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“Dada, dada, stop!!!” Gus squirmed in his arms as Bellamy tickled him. 

The kid had climbed up on his chair while Bellamy was trying to eat his own meager rations, impatiently waiting for his dad to be done so they could play. 

Gus had finished his dinner just mere minutes ago and was supposedly going to draw while Bellamy ate his but as usually, he had sneaked behind his back, climbed on the chair and then on his back,placed his tiny hands on his dad’s eyes and said:

 “Eat now dada!” which made Bellamy chuckle before he found him and started tickling him.

It was their game of sorts. 

Gus liked climbing up on his like a monkey on a branch. 

For him his dad was a big strong man, “like a twee” as he liked saying and Gus was swinging off his arms and back or even neck like a tiny koala bear. 

Bellamy knew his son craved affection, especially in the evening after a long day of them not seeing each other, so he tried his best to make up for it, to show him love and affection, to play with him even if he was tired and could barely move, to give him all he could.

Now he was tickling him as Gus ended up on his lap and Bellamy used his good hand to tease his tummy and arm pits. 

It has been two weeks since Clarke came by their place to check on him after he tore his stitches. 

He had seen her four times since then-twice every week when he went to medbay for physical therapy. 

He was supposed to go there four times a week but again, of course because of the Ark rules, he was only allowed two free visits. 

If he wanted more he had to pay for it with rations which he didn’t have. 

Clarke had offered to swing by in the evenings and lend him a hand, help him without pay, off hours, but he had refused. 

Despite her good heart, he couldn’t ask that of her. 

He had noticed the dark circles under her eyes, the way she also sometimes swung on her feet when she stood too fast and he had overheard her talk to her colleague Jackson while waiting in the hallway in medbay, who scolded her for overworking herself and not eating enough.

Apparently she was very bad at taking care of herself even though as a doctor, she knew how dangerous dehydration and skipped meals could be.

Bellamy saw a different side of her in those past weeks and they had grown even closer. 

Of course, there was still that unspoken line they never crossed-it was visible as much as they tried to blur it with kind words and friendly talks but still…Clarke was kind, gentle. 

She strove so hard to help him no matter what and she pushed him to get better as much as she scolded him to take it easy. 

Under her guiding, his arm had gotten better and fast but she was angry that he couldn’t afford more PT hours. She wanted better for him, needed to help him even if his progress was quite good. 

He did indeed feel better, he had gotten rid of his sling and he could raise his arm above his head without feeling as much as a tug on his shoulder. 

Secretly, he tested himself, slowly and patiently started lifting heavy stuff to see how much he could carry on with that arm. 

Gus was his easiest subject for the task. 

He’d swing him from one arm to the other, test his flexibility and he did well but…sometimes at night after he had exerted himself too much during the day he hurt, and the pain, though not as strong as it had been before, kept him awake at night.

He had to turn in bed, try to find a good position to sleep in so it doesn’t bother him too much, but it was there.

Clarke had noticed something was off, so she pushed him to admit if it hurt and when he did, she told him it was normal, that it’d take some time before it felt okay, said it may even stay with him for years since it wasn’t just a one time injury but it would fade to a dull pain that he could manage.

Still, she insisted he took the rest of the month to recover completely and every time he went there she gave him a complete check up, still worried over his blood pressure that variate from being very low to getting too high especially in the morning and the evening which bothered her and made her prescribe him blood pressure medication that he had not yet bought because of the lack of ration points.

The Ark, apparently, had different plans for him than Clarke Griffin.

“Dada, dada!!!” Gus squirmed again in his arms “Stop!!!”

“I can’t stop! I’m the tickle monster and you had woken me up!” he said ignoring the yellow piece of paper that he got delivered earlier this morning and that was now sprayed out on the metal table next to Gus’ empty bowl and his school notebooks. 

“No,no!!! Pwease stop!”

“Mmmm, no can do! I’m a hungry monster. I have not eaten in a thousand years and I need to be fed on children’s laughter!” Bellamy said voice lower and a little hoarse, sounding just like a real monster, making Gus squirm even more in his arms. 

He felt a tug at the back of his shoulder and tightened his grip on the kid so he doesn’t drop him. 

“Nooo, no!!!!” Gus flails his hand as he laughs in that child’s innocent adorable way that filled the air with pure joy “How do I stop you monstew?”

“You kiss me and rub my nose, little child!”

“I’m not wittle!” Gus pretends to be offended but moves up and kisses his dad on the cheek before rubbing his nose against his. 

Bellamy stops his teasing movements and pulls him to his chest.

“Hmmm, I feel better now. Satisfied.” he says “I won’t tease you anymore, little boy.”

“I’m not wittle!” Gus protests again sitting up in Bellamy’s lap and raising his little arms, bending them and showing his dad his supposed “muscles” “See!”

Bellamy pokes them with his finger and pretends to be focusing on the seriousness of the situation.

“You’re right, you’re strong!” Gus smiles and then his eyes fall on Bellamy’s big biceps.

“Not as you, dada.” he tries to squeeze his dad’s big arm in his tiny fingers “You’re stronger.”

“One day you will be too.” Bellamy promises and leans down to kiss his forehead “For that you need to eat your algae, though and not just your beans and potatoes.” Gus makes a disgusted face at his dad and Bellamy almost laughs.

Gus sighs and leans his face on his dad’s chest, reaching to fumble with the buttons of his plaid shirt that had too many holes in it. 

“Also-remember what we talked about-” Bellamy reminds him as he picks up his spoon and eats some of the mashed potatoes and carrots Aurora left for them tonight “Strength is not just in the arms, it’s also-”

“In the heawt!” Gus exclaims and Bellamy nods proudly. He notices Gus is eyeing his spoon and raises an eyebrow. “Gus, are you still hungry?”

“Noooooope” he always prolong the answer when he lied and refused to look him in the eyes “Not hungwy, dada”

“Hm…are you sure?” he had had just a little bowl of the same thing and since he didn’t ask for more and drank his milk and tea, Bellamy assumed he had enough, especially since he got playful and energetic as well.

But now he was starting to doubt it. His son may be little but he was smart-he overheard them talking about rations, he knew they didn’t have much and he wanted to spare his dad worries.

It made Bellamy hate the system even more. 

His son wasn’t even four and he was already worrying about having enough food. 

Gus just nods but Bellamy notices how his eyes fall to the bowl and the way he swallows hard like he’s just itching for more. Potatoes were his favorite, always had been, so Bellamy picked up his spoon and filled it up.

“Tell you what, I’m not hungry anymore, do you want to finish this for me while I fix our bed, huh?”

“But dada, you-”

“Gus, son-” Bellamy pushes him to his chest and tilts his head up so he’s looking him in the eyes “We’ve talked about lying right? How it’s not a good thing.”

“No, dada, not good.” Gus agrees with a serious nod, brows furrowed in concentration, trying to grasp his dad’s point.

“Exactly. So are you lying to me now? Are you hungry?” Gus bows his head down and fiddles with his hands.

“A little.” he finally lets out as if ashamed that he’s being honest. 

Bellamy grits his teeth, closes his eyes briefly and tries to gather all his strength and tame his anger-this wasn’t right, God this wasn’t right. 

His son should eat healthy, his son should not go to bed with stomach half empty.

“I’m full.” he says after a moment “Come on-finish this and I’ll give you a few biscuits too, how does that sound?” 

“Are you sure, dada?” he asks as Bellamy lifts him up from his lap and sits him on his chair, pushing him closer to the table and handing him his own tiny spoon.

“Absolutely, come on now.” Gus doesn’t seem too convinced and that breaks Bellamy’s heart even more but he picks his spoon and starts eagerly destroying the rest of Bellamy’s ration. 

He blabs while he eats, tells Bellamy some about his day while his dad uses the time to fix his bed. 

He’d normally let Gus sleep in his own little cot but the past weeks had been extremely cold. 

Temperatures usually dropped this time around and Factory always had the worst heating which meant almost non-existent at all. 

They turned it on in the living quarters for about two hours in the morning and supposedly four in the evening but after that they lowered it to a point where you had to press your hand to the radiator to feel anything at all and even then, it was barely there.

Bellamy still remembers how when Gus was a baby after Gina died, he wrapped him in a bunch of blankets and pushed his tiny body there between the radiator and his own chest-that’s how the kid slept, that was his cradle.

Now it happened sometimes too, he was forced to take off the mattresses and put them on the ground, push Gus’ one to the only radiator they had and sleep on the floor on the other side himself just to make sure the kid doesn’t freeze to death.

It hadn’t been as extreme so far but Bellamy knew at some point they’ll have to reside to this too. 

He always worried a lot when this happened because last year it was one of the reasons Gus got so sick in the first place and so now Bellamy woke up every hour or so like clockwork, checking on Gus’ body temperature-feeling his tiny feet and arms, sneaking his hand under his PJs on the back, to make sure he’s warm enough.

“Dada, what does this say?” Gus asked pointing at the yellow piece of paper on the table while munching on the biscuits Bellamy had given him just now before taking their bowls to the sink and rinsing them with cold water.

“It says dad has to go back to work on Monday.” he says patiently and wipes his hand clean before coming back to the table and helping Gus off “Come on now, teeth, face, PJs and bed.” Gus runs to the bathroom and Bellamy follows swiftly, deciding to get ready with him tonight since they were going to bed together.

Gus pushes the tiny chair he used to climb up so he could reach the sink and carefully steps on it before rolling his sleeves and turning on the sink. 

Bellamy helps him adjust the water, even though it’s almost entirely cold and then Gus cleans his face.

“But I thought you won’t go to work for a month, dada. Has it been a month?”

“No,son, it’s been two weeks.”

“So how come you have to go?” he stops and lets Bellamy help him squeeze some soap on his hands and clean them and his face up. 

“Clean your mouth well, Gus” he instructs before answering “It’s just how the law is, son. I am needed, so I have to go.”

“But your arm-”

“Is fine. Doctor Griffin fixed me up, remember?” he promises as he gives him the brush and squeezes some toothpaste for him, handing it over and watching as he brushed.

Meanwhile Bellamy picks his own and gets on it himself. They were sweet like this both of them looking each other in the old smoky mirror, Gus rubbing his teeth with care and Bellamy tiredly leaning on the sink over him. 

“Come on spit and rinse.” Bellamy instructs and Gus follows right up.

When they’re done, Bellamy grabs the brush from the cupboard on the left and starts combing Gus’ curls, trying to tame them if just a bit which was a hopeless affair, one he was aware of from experience, yet still…Gus liked that ritual so he stood still and watched as his dad carefully did it.

“Dada, I don’t want you to go back to work.” Bellamy stops combing his hair and tilts his head at Gus who looks shy and embarrassed again.

“Why so?”

“I…I don’t want you to get hurt again.” it spills out of him so fast and yet so innocent it blows Bellamy off, feels like a punch to the stomach.

 He actually has to grip the side of the sink and brace himself for the talk.

He takes in a deep breath before he kneels down and makes Gus turn around and face him. 

This way with the kid still up on his chair, they were at the same eye level which is what Bellamy wanted in the first place.

“Gus, dad will be fine.” he starts and even though he commands his voice to come as strong and steady, it still shakes a little. “I need to go back to work so I can buy us things, get us food, save for a present for your birthday.”

“I don’t want a present if you’re not healthy, dada.” Gus protests and Bellamy’s heart shatters at that.

“I’ll be fine.” 

“Can you promise?” Bellamy winces at that, bows his head down and looks away for a moment.

What was he supposed to do here? 

Be honest with his son-tell him that he can’t promise him anything, that injuries happened all the time, that every day he goes to work, he’s not sure he’ll come back at all? 

That he’ll be there to pick him up from day care? That he has scenarios in his head much similar to the one that happened to him with Gina where Gus’ kindergarten teacher comes and tells him his dad’s been in an accident and is dead.

Bellamy wakes up drowning in cold sweat almost every night because of those.

Or was he supposed to lie to him? 

Tell him that yes, he can promise that nothing bad will happen and let him live in a fantasy world, praying to whatever god was out there that he’ll be fine and he won’t die before his son is at least old enough to take care of himself?

But how was he supposed to be an example for his son if he lied? How was he to teach him to be honest if he didn’t tell him the truth himself?

“No.” he finally lets out and looks up at Gus’ sad eyes that are filling with tears “I can’t promise you that I won’t get hurt ever again.” Gus sniffles and a few of the tears roll down his cheeks “But-” he reaches up and squeezes his tiny arms in his big ones “I can promise you that I’ll be careful.”

Gus doesn’t say anything to that at first, just keeps sniffling and raising his tiny fists to wipe away his tears.

“I don’t want to lose you, dada. I don’t want you to go in the stars with mama.”

“I won’t. I won’t go!” Bellamy assures as he pulls him to his chest and hugs him tightly. 

He feels his tears spill all over his shirt and it feels like Gus’ sadness was a river flowing directly to his heart, filling it with his little son’s sadness and fears. Fears Bellamy had himself. 

“Listen now-” he pulled Gus away and cupped his tiny face. “Last time it only got worse because I didn’t listen to you and grandma when you told me to go see doctor Clarke. Now I promise that if I feel bad, if something hurts, we’ll go right away. You and I. And if I don’t, you have the right to be angry with me, okay?”

Gus nods and looks at him for a long while, tears still streaming down his cheeks, his tiny sobs and hiccups still present, but Bellamy wipes them away from his face and moves up to kiss his forehead.

“It’ll be alright, Gus.” He doesn’t say anything just jumps in his arms and wraps his tiny hands around his neck.

“Don’t let go, dada.” he whispers “Please don’t let go.”

“I won’t, son. I never will!” he rubs his hand up and down his small cold back “Dad will hold you for as long as you want me to.”

“Gus wants forever.” he whispers still hiccuping just barely. Bellamy never even suspected the news of him going back to work would be so hard for Gus to grasp. 

“Then forever it is.” Bellamy promises holding him tight and peppering his cheeks with kisses until he breaks the tiniest smiles out of Gus. “What do you say tomorrow we go to the black market together, huh? We have to pick you a shirt and new jeans for the Unity Days celebration anyway.”

“But I thot we got no points for new clothes.” Gus’ voice goes sluggish and he leans into his dad’s chest looking up at him with big bright still glassy eyes. 

“I have some saved just for this.”

“But you didn’t know Miss Karen will pick me.” that was true. 

Every year twenty four kids from the stations day cares were chosen to represent their part of the Ark in the Unity Days celebration. 

A boy and a girl from each station had to carry a flag and recite the story of the Ark coming together a hundred years ago. 

Bellamy was never a fan of the Unity days celebration-it meant more work for him-more electricity problems and more things to patch up, extra shifts to fill so that the machines worked 24 hours instead of just 8 and the Alpha, Mekka and Hydra-the superior stations, can have the time of their lives while he and his coworkers worked themselves to the ground. 

This year Gus was chosen alongside a girl called Darcy to be the representatives of Factory as they were the best in their class. 

Bellamy was proud of his son and he liked boasting around with him but it was for a good reason-Gus was smart. 

Actually pretty smart for his age. 

In part that was thanks to Bellamy who’d read to him since he was a baby. When Gus was two he was talking like he was four and he still had some peers who wouldn’t be able to utter more than five words and string them in a semblance of a sentence. 

Bellamy would sit him down every evening put him on his lap and teach him stuff in the form of games. They’d draw and he’d ask him the colors, make him remember them, or he’ll draw him letters and ask him to pronounce them, then he’d let him down and play with him around the room and question him stuff like:

 “What color’s the blanket? And Gus’ eyes? What’s grandma’s letter? The first letter of her name? Good boy.” 

Gus loved learning, so it wasn’t as if Bellamy was pushing him. He asked questions all the time, questions Bellamy himself had a hard time answering like: 

“How does the Ark stay in the sky? How old is Earth, dada? Can we ever go back? What about the sun, dada, how old is the sun?” 

He was quick to memorize things and was very close to reading on his own. 

He’d ask his dad to read him from the Iliad every night and he’d repeat some passages by heart before Bellamy had even turned the page. 

It was no wonder Miss Karen picked him.

“I had a feeling, so I started saving.” Bellamy runs his fingers through his curls and kisses his nose once more. “Come on now, PJs. Do you want to put them on your own or should I help?”

“On my own!” Gus exclaims as he starts taking his jeans off and pulling on his blue sweatpants. 

“Keep the t-shirt on, it’s cold tonight.” Bellamy instructs while he changes from his black canvas pants into the thin paper-like grey pants Gina got him years ago after their wedding. 

“Off you go now. Put the chair back where it belongs.” Gus hops off and drags the tiny metal chair under the sink waiting patiently for his dad to get done. 

He sits on the floor, wrapping his arms around his leg while Bellamy applies some Miracle rub over his sore shoulder and tries not to wince too much.

“Need help, dada?”

“I think I got it, big boy.” Bellamy promises before throwing his shirt back on and leaning down to pick Gus up. 

The kid wraps around him like a monkey on a branch and he gets softer and more sluggish with every passing second. Bellamy carefully pulls the blankets aside and lays them down. 

Gus climbs up on his stomach and sprays over his dad like a blanket himself which makes Bellamy chuckle. The kid is barely keeping his eyes opened at this point.

“How many blankets, Gus?”

“One.”

“You sure?”

“Mhm, you warm, dada” he says wrapping his tiny arms tighter around Bellamy’s chest but Bellamy doesn’t really believe him so he picks up his tiny hand and finds it freezing cold, so he puts it between his and blows some air to warm them up. 

Gus wiggles in his arms, protests that it tickles but Bellamy keeps rubbing his tiny fingers and checks out his feet and back which are also freezing so he throws an extra blanket over them and tucks it tight around Gus.

“Your mama used to say I’m a furnace.”

“What’s that?” Gus asks sleepily tucking his head under his dad’s chin. “A fuwnace?”

“It’s like a big warm heater. We have one here in Factory. It spreads the warmth through the radiators in our compartments.”

“So like the sun but fake.” Bellamy smiles at his son’s comment.

“Not fake but rather man-made.” Gus hmms at that and yawns a little as Bellamy keeps rubbing his hand up and down his back.

“I think we need a bigger fuwnace in Factory.” Gus mumbles “It’s always cold here.” Bellamy wraps his arms tighter around him and prays it won’t get worse throughout the night.

 “Are you cold, dada?”

“You keep me warm, son.” he promises wrapping the blanket tighter around them and taking Gus’ hand in his again. 

His kid squirms a little in his arms again and though he yawns once more, Bellamy knows he’s not yet going to fall. 

“Dada, remember how I wanted to be a space walker when I grow up, so I can see the stars and be close to mama?”

“Mhm.” Bellamy was starting to feel the sleep on his own eyes that felt heavy.

“I think I changed my mind.”

“How come?”

“I want to be a medic like Clarke and help people from Factory that get hurt.” Bellamy’s voice got stuck in his throat, tears pickled in his eyes. 

For a moment, his hand stopped rubbing Gus’ back-he needed a minute to compose himself.

“That’s…that’s really nice, Gus.” he finally whispers back leaning down to kiss the top of his head “You know dad will support you no matter what, right?” Gus looks up at him with big brown eyes filled with hope and innocence before he nods and snuggles back under his chin.

“I love you, dada.”

“Love you too, son.” Bellamy tightens his grip and soon enough Gus’ eyes close, his mouth opens up and he starts drooling over his dad’s shirt. 

His body goes slack and the hold on Bellamy’s sides eases up.

He doesn’t wake up through the night.

Not even when he rolls over to Bellamy’s side and wraps his hands around his arm in his sleep. 

Not even when Bellamy wakes up to check if he’s warm enough and upon finding his hands and back cold again, he pulls up one of his own sweaters and wraps him in it like a baby in a really big blanket. 

Gus loved when Bellamy let him wear his clothes so in the morning when he finally opened up his eyes and found himself tucked under his dad’s good arm, pressed to his side, he wiggles his feet and feels the enormity of the cloth wrapped around him, the three blankets and the extra pair of socks his dad put on him.

But when he reaches with his tiny hand and touches his dad’s cheek to wake him up, he finds it cold and his face falls.

His dad was no longer a furnace.

 

***

 

Clarke was trying to find her way through the crowd while holding up the bag full of cupcakes in one hand. 

The black market was full this Saturday, more full than it usually was, even though Factory’s one was famous and drew crowds from all the other stations as it had the best merchandise to sell and the most traders. 

Some of the things Clarke had seen being sold here would make some of Alpha’s residents growl with envy which is why she and Wells liked sneaking in here, ever since they were children. 

Back then they’d dress up so they don’t draw attention-the chancellor’s son was a target on any good day and she was a councilwoman’s daughter so she wasn’t someone to ignore either but now when people from all stations flooded Factory’s big mess hall every Saturday, she didn’t have to hide who she was. 

It was normal now-everyone knew this was the best place to find something rare you’re looking for or buy something you need on a cheaper price. 

Clarke herself enjoyed it most for the Farm station boots which were always bountiful in various food and most of all-sweet treats that they would only show and sell here-you couldn’t buy them every day, not even in Alpha, no matter how many rations you had, but now-now she could get anything her heart desired and Wells never said no to her when she dragged him here, knowing that denying Clarke her sweets was equal to suicide.

But now he had to leave early, having being called into an urgent Guard meeting so she was trying to find a quieter corner, maybe a bench when she heard familiar voices.

“Gus, hold still, big boy, we need to try this on.”

“But dada, the pencils!”

“Do you want to look good for the Unity Days celebration?” Clarke was already making her way towards the voice when after pushing a few people away and mumbling a couple of quiet apologies, she found herself near a clothing booth with Bellamy kneeling before Gus holding up a nice blue plaid shirt and a pair of pretty decent black jeans. 

“But-” Gus was about to protest when his head turned up and his eyes locked on her, making his frown turn into a sweet smile. “Clarke!” he screamed, letting go of his dad’s hand and rushing to her only to end up crashing in her legs. 

“Hey, sweet cheeks!” she greeted him running her hands through his curls. “What are you doing here?”

“Dada’s buying me clothes for Unity days! I’ll be holding the flag with Darcy and recite!”

“Oh wow, that’s amazing!” she looks up at Bellamy who’s now approaching them wearing the same shy but sweet smile “Your dad must be so proud.”

“He is, but he’s also exasperated because this little ball of energy won’t stop for two seconds so we could try this shirt on” Bellamy announces and suddenly he becomes very aware once again of the way he’s dressed. 

He never understood why he got so self-conscious around her, why he was so embarrassed of his old full of holes shirt or his torn up shoes and washed out trousers. 

If Clarke noticed how he looked she never commented on it and in all honesty, he didn’t think she did. 

She was always so genuine in her reactions, always so warm-she never spared a second glance at his clothes. 

He wondered if she’d still look at him the same way if she saw him after work-his hands covered in oil and cuts-blood mixing with dirt, his jumpsuit full of fresh tears and black spots, his face dark from the saw of the machines, his hair wet from the heat and sweat.

“Sowwy, dada!” Gus apologizes but grabs Clarke’s hand and pulls her back to the booth where the owner is giving them a curious but also somewhat angry look.

“Are you buying this or not?” the man who Bellamy actually knew as Kevin and who went to school with him back when they were kids, asks.

“I think it’ll fit him. How much is it?” Bellamy sighs when he realizes he won’t be able to make Gus hold still to try it on. 

He was already too enthusiastic, begging to be picked up by Clarke, who of course indulged him and who suddenly fell into deep and serious conversation with him about the stars.

“Thirty points.”

“What? Are you crazy? It’s second hand, I’m not giving thirty points for that.” Bellamy raised his voice and put it back on the table where the rest of the clothes were so carefully folded together. 

This was two weeks of rations for them,he couldn’t spent it on just a shirt.

“Fine, fifteen for the shirt and ten for the jeans.” Kevin decides and Bellamy shakes his head at that-he didn’t have those kind of resources. 

Not with missing work for almost three weeks. 

“Hey, maybe I can help some-” he hadn’t noticed when Clarke approached them again, Gus up in her arms, leaning over her chest and sucking on his thumb like he did when he was happy. 

She was already pulling out her card, ready to pay Kevin when Bellamy raised his hand.

“No” his voice came way too rude even to his own ears. Clarke’s face twisted in pain at it and he immediately regretted it “I’m sorry…I know you want to but this is something I need to take care of myself.” Clarke nods and he notices the way Gus’ face falls a little as if he knows Bellamy can’t afford the clothes.

He liked them, Bellamy knew he did, he noticed the way he eyed the shirt. He was tired of wearing clothes with holes and pants that didn’t fit him anymore. 

Gus craved what every child did-to be normal.

So Bellamy swallowed hard and turned back to Kevin. He knew the guy, he was a weasle, who always tried to get away with things. 

He didn’t work at any of the the factories even though he was from the station and how he got that business at all was a mystery for Bellamy but he knew he had to be careful with him-those were the people who could tell off the guard if you spoke against the chancellor and have you deprived of rations for three months.

Kevin loved the thrill of a driving a good bargain, so that’s what he was going to give him.

“Ten for the shirt and seven for the jeans.” he started and Kevin’s face stretched in a smile.

“You work in the machine department right?” Kevin said crossing his arms over his chest with a winning look in his eyes “You wield things?” Bellamy nods furrowing his eyebrows, not really seeing where he was going with that.

“I’ll give them both for twenty five if you come today after I’m done here and fix my radiator. There’s also a patch on the ceiling that needs to be covered up.”

Bellamy’s about to open his mouth and agree when Clarke comes by his side and reaches for the hand he was about to stretch out in a handshake to Kevin to seal the deal.

Her touch is electrifying on his skin and he commands himself not to jump.

“He’s not working now.” her voice is cold and steady and when Bellamy turns to look at her he finds her glaring at him angrily while holding up Gus in her arms who was still letting himself be pampered by her hand running through his curls. 

“Yes, I am.” Bellamy cuts her off and her eyes widen at that. 

It’s true he had made great progress in the past two weeks but she had noticed even today the way he kept his arm bend and close to his chest and how when he had reached to grab Gus’ shoulder and keep him still, he had winced.

He hadn’t recovered yet.

“Bellamy-”

“Clarke, I got this.” he stands before her whispering, noticing the way that Kevin was eyeing her. 

No matter how open and welcoming to the other station this black market was, he wasn’t entirely sure how safe Clarke was out here in the open.

Let alone arguing with a man from Factory who had been glaring at her with hatred from the moment she came by Bellamy’s side.

This wasn’t looking good for either one of them. 

In the eyes of Factory people he was probably looking like a traitor, talking to the enemy princess of Alpha and even if that wasn’t the case…then there were always the Arrowheads which he definitely didn’t want to target Clarke who had been nothing but helpful and friendly to him and Gus.

He shivers when he thinks about them. 

He’s had a few encounters with the group when they’ve tried recruiting young kids like him who had just started working in Factory, fresh out of school, with no promises and hopes for the future but to work themselves to the ground until they die. 

He had seen a certain appeal back then, in fact he even went to one of their meetings but then Aurora had found out and she had been so furious, she had grabbed him by the collar and dragged him home, giving him a speech he still remembers.

He was still a kid then, barely eighteen. The Arrowheads were one of the oldest groups in all of the stations that was fighting against the terror of the Ark and the chancellor.

It started out as just thirteen men from Factory many years ago who led a strike and demanded better conditions. 

The chancellor back then caught them, floated everyone but their leader who he lynched publicly with electric shock lashes and then threw in jail until he killed himself just weeks later. 

Their descendants continued the believes of their parents, though and soon enough people from some of the other, so called “lower” stations like Arrow and Farm joined too.

The Ark and the chancellor never officially admitted that the group still exists. According to the official statements, it was destroyed all those many years ago by the first chancellor and any public talk of the Arrowheads would equal punishment. 

But they very much so existed and even though they took a big blow back then when the big fire that took Gina’s life happened, they have been rising from the ashes in the past six months, stirring the waters and causing trouble for Alpha and all the councilors.

Their most recent act against the Ark’s rule was kidnapping one of the councilmen’s sons-a fifteen year old boy called Jonah, beating him up and tying him to a column in one of the coldest parts in Factory station as a way to show the chancellor that they were freezing to death and he was letting it happen.

Naturally, the chancellor’s and guards version were that this was a prank. The boy had gotten drunk on moonshine and tied by his friends who then realized curfew was too close so they left him there in order to get home on time.

Factory, of course, knew better. Some people rejoiced when they saw the kid tied to the column in the early hours of the day when they were heading to work. Some even spat at him and cursed. The kid was weeping by the time the guards came to cut the ropes and Bellamy almost felt bad for him.

Until he remembered he slept in his own room every night, in nice sheets and comfortable pillow, with the heat turn on to a boiling point after having eaten a three course dinner. 

And then his pity disappeared and was instead replaced by anger.

Anger, that however he was good at taming. He hated the way they lived but there was nothing he could do about it, let alone join a gang of idiots who thought they could change the world-this was dangerous and stupid. 

The chancellor would never fall, things in Factory can never change and getting angry was only making things worse for him.

And Gus.

He’d never risk his life and leave Gus alone to chase a dream that will never happen. 

He had to raise his son and raise him well, help him get the education that he wanted and send him off to a better station where he’d have a good life. 

“Dada’s not lying, he’s going back to work next week!” Gus exclaims as he pulls away from Clarke and steadies his tiny body by putting his hands on her shoulders. 

“What?” he can see the anger in her eyes and he knows this will lead to another one of their arguments but this time it’d have to wait.

He needed to get her off of Kevin’s eyes.

“Why don’t you and Gus go take a walk and I’ll join you in a minute?” Bellamy suggests reaching out to squeeze Clarke’s elbow in a quiet request. 

Thankfully, she gets what he means, sighs and gives him a small nod. 

“Come on, Clarke, I want to see the drawing booth!” Gus jumps off of her arms and starts tugging her somewhere down the long row of tiny shops and tables that served as counters.

Clarke lets herself be dragged by the kid but her eyes remain on Bellamy for a moment, even when he turns his back to her and starts talking to the merchant once again, arguing graciously about the price. 

Something told her that deep down this wasn’t just about clothes for Gus but she couldn’t figure out why Bellamy seemed so adamant to get rid of her.

And work? He couldn’t go back to work! Not yet! Not if she had a say in it.

“Come on, Clarke, come on!” Gus kept blabbing as he tugged her down the narrow path between the booths. He was enthusiastically blabbing until they came to a halt and she almost bumped into him. When her eyes fell on the women behind the booth, her lips stretched in a smile.

“Cassandra.” the older woman smiled softly at her.

“Clarke”

“You know each other!” Gus exclaims when he sees them exchange a small friendly hug over the table where Cassandra sold various sorts of drawing materials-brushes, pencils, markers, paints, even notebooks and sheets. 

She had everything from the newest and untouched sets of pencils to small used rubbers or pastels that she sold for just a few ration points. 

Clarke had known her since she was a kid when her and Wells sneaked out here. She had befriended the woman over the years of buying things from her and now every time she came to Factory’s black market, she made sure to look for her.

But she had no idea Gus knew who she was either.

“And I see you know my favorite client.” Cassandra says, reaching out to ruffle Gus’ curls. 

He perches up on the table and his eyes fall on the small used pencils that were barely just a few inches long.

“I thought I was your favorite client!” Clarke protests in a joking manner and the older woman laughs wholeheartedly. 

Cassandra was from Arrow station that though the smallest, prouded themselves with being of artistic kind. 

They produced paper, paints both for drawing and cloth coloring. They were musicians, actors, writers in other words-they made life on the Ark a hell of a lot more bearable even if no one else admitted it out loud.

“Fine, you both are.” the older woman said genuinely.

“How do you know each other?” Gus asks tilting his head at Clarke while picking up one of the yellow pencil “leftovers” as Factory liked calling them and holding it like the world depended on it. 

“Well Clarke had been coming to me since she was a little older than you.” Cassandra says “She always bought things from me and asked me for advice on how to get better at drawing.”

“She’s the best! She drew me some stuff and I put them on my wall.”

“You did?” Clarke asks surprised, not knowing that piece of information when Gus nods eagerly. 

“Dada helped me.”

“And how do you know Clarke?” Cassandra asks leaning over so she can be closer to Gus’ eye level.

“She’s our doctor! She fixes me and dada when we’re sick. One day I’ll grow up and be a medic like her.” Clarke raises her eyebrow again, feeling her heart beat out of her chest with love for this boy. 

She kneels down and leans over, kissing his cheek and rubbing her thumb under his eye.

“You’re a good boy, Gus.” he blushes a little and jumps in her arms again, letting her raise them both up and snuggling in her embrace like he always fit there. “Now what should we get?”

“I twink dada can get me only one pencil this time.” Gus says rubbing the back of his head and wiggling out of Clarke’s embrace once more. He takes another peak at the small pencils and curiously shoves them aside. “Do you have orange?”

“Hmm, I think I have one here but it’s more than five points.” she shows him a middle size pencil and Gus shakes his head.

“No.” Clarke’s heart breaks at the way he just accepts he can’t have this because he knows his dad can’t afford it “Yellow then?”

“I think I have some here in the back, wait a moment.” Cassandra turns their back to them and starts looking for pencils in one of her metal boxes. 

Meanwhile Gus perks up again and stares at everything he sees on the table. His eyes widen as if he’s seen a table filled with every meal on the Ark and he swallows hard.

Clarke’s heart breaks.

“How do you like these?” she asks him when she notices his eyes fall on the water color paints in the corner-a set with twelve colors and two brushes. 

Gus shrugs a little and lets his tiny hands leave the table as he averts his head to the ground. Clarke’s smarter, though, so she picks them up and takes a look at them before handing them over to him.

He never picks them up.

As if he knows that if he does, it’d only make it more painful because he can never have them.

“I’ve never tried water color.” he finally mumbles and when he looks up his eyes go wide at the sight of them in their perfect white little box. 

“Gus, we’re friends, right?” Clarke asks a moment later kneeling down to his level and picking up his chin. Gus nods and smiles a little. “And friends help each other, right?”

“I guess…”

“Good.” Clarke cups his cheek briefly before moving back up “Cassandra-” she calls after her “We’ll take these.” she waves the water color set “That notebook over there too, please.”

“Clarke, no! What are you doing? That’s too much!” Gus exclaims as he wraps his hands around her legs. “Dada will be mad.”

“Let me handle your dad.” Clarke strokes his head as she takes out her rations card and hands it to Cassandra, asking her to add a small set of ten pencils, a fresh rubber and a sharpener (Gus chooses it to be green after Clarke prods him ten times to pick the one he likes most). 

The older woman wraps them in a paper back and hands it to Gus who seems perplexed.

“I can’t take it, Clarke.” he mumbles.

“Yes you can and you will.” Gus shakes his head at that “You deserve it. You have been working very hard and you’re going to represent your station at Unity days. That’s worth a present from your friend who’s proud of you.” Gus’ eyes light up at that.

“Youw pwoud of me?”

“Of course, I am, Gus.” she finds a lose curl on his forehead and tucks it aside so he can see her better. 

Bellamy had said he needs to cut his hair but Gus refused to-he liked it long and messy. That, and he was afraid of the scissors. 

“Now take it.” 

Gus has just wrapped his arms around the package and held it to his chest like a precious stuffed toy when Bellamy reappears red-faced and seemingly very annoyed but with a package of his own tucked under his arm pit which meant he succeeded in convincing Kevin to sell him the clothes at a reasonable price.

“What happened?” Clarke asks as she stands back up and fixes her shirt, suddenly self-conscious of being around Bellamy. 

“He drove a hard bargain but I agreed to fix his radiator tonight if-” Bellamy’s eyes fall on Gus and the package and considering where they’re standing, he quickly connects the dots “What’s that?”

“Clarke gave me a pwesent for making it to the Unity Days celebration!” Gus exclaims happy and picks the bag up, showing it to his dad. 

Bellamy swallows hard, his vision goes dark for a moment and he sways a little on his feet, for once the reason, though, wasn’t because he hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning. 

“She said she’s proud of me!” Gus adds and Bellamy commands himself to breathe but his heart beats so loud in his ears he feels like passing out. He opens up his mouth to say something but instead he sways again and feels Clarke’s steady hand on his elbow, keeping him upright.

“Bellamy-” she whispers and his head snaps to her.

If there was a way for her to get herself floated in that moment, she would’ve because the look in Bellamy’s eyes was not just anger and resentment.

It was also disappointment. 

“Dada, you okay?” Gus tugs at his pants, demanding his attention, suddenly worried about him “Do you hurt again?”

“No…no, I don’t hurt.” he croaks out, voice coming high pitched and broken. 

His eyes are still on Clarke and she feels like she’s losing all ground underneath her too. 

“You’re not mad, right?” Gus asks again “I pwomise I will use them for a long time and keep them clean and not waste the paper!”

“That’s okay, Gus.” Bellamy steadies his voice and as he swallows hard he finally looks down on him and fakes a smile “How about we go to the swings for a bit, what do you say?” 

Gus keeps his eyes on him for a moment but when he figures his dad’s not angry, he nods eagerly, happily even and takes off to the swings which were just out of the mess hall, around the corner.

“Bellamy, please, let me-” Clarke tries but he raises his hand and simply gestures for her to follow them. 

Gus runs before them but not too far so that Bellamy can keep an eye on him and when they make it to the playground that had nothing but three swings and one slide, Bellamy leads her to a bench in the corner, instructs Gus to be careful, makes him leave the package with them and sits down.

Clarke settles down next to him but he places the packages between them as if desperate to create a gap because he couldn’t bear her presence. 

He was clenching his jaw, staring right ahead and his bad hand was gripping the bench’s handle so hard his knuckles turned white. 

“Look-” she sighs trying to gather her thoughts. She had no intentions of losing Bellamy’s friendship over a bunch of paints. 

“I know you’re angry but I really wanted to do something nice for him. He’s my friend and I meant what I told him-being chosen for the Unity days celebration is huge and I felt like-”

“You felt like giving him a taste of a world he can never have.” Bellamy’s voice was quiet, hoarse and made her shiver. He threw her a quick glance before he swallowed hard and kept going. 

“You’re wrong, I’m not mad. I’m simply disappointed.”

“Bellamy it’s just some paints and pencils, it’s not such a big deal.”

“Maybe to you it isn’t.” he cuts her off “But I have to work an extra hour to get those five ration points so I can come here on a Saturday and buy him something that’s not even resembling a pencil anymore.” she thinks back to the leftovers Gus was looking at, telling Cassandra his dad can maybe only get him one this time.

“Bellamy, I didn’t mean to undermine your efforts.”

“But you did! He had to watch me struggle all morning to find clothes I can afford and then he had to be embarrassed to stand by my side as I was trying to convince Kevin to sell me a shirt with holes in it and washed out jeans so he could look at least somewhat presentable for the biggest event of the year!” 

Clarke swallows hard and feels tears fill up her eyes.

“And then I leave him with you because I trust you and you go out there and with the swipe of a hand you can buy him anything he desires.”

“Bellamy-” her voice breaks a little and he clenches his jaw once more. 

“Do you know how hard it is to deny your child the things he wants?” his voice breaks now, she sees the tears in his own eyes and how hard he’s trying not to let them spill, not to show her weakness. 

His eyes find Gus who’s swinging on one of the swings after waiting ten minutes for it to be free.

 “How every day I struggle with simple things like food? And then coming here and seeing him look at pencils and books, clothes and toys he can never have!”

Clarke whimpers and buries her face in her hands for a moment. The pain in his voice was too much for her.

“And how he learns with time that we can’t afford them so he stops asking altogether, do you know what that’s like, Clarke?” he demands now “Answer me, do you?”

“No.”she shakes her head. 

She’s always had everything she needed, her father never once denied her a single thing she craved be it food, or toys or fancy birthday dresses that made her look like a real princess. 

She even had a little plastic crown that she went to bed with every night until she was six. 

Bellamy was right to call her princess. He was right to call her privileged.

She was.

“Then what made you think you can come in our lives and hand him things without thinking of the consequences?” his voice is judging, harsh. She’s never seen Bellamy that angry before. 

“What happens when he comes by tomorrow and asks me for a new notebook but I have to choose between giving him what he wants and having enough rations to feed him, what then? Where would you be then?”

HERE, she wanted to scream. I’ll be here.

But she couldn’t promise that. She lived in Alpha, she was a medic and while she had grown closer to Bellamy and Gus, she wasn’t living in Factory, she didn’t know their every day struggles, she had no grasp of their lives at all. 

She got to simply see some stuff and get mad on their behalf but at the end of the day she went back home to her four bedroom compartment and her warm dinner waiting for her on the table, brought by her mom’s maid.

He was right and he had every reason to be mad at her now. 

He had struggled to get his son simple clothes and she went out there and with the swipe of her card got Gus things he only dreamed of simply because she thought she’s doing him a favor, making him happy but wasn’t there pity at the bottom of it? Maybe there was…maybe not, she wasn’t sure what she was thinking.

But she knew one thing, she shouldn’t have done this. At least not before letting it pass through Bellamy first. 

“You’re right.” she finally speaks up, demanding her voice to keep steady “What I did was awful. You are his father, I should’ve at least asked for your permission first before I did this. It was stupid and reckless and I did not think of the consequences for Gus.”

Bellamy seems surprised by her words because he looks at her and though his lips are parted, he doesn’t speak up.

“It was however not ill-intended and I do mean what I told him-I am proud of him and I thought he deserves to be rewarded for his hard work.” she reaches out over the packages and covers Bellamy’s hand with hers, willing him to listen. 

“Please, Bellamy…I don’t want to fight with you.” his face softens and he tilts his head at her for a moment before his eyes fall to her lips and then he clenches his jaw and commands himself to look away.

“Clarke-” he shakes his head a little as if contemplating what to do.

“I know I may be not worthy of it but I really like having you and Gus as my friends.” she shrugs a little as she stares down at their hands “I don’t have that many of those.” he sighs and runs his bad hand through his curls that shake and twirl in the same way Gus’ did. 

“I’m sorry.

A beat and then his fingers wrap around hers in a tight squeeze.

She feels her heart fill with hope.

“You’re forgiven.” he finally says and finally truly meets her eyes. 

They still look like an angry ocean right before a storm but there’s also something else there-something warm, kind, that can be felt in the way his fingers wrap around hers-it was both feather-like as if he was afraid if he holds onto her just a little big tighter he may ruin her but also steady like a promise that won’t be broken.

“I’m still paying you for everything you gave him.” she wants to fight him on it but she forces herself not to and simply nods which seems to be the right call because it makes his body finally loose it’s stiff composure and relax a little into the bench.

“What was it you said about work?” it’s her turn to ask questions and he sighs shaking his head just barely. 

She notices once again how tired he looks, how he slumps a little too much in his seat, how he winces when he tries to find a place to lean on that doesn’t bother his shoulder. 

Still, his hand doesn’t let go of hers and she finds the warmth that spreads through her making her heart grow sizes.

“I got my notice. I need to report on Monday.” he says quietly.

“I’ll talk to the board, ask for a delay.” he smiles at that-in the short span that he’s got to know Clarke, he realized she never come down without a fight.

“No” he shakes his head slowly “You’ve already done more than enough.”

“You haven’t recovered yet.”

“I made good progress. You said so yourself.”

“It’s one thing to be able to lift your arm above your head, a whole different to move heavy pieces of metal and work a ten hour shift.”

“I’ll be okay. I’ve been through worse.” he counters as he watches Gus speed up on the swing and calls out on him to slow down before he keeps on.”Truth is, I would’ve asked to go back myself even if they hadn’t send me the notice.”

She looks at him but he’s keeping his eyes on the kids, refusing to show weakness.

“You don’t have any points left.”

He shrugs. Now she understands why he was so angry before. He used his last rations to get his son clothes and she walked over him and bought him a set of paints and pencils.

“Spent my last ones today.” he lets go of her hand and moves up resting his elbows on his knees.

 “I’m tired.”

He doesn’t know why he tells her that. Maybe because he couldn’t share it with his mom and he sure as hell couldn’t look at his son and tell him he feels like passing out every time he takes another extra shift. 

It was all a constant battle…a battle he seemed he just couldn’t win, no matter how hard he tried, how much he pushed and persisted.

He had no friends, no one that would truly understand him and his pain but Clarke…somehow he felt that he could tell her that. That she’d…just get it.

Which was ironic considering she was an Alpha princess who knew nothing about life on Factory.

And still…

He feels her hand on his back now, rubbing up and down in a soothing manner and he’s glad, thankful, relieved even and he can’t explain why but he doesn’t feel alone for the first time since he lost Gina.

Finally she utters and she sounds angry again.

“That’s why you should’ve stayed home for the rest of the month.”

“I don’t mean just now, Clarke.” 

“I know…but it would’ve helped a little.” he shrugs and shakes his head off as if trying to get rid of all the thoughts plaguing his mind. 

“I’m fine.” he’s suddenly aware that he showed her weakness, that he complained. 

He never did that with anyone, not even when he was married to Gina, certainly not when he was a child. 

Aurora Blake was a strong woman who raised a strong child-there was no place for whining for being weak or lazy. 

And she was right to push him, to make him strong like this otherwise he would’ve never survived Factory, he would’ve never grown up, married Gina and become the father that he was today.

You kept going no matter what. Giving up did not exist as a concept for the Blakes. 

“I’ll be fine.” he adds but it comes out even weaker.

“It’s okay if you’re not.” she squeezes his shoulder and he looks at her and sees nothing but warmth in her eyes. 

She smiles just barely and he responds with the same.

He’s about to ask her how she is when Gus jumps from the swings and come running in throwing himself in his dad’s arms.

“Gus! What have I told you about jumping from the swings!” Bellamy scolds mildly when his son pulls away “You can get seriously hurt.”

Gus titls his head gives him his big puppy eyes and squeezes the hem of his shirt like he did when he was nervous.

“Sowwy, dada.”

“It’s okay but let’s repeat once again what’s the right way to come off the swings?”

“You let it slow down, use your legs to kill some of the speed and carefully slide off.”

“Good man. You’ll do it like this next time right?”

“Mwhwm” he climbs on the bench between them and the packages and looks up at Clarke beaming once more as if her presence enough made his day a hundred times better. 

He looks like he wants to ask her something but is too shy or embarrassed so he climbs in his dad’s lap and whispers something in his ear.

“Go ahead then, ask her.” Gus seems still a little embarrassed because he’s tugging at his shirt even more so Bellamy has to put his hand over his small one and remove it before he’s torn away the already paper thin material. 

“What is it, sweet cheeks?” Clarke prompts and he bows his head down and blushes. Bellamy rubs his back up and down in a soothing and supportive manner.

“Come on, son. You won’t know until you ask.”

“Would you come to my Unity Days celebration recital?” he mumbles and finally dares a peak under the big curls falling over his forehead.

Clarke’s heart flutters but she pretends to be thinking about it, taps her cheek and looks at the ceiling.

“Hmmm…let me think about it.” Gus perks up in his dad’s lap waiting in anticipation “Of course I will, Gus.” he claps his hands and throws himself in her arms for a brief hug.

“Yey!! Twank you, Clarke!” he jumps off the bench suddenly done with the serious conversation “Dada, I’ll go slide now!”

“Okay. Careful,though, right?”

“Wrait!” Gus yells already running to the old rusty slides climbing in the opposite direction, making Bellamy sigh and rub his forehead tiredly.

“That boy is so fearless in his plays, he scares the hell out of me.” Clarke smiles when he looks at Gus who’s now sliding down and yelping in joy hands in the air, curls getting messed up. 

“Are you sure you don’t mind me coming to Unity Days?” it’s her turn to be shy and even a little scared but Bellamy smiles and simply nods, shaking his curls in motion.

“My son seems to have grown very fond of you, Clarke.” he says not meeting her eyes but his voice getting deeper and more emotional “I know that…I can’t be enough for him. I’ll never be enough for him-” he takes in a deep breath and Clarke wants to interrupt him but he’s faster “no matter what I do and he’ll always miss his mom but I want him to have strong women in his life. Women like my mother and..and you.” his cheeks blush and he bows his head away like a shy boy. 

Clarke too feels herself going red before she clears the air and adds quietly.

“Thank you for letting me be in his life.”

Bellamy smiles and for a while they just sit there and watch Gus play without interruption, without the need to speak-the silence, it wasn’t uncomfortable, on the contrary-it was comforting, it brought both of them peace.

When Gus grew tired of playing around, he came back to them, jumped on the bench and started talking to Clarke, explaining what he’ll draw with the paints and how he’ll give her a present when he makes the “best painting ever”. 

She promises to put it in her office so she could be reminded of him whenever she sees it.

Gus is beaming, he’s so happy and when they finally decide to leave, he’s sluggish and slow on his feet so at some point he wraps his tiny legs around his dad and stretches out his little arms.

“Dada! Pick!” he can’t even form a coherent sentence and when Bellamy lifts him up in his arms, despite Clarke’s protests that he shouldn’t exert his shoulder, the kid leans on his chest and his eyes start drooping.

Bellamy insists on sending Clarke off to the station border, giving her the excuse that he doesn’t want her to get lost in the endless Factory hallways but the truth is, he’s afraid of her because of the Arrowheads and he wanted to make sure she got to Hydra safely.

On the way there, just when they’re about to make the final few turns, there’s a boy, no older than maybe seventeen or eighteen, dressed in a jumpsuit much like his own that eyes Clarke angrily and pretends to trip over so he can end up pushing her by the shoulder and maybe pick pocket her.

Bellamy sees through him, though he’s carrying Gus in one arm, he stands before Clarke and pushes her out of the way last minute.

“Sorry, I guess I lost my footing.” he mumbles and the boy hits him in the shoulder instead, the bad one,  making him squirm from the pain. 

He stops, tries to gather his strength and keep his son steady in his good arm. 

“Watch your step, kid!” he scolds the boy who just glares at him and Bellamy sees something flash before his eyes-did the kid have a knife? Or just a well-sharpened piece of glass?

He was probably going to spook her into not coming to Factory ever again. Or tie her to a column like that poor councilor’s boy. 

Maybe he just wanted to steal her rations card and buy everything his heart desired, Bellamy didn’t know. 

He hoped he never would.

“You okay?” Clarke asks when he grits his teeth and a strong wave of pain overwhelms him for a moment. “Let me take Gus!”

“No, I’m okay, it’s nothing!” he promises with a weak smile and urges her to keep going “Let’s get you home.”

“Bellamy-”

“I’m fine, I promise.” he lies and he must be convincing because it makes her keep walking again. 

He doesn’t relax until he sees her on the other side of the border, in Hydra and when he does, he takes a deep breath of relief.

He takes Gus back to their freezing compartment, puts him in the cot and piles a bunch of blankets on him while the kid dozes off mumbling things about using red to draw a sunset and painting the sky golden. 

He smiles and brushes a lost curl from his forehead.

His mom comes by dinner to check on them and he leaves her with Gus so he can go do the job for Kevin even though his shoulder still hurts from the collision with the kid. 

There was a dull throbbing pain that made his hand tremble a little too much but he commanded his hand to wrap tightly around his tool box as he maneuvered through the Factory living quarters maze.

And when he finally did find the place and Kevin opened the door widely, welcoming him in he ended up in the company of twelve more men and women.

They were gathered in a circle, arms crossed over their chests.

When one of the women standing opposite of him stepped forward and dropped her hand to her side he saw a tiny arrow tattooed on the inside of her wrist he knew what this was.

“Bellamy Blake-” she said “We hear you know someone we could use for our cause.”

Bellamy carefully drops his work kit to the ground and then stands as tall as he can, smiling way too smug for his own good.

The Arrowheads didn’t scare him. They never had before, they wouldn’t now.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” he says voice steady and strong echoing in the small room full of angry wolves ready to tear him apart.