The Domino Effect
I know that there’s a limit to everything
But my friends won’t love me like you do
He knew. Of course, he knew what he was going to say next. Not only because Bellamy was so used Murphy’s witty comebacks by now but because he knew.
“Friends don’t do all that shit.” Murphy brushed off Bellamy’s weak defense just as Bellamy expected him to.
Bellamy also knew what Murphy wanted to hear but that wasn’t the truth. Murphy wanted his “a-ha” moment. He wanted to hear something like “Yeah, we’re fucking.” or “Yeah, she’s my girl.” But the truth was that he was weak. He had never experienced so much love, respect and trust in a relationship before. Not from someone he saw as an equal. He knew he needed to limit their relationship or define it in better terms but he just wanted to preserve it. He needed to feel that love, that incredulously equal and mutual love, to go on with his day to day life. He was also selfish a little bit and maybe even arrogant in thinking that Clarke also benefited from this affection they seemed to share. The lines were getting blurry but they never really had defined lines, which made this love so possible in the first place. He was letting this thing go on because he needed it and because he had convinced himself that Clarke also needed it. So what if they had slept in the same bed a couple of times? What if some of their hugs turned into kisses? What if the word platonic had broadened its definition to include a few other things they now did?
Regardless of all that, Bellamy knew he couldn’t say that to Murphy so he just spat back,
“How would you know? You don’t have friends.”
Murphy responded only with a dry laugh and took a sip from his mug.
Even though, Murphy had left the discussion there Bellamy’s mind was preoccupied by it for the rest of the night. He was aware that some aspects of their intimacy clearly shined through their daily interactions in public but he wondered which ones had crossed the line for Murphy to comment on it the way he did. Was it perhaps the night they danced by the bonfire? Everyone else was dancing as well but it wouldn’t take much deduction skill to see that Bellamy only danced with Clarke. Besides it wasn’t anything too intimate or incriminating, it was only light salsa moves thrown in here and there. Clarke was so radiant that night that he assumed no one would be too focused on who was spinning her as her hair flew in the wind. Was it the way Clarke made fun of him when he scratched his hand on the logs they were sitting on? She had mocked him somewhat relentlessly when he said it had hurt but being the healer she is, she had taken his hand into hers and examined the peeled skin on his knuckles. She was pretty clear on it being a funny gimmick before gently kissing them as she had said in a mocking voice: “I’ll kiss it away.” It had gotten quite a laugh from Octavia and Raven. He smiled at the memory. He decided he doesn’t care what shinned through or what gave them away. He knew it was nothing to be ashamed of and neither of them were actually attached to anyone else. It wasn’t the magnetic pull of “will they won’t they?” nor was it there any tension of unfulfilled desires and suppressed impulses. It was pure, unadulterated affection that created a sense of great comfort that allowed him to easily wrap his body around hers and let her hear his heartbeat. The most vulnerable thing he could think of was to share his heartbeat with someone and once he had done that, it was so easy to place a kiss on her temple that was small enough to be seen as friendly.
If he had to use an analogy to explain the relationship they’ve come to have, he would say it’s like a domino effect. The first kiss that was clearly not just friendly came after dozens of friendly ones. Bellamy had been so alone in his pain, his worries and his nightmares for so long that when Clarke broke down in front of him and let him hear her heartbeat for once he felt something deep down that he didn’t recognize at first. It was the relief, the pleasure but also the bittersweet pain of belonging. He saw his nightmares mirrored in Clarke’s reality. His worries belonged with hers, their pain was identical. He belonged. To her, with her. It didn’t matter. He belonged. Before he fully knew what he was doing he pulled her closer as she sobbed uncontrollably and kissed her forehead, and then her temple, then her cheeks, her eyelids, the corner of her mouth and when their lips met, he realized she wasn’t sobbing anymore.
With all these memories bogging his mind, he decided he could do no good staying up. He cleared the table he and Murphy had been sitting on and walked back to his room. He tried reading a little to distract himself from the warm memory of Clarke and he must have fallen asleep then. Later that night, Bellamy woke up from his already shallow sleep when Clarke sneaked into his room.
“Nightmares?” he asked with a hoarse voice.
“No.” Clarke replied nonchalantly as she positioned herself in what Bellamy now considered to be their bed.
He couldn’t help but realize how different this was from the first time they shared a bed. She was so open and casual about it now. She just kicked her shoes off, laid down next to him, moved her chin so it wasn’t on his arm. She even lifted his free arm and placed it over herself. This is a habit now, he thought to himself as he nuzzled her neck so very softly, a pleasant and welcome one. Nothing about this felt like crossing a line. It felt natural, it felt like their friendship.
The first time they shared a bed also felt within the bounds of their friendship at the time but looking back at it now, Bellamy found it stranger that he did not play with Clarke’s hair like he was doing at the moment. The first time, Clarke had just stopped by to ask something when Bellamy was already in bed, reading. She asked what he was reading and he over-indulged and gave her a detailed summary. Before he knew what was going on, Clarke was sitting on his bed next to him, listening to him read The Song of Achilles and when she dozed off, he didn’t know if he should wake her up or leave her be. He knew Clarke was having trouble falling asleep so he didn’t want to take this moment of bliss away from her. He gently pulled the cover on her and laid down next to her, being careful about not touching her and maintaining a respectful distance. When he woke up in the morning, she was gone. He assumed this would be a one-time thing and besides, they were friends, they could sleep in the same bed, it wasn’t like they had cuddled or anything. He was just glad Clarke got some sleep.
The second time, Bellamy was actually caught off guard when Clarke asked,
“Do you mind if I stay over here tonight?”
He obliged of course. It wasn’t really obliging anyway, even though he wasn’t sure how he felt about the first sleepover he knew he didn’t dislike it. Just like that the domino effect had started. Every night, they inched a little bit closer to each other and every morning Clarke would be gone before Bellamy woke up. Until one day, she wasn’t. He woke up and saw Clarke still next to him, sleeping with the smallest smile on her face. He couldn’t help it, her smile brought him joy. Waking up next to her didn’t feel out of place either, they shared the intimacy of a romantic exclusive relationship without actually explicitly being in one. They never had sex. Some kisses might have blurred the lines in the dark and it’s easy to not realize where someone’s hand goes under the covers but they never had sex.
When Clarke opened her eyes the next morning, she repeated the question he asked the other night:
“No.” he smiled. It was now a proven fact that Bellamy had less nightmares when he had Clarke to hold at night.
“Good.” A smile spread across Clarke’s face before her voice got serious “We have a lot to do today.”
They did. A lot was actually an understatement. They had their people to take care of, they had a world to save. They had messed up so many things since they landed on Earth, they didn’t have any more room for any other mess ups. That’s why whenever Murphy asked what was going on between them, he said she was his friend, and whenever Raven gave a questioning look, he looked the other way. He knew, of course, that friends didn’t sleep in the same bed and friends didn’t kiss her like he did.