Bellamy only kisses her because he's pretty sure he's dying.
There's an arrow in his chest and it's getting harder to breathe and he can’t really tell himself that the wetness on his shirt is anything but blood.
Jasper has an arm around him and is practically dragging him, screaming, back to camp. Bellamy takes a moment to appreciate the absurdity of the situation. He can't help but be a little proud at how far the scrawny runt has come. Once, Jasper didn't even know how to handle a gun, now he has Bellamy all but thrown over his shoulder while still keeping his trigger arm steady.
Does that count as a legacy?
He wishes he could tell his legacy to keep his voice down- his impressive carrying skills will be for naught if he keeps broadcasting their location to the grounders.
Everything is so bright. He's never really taken time to notice that past their first day on Earth. The sky is very blue and everything is so green and bright and this is a better way to die right? Better this than the cold, black space that welcomed his mother.
Oh, don't think of that.
Distantly, he hears the scrape of wood on wood and recognizes it as the gate to the camp being opened.
Jasper is yelling for Clarke.
He's lying on the ground, wondering vaguely why his left side isn’t flush against the dirt, and there is that very blue sky again that is soon obstructed by the faces of what appears to be the entire camp. Bellamy tries to keep himself lucid by remembering which faces he's slept with.
He hears Clarke's voice loud and insistent "I can't fix him here, he shouldn’t even be on his back. Get him to the drop ship and keep Octavia out of there"
He's being lifted again, this time by Spacewalker and Jasper and Monty and a few other faces whose names are escaping him. Octavia is crying somewhere in the background. The lapse in memory worries him.
It's dark and cool inside of the drop ship and Clarke is shooing everyone out with a steady, confident voice that's rather comforting to hear. But when they are all gone, he hears her take a shaky breath before approaching him. "You still alive?" she asks as she checks his pulse and lightly feels around the arrow. Her hands are cool on his skin and he shivers, wondering absentmindedly where his shirt went.
"I'm not that easy to kill,” he croaks and he sees an unsteady smile forming on her lips.
"At least your fantastic sense of humor is still intact" she pauses and her face scrunches up in worry "Not sure I can say the same about your left lung"
Bellamy thinks Clarke is pretty. He's dying so he might as well make all these last confessions to himself. At first, when he saw all that blonde hair in all that bright sunshine, he blamed the feeling on the fact that she was the daughter of a councilwoman, a highborn. Of course something he couldn't touch and had been instructed to revere was beautiful. But she never fit in to the princess-shaped mold he mentally constructed for her, she was angry and loud and covered in blood half the time- and still managed to look decent. Bellamy had decided to stick a diet of brunettes and forget how she looked that one day at the river when she smiled at him and his stomach dropped.
"If I help you, will you sit up?" she asks.
"Whatever you want, Princess"
"Oh if I'd only known that all I needed was an arrow to make you easier to deal with" she teases as she loops an arm around his waist. "On the count of three"
Three is a painful number and he can't help but let out a yelp when, with her help, he hoists himself up. Her steely look of resolve drops for the briefest of moments. Bellamy lets his head loll against the wall and feels a little sick when he realizes the clink he just heard was the arrow head sticking out of his back hitting against the metal of the drop ship.
"What now?" he asks.
Clarke smiles apologetically and holds up a bottle of moonshine, "You aren't going to like this part"
She isn't lying. The moment the liquid hits his skin he bites down on his tongue to keep from screaming. When the pain subsides, he's holding Clarke hand. It feels small and warm, and Bellamy wonders if she's eating enough. She holds the bottle up to his lips next and instructs him to drink and takes a swig herself when he's done.
"I'm going to pull the arrow out now. I know it doesn’t feel like it but we’re lucky it came out through your back." she tells him "It's going to hurt, but I need you not to move so I'm going to call Finn and Jasper in to hold you down. I have to hurry so that I can keep the bleeding controlled."
Right as she's turning, he grabs for her hand again "Wait. Just wait a second ok?"
"I don't have a second Bellamy. I have to fix you."
"Just come here, Clarke."
She obliges and steps closer to him.
"Close your eyes"
"I'm dying Clarke, close your damn eyes"
With a sigh, she does as instructed while muttering, "I’m not going to let you die". Bellamy grabs hold of her jacket and tugs her downward until his mouth meets hers. Her lips part in surprise and Bellamy decides to hell with it and slips his tongue in. He doesn't kiss her for long and breaks away first. "You can go get them now"
With a nod and without meeting his eyes, Clarke takes the short steps to the door while yelling for Finn and Jasper who quickly appear. "I need you to hold him steady" she instructs and they oblige.
"Don't die" Jasper, his ever impressive legacy with a surprisingly firm grip, is telling him "Your sister will never talk to me again if you die."
Well, that's reassuring.
"Ready?" Clarke asks. He closes his eyes tight.
More confessions: he wasn't lying when he told Octavia his life ended when hers began but he doesn't blame her. He's still angry with his mother. Sometimes, he remembers Charlotte and has trouble breathing. He regrets not killing Murphy but he thinks Clarke would have never forgiven him if he did. Speaking of, he once almost called another girl by Clarke's name. If he lives, he thinks he'll try to kiss her again.
He wants to be a good leader so bad that it hurts almost as much as the damn arrow in his lung. He makes himself remember the name of each person who's died since they've reached Earth and most nights runs the names over and over in his head as a reminder of his failures.
Forgive me for I have sinned.
"No" he answers a second later.
But Clarke didn’t wait for his response, grabbing the arrow protruding from his back firmly and tugging it out with one swift motion. If it didn't hurt so much that he was preoccupied trying to figure out if he's dying or merely passing out, he'd be impressed by the whole situation and make a quip about Clarke's steady hands.
As he's blacking out, he can feel something being pressed against his chest and Clarke's mouth on his, forcing air into his lungs.
"Please stay,” she says desperately before another mouthful of air "I told you I needed you"
Then there is darkness… it's more comforting that he expected.
"You should think about waking up today,” a voice says to him softly. "I mean, if it was me that was asleep, you would have made the others leave me out for the grounders by now"
His eyes open slowly and the first thing they focus on is Clarke, her back to him, mixing something and humming quietly to herself as she talks.
"Have some faith in me, Princess"
She freezes and he takes momentary pride in surprising her. "I would wait at least a week before using you as bait"
Clarke turns to face him and the relief on her face is undeniable; she doesn't even bother spitting something witty back at him
"You're awake" she sounds exhausted and happy all at once and rushes over to put a hand on his forehead. "Fever's definitely gone. How do you feel? Can you eat? You need to eat. I should get your sister."
As she's about to sprint away again, Bellamy grabs her wrist, "Slow down. How long have I been out of it?"
"What did I miss?"
Here, her face goes red and she asks, a little too nonchalantly "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Grounder arrow" he lies.
"There was an attack as you guys were scouting near the bunker. Jasper carried you back himself from near there. It was pretty impressive actually. The arrow punctured your left lung but, luckily for us, didn't collapse it. After I took the arrow out, you went into shock and stopped breathing for a second. Then you had a fever for about a day and a half. Luckily, it seems have killed any infection because the wound itself looks like it's healing nicely. Your lungs sound decent"
"Is that it?" He doesn't know if he should feel relief or disappointment at her not mentioning the kiss.
Clarke takes a deep breathe and in a quick exhale says, "You may have been delirious enough to think it was a great idea to kiss me." she shrugs "Shock, probably"
"I thought I was dying,” he admits and Clarke laughs loudly
"That's flattering,” she says turning away, "Let me go get Octavia"
She disappears from view and moments later his little sister barrels into the drop ship with messy tears and apologies. He remembers what he thought of before the arrow was pulled out and takes Octavia's hand in his "I'm happy you were born, O"
Wiping her eyes, Octavia jokes between sobs, "Bell, I thought the arrow hit your lung not your head".
She sits with him a while longer, talking about nothing in particular until the world starts feeling drowsy again.
Clarke doesn't come back while he's awake.
The next day he convinces Clarke that he can go back to his own tent. She looks so exhausted that she gives in without much of a fight after instructing him to take a few deep breaths that she listens to carefully. "Let me check the wound"
He pulls his shirt off with one fluid movement, already feeling stronger than he has in the last week. Clarke ghosts her fingers over the neat stitches, touching lightly "Any pain when I do that?"
"Nope" he says, wondering if she'd touch him again if he had said differently.
"Good, if it does start to hurt come find me" she straightens up and offers him a wide smile "I declare you no longer my patient!"
"No worries" she says with a tired shrug then yawns "You can pay me back by not letting anyone get hurt for the next week while I sleep"
And with that he watches her stumble out of the drop ship and towards her tent.
"She's probably asleep" Octavia sits next to him near the fire "You're looking for Clarke right? She's the only one not out tonight"
"No idea what you're talking about, O" he says between mouthfuls of dinner.
"She stayed with you until you woke up" his sister continues "Like, didn't leave your side. I told her that she needed to sleep, but she was scared you'd stop breathing or something while she was gone. She napped in a chair I think. That's a whole lot of dedication to an idiot who kissed her because he thought he was dying"
His head snaps up "She told you?"
"Of course not, I hid in the drop ship while she patched you up"
If there's something he learned during years of living in the same space as Octavia is how to have a wordless conversation with her; whole arguments have been laid out with nothing more than a pointed look. He can barely meet his little sister's all-knowing gaze.
"You should think of something better to say to her than 'thanks', Bell" she tells him before turning her attentions to Jasper.
Bellamy doesn't sleep that night. Instead, he stays by the fire, stares at the stars, and tries remembering what it felt like the moment the arrow hit. As his dinner threatens to make a reappearance at the thought, he turns his mind elsewhere.
For the first week on Earth, he'd stolen away from camp each morning to watch the sunrise from a clearing in the forest. As the sky lit up in brilliant colors he wasn't sure he had names for, he promised himself he would keep the group alive without anyone's help.
Clarke is staring at him quizzically and Bellamy can't help but gesture at the spot next to him for her to sit down. "Figured I slept enough this week, the sun will be up soon anyways."
"You could do with more rest,” she says, sitting "Then again, I'm sure most of us could"
They sit in amicable silence as they look up at the sky. Bellamy glances over at her and her tired face still manages to look the picture of wonder. She meets his gaze and smiles "I haven't been able to watch the sunrise in awhile, too busy making sure no one dies"
Bellamy has never been great at saying thank you. His whole life, he was taught that his circumstances where what he made them, so he struggled and fought and shot his way into every semi-decent thing that has ever happened to him.
Instead, he does the one thing he considers himself rather decent at: he kisses her again. To his great surprise she kisses him back. It's a slow kiss, far less chaste then the one in the drop ship, and he has to fight the impulse to bury his hand in her hair and pull her closer.
When Clarke pulls away, the sky is awash in soft colors and her blue eyes are dazed. She looks uncertain.
"I'm not dying" he tells her and hopes she understands. When, after a beat, she smiles slowly and nods, he can’t help but thread his hand through hers.
He's never seen a more beautiful sunrise.