“Remind me again why we're still out here?” Murphy grumbled, running a hand through his hair and squinting at the tree line. He couldn't see anything, not even a bird or a squirrel moving around. There was no breeze so everything was far too still and quiet for his tastes, there weren't even ripples on the pond beside them. They'd been out here for two days, tracking what Bellamy was certain was a deer, an invisible one, at that.
“Because Clarke said to come back when we got something, or in three days if we hadn't. It hasn't been three days and we haven't got anything to take back, yet.” Bellamy explained for what he was sure was the thousandth time. He understood Murphy's frustration, though, they needed to bring something back to camp, there were more people now and they needed to have some kind of reserve for the winter, if this planet still had that. From the weather they had now Bellamy didn't believe it was possible. It was blazing hot, even under the cover of the trees.
“And we're listening to her because...?” Murphy asked, picking up a rock and chucking it at the water, pleased when the peaceful surface was shattered. Finally some movement, even if it was by his own doing.
“Do you want to be the one to piss her off?” Bellamy asked with a raised eyebrow. “Because if that's what you want, we can go back now, I'm sure she's had a great day and would be incredibly understanding. I mean, it's not like you've managed to piss her off twice already this week or anything.”
Murphy paused to consider it for a moment before shaking his head, “If you're wrong about there being a deer out here I'm going to shoot you instead.”
“Smart man.” Bellamy said with a huff of a laugh. “I don't think we'll be find the deer again for a while, so I-” Bellamy laid his rifle down on the smooth ground before pulling his shirt over his head and grinning at Murphy, “-am going to cool off. Wanna join me?”
“Not really.” Murphy shook his head. He'd rather not get his clothes wet and taking them off, well, that wasn't happening.
“Yeah. I'll uh, I'll stand guard. Watch for that deer of yours.”
“In case it attacks?” Bellamy teased.
“Or magically poofs into existence. Either one.”
“It's out there, Murphy, I know how to track. Just, come on, cool off, have fun. Enjoy the Earth a little.”
“I'll enjoy it when it stops trying to kill me.”
“The water won't try to kill you.”
“No, but what's in the water might.”
“Well, then it'll kill me first and you'll have plenty of time to escape.” Bellamy reasoned, unbuckling his belt and shoving off his pants and boots. “Come on, Murph, live a little.”
“I'll live fine enough up here. Dry and fully clothed, thanks.”
“Is that what this is about?” Bellamy asked with a sigh. He had noticed -and he'd noticed Murphy had noticed that he noticed- that Murphy never took his shirt off around him. Pants, yeah, often, but he was never shirtless. Bellamy had a few theories but he'd let Murphy keep his secrets because he knew what happened when the younger boy was pushed to far. He didn't want to make him close up again. But still, “Come on, Murphy, we've been together for, what? Four months? I think I can handle seeing you naked. I'd imagine it's no more scandalous than seeing you pinned against a tree or bent over a table, right?”
Murphy scowled, cheeks heating up from embarrassment. “I- You are naked enough for the both of us, thank you.” He turned his head and waved a hand at Bellamy, indicating his state of undress. It wasn't a very good comeback, considering he couldn't really expect Bellamy to swim fully clothed and he wasn't even completely naked, but he didn't have anything else to say.
“Fine, fine. Stay up here, do whatever.” Bellamy shrugged, backing towards the water. “I will be over here, cooling off and actually enjoying life. You can sulk there by yourself.”
Sulking. Murphy wasn't sulking. He had a damn good reason not to want to take his fucking clothes off and he had half a mind to throw Bellamy's into the water. That would serve him right for being a jackass.
It wasn't like Murphy didn't want to swim, he wouldn't have thought twice about it when they'd first gotten to Earth, but that was before he'd ended up in the hands of the Grounders. That was before they'd torn him apart and carved into his skin leaving it to mend together in twisted lines and ugly scars. He was covered in them and he didn't want them to be seen, he couldn't be blamed for that. He was repulsed by them, he could only imagine what Bellamy would think of them. Of him. Of how broken and scarred and utterly fucked up he was. It was like someone had taken a look inside of him and then painted a matching picture on his skin.
Even with them covered he couldn't forget about them, the way the skin pulled tight whenever he moved just right. They hadn't all healed properly, but then again, it wasn't like he'd been given proper medical attention. Not at the prison camp and not when he'd gotten back to the dropship, not that he could blame them there. There had been a lot going on and he hadn't exactly sought out Clarke's help, she probably wouldn't have wanted to help him anyway, so he'd kept to himself. Washing them and doing what he could when he was alone.
He thought once the others had come down and he and Raven had been found at the dropship and taken to Camp Jaha that Abby or one of her doctors would help him but they hadn't. He'd been put in that room with Bellamy and then he'd listened to him talk, telling Murphy that he hadn't done good enough and that he should have held out longer and Murphy had believed him. He shouldn't have told the Grounders anything, he should have let them kill him first. Sometimes he wished they had, but he didn't tell Bellamy that. He didn't tell Bellamy anything about his torture, mainly out of fear of the past, fear they'd end up being how they were back then, always at each others' throats and Murphy wanting so desperately to hate Bellamy but he couldn't, he needed him, and he didn't want to lose him, so he didn't talk about it and he didn't show Bellamy his scars. They were a physical reminder of his weakness, of how he'd broke and told them everything. He wanted to forget it, wanted the scars to fade, but they never would. He wondered how long he could keep hiding them from Bellamy before he got fed up with Murphy keeping secrets and left him. Bellamy would leave eventually, Murphy knew he would, for some reason or another, it would be Murphy's fault, too, it always was. Bellamy would leave but the scars wouldn't. A permanent souvenir from his vacation at Camp Grounder.
He was caught up in his thoughts and didn't hear the quiet footsteps creeping up behind him, not noticing Bellamy had stopped splashing around in the water until he felt a cold pressure flooding over his head, water soaking into his shirt and plastering his hair to his face, shocking him and leaving him sputtering and confused. “What the fuck!” Murphy looked up, confusion quickly turning to anger, “What the fuck did you do that for? Jesus Christ, Bellamy!”
“What? I just thought I should help you cool off.” Bellamy shrugged, grinning wide with a dripping tarp in one hand, obviously amused.
“Are you fucking kidding me? Did it ever cross your mind maybe there's a reason I didn't want to go into the fucking water?”
“I can swim just fucking fine.” Murphy growled. He could swim well enough to drown Bellamy which was exactly what he was going to do given the chance.
“Alright.” Bellamy held his hands up in surrender, amusement fading slightly. “I didn't mean to piss you off. Sorry.”
“For fuck's sake, Bellamy.” Now he was wet and uncomfortable, the wet material sticking to his skin and doing the exact opposite of cooling him off. It was hot and the water had warmed up quickly after being met with the heat of his skin and it felt like he was wearing lead. He scowled, glaring at Bellamy and pushing his hair out of his eyes. “You're a fucking jackass.”
“I said I was sorry. Calm down, it's just a bit of water. Just take your shirt off and hang it up, it's hot enough that it should dry out soon.”
He didn't want to take off his shirt. That was the whole fucking problem! He had wanted to keep his clothes on and he had wanted Bellamy to respect that and obviously he wasn't getting anything he wanted today. “Fine. Just, fucking fine.” He huffed, turning his back to Bellamy and stalking over to the edge of the clearing. He found a branch that was hanging down low enough and was directly in the sun. His shirt would dry quickly he just had to stay away from Bellamy while it did. That wouldn't be too much of a problem seeing as how if he got anywhere close to him right now Bellamy would probably end up bloody. The fucking prick.
He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Anger wasn't going to solve his problems, he knew that and he was trying to work on it, but it didn't help that Bellamy was always pressing his damn buttons and fuck- Why couldn't he just be one of those normal people who weren't terrified of taking their clothes of in front of the person they were with for fear of scaring them off? Bellamy wouldn't want him anymore if he saw the scars and Murphy knew that. Why would he when he could just as easily have his pick of any other person on this annoying as fuck planet? He could find someone who wasn't scarred and broken and messed up like Murphy. There was only so much damage a person could carry with them before they became undesirable and Murphy had already filled that quota a long time ago, he was sure.
The wet fabric stuck to his skin, dragging as he pulled it over his head, leaving behind small drops of water that ran down his back and made him shiver. He hated wet clothes, there was nothing less comfortable in terms of minor irritations. He twisted the material in his hands, wringing out what he could to hopefully lessen the drying time. He hung it up, frowning at the thought of the wrinkles in it's future. What he wouldn't give for an actual dryer right now.
He glanced down at his stomach, the bone white scars were even easier to see in the sunlight. They crisscrossed and intertwined with larger, darker scars, burns that had blistered his flesh and left him writhing in pain for hours. He remembered every last detail of his torture, relived it every time he closed his eyes at night, waking up trembling and screaming or gasping for air. He felt their knives carving into him, heard them demanding answers, shouting in a language he didn't know, didn't want to know. He had wanted to die, hoped he would when they locked him in that cage, the rivers of blood that had run down his stomach had made him sick but he hadn't had anything in his stomach so he'd been left to heave and gasp and beg the stars for a death that never came. He'd ended up being forced to live, turned into a biological weapon and sent back to the people who had banished him, that he'd been tortured to protect and they wouldn't even look him in the eye because he had broke and the scars were a reminder of that, of how weak he was, of how broken and fucked up and he never wanted Bellamy to see them because Bellamy would think those same things about him and Murphy didn't think he'd be able to handle that, no matter how true it was, he wanted to pretend Bellamy wouldn't think of him like that, not now, not after everything.
He looked over his shoulder at Bellamy, feeling a twinge of relief when he noticed the elder's attention was caught by something else for the time being, allowing him to move towards the shade again without being seen. He sat down, his back turned on Bellamy and stared at the trees, waiting. He couldn't do much else but wait, even if it was going to be the most boring hour of his life. Fucking Bellamy.
“Hey, Murphy, I'm sorry, alright?” Bellamy came up behind him, sincerity in his apology. He hadn't meant to upset Murphy, he'd just wanted to joke a bit, lighten the mood. They'd been having shit luck on their hunt and it was easy to see that it had worn Murphy down and frustrated him to no end. He'd never been one for patience, Bellamy knew that, he had just wanted to make him laugh. He'd just gone about it wrong and he was sorry. “I didn't mean to upset you and I won't do it again. I'm-”
“Go away.” Murphy spat, pulling his knees up to his chest to cover his stomach. He just wanted to sit and wait until his clothing dried he didn't want to have to deal with this right now, not today, not ever, just, why couldn't Bellamy just leave him alone?
Bellamy didn't, not that Murphy had actually expected him to, and sat down nest to him instead. “You okay, babe?”
“Peachy. Now fuck off.”
“Okay, what is it? You got a really bad tattoo or something? Ex's name on your chest?” Bellamy joked lamely, bumping his shoulder against Murphy's. “It's okay, I won't get jealous.”
Murphy shook his head hard, “No, that's not- Just leave me alone, alright?” He doesn't want to do this. He doesn't want to have to explain or tell the truth, he just wants to close his eyes and pretend this never happened. Go back twenty minutes and tell Bellamy that he didn't want to stop. Go back and avoid this entirely. But he can't. He held his knees tighter, praying that Bellamy will just go away and stop asking and never ask again. That's not going to happen, though, he wouldn't get that lucky. “Just go away. Keep swimming or track your deer or something, I don't care, just fuck off.”
“Please!” Please don't ask questions. Please don't make me show you. Please let me pretend this isn't happening. Please, please, please just go away. Murphy didn't want him to see the scars, didn't want him to know, he couldn't stand it if Bellamy knew. He'd leave him, find someone better, someone who wasn't scarred, prettier, nicer, better, less of an ass, someone who hadn't betrayed everyone. Bellamy would see them and he'd be disgusted, he'd never want to go near Murphy again. He'd leave him. Or worse. He'd say it wasn't good enough. The scars weren't enough, that Murphy shouldn't have broke and told them anything. He'd tell him he was weak, a traitor, that he was the reason all of this happened. That he should never have come back. Bellamy would blame him and tell him he should have tried harder and Murphy knew that. He knew he should have but he couldn't because he was weak and if Bellamy saw his scars he'd leave him once and for all because Murphy shouldn't have come back. He should have died but he didn't. He couldn't even do that right and Bellamy would tell hims so and-
“Murphy! Murphy what's wrong?”
Murphy shook his head furiously, his shoulders shook and tears stung the backs of his eyes, “Nothing.” Everything. I fucked up, I broke, I'm sorry. Don't look at me, just go away, please stop. Don't care about me, please. I don't deserve that. It was too much but Murphy couldn't run away. He can't get up and leave because Bellamy would see and he's terrified. There's too many scars but not enough. Not enough to excuse betraying everyone but too many to ignore. He was never pretty, he knew that, but now he was undesirable ad Bellamy would see and leave him for someone prettier. Maybe one of the girls back at camp. They were pretty and Murphy was willing to bet they'd never killed anyone, either. They weren't monsters and they didn't look like them, either. Murphy did. He was as fucked up on the outside as he was on the inside and he didn't want Bellamy to see.
“You're crying over nothing. Right.” Bellamy nodded. “Makes perfect sense. I, too, often find myself upset because absolutely nothing is wrong. I didn't know it was such a common thing.”
“I'm not crying. Fuck off.” Murphy sniffed, rubbing at his eyes. Now he was crying. How pathetic could he get?
“I am not crying, Bellamy.”
“Alright, you aren't crying.” Bellamy let the lie slide for Murphy's sake, “But you are upset. Wanna tell me why?”
“No.” Murphy didn't want to tell him anything at all. He just wanted to be able to go back to pretending this wasn't an issue and hiding behind a t-shirt and the excuse that no one wanted to be completely naked in the woods or that he was cold or there wasn't time and just get on with it, Bellamy. But he couldn't. Bellamy knew something was wrong and he wasn't going to just let it go, he never did, he cared too much. Murphy both loved and hated him for it. But Bellamy would stop caring once he found out, once he realized just how fucked up he was now that he couldn't just hide it behind sarcasm and false confidence. It was etched into his skin and Bellamy was going to find out and leave him. Murphy had always known it would end up like that but he'd pushed it to the back of his mind and pretended that it wouldn't. Now, though, he couldn't pretend. The thought forced a tear to streak down his face despite his efforts to hold them back, but once started they wouldn't stop. He buried his head in his arms, hating himself for being so pathetic.
“Hey, hey, now, Murphy. What's wrong?” Bellamy asked, brow creased in concern. “Come here, hey, look at me.” Bellamy reach out and tugged on Murphy's arm, trying to get the younger's attention.
“No!” Murphy refused, pulling his arm back and refusing to look at Bellamy. “Just go away.”
Bellamy sighed, frustrated with himself for causing this and concerned for Murphy. Murphy was rarely this vulnerable and there was no way he was just going to leave him alone, not when he was like this. He turned himself on the rocks until he was in front of Murphy, and reaching out for him,“It's okay, come here.”
Murphy refused, pulling his legs up closer to his body, not caring about how it hurt to bend so far. He didn't want to show Bellamy, he couldn't bear him leaving him just yet. He was selfish and pathetic, he knew that, but he was scared. He needed him to stay but he wouldn't if he saw the scars, Murphy was sure of it.
“Murphy, just come here. It's okay. I won't look if you don't want me to, it's okay. Just come here, please.”
“Promise you won't?” Murphy asked, voice thick and hesitant.
“I promise. Come here, see? I'm not looking at your chest, just your face, I swear.”
Murphy nodded, slowly unfolding himself, watching Bellamy cautiously, ready to curl back in on himself if necessary. He had to force himself to resist the urge to run when he felt Bellamy's hands on his sides, pulling him close. He let himself be pulled onto Bellamy's lap, afraid that Bellamy was going to touch him and feel the scars and know but he didn't. Bellamy kept his hands on Murphy's back, stroking it and mumbling comforting words in Murphy's ear until he relaxed against him. In a way it only made it worse, how gentle Bellamy was being with him, because it wasn't going to last for long. Once Bellamy found out, and really, there was no way he couldn't by this point, that would be the end of it. Anxiety bubbled in Murphy's gut, this was it. It was going to be over and it was his fault and he had no one to blame but himself because he wasn't good enough, he'd never be good enough and Bellamy would see that soon. Murphy wasn't pretty on the inside, he wasn't pretty on the outside, he wasn't anything close to what Bellamy deserved but for some reason Bellamy had stayed with him this long and there was hope mixed with the fear because maybe, maybe Bellamy wouldn't leave him. But it was a frail hope, the kind that you clung to when you had nothing else. It wasn't real, it wasn't what was going to happen.
“It's okay. I'm not going to look unless you want me to.” Bellamy assured him. He wasn't going to push Murphy any farther than he had. This was not the outcome he'd expected when he'd decided to joke around.
“I don't want you to.” Ever. He never wanted Bellamy to see, but that wasn't going to be possible, no matter how much Bellamy promised he wouldn't look. He'd have to find out eventually, might as well be now. Get it over with so Murphy could find a way to pretend he wasn't completely shattered when they got back to camp.
“That's alright. You don't have to show me, but know that whatever it is, it's not going to matter, okay?” Bellamy had a pretty good idea of what it was, he wasn't an idiot. He remembered Murphy coming back to camp, all torn up and half dead. He remembered Clarke telling him Murphy had been tortured, something Murphy probably never would have told Bellamy himself. He remembered telling him he hadn't done good enough, that he was a traitor, that Murphy should have tried harder, but he'd never seen the extent of his torture, he didn't know, and he was afraid to find out. Murphy was so secretive, for all Bellamy knew they could have ripped him apart and sew him back wrong and he'd never tell anyone until it killed him.
“Yes it will.” It was going to change everything. Bellamy wouldn't look at him the same again. He'd see how weak Murphy was, how little it took to make him break. Bellamy was right, he should have tried harder. “You're going to hate me.”
“No. Never. Murphy, I'm never going to hate you.” After everything that they'd been through he had come to the conclusion he'd never be able to hate the kid in his arms. “I'm not going to hate you. I love you, alright?”
“No. You're going to think I'm disgusting and weak and you're going to leave.” Murphy insisted, pressing his face into Bellamy's shoulder like he might be able to hide from the inevitable.
“That's not going to happen. I'm not leaving you. Nothing is going to make me leave you.” For fuck's sake, after everything they'd been through if Bellamy was going to leave him it would be for something a little more important than how Murphy looked, not that he was going to leave him. He wasn't. He couldn't. Hell, they'd hung each other, they'd been at each other's throats for so long, but after everything that had happened between them, Bellamy still wanted him more than anything and Murphy had wanted him back and, fuck, he wasn't leaving him. He couldn't lose him, he needed Murphy just as much as Murphy needed him.
“It will. Look! This is not something you stay for. This is disgusting and fucked up. I'm disgusting and fucked up. I lasted three days, Bellamy, three days before I broke and told them everything! I'm weak and fucked up and you shouldn't stick around but you do and I don't know why but you shouldn't. You shouldn't.” Murphy cried, leaning away from Bellamy, letting him see what the Grounders had done to him. It was a mess. The scars weren't neat or uniform, they were everywhere, crossing over one another and fading into larger masses of red, raised scar tissue.
“Jesus, Murphy.” Bellamy breathed out, not sure what to say. It looked like they'd ripped him open and forgot to sew him back and the wounds had healed but only just. Murphy was right, it made him sick, but not because of how it looked but because Murphy had to go through that and he'd told nobody. Nobody had asked. It was as much Bellamy's fault as the Grounders'. He'd banished him, forced him right into their hands and he hadn't even asked if he was okay, hadn't cared. And the things he'd said, “Murphy-”
“I know, okay. I fucking know.” Murphy swallowed harshly, nodding to himself and pulling away from Bellamy. “I'll go. Find my way back to camp. It's fine.”
“No, stop it.” Bellamy grabbed for him, pulling him back down. “Don't leave. I don't want you to leave. I'm sorry. This shouldn't have happened, I'm so fucking sorry Murphy. I-”
“It's not your fault.” The words came easy even if Murphy didn't believe them. It was his fault and Murphy had hated him for it at first and blamed Bellamy, but he had forgiven him, long before he deserved it. “You can leave me. You don't have to stay because you feel sorry for me.”
“That's not why. God, Murphy.” Bellamy reached out, tracing one of the longer scars with his finger tips, fighting the urge to pull Murphy close and never let him go again. He didn't deserve this, no one did, but Bellamy had been the one to put him in the position for it to happen, “I'm so sorry.”
“Don't- Don't touch them. Please.” Murphy begged, trying to shift so Bellamy couldn't. He didn't want him to touch them. They were ugly and horrible and he could remember the each scar being made and Bellamy touching them made it worse because it should hurt but it didn't and it was so gentle and kind and wrong.
“Does it hurt?” Bellamy asked, pulling his hand away, afraid he'd hurt Murphy. “I'm sorry.”
“No, it doesn't hurt. Well, sometimes they do, but that didn't. You just shouldn't touch them. ” It had felt nice, actually, but the touch was so foreign Murphy wasn't sure he liked it. He didn't want Bellamy to ever touch him again but at the same time he didn't want him to stop. But Bellamy shouldn't touch them, they were ugly and disgusting and horrible and Bellamy shouldn't touch them ever because Bellamy was none of those things and Murphy was. “They're disgusting.”
“They're scars, Murphy. There's nothing disgusting about them. Or you.” Bellamy told him, “You survived three days of torture, Murphy, that isn't disgusting. These,” Bellamy ran his fingers over the scars, “These are not disgusting. They are reminders of what you survived. You've survived so much. ” Murphy should never have gone through any of that, Bellamy should have never put him in that position to go through that. If anyone should be leaving anyone it should be Murphy leaving him.
“Yeah, well, that's kinda my thing. Sticking around when no one wants me to and coming out of it looking like a fucking scratching post.”
“You aren't- Oh, for fuck's sake, Murphy, what's it matter? So you've got scars, we all do, it doesn't make you any less than-”
“Would you fucking stop it already? Enough with the pep talks because they aren't working. I know what I look like, Bellamy, I can see them. They're ugly and gross and you don't have to pretend you don't think the same damn thing, okay? So you can stop touching me, you can stop acting like you care, you can just stop and let go of me and I'll get out of here, alright?” Murphy pulled away, sliding off Bellamy's lap, “You don't have to pretend you aren't disgusted. You don't have to touch me anymore.”
“You know what? Fine, okay, yeah, they're ugly. They're not pretty in the slightest, I'm not going to lie, but you know what? I don't care. I don't care if you don't look perfect, Murphy, you don't have to be perfect. Hell, you've never been perfect and it doesn't matter cause neither have I. Yes, you're scarred. Yes, they are ugly. But I don't care. I want to touch you, I'm always going to want to touch you. I love you. Scars and all, jackass.” Bellamy ranted, raising up onto his knees and pushing Murphy back until he was lying down, Bellamy straddling his waist. “Scars and all. And I'll fucking prove it.”
“By what? Fucking me in the middle of the woods? That's some serious reassurance there, Bellamy. Such a great idea.” Murphy sneered. He just wanted this to have never have happened or at least for Bellamy to stop fucking with him. He could pretend he wanted Murphy as much as he pleased but Murphy wasn't going to buy it. He knew it was just an act, most likely born from pity and it made him sick. He wanted nothing to do with this act.
Bellamy ignored him, instead leaning down and pressing a kiss to the farthest down of the scars, leaving Murphy staring at him in shock. He continued up, tracing the lines with his tongue and kissing the skin between them, sucking a few marks into Murphy's chest as he moved up, leaving Murphy shuddering beneath him by the time he'd made it half way up his stomach mouthing at the sensitive scars.
It shouldn't feel as good as it did and Bellamy shouldn't be doing it at all, he shouldn't be touching the scars, let alone kissing them. Bellamy should be repulsed by them, it should hurt, it shouldn't be like this and Murphy shouldn't allow it to continue but he never wanted it to stop. He wanted Bellamy to touch him, to prove he wasn't repulsed by Murphy, to prove nothing was going to change. He wanted Bellamy, wanted to touch him and to fall into him to let him prove he still loved him even with the scars no longer hidden. Murphy bit his lip, fingers tangling in Bellamy's hair, “Bell, fuck, please .”
Bellamy was sure he had proven his point already but he wasn't done, following the scars until he reached the last one, a burn scar right above Murphy's heart. He pulled back, tracing the edges of the scar, wondering exactly how barbaric the Grounders' methods had to be to do this to a kid they'd found in the woods. Murphy was so self conscious it made Bellamy's heart ache. He shouldn't be, he should be over confident and too loud and not nearly as vulnerable as he was, shivering beneath Bellamy, looking at him like he was terrified Bellamy was going to change his mind and leave him at any minute, “Still beautiful.”
“I'm not.” Murphy swallowed and shook his head, watching Bellamy's hand for a moment before returning his gaze to the man's face, “Would you just get on with it?” He wanted less sentimental bullshit and more touching.
“But you said it wasn't a good idea.” Bellamy shrugged, moving his head back down and gently biting at the base of Murphy's neck, scraping his teeth along the skin and sucking a red bruise, smirking as Murphy whined. “So, I guess I won't.”
“You're a fucking asshole.”
“Bellamy!” Murphy demand, bucking his hips up into Bellamy and pulling hard on his hair, pleased when Bellamy let out a quiet moan, “I change my mind, it's a good idea, just get on with it, you fucking tease.”
“Yeah. So fucking do something, asshole.”
“Stop calling me names and I might.” Bellamy teased, grinding against Murphy, “If you're nice.”
“Fine, fine.” Bellamy smirked as he reached for the button on Murphy's jeans, “Getting on with it.”
“You are late.”
“Nice to see you, too.” Murphy snorted, dropping his edge of the tarp, smirking at the annoyed expression he was given. “Come on, it's not like we have watches, you know.”
“You should have been here last night, Murphy. You don't need a watch to tell you when it's dark out, do you?”
“It might help.” He shrugged.
Clarke rolled her eyes in exasperation before facing Bellamy who'd been watching the exchange with barely concealed amusement. “You brought food, then?”
“No, we just decided to lug around a giant- Hey!” Murphy rubbed the back of his head, glaring at Bellamy. “Rude.”
“Quiet, Murphy.” Bellamy ordered. They didn't need to piss off Clarke, not when it was their fault they were late. “We got sidetracked so it took us a little longer. Sorry, princess.”
“Yeah. Bellamy's invisible deer didn't pan out so we had to find something else.” Finding the boar had been a stroke of luck, actually, otherwise they would have ending up coming back empty handed.
“It wasn't invisible and we would have found it if-” He cut off, not wanting to admit to Clarke why they were really late. She'd never let him forget it. “It doesn't matter. We brought something back, did our jobs. What about you? How's everything here?”
“Fine. There were a few minor accidents and some idiot nearly blew himself up because he didn't listen to Raven-”
“Was the idiot Wick?” Murphy asked with a grin.
“It was not. Anyway, we finished building the store house while you were gone so now we actually have a place to put that,” She pointed to the beast that was lying between Murphy and Bellamy.
“What about the Grounders?” Bellamy questioned, watching some of the guards shuffle about.
Clarke frowned, giving Murphy a pointed look and he sighed, “Right, got it. Still can't be trusted. Not like they had to torture it out of me last time or anything.”
Bellamy frowned at him, not appreciating the sarcasm, but understanding Murphy's bitterness. The whole not trusting him thing was something they were going to have to work on. He couldn't be blamed for breaking under the circumstances, anyone would have. “You can stay.”
“No, Bellamy-” Clarke started but Murphy cut her off.
“The princess is right, Bell. I'm gonna turn in, anyway.” Thirty minute naps in between invisible deer sightings wasn't nearly enough sleep for anyone. He shrugged and gave Bellamy a smile, “Besides, it's just a bunch of boring grown up talk, right?”
“Right.” Bellamy nodded slowly. “I'll see you around, then?”
“I'd imagine so. I'm not allowed out of Camp without an escort, remember?” It all boiled down to the lack of trust between Murphy and the rest of the Arkers. He'd already ditched out once and that had ended in a beautiful disaster, not to mention the whole 'telling the Grounders where to find everyone' thing. There was no excuse for treason around here, not even torture was a proper reason in their eyes. But Murphy got it. He understood the logic behind it. He'd fucked up three times already, the banishment, telling Camp Grounder everything, and then leaving with Jaha only to return because, quite frankly, the City of Light sucked. That was three strikes, he should have been out, but Bellamy had refused, instead giving him very limited freedom until he could regain the trust he'd lost. He was on probation, sort of, and it was fucking annoying. He wasn't allowed out the gates without someone with him, which was probably why Bellamy was always volunteering them to go on hunting trips. Being stuck inside the Camp made Murphy feel like he was suffocating, it was like being in the SkyBox waiting to be floated and getting out was always welcome, even if it meant spending three and a half days tracking something that didn't exist.
He turned away, walking back to his tent, Clarke questioning Bellamy fading away the further he got from them. He wasn't sure trusted Bellamy not to tell her, he probably shouldn't, it wasn't like he'd told him not to, not explicitly. And what big secret was it that he'd been tortured? They all knew, they just ignored it, preferring to focus on the fact that he broke rather than what must have happened to make him break. They preferred to imagine him a villain who had willingly given them all up than to admit their mistake, that he never would have been out there if they hadn't unfairly hung him. He could blame them all, and he did, every last one of them, Bellamy, too, but it didn't help. Maybe it would be a good thing for Bellamy to tell her, let her know the extent of his injuries and what had happened to him. Maybe he should sit them all down and tell them in detail exactly what had happened to him and watch as they realized that they were to blame for that. Maybe he should. He wouldn't, though. He'd end up crying or panicking and it just wasn't worth it. It was better to let them believe he was a villain than to allow them to see him as weak.
Murphy shook off the thoughts as he entered his tent, letting the flap fall closed behind him, effectively cutting him off from the rest of the world. He was tired and needed sleep and dwelling on what had happened would only make the nightmares worse. They came every night, forcing him to relive the torture, screams ripping from his throat and waking him in the dead of night, tears streaming down his face because he could still feel it, their blades slicing through him, blood soaking the ground under his feet. He could smell his flesh burning, scorching off as they demanded answers, demanded to know where his camp was, but he didn't have a camp anymore and he'd tried to tell them as much but they hadn't cared, they wanted to know about the Sky People, how to find them, how to kill them. Murphy couldn't do that. He couldn't let them all die like that, he didn't know why he couldn't, they had tried to kill him, but he couldn't, so he'd held out as long as he could, which, he supposed, hadn't been that long at all. But it was long enough to make every night a living hell, but he had given up trying not to sleep a long time ago. It was too hard to stay awake and the sleep deprivation had made everything worse, he'd ended up hallucinating the Grounders while awake and after nearly ending up in the infirmary, only barely managing to get out of it with an 'I'm just tired, I'll go sleep in my tent, fuck off,' he'd realized that the nightmares were easier than dealing with not sleeping.
He had even moved his tent as far away from the others as possible, fearing waking them up with his screams and having to face the consequences. He didn't want to be seen like that, not by the people who so openly despised him. No one questioned why he did it, he assumed they were all just glad he was farther away from them. That was fine. He didn't need to be liked, he just needed to survive.
He pulled off his clothes, kicking his boots into the corner and stretching his arms above his head, wincing as the tight scar tissue pulled, feeling like it may rip though he knew it wouldn't. It still hurt. “Fuck.”
“If you want.” Bellamy's voice and the fluttering of the tent's flap came from behind him.
Murphy jumped at the intrusion, arms instinctively crossing over his stomach. Bellamy shouldn't be in here, he was supposed to find him later, as in after Murphy had slept and was fully clothed and Murphy was beginning to think he was doing it on purpose. “Wha-”
“It's just me. Sorry, I should have knocked.” Bellamy apologized, holding his hands up in surrender, a jar clutched in one of them.
“Yeah, knocking would have been good. Just give me a second, alright?” Murphy grumbled, he just wanted to sleep, not to deal with this. He reached for his shirt only to be stopped by Bellamy wrapping his arms around him and shaking his head.
“You don't have to do that.”
“Right. You don't care.” The sarcasm was heavy in Murphy's voice. He didn't understand why Bellamy wouldn't care.
“Whatever.” Murphy brushed it off. If Bellamy wanted to see them, fine, that was his choice. Murphy was more comfortable without his shirt, anyway. He touched the jar that Bellamy still held, curious, “What's that?”
“That is for you. And these.” Bellamy's thumb brushed over one of Murphy's scars, making Murphy want to squirm away. He doubted he'd ever get used to someone else touching them.
“And it does what?”
“Clarke said it would loosen them up, maybe even make them fade a bit, but it's supposed to make them not hurt.” Bellamy explained, letting Murphy take the jar from him.
“You told Clarke.” Murphy had expected it so he wasn't angry, hurt because he had trusted Bellamy, but not angry.
“No. Kind of. I told her you had a few scars that were giving you trouble. That's all. I didn't tell her why. That was okay, right? I just thought she might be able to help, being a doctor and all.”
“That's fine. Just don't tell her anything else, okay? It's not something I want to spread around, alright?”
“Of course.” Bellamy promised. “You're supposed to put that on them once a day. It smells nice, too, which was surprising, considering everything else that Monty makes smells like poison or dead grass.”
“Uh-huh. I just rub it on them, then?” Maybe it would stop them from pulling so much. That would be nice.
“Yeah. I could help you, you know, if you want me to.” Bellamy offered. “If that's alright.”
“Sure.” Murphy gave in easily. He might as well let Bellamy do as he pleased now that he knew about them. If Murphy was being honest, he found the offer kind of sweet, in a disgustingly sentimental kind of way. “But not right now. I'm too tired. I want to sleep.”
“Understandable.” Bellamy agreed, pulling away from Murphy. “I think next time we go hunting we should bring sleeping bags or something.”
“Or just, you know, track the boar first.” Murphy suggested with a shrug.
“That deer was out there, Murphy, I saw it.” Bellamy huffed, pulling his shirt over his head. He'd seen the deer, he just hadn't been able to catch up to it, that was all.
“Well, I didn't. Why are you undressing in my tent?”
“You said sleep?”
“Not that kind of sleep, Bell. I meant the type where you actually rest? Yeah, that sleep.” Murphy explained. “Goodnight.”
“I know what you meant. Are we- I thought I could sleep with you?” Bellamy asked, confused. He already knew about Murphy's scars, so there wasn't any reason for Murphy to not sleep next to him now, right?
Murphy stared at him, trying to put words together to tell Bellamy that, no, they were not going to sleep together, without offending him or telling him why. Waking up screaming alone was one thing, waking up screaming next to Bellamy would be a nightmare in and of itself. He couldn't let Bellamy see him like that, he couldn't let anyone see him being that weak. Bellamy had already seen him cry once, that was enough for a lifetime. “Uh, no, I don't think we should.”
“Why? I've seen your scars, Murphy, it's okay.”
“It's not that.”
“Then what, Murphy? Are there more secrets or something?” Bellamy accused, tone harsher than he had intended.
“Excuse me?” Yes, he had secrets, but everyone in the entire fucking world did and they were entitled to keep them if they so pleased and who the hell was Bellamy to tell him differently? Just because he didn't want Bellamy to know he woke up bawling his eyes out like a fucking child every night didn't mean a damn thing and Bellamy could fuck off. “Am I not allowed secrets anymore? Is that part of the whole 'we can't trust Murphy' thing or is it a separate issue?”
“I didn't mean it like that, Murph. I just meant that, fuck,” Bellamy rubbed a hand over his face. He had been awake too long. “I meant that you don't have to keep secrets. You can tell me and I'm not going to think any less of you. I want to help, Murphy. I can't do that if you won't tell me what's wrong. So, is there a reason you don't want to sleep with me? You don't haveto tell me, but I can't help you if you don't.” Bellamy knew he'd fucked up in the past, he was as much at fault for Murphy being broken as the Grounders who tortured him and he wanted to fix that. To make up for past mistakes because, dammit, he loved Murphy. He'd made horrible decisions that had hurt him and he didn't expect to be forgiven for them but he did want to try to make them right, or at least a bit better. “I want to help you, Murphy.”
Murphy wanted to scream at him that he didn't need help, not from anyone, that the time to help him had been when he was half dead and barely managed to drag himself to the fucking dropship but no one had offered him help then. Murphy had fixed himself up, Murphy had cleaned his own damn wounds and he'd dealt with his nightmares by himself for this long, he didn't need help. But he wanted it. As scared as he was of being vulnerable he wanted someone to help him, it's all he'd ever wanted, truthfully. Someone to sit him down and tell him all the things he'd told himself for years but had never actually believed and here Bellamy was- Bellamy, the asshole who had tried to kill him, left him for dead, and then used him as fucking bait for the barbaric douche bags that had tortured him in the first place, Bellamy, the one person he shouldn't trust,- offering him help and he wanted to scream at him, punch him, tear him to shreds because how dare he , but Murphy couldn't. He couldn't bring himself to reject the offer outright.
“I don't sleep well, okay? I toss and turn and I'd just end up kicking you so it's not a good idea.” Murphy told him, not really lying but avoiding the truth. “It wouldn't be comfortable and you'd end up bruised by morning. It wouldn't work out.”
“I think I'll take my chances.” Bellamy said, “Do you have trouble sleeping? Is it nightmares or something?”
Murphy sighed, running a hand through his hair. He should avoid the conversation but he didn't want to. He was tired of waking up alone and scared and maybe Bellamy would help. “Yeah. I have nightmares, Bell.”
“You know, sleeping next to someone can help with that.”
“I don't think you'd want to. I wasn't lying, I toss and turn and sometimes I wake up screaming, so that would wake you up, too. Or crying. Mainly crying. I'm back there every night, Bellamy, and I can feel it. It happens over and over again and I can't stop it until I wake up and I can't breathe and I'm terrified and I cry like a fucking child because of something that isn't even real.” Murphy laughed bitterly. “Why the fuck are you even with me?”
“Because I love you.” Bellamy answered as if it was obvious. “Have you ever talked to anyone about what happened to you?”
“You really think there's anyone that would listen?” Or anyone Murphy was comfortable enough around to let himself be vulnerable in front of.
Murphy snorted, shaking his head. “Can we just do this later? I really want to sleep.”
“Sure. Anytime you want to.”
Murphy snapped, “For fuck's sake can you stop being so understanding? Can you stop acting like it's all going to be okay? Like I'm not a fucking mess that you have to clean up? Just tell the fucking truth, Bellamy, you don't want this, it's okay! I get it! Just stop acting like you want any of this!”
Bellamy stood there in shock for a moment before reaching out to Murphy, pulling him against his chest and wrapping his arms around the shaking boy, “I'm not acting. I love you, jackass, just accept it and let me help, okay?”
“You don't mean it. It's your fault anyway.” Murphy spat, refusing to allow Bellamy to comfort him. He should be angry, Bellamy shouldn't be offering his help, not when it was his fault, but Murphy couldn't hate him like he wanted to and it pissed him off.
The words cut deep but Bellamy accepted them. Murphy was right, it was his fault and there was nothing he could do but accept it and try to help as best he could. “I do mean it. I'm sorry. If I had known-”
“I would have told you if you had asked.”
“And I should have, I know. I'm sorry, Murphy. Let me fix it, okay? Let me help you now.”
“You should have done that in the beginning.” Murphy told him, all his venom lost. He just wanted this to never have happened. He wanted to go back to when he could trust Bellamy and it was whatever the hell they wanted and he'd wanted Bellamy so badly back then and then everything fell apart and it was different and broken now and the only thing that was the same was that he still wanted Bellamy, he still loved him and he couldn't stand it because he should hate him but all he wanted to do was collapse into his arms and let him make it okay but Murphy was terrified it never would be. “You didn't love me then, did you?”
“I don't think I did. I'm sorry.”
“I love you now.”
“I know you do.”
“Do you hate me?”
“I tried to.” Murphy admitted, giving in and relaxing against Bellamy. “I can't.”
“I forgive you.”
Bellamy nodded, understanding. They'd been together for four months and Murphy had yet to tell him any of this but Bellamy had suspected it. “Do you want to sleep now?”
“Yeah.” Murphy nodded. “You're going to stay, then?”
“I'm not going to let you wake up alone anymore.” Bellamy told him, letting him go and following him down onto the bed. “You don't have to wake up alone again because I'm going to be here.”
“If you want to be.” Murphy allowed. He wasn't going to say it out loud but he wanted Bellamy to stay. He wanted to make this work and fix it and get it back to where it was, or as close as they could get it. Bellamy loved him and that should be enough, but it didn't fix everything. It was somewhere to start from, though, and that was good enough for now. Maybe one day everything would be okay again and Murphy wouldn't fear sleep or fire or the Grounders, but it would be a long time before that happened. That was alright, though, because Bellamy was patient and Murphy was safe and he never slept alone after that, finding the nightmares were easier to deal with when there was someone next to you.
It would take time and patience and a lot of hunting trips, but they would be alright, eventually. Even if the scars never truly healed, they would fade with time, their pain dulled to nothing more than a reminder of terrible things, memories as old as the lines on their faces, if they survived that long out here. Earth was a dangerous place, after all, and nobody knew that better than the ones who should never have touched the ground.