A/N: So this story is important for a lot of reasons. Firstly, it's my 90th story – only ten more until a hundred and, let's face it, that has to be a 100 fic.
Secondly, this story is important because it's the first story I've done after I found out that THE 100 HAS BEEN RENEWED FOR A THIRD SERIES.
It's true! Google it, go on Wikipedia, The 100 has another series! We have another series of Bellamy and Clarke, another series of new dangers and triumphs and disasters! Another series! YES!
So with that in mind, please enjoy reading my story and know that there will be many more to come.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own The 100 or any of the characters; I do not own any quotes or lyrics
And if you wait for me, I'll be the light in dark if you lose your way
And if you wait for me, I'll be your voice when you don't know what to say.
I'll be your shelter, I'll be your fate
I'll be forever, wait for me.
I'll be the last train, I'll be the last train home
Last Train Home, Ryan Star
"You're father's dead, Clarke. I'm so sorry sweetheart."
The words don't seem to fit, and Clarke remembers stories of people that would suddenly go mute. People would try to convince them to talk, and now she understands why they refused: if they opened their mouth, they wouldn't be able to stop screaming.
"You have to come home."
The taxi picks her up from the train station, and she doesn't know why she feels a prickle of surprise in her chest. Even when she was little, she rarely ever saw her mother. As the top surgeon in the nearby city, she rarely had time to eat a meal, much less spend quality time with her only offspring.
She watches as the town comes into view. It's early summer, and the roses just in bud as they drive through the centre of town. There are dozens of daises though, yellow ones, and she remembers with sudden clarity flinging them in the air as everyone watched.
She almost wants to flinch at the way she was when she was younger. Bold and daring and loud and rude. Years at boarding school have groomed her into a woman.
Well. So she thinks.
The taxi stops, and that's when she sees the house for the first time in God knows how long. A mansion really, one of the only two in town. And as usual, she can't help but sneak a look at the one next to her. Tailored to perfection, the Kane household puffs out proudly. She almost feels embarrassed to look at her own, tattered and worn. She doesn't know why. She used to be embarrassed because she had so much money, because her family was one of the two most influential families in town. Other kids knew she was different, but back then it hadn't mattered – she had her friends. Once again she glances at the other house. It remains quiet, but when she tilts her head she can see the top window, just.
She unlocks the door and slips inside, and almost immediately is overwhelmed. Welcome Home is scrawled out over a banner, and for a foolish moment she believes it's her mother. But there are screams and cries, and she is practically assaulted by her friends.
"Finally!" cries Octavia, lunging at her. Jasper practically tackles them, with Monty patting her back. Over Octavia's shoulder she can see Finn standing in the background, a little smile on his face.
Clarke is so grateful that she can barely speak. But speak she does; they all talk, and as they do Clarke almost can't take them in. Jasper has grown taller, leaner, though his face is as goofy as ever. Monty's face has matured out, his buck teeth disappeared with braces. Octavia has changed the most. A girl with glasses and gangly limbs, she has now filled out into a beautiful woman, her long her flowing down her back like a river, her smile dazzling, the mischief in her eyes strong.
She looks at Finn though, and notes how little he has changed. Yes, he's a lot taller, but his hair is still past his chin, giving him a rock-star image. And his smile is the same too, even on both sides.
"Thank God it's summer," says Octavia. "You can get used to everything-" She cuts off. "You're staying for good, aren't you?"
Am I? Clarke thinks of boarding school, the dreary days that blurred together, how her mother bent down and whispered you can't be here while your father's sick. How many times had she called, begged to come back? How many times had her mother refused, told her that she could return when her father was better? How many Christmases did she spend holding onto his hand, memorising his smiles though they grew fainter as the years went by? Christmases spent in hospital, because that time of year was so busy for her mother, so they spent it there so she could at least pop in (but, of course, she rarely ever did). Summers spent with relations rather than returning home.
"Yes," she says. "I am."
Octavia gives a triumphant squeal.
"Jeez Octavia," says Finn, wincing. "You sound like a banshee." He sends Clarke a little smile, raising an eyebrow.
"Like you can talk," Monty says.
"Yeah," Jasper joins in. "Last month you and Raven were screaming your heads off when we went camping. People were trying to sleep, y'know."
Clarke glances at him, eyes wide.
"Shut up," snaps Finn. He avoids Clarke's gaze. Octavia looks at them both, eyes going between them.
She clears her throat. "There's a party tomorrow, y'know, for Dad's campaign. It's just next door. You'll have to come."
"Oh, I don't know." Clarke tries to backtrack. "I'll probably be spending some time with my mom, talk funeral arrangements-"
"No way," insists Monty.
"Yeah, you're coming," continues Jasper. Clarke remembers how they used to finish each other's sentences, and doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"You haven't seen Bellamy yet."
Clarke's smile feels forced. "How is he?" Finn cuts her a sharp glance.
Octavia shrugs. Rolls her eyes. "Same as usual. Y'know, a pain." Clarke laughs. "But he's good. He'll be eighteen in September." Clarke nods, remembers how their birthdays were only separated by nine days.
And she finds herself looking out the window.
He finds out she's coming home for her father's funeral. When she is due to arrive, her makes sure that he's at work, ignoring his sister's knowing look.
Bellamy remembers when they were little, leaping over the white fence to go in her garden. They hadn't met Jasper and Monty yet, so it was just the four of them: Octavia and Finn, him and Clarke. Best friends.
He remembers her so easily, as if it was yesterday. Her mother would put her in bright dresses that would end up muddy and grass-stained. Her hair, tied in a plait, would be coming undone. Octavia would be similar, her bold gaze cutting through any bullshit. Finn was the charmer, who could convince anyone of a lie with a single smile. And he –
He's not entirely sure what his role was back then. If he even had one.
Back when they were little, before the words cancer and divorce and bastards held any meaning, games came easily. They created kingdoms in the back garden. He, the eldest, would always be king; Octavia – the youngest – would be the wild girl, and needed no encouragement to run away screeching like an animal. Finn would be the peacemaker, the go-between. And Clarke was the princess who never listened.
He remembers her spinning round and round, her dress rising up. How her laugh used to fill the area. He remembers Finn staring at her, his expression not unlike someone who had seen a pot of gold just waiting to be taken.
He wonders if he looked the same way.
They have to leave eventually. As soon as the door closes Clarke feels the house open up, a shark's jaws waiting to be filled. She shudders.
Knowing better to wait for her mother, she clears up the crumbs of the cake they ate and tidies the living room. She does the washing up, putting music on loudly, coercing herself into singing along. The ever-present silence mocks her futile attempt at normalcy, and eventually she switches it off.
Despite the fact it's not that late, she goes to bed. She lies on the mattress, eyes open, staring at her old room. The pink walls and painted flowers tell stories of another girl, the girl her mother wanted. The old diary hidden under the floorboards is the other girl, the real one. And the teddy hanging from the bookshelf reveals a former innocence, now shattered by life.
Her father gave her that bear.
She sits up in bed, doubling over. She hasn't closed the curtains, and the moon beams out from the spattering of clouds. Stars twinkle like little pin-pricks in the sky, like the world could be sieved through them.
Straight opposite is the window is another window, just the same size. She looks over at Kane's house. He would never be Marcus to Clarke, nor could he ever be Bellamy and Octavia's father, not in her head. She still remembers their mother, Aurora Blake, with a steely gaze and strong mouth as she dropped her children off after a week spent at hers. Clarke recalls the murmurs after she had died, the sarcastic worries over how Kane would be taking it, how convenient it was that he now had sole custody over his children.
She looks across to the window, staring into the darkness. How many times had she looked across the gap? How many times had she feared the hole would be too big to jump over?
She stares at it for so long that she thinks she imagines the flash of light. She blinks, but it happens again. She watches the flashes, the pause, and the flashes again. Pause, and again.
They learnt Morse code years ago, during a day camp that they had been sent to when they were seven and eight. Octavia hadn't had the patience for it, but Bellamy had taken to it immediately. She squints, watching the flashes of light. H...O...W...B...A...D
A smile forms on her face. When she had gotten into trouble – when they had both gotten into trouble, because they always did everything together – they would use Morse code to talk to each other. They often asked each other how bad the telling off had been, the more flashes of light the worse the punishment (one – barely anything, five – I'm never going to leave the house again).
She flickers her lamp on and off, until she's done it five times.
She watches the light from his bedroom flicker on and off again, a long sentence this time. Clarke only half follows it, knowing what he's saying – what he always said when the punishment was bad. The sun will come out tomorrow. From Annie, her favourite film when she was little.
She flashes her light, hoping he's spelt out the word thanks. And then she falls back onto the bed, focusing on the moon. It feels nice to think that maybe they are both looking at it, and the moon is watching over them too.
She laughed all the time, but he had only seen her cry a few times.
The first time was when he was nine. Sitting in his room, he was meant to be doing his homework but really was looking out his window. At that time, everything seemed in a blue haze: the grass, the solemn trees, the breeze that blew it away as it would inevitably do. He span his pen in his fingers, trying to move it faster and faster.
He looked out the window, across to Clarke's house. Her bright hair was hard to miss, and he saw her bent over her desk. Her hand lifted, wiping at her cheek. She did it again, glancing up in frustration.
She saw him.
For a moment he felt like he had caught her out, even though they were friends. He didn't like to think of her as someone who cried. He turned away only to look back again. She stared at him, and he wondered whether she was still crying.
The next thing he knew, he had snuck past his father's bedroom and slipped out the door. He already knew that the hinges on the back door creaked loudly, as if his father had designed it that way, so he rubbed olive oil over them to make sure they didn't make any noise (a trick Finn had shown him). He met Clarke at the fence. She was wearing jeans and a white shirt, openly going against her mother's wishes for her daughter.
"Were you spying on me?" she demanded.
"No," he shot back, though he could feel his cheeks growing warm. "For all I know, you could have been spying on me."
Clarke lowered her gaze, perched on the fence. "My dad's sick," she murmured, like a secret pressed into the palm of her hand.
Bellamy nodded. "I'm sorry," he said, acted like he didn't already know, hadn't heard his father telling someone over the phone earlier. Hadn't heard the word cancer.
"I don't know what to do," she whispered. Her fingers twirled in the strands of her hair, hanging round her face. Her face drooped like a bent flower, and whispered, "I don't like my mother."
"Your dad will be okay." He reached over, his palm resting over the top of her hand, not quite holding it.
She nodded, though her blue eyes looked darker than before. She looked at him, and he watched her mouth twist together. "I'm sorry about your mom."
He nodded now, trying not to let her see him cry. It had been two weeks since she had been killed in a car accident. His father had broken the news to the two of them, and he remembers how they had sat there in the suffocating room. How Octavia had cried and all he had wanted, wanted, wanted, was his mother.
"My dad," she whispers, her voice cracking a little. "He told me that he believes that when people die, all the good things that they did in their lives get turned into light. That light travels up into the stars, and that's what makes them shine."
They both obediently looked up, where the stars were waving at them from the ocean of black sky. Bellamy immediately sought out the brightest one, and the twinkle made it seem like it was winking at him, like how his mother would while she was baking them cookies, cupcakes, muffins.
They kept watch that night, and when a silver line tore through the darkness, they both made a wish.
The evening arrives all too quickly for Bellamy's liking. He puts on a red shirt and nice jeans, knowing that his father won't approve. But he's been to enough of these events to know that his father, eventually, will be drawn away from him and his sister to potential voters. After a few drinks, he'll be hard-pressed to remember their names. He tries not to mind, tries not to think about his mother who would run her fingers through his curly black hair as he fell asleep.
He hears yelling downstairs, and rips himself away from his reflection in the mirror. Downstairs, Octavia and his father are having a stand-off. Already Bellamy can see why. Octavia is wearing a short red dress, where it cuts severely at her chest.
"I'm wearing red," she says, flicking her long hair behind her shoulder. "That's your colour, isn't it? If you want me to wear different clothes, maybe you should buy me some."
Kane's face is like a clenched fist. "You have plenty of clothes to choose from Octavia. Either put on a sweater or go change, but you are not wearing that."
"And just how are you going to stop me?"
Bellamy can see that this argument can easily blow up. Already picturing a party where they are both glowering at each other and yelling the second it's over, he moves swiftly to Octavia. "How about we just don't fight?" he asks. Both their faces turn to him, wearing matching scowls. He can see his father preparing to start another argument, so he practically breaks Octavia's arm in wrestling her backwards. "You have to change," he hisses in her ear.
"I don't want to-"
"I don't care if Dad wants you to, I want you to." He looks down at the necklace resting against her chest: it's silver and has the word slut in the middle. "I don't want every guy thinking you're offering yourself up with the buffet."
She tosses her hair back, her blue eyes flashing. "Maybe I am," she challenges.
Far from wanting to strangle her, he has to fight a smirk. Octavia always says something like that to wind him up. "In what universe do you think that I'm going to let you? Any guy that comes towards you while you're wearing that will find themselves on the floor, regardless of whether Dad loses his nut."
She glares up at her brother for a moment, and jerks her arm away. But he knows he's won because she turns away and heads upstairs, balancing delicately on her heels.
He looks back at his father. His face is still tense, but he knows as soon as the guests get here it will smooth out, become the perfect man, the one who people will vote for. "Thank you," he says, but the words are clipped and blunt.
Bellamy lifts a shoulder. He didn't do it for his father, and that's the truth of it. "Who are we impressing tonight?"
Kane's eyes narrow, but he pats his son's shoulder before heading outside. Bellamy watches him go. He has a lot of reasons to be angry at his father, but there is one thing he is grateful for: that he never married anyone. There were girlfriends, and there were times where Bellamy was almost scared to leave his room for fear of who he would run into. His father's political life, his policies, make it so that he would reasonably want a wife to support them. There are plenty of blonde bimbos in short dresses, swooning over him. But as far as Bellamy knows, he's never considered getting married. He imagines a woman barely older than himself trying to act like his mother, and he is supremely relieved that Kane has not forced a wife on them.
The party is in full swing in less than an hour. There are at least a hundred people in their back garden, if not more. The band plays a light tune, which makes him feel like he's floating, along with the two glasses of alcohol he's had to take the edge off. Waiters in pressed white shirts and black aprons come round with trays of small food, little shrimps in some orange sauce, tiny ham sandwiches that a baby could fit in its mouth. Would it kill to get some mini pizzas? Or even sausages on a stick? He doesn't know why he's surprised; there's never any normal food at these things.
In the distance Bellamy can see his father talking to voters. Women with earrings that are bigger than their brains are fawning over him, their husbands in the distance talking about golf – he assumes.
Finn approaches him from behind, snatching a glass of clear bubbly liquid. "Nice party," he mocks, downing the glass. "Did Daddy dress you too?"
"Shut up," Bellamy growls.
"Relax," he says, rolling his eyes. But with Finn Bellamy's never quite certain if he can relax. Since they were little they have always been friends. You could even say they were best friends. But lately Bellamy has never really felt that way towards him. He and Octavia were friends with Finn first. While Clarke was their next door neighbour at their father's house, Finn lived in the house opposite their mother's. They became easy friends in the way that only children can, and when they went back to living with their father, he would meander his way over and join in.
Finn's family isn't wealthy: his mother is a teacher and his father a janitor, earning a modest income. Since Bellamy used to live with a parent that needed every paycheck to buy simple items like underwear and food, he would have thought they would be (for want of a better word) kindred spirits. But Finn is always making snide jabs at him for having the latest cell phone, or being able to afford petrol for his car, living in a house with a swimming pool. Like Bellamy actually wants all of this. Like he actually brags about it.
Like he wouldn't trade it all if his mother could be brought back.
"You seen Clarke yet?" Finn's tone is attempting to be casual, but Bellamy can read him too well.
Hence, the second reason they don't get on. Bellamy wonders if, while he was watching Finn stare at Clarke like she was the most beautiful thing to grace the earth, Finn was watching Bellamy look at Clarke in the exact same way.
"Not yet." He shifts on his feet, trying to ignore the speed of his heart. "Octavia said she was coming." Glancing at the younger boy from the corner of his eye, he asks, "Did you bring Raven with you?"
Finn's face melts into a scowl, and Bellamy doesn't bother to hide a smile. "Fuck you," he hisses.
"Do you kiss your girlfriend with that mouth? Is that who you really want to kiss?"
And there it was. The tension between the two of them, almost making the air crackle. They stare at each for a moment that only one thing could ever bring them out of it.
"Ms Griffin, how nice to see you again." It is another doctor that speaks, someone who works with her mother. At this moment Bellamy feels his stomach sink, his heart leap right up to his throat. He almost doesn't want to look, wants to savour the moment for another time. But his head jerks round without control.
The doctor talking to her does not block the sight of her. He blinks because her beauty, like always, is kind of blindsiding, the kind of beauty that starts wars and ends arguments, the kind that makes grown men weep and could bring a world to its knees, the kind of beauty that it almost hurts to look at. She was pretty when she was little, but she has only grown into her looks. Her golden hair has the front bits tied back, showing off her clear skin and bright blue eyes. She is wearing a slate grey dress, short with lace at the top, and her legs look long in her wedged heels.
She is dazzling, and he feels all the air leave his body.
She is smiling at the doctor with Octavia at her side (he has only a second to register that she is not wearing the dress he picked out for her). She is focused on the doctor, and Bellamy thinks she'll miss him, but something catches her eye – a shift in the wind – and she turns. She sees them.
She sees him.
Her face is unreadable, and for a moment he thinks his legs will wilt beneath him. He can feel Finn shooting her his charming smile, and for some reason he doesn't think he can bear it if she smiles at him. But instead another person moves in, blocking Clarke from view.
"Better luck next time," Finn says, with an arrogant little smirk.
He is debating about shoving him into a tray of pastries when he hears a little cry. Raven appears by Finn's side, kissing him. Bellamy stares at them and cant' help but think what a dick Finn is. As a mechanic, Raven usually looks like a slob, but tonight she is wearing an elegant black dress, her hair hanging down her back. She's obviously made an effort.
If he were a different guy, he would return Finn's better luck next time. But he actually likes Raven. She takes things in her stride and doesn't complain about her lot in life. "Nice dress Reyes," says Bellamy. He gives her a wink and Finn frowns.
"Thanks Blake." She nods at his red shirt. "You clean up well yourself."
"C'mon," says Finn. Bellamy's not sure if he wants to drag her away so Clarke won't see or if he wants to keep her away from him (Finn has never been good at sharing his toys). He pulls her towards a table of food, grabbing two glasses of pink champagne as they pass.
He leaves too soon. The doctor shifts and Clarke is directly in view. She sees him again, almost looks like she was trying to catch his eye.
And she smiles.
Blazing. Her beauty is blazing.
They kissed once. Only once.
It was New Year's Eve. Bellamy was thirteen to Clarke's twelve and Octavia's eleven. Finn, Jasper and Monty were all twelve too. Finn was nearly thirteen, but Bellamy was the oldest by a good ten months. Kane had gone out to a party and hadn't bothered to leave a babysitter ("I think you two are old enough to look after yourselves," he said, but it was accompanied by a lecture on the punishment they would receive if the house was damaged). They had decided to invite the others and have a New Year's party of their own.
They all raided Kane's alcohol cabinet, making weird concoctions from Tia Maria and vodka, tequila and rum. All of them agreed that alcohol was disgusting, except for Finn, who downed a few shots until he grew silly. Clarke tried to steady him, a small smile on her face. My daughter will always look after everyone else before herself, Jake had once told Bellamy, when he had once visited the Griffin house. The air had smelt sterile and of death, and he wondered how Clarke managed to stand it.
He could easily envision Clarke's face when she talked with her father, bright and encouraging. As if will power alone could heal him.
The rest of them binged on junk food, playing the television and music at the same time. Before they knew it, it was midnight. Everyone screamed and shrieked, and things were lost in the confusion. One thing that wasn't lost on Bellamy though was how Finn flung himself at Clarke, kissing her on the lips before she even knew what was happening.
Suddenly the party didn't seem so fun anymore. Bellamy slipped through to the kitchen, shutting the door. The noise almost disappeared, and he took a moment to enjoy the silence. The kitchen was a mess of glasses and bottles and wrappers, crumbs scattered over the counter. Knowing his father would be annoyed if he came home to a mess, he began to clear up.
The door opened and Clarke came in. He wasn't sure, but it seemed like she shut the door quickly. "Do you want the bad news or the really bad news?"
He frowned. "What's the bad news?"
"Octavia broke that vase on the coffee table."
"What vase-?" Bellamy remembers the ugly black ornament with pink flowers. "Shit," he muttered.
She walks across to the counter, standing opposite him. "Is it expensive?"
"Probably. But I don't think Dad'll notice. He'll probably be too interested in the campaign. Didn't you hear? It's an election year."
He could tell Clarke was trying not to smile. "Y'know, I did hear something about that. I don't know what else your dad and my mom would be talking about." She was watching him, and without him even needing to ask, she grabbed the cake wrappers and stuffed them in the bin.
"You don't have to," he began, embarrassed.
"I'm your friend Bellamy." Her tone was almost disapproving, like he was a naughty child. Clarke was like that though. In fact during their group outings, the others always said that they needed five minutes to organise what they were going to do because Clarke and Bellamy always argued about how they were going to do it. The others had stopped trying to defuse the situation, and instead amused themselves until Clarke and Bellamy were satisfied. "Of course I'm going to help you."
It was the strangest thing he could have possibly done in the early hours of the New Year. He and Clarke cleaned the kitchen together in companionable silence, him washing some dishes while she dried.
He scrambled for something to say. He didn't know why because he and Clarke spent a lot of time together. Perhaps it was the weirdness of the situation, or maybe he was just tired.
"You said there was really bad news," he said.
He saw Clarke half-turn to him. "Finn's throwing up in the bathroom."
"What?" Bellamy knew that if there was vomit all over the floor, his father would skin both him and Octavia alive. "Fucking idiot. I told him he shouldn't drink."
"At least you weren't kissing him before he threw up." Clarke's nose was scrunched up. "Very flattering."
"Clarke, he's been drinking all evening. The idiot's sloshed. It's not you."
"It's not exactly boosting my confidence. My first kiss and all."
Looking back, he has no clue why he did it. Perhaps his brain wasn't working at the moment. Maybe he wanted to make her feel better. Maybe it was the fact that he wanted to give her something to remember, maybe to show he could kiss better than Finn. Deep down though, he knows he did it because he had always wanted to.
He dipped his head quickly and kissed her on the lips. He doesn't remember much of it, only that he felt absolutely terrified that she would push him away. He didn't know whether she was with Finn, whether she actually wanted him to kiss her, if she was going to slap him for doing it.
When he pulled away (they could have only kissed for five seconds at most) her face was inscrutable. He could feel his own going red, and wished he could take back the last minute. Maybe he could pretend he had been drinking, act stupid or –
"You don't feel like vomiting, do you?"
He had to use all his energy not to grin. "Not even a little bit."
He saw her smile then. He's always wondered what would have happened next if his father hadn't arrived home and lost his temper over the mess. He sent the rest of them home and yelled at Octavia and Bellamy; thankfully he'd had too much to drink and his energy seemed to run low after about half an hour. Bellamy remembered being really mad at him, because any decent parent would make sure that his children's friends got home safely.
What made him feel better was when Clarke's light flickered on and off at the window, using their familiar signal. That night he stayed awake for a long time, thinking about the kiss.
"You're mother is one of the best surgeons the hospital has," the doctor is babbling. Clarke has a fixed smile on her face, and she hopes she's nodding in all the right places. She has to work twice as hard since Octavia is only just fighting off a yawn, and doesn't seem to care if he notices.
"Excuse us," the girl says finally, pulling Clarke away. "God, I don't think I could have been more bored if I tried."
Clarke eyes Octavia's dress. It's a deep green, the neckline very low, and it is only just below her knees. She looks like someone who wants to have a good time.
"It doesn't seem like the most exciting party," she admits.
Octavia rolls her eyes. "Trust me, there's not much excitement round here. Sorry to disappoint you, but it's not party central. I can't wait until I can drive," she says wistfully. "My dad will probably have a coronary. I mean, I've been sixteen for months and he still hasn't allowed me to have lessons. I think he likes the idea that I'm dependent on him."
She tries to keep her voice casual when she speaks. "Doesn't Bellamy drive?"
"Ha! Bellamy's just as bad. Besides, if he takes me then he insists on coming with me, and..." Octavia smirks.
"Please tell me you're not doing anything illegal."
"Yeah, because my dad totally wouldn't have a fit." Octavia snorts. "He wouldn't let me wear the dress I wanted. I mean, Bellamy didn't want me to wear it either, but at least I know he wanted me to change because he cares about me. Dad only wanted me to because it gives the 'wrong impression'."
Clarke glances across the party. She hasn't met Kane since she got back, but she's not exactly upset about that. She remembers how he always seemed to be annoyed at Bellamy and Octavia. They were always getting into fights – the Blake siblings got their temper from their father. She got the feeling that he didn't even want them around, and if she was thinking that, surely Octavia and Bellamy were too.
"At least he cares about you enough to check in."
"I wish he wouldn't," says Octavia, but her voice lacks the emotion it had. She squeezes Clarke's hand. "Let's get some alcohol and bring some life to this party, yeah? I'll get drunk and embarrass my dad. That'll teach him to tell me what to wear."
She manages to conjure up a smile. "I'll meet you there. Bathroom," she mouths, and Octavia nods.
She could use her own house to go to the bathroom – after all, it would be nice not to have to worry about queues of people outside the door. Yet she finds her feet taking her to Kane's house (she's never really thought of it as Bellamy and Octavia's. It doesn't feel like they belong there). The living room is filled with people with drinks in their hands, and the queue for the bathroom is about a mile long. Clarke takes a quick glance round before slipping through the closed door and going upstairs. She's friends with his kids, after all; he's known her since she was little; and he's friends with her mom. She doesn't think Kane would be mad if he caught her up here. At least, no more than usual.
She uses their bathroom, and when she steps outside its quiet. She can see the people outside the window, milling round on the grass. It's a warm day even though it's early summer; everyone should be outside.
She remembers where Bellamy's bedroom is, and before she can tell herself it's a bad idea, she opens the door and shuts herself inside.
The room is surprisingly tidy. The bed hasn't been made and there are a few clothes on the floor, but that's it. She wanders over to the bookshelf and, ignoring the DVDs, she goes to the books. She's finds herself smiling when she finds all the history books piled up, shabby and ear-marked. She remembers sitting around for hours while he droned on about the Romans or the Egyptians or the Aztecs, or whatever period was his favourite that week. She would never have thought someone like Bellamy would be interested in history, but things aren't always what they seem. She knows that better than anyone.
She leans against the wall. At least this hasn't changed. But the boy who lives in this room, he has. Bellamy. She remembers him as a little kid with lots of freckles. Right before he left he showed signs of getting broader, but nothing like he is now. He's twice the size he used to be, and all of that's muscle. She thinks of the way he looked at her, eyes bright and shifting a little, almost nervous. Why should he be nervous of her?
Like you're not nervous of him?
She thinks of the way he smiled, how it seemed to brighten his entire face.
How his eyes, even from the distance, seemed warm and full.
She has the sudden urge to go over to him and ask why he never wrote or emailed or called, how the past five years have been, how had he changed so much?
By the time she comes downstairs, she is almost calm. For some reason her heart is thumping against her chest, and she looks round the room for drink. She doesn't usually have alcohol, but she thinks that right now she could do with one.
She goes outside, quickly drinking a glass of wine (tastes foul). She leaves it on the table and goes in search for her friends. She doesn't allow herself to think of who she is really looking for.
"Clarke." The voice is relieved and she whirls round. Abby is standing opposite her. She hasn't seen her mother for about six months. She looks older than the last time, and there are light circles under her eyes. She isn't wearing a dress, and she clearly has just come home.
They are less than two feet away, but Abby doesn't hug her. "Wow," she says, putting her hands on her sides. "Don't you look lovely? So grown-up."
"Where've you been?" Clarke feels her voice tremble a little, and to her horror she feels tears pricking at the back of her eyes. She lifts her head a notch higher. She can't cry, not right here in front of everyone.
Abby blinks. "I've been at work honey. You know that-"
"And what about last night?"
"I was working. I had an early shift the next morning. It would be easier for me to sleep over." She crosses her arms. "Is that a problem?"
"No, not a bit," snapped Clarke. "Except for the fact that you're only daughter returned home and you hadn't seen her in at least six months, if not longer, and you decided to stay at the hospital instead of coming home to see her."
Abby's eyes shift to behind Clarke. "Keep your voice down."
"Why should I?" she asks, but she lowers it. "Dad just died Mom. Where the hell have you been?"
"I'm sorry sweetheart. I've got a demanding job-"
"Even the president would have some time off if his wife died! But not you, because you're such a martyr."
People are looking at them now. She can see that even Kane has stopped talking and is staring at the two of them. Abby grabs Clarke by the arm and pulls her away, towards the house. They both know Kane's well enough to know the secret places, the areas where they won't be disturbed. One place is the conservatory. It's probably Clarke's favourite place in the entire building. She remembers summers spent in here, eating lemon curd sandwiches and practically sweltering in the heat. One Easter, all over them ate the chocolate eggs they had been given and even some extra, and she can still recall how the melted chocolate stuck to her fingers. Why they spent so much time in there she doesn't know, because it would always be twice as hot as outside. But the plants in the room gave it a relaxing feel, and it was always fun to leap from sofa to sofa, since at times the floor was too hot to walk on.
She doesn't want to talk to Abby here, but her mother shuts the door behind them. When she turns around she can see the darkness in her eyes, the way her lips pursed together.
"What is this about Clarke?" she asks.
She wants to laugh out loud at the stupidity of the question. "What do you think?" she snaps. "You're not here Mom! Even when I was little, you've never been here-"
"I've looked after you Clarke-"
"You looked after me when you thought I could be the daughter you wanted. When you thought I would enjoy wearing summer dresses and sitting learning to knit and sew and girly activities-"
"That's not true!" Abby is staring at her like she's a stranger.
"Yes it is! And when it turned out I wouldn't be that type of daughter – the kind that you wanted – you sent me away!" She feels the tears coming down her face then, but she doesn't feel sad. She wants to put her fist in something.
"I sent you away because your father was ill Clarke-"
"Yeah, you did. And now he's dead. I didn't even get to say goodbye to him. You never told me that he was at death's door! You never called me. You should have called me!"
Abby puts a hand at her lips. "Clarke-"
She doesn't wait for an answer. She pushes past her mother and dashes out the door. She hears her calling for her, but she runs round the corner and through the cut in the hedge separating the two houses. They used it all the time when they were kids, but it's a bit small now. She manages it, but her dress gets caught on a branch and one actually scratches her leg. It's a small thing, but she wants to start crying all over again.
She gets back to her house. She stands on her porch for a moment, leaning against the door. She's out of breath, and she doesn't think that it's because of the run.
She has been so caught up that she hasn't noticed Finn. He's sitting on the porch swing. She remembers how they used to swing from it, too high, and the chain broke. She fell on him and spent the entire day holding a cloth to his head, even when the cut had stopped bleeding.
He stands. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," she replies, though she can feel herself wanting to blush. "Why?"
He shifts on his feet. "I heard you fighting with your mother. I wanted to make sure that you were alright?"
She nods, hoping her eyes aren't red. "I'm fine." She looks out at the front garden. It's untidy now, the plants growing away from the boundaries and weeds littering the grass.
She feels him take her hand. She turns to him and wants to ask how many other things could change when his lips press against hers. For a moment – too long – she is taken in by it, allows it to happen. But she comes to her senses and knees him away. She doesn't hit his groin, but he still moans so she knows it must have hurt.
He backs away, his hand on his stomach. "Clarke-"
"What are you doing?" She wipes her lips with the back of her hand, looking across the fence. But she thinks Kane is speaking, so no one is anywhere near her house. She turns back to him. "You have a girlfriend!"
"It's not serious," he says, but the excuse is weak and he knows it. His cheeks are a little red. "What's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that I don't want to kiss someone else's boyfriend!"
"It's not like it's one-sided," he snaps, and she can tell she's hurt his vanity. "You've always been into me."
"Don't tell me how I feel," she returns. She unlocks her door. "I'm telling you that I don't want to go out with you. Not while you're with your girlfriend and, as of right now, I wouldn't go out with you when you were single." She enters her house and slams the door for emphasis.
After giving his speech, Kane goes in search for Abby. He finds her in the conservatory, head in her hands.
"Here," he says, handing her a drink.
She downs it in one, and he decides not to mention that her daughter can do the same. Gently he sits beside her. "Child problems?"
"You could say that," she says, her voice twisted. She leans on her hand again. "When did it all become so complicated Marcus?"
"When our children hit puberty," he answers. "And in my case, before then."
The reason Kane understands Abby so well is because he knows exactly what it is to be a monster in the eyes of your children. He knows what Bellamy and Octavia think of him. He wishes it could be different.
The truth is, children were never part of his plan. His father was into politics, and he always pushed his son towards that too. Not that Kane minded; he enjoyed the rush of victory, the joy of beating a smug opponent. He had always seen himself going further than mayor. Who knows, maybe he would have been president someday.
He got sidetracked when he went out to a bar near his house and chatted up a beautiful bartender. Aurora Blake had dark blue eyes and an attractive smile, and when she laughed she snorted. She was not wife material – if his father had been alive he would have immediately died of a heart attack. She wore cheap clothing and came from the poorer side of town. In at least every third sentence she swore. She could drink many grown men under the table.
Yet for some bizarre reason he could smell the scent of perfume every time he breathed.
Their relationship was rarely a public one. More often they would hang out at the bar where she worked, or at his place. She made fun of his videos and snorted at his speeches. But he loved the way she curled up like a cat when she was into a television programme. He loved how she read deep and meaningful books, books that no one would ever think that she could understand. He loved how he could still smell her perfume after she left, and when they fell asleep he would bury his nose in her skin.
He was bringing Chinese take-out when she came out the bathroom, holding a pregnancy test. "It's positive," she whispered.
And then he did something he has never confessed to any living soul:
He proposed to her.
In his mind he would have thought that she would leap into his arms and kiss him. He could already picturing holding his child in the hospital room, marrying her under a canopy of flowers. When he saw her tear up, at first he thought it was because she was so happy.
"I can't," she whispered.
His whole world broke apart with those two words.
It wasn't that she didn't love him. At least that's what she said. She said that she couldn't be the wife that he wanted her to be. He had his eye on high politics, she said, and she would get in the way of that. She told him that he would eventually come to resent her and this child. They argued, his pride hurt, and she left.
Of course, they couldn't stop seeing each other. Not when Aurora was pregnant. He was there in the delivery room when she gave birth to Bellamy. He even held his son before she did. He can still remember cradling him in his arms, watching his eyes open. He can still see the look on Aurora's face when she held him. The utter joy in her expression. He thinks, in that moment, he truly knew he loved her. Of course, he always thought he had. But right then he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it could only be her.
In the end, they gave it a go. For Bellamy, they decided to try and be a family. In his head he promised that this would be it. He would prove that they could make it work, despite the odds. And for a while, he lived up to his word. They had Octavia too, and for a short period of time, they were happy.
Then it all fell apart, exactly how Aurora predicted.
She moved out with Bellamy and Octavia, but he had rights. He insisted that they lived with him every other week. Aurora, overwhelmed with having two younger children, agreed. Of course he didn't find it easy either. He often lost his temper with them, and sent them to their rooms, sulking or crying. Still, he tried. No one ever gives someone credit for trying though, do they? Not in this world. You either win or that's it.
People muttered about Aurora's death being handy for Kane, but they don't know the truth. They don't know that he raced to the hospital making all sorts of deals with God when he was told she had been in an accident. He promised that he would be good to her, that he would look after for her. That he would give up politics, as long as she would live.
But God wasn't listening.
He drove from the hospital and simply stayed in his car, staring into space for hours. A song came on – Bell Bottomed Tear, by The Beautiful South – and he doesn't even know why, but that's when he started crying.
Suddenly he was left with a broken heart and two depressed children. And he tried, again. He really did.
But here's the thing about a broken heart: when it breaks, the ragged edges tear you apart until you become a completely different person.
He loves his children. He does. Sometimes he just wishes they could all sit down and watch a movie together. Or have a family meal without anyone yelling. But every time he tries he sees Octavia snort when she laughs, or Bellamy will smile that astounding smile that Aurora used to. And before he knows what he's doing, he's snapping at them or lecturing them or being a general ass. He hates how they can manage to be happy again when he knows he'll never be, not like back then.
So he's not friends with Abby because she's his biggest benefactor, or because she's his neighbour. He friends with her because he knows exactly what's it's like to love a child that hates your guts.
The doors to Clarke's house are locked, but he has a key. He sneaks in the back, and even though his stomach feels like it could drop out his body at any moment, he feels strangely confident. He doesn't bother to look in her bedroom, in the little girl's room that in no way resembles Clarke. He doesn't go into her parents' room, which eventually became a hospital, with nothing to remind people of the couple that lived in it. Instead he climbs up to the roof.
They used to come up here, the two of them. Only when they wanted some place quiet, when Kane was on the war path and Abby was yelling and Jake was suffering. No one ever found out he and Clarke hid there. It could only be two people, because with any more it's too dangerous.
Sometimes they would sit in silence. Other times, they would chatter about anything: music and cars and people at school who were assholes, parents and homework and futures that terrified them. Bellamy used to think they only went there every now and again, but looking back he realises that there were many times they seemed to hang out on Clarke's roof.
She's there, bent down, her legs huddled under her grey dress. She's staring off into the distance, and for a second he thinks she's going to take off and fly away.
"So," he says, climbing out the window. "Second day back and you've already created a scene. Nice job."
She turns to him, and her face flickers into a smile. "You weren't there to see me knee Finn in the stomach. Believe me, it's the things that great country songs are made of."
"I'll email Taylor Swift at once." He gets a laugh out of her and, he swears, that's his biggest achievement all day. "Did Finn deserve it?"
"Definitely." Her face sobers. "Did everything change while I was gone?"
He plays with the button on his shirt. "Not everything," he says. "My dad's still a dick. Octavia still drives me crazy."
"My mom's still the same," she says. She leans back against the tiles. "I would have killed for her to change. But she's still completely uninterested in my life. It's like she doesn't see me, unless I become the person she wants me to be."
"You know your mom loves you."
"No, I don't." Her voice breaks, and before he can think he's put an arm round her shoulders. She leans into his shoulder. His skin prickles.
She looks up at him and he holds in a breath, almost shaking. He thinks she'll say something – something – but instead she says, "I miss my dad."
He brushes his nose against her hair.
"When I was little, he used to teach me about mechanics," she begins. "He said he would never forgive himself if I couldn't fix a car when it broke down. He would sing me to sleep when I was sick, and he always told me that I could do anything that I wanted. He believed in me. These years away, they've been so hard because I haven't had anyone that has shown that kind of faith in me." She makes a noise that could be a laugh or a whimper. "I hadn't seen him for over six months before he died. What kind of daughter am I?"
"He loved you just the way you are."
He hadn't meant to tell her – hadn't intended to, because in his quest for her he wanted her to love him because – well, because of him. But her eyes reveal her pain and he can't leave her like this.
"I visited your father after you left. Especially towards the end." Her eyes fly to his face, but he continues despite the sharpness of her gaze. "It was always inconsistence, because he spent so much time in hospital, but when he came home I would visit as much as I could. He talked about you all the time. He would read your emails out loud and honestly burst out laughing at some of things you had written.
"It was harder for him near the end. He slept a lot. In the end, I brought him library books because he liked the smell and dropped blades of grass on his bed when he couldn't go outside. I even found some of your old paintings and put them round his bed so he could look at them." He watches her face flicker for a moment, despite her strength. "Most of the time he just wanted to talk about you.
"He told me that he knew you would do something amazing. He talked about how your face used to light up when you were passionate about something. He told me stories about holidays that you went on, when you snuck into the pool because you wanted to surprise your parents that you could swim, and you nearly drowned. He showed me the drawing of the elephant you did in fifth grade, and the little heart shaped stone that you found on a beach and gave to him."
He can see the water in her eyes. She blinks. "Thank you Bellamy. For being there for him when I couldn't be." He could hear the subtext in her voice: for telling me that he loved me. For proving it.
Their faces are so close her can feel her body heat. At this point, Finn would kiss her, press her against the roof and whisper that their friendship needed to go to the next level. But Clarke is sniffing and plucking at the lace of her dress, reminding him of Octavia when she had been yelled at.
He cranks his neck up. "Someone once told me that when a person dies, all the good things that they did in their life turns into light. That light travels up to the stars, and that's what makes them shine." He points up to the brightest one. "Every time you miss him, all you need to do is look at the stars."
He doesn't need to look at her to know there are tears on her cheeks. "Bellamy?"
"Will you tell me some of your boring stories about the Greeks and the stars?"
He buries his smile in her hair. "Sure."
As he begins, he thinks of the last conversation he had with Clarke's father, two days before he died. He was paper-white, his eyes sunk into his skin, but when he spoke he sounded amazingly clear. "You need to look after Clarke," he said, with so much seriousness in his voice that it was like he was appointing him king. "When she comes back, she's going to need someone to believe in her."
And when he had asked "Me?", Jake had answered, "Trust me, it can only be you."
Looking up at the sky now, he gives the stars a small smile. Remembers what he told Jake on that day, the words he needed to hear before he died. "I'll always look after her."
Standing in the driveway, the first time that we kissed
You were looking at the stars, saying heaven must exist
I took your hand, put it in mine, and let gravity have its way
I knew I would never be the same
Love's Been Good To Me, David Hodges
A/N: So what did you think? Did you like the Kane part of the story? I hadn't originally put that in, but I thought he needed a back story. And I needed to write one story with Kane as Bellamy's father. I'm not sure whether I would like that to be canon or not, but I think it would add another layer to the show; on the other hand, that's not the type of show The 100 is. We'll see what happens...with another series to surprise and inspire us.
Hours to make. Seconds to comment.