carrot stick between his lips and laughs.
“At least you don’t have the hots for my mom.”
She’s laughing. Again.
It’s more like a giggle actually, and it’s driving him insane. It’s not the first time since they landed that he’s wanted her to just shut up already, but it probably is the first time he’s thought it since they lost Finn.
And damn it. He’s knows that he’s an asshole, but this just makes him THE Asshole, doesn’t it?
It’s been six months, and he knows that things have gotten better. Hell, he even saw her and Raven sitting together during dinner sometime last week. Things aren’t really better though. She still has weeks where she barely sleeps, throwing herself into work that she creates for the sole purpose of keeping busy. She still tenses up whenever someone says his name, and he finally had to threaten one of the younger delinquents, Tanner, into cutting his hair last month because she looked like she’d seen a ghost every time she crossed paths with the kid.
So now he looks back over his shoulder, sees her laughing at something one of the newer guards is saying, for the third or fourth time now, and is so unbelievably jealous that he’d rather her not laugh at all.
Yup. He’s an asshole.
He grits his teeth and jerks his head back to the face front. He tries to focus on the forest floor and the trees surrounding their small party as they make their way back to Camp Jaha. Why they’d even needed a guard escort is beyond him. Well, that’s not true. He knew when he made the request, a simple one that only entailed heading back to the dropship to scavenge the site of their old camp one last time, that the council wouldn’t just nod their heads and give them the okay.
Hell, he’s older than the jackass currently paying more attention to Clarke’s ass than looking out for danger, than protecting them like he’s supposed to. And while having someone else worry about things, about the important stuff, for a while was more welcome than he thought, he’s had about enough of it. He had thought, by the look of disappointment in her eyes when they were met with guards at the gate, that Clarke’d had more than enough of it, too.
He hears her laugh. Again .
“Damn it, Princess,” he growls.
He cringes as soon as it’s out of his mouth because he hasn’t spoken to her like this is in so long, but it’s already out there, so what the hell. He spins on his heel, nearly taking out Monroe with the duffel bag over his shoulder. He fully intends to lay into her, spouting off an angry mob worthy tirade about how she should know by now just how important it is to stay fucking quiet and does she really want every grounder within a two mile radius to hear her giggling like a little girl, but instead she pins him with a fierce gaze that he hasn’t seen the likes of since before she thought he’d come back from the dead.
His mouth snaps shut and he almost takes a step back as she marches right up to him with stubborn determination in her eyes. He’s missed that, too. He didn’t even realized that he missed it so much. She’s hissing at him like a wet cat, back arched and everything. And there’s this tiny little knit that she gets between her eyebrows that has always driven him insane, but he’s never let himself focus on for too long. Now he can’t look away. And he can’t stop himself from reaching up to smooth it with his thumb.
Her mouth falls open and she lowers her hands from where he didn’t even realize she had been clutching at his jacket. Hell, he couldn’t even tell you what she was saying half a second ago, so maybe that’s not such a big surprise. They’ve been closer than this before, but it’s been a long time since one of them has fallen asleep in the other’s tent and he really wants to take another step forward. Just so he can feel her breath, still labored and heavy from the dressing down she’s surely just given him, fall against the skin of his neck.
“What are you doing, Bellamy?”
His hand stills. His thumb is no longer smoothing the skin between her brows but on a journey to her temple, and the rest of his hand is actually cradling her face. He coughs and takes a step back, waving his hand out in the air between them.
“You’ve got some shit on your forehead.”
He cringes internally, but figures she’s used to less than flowery language coming from his mouth by now. Hell, they always have shit on their faces these days. It’s not the first time he’s used those exact words with her. Dropping his hand to his side, he hopes she doesn’t notice the way that he flexes his fingers and curls them into a fist.
She blinks once, long and hard, and in a way that might get his hopes up if she were anyone else. It only takes a second for her to swipe the back of her hand along her forehead though, smearing it with what he thinks is charcoal. He scoffs and she only narrows her eyes a little, bringing her palm back to her face to make an even bigger mess.
He doesn’t have to tell her stay quiet, or warn her about every grounder within a two mile radius after that. Because she eventually looks down at her own hands and realizes her mistake. And she punches him hard on the shoulder. She loops her arm through his after that though, and stays by his side for the rest of the trek back to camp.
And he knows it’s stupid and childish, but Bellamy doesn’t even try to stop the scowl that he gives ‘ol what’s his face when he turns back to see where the blonde that was at his side has gotten off to.
He hasn’t seen Clarke all day. He’s barely seen her all week in fact, but with the rash of colds and injuries that people are sustaining trying to reinforce the walls of their new camp it’s not surprising. He remembers the early days just after they crashed on this planet, and how he barely saw her until there was something she needed to yell at him over.
Of course he didn’t have a raging crush on her then and was more than happy to go days without seeing her face. Now it was just… sad. He should be able to get through the day without finding every excuse in the book to go see her in the freshly constructed, already well broken in, med bay.
She finally shooed him out yesterday after he not only brought her lunch, but an ‘afternoon snack’.
“Really, Bellamy. Since when do we even have afternoon snacks?”
He left the handful of nuts wrapped in a strip of an old, torn t-shirt, lying in the middle of her bed for her to find whenever she made it back to her tent. It was still there this morning when he popped his head in to check on her. Not that he’d ever let her know that was a thing that he did, or anything…
He’d wanted to find her then, make sure that everything was okay and that she’d eventually gotten something to eat last night. But then Miller had called him over to the wall that they were working on because of course somewhere along the line, someone had gone off plan and now an entire thirty foot section was leaning too far out for there to ever be a clean seam with the next turret. Because turrets were a thing that they were going to have now, which lead to Jasper wanting to talk to him about how they were going to construct the stairs in each one. That lead to helping out with the crew cutting wood for most of the afternoon.
He worked through lunch. He’s now starving, tired, achy, sweaty, but mostly just really anxious to sit down with Clarke, and have the world’s surliest gripe session with someone who understands just how hard getting the remaining 100 back on their feet again truly is.
And he could do all of that if only he could just find her…
He shouldn’t blame the sudden influx of colds and injuries that have kept her busy on the people who came down on the Ark and subsequently left Camp Jaha with them when it was decided they would head toward the ocean. He shouldn’t, but of course he does. The people that were with them before, his people, they know their limits and how to hammer a fucking nail without breaking a finger.
The number of times in a day that he has to take a deep breath and remind himself that every member of their camp is a helping hand in the end is borderline ridiculous. Clarke had taken to keeping a tally on a page of her latest sketchbook before any and all of her free time disappeared. Along with the time to sleep in her own tent apparently. At least from the looks of the bundle he left in the middle of bed yesterday, still sitting exactly where he placed it well over 24 hours ago.
“Hold still, Ian.”
He turns when he hears her voice, like its some kind of damn magnet that tugs at his very core. If anyone else could hear his internal monologue, he would probably give them permission to kick his ass. He shakes his head, and rounds the corner, ducking into the narrow alleyway that runs between the med bay and the crude foundation for what will eventually be a building used for general meeting purposes. He thinks of the blueprints Clarke drew up weeks ago when they were still more or less locked up inside Camp Jaha, and smiles vaguely at the memory of her finally succumbing to letting him massage the cramps out of her hand.
Then there she is in front of him, and it feels like watching Miller leave her tent all over again.
Except this is worse because she is right in front of him . He doesn’t know the guy in front of her. He knows that he came down with the Ark and was one of the first to join the remaining members of the 100 once it was obvious they weren’t able to peacefully coexist with the people who sent them down to the die in the first place. He never took the time to learn that the jackass’s name was Ian though. Not like Clarke so obviously has.
And she might be right in front of Bellamy, but she is right in front of this Ian guy, and looking far too comfortable being that close. She’s fussing over him, leaning up onto her tiptoes so that she can bring his face down closer to hers. Bellamy can hear his back teeth grinding together as the guy in front of Clarke grins a little and slumps down against the wall behind him. Clarke nods in appreciation and settles back onto her heels before placing her hands on either side of his face.
And fuck. He can’t watch this.
He’s back at his tent in seconds, yanking off his boots and throwing them toward the entryway that he keeps looking back over his shoulder at. Like he thinks she’s actually going to walk through any second. God, when did he become this guy? He’s never been this guy.
Yeah, there’s a voice in the back of his head that tells him that being this guy isn’t so bad if it means Clarke’s by his side. But she’s not, and he’s tired of the waiting and the wanting, and just ugh ! So he tells it to shut the hell up, finishes undressing, and throws his body underneath the blankets on his bed.
It turns out that his anger is conducive to sleep because he’s out like a light until someone enters his tent and promptly trips over his boots a couple of hours later.
“Ow! Damn it.”
“Clarke?” He questions, starting to sit up before remembering that he’s mad at her. He lowers himself back into the bed and then, for good measure and because he knows that it always pissed him off whenever Octavia did it, pulls the blanket up over his head.
He listens as she hobbles across the floor of his tent, moving slower now to avoid anything else on the floor. And possibly hopping on one leg from what he can tell. He feels a stab of guilt that’s remarkably easy to ignore as soon as he recalls the way that she cradled that other guy’s face in her hands. Cradled .
“Yeah,” she exhales, lowering herself to sit on the side of his mattress. He peeks out from his cocoon and sees her rubbing her shin through her jeans. “I’m guessing by the booby trap, you weren’t expecting company? Or you were expecting someone that you hate…”
He makes a noncommittal kind of mmph , and thinks that maybe he should set up some booby traps outside of a certain someone’s tent so that he can’t have his face cradled anymore. Suddenly the blanket is snatched from over his face and even though the room is still dark, he flinches back against the intrusion.
Then her fingers are brushing his hair back from his forehead and it’s so unexpected that he lets out something that very nearly sounds like a fucking purr. He covers it up with a cough and his eyes go wide when Clarke leans down closer to his face. Her eyes are narrowed again, and there’s that stupid little wrinkle between them that almost gets him in trouble every time…
“Are you okay? Why are you in bed?” She fires the questions one right after the other, and has the covers pulled back even more before he can respond. Her hand is on his forehead one second, and the next her ear is pressed against his naked chest. Dear god . “You don’t feel warm. Your heart rate’s fine… I swear to god, Bellamy. If you get sick like the rest of these idiots have…”
She looks up, staring him straight in the eye. Her hair hangs down on each side of her face, and it tickles his bare shoulders, and then his cheeks as she scoots her body farther up the mattress.
And then she has her hands on his cheeks, and he closes his eyes and lets the sensation of her skin against his take over. Her fingers stop moving, thumbs pressing into the soft skin just underneath his jawbone, and… and what the hell is she doing?
“Your glands aren’t swollen,” she says, removing her hands and sitting up. “You’re not sick at all, are you?”
Oh, god damn it. He should have fucking known.
“I’m fine, Princess. Just fine.”
He’s really done it this time. Well, he really did it last week. And that’s the problem. Because he really, really did it. And Clarke hasn’t spoken to him since.
Monroe told him that he should grovel. Jasper said that he needed to pray. O told him to apologize. And Raven? Well, when Raven found out what he said… Let’s just say that she’s not speaking to him right now, either.
Groveling won’t work when she won’t even look at him.
Bellamy’s pretty sure that praying won’t help either since he’s almost positive that if there is a god, he’s on Clarke’s side when it comes to this one.
And apologizing. Well, if there’s one thing that he’s learned about Clarke Griffin (and he’s learned a lot about Clarke Griffin), it’s that you can’t just apologize . No, you stay away until she lets you know that she’s prepared to accept your apology.
He just didn’t think that it would take this long. The problem is that he didn’t think, period.
Hell, if he thought she would be take it as an excuse, he’d blame it at least partially on the particularly strong batch of moonshine Monty had cooked up for the occasion. Everyone else had been drinking the exact same stuff though. And everyone else managed to make it through the night without acting like a pompous ass.
They’ve been in their camp, only a few miles away from the ocean, for a year now. Exactly a year last week.
They’ve done well for themselves - making it through their first winter alone without the walls of the Ark to serve as protection, setting up peace and trading treaties with the nearby grounder tribes, and even delivering the camp’s first baby. (And, let’s face it, Harper might have put in all the hard work, but it’s the camp’s baby. For a group of people that came from a place where the words aunt and uncle were essentially extinct, they’ve all fell into the roles more readily than expected.)
A celebration was needed, so a celebration they had.
They’d invited members of neighboring tribes, and a party that started early in the day with what O had referred to as ‘festival food’ (basically anything on a stick), games that Jasper and Monty had come up with over their time on the ground, and even and arts and crafts area that Clarke put together for the little ones. And, okay, maybe Octavia had spent the entire day with a flock of tiny blue butterflies painted alongside her cheek and temple.
It was that night when he had gotten himself into trouble. But damn it, he’d had to watch her from afar all day. Between her taking care of the arts and crafts and kids, and rushing to Miller’s aid when some of Monty’s more enthusiastic dance moves had maneuvered him a little too close to the fire, and Bellamy overseeing security matters (old habits die hard and all that), being roped into more than one conversation regarding trades and the upcoming harvests that they’d agreed to help out on in exchange for their share of the spoils, they’d barely even spoken.
“Ah,” one of the older grounders that he’d been speaking with chuckled once he’d caught sight of Bellamy’s wandering gaze. “It is like they always say about wedding days. The person you spend the least amount time with will be the bride.”
Not exactly up to date on the marriage ceremonies of his present company, Bellamy had just nodded briefly. He never took his eyes off Clarke and where she stood on the other side of the fire, dented metal cup, filled no doubt with the same moonshine that he’d been drinking for hours, lifted to her lips. He didn’t think anything of it at first. After all, she’d been spending time with their neighboring tribesmen all day, but he couldn’t deny the disappointment he felt when she hadn’t sought him out as soon as the sun had gone down, when the fires were lit and the dancing had started.
He didn’t seek her out either, but of course at the time, with a belly full of alcohol and a head full of bad decisions just waiting to happen, he didn’t think to consider that. Nope. He just saw her smiling at the (admittedly) handsome Grounder by her side, then put her cup down on a nearby stump before allowing him to lead her into the circle of people already dancing.
He’d like to say that he didn’t spend at least half of the next hour watching her as she danced not once, not twice, but three times with the same stupid, scantily clad (because for fuck’s sake, don’t these people have real clothes? It’s like he’s surrounded by a bunch of Lincolns and their ridiculous eight-packs.) Grounder. He also wishes that he could say that he didn’t spend the next half of that same hour scowling from the sidelines and squinting his eyes until the guy started to look more and more like Spacewalker as the time went by. And one thing that he’d definitely like to say? That he wasn’t chugging moonshine like it was going out of style the entire time.
“Dance with me, Bell,” she’d said, what felt like an eternity later. And damn it, he’d wanted to. The problem was that he’d wanted to be the first person that she’d danced with. The only person.
“Nah,” he’d shaken his head, causing him to see two Clarkes in front of him and somehow making himself twice as angry. “Looks like your dance card is already full, Princess.”
She was confused, surprised by his tone, and maybe a little pissed that he’d had the balls to use it with her, but just shrugged. It wasn’t worth getting into it in front of everyone. Not after what she thought had been such a good day.
Later, though how much later he wasn’t sure, when people were starting to retire to their cabins and to the tents they’d erected for their guests… Well, that’s when it happened.
He waited for her outside the front door of their cabin. Because of course they shared a cabin. Clarke thought it practical and Bellamy, though he didn’t tell her, thought it preemptive. He’d been so sure that it would happen one day, banked on it really, so why not be prepared?
He wasn’t prepared to see her turn toward their home with an arm around her waist. An arm belonging to the Grounder she’d been dancing the night away with. An arm that he’d love to rip off and beat that same Grounder to death with.
It’s possible (definite) that he should have waited to see what was going to happen. He’s a patient guy usually. Hell, he’s been waiting on Clarke for years. But when the man’s arm slipped from around her waist and his hand linked with hers, tugging her playfully in the direction of the visiting group’s tents for the night…
“Watch it, Princess,” he said, pushing himself off the wall that, after stumbling over his own feet, he realized had been keeping him upright. “Let’s not forget that the last guy you slept with lost his fucking mind.”
God, he’d wanted to take it back the second that it was out of his mouth. Before it was out of his mouth even. Over a week later and he still can’t get that wounded, fucking awful look on her face out of his mind. He’s lost sleep over it, lost his appetite, and nearly lost a damn finger while working on some improvements to the second smoke house they just built. Octavia patched him up because he was sure that Clarke would refuse to see him. She’s been staying with Raven and Murphy since that night, and he just couldn’t chance seeing that look on her face again.
Except now he’s pretty sure that his finger is infected and O refuses to help him even the slightest bit. He’s pretty sure there’s nothing that can be done without antibiotics, and she won’t even get those for him.
He enters the med clinic, surprised to find it relatively empty until he remembers that it’s lunch time and nobody wants to give up their time to eat in order to have some cough or scrape checked on. He nearly hits his head on the stupid bell that hangs above the entryway, but the seashells she’s strung up on fishing line as a makeshift door make it ring regardless.
“Just a second,” she calls out, stepping out of the back room with a half eaten strip of jerky in her hand. “Oh.”
“You’re eating. I’ll.. I’ll just come back another time.”
“No. No, it’s fine.” She crosses the room and sits down on the stool he made her not long after they settled here. She motions to the examination table across from her, all business. He sits, not wanting to anger her any further, and places his hand palm up on the table between them. “What seems to be the… Bellamy!”
She snatches his hand up by the wrist and pulls it close to her face.
“This is deep. And those are not my stitches! And you definitely didn’t take care of it the way that you should have.” She looks up at him from her underneath her lashes and sighs. “When did you do this to yourself?”
He runs his free hand along the back of his neck and swallows hard.
“Does it really matter?”
“Yes. Yes, it matters.”
When he doesn’t answer and the silence between them becomes too thick, she lets loose of the tension in her shoulders. He holds his breath when she runs her thumb along the line of stitches, shaking her head slightly at the swollen and inflamed skin around them. He doesn’t let it out until she looks back up at him and speaks.
“You were an asshole, and what you said was not okay, but you should know that I’ll always take care of you.” She even smiles a little as he closes his fingers over hers, and he feels the knot loosen inside his chest. “Jackass.”
Bellamy steps off the last rung of the ladder, shaking his head like a dog and grinning like he actually enjoys the fact that they’re struck in this place with a torrential downpour outside. Clarke lets herself watch the smile on his face for just a second longer, allowing herself this one thing and knowing that at least this is something that not everyone else is privy to. Everyone else gets stern Bellamy, or angry Bellamy, or occasionally even I’m-proud-of-you-kid Bellamy.
The silly, smiling man in front of her now? He’s all hers for the most part, and she’ll take what she can get when it comes to him. Especially when she’s convinced it’s all that she’ll ever get.
“Guess we should’ve listened to Lexa and waited until morning to take off, huh?”
So of course he ruins the moment by talking about her .
“Yeah,” Clarke says, turning around to shed some light on the bunker around her. At least someone’s taken the time to move the dead guy since the last time she was here. She squints her eyes at the floor over in one corner. Looks like they got most of that oil spill up, too. “I’m surprised you didn’t listen to her. You certainly hung on every other word she said.”
Normally she’d reign it in a bit. She’d never let this particular emotion show on her face or through her words, and she would especially never let him see it festering inside of her. They’ve been on the ground for years now though. If there was a happy ending to this story, surely she’d be experiencing it by now. But it’s just been such a shit couple of weeks. If she had known when they started the long haul back to Camp Jaha for a visit that it would end with nothing but yet another fight with her mother and having to watch Bellamy make moon eyes at the Commander, she’d have given a simple thanks, but no thanks.
And they’d left camp earlier today because she had made the decision to. She couldn’t stay with the Arkers anymore, or stomach the idea of actually spending the night anywhere in Lexa’s settlement. So now, because of something Clarke decided, (because of the raging jealousy brewing in her gut to be perfectly honest) they’re stuck in the same shitty, dank bunker where Bellamy first taught her how to shoot, with a veritable monsoon waiting for them outside.
She knows there’s no way that he didn’t hear her, but there’s nothing but quiet at her back so she releases a breath and moves farther into the darkness. It’s not until she’s seated on a musty old couch that she thinks used to be a paisley print that he speaks. He’s right behind her of course. Bellamy’s always right behind her, and maybe that’s what makes everything seems that much worse.
“I thought you liked Lexa.”
“I do like her.” She shrugs as he sits on the opposite end of the couch. He swings his torso around to face and her she stares at where his knees bump against hers. “She’s a good leader. We could still learn a lot from her.”
Bellamy nods, but the action is just movement in her peripheral vision because there’s no way that she’s taking her eyes off his leg right now. Not when she still feels shaky and so unsure of exactly where this conversation might be leading them.
“You’re right, she’s pretty spectacular.”
Well, that hurts more to hear than she thought it would. She nods her head, not really paying attention to the fact that she lets the movement continue on long past what’s probably considered normal. Bellamy’s hands cover hers, ceasing the also unconscious movements of her fingers. And great, another shirt with a completely fucked hem in her wardrobe. She slowly unwinds the stray thread from around her finger to further stall having to look him in the eye.
Eventually she’s all done and has to look back up, but he’s not looking at her anyway. Instead he’s staring at some point off in the distance, though at what she’s not sure. It’s pretty damn dark in here, but that’s okay. It’s not every day that she gets all of her hopes and dreams dashed, or at least not the one that she’s been secretly hanging onto for the longest. Maybe it’s best if they don’t look each other in the eye as it happens. That’ll make it easier to pretend that they can just continue on as they have been. (She tells herself this, and immediately knows that it’s a lie.)
“I mean, like you said, she’s a good leader,” Bellamy starts, and there’s a funny kind of lilt to his voice that she doesn’t recognize. How bad is it that she’s jealous of the tone of voice he’s using? How pathetic is she? “She’s strong, and capable, and people respect her. Not just her people either… She’s smart, and fierce, but oddly compassionate. I mean, even if she wasn’t hot, that’d all still be pretty impressive. Sexy even—”
“Okay. That’s enough.” She pushes herself up from the couch and stands there, not sure what to do with her hands that are clenched into fists at her sides, or this new, devastating information, or just with herself in general. “This week has been bad enough, Bellamy. I really don’t need to hear you go on about how in love you are with someone…”
She catches herself, lets the sentence trail off, but it’s pretty obvious the way that the word else just hangs in the air between them.
Her face feels like it’s on fire and the silence is killing her, but she fights moving farther into the darkness. Because this is okay. She’s fine . She has to be fine, because things can’t change, damn it. If they can’t change the way that she wants them to, then she just has to accept it and move on. She’s gotten good at pretending after all.
Bellamy laughs - he actually laughs , and she bites the inside of her cheek.
“I’m not in love with Lexa.” She can hear him moving behind her, can feel him at her back seconds later. “She does remind me a lot of someone though.”
Another beat of silence. Another soft laugh leaving his lips. Clarke can feel as it hits the back of her neck, lifting her hair and making her have to suppress a shiver. She can feel his warmth seeping through the damp fabric of her shirt, but she remains quiet.
“Come on, Princess. It’s painfully obvious that I have a type.”
There’s no stopping the tremble that runs through her now. Not with his his chest pressed so tightly to her back and his lips so close to her ear. He reaches out, not quite wrapping her in his embrace, but settling his hands on the bend of each elbow and bracketing her arms with his own.
He’s warm where she’s cold, and steady where she’s shaking, and she comes to the dim realization that even in this moment, they compliment each other just like they always have. She doesn’t think that Bellamy would toy with her, not about this, but she’s still afraid.
“I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean.”
“Well that’s obvious,” he mumbles under his breath, but just loud enough for her to hear over the sound of rain pounding against the metal hatch above their heads.
She turns then, suddenly angry in that way that only he seems to be capable of making her because damn it, she does not feel like being made fun of. Her nerves are worn thin as it is and he could at least let her get away with some kind of quiet dignity instead of making light of the situation. Instead of making light of the way he must know by now that she feels.
So she digs her index finger into his ridiculously solid chest and opens her mouth, but doesn’t manage to get a damn word out. Nope, not a word. Because Bellamy’s lips are crashing into hers and her lips are suddenly very busy, and the breath is being stolen from her lungs, and her thoughts are scattered on the floor along with all of her worry about, well… Damn near everything at the moment.
For a while, he’s nothing but hands pressing her closer, spanning the width of her lower back and fingers digging into her the hollow beside each hip bone. And lips… God, he’s all lips covering the skin of her neck and collar bone, and tongue tracing the seam of her mouth, and even teeth. She never thought that she’d like teeth so much, but as he gently nips at her lower lip she thinks that they might be her new favorite thing.
And she, well she couldn’t tell you a single thing that she is in those moments down in the dark. Too focused on all of the things that he is and the promise she feels in his kiss for all of the things that he will be. Later he’ll think about how she was all short, blunt fingernails tracing down his spine, and small hands fisting his shirt into her fists. He’ll fall asleep to the thoughts of her playing idly with the hair at the nape of his neck and her body rocking against his and how she couldn’t, not for a second, stop pressing kisses to whatever bare skin she could get her lips on. Maybe one day he’ll tell her about the noises, the hums and sighs and strangled sounding murmurs of approval that nearly set him on fire.
When they finally pull apart, more for air than anything else, she blinks up at him and he ducks down to kiss her forehead before she can say anything. He catches sight of the faint blush that paints her cheeks and smiles.
“So you,” she starts, and immediately stutters over her words. “You.. And I… It’s, it’s not just me?”
He laughs, and she doesn’t try to yell or stab him with her finger this time, but he wraps his hands around hers just in case. If there was a way to let her see how not just her this whole thing is, he would in a heartbeat. It might make him look like a fool, or like a lovesick idiot, but he’d let her see the way that he’d gotten almost crazy with jealousy over strangers looking at her the wrong way, over a man that’s probably still in love with her mother, hell… over one of his best friends. There are exactly two people on this earth that he would trust with that kind of knowledge about himself, that he would let see him in such a weakened state.
Instead he just leans down and presses his forehead against hers.
“Princess, I haven’t stopped wanting you since the first time that we were in this damn bunker together.”