Albert Gleizes, 1910 - Femme aux Phlox
It ended the way it started:
It wasn’t her husband or her daughter, not this time. This time it was what she’d come to think of as her own status quo, her place in the world, her purpose.
Abby had never once aspired to sit on any kind of throne. She was a healer, not a politician, and her place on the Ark’s council was more about enacting change than searching for a place on the totem pole. She knew what she was: a doctor, and a damn good one. Simple as that.
But then there was Jake, and Clarke, and then the death of the Ark and its rebirth on Earth, and then there was...Marcus. Not Kane, the man who arrested her family, but Marcus, the man who made her Chancellor while he atoned for shock lashing her by striking out into unknown territory to bring her daughter back to her. The man who stood by her side while she stepped up to the role given to her and fought like hell to keep their people alive and safe. Together. A hard-won union of her heart and his mind that managed turn the bare bones of Camp Jaha into the flourishing community of Arkadia. Together, they inspired their people to build and fight for a new life on the ground that resembled nothing of the stars they came from.
That was gone now.
She knew she’d lose the election--she hadn’t really wanted to win, anyway, but Marcus needed at least someone to run against. They hadn’t counted on Pike, though. They hadn’t counted on the Ice Nation killing his people, they hadn’t counted on it inciting a fierce anti-grounder sentiment within Arkadia’s walls. Pike preyed upon that (and rightly so, even she and Marcus could agree that his pain was more than valid) and condemned them for their actions to try and back Clarke and Lexa’s coalition of grounders and sky people. They both lost by a landslide.
Abby left the announcement before the cheers of her people had begun to die down. She headed straight for the Chancellor’s quarters--for home--with Marcus’ faint shout of “Abby! Wait!” ringing in her ears and down the corridor. There was no stopping her now: she had one last mission, and she was going to carry it out before anyone could witness or force her to be publicly embarrassed. This, she had to do quietly.
Her quarters were already packed up. She’d known long ago that she wouldn’t win, but she’d always assumed that she was making way for Marcus, not Charles Pike. Now, looking around at the quarters she’d called home, Abby felt a sense of loss--not for herself, but for Marcus. She’d had her time and paid her dues. But this...this was meant to be Marcus’. It was meant to be a place he could call home after being fairly elected by their people. It could have been somewhere for him to retreat and read one of the books she’d snagged from one of their runs to Mount Weather, or for them both to privately strategize (or, perhaps, share a much-needed drink and just be quiet for a few precious moments together, as they'd done in the past).
They wouldn’t have that now. Abby picked up a backpack filled with her clothes and a box with the rest of her belongings--some medical textbooks, a drawing Lincoln had done of Clarke with the sun setting behind her, and a small potted flower that Marcus had told her was a lily when he presented it to her a month ago--and looked around the room one last time. She took in the slightly larger bed built into the wall with scrap metal, the desk, the worn-in couch that had seen many a working session turn into an impromptu nap session when Abby fell asleep on Marcus’ shoulder, and let her eyes drift over the walls adorned with paintings of nature that they’d taken from Mount Weather.
Her eyes fell on her favourite of them all--it stood out in its vibrancy, all purples and pinks and oranges creating a canvas of flowers in a room with a single vase sitting on a table, full to the brim with flowers that bloomed against the backdrop of another painting of more abstract looking flowers inside it. La Vie En Rose, it was called (and if Abby only knew that after searching Mount Weather's databases for it, that was no one's business but hers).
She wanted to share that painting with Marcus. She’d wanted to keep them all there for Marcus. She knew how much he loved the outdoors.
Abby tore her eyes away from the walls and opened the door to come face to face with the man she’d hoped would be moving into the quarters behind her.
“Hey,” he whispered, pushing off the wall he’d been leaning on to approach her with a soft look on his bearded face. “You left quickly.”
“I wanted to do this without an audience.” Abby turned and closed her--Pike’s--door behind her with a bit of a slam. She wasn’t sure she could face the pity she could see all over Marcus’ face. Abby didn’t want pity. She didn’t know what she wanted, but it wasn’t that.
“Now what?” He asked, gently slipping the box from her arms into his.
Abby looked down at the small box full of her meagre possessions in his grasp and couldn’t do anything but shrug.
“I’m homeless, I guess. I was so busy focusing on the election and Medical that I just didn’t think about what would happen after I lost my quarters.” Abby immediately fell into pace with Marcus as he silently started to make his way down the Ark’s grey corridors. “I’ll probably bunk in Medical for a while. We’re overrun, but there’s emergency cots and I don’t sleep much these days, anyway--hang on, Marcus, what are you doing?”
They were standing outside Marcus’ quarters. He was attempting to open the door with her box in his arms, finally succeeding with a quick grin flashed at her. He said nothing as he pushed it open with his foot and led her into the sparse room he’d called home since they’d landed on the ground. Abby curiously followed his sure form inside and watched him place her belongings on the immaculately tidy bed.
“I’m welcoming you home.” Marcus smirked down at her like it was nothing for him to just move her into his room without a second thought.
“Marcus, no, I can’t--”
“There are no spare quarters, Abby. We already have a population problem with the survivors of farm station. And you can’t sleep on a cot in Medical.” He reached out and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder like he’d taken to doing so often lately. “Stay with me. We’ll figure it out. Together.”
“Marcus…” Abby trailed off, taking in the militarily clean room and the contrasting art on the walls.
Abby hadn’t spent much time in Marcus’ room. They’d always been in the council room, war room, or her quarters, and thus she hadn’t discovered what art he’d chosen to pilfer from the Mountain for his quarters. He’d only taken one: a medium-sized, monochromatic, cubist painting of a woman in some sort of cape, sorting through strange geometric shapes with a window open behind her. It was so strangely Marcus, in a way--shades of grey and full of hidden meaning.
“I thought she was sorting through papers at first,” Marcus said, gently slipping his hand over her shoulder and sliding it feather-light down her back. “Like she was working. Turns out the shapes are flowers.”
Abby didn’t see flowers. All she saw was a woman with her head bent, intent on her task. She leaned back into Marcus’ touch and let his hand on her back curve into the gentle slope of her spine, his fingers resting near the nape of her neck. She let out a hum of contentment as they both looked at the painting.
“I’ll sleep on the floor.” Marcus said to the painting. Abby turned to look up at him, but he was resolutely avoiding her gaze.
“No, you will not.” Abby said, firmly.
“Yes, I will. My room, my rules.” Marcus said. “And frankly, the floor has to be more comfortable than that mattress at this point.”
“We both know you’re past the days of sleeping on floors, Marcus.” She smiled as he turned to her with amusement dancing in his eyes.
“Are you calling me old, Doctor Griffin?”
“Well,” Abby laughed, reaching up to cradle his jaw in her hand like it was the most natural thing in the world. “The salt and pepper here seems to think so.”
Marcus smiled until the corners of his eyes crinkled and his cheek bunched up under her palm. The soft hairs of his beard tickled her hand, but Abby didn’t let go. Instead, she swept her thumb along his cheek and chased the happy lines with the pad of her finger. She could actually feel tangible happiness under her thumb--a physical manifestation of his delight at her, even after a day in which they’d both lost everything they’d come to know after falling to Earth. She made him happy .
“Well, then. Old men need sleep to keep up with pain in the ass doctors. So,” Marcus smiled into her hand, reaching up to grasp it with his own and kissing the palm tenderly. “What’ll it be, Abby?”
She got her way. They both changed into their sleepwear in silence (a tank top and sweatpants for Abby, boxers and a t-shirt for Marcus), their backs turned towards each other, and then both silently slipped into his single bed until they were laying side by side on their backs. Marcus flipped the lights off with a careful reach, and then darkness blanketed them like an old friend.
Abby could feel the warmth of his strong body from where he was unavoidably pressed up against her. He was right--the mattress wasn’t the best one she’d ever slept on, but it was something, and having something when she suddenly had nothing was more comforting than she’d like to admit.
Well, not nothing. She had him.
“Marcus,” Abby whispered into the dark. She felt him shift a little and could almost make out his face as he turned his head to face her. Abby offered her hand towards him. “Hold my hand.”
A huff of laughter escaped him, but he did it. His fingers trailed up her forearm, sending goosebumps all over her, before he let his fingers gently explore the contours of her own. It wasn’t until their fingers were perfectly linked that he finally stopped moving.
Abby smiled. This had been a bad day--not her worst, not by far, but definitely up there. Yet here she was, homeless but not really, alone but not really, sad but not really, and something just felt...right.
She gently lifted their hands towards her chest and turned on her side to face him. She laid their entwined fingers next to her cheek on the pillow and patiently waited as he followed suit. Abby could definitely see the outline of him in the dark now, all soft and strong, his face taking on a half smile as his eyes met hers over the tangle of their fingers.
“Hi,” he whispered.
“Hi,” she whispered back.
Abby leaned forward and kissed the back of his hand lightly. She settled into the bed then, finally comfortable under his sheets, and let her eyes close as she felt an answering kiss pressed gently against her own.