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The smell of loneliness in the air

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Clarke Griffin definitely didn’t expect to see Bellamy Blake every again in her life.

Truth be told, when she dragged the curtain surrounding the hospital bed, she was praying the case wouldn’t take too much of her time as it was almost the end of her shift and she just craved going home, taking a shower, maybe eating and finally getting the sleep she deserved after spending 40 hours on her feet. Her eyes widened a little when she saw him trying to fight with Murphy, her nurse and explaining he was perfectly fine.

“Bellamy?” she asks and he whips his head to look at her.

She almost winces at the big gash on his forehead and the scratches and multiple cuts on the left of his face. His white shirt is colored with blood and he was clutching his hand in an unnatural position to his chest. His jeans were ripped and there was blood pooling from his knee coloring the white of his old converse sneakers.

She remembers those sneakers. It was the same pair he had worn when they went out on a date nearly two weeks ago. It was Raven who suggested it, more like actually pushed her off the door when she had come home and asked why she wasn’t ready for her date. Honest to God, Clarke had forgotten that her friend had arranged this thing for her. Raven kept claiming that Clarke hadn’t been out since she broke up with Lexa and she wasn’t wrong but the last thing she wanted was to go to a set up dinner with some stranger. Still, Raven had insisted, dragged her out of bed, even helped her pick her dress and literally put it on before kicking her ass barely half an hour after she had come home.

Turned out Raven knew Bellamy Blake from the library. He was a grumpy but charming hot ass dude, like her friend explained and Clarke had zero idea how he even agreed to this, especially after she finally met him.

He was late. First she took it as a blessing honestly, it meant that she can eat and get home soon enough to finish her Anne of Green Gables marathon. Raven would be grumpy, but it wouldn’t be her fault and she could already imagine propping her feet on the small coffee table and basically smell the big bowl of pop corn she would make to treat herself.

Then he appeared. Half an hour late and not exactly very sorry. He seemed somewhat worried and distracted but she still decided to give it try and make conversation. Most attempts were futile, he kept glancing at his phone and impatiently staring at the clock on the wall behind her. Somehow his distaste for her only grew when he found out she’s an intern and came from a somewhat wealthy family. An hour and a half later he got a phone call which she was sure was fake and arranged (he probably made one of his friends do it) and he was off his seat in matter of seconds.

The only good thing he had done that evening was take off his jacket and place it on her shoulders once they were outside, since it had started raining, and wave for a cab for her. He opened the door and she looked up to face the sullen expression on his face. It seemed as if his conscience was finally speaking because his eyes suddenly got a little too sad and guilt-ridden. For a second Clarke thought that there was something more to it all, that maybe his behavior had an explanation but since she didn’t even want to meet him in the first place and he was an annoying ass who discarded and ignored her throughout the evening, she wasn’t so sure she even wanted to find out.

“I’m sorry if tonight wasn’t what you expected…” he had said as she made her way in the back of the cab and he held the door, getting ready to close it for her ”But trust me, it’s for the better. You don’t need a guy like me in your life.” the words had caught her by surprise and he smiled weakly ”Best of luck, Clarke Griffin.”

She watched him move to the front window and hand the driver what seemed to be the last money in his old seemingly-falling-apart wallet. She didn’t even have the time to protest before the cab drove off and the last thing she remembers doing was turning back to see him standing by the side of the road, rain pouring all over his blue-and-black plaid button-up, his hair sticking awkwardly to his forehead, a sad pair of eyes staring as she went on her way.

The whole thing bugged her for the rest of the evening but that was it. She went out on a date and it didn’t work out. Maybe it was too soon? Maybe Raven was wrong the entire time and she just needed a few more weeks…why not months? Maybe it hasn’t been Bellamy’s fault at all, but hers? She hasn’t exactly welcomed him very well after he had finally arrived.

Either way, she made her peace with it, took a long shower, ate some ice cream in order to feel better and tried to forget all about it.

Except now fate was slapping her in the face full force.

“What’s wrong with him?” she asked as she pulled on the nylon blue gloves and approached the bed.

“Some drunk idiot hit him just outside the Grounders bar” Murphy explains, passing her the chart ”He has a concussion and possible fractures but I can’t exactly identify them since the idiot’s been trying to leave ever since they got him here.” her eyes scan the information, Bellamy Augustus Blake, twenty-three. Who the hell names their child Bellamy and then curses them with a second name like Augustus?

”He’s all yours, my shift’s over anyway.” Murphy brings her back to earth as he throws his own gloves in the bin and pulls the other curtain, leaving them alone.

“So” Clarke smiles as she pulls up a chair and places the chart aside. It’s clear how uncomfortable he feels so she decides maybe easing him into it will help. His eyes were wide and disorientated and his breathing was way too labored for her liking but she had to take a few minutes to make this less awkward than it already was ”Fancy meeting you here” she jokes and takes his wrist to measure his pulse.

“You too, princess” he breaths out and she notices how hoarse his voice was ”Can you tell me when I can leave? Your co-worker here wasn’t exactly welcoming.”

“What’s the rush? Don’t want to spend any more awkward time with me?” she jokes and moves up to flash a light in his eyes which makes him squirm like a child under her and she has to bite back a laugh ”How about we check you out at first and then figure out the rest?”

“Thought you already did this two weeks ago, princess” he jokes and makes a failed attempt to wink at her with his unfortunately swollen eye.

“Wow, he flirts.” she decides to play his game ”Didn’t think you have it in you, Bellamy Augustus.”

“Ouch! Way to hurt my ego” he smiles but it turns into a frown when she applies some pressure over his face, checking for anything broken. He jerks away involuntary but she holds him tight and he bites his lips in a desperate attempt not to yell.

“Hey, it’s okay” she promises gently and soon feels something warm and soft brushing away the blood and grime off his face ”Wanna tell me exactly what happened?”

“I was just grabbing a drink at the Grounders” she hmms in response. She knows the place, often hanging there herself with Murphy and Raven after work. ”When I decided to leave some asshole hit me while crossing the road. Quite the cliche actually.”

“Well you can always spice it up if you wanna charm the hell of some girl.” he chuckles and hisses when she presses an ice pack to his swollen eye. A minute later he’s grateful for it since it hid the instant blush on his face when her hands moved down to his shirt and pulled up, checking up his ribs. ”What’s the sudden rush to leave?” she applies pressure over a particularly painful place and he trembles ”That hurt?”

“Kinda” he huffs through teeth ”And uh, I can’t stay. I don’t exactly have the best insurance.” she nods quickly again focusing on estimating his injuries ”I feel fine, just put some bandages on it and I’m good to go. I’ve been worse.”

“Oh yeah? Let me guess, you were part of some underground fighting ring and got your ass beat up every other week” he smiles and shakes his head at her teasings. This girl was fire.

“Way more boring actually”he huffs again when she moves down to his leg ”Construction worker.”

“Really? Maybe you can help fix the awful ass leak I have on my roof.” she looks up smiling sadly as she pats his leg ”Though perhaps in a few weeks. I have to take you upstairs for an x-ray.”

“Do you really?” he asks swallowing hard, suddenly feeling a little scared which surprises her and makes her heart clench a little at the way his face drops ”Maybe I can bribe you with some food? I bet you don’t eat enough with all the work you have around here. Chinese?”

“Nice try, but it’s a no, Augustus” she picks up his chart and starts scribbling down while he moves up on his healthy elbow ”For future reference, I do prefer Thai.” when she doesn’t hear him joke back she figures something’s wrong but keeps on writing her observations down.

“Please” he grabs her wrist and stares at her seriously now ”I can’t stay.” she drops the chart on the chair and moves to sit on the side of the bed next to his uninjured leg.

“You have to, though” she says seriously and sees the fire in his stubborn eyes, he opens his mouth to protest but she pushes him down the pillow and gets ready for a speech ”You just got run over by a car, you could as well have internal bleeding and your concussion’s pretty bad. I’m sure you’ll need a cast for that knee, maybe even a surgery and it’s best if you stay at least a few days for observation.” she sees how scared he seems all of a sudden and without putting much thought in it, takes his hand in hers

”Is there anyone I can call?” it seems his eyes get even more glassy at this question ”Your parents? A sibling?” he shakes his head at her questions and her heart skips a beat.

“My mom died two weeks ago” he states clenching his jaw ”Cancer. And my sister left away for college a few years back. She hasn’t been home since Christmas.”

“I’m sorry” she utters the only thing that can be said in such a moment and it feels awfully shallow and stupid. Suddenly all the sadness in his eyes makes sense, the light tremble of his fingers, she realizes, had nothing to do with the accident, the fact that he’s looking away even now, ashamed and feeling completely out of place. God, it all finally clicked in her head.

“Was this why you…acted this way on our date?” he nods and his brown eyes finally look back at her again.

“My mom was feeling pretty bad that night but she insisted that I go out, have some fun, live my life a little.” he laughs sadly to himself ”Kept claiming I was spending too much time with her, that I was wasting my best years taking care of her.” he tries to raise himself on the pillows and she helps him sit up more comfortably, though she can see he’s in a lot of pain. She makes a mental note to give him some painkillers later ”When I got back home she was barely even conscious. She died later that same evening.”

“I’m really-”

“No, please, don’t say it.” he cuts her off and squeezes back her hand ”I don’t think I can take anymore condolences at this point. Especially not coming from the girl I treated like shit that same night.”

“You really don’t have to apologize for that” she reassures but he stubbornly shakes his head again.

“It’s not an excuse for the way I acted. You’re a obviously a very beautiful and amazingly smart kick-ass doctor.” she smiles a little at that ”As I said that night, you deserve someone better. If anyone should be sorry it’s me.” he slumps down on the pillows and she closes his eyes for a short second, probably trying to bite back his pain.

“You’re forgiven” she whispers and he opens his eyes, staring up with sleepy, suddenly way too tired eyes ”Now let’s take care of you, huh?”

“Okay” he agrees way too easily for her own liking (she had expected a fight judging by the kind of guy he seemed to be) and she curses herself for a moment for taking that much time talking instead of rushing him to the x-ray upstairs.

By the time she gets him admitted into a room, he’s passed out from the drugs and though her shift was long over, she didn’t have the heart to leave him alone. He had absolutely no one and when the nurse brings over his belongings, wrapped up in a bag by the paramedics, she takes them out and places them on the bedside drawer. She must accidentally press a button or something because his phone (a crappy old nokia with a busted screen) lights up, she sees there are no missed calls. Just the time and date staring up at her on a bright blue background.

She swallows hard and looks back at him laying lifelessly on the bed-his head is tilted to the side, face half buried in the pillow, his messy curly hair stuck passionately in every direction, the machine measuring his vitals was the only sound that could be heard in the room, as well as his still-labored breathing.

And there she was, staring at a boy who had nothing, no one. A boy who could’ve might as well died that night and the world wouldn’t even notice, couldn’t even begin to care. The clock on his old phone would keep measuring the time even if he had disappeared, because there was no one to call and look for a lost boy who had no one else in the world. For the first time since she met him, she was finally able to place the feeling in the air that lingered for the entire time of their date two weeks ago.

It was loneliness.

He wakes up around noon the next day and they have a big argument over the surgery he needs to have for his knee. They even get to fight, catching the attention of a few of the nurses on duty that afternoon, including Murphy, which she was sure he wouldn’t let go of when they were alone. She storms out of there and doesn’t come back till later in the evening when her new shift starts and he’s sorry and guilt-ridden. He mumbles something about talking to their orthopedist Nyko and agreeing to the surgery, which makes her way too smug for his own good. Later that night when she’s done with her rounds and has nothing urgent to do, they end up eating jello and watching old re-runs of Anne of Green Gables. (turned out he liked it about as much as her, which surprised her more than she would like to admit).

“So…that rule for the doctors not being allowed to date their patients” he carefully turns towards her on his healthy side ”Is it still a thing or?”

“Why, you wanna take Murphy out?” he scrunches his face up in disgust groans frustrated ”Well, technically yes. Why so? Have someone in mind?”

“Oh, I don’t know” he rubs his slightly stubbled chin ”There’s this particularly feisty short blond that keeps kicking my ass. Feels like it would be fun to hang out with her.”

“She might be open to it if you keep your promise to fix her leak first.” she jokes and pats his shoulder in a soothing manner, standing up and pulling the blanket up his torso.

She quickly came to realize Bellamy Blake was a child, he liked when she stuck by, brought him cupcakes from the cafeteria, held his hand during x-rays or ran her hand through his messy curls when he had to get a shot

”After all, you do realize it hurts my reputation to go out with someone whose middle name is Augustus.”

“Joke all you want about it, but it’s a great name for a kid.” he rolls on his back and stares at her sleepily ”Actually, I can bet my ass you secretly like it so much, one day you’re gonna name your kid exactly like that.”

“Nice try, smartass” she jokes and gets up to leave. She turns one last time to check up on him from the door and he’s already out of it, eyes closed, resting peacefully under the heavy blanket.

But there’s something else that catches her breath-the way his open hand is still curled up so as to easily fits her fingers, as if he knew that as some point later that night she’ll come by and place it there after checking up on him, and the fact that his lips are curled up in a smile.

It’s the first time she sees him like that.

A few weeks later, she comes home to find him limping awkwardly on her front porch with a hammer in hand, his crutches discarded on the swing set next to him.

She wants to simultaneously kiss him and kick his ass.

“Hey, don’t blame it on me, princess!” he raises his hands defensively when she makes him climb down the ladder. He wasn’t supposed to even be walking after the surgery, he still had his stitches on and here he was trying to fix her stupid roof ”You were the one who said you won’t go out with me unless I do this. I take those things seriously. After all, I do want to take you on a date. Again.”

She shakes her head and mumbles whatever curse she can think of as she pushes him inside and he awkwardly limps to her couch, smiling under his nose while she keeps on raging.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Five years later they are in that same hospital only this time he’s the one staring down at her, holding her hand and smiling reassuringly while she holds their baby boy closer to her chest and marvels at the freckles covering his whole face.

“Welcome to the world, little Gus” she whispers and looks up to find Bellamy’s breath catching at the name. They’ve joked about this for years on end and he had promised he’ll let her pick the name of the kid since she didn’t trust him it won’t be something insanely nerdish like Zeus or Merope but he never thought she’d actually do this.

“Turns out you were right, Bell” she adds and cups his cheek with her free hand while the kid squirms in her arms and raises his little hands up in the air ”I do like the name a little bit too much.”