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the last call for sin

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“Pain, hate, envy...those are the ABCs of me. You get rid of them and then there’s nothing left.”

 

i.

Murphy’s just spent three months isolated and trapped in a bunker that was essentially a glorified bachelor pad, so he’s not at his most charming; still, he thinks he’s better company than the now-proven lunatic Jaha and a hologram in a red dress. 

“You know she’s the one that launched the bombs that ended the world, right?” he says, staring at Jaha’s still, meditative form, giving an expression that was distaste, disgust and distrust.

Jaha breaks his perfect form to allow a smirk to breach his features. “Wrong. She didn’t end the world. She saved it.”

Yes , Murphy knows he’s at fault for following Jaha into the desert to begin with. He allowed his vulnerable state to make the decision for the more rational part of his brain. Now, he knows that he was taken advantage of and manipulated into making this journey with the promise of Elysium on the other side. 

And maybe, he thinks, for Jaha this is paradise. Maybe some people can fool themselves into thinking guided meditation coupled with a fancy hologram is a heaven-on-earth. But he already knows he can’t do that, and he definitely knows he can’t stay here, not when there are bigger and better things out there somewhere for him to find. 

“I’m out of here,” he mutters, turning his heels to the still-seated man and taking his first steps into something else . Murphy doesn’t necessarily plan on going back to the Ark, or anywhere close to the Grounders, but he figures that Emori is still out there somewhere, and hey, maybe she’ll take him under his wing - 

With more strength than should be possible, Jaha reaches out and grabs Murphy’s ankle, tripping him and pulling him to the ground. He manages to slam a hand on the ground and stop the incoming faceplant, but he’s still weak from his months spent underground. He’s unable to stop Jaha from turning him over and pinning him to the floor.

“All becomes clear in the City of Light,” Jaha says. His voice remains stagnant and calm, despite the physical position and power he’s holding. Still using his left hand to pin Murphy down, Jaha raises his right, drawing attention to a glittering disk in his fingers. There’s a symbol on it that Murphy doesn’t recognize, two circles pressed up next to each other. 

“Take the key, John,” Jaha continues, “and you will no longer feel pain or suffering.”

On the other end of the room, Murphy can just make out ALIE’s flickering form. He decides that he hates the colour red. “Go float yourself,” he chokes out. Despite the verbal bravado, he is unable to free himself. 

Somewhere behind Jaha’s calm features, annoyance erupts, and he moves the hand holding the disk towards Murphy’s mouth. It’s in that moment that he realizes Jaha wants him to eat whatever that disk is, and while the very idea of that disgusts him, he knows that it is much worse. 

“You deserve to be free of pain, John. The City of Light can give you that.”

Murphy keeps his mouth shut. 

Jaha growls then, audibly, and is somehow able to pinch Murphy’s nostrils shut, blocking off his airway. Murphy tries to struggle, he does, he swears that he does, but like with so many things in his life he is unable to succeed. 

(maybe a small part of him doesn’t want to succeed. maybe, maybe, a small part of him is enticed with the thought of no more pain .)

He holds his breath as long as he can, but the human condition is a fragile one, and the instant his mouth opens Jaha shoves the so-called “key” inside and it’s all over. 

Instantly, the dull ache surrounding his body fades and Murphy knows something is very, very wrong.

 

ii.

He closes his eyes for a second, and when they open, Murphy’s still lying on his back, but everything around him has changed. 

An open, blue sky greets him. Tall buildings line his peripheral vision, like the skyscrapers seen in the history books. He can tell from the breeze rustling his hair and the salt spray on his face that a large body of water is somewhere close by. All of it is picturesque, in theory.

In reality, he is suffocating. He feels like he cannot catch his breath, like a giant weight is pressed against his chest and stopping his lungs from filling all the way. It’s got something to do with the constant anxiety flowing though his body right now, but he doesn’t know where he is and he doesn’t know how to get out and neither of those two facts are doing much to calm him right now. His muscles do not respond, and he cannot move, rendering him a helpless starfish sprawled out on an unfamiliar landscape. 

To top it all off, Jaha and ALIE are both standing next to and looking down at him, like two clouds in an otherwise clear sky that you just wish would fuck off.

Something is very wrong.

He must be in the City of Light, but he feels a lot of pain, and he knows he is suffering. 

“What’s happening?” Jaha asks, though his voice sounds filtered and thousands of miles away. It’s then that Murphy realizes he is not alone , that there is another presence in his head, pulling at things that shouldn’t be touched and moving the structured order around, and there is nothing he can do about any of this, because he doesn’t even have enough command over his body to try and vomit up that freaking disk. 

ALIE, situated on his other side and somehow more corporeal, furrows her brow. “There is simply too much pain here. There are not enough pleasant memories for me to latch onto and bring to the forefront.”

In his new state, Jaha clearly does not understand. “There must be something.”

“There are very few,” ALIE concedes, “but I will do my best.”

She closes her eyes, in deep concentration, and there is a moment of pure ecstasy where the weight lifts from his body and he can breathe . The anxiety falls from his body into the floor, and he curls his now-mobile body into itself, drawing in large breaths and feeling every moment of artificial sun on his body.

In the next moment, he forgets his own name.

 

iii.

It is just himself, sitting cross-legged on the top of a bottomless pit, and her, her red dress somehow even more horrifying against the pure black backdrop.

There is absolutely nothing around them. He doesn’t know how, but he knows that they are in his own mind.

“John Murphy,” she says, with as much emotion as a robot can, “life has not been kind to you.”

In this moment, right at this second, he can’t compose himself enough to agree or not, but his silence is enough confirmation for her. “I will do my best,” she says, and he thinks he’s heard that before, from a lot of people.

“I will do my very best for you,” she promises, and he blinks, and she is gone.

 

iv.

He opens his eyes. He’s seated on the steps of a large mansion, feeling the sun and warm air beat down on his face. An unfamiliar man sits next to him, clearly enjoying the scenery as much as he is. A little off to the distance, yet clearly in sight, is Alie. 

Right now, in this moment of joy, he doesn’t want to try and think very hard, but he knows that her name is Alie, he can trust her, and she wants nothing but the very best for him. It comforts him, though he’s unsure why he needs this comfort to begin with. 

“It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” the man next to him says. His voice is low and warm, resonating deep within his chest. 

Cautiously, he glances over to Alie, and smiles when he sees her nod. “This is Thelonious Jaha,” she says. “He will help you. You can trust him.”

He nods, bringing his gaze back to the rising sun. “Thelonious,” he says, “it is a pleasure to meet you.”

Thelonious doesn’t let surprise or any other emotion show on his face, instead replying, “The pleasure is all mine,” in a soft voice. 

Now that the initial moment has passed, he finds questions entering his mind that, try as he might, he finds no answer for. “Where are we?”

“We are at the precipice of a new beginning,” he replies. “But, most importantly, we are members of the City of Light. This means that, no matter where we go, we have a place to call home - a place free from pain and suffering.”

“That sounds nice.”

“It is. We have reached enlightenment, and now, it is our duty to show others the way.”

He nods. So far, this is making sense, and he doesn’t have the memory or desire to think otherwise. Still, though, there is one doubt he can’t quite shake. “Can I ask you one last thing?”

“Of course.”

“Could you tell me my name?”

 

v.

He learns his name is John , though Alie assures him that if he likes, he can pick a different one. After all, names are arbitrary things in the City of Light. He agrees with this logic, but doesn’t see a reason to choose a new one.

(if he thinks hard about it, he remembers being very young and hearing his parents whisper his name lovingly to each other. the thought of this brings him joy).

The two of them gaze over the water, watching a boat slowly drift into view. “That is our ride,” Thelonious says. “It is going to take us to Arkadia.”

“Arkadia,” John repeats, slowly. “That is...that’s where I come from, isn’t it?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

John remembers that he was born in space. He remembers living on the so-called “Ark” for a time, though he doesn’t remember why he stopped. He supposes it doesn’t really matter, but the large gap in his memory is odd. Just when he thinks that, Alie flickers into view on his left side, and he lets the thoughts drop.

He remembers living on the Ark, for a time. Then, his memory jumps to the first time he stepped foot on the ground. This moment is easily-accessible for him; it’s not hard to recall the fresh air on his face, the smell of fresh rain and the way the bright green blades of grass whistled and moved into the oncoming wind. John remembers feeling a total, complete sense of peace in this moment. 

Someone was standing next to him, in this moment, but he doesn’t remember. This brief lapse causes him to panic slightly, and as a reflex, he moves on to the next memory he can find. 

It’s of Bellamy Blake.

A still image of him sits in Murphy’s mind, a silhouette, almost, of angelic proportions. Bellamy’s standing close to him, a smile on his face, the words “Murphy, I trust you,” on his lips. The whole scene is perfect - untouchable. Closer to the present, he remembers following Bellamy’s leadership, up until his mind lapses. The only other still image he can dredge up is that of a girl in a desert - Emori, he’s fairly sure - but he can’t remember why.

John does remember that he loves Bellamy Blake, and he remembers that Bellamy always called him Murphy . He thinks he likes the way this sounds far better than John.

 

vi.

He waits with Thelonious until a boat arrives, captained by the very girl that Murphy remembers from the desert. “Emori,” he greets her, feeling oddly proud and accomplished at having contributed to a conversation. Alie prompts them both to board the boat, so they do without hesitation. Emori’s not alone - there’s another figure on the boat, standing off to the side, but Murphy can’t find a reason to care.

“So, you listened to my direction after all,” she says, showing him a slight smile. Murphy isn’t sure what she means, so he looks to Alie for answers, but she offers none. In this moment, a pit forms in his stomach - something is not right.

“What do you mean?” he finally settles on saying, slowly drifting his gaze from Alie back to Emori. The two don’t seem aware of each other’s presence, which could only mean that Emori wasn’t part of the City of Light.

(he thinks this is the part where he’s supposed to market the whole idea to her and get her to take the key, but he can’t find a single reason for her to do so).

Emori’s eyes widen, the smile slipping off her face. “I...in the desert. After...so you didn’t hear what I said?”

He remembers a girl, standing in the desert, but he doesn’t know why…

“I’m sorry,” he says, and he wants to say more, but his throat closes up. Off to his left, Alie flickers in and out of existence.

“Oh, John,” she sighs. “They got to you too, huh?”

The way she says it makes the pit in his stomach grow.

 

vii.

The trip back to Arkadia takes surprisingly little time, though Murphy remembers extraordinarily little about the location to judge this properly. For most of the journey, Thelonious meditates and stays in the City of Light, while Emori stands silent at the wheel, her face in an eternal grimace.

“I didn’t mean to make you upset,” he says at one point, to which she lets out a sigh.

“You didn’t,” is all she offers, but he knows that he did.

Emori doesn’t enter Arkadia with him and Thelonious. “The Sky People wouldn’t trust me, or my brother,” she says. “It’s for the best that I take my earnings and leave you here.”

“But I want you to come with us,” he argues, though he’s not sure why he’s saying it. It’s true that he trusts her, but he has a sneaking suspicion that it’s because she’s one of the only people he can remember from before .

Emori smiles, softly and delicately, before getting back on her boat and leaving towards the horizon.

“Come, John,” Thelonious says, putting a hand on his shoulder - touch me again and I’ll end you - and guiding him to follow. Murphy does, because he fears he has no choice.

Every time he thinks of running in the opposite direction, or even just questioning Thelonious’ motives, Alie appears in the corner of his vision. Each time, she moves closer, ever-present and ever-threatening. He thinks that, if she really were an all-powerful being who created the City of Light, she’d be more helpful.

He realizes, as he follows Jaha (Thelonious is far too long to say), that Alie exists inside his mind, as does the City of Light, as in - they’re not real . The City of Light is a delusion, he thinks; it must be. Yet, if Alie exists in multiple minds at once, then she must be far more powerful than he could ever be. Maybe, she could make anyone do whatever they wished.

Still, Murphy doesn’t know how he ended up here. He doesn’t remember his entire lifetime, and now he knows that this is wrong, that everything about this situation is so, so wrong. He does know that he has to find Bellamy. There has to be a reason besides a teenage crush as to why he’s the only one that Murphy can remember in full dimensional detail.

Lost in his thoughts, Murphy trips over the forest floor and cuts his leg completely open on a log. It doesn’t hurt at all, and he keeps walking as if nothing had occurred, and as if he wasn’t leaving a trail of blood in his wake.

 

viii.

“What did you do to me?”

“I saved you, John. I took away your pain.”

“What did you take from me?”

“I didn’t take anything from you, John. Quite the contrary; I made you whole again.”

 

ix.

When they enter Arkadia, they are greeted by an armed militia and a man who introduces himself as Chancellor Charles Pike. “It is an honour to see you again, sir,” Pike says to Jaha, giving him a firm handshake.

“And you,” Jaha replies. “Congratulations are in order on your political victory, it seems.”

Pike responds with a respectful nod before turning his attention to Murphy. It takes a moment, but then his eyes light up in recognition. “I recognize you,” he says. “Jonathon Murphy. You were in my Earth Skills class, were you not?”

Murphy remembers none of this, but he’s learned from Emori that people from his past aren’t going to respond terribly well to that news, so he just nods and mimics Jaha by offering a hand. At this, Pike laughs, but he shakes it anyways. 

“Where have you two been?” Pike asks, gesturing that they follow him inside. “Last I heard, you left on some kind of pilgrimage to find a...what was it...ah, yes, a promised land?”

Maybe Jaha senses the sarcasm, but he doesn’t respond to it. “We did, and you’ll be pleased to hear that we return with good news.”

“Ha! I’m sure you do. Anyways, it’s getting dark out here. We’ll have someone check you both over…” He trails off once he turns back towards them, eyes resting on Murphy’s leg that has been slowly dripping blood on the grass this whole time. “Son, you’re bleeding.”

Absentmindedly, Murphy looks down at his wound, and then looks at Alie, staring at him from off to the side. It’s now or never, he thinks. 

He looks back at Pike, and then with a determination that he’s not sure how he achieves, he says, “I would like to speak with Bellamy Blake.”

Both Jaha and Pike crack their facades, ever slightly. Jaha’s mouth pinches at the side, displeased with that course of action, while Pike’s brows furrow as he looks at the deep gash on Murphy’s leg and tries to reason how a boy with such a slight frame could stay standing after all this time. 

“Alright,” Pike concedes, “I think that can be arranged.”

He gestures for Murphy to follow him, but when he does, Jaha makes sure to keep a steady pace beside him. “No,” Murphy says. “I would like to speak to Bellamy Blake alone .”

If possible, Pike’s brow furrows even further. Evidently, the Chancellor can’t make sense of what Murphy could possibly want to say. Thankfully, Jaha doesn’t put up a fight, though he can tell that he wants to. 

Off to the side, for the first time, Alie looks furious.

 

x.

So that’s how Murphy finds himself in a secluded medical room, sitting on a bed with his leg propped up for Dr. Jackson to examine. Pike wouldn’t let him in a room with only Bellamy without having his leg stitched, which Murphy understood, so he didn’t fight him on this. 

He doesn’t know what to say when he sees Bellamy. The boy - no, the man looks older than he remembers, more battle-weary and less arrogant, maybe. He straddles a gun at his hip and he stands with his arms crossed, gazing down at Murphy’s face. 

“You know,” he says. “I never thought I would ever see you again, Murphy.”

He doesn’t know why, but this makes him laugh. “From what I understand, I don’t blame you.”

“What the hell happened to you out there?”

Murphy sighs, closing his eyes for a second. As he does, the buildings in the eerie City of Light flicker into view for a second, ever tantalizing, beckoning him to join them. Alie paces back and forth behind him, muttering under her breath, something about how she’s never failed before and what a curious case, he is .

“Murphy?”

“You’re going to think I’m insane.”

“Try me. Last I knew, you were following Jaha on some crusade to locate a promised land. What could possibly be crazier? What happened to you out there?”

He focuses a laser-gaze on Bellamy’s face, attempting to look as serious as possible. “I don’t know.”

“You - what?”

“I mean - I don’t remember.” He launches into his whole explanation, now, telling Bellamy all the details he can about Alie, the City of Light, and Jaha’s plan to get everyone in Arkadia a membership by using the keys.

After he’s done, Bellamy stares at him with complete shock and confusion. “Okay, Murphy, maybe you stayed out in the desert heat a little too long. You’re right - I do think you’re insane.”

At this point, Jackson has started stitching up his leg, though Murphy doesn’t feel it at all, even when he was warned that this might sting when he used the disinfectant.

He’ll never believe you, John. He’ll never help you, not the way I’m offering to help you. Why don’t you just accept my help?

“You don’t believe me, then.”

“No. No, I don’t believe that you have a woman in your head who made it so you can’t feel pain and you can’t remember anything.”

He’ll never believe you .

At a loss, Murphy reaches over and picks up the half-full bottle of disinfectant from where it still lay on the bed. “Be careful with that,” Jackson warns him, but Murphy isn’t listening when he up-ends the bottle and pours the remaining contents into his open wound. He does so without breaking eye contact with Bellamy or moving a muscle.

There are a few seconds where Bellamy and Jackson both freeze, staring at him with shock. Surprisingly, Jackson recovers first, snatching the empty bottle back and reading the label, as if to check that it was, in fact, disinfectant that should hurt. 

“Okay,” Bellamy says, slowly. “I hear you. I believe you.”

 

xi.

“You’re beginning to give me no choice, John. You must submit full control over to me. Live in the City of Light, and let me worry about the rest.”

“I don’t trust you. You stole from me.”

“Submit to be, John. Give me full control.”

“No.”

“There will come a day when you regret this, John Murphy.”

“Oh, don’t worry. It already has.”

 

xii.

Once his leg is stitched - Jackson insists on finishing, even though Murphy can’t feel the wound enough to care - Bellamy takes him to an old interrogation room so they can sit, uninterrupted. There, Murphy tells him everything that he knows, which is very, very little.

“That’s all you remember?” Bellamy asks, incredulous. 

“That’s all.”

“And you...you remember me?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I do, almost perfectly.”

Bellamy glances at the floor, smiling, before the gravity of the situation is realized and he goes back-to-business. “I’d like to bring in a couple people that can help,” he says. “Pike, for one. And Raven. Maybe Jackson?”

“Pike thinks Jaha and I are crazy.”

“Well, isn’t Jaha?”

“Yes, but that’s besides the point.”

At the mention of Jaha, Alie’s presence grows brighter. Now, instead of off to the side, she stands directly in front of him, imposing on him no matter where in the room he looks. Give me control , she says, over and over, like a chant. For now, he settles on ignoring her presence, and hoping that does the trick long enough that they can figure out a permanent solution. 

“Alright. No Pike, for now.”

Murphy swallows roughly, suddenly nervous. “Jackson, I know was the doctor who just stitched my leg. I don’t know Raven.”

“You...You don’t?”

No .”

“Okay. Well, you can trust them both, okay?”

“I...okay.”

Bellamy calls Raven on his walkie, telling her to bring Jackson with her. “Raven’s a mechanic,” Bellamy explains, after putting the radio away. “And Jackson’s a doctor, as you know.”

It doesn’t take long for the door to open and for two people to enter. Jackson gives him a quick smile in greeting, but the girl following him only glances trepidatiously. She wears a brace on her leg, and for reasons that he can’t fathom, this saddens him. 

“Alright, Murphy,” Bellamy says. “You can tell them everything.”

And he does.

 

xiii.

“I just can’t believe he doesn’t know me,” Raven whispers to Bellamy, even though Murphy can hear every word. It doesn’t matter, though, because Alie takes this opportunity to start yelling .

Give me control! Give me control! Give me control!

“Murphy? Murphy!”

It takes him a second to realize Bellamy’s talking to him over the dull roar that Alie’s making. “Sorry,” he says. “She’s just - she’s loud.”

Raven, it seems, forgets all past pretenses and leans across the table to get closer to him. “Like, Alie’s here right now?”

“She’s always here.”

“Can you see her? Hear her? What does she say?”

“She just...” He trails off, wincing as Alie’s chants start a physical pounding in his head. It seems he can’t feel pain unless she wants him to. “She’s standing in the corner, right now, and she’s always talking. She wants me to give her control, whatever that means.”

Raven nods idly, taking in the information, her brain moving a million miles an hour. “Can I just say,” she says, “that I like you like this, Murphy?”

“I - thanks?”

Raven .” That’s Bellamy.

“He’s just being so nice ! You have to admit. It’s a nice change from what we all remember.”

“Raven. This is serious. What if Jaha manages to get more people to take this - um, key? He doesn’t remember anything .”

“Yeah, about that,” she sighs. “I have a theory, but I don’t know if you’ll like it.”

“It’s about the pain, isn’t it?” Jackson comments. 

“I think so. The key is obviously blocking certain neural pathways, stopping him from feeling any physical pain. But that must translate onto an emotional level too, right?”

“Sure.”

“So what if it blocks painful memories, too?”

Jackson shakes his head. “I agree with you, but Murphy can’t remember so many details - not all of those memories were painful. They couldn’t have been.”

Give me control. Give me control. Give me control.

“Think about it. He shot me, right? And he feels guilty about it. So instead of removing just that one memory - wouldn’t it be easier, from a computer’s standpoint, to remove the memory of me entirely?”

Give me control! Give me control! Give me control now!

Murphy tears his eyes away from the chanting Alie for a moment. “What does she want now? Control?”

“Yeah,” Raven says. “My guess? She wants to take full control over your mind, because right now I’m sure you aren’t making any decisions that she agrees with.”

“Okay, so we know how it works,” Bellamy says. “But how do we take it out?”

“Aw, but he’s being so nice like this.”

“Raven!”

“Yeah, yeah, loverboy, I’ll figure it out. I’ll need to see one of the keys, though, figure out a way to make it stop working.”

Give me control!

“Jaha has some,” Murphy manages to say.

With that, the four of them exit the room. Alie doesn’t follow, and Murphy dearly hopes it will stay that way.

 

xiv.

“You stole from me, Alie! I won’t give you anything else!”

“I took away your pain.”

“And I didn’t want you to!”

“Fine. You want your pain back? Fine. I’ll give that to you.”

 

xv.

They make it about six steps down the hallway before Murphy’s leg lights on fire. 

It buckles beneath him, a sudden weakness taking down his entire form. Jackson’s at his side in an instant, but there’s nothing he can do. Vaguely, he can tell Bellamy’s at his other side, desperately trying to get through to him.

“Raven, go get that key from Jaha,” Bellamy orders. She leaves, and he returns his full attention to Murphy. “What’s going on? What’s happening?”

I can take your pain away, John, if you just give me full control.

He tries to speak, but all that comes out is a pathetic whimper. When he doesn’t comply to Alie’s demands, images flash through his mind faster than he can keep up with. 

A man, his father, caught in a frozen scream as he’s torn out of the airlock, lost forever to the stars - 

His mother, shards of glass littered all around her body, evidence of the final bottle that finally took her down - 

A noose, caught around his throat, pulling at his neck, and he can’t breathe, he can’t breathe, and there’s Bellamy, his judge and executioner, the jury screaming their assent all around him - 

“Make it stop,” he whispers, clawing at his throat, clawing at his leg. “Make it stop, please, make it stop …”

“Murphy, you’re okay, focus on me ,” Bellamy says, and it works, for a moment. For a moment, he regains clarity and can look Bellamy directly in the eye. This displeases Alie.

If you give me control, all this goes away forever.

“She...She gave me back my pain. All of it. I…”

And that’s all he can say, before a wave of pure agony hits and he screams, louder than he ever has. 

A gun in his hand is going off, a bullet hitting Raven. Bellamy hangs in front of him, and revenge has never tasted so rotten. Grounders rip off his fingernails, tearing holes into his body before sending him back to kill all his friends. 

Myles and Connor, dead at his hand.

Jackson stabs some kind of needle in his neck. Everything except his last image of Bellamy fades from his mind.

 

xvi.

When he wakes, he is lying on a bed, his wrists and ankles bound to it. A solid headboard just brushes his hair. Bellamy is seated to his right, staring at him with concern, while Alie stands with crossed arms at his left.

Are you ready to give in, John? Or do you wish to do that all again?

“Please don’t,” he whispers, alerting Bellamy to his consciousness. 

“She’s still here, isn’t she?” Bellamy whispers, and then he turns, as if trying to locate her. “Alie, if you’re here, if you can hear this, we are going to stop you. We’re going to save him.”

He doesn’t understand. I already have saved you. If you would just listen to me…

And then it starts all over again; his leg splits in two, his mind whirls, the pressure inside his skull builds and builds and builds…

He knows of pain, and he knows of the hand that Bellamy holds through it all, and for most of it, the two forces remain equal.

 

xvii.

There is only so much Bellamy can do. 

“Raven’s working on it,” he says. “You just have to hold on until then. Please, Murphy. We don’t know what happens if you give over control...please. I can’t lose you again. I can’t.”

If he could, Murphy would reply similarly.

There is only so much Bellamy can do, and it is enough.

 

xviii.

“Bellamy will only give you more pain in the end. You know this. You must know this.”

“Maybe. That might be true. But isn’t a little pain better than no happiness?”

“John Murphy, if when given the choice, you would rather choose pain, then I’m afraid there is very little I can do to help you.”

“For once, we agree on something.”

 

xix.

Vaguely, he’s aware of Raven coming in with some form of device that sends a shockwave through his body. He remembers that she did this twice, as if just to make sure. 

The City of Light comes into detail. The buildings around him flicker, but he can still taste the salt in the water and feel the sun on his skin. As he looks around, buildings in the distance disappear, and the horizon comes in closer and closer. 

“You have made a foolish decision,” Alie says. 

“I’m a survivor,” he says. “I survive. It’s what I do.”

“John Murphy, you are naive if you think that to survive is to be in pain.”

“No,” he says, “Not to survive, but...we need it to be alive. I don’t choose pain. I choose life.”

Taken aback, Alie vanishes into the approaching horizon, and soon, he does as well.

 

xx.

It will take over a day, but Murphy slowly regain consciousness. His left hand is still chained to the bed, but Bellamy’s fingers are still laced through his right. Seated in what could only be the most uncomfortable chair, he’s asleep.

There is a dull ache throughout his entire body, and his mouth feels dry. The wound on his leg is angry, his head pounds, and his stomach growls in discomfort and hunger. He feels exhausted, even though he just woke up. Altogether, Murphy feels absolutely horrible, and he couldn’t be more happy about it. 

“Took you long enough.”

A female voice sounds to his left, and fear runs through him before he sees that it’s Raven. “I didn’t think you’d be here.”

“Yeah? Why wouldn’t I?”

“Oh, I don’t know, because I shot you.”

Raven’s eyes fill with a mix of amusement and melancholy. “So it did work.”

“Of course it worked,” he said. “You designed - whatever it was.”

“An EMP,” she says, proudly. “Electric shock worked on Jaha, so...I figured this would as well, though hopefully it was a bit more gentle.”

“Jaha’s back to his old self, then?”

“Still absolutely insane.”

He laughs, though it catches in his throat. “Thank you. Really.”

Raven raises an eyebrow. “Well, you’re still too nice . You sure it worked?”

“I mean it.”

She smiles, and Bellamy begins to stir from his slumber. “I’ll let you two catch up,” she says, leaving the room just as Bellamy opens his eyes. 

“Murphy,” he says, almost breathless. “Are you... you ?”

“I am now.”

Bellamy’s eyes light up, squeezing the hand he’s still holding. “I’m sorry. For everything. I thought I lost you again, and I couldn’t…I can’t do that. Not anymore.”

“Bellamy,” Murphy says, “I love you, too.”

 

epitaph.

Later, after their reconciliation and after they kiss, Bellamy will ask him, “How did you resist her control for so long?”

The answer, of course, is, “you.”