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of stickmen and gladiators

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It's safe to say that history major Bellamy Blake is not at all pleased to be taking an art class.

Damn his liberal arts college for wanting "well-rounded" students.

Because if Bellamy is being honest, the best thing he can draw is a square. Not some kind of fancy square either, but the kind that's not even really much of a square because it's a bit lopsided.

Bellamy Blake is not an artist, nor does he want to be one.

So when his advisor sighs deeply at him and makes it clear that he has to take this class, he is simply very pissed.

He walks into the fine arts building, muttering under his breath. It's not at all like the history building, where he feels quite at home. Instead of grey hallways, there is color splattered literally every place he looks. And it's not at all the colors that paint Bellamy's wardrobe, which, to be fair, is mostly grayscale, but colors like fucking aquamarine, lime green, lilac, and hot pink.

He finds room FA120 and grabs a seat in the back corner. Perhaps if he keeps his head down and fakes his way through this absolute hell, he can still get an A in the class. It's kind of nerdy, but Bellamy is proud of his 4.0 GPA, and he would like to keep it that way. He works his ass off to make good grades, and he'll be damned if an art class is what brings his GPA down.

The room fills up fairly quickly, but sadly Bellamy doesn't recognize anyone from his major. He decides to play with his phone until the professor walks in, and sends Octavia a text.

How's your first day of classes?

O responds quickly with "Just fine."

Did I tell you? Kane told me I had to take an art class.

Knowing this will make his sister laugh, he rolls his eyes when he sees her only response is the laughing so hard you're crying emoji.

His sister is kind of a jerk.

When the professor comes in, Bellamy holds in a groan. He so does not want to be here. Reluctantly, he shoves his phone in his pocket.

At least the first day is syllabus day, where the professor will drone on and on about all of the absolutely amazing projects they are going to be doing this semester.

When Bellamy receives a copy of his syllabus, his jaw almost drops. It doesn't, however, because Bellamy is the brooding type of guy, and he probably looks like he would rather be anywhere else. Which in this case, is absolutely true.

"Partners," the professor begins, "are the most important thing in this class. So be sure to get to know your partners really well because in all honesty, your grades depend on it."

Bellamy wants to die on the spot.

"I have already chosen your partners," the professor continues. "But first, I think we should all introduce ourselves. State your name, your major, your year, and one thing you can't live without."

Bellamy absolutely, one hundred percent, hates these types of introductions. He'd much rather his classmates view him as the "really quiet dude who sits in the back and wears a lot of black."

So he only half-listens as people take their turns. He nearly rolls his eyes when it's his turn, but decides that it probably wouldn't do him any good. "I'm Bellamy Blake, history major. I'm a senior, and I couldn't live without...my sister."

He swears he hears a dreamy sigh come from some of the girls sitting around him, but ignores it.

The class continues introducing themselves, and finally the professor announces the groups. "Raven and Jasper, Monty and Lexa, Miller and Monroe, Bellamy and Clarke..."

He zones out after he hears who his partner is and scans the room for Clarke. Though he wasn't really paying attention during the introductions, he remembers her name because her name was Clarke Griffin. He is a total nerd for thinking of a mystical creature. He vaguely remembers her saying that she is an art major and a junior. The thing she couldn't live without had also stuck out in his mind: her heart.

But apparently he doesn't really need to search for this Clarke Griffin person, because she is sitting right beside him.

Bellamy really is an idiot sometimes.


Bellamy and Clarke do not get along, that much is certain.

Their first project is to represent each other's favorite books.

It's not his fault that her favorite book is Harry Potter and that he told her that he is awful at drawing.

He remembers her laughing at the comment and twirling her fingers in her very soft-looking blonde hair.

"You'll do fine," she reassures him.

Well, she is absolutely wrong.

"What the fuck, Bellamy?" she practically hisses.

"I told you," he responds impatiently. "I'm not good at drawing."

He glances at the small stick figures he's drawn that are supposed to represent the golden trio. Over each of their heads he has drawn a lightbulb, a crown, and a lightening bolt respectively. It's not his fault that the lightbulb looks like a lob, the crown is a bit larger than everything else, and that the lightening bolt looks like a four year old scribbled something down.

He's really awful with art, okay?

Clarke, on the other hand, has drawn a beautiful version of Saphira, the dragon from the book Eragon.

"I'm sorry," he mutters, sighing. "I'm just really bad at this, okay?"

Clarke is silent for a moment. "Fine," she says. "But you need to redo this. Let's get you some graph paper, so you can use that first and then just trace it onto unlined paper. Instead of the stick figures, try just doing silhouettes and coloring them in with a black marker. In fact, do it all in black marker. It can become your trademark. Silhouettes done in black marker."

He knows that this is a good idea as soon as he hears it. "Thanks," he tells her, not quite meeting her eyes.

Bellamy may suck at art, but hey, at least his partner knows what the hell she's doing.


As it turns out, Clarke actually isn't that bad once Bellamy gets to know her.

Even though she seems like the typical "I'm an artist, you don't know me," type of girl, she's actually just a really huge nerd.

More often than not, Clarke is hanging out in his apartment with him and watching documentaries on Netflix. His friends had originally thought he wanted to get into her pants, but they visited him frequently enough that they know Bellamy and Clarke aren't doing anything other than watching Netflix and curling up on his couch.

That's not to say that Bellamy doesn't want more, because he's sure that he does. However, Clarke is his art partner and a great friend and he really doesn't want to mess that up. So he just keeps it to himself that he thinks she is the best goddamn thing to ever come into his life. And he really, really hopes that she never notices that he stares at her like she's the damn stars and the sun and his whole fucking world.

But he always thinks back to that first day of class and how she said that she couldn't live without her heart.

What did that mean? Was she being literal? Or just figurative?

Bellamy knows Clarke doesn't have a boyfriend. After all, what kind of boyfriend would let someone as gorgeous as Clarke hang out in some guys apartment all the time?

He shakes all of these unwanted thoughts out of his head as he hands Clarke the popcorn he has just made. She lifts up the blanket that was previously tangled around her legs and shares it with Bellamy. Their knees brush, and all Bellamy can think about is just how much he wants to grab her hand and intertwine their finger

Instead, he grabs his remote. "What documentary this time, Princess?"

Clarke shrugs, leaning into his right side. "Your choice, Blake."

He settles on "Roman Empire: Reign of Blood" and they settle into a comfortable silence.

Bellamy is so, so screwed.


Their next big project is about how you view your partner.

Bellamy can't think of a worse assignment.

Because how can he do this project without letting Clarke know that he is utterly in love with her?

Clarke smiles so brightly at him when they are given the assignment that he's sure that he's never felt alive until that very moment.

"I have the perfect idea," she brags to him, punching his shoulder lightly.

"Me too," he responds, even though he hasn't got a single clue what he's going to do.

It takes all week to finally decide on what he's doing. He's not sure what this project will say about him, but he then thinks it's just an art class, who really cares?

Octavia takes Bellamy's artwork into her hands and beams at her brother. It's all he can do to not turn into a tomato.

"This is beautiful, Bell. She's gonna love it."

A piece of him swells with pride. He has shown O all of his works since he started the class, and she was just as surprised as he was that he didn't suck quite as much as originally thought.

Bellamy takes his project back from Octavia, a small smile playing on his lips. "Thanks, O."

And so the next time he sees Clarke, they're in class, showing each other their work.

She brings out a drawing of Bellamy in gladiator gear and he's such a nerd that he almost tears up, not even caring that he is sitting in a classroom full of people. Since part of the assignment is to explain your work, Clarke begins to explain it to Bellamy.

"I drew you as a gladiator because I see you as a fighter, someone who would fight for the people he loves, and someone who is strong and determined and unafraid. I drew you in this style helmet because I know you're a total nerd and would tell me I was 'historically inaccurate' had I drawn it any other way. And I drew you in green because you once mentioned that your Hogwarts house was Slytherin."

Bellamy is utterly touched, and even though he knows that they have to hand in their work at the end of class, he asks, "Can I have this? Once it's graded, I mean."

She smiles. "Of course."

Now it's his turn, and Bellamy's not sure if he's excited or if he's going to pass out. He pulls the drawing from his folder and shows Clarke his work: her silhouette, except it's not in black. Clarke is outlined in piercing blue, the color of her eyes. Inside of her silhouette Bellamy has drawn things that he knows she loves. There are wildflowers, coffee cups, owls, and even words are written inside her silhouette. "As you wish," is written down one of her arms. "Until the very end," is written down the other. And in the center is a brilliant red heart. There are crazy patterns filling all of the spaces where he couldn't think to fit anything else. But in a way, he thinks that it suits her. Around her silhouette, the world is done in shades of gray.

Her breath hitches as she takes in his work, and Bellamy is pretty sure he's blushing. "I drew you this way because I think of you and I think of all of the things that make you. I think of the million cups of coffee you drink, and the books you read, and the flowers you pick and insist that I keep in my apartment. I think of Harry Potter and The Princess Bride and how you love owls. I think of the blue of your eyes, and your large heart, which lets everything into it."

"Why is the rest gray?" she asks.

"Well," Bellamy starts, his mouth a little dry, "you give my world color, no matter how dark it seems."


Clarke spends most of her time with Bellamy, not that he minds. It gives him an excuse to let his gaze roam over her and admire her.

She has the smallest hands he's ever seen, and it makes absolutely no sense to him that she can be so good at drawing.

One evening, after they'd probably both have a little too much wine, he grabs her hand brings it to his lips, giving her a soft kiss.

She doesn't say anything, but intertwines their fingers.

They fall asleep on the couch, "Raiders of the Lost Art" playing on the tv.

When he wakes up and her hair is in his face, he can't even complain. Because no matter what Bellamy Blake may say, he's a total sucker for Clarke Griffin. He lets her sleep on his chest for the next hour, stroking her hair.

He's a little bit of a hopeless romantic, but he'll be damned if anyone else knows that.

He places a small kiss to her forehead and she sighs in content.

God, how he wants to kiss her. Really kiss her.

Instead, Murphy knocks on the door and their moment is ruined.

He really hates his friends sometimes.


It's finally the end of the semester, and he can't believe it, but Bellamy is actually sad that this is his last art class.

Even though he is pretty sure that it has nothing to do with the actual class and everything to do with the blonde sitting beside him.

For this final assignment, they have to do a piece on the things that they couldn't live without. Instead of them drawing something for each other, this assignment was to be about themselves. What couldn't Bellamy live without? At the beginning of the semester he had said his sister, which was still true. Even though she is a pain in the ass most of the time, she is still his sister. He decides to do the silhouettes of all of his friends and family, Clarke included. He decides to put her right in the center, next to O. Clarke is in color, and the color leaks onto his other friends and family members, but Clarke is definitely the brightest.

Clarke pulls her drawing out of her bag and they switch, looking at each others work.

His face turns red, he's sure.

Because the thing that Clarke can't live without is still her heart. Her large, anatomically correct heart. But it's what's inside of the heart that makes his face heat up. It's him. Him in his gladiator costume, which he had actually worn on Halloween because of her. His heart swells and he doesn't know if he can speak. His eyes meet hers, and he knows that she understands.

I'm so in love with you, he says with his eyes.

She smiles at him, taking his hand. Though they are in a classroom, full of people that Bellamy doesn't really know and a professor that is kind of crazy, Bellamy leans over and kisses her cheek.

He finds his voice again. "You're amazing, Princess."


As it turns out, Bellamy does get an A in his art class and gets to keep his 4.0 GPA.

He also gets a girlfriend out of it, which is a total plus.

Perhaps his liberal arts college isn't so bad after all.

Clarke curls up on his couch, a cup of coffee in her hand. She has owls on her pajama pants, and wildflowers are sitting in a vase on his end table. She picks the documentary of the night, and Bellamy spreads a blanket over them. Once she has found her choice, she sits down the remote and her coffee and leans into Bellamy's chest.

About halfway through, they are no longer paying attention to the documentary as Bellamy's lips explore Clarke's.

He has never been so pleased to take an art class.