Raven often fantasized about the ground from the Ark. It was everyone's favourite past time when they got into a fight with their parents or needed a way to destress. She had plenty of experience in both scenarios.
But she often forgot that earth could also become the ass crack of Frosty the Snowman.
They had been buried down in wind and the threat of snow for the past week. In this below-freezing weather, it seemed like the chill was slipping straight into her bones (which wasn't impossible with the literal drill holes in her legs). The hot compresses that Sinclair had made her were unreliable so she often woke up with what felt like a block of ice tucked between her lower back and clothing.
She needed something more dependable, like body heat, from a man she trusted not to think more of the situation than what it was.
It took her ten minutes to create something that resembled snowshoes, securing blades at the bottom to pierce into the frozen earth as she hiked across the campground to his tent. With double the blankets, she was pleased that the functioning parts of her legs were gaining back feeling when Bellamy entered his tent.
He greets her with a quiet "hey," before taking off his jacket. His confused expression reminds her of the time she waited in his tent with thoughts about Finn and Clarke together. But the confusion was laced with fondness this time, rather than being guarded.
"I almost fell on my ass four times walking here. How did you manage?"
She hears the implied you shouldn't be walking in such dangerous conditions you could make your leg worse. There's the downward turn of his eyes that's always present when he looks at her brace, which was lying beside the cot. She's tempted to kick it further just so he would stop worrying. She makes fun of him instead.
"I didn't fall once because I am smarter than you." She stares pointedly at her snowshoes until he follows her gaze, before bowing in defeat.
"Cute," he offers before shrugging off his gloves. It works, he's blushing in defeat.
"So I have a proposition for you," she starts. "I'll make you snowshoes even better than those to save your little butt from falls, if you let me sleep in your cot tonight."
The silence is a beat too long and Bellamy's face looks too knowing so Raven does what Raven does best: she talks.
"It's cold as balls outside and the compresses haven't been working and this way we'll have double the blankets plus you can freaking SEW-" She stops suddenly when Bellamy falls in front of her, his hands covering her glove covered ones and squeezing lightly until she shuts up.
"Raven, you can sleep in my cot."
The subject isn't brought up again. Instead, he finishes taking off his outerwear and Raven tries to find a piece of camp gossip that Bellamy doesn't already know.
"What are you, the camp guidance counselor or something? How could you possibly know that Miller kissed Monty last night?" she cries, surprised and slightly annoyed because what a know it all.
"Going on suicide missions to save your people makes them trusts you, surprisingly." It becomes quiet again. Not comfortable, but familiar enough that Raven doesn't feel the need to fill it.
"It's so fucking cold," she mutters eventually, trying to generate heat by rubbing her feet together when Bellamy eventually slips in beside her, trying not to let the air in.
"Oh, really? Damn, I was thinking about skinny dipping tonight with this beach weather we've had." His face is so deadpan that she struggles to remain in the cot, let alone breathe, from laughing so hard.
"Are you so eager to show off that bruised butt of yours?" she laughs, shoving at his shoulder with her own. She sees his lopsided smile and can picture his eyebrows tilting up in the dark. They settle in the silence, their bodies lined up beside each other. Raven's right arm hangs slightly off the bed, and she's sure that's there's a lot more of Bellamy hanging off the other end. So, as usual, she has a good idea.
She reaches under the covers until she finds his arm, pulling it towards her while simultaneously shifting away from him. Once he realizes what she's doing, it's relatively easy to become the little spoon.
Their bodies line up just as well as before, her back pushed up against his chest. His arm rests across her body, surprisingly light, and it traps the heat even better. Warmth spreads through her lower back better than any compress could and it just works.
She tries not to think of the fact that the last time someone had held her like this, years ago in the Ark when the oxygen levels had been lowered for Mecha, that she had considered that boy her family.
Later; when Bellamy's breathing has slowed and his arm has gotten heavier on her side, he murmurs, "don't worry about the snowshoes, Raven."
She doesn't sleep for a long time after that, and for once the weather isn't to blame.
For the next two nights, she tries to tough out the cold. The makeshift insulation keeps falling and she's burnt her hand three times playing with the lamp that keeps turning off on its own. But she slept alone in this weather a week before going to his tent; she could survive plenty of nights without Bellamy and his stupidly warm body.
In reality, she was realizing that she needed to rely on humans over her science and it was unsettling.
He must notice her limp (it's harder to straighten out after working for hours on that new area of the fence) because he grabs her hand and stops her one night as she's walking out of her workshop.
She stands in front of him but their eyes aren't meeting because Raven really doesn't want to think about what last night meant, what he means to her. There's too much damn work to do to think.
"It’s really fucking cold," he says with a low voice, surprising her. He sounds funny when he swears, like his tongue hasn't had enough practice forming the words. Must be a result of looking after your little sister for seventeen years.
"Damn, really? I wanted to go skinny dipping with Kane at midnight!" She doesn't miss his glance down her body before it contorts into pure disgust. It’s cute.
"Ew! Thanks for the mental image!"
"See you tonight?" she offers.
"Tonight." Her hand feels funny when he finally lets go and walks off, like she spent the last few hours clutching fireflies rather than a screwdriver.
She’s playing with her hands a lot tonight. Which usually wouldn't seem odd to Bellamy (she's a freaking mechanic) but coupled with her sober silence, Bellamy gets it.
He understood the second she missed a chance to make fun of him a couple of nights ago. She's confused because she didn't just feel better physically after sleeping in his cot. He had the same feeling after that first night she came to him when Finn was still alive.
So he leaves his free arm lying on top of his body when they settle into his cot that night, same positions as before, leaving a couple inches between them. He can feel her squirming around, trying to hug herself as tight as possible to conserve heat.
She drags her bad leg up to her chest and it takes him a considerable amount of effort not to help.
This won't work as well as me hugging her. So he takes her usual role to fix this and bring back snarky, sexy Raven. He tells a story.
"When I was selected to train to become a guard, I spent quite a few nights at a friend’s house studying for the exams. One night, when we had passed out, people broke out into the apartment. Before we could understand what was going on, somebody was shoving cloth over our heads." He smiled remembering the sheer panic. But Raven seemed even tenser. The story wasn't exactly lighthearted so far.
"I quickly realized it was the guards from their voices. They led us into another room and surrounded the seven of us, jeering and making stupid jokes. When the music started, I realized it was a sort of initiation ritual. Have you ever heard of Beyoncé?"
"Yeah, Octavia loved listening to her when she was younger, loved forcing me to listen too. Anyways, over the music, they explained that we had to dance. Whoever got the loudest response would be exempt from all other initiation activities over the week; they would literally be fed grapes like some king instead."
"So what did you do?"
"I danced. I watched the music videos plenty of times in my hormone-induced, teenage years. So I tried to imitate some of the moves. It must have been good, because I won. They called me King Bellamy for a week."
She's gone stiff again, but it doesn't seem like she nervous, preventing herself from spilling some deep, dark secret. Rather that she was trying to hold herself together.
"There must have been a video, because I could hear them looking for their phones. But I never got to see it. The grapes were-"
From laughing. Raven was all tense because she was trying not to burst out laughing. She fails miserably now, shooting up from the bed with a loud bark before falling off the cot. Bellamy would be worried about her back but it doesn't seem like she noticed the fall and he's too embarrassed to look at her anyway.
It was worth it though, looking at her smile.
She’s still laughing but she manages to get out, "I've seen the video!" and Bellamy freezes because how.
"Finn's dad worked in the control room. He saved the video and showed it to Finn, who showed it to me! I watched that thing on a daily basis, trying to figure out who it was!" She collapses in giggles and his cheeks may be burning.
"Who would have thought Bellamy Blake could shake his hips like that?" She snickers, beginning to stand up. He gives her a hand, pulling her up from her knees. For a personality so full, she was very light.
"Well, show me how good I was. I never got to see the video." The rational part of his mind reminds him to not push it- that Raven may shut off on him again. But he would be lying if he didn't want to see Raven dance like Beyoncé. Or try, at least. Mechanics can’t be better dancers than janitors; they don’t spend enough time alone.
She's still laughing so much that he doubts she thinks much of the request anyway.
So she dances as much as she can. The skips are harder with her leg and the cramped space doesn't help but she makes it work. She manages to pull him in with her too which is easier than he's willing to admit.
"Show me how you did that one move with the clapping," she instructs, lining herself up beside him.
When she struggles, he moves behind her, resting his hands on her slender hips to help them move to the familiar beat she's humming. She claps and laughs and the tent seems warmer.
And it's not just from the blush on Bellamy’s cheek (or the warmth in other areas)
Her back settles easily into his chest that night. He can feel the steady rise and fall aligned with her breaths rather than the constant shivering.
Raven had started calling him Queen B when his eyes looked too dragged down and they were alone. Usually, he would perk up and show off a mini dance move. It didn't work today.
When he grumbles the date in response to her questioning expression, Raven knows. It's the anniversary of Aurora's floating.
It had been her first day working in Alpha when Octavia was discovered. Raven may have never met Bellamy in the Ark but she had definitely heard him screaming that day. It was ironic how one of the best days of her life, when she felt like she was finally getting somewhere, was the worst day of his.
Ironic how their lives were always connected somehow.
So he turns her over on the bed to ease her brace off (the lock behind her knee had started jamming). He places his hands on her ankle and thigh to help her properly stretch out the muscles - it hadn't surprised Raven that he was gentler than Abby - the actual doctor.
Later, she rubs a cream that she stole from the clinic into his hands. She tries to tell herself that it was because the callus on his palms rubbed into her skin when they held hands at night, but in reality, it worried her how cold they were after a day on the ground. She waits for him to speak because Bellamy the Leader used his words to inspire. But tonight, Bellamy needed words to heal.
"When they found Octavia, I was detained while they figured out what to do with me. There was a glass wall in the room that I was in. My mother passed by in handcuffs with two guards whose faces were scratched up. I think that was her doing." He cleared his voice before continuing. "They let her stop. Through the glass, I just stared at her and this light smile on her face. I remember thinking she looked... relieved."
He breathes out the last word like he's never admitted it before, even consciously thought about it. It's like when he swears - he's constantly trying to fit into two roles, Bellamy the leader and Bellamy the son.
"I didn't understand it at first, only understood my anger. So I yelled when she was taken away, ready to scratch at the face of any member of the upper class that came by me. Angry at what they had done to my family." Raven suddenly thought of Jaha and what Bellamy had done to get down here. "I didn't understand her expression until I walked back home a couple days later. She wasn't there with her sewing machine and Octavia wasn't reading her mythology books. I understood her expression then." He doesn't have to say it for Raven to understand. He understood what it was like wanting to die.
He had been there to catch her when she had felt the exact same way.
"I hated her sometimes, for having a second child just to stuff her under the floorboards, for what she did to make sure no one found out." She hears the muttered, “but at least she kept us together,” and finally looks back at him. He's looking at the roof of the tent but he's really looking at the sky for her.
"It took me two hours to destroy what she spent seventeen years protecting, Raven."
"She couldn't have protected that without you. You put your life out on the line to come down here with Octavia - exactly what your mom would have expected you to do. But you're allowed to hate her sometimes. Parents are no angels. We can't love them all of the time either." The mention of 'we' sparks a curious light in Bellamy's eyes, so she elaborates.
"I couldn't depend on my mother to wake up the mornings after her drunken nights. Relying on her for food," or love, Raven thinks, "was a waste of time"
He’s thoughtful as he stares at her, the silence engulfing them. "I'm glad you had Finn," he finally replies. Raven is glad his eyes hold no hint of pity.
"Well, he's gone too." She’s tempted to turn back around into unconsciousness.
"Well," he paused, as if debating whether he should finish. "I'm right here, Raven."
They've come full circle.
(Later, Bellamy would admit that when she had thrown those words at him at their initial meeting, he had been intimidated.
"I'm not surprised. I could kick your ass."
"I agree. You were a blessing right from the start though."
"You were the one to tell me that I wasn't a monster. Not a complete monster, anyway."
You're a lousy shot.)
She pushes his chest until they've reversed their roles, resting her head against his back and wrapping her arm around his firm core. Raven can protect her own too, even if it's just from the howling wind.
Her lips may brush the skin behind his ear, and he may pull on her arm to hug tighter, but they're too tired to think much of it.
For two people so dependent on their emotions, neither of them are ones for words. They show them instead.
Raven makes him a sewing machine in her (very limited) spare time so he doesn't have to strain his eyes every night as he tries to remember his mom without ripping out the stitches in frustration.
(He makes her a sweater with two little birds near the shoulders.)
They oversleep one day and wake up to the noise of the camp already working. He lifts the flap of the tent for her and she walks out, meeting the eyes of every person that stares at them with curiosity.
(She notices Octavia, who looks equal parts confused and relieved.)
Bellamy takes her brace off each night, then pressing his hands deep into her lower back. She breathes out worries and Bellamy breathes her in, knowing exactly when to switch from the tips of his fingers to his palms.
(His hands travel but she stays put, not taking flight.)
She’s thinking about these moments and past couple of months. The sun now welcomed them into consciousness every morning but they woke up as a tangled mess anyway. So she turns around in their cot, stopping his story mid-sentence about Greek gods and pomegranates.
A small smile erupts on his lips. He looks relieved. There’s a knot in Raven’s stomach that remind her of the seconds of anticipation before an explosion. She moves closer to him anyway.
“It’s not so fucking cold anymore. What happened to your skinny dipping plans?” he asks. Raven mirrors his smirk, which is smug yet somehow still affectionate.
“For whatever reason, I’d rather be here.”
She feels his lips before she truly realizes it. They’re just as soft but not as frantic, rather asking a question flavoured with flames and gasoline.
She answers, opening her mouth and her legs. When he feels her knees moving, he helps move the dead one over him so she straddles his hips.
Bellamy Blake was no queen (that was Ravens title. She was true royalty). He was nowhere near that. But he was no monster either.
After everything that had happened on the ground, Raven had been solely concerned with her physical needs; solely concerned about surviving. She was pleased that she could finally listen to what her heart wanted too.