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It was when Clarke thanked him as he handed her the warm spear, and subsequently opened her mouth wide and savagely tore into a roasted squirrel, that Bellamy knew he was fucked.

 

Oh, he had his doubts before. Much before. Sort of Ark before. Before he realized she and all her people were the bane of his existence and there was no room for a privileged princess in his life.

 

Of course, that ideology was put to the test the moment they crashed on the ground. Clarke was the first to defy him, first to put him in his place, first to show him empathy. She was fearless and cunning and somewhere between fighting hemorrhagic fever and charging recklessly at a guy with a gun intent on killing Bellamy, he started to think of her more. Maybe a little more than more. A good and justifiable amount of more than more for the princess that rescued his life and from time to time made him smile.

 

And maybe that smile was warmer lately, especially after seeing her again when she hugged him as if he were the last tether to the world, her eyes glowing with hope and brightness and everything Bellamy wished he had inside him. And maybe he liked to keep close to her during their trips, offering her a gulp from his skin of water or a handful of berries (making certain she knew it was strictly to keep her strength up so she wouldn’t slow the rest of the group down—which, naturally, earned him a severe glare from Clarke). And maybe—

 

“What?”

 

Bellamy started, blinking away his thoughts and focusing back on Clarke. She was looking at him expectantly.

 

“What?” Bellamy repeated lamely. He cursed inwardly when Clarke’s eyebrow rose.

 

“You were staring.” She glanced down at her half-eaten squirrel. “Did you want the rest?”

 

Fuck. “No,” Bellamy said quickly. “No, you eat. I’m…I’ll—go. I’m going.” He grunted (in a very manly, very controlled way), and walked away from the eating area and back to his tent.

 

“Damn it all to hell,” Bellamy grumbled to himself. He didn’t like this at all.

 

-:-

 

“You’re staring again.”

 

Bellamy snapped his attention to Murphy standing beside him.

 

“Go away,” Bellamy grunted. Murphy didn’t move. He’d been testing the waters lately around Bellamy, toeing the line little by little and seeing how okay they were. Bellamy assumed handing Murphy a damned loaded gun and setting him off in the wild would’ve been clear enough, but evidently not. Bellamy couldn’t deny it wasn’t amusing to watch Murphy dance skittishly around him with that half-hopeful, half-wary dance, but this particular topic was one Bellamy had no interest in.

 

“C’mon man, you still hate her?”

 

Bellamy looked at him in surprise. That was unexpected. “You don’t?” he countered curiously.

 

Murphy looked away, shrugging. “She kept us alive. Treated me when she didn’t have to. It’s hard to hate someone who insistently refuses to let you die.”

 

Bellamy looked at Clarke gruffly. She called a halt in their morning water trek to check on a girl’s wound after a grounder trap left a gash on her arm. He watched her hands move meticulously, her eyes intent on the wound and handling it gently…

 

Murphy watched Bellamy carefully, then to Clarke, understanding dawning in his eyes. “Unless…” he started, his lip curling upwards, “this is the other kind of hate.”

 

Bellamy tore his eyes away from Clarke to glower at Murphy. He didn’t like where this was going. “Leave it, Murphy.” His tone had a note of finality to it, one he used often as a co-leader, and Murphy raised his hands in surrender.

 

Clarke was walking towards them just in time, and Bellamy almost sighed in relief. “What’s the verdict, princess? She okay to go?”

 

Clarke nodded, wiping her hands on her shirt. “She’ll be fine. I cleaned and wrapped her wound so it should heal up nicely in a few days.”

 

Bellamy smiled. “You’re getting pretty good at this.”

 

Clarke snorted. “Are you forgetting the last few months? I think I’m better than pretty good.

 

“Excellent, then,” Bellamy ceded, chuckling. “Happy?”

 

Clarke grinned, and for a second it paralyzed him and he stopped breathing and vaguely started remembering the last time he saw this smile, coming to the memory of Unity Day where he urged her to enjoy herself (before it all went to shit, of course), and he must’ve been in this stiff, not-breathing position for longer than a second because Clarke’s smile was fading and she was looking at him in concern.

 

“Are you okay?” she asked worriedly, leaning closer slightly to inspect him. Bellamy’s eyes widened and he exhaled loudly, his breath unintentionally fanning her face and making her hair flutter.

 

“Yeah, ‘course,” Bellamy said nonchalantly, struggling not to immediately start breathing rapidly like his burning lungs were urging him to.

 

Murphy coughed loudly, and Clarke and Bellamy turned to him. He cleared his throat and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry.”

 

Bellamy glared, and was immensely satisfied when he noticed Clarke mirroring his expression (granted to a much lesser degree of annoyance).

 

“Let’s get moving,” Clarke announced. She strode away towards the trail they were following, and the rest of the group followed her. Bellamy and Murphy began walking behind them. He could feel Murphy’s eyes burning through the side of his head, until finally he glanced sharply at him.

 

Murphy smiled knowingly. Bellamy looked tiredly at the sky.

 

-:-

 

A full two weeks passed before it reached astronomical and detrimental levels.

 

He’d had to excuse himself from their meal the instant the last morsel of food had been consumed. He fled, literally fled to his tent and tied the flaps before promptly collapsing on his bed to stare angrily at his crotch.

 

“For fuck’s sake,” he groaned, looking around helplessly. What was this? What the hell was this?

 

He couldn’t be around her. No. This was too messed up. Okay, it wasn’t messed up, but his reaction was too much and he felt thirteen years old again when his mom had caught him with his first and true erection and dutifully and gently explained it all to him, and the horror of discussing it with his mother was the only thing he really remembered that day.

 

Only this was worse because he was older and experienced and didn’t get turned on this quickly to something like this, and he was mortified that maybe Clarke had seen it; it would explain the careful and calculating looks she kept giving him.

 

His mind wandered to the reason his hard-on had happened and he swallowed thickly, jamming his eyes shut. No. He wouldn’t think about it. He looked down at the bulge in his pants angrily.

 

“You’re not welcome,” he hissed. The bulge twitched as if in response.

 

This was serious. This reaction meant it was serious. This never happened and he already knew it was serious and this was unexpected but eye-opening and what the hell could he do now? He could get one of the girls he’d tousled with for a quick one. His forehead scrunched at the thought immediately, shaking his head. No. He wasn’t up for that; not anymore.

 

Maybe he could just..? Quickly. Really quickly. And try not to think about golden hair and oceanic eyes while doing it to teach him a lesson. It was an appealing idea. Wishing it away wasn’t doing anything, and it was starting to really demand his attention. Bellamy groaned again. “Fine,” he muttered. He quickly undid his belt. “Just this once. You don’t deserve this.”

 

“Bellamy, why’d you leave so—oh my GOD.” Octavia’s eyes were bulging out manically before she whirled around to look away.

 

“Octavia! Shit!” Bellamy redid his belt, looking at his traitorous dick that deftly decided it no longer wanted his services, and stumbled to his feet. “I’m sorry—I—what are you doing here? I tied the tent for a reason!”

 

“Clearly,” said Octavia with a hint of amusement mixed with her shock. Bellamy scowled in confusion when she snuck a glance at him and turned back around, deeming it safe. “Is this why you ran? I thought it was because you didn’t like peppers.”

 

“Why are you here, Octavia?” Bellamy said forcefully, pushing his shame behind more urgent matters. And this was exactly why he never had random masturbations sessions throughout his life; no matter what there was always Octavia or Mom or an inspector lurking about, and it was never something he indulged in too much, and this proved him absolutely correct for taking that precaution.

 

“I wanted to know what happened. Everyone noticed you leaving quickly and I came to see what’s up. I guess I know now,” she explained, her tone completely neutral but a hint of a smirk was twitching at the corner of her mouth.

 

Bellamy said nothing. He dropped back down on his bed and rubbed his temples tiredly. “You’re a big girl, Octavia. You know these things happen. I don’t need to explain it to you.”

 

“Thank god for that,” Octavia murmured under her breath. “Right. Well, I’ll just go then.”

 

Bellamy waited for her to leave, but no sound of a tent flapping came. He looked up to see her looking at him speculatively.

 

“It’s just,” Octavia couldn’t help but continue, “we were eating peppers and oatmeal. Literally the least sexiest thing you could ever have. I mean, Clarke did suck on a pepper after you challenged her saying she couldn’t handle the heat, which was pretty funny—” She stopped dead. Bellamy looked at her in horror.

 

“Octavia—” he began.

 

Bellamy,” Octavia gasped.

 

“Please don’t say anything,” Bellamy begged. He winced when he heard the sound of it; him, begging. But any pride he had flew out the moment Octavia caught him almost having a wank. A wank for Clarke.

 

“Does she..? Do you…?” Octavia couldn’t stop looking at him and Bellamy cursed. Octavia’s eyes narrowed and suddenly she marched forward until she was towering over him. Bellamy’s eyebrows rose at the sudden shift in mood.

 

“Don’t even try to pull your usual shit on her,” Octavia warned. Bellamy would have laughed, but the deadly serious look in her eye made him pause.

 

“I wouldn’t. I’m not going to. I don’t even like her,” Bellamy shot back.

 

Octavia glared fiercely. “I don’t care. She’s all we got Bell—except you, obviously. She will cut you to pieces if you screw things up, so you better not even try. She doesn’t deserve that.”

 

“I’m not doing anything,” said Bellamy defensively. “I told you I don’t like her.”

 

“Yeah?” Octavia challenged. “Explain this, then.”

 

Bellamy swallowed. “I…was thinking of something else.”

 

“Uh-huh.” Octavia’s gazed pierced through him, and he wilted.

 

“Look,” he said quietly. “I’m not doing anything, okay? She’s—Clarke’s—she’s different. I’m different.” He looked away grumpily. “I don’t even like feeling like this.”

 

Octavia did not reply. Bellamy snuck a glance up at her and was surprised at the gentle look she was giving him.

 

“It’ll be a lot easier once you start being honest with yourself, Bell.” She smiled slightly. “It’s what convinced me about Lincoln. I could’ve listened to you and the rest of the camp and forgot all about him. But when it’s real? It never goes away.”

 

She turned away and started heading for the tent flap. Abruptly, Bellamy blurted, “How do I start?”

 

Octavia paused by the tent flap. “Start with being nice, dummy. Get her a flower.”

 

-:-

 

It took several days for Bellamy to find the right bunch, but many thorns and soaked boots later, he found himself standing in front of Clarke’s tent, a handful of flowers clutched in his left hand. He clenched his jaw and glanced around, making sure no one was watching him.

 

Coughing slightly, he called, “Clarke?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Drawing the flap open, Bellamy entered Clarke’s tent. She was sitting with Raven working on another radio the latter was trying to build. Only Clarke looked up at him, giving him a slight smile that warmed him instantly.

 

“Bellamy,” she greeted.

 

“Clarke,” he nodded, his voice gravelly. Clearing his throat, he said, “Can we talk?”

 

Nodding curtly, Clarke muttered something to Raven and stood up. They walked together to the opposite end of the tent.

 

“What happened?” asked Clarke immediately.

 

“Nothing, actually,” Bellamy answered. He looked down at his left hand and scratched his head. “Uh, I found this. Got, got this. For you. Thought you’d like it.” He held out the bunch of flowers to her, warily reading her eyes.

 

She looked at the flowers in shock, then with joy. “Bellamy!” she beamed, taking the flowers from him and inspecting them carefully. Bellamy felt as if his heart was soaring, wanting nothing more than to bask in Clarke’s happiness. “How did you know we needed Belladonna?”

 

Bellamy’s smile dropped. “Belladonna?” he repeated. He looked down at the flowers.

 

 

“This—god—this is perfect. We could use half for medicine and the other half can be weaponized with the poison in this.” Clarke looked at Bellamy approvingly. “You noticed the girls were having a hard time with their menstruation, didn’t you? And that my mom wanted to utilize poisonous weaponry. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of Belladonna myself. Now we just have to extract the materials and partition the right dosages…”

 

“This is Deadly Nightshade,” said Bellamy slowly. “As in Belladonna.” Resigned, he nodded. “Right. Yeah, I’m glad this helped out. Saw it during my rounds and thought you’d find it more useful.”

 

Clarke was still grinning, which ultimately was what Bellamy had hoped for anyway, so he smiled in return. “Thank you,” she said sincerely, and she reached forward with her free hand to rub his arm softly. “Really. This means a lot.”

 

Bellamy’s heart stuttered and he felt his cheeks turning pink, and he quickly said a short goodbye before backing out of the tent, leaving Clarke to look at him oddly.

 

“What was that about?” asked Raven as Clarke sat back down.

 

“Bellamy got me poisonous flowers,” replied Clarke dazedly.

 

“Right on,” Raven pumped a fist before snipping a wire.

 

-:-

 

Clarke scrutinized Bellamy from afar as he gave out orders to the younger members Camp Jaha. He was focused with just the right balance of stern and understanding, looking at everyone directly in the eyes. His complexion seemed fine, as did his body language…maybe she’d imagined….

 

Pursing her lips, Clarke tightened her hold on the scroll in her hand and strode towards Bellamy. He was looking intently at his watch when she tapped him on the shoulder.

 

“Hey,” she said.

 

Bellamy glanced at her then blinked, eyes going wide.

 

“Clarke,” he replied, his body going still. Clearing his throat (he seemed to do this a lot lately?), he straightened. “Any progress?”

 

Clarke held the scroll out to him. “Map to a local reservoir. According to our archives, there should be a stockpile of supplies buried here, and the Council is pretty sure Mount Weather doesn’t know about it.”

 

Bellamy raised his eyebrows. “How could they know that? They’ve been here a hundred years longer than our archives.”

 

“It’s the only area we’ve scoped out that has no reported Acid Fog attacks or Reaper sightings,” Clarke explained. “It could be Grounder territory but I doubt it. Their colonies are much more centralized and Anya never mentioned it, before…”

 

Bellamy looked away, giving Clarke time to compose herself. She shook her head lightly and stared at him again, this time more steadily. “I got clearance for an armed, five-person trek. It should take two days total, and I was hoping you could accompany me.”

 

Bellamy looked surprised, and suddenly he was unable meet her eye anymore. “I…yeah, sure. I’ll be ready.” Clarke narrowed her eyes when she saw a soft sheen of sweat starting to form on his forehead, as well as a slight tinge of pink on his cheek.

 

“Okay, that’s it.” Clarke reached forward and grabbed a fistful of Bellamy’s shirt, dragging him behind her. “You’re coming with me.”

 

“Wh-what?” Bellamy spluttered, unable to contain the shocked expression as she dragged him to the med bay.

 

“You’ve been acting—twitchy—and I’m going to do a physical on you to check if you’re alright,” Clarke replied shortly.

 

“A what?

 

“Honestly, Bellamy,” Clarke rolled her eyes as she pushed him inside the med bay. He stood stiffly as Clarke crossed her arms. “H-and-P. History and Physical exam,” Clarke explained slowly. Bellamy swallowed thickly, his eyes darting around the room. “I’m going to check you first though, so open wide.”

 

“Cla—aaargh,” Bellamy’s words drowned out when Clarke put a tongue depressor in his mouth and peered inside. She was very close to him, close enough that he could smell the scent of earth and flesh, making his eyes lose focus as his senses honed in on her.

 

Clarke furrowed her brow as she removed the depressor from his mouth. “No sign of inflammation…” she pressed the back of her hand against his forehead while simultaneously pressing two fingers to the pulse on his wrist, and Bellamy reddened even more deeply at the contact. Clarke naturally came to the wrong conclusion. “You’re a little warm and flushed, and a bit tachycardic too…”

 

“Clarke.”

 

“Sorry, tachycardia means having a faster heart rate while resting,” Clarke immediately clarified.

 

“Clarke, I’m fine,” Bellamy growled impatiently. “Let me go and find someone to treat who actually needs it.”

 

Clarke’s eyes softened. “Bellamy, I know you’re too prideful to admit feeling less than a hundred percent, and that’s okay. Just let me help you; I know you’re not feeling well.”

 

“How?” Bellamy demanded. “How did you possible come up with this?”

 

Clarke sighed, crossing her arms. “I’ve been noticing it for a while, Bellamy. Did you honestly think you could hide this from me?”

 

Bellamy blinked, panic coming over him. “Noticing what, exactly?”

 

Clarke stared at him in that are-you-seriously-gonna-make-me-spell-it-out look, and raised an eyebrow challengingly when Bellamy stared back. “Short of breath, flushed complexion, and increased heart rate, for one. You aren’t feverish or have chills, but you tremble a little when we walk together. Then there’s the sweating, mostly palms and forehead,” she pressed her hand against his forehead again and he flinched, looking away when she showed him the evidence. “Also eye aversion, except that one comes and goes since I saw you make eye contact with some kids today, but for the past few weeks you could hardly look me in the eye.”

 

Bellamy was quiet, his eyes trained carefully on the ground. It encouraged Clarke to continue. “Then there’s the general stuttering, stiff posture that could indicate injury…” Clarke’s eyes went wide. “You’re wounded, aren’t you?”

 

Bellamy scowled. “What? No, of course not.”

 

“Bellamy,” Clarke glared. “This is serious. Did you hurt yourself? Is that why..? This is an infection, isn’t it? Damn it!” Clarke cursed angrily. “I should’ve noticed earlier! Where are you hurt? Is it abdominal? Legs?”

 

Bellamy had a caged look about him, backing away slowly at Clarke’s probing hands. She was trying to pat him down and figure out where he was injured, and Bellamy knew he was coming dangerously close to saying something he really shouldn’t, or doing something he really shouldn’t, and Clarke invading his personal space and smelling like an earth goddess and saying intelligent things that he could barely follow was not helping whatsoever.

 

“I need to you strip,” Clarke stated flatly.

 

“I won’t!” Bellamy said angrily, only it came out a little high-pitched. Clarke was not amused.

 

“Bellamy Blake, so help me god you will take off your shirt before I tear it off myself.”

 

Bellamy froze, gulping at the deadly serious glint in Clarke’s eyes. “I’m not hurt,” Bellamy said evenly. He raised an eyebrow, watching her carefully. “But if you say so.”

 

Slowly Bellamy reached for the hem of his shirt and briefly caught a glimpse of Clarke’s face before pulling it over his head. He dropped it to the floor and stepped closer to her. “Anything else?”

 

Clarke shifted her focus from his chest back to his eyes. Her mouth set in a grim line. “Pants too.”

 

Bellamy unbuckled his belt and slid his pants down to the floor, kicking it off his feet. He was full of determination now, refusing to let his emotions get the better of him, let her get the better of him.

 

Her hands were clinical and focused, feeling for any protuberances or injuries. Her hands were warm and sure, pressing gently against his skin, trailing from his abdomen to his back, asking him to inhale and exhale. She was thorough and inspected him carefully, even going as for to check his reflexes. When she finished he saw a look of defeat on her, chewing her bottom lip worriedly.

 

 “You’re fine,” Clarke admitted, looking extremely confused. “I don’t understand.”

 

She looked up at him and when her eyes connected with his Bellamy saw something shift; she blinked rapidly and her eyes widened, as if replaying her words from before and how he’d been acting around her lately. Bellamy leaned fractionally closer and her attention snapped back to his, looking for all the world as if a maelstrom of thoughts were whirling in her mind and she was only just starting to understand them.

 

“Maybe,” his voice rumbled lowly, sending a shiver down Clarke’s spine, “instead of trying to diagnose me, you get yourself checked, princess. You can’t even see what’s right in front of you.”

 

He took deliberately slow steps away from her, bending down to grab his clothes and easily putting them back on. Clarke stared at him with wild confusion, disbelief and a slight blush forming on her cheeks.

 

“But,” Clarke stammered, “but—but you don’t. You wouldn’t—not me. Why?” she said helplessly.

 

Bellamy shrugged, and for once Clarke wished his eyes wouldn’t bore through hers. “But you couldn’t,” Clarke said, the words heavy with meaning, and she regretted saying it instantly.

 

Bellamy’s eyes narrowed. “I see.”

 

“No, that’s not—” Clarke amended quickly.

 

“I know what you meant. I can take a hint. Sorry for stepping out of line.”

 

 Before he could leave Clarke’s hand shot out to grab his arm. When he gazed back at her, she had a stricken look in her eyes.

 

“Why?” she asked quietly, and it was then Bellamy realized there was more to this than him; there was a fundamental part of Clarke that couldn’t reconcile his interest in her, couldn’t comprehend why anyone would look at her in the way he looked at her, which was largely the reason why she did not see the signs until they had to be more or less spelled out for her. His curiosity piqued at this fact, wondering if Collins had anything to do with this new development, but pushed it aside.

 

“Because life is short, princess. And if I had to spend my numbered days with someone, I’d spend it with you.”

 

He left the med bay then, leaving Clarke in stunned silence.

 

-:-

 

Life on the ground moved on. Supplies were found and people were killed, perpetuating a neverending cycle of victory and defeat.

 

Things between Clarke and Bellamy remained the same, except there seemed to be an unspoken understanding between them to not mention what happened in the med bay. Interestingly, it didn’t end there. Bellamy’s internal reactions whenever he was near Clarke had calmed, but he still found himself enjoying being around her, and she still made him laugh and he still made her feel calm even in the tensest moments, giving her words of comfort and reassurance during the times she questioned her integrity as a leader. They were complements, perfect moulds, though neither knew of this.

 

Bellamy never noticed Clarke’s lingering gaze whenever he sat nearby her around the campfire, and she never noticed how she had unintentionally shifted her daily routine around Bellamy’s, making sure to finish work in time with his so they could have their meals together. She would wake early in the morning and so would he; he would wait outside her tent so they could go on rounds together; he still gave her the last of his water even when they weren’t on day trips;  she would counter his passion with reason, and he would encourage her wisdom with his support.

 

It was comfortable. They were comfortable. Clarke quite liked it.

 

Until the night Bellamy was carried into the med bay with two arrows embedded in his back.

 

Clarke didn’t know what happened before Abby shouted her name, only remembering how cold she felt, how the blood drained from her face, how Bellamy’s eyes were closed and two arrows were inside him. She was shaken by Abby and Clarke was forced back to reality.

 

Her hands were trembling. Clarke stared at them and then stared back at Abby. “I need you, Clarke. Are you ready to scrub in?”

 

Relatively speaking, scrubbing in on the ground was nothing more than pouring some moonshine and water on her hands and then grabbing a scalpel, but Clarke nodded immediately and set off to work. Now wasn’t the time to freeze. Her hands were steady when she operated on Finn; they could certainly be steady for Bellamy.

 

-:-

 

The first thing that went through Bellamy’s mind was how he never would take a piss in the river boundary ever again. The second was the searing pain in his back.

 

He remembered noticing the arrows that shot inside him were fairly small and not terribly painful, but the tips were laced with poison and that’s what did him in in the end. Honestly, how was he supposed to know the river was that important? There hadn’t been a grounder sighting there in months, and Bellamy had assumed they cleared away once Camp Jaha had settled in.

 

At the twinge in his back, Bellamy thought bitterly, apparently not.

 

“I see you’re awake.”

 

Bellamy looked up. He was lying on his stomach and beside him was Clarke Griffin, her hair stained with bits of red and a deep-setting glare already in place. Bellamy cracked a smile.

 

“Hello, princess.”

 

“Don’t,” Clarke said sharply. “Do you have any idea what’s happened these past three days?”

 

“…Uh, no?”

 

“Well first, you being carried by Monty and Jasper telling me that you got shot for peeing in a sacred river.” Bellamy winced at the harsh tone, looking at Clarke sheepishly. She ploughed on, “Then, I had to pull out two poisonous arrows from your back—which wasn’t easy by the way, so you should be thanking me that I made it so they wouldn’t leave a scar—and then I had to help make an antidote to said poison. And let me tell you, grinding powder and leaf juice for four hours while you kept having moments of not breathing is not fun.”

 

Bellamy didn’t say anything, watching Clarke curiously as she built herself to a right and true outburst of anger. He could see the terror lurking beneath her eyes, noticing the slight tremor that shook her frame as she continued to talk.

 

“—almost lost you! You-you can’t do that, Bellamy! I can’t do this without you. You can’t leave me.”

 

There it was. Bellamy looked at her closely. “And why’s that, princess?”

 

Clarke swallowed thickly. “I can’t do this without you, Bellamy. I won’t.” She looked away, down at her hands, and Bellamy wouldn’t stand for it.

 

“You can,” said Bellamy firmly. “And someday you will. I won’t be around forever, Clarke.”

 

“You will,” said Clarke, raising her chin. “I will make sure of that.”

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy reasoned softly.

 

“No. it’s not going to happen. I’ve lost too many people…I’m not losing you. Especially you.” Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “So next time, don’t urinate on a Grounder landmark!”

 

“’Especially me’?” Bellamy repeated. Clarke stiffened. “Especially?”

 

Clarke looked for a moment like she was going to protest, but her mouth closed and she stared back at him determinedly. “Especially you.”

 

Bellamy dared not breathe. The pain in his back was less and less his focus, until he quietly uttered, “Why?”

 

And Clarke, who was covered in three-day-old filth and never looked more beautiful, replied simply, “Because life is short. And if I had to spend my numbered days with someone, I’d spend it with you.”

 

Bellamy gazed at her for a very long time before turning his hand and holding it out towards her. She glanced down at it, and very slowly she reached for it. Their fingers interlocked and he felt like a giant as his hand engulfed hers, but he wasn’t fooled for a second that her hand couldn’t do a great deal of damage to him in a matter of seconds.

 

Clarke stepped closer and sat in the chair next to his bed, watching him quietly. “I need to know if you’re already with someone.”

 

Bellamy blinked. “I’m not.” Clarke continued to stare at him. “I’m not,” Bellamy repeated. “I wouldn’t do that.” It was amazing how long Clarke could look at someone without blinking. “Any third party that joins me is always an informed and active participant.”

 

“Is that your way of saying ‘I have great threesomes’?” Clarke said dryly.

 

“I’m saying I don’t fuck around with things like that,” said Bellamy honestly. “I don’t lie about my relationships. You’ve seen the people I’ve slept with in the past. I’m not ashamed of it. But I am serious about being with you, and I don’t plan on screwing that up.”

 

Clarke finally seemed to believe him, for she exhaled slowly and nodded. “Okay, I believe you. Just making sure. I have to, ever since…”

 

Bellamy nodded, neither of them having to vocalize what Clarke meant.

 

“Anyway,” Clarke cleared her throat. “So…what now?”

 

Bellamy looked at her thoughtfully. “Well, I’m in an awful lot of pain.”

 

Clarke sighed. “I know, I’m sorry. We don’t have anesthesia yet.”

 

Bellamy shook his head, “Not exactly. I do know one thing that really works.”

 

“What?” asked Clarke, frowning.

 

Bellamy smiled slowly, mischief lighting his eyes. Clarke snorted.

 

“In your dreams, Bellamy.”

 

She dropped his hand, walking away as he called, “But you read the stories on the Ark! It’s an old earth remedy! Come on, princess. Kiss me.”

 

Clarke halted. Whirling around, Bellamy shifted in surprise when she strode back to him. His heart was pounding heavily when she smiled slightly and bent down, only to kiss his forehead (bangs and all). She pulled back up immediately and frowned.

 

“Mm. Still a toad.”

 

Bellamy glared as she walked away, cackling.