More gay divorcee au pls bc I wanna see how it goes when Tony meets his Army neighbors (also I want someone, preferably Pepper/Tony, punching Ty)
Tony was trying very hard not to cry.
Last night he’d gotten a call from Ty—from Stone. He’d been
too scared to pick it up, had let it go to voicemail. When he’d finally gotten
the courage to listen to the message, it had been nothing but vitriol, telling
him that he was nothing, that he’d regret leaving, he’d never make it alone and
he’d ruin Peter just like Howard had ruined him. Tony had saved the message
with shaking fingers and sent a text to Pepper about it to tell his lawyer for
the restraining order, because she—she was being an amazing friend and handling
that for him while his world fell down around his ears.
With the voicemail, he hadn’t been able to sleep well. He’d
tossed and turned with nightmares of Stone getting custody of Peter, of Tony
only being allowed to see him sparingly, of seeing bruises on Peter’s little
body and Peter’s accusing eyes, as if to say ‘you could have prevented this.’ And
then those nightmares were interspersed with memories of the gaslighting Stone
had had made him suffer throughout their entire
relationship, telling Tony he was being silly or overreacting and laughing
about it, and memories of the times Stone had hit him and then apologized and
made Tony feel like it was his fault,
like he’d been asking for it.
Then Peter had woken up with an earache and Tony had had to
give him medicine and Peter hated
taking medicine. Peter would spit out pills if they were given to him, and any
attempt at giving him liquid medicine ended up with more of the dose on Peter’s
clothes than in his mouth. Tony had finally had to cave and mix it in with some
chocolate milk, and Peter had eyed him suspiciously the entire time he drank it
because he knew he wasn’t supposed to have chocolate milk except for as dessert.
Once he’d set Peter down to play in his playpen, Tony had
realized that he hadn’t done any yard
work the past two weeks and stressed about that until he could put Peter down
for his nap. He didn’t like to leave Peter alone but he knew he’d never be able
to get anything done if he had to watch Peter outside, that dread that someone
was watching them and reporting back to Stone always leaving him short of
breath and with a cold sweat.
And now the fucking lawnmower wouldn’t work and Tony should
have been able to fix it but he just couldn’t figure out what was wrong and Peter
would surely wake from his nap
soon—Tony took a shuddering breath and lifted his arm to press the back of his
wrist against one eye, fingers covered with oil and muck. He would not cry. It
was just a fucking lawnmower. It was just fucking yard work. He had bigger problems, like his divorce and getting
custody of Peter and designing the next big thing for green energy.
“…Why me,” Tony whispered to himself, deciding that he could
feel sorry for himself just for a minute.
“Hey!” someone called, and Tony leapt to his feet,
skittering backward. He took a moment to wish he had his handgun to protect
himself with and nearly crumpled with despair at the thought, because he
hadn’t—he hadn’t used to think of
protecting himself first thing, especially not with deadly force.
The blond guy from across the street stared at him,
wide-eyed. “Oh my God, I’m so—I’m so sorry, I thought you heard me coming up.”
“Oh.” Tony hunched his shoulders, embarrassed, wanting to
scuttle back inside and hide. “No, I—I didn’t.”
“I can see that,” Blond Guy said, still looking very
apologetic. “I just noticed you’d been out here a long time and—Oh, is this
Colonel Rhodes’s lawnmower? It hasn’t worked in months.”
“O-oh?” Tony asked hopefully, because he’d worried he’d
just—been too stupid to figure it out. Logically he’d known better, but after years of
Ty telling him he was—well.
“Yeah, he’s been borrowing ours,” Blond Guy replied,
Tony could probably fix it, if he had the time to worry
about it instead of worrying about when Peter would wake up and if Ty had sent
anyone to keep an eye on them. Hell, if he’d known about it before Rhodey left,
he would have been able to fix it while Rhodey kept an eye on Peter. Tony
sagged a little, feeling defeated. He didn’t have the mental stamina to deal
with this now.
Blond Guy frowned at him for a long moment before thrusting
his hand out. “I’m Steve, by the way. Steve Rogers.”
“Tony.” Tony held his hand out, saw the oil still smeared on it, and
shame-facedly began to draw it back. “Oh, uh, sorry—”
Steve grabbed his hand anyway to shake it. “’s fine. I’ve
had worse on my hands. It’s not like I wow that was a bad idea this is so much
“Yeah,” Tony said, reluctantly amused.
“My friends tell me I’m uselessly impulsive,” Steve offered.
“Listen, I usually mow Colonel Rhodes’s lawn for him while he’s gone anyway.
I’ll just keep doing that, okay?”
“Oh, um, okay,” Tony said, torn between the desire to insist
he could do it himself and the relief that he didn’t have to worry about this particular responsibility. “I,
um—Rhodey left me some money, I can pay you—”
“Nah,” Steve said immediately. “No, it’s fine. I was gonna
do it anyway. Colonel Rhodes lets me sketch his hydrangeas sometimes so I
figure it’s only fair.”
Tony stared at him for a moment. “Is. Is that a euphemism?”
“What,” Steve said blankly, and then turned as red as a
blotchy tomato. “Oh my God, no! I mean, no. I’m an artist.”
“Oh,” Tony said, because he never would have guessed. Steve
looked more like someone who punched Nazis in the face and then bench-pressed a
wheelbarrow full of kittens with each arm when he was finished than a guy who
liked to draw flowers. Tony found that… rather charming, actually. “I see.
“Yup, I love working on florals,” Steve agreed proudly. “My
boyfriend has some of my handiwork on his body, too!”
Oh, a boyfriend. Steve looked so happy. Tony felt a jealous
pang, sick and bitter, at the bottom of his stomach. Tony wished he could be
happy like that. Looking back, he’d never been as proud to say ‘my boyfriend’
or ‘my husband’ when he talked about Ty as Steve did talking about his boyfriend right now. Maybe he’d
known, even then, that Stone wasn’t good to him. Maybe Howard had damaged him
more than he’d thought.
“I—” Tony cleared his throat. “I have to go check on Peter.
Maybe—maybe you’d like to do art together sometime?”
Tony wanted to throw up as soon as he’d suggested it. Steve
was—Steve was probably busy. And he was an actual artist, not someone who
finger-painted and drew stick figures. Steve was a young handsome guy with a
boyfriend. Why would he want to spend time with a soon-to-be-divorcee and a toddler when he
probably had an equally handsome boyfriend and an apparently lucrative art
business? God, Tony didn’t even want
to be friends with himself right now.
“Sure,” Steve said brightly. “I love doing art with kids.
They’re so creative.”
Tony couldn’t help a smile. That was so nice. “Yeah,
Petey-Bird’s the next da Vinci.”
Steve raised his eyebrows, impressed. “Really? Wow. Peter
must be really smart.”
“Y-yes?” Tony fought the urge to shrink again. He thought
Peter was smart, but he was his dad, it was probably—he was very biased.
Steve beamed at him. “I’d like to meet him sometime. Just
let me know when a good time is and I’ll see what I can do!”
“Okay,” Tony agreed cautiously. “…Okay, yeah. Not—not this
week, but, um, maybe next-?”
“Sure! Just go ahead and give us a knock when you decide on
a time, okay? Bucky might answer and he’s got a bit of a resting bitch face but
he’s actually—well, no, I’m not gonna lie, he’ll probably be a little gruff
when he answers the door. He’s got a gooey caramel center in there somewhere.”
Tony did not say ‘that’s horrifying’ but only because he was
literally too horrified to do so. “Okay.”
“Great!” Steve enthused. “I’ll talk to you later, then!”
Tony smiled awkwardly, nodding, before putting the lawnmower
back together as best he could and shoving it back in the garage. He promised
it that when this was all over and his life wasn’t in shambles anymore, he
would spend some time fixing it.
Tony was giving Peter some peanut butter crackers when he
heard the roar of a lawnmower. He smiled. “Steve’s mowing our lawn, Pumpkin
“D’eve!” Peter garbled around the crackers, throwing his
arms up cheerfully.
“Yup, Steve,” Tony repeated, walking over to the window so
Peter could see him and put a name to a face.
He choked when he saw that Steve had foregone a shirt in the
heat. Jesus Christ that was a lot of muscles.
Bucky sighed and flopped onto the couch face-first.
“Hi,” Steve said, looking up from his sketchbook. “Long
Steve frowned and set his sketchbook aside to walk over to
him, beginning to rub his back. “What’s wrong?”
“Fucking Rumlow tried to hire me to keep an eye on his
asshole client’s husband.”
“You don’t work with Rumlow anymore,” Steve pointed out calmly,
still heated about how Rumlow’s checks for Bucky’s prior work kept conveniently getting lost in the mail.
“Tell me you turned him down.”
Bucky jerked his head up. “I said he tried, not that he got me to do it.”
“Good,” Steve began, then frowned. “Oh.”
That meant he didn’t have a job then. Rumlow was doing his
level best to make sure no one else hired Bucky as a private investigator.
Bucky was the best at what he did but when he realized that Rumlow was using
his information to hurt other people, he’d stopped working for him. Rumlow
hadn’t taken that particularly well. Steve’s comic was selling pretty steadily
but without Bucky’s paychecks their monthly budget was getting kind of tight.
Bucky would probably be pissed that Steve had turned down Tony’s offer of money
for the lawn—
“No, I got a job,” Bucky grumbled. “It’s from Natasha
though. She’s the only one that hasn’t hopped on the ‘Barnes is a menace and a
“Well,” Steve began, then stopped awkwardly. Sometimes
Natasha and Bucky were the best of friends and sometimes they were at each
others’ throats. He didn’t really understand most days, and he didn’t know what
their relationship was right now. “Well,” he said again. “That’s something,
“Protection detail,” Bucky whined. “I’m supposed to keep
anyone her client’s husband might hire away from her client’s house.”
“Oh,” Steve said. Bucky hated protection details. He had
been to jail for protection details and had sometimes failed to be bailed out
by his clients. “Oh, well—you can, you can still say no—”
“No, I took it,” Bucky sighed, sitting up. “I need to do something. And Natasha said it’s for a
personal friend of hers. If she thinks one of her friends needs protecting,
then…” He tilted his head a little. “Well, she’s paying me good money for it.
And she said she’ll owe me one for it on top of that.”
“Oh wow,” Steve said, because Natasha owing them one? That
would be good for a rainy day, honestly. “Okay. Who are you protecting? How
long is the detail? Will you be gone long?”
“Honestly after the shit day I had I was kinda avoiding
looking at it,” Bucky admitted.
Steve got up to grab his satchel and pulled the thick case
file from it. “Gotta love how thorough she is.”
“I guess. Can you read it to me, hon’? I’d really like to
just lie here a little while longer,” Bucky sighed, flopping back onto the
Steve nodded. “Yeah, sure.”
“You’re the best, babe,” he murmured, smiling a little. He
waited a few minutes for Steve to start reading to him, then frowned when he
didn’t, opening his eyes to look at him. “Steve? Doll? You okay?”
Steve stared at the file a little longer before dragging his
eyes up to him, horrified. “This—this is Tony. The neighbor that Colonel Rhodes
wanted us to keep an eye on? Because his husband’s a huge dick and might go
after him because of his divorce?”
“Gimme!” Bucky barked, holding his hand out for the file,
and didn’t bitch when Steve tucked his chin on his shoulder so he could read it
Tony Stark owned an electronics company that was branching
out into green energy, a very lucrative business. He also had various stocks
and bonds left to him by his parents’ estate, and an adorable two-year-old
named Peter of whom they’d just finalized their adoption. Tiberius Stone had
signed a prenup, and when Tony had served him with divorce papers, had decided
to do his level best to drag it out and drain every inch of money he could from
Tony, finding a judge either sympathetic enough or easily bribed enough to
Natasha had been brought in by Pepper Potts, Tony’s
assistant-slash-business-partner-slash-best-friend, the moment she caught wind
of it. That was good, because Natasha already hated Rumlow, Stone’s lawyer,
and loved going at it in the courts
with him. Bucky felt his heart sink in his chest a little, because for all
intents and purposes, the only thing Tony had ever done wrong was marry the
wrong person, but Rumlow was going to hire someone to get information to make
Tony look unfit and awful—Bucky knew that from experience.
“I’ll just hafta stay on my toes, ‘s all,” Bucky decided
Tony had enough cards stacked against him, but if Natasha
thought he was worth protecting? If Colonel
Rhodes thought he was worth protecting? He’d do it. Natasha was morally
gray sometimes but she was freakishly protective of her friends, and Colonel
Rhodes was a good man—if he thought Tony was worth protecting, Bucky believed
Besides, Steve had already told him how much Tony obviously loved his
son. Bucky had always been pretty weak when it came to parents that loved their
Hello! I have a character who's five years old and I was wondering what difference that makes medically, if that makes sense? Both like how medical workers will act with her and explain things given she's very young and how that would factor into her medical care, like basic checkups or diagnosing illnesses and stuff like that. Sorry if this is too broad or vague, and thank you for all you do!
Hey there! Congrats on being Janey on the spot with the inbox and being the first ask of June!
So, one quick note. I come from EMS, and particularly now from a critical care service that handles a lot of kids. But I’m assuming for the purpose of this ask that this child is not and has never been critically ill. Okay? Okay!
Pediatrics is its own specialty for a reason, and I have bundles to learn about it. There are all sorts of things that are different in pediatric medicine (and all sorts that of things that are shockingly similar!).
First, let’s talk about “furniture.” As you’ll remember from having once been a child, peds doctors offices and clinics, and even ERs, are often bright, colorful and cheery places. Kids get offered toys and lollipops, they get to see special movies. Doc McStuffins is a very common sight in peds hospitals and waiting rooms.
I’ve heard of peds hospitals that have different mural styles for different wards: one hallway that’s done all up in a baseball theme, another in a princesses and dragons theme, another in trains.
Oh! When little kids get a nebulizer treatment, oftentimes now the mask they get the treatment through looks like a dragon and it’s awesome and I wish they came in adult sizes.
Providers are also, by necessity, gentler with kids. You can’t argue with a kid and tell them to hold still; they’re going to squirm whether the shot is good for them or not. (Don’t get me started on vaccinations, please.)
In terms of the medicine, as someone who works on a pediatric critical care unit, there are two ways you can look at kids.
A) They’re just little adults.
B) They are definitely not little adults.
Both are true. They’re little adults in that they have the exact same functions as adults. They’re not little adults in that there are big social development changes that go on at various ages and there are some physiological changes (mostly that come up in very technical fields) that are different.
For adults, a lot of the med doses are standardized; for kids, they’re almost all weight-based. A 5 year old should weigh roughly 20kg/45lbs (and there’s a really neat method called Handtevy that will give you the estimated weight of any kid up to 10 yrs old based just on their age; it’s stupendously cool and exactly the kind of thing pediatric critical care medics nerd out about!).
IVs are almost always smaller in kids, but that’s because they’re little. I’ve also seen ERs use whole teams to get a single IV in a child, including someone singing happy songs while other people stab the child with needles. (It seemed seriously Clockwork Orange to me, but I have a feeling it’s data-driven with good outcomes, so who knows?)
I get the feeling you’re asking about pediatrics in general and not pediatric critical care, so I’m going to try and focus on the general practice stuff, which is that kids who don’t get seriously ill tend to do pretty well.
Some things they might have done at the doctor’s office if they’re not there for a specific illness:
Vitals: blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, temperature
Vision and hearing checks.
Immunization checks. (I’d say just check the immunization schedule recommended by your region; the CDC’s is here and is as good as any.)
Common reasons a 5 y.o. will go to the doctor:
Earaches and ear infections
Fever (usually the flu or an ear infection)
Asthma. This is incredibly common in some areas, and I’ve worked in a few.
the snot. so much the snot.
Something lost in the nose
Mechanical injury (broken wrist, bumped head, etc.) It’s common for good parents to be suspected of child abuse for having clumsy kids.
Kids tend to bounce – both literally and figuratively. They’re little, but pretty tough and hard to injure, and when they do get hurt they heal pretty quickly. They’re still growing, so they do well.
That’s all I can think of about pediatrics when it’s 2 in the morning and I worked a 14+ hour day!
Congrats on getting there first and I hope this was what you needed.
Recipe: Garlic Mullein Ear Drops, for Ear Ache Relief
Ingredients: garlic mullein ear oil for earaches in children
3-4 cloves raw garlic, crushed
¼-½ c. dried mullein
cover with olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer on very low for at least 30 minutes, up to several hours. Be careful not to let the herb burn. Strain and decant into a dropper bottle.
To use: Warm the bottle by putting it into a cup of hot water for a couple minutes (optional). Put a couple drops into affected ear as needed for pain. Warning: do not use in an ear that is draining or if you suspect a perforated eardrum.
but Alfie with a ear infection :( and like the missus is busy with the twins so Harry take the off to take care of his ill son so all the morning Alfie is with Harry sucking his binky while Harry give kisses in his tiny ear and sometimes he cry "daddy" because it hurts
STOP IT. THIS BREAKS MY HEART. When Alfie gets hit with ear infections or earaches, he gets hit with them HARD and he can never sleep through the night when he’s in pain so Harry takes it upon himself to cuddle him on the sofa so he doesn’t keep the missus by laying in their bed with them or the new babies awake with his uncomfortable cries or his grunts of pain for Harry to come and soothe him. Laid out on Harry’s chest and dressed in just a pull-up nappy because he’s so hot and bothered, as Harry sprawls out on the sofa in a rather uncomfortable position because his 6-foot figure is a lot longer than the span of the couch, his feet kicked up on the arm rest and poking out from the end of the blanket draped over the both of them - but he doesn’t care because his son looks content and happy and that’s all the matters to him. All he wants is for his son to be comfortably laid out and looked after.
He has one of his t-shirts, warmed up from spending some time in the dryer, folded up tightly and set upon his shoulder for his little boy to rest his aching and poorly ear upon. A large hand cupping Alfie’s bare back as his finger soothingly drew patterns whilst his eyes, stinging from the lack of sleep and hooding over from being awake for so long, stayed focused on the screen of the telly playing a repeat of the news from earlier that night. Because he didn’t want to fall asleep knowing that his son could wake up at any moment, crying in pain and needing instant attention because he was hurting so bad.
And even though Alfie is still on his chest and quite quiet, Harry knows he’s awake and struggling to close his eyes and fall into sleep. He can still hear him whimper gently every time a yawn left his tiny mouth to show just how tired he was and he can still hear him whine out every time an ache surpassed him and had his fist curling into the t-shirt on Harry’s body as some kind of pain reliever but still not enough to get rid of the pain - a coping mechanism that Harry was fine with because he knew, then, that his son needed some attention.
He can hear cries coming from upstairs that makes him look at his phone to check the time. 03:09 blaring at him from the top of his screen, making it known that one of the twins has woken up in time for feeding. The creaks of the floorboards upstairs soon being heard before the missus is ducking her head into the door, nervously shuffling passed and hoping that Darcy’s cries didn’t wake up Alfie; unbeknown to her that both of her boys were wide awake.
“Don’t need t’creep around. We’re still awake down here,” Harry grumbles raspily, straining his neck to see her silhouette stop at the back of the sofa. A tiny baby cradled in her arms as she turned on her heels to look at where the voice had come from. Flicking on the lamp and being met with a sight that warmed her heart but broke it at the same time. “Still bad, aren’t you, little man?”
“Daddy,” he whimpers, squirming on Harry’s chest and nudging his head closer into the crook of his neck, “ears, daddy. Ears.”
“I know your ears hurt, little man. I know. Daddy’s going to take you to the doctors in the morning and we’ll get some medicine to get it all better, okay? I promise,” Harry coos gently, lips pressing into the curls that residing on the top of his son’s head, “you’re doing so well. You’re being very strong and so brave, aren’t you?”
“You’re going to be just like daddy when you grow up, sweet boy,” the missus coos, gently rocking Darcy in her arms and running her free hand through his toffee-curls, frowning momentarily when he pulled away from her gentle touch and cosied further into Harry’s chest, making Harry’s arms tighten around him a little more, “I love you, sweet boy. I’ll make you some pancakes in the morning. Before you go with daddy, yeah? Brave boys deserve some chocolate chip pancakes, don’t they?”
“Deserve a little ice-cream as well, I think,” Harry hums, wiggling his toes to run the circulation back through them, carefully shuffling and adjusting his body upon the sofa, “you’ll be alright, little man. Your ears will be better in no time at all.”
The missus hunches over, as carefully as she can, to press a kiss to Harry’s forehead. Leaving a peck on his skin, glancing down and staring into his sleep-filled and bloodshot eyes, knowing he was aching for sleep but couldn’t bring himself to sleep if his little boy couldn’t sleep; because it wasn’t fair on his son who was struggling.
“Get some sleep yourself, please. Stop worrying. You’ll make yourself sick. He’ll wake you up if he needs you, Harry,” she whispers with a gentle smile, running her thumb over his bottom lip, “I love you both. I’ll feed Darce and then we’ll be out of your hair.” xx
I finished this startlingly fast. I wasn’t planning on posting this until tomorrow afternoon, but why not? Happy Bellarke Day!
The thing about
being pre-med is that people think you know stuff. They think they can come up
to you and tell you about the cough they’ve had that just won’t go away, or ask
about the weird tingling sensation they get on the back of their knee and just
expect you to be able to tell them exactly what’s wrong with them. And sure,
you can probably tell them that the trapezius muscle is innervated by the
spinal accessory nerve or that hemoglobin has a quaternary structure made up of
four polypeptides that each interact with an iron atom that gives it the
ability to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. But at the end of the day, you
don’t know shit about medicine.
Which is why Clarke feels more than a little bit
panicked when her friends start treating her like their personal doctor.
It doesn’t start
out as a big thing: Monty picked up a cold after their friends had spent a late
night out in the cold drinking cheap liquor in a field off campus. He had come
to her a couple of days later asking about the best cold meds to buy from the CVS
down the street, and Clarke had advised him to pick up the generic brand after extensive
assurance that yes, they really were
the same thing and to buy some kind of sports drink to replenish his electrolyte
Somehow word had
gotten around. Before she knew it, Raven was asking her how best to bandage the
blisters on her hands from the wrenches she used for her part-time job as a
mechanic, and Jasper was flashing his bare ass wanting to know what kind of
rash he had and whether he needed to see a doctor (she didn’t even want to begin to relive that one).
“This is getting
out of hand,” she huffs to Bellamy one after relaying the story of Harper’s
weird mole-ish thing (she had no idea what it was, to be honest) she had shown
to Clarke with a few days prior. She takes a long sip from the coffee she’d
ordered when they arrived, watching the corners of his eyes crinkle with humor
as he fiddles with the napkins on their table and struggles to subdue a grin.
“Not so easy being Dr. Clarke?”
“That’s the problem,” she groans, fingers tangling
into the roots of her hair and letting out a frustrated sigh, “I’m not a doctor. I’m a sophomore. In
undergrad. I know nothing.” She lets her head fall pathetically onto the table,
shielding her face with her arms like a petulant child.
“Good thing you’re
paying so much money for such a quality education,” he teases.
Her head snaps
back up to meet his smirking gaze. “You do
realize it takes eight fucking years to become a doctor, right? And even after
that there’s still three to ten years of more
training in residency. I’m, like, 15% of the way done. If that.”
He tears off the
corner of the croissant that sits on the plate in front of her, ignoring her noises
of protest, and deadpans, “You’re practically an ignoramus.”
“Exactly,” she says,
ignoring his sarcastic tone. “If this were drivers’ ed and I was only 15% done,
I’d still be reading the damn handbook. They wouldn’t even let me near a car. But suddenly it’s okay for
me to be making life and death decisions about a person’s body?”
“Okay, Princess, I feel like that might be a bit melodramatic. It’s not like
you know absolutely nothing. What about that time Miller told you about that
earache he was having, and you told him it was an infection he should probably
get checked out? You were right, and he ended up avoiding a trip to the
emergency room because of it.”
“Lucky guess,” she
shrugs, fingers drumming a light rhythm on the lid of her coffee cup.
“Or that time that
kid had that seizure in the student union? You were the only one there who knew
to turn him onto his side.”
She rolls her
eyes. “Please. That’s basic stuff everyone learns when they’re kids. No different
than ‘stop, drop, and roll.’”
“What the hell
kind of elementary school did you go to?”
She stifles a snicker,
ignoring the slight heat rising to her cheeks. It was nice to know that her
best friend had faith in her, even if she didn’t. “When my mom worked all the
time, the only way I could really spend time with her was to shadow her around
the hospital,” she says with a shrug. “You pick up a few things. I spent my
eighth birthday learning the proper technique for wrapping a sprained ankle.”
quips, gesturing vaguely with his cup, “You already knew more than the average
adult by the time you’d finished the second grade.”
She lets out a
breathy laugh, one hand reaching up to tug absentmindedly at the ends of her
blonde waves. “I don’t know. I just—I’m terrified of getting it wrong, you
know?” She traces the letters of her name written on the coffee cup in front of
her with a finger, focusing far more attentively than the task requires. “What
if someone comes to me with something and I tell them that they’re fine, and it
turns out to be something really bad? What if I miss it?”
glances up at Bellamy. His eyes bore into hers with an intensity and confidence
that makes the tension in her shoulders soften. “You don’t know that.”
“I do,” he says
firmly, his hand reaching across the table to rest on the hand still
mechanically tracing the black-inked ‘C’ on her cup. “You won’t miss it.”
A few weeks later,
everyone piles around the tiny laptop screen in Raven’s tiny dorm room in a
halfhearted attempt of a movie night.
whines, “was the worst idea ever. Raven, why didn’t you bring a TV to college
like a normal person?”
“I think the
better question is why did we choose to have a movie night in the one room that
doesn’t have a TV?” Clarke grumbles from her spot on the floor between Harper
and Bellamy, adjusting her shoulders in an attempt to find a more comfortable
position against the wall behind her.
A chorus of dissent
travels across the group as Monty urgently shushes them with an insistent,
“Shut up, this is the best part!”
They continue like
that for a while, making jokes about the ridiculous dialogue and terrible
acting between someone’s complaints that they can’t see or hear the movie, all
the while with Monty grumbling that they’re ‘ruining his favorite movie’ and
that they ‘shouldn’t even have a
movie night if no one’s going to watch.’
They’re a little
over an hour in when Clarke realizes Bellamy has been notably quiet.
whispers, playfully knocking her knee into his own, “you okay? You haven’t
bitched about the historical inaccuracies once during this entire movie.”
She bristles at
his short tone, feeling him tense next to her as he leans his head back against
the wall behind them. She waits for him to say more, but no response comes.
His eyes close as
she scrutinizes him. She watches his jaw tighten.
“Yeah,” he said
through gritted teeth. “I’ve just had a headache all day. No big deal.”
She pats his knee
apologetically and turns back to the movie. Her attention for the remainder of
the night switches between the atrocity of a film on the tiny screen and making
sure Bellamy is okay. He doesn’t say anything else, but she notices that his
jaw is still ticking and his eyes are still closed when she checks on him.
When the movie
finally ends, the group lets out a resounding sigh of relief as Raven cheers,
“Thank God!” The next half hour is a
blur of people gathering their respective pillows and blankets as they issue
sleepy ‘goodnights’ and ‘drive safes.’ Clarke sees Bellamy say a quick goodbye
to Raven and slip quietly out the door. She hurries behind him to catch up to
his long strides.
calls, speeding up her pace as he stops at the stairwell. “Are you driving
He shakes his
head. The previous summer, Bellamy had leased a 2-bedroom apartment just off
campus to share with Octavia once she enrolled at Ark University.
“Octavia took my
car to go visit Lincoln,” he tells her. “I’m just going to walk.”
She shakes her
head, her stomach lilting at the idea of him walking home alone at night when
he just seemed so…off.
“No, you’re not,”
she insists. “My car’s right downstairs, let me drive you home.”
“I’ll be fine,
Princess. It’s just a few blocks.” He turns toward the door to the stairwell,
already reaching for the handle, but Clarke catches his shoulder.
“Come on. It’s
really not any trouble,” she assures him. “Please?” She senses the hesitation
in his stance. His already sluggish movements slow even further. She can feel
him caving as she presses, “For my own peace of mind.”
He turns to her
with a resigned grimace.
“Fine,” he says,
rubbing his tired eyes, “but only because you said please.”
She gives him a
small grin, her hand unthinkingly grazing his broad shoulders to guide him
toward the door. She trails behind him down the stairs, watching him rub
gingerly where his neck tapers down to his shoulders. He tilts his head
slightly to the side, allowing her to see the wince that flits across his face.
“Don’t worry about
it,” he says.
“That’s a yes.”
He lets out a
tired chuckle. He holds the door for her as they exit the stairwell, and again
as they reach the main entrance of Raven’s building. Clarke is silently
thankful the parking lot outside of her own building a block away had been full
when she had returned to campus earlier that day, forcing her to park just out
front of the dorm she and Bellamy were leaving. Though she knows he’s doing his
best to hide his discomfort, she can see the stiff way he carries himself,
looking as though he’s trying to minimize as much movement as possible.
you okay?” she asks when she sees his grimace as he ducks to slide into her
passengers’ seat. She doesn’t miss the lilt of concern in her voice, and
judging by way he turns to her with reassurance in his eyes, Bellamy doesn’t
he says, “I’m fine. I think I just hurt my neck at the gym earlier today. No
big deal.” The smile her gives her seems a little forced, but lets it slide,
ignoring the vague anxiety at the back of her mind.
“You should ice
that when you get home,” she advises. “Take some ibuprofen, too, it’ll help if
there’s inflammation. And no gym tomorrow, okay?”
“Whatever you say,
She lets out an
exasperated sigh as she pulls out of the parking lot, a smile creeping onto her
face in spite of herself. She’s relieved he’s feeling well enough to tease her,
even if he still doesn’t seem quite right.
“Looks like rain,”
he notes, his drowsy eyes examining the sky. “Hope Octavia doesn’t stay out too
late. She doesn’t need to be driving home in a storm.”
“She could always
stay over at Lincoln’s.”
Clarke is fairly
certain that Bellamy’s gaze would have snapped to hers had his neck not been
causing him so much pain. Even still, she saw him side-eyeing her with more
than a little distaste.
“Oh come on,” she
says with a snort, “it’s a little funny.”
They fall into a
companionable silence for the rest of the drive, Clarke keeping her eyes on the
quickly darkening sky while Bellamy can’t seem to keep his eyes open. Though
only a few minutes have passed by the time she pulls into the parking lot outside
of his building, she has to call his name twice before he finally jolts awake.
“Sorry,” he says
gruffly, already reaching for the seatbelt buckle. He stiffly exits the car,
poking his head around the car door before shutting it. “Make sure you get back
before the rain hits.”
“I will,” she
assures him. “I’ll let you know I made it back okay.”
He nods, cringing
at the jolt that comes along with it. He shuts the car door, turning to the
staircase that leads to his floor.
Before his foot
can reach the first step, Clarke rolls down her window and calls, “Hey. You’re sure you’re okay?”
He turns back to
her with a weary smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes.
“I’m fine, Clarke.
“You weren’t a
Scout,” she points out, her voice dripping with sarcasm. She locks eyes with
his, her tone becoming more serious. “Promise you’ll call if you need anything?
Ice pack, a cheeseburger run, whatever.”
“I promise,” he
says, his expression softening.
She gives a curt
nod, offering a quick goodnight as she rolls up her window. As she pulls out of
the parking lot, she does her best to silence the nagging voice in the back of
her mind telling her that something isn’t right.