What a way to start the year.
Clarke had decided, after spending her first 9 months of high school as a miserable and often lonely freshman, that this fall would be different.
She just hadn’t meant this kind of different.
She’s in the principal’s office, which isn't all that surprising, after her use of some particular British slang—in front of half the school no less. Why is it everything always happens in the cafeteria? She wonders. Like a bad teen movie. Then again, bullies don't particularly care when or where, or who, so why should she? She didn't even know she still remembered those words—but then, bullies tend to have that effect.
The office is a quiet place. Everything is conveyed in whispers or hushed tones that, to Clarke, never seem to indicate anything good. The sound of the receptionist typing almost feels too loud by comparison. Every time the shrill phone breaks the silence, she jumps. Her legs swing back and forth under the chair, restless.
The new girl sits next to her.
They’re about the same height, but where Clarke is pale and blonde, Octavia is tanned and brunette. Her hair tumbles wildly over her shoulders as she shifts in her seat, curled up with her knees hugged to her chest like it’s her against the world.
For a second, their eyes catch and hold. Clarke doesn’t know if she’s supposed to say something, and even if she is she doesn’t know what that would be. So she just offers a flicker of a smile. Octavia’s eyebrows shoot up, and then she grins back in a bright flash of teeth.
“Thanks.” It comes out in a quick, relieved breath, like she’s been holding it in all this time.
The door opens behind them, and then a woman strides inside, her eyes fixed on Octavia. She pulls her into a hug immediately, murmuring softly as she soothes a hand down her back. A few curls fall out of the silver pins holding back her dark hair; Clarke thinks they look like stars in the night sky.
When they pull apart, Octavia surprises her by reaching over to grasp Clarke’s elbow. “This is my friend,” she says firmly.
“Is that so?” The lady kneels to look Clarke in the eye. “It’s very nice to meet you…”
They all swivel to look at the boy in the doorway who said her name. He clears his throat sheepishly. “That’s your name, right? Clarke,” he repeats.
She nods, but has little time to wonder how he knows that, because then she’s pulled into a tentative embrace.
“Thank you, Clarke,” comes the whisper in her ear, and she nods again, at a loss for words entirely. The woman draws back and offers a grateful smile. “I’m Aurora.”
“Borealis?” The question escapes her before she can take it back, and she turns red at all three identical grins. “I mean, sorry—nevermind. That’s beautiful,” she says honestly.
The principal chooses that moment to step outside, beckoning them forward. Clarke moves to rise, only to be stopped by a severe shake of the head.
“Not yet, Ms. Griffin. I’d like to see Ms. Blake and her mother first.”
Aurora squeezes her shoulder, then takes Octavia’s hand in hers as they walk inside. The principal eyes the boy before closing the door. “Don’t you have class, Mr. Blake?”
He fishes the yellow slip out of his pocket and waves it meaningfully, then takes a seat next to Clarke, stretching out his long legs and slumping down to make his point. Clarke fights a grin as she stares at her toes, not looking back up until she hears the door shut.
“How’d you know my name?” She asks instantly.
A corner of his mouth lifts. “Asked around. Had to know who the girl was that helped my sister. Not to mention has an impressive vocabulary.”
There’s the same gratitude in his voice that was in Aurora’s smile, and it makes her duck her head again. “Yeah. Well. High school girls suck,” she mutters.
“Yeah.” His voice is hard. “I’m usually looking out for her, but Mrs. Hammond wanted to catch me up on what I missed during lunch, and I didn’t think…” He shakes his head. “Anyways. Thanks. I mean it.”
She’s been thanked a lot in the past five minutes, and it makes her feel funny. So she just smiles, and the lopsided grin he gives in response sets butterflies shooting through her stomach.
“I’m Bellamy, by the way.”
“Clarke,” she says automatically, and he laughs.
Right. He knows. Because he asked around. They sit in comfortable silence until the door opens again and Aurora steps out with Octavia, a secret smile on her face. Bellamy is up an instant, but a look from his mom silences whatever question he had.
To Clarke’s surprise, Aurora clasps her hand. “I’ll see you for dinner this weekend, okay?”
Once again she’s speechless. So she looks at Octavia, who nods eagerly, and Bellamy, who simply stares right back with crinkly eyes, and then back at Aurora.
“I’d like that.”
Aurora ends up getting called to cover a shift that weekend, but Octavia begs Clarke to come anyways, so she ends up making garlic bread while Bellamy rushes around the kitchen with sauce on his cheeks and Octavia twirls around the both of them in time to the song on the radio. Clarke has never laughed so much until this moment, and when Bellamy insists on finishing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy even after Octavia has fallen asleep on her shoulder, she decides they’re easily the best friends she’s ever had.
Which is why she returns most weekends, and even on some weeknights when the arguing in her own home becomes too much.
Still, it’s over a month before Clarke comes face to face with Aurora again, and that’s only because she really has to pee.
It’s past midnight, and the house is dark and silent. Octavia had insisted she stay over, so now she’s squirming in place, regretting that third glass of ice tea, before she finally gives in. She’s careful not to disturb O as she crawls out of bed, but it’s while she’s in the bathroom that she hears soft footsteps in the kitchen.
Curious, she heads in that direction instead of back to Octavia’s room, and finds Aurora rummaging in the fridge. Her dark head pops up as soon as Clarke’s foot squeaks on the floorboard.
“Oh, hi sweetie,” she smiles tiredly. “Sorry to wake you.”
“You didn’t. I had to use the bathroom.” Clarke feels the need to explain, “Octavia said it would be okay if I stayed, and Bell didn’t mind, so…”
Aurora waves her off. “Oh honey please, stay as long as you like. I’m just so glad they’ve got you as a friend.”
No one’s ever said anything like that to her before, and it makes her stand a bit straighter. “I’m glad to have them too.” Then, because she’s pretty sure she knows what Aurora was looking for, she adds, “Leftovers are in the blue tupperware, behind the butter. It was too big to fit anywhere else.”
The older lady smiles and ducks back into the fridge, emerging with the box in hand. “Thank you. This looks delicious.”
“Bell made it, so it is,” Clarke grins, resting her elbows on the counter. “He’s like a mini Iron Chef. I swear he cooks for ten instead of four.”
“His way of making sure I eat. Every time I see him it’s, Did you get the casserole I left for you? and If you stay late make sure you order dinner,” she recites fondly. “I thought it was my job to be the mother hen.”
“You do so much already,” Clarke says. “Let him hover a little.”
Aurora smiles. “I’m sure I’ll miss it when he graduates next year. It’s going to be strange without him around.”
“Don’t count him out just yet.”
That pulls a laugh from Aurora, and she nods. “I’m sorry it’s been so long since we saw each other properly,” she says, settling at the counter.
Clarke shakes her head. “No, it’s fine. Bellamy told me about your work and the bakery business. I think it’s fantastic that you want to expand to other cities.”
He hadn’t just told her that. He’s constantly spouting off his mom’s accomplishments, her plans for future endeavors, and the fact that she still makes it to every one of Octavia’s dance recitals despite her cross-country trips. Bellamy worships his mother, that much is clear. And Clarke’s starting to feel similarly, despite only having met the woman twice now.
Between bites of food, Aurora asks about her—not just the usual things like favorite subject and plans for summer, but her. How is her artwork coming along, and does she love it enough to pursue full-time? Has she ever considered gallery work, or art history? If she could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Not things she’s asked on a daily basis, by any means. But Aurora seems to have such an expansive view of life. She makes Clarke think about her answers instead of just giving a rote response; and when she doesn’t have an answer, it makes her think about why that’s the case, too.
The conversation turns to Bellamy and Octavia easily enough. “He keeps saying he’s going to make it through eastern Europe in a matter of weeks,” Clarke laughs, “but I think he’s severely underestimated his nerdiness. He’s going to get lost in the history of Budapest for like a week alone.”
Aurora grins. “That sounds like my son. It might not be the worst thing to have some company on a trip like that, you know,” she adds off-handedly.
It makes Clarke pause, and wonder if she means it.
Finally she just says, “Well if Octavia goes too, I'll have to join them or they’ll never make it back alive. Between her need to shop and his need to visit every old ruin there is, I doubt there would be a survivor.” After a second, she adds, "Plus I'd miss them way too much to let them leave me behind."
Aurora nods in agreement. “Fair enough.” She sighs, a bit dreamy. “I always wanted to visit Greece myself. They have the most wonderful cooking program. It’s selective, but hey, a girl can dream.”
“You deserve it.” Clarke says, surprising herself with how much she means it. “Really. You should go one day.”
Clarke turns to find Bellamy standing behind her, rumpled and groggy. The sight makes her heart twist in a weird way, and she has the urge to muss his hair and slide her arm around his waist. He comes to lean on the counter beside her, their shoulders bumping.
“Clarke was just explaining your grand plan to backpack across Europe,” Aurora says lightly.
Bellamy smiles down at her, sleepy and somewhat adoring, and her toes curl.
“I told her it would be a shame for you to take all that in alone,” his mother adds with a wink, and Clarke flushes and stares at the counter while Bellamy stares at her.
“Yeah. It would be,” he murmurs thoughtfully.
Clarke bites her cheek, trying not to smile too widely.
“Thanks for dinner, sweetie.” Aurora gives Bellamy a smacking kiss, then hugs Clarke. “Thanks for the company, Clarke. See you both in the morning.”
As Clarke watches her head to her room, she realizes Aurora Blake might be more of a mastermind than she ever expected.
Clarke knows the divorce is coming, but she ignores it in favor of art and school and the Blakes as long as she can.
When it finally happens, her parents give her a choice of who to stay with permanently. So in the middle of her junior year, Clarke moves to the suburbs two states over with her dad. He’s close enough to the city that he can still sell his art while working at a local gallery, and she finds a new high school to attend. Her mother takes it horribly, and they don’t speak for at least two months straight, but Clarke is adamant in her decision.
Besides, the way she sees it, she was going to leave in a year anyways for college. This is just accelerating the process.
Being near the city also means being near Bellamy, whose college is just a half hour from her dad’s house. He’s since graduated high school, being two years ahead of her and O, but they've kept in touch by text and the occasional phone call when they're both wide awake at 2a.m. Now, they take to exploring the city together when they can, and half the texts she gets from him are pictures of the places they’re going to visit next.
She videochats with Octavia once a week and meets Raven Reyes at the restaurant where she takes a waitressing job during the summer. Raven is loud and blunt and awesome, and Clarke wastes no time in introducing her to O over a brief Facetime call on their breaks.
Her new friend is also observant. On Bellamy's first visit to the restaurant, Raven almost drops her tray of drinks, then arches a sleek eyebrow at Clarke that says they will be discussing this later. Clarke, meanwhile, pretends not to understand and also pretends not to blush when he tugs her ponytail and whisper-shouts, “Nice uniform, princess.”
Clarke's revenge comes in the form of Kyle, a college freshman who's smitten by Raven and only seems to get more determined as she gets more agitated. He shows up nearly every evening with his usual pleasing grin, apparently unaffected by the verbal barbs she levels at him - or, even better, ready to return the banter. Some nights, Clarke has the urge to grab some popcorn and sit down for a prime view of the show.
Time passes quickly. Besides helping her with the ins and outs of the restaurant, Raven turns out to be a great source of distraction, seemingly understanding when Clarke needs a listening ear to grumble about her ex, or just copious amounts of fries and ice cream.
One such day at the tail end of summer, she’s just congratulated herself on not dropping three very large entrees when she sees a familiar head of messy curls at the entrance. She smiles. No matter where she is, she'll always be able to point out Bellamy.
What she doesn’t expect is for Octavia to bounce in behind him, followed by Aurora. Clarke contains her shriek at the last second, but tackles both of them in a hug all the same before showing them to a table outside, right along the water. It’s her and Bellamy’s favorite spot, and she has a feeling Aurora will like it too.
Bellamy purposely brought them near the end of her shift, so before she can even bother taking their order, Raven is yanking the apron off herself and shoving her in the direction of their table. With a happy grin, Bellamy pulls the chair out for her with an extra flourish, squeezing her shoulders before taking his own seat again.
Aurora is watching them rather closely, but only asks, “So what do you recommend, Clarke?”
After they’ve ordered their sandwiches and two huge baskets of curly fries, she opens her mouth to ask about the bakery when Aurora says, “So, I hear you’re going through a breakup.”
Taken aback, she gapes open-mouthed first at Bellamy, who looks similarly surprised, and then at Octavia, who is hiding her face in the dessert menu.
Besides the Blakes, Raven, and unfortunately her parents, nobody really knows about her personal life - and usually she prefers it that way. The only reason her mom found out was because her dad had let it slip, thinking it might explain her moodiness and get her mom off her back all at once. As usual, his good intentions went awry.
“Mom—” Bellamy starts, but Octavia cuts him off.
“I’m sorry. But you need to talk to someone, okay, and seeing as Abby thinks this is ‘just a phase,’” she makes air quotes and rolls her eyes, “I figured this was the next best thing. Sorry Bell, but you’re not a woman, and we need a female perspective that’s not going to be me finding this chick and kicking her ass back to whatever fancy country she came from.”
Clarke focuses on her lap and takes a few deep breaths, knowing her friend only means well. Aurora hasn’t said another word, while Bellamy is quietly fuming on his own. Finally his hand wraps around hers, and he leans close.
“Just say the word, and we can go.”
She smiles shakily and holds onto his hand a bit tighter. “It’s okay. I… it wouldn’t be so bad, to get an objective opinion.”
He studies her a second longer, then nods, but doesn’t let go.
Aurora smiles encouragingly at her. “I’m afraid I can’t be very objective, seeing as I’m always on your side, but I will certainly tell you what I think. Do you mind telling me about her?”
It’s a couple minutes before she can figure out where to start, but then the words pour out all at once. They met on Clarke’s first day at her new school. Lexa was was a foreign exchange student, only here for a semester, but she was brilliant and exciting and unlike anyone Clarke had ever met. Afternoons at debate club soon continued well into the evening, over ice cream or late coffee and eventually dinner. Lexa was like the best kind of puzzle, and she was determined to solve.
In short, Clarke fell for her. Hard.
And then she left.
“I know it’s just high school, and everything is temporary, but… I don’t know. This sounds dumb now, I guess I just thought we had something.” Clarke rubs her eyes where the tears have welled up again. “It’s not like I expected her to stay immediately, but, I don’t know… it would have been nice, to even discuss the possibilities. It just… she acted as if I should have known we had an expiration date.”
The food has arrived by now. Bellamy urges the basket of curly fries towards her, waving the cup of chipotle mayo under her nose until she grins faintly. Mostly to appease the worry in his eyes, she begins to eat in slow bites. Finally chancing a glance at Aurora, she finds the older woman with her chin on her hands, pensively looking at her food.
“Go ahead,” Clarke says. “Throw in your two cents. I know you want to, you’ve got the same look my mom always gets.”
Aurora smiles. “Guilty. Well, for starters, I don’t think it’s a phase or anything. We love who we love, that’s that.” She shrugs. “And as for the girl… did you ever consider that maybe she might not have been expecting you, either?”
Clarke pauses with a fry halfway to her mouth.
“Hear me out,” Aurora says. “She was here for what, four months tops? She had probably made her peace with a temporary visit. And then you came along, and maybe that changed how she felt about that. Maybe it scared her a bit, too. For some people, it’s easier to pretend you don’t care at all than to admit you cared too much.”
They’re all silent for a while after her words. Octavia and Bellamy keep peeking at her, and then glaring at each other, but they don’t say a thing. Finally Clarke rises and, rounding the table, pulls Aurora into a hug, pressing her cheek into the older woman’s shirt.
“Thank you,” she whispers, and Aurora just holds her close until she’s finally composed again.
When they draw apart, Octavia looks smug as shit and Bellamy still looks concerned, so Clarke kisses his cheek lightly and then laughs when her lipstick leaves a streak of color behind.
The rest of the afternoon passes with no mention of exes or relationships, but Clarke never forgets what Aurora said, and she never stops being grateful for it.
In many ways, college isn’t the big deal Clarke thought it would be.
She’s already used to being on her own, and while dorm life is entertaining, she’s not sure she’ll survive four years of it. So she enlists Bellamy’s help in finding an affordable place off-campus for the next year, and between that and visiting her dad and planning for O’s visits, time passes pretty quickly.
But it’s during the end of her freshman year that Bellamy asks her on a date. A real date.
Clarke says yes before the question is even fully formed, deciding her red cheeks are well worth the smile that spreads across his face. Afterwards, she spends an embarrassing amount of time thinking about what it will be like, utterly distracted by the idea of spending time with him as… as something more, whatever the hell it might be. She imagines all the ways it could go wrong, all the possibilities for disaster, all the careless remarks that could turn the night sour.
What she doesn’t consider is the chance that things could go wonderfully. It’s scary, to put it mildly, to raise her hopes again.
It turns out, all that time worrying is for naught. Dinner and a movie turns into just a really long, fun dinner, and because Clarke doesn’t want the night to end she insists they walk the extra few blocks for cheesecake, only to find herself kissing Bellamy under the streetlights halfway there and realizing the night wasn’t going to end at all.
Which is how she ends up at his place more often than not, giving him sleepy morning kisses before he leaves for his early class, and greeting him with proper embraces when he returns with muffins and coffee.
One day she wakes earlier than usual and decides to surprise him with pumpkin pancakes, but in the midst of licking the batter from her fingers there’s a knock at the door. Confused, she checks the clock - Bellamy isn’t due back for another half hour. The knock sounds again.
“Yeah, coming!” She calls, washing her hands.
Aurora’s voice makes her freeze for several moments. Then she swivels towards the door with dripping hands.
She has no idea how much Aurora knows about them - if she knows about them. Clarke had assumed Octavia’s scream was heard worldwide when she found out, but she never directly asked Bellamy if he had told his mom. Belatedly, she realizes she’s wearing his old Class of 2008 t-shirt from high school over her sweats.
She’s in Bellamy’s apartment, wearing Bellamy’s clothes, about to greet Bellamy’s mom.
Suddenly, she’s nervous.
A few tentative knocks make her snap out of it, and she hurries over. With a resigned grin, she opens the door, hoping she doesn’t have batter on her face.
“Hi, Ms. Blake,” she says meekly.
For the first time, Aurora is speechless—but it barely lasts a minute before she’s laughing and pulling Clarke close in an embrace.
“Look at you, sweetheart,” she croons. “Such a beautiful young lady.”
Definitely not a lady, Clarke thinks, but the words stay in her head. “And you look amazing, as always.” It’s not a lie. She ushers her in and closes the door, noting the duffel bag on her shoulder. “Bellamy didn’t say you were visiting.”
“That’s because he didn’t know,” Aurora chuckles. “My connecting flight got stranded because of some weather conditions on the West Coast, so I decided I’d take advantage of the extra time to visit my son.”
“That’s wonderful. Bell’s at class right now, but it’s Thursday, so he’ll be back by 11, and then he doesn’t have anything until evening, just a seminar for—” She stops abruptly, blushing at Aurora’s arched eyebrow. Whether it's at her detailed knowledge of his schedule, or the ingredients scattered over the counter, she's not sure. She suspects both. “I was, uh—pancakes,” she finishes lamely.
“So I see.” Aurora has the familiar Blake gleam in her eyes when she says, “How can I help?”
Between scrambling eggs and defrosting the bacon and a few cups of coffee, Clarke learns that Aurora most certainly did know they were dating. More than that, she was the one who encouraged Bellamy to make the first move when he came to her “all sweaty and stammering.” Her wording is intentional, and said with a sneaky grin that makes Clarke want to let out an Octavia-like squeal.
A tad gleeful, she asks, “He was nervous?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe.” Aurora grins slyly. “I told him if he didn’t snatch you up soon, someone else would. That seemed to do the trick.”
Clarke lets out an astonished laugh, then surprises them both by flinging her arms around the other woman. Aurora hugs her back with no hesitation at all.
They’ve just set the fresh pancakes aside when the key sounds in the lock, and then Bellamy walks in, already talking.
“Hey babe, they were out of mocha today so I got—”
He stops mid-sentence at the sight of Clarke standing in the kitchen next to his mom, then breaks into an enormous grin, wrapping his mother in a bear hug and nearly lifting her off her feet.
“What are you doing here? I thought you had that big trip to California this week.”
“Change of plans. Bad weather delayed my flight, so I decided to come say hi.” Aurora looks at Clarke. “I’m afraid I gave your girlfriend quite the shock before her first cup of coffee.”
Clarke smiles sheepishly and just takes another gulp of from her red mug, warm all over from the affection in Aurora’s voice and Bellamy’s eyes.
“Then it's a good thing I picked up extra macaroons.” Still grinning, Bellamy strides over and swings an arm around her, kissing her shoulder. “Hi.”
“Hi. We made pancakes.”
He sniffs the air. “Pumpkin?” At her nod, he kisses her cheek noisily, laughing when she elbows him. “My girlfriend is the best,” he announces.
“No argument here.” Aurora winks and picks up a plate, and Clarke sits down to breakfast with her boyfriend and his mother.
She’s reaching for another glass of champagne when Bellamy’s arms slide around her from behind, and she smiles contentedly as he tucks his chin on her shoulder.
“Just take the bottle,” he teases.
“Way ahead of you. There’s one under the car seat already.”
Bellamy’s breath tickles her ear as he laughs. “God, I love you.”
Smiling, Clarke twists enough to find his lips for a kiss. He tastes like cinnamon—probably from the extra slice of cake—and she hums as his tongue sweeps across her lips, distracting her for a good few minutes. When she pulls back, he protests and tries to follow. Giggling, she puts two fingers to his lips.
“We’re at a wedding,” she reminds him. “Your sister’s wedding. Remember her?”
He pouts, and she has no choice but to kiss him again, albeit briefly. Bellamy drops his forehead to hers. “So the toast was okay?"
Squeezing his arm, she says, "It was perfect, Bell. Absolutely perfect."
"Good. I wanted it to be, for O." He sighs. "I might need more than one bottle to get through this night, though.”
Clarke turns in his arms, handing him her glass of champagne. “Start with this. I’ll cause a commotion later and you can sneak another one.” He downs it so quickly that she laughs and pokes his chest. “Hey, easy there. I want you upright for at least one dance.”
“Why didn’t you say so earlier?” Bellamy anchors his arm around her, starting to move in a slow circle as a new song starts up. Clarke smiles and kisses his jaw, for once in easy reach thanks to her high heels.
It’s a warm summer night in August, and if Octavia has her way, the party is just getting started. She and Lincoln got married just an hour earlier in the open park, after which the chairs were replaced with little tables underneath a huge tent, and the sweet wedding turned into a full on celebration. Clarke has liked Lincoln since the moment they met, and even though Bellamy grumbles outwardly, she knows deep down that he’s okay with Octavia’s choice too, or this day wouldn’t have been possible.
Bellamy lets her go as his mom approaches, arms wide open for a hug. “Congratulations,” Clarke tells her. “I’m so happy for you guys.”
“Thank you dear.” Stepping back, Aurora keeps hold of her hands. “You look lovely tonight, as always. My son can’t take his eyes off you.”
Clarke shrugs, flushing. “The dress was Octavia’s choice.”
Bellamy laughs even as he puts his arms around her again. “This one still doesn’t know how to accept a compliment, despite my efforts,” he complains.
She makes a face, only to have him nuzzle her neck and leave her a bit wobbly. Trying to regain herself, she says to Aurora, “This place is beautiful. I still can’t believe you found it on such short notice.”
“You and me both. I don’t know how many phone calls I made before someone suggested this, and even then it was a mad rush to book it.” Aurora shakes her head. “Do me a favor, Clarke, when you two marry, feel free to tell me about it after the fact.”
Stunned, Clarke can only nod mutely. Aurora kisses her cheek like it’s just another day and musses Bellamy’s hair before heading over to greet more guests with her usual charm.
It’s minutes later that Clarke finds her voice. “I think your mom just gave us permission to elope,” she whispers.
Bellamy just grins crookedly and says, “Well she should, seeing as she helped pick the ring.”
“Mm,” she says absently. Then his words register, and she whirls around, unsteadily grabbing his tie. “She-- what?!”
“There’s-- there's a ring?” She squeaks.
“Of course there’s a ring,” he replies, mildly offended. “How else am I supposed to propose?” He cocks an eyebrow at her slackjawed expression, clearly pleased with his scheming. When her mouth doesn't close after nearly a minute, he caresses her cheek, his voice softening. “There was always going to be a ring, Clarke. It was just a matter of finding it.” His smile grows a tad sheepish. "Which is where mom came in."
She stands there in shock, trying to process it and just wanting to shout from the rooftops instead.
Bellamy leans closer, brushing her nose with his own. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of in love with you,” he murmurs, grinning.
Because she thinks she might burst with joy, Clarke just winds her arms around his neck and kisses him senseless, ignoring the bride’s wolf whistles because there’s a ring, and of course Aurora Blake was behind the whole thing.