How's everybody doing? I've been busy working and writing, the usual! I've loved the Feedback so far and I can't wait to get some more. You guys drive this story! Something that I love getting are reader theories. I love seeing how involved people are getting in my works, so don't be afraid to guess! (I already got a story so I'm not fishing for ideas. Give me some credit :P )
As you already know, I am all about developing my voice as a writer so feedback would appreciated massively. I put my heart and soul into my work, so be sure I will work my hardest not to disappoint you. It tears me up to think someone was left unhappy with my writing.
So, before I get on with the story, let me first see who my top three reviewers are! You guys are my faves! You interact with the story, help it come alive! You make all the hair tearing nights worth it, because your reviews mean I've satisfied your need to be entertained!
Heather: Once again, my girl Heather is the first to be praised! Your reviews fill me with warmth when I see them. You truly love the story as much as I do! You contribute, you guess and you really engage with my interpretation of these characters. Thank you. People like you make writing, not just fanfics but novels, scripts, poems etc, worth it.
BookwormBecca99 : Another favourite of mine! Bookworm, I absolutely love you, and your name! You, like Heather, make writing a vocation, a life's purpose, and for that I thank you. Without you, there would be no Harry Potter or Hunger Games. There'd be no The 100 at all, because without you, us writers have no one to send our messages too.
Hailey: Ahh I love your enthusiasm, and it has been answered! Thanks for the review!
So, in a nut shell, I hope you read this, I hope you like it, but overall I hope and pray that you...
If the silence got any thicker, Clarke was sure she would suffocate on the awkwardness. Finn hadn't said anything since their argument, sequestering himself in the corner of the closet on an over turned bucket to play a game on his phone. Looking back on it, Clarke felt a little bad for snapping at him, but in her defence, he'd stepped on a line.
As soon as it looked like the cannibals had gone Clarke was ready to move out and head back to the Foot Locker. Finn hadn't been as eager to go, arguing the (stupid, in Clarke's opinion) point that the cannibals were probably still out there. Clarke wouldn't be stopped so easily, pointing out that they could be gone now, looking for any other stragglers and they should escape before they come back. Finn continued to disagree, saying they saw the others make it into the Foot Locker before Miller shut the gate. But it was when Clarke tried to argue one more point – the totally valid one that suggested the cannibals didn't know just how many had gotten inside. They only saw the last four run in – that Finn did it.
"You just feel guilty about Bellamy and now you wanna go see if he's still in the game!"
After that it had only gotten louder. Clarke had lost track somewhere between 'You're just jealous you didn't get the others to safety!' and 'Even Charlotte could have been more help than you!' but she was pretty sure the cannibals were probably back by now, listening in on the argument so intense it could have made them break character and start snickering. She was wrong, of course, and she knew it, too, so that made it infinitely worse. Finn was the one that stopped her from getting disqualified, risking himself in the process, and now he was stuck in here with her.
Just as she was working on something that may get them on the roads to making up, Finn's voice sounded in the darkness. "You know I can only pretend to play Flappy Bird for so long until one of us talks again."
Clarke looked up at him, hiding her relief that he decided to make the first move with a roll of her blue eyes. "I wouldn't have known you were pretending, but then you said Flappy Bird. No one can play that and keep quiet for long."
Finn cracked a smile, even chuckled. "Yeah. I'm pretty sure it was Raven who cracked my screen," he said as he slipped the phone onto the floor between them. He pressed on one of the apps and a filmy orange hue accompanied by artificial crackle of a campfire simulation engulfed them.
Neither of them moved to speak immediately for a few seconds, before Finn took the leap. "I, uh, I'm sorry about what I said."
He wasn't, she could tell. He stood by it and he was right to. But she could see it in those puppy brown eyes what he really meant. 'I'm sorry what I said upset you.'
She hoped her returning smile and slight head shake told him she'd gotten his message. "You got us out of there to Finn. If you hadn't, I'd be out by now and most likely so would Raven or Charlotte."
"But not Atom," Finn murmured, looking down.
"Nobody saw that coming," Clarke said, putting her hand on his arm. "We all thought it was Bellamy messing around, even me. It's something he would do, trust me." Lie. Big fat lie. Maybe when they were little, and Octavia had insisted on watching a movie both Bellamy and Clarke knew would freak her out, so he'd set out a mean prank then. Not now, not when they had something to lose.
But Finn didn't need to know that.
He cocked his head, shifting back on his bucket. "You guys have known each other a long time, huh?" At her blanched face, he gave her look you would give a kid who swore on a grave that didn't exist he didn't take the last cookie. "Come on, you don't really think any of us bought Bellamy's not knowing you act, do you?"
Clarke didn't know whether to feel happy that he was so transparent, or pissed off because even when being so obvious he still insisted on being an asshole. "He said if there was too much drama the audience would just vote for the pretty white blonde girl."
Finn made a face. "I can't tell if that's racist or brilliant, you know in a reverse horror movie kind of way where the blonde with the big tits dies in the first five minutes."
"You've been looking at my breasts?" Clarke asked, and was rewarded by Finn's flushed face. She cut his stammering off with a wave of her hand. "I know what demographic you're talking about."
Finn's face calmed to a pink hue and he still had trouble meeting her eye for the next five minutes. Clarke didn't mind. She welcomed the silence, letting her mind stop turning over and over as she tried to think of new things to say so that she could keep Finn interested in her. He was nice, and cute, definitely funny. He was pretty much the opposite of Bellamy, and his charm was less forced than Wells had been. He'd taken a more formal approach to life, whereas Bellamy acted like everyone was guilty until they proved their innocence.
Finn was different, he cared about others. Look at what he did to make sure she stayed in the game. With him it was easy to guess he'd helped her simply because it was in his nature to be good. She had no idea why Bellamy did what he did, and now she'd probably never know.
"Hey." Finn's voice through the semi darkness brought her back. "I know it all seems pretty bleak now, stuck in this closet and all, but it's always hard to find your way in the dark. Sometimes you just gotta stick your hands out, hope for the best, and keep moving until dawn comes to light the way again."
"Light the way?" Clarke asked with a small smile.
Finn shrugged. "I don't know. Apparently it's something I've always said."
He reached into his bag and pulled something out. Clarke had to scootch closer to see that it was a Snickers bar. "I see Raven isn't the only one who comes prepared," Clarke teased as she took it.
"Who do you think gave her the idea," Finn replied, winking as he pulled out his own bar.
They ate in silence, the quiet so thick you could hear any time one of them crunched a whole peanut. Clarke wanted to thank Finn, let him know somehow that what he'd said had made her feel better.
"You're a cheesy guy," she mumbled around the halfway bite. Finn cocked an eyebrow at her, looking amused. "But... thank you."
"No problem, Princess."
It was her turn to flush. Only one person in her life had called her that, but this was devoid of Bellamy's usual snark mixed with mockery. If she let herself, she could see life beyond this fucked up game. Being called Princess affectionately every day just like Finn had done then. If she didn't make it to the end, she could work at some crappy job, then paint all day in her crappy apartment. But it wouldn't all be so bad if the front door let in someone with soft shoulder length hair and warm puppy eyes who called her Princess.
Clarke blushed again as her thoughts began to get more and more whimsical. She knew infatuation was a thing that could escalate, look at how Romeo and Juliet turned out, but she'd never managed to gather a crush on someone so quickly before.
'If Cage finds the drama's he's looking for, he's going to exploit it. Exploit us.'
What the hell did Bellamy know, anyway? As far as he cared there was no 'us' between them, not any more at least, and he didn't seem too fond of the memories either.
Heat burned behind Clarke's eyes as she glared down at her feet. If he wanted to throw everything they'd been to each other away then let him, but she wasn't going to miss an opportunity to not be the miserable asshole he was so determined to be.
A hand landed on her shoulder. She jumped, only just realizing Finn had moved closer the more she worked herself up over something that just wasn't worth it any more.
"Clarke? You okay?"
Her bottom lip trembled before she could stop it. Finn glanced down at it, then back into her glassy eyes. He swallowed, lifting his hand to up her jaw, his thumb stilling her lip. Before she had time to wonder if he'd act on the turmoil she could see flickering in his gaze, he leaned in and kissed her softly. He pulled back almost immediately, gauging her reaction.
Screw it, Clarke thought, done with feeling sorry for herself, with comparing Finn's kindness to Bellamy. She just wanted to feel cared for, so before she lost her nerve she reached up and pulled Finn back towards her, planting her lips firmly on his.
Finn went with it, leaning back against the wall and pulling her onto his lap. His fingers stretched over her hips, slipping under her shirt, and she shivered as they brushed bare skin.
He pulled back, breath a little laboured. "Too far?"
"A little..." Clarke murmured bashfully.
Finn smiled at her reassuringly, pulling her head down so he could lay a gentle kiss on her golden crown. "It's okay... we've got time in here. We can take it slow."
Clarke smirked. "Can we make out some more?"
A flash of hesitation, before he shook it off, chuckling. Clarke's heart skipped a beat at his consideration for her feelings. He pulled her back in, his arm lowering to snake securely around her waist and pull her closer while her own wrapped around his neck .
Maybe staying put wasn't such a bad idea.
"I can hear you thinking."
Clarke lifted her head from Finn's chest. She hadn't realized she'd been staring at the door, her finger idly tracing up and down his side. She stopped what she was doing, twisting her head to look at him.
"Sorry. It's just..."
"You can't stop thinking about Be-" He quickly stopped when her lips turned down into a frown. "About the others," he corrected.
She didn't respond, moving her eyes back to the door instead. She felt Finn suck in a deep breath, then expel it even slower. He squeezed her arm, then sat up. They'd had to lie down on the cold floor, some old janitor uniforms spread under them, to both comfortably fit in the closet. Now Finn had disturbed the sort of nest they'd made, once Clarke decided they should probably try and get some rest (forty two minutes after they'd started).
"Come on. We should make a break for it while it's still quiet."
Clarke sat up and watched as he hunted around."What?"
Finn turned, brandishing a long doubled headed broom. He held it out in front of him by the two handles like a set of claws, testing how far the reach would go before snapping them closed, then open again.
"We're gonna get out of here."
Before Clarke could say anything Finn moved so that his back was against the wall by the door. She joined him, careful not to obstruct the arm holding the broom in case he needed to take a quick swing. He put his hand on the brass knob, shot her a quick look over his shoulder, then twisted.
He threw the door open and swung the broom as hard as he could. Clarke flinched as it hit the wall outside with a resounding WHAACK! They locked eyes, then bolted out the door before anyone could hear the echo. And by bolt, they tore down that hallway faster than any one hundred metre, lightening armed, track runner ever could.
Doubling back the way they came, Clarke was out front. Finn was weighed down by the broom, a step behind her. The desolate stores of the mall zoomed by in a blur, places Clarke couldn't remember passing when they fled from the fire the night before. The hallways were almost pitch dark. Another whole day must have passed while they stayed hidden. They passed a blinking sign that had Clarke skidding to a halt and turning back. Finn almost slammed into her back, catching himself as she looked back toward the sign.
"We went that way," Clarke managed between laboured breaths. "The Foot Locker's down that ha-"
Finn whirled around, the broom hefted over his shoulders before she could finish. She'd heard the steps as well and ducked behind him, giving him the room he would need. There was no way to tell how many were there, only that whoever was, was close.
"Finn?" Clarke murmured.
"It's gonna be okay, Clarke," he said immediately, his knuckles whitening around the broom. He edged carefully towards the corner, arms tensed and ready.
"I heard his vo-"
Finn swung around as hard as he could. The sound of the impact was drowned out by a squawk, followed by the thump as Jasper appeared around the corner, his head snapping back while his feet tangled under him. He hit the floor, holding his nose as it began to gush blood. Another set of footsteps came thundering around the corner. Finn didn't stop to think as he hefted the broom again.
"Jasper where – Whoa!"
Finn didn't have time to ask anything more. Raven threw her arms around him and pulled him in before he could draw another breath. His arms wrapped around her waist automatically, letting Raven pull him in closer so that his face buried into her hair.
Clarke would have found the reunion sweet as she caught Finn's eye through Raven's thick brown hair. But that vanished in the three seconds it took Raven to pull just far enough away from Finn then yank his face down to hers and connect their lips in a fierce kiss.
All she felt after that was as if someone punched her in the stomach as Finn gripped Raven's waist and pulled her in.
"We don't have time!" Jasper yelled, already pulling on Clarke's arm.
She moved on auto pilot, not seeing Finn's sorry expression as he and Raven pulled apart and tore down the hallway behind her and Jasper. He was leading them the way they had already been running, back to the Foot Locker. It felt like that was all she was good for. Running one way, then being the coward she as and backing out to run the other. The Foot Locker's dimmed lights came into view as they rounded a corner.
Once again, Miller was at his post, the gate shut. But once he saw them coming he jumped into action, grabbing the chain and yanking on it hard. The metal grated as the black gate lifted, the sound so loud Clarke could hear it over all four of their pounding steps.
She had no idea if any cannibals were following them as she dropped back, Jasper speeding on ahead, and then Raven and Finn, who hadn't unclasped hands. The walls stopped blurring, but her head pounded, her pulse in her teeth as she finally came to a complete stop.
"What are you doing!?" came Raven's voice, even though she didn't stop steaming for the Foot Locker. She was having to drag Finn after her, who chanced looks back at her over his shoulder whenever he could.
Good question her brain said in a tone akin to a mutter. It seemed even her own mind was fed up with her cowardice. I could kick your butt into moving again, but what would be the point? Even if you made it to the end of this thing, how long until you give up again like you did with Med School.
"This is what I want," she panted. "What I've always wanted."
That didn't stop you leaving them behind. You wanted them too, pretty sure more than you claim to want this. If you want to stay in the game, you've got to think of something more worthwhile than that.
Clarke's eyes thrummed back and forth, like a dreamers under their lids as they fell from the cliff. She took one step, then another, as she watched Finn hold Raven to him, both of them within the safety of the Foot Locker. Miller gripped the chain in his hand, but it looked like Finn was yelling at him to keep the gate open – from what Clarke could guess anyway – but her eyes were more on Raven as she stared at Finn with worry and... horror? No, fear.
"It's not me I have to stay for. It's-"
Before she could finish the thought, "Fuck's sake, Princess!"
An arm like led rod wrapped around her waist, shoving her forwards so hard she stumbled. She would have face planted the grimy tile if the arm around her waist hadn't kept hold as it shoved forwards, getting her to force her legs out in front before the fall.
Her eyes swooped up, past the firm chest level with her gaze, and up the bronze neck and sharp jaw line. Bellamy's dark eyes weren't even looking down at her, trained on the Foot Locker as he pushed them both along, shouting, "Miller don't you fucking dare close that gate!"
BELLAMY'S ALIVE! Of course he would be, there's drama to be had :P
Lots of stuff for you to discuss and theorize guys!
The obvious: What did Clarke do to deserve Bellamy's hate? What do you think happened in the show, to Arktown? Will the group all be able to survive now that they're all back together? What about Raven, Clarke and Finn? What do you guys think Finn was yelling at Miller?
And all the other stuff to discuss... I'm not doing all the work for you guys, come on. Where's the fun in that? Figure it out and...
REVIEW THOSE THEORISE!