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i'm not the betting kind, but i'd bet on you and me

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Raven was the kind of girl that knew when to spark a fight, when to raise her eyes and smile in a way everyone knew was just as much a threat as it was humor. Raven was the kind of girl that took every situation at face value, because that was the best way to solve a problem. She didn’t look back and she never was caught looking in the distance with misty eyes. Raven was the kind of girl that made everyone around her better, because she expected the unimaginable from herself and didn’t accept less from anyone else.

Gina was the kind of girl that knew your favorite book and color and flower and food even after you had forgotten telling her (if you ever did), who smiled when she was angry so that no one would see. Gina was the kind of girl that slipped into the background and wasn’t noticed. She didn’t run towards explosions and she never caused them, either. Gina was the kind of girl that made everyone around her appear better, because she was so determined to see everyone as the best they could be that no one could bear to disappoint her.

Raven was the kind of girl who knew she was the best at what she did, but was also constantly surprised by it – like humanity was failing her by letting her race so far ahead.

Gina was the kind of girl who knew she was the gentlest with the people around her, but was also constantly surprised by it – like humanity was failing her by being so hard she looked soft in comparison.

 

 

“Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be them?” Gina asked through a mouthful of stew, nodding towards the group gathered on the other side of the fire.

Harper wrinkled her nose, “Hell no. Remember how much it sucked to be Team Leader in classes on the Ark?” She took a long drink of water from Gina’s cup. “Their job is like that only a thousand times worse.”

Gina watched Raven lean on Bellamy’s arm, laughing as Wells glowered at them both. She shrugged and dragged her eyes away, “Guess they just make it look easy.”

“Who makes what look easy?” Monty eased himself down next to her, carrying his body gently.

“The fearless leader types,” Harper quipped with a grin.

Monty looked up and blushed when Miller winked at him from his place between Bellamy and Wells,
but didn’t say anything. The conversation turned to other things and in time, Miller made his way over to sit between Monty’s legs, adding his own air of levity to the sinking twilight.

Gina walked back to her tent alone, hands wrapped her own waist, trying not to think about the dark circles that had appeared under Raven’s eyes in the past week.

 

 

“I’m done talking about this Blake,” Raven turned her back on Bellamy and crouched over her worktable, her voice exploding through the air just as Gina walked up.

“Oh good, I’m right on time,” she said cheerily, ignoring the slightly murderous expression Raven shot her.

Bellamy smiled at her generously, “Raven’s just in one of her moods.”

A screwdriver narrowly missed Bellamy’s left ear, which neither startled nor angered him, he actually seemed a bit pleased with himself.

“What’s up?” Raven directed at Gina, ignoring Bellamy completely.

Gina held up the makeshift basket in her hand, “I brought by one of Harper’s new creations… she wanted a second opinion.” She studiously ignored Bellamy’s knowing look, forcing herself to walk at a normal pace over to Raven’s table to set the basket down. “Have you even eaten anything today?”

Raven got that look in her eyes like she was mentally calculating something, which normally meant no, but she responded, “I did, I’m sure I did.”

Behind her, Bellamy snorted derisively. They chose to ignore him.

“Eat it,” Gina pointed at Raven sternly.

Raven rolled her eyes, “Yes, ma’am.” But she was also smiling and a Raven taking the time to smile was a bit like a burst of sunlight in the middle of a rain-drenched winter.

Gina shoved her shoulder slightly, trying to cover up the butterflies doing flips in her stomach, threatening to leap up into her throat and get her to say something she shouldn’t, “I gotta get back to Monty before he has a heart attack.”

“You are a true hero to the people,” Raven’s voice filtered back to her as she walked away.

She really hoped that they didn’t notice her trip.

 

 

Bellamy trotted up to her bent over at the waist in the middle of the fields later that day. “You’re hard to find,” he said by way of greeting.

“No she’s not,” Harper retorted, annoyed to be interrupted in the middle of one of her stream-of-consciousness rants.

He ignored her, crouching down on his heels beside Gina to look her in the eye, “You have a minute?”

Gina considered him for a moment and then shook her head, “Nope.”

Bellamy grinned, a smile that practically split his face in half, “Yeah… this is going to work.”

Gina turned her attention back to her work, it would only boost his ego to ask him what he was talking about, and she didn’t want her suspicions to be wrong, so she did what she was good at: she stayed silent.

Someone shouted Bellamy’s name and he was gone as quickly as he had appeared, the steady rhythm of Harper’s voice rising up beside her as if he had never interrupted them at all.

 

 

It started slow, lunch maybe once every other week, things like that.

Not like loitering and not at all like stalking – that’s what she told herself anyway – just slow, like a stream slowly gathering energy and speed, taking what it wanted from the landscape through persistence and patience. She told herself not to be discouraged.

And it wasn’t like there was a goal in mind, just need, so deep it filled every part of her day, until she looked up and saw Raven across the fire at the end of the night and was suddenly beset with the most disquieting and distracting sense of calm.

If someone had thought to ask – and for all that they all seemed to be talking about it, no one actually asked – she would have told them that it wasn’t like lust and it wasn’t like a crush and it wasn’t like family and it wasn’t like friendship, it was somehow all and none of those things at once.

Sometimes, she thought about kissing Raven, right where her neck meets her torso, and that filled her with just as much happiness as the thought of sitting next to her at dinner.

She wanted to tell her: kiss me kiss me deeply and laugh in my ear and tremble under my fingers and call me something else in the morning.

She wanted to tell her: fall in love, fall in crazy love, fall so hard that you break yourself and don’t care, fall for someone else and tell me you’re happy and I’ll be so crazy happy for you the stars will sing.

She wanted to tell her: sit beside me, lie beside me, take my hand when I am sad, take my hand when I am deliriously happy, just be near me and I will be so content they will say no one in the universe has ever been so happy.

She wanted to tell her: call me sister, tell me secrets, play with me play with me, climb mountains with me, paint castles in the clouds with me, let me breathe the same air as you and I will be complete.

But how do you say all of these things in the same breath?

So she brought Raven lunch and laughed at Raven’s jokes and kept her pace even and slow when walking beside her and didn’t ask for anything because everything was a gift.

And no one ever asked.

 

 

“I think you should just seduce her,” Bellamy said as if he was discussing the weather, looking to Wells for support.

“Who?” Raven wrinkled her eyebrows down at the plans in her hands. Miller was getting a little over-ambitious, in her opinion.

Wells sighed loudly, “Come on, you’re not that oblivious.”

“Isn’t your dad in Monroe’s pool now?”

Wells nodded seriously, “Jaha himself bet me just last week that it would take another three months for anything to happen between them.”

Raven looked up at them finally, “Wait, who is seducing what now?”

“He doesn’t even live here,” Wells said exasperatedly.

Raven flicked her eyes to Bellamy, who lifted his hands in surrender, “I was on your side, kid?”

“I’m going to kill both of you and it will look like an accident,” she said flippantly, tired of their innuendos, her mind full of mental notes for the plans Wells had handed her moments before.

“What does Echo say?”

Bellamy smirked, “It would be ungentlemanly of me to elaborate.”

 

 

She felt everyone’s eyes watching her seconds before Raven collapsed down beside her, frustration rolling off her in waves.

“I’m moving in with you,” Raven said tersely, in a way that didn’t sound at all like a question, though maybe it should have.

Gina focused on Raven’s hands, “What?”

“Bellamy snores,” Raven replied, as if that answered everything.

Gina looked up and saw Echo nodding at her and smiling. “Bellamy. Snores,” she echoed slowly, as if the statement would seem less nonsensical on her own tongue.

Raven waved her hands dismissively, “Apparently he and Echo are fighting or something and he’s been crashing with me but honestly fuck that.”

Bellamy Blake was a dead man.

“Okay,” Gina replied, hoping that she wasn’t blushing. Hoping that if she was blushing, they knew it was because she was pissed at them and not because she was imagining curling up beside Raven that night.

She raised her head and glowered at Wells, Miller, and Monty, who were sitting nearby and obviously eavesdropping. Miller gave her a pert smile in response and pressed a kiss on Wells’ cheek as if he was quite proud of him for something.

At least that answered some things, Bellamy wouldn’t think of a plot like this on his own.

Octavia let out a low hum, “Oh god I should have warned you. His snoring is the worst.”

“Thanks for nothing,” Raven laughed.

Gina was going to kill everyone. Literally everyone. No one was safe.

Bellamy and Echo chose that moment to start an explosive argument that everyone – aside from Raven – knew was at least partially staged, Miller and Wells doing a piss-poor job of hiding their smirks as Bellamy stormed off and Monty looking a little pained. Even Harper looked pleased, winking at Gina across the fire.

Gina secretly hoped that all of this fake-fighting lead to something a bit more real. It would serve them all right if this blew up in their faces.

 

 

Gina was the kind of girl that kept a neat tent, everything in its proper place, that collected whimsical things and called them art and lined them up in neat little rows. Gina was the kind of girl that kept a tidy schedule, that woke at the same time and washed her clothes on the same day and ate the same things and felt a certain amount of comfort in the repetition of things. She was the kind of girl that stayed up late only for the sake of conversation and only on very rare conversations, who loved walking through the village during sunrise, who kept a jar of fresh flowers on her table. Gina was the kind of girl who looked simple and was full of hidden depths, but didn’t know this important fact about herself, even if it was exposed in every clean line of her tidy life.

Raven was the kind of girl that could get lost in her own messy mind and liked her world to reflect the madness of her genius, collecting piles of scraps of ideas around her in arrangements that only made half-kinds of sense to her. Raven was the kind of girl that stayed up too late and woke up too early and slept half the day and saw the wrong side of the sunrise because she was stuck on an idea or stuck in a beautiful moment and refused to let it go. She was the kind of girl that found only certain people interesting but everything interesting, who clung to puzzles the way others clung to love, who found beauty and majesty in the scattered mysteries of the universe. Raven was the kind of girl who screamed her depths to the stars and was full of hidden simplicities, but didn’t know this important fact about herself, even if it was exposed in every twisting line of her fragmented life.

 

 

Living with Raven was a bit like living with a finely-tuned hurricane and also a bit like living with an invisible, but messy, ghost. Sometimes, Gina crawled out of bed only moments after Raven sunk down into it, others she lost sleep because Raven kept her up half the night talking. Sometimes, she returned home to find the tent empty and found herself tracking Raven down. Sometimes, Raven returned home to find the tent empty and sought her out instead.

Raven was a drug that it seemed Gina only grew more addicted to in higher doses.

They did all the things together that they had always done, and some more, but not everything. The first time they argued about anything, Gina bent over laughing about five minutes in. There were long days of not seeing each other at all and others when Gina couldn’t get Raven out from under her feet.

It felt like the most natural thing in the world, to pull Raven’s shirt over her head in the morning and find Raven asleep in her bed in the middle of the afternoon. The only thing that was strange about their new arrangement was how it wasn’t strange at all.

 

 

“Bellamy is the single most stubborn person I have ever known,” Echo complained to Gina for the third time that week.

No one was really saying anything – and no one actually asked – but the humor was slowly ebbing away from the façade Bellamy refused to let go of.

“Sounds like a personal problem,” Gina said dismissively, gaze steady.

“Couldn’t you…” Echo’s voice trailed off as Harper started giggling. “I just want my boyfriend back,” she said, shooting Harper a nasty look.

Gina shrugged, “So tell him to move back in.”

A smile broke across Echo’s face, “Yeah?”

“Why not?” Gina turned away and headed back to work.

A moment later, Harper grabbed her arm and hissed, “You know you basically just let her think that you and Raven are bangin’.”

“Who says we’re not?” Gina fixed her friend with a blank stare.

Harper shook her head, “You’re not. I’d know.”

“It’s no one’s business if we are or not, anyway,” Gina pointed out calmly.

Harper rolled her eyes, “This is seriously going to fuck with Monroe’s betting pool.”

They broke into giggles and honestly, Gina thought, it served everyone right.

 

 

Sometime before dinner, Gina picked her way across the village to her tent to change her shirt. Usually she didn’t bother with her wardrobe, but Harper and Fox had managed to fling compost all over the three of them and Gina had ducked out as quickly as she could to change. She had already stripped the offensive shirt off over her head and walked a few steps into the tent before she realized Raven was there, sitting on the floor with her bad leg stretched out in front of her and the other curled under it, her hands deep in a pile of metallic odds and ends.

“Oh,” Gina stopped, her shirt in her hands. “Hey.”

“Hey sexy,” Raven smirked. “Look what Lincoln brought me today,” she beamed down at the pile in front of her like a child pleased with a new toy.

“Awesome,” Gina said warmly, setting the shirt aside and picking up a clean one from the pile in the corner. It was probably Raven’s first, judging from the grease stains, but that hadn’t mattered in so long, she didn’t know how to stop herself from putting it on.

“Hey but, dinner and eating is still a thing that’s important, regardless of presents,” Gina held out her hands to help Raven stand up. Raven rolled her eyes, but reached her hands up, they were covered in grease, but chapped and dry everywhere else. Gina grunted as she pulled Raven to her feet, their fingers lingering on each other’s for a brief, breathless moment.

“You’re so bossy,” Raven teased, eyes twinkling.

“You’re a dumbass who needs bossing,” Gina flung back, turning to leave. “Let’s go, I’m hungry.”

As they walked slowly towards the center of the village, Gina noting that Raven’s gait was a little more pronounced that night, Raven kept up a steady stream of chatter about her day and the news Lincoln had brought with him. “Oh and,” she paused, “I guess Bells and Echo made up, so I told Jones that he could take the tent.”

Gina nodded. Jones had been dying to have a space of his own for months now, but setting him up had slid down on Miller’s list of priorities in light of the upcoming winter.

“That’s okay, right?” Raven prodded.

Gina smiled, “I want you to stay.”

It felt a little too honest, a little like a confession.

Raven beamed back at her.

 

 

Gina was the kind of girl that kissed slow and sweet, her lips memorizing every inch of skin they touched. Gina was the kind of girl that brushed her fingers across your wrist when you passed and leaned her head against your shoulder like it was made to fit there and let her arm sling carelessly around your waist for no reason whatsoever. She was the kind of girl that kissed like the person receiving her lips was owed sweetness just for the sake of existing. Gina was the kind of girl that kissed and touched and held and loved because she couldn’t imagine existing any other way.

Raven was the kind of girl that kissed with fire and heat, her lips searching and hungry as if they could never be sated. Raven was the kind of girl that leaned against your side when she laughed and rested her head in your lap because she could and grabbed your elbow when she had something exciting to point out or reveal. She was the kind of girl that kissed like the person receiving her lips was wasting every moment of their lives that they weren’t being kissed. Raven was the kind of girl that kissed and touched and held and wanted because she couldn’t imagine existing any other way.

 

And when they kissed each other, it felt like something.