Author's Note: I wrote this oneshot for my good friend, MadameDegrassi4587. Follow her on Twitter missamymariec! Amy, I consider you a very good friend of mine, and I only hope that this will make you feel better. =D I obviously don't own "4 Real" by Avril Lavigne…

4 Real

"If I show you, get to know you, if I hold you just for today. I'm not gonna wanna let go; I'm not gonna wanna go home. Tell me you feel the same."

Eli's lips moved with Clare's in a slow, gentle harmony. The hand that was not wrapped around her back gently crept toward Clare's forearm, pulling her closer to him so that her body was flush against his.

"'Cause I'm for real, are you for real? I can't myself; it's the way I feel. When you look me in the eyes like you did last night, I can't stand to hear you say goodbye. Well, it feels so right, 'cause it feels so right just to have you standing by my side, so don't let me go, 'cause you have my soul, and I just wanted you to know."

Her hand remained on his shoulder, daring to tangle her fingers in his hair while the other clutched at the bouquet of roses with all of her strength. "You know," she said in between kisses, "I don't," he kissed her deeply, stroking his hand up and down her back soothingly. "Want this," his lips moved with hers expertly, their soft lips fitting flawlessly with one another. "To end," she dropped the roses in surprise when Eli broke apart from her lips and gently kissed her cheek, trailing slow and gentle kisses to her neck.

"Hold me down. Hold me now. I'm safe; I'm sound, when you're around."

He laughed softly, lifting his face so he could look into her piercing blue eyes. "Neither do I." he bent down, picking up the roses and holding them close to his chest and reluctantly stepping away from her. "Are these for me?" he asked softly.

"Yeah," Clare smiled, blushing when he gave her a tender look, that familiar sparkle appearing in his deep green eyes. "The musical's brilliant director deserves flowers."

"Thank you," he returned the smile and held his hand out for her to take. Their fingers interlacing, he whispered in her ear, "I think we should get you home, Clare."

Her breaths became shaky at his close proximity. "I-I think you should spend the night with me." She blurted out, clamping her free hand over mouth as soon as the rushed thought made itself audible.

This time he almost dropped the flowers.

"Clare, I don't know…" he said softly, trying to not hurt her feelings. Clare had just been through an extremely tough few weeks of her life. Her "mentor" had abused his position and took advantage of her. He lied and blamed her for the incident, causing her to lose her internship and possibly even her lifelong dream. Rude hockey guys had crashed her birthday party, a party at which she was supposed to be having fun but ended up crying in Eli's embrace in Fiona's bedroom for a good ten minutes. Eli wanted nothing more than to hold her in his arms all night, but was she really ready for something so…forward? He did not want to screw this up. He couldn't.

"Eli, please. We've lost so much time already! I wasted last year and summer fantasizing over Jake, when you were the real one. I swear to you, Eli, I never stopped loving you, and I don't think I ever will. I just want to be with you as much as possible, and don't you dare tell me I'm not ready because of Asher. Asher has nothing to do with you and me. I promise you, once Jennifer and I talk to the police, I'll have some closure. Please, just…stay with me tonight?" she stammered, eyeing him with ferocity.

He adjusted his bow tie nervously. Was Clare really ready for this? He was just going to have to trust her on this one. "Okay. I'll take you home, and I'll stay with you."

"Thank you!" Clare leapt forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him close and crushing her lips over his. She savored the warmth and softness of his lips before gently pulling away and walking out the doors of Degrassi hand-in-hand with him.

As they stepped outside, the chilly winter air blew all around them, chasing away dead leaves and chilling them to the bone. Clare clung to Eli's arm tightly, the feeling of his hand clasped tightly in hers calming her nerves slightly.

Nothing had to happen between them tonight, right?

Only…what if she wanted something to happen?

"Shit," Eli exclaimed as he stumbled over a patch of ice on the sidewalk.

"Eli! Shh!" Clare chastised him, grabbing the sleeve of his tux and yanking him up the steps leading to her front porch. "You need to be quiet."

He playfully rolled his eyes, keeping a tight hold on the roses and watching her adoringly as she dug in her pocket for the house key. Once she opened the door, he breathed a deep sigh of relief at the warmer atmosphere, the heat welcoming him quite literally like "a warm hug on a cold day".

"Eli, follow me." She giggled, whispering excitedly in his ear and slowly creeping up the stairs. She felt along the wall in order to see with her tiny ice cold hands, spying the tiny light she had left on in her bedroom. Peering around the corner while Eli was still on the stairs behind her, Clare checked to make sure Helen, Glen, and Jake were all asleep. "Coast is clear," she murmured, turning around and pressing a chaste kiss to Eli's soft lips.

He stood there, dumbfounded at the thought that Clare was having him spend the night.

In her room.

With her.

In his arms!

"Wait for me!" he whined, and Clare responded with a rather loud, "SHUSH, ELI!" and giggles came from inside her room.

Creeping inside the small room, the first thing he saw was the slightly cracked open window and bright stars shining outside through the glass. The starry night distracted him for just a second too long, for next thing he knew, he was shoved up against Clare's bedroom door, and her lips were on his.

Clare gasped when she felt his arms wind around her waist, slowly and gently massaging her back, as he kissed her back, matching the same desperate need that she felt inside of her heart. Bringing her hands to his shoulders and feeling the soft material of his suit, she pinned Eli against the door, continuously bringing her lips to his.

"Whoa," Eli breathed as she pulled back and kissed his cheek lovingly. "What was that all about?"

"Simple. I need you, Eli." She replied, stating it as if it was the easiest known fact in the world. "Isn't it obvious? Tonight is the night, Eli. Your play was a success, I'm getting closure with Asher, and I love you. Plus, you just told me you love me about a half hour ago."

His green eyes twinkled in the starlight, only a mere strip of moonlight pouring in through the windowpane, casting shadows on their faces. The lamp was turned off.

"I do love you, so much. You're everything to me, but…are you sure, sweetheart?" Eli asked softly, bringing his hand up to caress her face gently.

She shivered lightly, not even being able to see his face. Taking a step backward and leaving him standing against the door, she slowly made her way towards neatly made bed and stopped dead in her tracks, standing completely still.

"Clare?" he took a step forward, hearing the floorboards creek ever so slightly. "Where are you? It's pitch black," he whispered gently.

"Follow my voice," Clare answered him, trying to keep a steady voice. This wasn't just any love. This was for real. This was all in.

His footsteps were quiet as he made his way towards the source of the sound. The sweet sound of Clare Edwards' voice. So damn beautiful.

He shivered, feeling the icy cold air slowly and lazily drift through the cracked open window, a ray of moonlight illuminating Clare's face, as he gently approached her gentle whisper of, "I love you, Eli,"

"I'm here, Clare." He whispered softly, feeling her hand creep behind his neck and pull him into a deep and loving kiss, his knees knocking into the edge of her bed. "Ouch," he winced, hearing her giggles fading into the darkness of the room.

Clare's giggles stopped abruptly as Eli took off his tux jacket, leaving him in only the white dress shirt under it. The smooth material of the shirt caressed her skin as he gently slid off her navy jacket that covered the orange blouse underneath after making eye contact with her and receiving her nod of approval.

His lips were everywhere. On her cheek, her neck, her lips, her ear… he loved kissing her. It was relief, better than a teaspoon of medicine to relieve the pain. In his heart, the past lurking within it was not a pain that medicine could cure.

She was his medicine.

He was hers.

It felt like heaven. Every gentle, tentative touch made Clare's breath hitch, her breathing coming out in ragged gasps as more and more clothing was shed. By the time his soft skin came to a rest on hers, every line of his body joining hers, she felt his arms wrap around her, pulling her into a protective and loving embrace. Even though had said it before,

"I love you." Was the truest statement that either of them had ever said.

They practiced and practiced the dance of pure love. The dance that created life everlasting and the love and comfort that they both needed so dearly much and heeded from one another was apparent in the darkness.

Eli relished the feel of her trust; her hands slid down his chest with such slow speed that he could have sworn things were in slow motion.

Clare basked in the glow within his eyes; his lips rarely parted from hers, except for one he'd pull back and gaze at her in amazement.

Eli rolled onto his side, opening his arms for his love to crawl into. He could always protect her here, in his arms. Nothing would ever happen to her again. He wanted to love and care for her until his very last day.

"I'm blessed," Clare thought as she brought her tired and shaking body into his arms and felt his hands sliding down her shoulders, calming the trembling of her muscles.

"I want you to have this forever, Eli." And with that, her purity ring found its new home on Eli's pinky finger, the silver glowing in the dim light of the room.

His eyes looked straight into hers, and she knew, she just knew, peace was finally found, and this was for real.