Summary: A month after his accident, Clare shows up on Eli's doorstep. But what does she want?

Disclaimer: Don't own Degrassi. 'Nuff said.

Author's Note: Well, I'm depressed. I knew Eli and Clare were going to break up eventually, and I thought I'd prepared myself for the inevitable pain… but it still hurts. Eclare was literally the first pairing I've been emotionally invested in since Palex and Jiberty. That said, I do think they'll get back together eventually.

In the meantime, here's a make up fic.

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Headphones
By: Lady Azura

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One month.

One whole month had passed since his accident — since Clare walked away from him for good.

One long, agonizing month.

As Eli lay on his living room sofa, a crack of thunder sounded from outside. He stared at the TV, which flickered every now and then, along with the lights, the power threatening to go out. He didn't know what he was watching, and if he were to be completely honest with himself, he didn't care. He was bored out of his skull. There was nothing to do. His dad was at work, and Adam had been forced (by his overprotective mother) to cancel their plans because of the storm.

Some feet away, Eli could hear his own mom shuffling around the kitchen, and the jingling of car keys. Then she was standing in front of him, blocking his view of the TV, and Eli tilted his head to look up at her.

"I'm going grocery shopping," she announced. "Want to come with me, baby boy?"

Eli quirked a brow, then spared a glance at the window and shook his head.

"Not today," he said.

CeCe bit her lip, as though hesitant. Eli sighed. He knew she was only asking him because she was afraid to leave him at home alone. Before his accident, she wouldn't have thought twice about it. Everything had changed so drastically since then. His parents weren't nearly as laid back as they'd once been — practically sleeping with one eye open to make sure he didn't endanger his life in some way. They even forced him to take the padlock off his bedroom door, and to keep it open at night so that one of them could always check on him.

"I'll be fine…" He tried to reassure her, and CeCe nodded slowly.

"Okay… I'll only be gone for a little while, though. Do you want me to pick you something up on the way home?"

"No… I'll just have some cereal when I get hungry."

CeCe looked like she wanted to protest, but words failed her. With a reluctant nod, she knelt down and brushed his bangs aside to kiss his forehead, before rising to her feet once more.

"I'll see you in a bit," she called over her shoulder as she disappeared out the front door.

"… 'kay." He replied monotonously.

About fifteen minutes had passed since CeCe had left, when Eli heard a knock at the door. Thinking that his mother had locked herself out — it wouldn't have been the first time. CeCe could be very absent-minded — or that Adam had decided to drop by after all, Eli got up and made his way over. He still had a slight limp from his injury, but it wasn't anything he couldn't ignore.

When he opened the door, however, his heart stopped.

There, on his front porch, was Clare.

Her whole body shook as she stood before him, her clothes — a pair of jean shorts and a white t-shirt — completely drenched and clinging to her skin. Her hair was matted to her face and her lips were parted. She was panting heavily, like she was out of breath, and as Eli looked over her shoulder, he saw neither her mother's van nor her bike. Realization quickly dawned on him: Clare had walked to his house — or rather, run — in the pouring rain.

But why?

Memories of her tearing her leaving him in the hospital bed, ignoring his desperate pleas, came flooding back in an instant, and his heart clenched. He could feel tears burning his eyes, but blinked them away, keeping his face impassive and unreadable. There was a part of him — a very strong part — that wanted nothing more than to slam the door in Clare's face, but an even bigger part of him wanted to pull her close and kiss her senseless.

Pushing those thoughts aside, he spoke at last. "What do you want?"

Clare visibly winced at the venom in his voice, which surprised even himself.

"I…" she started, her voice barely above a whisper, "I was cleaning my room and I found…" she trailed off, reaching into her bag and pulling out a pair of headphones. "… these."

His headphones.

The ones he'd leant her at the beginning of the year, when they had been made English partners.

Clare's hands trembled as she held them out for him to take. Rather than do so, however, Eli shook his head.

"Keep them." He said.

Clare lifted her head, confusion evident in her eyes. "But… they're yours…"

"I want you to have them," Eli told her. "Think of it as… a keepsake. Something to remember the good times."

"I…" Clare seemed at a loss for words, tearing her gaze from his and focusing instead on the headphones in her hands. She said nothing for a moment, before finally thrusting them at him once more. "I can't." Her voice cracked. "I'm sorry, Eli… but I just can't. If I keep these, I'll never be able to…" she broke off then, catching herself before she could say something she'd regret, but the damage was already done.

Eli narrowed his eyes dangerously.

"Forget?" He spat, clenching his fists as anger began to swell up inside him. "You want to forget about me? About us? After everything we've been through — you're just going to pretend that it never happened?"

"No!" Clare cried, on the verge of tears. "Of course I'll never forget! But… I have to move on, Eli! We both do!"

Eli barked out a humourless laugh. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"Oh, because that's so much better!" He threw his hands up in frustration. "Damn it, Clare! I don't want to move on. I love you and I know you love me too! We're meant to be together!"

"How can you say that?" Clare hissed. "Eli, look at us! We're too different! It'll never work!"

"Opposites attract!" Eli countered.

"In movies, Eli!" Clare snapped. "But this is real life, and if we stay together, we'll only end up hating each other!"

"We're really different, aren't we?"

"Opposites attract."

"… and get married and have kids and get divorced!"

Realization struck Eli as he was suddenly bombarded with an all too familiar memory.

"Is that what this is about?" Eli asked. "You're afraid that we'll end up like your parents? Clare, we're not your parents!"

"Then how do you explain this?" She motioned between them.

"All couples fight, Clare. It's normal."

"But this isn't! We aren't!" She clamped a hand over her mouth in a feeble attempt to stifle the sob threatening to get out. Eli managed to catch her just as her knees buckled, and led her inside and out of the rain, closing the door behind him. Clare squirmed in his arms, trying to get away, but Eli's hold tightened. He'd let her go once before, back at the hospital, and he wasn't about to do it again. Not until they fixed things. "Eli, let go! Let go, let go, let go!"

"Not until you realize that we're perfect for each other!"

"But we're not!" Clare cried desperately.

"Yes. We are." He declared, holding onto her as she thrashed wildly in his arms. "Just give us another chance, Clare. I can… we can make things right. I've been going to therapy… it's been helping me cope with Julia and… I'm getting better. You don't have to worry about me, just… can we start over? I want you in my life, Clare."

Clare had long since stopped struggling. Exhaustion had taken over, and Eli could hear her panting — feel her breath ghosting over his ear.

A strangled noise left the back of her throat.

"Why?" Clare whimpered as she drew back, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "Why won't you just give up, Eli? I broke my promise and you…"

"Because I love you," Eli told her, reaching up to wipe away a tear that had trickled down her cheek, "And I know that you love me too. And I know that we can get through this together."

"How can you be sure?" She asked. "How -"

Before she could finish, Eli's mouth were on hers.

He felt Clare stiffen, her whole body going completely rigid the second his lips touched hers. When he noticed she wasn't returning it, hi stomach dropped. Just as he was about to pull back, however, Clare relaxed, and slowly began responding to the kiss.

His heart soared then, and before he knew it, he had Clare up against the wall, kissing her with more fervour than he ever had. He was determined to show her how much he wanted her. Julia was always going to be a part of him, but she was in the past. She was gone and she was never coming back. He understood that now, and he needed Clare to as well.

This wasn't anything like the sweet, tender kisses they'd shared before. It was desperate and filled with unbridled passion. As their tongues met, eager hands explored new territory. Eli could feel Clare's fingers in his hair, twisting and tugging at the roots while his own fingers skimmed her sides, stroking cool, damp skin. He almost had a heart attack when she suddenly jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist, but Eli quickly regained his composure and, gripping the backs of her thighs, ground himself into her.

A deep, guttural moan erupted from the back of Clare's throat, and a sense of triumph washed over Eli. He pressed himself closer, unable to get enough of her. He didn't care that her wet clothes were starting to soak through his, and only kissed her harder.

They stumbled through the hallway and to his bedroom, never once breaking the kiss. Once inside, Eli pinned her to the door, tearing his lips from hers for the first time before attacking the crook of her neck. Clare's legs tightened around him and she tilted her head back, giving him more access to her neck. She tasted like rain; Eli sucked greedily on her skin, making sure to leave his mark. He could hear her moaning softly as his teeth grazed her, and when he bit down lightly, she let out a loud gasp.

"Eli…" she breathed, massaging his scalp as he continued to nibble on her skin, "… don't stop…"

And then he froze.

Leaning back, he took in the sight before him — Clare Edwards gazing at him through lidded eyes clouded with lust; cheeks flushed, hair tangled, lips swollen and chest heaving.

… what the hell were they doing?

"I'm sorry," he choked out, watching her brow furrow in confusion. He set her down on her feet and took a step back while Clare composed herself. "I shouldn't have done that… don't hate me…"

"Eli…" Clare mumbled, "I don't…" she pressed her lips together and closed her eyes, before sighing and brushing past him. She sat on the edge of his bed, her hands clasped tightly in her lap. "I don't hate you… I miss you."

Eli shot her an incredulous look. "What?"

"I never stopped caring about you, you know," she confessed, refusing to meet his gaze. "It was all just… too much…" She let out a shuddery breath. "My mom and dad are fighting again… and it keeps getting worse every day… and you know something? All I could think about was calling you." She finally looked up, and he could see tears streaming down her face. "I'm so selfish, Eli. How can you still have feelings for me after what I did to you? I said I would never leave you, and I did. I don't deserve you!"

"Clare… no… no, don't say that…" Eli made his way over to where she was sitting and knelt down in front of her, taking her hands in his and kissing her knuckles. "You are the most… compassionate and loving person I've ever met."

"I'm a hypocrite." She sobbed. "I left you, Eli! You begged me to stay, and I just… left! After I said I wouldn't! I broke my promise!"

"And I manipulated you!" Eli countered, "Not intentionally… I never meant to hurt you… but… I was sick then, and I put you through hell…" He moved so that he was sitting beside her on the bed, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close. "But… I promise I won't ever do that again. Clare… please… give us another chance. We'll make it work this time."

"How?" She asked, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand and smearing her mascara.

Eli smiled gently, reaching up to cup the side of her face. "We'll do things differently. We'll talk to each other. No more jumping to conclusions, no more secrets…"

"But what if we end up hating each other?" Clare protested weakly.

"We won't." Eli assured her.

"Eli -"

"Just trust me, Clare. We can make it through this."

He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, and Clare turned her head to look at him. Their eyes locked, and she bit her lip, fear and uncertainty etched across her face. Then she nodded, ever-so-slightly, and squeezed his hand back.

"Okay," she whispered, tearing up once more. "Okay."

Eli let out a sigh of relief, a large smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Eyes shining happily, he leaned in and pressed his lips to her forehead.

"Thank you," he murmured against her skin, before kissing the area just below her ear. "You won't regret it. I promise."

Clare's arms encircled him, holding him tightly and refusing to let go.

"Eli?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I stay with you tonight?"

Eli drew back, glancing around his room. It wasn't exactly clean; boxes and old newspapers were still littering the floor, but it was significantly better than it had been before. His eyes fell on Clare again, searching her face for any hint that she might be unsure, but found none. He nodded slowly.

"Okay."

.

.

.

"… I have a confession to make."

Twenty minutes later, after Clare had stripped out of her wet clothes and borrowed one of Eli's Dead Hand t-shirts, and the two had made themselves comfortable on his bed, Clare spoke.

Eli arched a brow. "Should I be worried?"

When Clare bit her lip nervously, Eli frowned.

"Spit it out, Edwards."

Clare nodded.

"Just… don't freak out, okay? But… last night I… I went out with someone." She said slowly, and Eli froze, trying to suppress the jealousy and anger that wanted to surface. "An old friend. Our parents kind of encouraged it, and I thought I would be able to get over you faster if I did so… I agreed. And I had fun. He was great. He was nice and smart and good-looking…"

"Sounds like the perfect guy." Eli remarked bitterly.

"But…" Clare continued, inching closer to him. "He wasn't you."

Eli blinked confusedly, and Clare went on.

"Last night made me realize that… as much as I wished that I could forget you… I couldn't. And when I found your headphones today… I knew I had to see you. I was hoping it would give me closure, but today only made me realize that… I'm already taken, and the only guy I want in my life right now… is you, Eli." She said, staring at him intently. Taking one of his hands, she brought it to her chest and placed it right over her heart. "This is yours."

Eli swallowed hard. "R-Really?"

Clare smiled warmly.

"Really." She leaned in then, and kissed him softly. "I love you, Eli Goldsworthy."

Eli smiled back, wrapping his arms around her tightly.

"I love you too. Don't ever forget that."

.

.

.

That was the last time she went grocery shopping while it was raining.

CeCe Goldsworthy huffed as she struggled to carry several bags into the house, kicking off her heels in the process and making her way into the kitchen. As she placed everything on the counter, she noticed that the TV was still on in the living room — but Eli was nowhere to be found. Panic enveloped her as dozens of horrible scenarios raced through her mind — had something happened to her baby boy? Her heart hammered against her chest, and she quickly dropped her car keys and made her way down the hall.

She came to an abrupt halt in front of his room.

His door was closed.

She swallowed the lump in her throat, trying to calm her nerves. Reaching out with a trembling hand, she grasped the doorknob and opened it slowly.

When she peered inside, however, she was surprised to find her son sound asleep — and not alone. Clare Edwards was lying beside him. They were facing each other, their legs entangled and fingers entwined, and so close that their foreheads touched.

She couldn't help but smile before taking a step back and shutting the door gently behind her.

She would have a long chat with them later.

But for now, she'd let them sleep.

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FIN

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Ughh… what the hell was that? This sounded way better in my head. I hope you guys don't hate it.

I hope that wasn't too bad. I liked how it started, but not how I ended it. I hope it was believable enough.

Please REVIEW and tell me what you think!