Clarke has too much blood on her hands, but Bellamy is there to help wash it away.
1272 words | rating: PG-13
Clarke staggers through the trees towards the rush of water she hears in the distance. Her right hand presses against a growing pain in her side. Her left hangs limply, knife dangling from her fingertips. The noise of the river drowns out the echoing screams of death in her head.
She falls to her knees on the bank, retching until the bile erases the bitter taste of copper that stings the back of her throat.
So much blood.
It’s everywhere—staining her clothes, caking her hair, dripping from her eyelashes. She stares at her hands—sticky with red—until they blur behind a curtain of tears. She thrusts her hands into the freezing water, scrubbing her skin raw, but the red isn’t going away.
Her chest seizes up as another sob wracks her.
It’s not my blood.
She’s not sure if she’s relieved or terrified that it’s Bellamy that followed her. She goes back to scrubbing the blood from her hands. Bellamy squats next to her, pulling her hands from the water to hold between his. He gently tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and wipes a line of blood trickling from her temple.
“What do I do?” she whispers. “I can’t get it off.”
He looks down at her hands. “They’re clean, Clarke.”
She doesn’t believe him, but she’s afraid to look again. He watches her a moment longer then stands up, pulling her up with him. “Come on.”
He unties his boots, kicking them to the side. He tosses his jacket to the side and peels out of his t-shirt. Clarke swallows, squeezing her eyes shut. She doesn’t want to think about how perfect he looks without a shirt on or how he does have a smattering of freckles across his shoulders. It’s both adorable and sexy. And completely inappropriate.
Bellamy leans over and dips his shirt in the water then starts wiping her face. He’s gentle, starting at the top and working his way down. Despite the cold, she feels the heat rolling off of his bare skin.
“Do you trust me?” he asks, voice barely above a whisper.
With my life, she wants to tell him, but the words catch in her throat. Instead, she nods. Without saying another word, he carefully pulls off her shoes and socks. The rocks dig into her blistered feet, but she doesn’t complain.
He bites his lip—his eyes catching hers. He holds her gaze as he carefully removes her jacket. His fingers trail down her arms, sending a shiver up her spine.
He grips the hem of her shirt. “Still with me?”
She nods again, closing her eyes as he lifts the shirt off of her. She’s not sure she can look at him now. He casually undoes her pants, and she steps out of them, shivering. But he’s not done. She hears the zipper of his pants—the fabric pooling at his feet. He grips her hand tightly and guides her into the river.
The water is like a thousand tiny daggers hitting her all at once. She gasps and nearly sucks in a lungful of water. Bellamy wraps his arms around her waist—their chests pressed together—to keep her from sinking.
Bellamy carefully leans her head back and washes her hair, threading his fingers through the knots. Then he wipes her cheeks with his thumbs. His hands glide down her arms, pulling her hands between them. He rubs at her fingernails until the dark stains are gone.
When she looks up at him, his face is blurred behind tears. She blinks them away. He gives her that shy, sad smile he reserves just for her. She knows the emotions behind it. The way she keeps breaking his heart. The way he just accepts it. Because that’s who he is. She loves him for that.
She swallows down the lump. She might be in love with him.
Before she can think better of it, she reaches up and wipes a smudge of dirt from his temple. He doesn’t take his eyes off of her as she returns his favor—cleaning his face and hair. Even when she’s done, she can’t stop running her fingers through his curls. He wraps his arms around her, pulling her closer until their bodies are completely flush. His nose brushes hers, and she lets out a little sigh.
“Clarke,” he says, voice rough. He pushes her hair from her face, letting his fingers skim her chilled cheeks. Everywhere he touches heats up. He leans in closer until their lips are barely touching. But something stops him. He pulls back ever so slightly, and she thinks she might die from the anticipation. He clears his throat. “Clarke, we-”
“Please,” she whispers. “Can we just forget about everything else. Just this once. Can it be just you and me? No Ark, no Earth, no grounders, no war.”
She shakes her head. “Lexa’s gone.”
“Clarke, I don’t want you to forget her.”
“I’m not. But-” She runs her fingers over his lips. They’re chapped but soft. “I’m afraid I’m going to lose my chance.”
He chuckles softly. “With me?” He waits for her to look up. “Never, Clarke. I’ll be here when you’re ready. Whenever that is.” He slips his fingers into her hair and pulls her face closer, planting soft kisses on her forehead. “I’ll wait as long as it takes. I love you, Clarke.”
Every molecule in her body hums alive at his words. She wraps her arms around him, burying her face in his neck. He doesn’t question her breakdown; he just holds her tighter. When she finally gets control, she pulls back just far enough to see his face. The sun is setting behind him, casting him in shadows, but his eyes are wide, tracking her movements. She places a hand on either side of his face. The blood is finally gone—her skin shining white in the waning sun.
Slowly she leans forward, letting their lips touch softly. He doesn’t react at first, but she presses, knowing he just needs a sure confirmation. And then he groans. His arms tighten in a bear hug as he deepens the kiss. It’s like he can’t get enough. And damn, Clarke doesn’t want this to end. Some small part of her mind starts to compare this with her first kiss with Lexa, but she shoves it away—surprised at how easily she boxes up the memories. It’s been over a year; she has to move on eventually. And Bellamy’s been waiting this whole time.
When she pulls away again, his eyes are slightly unfocused but with a hint of fear like he thinks maybe she changed her mind. “Bellamy.”
He tenses, obviously waiting for it all to fall apart. Her heart aches for him. She did this to him. She left him over and over. Chose someone else at every turn. And he’s still here. At her side every day without question. Her lip trembles. And not from the cold. “I love you,” she whispers. And to erase any questions he might have, she adds, “I’m in love with you, Bellamy, and I have been for a long time.”
He sucks in a sharp breath, his body completely still. She meets his gaze as tears gather in the corners of his eyes. She tilts his face closer, kissing each tear away before returning to his lips.
“God, Clarke,” he moans into her mouth. “I love you so much.”
“I know. I’m sorry it took me so long to figure out what I wanted.”
He kisses her softly. “You’re worth the wait.”
She smiles against his lips. “So are you.”