For Bellamy Blake and Clarke Griffin, achieving friendship is quite the journey — more specifically, the kind of journey one would classify Frodo’s arduous quest to destroy the One Ring.
They’re exchanging sharp glares and thinly veiled threats within the first five minutes of meeting on the train — the rich, pureblood princess with steel in her eyes and the orphaned, Muggle-raised halfblood with black, tangled snarls for hair. They both avert their eyes when they’re firmly ushered into the same little boat by Hagrid’s unyielding hand, deliberately avoiding conversation even as their boatmate, a girl named Harper, tries to lighten the mood by getting to know Bellamy’s new acquaintance with whom he’d shared a compartment: a pretty girl named Raven Reyes with a bright smile and a tongue that can probably slice bread.
She folds her arms over her chest as he’s exuberantly sorted into “GRYFFINDOR!”; he clenches his hands into fists as the Hat screams “SLYTHERIN!” before it barely touches her golden crown.
Hogwarts knows no peace for the rest of the school year. The lowerclassmen soon learn to make themselves scarce whenever Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake are in the same room, even one as abundantly spacious as the Great Hall. Stories are told for months after Jasper Jordan, having been caught in the crossfire of a Griffin-Blake altercation, is immediately sent to the hospital wing, inexplicably missing one ear.
Bellamy Blake quickly earns himself a reputation for getting into trouble one second and talking himself out of it the next. He is popular everywhere he goes, well-liked by all, including the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. Even a few Slytherin boys show him grudging respect when he begins training with the Gryffindor Quidditch team, by personal recommendation of the Head of House herself.
Clarke Griffin is top of the class before the first-years even receive their schedules, and unflinchingly stays there for the rest of the year. The professors love her. Notoriously tough Professor Anya (Transfiguration) all but adores her. Some even fear her, though none ever confess to it.
Despite having already spent eleven years in the wizarding world, she is almost always seen unaccompanied save for books and an old vaguely Muggle-looking wristwatch. Not that she is left wanting for friendship. Christmas isn’t even anywhere near in sight before the Slytherin princess is on first-name basis with everybody, purebloods and Muggleborns and everyone in between.
Everyone, that is, except for Bellamy Blake.
Three weeks after everyone returns from Christmas holidays, the first-year class loses its collective mind when one of the pair’s epic quarrels finally makes even cheery, kindly Professor Vera lose her temper, sending a screaming Mandrake sailing right into the unfortunate Jasper Jordan’s arms quite by accident.
Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake receive detention.
Jasper Jordan spends the rest of the week in the hospital wing, unconscious.
No one is entirely certain of what transpires that fateful night Hagrid sends the two into the Forbidden Forest, with only his loping, drooling hound Fang for company. What is clear is this: Bellamy Blake and Clarke Griffin spent approximately three hours in the Forest and emerged somewhere in the vicinity of friendship.
From then on, the two are near inseparable. They walk down the corridors, one head weighed down by a golden braid, the other overgrown with wild dark curls, both held high above the pointed whispers and bewildered stares.
Nothing else happens.
Until second year.
Stares start to turn into glares. Whispers turn into muffled insults.
On the train, the two of them occupy their own compartment, the door shut to everyone and everything outside their own little world.
A minor physical scuffle breaks out during combined Potions two days later, when John Mbege hisses that “no snakes can be trusted”, a venomous glare directed at Clarke. Both boys receive two weeks of detention, all of which Bellamy Blake serves out in complete, fiercely enforced silence.
Not one week after that, John Murphy passes them in the courtyard and spitefully drawls that there are better ways for scruffy halfbloods to upgrade their status rather than trying to become pureblood by association.
Professor Kane himself is called in to break up the ensuing fistfight.
Clarke comes into the hospital wing to visit Bellamy while Professor Jackson sorts out his sprained wrist and split lip. Bellamy quirks a cocky brow and tells her she “should see the other guy”. Clarke rolls her eyes and tells him that he is “all Gryffindor grit and no wit”.
John Murphy is rushed in around the same time, pale and pasty and unable to stop vomiting slugs. Clarke doesn’t bat an eyelash, seemingly focused on her friend’s wellbeing. Bellamy doesn’t point out the coincidence of having seen her read up on that particularly unusual hex mere days ago.
It’s almost a full week before Murphy’s skin finally reclaims its naturally sallow colour, his breath finally free of the taste and stench of slug slime.
Professor Indra steps in to persuade Professor Kane to change his mind on suspending Bellamy Blake from Quidditch training, though her intervention is only discovered a full month later.
The day Murphy is allowed to leave the hospital wing and every other day onwards, he gives the two a generously wide berth.
Clarke turns up to every Quidditch match Bellamy plays for the whole season wearing a striped red-and-gold scarf, a lone offense in the sea of green-and-silver. Bellamy gives Clarke flying lessons on weekends, the sun glinting off blonde and black as they chase each other from six feet off the ground.
They still have to walk past groups of gossiping students, endure poorly disguised glares and stares from anyone passing through the library, ignore people pointing at their respective red-gold and green-silver robes and badges when they are side by side.
When they are together, it seems that only about a handful of people possess no qualms about approaching them, conversing with them like normal humans do.
They turn their backs on everything and everyone, eyes and ears tuned only to each other.
Time is finite. They see no reason to spend any of it on the opinions of those with magic in their fingertips but none in their hearts.
Something changes the start of third year.
Bellamy Blake appears on Platform 9¾ accompanied by a small, skinny girl with large green eyes and a waterfall of chestnut brown hair, petite arms and legs just about staying afloat in a large sweater that’s seen better days.
The pair locate Clarke Griffin within minutes, accompanied by Jake and Abigail Griffin (as in, the Jake and Abigail Griffin). The Blake siblings are introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Griffin. The former grins warmly, shakes Bellamy’s hand and gives Octavia a Chocolate Frog. The latter smiles politely, saying little other than how-do-you-do.
Wells Jaha (as in, the Thelonius Jaha) arrives soon after the Griffins leave, and Bellamy shoots him a warily grateful look when he starts to tell Octavia all about his favourite types of wizarding sweets to stop her nervous shuffling. Raven Reyes finds them all on the train, immediately introduces herself to the younger Blake and enthusiastically pulls the girl in for a big hug. They squeeze five into a compartment for four, bursts of laughter filtering through the flimsy sliding door throughout the entire journey.
Raven teases Wells half to death when he returns from changing into his Hufflepuff robes, his shiny Prefect badge glinting in the light of the setting sun. Wells ducks in chuffed embarrassment, hotly blushing through his mocha skin. Clarke and Bellamy exchange half-smirks.
Throughout the rest of the year, the five are a permanent fixture around the grounds. Octavia gradually disappears as she grows increasingly popular with her first-year peers, but Bellamy, Clarke, Raven and Wells are almost always seen huddling over books and parchment in the library, laughing loudly at some shared joke in the courtyard, roaming the grounds in jeans and sneakers on their days off, laying out by the lake to sun their faces with snacks and sweets.
Professor Titus catches them wandering the Restricted Section well past bedtime, and ends up summoning all four Heads of House and Professor Kane simply because no one quite knows what to make of the multi-coloured assortment. What does one get when one mixes red, green, blue and yellow all together?
(Clarke somehow manages to convince all six professors that Wells is simply doing his duty as a Hogwarts Prefect by helping three severely lost students find their way out of the library. Bellamy makes a big show out of being relieved to find his sister safe and sound in her dormitory, where she’s later revealed to have been the entire night. Raven cocks a brow and queries if they’re “free to go or what, it’s late”.)
On several occasions, Raven Reyes and Wells Jaha are found snogging in broom closets and holding hands in the halls.
Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake are found jumping out of the third-floor Charms classroom window with nothing but a Levitation Charm and a whole lot of hope.
They are young, and they believe magic can be made without wands.
They spend the next six days side-by-side in hospital wing beds, still arguing over whether it’s “levi-O-sa” or “levi-o-SA”.
In the fourth year, Clarke Griffin is almost unrecognisable.
She arrives on the platform accompanied by just her mother. Madam Griffin and her daughter exchange stiff goodbyes, and Clarke doesn’t speak to anyone until the Blakes arrive.
Whispers fly left and right of Jake Griffin’s untimely death three weeks prior as it had been reported in the Prophet. Details are scarce. Theories are plentiful.
It doesn’t seem to help that Thelonius Jaha has abruptly resigned from his post as Minister for Magic and moved to America, taking with him his son Wells.
Raven doesn’t join Clarke and the Blakes for the train journey.
No laughter can be heard from the trio’s compartment.
Classes begin, and Octavia returns to her second-year subjects and friends. Clarke and Bellamy are left alone once more, and alone they remain, falling asleep in the library night after night much to Professor Titus’s annoyance. Still, he doesn’t do much other than to rouse them, frown at their ink-smeared hands and faces, and send them on their way with a short nod.
Had it been any other two students, the sour-faced Professor Titus would acerbically suggest they find companions with whom they could share a common room.
After numerous friendly practice matches with the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, Bellamy becomes friendly with their Beaters, Nathan Miller and Jasper Jordan. Clarke is partnered up with Monty Green in a Slytherin-Ravenclaw Transfiguration class. The two are seen sitting together for every Transfiguration class thereafter.
Sometime before Christmas, Raven Reyes reappears in the fabric of the new combination, making merciless fun of Jasper, trading riddles with Monty and exchanging jibes with Miller at near lightning speed.
The six spend almost all their free time in each other’s company, pushing two tables together to make room for all in the library and sneaking down to the kitchens in a large huddle of muffled whispers and jabs after hours. Sometimes they’re joined by Octavia, who has a special knack for inventing mad games to play out on the courtyard and by the lake. On Hogsmeade weekends, she stays behind with the rest of the second-years while the rest laugh over endless rounds of Butterbeer, play double dare by the Shrieking Shack and expend copious amounts of energy restraining Jasper and Monty from signing their lives away to Zonko’s Joke Shop.
Clarke doesn’t go home for Christmas break. Neither do the Blakes.
A few weeks after returning from break, the rest of the gang reunites and Jasper Jordan loudly and excitedly dubs them the Inter-House Alliance Club.
Unsurprisingly, the name doesn’t take. Everyone unanimously credits the name’s pathetically short lifespan to Raven Reyes’s straight-faced threat to Jelly-Legs Jinx Jasper so hard he ends up walking backwards for the rest of his life.
Clarke smiles, wide and brilliant, when Bellamy catches the Snitch in Gryffindor’s final House Cup match against Slytherin.
He leaps off his broom to wrap his arms around her so tight that she’s lifted clear off the ground. She sounds almost like her old self when she laughs, giddy and breathless as she’s spun around by his fierce embrace.
People can’t stop talking about them in their fifth year.
They are Prefects, and they wear their badges with stoic pride, conducting night patrols and sitting side-by-side at Prefects meetings. He’s broadened out into his growth spurt, face and body filled out with hard lines and angles. She’s let her shoulder-length blonde waves grow out; the ends hang well past her rounded bosom. They’ve always made quite a sight, the rebel king and the Machiavellian princess — but this year, they are truly impressive.
They are the first to leap to each other’s defense, but they’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. They’re constantly found at each other’s side, but they never hold hands. They have entire conversations without ever saying one word, but have never kissed.
It’s a conundrum beyond the puzzled minds of teenaged wizards and witches.
The little group they’ve forged continues to exist, slashing holes in countless hypotheses of phases of youthful rebellion.
Octavia is now able to join them on their Hogsmeade expeditions. She revels in it, and comes up with especially outrageous dares for them to perform at the Shrieking Shack, one of which somehow results in both Jasper and Miller being knocked unconscious. Raven is far too deep in stitches to help with levitating them back to the castle.
At the end of the term, there’s a grand ball to celebrate Hogwarts’ 1100th anniversary.
The students unpack sleek dress robes and soft, embroidered dresses, and spend days fretting over how to ask that special someone to be their date. The school ghosts pop out of walls and doors to offer unsolicited advice. The paintings pass along invitations in the form of jaunty limericks and clever rhymes to unsuspecting parties on behalf of their admirers.
As Prefects, Bellamy and Clarke are far too occupied with preparations for the ball to join the fray, each politely turning down more than their fair share of invitations from fellow students.
Flustered, their ill-fated suitors trip over themselves to accept the offered excuses. Not one seems to realise that Monty and Miller have agreed to accompany each other to the ball, and even Raven has seen fit to accept an invitation from Kyle Wick, despite all four being Prefects themselves.
Jasper grandly announces his plan to invite Octavia, and is quickly quashed by the girl in question when Clarke informs her of his noble intentions.
The Great Hall is done up to glittering perfection, and even Professor Titus’s perpetually frowning brow softens at the sight of floating crystals and flowing silk tapestries. Professors Kane and Anya formally open the event by leading the first dance, and within minutes, members of the school board, alumni guests and students are joining them to spin in graceful circles about the polished floor.
The murmurs start when Bellamy leads Clarke out onto the floor, his ruby-trimmed robes standing in what should be stark contrast to the deep emerald of her gown. They follow each other’s lead, as smoothly as if they’d grown up in each other’s pockets, neither once stepping out of sync. They dance, held together by their gazes and the gentle circle of each other’s arms, locked in on some unknown, unidentifiable thing that makes onlookers forget the colour of their own attire.
They each dance with the rest of the gang. Clarke grins almost proudly as Monty twirls her like a perfect gentleman, and Bellamy smiles softly down at his beautiful baby sister before returning her to her fifth-year date with one last glare of wordless warning. Jasper clamours for his turn with Clarke, and Bellamy takes half a turn with Miller in laughing jest.
But for the rest of the night, they dance only with each other.
Sixth year is complicated for Bellamy and Clarke.
Bellamy has a little trouble adjusting to his new role as Keeper, though it’s more to do with making sure Octavia is adjusting to joining the team as Seeker. The Gryffindor Captain is suddenly pulled out of school thanks to his father’s decision to move the family to America, and Bellamy is called to shoulder the Captaincy, a full year younger and less experienced than the other Houses’ Captains.
At the same time, Clarke begins a romantic relationship with the Slytherin Captain, Lexa Woods.
Three months into the school term, the students bear witness to the first public fight between Bellamy Blake and Clarke Griffin in five years. The words themselves don’t matter. The words make no sense to anyone else save for the two of them. No one understands “I need you” the way they do.
It’s the first time in five years that Clarke doesn’t show up to Quidditch matches.
Gryffindor loses their two-year hold on the Quidditch Cup to Slytherin.
Clarke neither rejoices with the Slytherins nor mourns with the rest of the school.
Bellamy is nowhere to be found for the entirety of the week.
Two weeks later, Clarke and Lexa are no more. Neither individual cares to provide more information on the end of the relationship.
That same week, Clarke and Bellamy are back on patrol duty together. They return to their habit of studying and homework together after dinner, walking into the library mere seconds too late to notice Professor Titus scaring off a group of second-years from their usual table.
The rest of the gang is not too clear on what exactly is going on between the two. Even so, no one asks, wanting to avoid being the one to do something that might upset the delicately restored balance of Bellamy and Clarke.
(Clarke rolls her eyes and tells everyone to “stop fucking treating us like we’re Pensieve memories or some shit, we’re fine.”)
No matter how many warnings from their professors, no one is quite fully prepared for the madness that is their seventh and final year.
To everyone’s shock, Bellamy relinquishes the Captaincy to accept the position of Head Boy.
Clarke smiles when she sees him with his shiny new HB badge, and waits till they’re alone at their library table at night to tell him she’s proud of him for choosing what he wants instead of what everyone wants for him. Bellamy grins and replies that he only did it because she’s Head Girl, even though they both know it’s not true.
He knows now that he can be more than just a pitiable Muggle-raised orphan who would be nothing without his skill with a broom.
To all the Prefects’ surprise, their Head Girl’s regime is ten times kinder than they had expected from the cool, standoffish blonde princess of Slytherin. Patrol is reorganised and rescheduled to better suit those who double as Quidditch players, as well as those taking five or more N.E.W.T.s. Students are allocated to serve detentions only with those belonging to other Houses, sparking a new wave of inter-house interaction that soon colours school spirit with something irresistibly bright.
Clarke tells everyone that the good changes are all inspired by suggestions from the Head Boy, and takes the blame for when little things inevitably pop up that don’t manage to please everyone. She immediately claims responsibility when Monroe and Harper mix up patrol shifts between themselves, leaving Professor Anya uninspired to mete out punishment.
Bellamy raises a brow at her, but lets her do as she wishes, telling her it figures that she’d be aggressive about everything, including putting others first.
The Gryffindor team abandons tradition altogether when it elects Octavia Captain — the youngest player to make Captain in over sixty years. She takes on her new role with confidence and gusto, having undergone the transformative experience of bitter defeat. She leads the team in tough trainings sessions that number six, sometimes seven a week, and stays long after everyone has gone to practice by herself.
Bellamy stumbles into the library night after night half-dead on his feet, and Clarke reads aloud in a low voice from her Herbology notes until he falls sound asleep on the table.
The Gryffindors’ blood, sweat and tears pay off. They reclaim the Quidditch Cup to exultant roars and thunderous applause, and Octavia pumps her fists in the air, the still-fluttering wings of the Snitch beating through her mud-caked fingers. Bellamy’s impressive one-man defense against the notoriously aggressive Slytherin Chasers means that Gryffindor narrowly edges out by a mere thirty points — three goals more and it wouldn’t have mattered who got the Snitch.
The Blake siblings embrace when they touch ground. Clarke grins as she waits on the sidelines, letting herself be swept up into a fierce hug by the Gryffindor Keeper. Bellamy puts her down and pulls away; he tries to wipe her tears of joy from her face, but just ends up smearing dirt across her cheeks. She laughs, and wraps her arms around his neck again, burying her face into the sweat-soaked skin of his neck.
The school photographer Aden rushes to get a picture of them, but suddenly and mysteriously trips over a foot belonging to an innocently whistling Miller.
Once Quidditch season is over, they work themselves half to death leading the Prefects and the student body and themselves into academic battle, readying themselves for their N.E.W.T.s with fervoured ferocity. Raven, Miller, Jasper and Monty join them a few times a week, but every single night, it’s always the two of them, Bellamy and Clarke, side by side, regardless of whoever else happens to be around.
The N.E.W.T.s come far too soon, and are gone almost just as quickly. Clarke gnaws on her bottom lip through all seven of her papers; Bellamy frowns determinedly at all five of his.
Come results day, no one is surprised Clarke passes all seven N.E.W.T.s. Everyone except Clarke is surprised when Bellamy nabs all five of his.
They apply for the Ministry’s Auror training programme the very same day.
They spend their last week at Hogwarts roaming the grounds with Raven, Miller, Monty, Jasper and Octavia. Jasper cries every four hours or so. Monty is red-faced and watery by Wednesday. Raven tears up during their last lakeside picnic, but she instantly denies it when Miller calls her out, swiping at her eyes with a rough hand.
Bellamy and Clarke spend their last night seated at the Ravenclaw table with the rest of their ragtag group. They smile over plates of roast turkey when they notice how many others are sitting out of their allocated House tables, all jumbled up in little pockets of raucous camaraderie across the Great Hall. Professor Kane beams all throughout his farewell speech, for once delighted at the sight of disorder.
They sit on the stone steps leading up to the library while everyone else passes out Butterbeer in the common rooms. They squeeze each other’s hands as they cry silently for a few minutes. Tears give way to laughs as they speculate what will become of Jasper in the years to come.
When they step off the train at Platform 9¾, their hands find each other once again.
“I miss Hogwarts,” Bellamy tells her two days later, as they let themselves into their new flat.
“I do too,” she says, setting her bags down and pulling him in for a hug and a kiss.
It’s where they learned magic’s secrets: how to cast spells and brew potions, to change things, transform themselves for their own good, for the good of those they love, for the world they will build.
It’s also where they learned that magic always does happen, in themselves and in each other, and in the most commonplace of things.