A fluffy Eclare one-shot, my take on the promo for 12.5! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own.

Sun Shines at Night

Clare always felt like something was pulling her down. The immeasurable weight of stress from school, friends, family, her relationship, and even the whole incident with Asher seemed to sit on top of her shoulders and constantly remind her of how she was never good enough. There was always something that needed to be done, talked about, or written, to the point that Clare could no longer sleep for fear that the weight on her shoulders could get heavier.

She had barely slept more than 3 hours a night for the past three weeks, and she could feel her mind getting cloudy and her thoughts getting foggy. She knew she had insomnia, but she just couldn't force herself to take a sleep aid or anything that could stop it. She was addicted to not sleeping; it helped her get things done. There was something about the night that made the time feel like it could stretch on forever. And yet, she felt no satisfaction the next morning when she was aching, not thinking clearly, and had not accomplished anything the night before. She would go to school as always, plastering a smile on her face.

But tonight, as she sat tense in her bed, she felt the past three weeks crash down on her, and she started to let out sobs she had been holding in. Please, God. Help me sleep. I can't take this anymore. Clare rolled over and checked her alarm clock. 2:36 AM.

Clare sighed deeply and reached for her phone. I need someone, she thought. Without really thinking it through, she scrolled through her contacts and called the one name that made her truly happy every time it flashed on her screen: Eli.

Even with the play finished, with the college application process in full swing, Eli was busier than usual. He had been working so hard on getting into NYU, and Clare couldn't be prouder of him, even if it meant not seeing Eli as often as she'd like. She only had to wait two rings before she heard the voice that made her heart melt.

"Hey, Clare," Eli answered, his voice slightly groggy, yet still filled with so much adoration. "What can I do for you at this lonely hour of the night, milady? Is everything alright?"

Clare let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. "Of course, Eli, it's just that…I can't sleep. I…I haven't been. I know it's kind of ridiculous to be asking you so late, but –"

"No. Don't apologize. I'll be over in ten." Eli's tone suddenly became intense, and Clare couldn't help but smile at the fact that he knew exactly what she needed.

"Eli, you really don't–"

"Clare, I love you. See you soon."

She heard a click on the other end and whispered, "I love you, too."

Clare put on a bra and tried to tame her tangled curls in a futile attempt to look, at the very least, presentable for Eli at three in the morning. She wiped away her salty tears from earlier and shuffled downstairs as quietly as humanly possible to greet Eli. When he reached her doorstep, Clare slowly turned the knob and gestured for Eli to be quiet. She gently took his hand in hers and led Eli up to her bedroom, making sure to be especially sneaky when they crept past Jake's door.

Clare quickly shut the bedroom door behind them and let out a sigh of relief. She glanced over at Eli and moved closer, gliding her hands through his silky, slightly windblown black hair. "Thanks for coming over," she said, "You're the best."

"It's no problem. Anything to spend some time with my girl," he replied, his expression suddenly shifting into concern. "But what is this about you not sleeping? Are you okay?"

Clare laid down with a thump on the bed and gestured for Eli to join her. He raised his eyebrows at her offer but didn't refuse. He laid down and faced Clare, putting a gentle hand on her waist.

"It's just that I'm so stressed all the time, and nervous. It keeps me awake at night," she explained, interlocking her fingers with his.

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No. I mean, not really. Being with you makes my stress go away. So…maybe a tiny kiss could help?" Clare blushed, and Eli smirked.

"I think I could help with that, Edwards. Come here." Eli leaned in, kissing Clare sweetly and gently. He pulled away quickly. "How was that? Better?" he asked.

"Hmm…" Clare giggled. "I'm still a little stressed, Goldsworthy. How about another one?"

Eli rolled his eyes but gladly obliged. This time, he wrapped her sweet brown curls in his fingers and lingered slightly over her lips. "Are you sure? I'm not sure you can handle it," he teased, their lips almost touching. His breath on her face made Clare shiver with delight and she emphatically shook her head. Eli closed the distance between their lips and they once again moved in harmony for too short a time.

"Eli, is that all you can do? I'm barely even distracted," Clare teased again, crossing her arms over her chest. She knew just how to play him.

"That's it, Edwards. You asked for it."

And then Eli kissed her like never before. He rolled on top of her, straddling Clare's legs and moving his hands down her body. The kiss was filled with hungry passion. He started at her lips, then kissed all over her face, then down her neck, causing a moan to escape her throat. Eli smirked at her reaction.

Clare playfully smacked his chest. "Stop being so smug!"

Eli grabbed her hand and held it where she smacked him. "You love it."

"Shut up."

"Ooh! Clare Edwards gets feisty! What can we expect next folks, maybe she'll even use the Lord's name in vain!" Eli exclaimed, faking shock.

"You're so annoying."

"What can I say? You're cute when you're annoyed." Eli stroked her rosy cheek with his free hand.

"Well, I'm about to get really freaking adorable if you don't kiss me soon."

Eli leaned in with a smirk on his face, gladly obeying. This time, Clare's hands wandered to the hem of his shirt and she began to lift it up. With Eli's bare chest exposed, Clare ran a hand from his neck down to his stomach, where he stopped her.

"Slow down, Clare. Not like this isn't fun, but let's save this for another time. You need to try to sleep, remember?" Eli warned, concern lacing his every word.

"Okay. Stay with me? For tonight?" Clare pleaded, her wide blue eyes making it impossible for him to decline.

"I thought you'd never ask," he answered. He hesitated, "But…do you mind if I sleep in my boxers? These jeans aren't exactly what I'd call pajamas. If you're uncomfortable –"

"Eli. Of course. You can go to the bathroom to…do your thing."

After a few minutes, Eli returned in nothing but his boxer shorts, covered in the Batman logo, no less. "Don't make fun. Batman's kind of my thing."

Clare giggled in response. "I think they're cute. Now stop standing there and get in!" She lifted up the covers and he didn't hesitate to climb under them, grabbing Clare and pulling her close in the process.

Eli leaned in to whisper in her ear, "I could spend every night like this, Clare."

Clare turned to face him. "Maybe someday," she whispered back, with a quick peck on the lips.

And for the first time in three weeks, Clare fell into a deep, nightmare-less sleep.

Late next morning, Clare woke up to a slight snoring beside her. Eli's hand was still on her waist. She smiled out of pure happiness. Finally, it wasn't fake.

Eli heard Clare walking around, opening and closing drawers. His eyes fluttered open to see Clare in her bra, slipping a shirt over her head and putting on a cardigan. Clare let out a small squeal when she turned around to see him awake, staring. "ELI!"

"Good morning to you, too, beautiful."

Clare smiled. "Exactly how much of that did you see?"

"As much as you wanted me to see," Eli smirked.

Clare scoffed, throwing a pillow at him. "Get out of bed, lazy, before someone sees you in here."

"You might want to change into that other shirt over there first. It might look better with that cardigan," Eli suggested.

"Nice try, Mr. Smooth, but I am staying in this outfit. No more sneak peeks!" Clare exclaimed, grabbing Eli's arm and dragging him out of bed. She walked over to the other side of the bed to grab his clothes, throwing Eli's jeans at him, which he quickly slipped into.

"My shirt?" Eli asked, placing his arms behind his head.

"I don't know, I might have to keep this for myself. I do love vintage."

"Give it, Cla –" Eli started, but stopped short when his eyes made their way to the door frame.

Confused, Clare followed Eli's stare to find Helen, arms crossed and eyebrow raised, staring at Eli's half naked body in Clare's room.

"Clare! WHAT is going on here young lady?" Helen scolded, managing to keep her anger somewhat contained.

"Mom, I promise, it's NOT what it looks like. Eli –"

"Was just leaving. Please get out of my daughter's room before I call Glen upstairs," Helen commanded Eli, who hastily grabbed his shirt from Clare. Helen's eyes widened at this exchange.

"I'll call you later," he whispered. Clare gave him a fearful look, and Eli returned it with an expression of sympathy and a slight squeeze of her hand. It calmed Clare ever so slightly.

Eli gave a nod to Helen and sped out of Clare's room, running into Jake in the hallway on the way out. Just my luck, he thought.

Jake raised his eyebrows, looking the shirtless Eli up and down. To Eli's shock, Jake smiled and put his hand up for a high-five.

"Nice going, man!" Eli awkwardly slapped Jake's palm in congratulations. "But if you hurt her, I'll kill you. I swear."

"I wouldn't doubt you on that."

Jake's expression softened. "Don't worry, I'll defend you to Helen. She'll get over it. Helen's kind of a drama queen. I mean, look at the girls she raised," Jake chuckled. "Well, I'll let you go, considering you're shirtless and all. Bye man!"

"Yeah, uh, thanks, bye Jake."

Helen stood staring at Clare in horror, confusion, and shock. "Clare, honey, have a seat."


"Just tell me, did you and that boy…"

Clare's jaw dropped. "No, we didn't, Mom. Don't worry. I was having trouble sleeping, so he came over and stayed with me. Nothing more than that."

"It's just…after everything that happened with Darcy, I worry about you girls."

"Mom, I'm responsible, and I love Eli. It didn't happen last night, but…I'm not saying that I'm necessarily going to wait until marriage."

Helen sighed, dropping her head. "I was afraid of this. It's just that you're my little girl. It's scary for me that you're growing up so fast. I trust you to make good decisions, but…please be careful, Clare."

Clare chanced a glance at her mom, who was tearing up slightly. "When we do choose to take that step, Mom, do you…want me to tell you?"

"Of course, Clare Bear. It might be hard for me to hear, but it's important. If you want, I can get you an appointment at Planned Parenthood. For if and when you're ready." Helen took Clare's hand in hers and squeezed.

Clare leaned her head against her mother's shoulder, which was burdened by the weight of so many problems Helen had faced previously. Suddenly, Clare realized it might not be so hard to make it through as it seemed.

"I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, Clare Bear."

Hope you liked it! Reviews are nice if you made it this far (: