He really should have noticed sooner, but for an Octavia plan, it's really complicated. Octavia's plans usually have one step, and the step is making fun of him. How was he supposed to know she suddenly gained tactical competence?
And, really, it's all very normal. Once he's in the fandom, everything kind of flows. But later, he'll pinpoint the start as the Olympus Big Bang.
"Please, Bell?" she says, all earnest entreaty. "Come on, if you sign up, other people definitely will. You're a big deal."
"I thought you were getting a lot of sign ups," he says. "You said you were."
She huffs, like he's being the difficult one here. "Writers, yeah. Artists, no."
"How would I make more artists sign up?"
"Because they want to illustrate your stories, duh!"
"I'm not sure about your logic here," he says.
"God, all you have to do is write a fifteen-thousand word story. Which you do, like, once a month already, so just do this one for my Big Bang, okay?"
He thinks about letting her sweat more, but of course there's no way he's not doing it. He likes writing fic and Octavia is organizing the thing. Of course he's doing it.
"Fine," he says. "Send me the sign-up information."
Bellamy didn't mean to become a fanfic phenomenon. He really didn't. He didn't even mean to get into the show; Octavia wanted to watch it because she's really into the lead guy, and he wanted to watch it because it's based on Greek mythology and he was really looking forward to tearing it apart while Octavia threw shit at him and told him to be quiet.
It's their standard TV experience, and he likes it.
But Olympus is actually really cool. It's a kind of urban fantasy thing, with various monsters and demi-gods from mythology hanging out in the modern world, having adventures and slowly putting together the threads of an evil plot that threatens the world. It's not ground-breaking or anything, but the characters are fun, the mythology isn't bad, and he's really invested in some of the pairings.
Which was why, after four episodes, he asked Octavia what the fandom for the show was like.
O's been in fandom since she was ten and found out she could continue her Harry Potter experience with stories about Remus and Sirius making out. He's always listened to her rants, indulgent, and occasionally told her that she can't read any porn, which she has never obeyed, but Olympus is the first thing that makes him want to get involved himself.
Octavia cracked her knuckles, like she'd been waiting her entire life for this. "Oh, Bell," she said. "Don't worry. I've got you."
And he'd like the stories he read, thought they were cool, but none of them were really what he was looking for.
He hadn't even thought he'd finish the fucking fic, let alone post it. But he and O live together, and once she figured out what he was doing, she made him let her read it. And he'd honestly been kind of proud of the story. He thought he did a good job.
"This is really good," Octavia said, and his entire chest warmed with pride. "You should post it. I'm going to get you an AO3 account. And you should get a Tumblr."
That was roughly when he realized it was all over.
FYI, I'm signing up for @olympus-big-bang, so everyone else should too. Also, if I jump off a cliff, you should also do that. Always cave to peer pressure. Do everything I do. Be just like me.
bisexualskywalkers liked your post
bisexualskywalkers reblogged your post and added:
shit I caved I'm definitely going to jump off a cliff with gen
Bellamy doesn't trust the internet.
Octavia tells him that it's because he's old and weird, and it's probably true. He's twenty-eight, which is old for this fandom, and he finds a lot of what kids today do on the internet creepy. He doesn't want to post selfies. He doesn't want to go by his real name, or tell anyone where he's from. He doesn't even let Octavia say he's her brother. Besides, he's a teacher. Bellamy isn't exactly a common first name, and plenty of high-school kids are on Tumblr. He does not want any of his students figuring out who he is or what he's writing.
So, he goes by Eugenides, because he really likes the Queen's Thief series, and says in his user info that he's twenty-eight, male, and a Kinsey one, because he still feels a little dishonest identifying as bisexual when his preference is so heavily for women. He's fairly popular, according to Octavia. He doesn't have as many followers as she does, but she also puts a lot more effort into getting followers. Her talents are for organizing, networking, and making friends; Bellamy's tend more toward posting fanfic, being scared of his ask box, and telling teenagers not to flirt with him.
He has exactly one fandom friend, bisexualskywalkers, and she did all the work to start the relationship. She's an artist, and two weeks after he posted his first story, she tagged him in a drawing of Ganymede and Ilan from the fic, with the caption, if you haven't read Whom We Knew by @hail-attolis you're living your life wrong.
"Is there etiquette for this?" he asked Octavia, showing her the post.
"Oh my god!" she said. "That's--" She paused, squinted at him. "That's really cool, Bell."
"Nothing! I'm just impressed. I like her. She's a really big fan artist. It's cool that she's into your stuff."
"So, what do I do? Reblog it? Say thanks? Is this a time I can add my own comment or should I still just stick to the tags?"
Octavia rolled her eyes. "God, you're the least competent person I have ever met. What do you want to say? Do you like it?"
"Yeah," he said. He hadn't managed to stop looking at it. Even months later, it's still surreal, that people read his stuff, and like his stuff, and that was the first time he really got it. This unknown person decided to draw his story. And it was really a cool drawing, too. It's been his desktop background ever since he first saw it, and he still sometimes wants to print it out and hang it for everyone to see, but his students would definitely have questions about why he's got drawings of fictional characters making out up.
So he hit reblog and just said holy shit this is amazing, and added !!! in the tags, along with the usual ones he used for fandom and characters.
"Good?" he asked O, showing her the laptop.
"You're so smooth," Octavia said, and he figured that meant it was good and reblogged it.
Since then, he and bisexualskywalkers have become sort-of friends, in that they chat about new episodes and sometimes she'll draw pictures of his stories, and she's really smart, so her headcanons will inspire him, and he'll thank her in his author notes.
Octavia ships them. He knows she ships them. She thinks it's cute.
Which is stupid, because Bellamy doesn't really know anything about her. He knows she's an adult, at least; she's mentioned she's in grad school, but he doesn't know anything else about her, nothing real. He thinks she senses his reluctance to talk about that stuff and doesn't ask, and he doesn't really want to bring it up either.
Still, he's not even a little surprised when the two of them get paired up for the Big Bang.
"O, come on, what are you--"
He cuts himself off when he sees Clarke is on the couch, feet on the table, beer bottle in hand.
He's willing to admit that he might have fucked things up with Clarke Griffin. She and Octavia met in college, became fast friends, and Bellamy was having trouble with Octavia as a functioning, independent human, so he took it out on Clarke. Clarke gives as good as she gets in every fight, always, so they spent about two years sniping at each other about Bellamy's over-protectiveness and Clarke's irresponsibility, and the two years since then bickering about literally nothing, because Bellamy doesn't know how to just tell her he was wrong and he thinks she's pretty cool.
So, obviously, he's not going to talk about fandom shit in front of her. She doesn't need the ammunition.
"Hey, Clarke," he says instead. "Didn't know you were coming tonight."
She raises her beer in greeting. "Bellamy. What's up?"
He slumps down on the couch next to her. "Nothing much. What are you doing here?"
"Hanging out with my friend. I know that's a foreign concept to you, but some people actually enjoy the company of other people--" He kicks her foot, and she grins. "How are the kids?"
"Please don't talk about my students like that. It makes me feel like I have a bunch of illegitimate children following me around."
"I know, that's why I do it."
"Thanks." He shrugs. "My students are good. We're listening to Hamilton a lot."
She snorts. "Of course you are."
"How are classes?"
"Fine. Like, seventy-five percent normal, and then I have one shitty prof. You'd be so pissed. It's like you wrote up a list of everything you hate about public perception of educators and he decided to use it as a guide for how to teach."
He snorts. "Yeah?"
She counts off on her fingers. "Always testing us on his opinions, not on facts, completely convinced he's right about everything, won't call on students he doesn't like--"
Bellamy finds himself grinning. "So, he doesn't like you?"
"He did. Then I started disagreeing with him."
He offers his fist, and she bumps it, and then they lapse into the silence that generally precedes their starting to fight about nothing. So he says, "Where's Octavia?" before they can start.
"In the kitchen, I think?" She actually frowns at the thought, looking around. "Huh. Good question."
Octavia is really too invested in Bellamy's love life. She's not allowed to try to set him up with people from Tumblr and Clarke. He's capable of finding dates on his own. Just because it's been a good six months since he and Gina broke up doesn't mean he's hard up. This is excessive.
"Did you need to talk to her?" Clarke asks, apparently not making the connections he's making. Which is good.
"Nah, nothing important." He holds his hand out for her beer, hides his smile when she gives it without hesitation. He takes a swig and returns it. "What are you guys doing?"
"Probably just Netflix." Her fingers twitch on the beer bottle. "My ex-girlfriend just got engaged, so I don't really want to go out and see people or anything."
"Oh, shit, sorry. Did you want me to, uh--" He jerks his head. "I can give you guys some privacy."
Her smile is soft and makes his stupid heart race. He really needs to figure out how to make real friends with her. Among other things. "No, you're good. Netflix is always more fun when you're yelling about historical inaccuracy."
"Always glad to help," he grumbles, but he can't keep a smile off his face.
By the time they're done with heckling the B movie Clarke picked, she seems to be doing better, and Bellamy tries not to feel too excited about an actual, successful evening with Clarke Griffin.
Still, once she's gone, he says to Octavia, "You know you can't set me up with Clarke and bisexualskywalkers, right? You have to pick one."
"Yes I can," she says, cheerful. "Who's gonna stop me?"
"People are gonna say you're corrupt. Moderators aren't supposed to do Big Bang assignments based on their desire to meddle in their brothers' personal lives."
"Please," she scoffs. "Everyone ships you guys."
Anonymous asked: hail-attolis for the URL rating thing?
bisexualskywalkers replied: he's okay, I guess.
Tagged: #my actual favorite
Collaborating with bisexualskywalkers is harder than Bellamy expected. They're used to just bouncing ideas off each other, chatting about meta and plot speculation, but they've never tried to really write a story together before, and it feels like a lot of pressure. They're both big deals in the fandom, they're known to be friends, and Octavia keeps sending him posts about how great it is they got paired up and how awesome their story is gonna be.
Bellamy's life is fucking surreal, these days.
He tells her as much.
bisexualskywalkers: Yeah, no, I get it. Everyone's going to be so disappointed when we crash and burn.
hail-attolis: Which is my plan. I'm actually undermining you. This is a long-con to destroy your reputation in the fandom.
bisexualskywalkers: You're the internet predator my parents warned you about.
But seriously, I was thinking AU?
hail-attolis: If you say coffeeshop AU I swear to god
bisexualskywalkers: I'm so tempted
I was thinking actual mythology AU? like, idk. You're good at mythology, I like drawing togas. Some epic quest. Ganymede/Ilan, Sophie/Akiko, Demetrius/Ana, etc. Actual Greek heroes AU.
hail-attolis: No, that's awesome. I like it. I could work with that.
Start with some epic poetry, get really pretentious.
hail-attolis: Shut up.
bisexualskywalkers: I'm going to draw them in an ancient Greek coffeeshop. Just for you.
hail-attolis: I'm going to send you so much anon hate.
bisexualskywalkers: Awesome, can't wait.
But I've got a date thing, talk to you later!
He's not jealous of that, really. Especially because the other thing that's giving him trouble with the Big Bang thing is that Octavia has decided Clarke should come over a lot more. It's like she actually wants him to decide between Clarke and bisexualskywalkers, which makes no sense, because he doesn't know one of them and the other hates him, so, really, what the fuck. There's something wrong with his sister.
Still, it's a problem. He and Clarke are arguing slightly less, which is nice, but he doesn't feel like he can even go on Tumblr when she's around, let alone write fic. She has a Tumblr, he knows, and Octavia will sometimes tag things with #CLARKE LOOK, but his sister swears up and down that she's never mentioned to Clarke that he's involved in fandom in the slightest. And he doesn't really want to tell her, because--what do you even say about that?
So he's really not very productive, when Clarke is around.
It's even worse tonight, because Octavia gets a call about twenty minutes after Clarke shows up and says, "Shit, I gotta go."
"What?" he asks. "You've got a guest. I didn't raise you to abandon your guests."
"I appreciate your concern," Clarke says, sounding amused. "What's up?" she adds to O.
"I'd tell you some complicated lie, but honestly, Lincoln says his show is set up and he wants to give me a preview before it opens."
"That's a euphemism," Bellamy says. "He's going to stab you."
Clarke elbows him. "Lincoln is a friend of mine. He's not going to stab anyone. He's one of the least stabby people I know." She flashes a grin at Octavia. "You should go. I don't mind. I've been waiting for you guys to hook up. I don't want to discourage him when he's finally making a move."
Octavia leans down to peck her on the cheek. "You're the best. I already paid for the takeout, so enjoy."
And then she's gone, and Bellamy realizes this was a total setup. Because Clarke is still on the couch, and he's on the couch, and they're all alone.
He almost remarks on it, but if Clarke isn't aware Octavia is trying to set them up, he doesn't want to be the one to tell her. Instead, he says, "At least she bought us food."
"A true friend," Clarke agrees. She considers him. "Have you seen this Olympus show? I know Octavia's into it."
He nearly chokes, but manages not to. Octavia's complained about this before, the How do I act normal about my fandom? issue, but it's uncharted territory for Bellamy. "Yeah, uh, it's cool," he says. "I usually watch it with O."
"I missed last week's episode, do you mind watching it again?"
It seems like a fairly safe thing to do, but it turns out Bellamy didn't really need the knowledge that Clarke shares most of his opinions on Olympus, likes his ships, and enjoys yelling at the characters when they're being stupid. She would be really, really fun to watch the show with, on a weekly basis. She might like his fic. She's maybe read it. The idea does things to him he doesn't want to examine.
"Sorry," she says, when she actually hits his leg after Akiko makes a particularly stupid decision. "She's my favorite and I just--"
He laughs. "Yeah, no problem. I watch TV with Octavia, I'm used to taking my life in my hands."
"I do remember that." She settles back on the couch. "Who's your favorite character?"
"Sophie and Demetrius." That gets a snort out of her, and he has to smile. "What?"
"You would like Demetrius."
"No, he's great, I love him, he's one of my favorites too. Just, you know, sarcastic, over-protective older brother, wants to take care of everyone and pretends he doesn't, probably wants kids to get off his lawn. I have no idea why you like him at all."
He feels himself flush. "Shut up."
Her grin is brilliant. "Hey, like I said. I like him too."
hail-attolis: How was the date, btw?
Not totally a date, I was mislead.
hail-attolis: That's kind of ominous.
bisexualskywalkers: Assume it's a weird relationship.
Have you started writing yet?
hail-attolis: Just the epic poetry.
So yeah, in retrospect, he really should have figured it out sooner. Mostly just because Octavia is so fucking gleeful about all her schemes, and they aren't that good. But Octavia likes fucking with him, so it's easy to assume that just trying to set him up with girls is enough to amuse her.
Then, Clarke has an art show.
"You should come!" O says. "You guys are getting along really well."
"Yeah, I want to keep that going," he says. "Definitely won't work if I punch your new boyfriend."
Octavia rolls her eyes. "So just don't punch him. It's so easy!"
"Look, if she wanted me to come, she would have told me."
"She's mentioned it every time she's seen you for a month."
"And she never asked me to go. Besides, I want to finish this scene tonight so it can get illustrated this weekend."
"You realize you are picking fanfic over the possibility of getting laid, right?"
"Like you've never done that. Besides, I don't like my odds. Tell Clarke congrats for me, okay?"
No one can sigh dramatically like his sister. "I fucking tried, okay?" she says, and slams her way out of the apartment. Bellamy takes this to mean that there was some kind of weird rom-com competition for Clarke's heart that he didn't know he was involved in, which Octavia thinks he will lose because he's not going to this show, and the other person involved is.
His sister really needs a hobby. Or another hobby. Fandom is apparently no longer enough for her.
bisexualskywalkers isn't really around either--at a thing, so bored, everyone is even more pretentious than you are--and he wants to say that means he gets a ton of work done on his story, but he can't concentrate. Maybe Clarke would be happy if he came. Maybe she'd like it. They have been getting along; maybe his failure to attend her show will actually be the thing that fucks it up.
He opens up Tumblr to try to ask bisexualskywalkers for her advice, on the grounds that Miller just responds you're the worst to all texts about his love life, but he hits a selfie Octavia has posted first, her and Clarke in front of a really cool, oddly familiar painting. Clarke looks gorgeous in a dark blue dress, and he gets so stuck on that that he almost misses the caption on the photo: Looking amazing with my girl @bisexualskywalkers at her first ever non-student art show :D So proud of you, babe!!!!
It's tagged, #dear bell you are a dumbass, which seems unfair. He didn't know. How was he supposed to know? No one told him.
He thinks about reblogging the picture with a long string of expletives, but it seems like a waste of time, when he could be getting dressed and calling an Uber.
The gallery is small and intimate, crowded with well-dressed people drinking champagne and talking about art. It's not Bellamy's scene on any level, but he'd be willing to learn. He could get used to this.
Clarke is talking to a tall, muscular guy he recognizes from pictures on Octavia's phone, which means it's Lincoln, and Bellamy is not going to fight him for a number of reasons, including the fact that Lincoln would kick his ass with absolutely no effort. And he's apparently a good guy.
It's only then that he thinks to wonder what Clarke knows. Did O tell her? Did she figure it out? What's he even going to say? She's amazing, he's always known that; finding out she's even more amazing than he thought doesn't make it easier to tell her he's been an idiot for four years.
"Oh, you showed up," says O, mild, appearing at his side.
"I'm going to murder you," he says, not taking his eyes off Clarke. "Does she know?"
"Nope. Or if she does, she didn't tell me."
"You couldn't have just told me?"
"She's not out in fandom either. And I didn't think it was possible it would take you guys this long to exchange personal information. I thought you'd find out in like a week." He can hear the smirk in her voice. "I did tell you I could set you up with both of them."
"Yeah, you did a shitty job on both."
And then Clarke sees him, and her whole face lights up, and he thinks maybe he's not going to kill his sister after all.
"Hey, you came!" she says. "I was hoping you would."
"There was an easy way to make that happen," he says. "You just had to ask."
She turns just a little pink. "Well, yeah. But that takes all the mystery out of it." She tucks her hair back. "You want to see mine? It's over on this side."
He wets his lips. "I actually already saw some of it. You put it on Tumblr."
She looks a little hurt. "I didn't know you--"
"I didn't either," he says. "O tagged you in a selfie. That's, uh, why I came."
She frowns. "This isn't actually clarifying what's happening."
"Eugenides," he says. "Gen. You've probably seen those books in our apartment. The Queen of Attolia was on the kitchen counter for like a year."
"Why would I notice that?" she asks, looking stunned. And then she laughs. "Holy shit, I'm going to kill your sister."
"She says she thought we'd notice on our own." He wets his lips. "I did tell her I didn't want anyone on Tumblr to know who I was."
She shakes her head. "No, she was--god. Wow." Her smile is rueful. "I was hoping you--Gen--would see the picture and think I looked hot."
"I did, yeah. Sorry."
"Probably not who you were--" She slides her hand into his and squeezes, and the words die in his throat.
"I told her to text you the picture too. To get you to show up and appreciate my cleavage."
"Oh," he says. He slots their fingers together. "Uh, so I can see the pictures? I mean the ones you did, not the--" he flushes. "I bet they look better in real life."
"Most things do, yeah." She grins over her shoulder. "My cleavage included."
He trips a little, but recovers, and he kisses her for the first time in front of his favorite painting of hers, and for the second time outside the gallery, and for the third inside her apartment, after she tells him not to go home.
He even finishes his fic scene; he's just that good.
Matchmaking is HARD, y'all.
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You reblogged this post from buffy-xena-aeryn and added:
That was like 90% your own fault. It could have been so easy.