A/N the First: I want everybody to know there was a mistake in the previous chapter. Apparently you do not clean a fish by ripping its spine out. That said, these are apocalyptic fish and the rules might have changed. Either way, I'm not touching dead fish unless it's either already cooked or nicely fileted for me in a supermarket section for purchasing. I will also accept raw fish in sushi format. Either way! Thank you for all of the wonderful reviews, and welcome to the final chapter!
Make It Through the Winter
The Electric Slide
"Okay, okay." Octavia threw herself onto the cushion Bellamy had abandoned nearly five minutes before. She didn't strike a dramatic pose, but Clarke figured she was one cup of Grounder wine away from that point. "You can knock that out now."
"Knock what out?"
"The eye-sex you're having with my brother. In addition to being gross, it's unnecessary. You've convinced everybody you're together. Good job. Now please stop."
"Just yesterday, you called us cute," Clarke said, finally looking away from Bellamy to smile at his sister.
"Yes, but that was before I discovered how persistent this thing was going to be." Octavia helped herself to some of the roasted meat left behind on Bellamy's plate. "Now I'm regretting any part I had in this, which includes accidentally convincing the Grounders to marry you off in the first place."
"Seems to have worked out for the best." Clarke pulled her hand out of her pocket, where she'd been worrying the little stone she carried. Bellamy had handed it to her the night before their wedding in some kind of drunken haze, and for some reason, she'd never tossed it away. She picked up her wine goblet and took a deep drink. They were leaving the summit the next day. It would be a long journey home, followed by the planting season—the first, Lexa had said, without the acid fog to kill their most precious crops. Either way, the fun was almost over, and Clarke intended to enjoy it while she could.
"You think it would have, without the arranged marriage?" Octavia asked.
"Dunno." She'd had that thought a few times over the past few days. It had been an adjustment, but not much of one, to go from thinking of Bellamy as her closest friend to her actual husband. After that long night when she'd stared at the campfire while the others slept, trying to puzzle it all out, things had changed. Sure, she'd been so exhausted from not sleeping that she'd nearly plummeted to her death, but it had cemented something she kind of felt she'd always known deep down inside: Bellamy loved her. Not as a friend or a partner, but something deeper than that. And it had crept up on her, so quietly and slowly she hadn't even noticed, that she felt the same way.
Also, she kind of hoped the little jump her pulse made whenever she saw him wouldn't go away.
"Probably not as fast," she said, answering Octavia's question.
"Fast, she says." Octavia heaved a gusty sigh and propped her chin on her hands. "Raven and I have had that bet for months."
"Not my fault that you need to get better hobbies," Clarke said, and Octavia smirked.
The summit hadn't gone horribly, but it hadn't gone swimmingly, either. The alliance, which consisted of twelve clans, had been ultimately distrustful of the newcomers and of the Commander by virtue of association. It had been a long few days for Clarke and Octavia, who spoke Trigedasleng better than Miller or Bellamy, and Clarke was positive fights had nearly broken out on fourteen separate occasions. At least the eating was good, as every clan seemed to want to boast of its fortune. Clarke and Bellamy, on one of the rare occasions they had managed to sneak away, had discussed commissioning Monty to make a special batch of his moonshine for the near year's summit.
In the future, they would also take a longer trip and skip the Pass, Bellamy had grumbled, and Clarke had distracted him by taking off her shirt.
But now, Clarke had been inducted as the alliance's recognized Commander of the Sky People, with Bellamy as her second and Octavia as their heir. If Lincoln hadn't been around to smooth things over, Clarke was pretty sure Bellamy would probably have started at least two battles they couldn't afford, but that didn't matter now. They were official. The alliance now had thirteen clans.
Across the tent, Bellamy broke away from the group of warriors he'd been talking to and headed back to their cushions. Octavia obligingly scooted over to make room for him. "Bad news, Princess," Bellamy said.
Clarke wrinkled her nose at him. "Please don't make me get up and dance one of those jumping dances with you. I'm enjoying this buzz."
"Not that kind of dance, no." Bellamy slapped Octavia's fingers when she tried to steal even more food from his plate. "But apparently it's custom to bring new dances to these meetings and teach the others. The Sky Clan needs to contribute a dance."
Clarke raised an eyebrow at him. "Teaching them all how to swing dance is going to be difficult."
"Thankfully," and Bellamy crunched down on a bunch of winterberries, wincing a little at the sourness, "that's not actually the dance somebody introduced to an entire clan while drunk off her ass."
It took her a second of peering at him with her eyebrows drawn in close together to understand what he meant and why he was smiling like that. And when she did, she groaned. "No," was all she said.
"'Fraid so. Lexa's men have been talking it up for the entire summit, apparently. Everybody's beside themselves with anticipation."
"This isn't happening," Clarke said, hiding her face in her hands. "This is not happening. I am not about to teach a group of diplomats and leaders how to do the Electric Slide."
Octavia, who'd been giving them puzzled looks the whole time, abruptly lost it, falling sideways from laughing so hard. Even though Clarke didn't look, she could actually feel the force of Bellamy's smug grin as he regarded her.
"I'm not dancing it alone," Clarke said.
"Not for long, anyway." Bellamy shrugged when she looked up to scowl at him. "They'll probably join in really fast. They seem to like their dancing, these Ground folk."
"You're the worst," Clarke said.
Bellamy leaned over, tangling his hand in her hair the way he seemed to love to do. "Aw, that hurts my feelings," he said. When he kissed her, she felt his smile.
"Yuck," Octavia said.
They broke apart, Bellamy laughing. "Are you sure I'm the worst?" he asked in a low voice.
"Yes," Clarke said without hesitating. Across the room, she could see Lexa giving her that look, so she pushed herself to her feet. She heard Octavia get up and follow her. Spotting Miller chatting with some of the Ice Clan, Clarke grabbed his arm and tugged him along with her.
"What's happening?" Miller asked, falling obediently into step.
"Culture, apparently." She took the drink he held and downed it. "Sorry. I'll get you a new one when this is over."
The tent went quiet as Clarke joined Lexa and a small group of the other leaders in the center of the dance floor. Apparently, they had been warned ahead of time of what was about to happen. She wished she shared that luxury, but apparently it wasn't to be.
"The band will follow your lead," Lexa said, giving Clarke that regal nod at which she excelled.
"Raven is going to laugh her ass off when we tell her about this," Octavia said as they fell into a line. "I'm just sad she's missing this at all."
"We'll bring her next year," Clarke said.
She had to hand it to them: the Grounders were apparently born to do the electric slide. It only took one round through the shuffling steps—which Octavia knew perfectly, to nobody's surprise—before the band picked up the melody more or less. And with the unfamiliar earth instruments twanging the old classic, a few others from the different clans ambled onto the dance floor, falling into the ragged lines. Before long, there were a good twenty Grounders, Lexa among them, scooting in patterns around the dance floor and shouting, "It's electric!" on the beat.
Surreal didn't even begin to describe it, though Clarke couldn't deny it: she was having a blast. Bellamy, reclining lazily on the cushions at the edge of the dance floor, gave them a little wave whenever they turned in his direction. Until Octavia nudged Clarke and jerked her head. "Why should he miss out on all the fun?" she called over the music and clapping.
"That's an excellent point." Clarke darted off the dance floor. Bellamy saw her coming and shook his head emphatically, but she only grinned and tugged on his elbow until he gave in. He had to be physically pushed onto the dance floor and evidently he did not share his sister's affinity for the dance, for he kept turning in the wrong direction.
It took Clarke a while to realize that he was doing it on purpose. "You're incorrigible," she said the third time he crashed into her, his arm slipping around her waist. "Seriously, you're doing the wrong dance at this point."
He leaned in so close that his lips brushed her ear. "I have my own moves," he said in the same low voice that did things to her.
Octavia used the lean-forward to elbow her brother in the center of the back, making Bellamy yelp. "What you guys are trying to do right now is an entirely different dance, and it's better performed horizontal," she said, shooting a smirk over her shoulder as they executed the kick-turn.
"I don't know. Depends on how creative you are," Clarke said, and both Blake siblings made a strangled noise. She narrowed her eyes at both of them, promising further revenge, and Bellamy finally broke away to properly follow the dance and laugh. On his other side, Octavia reached out and grabbed Lincoln's hand, her smile possibly the widest and most carefree Clarke had seen it in a long time. Miller shook his head at all of them, but he was smiling, too.
It was a memory Clarke would always treasure: dancing the Electric Slide with her husband, his family, and nearly sixty Grounders, all in the name of peace. It had been a long, confusing winter, but spring had finally arrived.
A/N the Last: This is where I leave you. I signed up for The 100 Big Bang, so I'll have the rather epic Summer Camp AU available for reading in May. But in the meantime, I have to go write the sequel to my book because my editor has a face I don't want to disappoint. You can find out more about that in my profile, if you're interested. Thanks for reading!