Lillianth walked across the market to where Augustus was standing, frustrated because she could not get her fellow party members to understand the world was ending.
“Can you believe this?” she asked and despite the fact he wasn’t actually looking at her, she knew he’d seen her coming. She wasn’t exactly being stealthy after all. “They’re playing match maker while some crazy drow is trying to cover the world in darkness.”
“I believe it.”
Lillianth made a sound of frustration, but before she could yell at him he held up a hand. “I said I believe it, princess, I didn’t say I liked it. We need to keep our priorities in order.”
“Well,” Lillianth gestured to their party members who were still whispering with each other.
Augustus looked at their friends and then back to her. “What exactly are expecting me to do?”
“Get them on the same page as us,” she insisted. “I tried, but they’re not listening to me.” Lillianth gave him a pointed look. “You’re more persuasive then I am.”
And then suddenly above them, the sun went out.
“And that’s where we’re going to end it,” Miller announced amidst a chorus of groans.
Clarke immediately started gathering her stuff, she had three large projects for school which had to be finished this week and she needed every minute she could squeeze out. “I can’t believe the world is ending and you’re trying to get two people to hook up.”
“They’re in love,” Jasper countered, drawing out the last word.
She wanted to point out the two characters weren’t in fact real, just figments of Miller’s imagination, but if that was the case than so was Cazna who was trying to blot out the sun so she could take over a fictional country.
Dungeons & Dragons was weird.
“I think she just means maybe now is not a good time to play Parent Trap.”
Jasper gasped and looked at Monty. “Parent Trap!”
“Good job,” Clarke muttered to Bellamy. “Are we meeting up the same time next week?”
“Yeah,” Miller nodded as he gathered up his own stuff. He kept most of it in Bellamy’s apartment because it was too much work to cart it back and forth from his place. And as an example of how seriously they were all taking the game, he kept his things in a coat closet which now had a key lock because he didn’t want anyone peaking at the maps and cheating.
Clarke couldn’t remember when they started taking it so seriously, but at some point their D&D lives had become nearly as important as their own.
“Have your stuff ready to level up, most of you are close enough by this point you’ll level up during the session and I don’t want to stop the game and wait for you guys to figure your shit out.”
“Our DM is so kind,” Bellamy teased as Miller glared at him. “Did we ever decide if we were able to talk about the game outside of the sessions? Clarke and I wanted to talk strategy without holding everyone up.”
“Why would that hold the game up?” Monty asked as he began dumping his handful of dice back into his specially made bag. He’d hadn’t yet fessed up to where he got it, but Clarke suspected it had been a gift from Miller.
“It just would,” Clarke evaded.
Jasper gasped and pointed an accusing finger at both Clarke and Bellamy. “You’re going to strategize without us!”
“You guys want to set up two NPCs,” Bellamy reminded Jasper and Monty as he meticulously put his stuff away. “Lillianth and I want to save the world.”
“We want to save the world too,” Monty argued, but he did it with a smile. “We just don’t want to ignore true love in the process.”
Bellamy rolled his eyes. “Miller? Can Lillianth and Augustus strategize outside of the game?”
“Only if you can point out a time, in game, they could have done it.”
Clarke looked to Bellamy, “We did a watch last night together. We could have discussed stuff then.”
Bellamy looked to Miller for approval. “Fine.”
“Are you guys going to share your brilliant strategy with us peons?” Jasper asked petulantly.
“We’ll consider it,” Bellamy smirked. “When are you free tomorrow?”
Clarke considered her schedule. “I don’t know, I’ll text you later and we’ll find a way to meet up before the next session.”
“Sounds good,” he waved at her as she left with her stuff, her phone ringing in her pocket. “Hey, Raven.”
“What happened in the game?”
“I thought you had work?”
“I do, I’m on a break and I thought the game would be over so I’m calling for an update.”
“Monty and Jasper’s characters are trying to get Finarieth and Leannan together.”
“Of course they are.”
“Clarke thinks it’s cute,” and the fact she was referring to herself in the third person was just another facet of the D&D life. “Lillianth thinks it’s a waste of time and is extremely frustrated.”
“Augustus too, I bet.”
Clarke unlocked her car and threw her stuff on the passenger seat. “We’re going to gang up on Ip and Pip and possibly kill them if Cadell wants in.”
Raven paused for a moment. “Nope, Cadell and Raven both want to see how this goes and is happy to watch.”
“Awesome, I hope you both explode.”
Raven snorted as Clarke slid into the front seat. “Entirely likely. Are we on for next week?”
“Same time, are you going to be able to make it?”
“Yep, I have to get back to work. Text everything that went down.”
“Can I ask a question?”
“Does Lily like August?”
Clarke froze before she could turn the key in the ignition. “Huh?”
“Sometimes I think there’s a vibe and I can’t tell if it’s Bellamy and Clarke or Augustus and Lillianth.”
It wasn’t something Clarke had intentionally role-played but now that she was confronted with the question she had to think about the answer. “Are you asking as Cadell or Raven?”
“Talk to Miller, have him decide if there’s a need to do a check. Let me know what happens.”
Bellamy found Clarke in one of the private study rooms a few days later, which was easy to do because it was ten at night and all decent people were going out to drink on a Friday.
Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun and she looked a little crazed as she looked up at him. “Hey, how did your shift go?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Bellamy replied as he reached into his bag and pulled out his Player’s Handbook. “Miller said we can do four hours of strategizing because that’s how long our characters were up doing watch. Also, I wanted to go through the leveling up with you.”
Clarke clicked on her computer and Bellamy knew she was pulling up her character sheet. He couldn’t understand why she’d rather do it on computer than print it all out. “Do you ever wonder if we’re taking this too seriously? I found myself worrying about running into Lillianth’s relatives while we’re in this town and what she’d do if she did.”
Bellamy smiled as he pulled out his binder and flipped to his character sheet, then opened his book to the Rogue page. “I’ve done that.”
“During a test?”
“I was wondering about what feats to take during the dinner rush,” he admitted. “At least we’re not trying to hook up Monty and one of Miller’s NPCs.”
“Are we trying to do that?" she asked. "Because the idea of watching Monty and Miller flirt in an RPG game when they can’t manage to do in real life would be hilarious."
“No,” he watched as she reached across the table to take his book. “Hey.”
“I didn’t bring mine, it’s too heavy,” she explained as she flipped to the sorcerer’s page and started taking notes.
“All this stuff is online.”
“I like the book.”
Bellamy resisted the urge to remind her that if she wanted to use the book she should have just brought her own, they'd had this argument at least five times. Over the course of the next two hours Clarke and Bellamy decided on a decent strategy going forward to defeat the evil drow, figured how they were going to level up and what spells and feats they’d each take.
“Remember what you said about Monty and Miller’s NPC? Hooking them up?”
Bellamy looked up from his actual homework, which was far less interesting than what he’d been doing an hour ago. “Yeah. What about it?”
“How would feel about romance being inserted into the story?”
There was something about Clarke’s voice which grabbed all of his attention. “I don’t think I’d like it if it was inserted like an afterthought, but if it was part of the story I’d be okay with it. I mean, Finarieth and Leannan have history together and it makes sense Monty and Jasper want them together even in if the timing is shit. Why?”
“I was talking to Raven after the game and she wanted to know if Lillianth had feelings for Augustus.”
For a brief moment, Bellamy’s brain froze. “Oh.”
“She texted Miller and he made a group chat with the three of us and had Cadell roll an insight check, she got like a million and Miller asked me what Cadell would have seen.”
“Is this stuff I should know?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted and seemed almost nervous. “But I don’t want to spring anything on you which you might not be comfortable with. After thinking about it, I decided Cadell would have noticed Lillianth liked Augustus, but she also would have likely seen Lillianth has no clue.”
“Well. Neither does Augustus.”
“So,” she straightened her spine and it was kind of adorable how she was gearing herself up for this. “Now that I’m aware of this, and thanks Raven for throwing it in the mix, I’m thinking about following through with it.”
She was being intentionally vague. “Spit it out, Clarke.”
“I think Lillianth is probably going to hit on Augustus at some point, or I don’t know, kiss him in a heated moment or something, but I won’t do it if it’ll make you feel uncomfortable.”
Bellamy had a brief flash of Clarke throwing herself at him and waited a moment for the brief flair of desire to simmer down. And because it was easier to tease her than accept is own real life attraction he feigned ignorance. “Why would it make me uncomfortable?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you don’t want to play a character in a romantic scenario, maybe you don’t want to play a character involved with me.” Suddenly her nervousness dissipated, and he thought she might have noticed he was barely been repressing a laugh. “You’re an asshole.”
Bellamy grinned. “You don’t squirm a lot, I have to enjoy it while I can.”
She threw one of his dice at him but he managed to catch it with a laugh. “Do you have a problem with it or not?”
“No, I don’t have a problem with it, in fact I think it would be fun.”
“If nothing else, just picture Monty and Jasper’s reactions.”
Clarke nodded and bit her lip, something she did on occasion when she was trying to make a decision. “So I think Lillianth-"
“Don’t tell me what you’re going to do,” he interrupted as he put his dice and books away. “I think Miller would say that’s too meta and it’ll be harder to be in the moment if I know what’s going to happen.”
“Oh great, I get to suck at dating in D&D just like real life.”
Bellamy laughed as Clarke gathered her stuff and picked up her bags, walking through the too silent library togther. “You do not suck at dating.”
“Am I dating someone right now?” Clarke challenged.
“I figured that was a personal choice. Is it not?”
“Are you single by choice?” she asked, and it was obvious she was trying to pivot away from her personal life so he let her. “Because if you’re into someone I can wingman if you need someone to talk you up.”
“And what part of nerd working two jobs and playing D&D will you talk up?”
She shrugged. “The hot nerd part.”
Bellamy nearly stumbled. “Excuse me?”
“I’m into guys and I’ve seen you with your shirt off,” Clarke told him casually. “I can explain to whatever girl you’re into it’s worth the nerd to get to the hot.”
“I can’t decide if I’m being complimented, used for my body, or insulted.”
“All of the above,” she grinned at him as she headed down the stairs. “Though if she’s dumb enough not to be into you already I don’t think she’s good enough for you.”
“You know there isn’t an actual person.”
“There should be. Crushes are fun.”
Bellamy legitimately stopped on the steps. “You’re joking.”
She turned to look at him. “No? Are they not fun for you?”
“They’re fucking miserable,” he grumbled and they headed towards the front doors, waving at the poor college student who had to work the late shift. “And I avoid them at all costs.”
“Who was the last person you had a crush on?”
He opened the front door and let her pass in front of him. “Honestly?”
Bellamy shifted the bag on his shoulder as he looked down at her. “You.”
He laughed when her head turned so fast he worried she’d give herself whiplash. “What?” she blinked. “What? When?”
“When we first met.”
Clarke stopped walking and Bellamy was forced to stop too, the potential embarrassment of the conversation outweighed by the fact they’d been friends for years. “You were a terrible person when we first met. Specifically, you were a terrible person to me.”
“Did you not hear the part where I said I was terrible at crushes?”
“You didn’t say that,” she argued, her voice raising slightly. “You said they were miserable, not that you sucked at them.”
“Well, I definitely thought it.”
“That doesn’t count! I can’t believe this.” She dropped her bag on the ground and it was at the point Bellamy realized he wasn’t getting home anytime soon, but there were worse things than hanging out with Clarke on a Friday night, even if it was in a library parking lot. “How did I not know this?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, to be honest. I thought it was pretty obvious.”
Thanks to the street lights he was just barely able to make out her glare. “I can tell you it was not.”
“Miller knew about it. And Raven.”
She crossed her arms and stared at him and he couldn’t quite put a finger on to why this was all so amusing, but it was quickly turning into one of his favorite moments. “Because you told them or because they figured it out?”
“Miller figured it out,” Bellamy admitted. “Apparently I complained about you a lot and that was a red flag for him.”
Bellamy shifted on his feet, awkward for the first time. “You know we hooked up, right?”
There was a brief flash of something on her face which she quickly covered it up. “She told me.”
“Well, we did. And then like three days later she got super pissed at me for sleeping with her when I liked you. I asked how she figured it out and she just called me named and then walked away.”
She looked away for a moment before meeting his gaze. “If you liked me why did you sleep with her?”
There were a dozen different ways to answer that question, the easiest was ‘I didn’t want to tell you and I didn’t think you’d like me back so I slept with Raven because we both needed to get over someone else’ but that would ruin the night and he wanted to hold onto that soft smile of hers for a while longer. “Crushes are terrifying and I liked you a lot.”
“And you don’t anymore?”
“That’s a dangerous question and I don’t want to answer it.”
Clarke laughed and picked up her bag. “I won’t hold your answer against you, I promise.”
“I don’t want to answer it because I don’t know the answer,” he admitted as they started back towards their cars. “I mean, if you jumped me right now I wouldn’t push you away, but I only think about kissing you once every week or so. Does that still count as a crush?”
She blinked at him as if she’d been momentarily thrown by his admission. “When did you think about kissing me this week?”
Bellamy stared at her for a second before looking up at the library’s second floor.
Clarke hit him.
“What the hell did I do to make you want to kiss me?”
“You do this thing where you bite your lip when you’re trying to make a decision. It’s distracting.”
“You’re unbelievable,” she said as she walked away, but there was such fond amusement in the statement he figured they were good.
“I love you too, princess!”
She flipped him off.
“I can’t do it.”
Lillianth let out a frustrated sound. “This is your job. This is what you’re supposed to good at.”
Augustus stepped back and since Lillianth made a point in the small space to not move away he bumped into her. When she nearly lost her balance he reached out to grab her arm, a moment of heat striking between them. “I think they might have cast a spell on it because my tools broke.”
Lillianth didn’t put any space between them, but her voice wasn’t quite steady when she quipped back, “There are no spells to lock doors.”
“Even if there was, I am not wasting a spell to get us out of what is essentially a closet.” They’d been following a lead to get some powerful weapons and in the process had been split from their group in an underground compound. Cadell, Ip, and Pip were somewhere in this maze, and in order to get back to them Lillianth and Augustus had to get out of the room they’d been trapped in.
“You could always try to pick it,” he suggested and thanks to his torch she could see the grin on his face.
“With what?” she asked, frustration making the question a bite. “My hair pin?”
“Try it. I’ll walk you through it.”
She leveled her gaze on his. “Why don’t you just do yourself?”
“Because if your pretty hair pins break I don’t want you mad at me.”
“Don’t worry,” she assured with a smile as she shifted closer to him. “I’ll still find a way to be mad at you.”
His grin was warmer this time, the heat sparking off of something other than the torch. “Of that, princess, I have no doubt.”
“Walk me through it,” she ordered as he knelt down beside her. When he did as told their bodies brushed but she was going to let herself think about that now. Lillianth pulled out two of the expensive hair pins she kept in her braid and attempted to unlock the door and before she tried the final pin he reached out to adjust her hands so they were in right position.
Much to both her and Augustus’ surprise, the door swung open.
“Guess there wasn’t a spell after all,” Lillianth pointed out, a little breathless from success and the nearness of Augustus.
As they made their way through the hallways, carved from stone, Augustus never went far from Lillianth as they used both their skills navigate the halls and find their group.
“Did you guys get trapped too?” Cadell asked, looking a little worse for wear.
“We did,” Augustus confirmed, glancing down at Lillianth with something which might be pride. “But the princess managed to get us out.”
Lillianth smiled at the praise and bumped her shoulder against his. “What can I say? I learned from the best. Cadell, are you all right?”
“I got hit by darts,” she admitted. “A lot of them.”
Lillianth brushed a hand down Augustus’ arm and walked towards her friend, “I have some healing potions in the bag, let me get them for you.”
“I want to insight her,” Monty leaned forward. “Cause that-the touching thing-was not normal Lillianth.”
“Yeah, I want in on that too,” Bellamy added.
Miller looked from Monty and Bellamy to Clarke. “Are you trying to hide whatever you’re thinking?”
Clarke bit her lip as she tried to decide exactly what had been going through Lillianth’s mind in that moment, but almost as soon as she did it she realized what she'd done and looked up to see Bellamy staring at her. When their eyes met, his eyes practically lit up with repressed laughter as he pressed his lips together.
“You’re an ass Bellamy,” Clarke accused, nearly laughing as she threw a jellybean at him. She could almost feel the blush on her cheeks thinking about what Bellamy might have been picturing in his head. “No, I’d have been too worried about getting us out alive to worry about hiding my thoughts.”
“Was that a game thing?” Miller asked suspiciously.
“The ass part?” Clarke clarified.
“It’s an inside joke,” Bellamy explained when Miller nodded. “I got an 18 for insight by the way.”
“I got 14,” Monty piped in even as he was eyeing Bellamy and Clarke suspiciously. “So what’s up Lillianth?”
“I was definitely acting different and there was definitely something going on. I don’t know how specific I need to be?” Clarke looked at Miller and he shrugged.
“However specific you want.”
Clarke looked directly at Bellamy, a small smile on her face. “Lillianth seemed affectionate in a way she hasn’t been before, with anyone that you’ve seen up to this point.”
“This is the point where I start asking for healing potions,” Raven announced. “And try to distract Ip from whatever the hell he might be seeing.”
Miller nodded, “And then I’m going to need everyone roll a perception check.”
The group groaned, knowing the roll meant something was coming their way.
“Is everyone good to fight,” Clarke asked, looking at their inventory of healing potions. “Because without Wells as our cleric we need to be careful with our healing potions.”
“After the potion I should be good for now,” Raven promised as Monty and Jasper both nodded.
“I haven’t taken any hits yet,” Bellamy confirmed as he picked up his dice to roll. “Let’s do this team.”
“What are you going for spring break?” Clarke asked as she leaned against the counter at the pizza parlor where Bellamy worked. He was a shift manager and had been for years because he’d been working there for essentially most of his life. Long enough, anyway, Clarke had started associating the smell of pizza with Bellamy almost immediately after meeting him.
“You’re looking at it,” he told her as he sorted receipts. He’d be closing any minute now which was she’d come by. She’d ordered a pizza through Bellamy and was picking it up before heading home. Had she waited till the last minute to get it so she could ensure she’d be alone with Bellamy for a few minutes? Maybe. Was there anyone to call her out on it? No.
“At least you’ll get to sleep in now.”
“It’s the little things in life,” he agreed but he seemed distracted as he counted out bills on the counter and his voice didn't have the same life in it it usually had.
“Everything okay?” she asked as she opened up her pizza box to steal a piece of sausage. “Do you need to drink? Because no offense, but you seem like you need to drink.”
He huffed out a laugh. “You know what? I do.”
He put the cash back in the drawer, left the receipts on the counters, and went over to the fridge so he could take out two beers then seemed to think better of it and grabbed two more. “Come on, I’ll help you eat the pizza.”
“That bad?” she asked but dutifully picked up the box and followed him to a back booth away from the windows.
“I don’t know,” he admitted and sounded exhausted. “I have to lock the doors and turn off the lights so people don’t try to come in. Give me a minute.”
“Yeah, whatever you need to do. Get plates while you’re at it.”
Clarke watched him walk away and as soon as he was distracted she pulled out her phone to text Miller.
WHAT’S UP WITH BELLAMY
MILLER: HE AND OCTAVIA GOT IN A FIGHT. NOT SURE ABOUT WHAT BUT HE’S BEEN STEWING ON IT ALL DAY
MILLER: ARE YOU WITH HIM
Clarke was about to ask him why it was a good thing but Bellamy was walking back over with plates and a bottle opener. The mood of the restaurant was different now, with the bright lights and the buzzing of the open sign it hadn’t felt quite so intimate. Now the overhead lights were off and only the wall sconces glowed softly which gave the friendly atmosphere a decidedly date like feel.
Or maybe that was just her, because Bellamy slid into his seat and started grabbing pizza as if nothing was different. “Do you want to talk or do you want to be distracted?” she asked because she didn’t want to start thinking of Bellamy and Date in the same sentence.
“Wells is back in town and was asking what had been going on in the game while he was gone and it’s driving him crazy that I won’t tell him.”
Bellamy’s smile was tired but genuine, making her want to move to his side of the booth to give him a hug. “Why not?”
“Temme hasn’t been there so Wells shouldn’t know what happened.”
“Logical,” he conceded as he took a long drink. “But I think Wells could differentiate between what his character should know and what he shouldn’t.”
“True, but not nearly as much fun. He’s looking forward to the game next week, his dad’s been driving him crazy and I think he needs a break. He’s talking about a D&D retreat.”
“He wants to take a shot at being DM and he’s thinking about doing a marathon game during the summer. We’ll all take a few days off, go somewhere we have to use sunscreen and play D&D for hours on end with extensive drinking.”
There was a slight spark in his eyes at the idea of a vacation and Clarke was strangle the topic if it kept him looking like that. “Yeah? That would be fun.”
“And it’ll be at either his or my family’s house so no one has to worry about hotels.”
“I appreciate that.”
“We just like to throw our parents’ money around to do things which make them roll their eyes,” she admitted as she finished her slice of pizza and reached for another. “Tell me about you having a crush on me.”
Bellamy laughed at the sudden change in topics. “Excuse me?”
“I could use an ego boost, tell me about how you were falling for me while simultaneously being a dick. What did you like about me first?”
He studied her for a moment and she’d have been fine if he didn’t want to talk about it, but he was the one who wanted to be distracted and the knowledge he’d had a crush on her had been digging around in her head for weeks. She blamed the knowledge for her unnecessary awareness of Bellamy over the course of the past week or so.
“You’ve seen yourself right?”
The compliment was a throw away but made her happy anyway. “I’m pretty sure the first time we met I was hungover.”
He grinned as if suddenly remembering and the butterflies set loose in her stomach were both a surprise and an irritation. “The first thing you ever said to me was ‘what’s your problem, asshole.’”
Clarke nodded sagely. “Yes, of course, how could not fall for such a femme fatale.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say, you were cute and it was fun fighting with you.”
“Same,” she conceded. “I always looked forward to arguing with you, but all things considered I like being your friend better. We’d never have been able to hang out with pizza and beer back when we first met.”
“Or fake fall in love in an RPG game.”
Clarke grinned. “I assure you, no version of past-Clarke would have seen that coming.”
“I’m glad you’re here, Clarke.”
There was something in his voice which overcame Clarke’s fear of crossing any sort of lines-if he liked her, she didn’t want to lead him on-so she got up to slide next to him on the bench. She rested her head on his shoulder, “Do I need to beat up Octavia?”
He sighed. “Miller?”
“I texted him while you were closing up.”
“No, you don’t need to fight her.”
Clarke raised her head just enough to look at him. “You know I could take her.”
Bellamy laughed and shifted so his arm draped across her shoulders and Clarke was happy to settle against his side. “I’m not so sure about that, but I appreciate the sentiment.”
“Well, I don’t have anywhere to be tonight so I can hang out for as long you want, and you know you can come over and sleep on the couch if you want.”
“Octavia’s staying at Lincoln’s. I think she’s going to move in with him soon.”
“Is that what you fought about?”
“No.” His hand absently ran up and down on Clarke’s arm which sent a very specific kind of shiver down Clarke’s spine.
“You’re going to be so hopeless living alone,” Clarke teased, hoping to get him to smile again. “What will you do without someone to mother?”
“I’ll come over to your house at seven in the morning to make sure you eat breakfast.”
“What are you talking about, I have breakfast right here,” she gestured to the pizza box.
His brows furrowed before looking down at her. “Please tell me you’re joking.”
“I’m a college student, Bellamy,” she informed him with mock severity. “This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
“I don’t even want to think about what’s in your fridge right now.”
“Nothing,” she told him cheerfully. “Except maybe some pickles. I have no idea where they came from though.”
"Jasper," Bellamy answered immediately. "He wanted to know what deep fried pickles tasted like."
Clarke scrunched up her nose in disgust. "I hope he was drunk when he suggested that."
"He's your friend," Bellamy reminded her.
"He was Monty's friend first," she argued as she shifted on the bench seat. "If anyone is responsible for what Jasper does, it's Monty."
"What are you doing?"
"Getting comfortable," she climbed over him to the far side of the bench so she could put her back against the wall and put her legs over his lap. "There, much better. Give me your phone."
He pulled his phone out of his back pocket and she wasn't surprised to see it was fully charged. Taking the napkin holder from the edge of the table she set in the middle and propped his phone against it. "Movie preferences?"
There was a look of surprise on his face. "We're going to watch a movie?"
"Why not? I just got comfortable."
"Rogue One it is."
"Thanks for this," Bellamy murmured as the opening credits started to roll.
"Anytime Bellamy," she told him then put a hand on his shoulder. When he looked at her, she met his gaze straight on. "I mean that."
"I know," and he settled one hand on her leg while the other reached for their and beer and from moment to next Clarke realized Bellamy might not be the only with latent romantic feelings.
Clarke didn't even say hi to Wells when she found him at one of the cafes on campus. Instead, she plops down on the chair next to him and announces, "I think I need to quit the game.”
Wells looked up from his food, surprised. “Why? I thought you were having fun.”
“I am, but I think the role playing part of it is getting to me.”
“What do you mean?”
She made a face, not wanting to fess up but she’d gone to Wells for a reason. If anyone could help her make sense of things, it was him. “Now that you’re back I’m sure you’ve noticed things are different between Lillianth and August.”
“The sexual tension was a good indicator,” he remarked dryly.
“That’s the problem.”
“I thought it was your idea to do the romance?”
“It was,” Clarke admitted and realized belatedly it sounded like she was whining. “But it’s starting to bleed over into real life and I’m worried I’m not separating the two as well as I should.”
There was a stillness about Wells as he looked at her but damn him, she couldn’t figure out what he was thinking. “How do you mean?”
“You know Bellamy’s hot, right?”
Wells’ lips lifted in a smile. “As a person not attracted to other men I can still admit that Bellamy is attractive, yes. Did you not know this?”
Clarke rolled her eyes. “No, I knew it, but it didn’t matter. He was Bellamy, he was my friend.”
“That was a lot of past tense for someone who is still Bellamy and still your friend. Unless something’s changed?”
“I started role playing being into him in the game and now I’m starting to think I’m into him in real life,” Clarke complained and rested her forehead on the table.
Wells snorted which was enough for her to look up. “What?”
“It’s just funny you think the game is the reason you’re into him. And it’s equally hilarious you think this is a recent development.”
“What are you talking about, of course it’s recent.”
“Clarke, you’re my friend and I love you, but I’ve never met anyone less in tune with their own feelings." He took a moment before leaning forward as if he was about to impart some wisdom. "Do you realize how much you touch him? Like on a daily basis?”
“It’s a lot. You touch his arm, you touch his back, bump shoulders. I’ve seen you hug him more times in the past couple of years than you have me in our entire lives.”
“That’s not true.”
He shrugged which Clarke wanted to be irritated with, but looking back she supposed she was more affectionate with him than she was with anyone else. She’d never consciously thought about it before, she’d always just figured it was because he was tactile. “You think I’m into him?”
“I’m not saying you’re in love with him,” Wells clarified. “But I think you trust him, and you just said yourself you’re attracted to him.”
“I said he’s hot.”
“You had a look.”
She couldn’t argue with that because she’d been walking with that look for a couple of days now.
After dinner and movies at the pizza parlor (which, despite the description, hadn't been a date) Bellamy had insisted on washing their plates and putting them away before leaving, but the duct tape keeping the hose in place had fallen off, soaking Bellamy from his shoulders to abs.
Cursing, he’d pulled off the wet shirt and gone in search of another one.
Suffice it to say she’d been playing a low brow porno movie in her head ever since.
“Okay, fine. I’m attracted to him.”
“So I’m not sure what other qualifiers you have for being into someone, but that kind of covers it for me. Did you ever think maybe you didn’t start liking him in real life because of the game, but that maybe it was the other way around?”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe Clarke doesn’t like Bellamy because Lillianth likes Augustus. Maybe Lillianth likes Augustus because Clarke likes Bellamy and it was easier for you to play it out in a game because then there’s no consequences. If it blows up, goes bad, what does it matter? It was just a game after all.”
“Are you using your psychology major on me? Because we agreed you wouldn’t do that.”
“I’m using my vast experience as your friend, which I’m allowed to do. Don’t be chicken, Clarke. If you like him, ask him out, but don’t pretend like it’s the game’s fault.”
Clarke glared at him because the last thing she liked to be called was a coward. “Did you just dare me by calling me chicken?”
He grinned and went back to his lunch. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The group of adventurers stood outside the cavern which would lead deep beneath the mountain where Cazna would be lying in wait. Almost certainly she knew they were coming, had prepared for it, and they would be risking their lives and limbs at the very least.
Three months ago they’d been warned against their souls being taken by the darkness so those were in peril as well.
“Anyone so scared they’re going to vomit, or is that just me?” Pip asked, his voice higher than usual.
“This is it, right? We go in there and we probably don’t come back,” Cadell said by way of answer.
“I love your optimism,” Temme quipped.
“Thank the deities you’re here,” Lillianth breathed. “We’d die within five minutes of walking in there.”
“You know," Augustus began, turning to face Lillianth. "There’s something I think needs to happen before we walk towards our death.”
And without any more warning than that Augustus leaned forward and kissed Lillianth.
Temme, Pip, and Cadell all looked at each other, each speechless until Ip, in all of his wisdom, whispered, “Holy shit.”
“Roll for tongue action.”
Monty and Jasper both gasped, their mouths wide open while Raven outright laughed before covering her mouth. Wells smiled like he knew this was going to happen along which was unnerving to Clarke as her cheeks heated to the point they had to be reddest they’d ever in her life. “Excuse me?”
“We have to know how good the kiss is,” Miller grinned, obviously enjoying himself more than a dungeon master should. “So, Augustus, roll for tongue action.”
Bellamy meticulously picked out a d20, a blue which would be similar to the robes Lillianth wore and shook it in his hand. “I can’t believe I’m asking this, but do I add anything to it?”
“Charisma,” Jasper interjected as if he couldn’t hold himself back.
Miller shook his head. “Charisma is to get the kiss, dex is how good the kiss is.”
“Dex,” Bellamy repeated. As a rogue, they all knew his dex was his highest stat and the only way this could be bad was if Bellamy rolled a one and failed. “Fucking hell.”
Clarke tried to lean forward to see the dice, but it landed behind his book so she couldn’t see it from her angle. “What? Please don’t say it’s a one. Lillianth will never recover.”
Miller leaned over his screen and immediately grinned when he saw Bellamy’s dice. “What did you get Augustus?”
Clarke wasn’t entirely sure why, but she could literally feel her heart rate speed up. “Well. Okay, then.”
Jasper, Monty, Wells, and Raven were trying to cover their grins and giggles, but honestly them trying to hide it was as much of a distraction as it would have been it they’d just outright reacted.
“So,” Miller began, using his narrating voice. “In a moment of heated passion-“
“It’s not,” Bellamy interrupted, sounded defeated.
“It’s not what?” Clarke asked at the same time as Miller.
Clarke caught his gaze for half a second before he shifted in his seat and looked back at his character sheet in front of him. “It wouldn’t have been impulsive. Augustus has thought about this before.”
“Augustus has thought about kissing Lillianth before?” Monty repeated.
“Do I know this?” Clarke jumped in, picking up a d20. “Can I know this?”
Miller seemed indecisive. “I don’t know how you would? Can you look at someone and know they’ve thought about kissing you before?”
“Yes,” Monty piped in from the other side of the table and there was an expression on his face which made Clarke wish D&D was real. She’d have loved to insight check him.
Miller glared at him and Clarke looked to Bellamy to see if he’d caught the look as well. He shifted his shoulder slightly as if to say he didn’t know what they were about either. “Fine. It’ll be a high DC though.”
“That’s fair,” Clarke rolled her dice and got a five. “Nope. Lillianth hasn’t got a clue about anything.”
“Well, she just got kissed senseless, so that makes sense.”
Clarke glared at Raven who was still grinning.
Miller picked up the story, “In a moment fraught with import, Augustus reaches for Lilllianth and kisses her senseless-“ Jasper giggled but covered his mouth to prevent anymore sound “-and while the party watches they share a warm embrace in the heat of a setting sun with the darkness of the cavern at their back. There are any number of paths before them, so many of them could end in death, so they take this last moment of light to live before the party as a whole steps forward into the mountain and make their way towards their final battle and whatever comes next.”
Miller paused as looked at each players before nodding. “And that’s where we’ll end it tonight.”
They all made groaning sounds, releasing tension as they stood up, immediately rehashing everything which had happened in the past four hours.
“I can’t believe you sprung that on me, you asshole,” Clarke accused as she started putting away her stuff.
He was smiling at her, confident in what he’d done. “I knew Augustus was going to do it at some point, probably sooner rather than later considering what we were up against, but you did something that just kind made my decision for me.”
Clarke looked up from her bag. “Me or Lillianth?”
His glance around the room seemed to be making sure there wasn’t anyone close enough to overhear. “You bit your lip.”
The blood rushed back to her cheeks, “I don’t even realize when I'm doing that.”
Bellamy’s grin was rueful. “Trust me, I always notice.”
Over the next hour everyone made their way home, and it didn’t escape Clarke’s notice that Miller and Monty happened to leave exactly five minutes apart. “Are Monty and Miller a thing?” Clarke asked as she brought empty beer bottles into the kitchen to be recycled.
He looked over his shoulder from where he was standing at the sink. “I don’t know, but it does kind of seem like it, doesn’t it?”
“If they’re sneaking around behind our backs I’m going to beat them up.”
Bellamy laughed. “Is everyone gone?”
“Yep, Raven and Wells left a couple minutes after Jasper.” She picked up a rag and started drying the dishes he’d put on the rack.
“You don’t have to help me clean up.”
Clarke shrugged, and didn’t bother to tell him she was hanging around trying to figure out how to ask him out. Let him think she was being a good, selfless friend instead of a horny would-be girlfriend. “We invade your apartment once a week for hours on end, it’s literally the least I can do.”
He looked like he was going to argue with her but instead he shrugged and went back to the dishes, finishing the last of the wine glasses before stacking pizza boxes on the kitchen table. There was something off about him and she was just about to ask if he’d had another fight Octavia when he suddenly turned around to look at her.
“Remember a few months back we were leaving the library and I told you I had a crush on you when we first met?”
Clarke applauded herself for not dropping the glass in her hand. If he was about to take it back and declare them friends she was going to murder him. “Hard to forget.”
He leaned against the kitchen table with almost forced casualness. “I neglected to ask a very important question and it’s been bugging me ever since.”
“Did you ever have a crush on me?”
He looked so broken hearted Clarke could murder herself. “Oh.”
Before he could walk away Clarke put the glass on the counter and reached out for him with her other hand. Her fingers wrapped around his wrist as she met her eyes.
“Crushes are fun,” Clarke reminded him, hoping he’d give her the chance to explain. “But for me they don’t usually lead anywhere. It’s a way to pass the time, a distraction.”
She stepped forward. “But affection combined with attraction? That doesn’t happen for me very often and when it does it sticks. I never had a crush on you Bellamy, but sometimes I look at you and I’m so overwhelmed by everything about you I don’t know what to do. I want you Bellamy, and I think I have for a while now.”
“Seriously,” Clarke laughed because he sounded so damn suspicious. “I had a very impressive existential crisis which I give you permission to ask Wells about. In fact, if you hadn’t beaten me to the punch I was going to ask you out before I left tonight.”
“You had to think about it?” he asked and it sounded like he was trying to tease her but was distracted by repeatedly looking down at her mouth.
“You tell me how you ask out your best friend whom you’re basically dating anyway,” she challenged even as they smiled at each other. “What am I going to say ‘want to go to dinner at a movie next Friday?’ we were going to do that anyway.”
“But the word date means we get to make out afterwards.”
“We better do a hell of a lot more than make-out,” she informed him pertly. “I saw you wet and stripping not too long ago, and let’s just say it stuck with me.”
He laughed and leaned forward like he was going to kiss her but stopped half way there. “I want to kiss you but, I swear to god, all I can think of right now is Miller saying ‘roll for tongue action.’”
Clarke burst out laughing, resting her head on Bellamy’s shoulder. “Oh my god.”
“Can we try again in a couple minutes?”
She nodded against him, happiness settling in her chest like a sun. “Yeah, let’s do that.”
And when they tried again an hour later the both considered enough of a success they continued to do it for another hour.