She didn’t realize she would miss the smell of grass. Or the way it tickled her skin. When she found out the world was ending again, she hadn’t thought about all the small things she would miss. She thought about her people and survival, and nothing else. But after finding Shallow Valley, she could appreciate the beautiful earth surrounding her.
Clarke knew she should go inside to sleep, but she couldn’t stop looking up at the stars. She wasn’t fighting for her life anymore, which meant she had the time to appreciate how pretty it was. Maybe she’d draw the stars. It wasn’t like she didn’t have the time. She had nothing but time. Five years until her friends came back down. Then, she wouldn’t be all alone anymore.
By now, Monty should have the algae farm going. She could only imagine the snarky remarks that Murphy had ready when he tried it. Maybe Raven was working on fixing her radio. Maybe Clarke could talk to them instead of meeting silence.
It was easier to be hopeful about her friends than to think about what she discovered in Polis. At least Clarke knew there was a chance her friends could come back down. She had no idea how to get her people out of that bunker.
She shook her head as she sat up. She couldn’t think like that… not if she wanted to sleep at night.
She was about to push herself up when a movement in the sky caught her eye. A shooting star. A smile crept onto her lips. She had never actually seen a real one before, not the kind she could wish on.
She closed her eyes. Seeing the star reminded her of making wishes with Wells as a kid. He would pull her fallen eyelash from her cheek and tell her to make a wish. “I wish I wasn’t all alone anymore,” she whispered to the night sky.
A quiet tear escaped from her eye, feeling warm against her cheek. Alone. How did Clarke always end up so alone? It was an easy enough thing to ignore when she was fighting for her life. But she wasn’t fighting anymore. She was lying beneath the stars in her new home. She spent weeks trying to get ahold of her friends on the radio. Not to mention finding out the bunker that held her mother was buried in rubble. Alone didn’t feel so horrible when she had hope that one day she wouldn’t be alone. But now that she feared the worst, the loneliness was starting to rip her apart from the inside out.
A loud rustling behind her snapped her out of her own little pity party. She jerked up, scanning the area for any sign of an animal nearby. She hadn’t found anything large enough to make that much noise. But that didn’t mean that kind of large animal didn’t somehow survive Praimfaya.
Clarke tiptoed toward the table where she had left her gun holster. She removed her gun, her eyes still searching around the trees. There was no movement from what she could tell.
She heard the rustling again, though it was quieter this time, as if the creature were moving away. She braced her hands on the table, taking a deep breath. Everything was okay.
She wasn’t going to go after whatever the noise was. She barely made it to the valley alive. She wasn’t going to tempt fate by throwing herself into danger when she didn’t have to. So instead, she went inside and stared at her ceiling until she fell asleep.
Clarke started taking long walks in the valley in the mornings. She would map out the area and take notes about what all survived Praimfaya. She wished Monty would answer her radio calls so he could answer some of her questions about the plants. But of course, he couldn’t. She did her best to remember what all he taught her in those first few days on the ground. Luckily, some of her earth skills lessons were coming back to her.
Today, she ventured toward the water. After a few hours of mapping the area, Clarke decided to take a swim to get cleaned up. She stripped out of the clothes she had found in the village before plunging into the cold water.
Clarke used to love the feeling of submerging herself below the surface. It was so quiet and calming, something she was desperate for back when they first got to the ground. But now… Clarke was growing to loathe the quiet, so she splashed around more than usual when she went up for air. These days, Clarke made all the noise she could to trick herself into thinking she wasn’t the last person on earth.
If she focused hard, she could still hear her friends’ laughter from when they first landed on earth. She could hear Jasper’s brave cheer as he swung on that vine. She could hear Finn’s chuckling right beside her. When she closed her eyes, she could hear Harper giggling with Miller without a care in the world. Clarke could see Raven’s smirk as clearly as she would if she were right there beside her.
But when Clarke opened her eyes, she was alone again in the water. She heard nothing but the sound of treading water. She could feel the warm tears fall down her face, a sharp contrast from the cool water surrounding her.
She swam over toward a ledge and pulled herself up. She wrapped her arms around her legs, burying her face into her knees, before breaking into a loud sob. She didn’t try to muffle the sounds of her crying this time. It wasn’t like anyone was around to hear it, anyway. At least if she was loud, Clarke could drown out the silence for a few moments. So, she let herself fall apart for the first time since she found the valley.
She cried for her friends, the ones she had already lost and the ones that might have made it up to space. She cried for her mom and for Kane. She cried for the bodies she found in the valley when she first arrived. And she cried for herself.
She didn’t hear the shuffling behind her this time. She was crying too loud to hear it. But she heard the quiet, “Are you hurt?” rumbling behind her in a deep voice, and it scared her so bad that she almost fell off the ledge and back into the water. But he stopped her from falling. His hand gripped around her wrist, pulling her back onto the ledge as she caught her breath.
Clarke clenched her eyes shut before jerking them open again. But it wasn’t a dream. If it were a dream, the voice that called out for her would be one she recognized.
She tilted her head up to look at him. He was now crouching down next to her, his strong hand resting on his knee now that he wasn’t gripping onto her wrist. His eyes were dark, though he didn’t seem as confused to see her as she was to see him. No, he seemed to be examining her for injury instead. “I’m not hurt,” she remembered to answer his earlier question, and he let out an exasperated sigh. There were freckles all over his dark skin and a small scar above his lip. His jaw was tense, and his brow furrowed at her. “How are you even—”
“I don’t know,” he interrupted, though he didn’t relax even at the realization that Clarke wasn’t injured. He had to be a nightblood. That’s the only way he could have survived the radiation. She wiped the tears off her face with her palm. How did a nightblood manage to stay hidden from the flamekeepers for this long? Maybe he was like Luna and ran away… though Lexa had never mentioned it to Clarke. “If you didn’t get hurt, why are you crying?” he snapped, nothing but seriousness behind his dark eyes.
“I was upset,” she mumbled, and he blinked a few times at her, his lips parted in confusion. Then, his mouth snapped shut, and he pushed himself up again.
“Branwoda grada,” he mumbled as he turned away from her.
“Hod op!” she shouted back, her jaw a bit tense from him calling her stupid as if she couldn’t understand him. He turned around, a small smirk on his lips as he looked back at her. She pushed herself up to her feet, and she could see just how larger than her he was. He towered over her. “Where are you going?” she asked.
“Getting firewood, like I was trying to do before I heard you crying,” he replied before walking away. Her jaw went slack at his casual tone, as if he didn’t just discover that there was another person still alive.
He got away from her when she went to tug her clothes back on, but she tracked him down. He was wielding an axe, not even turning around though he heard her. “Who are you?” she asked.
“Bellamy,” he replied before tossing the axe back down to the ground.
“Bellamy,” she repeated, almost in disbelief. How could another person have been in this valley the entire time and Clarke only now found out about it? He must have known about her for a while since he didn’t seem to be reeling from this discovery. “Have you been here this whole time?”
“Yes,” he huffed as he turned to look at her, head cocked to the side. She could make sense of his strange reaction to her until he said, “A storm is on its way. You should head back to your shelter, Wanheda.” She flinched at the sound of that name. The only good thing about being the last person on earth was that she wouldn’t hear that thrown back at her again. Yet there it was. A grounder she had never met and the only other person on earth tossed that name at her with indifference.
Her mouth snapped shut as her eyes met his. That’s why she hadn’t crossed paths with him. He had heard the stories about her and stayed hidden from her.
“My name is Clarke,” she said through gritted teeth, and he narrowed his eyes at her. Clarke would be damned if she let him call her Wanheda.
“Okay,” he replied as he gathered the chopped wood into his arms. She stood there frozen as she watched him walk away from her. He headed in the opposite direction of the village, and Clarke would have followed him if she hadn’t felt a rain drop on her skin... and deep down she could feel that he didn’t want her to follow. I am not alone echoed over and over in her head as she made her way home.
“I guess it was my hair that tipped him off,” she mumbled. Her head rested in her hand while her other hand kept the radio close to her lips. “That was how Grounders I had never come across before figured out who I was after I left Camp Jaha.”
It had been two days since she found out about Bellamy, but she hadn’t seen him since. She almost convinced herself it was all a dream, though she could still feel his grip on her wrist from when she almost fell. If he was hiding from her for all that time, why did he reveal himself when Clarke was crying? It didn’t make any sense.
“I mean, it’s not hard to figure out I’m from Skaikru,” she mused. “He probably surveyed the village while I was away and found one of my guns or the rover. Guess blonde hair and Skaikru were Wanheda’s two identifying factors,” she snorted. “Harper, how did you manage to never get mistaken for me?”
She chuckled at her own joke, and she could only imagine Harper throwing her head back as she laughed along. For a moment, Clarke forgot she wasn’t there… that none of them were.
She swallowed as she looked down at the radio. It was pointless trying to talk to them like this. They couldn’t hear her. And did she hope for them to speak back to her after these weeks of literal radio silence? No, the only other voice she would hear other than her own was Bellamy’s. And he didn’t seem too keen on being anywhere near Wanheda.
“All I wanted,” she whispered to the radio, despite knowing how pointless it was, “was to stop feeling so alone. Now, I’m not alone, but I still feel like I am.”
She put the radio down and looked up at the sky. Only 1,886 days left to go until her friends came back to her. Until then, she would be all alone unless she found a way to befriend Bellamy. So, in a huff, she pushed herself to her feet and grabbed her bag, ready to find wherever the hell he made camp in this valley.
The sun was starting to set when Clarke found the fresh tracks, likely from this morning. They led her to a small cottage surrounded by trees. She blinked a few times as she took in the sight. It was so far from the village. If he was from here, why would he choose to live so far from the rest of his people?
She peered into the window, but it was dark inside. He wasn’t home yet. She let out a breath as she rested her back against the wall. She didn’t have to speak to him yet. She had some time as she waited for him.
She propped herself up against the wall and pulled out her unfinished sketch from her bag. For a while, Clarke fell into a comfortable haze as her pencil met the page again.
“You,” she heard Bellamy grumble, and her head snapped up. He was putting down two buckets, his eyes narrowed on Clarke as he did. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you,” she said as she scrambled to her feet.
“You do realize that I am armed, right?” he huffed to intimidate her.
“If you wanted to kill me, you would have done it already,” she said as she took a cautious step in his direction. “And you wouldn’t have given yourself away just because you thought I got hurt in the water.” His dark eyes softened for a moment before he jerked his head down. He picked up the buckets again, resuming business as usual.
“Why did you come to see me?” he asked with very little interest as he brushed past her.
“Well,” she stuttered out, and he turned back around to raise an impatient eyebrow at her. “You and I are both alone here. Do I have to explain why I wanted to come see you?”
“Ah,” he snorted, and Clarke’s jaw tensed. “You got lonely. Is that why you keep trying to talk to your friends on that radio thing?” he asked, teasing her. She was right. If he knew about the radio calls, then he had been watching her for a while.
She opened her mouth to snap back at him, but she couldn’t even think of adequate words at the moment. Bellamy stood there, eyes sharp on her as he waited for her retort. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. It wasn’t like he was particularly warm the last time she crossed paths with him. But he did check on her when he found her crying… which made her think there was more to the stoic front he was putting up now.
“We are the last two people remaining on earth,” she murmured, though these words did not phase him. “I don’t know if my friends made it back to space. We have no way of getting that bunker open… which means it could just be you and I alone on this earth together until we die.” Her body shuddered at those words, but she kept her eyes firm on Bellamy’s, refusing to show any kind of weakness. “Are you planning on spending the rest of your life avoiding the only other person on earth?” she asked, cocking her head to the side the same way he had been doing to her.
He pressed his lips together as he looked over his shoulder. She waited for his answer, though it never came. She let out a groan as she went to pick up her things. “You know where to find me if you change your mind,” she muttered as she started back toward the dark forest. What the hell was his problem? It wasn’t like Clarke had done anything to injure him, nor did he seem intimidated by her.
“Wait,” he called out.
“What?” she snapped as she whipped her head around to look at him. He was in the exact same spot, his face still contorted in frustration.
He looked down at the ground for a moment, pressing his lips hard together. “I’m sorry. I um…” he mumbled. Then, his eyes flickered up to meet hers. He looked so confused, frustrated… and sad, and Clarke felt her chest pang in response. “Do you want to come inside?” he asked. He spoke as if someone was holding a knife to his throat and ordering him to extend the invitation. She hesitated. “Please, come inside,” he rephrased it, and Clarke took a cautious step toward him.
He led her inside, getting to work on a fire. She stood in the doorway, surveying the small room. She counted three cots, meaning Bellamy didn’t used to live here alone. She knew better than to ask, though. She knew what most likely happened to them, and she could understand why he would rather be alone now. Maybe that was why he avoided her.
Her eyes searched the cottage for any other clue about Bellamy, but there were none. It was sparsely decorated and only seeming to have his belongings left now. “Have a seat,” he murmured, gesturing to a chair opposite him.
She sat down, though she couldn’t think of what she wanted to ask him about first. An hour ago, she was overwhelmed with how many things she wanted to ask him about. But now, she sat there frozen, staring back at him as she tried to figure out how to talk to a complete stranger. “How long have you lived here?” she asked, unable to take the silence anymore.
“As long as I can remember,” he replied.
“You lived this far from the village for most of your life?”
“It was either that or have my sister and I found by a flamekeeper,” he muttered.
Her eyes widened. “You have a sister?” If he had a nightblood sister, she should be here too. But Clarke saw no sign of a girl living in this cottage with Bellamy.
“Had,” he corrected, and Clarke’s stomach dropped. “Well, I’m not sure. She met someone a while back and ran off with him. I haven’t heard from her since. And now that everyone else died in Praimfaya… well, my only hope is that she somehow found her way into that bunker. But even if she was in that bunker…” He looked down at his hands, and Clarke bit her lip. Even if his sister made it into that bunker, he still might not ever see her again. Like how Clarke wasn’t sure she would ever see her mother again.
“My mother is in that bunker,” she whispered, and he nodded along.
A few moments passed before he looked up at her again, a curious look in his eyes. “Why aren’t you?”
“It’s a long story,” she sighed as she got comfortable in her seat. Bellamy’s eyes were piercing as he watched her.
“I have time,” he smirked, and she let out an unexpected snort. He was right, though. The two of them had nothing but time, now. So, she started with how she left the bunker with Murphy and Emori to get Raven. During the first part of the story, he listened attentively. He only interrupted when he had a clarification question. But once she got to the part about going back to space, he was too invested in the story to keep his reactions to himself. “Was your friend’s hand okay?”
“I don’t know,” Clarke whispered.
“How do you not know?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
“Because I never saw him again,” she explained, and he cocked his head to the side. “They had to leave without me, Bellamy. That’s how I’m still here and not up there with them.” He sat up a bit taller, the curious look in his eyes transforming into something much sadder.
“They left you behind,” he whispered.
“I didn’t make it back in time,” she corrected, but his concerned expression didn’t falter. “They had to leave when they did, otherwise they all would have died when Praimfaya hit.”
“Then, how did you survive?”
“I’m a nightblood,” she explained, and he furrowed his eyebrows. “Nightbloods can survive this level of radiation, apparently. It’s how you’re still alive.” His eyes dropped to his hands, but she couldn’t read his expression. “Anyway, that’s the story of how I ended up still on earth.”
“Can I ask you something?” he said, his eyes still fixed on his hands.
“Are the other stories about you true?”
It was Clarke’s turn to duck her head and shut her eyes. God only knows how much he had heard about the things she had done for her people. Judging on how other people react when they meet her, she could only imagine what he must think of her. “Yes,” she whispered, unable to meet his eyes.
“Okay.” She waited for more questions, elaborations on the story… something. But he didn’t say a word. She looked up at him, but he seemed lost in his own thoughts.
She turned to look over her shoulder, seeing now that it was completely dark outside. Damnit. She hadn’t thought through how she’d find her way back to the village in the dark of night. It wasn’t exactly a short hike and she only vaguely remembered how she got here in the first place.
Worry must have shown on her face because Bellamy said, “You can stay here tonight.”
“What?” she asked, whipping her head back around to look up at him.
“There are two extra cots here, Clarke,” he pointed out as he moved to tend to the fire. “I doubt you’d find your way back to the village on your own anyway,” he smirked, and her cheeks went red.
She kept waiting for him to remember exactly who she was and revoke the invitation, but he didn’t. Instead, he dug out the extra blankets before retreating to his side of the room. Her mind was still reeling as she climbed into bed. He switched from hiding from her to inviting her to spend the night all in one evening. His snoring interrupted her racing thoughts. Somehow, she found it much easier to fall asleep to the sound of his snoring than to complete and utter silence.
When sunlight first flitted into the cottage, Clarke sat up. She looked over at Bellamy’s cot in the corner. He had turned away from her in his sleep, now facing the wall. She picked up her boots off the ground and tugged them onto her feet. Then, she reached for her bag. Bellamy was snoring in the corner as she crept toward the door.
She didn’t want to overstay her welcome. Him inviting her to stay was more out of necessity than anything. Clarke wouldn’t make it back to the village in the dark. And it wasn’t like Bellamy was going to guide her there before going all the way back to his cottage either. Of course, he asked her to stay. It was the easiest solution, and nothing more than that. He didn’t trust her and probably still wasn’t keen on having her around. After all, who knows how long he avoided her before he found her at the water?
The hike back to the village was easier than her hike last night, and she fell back into her old routine. She mapped out some of the area before coming back to eat. After sketching for a bit, Clarke found herself reaching for the radio.
She didn’t say as much today. It felt kind of hollow to have a one-sided conversation when she had a real one last night with Bellamy. It ended up being one of her shortest calls, and when it was over, Clarke threw her head back in a sigh.
“Why do you keep trying to talk to them?”
Clarke jumped in her seat. She turned to see Bellamy coming up behind her, his face apologetic for startling her. “I don’t know,” she admitted, throwing her hands up. Bellamy pursed his lips as he looked around the village. “It gives me something to do, someone to talk to… And for all I know, they can actually hear me, but they can’t respond.” He raised his eyebrows, and she let out a defeated sigh. She knew it was useless to think like that, but it was all she had to hold onto. One final connection to her old life.
“But doesn’t it hurt to keep reaching out only to be met with silence?” he asked as he dropped his bag to the ground. After a beat, he actually looked at her, his eyes as piercing as they were last night.
“Yeah,” she admitted. He gave her a once over before looking out at the village again. It hadn’t been that many hours since she saw him last. But she hadn’t expected to see him again so soon… and she certainly never expected for him to come here. She figured that she would have to go find him whenever she wanted to be around another person. “What brings you all the way out here?”
“The only other person alive on earth is out here. Do I need another reason?” he snorted as he plopped down in the seat across from her, and Clarke ducked her head to hide her grateful smile.
The two of them fell into a sort of routine. They spent their mornings separate. Clarke usually spent hers talking on the radio or going out to the water, but she had no idea how he spent his mornings. Late in the afternoon, Bellamy would show up to the village. Sometimes the two of them would talk. Other times, Clarke would work on her sketches while Bellamy whittled.
He usually left after the sun set, and she hated being alone once he was gone. She wanted to ask him why he insists on staying out in the cottage all by himself. There was plenty of room in the village for him. He wouldn’t have to hike as far to get water twice a day. He’d be closer to Clarke… though, she wasn’t sure he would see the latter as a benefit. He liked his time on his own from what she could tell. The distance between their homes was an easy way to ensure his own peace and quiet, she figured.
She avoided bringing it up to him, though it still bothered her. The truth was, she wanted him closer by. She was happier when he was around. When she was all alone, her mind flooded with memories of Praimfaya. Or not being able to say goodbye to her mother. Or watching the spaceship leave her behind.
Then came the day when Bellamy didn’t show up at the village.
She waited as long as her patience would let her before taking off toward his cottage. If he wasn’t there, Clarke wasn’t sure how she would find him. The valley was large, and Clarke hadn’t mapped it all out yet. Her thoughts filled with fears about something bad happening to him.
She had to pause by a tree to get herself together after her thoughts took her to the worst possible scenario. If Bellamy was dead, Clarke would be all alone here. She’d go back to relying on that crap radio as her only way of staying sane. And Clarke liked Bellamy. Sure, he didn’t say much to her and probably didn’t trust her, but she liked having him around. He was all she had.
She wiped away a final tear before resuming her trek. When she first caught glimpse of the cottage, she took off running. “Bellamy!” she called out.
“In here,” he groaned, and Clarke pushed the door open. His back was to her as he sat on the floor across from the fireplace. His broad shoulders were hunched over, and Clarke was ready to scream at him for scaring her. But as she stepped into the room, she spotted his foot covered in his black blood. “Stepped in an old trap,” he said through gritted teeth. Clarke threw her bag onto his table to dig for her makeshift emergency kit. “I will be fine.”
“You need stitches,” she huffed as she fished it out.
“Clarke,” he groaned. Clarke opened the front door to grab one of the buckets of water he would have gotten on his morning walk. “You do not have to take care of this.”
“Stop talking,” she huffed as she dragged the bucket over toward Bellamy. She got to work cleaning the wound, and luckily, Bellamy didn’t say another word. He jumped when she put a little too much pressure on it. Clarke used her other hand to hold his leg in place as she mumbled her apologies. She didn’t miss how he flinched at the contact of her hand on his skin. That reaction was going to haunt Clarke more than it should. It wasn’t personal… she knew that. But she missed having physical contact with another person. She missed the way her mother pulled her in for hugs. She missed the way Jasper grabbed her hand and started swinging after a bit too much moonshine. She wondered if Bellamy missed it too, but she didn’t dare ask.
He swore under his breath in Trigedasleng when she began stitching him up. “You’re okay,” she reassured as she tried to get this over with for him.
They fell into silence once Clarke was done. She slid away from him, realizing that she was far closer than she had ever been. “Thank you,” he sighed as he checked out her work. She only nodded in response before cleaning up her supplies. “Your mom taught you how to do that, right?”
“Yeah,” she murmured. “You should stay off that for a while.” He let out an irritated huff, and Clarke snapped her head up to glare at him. “Bellamy, I’m serious.”
“Oh, I know you are,” he snorted, and she furrowed her eyebrows. “I will stay off it,” he said, throwing his hands up defensively.
Clarke narrowed her eyes at him. She was certain he was lying. As soon as he was out of her sight, he’d go back to trying to go through his normal routine and reopen the wound. “I should stay here until you can be on your feet again,” she decided, and he threw his head back in a groan.
“I do not need you making such a big deal about this. It was a small accident,” he muttered.
She furrowed her eyebrows as she looked down at the wound before looking back up at him. “Didn’t look small to me,” she snapped.
“This is why I came home instead of going to the village. I knew you would blow this whole thing up,” he huffed, and Clarke’s jaw twitched.
“Where exactly were you when you stepped in the trap?” she asked, and a flicker of panic went through Bellamy’s eyes. “You were closer to the village than here,” she realized, and pushed herself up to her feet.
“Clarke.” She ignored him and instead kept her hands busy by organizing her emergency kit. “Clarke,” he said a bit louder.
“I was worried about you,” she snapped when she turned back to look at him.
“Well, I figured you’d be a lot more worried if you saw this before I could clean it up,” he huffed, gesturing to his leg. He didn’t seem like he was blowing off her concerns anymore… no, his eyes were sincere. He didn’t want to worry her. She would roll her eyes if it wasn’t… sweet wasn’t the right word, considerate, perhaps?
“For future reference,” she sighed, “I would much rather help you than worry about where you were.” His eyes faltered a bit, and she tried to offer him a reassuring smile. She holds out her hand to him, and he raises an eyebrow. “Do you want to spend your entire afternoon on the floor?” she teases, and she swears a ghost of a smile formed on his lips for a quick second.
His hand is much larger than hers. It was something she had obviously noticed before. But she hadn’t fully comprehended until his hand was gripping hers. His skin was warmer than hers, his fingers calloused and rough…
She quickly remembered why she was holding his hand and pulled him up to his feet. “Don’t put your weight on your hurt leg,” she warned as she put an arm around his waist to help him balance. He let out an annoyed huff as she guided him toward his bed.
Clarke remembered having more than twenty delinquents in the drop ship when they all got sick. But that doesn’t even compare to the sheer frustration of trying to take care of Bellamy. He fought her on everything. Trying to keep him in bed alone was enough to make Clarke want to tear her hair out.
She had a few breaks in her day when she had to get water or when she stepped out to make a radio call. But she spent most of those breaks fuming about Bellamy’s grumpy attitude. Of course, her one companion on this earth had to be a pain to look after.
Luckily, most nights he fell asleep pretty early. She took to sketching late in the evening as a way to cool off from her frustrating day. She was cleaning up her most recent sketch, this one of Wells, when Bellamy started to stir. “What’re you drawing?” he mumbled.
“My friend Wells,” she sighed as she looked over the drawing again.
“You haven’t talked to Wells on the radio,” he noticed, and she bit down on her lip. Bellamy usually didn’t bring up what she talked about on the radio. Yet she knew he had overheard those conversations. “So, he’s not one of your friends who made it up into space.” She shook her head and pressed her lips together.
After a beat, she looked up from her drawing to see Bellamy watching her. He was waiting for an explanation of what happened to him. She gripped her pencil a bit tighter. “I’ve already told you about how they dealt with crimes where I came from,” she started.
“Death no matter the crime. Hard to forget a scary detail like that,” he replied, sounding less sleepy now.
“Well, that was how this girl named Charlotte lost her family,” Clarke explained. “Wells’ father was who sentenced them to death, and she was haunted by it. She ended up killing Wells…” Clarke trailed off. But Bellamy kept his eyes fixed on her. “He was my best friend,” she finally offered.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and she bit down on her lip as she looked down at the drawing.
“It happened a while ago, back when we first made it to the ground,” she mumbled. She tried to fight back the tears that seemed desperate to fall.
“That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt,” he whispered, and she nodded along. He rolled onto his back again, though he didn’t fall back asleep.
She looked over her drawing of Wells. She couldn’t help but wonder what he would think about what she had done since he died.
“I’m sorry I’ve been a pain,” Bellamy mumbled, and her head snapped back up. “I’m just… I’m not used to having someone take care of me. It’s weird.” His face was turned away from her, so she couldn’t make out his expression… but his tone is sincere. He hadn’t told her much about growing up here, but she knew that his family spent most of their life alone out here. He seemed to be protective of his sister, but she couldn’t help but wonder who was protective of him…
“Well, you’ll have to get used to it. It’s not like I’m going anywhere,” she teased. She could hear the faintest chuckle coming from the other side of the room. She tucked her drawing back into her bag, a faint smile forming on her lips as she crawled into her bed.
Bellamy recovered quickly, meaning Clarke started sleeping back at her home again. Though, she wasn’t sure she would call what she’d been doing sleeping. She must have gotten used to sleeping at Bellamy’s. Or it could have been the comfort of being near another person that she got used to. But now, she was tossing and turning through the nights.
She and Bellamy fell back into their usual routine by mid fall. Though, Clarke felt like she was going through the motions. She felt dead on her feet most days. When Bellamy would ask, she would explain that she would be better once she got some actual sleep. He didn’t push the subject, though she could tell he wanted to.
She took to taking naps during the day, hoping to make up for the sleep she wasn’t getting at night. But with each time she got back into bed, it got that much harder to get back out.
There was only one other time in Clarke’s life that she had felt like this… back up on the Ark when she was in solitary. That realization actually made Clarke feel better. This feeling passed back then, and it would pass again here on earth. Clarke was confident that this depressive episode would pass in time. She had a hard time convincing Bellamy of that, though.
He had started getting to the village earlier and earlier each day. As a result, there were a lot of mornings where he found her still in bed. Those were the days that he forced her to go through the motions. He took her out to the water, telling her that she’d feel better if she got cleaned up. He started talking more, she noticed. Clarke didn’t always listen, but it was nice to hear a voice that wasn’t her own. He talked a lot about his early life with his sister and mother but never ventured toward anything recent. She reassured him that she didn’t need anyone to watch over her. That didn’t stop Bellamy from spending all his time in the village.
There were a few days where Clarke almost forgot to radio her friends. Honestly, she didn’t even want to. It wasn’t like Raven’s voice was going to crackle through the radio. Clarke wouldn’t hear Murphy’s snarky remarks or Emori trying to keep him in line. There would be no updates from Monty and Harper. Every time she called them, she would be met with silence. She knew this.
It was pointless to keep calling. She and Bellamy both agreed on that. She kept making herself do it, though. Bellamy always looked relieved when she went through with the calls. She could feel his eyes on her as she made the calls. When she’d run out of things to say, Bellamy would chime in with events from the day that she had missed. She would force a smile at him, because she was thankful for everything he was trying to do. But it was getting harder and harder to go through the motions.
“Clarke,” Bellamy whispered one night, and Clarke’s head snapped up. He gestured to the plate in front of her, and she remembered to start eating again. She didn’t feel hungry, but she also knew that Bellamy wouldn’t put up with that excuse for even a moment. Logically, she understood that Bellamy was right. She needed to eat. She needed to take care of herself. But there was this part of her that didn’t care, that wanted to crawl back into bed.
She told herself that she could go back to bed if she finished what was on her plate, and that helped.
“You forgetting something?” Bellamy asked when Clarke pushed up from the table. She turned to look back at him, and he was gesturing with his head toward her radio.
“I’ll call in the morning,” she muttered, and Bellamy furrowed his eyebrows at her. “Look, I’m tired, and it’s not like they’re going to hear me anyway,” she explained. Bellamy’s eyes went wide as he pressed his lips together. “I’ll do it in the morning, I promise,” she tried to reassure, but it did little to ease Bellamy.
Bellamy didn’t move to get up or anything while she made her way inside. She could feel his worried eyes on her, and her chest was panging with guilt over his concern. When she was inside, she tugged off her shoes but didn’t bother to take anything else off before falling into her bed.
She had hoped she’d fall right to sleep, but she couldn’t get that panicked look in Bellamy’s dark eyes out of her head. She tried to distract herself, but there wasn’t anything else to think about that would make her feel better. It was the dilemma she found herself in most nights. Her memories were full of ghosts. Her friends might not be answering her radio calls because they didn’t make it. Thinking of anyone in the bunker was a surefire way to work herself up into a panic attack. It was easier to think about Bellamy than be haunted by all the ghosts. That meant Clarke had nothing to distract her from her guilt over how scared Bellamy seemed to be for her.
She had been lying in bed for a while when she heard Bellamy’s voice outside. She sat up, wondering why he hadn’t walked back home yet. She put her boots back on, trying to make out what his muffled voice was saying.
She tiptoed to the door, peering her head out to see the fire still going outside. Bellamy’s back was to her as he sat at the table. He hadn’t gotten up since she left, it seemed. “I don’t even know if I’m doing this right,” he huffed, and Clarke cocked her head to the side. He shifted a bit, revealing the radio in his hand. “I’ve seen her do this dozens of times. I probably should have been paying better attention.”
He was trying to radio her friends. She almost wanted to roll her eyes, since he was the one early on who kept pointing out that they never responded. She was about to ask him what he was doing when she heard him say, “I know this is probably a waste of my time. But I’ve tried everything else, so I figured this was worth a shot. I just… I don’t know what to do.” His voice cracked at the end, causing Clarke’s chest to tighten. She knew he had been worried about her, but she didn’t realize that it was this bad.
“Tell me what to do,” he whispered so quietly that Clarke barely heard him. “You guys are her family. You know how to take care of her. And I—” He threw his head back for a moment, running his fingers through his unruly curls. She waited for him to finish his thought, but he never did. He just sat there, frozen, only moving to set the radio back down.
After watching him for a few minutes, she let her door shut behind her. Bellamy’s head whipped in her direction, his eyes confused as she walked toward him. “Everything okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she replied, before plopping down in the seat across from him. His brows were furrowed as he watched her. “Guess I wasn’t as tired as I thought,” she lied, and she could see his lips fighting not to turn up into a small smile. “Figured I might as well call them since I’m still awake,” she explained as she got the radio ready. She started off her call by talking to Harper. She didn’t miss the way his hand covered his mouth to hide his relieved smile as she spoke into the radio
It didn’t magically get easier to get out of bed in the morning. But now, she had an actual reason to: she didn’t want to worry Bellamy. It became the reason she did a lot of things that she didn’t have the energy for. For Clarke, it had always been easier to do something for other people than for herself.
He didn’t ask her what changed, and she never told him that she overheard him on the radio. Instead, they directed their attention to stocking up on supplies for winter.
“I was thinking,” Bellamy said while they were taking a short break before resuming their hike.
“That must be so hard for you,” she teased. He tried so hard to look unamused, but she could see that smirk creeping onto his lips.
“I was thinking,” he repeated, shooting Clarke a glare as he spoke, “that I should move into the village with you for winter. With some of these storms, we could end up stuck wherever we are a for a few days. And I… I don’t like the idea of you being alone there for too long.”
“You can’t just admit that you would get lonely too and miss me?” she teased as she leaned over to nudge his shoulder.
“Plus, the village is closer to everything else,” he ignored her. His eyes looking straight ahead at the clearing in front of them. He started listing off all the ways that this would save him time, and Clarke started groaning. “What?” he huffed.
Everything he mentioned were arguments Clarke made to him a long time ago. There wasn’t a logical reason for him to stay so far out into the woods. Living at the village would make it easier for them to share and store food. It also eliminated the need for him to hike for an hour to see Clarke. She only let the subject go because she knew he wasn’t entirely comfortable with being so close to her all the time. “Why can’t you admit that you like spending time with me and that’s why you want to move to the village?” she asked, turning her head to see him looking down at her with furrowed eyebrows.
“Maybe I was finally persuaded by your well thought out argument,” he deadpanned.
“Now I know you’re lying,” she snorted as she pushed herself up to her feet. He rolled his eyes as took the hand she held out to him. She warmed at the contact, though she knew it wouldn’t last for more than a moment. It never did. Once he pulled himself up, Clarke tugged off her jacket and tied it around her waist.
She dropped the subject as they continued on. They fell into a conversation about the low amount of fish they had been able to catch. Clarke’s mind kept drifting back to Bellamy’s decision to come live at the village. It’s not like she didn’t already know that he cared about her. He proved that over and over despite his attempt to seem indifferent.
She may not have recognized his protective nature immediately. But it was impossible to deny now. After all, he had to have been watching her for a while before he approached her. It wasn’t a coincidence that he showed himself the second he found Clarke crying.
“Bellamy, can I ask you something?” she interrupted, not missing the roll of his eyes.
“If I say no, you’re just going to ask me anyway,” he snorted, and her eyes dropped down to her feet as she kept walking. “What is it?”
“Why did you check on me that day by the water?” she asked. Bellamy opened his mouth to give her the I thought you were hurt explanation again, but she held her hand up. “You didn’t know me. Why did you care if I was hurt?”
“I did know you,” he huffed, and she let out a sigh.
“You knew stories about me. That’s not the same thing,” she muttered, picking up the pace a bit. She shouldn’t have brought this up.
“No, it’s not the same thing. But I knew enough about you, Clarke,” he explained. “I had been watching you for a while.”
“So, you knew I radioed my friends and couldn’t catch a fish for the life of me. Still doesn’t explain why you would care enough to check on me after staying hidden for weeks.”
She took a few more steps forward before noticing that Bellamy had stopped walking. She turned around in confusion, and his eyes were fixed on the ground as he furrowed his eyebrows.
“Look,” he sighed, still not meeting her eyes, “I’ve spent my entire life watching after my sister. I didn’t have anyone else because we had to stay hidden from the flamekeepers. And then she left.” Guilt washed over Clarke as she spoke. She shouldn’t have asked him that question. Bellamy never talked to her about his sister in this way, though she had guessed most of it over the months. “Praimfaya hit, and the valley went quiet. I was all alone with no one to watch out for anymore. Then, you showed up.”
She stood frozen as Bellamy paced over to a tree, resting his back against it as he threw his head back. “Checking up on you gave me something to do every day. I didn’t want to approach you because I had heard what you did to the Mountain and didn’t know if I could trust you.” Though she had already figured this out, the words still made her stomach flip. “But I liked watching out for you. It made me feel less alone. I got scared when I heard you crying because you had never cried like that before. And if something had happened to you, if you got hurt and then died, I’d be all alone again.”
He tilted his head down to look at her for a brief moment before looking down at the ground. She didn’t know what to say to him after that confession, so instead she stepped toward him. He didn’t look up as she moved right next to him. But she felt his involuntary jerk when she reached down to squeeze his hand. She pulled her hand away immediately. Clarke mentally cursed herself for forgetting how Bellamy reacted to being touched.
It had been slipping her mind a lot lately, likely because she had been craving touch more and more each day. The only physical contact she got was his touch to her shoulder when she lost her balance on the rocks. Or she’d have the brief second of holding Bellamy’s hand when they pulled each other to their feet. It was enough to remind her of the contact and warmth that she craved but not enough to appease her need for it.
She tried her best to ignore how she longed for someone else’s touch. It wasn’t like there was anything she could do about it. Bellamy wasn’t comfortable with it. After pulling her hand away, she remembered to use her words because her words never made him flinch. “Thank you for watching out for me,” she whispered, keeping her eyes facing forward.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, and she could see his contorted expression out of the corner of her eye. She wished she knew how to comfort him. There was so much that he kept buried inside himself, and Clarke was the wrong person to try to help him with that. She could feel the frustration he had when he was taking care of her through her depressive episode. He wanted to help her but didn’t know how.
“You’re not going to be all alone again. You can’t get rid of me that easily,” she tried to joke, though it fell flat. He forced a small laugh, but she knew it wasn’t real.
Then, he grabbed her hand, and Clarke froze. He kept his eyes facing forward, though she could see how tense his jaw was. He squeezed her hand gently, and her eyes drifted down to where their hands were intertwined. His skin was dark in contrast to her pale skin, his hand so large that it almost engulfed hers. She was used to his calloused skin after all the times they pulled each other up by the hand. She wasn’t used to feeling his fingers gently glide over the top of her hand in a reassuring motion.
She closed her eyes as he traced circles into her hand. His palm was hot, a sharp contrast to the crisp air around them. She was careful not to move her hand at all, fearful that she might break this spell if she did.
But it didn’t matter how still she was. Bellamy broke the spell himself when he pulled his hand away, taking the warmth of his contact with him. “We should keep going,” he murmured before pushing off the tree, and Clarke’s gaze dropped to her own hand. She could still feel remnants of his warmth on her skin. Though, the chill in the air was quickly making it disappear. With every passing second, she missed that warmth.
That would have to be enough for Clarke. A brief moment of warmth and affection. But it wasn’t enough, and Clarke found her eyes drifting down to his hands as they continued their walk.
When the first snow storm hit, Bellamy had to drag Clarke inside before she got herself sick. It wasn’t like she hadn’t seen snow before. But they were in the middle of a war before, so the magic of it was lost on her.
Bellamy laughed as she dragged a chair up to the window. “I spent my life in space, Bellamy. This is still new to me,” she murmured as she rested her arms on the windowsill. The ground was covered in a thin layer of white. Bellamy kept grumbling about how it would pile up and make their lives hell. But that was a future concern. Right now, all Clarke wanted to think about was how beautiful it was.
She wasn’t sure how long she sat there. She heard Bellamy tend to the fire or shuffling around behind her. Clarke was too focused on memorizing the sight in front of her, though. Then, she remembered she didn’t have to memorize it; she could draw it.
She darted away from the window toward her bag, and Bellamy turned to look at her. She dug her pencil and paper out with a grin on her face. When she looked up, Bellamy was chuckling at her. “What?” she asked, and he shook his head, his lips still formed in a smile.
“It’s just snow, Clarke,” he reminded. She threw her head back with a groan as she stomped back over to her window.
“It’s beautiful,” she retorted as she plopped down into her seat.
She was fidgeting with her pencil as she looked out at the newly white landscape. She was trying to decide where to start when she heard Bellamy murmur, “Yeah, it is.”
The first snow didn’t last. It was too warm for it to stick according to Bellamy. They were grateful it didn’t last long because it gave them a few extra days to gather supplies.
When the second snow storm hit, they weren’t ready.
Bellamy wanted to stock up on a few herbs found in the north of the valley. Clarke figured the trip would take less time if they took the rover. Besides, Bellamy had always been curious about how the rover worked. It cut the trip time down by hours. Plus, she got to see Bellamy’s face light up when she offered to teach him to drive the rover sometime.
They parked it in a clearing before they climbed up a hill to gather the herbs. That was when the storm struck. They took off sprinting toward the rover.
She was out of breath when she slid into the driver’s seat. She looked over at Bellamy to see if he was okay, only to find him doing the same thing. A relieved smile darted across her face as she turned forward.
“Shit,” she swore, eyes widening at the sight in front of her.
“What is it?” Bellamy asked, and Clarke bit down on her lip.
“I can’t drive in this,” she realized. “If I can’t see clearly, I can’t drive. We could crash.” The wind was moving too fast, and the snow seemed to be everywhere. She put her hands over her head, taking a deep breath.
“It won’t last forever. We can wait until it slows down,” he reassured. Clarke pressed her lips together, nodding. This wasn’t the end of the world. The storm would pass, and they could go home. She had brought some emergency supplies with them just in case. And at least they had shelter in the rover.
For the next hour or so, she and Bellamy talked about the rover. He had a lot of questions about how it worked and what all the buttons were for. She told him everything Raven taught her about it. She told him the story of her first time driving it. He laughed at her imitation of Jasper screeching when Clarke didn’t know it was in reverse.
This somehow turned into Clarke telling him all her rover stories. Well, the happy ones. She found herself surprised at just how many happy ones there were amidst the darker ones. It felt good to tell him those stories. Sometimes, Clarke forgot there were moments of pure joy here on earth. Those moments were too often overshadowed by the things they had to do to survive.
The two of them fell into silence as they watched the snow fall around them. She shivered a bit in her seat, rubbing her hands together to create warmth. Bellamy reached over to grab her hands, holding them tight between his.
His hands enveloped hers with warmth that shot up her entire body. She closed her eyes in relief. His hands weren’t exactly warm, but they felt warmer than Clarke’s. When she opened her eyes again, Bellamy was looking out at the snow while biting down on his lip. “Bellamy?” she whispered, and he turned back to look at her.
“We should probably get the blankets,” he said. He removed his hands from hers, and Clarke had to swallow her disappointment at the loss of contact. She didn’t argue, of course. He was right.
She climbed into the back and pulled the blankets from her bag. Bellamy shuffled behind her, and Clarke handed one to him. He murmured his thanks as Clarke got herself comfortable. She cursed herself for not grabbing the furs from their beds, but there was nothing she could do about it now.
She balled up on the floor of the rover, resting her head against her knees. She shivered under the blankets, praying the storm would pass so Clarke could go home to her warm fire and bed.
“I changed my mind. I hate snow,” she huffed. Bellamy’s roaring laugh echoed throughout the rover. She scrunched her nose up at him before ducking her head again. “Not funny,” she mumbled.
“Okay, come here,” he groaned, and Clarke’s head snapped up. He was raising his eyebrows at her, unwrapping his blanket in a gesture for her to slide up against him. If she wasn’t freezing, she probably would have overthought it. But her anxieties about invading Bellamy’s personal space were thrown out by her need to warm up.
She crossed the distance between them, and Bellamy’s hand fell on her back. The warmth of his hand radiated through her shirt. Clarke wasn’t proud of the relieved whimper that escaped her lips. She didn’t overthink it, though. She just let her forehead rest against his chest.
“Better?” his voice rumbled next to her ear. She nodded against him. His scent flooded her senses, a thick combination of earth and burning firewood coaxing her to relax into him. “We’ll get the fire going as soon as we get home,” he reassured. He went on to list off all the things they would do when they got back. Clarke tuned in and out, more transfixed by the vibration coming off his chest when he spoke. She hummed in response whenever it sounded like he was asking her something.
She wasn’t sure if he was aware that he started cradling the back of her head with his hand. But it felt so nice that she wouldn’t say anything to break the spell. His fingers occasionally carded through her hair, and Clarke couldn’t remember the last time someone touched her like this. It must have been Niylah, though Clarke didn’t recall ever feeling so warm and at peace with her.
She leaned into his touch when his thumb grazed her forehead, immediately cursing herself for it. Clarke waited for Bellamy to jerk his hand away like he always did when Clarke got too desperate for contact.
He stilled for a moment, and Clarke took a deep breath. He was going to pull away again. She could feel it in her bones. Her stomach clenched at the thought and she felt her eyes prickle with tears. She didn’t want him to pull away from her. She needed this. She needed the physical reminder that she wasn’t alone.
Stay, she wanted to beg. Everyone else had left her behind. Wells, Finn, Lexa, Jasper… and then, she watched the last of her people disappear into the sky. Stay, she silently pleaded.
Bellamy sighed, and Clarke braced herself. But his hand never pulled away. His thumb trailed below her ear, drawing a soothing circle into her skin. Her eyes stayed shut as she focused on his movements against her skin. The peace he lulled her into was a strange one. Her mind didn’t drift to those she had lost. It didn’t find those who left her behind. It knew nothing but the feeling of his fingers on her skin and the sound of his quiet breathing.
It joined the list of things they never talked about. The Mountain, what happened to Bellamy’s mother, what Clarke almost did before finding the valley… and now, the hours they spent holding each other and the flimsy excuse they used to stay like that for another hour after the storm calmed down.
For the most part, things returned to normal when they returned to the village. They went about their own routines and fell into the same conversation patterns. The only difference was that Bellamy touched her now.
He would brush past her on his way to fill up his canteen. He let his hand squeeze her shoulder as a silent hello before walking out. He would reach for her hand when he was trying to get her attention. He’d bump his leg into hers as they’d sit beside each other by the fire.
It wasn’t much, of course. But to Clarke, it was everything. She felt calmer, less on her guard, comfortable. And Bellamy seemed to be in better spirits too. He would smile a little bit when Clarke leaned into him. His broad shoulders seemed less stiff. He looked less like he was carrying the weight of the world, which made Clarke want to cry out in relief.
Bellamy didn’t leave the village much. Thus, Clarke was confused when he announced he was going to be gone for a bit. “I’ll be back before dark,” he promised. She wanted to push him for more of an explanation, but he seemed to be in a strange mood today. He seemed distant from the second he woke up, like he wanted to be left alone.
“Okay,” she conceded as he grabbed a bag he had clearly packed last night.
She kept herself busy in the hours he was gone. Her radio call was more lengthy than usual, and she cleaned out the fireplace. When he still wasn’t back, she started taking inventory what was in the buildings she hadn’t explored yet.
The sun had set, and he still hadn’t come back. Panic seized through Clarke as packed up the rover. For all she knew, Bellamy could have gotten hurt like the last time he didn’t come back to the village.
She left the rover a short hike from where his old cottage was. Clarke let out a sigh of relief when she saw smoke coming up from the chimney. He was there.
She had her medical kit in hand when she opened the door, only to find Bellamy balled up in his bed. “Bellamy?” she whispered. His head popped up from under the furs. His eyes were red, and his cheeks were tearstained.
His eyes darted to the window, and a guilt expression took over his face. “I’m so sorry. I lost track of time,” he murmured as Clarke crossed over to him.
“What’s going on?” she asked, sitting on the edge of his bed as he sat up. He rubbed his eyes a moment, and she could see his usual stoic look taking over his expression. “Bellamy,” she said, reaching over to grab his hand. He didn’t flinch this time. He didn’t pull away. He turned his hand over and let her take it.
She could see him battling in his own mind about whether he wanted to talk to her about it. She gave him a once over, double checking that he didn’t have a physical injury. When she looked back up at his face, his eyes were downcast. His dark eyes were watching the way her fingers were absently tracing the lines of his palm.
“My mother died two years ago today,” he whispered, and Clarke froze. His dark, sad eyes met hers, causing Clarke’s heart to break for him. He came here to mourn, she realized. “I’m sorry I worried you.”
“It’s okay,” she reassured. His eyes dropped back to their joined hands, and she wondered if she should pull away.
“Don’t stop,” he murmured so quietly that she barely heard him. His eyes closed as soon as she resumed tracing the lines and scars on his hand. She raked her brain for something to say to him, some reassurance she could offer him. She was about to tell him she was sorry when his head fell onto her shoulder. She tucked her head into his as he sucked in a shaky breath. “It was my fault.”
“I’m sure that’s not true.” His hand clasped tightly around hers, as if he were desperate for something to hold onto. “Bellamy, look at me,” she said, and his head snapped up. His eyes look lost, a look she wasn’t used to from him. He always seemed so sure of himself. “It wasn’t your fault.” He looked like he wanted to protest, to point out that Clarke didn’t know what happened. Which was true. He had never told her how his mother died. But she also knew Bellamy. Whatever happened, it couldn’t have been all his fault.
Before he could argue with her, she pulled him into her chest. She gave him a few moments to pull away, but he never did. Instead, he tucked his head below her chin. One of Clarke’s arms wrapped around his back while the other rested at his neck. “If you need forgiveness, I’ll give that to you. You’re forgiven,” she murmured into his hair.
He broke into a silent sob, his entire body shuddering in her arms. She whispered quiet reassurances as she rocked him, though nothing stopped his tears. She rubbed circles into his back and let her fingers play absently with his curls.
As the minutes turned to hours, Clarke’s back started to ache from how she was holding him. His tears had stopped though he hadn’t moved. He might have fallen asleep. Carefully, she tried to reposition herself. “Don’t leave,” his voice choked out, and Clarke froze. “Stay.”
“I wasn’t leaving,” she explained, and he let out a sigh of relief. “I was trying to get a bit more comfortable.”
“Oh,” he said, jumping up with guilt on his face. She shot him a reassuring smile, which eased the tension in his forehead.
She laid back before gesturing for him to come back. He seemed to recognize the intimacy of what they were doing here in his bed now that he wasn’t crying. She could see him arguing with himself about whether it should continue. “It’s okay,” she whispered. He wanted the same thing that Clarke had wanted: comfort. This didn’t have to be anything more than that.
Hesitantly, he relaxed back into her. His head tucked into her shoulder as he let out a sigh. His warm breath fanned out against her neck.
Her hand found the back of his neck again, her fingers tentatively traveling up to the lower part of his scalp. Another sigh escaped his lips, and her lips twitched upward at the content sound.
They laid like that for a while. She listened to Bellamy’s soft breathing, wondering what kinds of wars went on in his mind. “Can we… can we just stay like this tonight?” Bellamy asked. Clarke’s jaw clenched. Bellamy never asked her for anything like this before. She leaned her head back towards his, letting his curls tickle her face as she did.
“Of course,” she promised. She’d do this every night if he asked her to. If being here like this made it easier for him, she wouldn’t stop doing it.
She expected him to turn his head back into her neck, falling back into his silence. But instead, he reached out and grabbed her other hand. He laced their fingers together with ease, as if he had done this a thousand times before.
She waited for him to turn his head back into her neck, but he didn’t. No, he watched as Clarke ran her thumb along his index finger. She fixed her eyes back on their joined hands before he caught her watching his peaceful gaze.
She watched him run his thumb along the backside of her hand for a while. She traced the scars of his hand for a few minutes, wondering how he got them. She waited for him to drift back to sleep, but his breathing never evened out.
“I don’t know what I would have done if you had never found the valley,” Bellamy murmured. Clarke’s body froze at that confession. Slowly, she craned her head to look down at him again. He was biting his lip, his dark eyes peering up at her.
“I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been in the valley,” she replied. And it was the truth. Five years trapped on this planet alone would be unbearable. But with Bellamy, she could survive it. She could even be happy. The valley was her home now, and Bellamy was the most important part of that home.
He blinked a few times before nodding. She rested her cheek against the top of his head again, closing her eyes at the sound of his soft sigh. They didn’t let go of each other’s hands. They didn’t pull away. They laid there until they drifted to sleep.
Clarke woke to an empty bed. She jerked up in a panic. Bellamy had been with her when she fell asleep.
“I’m right here,” Bellamy’s voice called out. She turned to see him smirking at her from across the room, and she let out a sigh of relief. “We can go whenever you want.”
“You don’t want to stay here for a while?” she asked with furrowed brows. He was a wreck yesterday and being home again brought him comfort. She would understand if he wanted to stay here for a while.
Bellamy waved her off, and Clarke’s eyes fell to her hands. Bellamy kept himself busy as Clarke took her time getting ready. Without words, they made their way to the rover. Bellamy stayed farther away from her than usual as they walked. It shouldn’t have felt like a slap in the face. But between waking up without him and the way he kept his distance now, she couldn’t help but fear he regretted turning to her for comfort.
They took the rover back to the village and fell back into their normal routine. Bellamy raised his eyebrows when Clarke decided to move away from the village to make her radio call. He didn’t press her on it though, and Clarke didn’t know what she would have said if he did. She wanted to talk about Bellamy, meaning she didn’t want him to overhear.
“I know. I’m being stupid,” she murmured into the radio, staring up at the sky. “I don’t know why I’m getting so worked up over this. He got up before I did. It wasn’t like I expected him to just lie there with me.”
But she wanted him to. And she didn’t know what that meant. That was the problem. She wanted him close to her. She wanted him to touch her. But she couldn’t tell if that want stemmed from her touch starvation or for another longing.
She shook her head. No, it wasn’t that. It couldn’t be that. Bellamy was her friend. He was her sole companion left on this planet. She couldn’t think of him like that when he was the only person she had. Clarke would find a way to ruin it, and then both of them would be all alone again. Not to mention that Bellamy would never think of her like that.
“Raven, come on this radio and tell me I’m being stupid. Please,” Clarke pleaded, but there was no response.
When she got back to the village, Bellamy seemed to be waiting for her. “Everything okay?” he asked, jumping up from his seat.
“Yeah,” she lied as he crossed over to her. Before he got too close, his strides came to a jarring halt two feet away from her. Her eyes flickered up to meet his, recognizing the kind of panic in them that caused him to jerk away from her in the past. “Just had a lot to talk about today,” she murmured as she walked away from him to toss her things onto her bed.
Their evening passed by in their normal routine. They had a small meal together before sitting in front of the fireplace. Bellamy was telling Clarke another one of the stories that he used to tell his sister. In return, she tried to tell him a story she remembered from the Ark, but she was not the storyteller that Bellamy was. After the two of them ran out of things to say, they moved toward their separate beds.
Clarke laid on her back and stared at the ceiling. She waited to hear Bellamy’s snoring, her new background noise that helped her fall asleep. But it seemed like Bellamy was having a hard time falling asleep. The two of them lied there for nearly half an hour in sleepless silence.
“Bellamy?” she finally whispered.
“Yeah?” he mumbled.
“You can’t sleep?”
He was quiet for a moment, and Clarke worried her lip. When she turned her head, she saw him sitting up and looking over at her in the dark. “No,” he admitted as Clarke turned onto her side to face him. “About last night…” he trailed off, running his hand through his dark curls. Clarke’s body froze, waiting for him to finish that thought though she was scared of what he would say.
She waited for him to say it was a mistake. She waited for him to explain that he was uncomfortable with it. She waited for him to tell her that it would never happen again. She waited for her body to silently cry out in response. She was not expecting what he actually said.
“Can we do it again tonight?” he whispered. Clarke’s lips parted in confusion, but Bellamy kept talking. “You can say no. I understand. I just…”
“Come here,” she cut him off. He blinked a few times as Clarke slid over, patting the bed beside her. As soon as her words finished washing over him, he was jumping out of his bed and darting toward hers.
There was still a look of confusion and disbelief in his eyes as he settled down beside her. “Is this okay?” he asked, and Clarke nodded into his shirt as she slid closer. The bed dipped and creaked as they tried to get comfortable. Finally, Bellamy wrapped his arm around Clarke and pulled her into him. His chin rested atop her head as she nosed the collar of his shirt.
Her eyes fell shut again as his scent flooded her senses. Still, she waited to hear Bellamy’s soft snoring before trying to fall asleep. After a few minutes, she felt his hand slide up to her hair. She froze as he absently twiddled with the ends of her curls.
Slowly, his hand switched to detangling her curls as he combed through her hair. Her head fell onto his chest, letting it rise and fall with his soft breathing. Her lips parted as his hands massaged their way into her scalp. She fought back a gasp at how good it felt. There was something so gentle and calming about his fingers in her hair. It was impossible to keep her eyes from fluttering shut at the sensation.
“Thank you,” he whispered so quietly that she almost didn’t heard him. “Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night… scared that you were gone,” he confessed. Clarke started to stir again, humming as she tried to form a coherent response. But Bellamy pushed her head gently back into his chest when she tried to sit up. “Go to sleep,” he murmured into her hair.
Clarke didn’t fall asleep to the sound of his snoring that night. Instead, she fell asleep to the feeling of his fingers carding through her hair and a soft hum vibrating through his chest.
At first, they would still try to start the night in their own beds. But one of them always caved and crawled into the other’s bed. It only took weeks before they automatically got into bed with each other.
By the time spring hit, it was Clarke’s favorite time of the day. Bellamy would climb into her bed and tuck his head into her neck for a few quiet moments. Clarke let herself trace his collarbone as they whispered confessions too heavy to be made outside this bed.
“There were kids inside the Mountain,” she murmured as Bellamy’s fingers wound through her hair.
“The last time I saw my sister, she blamed me for my mother’s death,” he whispered while Clarke traced his freckles.
“I’m starting to forget my friend’s voices,” she sighed as his hand slid under the back of her shirt.
“I have nightmares about finding all my people dead after Praimfaya,” he murmured while she squeezed his hand.
“I can’t even remember the last thing Jasper said to me,” she confessed as his nails slid up her back.
“I’ve always felt alone,” he whispered as Clarke nosed against his jawline.
“I need you.”
“I need you too.”
Their foreheads were pressed together that night. Her eyes closed as his breath fanned out against her face. She had the fabric of his shirt between her fingers, fidgeting nervously at the confession that they needed each other. Clarke wasn’t used to needing someone. For so long, she had to hold the burden all alone. But now she had Bellamy who watched out for her and held her until she felt safe again. She had someone who listened to her darkest thoughts and still held her close.
She found relief in the fact he needed her too. That he needed this as much as she did. That her touch comforted him like his comforted her.
His calloused hand glided up her neck, resting below her jawline. She hummed softly as his thumb trailed over her chin. Her eyes fluttered open to look at him. He had a strange expression in his eyes that she couldn’t make out. It only lasted a second, though. He caught her looking at him and shifted to bury his face into her neck. Her fingers traveled up and down his arm as he sighed against her throat.
Clarke took a deep breath as she stared down the radio. She could do this. It wasn’t any different than any other day.
“Hey, guys,” Clarke choked out, keeping her eyes fixed on the ground. “It’s been 365 days since Praimfaya.” Her finger left the button for a moment. One year. It had been a whole year since she watched them leave her behind. Tears prickled at her eyes. She could practically feel Bellamy watching her. She fought the tears back as she tilted her head up to the sky. “Only four more years until you guys get back here.” Only four more years of not hearing from them.
She heard Bellamy rustling in the trees behind the clearing, and she bit down on her lip. He knew what today was too. He had been by her side all day, practically wearing his concern on his sleeve. He was waiting for her to breakdown, and they both knew it was coming.
“I’m teaching Bellamy to drive the rover, Raven,” Clarke started. “There’s now a dent in the rover, but I’ll fix it before you ever have to see what we did to your baby,” she teased.
The chuckle she forced lasted for half a second before Clarke’s eyes fell again. She didn’t know what else to say to them. There was nothing she hadn’t already said in an entire year’s worth of radio calls. “I miss you,” she settled on before pulling her fingers from the button again.
She waited a few moments for Bellamy to step out. It wasn’t like he was being particularly sneaky. “Bellamy,” she sighed. She heard the loud crunch as he stepped on a twig, and she let out a breath.
“Are you okay?” he asked, but she just gestured for him to come closer. He plopped down beside her, and Clarke swung her legs into his lap before burying her face into his shirt. His arms enveloped her, and she let the tears begin to fall. “It’s okay,” he whispered as he pushed her hair back. “You’re okay.”
“No, I’m not,” she murmured.
Then, she felt something warm press against her forehead. It was a foreign feeling, one she couldn’t immediately place. “I know,” he whispered, his lips dragging against her skin as he spoke. Chills went up her arm as she realized that Bellamy just kissed her forehead. And then he did it again. His soft lips pressed hard against her skin, whispering simple reassurances as he held her.
She felt guilty for forgetting her pain for a brief moment when his lips grazed her skin. But every time he did it, she melted deeper into him. And now that she knew what it felt like, she wasn’t going to stop wanting it.
It didn’t happen again. Sometimes at night, she’d feel his lips hover over her skin… but he never kissed her.
There were a lot of nights where she lied awake for hours thinking about it. There were too many nights spent wondering what his skin would feel like on her lips.
She tossed and turned more as summer grew hotter. Lying in bed together was easy when it was cold, and they needed each other’s body heat. But Bellamy was always warm, which was a pain in the summer.
She woke up one night with her arm wrapped around Bellamy’s torso and her face buried into his back. Clarke was sticky with sweat and tried to roll onto the other side of the bed, but Bellamy stopped her. He gripped her hand before she could roll away, quietly humming as he did.
She felt a pang of guilt for trying to slide away when he wanted her close. She sighed into his back as she nuzzled against him again. His thumb ran lazy circles into her palm, a sign that he was barely awake. A smile fell on her lips despite the infuriating heat surrounding them.
Without thinking, she pressed a kiss to his back, right below his hairline. Bellamy’s grip on her hand went tight in response, tugging her even closer to him. She blinked a few times before realizing what she just did. She waited a beat for him to say something or pull away, but he didn’t. Hesitantly, Clarke pressed another kiss to his warm skin. A hum rippled through his chest in response, and she let out a sigh of relief.
He was lacing his fingers with hers lazily as she pressed a third, slower kiss to his shoulder blade. His breath caught, and her lips tingled…
She never wanted to stop doing this.
“Give me that radio right now so that I can tell Monty his recipe sucks,” Bellamy chuckled. He leaned over Clarke to try and grab it, but she swatted him away.
“I told you. I don’t think I did it right,” she giggled. He looked down at the glass with disgust on his face. “It can’t be that bad,” she groaned before snatching it from his hand. She had been trying to imitate Monty’s moonshine recipe from sheer memory. Which was exactly why the first few batches were terrible.
“Go ahead. Try it. Tell me how great it is,” he dared as Clarke stared down at the liquid. She choked down a sip, feeling Bellamy’s amused eyes on her. “See?”
“It’s not that bad,” she lied, fighting her urge to cough. He raised his eyebrows at her as if to say he was right. But Clarke didn’t want to give him the satisfaction, so she took another gulp. It burned less than the last batch. In a way, the acid battery-like flavor was kind of an improvement.
“Okay, you made your point,” he teased as he pulled the glass from her. “At least you can use this to clean wounds if you have to. Not a total loss.”
Clarke furrowed her eyebrows as she got the radio ready. Bellamy burst out laughing, tucking his head into her neck to muffle the laughter. “Hey, Monty. I know you guys haven’t been responding but this is an emergency,” she deadpanned.
“You wanting to get drunk isn’t an emergency,” Bellamy teased as he sat up. His arm swung around her shoulder, bringing her closer to him.
“I don’t want to get drunk. I just want to be a little buzzed,” she corrected.
“You already are,” he mumbled, and she scrunched her face up at him. Bellamy leaned down to kiss the top of her head, which gave her pause for a moment. He had been doing that a lot more lately. Usually, it was late at night when he thought she was asleep. Clarke did the same thing. The two of them stole little kisses in the dark of night. It was easy to blow them off as things they did when they were too sleepy to think better of it. But this was different…
“Sorry, Monty,” Clarke continued. “If you were to ever respond to one of my calls, it’s got to be this one. I’ve never needed your help more.” Bellamy snorted, and Clarke burst out laughing. “How do I make good moonshine? I’m fine drinking what I’ve made, but Bellamy here is a moonshine snob,” she chuckled.
Bellamy snatched the radio from Clarke. “Don’t listen to Clarke,” he said, this time pressing the correct button. Clarke reached over to try and grab it back, but Bellamy held it out of her reach. She ended up falling into his lap, and Bellamy’s laughter roared through the clearing. “She’s just mad that I wouldn’t drink more than a sip.”
“Okay, you weren’t there when we first got to the ground. I drank way worse moonshine than this,” she huffed. Bellamy shrugged playfully. Out of spite, Clarke grabbed the glass and started drinking more.
“Clarke,” he laughed as she slammed the glass back down. “You are going to get yourself drunk.”
“No, I’m not,” she lied. She could already feel herself warming up from the alcohol.
“Anyway, Monty,” he smirked into the radio. Clarke rested her head on his shoulder, enjoying the warmth washing over her. “If you could find a way to tell us how to make moonshine, Clarke would really appreciate it. She wants to teach me a drinking game but says it isn’t fun if we just do it with water like I suggested.” He brought his arm back down so Clarke could reach the radio.
“Okay, I’m back,” she announced, and Bellamy started chuckling. She had no idea what he found so funny. “Monty, I love you even though you won’t magically fix your radio to tell me how to make moonshine. Tell Harper and Raven I love them too.”
“What about Murphy?”
“Eh, that depends on the day,” she mumbled before realizing her finger was still on the button. Her eyes went wide as she looked up at Bellamy who was biting down on his fist to keep from laughing. “Murphy,” she said seriously into the radio. “You didn’t hear that. You’re supposed to be asleep. It’s night time.”
She buried her now red face into Bellamy’s chest. His laughter vibrated throughout him, and it was such a happy sound. She loved hearing him laugh. He didn’t do it enough.
He wrangled the radio from her hand before putting it back on the table. “What am I going to do with you?” he teased as his hand slid up into her hair.
“Not much you can do. You’re stuck with me,” she murmured into his shirt. Then, she felt him drop another kiss to her forehead. Heat rose to her cheeks, and she was thankful he couldn’t see her face right now.
“Stuck isn’t the word I’d use,” he argued. Her breath caught but she didn’t dare move.
She didn’t have a witty retort this time. She was out of jokes. Her mind was a little too fuzzy to figure out what he meant by that. So, she just rested against him as his fingers played with her curls.
“Should we go to bed?” Bellamy asked after a while, and Clarke groaned. “Yeah, let’s go to bed,” he decided. He got to his feet first before holding his hand out toward her.
She took it shakily, and Bellamy was wrapping his arm around her waist. “Thank you,” she mumbled, resting her head on his arm. “You are my favorite person on earth.”
“I’m the only other person on earth,” he snorted.
Clarke erupted into giggles, covering her mouth. “Oh my God, you are,” she realized. He threw his head back in a laugh. His smile was so bright when he finally calmed down enough to look at her. He had been smiling a lot more lately, and it always caused Clarke’s heart to do a small flip. There was a small part of her that wanted to reach up and kiss his cheek, but she stopped herself. Instead, she let Bellamy pull her close as she stumbled back inside.
She fumbled out of her shoes and clothes before falling into bed. Bellamy joined her a few minutes later after he took care of putting the fire out.
“C’mere,” she mumbled as soon as Bellamy pulled off his shirt. A smile tugged at his lips as he shook his head.
“You are a light weight, aren’t you?” he teased. She slid up next to him as he climbed in.
“Mhmm,” she murmured into his neck as she wrapped her arm around his torso. His quiet chuckling made her feel a bit lighter.
“Should have known. You’re a tiny thing. No more moonshine for you,” he whispered.
“Wait,” Clarke huffed, pushing herself back up. There was still a grin on Bellamy’s face as he looked up at her expectantly. “I said that you’re my favorite person on earth. Am I your favorite person on earth?”
Bellamy threw his head back in a laugh. “Who else would it be if not you? You’re the only one here,” he snorted.
“Bellamy, you have to say it,” she whined.
“You are my favorite,” he replied. He was still chuckling, but there was something different about his eyes as he looked at her. It wasn’t the teasing look she was used to. She couldn’t figure out what it was.
“I better be,” she mumbled. He reached his hand up to push a few stray hairs from her face. The look in his eyes didn’t fade… if anything, it grew stronger.
His gaze was a little too heavy. Her eyes dropped down to his chest. Maybe if she hadn’t drank the rest of that moonshine, she’d understand whatever was going on here. But her brain was a little too fuzzy and she felt sleepy. “Go to sleep, Clarke,” he whispered. Clarke’s head fell onto his chest without question.
She let out a happy sigh as her cheek made contact with his warm chest. She was ready to drift off right away…
And then, she felt Bellamy’s lips on her other cheek. It wasn’t a quick peck like he would steal in the dead of night. It wasn’t a soft kiss to her forehead.
No, it was a slow, hard kiss to her cheekbone. And when it was over, his lips lingered there. Clarke held her breath as she waited for him to pull away.
But he didn’t. He pulled her closer to him before pressing a softer kiss closer to her ear. A hum escaped her lips as she slid higher up on his chest. “Sleep,” he whispered right into her ear. The last thing she remembered was his happy sigh against her cheek and Clarke wondering what his lips would feel like against hers.
Her dad, Wells, Finn, Lexa, and probably her mom. Everyone who loved Clarke died.
… with one exception.
She didn’t notice his shift right away. It snuck up on her. By the time she noticed he was falling, he had already fallen. She should have seen it coming. It was in his eyes every time he looked at her. It was in his touch as he held her close. And now, the piercing look in Bellamy’s eyes when he watched her caused the air to grow thick with the words left unspoken.
It was all she thought about as she tried to fall asleep. She was this haunted, broken thing, and Bellamy willed himself to weld the shattered pieces of her back together. He looked at her with nothing but light in his eyes, when long ago Clarke was convinced her soul was too damned for anyone to look at her like this.
It wasn’t that she feared Bellamy would meet the same fate. There were no more wars left to be fought here. They were the last two survivors on earth. Bellamy would be the one exception. That was what scared her. Well, that and the fact that she loved him too.
He knew. There was no way he didn’t know. She melted into his every touch. She told him everything but the words themselves.
She thought about saying them as they made their way to the water. The words were echoing through her mind for weeks, coming a quiet chant as she fell asleep each night. He deserved to hear it. If anyone deserved to hear they were loved, it was Bellamy.
She put off the words for later. For once, she knew that she had a later to wait for. There was no rush. There was no panic to get the words out before it was too late. It was just her and Bellamy walking the earth alone together.
She stripped off her leggings and shirt as soon as they arrived. She dove into the water before she let herself think about how chilly it was. She needed to get cleaned up, regardless of the temperature outside. This might be the last time they could come out here before the weather gets too cold.
Her body shuddered as her head emerged from the surface. Cold wasn’t something she was used to anymore. She was never cold for long before ending up tucked into Bellamy. “How bad is it?” Bellamy shouted out.
“Get in here and find out,” she snorted.
“I think I’m good,” she heard him chuckle, and she let out a huff. She ducked her head underwater again, smoothing her hair back. She got to work detangling her hair when she reemerged.
After a few minutes, she finally heard Bellamy get into the water followed by him swearing under his breath. She giggled as she swam back toward him. His face was scrunched up adorably in response to the chilly waters. His eyes fell on hers then, and it only took a beat for his lips to turn up into a smile.
“This was a horrible idea,” he told her, though he was still smiling.
“Just for a few minutes. Then, we’ll dry by a fire and warm back up,” she reminded as she slipped her arms around his neck. She let her forehead fall to his shoulder, taking a deep breath as he pulled her into him. She wrapped a leg around his torso as he tugged her through the water.
It didn’t take long for them to get used to the water’s temperature. They broke apart for a bit to clean off. But Clarke ended up right back with Bellamy in the end, burying her head into his neck as his fingers combed through her hair.
“I think I should cut it off,” she muttered.
“No, it’s pretty,” he replied. A smile tugged at her lips. “At least wait until it’s hot again to cut it off.”
“Okay, you’re right,” she sighed. She pressed a quick kiss to his collarbone before turning to rest her cheek on his chest. They fell into silence again, and Clarke hummed as his fingers traced her shoulder blades.
“We should probably get out soon,” he said, and Clarke’s stomach clenched. She wanted a few more minutes like this. It might be the last time they get to get in this water until spring. She was so at peace surrounded by the calming water and him.
“Bellamy,” she said, popping her head up. But she forgot what she was going to say when his eyes dropped to hers. She normally didn’t look him in the eyes when she was pressed up against him. It was too intimate. Catching him gazing at her from afar was enough to make her body flush. But catching his eyes boring into hers when his lips were just inches away… she was paralyzed.
She should look away. She should rest her head on his shoulder again. She should do something. But his eyes had a hold over her that she couldn’t explain. “Bellamy,” she murmured, her voice more breathy than usual.
When her eyes dropped to his lips, she knew she was gone. One look at those soft lips, and she was thinking about the night that Bellamy kissed her right behind her ear. She thought about how his lips felt as he breathed against her shoulder. She thought of how they dragged across her cheeks when he sleepily kissed her.
She didn’t realize she was tugging him closer until he closed the distance between them. It was a quick, bruising kiss that caused the world to go silent for a moment. She barely had time to comprehend the softness on her lips before he pulled away, resting his forehead against hers. His lips ghosted over hers as they both sucked in a shaky breath. “Clarke,” he exhaled. Her eyes flickered up to meet his. She didn’t find his usual beaming expression. No, his eyes were dark with want.
This time, it was her lips that crashed into his. She took his face between her hands as she met his eager lips. His fingers dug into her waist as she parted her lips for him.
They could have taken their time. They had all the time in the world. But as she kissed the man she loved like he was the only thing anchoring her to earth, she realized that all the time in the world would never be enough.
Bellamy stayed in bed all day on the third anniversary of his mother’s death. They couldn’t go out into the cottage because the snow storm was too bad. Clarke spent most of the day with Bellamy’s head in her lap, scratching his back and talking about anything that popped into her mind. He didn’t speak much, nor did she expect him to. He wanted to mourn but didn’t want to feel alone.
It wasn’t until they were both in bed late that night that he started to talk. He whispered about how he wanted to do was get Octavia out of the cottage for once. Clarke smoothed his hair back. He told her he didn’t think anyone would figure out that he and Octavia were nightbloods. She kissed his forehead. Bellamy said he would have stayed behind when his mother said to run, but Octavia didn’t know her way back. “It’s not your fault,” she reminded him, and he bit down on his lip. “It’s not, Bell.”
He furrowed his eyebrows and nodded, though she knew he didn’t quite believe her. She pressed her lips together as she ran her fingers across his freckles, and he closed his eyes. She leaned forward to press an innocent kiss to his lips. Just a friendly reminder that she loved him, even if she still hadn’t worked up the courage to say it.
A faint smile formed on his lips, and she could breathe again. There was still pain stretched across his features, but there was nothing she could do about that. He lost someone he loved, and Clarke couldn’t fix that. All she could do was be here.
Bellamy sighed as he ducked his head down, tucking it into her chest. Her hand flew to his curls, running her fingers through them as his breathing evened out. She let her mind drift as they laid there. His hair was getting a little bit too long, she noticed. She could probably talk him into cutting off an inch or two if she caught him in a good mood.
“I’m not cutting my hair,” Bellamy grumbled sleepily. Clarke erupted into laughter as he huffed into her chest. Of course, he knew exactly where Clarke’s mind went when she fiddled with his hair. It wasn’t like they hadn’t already had this conversation.
“I didn’t say anything,” she giggled.
“Didn’t have to. I know you,” he mumbled, and Clarke kissed the top of his head.
“Okay, go to sleep. We’ll argue about it tomorrow,” she joked.
“Mhmm,” he hummed as his hand slipped around her waist. She turned to look at him, relieved that he was finally finding peace today. She stole one more kiss to his forehead, swearing that would be the last one for tonight. He hummed sweetly in response, and Clarke turned her head back toward the ceiling.
Right as she closed her eyes, though, he said something else. “Love you,” he murmured so quietly she barely heard it.
She froze at his words. It wasn’t like she didn’t know. She knew. She had known for a long time. But hearing it… that was something else altogether. It was so beautiful that Clarke felt tears prickle at her eyes.
“I love you too,” she whispered back. After a beat, she heard his quiet snore. She threw her head back, covering her mouth as she chuckled so she didn’t wake him. Of course, he was half asleep when those words slipped out. He probably didn’t even hear her say it. He likely won’t remember saying it himself.
Well, she’d just have to say it again… and this time, make sure he’s wide awake for it.
She didn’t get around to saying it right away. She thought it’d be easier once she knew for sure he felt the same way. It should be easier. But every time she wanted to say it, the words felt too heavy.
What she had with Bellamy right now was simple and innocent. They loved each other. They held each other as they slept. They comforted each other. They kissed each other. It was happy, easy bliss…
… and Clarke had never really known love to be like that. Her confessions of love in the past were drowning in the war zone she lived in. That love was familiar to her.
This one wasn’t. The words didn’t even feel apt to describe how she feels about the man who gave her such a warm life. This love… it was doused in hope and comfort, two things that Clarke wasn’t used to finding on earth.
She hoped he would say the words first again. Maybe she could borrow his courage so that she could say them again. But, as it turned out, she didn’t need to borrow his courage. The words came flying out on their own.
Bellamy had gotten through his first drive in the rover without Clarke getting onto him. “I’m getting good at this,” he grinned. Clarke bit down on her lip as she hopped out of the seat, giggling to herself at his giddy excitement. It wasn’t often that Bellamy had something to be excited about. The days all blended together. The most interesting change they had was Clarke taking off a few inches of her hair. “I think I’m even better than you are now.”
“Okay,” Clarke chuckled as Bellamy walked around the rover with a smirk. “You’re still new at this.”
“Don’t be jealous,” he teased with a grin. “I’ll drive you wherever you want to go.” With an overexaggerated huff, Clarke snatched the keys from his hands.
“Just for that, I’m driving us home,” she said. When she turned back to look at him, there was a pout on his lips. “Fine,” she sighed, tossing the keys back at him. “You’re lucky I love you.”
She didn’t even register the words falling off her lips. She was halfway to the well when Bellamy said her name in a tone she wasn’t used to. After a beat, she realized what she had said. Slowly, she turned back to look at him. “Come here,” he smirked.
She strode back toward him, her eyes lost in that electric smile of his. He took a step forward to meet her, brushing his curls back from his face. Once she was right in front of him, his palm slid up her neck before resting on her jawline. His thumb glided over her bottom lip. Clarke sucked in a breath right before his lips came crashing down on hers.
Her nails dug into the back of his neck as he tightened his grip around her. “Bellamy,” she whispered against his lips. His palm now rested on her cheek as his eyes bored into hers.
“I love you too,” he murmured. She giggled as he walked her back into the rover. He pressed himself hard against her as he kissed her again, this time more demanding than before. He loved her, and she loved him. And knowing that she loved him made him so happy. She should have told him sooner. She should tell him more. If knowing that she loves him makes him this happy, she’ll never let him forget it.
After a few minutes of kissing up against the rover, they remembered to get the water. It took too long for Bellamy’s liking if his groaning were any sign. Once they were back in the rover, Bellamy leaned across to kiss her again. She giggled against his lips. “Bellamy, I thought you wanted to head home,” she reminded.
“Sorry,” he mumbled as he sat straight up again. “I got… distracted.”
“Well, you can get distracted when we get home,” she snorted.
“Oh, I intend to,” he said, his voice low and gravelly. Clarke sucked in a breath when she felt her cheeks flush. He glanced over at her and shot her a smug smirk. Suddenly, a short drive back to the village seemed unbearably long. She squirmed in her seat the whole time. She could still feel his hot, needy lips on hers.
Her mind was still reeling as Bellamy parked the rover. They actually said it. It was as if those words opened the floodgates and all she wanted was to be pressed up against Bellamy.
She was barely in the door when she got her wish. “Bellamy,” she giggled into his mouth as he pulled her tight against him.
“What?” he mumbled before pressing his lips hard against hers. His hand fisted her hair as Clarke clung to the collar of his jacket. Then, he pulled his lips away. He caught his breath as his dark eyes peered into hers.
“What has gotten into you?” she giggled. Bellamy was almost never this frantic about wanting Clarke. In fact, things rarely got this heated between them. Sometimes, she’d feel his erection pressed against her as they kissed in bed and warmth would pool between her legs, but they never pushed farther. There was this unspoken understanding that they had all the time in the world. That they could take their time with everything. They wanted each other, but they were enjoying the innocent bliss of being together. But Clarke could feel the heavy charge in the air between them now.
“I’m just… I’m so happy, Clarke,” he whispered. Happy. Bellamy was happy. He was happy because she told him she loved him. The man who hid from her for weeks and insisted on keeping his distance was now happy because of her. She had held him while he cried. She had watched him suffer from loneliness like she had. She had seen every broken inch of him. And now, she got to see him happy.
Her eyes threatened tears as she brushed her lips against his. “I’m happy too,” she replied. It was a strange thing to admit. The two of them found a way to be happy after losing so much. It seemed too good to be true. Like Clarke would wake up and it would all just be a dream. Clarke never wanted to wake up.
Her lips crashed into his as her hands started tugging his jacket off. Bellamy realized what she was doing and helped her. Once he threw his jacket to the ground, he caged her face between his hands as his tongue plunged into her mouth.
It was hard to keep track of every word slipping off her lips as they frantically undressed. But she definitely heard Bellamy’s quiet beautiful whispered right into her ear before his lips trailed down her neck.
Her legs wrapped around his torso when he picked her up. Her lips left a burning trail of kisses down his throat as he carried her toward their bed. When he swore in Trigedasleng, Clarke had to bury her face into his neck to hide her smug grin.
He dropped her onto the bed, causing Clarke to squeal. He chuckled and shushed her as he climbed over her. “Why should I be quiet? Afraid I’m going to wake someone up?” she teased, and he rolled his eyes at her. “Perks of it being the end of the world. I can be as loud as I want.” His eyes darkened at her words for half a second before his lips were on hers again. His grunts met her whimpers as they bruised each other’s lips and tugged at each other’s hair.
His mouth seemed to be everywhere. He left searing marks all over her chest and throat as Clarke cried for what she really needed. Bellamy was naked and hot on top of her, so close to giving her exactly what her body was crying out for. But instead, he teased her while his hands gripped her hips so tightly they would surely bruise.
“Bellamy, please,” she pleaded, gripping his face between her hands.
“What?” he smirked, as if he didn’t know exactly what he was doing to her.
“I need you,” she whined. The smug look in his eyes faltered, and Clarke pressed a slow, wet kiss to his lips. “I need you to take care of me, Bell,” she whispered against his lips. And those words seemed to be exactly what Bellamy needed to hear.
“I’ve got you,” he murmured as he pushed her back against the bed. Her eyes fluttered shut as she felt his lips drag against her cheek. She was about to protest when she felt his mouth leave her skin but was interrupted by Bellamy brushing against her entrance. Her jaw went slack as he slowly stretched her out. “Okay?” he checked, and Clarke nodded frantically.
“Don’t stop,” she whispered as her nails dove into his back. She wasn’t even sure what other words were falling off her lips… if they even were words. She felt dizzy and lost as he thrust into her, only aware of his heavy breathing and frantic confessions.
Clarke wasn’t sure anything could sound as beautiful as Bellamy telling her he loved her for the first time. But hearing it over and over whispered into her ear was pretty damn close. And so was hearing him say it between kisses after they were both spent and lying in each other’s arms.
“It has been 730 days since Praimfaya,” Clarke sighed into the radio. “So, three more years left to go. Almost halfway there.”
Almost. That first year was the hardest on Clarke. The second went by easily, no doubt because of Bellamy. “Let’s see… Today, I finally caught a fish without Bellamy’s help. I have a new batch of moonshine that he is not looking forward to trying.”
She heard Bellamy’s groan from across the clearing, and a smile tugged at her lips. “Oh,” Clarke remembered. “Murphy, I forgot to tell you that a few days ago, Bellamy and I found another small bunker. The only useful items in it were guns, so you have that to look forward to when you get home.” When, not if, she reminded herself.
Clarke went through the rest of what she and Bellamy found when they went outside the valley last week. She had only done brief calls for the last week since the two of them had their hands full, so she had a lot more to cover today.
She cut herself off when she remembered that trip ended with the two of them going to Polis. Bellamy’s head popped up across the clearing, eyeing her nervously. She waved him off, reassuring him that she was fine. It’s been almost two years since she found out what happened. Sure, she cried again when she couldn’t radio the bunker. But she was making peace with it. She had to.
She changed the subject, opting to talk to each of them one-on-one today. She gave Murphy more details about the guns. She suggested Emori keep an eye on Murphy. She argued with Monty about what she could be doing wrong with the moonshine. She warned Raven about the newest dent in the rover that was Clarke’s fault this time.
But when she got to Harper, Clarke felt tears prickle at her eyes. She shouldn’t cry. She shouldn’t be upset. It’s been two years. It took less than a minute for Bellamy to notice and come striding over. He settled on the ground behind her, pulling her back against his chest. His arms wrapped around her stomach as he buried his face into her shoulder.
“I just… I miss you guys,” Clarke finished before letting go of the button. “I’m okay,” she told Bellamy.
“It’s okay if you’re not. They’re your family,” he whispered.
“You’re my family too,” she pointed out, and he nodded into her shoulder. The two of them stayed like that for a while. Clarke turned into him so that she could rest her head on his chest. His heartbeat comforted her when words couldn’t.
“Three more years,” he whispered.
“You should sleep in a different bed until I get better,” Clarke sighed. Bellamy narrowed his eyes at her as if it were the stupidest thing he had ever heard. “I don’t want you getting sick.” Clarke wasn’t used to getting sick. She figured it was part of the territory of being a doctor’s kid. But for the past few hours, Clarke had been throwing up.
“I’ll be fine,” he huffed, and Clarke bit down on her lip. “You aren’t running a fever.” Bellamy was doing his best to remain calm, though Clarke had noticed his panic levels rise. The two of them had gotten injuries over the last two years but never gotten sick. The fact that she was getting sick now… well, it scared him.
“Maybe it was something I ate,” she offered. Though, nothing they had eaten was anything new to their diets.
“I’ve eaten the same things as you,” he pointed out, and Clarke fell back on the bed. “I’m getting you more water.” Maybe it was affecting Clarke more because she was smaller than Bellamy. Maybe she ate more than him.
She spent days arguing about possibilities, and Bellamy never once showed signs of being sick like her. Instead, he doted on her with a level of panic she wasn’t used to. She knew it was hard for him to see her like this and not be able to help. All he could do was hold her hair when she threw up and rub her back as she tried to fall back asleep.
“My latest theory,” she mumbled into his chest, “is that there is a third person alive on earth. And that person is a witch. She cursed me.”
“Okay, assuming that the rest of your theory isn’t insane, why would a witch curse you?” Bellamy asked as he scratched her back.
“I haven’t worked that part out yet. It’s just a theory,” she chuckled. Bellamy forced out a tired laugh. Clarke felt a pang of guilt. He was running himself ragged as he worried for her. All she wanted to do was reassure him that she was fine, even though she might not be. She’d be okay for a few hours, and then she’d get sick again. “God, why didn’t I pay more attention to my mom’s work while I was up in on the Ark?”
“Well, for starters, you didn’t know you were coming down to earth,” Bellamy reminded.
“I know, it’s just… if my mom were here, she’d figure out what is wrong with me.” Clarke sat up and rubbed her eyes. She could picture each of her doctor’s appointments perfectly. Her mom would weigh her and take her blood pressure. She’d ask about her diet, though she already knew all the answers. They would discuss exercise and Clarke would groan as her mother made suggestions. I’m telling you as your doctor, not as your mom, Clarke, she’d always say. God, Clarke would kill to hear that lecture right now. Then, she’d ask about the regularity of her periods…
Clarke sat up a little straighter, her eyes going wide. “Clarke,” Bellamy said.
No, they had been careful. Bellamy had been pulling out and Clarke kept track of when she was ovulating. There was no way. She threw her head back and put her hands above her head. “I’m not sick,” she realized. All the symptoms were right there. She wasn’t acting like a normal cold victim. Her breasts had been sore and she had been tired, but that was about it other than the vomiting. Plus, Bellamy wasn’t catching whatever she had… because she didn’t have anything. “Bellamy, I think I’m pregnant.”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she felt her entire face light up. She was pregnant with Bellamy’s baby.
Clarke had never put much thought into having a baby. On the Ark, it was just an expectation that one day she would. When they got to the ground, it seemed like a far-off idea that she might not live to see. But now it was very real. They were having a baby.
Her eyes flickered over to his, and she sucked in a breath when she saw the tears forming in his eyes. “Really?” he whispered in disbelief. Clarke turned into him, letting her legs rest in his lap as she rested her forehead against his. The words escaped her, so she only nodded.
His thumb traced a line down the side of her face. A smile tugged at his lips as he tried to hold back his tears. “We’re having a baby,” she whispered, not sure she quite believed the words yet.
“Bellamy tells me that I have nothing to worry about, but I know he’s worrying too,” she confessed into the radio. Bellamy had gone out to get more firewood and insisted Clarke stay behind to rest. He had been doing that a lot lately. If she thought he was protective before she was pregnant… “He helped his mom give birth when he was a kid. Swears he remembers every detail.” Like I could forget, he huffed when she pushed him on it.
“But there’s a lot to worry about when it’s just us here. If something went wrong…”
She furrowed her eyebrows. Clarke couldn’t think like that. If she did, she’d worry herself sick. Between Bellamy’s memory and Clarke’s medical training, it should be enough. “So, I’m struggling with baby names,” she changed the subject. “And no, Murphy. I’m not naming my baby after you.”
Her laughter echoed in the clearing as she imagined his offended face. She could only imagine how her friends would react to her pregnancy. “When you guys get home, he or she will be walking and talking,” she realized.
Something twitched in her stomach, and Clarke froze. She put the radio back down so she could rest both her hands over her growing belly. When it happened again, a grin took over Clarke’s lips. She grabbed the radio quickly. “I think the baby just kicked,” she told them. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but the magic of it hadn’t worn off yet.
Ever since it happened, Bellamy had kept his hand on her stomach when he was near her. She had told him that he probably wouldn’t feel it for a while. But he wanted his hand there just in case… because he didn’t want to miss it.
“We’ll talk about baby names tomorrow,” she decided before putting the radio back down. She let her hands roam over her stomach, her lips still etched into a smile. “My friends are going to love you when they meet you. You are going to be the most loved child on earth,” she whispered to her baby.
After a few minutes, she went back inside. It was too cold for her to be out long, anyway. When Bellamy returned, she was greeted with a lingering kiss. “Did you miss us?” she teased, and his eyes drifted down to her stomach.
“Yes,” he replied before tending to the fire. She watched him for a few minutes before redirecting her attention back to the baby name list. “Come up with any new ones?” he asked as he slid in behind her. She rested back against his chest as his hand took its usual spot on her stomach.
“No, not really,” she sighed as he looked over the list. She wasn’t sold on anything on the list yet and neither was Bellamy. He had been diving through his old books looking for inspiration. But all Clarke had were names of people she had lost. And she didn’t want to give her baby one of those names.
“We’ll come up with something,” he murmured before kissing her cheek.
“Promise?” she asked, turning back to look at him.
“Promise,” he grinned as his fingers fluttered over her belly. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” she replied before stealing a kiss.
“And I love you,” he added in, tracing a circle into her stomach. His eyes looked enchanted with the sight of her stomach. The wonder with which he looked at her and the baby hadn’t changed since he first realized she was pregnant.
When Bellamy first handed her their daughter, Clarke’s mind went blank. She wasn’t thinking about the arduous day of labor she endured. She forgot about the tears staining her face. She wasn’t aware of how exhausted her entire mind and body were.
All she saw was her beautiful daughter. She was so small and soft in her arms. Eventually, she felt Bellamy settle himself behind her. “You did it,” he whispered. Bellamy was combing Clarke’s damp hair back, murmuring other encouragements.
“I can’t stop looking at her,” Clarke said.
“Probably because she’s beautiful like her mother,” he said before kissing her cheek. When she finally tore her eyes from their baby, she glanced up at Bellamy. He was beaming down at the infant with loving eyes.
“We didn’t settle on a name,” she remembered. She couldn’t even remember a single name on the girl’s side of the list at the moment. Clarke was struggling to keep her eyes open.
Bellamy hummed as he reached over to touch the baby’s cheek. “Tomorrow,” he murmured. “After you’ve slept.” Clarke fell asleep moments later.
It took another three days for Bellamy to come up with the perfect name.
“Phoebe?” she whispered, careful not to wake the baby. “How did you come up with that one?”
A smirk formed on his lips as he adjusted their daughter in his arms. “Phoebe was a goddess,” he started, and Clarke rolled her eyes. Of course, that’s where he was mining for baby names. “Not just any goddess. She was the daughter of Ouranos and Gaia.”
“Okay, why is that important?” Clarke asked.
“Glad you asked,” he teased, and she raised her eyebrows at him. “Ouranos was the god of the sky. Gaia was the goddess of earth. That makes Phoebe the daughter of earth and sky,” he said triumphantly. “Just like our little one.”
A grin formed on Clarke’s lips as she looked down at their baby. “Daughter of earth and sky,” she repeated. Her eyes flickered up to look at Bellamy as he waited for her reaction. “It’s perfect.”
Clarke almost forgot to call on the third anniversary. She only remembered what day it was after Phoebe was fed and put down for a nap. “I am so sorry,” Clarke apologized. “I swear, I didn’t forget you guys.” Clarke had been doing a bad job with the radio calls since Phoebe was born. “I didn’t realize such a little thing could be so exhausting.” She and Bellamy collapsed into bed each night with barely enough energy to kiss each other goodnight.
“But Phoebe is doing so well. I’m already telling her all about her aunts and uncles up in space,” Clarke said. “Her hair is dark like Bellamy’s. And her scowl is a lot like his when he’s grumpy,” she chuckled. As if on cue, Bellamy stepped outside with a crying Phoebe in his arms.
“I think she misses you,” he said, and Clarke set the radio down.
“Come here,” Clarke cooed as she took Phoebe from him. As she settled back with the baby, Bellamy settled down across from her. After a few minutes, Phoebe settled back down.
Bellamy picked up the radio as Clarke pressed a kiss to Phoebe’s head. “So, in two years, one of you has to babysit so that Clarke and I can sleep for once,” he joked. Clarke nudged him with her foot under the table. “Ideally, Phoebe will let us sleep sooner than that. But so far, she’s a troublemaker like her mother, so who knows?” he teased.
“Don’t listen to him,” Clarke whispered to Phoebe. “I was never a troublemaker.”
“What was it you were arrested for on the Ark? Treason?” he smirked.
“It was light treason,” Clarke explained to the baby in her arms.
“Alright, I hope one of you have the story of how Clarke got arrested. I’m willing to bet there was no such thing as ‘light’ treason up there,” Bellamy said into the radio. Clarke rolled her eyes as she held her hand out for the radio.
With a sigh, he handed it back. “It’s me again, this time with Phoebe,” she announced. Bellamy leaned back in his seat, grinning at the two of them. There were circles under his eyes and he looked like he was struggling to keep his eyes open… but he also looked happy.
Clarke relayed her events for the day, starting with how Phoebe woke her up and ending with how she woke Bellamy from his nap just now. Bellamy mumbled other details she forgot, but Phoebe stayed peacefully quiet for once.
“Two more years and you’ll be home,” Clarke whispered at the end of her call. “We can’t wait to see you.”
Bellamy had a knack for telling stories. She had always known that. It came with the territory of being responsible for his little sister all his life. He used to tell Clarke stories to help her fall asleep on hard nights. Now, she’ll wake up to him whispering stories to Phoebe when she wakes up in the night.
“For weeks, he didn’t hear a sound that he didn’t create,” Bellamy murmured. He was rocking Phoebe back and forth, turned away from Clarke. “And then, as he was walking through the woods, he heard a voice. A happy voice. He followed that voice and found a beautiful girl with golden hair. She was talking to the sky about the new home she found. He listened to her talk about the sheer beauty of the world around her, wondering how he had missed it himself.”
Clarke sat up quietly, not wanting to disturb his story. “She gave him something to watch over, and he loved watching her every day. He learned that she was from the sky. He probably should have known since her eyes were a perfect reflection of the blue skies above.”
Bellamy turned slightly, enough for her to see his profile. “He didn’t realize it yet, but his prayers had been answered. Every day that he watched her, he felt less and less alone in this world.” He paused for a moment, and Clarke bit down on her lip. Then, she heard him let out a relieved sigh. A smile tugged at Clarke’s lips. Phoebe must have finally fallen asleep.
She watched Bellamy tuck Phoebe back into the bassinet he had made her. When he stood up, he spotted Clarke looking at him. “You should be asleep,” he whispered as he walked back to bed.
“I was listening to your story,” she replied, and she could see his blush even in the dark. He bit down on his lip as he climbed in next to her.
He turned on his side to press a slow kiss to her lips. “Did you like the story?” he murmured against her mouth.
“Yeah,” she grinned. Her thumb grazed his jawline. “How does it end?”
“It doesn’t,” he replied. This time, it was Clarke who closed the distance between them.
They got a little nervous when it seemed to take Phoebe a while to start talking. Clarke worried it was because she wasn’t socialized enough. After all, the only people she knew were her parents. But she and Bellamy were always talking to Phoebe, trying to encourage her.
But when that first dada fell off her lips, it was like the floodgates had been opened. Phoebe never stopped talking. It was mostly gibberish, but occasionally, there would be a recognizable no or mama in the mix.
“Can you say ‘Harper?’” Clarke asked before jokingly holding the radio up to Phoebe, who just started giggling. “Sorry, I tried. I figured Harper’s name would be the easiest to start with,” she explained. “’Monty’ is too close to ‘mommy’ and ‘Raven’ is too hard for her to say. But we’ll work on it, won’t we Phoebe?” Clarke asked, but Phoebe was too busy smacking a stick against the table.
“I’ve got one more year until you guys get back. So, we’ll get her to say your names by then,” Clarke sighed. One more year. One more year and her whole family would be all together. “There’s enough space here in the village that we can all live here together. Bellamy and I already have a plan to get everything ready for when you get here.”
“Mamamama,” Phoebe mumbled, and Clarke quickly pressed the button so her friends might overhear Phoebe talk.
She smacked a kiss to her forehead, and Phoebe squealed excitedly. “I don’t think she knows that I am ‘mama’ yet. I think she has just figured out that I get excited when she says it,” Clarke explained, shaking her head. “I caught her calling Bellamy that yesterday.”
Phoebe started mumbling into Clarke’s shirt. As soon as her little fist started to rub her eyes, Clarke said into the radio, “Sorry guys. It’s nap time down here. See you in a year. Don’t be late.” Phoebe buried her face into Clarke’s chest as she carried her back inside.
“Mamamamama,” she murmured again.
“I know, I know,” Clarke cooed. Clarke toed off her boots before heading toward the bed. “Mama is gonna nap too, okay?” Phoebe was asleep as soon as Clarke got them into bed, and Clarke didn’t last much longer.
She stirred a while later when she heard Bellamy walk in. “Did I miss nap time?” he murmured, and Clarke sleepily patted the bed beside her.
The bed creaked a bit when he climbed in, but other than that, it was silent. He leaned over to check on Phoebe, his face breaking into a small smile when he saw her fast asleep. He turned onto his side to face them, and Clarke reached over Phoebe to grab his hand. “Did you have a good call?” he asked, and Clarke nodded.
“One more year,” she whispered.
“I think we can keep ourselves busy for another year,” he teased as his fingers carded through Phoebe’s short hair.
“She’s going to start walking any day now. We’re going to be chasing her for the next year,” Clarke sighed.
“I know,” he grinned, and Clarke bit down on her lip. “I can’t wait.”
“It’s just a silly term,” Bellamy huffed as Clarke’s lips trailed up his neck. She popped her head up to narrow her eyes at him.
“Is that really what you’re thinking about right now?” she smirked. Phoebe was fast asleep in the other room, meaning this was one of the few nights where they were alone. Clarke was almost naked on top of him, and he was still worked up about the word boyfriend.
“I just think it’s inaccurate. I’m more than your friend,” he muttered, and Clarke groaned. She had already explained that wasn’t what it meant.
“I think my friends will get that you are more than my friend who is also a boy when they see the child we had together,” Clarke pointed out. If Clarke had known he would get this worked up about it, she wouldn’t have brought it up. But they were only months away from when her friends would return to the ground. Clarke was listing off everything she was excited to tell them about, including a casual mention of them meeting her boyfriend. “What do you want me to refer to you as?”
“I don’t know. Your chosen? That’s what my people called it,” he explained.
“Okay, but that requires us to explain to them what that means. The only reason I used ‘boyfriend’ is because it’s a word they already use to mean the same thing,” Clarke sighed. She rolled off him and fell onto her back. “Monty is Harper’s boyfriend. Murphy is Emori’s boyfriend.”
“Fine,” he groaned. “I still don’t like the word, though. Do your people not have other words for this?”
“Husband, but we can’t use that one,” she explained. “Oh, partner. We can use partner!”
“Why can’t we use husband?” he asked, turning onto his side to look at her.
“Because we aren’t married,” Clarke reminded, and he furrowed his eyebrows.
“Says who?” Clarke blinked a few times at the question. She was about to point out that there was a ceremony that needed to be performed with witnesses before she realized what he was getting at. There was no one else on Earth. Just them. “If we want to be married, then we are. It’s not like anyone can tell us differently.”
Clarke sat upright, brushing her hair out of her face as she did. Marriage wasn’t something Clarke put much thought to. Up on the Ark, she figured she’d end up marrying Wells since he was her best friend. It wasn’t like Clarke had a lot of romantic notions about marriage. She just knew that she wanted to marry someone who would love and support her. And Bellamy… well, he more than surpassed what Clarke had hoped for up on the Ark.
“Is this just because you don’t like the word ‘boyfriend?’” she had to ask, and he rolled his eyes.
“I don’t like it because it doesn’t sound right. Husband does,” he shrugged.
She opened her mouth to argue again, but he wasn’t wrong. After everything they had been through together, husband felt right. There would never a word that would properly describe what Bellamy was to her, of course. No words could encompass how he had saved her by just existing. He gave her something to hold onto when Praimfaya had ripped everything else from her. They walked this Earth alone together and became a family. Husband was as close as they would get. “You’re right,” she admitted.
He was grinning up at her when she turned to look at him. “I know,” he smirked, and Clarke rolled her eyes as she climbed back on top of him. “You should listen to me more. I’m always right,” he teased.
“Do you really want to keep talking right now?” she whispered, grinding her hips down on him.
“No,” he replied with a mischievous grin, and Clarke’s lips crashed onto his.
Of course, Clarke wasn’t expecting her friends to come down right at the five-year mark. But the weeks that followed turned into a month… and Clarke found it harder and harder to keep watching the sky. Then, that month turned into months. Then, a year.
Her radio calls got shorter and shorter. If she talked long enough, she’d ask what was taking them so long and the tears would start to pour. So, she learned to keep them nice and short. She’d tell them about Phoebe, leaving out that Phoebe was now old enough to ask why Clarke talked to the sky every day.
Bellamy was the voice of hope when Clarke started to lose it. He’d remind her of what Clarke did to get them up to space. He’d tell her how brilliant Raven was and how they must have gotten there safely. He echoed every word of hope Clarke had uttered about her friends over the years.
“I don’t know what I would do without you,” Clarke whispered into his shoulder. His arm snaked around her back, his lips resting on her forehead.
Phoebe’s giggling caught their attention. Clarke was about to stand up, but Bellamy gestured for her to stay. “Call them,” he told her, and Clarke’s eyes fell down to the radio.
“Daddy,” Phoebe called out. Clarke stole a glance up at them. Phoebe was trying to get Bellamy to chase her, and Bellamy let out an exhausted sigh. Then, like clockwork, a smile formed on his face and he started running after her. Phoebe’s excited squeal echoed through the clearing, and a grin tugged at Clarke’s lips.
There was a time when Clarke heard nothing but her own voice in this valley. And now she had a family here. Maybe her friends would come down tomorrow. Or maybe it would just be the three of them for a while longer.
After watching Phoebe and Bellamy for a few more minutes, Clarke finally brought the radio to her lips. “It’s been 2,198 days since Praimfaya. I know you guys are doing whatever you can to get back down here. I just… I miss you,” she said. Bellamy looked up at her for a moment, concern in his eyes. Clarke waved him off. She knew he was watching for another one of her breakdowns. He had to rock her until she stopped sobbing too many times in the past year. “Whenever you do come down, remember to shoot for the one spot of green. Bellamy, Phoebe, and I will be waiting for you.”
She set the radio down and pushed herself to her feet. “Mommy!” Phoebe shouted, and all the tension from Clarke’s face fell. Bellamy had finally “caught” Phoebe and was tickling her. His eyes flickered to Clarke, narrowing mischievously. Then, he whispered something to Phoebe that made her giggle.
“I’d start running if I were you,” Bellamy teased as he put Phoebe down. As soon as Phoebe’s feet touched the ground, she took off sprinting toward Clarke. Watching the sky would have to wait until tomorrow. Maybe she’d see something come down on the 2,199th day.
But for today, she was going to enjoy the family she found on Earth. So, Clarke started jogging away as her daughter charged toward her. Bellamy cut her off before she got far, and next thing she knew, Phoebe had a grip on Clarke’s leg with a victorious grin on her lips.