Bellamy's pissed. Clarke can feel it in the way he grips her hip a little too tight before releasing it in apology; the way his kiss goes from consuming to uncertain in the span of just seconds, like he's trying to rein himself in.
He also happens to be half-naked, the weight of him undeniably welcoming overtop her own feebly clothed form. If this sheer dress can even be counted as clothing.
Bellamy bites her lip unexpectedly, and Clarke moans again despite having sworn to stay quiet out of spite.
But she can't help the occasional sound that leaves her mouth, not even real words, just jumbled agreements as Bellamy touches his lips to her jaw, her earlobe, her pulse. He's moving too carefully, dragging his mouth along her skin with a restraint she didn't know he was capable of until she's gripping his shoulders with uneven breaths, nails pressing deep enough that he hisses. She wants more of that. She wants to make him forget to be quiet at all.
This isn’t going entirely as she'd hoped, if she's being honest, but given the situation it's farther than she expected to get.
Right when she thinks they're finally finding a rhythm, finally feeling a little closer to themselves, there comes a hushed whisper and the rustle of clothing beyond the drapes. Bellamy stiffens instantly, mouth lifting off her skin, and Clarke swears into the ensuing silence.
Because it hadn't been enough for the Grounders to specially choose them for this “honor” of bedding each other.
No, they wanted to fucking watch.
The day had started out so well.
She and Bellamy had arrived at the mountain clan’s village just after the sun had taken its spot high in the sky. Their journey had been without any hiccups, just the two of them setting out together for peace talks on behalf of Skaikru and enjoying the chance to venture further out from camp.
They’d made peace with each other long ago, well before the war. And when it was over, there was nothing to do but pick up the pieces of their lives and start again.
So that's what they did, taking the remnants of their people with them and starting a new community near the coast. Clarke had chosen the location with Bellamy's input—they had both wanted something different, something open, that took them away from the closed off forests and underground caves. So they'd found the ocean.
The remaining clans that emerged from the rubble of war were in no mood for more battles. Everyone had lost too much, for too long. She and Bellamy found most people eager to create new treaties with them, because Skaikru was still revered or feared depending on who you talked to. And for once Clarke didn't fight the reputation. She was no longer Wanheda, hadn't been for a while, but she wasn't above using the title to get her way during negotiations, not if it meant safety for her people.
Which was how they ended up in the mountains, hiking over rocky terrain and marveling at the view from time to time, all while trading stories. And maybe she got distracted by him more so than their surroundings now and then, but—that wasn’t really new either.
Clarke had long stopped denying that Bellamy was important to her. Even ‘important’ didn’t seem to cover it. He was— he was— Bellamy, and he was strong and good and stubborn and impulsive; he was Bellamy, and she loved him for it. Other than that, she didn’t have a label for it, not the way Miller proudly slung his arm around Monty and announced to anyone within a mile that his boyfriend was a genius; not the way Wick loudly wondered where the hell “his girl” had gotten to; not even the way Octavia was always mentioning how her husband had yet another idea for their new home.
But Clarke and Bellamy… they were co-leaders, friends. The rest—well, she didn’t know what came next, but as long as they were together she didn’t really care.
This was perhaps the first time, since all the rebuilding, that they'd been alone for longer than a few minutes. There was nothing to interrupt them out here, and so they strolled and talked and slept on and off for the three-day trip, sometimes talking politics or expansion and sometimes talking about those who were no longer here.
That was a new thing that had started recently.
Unable to sleep, the kids and even some adults would gather together in someone's cabin, telling stories about the ones they'd lost instead. It was painful, sometimes too much, but it was also necessary. They wouldn't forget those who'd helped them get this far; the reason they'd done what they had to.
Bellamy's in the middle of telling her about the Sea Clan woman who’s been ever so slowly winning over Monroe, when he stops abruptly, looking past her in awe. Clarke turns to follow his gaze.
The sun’s rays glance off the mountain, illuminating the valley below. The same streams and fields they crossed to get here now look like ribbons of blue and green and brown, all mixing together to form a picture that make her hands itch to paint. And the sky—the sky is a bright, cheery blue, nothing like the gray that seemed to follow them everyday from the ashes of war.
“Sometimes I forget, you know.” Bellamy’s voice is reverent. “Sometimes I forget, Earth is this beautiful.”
Yeah, Clarke thinks, looking at the boy beside her. It sure is.
As the altitude increases, they take longer breaks to catch their breath, lungs adjusting to the new height. Thankfully the village isn’t too high up, and soon the tops of the first structures come into view. On first sight, they appear mostly untouched by the war, large huts and cabins still standing, smoke floating from a chimney here or there. But Clarke knows better than to trust the illusion. The people inside—they still hurt, like everyone else. No one had escaped the war unscathed.
The camp elders that greet them at the entrance are a calm sort, their wise old eyes not missing a single detail even though they shuffle around slower than most. At their head is a woman with graying hair that matches the paint on her face and arms. Her emerald eyes rake them head to toe.
“Skaikru,” she says, spreading her hands wide. Her voice is low and melodic. “I am Gwen. Welcome to our home.”
Both Clarke and Bellamy bow respectfully, and she bows back, clearly pleased. They’re lead further inside to a large cabin that clearly serves as the meeting area. Food has been set out on a table for their arrival.
“First we eat, then we shall talk,” Gwen declares, and heads straight for the table.
Exchanging a smile, they follow her lead and fill their bowls. Bellamy’s knee touches hers when they sit cross-legged on the ground. It’s comforting, a constant reminder that he’s there. He does that a lot, now, finds all sorts of ways to make sure Clarke never forgets his presence, to the point that when she is alone, she misses it.
Gwen and her people are an interesting group. Aside from the gray patterns marking their skin, they wear nothing remarkable or flashy. Their clothes are practical, dark tones, absent of any tokens or headdresses. They don't try to make a statement with their appearance; they rely on their actions for that.
They are also not as guarded as the Grounders Clarke is used to; their smiles come fast, their laughs even faster. And yet she sees the pain deeply rooted behind their smiles, because when you become so accustomed to your own it’s not hard to notice it on others. In the occasional moment their mood does turn somber, they push past it in much the same way she’s learned to do. She looks at Bellamy. He’s gazing out at the room just as thoughtfully, picking up on the same clues. Then his eyes land on her, and he smiles and grasps her hand for a moment, squeezing reassuringly.
Clarke turns back to her food only to feel another pair of assessing eyes; Gwen has a curious expression on her face, but it disappears too quickly for Clarke to decipher.
It doesn’t matter. She finds out all too soon what the other leader was thinking.
Once their stomachs are full of wine and meat, the elders turn to business. Clarke spends the next hour making her case for the treaty and declaring her terms. She pauses to catch her breath now and then, but Bellamy doesn’t jump in to take over immediately. He’s more concerned about scanning the others, gauging the response to what she’s saying. And, as she’s learned, he’ll only speak up when he thinks it’s significant—even though she’s tried to tell him that everything is significant when it comes to him. But that’s a battle for another day.
As expected, Gwen has counterpoints. Her advisors have been whispering among each other since Clarke began speaking, but they stop as soon as the woman opens her mouth. When she’s outlined her ideas, Clarke looks to Bellamy. He nods, and offers his thoughts on the matter, just as insightful as always.
And so it goes, back and forth while the sun bears down outside and the playful yells of children echo.
Finally they come to an agreement on the last point, not without some compromise but still doable, and Clarke breathes a sigh of relief. Bellamy bumps her shoulder lightly, his smile giving away his own satisfaction.
“Told you we’d be fine,” he says, and she rolls her eyes but leans against him anyways.
It’s only when they realize the clan leaders are looking at them both expectantly that they straighten, exchanging a quick glance. Clearly they’re not done, although Clarke can’t imagine what possibly comes next.
“Do you know the story of our clan’s first heda?” Gwen asks. When they shake their heads, she smiles. “Her name was Iris. She was the light of our people, our soncha. She came from the west with her sister; they were what we call splita—outsiders. She was unhappy with her home, so she left, and everyone she met on her travels she invited with her. To build a new home, here, where all were welcome. And so our people have stayed for generations.”
“That’s lovely,” Clarke says politely, but her stomach is churning, because no way that’s the full story.
Gwen’s eyes crinkle. “It is, but for one thing. Iris could have none of her own. It was not understood why. Her body simply was incapable of it.”
Infertile. Most likely from prolonged exposure to whatever toxins Mount Weather had been pumping out for years. And god knows what else.
“I’m sorry.” It’s Bellamy who says so first, his face drawn. “That must have been difficult.”
“It was, and it was not.” Gwen smiles. “Heda took all of us on as her children.” She trades meaningful glances with her advisors, who seem to have come to some agreement and nod back. Unconsciously, Clarke shifts closer to Bellamy. His hand is warm on her back.
“I tell you this because we have a custom here in the mountains, to remember our heda,” Gwen explains. “Each year on the summer equinox, two of our people are chosen to come together. To create new life in honor of Iris.”
Oh god. Clarke sees where this is going in a hurry, but there’s nothing she can do to stop it.
“This season, we thought it only appropriate to bestow our highest honor upon the two of you.”
Clarke fights the urge to put her face in her hands, even as her cheeks burn and her lungs forget how to function momentarily. Bellamy’s mouth hangs open in shock. They stare at each other, then back at the excited faces before them. When it becomes clear neither of them have words, Gwen tilts her head in concern.
“Have we offended you?”
Clarke clears her throat, shaking her head too fast. “No! No, that’s not— um, we’re just surprised. And flattered, very much,” she adds hastily. “But… don’t you think your people deserve this honor more than we do?”
“We have already discussed it amongst ourselves,” Gwen answers. “It was decided that this should be a gift to you, to show our commitment to Skaikru.”
There isn’t much she can say to that without sounding rude. Clarke nods weakly, offering a semblance of a smile while her mind races, trying to find a loophole in their logic, any excuse that might be reasonable without offending the people who’ve just agreed to an important truce.
“Hold on.” Bellamy’s finally found his voice again, and he’s not amused one bit. “You want us to— to make a kid?”
He sounds incredulous, and Clarke doesn’t blame him. Neither of them are anywhere near ready to bring any new life into this world. Not not mention they haven’t even kissed, which would probably help. But then Bellamy points at her.
“Because she can’t,” he says. “She’s— she’s led op,” he tries to explain, placing a hand on her stomach and making the muscles underneath tremble. ”Hir.”
Her brow furrows. She’s not injured— wait. The implant! Population control. Clarke hides her smile in his shoulder at the last second. He’s brilliant. He’s fucking brilliant. His arm comes around her, as if to comfort, and she tries to look saddened when she finally looks back at the others. But Gwen seems unbothered.
“Whether you do or do not create a new life is not for us to decide,” their leader says calmly. “The point is that you are able to, and that is a beautiful thing to be treasured.”
Shit. Clarke had been so sure the implant was their way out. But it seems now they’ve run out of options. Bellamy’s stiff as a board beside her, his brow pinched as he considers everything and comes to the same conclusion. Clarke gulps. Maybe it won’t be horribly awkward, she reasons. Maybe it’ll finally give them a chance to talk, to figure out something, within the privacy of four walls—
“There is also the matter of confirming the act.” Gwen’s voice crashes into her thoughts like a battering ram.
Clarke sits up, stunned. ”Confirming?” she says, at the same time that Bellamy says, “Fuck.”
Gwen looks between them as if they’re the ones who’ve grown two heads. “It is customary for myself and a chosen few to sit in after the rites, to oversee and ensure nothing goes wrong.”
“Tell me I misheard that.” Bellamy’s jaw ticks dangerously as he ignores the tribe’s leaders, speaking directly to Clarke.
Clarke swallows. They both know he heard it just fine, just like she did. She unclenches her hand from where it’s formed a fist and tries to plead their case.
“Is that really necessary? We have agreed to all the terms of your treaty, respected your customs. We even agree to do this—” Beside her, Bellamy sucks in a breath but doesn’t argue, “—but please, allow us this one favor of privacy,” Clarke implores.
Gwen considers them. “It is tradition,” she says finally. “All those before you have had the same treatment. If you wish to truly honor our agreement, so must you.”
Clarke glances helplessly at Bellamy, who looks like he's about to tell them all to go float themselves. Here they are, having traveled miles from their home just to achieve this peace, only to have a tradition standing in their way. They'll hate themselves if they leave without any measure of success.
She knows the moment he gives in, shoulders slumped and eyes resigned to what’s about to happen. Bellamy's resistance only ever lasts so long when faced with the good of their people. It’s how he is. It’s why she loves him so much.
With a sigh, she places her hand overtop his on the dirt. He glances at her, finding the acceptance in her face, and nods shortly before turning to Gwen.
"Let's get this over with."
Well, Clarke thinks dryly, this is going to be swell.
The Grounders waste no time. She and Bellamy are escorted to separate cabins, bathed and scrubbed raw until her skin is wrinkled and smelling of lavender before being dressed. Well—dressed is a loose term for the garment they give her, essentially a slip that does little to hide any part of her and makes her feel more naked than if she was actually unclothed. Clarke sits stiffly while her face and hands are painted—another tradition, of course. Practicality be damned, Grounders love their paint, she thinks wryly. The women offer her a belted coat to cover her until the actual ceremony, which she accepts gratefully.
The men have done no such thing for Bellamy, as she finds out when she reaches the cabin. He stands barefoot in just his trousers, hanging so low over his hips that she nearly licks her own lips before catching herself. For a brief moment he's almost unrecognizable under the thick swirls of black covering his arms and face. But then Clarke finds his eyes, locked on hers, and sees his own relief reflected back. It’s still him, under all that, just like it’s still her.
She pointedly ignores the empty, absolutely-not-inviting bed in the corner of the room.
Because no one tells her to remove the coat, she doesn’t, even when the cabin gets unbearably hot from the fire during the rites. Gwen begins to chant, her voice lifting strongly in the cabin, and eventually her advisors take over, each clearly playing a part in this strange dance. It’s Gwen who says the final words too, but Clarke is barely paying attention at that point, her mind a little too distracted by Bellamy right next to her, the beautiful planes of his uncovered torso making her hands and mouth water almost embarrassingly. It’s their own fault for keeping him shirtless and irritated, she decides; obviously she’s not going to be listening to a word they say.
One of the advisors brings forth two goblets for them to drink from. Clarke takes a tentative sip, lets the fruity wine sit on her tongue, before draining the cup in one gulp. Bellamy does the same. In unison, they hold their cups out for more.
They sit there longer than necessary, drinking and hoping that maybe something will give last-minute. But the Grounders are patient, bored even, and look ready to stay there all night if need be.
Bellamy's breath warms her ear when he leans in to say, “I think they're waiting for us.” He jerks his head towards the corner of the room—towards the bed. Clarke’s been trying to avoid it this whole time — half-naked Bellamy has been very helpful in that regard — but now, her mind suddenly can't think of anything else.
Nodding, she rises to her feet and forces one foot in front of the other, simultaneously comforted and nervewracked by Bellamy’s presence at her back. Fabric hangs over each of the tall posts, creating a drape of sorts on either side. It’s privacy at its weakest, but Clarke will gladly take what she can get. Bellamy waits for her to scramble on first before following, closing the drapes with a scowl.
“Finally,” she breathes, shrugging the coat off.
She’s so busy being thankful for the air rushing over her skin that she doesn’t realize Bellamy is speechless. When she does turn to him, his eyes are drinking her in in wonder, as if he’s seeing her for the first time—which, in a way, he kind of is. Her shiver has nothing to do with the heat, but Bellamy reaches for a blanket anyways, tossing it over her legs and determinedly sitting as far from her as he can get without falling off the cot entirely.
For a minute there’s only the sound of those shifting on the other side of the cabin. Through the drapes, she can almost pretend they’re just shadows—annoying, nagging shadows.
She twists to look at Bellamy, who’s staring straight ahead, nostrils flaring and hands clenched. Tentatively, Clarke wraps her hand over his, unfolding his fingers and pressing their palms flat together. He sighs and hangs his head, like he’s bracing himself.
His reaction kind of sucks. Yeah, she’s not thrilled that this is how it had to happen either, but at the same time, now that she’s here with him, in bed with Bellamy, her body’s all but thrumming, the anticipation far outweighing the nerves she felt all afternoon.
“At least you don't have to worry about knocking me up,” she jokes, trying to inject levity into the situation.
Bellamy huffs out a small laugh, drawing a hand over his face. “I can't believe this is happening.”
"I know. But we're here, so…” Gathering her courage, she runs her fingers lightly up his forearm, traces the bands of paint that encircle his bicep and watches his chest move with each stilted breath. Bellamy’s looking at her through his lashes, like he can’t believe she’s still here, so she moves closer, tilting her head, looking between his eyes and his lips until her own eyes drift shut.
The first touch is featherlight, and so brief she wonders if she imagined it. The next time, the pressure against her lips is definitely real and definitely makes her dizzy. Then Bellamy makes a noise in the back of his throat and cups his hand around her neck, drawing her mouth back to his, and—yes.
That was several minutes ago. They’ve since laid down, are still kissing in this oddly tentative, curious fashion, occasionally getting comfortable enough to lose themselves in each other—but it never lasts long.
Every time someone whispers or shifts their position, the sound reminds them that they’re very much not alone, and the moment evaporates. Clarke huffs in frustration as Bellamy tenses and pulls away again. It takes another couple of minutes to coax him back, but even then his kisses are distracted; he’s holding back, and she hates it.
She never wants him to hold back with her, never again.
Now he's trailing kisses down the slope of her neck, his tongue doing decidedly not-careful things to her when yet another loud whisper interrupts, followed by a hiss and a quiet slap that may as well be the boom of a drum for the effect it has on them.
Clarke makes a feeble attempt to pull Bellamy's head back down, but this time he draws back completely, rolling off her and letting his feet hit the floor with a loud smack.
“That’s enough,” he fumes, and shoves the drape aside to stand. Clarke scrambles after him, but he whips around and shakes his head, pointedly eyeing her up and down. Flushing, she pauses, but pokes her head out as he marches across the room.
His first few words are a heated whisper of Trigedasleng meant only for Gwen, and though she can’t quite catch all of it there’s no mistaking his tone at all. Her advisors clearly hear it too, one seeming to take offense, but when he tries to loom over Bellamy in threat, it only results in him being hauled out the door. Bellamy turns and glares at the others as if to say, Your choice.
Gwen is the last one to remain, and Clarke prays he’s not about to try to manhandle her. Instead his expression changes to one of weariness, and this time she does hear him when he utters one word: beja.
Finally Gwen bows her head and stands. Clarke sags gratefully. In the doorway, the clan leader turns to Bellamy to say something quiet, her eyes flitting to Clarke for a moment. He replies back in an equally low tone, terse but still respectful, and swings the door shut after her.
The sudden silence is almost eery.
Clarke doesn’t know whether to be thankful or concerned. Obviously she’s mostly glad, but the practical side of her can’t help but worry this will affect their agreement. The non-practical side of her is kind of bummed because she was really enjoying kissing Bellamy. She tries to push those thoughts from her head as Bellamy returns, instead folding her arms across her chest. But it’s impossible to ignore how his eyes flicker down, then back up.
“If you tell me to bring them back, I’m leaving,” he warns.
“No, but—the custom states—”
“Screw the custom, Clarke!” He throws himself down on the cot, making her bounce a little. “I hate that we have to do everything their way. Every time, it’s us being careful not to offend them. It should be the other way around. They should be scared of us.”
She lays a hand on his arm. “They are, Bellamy. Why do you think they’re even bothering with a treaty? Nobody wants another war. Not after the last one. They know we’re dangerous.”
He glances up at her, eyes hard and remembering, rooted in a shared understanding. Then he sits up, rubbing his neck with a frustrated sigh.
“I still hate this. I’m not letting them back in. Not just so they can hear me fuck you.”
Her cunt throbs at the sound of his gravelly, angry voice saying the words, and she presses her legs together on instinct, trying to disguise it by shifting on the bed. But Bellamy sees right through it, his gaze lingering with renewed interest.
Swallowing thickly, Clarke tries to focus. “We’ll still have to do it. I mean,” she backtracks when he looks like he wants to smile. “They’ll expect us to. So—we should. Unless you don’t want to.”
Something like a laugh leaves his mouth. “Do you really believe that?”
“That I don’t want to?” He’s dropped all pretense, the longing in his gaze completely unmasked.
Clarke folds her arms around herself, feeling defensive. “Well—I wasn’t sure, I mean, earlier… you didn’t seem very happy about it.” She looks down at her lap, not quite wanting him to see how much that hurt, but he’s not having any of it.
Bellamy tips her chin up with a finger. “It had nothing to do with you, Clarke.” His voice is gentle and honest. “It just…” Sighing, he rakes a hand through his hair. “It wasn't supposed to be like this, that’s all.”
Holding her breath, Clarke asks very quietly, “What was it supposed to be like?”
Bellamy is silent for so long that she wants to tell him to forget it, never mind, they’ll just find a way around this whole thing and pretend like—
“It was supposed to be a choice,” he says softly. “I didn’t want to rush you. I mean, I thought you were open to this, us, but—I was going to take my time. Do it right.” His eyes find hers, utterly serious. “I never wanted you to be pressured into it like this.”
She's at a loss for words. There's so much care behind his words, so much thought. He's thought about this. About them.
“I thought maybe we could start taking walks, you know, just the two of us?” Bellamy continues. “We already do that anyways on patrols. But this time… it’d be because we wanted to, not because we have to. Maybe one night I’d show you the constellations. You could teach me to fish. I’d bring you real tulips to draw, not just those herbs you always need in medical.” He smiles shyly, and Clarke is completely disarmed.
A small bubble of delight forms in her chest. “You wanted to court me?”
He shrugs his shoulders, but that only makes his muscles flex all too appealingly, and she barely bites back her groan. It results in an embarrassingly pained noise that makes his head snap up in concern.
“Are you okay?”
“Fine,” she squeaks. “That, um, that all sounded really nice.” Clarke bites her cheek a second longer, then says quickly, “More than nice. Maybe we can still do that. You know. After.”
Bellamy looks at her, hope flaring in his eyes, then ducks his head. “After,” he repeats, and there's a new warmth to his voice that makes her want to enfold him in her arms.
“I'd never have done it as nice as that,” Clarke adds, mostly to alleviate his worry, but now he's looking at her with rising curiosity in those dark pupils.
“I mean,” she fumbles, blushing, “I nearly kissed you when you came back from Polis two weeks ago.” He and Kane had been gone ten days, and their only radio had shorted out after a fall in the lake on day two. The silence had been deafening all week, and no amount of distraction from Monty or Raven had stopped her from worrying. Then, on day ten, she’d seen his curly mass of hair emerge from the trees and all but barreled past her mother to get to him. No finesse at all, she'd flung her body against his in a bracing hug, tried to ignore his astonished laugh in her ear and his mouth warm on her skin, how if she just twisted her head to the left a little—
“Seriously?” Bellamy’s mouth is agape, like he's just now registering that she wants him too, has wanted him, and it makes her ache that he ever thought otherwise. “Why didn't you?” He asks.
“I don't know,” she admits. “Same thing that always happens, I guess? I get scared and start to overthink everything.”
He smiles. “You think too much, princess.”
“So I’ve been told,” she grins back.
Bellamy’s throat bobs nervously. “So you really wanted to kiss me?” He asks again.
Her heart flails, but she meets his gaze head on. “I really wanted to kiss you,” she says, and finally the words are out there, hanging in the space between them, waiting for one of them to do something about it. Bellamy’s surprise is slowly turning into pure joy that he can’t—won’t—hide, and when he shifts closer her heart skips a beat.
He lifts a hand to her face, moving so slow he may as well be moving through water until his fingertips finally trace her cheek. Clarke sighs, her eyes falling shut. There's such affection in the touch, and no more hesitation.
Bellamy's hand trails along her jaw, thumb outlining her bottom lip until she twists her head and kisses his fingertip, drawing a sharp inhale from him. Emboldened, his knuckles sweep down her neck, pause to gauge the absolutely wrecked pulse at the nape of her neck.
A corner of his mouth curls up. He brushes her long hair back, following the sweep of her shoulder and hooking a finger into the flimsy strap of her dress. Clarke can't breathe as he drags the strap down maddeningly slow, leaving it to droop halfway down her arm, the fabric clinging to the swell of her breasts. He keeps his eyes fixed on hers as his hand follows the curve of flesh, nearly a caress. Clarke lets out a low whine, her toes curling into the blankets.
“Lie down,” Bellamy says, and she's on her back without a thought, a hand reaching out to slide up his chest as he hovers over her.
For a long moment he just stops and looks again, somehow oblivious to her straining beneath him—or loving it entirely too much. For once Clarke doesn't care which it is, as long as he does something about it.
“Bellamy,” she says, curling her nails into his shoulder, and that seems to do it, seems to break whatever shred of control he has left, and his lips are on hers.
This time, it’s everything she thought it would be, and more. Bellamy licks into her mouth instantly, groaning when their tongues clash, each desperate for a proper taste of the other. Clarke wraps her arms around his broad shoulders to hold him close, gasping when the coarse material of his trousers comes into contact with her heat.
“Fuck,” she moans, rolling her hips, and he presses his knee harder against her sex, his mouth taking hers without abandon. The slip and slide of her dress only adds to the friction, and her wordless moan echoes in the cabin when he nips behind her ear.
“I knew it,” Bellamy mutters, rough, warm gasps. “I fucking knew it.”
He raises his head with a wolfish grin that sends her heart tumbling over a ledge. “I knew you'd never be quiet.”
“Far be it—f-for me to disappoint,” she manages, arching into his hands.
Even Bellamy looks surprised by the laugh that rips from his throat, but that's all it takes for her to join in, and then they're both laughing uncontrollably and just holding each other like lifelines.
“Bellamy,” she sighs and runs her fingers through his hair, leaves wet kisses along his neck. “Oh, Bellamy.”
“Clarke,” her name is a cracked whisper, a prayer murmured into her skin that causes tears to drip down her cheek, disappearing into his messy curls, one sliding onto his temple. It makes him look up, makes his forehead crease as he leans close, catching her remaining tears with his lips. Cradling her face in his big hands, he nuzzles her cheek, her jaw, the corner of her eyes. When he pulls back, there’s a new smudge of paint across his face.
“You’re ruining my makeup,” Clarke says weakly, swiping his cheek with her thumb.
“Fuck the makeup,” he laughs, and then his eyes widen. “Actually—yeah. Come here.” She whines when he pulls back, but he only smiles that wonderful smile again and kisses the back of her hand before standing and heading to the other side of the room.
Clarke struggles to her elbows, dazed by the change of pace. “What are you doing?”
“One sec.” As he crouches to get something, she admires the muscles in his back, the curve of his backside, biting her lip a little too hard. Bellamy turns around with some cloths and a clay bowl in his hands, and catches her blatantly staring. His laugh is all joy. “Clarke Griffin, are you checking me out?”
“I’d do more than that if you’d get back here.”
He laughs again and kneels beside her with his items, pulling her to sit. “Believe me, we’re putting this bed to use,” he promises, and for some reason it makes her blush.
“So what’s the bowl for?” She asks.
In answer, he dunks the cloth in the water, wringing it out and then bringing it to her face. “Trust me?”
“Always,” she murmurs, and leans in to kiss his cheek on impulse. His stubble is scratchy under her lips, but his quiet intake of breath is even better.
Gently, Bellamy eases the cloth over her face, starting first by her eyes. The gentle pull of the beads makes her eyelids flutter, but she keeps them open, keeps watching him. He’s intent on his task, a corner of his mouth flickering every so often as more paint comes off. Soon the tan rag is covered in black, turning the water just as murky. Her face feels raw and fresh.
“There she is,” Bellamy murmurs tenderly, tucking hair behind her ear. “There’s Clarke,” he says, and irrationally her eyes water again as he leans in to kiss her cheek.
“My turn.” Her voice shakes, but Bellamy just hands over a clean cloth and sits patiently, eyes encouraging her on.
She decides to start where he did, wiping paint from his eyes in slow pulls, then moving on to his collarbone and erasing the swirls there until only tan skin and faded scars remain. She swallows and continues to drag the cloth down his arm, over the puckered pink line that zigzags just above his elbow, across the stitches in his forearm that she put in herself. After she repeats the motion on his other arm, Bellamy puts the cloth aside and takes both her hands in his.
Clarke doesn’t realize she’s trembling until he squeezes her hands, brings both of them to his lips to kiss her fingertips one by one, and soon she laughs shakily and leans in to fit their mouths together again. Bellamy wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her fully into his lap, both of them groaning at the contact. Clarke’s hips move urgently over his, her kisses turning messy, and he doesn’t try to slow them at all, just messily kisses her right back as his hands draw her dress down to pool at her waist.
She jerks and grabs his hair when he closes his mouth over a breast, tongue swirling and twisting over her nipples until she thinks she might go cross-eyed. She’s absolutely lost control of her voice, relying on him understanding the dig of her fingers into his side and the grind of her hips. He definitely understands the wetness he finds between her legs, and the growl he lets out makes her crush her lips to his with a newfound recklessness.
This time when she lands on her back, she’s frantic, shoving the dress off her hips while Bellamy rids himself of his pants. His cock juts up against his stomach, flushed and thick and hard, and when Clarke wraps her hand around him with no thought but to taste, he chokes off a moan that sounds a lot like her name. She decides she needs to hear it again and tightens her grip. He thrusts helplessly into her hands a few times before cursing and pulling at her wrists.
“Later,” he says, and Clarke nods, nearly giddy, because later.
Clarke lies back against the bed and looks up at him, curls hanging over his forehead, mouth bitten red, eyes some kind of wild.
She loves him so much.
She isn’t sure if she says so, but in the next second Bellamy’s swooping down to kiss her again, decidedly less frenzied but just as fierce, like he’s trying to tell her something without actually detaching their mouths, and she gets it, she really gets it.
When he draws back, she doesn’t let him go far, leaning up so fast that their foreheads knock together. Bellamy chuckles, kissing away her apologies with a crooked grin. “I’m not going anywhere,” he promises, lowering her back down. “Well—” His mouth turns sly. “I’m not going far.”
She’s too breathless to reply, but when he scoots down her body and throws her legs over his shoulders she really loses all her breath, tangling her hands into his curls and keening as he flattens his tongue against her.
“Wait—later,” she says, or tries to, except it doesn’t even come out as a word, just syllables cracking on top of each other while he licks deeper, presses his fingers a little harder into her hips, and when his moan vibrates against her skin she comes apart with a sharp cry, hips rocking against his mouth until the sensations become too much.
“What happened to later?” She asks after he’s kissed her over and over again.
“Couldn’t wait,” he grins, entirely unapologetic.
She squeezes his hips with her knees. “Greedy.”
Laughing, Bellamy presses her hands into the bed and joins their mouths. “Says the one getting multiple orgasms.”
“Trying,” he says, and now she’s laughing too when he settles into the cradle of her hips like he’s always been there.
Then his cock rubs up against her slick folds, and her laugh turns into a ragged moan before she bites down on his shoulder. Bellamy’s head drops to the crook of her neck, his breath coming in harsh pants. Clarke hisses at the slight sting when he eases inside, and he’d probably try to stop if she didn’t have her legs locked around him, her arms urging him forward, her breathless pleas in his ear.
Sweat makes her hands slippery on his back, but she just presses close anyways as he starts to move, and fuck, it’s amazing, it’s better than amazing, it’s spectacular, because he’s finally hers and she thinks if she were to die tomorrow it’d be okay—
“Stop thinking about dying,” Bellamy grumbles into her ear, and her eyes fly open. He snaps his hips against hers, smirking when his name wrenches itself from her throat. “That’s better,” he says, and shit, that’s unfairly hot.
Clarke presses one hand against the wall and hooks a leg higher on his back, starting to meet each of his thrusts, and this time she’s not the only one cursing. Bellamy’s teeth sink into the juncture of her neck and shoulder as their pace turns relentless. Now he’s definitely fucking her properly, like they both knew he would, like they can somehow become one for a brief second, and god she wants this every day for the rest of her life, wants to kiss him and touch him and love him—
“You will,” Bellamy says desperately, and she shudders at the promise in his voice. “Clarke, open your eyes, baby, please,” he begs.
So she does, looks up at him and brushes damp hair back from his forehead, and smiles. Their mouths collide, and when his hand snakes between them to rub furious circles on her clit she calls his name without caring who else hears, clenching down around him, and that drives him to his own release as he buries his face against her neck.
Breathing heavily, he tries to rise to his elbows only to have her tug his arms out from under him, fitting his head back under her chin and sweeping her hand and up and down his spine.
“Just a minute,” he manages hoarsely.
“Take your time,” Clarke says lazily, basking in having him so close. She feels his laugh all along her body, and it’s the best. Smiling, she presses a kiss to his rucked up hair. “What did Gwen say to you?” She asks after a minute.
“Before she left. She said something to you.” Clarke tugs at his hair until he looks up.
“She said to leave no doubt that the ritual was completed. I think we accomplished that.” Bellamy grins, so cheeky and satisfied that she blushes deeply, smacking his arm. "Not that I plan to leave this bed anytime soon," he adds.
“Like I would let you.”
He chuckles and drops his head back to her shoulder with a contented sigh, brushing his lips over her skin. His fingers begin to wander aimlessly, stirring her blood right back up.
Clarke shifts and hums. “Did you call me baby?” She asks absently.
Bellamy mumbles something into her neck, then lifts his head to repeat it when he realizes she didn’t hear him.
“Would you prefer princess?”
“I prefer Clarke,” she says archly, though it’s ruined by how breathy her voice gets as his hand cradles her breast. Returning the favor, she rakes her nails along his back, across the jut of his hips, grinning smugly when he muffles a groan into her shoulder. He gives in easily when she pushes, and she rolls them to drape herself over him, fitting their mouths together.
“Clarke,” he says afterwards, and it sounds like love. “Clarke, Clarke, Clarke,” he murmurs over and over, nudging his nose against hers until she laughs.
“Bellamy, Bellamy, Bellamy,” she says right back, and kisses him, and it tastes like hope.