Bellamy looked on in amusement as Clarke balanced the metal counter on her nose with a tipsy smile. Unity Day was declared just as important on Earth as it had been on The Ark, and even the delinquents who wanted nothing else to do with The Ark or its traditions didn't even bat an eyelid at the opportunity to get drunk on Jasper's fresh Moonshine. To the cheers and claps of her comrades, Clarke successfully took the shot and flicked the counter from her nose into the cup with a cheer. Bellamy couldn't help but chuckle, and Clarke looked his way, cheeks flushed and pale eyes sparkling.
"Well done, Princess. You're finally convincing us that you are capable of having fun," he said, and Clarke scrunched up her face at him.
"Don't call me that," she said. "And I'm perfectly capable of having fun even when I'm not drunk." Bellamy raised an eyebrow at her, and Clarke began to giggle. Bellamy shook his head once, trying to hide his smile, when he caught sight of Octavia stealthily making her way towards the north gate, looking around suspiciously before opening it slightly and slipping through. His jovial mood seemed to have dissipated almost immediately. "What's the matter?" Clarke asked, watching his expression darken. Bellamy shook his head, eyes still trained on the gate.
"Nothin', don't worry," he said, giving her a distracted pat on her shoulder, before moving away.
"Bellamy, wait! I'll come with you!" Clarke called, jogging a little wobbly to catch up with him. Bellamy turned around to stop her, and he lost his breath. They were standing beside the main fire pit, the logs around it occupied by amorous couples, and the flames flickered across Clarke's face, setting her hair aglow and burnishing her skin. The freckle beneath her nose was even darker now, and Bellamy wanted so badly to kiss it, but restrained himself, his thoughts on Octavia.
"No, it's ok, Clarke. I'll go alone," he said, and Clarke's brow furrowed. "I thought I saw something over by the gate. It's probably nothing."
Clarke shrugged. "If it's probably nothing, I might as well keep you company," she said, taking a step forward, but Bellamy held out a hand to stop her. Clarke's brow furrowed and she looked hurt, lips pouting.
"You should stay here and carry on convincing people you're an actual person." He tried to add a little teasing to his charm, and it apparently worked, as Clarke grinned down at the floor and shrugged, before walking off in the direction of Jasper and the keg that contained the Moonshine. Bellamy let out a sigh before walking towards the gate and letting himself out, kicking at Adam's leg as he made out with a girl with his hand up her top as he walked past.
Octavia walked sullenly in front of Bellamy as they re-entered the camp, eyes down and arms folded. Bellamy's alcohol buzz had dimmed almost completely when he caught Octavia in the arms of their escaped Grounder, locked together in a way he wished he and Clarke were. The Grounder ("His name's Lincoln, Bell!" Octavia protested as he persisted to call him a 'Grounder') hadn't even put up a fight when he dragged Octavia away. The couple probably had multiple ways of getting to each other without worrying if they were caught once or twice.
"What the hell were you thinking, Octavia? He's a Grounder!" Bellamy hissed, spinning his sibling round by the arm once they were inside the gates. "He could've killed you!"
"Lincoln would never hurt me," Octavia bit back, and Bellamy barked a laugh.
"Maybe so, but what about the other Grounders? What if they found you and 'Lincoln' couldn't protect you, hm? Did you think of that? I came down here to protect you, Octavia, and you're not making it very easy for me," Bellamy said. With a half-growl, half-scream, Octavia stormed off in the direction of the fire pit, throwing herself down onto the vacant seat beside Jasper, with her back to her older brother. Bellamy sighed and looked around the open area, searching for Clarke. She was no where to be seen, so he guessed she was in the dropship. The short walk there revealed her to him, standing in between the legs of the Spacewalker, Finn. She was wrapping a clean bandage around one of his hands while he sat on top of the medical table, a dopey smile on his face as he studied Clarke as she worked. Raven, the latest arrival, stood off to the side in a defensive pose, the jealousy radiating off her in waves as she watched her boyfriend with another girl.
"What's going on?" he asked, pushing the curtain closed behind him. Raven looked over at him, face impassive.
"Finn over here thought he was immune to fire. Let's just say we're not letting him cook with metal at the fire pit again," she said, and Finn chuckled, but broke it off with a wince and Clarke tied off the bandage and it pulled on the tender and burned skin.
"All done," she said, moving back so Finn could get down from the table. Raven was immediately by his side, inspecting the bandages. "Come back tomorrow so I can have a look at the burns and decide what to do next," she added, and Raven shot her look. They both left, skirting around Bellamy and going back to the ruckus outside. Bellamy watched them go before turning back to Clarke, who was leaning back against the table, hand to her forehead.
"Are you ok? Clarke?" he asked, moving towards the table. Clarke looked up at him, and Bellamy noticed she looked a little pale, and her eyes were hooded. "You don't look so good," he remarked carefully, and Clarke smirked.
"You know all the right things to say to a girl, Bell," she said, and she winced, digging her fingertips into her temple. "I'm just tired, and I've got a bit of a headache, that's all." Bellamy moved closer, saying,
"You might've drunken a little too much tonight. C'mon, let's get you to your tent." He wound his arm around her waist, taking some of her weight and helping her down the ramp to her tent. Clarke's was closest to the dropship, incase of an emergency, and Bellamy's was a few away. A large tree hung over Clarke's tent, its long, drippy branches scratching at the roof as they swayed in the breeze, whereas Bellamy's was surrounded by bushes at the back. The rest of the campers were stationed further away, surrounding the fire pit and the work stations. Bellamy helped Clarke lay down on her cot once they were inside, supporting her head with one of his large hands until the rest of her body was completely flat. "That ok?" he asked, and Clarke gave him a little smile. They were far enough away from the clearing that the noise of the celebrating delinquents was quiet.
"Thanks, Bellamy. 'm just gonna sleep now," Clarke mumbled, attempting to roll onto her side, but wincing when she got stuck, her temples pricking like it was another victim of Murphy's knife. Bellamy helped roll her back over, pushing the long hair away from her face and onto the pillow.
"I'll be in my tent, ok?" he said, and Clarke made a contented sigh, eyes already closed. Bellamy smiled slightly, before risking it and placing a soft kiss on Clarke's forehead before he left.
Clarke whimpered as Anya advanced on her, her purposeful walk promising so many unpleasant things. The hunter's black eyes glinted cruelly. Her hand twisted in her hair and yanked her head up, Clarke crying out at the stinging and rising up slightly on her knees. "You will choose, healer. You either choose, or they both die."
"I can't! I can't!" Clarke cried, eyes flitting between the standing figures of Bellamy and Finn. Both were sweaty with exertion of standing up for hours, their arms pulled above their heads and secured to the rock above them with coarse rope. Clarke had the same stuff binding her own wrists together in front of her. Where Finn had his t-shirt still on, tattered and dirty as it was, Bellamy was topless beside him, the hard planes of his stomach and pectorals shining wetly in the dim light of the blazing torches around them.
"If you will not now, then let me persuade you," Anya said, letting go of Clarke. The teenager sank to the floor and watched the Grounder flick her wrist, a wicked-looking blade slipping from her sleeve. In three strides, she crossed to Bellamy and flicked the blade across his left pec. The cut went deep, and Clarke screamed out at the same time as Bellamy.
Jasper stirred awake at the strange noises coming from the his friend's tent next to him. They were just whimpers and small cries, but they were quickly getting louder. Careful not to wake Monty in the cot next to him, he made his way out of the tent and took a few steps to the neighbouring tent. When he heard a particularly pathetic cry of, "I can't! I can't!" in a very familiar voice, he ran for Bellamy's tent.
"Bellamy!" he cried, pushing aside the eldest boy's tent flap and silently wishing he didn't have a girl in there with him. Bellamy was up like a rocket, knife clutched in his hand from where he'd snatched it from under his pillow. His curly hair was sticking up on one side, and he was shirtless.
"What, Jasper?" he asked, voice heavy and yawn-full as he rubbed the side of his face.
"It's Clarke." That woke Bellamy like a bucket of ice chips to the face, and he shot off the bed, reaching for his boots.
"What's the matter with her?" he asked as he tied up his laces in messy knots that'd be hell to undo later. Jasper shrugged.
"I don't know. I heard her crying out and came straight to you," he said, and he moved out of the way as Bellamy stormed through the tent flap and out into the warm night air. The sound of quiet voices coming from the fire pit and the tents was broken by a definitely louder-than-before cry of,
Bellamy sprinted off in the direction of Clarke's tent.
Clarke watched the crimson trial trickle down the line between Bellamy's pectorals, the colour a stark contrast to his skin tone. He was gritting his teeth against the hot sting of the blade, chest heaving. Anya raised her blade again, pouting the tip of the blade just under his collarbone. "No, no, please don't!" Clarke said, bringing up her bound hands to brush away the wet tracks that were forming on her cheeks. A bold eyebrow was raised at her, and the knife left Bellamy's skin. Clarke let out a sigh before she realised the knife was now cutting into the base of Finn's neck. The spacewalker's eyes were wide with fear.
"Is he your choice, then? The one who hurt you?" Anya asked, the blade pressing a little harder into the stubbled skin.
"No!" Clarke cried. She suddenly felt too hot in her clothes, the fabric itching at her shoulders and underarms, like a fire had been lit under her.
"Choose, healer!" Anya yelled, flicking the blade. A sob escaped Finn's throat, Adam's apple bobbing above the cut.
"Finn? Finn?" Clarke whimpered, and the boy made eye contact with her, nodding his head slightly as he tried to ignore the feel of his own blood trickling under the collar of his shirt.
Finn jolted awake in Raven's arms at the sound of his name being called out. Raven mumbled something in her sleep and snuggled closer into his chest, tanned arm curling around his waist. He thought he was dreaming, so he closed his heavy eyes again and scratched lazily at his stomach with his bandaged hand. Then he heard it again.
Raven mumbled something sleepily as Finn slipped out from underneath her, tugging on his t-shirt and boots, before exiting the tent quietly. Once outside, he could already see one or two curious heads peeking out from their tent flaps. "What's going on?" one of them asked, and Finn shrugged his shoulders. Almost immediately, Jasper exited Clarke's tent, a water flask in his hand.
"Jasper, what's going on?" Finn asked as he walked quickly past. Jasper barely even paused his gait as he said,
"It's Clarke. Something's wrong."
Finn took off in the opposite direction as Jasper, towards where one of Clarke's tent flaps was pinned back. Ducking in, he found Bellamy and Octavia beside the sleeping girl, Octavia holding a damp cloth to Clarke's forehead, and Bellamy sitting on the ground beside the bed, his large hand dwarfing Clarke's far-too-pale one as he held it. "What's happened?" he asked. Bellamy looked up at him, eyes hard.
"We don't know," Octavia said. "She suddenly just started crying out for Bellamy." Finn's brow furrowed.
"I heard her cry out my name," he said, and Bellamy huffed.
"She was calling out for the both of us," he said harshly, and Clarke whimpered on the bed, head tossing from side to side, making Octavia's job harder.
"No, no, no..." she mumbled, and Bellamy was immediately focused on Clarke, stroking the back of her hand and her wrist softly. Finn swallowed heavily at the action, and he turned away to look at Jasper as re-entered the tent, the flask in his hand now sloshing with clean water.
"Here," he said, crouching down next to Octavia and offering her the flask. The girl dampened the cloth in her hand with it before replacing it on the side of Clarke's neck, cooling her down while simultaneously cleaning her of dirt from the day. Clarke suddenly let out a painful whimper and squeezed Bellamy's hand. The boy showed no signs of discomfort, but his hand began to turn paler as blood circulation was cut off.
"It's ok, Princess, it's ok. I"m here. We're all here," he soothed, his voice the softest anyone had ever heard. Jasper cast a careful look between Bellamy and Finn, before looking at Octavia. She met his gaze, one eyebrow raised as she continued to cool her friend.
"You will not leave here without choosing, healer," Anya said, wiping the boys' mixed blood off her blade on her coat sleeve. Clarke was shaking. She'd suddenly gone from flaming hot to ice cold, unable to control her body shocks. "And you cannot escape. We are too far into my territory for you to get out alive."
"You cannot make me choose," Clarke ground out, looking down at the floor. She couldn't look at the boys bound to the wall in front of her. The Grounder behind her with his heavy booted foot on her ankle pressed down, and her ankle screamed at the same time she did.
"Stop that! You're hurting her, you bitch!" Bellamy yelled, and Anya barked out an order at the Grounder. The pressure on Clarke's bruised ankle ceased, and she let out a relieved sob. "Clarke, are you- shit!" Bellamy cut off his question with a shout as Anya's blade dug into his side, drawing a long line of red. Bellamy sagged under the weight of the pain, his arms straining above his head as his knees sagged. Clarke cried out his name.
"Oh, but I can," Anya said, mouth twisting sadistically.
"Bellamy!" Clarke cried out, and Bellamy immediately sprung up from his folded position on the floor. Bellamy and Octavia had been at Clarke's side for over an hour, and Jasper was folded up in the corner of the tent, halfway between dreaming and reality, worn out for Clarke's cries. Finn was sat on the end of the cot, his uninjured hand cupping Clarke's calf, a warm presence. Clarke hadn't let go of Bellamy's hand, although her grip was slightly lighter. Everyone was feeling the tiredness setting in, but no one wanted to leave.
"Answer me this- did this boy," Anya began, resting her blade along Finn's cheek, "hurt you?" Clarke whimpered. Anya did not wait for a real answer. Finn cried out as a line of fire burned alongside his jaw. "Did he hurt you?" Anya yelled, and Clarke couldn't help but answer, if it would spare him the pain.
"Yes, he hurt me!" Clarke said, and everyone in the tent looked at each other, unsure of what Clarke was saying. Finn kept his eyes down.
"Then why do you insist on not allowing him pain?" Anya asked. "Would you rather me hurt the other one?"
"Don't hurt anyone!" Clarke said. Her voice was dry and her eyes felt gritty with tears.
"But I must, or you will not choose," Anya said. Clarke looked up at Bellamy, his dark eyes hooded and his curly hair matted and sticky to his forehead. His chest was heaving heavily.
"Please don't hurt Bellamy," Clarke whimpered, and Bellamy looked up, brow furrowed. Was Clarke dreaming that he was being hurt? And how did Finn come into that?
"I'm not hurt, Princess," he said softly. "I'm right here and alright." He brushed back the hair front Clarke's face as it stuck to her cheeks as she moved, and Octavia ceased her nursing.
"Octavia, come help me find some passionflower in the dropship to help calm her down," Jasper said, and the look he gave the pretty teenager left no room for argument. As they left, the tent flap let in early morning light as the sight of a group of delinquents crowded outside the mouth of the tent, drawn in by the sounds their co-leader was making."Clear off!" Finn and Bellamy heard Octavia say, and the sound of footsteps and quiet talking accompanied the scattering teenagers.
"What do you think she's dreaming about?" Finn asked, breaking the tense silence between him and the older man.
"I don't know, but it's nothing good," Bellamy murmured, hand still stroking along Clarke's cheek. Her skin felt hot and smooth underneath his weathered finger, and he suddenly found himself thinking that he could easily get used to the sensation of her skin under his fingers.
"She thinks you're being hurt," Finn stated, and Bellamy nodded. Clarke let out a few whimpers and moans, shoulders shaking slightly, before letting out a sigh and settling back down again, her brow still furrowed. "Why do you think she's calling out for the both of us?"
"If I knew, I would've said and worked on getting her out of it," Bellamy gritted, and Finn shut up, noticing that he was irking him.
"If I am not allowed to hurt Bellamy, then am I allowed to hurt Finn?" Anya asked, eyes narrow, and Clarke shook her head.
"You're not allowed to hurt anyone!" she said.
"Then I will make it even," the hunter said, before turning around and, as quick as a flash, slicing her knife across Bellamy's abdomen to Finn's, giving them both matching gashes. Finn's t-shirt was shredded and immediately soaked with blood. They both screamed, and Clarke cried out.
"Where the hell is Octavia with the passionflower?" Finn asked no one, nerves on edge at the sound of Clarke crying out. Jasper and Octavia bowled into the tent just then, a pouch of dried orange flowers in her hand.
"Bellamy, give me the water flask. I need to take this to the fire pit and brew a tea," Octavia ordered, and Bellamy stretched over the bed to grab the flask. Octavia left promptly, leaving Jasper to sit where she'd been stationed and take up the damp cloth.
"Why do you insist on protecting a boy who broke your heart? Who lied to you? You seem like you would rather save a murderer," Anya said. "Granted he is far more useful."
"Not the reason he should be saved," Clarke said, unable to take her eyes off of the blood coating Bellamy and Finn's bodies. The earlier wounds were still leaking slightly, and the edges were crusting with dried blood, but the fresher ones were still bright red. Anya took a long stride over to Clarke and crouched down like an animal, her own painted and defined face inches from Clarke's.
"Tell me, healer- what else is he besides useful?" Clarke shook her head adamantly, and Anya dug her hand back into Clarke's tangled hair, yanking her head up. "Tell me!"
"I can't... I can't!" Clarke whimpered, tossing her head from side to side, and Jasper added a little more pressure with the cloth, trying to still her. But when Clarke cried out wordlessly again, he removed the pressure.
"If you want me to talk, you're gonna have to make me," Clarke said, meeting Anya's eyes with her own. Anya looked at the Grounder behind her prisoner and gave a single nod. Suddenly, the pressure on her ankle increased, and Clarke screamed. As Clarke's body bent backwards slightly, Anya took that as her cue to get Clarke with her knife. Fire slashed across Clarke's abdomen, and Bellamy and Finn screamed soundlessly.
Everyone within hearing distance of Clarke's tent felt their blood freeze as Clarke screamed. Finn, Bellamy and Jasper jumped back as Clarke's body bowed sharply, her hands coming up to clutch at her stomach, their eyes wide with fright. Octavia crashed into the tent, carefully holding the small cup of passionflower tea, her free hand covering one of her ears. Clarke's back was still curved, but its posture was softer, and Bellamy caught sight of the silent tears escaping the squeezed-shut corners of her eyes. Her body was wracked with tiny sobs, hands still scrabbling at her stomach.
"Because I love him," Clarke whispered, and Bellamy felt his heart lurch within his lacerated chest.
"Because I love him," Clarke whispered, brow softening and body settling down back onto the cot, taking her first easy breaths in the hours they'd all been tense. Her hand went slack in Bellamy's, and Finn looked at the stowaway, taking in his soft brow and wide eyes. He removed his hand from Clarke's leg and left the tent, unsure how to process the information or how to act. Bellamy didn't even seem to notice Finn leaving, his eyes locked on Clarke.
"Clarke? Hey, Clarke?" he called softly, stroking along Clarke's cheek and squeezing her hand. She stirred slightly, and Jasper used the dry end of the cloth to wipe away all the excess water that'd pooled in the girl's collarbone and at her temples. He handed it to Bellamy before giving him an awkward smile and leaving the tent, giving the couple privacy. "C'mon, Princess, open your eyes for me," he cajoled, and Clarke's eyelids flickered before opening slightly and taking in the sight of Bellamy smiling beside her.
"Don't call me that," she said weakly, before closing her eyes and sighing through her nose. Reality crashed into Clarke and her eyes flew open instantaneously, shooting off the bed into an upright position. Bellamy tried to hold her steady, feeling Clarke's hands roam his torso, her fingers trailing lines above his pectorals and as far down his side as she could reach from her position. Her eyes were wide with shock, hands flitting back to the same places over and over again.
"What's the matter?" Bellamy asked, trying to still her flittering hands. Clarke's lips moved, but there were no sounds coming out.
"Y-you-you're n-not ble-leeding!" she exclaimed, and Bellamy's brow furrowed.
"Should I be?" he asked, and Clarke shook her head vehemently.
"Definitely not," she said, before twining her fingers deep into Bellamy's curls and pressing her face forward, capturing his lips. It was a kiss filled with longing and relief, and Bellamy welcomed the faint pain of Clarke's fingers in his scalp. It reminded him that this was real, and he rose up from his position on the floor and wrapped his arms around her waist, angling her better so their kiss could deepen. He nipped slightly at her bottom lip, and Clarke whimpered in the back of her throat, and Bellamy couldn't help but smile. The fingers still stroking at her cheek brushed away the fresh tears and the heat underneath her skin.
"I love you, too, Princess," he said, and Clarke's bubbled laughter forced them apart for a few breaths before they were kissing again.