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In some way, it feels like Bellamy never left.

This isn’t Factory, no, he doesn’t get this kind of intimacy, but he knew Mecha well enough, so it’s still jarring to hear steps resonating in empty corridors, ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum, no one to see here. No one but Raven driving herself up the wall in empty workshops, no mother, no Finn, no Sinclair.

He never knew her up here, and sometimes it feels like she belongs to a different world. Or maybe it’s him who inconspicuously grew roots down there, in a place that now seems to be an eerie dream? Smooth Ark floors look ridiculous against his sturdy shoes, he knows because he watches the contrast a lot, unsure what to say.

“I used to sweep floors here,” he blurts out one day, breaking the silence. He can’t know what kind of a look Raven gives him, since his eyes are still firmly on his shoes, but he assumes she isn’t feeling particularly generous about his awkwardness.

“I don’t even remember you,” she answers quietly after a moment, so he has a reason to shrug.

“I wouldn’t have remembered me either.”

Somehow, it comes out a lot meaner than he intended it to.

***

He lasts two weeks before an empty bed makes him want to claw his face off, and then here he is, knocking on Raven’s door like some lost puppy, take me in, please. Just take me in.

She takes one look at him before stepping back and letting him enter. They can now have about seven rooms each if they cared to, an abundance of beds, and clothes, and linens, and that in itself is enough to give Bellamy the creeps. They shouldn’t have this much. There is something wrong with that.

“I can’t be alone anymore,” he says simply, and fully expects to sleep on the floor, like he did for most of his childhood, then wake up disoriented in the middle of the night, looking for his mother and O. He is just dramatic enough to do exactly that.

Instead, Raven puts her hand on his shoulder before she starts crying.

It’s the most reassuring thing he’s felt since he found himself back up here – a familiar weight against his arms, crumbling down, down, down, and it doesn’t matter that the ground they hit this time is cold and hard. There is still familiarity of body and sound that reminds him of something he has no idea how he managed to get used to.

“Shhh,” he coos pointlessly, knowing he’d be much better off staying quiet. “I’ve got you. Raven? We’ll make it. I promise we’ll make it back.”

She nods at that through her sobs, and clings to him harder. Neither sleeps a wink that night, but then – it’s not like there is much to do in the morning.

***

It takes him a few days to kiss her, the urge growing irresistibly in his belly until he lets the tension snap gently. It’s a light peck, with caution put forward in lieu of words, but when she grabs for his shirt to pull him in closer, he clashes against her with a sob of his own, clinging to another familiarity. Raven’s skin is so warm it feels like heat radiating from a fire, and he clings to it like a vice, discovering suddenly how much he has to give.

The first round is quick and harsh and hungry, but when second time comes, he celebrates her like she holds all the warmth of the Earth under her cracked skin. The marks of the ground are fading on them gently, but he can still see some, and he kisses every single one, then kneels between Raven’s spread legs, and kisses her until Mecha fills with something that isn’t empty steps. When he finally comes back up, she lets out the first real laugh he’s heard in weeks, and if his jaw didn’t hurt from overuse, he swears he could kiss her again.

“You’re so dramatic,” she jokes as they settle naked on her metal floor, and then he’s laughing too, yes he is, he is exactly that. Back on the ground, every single thing felt like life and death.

“I miss it,” he confesses into the night, and once the words are out, Raven’s skin stops feeling like compensation for missing sunlight, but that doesn’t make it any less precious.

***

It becomes easier as days go on, maybe because he learns that Raven keeps a count too, little notches on a calendar that she made herself. Maybe, Bellamy thinks sometimes, people only invented calendars to make years more bearable, and reduce endless plains of nights and days to something their minds could wrap themselves around. Raven’s mind, of course, is bigger than any other he’s ever seen, so if she needs the comfort of days being counted away on a page, maybe he can be justified in his need too.

She never judges him for missing that hellhole of a ground, and that’s how he learns that she misses it too. He doesn’t think twice about it when he discovers that he can’t sleep without her.

There is a moment, two years in, when she realizes her implant ran out, no doctor around in the whole wide space to put a new one in. Raven shrinks into herself that day, as if bracing for a blow, and he can tell she’s doing all she can not to scream into the void, won’t, won’t, can’t, don’t go anywhere near me.

She tells him she loves him too when it’s been five days, and he still shows up every night to just hold her to sleep.

They get creative after that, mouths and hands and clever words, and if there are things they miss, they never say a word about it. They have three years left, and, Bellamy realizes, three years isn’t that long when you know how to tease a gentle ray of sunlight from under someone’s skin.

***

When the time comes to land, and it feels stupidly difficult to finally leave their room behind, they step off the dropship hand in hand.