Innocent Man – A Love Like Pi

Rating: T

Summary: She doesn't mean to love her. It just happens.

A/N: Anon prompted a Bechloe ipod shuffle challenge so here it is; well, here is the first song. Anon also specified ten songs but I'm lazy so I figure I'll do at least five. ALSO, I dunno what the hell this fic is 'cause I'm pretty sure this song is about Jesus, so… yeah. Also, this ficlet is kinda messed up, so sorry if I hurt any FEELS—if it's any consolation, I kinda hurt my own FEELS 'cause I broship Chloe with all guys and this hurt.

How long, how long
Are you asking me to stay?
I cannot stand to watch you kneel today
I saw your hope and turned my face
Away from you
But under her skirt I see the nation's pain
All kicked with dirt, she crossed her legs in shame
How can you hurt a man who knows your name?
It's true
I cannot, I cannot kill an innocent
Eleanor, Eleanor (I will not, I will not) put the gun in my
I cannot, I cannot kill an innocent man

If you say, I believe it now, what we got we gave away
holy God that we have failed
we killed your carpenter with nails
In the end, when the fire comes, burning up the souls we spend
Is it worth what we have paid?

She doesn't mean to love her.

It just happens.

Beca is a roulette wheel of infinite chance (she's an electrifying and incalculable gamble).

One spin and she's deep, passionate brushes of red; spin again and she might be mysterious, hauntingly forlorn strokes of black. Every now and then—it's rare but so lovely— she's green; vibrant, magical, and lively shades of green.

(Chloe loves all of her, but she might just love her greens the best.)

There are other layers to her too. Sometimes she's an odd number—frustratingly difficult to divide but puzzlingly gripping— and sometimes she's an even number—frustratingly sensible but almost amusingly ordinary. Every once in a while, she's 0— scarily complex but unflinchingly open— and once—just once, in the shower, surprised, momentarily unguarded and effortlessly beautiful— she was 00.

(Chloe wants to keep spinning until she hits that fantastically improbable probability again and again and again.)

Because Chloe loves her.

She can't help but love her, but like all sorts of gambling, she can't help but be daunted by the possibility of irrevocable loss.

She wants to keep playing—she wants to keep the wheel spinning until she's hit every number, every color, every probability once, and then once again, and then even more times after that—but she knows one mistaken bet (perhaps a confession before Beca's ready to hear it) and she'll lose her all together.

So, she keeps her distance (well, she keeps her distance as best as she can). She bets sparingly, spins only when she's feeling particularly daring and if that's what keeps her chances of hitting the green (of hitting the precious 00 again) high then she's kind of alright with that because Chloe is and has always been nothing if not a friend worth keeping.

She doesn't mean to leave.

It just happens.

Beca gets with Jesse and although Chloe saw it coming from a million miles away, she can't stand to watch it. It was an intricate cat and mouse chase and for a moment she actually thought it was a failed one, but they kiss—Beca and Jesse— right after Nationals and for the first time, Chloe's glad she's graduating. Her quickly expiring lease and the measly couple of grand she managed to save in her four years of college suddenly seem like the world's greatest blessing.

Atlanta was nice but so is Nashville.

She knows nothing about country music (except finger picking, C,D and G chords, Taylor Swift is pretty cool— so is Carrie Underwood) but she gets hired at an indie country record label and she learns as she goes (plus she totally drunkenly rocks a cowboy hat like a boss).

One month spans into two years and she still text messages Beca often because that's the Chloe thing to do. She sends the appropriate "lol" when Beca's frustrated with the older Bellas and she sends her encouragement when she feels she's getting nowhere with the newer ones. She flinches in her mind when Beca mentions Jesse but she doesn't let the hesitation reach her fingertips. Most importantly, she doesn't blurt any confessions of love. That would screw up their friendship and Chloe is, after all, nothing if not a friend worth keeping.

She doesn't mean to go back.

It just happens.

With Regionals nearing, Beca texts her often— she updates her about the constantly updating setlist; she send little blurbs of what random and unusual thing Amy did in rehearsals; she sends a daily count of how many days Lilly has gone without setting fire to anything; so it's a daily thing really, sometimes hourly even.

When her phone buzzes at 3 AM the actual morning of Regionals, she expects a "What is happening to me? And what did I get myself into?" text just like she got the morning of last year's Regionals and last year's Semis and she can't forget that explicative filled message that spanned two pages worth of scrolling the morning of Nationals.

What she gets instead is, "I really miss you, Chloe."

Nashville was great and she loved all the people she met and all the new things she learned but A&R in an indie country record label was never her objective anyway so there's no hesitation when she types her resignation email (effectively immediately) and there's no uncertainty when she hits send.

Atlanta is as she remembers it—all traffic jams and nightclubs and lukewarm coffee— Beca, however, is not at all what she expects.

She's a frightening lack of variation, all deep, passionate brushes of red under watchful eyes and mysterious, hauntingly forlorn strokes of black when she thinks no one's looking.

She's a terrifying lack of green.

Chloe tries to coax her towards flourishing hues first through song and when that fails, through shared recollections of their year together.

There's nothing, not even a hint of green until she catches Beca off guard, until she bets all her chips on an abrupt hug and an "I really missed you too, Beca."

She gets an eye roll and the crinkled lines of a carefully repressed smile.

It's not the vibrant green she remembers; it's not 00 or even 0, but it's something; it's something she caused and there's a flicker in her chest from having caused that—from being the one to rekindle that kind of spark— but that is, after all, what friends do, right? And she is, after all, nothing if not a friend worth keeping.

She doesn't mean to stay.

It just happens.

Beca is living in an apartment with Jesse—like actually living with him in a one bedroom off campus. There's a bookcase of DVDs beside the TV in the cramped living room and a few elastic banded bundles of jump drives scattered across the coffee table.

It hurts.

It hurts more than Chloe could even have anticipated and after a month of constant hurting, she wants out.

Nashville wasn't home but she can't say Atlanta ever was either.

She books a ticket to New York and Aubrey offers up her spare bedroom without hesitation.

It's a done deal, or at least it would be, but Beca catches her wrist before she can step foot in her provided taxicab. All of a sudden, there's green—green light go, lively green, vibrant 0 green everywhere—and Beca voice is low and almost trembling when says, "you know, you don't really have to leave, Chloe." What it really sounds like is, "I'd kinda really like it if you stayed."

Chloe is torn. Except, she's not really, because there's pleading in the firm press of Beca's fingertips tightening against her wrist, and there's vulnerability in the way she can't seem to let go.

It almost seems like Beca needs her.

So Chloe stays, because that's what a good friend would do, and Chloe is, after all, nothing if not a friend worth keeping.

She doesn't mean to like him.

It just happens.

He offers up their couch—his and Beca's— for as long as she needs it. It's a bad idea—Chloe registers that it's a really bad idea—but Beca grins at the suggestion and Chloe's initial plan of random couch hopping did sound pretty exhausting...

Okay, so it's still probably the stupidest thing Chloe has ever agreed to.

Jesse's nice as far as guys go—he's honestly thoughtful and genuinely gracious. He's handsome too—baby-faced but strappingly unrefined. And sometimes, she catches him looking at Beca the way she looks at Beca—like just maybe she's too perfect to be real.

So, maybe he's kind of aloof at times—not in a smug or cold way because he's actually boundlessly friendly (they kinda have that in common) but he just doesn't see Beca's colors the same way she does. She's not criticizing him for it; it's just an observation. Everyone has their faults and she's in no place to fault him for his, especially since he's the one that has Beca in all the ways she can only dream of, and honestly, Chloe can see why.

She imagines that being in the same apartment as him—being in the same space as him in general—will be awkward at best.

It's actually not awkward at all.

The thing is, Jesse hums when he does homework; he bobs his head when he washes dishes; he randomly sings 80's rock songs at her in a seriously ridiculous falsetto when he's bored. How can Chloe not like him?

Sometimes he goads her into duets too—honestly, it doesn't take that much goading—and they sing and sing until Beca rolls her eyes at the pair of them, her amused smirk hidden behind her knuckles as she shakes her head which only goads them into singing even louder.

His movie collection is kinda awesome too. They burn through at least 5 DVDs per nights, watching one after the other until Beca finally grows tired of being ignored and dramatically collapses into the couch between them. That's Chloe's favorite because then they get to tease her endlessly about her surrender until she has no choice but to actually watch the movie to block them out.

They all watch Titanic one night—Beca huddled into herself on a separate couch, lost beneath her headphones and glaring (because, yes, she and Jesse were totally absolutely serious about knowing every word and yes, they were currently imitating the roles of Rose and Jack, respectively)—and once the credits begin rolling, Jesse laughs loudly—springing up from his "death"— and nudges Chloe in her side, proclaiming them new best friends.

Chloe smiles and nods, because yeah, she's used to that, and she is, after all, nothing if not a friend worth keeping.

She doesn't mean to come between them.

It just happens.

She's on the couch, indifferent to the fact that she's just staring up at the ceiling instead of sleeping because that's her norm nowadays anyway; she just doesn't sleep well lately— she supposes that's what happens when the girl she's hopelessly, stupidly in love with is just a few steps away probably cuddled up with her boyfriend—who Chloe hopelessly and stupidly doesn't hate.

The door to Beca and Jesse's bedroom suddenly rattles open and Chloe squeezes her eyes shut tight. She's come this far—further than she thought she could— and she won't risk it all now with her fatigue loosened tongue.

Footsteps—carefully quieted—fall gently against the hardwood floor. Chloe waits, breath bated, for them to pass—for them to trail off into the kitchen area or for the heavy lock on the front door to click.

Neither happens.

The footfall shuffles closer and comes to a stop right at the back of the couch.

Chloe can feel the presence hovering above her; she can feel the heady stare of inquisitive eyes.

It could be a few seconds or a few years, but she grows tired of fake sleeping (or faking her death—she's still not sure if she's even released her seized breath yet).

Her eyes blink open and the perpetrator—Beca— jumps back, surprised.

"Jesus, Chloe!" She clutches at her chest. "You scared the fuck out of me!"

Chloe laughs because said by the girl who just crept up on her in the middle of the night while she was supposedly sleeping? Yeah, the words hold little weight.

"Likewise," she chuckles, hiking herself into sitting position and throwing an arm over the couch's armrest. "Couldn't sleep?" She asks.

Beca nods, rounding the couch to sit.

Chloe expects her to teasingly throw her feet under her or to at least nudge her to one side so she has space to sit; she's nowhere near prepared for Beca to practically throw herself into her, their sides pressed closed, the nape of her neck resting against Chloe's relaxed bicep.

It's the cruelest role reversal Chloe can imagine.

She wonders if this is how Beca feels when she invades her space like this; if she ever feels this abruptly hot, this breathless, this oddly complacent? (She doesn't; she can't, Chloe reasons; if she did, they wouldn't be here right now—not like this, at least).

"You?" Beca sighs, practically burrowing into the curve of Chloe's neck. "Couldn't sleep either?"

Chloe shrugs, noncommittal, because yes, she was serious about that coming too far to ruin this now thing and it's also kinda hard to form words when Beca's this close; when she's close enough that Chloe can see the soft shadows cast upon her cheeks when her eyelashes flutter against skin; when she's close enough that Chloe could trace the undercurrent of life—the bed of veins—that flow from neck to jaw, if she wanted. Beca might be most beautiful like this, Chloe thinks—she looks so young and innocent, wiped clean off the dark edge of makeup, wiped clean off any façade; there's so much green that it's almost blinding.

"I don't know what I'm doing, Chlo," Beca whispers suddenly, and Chloe nods because she may not know the context, but she knows that feeling (she finds herself not knowing exactly what she's doing a lot lately actually). "Chloe," Beca murmurs again, her voice pleading and trembling—Chloe's reminded of that day in front of the taxicab, Beca's fingertips pressed into her wrist. "I don't know what I'm doing," she repeats, emphasizing each and every word.

Chloe parts her lips to ask for clarification—to express understanding even—but she finds herself suddenly hushed.

Apparently, Beca know exactly what she's doing if the way she slides her tongue across Chloe's bottom lip is anything to go by.

Beca's lips are soft and full, gentle but insistent as she draws Chloe out of herself with her careful kisses. She's slow at first, meticulous as she presses her lips to the side of Chloe's; reverent as she ghosts across the bow of her bottom lip and sloppily catches her chin.

Delicate fingers splay against Chloe's jaw, palms tugging her close even though Beca's already moving closer—even though Beca drapes her thigh across Chloe's body, straddling her fully and firmly like she couldn't possibly get close enough even if she tried.

A teasing tongue slips slick past her lips and Chloe sighs, back arching. The relief that rises in her throat tastes like desperation on the tip of her tongue— it's divine but it feels wrong.

"Wait," she gasps into a warm mouth, her fingers twisted into wisps of dark hair. She doesn't let go—she's not sure she can—even as she drags her lips from Beca's. "We shouldn't."

Beca's eyes are stormy—the most turbulent blue Chloe has ever seen them—even though she's green—vulnerable, complex, unflinchingly open green.

"We shouldn't," Beca agrees, nodding, her hot breath blowing warm against Chloe's kiss swollen lips. She closes her eyes, forehead resting against Chloe's, thumb caressing at the underside of Chloe's jaw. "We shouldn't," she repeats—the words sounding almost pained— but she does.

When Beca kisses her again, it's frantic. It's hard and urgent, all panted, swallowed breaths and gnashing teeth.

Beca tastes like longing—like the very tangible incarnation of this heady arousal weighing on Chloe's chest.

Beca skims, open mouthed, along the column of Chloe's neck and Chloe whimpers.

She tips her head back to offer more access and there's a slither of light that extends along the ceiling, a projection of guilt easily slipping from between the crack where Beca and Jesse's bedroom door isn't quite closed. There's a bitter aftertaste to this crowning betrayal.

Chloe pulls back—for breath, for thought, for a semblance of herself.

She gently cups Beca's cheeks, her fingers gliding over the lines of stern concentration spanning against heavily pursed lips. Beca looks so beautiful like this, carnal and heedless—exposed and undone.

Chloe wants to kiss her again. She wants to so, so badly but…

"Beca, we can't," she pleads, depending on Beca to be an even number— depending on her to be the sensible one when Chloe feels like she's lost all of her senses. "We can't."

But apparently, they can. They definitely can.

And suddenly, Chloe doesn't feel like a friend at all.

She doesn't mean to hurt him.

But she does.

They should have stopped. One time could have been counted as a sleep deprived mistake, two as the eruption of repressed craving, three and it may not have caused Aubrey to actually retch—anxious for her, pained for her— when she explained just what she had gotten herself into on the phone, but now Chloe's lost track and she feels horrible; she doesn't know how Beca can sleep next to him at night because Chloe can barely even look him in the eye.

The guilt is astounding. It's consuming. It's damaging.

They should have stopped.

They should stop.

But Beca kisses her—Beca sighs into her, Beca sinks into her, Beca thrusts into her— and she is green, green, green. Chloe is addicted to it—addicted to her; this gamble is risky but high paying. It a slow payout—longing in the slow, sweet lick of Beca's tongue in her mouth, adoration in the tired slump of Beca's body against hers after orgasm, love in the desperate, seeping sigh of Chloe's name from barely parted lips.

They should have stopped.

They should stop.

Jesse is supposed to be on campus. He's supposed to be at the radio station. He's supposed to be somewhere—anywhere but at the apartment when Chloe's lips are drawing these clandestine declarations out of Beca with the careful and practiced slip of her tongue.

He drops something; a couple rented DVDs falling to the ground, crashing loud amidst the soft sighs of Chloe's name.

Dread soaks into Chloe's chest and apology rises against her lips but it's too late for that; Jesse's jaw is clenched and his eyes subtly wet.

"Jesse, wait," pours from her lips before she can stop it.

He doesn't wait.

He has no reason to wait, because Chloe is, after all, nothing.

She doesn't mean to love her.

But she does.

Beca is a roulette wheel of infinite chance (she's an electrifying and incalculable gamble).

Chloe was aware of the possibly of irrevocable loss from the beginning. She was daunted by it even.

She thought that she would lose Beca; she wasn't quite prepared to lose part of herself.

The End.

Next song: Heartlines – Florence + the Machine

Also, review and stuff please because my ego is fragile.

Also, also, the title is from Marilyn Manson's Heart-Shaped Glasses and I might end this challenge with a quick fic from that song since the song popped into mind when I was looking for a title and the line I used is probably the most reflective of all the different directions these song fic-y thingies could go.