and just as the sun chases after the moon (i will always chase after you)
Rating: T for Language
Summary: He had once gone into hell for Octavia. He wondered at what point he had begun to love Clarke as much as his sister.
He remembers heat and pain. The heat is sharper, seared into his memory like the red-hot wires he accidently brushed against while trying to fix their sliding door when he was seventeen. When he thinks of that night, he thinks of the heat first; so intense, so unlike anything he had felt before. But he remembers the pain too. And he remembers the pain had come first.
The pain of thinking that his princess was dead. The pain of letting Octavia go. The pain of the Grounder's weapon knocking the breath out of him. He remembers Clarke yelling that he wasn't in the drop ship and he remembers hearing her desperate voice say, "He's killing him!"
He remembers the pain of dying.
He had thought back to when he was in the drop ship with Murphy and he had felt the ghost of the harness tighten around his neck, suddenly finding himself struggling to breathe. He remembers being incredibly grateful that Clarke wasn't there to witness that moment, and he had decided right then that he didn't want her to see him die.
But now he was starting to think he didn't have a choice.
The Grounder had been on top of him, weapon raised and ready to deliver the killing blow, when suddenly the weight was gone, accompanied by the sound of two shots. Looking up, Bellamy saw Spacewalker (Spacewalker!) running towards him, gun raised.
"Damn kid, wasting ammo," he mutters under his breath. He picks up his gun and slams it into the head of a Grounder approaching Finn from behind. He's knocked over again, this time a Grounder's hands wrapping around his throat and out of the corner of his eye he sees that the kid isn't moving, he's just standing there looking off into the distance.
If he wasn't being choked to death he'd have yelled at him.
He realizes that Spacewalker is looking at Clarke and he would've laughed if he could. It would seem that the princess is too occupied worrying about her pacifist lover to watch him die (maybe he'd get his wish after all). Then he sees a flurry of blonde hair disappear in the direction of the drop ship, and he realizes with a sinking feeling that he's not going to get out of this one alive.
As everything goes black, reliving the tightening of the noose as the Grounder's hands squeeze the life out of him, he can't help but feel pissed that Spacewalker was too busy having a moment with the blonde princess to realize there was a Grounder killing him.
He remembers the weight disappearing, and a gasp so violent it feels like it's ripping his throat apart.
And then he remembers heat.
He wakes up in a cave. Well, he thinks it's a cave at first, but then he sees sunlight streaming in from a crack in the wall and he realizes that it's one of the foxholes the Hundred had dug. He tries to sit up, only to cry out in pain as he feels an intense pain in his side.
Next to him, Spacewalker opens his eyes.
"Keep it down, will you?" the kid grumbles, adjusting himself against the dirt wall. Part of his face is an angry red and it looks like one of his eyebrows is singed off.
Bellamy glances down and sees that the entire side of his shirt is burned away, leaving blistering flesh exposed from his hip up to his rib cage. He gently touches the skin, only to let out a grunt of pain and fall back against the ground.
"How the fuck did we survive that?" he asks, exhausted.
"You were passed out and the Grounders were occupied trying to get into the drop ship. I pulled you into a tunnel as far as I could before the blast hit." Finn winced as he opened his eyes and his fingers brushed against his face. "Apparently it wasn't far enough."
Bellamy snorts. "Yeah, apparently."
The claims to be a pacifist have such a short temper. "You weren't much help, being unconscious and all."
"I wouldn't have been unconscious if someone had been paying attention and had my back. I had a two-hundred-pound Grounder choking me and you were too busy having a moment with a certain blonde princess, who I would like to point out is not the girlfriend that moved heaven and earth to find you."
Spacewalker opens his mouth to speak, but before the words can escape his lips, Bellamy cuts him off with a, "Oh shut up, Finn," and closes his eyes.
He hears Finn mumble something under his breathe, and he catches the words "Clarke" and "sacrifice", but not much else. Letting out a sigh, he props himself up on his elbow, wincing, and asks, "Where's everyone else?"
"Gone. I tried crawling back to camp before you woke up. It's completely deserted. I don't know where everyone went."
Bellamy opens his eyes and studies the boy for a moment. The misery in his voice betrays the fact that it's not just the camp he's upset disappeared. Poor kid is trapped in a love triangle with two of the most stubborn girls he knew. He refuses to pity him (kid got himself into that situation all by himself), but he does know what it means to feel lost without someone by you side.
He silently prays Octavia is safe.
"Anything left of the camp?" he grunts, trying to push the pain to the back of his mind (trying to focus on anything, anything except the fact that he has lost everything he's loved, everything they've worked towards, in the past few hours).
"Lots of ash," Finn replies. The boy sounds as defeated as Bellamy feels. "Ash, bones, bodies. You remember how bad the camp smelled when that virus was going around? Like blood and death everywhere? Yeah, multiply that by ten."
Bellamy winces. "Give me a few minutes and we'll go back and look," he comments. He doesn't want to go back there. He doesn't want to see the place he'd started to call home completely destroyed. But in the back of his mind, he knows that he doesn't really have a choice.
Finn makes an unintelligible noise in response.
"Oh, and Spacewalker?" He opens one eye to look at the dark haired pacifist that had given him so much trouble over the last few weeks. "We'll find them. Don't worry."
The kid just mumbles even more and Bellamy tunes him out.
The tracks are human, and, to be honest, that's what scares Bellamy. What scares him even more is the imprints of bodies in the ash (bodies that very well could have fallen to the ground after being shot) all over camp.
"Could it be Grounders?" Finn asks.
Bellamy turns and sees the boy scratching the back of his head, looking utterly bewildered. "We roasted all of them," he responds. "That smell sure isn't burned herbs. They'd have to be suicidal, running back into the camp the morning after a bunch of strange kids fried half their warrior."
Octavia's words rang in his ears. Lincoln says the Mountain Men are angry. And he says that they'll come to kill us all if we don't leave. Something catches his attention a few feet away. Stepping over skeletons and lifting his shirt to cover his nose (the smell really was awful), he leans down, his hand wrapping around something small and shiny.
Finn's nose wrinkles in confusion. "It looks like a grenade."
"If it was a grenade this entire area of the camp would be even more decimated than it is." When the look of confusion didn't leave the kid's face, Bellamy raises an eyebrow. "Come on," he says. "You were supposed to be a trouble maker. Don't tell me you never stole a few smoke bombs off the guards back on the Ark."
Eyes widening, Finn looks at the older man. "But that means…"
Bellamy picks up a gun that one of the Hundred must have dropped after leaving the ship. Slinging it around his shoulder, he shoves the smoke bomb into Finn's chest and says, "I hope you remember everything that sketchbook said about the Mountain Men, Spacewalker."
They spend three days lost in the forest before they stumble upon the survivors of the Ark. They see the smoke first, but they encounter the adults much sooner than they anticipated.
Which, of course, leads to them almost being shot.
"Woah! Woah!" Bellamy yells, putting his hands up as he spies one of the adults pointing their gun at him. "Hey, we're friends. We're part of the Hundred."
"Like hell you are!" one of the men shouts back, terror in his voice. "It's a trap, just like that tribal guy. Shoot him!"
Both Bellamy and Finn start yelling as three more guns are pointed at them. The older boy is about to reach for his own gun when a voice rings out through the forest.
Looking between the trees, Bellamy sees a man with long, black hair jog up to them. Narrowed blue eyes inspect Finn before darting to him and assessing him as well.
"They're telling the truth." Gesturing to Bellamy, he says, "Don't you remember? That's the kid who shot the chancellor."
The former guard feels a flash of anger (he should have known better than to believe that his sins would really be forgiven by the citizens of the Ark) and he's unable to stop the flicker of annoyance that flashes across his features. "And who are you?" he snaps.
"He's Marcus Kane," another voice says from behind him. Whirling around, his eyes land on a woman with dark hair and rough features. For some reason, she looks familiar, but he can't quite place her face.
The woman puts her hands on her hips, pausing a moment before saying, "I'm Abby Griffin."
His heart drops to his stomach. "Griffin?"
Her skeptical gaze shifts from him to Finn as the delinquent says, "You wouldn't happen to know a Clarke Griffin, would you?"
Something flashes in the woman's - Abby's - eyes. "Is she okay?" she asks much too quickly.
There is a long silence before Bellamy realizes that Finn's gaze has shifted to him, along with the eyes of everyone in the clearing. "We…ah…" he trails off, trying to find the right words. "We aren't exactly sure."
The deflated look on the Griffin woman's face is almost enough to make him pity her.
The man they had called Kane clears his throat and says, "I think you should come back to camp and tell us everything."
He does tell them everything. Well, he tells Kane everything. The Griffin woman is too preoccupied talking to Finn about Clarke to hear about the disappearance of seventy-two teenagers, kids who's families are just as desperate as she is.
His aggravation must have shown on his face because at one point Kane catches him glancing over at the two (they're sitting by a fire, talking softly) and says, "Don't be too hard on them. They aren't like you and me."
Ripping his gaze away from the mother and her future son-in-law, he looks at the dark-haired man and asks incredulously, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"And I'm not?" Bellamy can't help but feel a bit offended. What does this man (who reminds him so much of his father) know about him anyway?
"They're good," Kane repeats. "We're corruptible."
This time he finds he can't respond (because he knows it's true).
Kane takes it as a sign to continue. "They are good leaders, I'd even call them strong. I honestly don't know how I'd lead without Abby by my side. But when it comes down to it, I know that I'll be the one who has to make the tough choices, the grey choices, the choices that get people killed. I'll be the one who lets people die so that others can live, who doesn't try to save the ones I know are already lost. I'll do it because I can live with a bit of darkness inside of me." He pauses and tilts his head towards Abby. "She can't. She always sees good in people, even when it's not there, always looks for a peaceful way, even when one doesn't exist. And she won't accept anything else, the thought of letting some die so that others can live is unthinkable to her, she has to save them all. So I do it for her. I'm the darkness so she can be the light. And she has to be the light, it's who she is. Finn is the same way. I expect Clarke is that way too."
Bellamy's voice is so quite, he doesn't actually know if he says it out loud or not. He almost hopes that it is lost in the breeze and that Kane didn't hear it, but out of the corner of his eye he sees the man shift and he knows that hell have to explain.
"No, Clarke's different," he continues. "She sees it. She sees how being the darkness destroys you, destroys me, and she wouldn't let me do it." He pauses for a moment, trying to find the right words to describe this blonde whirlwind that has somehow taken his life by storm. "We've…we've done some questionable things here on the ground, to save ourselves, to save our own. At one point, I…I made a decision to do something horrible. It was actually to save Finn's life. He was poisoned and he needed an antidote."
A dark chuckle escapes Bellamy as he remembers when he tortured Lincoln. Maybe Spacewalker saved his life because he felt like he owed him. Maybe the kid is just naturally that stupid. "I gave Clarke a way out," he says, "told her she didn't have to be there, didn't have to see it. You know what she said?" He turned, looking into Kane's eyes. "She looked me in the eye and said, 'I'm not leaving.' She wants to be the light, She wants to be the light so badly, but she would never accept it at the cost of someone else being consumed by darkness. That's what makes her stronger."
Kane just nods, a thoughtful expression on his face.
They sit in silence for a few more minutes until Abby finally stands up. Kane stands as well and the two adults switch spots, each walking around the fire to sit by one of the boys.
When Abby sits down next to him, Bellamy suddenly feels like a child about to be punished, like he's done something wrong and this is the retribution for it (come to think of it, he's done a lot of wrong, but he was hoping that justice would at least wait until the afterlife). It's a feeling that he doesn't like at all.
"You were the one who shot Chancellor Jaha?" she asks.
"You shot my best friend."
There is a long silence before he realizes that she's waiting for him to say something. "I'm not exactly sure what to say to that, ma'am."
"An apology would be nice."
He doesn't like the way she's talking to him, like he's below her, like they're back on the Ark and she's a Council Member and he's a janitor. He doesn't like that she seems to think she's better than him, that she can order him around, and he suddenly feels the intense desire to show this woman that on Earth, you play by different rules.
The expression of surprise and anger on her face as she turns to look at him almost makes it all worth it by itself. Nevertheless, he clarifies. "I have always done what I needed to do to protect my sister. That's who I am. I will never apologize for that."
The flicker of emotion across her face is impossible to read (she looks so much like Clarke). "Your sister, Octavia," she says, and he can't read her tone for the life of him. "You'd do anything to keep her safe, even give her up to a Grounder."
His gaze had drifted back to the fire, but he finds himself whirling back to look at her in an instant, his heart pounding and his mind reeling. "How did you know that?" he spits out. He knows that he will not be able to hide the pain in his voice, so instead mixes it with anger and hatred to try and mask this weak spot the woman had unknowingly hit.
"Finn told me all about you," she says (damn him), "and your sister. And all the events of the past two days."
He wants to believe that Spacewalker would lie, that he would weave vicious, outrageous tales to tear the older man down and build up his own reputation in front of the princess's mother. He wants to believe that the boy would paint him to be a monster, cold and cruel, unable to feel any compassion or empathy. He wants to believe that the kid would try to sell him as something he's not (or at least, something he hopes he's not).
But Bellamy knows he wouldn't. The kid's too damn good.
"He's a good boy," Abby says, looking across camp at Finn and the light from the fire casts odd shadows on her face. As he watches the emotions dance across features, he manages to calm his breath and shut down the tidal wave of emotion that is ripping apart his throat.
"Yes, ma'am," is all he says.
"And he seems to really love my daughter."
"He told me about how close you are with Clarke," she muses, "that you two depended on each other to lead the kids and keep everyone alive. He said that it was even possible that you could've loved her."
He doesn't respond. He doesn't know what to say. Could have he loved the brave princess who had descended from space with him? She was an angel from heaven and he, a demon lost in his own darkness. Could he have loved her? (Could he still love her?) He tries to ignore the strange feeling that courses through his veins, making his blood run hot with an emotion he does not recognize. He has made a point over the past few weeks, even when she was still with him, to not think about such a question and he doesn't plan on giving in now.
"I don't approve of it," Abby says.
There is a wild beast inside of his ribcage that claws at his chest and he feels the noose his own hands had made tighten around his neck yet again.
"And as soon as I see my daughter, I will tell her my opinion on the subject."
He decides he hates Clarke's mother even more than he used to hate her.
In the weeks that follow, Finn seems to fit in among the Ark survivors easily, his kind grin and easygoing laugh making the boy seem both likeable and compassionate.
Bellamy finds the task much more difficult.
He often ends up sneaking away; out into the forest where the judgmental glances of the adults don't haunt him. When he's alone, he's allowed to do whatever he wants. He's allowed to think whatever he wants. The forest becomes the only place he feels free, the suffocating judgment imposed on him day in and day out evaporating like dew in the sunlight. The system works well for him, until one day when he hears the crunch of footsteps behind him.
Whirling around, his hand reaches for the knife tucked in his belt (the damn council won't let him have a gun, just another thing he hates them for), only to freeze when he sees a pair of wide eyes staring at him from around the corner of a tree.
Letting out a small sigh, he lets his body relax and gestures for the little girl to come out into the open. Her long brown hair is matted and covering one of her eyes, leaves and sticks tangled in it and dirt smeared on her face (she couldn't be older than eight or nine). For some unknown reason he's suddenly reminded of Octavia. "What are you doing out here by yourself?" he asks, his hand running through his own knotted hair (he really needs to get it cut soon). "It's not safe."
"What are you doing out here by yourself?" she shoots back, her arms crossing over her chest defiantly. "And it's obviously safe enough for you."
Her cheeky words cause him to pause for a moment, stunned. Then he lets out a half scoff, half laugh and asks, "Were you following me?"
The question causes the girl to find sudden interest in her feet and shrug in response. "Maybe."
"Aren't your parents looking for you or something?"
"My parents are dead." She says the words so flatly it almost breaks his heart. "My mom died a long time ago and my dad died in the Culling."
He suddenly feels like all the air has been sucked out of his lungs. The Culling. 320 people. Dead. And it was all because of him. This little girl was an orphan because of him. She continues talking, something about a Miss Lucy being overprotective and her being able to take care of herself, but he hardly pays attention, trying to breathe again.
"You should get back to camp," he finally manages to choke out.
His words cause her to stop her foot and say, "I don't want to! The other kids are always scared and hiding in the tents and none of the adults will play with me. Besides, I want to see Earth." She pauses for a second then looks at him, "I want to come with you, wherever you're going."
"If I let you come with me, Kane will float me before you can say 'Earth'."
She snorts. "No, he won't," she says, rolling her eyes. "He likes you. Besides, you can't float people on Earth, there's gravity. Duh."
He hesitates, pressing his lips together as he looks at the little girl in front of him. "All right," he finally concedes, and she jumps up in the air, pumping her fist. "You can come with me. But you can't tell anyone. I'm-"
"Bellamy Blake, I know," she cuts him off, a grin on her face as she all but bounces up to his side. "Everyone in camp knows who you are."
"And yet my reputation wasn't enough to scare you off," he mutters under his breath. "Wonderful."
She falls in step with him as they begin walking through the forest. "Nope," she says, popping the 'P'. "You're not that scary. Also, if Councilman Kane likes you, you can't be that bad."
He raises a brow and looks at her sideways. "Why do you like Kane?" he asks. "Wasn't he the one to order the Culling?"
"Yeah," she shrugs. "But everyone who died volunteered to be a part of it. And besides, he was just doing what he thought was right. Plus sometimes he plays catch with me, so he's not too bad either."
That pulls an actual laugh from Bellamy (he hasn't laughed since before Clarke disappeared). The thought of the dark-haired man throwing a ball to the little girl brought a smile to his face and he watched in wonder as his own grin spread to the girl's face.
"I'm Reese," she declares. "In case you were wondering." She skips beside him for a while before she asks, "So where are we going?"
Grinning down at her, he replies, "Have you ever seen a butterfly?"
The little girl, Reese, ends up following him much more often than he'd like her too. He takes her to see the butterflies Octavia discovered, he takes her to pick flowers in the clearing that Clarke showed him (it makes him miss her even more), and he even takes her to the cliff where Charlotte jumped (and makes it clear that she is to stay away from the edge). Eventually, he even takes her to the old camp, much of the ash and bones blown away and the spring rains leaving only scorched ground and debris behind.
One day, he takes her to the orchard.
It's nothing more than a little grove of peach and apple trees, planted in a straight line. He had discovered it on one of his outings alone, and he had kept it a secret, (selfishly) wanting a place of his own to be alone.
She loves it there. He tosses her a peach and she catches it, taking a bite out of it. Then a breeze blows her long matted hair into her open mouth and she tries to spit it out. He laughs. He laughs so hard that he loses his balance and falls out of the tree he's sitting in, causing her to start laughing. Before he knows it, they're both lying in the grass, him laughing and her giggling, all while staring up at the blue sky and watching as the fluffy white clouds pass overhead.
"It wasn't just you and Finn living at that camp, was it?" she finally asks when they both catch their breaths.
The sudden change of topic kills the laughter in his throat and the smile on his face. He doesn't answer her question for a long time and she doesn't push, but finally he whispers, "No, there were others."
"Where did they all go?"
"Disappeared. There was a big fight between our camp and the Grounders, Finn and I nearly died, and when we both woke up the camp was empty. They were all gone."
The little girl sits up a little bit and looks at him. "It's like Roanoke," she says, almost excitedly. "It was a colony way back in the old days. A bunch of people were living together and then poof! They were all gone."
"Yeah, I guess so," he says softly.
Flopping back down next to him, she demands, "Tell me about the other people in your camp."
As he begins talking, he feels as if a huge weight is lifted off his chest and for the first time in far too long, he allows himself to remember the good things, the happy things about his life with the Hundred. He tells her what their camp was like, the layout and the wall. He tells her about the huge argument they had over whether to put the gate on the east or south side of the wall, and about how Harper had thrown an axe into a tree between himself and Monroe, settling the argument by telling them the gate was going on the north side because that was the direction of the river. He tells her about Raven and Jasper and Octavia. He tells her about the one time Connor and Drew tried throwing some animal dung at him as a joke and ended up hitting Miller in the face. He tells her about Charlotte and Murphy (but only the good things) and about Wells and Monty.
And he tells her about Clarke.
He tells her about the one time Jasper, Octavia and he had all teamed up and thrown Clarke into the river, clothes and all. He tells her about the one time Clarke beat every one of the boys in camp at a drinking game she had played for the first time that night (she had come to him the next morning begging him to make the headache stop, but he decided to leave that part out). He tells her about Clarke's talents, her bravery, her clever smile and honest eyes. He's about to tell her about how Clarke managed to save Jasper's life by using the Grounder's own methods when he sees the half-blind girl looking at him strangely.
"What?" he asks, not liking the sly smirk on the nine-year-old's face.
"You like her don't you?"
"Well…sort of I guess. We do tend to fight a lot, though."
She snickers. "No, I mean like like her."
His jaw drops open in surprise. "What?" he splutters. "No. No! God, Reese, it's Clarke. No, I don't like her."
"You totally do," she replies knowingly. "And you're going to find her and get married and have pretty babies with dark hair and eyes 'as blue as the sky but sometimes grey like the'-"
She stops talking and starts laughing again when he takes the peach he was eating and shoves it in her open mouth.
Kane eventually finds out about their outings, and he isn't happy.
Abby, however, is furious.
Reese manages to tame Kane's wrath before he can get Bellamy in front of a firing squad, but the little girl's arguments hold no sway over the enraged doctor.
She screams at him for an hour straight, lecturing him on responsibility, telling him how reckless he is to take a nine-year-old girl out into the forest with only a hunting knife as protection.
He proceeds to point out the reason he doesn't have a gun is because of her (the fact does nothing to quell her rage).
Their argument ends when she tells him she doesn't know how Clarke could work with someone as thoughtless and irresponsible as him and he tells her that she could ask her daughter herself if she ever got the guts to actually go and look for her.
Abby Griffin goes snow white and runs out of the remains of the Ark.
He almost feels guilty
However, it's the memory of that blonde hair and sharp blue eyes that causes him to follow Clarke's mother out of the drop ship and into the forest, grabbing a gun from an incoming sentinel and leaving before the poor man could ask questions.
Abby Griffin should be thankful that he did.
He hasn't been following her five minutes before he hears a scream and finds her desperately trying to fight off a Grounder. She stumbles and falls to the earth, raising her arm above her head as if that would protect her from the spear descending towards her.
Only one shot was needed, but he fires two just to be safe.
(He doesn't know why he's wasting ammo on her, he doesn't even like the woman.)
As the Grounder falters and falls, bullet hole in his head, the doctor crawls backwards until her spine hits a tree. She looks shaken, her eyes wide and her hand over her mouth.
There was a time when killing anything living would have bothered Bellamy. But it seems that his conscience disappeared the same day Clarke did (he felt no guilt anymore, at least none other than the fact that he wasn't there to protect his princess). He moves and sits down on the base of the tree next to Abby, resting his head against the rough bark.
"Y-you were right," she whispers after an eternity of silence. "I'm afraid to go after her, afraid she won't forgive me. Afraid that I'll try to save her and be too late."
"Running in the opposite direction is guaranteeing that you'll be too late," he replies. "And she's forgiven you. I know that for sure."
"How?" The one syllable that escapes the older woman is so wrought with desperation that Bellamy actually pities her for a moment.
Turning his head to look at her, he says, "Because I was there when she thought you had died. I was there when we saw the first exodus pod crash and burn. I was the one who held her in my arms as she cried. I was the one who told her that everything was going to be ok. I was the one who walked through the wreckage with her the next day, and I was the one who wiped away her tears every night for two weeks afterwards. Believe me, Abby. She'd forgiven you."
The Griffin woman looks at him like he's some divine angel sent from heaven. It makes him uncomfortable. He's reminded of the bright blue eyes and blonde hair that had sat with him like this only a few weeks before, telling him that she needed him and that he couldn't run. He thinks about how she's probably being tortured at that very moment, strange men in white lab coats running tests on the strange teenagers from outer space. He thinks about all the times he's almost grabbed a gun and marched towards Mount Weather, only to stop himself at the last moment, only to let her remain in whatever nightmare she must be living.
And he hopes that she'll be able to forgive him as well.
A week passes and he simply decides that he's sick of all the bullshit. He walks into one of the council meetings, completely disregarding any and all of the other councilmen's' shouts, his eyes locking with Kane's and not looking away.
"I'm done waiting," he says. "I'm going after them, with or without you."
He turns on his heel and walks out, hearing Kane cursing behind him and Abby yelling at him to stop. He grabs a gun and begins walking towards the edge of camp, only to hear his name called out by a familiar voice.
Reese runs up to him, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she looks up at him, her eyes bright despite the fact that she can only see out of one of them. "Are we heading out?" she asks excitedly,
He sees Kane and Abby rushing towards him from across camp, and for a moment he is tempted to ignore the girl and just leave, but he knows that if he doesn't give her an explanation, she'll just follow him and he'll have yet another death on his conscience. Kneeling down, he brushes the hair out of Reese's eyes and says, "You know that girl I told you about?"
She furrows her brow, "Clarke? Yeah. The one you like."
"I don't like her," he corrects without thought before stopping himself and taking a breath. "That's not the point. She's in trouble and I need to go save her."
The little girl crosses her arms and looks at him. "You totally like her," she declares. "And I'm coming with."
"No," his response is sharp and for a moment Reese looks hurt. "No," he says again, softer this time, "you can't. It's too dangerous and I couldn't live with myself is something happened to you. Please, Reese…just, stay here."
Her brow furrows and a few different emotions flicker across her face before she surprises him by throwing her arms around his shoulders in a hug (he leans back, picking her up and blinking back tears). "You'll come back?" she whispers. He doesn't answer and she pulls away. "Promise me you'll come back. With Clarke, and Jasper and Raven and all the other people you told me about."
"I promise," he says (he knows very well that he can't keep that promise). "Now go be good for Miss Lucy."
"Thanks, because I was totally going to be completely horrible if you didn't remind me-"
"Get out of here, Reese," he laughs lightly, giving her a playful shove. She grins before running off.
"About time," he hears a voice above him. Spacewalker jumps off the wall and lands lightly next to him. "You're going after them?"
Bellamy nods in response. He had been planning to go alone, but for some reason, he doesn't think Finn will let him now.
"Give me a few minutes to grab my stuff."
Finn darts off and he sees Abby approaching him alone, Kane seeming to have disappeared from sight. Bellamy tries to get outside the camp gates before the dark-haired woman catches up to him.
He doesn't succeed.
He stops and lets out a small groan before turning and looking at Abby, her hands clasped and her knuckles white. She bites her bottom lip and for a moment his heart aches as he is reminded just how much Clarke is like her mother (he misses her so much more than he'd ever admit).
"Bring her home safe," she finally says, her voice soft.
Raising a brow, he studies the woman he has both hated and protected, the woman that he tolerated solely because she was one of the few remaining reminders of a blonde princess he lost a long time ago, the woman that had earned a grudging respect from him despite all her shortcomings. "I thought you didn't approve of my relationship with your daughter," he says, his attempt at teasing completely failing. When she doesn't answer, he continues, "Why don't you ask Spacewalker?"
"I think we both know why I'm not asking Finn," she replies instantly.
He did. Finn was good. He wasn't. When it came down to it, the councilwoman knew that Bellamy would do anything to save Clarke. Oh, Finn loved her, that much was for sure (he was 'in love' with her as he so often made painstakingly clear). But Spacewalker's morals gave him boundaries, lines he would not cross no matter what.
Bellamy's corrupted soul knew no limits.
He'd bring Clarke home or he'd burn the world to the ground trying.
Finding Mount Weather is relatively easy. And with no Grounders there to put a spear through their chests, the two of them manage to make it to the camp before night falls.
And luckily, they run into some unprepared Mountain Men as well.
A quick scuffle, as well as a rock to the head, knocks both of the men out cold and before Bellamy knows it, both Spacewalker and himself are dressed in black jumpsuits and gas masks. When the change of the guard came, the two boys walk into the compound with no trouble.
It almost seems too easy.
They avoid the roaming guards and the doctors dressed in all white, leaning around corners and desperately trying to figure out where the control room is without being seen.
When they do discover it, it's purely by luck.
They're caught between a rock and a hard place as they hear footsteps around the corner in front of them and voices behind them. Then, Finn leans back against the wall and the wall slides, revealing an open room with camera monitors and screens everywhere.
They stumble into the room and the door slides shut before they realize there is a guard sitting at the desk.
The man reaches for his gun and is about to let out a shout when Bellamy moves and punches him so hard he swears he had just broken every one of his fingers. The guard drops and Finn instantly runs to the computer monitors.
"It's really similar to the ones on the Ark," he thinks out loud, his fingers darting across the keyboard. "Raven used to sneak me into all sorts of places to show me what she learned. She even taught me a thing or two."
Bellamy's eyes watch the screen as camera view upon camera view flickers across monitors. Suddenly his hand shoots out squeezing Finn's shoulder. "Stop," he commands.
The changing points of view stop immediately and he squints at the middle left screen. "What's that?" he asks, pointing at a small sign on a bolted door.
The screen enlarges and he sees the words, "Mount Weather Quarantine Ward." He feels his stomach turn as he says, "That's got to be where they are."
Grabbing his gun, he heads for the door only to hear Finn's chair slide across the floor behind him. "I'm coming with you," he declares.
"No, that door is deadlocked and bolted with a key code password," Bellamy argues. "I need you to get it open from here, hack into it or something." When Finn hesitates, he reaches out and places a hand the younger boy's shoulder. "I'll get her out," he promises.
"Wait," Spacewalker says as Bellamy turns to walk out. His hands dart out and grab an earpiece from the still unconscious guard. "Take this."
There was a time where the dark-haired man would have argued for the sake of arguing with the delinquent, just to make things difficult. But as Bellamy looks into the younger boy's eyes, instead of seeing the stupid, cowardly child he had always seen, he saw a young man who wanted nothing more than to protect the people he loved. He was startled to see a reflection of himself in those dark brown eyes.
So he grabs the earpiece, turns on his heel and leaves.
He steps out and hears the door slide shut behind him. Carefully maneuvering his way through the halls, Spacewalker in his ear, guiding him through every turn and every unexpected guard, he finds his way down to the door.
"You going to unlock it?" he asks the obvious.
There's silence for a moment, then he hears a small voice in his ear. "Shit."
"Shit, shit, shit. This is nothing like the Ark. Fuck, Bellamy, I can't do this!"
Some odd mixture between panic, annoyance and anger fills his chest and he can't help but hiss, "Well, figure it out!"
The desperation in Finn is what rattles him the most. "I can't!" the boy half wails, half whispers through the earpiece. "I don't even know where to start! The programming is nothing I've seen before, it's not even similar to the language we use on the Ark. It's ancient!"
"If it's so much older than the Ark's shouldn't it be easier to figure out?" His patience is running extremely thin and he looks over his shoulder, sure he heard footsteps for a moment.
"Not when it's a completely different system, you moron!" It would seem Spacewalker's patience was running thinner than his own.
He's about to try kicking in the door (which is very metal and he's nearly certain wouldn't work) when he hears a hissing noise. He quickly steps back from the door, only to watch it unlatch.
"Spacewalker…" he says softly.
"What?" the boy spits through the radio.
"What did you just do?"
He doesn't have time to answer before the door slides open and a man in a white lab coat steps out, nose buried in a clip board. The scientist doesn't look up in time and runs smack into Bellamy. His glasses fall off his face and he looks up, scowling for a moment until his eyes meet the former guard's.
He looks like he's about to scream when Bellamy slams the butt of his gun into the man's face. He stumbles to the ground, terror in his eyes and blood gushing from his nose, staining his white coat.
"Please," he whispers. "Please, don't kill me."
Bellamy slowly points his gun at the scientist. He feels his hands trembling with rage and he hears the fury in his own voice as he asks, "Were you conducting tests on them?"
The man's mouth opens and closes, but no sound comes out. It's almost comical. He's reminded of the fish he would catch for the Hundred to eat, mouth gaping as he pulled them out of the water, eyes bulging out of their sockets.
"Were you?" he roars, his entire body shaking in anger.
"Bellamy, calm down," he hears Finn's voice in his ear. But the other boy seems miles away, almost in another reality.
The man crawls away, his back against the wall. "Please," he manages to whisper. "Please…"
"Bellamy, don't kill him!" Finn's voice says again. "Put the gun down, this isn't the way to go."
He points the gun at the whimpering man's head.
"They were supposed to be harmless tests," the man blubbers. "They weren't supposed to kill any of them."
"Bellamy, don't do it!"
He pulls the trigger.
Blood spatters everywhere.
He hears Finn's voice. "Oh, God. Oh fucking God."
Spacewalker had lines he would not cross. Bellamy's corrupted soul knew no limits.
He would murder the entire fucking base if he had to.
He would bring her home.
As he steps over the man's body into the hallway beyond, he is suddenly reminded of when his sister disappeared and he went after her. He remembers when the Grounder, Lincoln, had injured Finn, and when they had all been hunted, chased and killed like prey. He remembers walking past the hung up skeletons in the dead of night and the fear that washed through him then washes through him yet again.
He had once gone into hell for Octavia. He wondered at what point he had begun to love Clarke as much as his sister.
As he walked in, Bellamy almost let out a choked laugh. Octavia's hell had been dark and dirty, a cesspool of blood and grime that existed naturally with the Grounders and Earth in general. Her hell had been exactly what hell should look like, black and lightless and foul in every way.
Clarke's hell was whiter than snow.
As his feet clang against the tiled floor, his eyes desperately dart around, looking for any form of color, any shade or hue. He stops in front of a door and pulls on the latch. He hears a click, a hiss and the door slides open.
He looks in and his jaw drops open.
The dark-haired boy sits up from his bed, eyes wide. "Bellamy?" he asks. "What are you doing here?"
"What am I doing here? You're supposed to be dead!"
"I'm supposed to be dead?" Monty replies, his voice indignant. "According to Clarke, you got roasted along with the rest of the Grounders!"
Bellamy feels his heart stop in his chest for a moment. "Clarke?" he manages to choke out. "Is she all right? Where is she?"
The smile on the young herbalist's face fades quickly and he looks down, not answering.
It feels like a ton of bricks had landed on his chest and he can barely breathe. "Is she dead?" he asks as he falls against the doorframe, the gravity of Earth suddenly seeming far too heavy for him to carry.
"I don't know," Monty replied. "Her cell was across from mine. The Mountain Men came one day, took her down to the room at the end of the hall and never brought her back. Bellamy, I…" he trails off, as if he doesn't know what he is going to say next.
He feels his chest tighten in anger (or maybe it was despair). "Set the rest free," he says before turning and walking away, not giving an explanation.
He reaches the end of the hallway and finds the door unlocked. Stepping into yet another white room, he sees glass beakers filled with clear liquid. White beds line the wall and in the last bed, he sees the first bit of color he's seen since he set foot into this white hell.
He sees a mop of golden hair.
He doesn't waste any time, sprinting down and dropping to his knees next to her. A bag of liquid is connected to a tube running into her veins and he pulls it out, carefully, as not to hurt her. Taking her face in his hands, he strokes his thumb across her cheek, the callouses on his fingertips feeling strange against her soft skin.
"Clarke?" he whispers. "Come on, Clarke. You've got to wake up."
He has to fight back tears of relief when she begins to stir. Her eyes flitter open and he finds that despite their time apart, those bright blue eyes still take his breath away. They are glazed over and confused, but at the moment, he's convinced they've never looked more beautiful.
"Bellamy?" she asks, her voice scratchy and quiet.
"Hey, princess," he manages to choke out.
She looks confused as she tries to sit up, only to let out a small groan and fall back again. "I killed you," she whispers. "You and Finn both. I left you to die."
"Nah, princess," he smiles. "Spacewalker and I are fire resistant, didn't you know that? Honestly felt like a warm breeze. The smell of barbecued Grounders is great, by the way-"
"Shut up," she mumbles, cutting him off, and he feels his grin widen. God, he missed her.
"Let's get you out of here," he says. Reaching down, he picks her up in his arms, one arm underneath her back and the other in the crook of her knees. She curls up and rests her head on his chest as he begins to walk towards the door.
"Bellamy," she whispers. "I don't feel well." Suddenly he feels her hand flail around until it finds his bicep and squeezes so hard it hurts. When she speaks again, there is panic in her voice. "I can't see you."
His heart stops yet again (he's no doctor, but that doesn't sound good). "I'm still here, princess," he says, tightening his grip on her. He has to remind his legs not to stop. He has no idea where the guards are and if they're coming, and he keeps walking towards entrance to the hallway.
"What did they do to you?" he finally asks.
Her response frightens him even more. "I don't remember," she replies. "They asked me questions, and I remember that it hurt. Then they injected me with a needle and I fell asleep. That's all I remember."
He feels a sudden wave of rage and he wants to kill every Mountain Man that dared to touch his princess. She must have felt his body tense because she somehow finds the strength to place her hand on his chest and whisper, "Bellamy, I want to go home."
He'll take her home.
He'll take her home if it's the last thing he ever does.
He doesn't know how they do it, but with the help of a few smoke bombs as well as some guns they steal along the way, Spacewalker and himself somehow manage to bust seventy-two kids out of a military base.
Finn helps Raven walk most of the way back (the Mountain Men must have helped get the bullet out of her spine, and though she's weak, she can walk) but he doesn't miss the glances Spacewalker sends his way.
He never lets Clarke out of his arms.
By the time they make it back to the Ark, his muscles are burning, Jasper and Monty won't shut up, Finn's not even making his glances discreet anymore, and Clarke feels like a mountain in his arms.
But he still refuses to let her go.
Even when Abby runs up to him, sobbing Clarke's name, he only tightens his grip. Even when Reese falls in step beside him, asking him if that was the girl he was talking about, he makes sure to never let his princess out of his arms. Even when Kane approaches him and tells him that the Hundred need to stay together until they all find a place to be examined and sleep, he doesn't answer. He just holds Clarke in his arms and continues walking. Only when he sets her down on the cold, metal operating table in the remains of the Ark does he finally let her head leave his chest.
However he keeps her hand grasped in his.
Abby and a man named Jackson are by his side in a second, putting a salve on the cuts on her face, putting needles in her arm. He hears Abby say something about an overdose of some drug he doesn't recognize and he feels so helpless, he doesn't know what to do.
(He'll find out later that the Mountain Men were trying to kill her, that they had deemed her usefulness had come to an end and it was time to put her out of her misery. He'll find out later that she wasn't the first. That there should have been seventy-two kids following him out of that white hell; instead there were only sixty-four.)
When she stops breathing he loses it.
He knocks over chairs and medical tables, scattering pills on the floor and syringes in the dirt. He screams at Abby, accusing her of killing her own daughter, but the woman doesn't even acknowledge him, she is too busy pressing her hands against Clarke's chest in a rhythm.
Reese later tells him that Kane was the one who dragged him from the drop ship as he screamed at the top of his lungs (he asked her what he was screaming and she shrugged, telling him there weren't really any words in the mix; it just sounded like someone was ripping his heart out of his chest). She tells him that it was Kane who punched him in the jaw, sending him tumbling to the ground, only to let him crawl to his knees again. She tells him it was Kane who had wrapped his arms around him and pressed his face against his shoulder, holding him as he sobbed, tears falling down his face like rivers.
(He's only a boy, the older man had said to those who had gathered around them, shocked to see the heartless, hotheaded, stubborn, Bellamy Blake in tears. He's only a boy.)
Jackson comes out of the drop ship (which he no longer allowed in) three hours later, blood covering his hands, and says that she'll live.
He nearly cries again.
It's only Reese's hand slipping into his that gives him the strength to hold back his tears.
Later that night when he's standing guard (he insisted, saying he wouldn't sleep any which way), Abby Griffin comes to him. She sits next to him right outside the wall of their camp, looking up at the stars. When she finally speaks, her voice is so soft that it is almost lost on the breeze rustling through the pine trees.
He doesn't respond. He doesn't need to.
When Clarke wakes up, he isn't the first person by her side. No, the first person she sees is Spacewalker. Bellamy lets the two of them have their moment and he tries to suppress the anger, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that it's jealousy that wells up inside of him. After he sees Spacewalker walk out of the section of the Ark he knows she's in, he decides that it'd be better if he went hunting.
It continues like that for a week.
He makes sure to be out of camp much more often than he should, whether it be hunting, on patrol or taking Reese to the orchard. He isn't sure what it is, but he just doesn't want to see her.
(He knows that he's too attached already. He knows that if he loses her again, it will destroy him. And someone having that much power over him, especially Clarke Griffin, scared the hell out of him.)
Then one day, Reese is skipping behind him in the forest when she says, "She wants to see you, you know."
He stops so suddenly he feels the little girl run into him. "Sheesh, watch where you're going," she mumbles as he turns to look at her.
"What?" he asks.
"I said 'watch where you're-'"
"No," he waves his hand, closing his eyes and furrowing his brow for a second. "No, before that."
"Oh!" The nine-year-old pushes her hair out of her face and looks up at him. "Clarke. She wants to see you."
He stares at her for a moment, mouth slightly open because how the hell does she know that? He proceeds to ask her that very question.
Letting out a huff of annoyance, she replies, "Because she told me, duh. I went in to find Dr. Griffin and she was there so I started talking to her. She started to tell me her name and I said, 'I know, you're Clarke Griffin' and then she asked me how I knew that, so I said, 'Bellamy told me about you' and then she asked me how I knew you and I almost told her about the orchard but then I remembered that you told me that I needed to keep that a secret so I just said I met you around camp and that sometimes you take me out for trips in the forest-" the little girl stops and takes in a huge breath, "and she asked me if you were okay and I said yeah, you were fine and then she asked me why you hadn't gone to see her yet, and I said that you were really busy running around camp and I may have mentioned you totally losing it when you thought she was dead, because that really scared me and you really haven't mentioned her since, and she said-"
"Reese!" Bellamy cuts her off with a shout. Raising both his brows in a 'please-I-am-begging-you-tell-me-you-didn't-say-all-that' look, he sees her give him a small grin and a shrug in response.
"I think she likes you too," she says in a singsong voice before skipping off towards the orchard.
(She reminds him so much of Octavia.)
When he finally finds the courage to actually see Clarke for the first time since she nearly died, his princess looks pissed as hell.
"Oh," she says as he walks into the drop ship. "Look who decided to finally show up."
"Missed you too, princess," he mumbles in return.
She beckons for him to come closer, and when he does, she slaps his face. Hard.
He's glad to see she's got her strength back.
"Why didn't you come to visit me sooner?" she asks, and he can hear the familiar fire in her voice.
Not really having much of an answer, he shrugs. "I figured you had some people who needed your attention more desperately than myself."
"Spacewalker," the word holds too much jealousy for his taste. "Your mother. The rest of the Hundred."
She snorts. "I think Finn snuck in, to be honest," she says. "Besides he got kicked out after about five minutes, and things are still in the awkward stage with him, so it wasn't enjoyable to say the least. None of the Hundred have been allowed in here and I've had more than a fair share of my mom worrying over me. God, Bellamy, I've been stuck in here fore ages and I just wanted some real company!" She reaches out and grasps his hand for a moment and he has to force himself not to pull away on instinct, instead looking into her eyes. "I wanted your company," she says softly.
He feels his throat tighten and he wonders if he should take those words in the way that he so desperately wants to take them. She looks at him, her eyes bright and a small smile on her face and he can't help but wonder if he's dreaming. He clears his throat before speaking, "You've been cooped up in here all week?"
She rolls her eyes, letting out a small huff. "Yeah, they won't let me out," she complains. "Believe me I've asked enough times. Clarke Griffin, you're still healing and you don't have enough strength to stand yet," she imitates (he'd assume) her mother, screwing up her face and waggling a finger. "You are forbidden to set foot outside this drop ship, young lady. Sitting in bed for a week hasn't given you enough rest yet and we need to make you even more miserable while we still can." When nearly falls off his chair laughing, her scowl turns into a small but proud grin.
Still chuckling, he stands, her grip still tight on his hand. "Well," he says, "I've earned a bit of a reputation as a rule breaker around here…"
Her eyebrows shoot up, disbelief mixed with hope dancing across her features. "Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" she asks, her voice somewhere between teasing and pleading.
"But then again, you are the princess and royalty always follows the rules, so-"
She hits him on the shoulder causing him to laugh and before she knows what's going on he has her swept up in his arms and he's carrying her towards the door. "Don't set foot outside the drop ship? Well, if you're feet don't touch the ground we're technically not breaking any rules, right?"
"Bellamy, I don't know whether to call you an idiot or a genius. Remind me again why you didn't visit sooner?" she whispers in his ear and he can hear the smile in her voice. For a moment, he wishes he could never hear another sound ever again, just her voice ringing through his ears, making his heart pound.
As soon as they step foot into the sunlight, he barely has time to blink before there are members of the Hundred surrounding them.
"Clarke!" Jasper yells, by their side in a second. "How are you doing? Are you okay? Hey, Monty! Clarke's here!"
Soon enough, teenagers begin gathering around them as well as a few adults. He's starting to wonder if taking her outside was a good idea after all when a sharp voice cuts through the crowd.
"What the hell do you think you're doing with my daughter?"
Turning to the left, he sees Abby Griffin pushing her way through the crowd, fire and brimstone in her eyes. Kane is close behind her.
Looking at her daughter, Abby hisses, "I told you not to set-"
"-foot outside the drop ship," Clarke finishes for her. "I know." Lifting her bare feet a few inches higher, she wiggles her toes and Bellamy has to swallow a laugh. "Feet technically haven't touched anywhere but the inside of the Ark."
There is a long silence where the entire camp holds their breath, waiting for the older Griffin woman's response. She looks at him, then at Clarke, then back at him and lets out a small sigh. "I hope you have a better time controlling her than I do," is all she says before turning on her heel and walking away. Kane is right behind her, but not before turning and shooting Bellamy a wink over his shoulder.
Unable to control the grin that spreads across his face, the rebel leader looks down at his princess before saying, "Want to go for a walk?"
"Hell yes, I do," she mumbles in return and this time the laugh escapes him.
She makes him walk all the way around the camp. Twice. By the time he lays her back down on her cot in the drop ship, his arms are burning and she's half asleep. As he begins to pull away, her hand flashes out and her fingers wrap around his upper arm.
Turning her head slightly, her eyes still mostly closed, she murmurs, "Hey, Bellamy?"
He swallows hard. "Yeah, princess?"
"You should visit me more often."
He's almost to the door of the drop ship when he hears a faint voice behind him, so soft he can't help but wonder if he imagined it.
He actually turns, walks all the way back to her cot, and kneels down. Pressing a kiss to her forehead, he whispers against her skin, "Yeah, princess. I promise."
He swears he sees a smile dance at the edge of her lips before she falls asleep.
A month later she's out and walking on her own. He doesn't see her much anymore, when he's free, she slaving away with her mother, saving lives and stitching up wounds. And when she's free, he's out hunting or on patrol, wandering through the edge of the tree line wondering what she's thinking about.
Reese seems to follow Raven around more now, and when she does talk to Bellamy, she's always babbling about some new mechanical stuff Raven's teaching her. She proudly informs him that she plans to be the second youngest mechanic in fifty-two years (as she doesn't think she's good enough to beat Raven) and the first one who learned on Earth. He doesn't have the heart to tell her that all the engineers seem to do now is make bombs in case of an attack (he feels they are repeating history and it scares him).
Jasper and Monty have become particularly popular among the adults and have even taken their moonshine making to the next level, selling it for supplies and favors throughout the camp. However, it's common knowledge that if one of the Hundred stops by their tent, they won't deny them a cup of Monty's best brew, free of charge.
Even though many of the Hundred remain friends, they find themselves dispersing among the people of the Ark, many of the kids moving back in with their families or starting apprenticeships with a craftsman or learning new skills to help them make their own way in this new world. They all end up at different corners of the camp, engineers living with engineers, doctors with doctors, and guards with guards. Bellamy finds that he's spent more time with Miller and Monroe than Clarke or Jasper in the last three weeks, just because of the way the camp is set up.
He's almost bitter about it, that his life is once again dictated by his status.
Until one night, when he tells a half-asleep Miller to just get back to the tent and get some sleep, saying he'll cover the third watch alone.
And she comes to him.
"Where's Miller?" he hears a voice behind him ask.
He doesn't even have to turn around to know who it is. "He wasn't much use falling asleep on his feet," he snorts as Clarke climbs up the logs they use as a wall and sits next to him. "I sent him back to the tent. He's taking my patrol tomorrow morning instead."
She nods and silence falls between them. It's dark and only a few of their torches are lit, but the sky is cloudless and the moon is shining brightly along with the stars.
"I read a story once," Clarke says, breaking the silence, "about the stars. It said that that star, Altair," she raises a hand and points to a bright star on one side of the sky, "and that one, Vega," she pointed to one on the other side of the sky, "were once lovers. Only one was a mortal and one was a spirit. The spirit came down to earth and the mortal fell in love with her. They were married, but when the goddess of the sky found out, she was angry and took the spirit back to the sky with her. The mortal went after his lover, but the goddess took her hairpin and drew a river in the sky, the Milky Way." Lifting her arm again, she traces her finger across the trail of stars decorating the night sky. "But once a year, all the birds fly up to the sky and make a bridge so that the mortal and the spirit can meet and be together for one night."
"It's a good story." His eyes study the stars she had described.
"A sad ending though," she replies.
He shrugs. "They get to be together, it's better than nothing. Even if it's just for one night." He nudges her, a sly grin creeping across his features. "And there's quite a bit you can do in one night."
She shoves him hard, almost knocking him off the wall. "You're terrible," she chastises him, but a smile breaks out across her features nonetheless.
"Please, you love me."
The words roll off his lips before he can stop them and once he realizes what he's said, he freezes, his heart stopping in his chest. He feels her tense beside him and he feels like kicking himself. He opens his mouth to explain what he meant, to try and recover but she speaks before he can order his chaotic thoughts into coherent sentences.
"A while back," she begins, her voice soft, "Reese said that you told her stories about me." She turns and looks at him, her blue eyes wide and vulnerable.
"Clarke…" he whispers, begging her not to ask the question he knew she was going to ask.
A thousand different answers pass through his mind, each one more dangerous than the next. He knows that he should clarify, tell her that he was just trying to keep the little girl occupied, that he wove tales about all the Hundred, not just her.
But he knows she deserves the truth.
So instead of lying, instead of protecting himself from the heartbreak that's sure to follow his answer, he answers honestly, "I wanted to tell her a happy story."
He watches her eyes widen slightly and her lips part, and he prays that he's made the right decision, that he hasn't just lost the one thing he cares about, this time for good. He's so enraptured in his own thoughts that he almost misses her reply as she whispers, "I'm not a happy story."
He tries to smile and fails miserably. "You're the closest one I've got," he states, trying to stop his voice from catching, from cracking as he confesses how much she means to him, how much she's changed him. When she doesn't respond, he murmurs, "You're the closest thing to a happy ending I'll ever see." He tries to keep the bitterness out of his voices as he moves to stand.
Her arm snakes around his neck and pulls him back down. Before his mind can process what's going on, her lips are pressed against his and he's pulling her closer into him, one arm wrapped around her waist and the other cupping her cheek, his thumb brushing over her skin like he did so many days ago when he rescued her from the Mountain Men.
His mouth moves against hers and he tastes her, the flavor of herbs in his mouth and the scent of forest in his nose. Her tongue tangles with his and he wishes in that moment that the world would stop turning and he would never have to leave.
But the world keeps turning and when he finally has to pull away, he presses his forehead against hers, his fingers tangled in her hair and both of them breathing slightly heavier than before.
His heart beats wildly in his chest as he whispers, "I'm not a happy ending, Clarke." He isn't. His soul is blackened through and through. He isn't a knight in shining armor, a prince on a white horse. He is the darkness that exists so that the light can shine through him. He isn't a happy ending; he is a tragedy waiting to happen. And he knows that he'll only take her down with him.
But then he hears her breathe, "I don't care," and his throat tightens and tears spring into his eyes.
"I don't care," she breathes again. "You're the ending that I want."
She won't let him take the entire burden on himself. She's stronger. And maybe, with her strength, he can have the happy ending he never dared believe he could have. Maybe he could have more. Maybe he could be more.
But then, it hits him and he realizes that he already has his happy ending.
She's all he needs.
He kisses her again and this time, she tastes like hope.
(A/N HOLY SHIT. This was supposed to be under 6,000 words. I have no self control. Fun fact time! Reese is the little girl in episode 5 who lost her sight in one eye. Remember Ginger Dad? The one who died? Yeah, his daughter. And the story that Clarke told is one from Chinese folklore, the story of Altair and Vega. Huge thank you to blackravenswing for editing this! I can't thank her enough for all that she's done for me! Feedback is appreciated! Tell me what you think!)