CHAPTER 3

"So, you ready to go?" Raven asked lightly as she entered the empty medical bay, trying very very hard not to gape at the sight of Abby Griffin in a tank top.

Abby stared at Raven blankly for a moment. "What?"

"I'm here to help you back home. I brought you another shirt but it looks like you found one," she said, no longer able to keep her eyes from wandering. Fuck, she thought just barely able to suppress an awestruck sigh as she stared dumbly at what Abby Griffin had been hiding under her really boring work clothes.

Abby's mouth went dry at the look on Raven's face, her very young face Abby reminded herself. "Oh. I keep a change of clothes here if I'm working late."

"Which you do. A lot," Raven commented, her thoughts immediately switched from the hypnotic vision in front of her to the reason Abby was here in the first place.

Abby was too sore and too tired to argue. "I appreciate your coming by Raven but I'm fine. I can find my home by myself."

Raven shifted, knowing Abby was still hurt and angry with her but she wasn't about to walk away. Not again. "I'd hope so, but I'm still helping you today. Jackson's orders."

"Jackson doesn't order me around," Abby stated in that damned raspy voice that made Raven's knees weak.

"He does today." Jackson inserted. "Abby you know better. You're still weak and unless you want to stay here one more night until you're fully recovered, you will let Raven make sure you get to your quarters safely.

"You've become bossy," Abby muttered.

"I learned from the best," he quipped. "She's all yours," he grinned at Raven.

Raven stepped close to Abby, closer than she'd been in too long and she felt as if a million birds were fighting in her stomach. "Ready?" the hoarseness of her own voice surprising her. Not giving Abby a chance to respond, she slid an arm around her waist, only briefly wondering why a sudden and unfamiliar feeling of rightness swept over her.

Abby started at the feel of Raven's arm around her, feeling far more than she had a right to but she'd be damned if she'd show it. She started to lift her arm to put it around Raven's shoulders but hissed as the movement caused a flash of pain in her stomach.

"Abby?" Raven asked, concern overriding everything else she had been thinking.

"It's okay," Abby said tightly.

"You're lying," Raven stated but bent as best she could, carefully helping Abby put her arm around her own waist.

"Okay?" she asked.

"Good enough," Abby admitted as they slowly made their way back to Abby's quarters. "How's your leg?"

"Good enough," Raven smirked, for once not feeling the defensive anger she usually felt when someone implied she was weaker than she was.

"God, we must be quite a pathetic sight," Abby laughed softly and the rare, beautiful sound brought a sting of unexpected tears to Raven's eyes.

"You could never look pathetic Abby," Raven said seriously. "Not ever."

Abby faltered at that but kept walking. "Hm," was all she said, Raven's hurtful words replaying over and over and she was relieved her quarters were strategically close to the medical bay so she could be alone to pull herself together.

Raven sighed. She didn't have to be a mind-reader to know where Abby's thoughts had gone. "Abby, I..."

"We're here," Abby said cutting off the apology she wasn't sure she wanted to hear. "Thank you Raven, I can take it from here."

Raven wanted to protest. She wanted to demand that Abby let her apologize and that she finally tell her everything that had been dragging her down but she wouldn't push. Not yet. Besides, she wasn't sure she wanted to be in the room when Abby saw her present.

Raven helped Abby lower her arm, missing the warmth already.

"Abby, I know you're the Chancellor and everything, but here's what's going to happen," Raven said more bravely than she felt. "You're going to rest tonight and then tomorrow, provided we're not at war again, I'm going to come by and we're going to have a very long overdue talk."

"Raven," Abby started to protest. Despite what she promised Jackson, she really couldn't see herself bearing her soul to a girl barely older than her own daughter, one who already thought she was weak and unable to do her job. Either of them.

"No Abby," Raven protested firmly. "I fucked up. I was hurting and defensive and I said things to you I shouldn't have. Things I didn't mean and that are one thousand percent not true and I hate myself for it. And tomorrow we're going to talk. I'm going to tell you I'm sorry until you believe me and then, well we'll go from there."

Abby didn't even have a chance to reply as Raven turned and walked away, stumbling slightly at the sudden change in position.

She opened the door and entered her quarters, trying not to remember what had happened the night before and froze mid-step. All the clutter and paperwork normally spread all over her desk and floor, all the jars of moonshine and empty cups were gone and there were marks on various parts of the wall where Raven had clearly repaired protruding pieces of metal that Abby hadn't even noticed. Her eyes instinctively went to the floor where she expected to see a big blood stain, the permanent mark of her shame, but instead she saw something that hadn't been there before. She walked toward it and her chest tightened when she saw a metal plate welded to the floor, the shape of a bird that she automatically knew was a raven, etched into it. Then she saw the note beside it and careful of her injury, she knelt to pick it up.

"Abby. I couldn't stand the thought of you looking at this spot and being sad so I had this made for you hoping that whenever things get too much, you'll know that I will always be here for you."

"Oh Raven," Abby whispered, tears slipping down her face as she ran her hand over the beautiful bird thinking about how much like Raven it really was. So beautiful but with edges sharp enough to draw blood.

You suck at both jobs. The words ate at her and she was more confused than ever. How could Raven say something designed to be deliberately hurtful, then turn around and do something so sweet. Fighting back the tears that still lingered near the surface, she gingerly got to her feet, suddenly feeling incredibly tired. She walked to the bed and carefully lay down too exhausted to deal with anything else.

Abby swore as she lay in the dark wide awake. Apparently even severe blood loss and pain killers weren't enough to let her sleep. Her thoughts turned dark wondering if there was only one way to finally rest but she shoved it aside. She still had some pride left. Groaning in irritation, she turned on her lamp and got out of bed, savoring the twinge of pain in her abdomen. She couldn't sleep, she couldn't do the one thing that would help so she might as well take a walk.

She carefully pulled on some jeans and headed to the door. She stopped as she approached the metal plate on the floor and simply looked at it. For better or worse, it actually helped. Instead of memories of her pain, all she thought of when she saw it was the young woman responsible for it. Sighing, she continued out of her quarters and nearly tripped over her feet when she saw the sleeping woman resting on the floor across from her.

"Raven?"

The sleeping mechanic jerked upright. "Keep your pants on, I'll be there in a fucking minute," she muttered grumpily before realizing she was awake. Abby's lips twitched. Against her will, Abby had to admit she'd rarely seen anything as adorable as a sleepy and confused Raven Reyes.

"Oh. Hey Abby," she said, her voice scratchy from sleep.

"Hey Abby? Really? How about telling me why you're sleeping on the floor outside of my quarters?"

Raven's usual arrogance was replaced by a sheepish embarrassment. "Because I fell asleep," she shrugged.

"Thank you for clearing that up," Abby drawled, a small smile lifting her lips.

Any smartass reply Raven might have made vanished at the sight of a smile she'd seen so rarely and those little creases by her lips. "Do you even know how beautiful you are?" she mused. The shocked look on Abby's face told her she'd spoken that out loud and her hand flew to her mouth.

"What?" Abby had no idea what to even say.

Raven searched for a way out of her embarrassment but aside from taking back what she said, which she wouldn't do, there was only one other way to distract the doctor. "Can you help me up?" she asked innocently while nearly choking on the words.

Abby was almost as shocked by the request as she was the compliment, but she couldn't reject Raven the one time she willingly asked for help, whatever the reason. She held out her hand.

Raven sighed in relief then took Abby's hand. She placed her other on the wall behind her to make sure Abby put as little stress on her belly as possible. She briefly thought that if feeling Abby's warm hand in hers was the result of asking for help, she may be willing to do it a little more often.

"Thanks."

"You're welcome. You didn't answer my question. Why are you camped outside of my door?"

Raven shrugged and looked at her feet. "Because you might have needed me."

Abby's heart constricted and a sob nearly escaped at that. "Raven, please don't..."

"Where are we going?" Raven interrupted with her familiar cocky grin.

"I can't speak for you but I can't sleep so I'm taking a walk," Abby said, walking away from the distracting young woman.

"I'm pretty sure that's not a good idea," Raven said, following the stubborn woman. Fortunately Abby wasn't able to move as quickly as she normally did which allowed Raven to keep up.

"I am a doctor Raven, I know my own limits," she retorted, beginning to grow irritated.

The two women were silent for a moment as they stepped outside and Raven bit her lip as she considered her next words.

"Do you?" she finally said softly.

"Excuse me?" Abby said with a coldness she'd never used with Raven before.

Raven swallowed. "I asked if you really do know your own limits?"

Abby stopped and glared at the mechanic. "How dare you?" she demanded, shame fueling her anger.

"Easily," Raven snapped. "I dare because you could have died Abby," she blurted, her voice cracking slightly. You could have died and I'm not about to let that happen again."

That deflated Abby's anger and she sighed. "In case you've forgotten, I am a grown woman," she said pointedly. "I've been taking care of myself longer than you've been alive."

"I know what you did there," Raven said, slightly hurt at the obvious dig at her age, "and we're going to talk about how ridiculous that statement is later, but right now I'm going to point out that you aren't taking care of yourself. You're too busy..."

"Too busy playing doctor and Chancellor," Abby finished bitterly, throwing Raven's words back at her.

Regret twisted in Raven but she needed to say it. "Yeah you are," she said gently. "And too busy trying to take care of everyone else. Who takes care of you Abby?"

"I don't need..."

"Yes you do dammit," Raven shouted and then calmed herself when she noticed she'd drawn the eyes of the others that were still up.

"I'm not doing this now Raven," Abby said stubbornly.

Raven was growing frustrated, having no idea how to break through walls that were thicker than hers but she was nothing if not determined.

"Good, because it's cold outside," Raven said nonchalantly. "We can do this back in your quarters."

"That's not what I meant," Abby stated. "I...where's your jacket?" She asked, for the first time noticing Raven was without her beloved red jacket.

Raven shrugged. "Inside. Which is where we should be. Now let's go."

Abby sighed, knowing the tenacious mechanic wouldn't give up. "Fine," she muttered and turned around, wincing at the twinge of pain.

"Abby? Are you okay?" Raven asked with concern.

Abby just barely kept from snapping at the young woman, "I'm fine Raven," she said tiredly.

Raven was worried that maybe she was pushing Abby too hard, but she knew it was needed. She also knew that she couldn't expect Abby, a woman who prided herself on control as much as Raven, to open up if Raven wasn't willing to.

"I'm not fine Abby," Raven admitted nervously.

Abby frowned and turned to Raven. "Is it your hip?" she asked, instinctively reaching out to place a hand on the hip in question. Raven's breath hitched at the unexpected contact but she wouldn't be distracted.

"No," she replied simply but said nothing else as she led Abby back to her quarters and then followed her in.

"Sit down Abby," Raven said firmly.

"Raven..."

"Please?"

Abby sighed, wondering if she'd ever be able to refuse the young woman anything when she flashed those big brown eyes. She carefully lowered herself onto the edge of the bed and watched as Raven shifted awkwardly looking more unsure of herself than Abby had ever seen her.

Raven's eyes looked at everything but Abby. She had lost so much and had swore to herself she'd never let anyone close enough to matter again, but yesterday told her it had been a useless promise. Suddenly her eyes fell on the metal plate she'd had Griggs etch for her and her chest ached as she remembered what was underneath it.

"You could have died Abby," Raven whispered, tears stinging her eyes as she remembered everything from the previous day, including the horrible words she'd thrown at Abby echoing in her head and learning just how much and how quietly Abby had been suffering by herself. It all became too much and she glared at Abby who was staring at her in surprise.

"You almost died," she repeated and to her horror, she burst into tears and she though her entire leg protested painfully, she fell to her knees in front of the startled doctor, "and it was my fault," she finished, wrapping her arms around Abby's waist and burying her head in her lap.

For a split second, Abby was too stunned to move but then the sound of Raven crying broke through and her own heart shattered.

"I'm alright Raven and what happened, it's not your fault," she soothed, running her hand over Raven's hair, tears burning in her throat as she tried to comfort the girl who'd lost so much. Raven pulled back and met Abby's eyes, hurting all over again when she saw tears in Abby's own dark eyes. Just like that, Abby's hand was on her cheek, thumb wiping away her tears and her eyes closed while she savored the comfort and then she realized Abby was doing it again and she pulled back and gently removed Abby's hand.

"No Abby, not this time."

"I don't understand," Abby frowned, feeling a bit rejected. Then she saw the grimace on Raven's face and sighed.

"Please get up Raven. I know that's killing your leg." She gently helped Raven off her knees so that she was sitting on the bed.

"Are you alright?"

"Just stop Abby," Raven said, nearly begging. "Stop putting everyone first for one fucking second."

"Raven you're making..."

"Don't you dare say I'm making a big deal out of nothing," Raven snapped. "You've been hurting yourself that's not nothing. Why?"

Abby's throat tightened, fear and uncertainty closing in on her and Abby didn't like being cornered. "That is my business Raven," she said coolly.

"Bullshit," Raven snapped. "I'm not an idiot Abby. It's not a coincidence that the day I say the shittiest thing I could think of to say to you, you wind up in medical, bleeding to death." Raven tried so hard not to cry again at the memory of what she'd done.

Abby's eyes closed. Very few things broke her heart like the sight of Raven Reyes crying. "Raven, what you said...yes, it hurt, but you were right. I've spread myself too thin doing both jobs, and both have suffered for it, but it's been this way since the Ark. I've tried so hard to control everything and it just made everything worse. You are not responsible for my failures."

Raven stared at Abby as if she were a different person. "Failures? What the fuck Abby? You're about the only one of the so-called "adults" in this place that has a brain."

Abby's lips lifted a little at the backhanded compliment but it faded almost as soon as it appeared. "Oh honey, I appreciate that I do, but you just don't understand."

"You've never treated me like a kid Abby," Raven chided, "please don't start now. Tell me. Tell me what it is that haunts you to the point of your doing that," she placed a gentle finger over Abby's abdomen.

""How can I Raven? You've got your own problems, your own pains. You've gone through so much..."

"And so have you," Raven interrupted. "The only difference is I've had Sinclair to talk to if I needed it. You've gone through just as much as anyone else but you keep everything inside while fighting for everyone else. For me."

"For you?" Abby let out a shaky bitter laugh. "I sent you the ground in a piece of shit escape pod, not knowing if you'd make it, just to find my daughter. I risked your life, for my own selfish reasons."

"No you didn't Abby. You did it to save 300 people as well as to find Clarke. I'm the one who insisted on going and you nearly got yourself floated to make it happen."

"And it failed," Abby replied darkly. "I tried to tell the people what was happening so they could stand up to Kane and Jaha, but instead I had them volunteering to die. They died because of me."

Raven shook her head. "No Abby, they died because someone stole the radio out of the pod and I couldn't contact you in time. If anyone is to blame it's me for not protecting it." And Bellamy for stealing it, she thought but couldn't bring herself to say it.

"That's ridiculous," Abby protested.

"It is. Just like you blaming yourself is ridiculous. Look, those people volunteered because they wanted to save the lives of people they loved. They died hero's Abby, don't take that away from them."

Abby sighed. Raven was right but the sight of all those bodies would haunt her until she died, along with so many other things.

"And what about your leg?" she pointed out.

"What about it?"

"You're going to tell me that it isn't my fault you can't walk on that leg?"

Raven's breath caught in her throat. She never imagined that's where Abby's mind would have gone and that just made her feel worse. "Fuck Abby, I would never blame you for this. Never."

"Isn't that what you meant when you told me I 'sucked' as a doctor?"

"No! I'm alive because of you Abby. I'm able to walk mostly on my own, because of you. "

"Do you know I still hear your screams?" Abby asked quietly.

"Abby," Raven breathed, having no idea how to respond to that. "I told you to do it,"she reminded her. "I made the decision."

"It doesn't matter. I can still see you. You were so afraid but so damned brave." Abby said, taking Raven's hand in hers and looking at their joined fingers. "But your screams Raven. I had to hear them each time I cut into you and it nearly killed me. I still hear them at night."

Raven's fingers tightened sympathetically around Abby's. "I would take that away from you if I could," was all she could say.

Abby found herself smiling. "I know you would, but as I said, you have enough to carry."

Raven sighed. She had a feeling that Abby was preparing to shut off but there was still so much she needed to deal with and Raven knew it was time to force the issue.

"What happened to Clarke's father?" she blurted, even though she already knew the answer. It was an almost physical ache when Abby jerked her hand way from Raven's and shot to her feet. Raven could only watch helplessly as Abby whimpered and grabbed her stomach as the sudden move pulled on her stitches.

"It's time for you to leave Raven."

"Nope," Raven said with an arrogance she wasn't feeling.

"I'm not talking about that with you."

Abby's voice had become even raspier and in any other circumstance Raven would have found that incredibly hot, but knowing it was because she was fighting tears, was breaking her heart.

"Why not?"

And predictably Abby grew defensive. "You don't have the right to sit there and force me to talk about anything when you throw insults at me to avoid talking."

"You're right," Raven agreed easily, impressed that she'd managed to surprise the older woman. "And that's something we can talk about later, but for right now you're going to tell me what really happened to your husband."

For a terrifying moment Abby thought she was going to throw up, right there and her fingers tightened into a fist as she fought the urge to kick Raven out and regain her control the one way she knew how.

"Tell me," Raven pushed gently.

"I'm sure you already heard the details," Abby said, breathing coming harder as she fought not to panic.

"Well yeah, rumors were the main form of entertainment on the Ark," Raven said, resisting the urge to go hold the surprisingly fragile woman and apologize. "Word was that you turned him in for treason."

Abby's eyes clamped shut at the pain that cut through her more sharply than the scalpel. "Well there you are then."

"It's bullshit," Raven replied quickly. "I know you Abby and I know that you wouldn't do that. What's the rest of the story?"

"Jackson already told you, didn't he? When he pressured you into coming here?" Abby's lips lifted in a bitter smirk.

"Not going to work Abby," Raven said, crossing her arms. "Yeah Jackson told me what really happened, but it wasn't anything I hadn't already guessed. As I said, you don't betray people Abby. I've always known there was something else behind your husband's death and Clarke's arrest and for the record, Jackson had nothing to do with my being here."

Abby shook her head, wanting Raven to leave before she fell apart completely. "Raven, please just..."

"Tell me," Raven pushed and the last of Abby's restraint vanished.

"Fine goddammit. I did betray Jake. I found out he was going to tell the ship about the lack of oxygen. I decided that he shouldn't do that. I ignored everything I knew about the man I loved because I had to be right. I went to Jaha because he and Jake had been friends for years. I believed he could make Jake see reason." She stopped, the memories pounding on the walls of her control.

"Jaha betrayed you and Kane arrested both Jake and Clarke," Raven finished, sympathy and fury warring inside of her when she thought of the two men who were ultimately responsible for all the suffering everyone has had to endure and only Abby was paying for it.

"What else?" Raven pushed, feeling in her bones that Abby needed to release everything now or she'd never recover.

"Please Raven," Abby begged, fighting with everything she had left to hold onto her control.

"I can't Abby. I can't leave you alone with all of this. I won't. Now tell me the rest."

Abby was silent so long Raven thought she was going to ignore her. She should have known better. Even in this Abby was strong. Strong enough to let go.

"I look at you, at Clarke...all of you at everything you've had to go through, things not even the so-called adults have had to face," she said quietly, unable to look at a young woman who'd been through ten levels of hell and was still standing. "I've seen you beaten and bloody. I've seen you tortured while I stood by, unable to help you. I've seen the things Clarke has been forced to do...none of that should have happened. Those kids...you, were sent down here alone, to fend for yourself because we were too cowardly to come ourselves and I was too much of a coward to fight against it."

"Stop," Raven ordered firmly. "You didn't make that decision or any of the other decisions that ended in people dying. From what I've seen, you did everything you could to prevent it and when that failed, you were the only person who worked to make it bearable. Those people on the Ark were going to die anyway Abby. Kane refused to hear any other option or give you the time you needed to hear from me. You, Abby, gave those people a legacy where they died heroes instead of victims."

"Tell that to the kids who lost their parents or the men and women who lost their loved ones."

"I don't have to. You were the one who gave them a chance to say goodbye," Raven told her gently.

Abby hadn't thought of it that way, but it almost seemed to make things worse. However, Raven wasn't giving her a chance to argue.

"As for Clarke, Bellamy and the others?" Raven continued. "They were being sent down whether you approved or not but you were the one who gave them the bracelets so that you could care for them even from the Ark. You did everything you could to protect them but they were the ones who chose to take them off. Besides, if it hadn't been for that bitch Nygel, you would have come down with me. Instead you risked your life to protect me so that I could have a chance to do something brave fora change.God, how many times have you nearly gotten yourself floated protecting people Abby? How many shocklashes did you take for trying to find Clarke?"

Abby looked at Raven, the pain sharp in her eyes. "I'm the one who gave them guns Raven and how did that work out? I gave a gun to an unstable kid who wound up killing a bunch of innocent people and the only way to prevent a war was for my child to kill him," the horror of that moment, of Clarke's face and Raven's cries were burned into her memory.

Raven fought her own pain at the reminder of the gentle boy who had lost himself. "No you don't get to blame yourself for that Abby. It kills me inside that he's dead. He was my family and I loved him but he made the decision to kill those people because he was freaked out over Clarke. He wouldn't have even been here if it weren't for me. I was the one who took that spacewalk but he took the blame because I would have been floated. And I'm the one who gave Clarke the knife. I wanted her to kill the Commander but after learning what Grounder torture is like, I'm glad she killed him instead. She saved him from so much suffering."

"But she has to live with it Raven. She has to live with killing someone she loved."

Raven blinked as everything fell into place. "Just like you do," she said.

Abby felt as if Raven had just ripped her heart out. "Get out," she whispered, her chest constricting so badly she feared she would hyperventilate.

"What?" Raven was shocked by the fury in Abby's eyes and she realized what she'd said. "Oh Jesus Abby I didn't mean it that way," she swore desperately.

"I don't know what other possible meaning you could have," Abby said, tears stinging her eyes as she remembered the gentle forgiving smile on Jake's face right before he was sucked out the airlock.

Raven was mentally kicking her own ass. "I only meant that I just realized why Clarke and I instantly got along. She is so much like you it's scary, intimidating and all kinds of amazing."

"I don't want her to be like me," Abby protested. "I want her to be happy and innocent and..."

"Look at where we are Abby," Raven interrupted. "That was never going to happen for any of us. If we hadn't come here, we all would have died from lack of oxygen never knowing anything but the small cramped artificial world we lived in. Earth is so wild and unpredictable that we would have faced these dangers whether the 'grown-ups' had come first or not. The truth is, however it happened, we finally have a true home Abby and yeah, it's dangerous and scary as hell sometimes but that's not really a bad thing."

"How can you say that after everything you've suffered Raven? I've put you back together so many times I know every scar on your body by heart."

Raven forced herself to put that image aside for the moment. "Because I've finally learned that I'm far more than I thought I could ever be Abby. More than I ever would have been allowed to become on the Ark. I learned that I'm strong, that I can survive anything and that life isn't just some big fucking joke and so has Clarke."

"Clarke," Abby's voice broke and the first tears began to fall. "She watched her father die a horrible, horrible death because of me Raven. She was arrested and sent down to earth to die because of me. She's had to do things that will torment her for the rest of her life. I did that Raven. I did this to my own child." And then finally the damn broke and Abby collapsed to her knees,

Raven's throat burned with suppressed tears as she watched the proud formidable woman fall apart. It was what she had wanted, but the sight was still one of the most heart wrenching things she'd ever seen and she couldn't stand it. Ignoring the pain in her leg, she was on her knees at Abby's side in a heartbeat.

"Oh Abby," she breathed, pulling the sobbing woman into her arms, gently stroking her hair as she let the overly burdened woman release her pain.

"It's not your fault,"she whispered, unsure if the distraught woman was even able to hear her. "It's not your fault. None of it." Unable to help herself, she placed a soft kiss to Abby's hair. Shifting to ease her screaming hip, she pulled Abby tighter whispering every comforting thing she could think of, as her own tears began to fall.

Eventually Abby's body wracking sobs eased into whimpers and finally into sniffles. Gradually, she pulled away. She looked up, startled to see Raven's tear stained face. "I'm sorry," she muttered, trying to regain her composure.

Raven felt Abby stiffen and her hands went to the beautiful face, thumbs wiping the tear tracks from her cheeks "Oh no Abby, please don't say that," she pleaded. "I...you are the most amazing person I've ever met," she said, staring into soulful dark eyes.

"No I..."

Raven placed her fingers over Abby's lips, needing her to listen. "You are insanely brilliant and so fucking tough. You always fight for people not because of any title, but because it's right and because it's who you are. You didn't kill your husband Abby. You didn't kill those people on the Ark, you didn't send Clarke and the others down here."

"But I..."

"No, I'm not done," Raven interrupted anxiously, afraid she'd never have this chance again. "Yeah Clarke has done things nobody should have to do and she's made some mistakes, but so have you, so have I and everybody else here, but everything Clarke has done has brought out a strength and leadership in her she never would have discovered up in space. She protects her friends and family with a fierceness that's second only to yours and can handle anything that gets thrown at her and kick its ass. She's become just like you Abby and in my eyes, that's pretty damned awesome."

"Raven," Abby whispered, feeling as if she could cry again. "Why are you here?" she asked helplessly.

Raven smiled softly. "Because there's nowhere else I want to be," she answered simply. "I'm here to remind you that you are the biggest badass I've ever met. You not only brought Lincoln back from the dead, you cured him of being a reaper. Who else could do that but you? You stopped a war that day Abby. And you confronted that psycho Indra all alone and with no weapons. You keep getting kicked to the ground but you always get up and keep fighting for everyone. You just need to remember to fight for yourself once in a while."

"It's not that simple," Abby sighed, though she felt a warmth she hadn't felt in a long time at Raven's ardent defense.

"Yeah Abby, it is that simple. You've forgotten who you are, but I haven't. Until I came down here, you were the only person besides Finn that ever saw me. You treated me like a person, not a kid and not just some loser mechanic from Mecha. You trusted me with information that I could have easily used against you. And despite all the lies I knew were being told up there, you were one of two people that I trusted and you are still are. I trust you with my life Abby, with everything I am, more than anybody else and I really want to be that for you."

"Raven, I'm old enough to be your mother. You have friends your own age that..."

"Fuck that Abby," Raven said angrily. "Age doesn't matter here. It's just a number and while I've come to care a lot about Clarke and the others, you are the one I want to come to when shit gets too hard. You're the only one I willingly let see me in pain. You are the one I think about when I'm lonely and who makes me feel safe when I'm afraid. And..." she paused, thinking this was so not the time to reveal her feelings, but how could she not when Abby was still in her arms. "You're the one who makes my heart race when you smile at me," she finished quietly.

A reaper could have burst through her quarters just then and Abby wouldn't have been able to move. She loves you. She remembered Jackson's words but hadn't believed it. She wasn't sure she wanted to believe it.

"What are you saying?" was all she was able to say.

"I...can we get up?" Raven laughed weakly.

"Oh. Oh, god. I'm sorry Raven," Abby said, getting to her feet as carefully as she could and helped Raven to hers.

"Quit apologizing," Raven chided. "Look Abby, things are shit right now. You're dealing with so many things. So am I and so is everyone else, but we live each day never knowing what new attack or disaster is going to come and..." she froze, her supply of courage having finally run out.

Abby's own heart was pounding so loud she thought she could hear it. "What are you saying?"

Once more Raven placed a hand on Abby's cheek. "I'm saying that I...I care for you a lot Abby. More than I've ever cared for anyone. You inspire me every day by how strong you are. No matter what twisted thing I've been through, when I'm back here and see you, I feel...grounded and know that everything will be alright even if I don't show it and I guarantee I'm not the only one."

"How can you, when half the time I don't know what I'm doing?" Abby laughed weakly.

"You'd never know it to look at you and God you're so damned beautiful," for a split second Raven lost herself in sad eyes that nearly broke her heart but were usually so often filled with a fire that was thrilling. "There's nothing I've ever wanted more than to kiss you right now," she continued, "but I'm not going to."

Abby couldn't help the flash of disappointment at that, even as her brain tried to process Raven's beautiful declaration. "You want to kiss me?" she asked bemused. Their age difference alone was enough to give Abby pause.

"Well yeah," Raven replied as if that was the most ridiculous question she'd ever heard. Then she took a deep breath wanting to alleviate the heaviness that still lingered in the room.

"Now, I think that's enough for tonight. You, Doctor-slash- Chancellor are going to lie down and sleep and I'm going to sit in this chair and keep you company."

"Raven no. You can't spend the night in that chair. Go back to your own quarters, I'll be fine."

"If I leave, it will only be to sit on the floor outside again. It's either there or here and you know how stubborn I can be."

Abby sighed. The emotional release had exhausted her and she simply didn't have it in her to fight, nor did she want to. She lay back on the cot and closed her eyes. Unable to ignore the image of Raven cramped in a chair with her hip hurting, she patted the bed.

"Come here," she said, forcing herself to believe it was purely for Raven's benefit.

Raven swallowed but did as asked. She shifted and slid in beside Abby though she she sat with her back against the wall, telling her heart to stop racing. Soon the room fell quiet and Raven thought Abby had finally fallen asleep, until that husky voice jolted her from her own thoughts.

"Thank you Raven," Abby whispered, having no doubt that shame for her weakness would fill her tomorrow but at this moment she didn't care. To her surprise, Raven didn't offer a cocky smile and witty retort.

"You aren't alone anymore Abby," Raven replied quietly.

"I'm afraid," Abby admitted reluctantly.

Raven's eyes slid closed, realizing just how much that admission cost the self-assured woman. "I know you are," she said. "So am I, but we can be afraid together."

Abby sighed. "You realize that this is the most you've ever willing said since I've known you?"

Raven chuckled softly. "I guess I was just saving it for a special occasion." She turned and looked down, meeting Abby's gaze which had changed from sad to probing and her heart flipped.

"The plaque you made...it's beautiful," Abby said, finally growing sleepy.

Raven's heart fluttered. She'd almost forgotten it and now felt somewhat embarrassed. "I...thanks, but I actually didn't make it," she muttered. "Richard Griggs did."

"But you had the idea and you put it in," Abby argued, a warmth Raven thought she'd never hear again, touching her voice. "It means far more to me than you will ever know."

"You're welcome," Raven shifted, feeling suddenly nervous.

"I don't know Griggs well, but I've heard he does very little without a cost," Abby commented. "I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have done something as intricate as that beautiful etching just for me. Especially considering he doesn't like you," she added with a hint of amusement.

"You'd be surprised at what people would do for you," Raven said softly.

Abby was silent for a moment as it suddenly hit her. "Your jacket," she breathed as she figured out what Grigg's had asked from Raven.

"What?" Raven felt a sudden urge to run.

"That was Grigg's price for making that plaque. Your jacket." Abby felt tears sting her eyes once more, but this time it wasn't from sadness or guilt.

Raven considered blowing it off as no big deal, but she looked down at Abby who was staring at her with such bemused awe that someone would do something so relatively unimportant just for her.

"It was a bargain," Raven told her honestly.

"Oh Raven you shouldn't have. I know how much that coat means to you," Abby whispered.

"You mean more," Raven told her.

Abby had no idea what to say, so she took Raven's hand and placed a gentle kiss in her palm, looking at her with such adorable confusion that Raven couldn't help herself.

"I lied," Raven blurted, her fingers reaching out to tuck a lock of soft hair behind Abby's ear.

Abby frowned, swallowing a lump of anxiety as she wondered what Raven had lied about.

"About?" she whispered warily.

"I said I wasn't going to kiss you, but I lied."

Abby sucked in a breath as she looked at the beautiful face that looked so innocent but disguised a heart as fierce as the strongest Grounder they'd ever encountered.

"I don't think..."

"Good," Raven interrupted, unwilling to hear any protests knowing that most of them would involve her age. She shifted until she could comfortably lean over a woman that had proven to be far more layered than Raven had ever expected. She loved complicated.

She placed a hand on Abby's face, relieved that while doubt was clear in her expression, she made no move to reject the advance.

"I do care about you Raven," Abby admitted honestly, though that didn't even begin to cover her feelings."

Raven saw the truth in Abby's eyes and she felt a happiness she hadn't felt in far too long.

"You bring me peace Abby," she said seriously, before placing a lingering kiss on the corner of Abby's mouth, right where those creases were hiding. "And there is nothing in the world that I want more than to give that to you, if you'll let me."

"I'm not sure if I can," Abby said honestly, trembling beneath the caress of soft fingers against her cheek. To her surprise, Raven just smiled in understanding.

"I know, but I'll be here, waiting until you can." Then, not wanting Abby to think anymore, she slowly lowered her head and pressed her lips to Abby's, sighing as all the broken pieces inside of her seemed to click back together.

It was a gentle kiss, not meant to seduce but to promise and as Abby accepted the tender touch, all the guilt, shame and regret that had been burning inside of her heart was being shoved aside by a sense of peace and an obnoxious young woman named Raven.

END