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a basic field guide to getting lost

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The healing process is slow, every nerve-ending redefining itself in ways that make her entire body a live-wire each time she forgets and puts too much pressure and— fuck.

That Bellamy makes her a makeshift backrest is a surprise. That Bellamy makes her a makeshift backrest with this look in his eyes that warns her not to read too much into it, less so. That Bellamy makes her a makeshift backrest with this look in his eyes that warns her not to read too much into it, and then drops his gaze down to her lips for a nanosecond before looking away is just—

 

 

 

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She stares out at the sky sometimes, these days, a languidness in her bones she hasn’t felt since as far back as she can remember. There was always something to do back then; so desperately consuming in itself to have be better, to want to be the record holder of a competition she’s winning by a mile as the only competitor because she’s worth something more (than just the daughter of a whore, the traitorous, meanest part of her- a significantly large part, whenever she's being honest- rhymes), and now there’s nothing except the waiting.

She doesn’t hate it, is the terrible part. As if stopping wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, like she'd always thought it would be.

“Yeah, because you’d so much rather be doing this.” A sullen look to the right of her head somewhere.

She doesn’t know what exactly he’s doing, but she knows it's something he’s been told to do. The hammer in his hand is slung dangerously low and she watches his clenched fist with a hint of fascination somewhere at the back of her mind, tracing the angular trajectory from his hand to his foot. It’s going to hurt, if he lets it fall.

With the others, the adults from the Arc milling around, he seems younger these days, by comparison, almost impossibly young. His cryptic brooding more childish rebellion. His arguments more oratorical than reasonable. His barely controlled chaos more tiring than exhilarating. Something like the theory of relativity, she decides, by the third day.

Your gravity’s starting to pull me down, shooter, she almost says once.

She moves against the backrest restlessly, “you clearly need to get laid, Blake. You're sucking a giant black hole of frustration in here.”

And hears it almost when he does, she can tell, because when he shifts his gaze to her, it’s not angry anymore. Mildly amused, mostly guarded. She didn't mean like it sounded, but she doesn't want to explain it, because that would be overkill.

His mouth quirks at one end- and she thinks he might say something like you offering, Raven, which would be so ridiculously in-character that her eyes are already rolling to the back of her head- and doesn’t say anything at all.

(She can’t tell why it makes it so much worse, but it makes it so much worse.)

 

 

 

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See, here’s the thing; she doesn’t read much into things. There’s subtext lost in there somewhere in the uncapped garish red lipstick on her old dresser, and a psychobabble bullshit reason to blame her mother for all the words she still can’t pronounce with her body.

She can’t tell if Bellamy is in love with Clarke like the camp seems to think he is. If Finn always knew that she wanted him so desperately that it embarrassed her. If Jasper actually resents the fuck out of Monty or if they’re legitimately platonic (or not?) partners for life. If Clarke ever gets really, really tired.

So anyway, yeah, not so much with the reading. Not enough to be able to not jump into bed with the first available guy when the guy of her dreams gets lost with the girl of his. So, well. (There's no excuse for the other times, so she doesn't think about it at all, which seems as good a way to deal as any.)

“I’m tired,” Clarke says once, quietly, in the darkness, and this answer to her unspoken question startles her so much that she leans against the wall far too hard, her spine pressed to the point of breaking, unable to stop the soft sound of pain.

She tries to think of something comforting; she’d heard Clarke and Abby arguing earlier, even if she couldn't make out the words, and her head is stuck on a sardonic “at least she cares,” which, probably not the best way to deal with this. She's supposed to be the teenager, be on Clarke's side, understand. But then again, comfort isn't exactly her unique selling proposition.

“Bellamy is in love with you,” Clarke says next, the non sequitur breaking into her thoughts, and before she’s even registered it, he’s inside the tent too, half-stooped so he doesn’t touch the sky. He’s already forgotten there’s no cover; he always forgets.

“Where’s the carving knife,” he asks, and he couldn’t not have heard, not just then, and she doesn’t even know what this is. Like, all the time she’s been sitting here, alone, still, everyone else, everything else just continued moving without her. Or like the world just tilted on its axis slightly to the left, and and everything is slower and everything is off, and somewhere, five feet away, she’s missing out on all the conversation that actually makes sense.

And then immediately after; "are you okay?" A careless, deep intonation, like he's going for casual, and she didn't even know she was making her pain obvious. She was the youngest Zero-G Mechanic the Arc had in 52 years, she doesn't need the concern, thanks. The pity, even less. She refuses to be a fucking liability. 

"Are you okay?" Clarke repeats after him, slipping into diagnosis mode. She gets that from Abby, it's uncanny.

She smiles through clenched teeth, almost, "you know me, C, when am I ever not."

He turns away, searching. And it makes her irrationally angry that he cares at all, even if just enough to stop for those few seconds, to wait for her to answer, and it seems too loaded to not say a word, not when he's clearly heard, so obviously she chooses the worst, “are you in love with me, janitor? That might throw quite a few people off, monetarily speaking; the bookie odds to yours being in love with Clarke are running fifty to one. A lot of people are going to hate you for the false marketing.”

That’s the most hurtful she can think to be in the confusion and honestly, she doesn’t even know why it’s supposed to be hurtful. Yeah, he was a janitor, and he’s been a leader, and he’s been her lover, and for a few desperate moments he's been someone she's trusted, hopefully, stupidly, and he's the guy who now sometimes gets her water before she wants it because she can't get it herself, and maybe tomorrow he’ll be something else entirely.

(That is not all she was. Clamps down the thought before it takes shape. She's blamed her mother far too often to want to take responsibility now. Well, at least she's honest, right? That has to be karma point on some kind of scale that means that it's not going to feel like she's going to collapse on herself one of these days, because it still hurts so much, and she's scared.)

He doesn’t look hurt. Doesn’t look anything particularly, for that matter. “The knife,” he reminds again, like they’re wasting his time. And this is not fucking normal. She doesn’t even remember normal anymore. Relativity.

Clarke points it out to him, finally, and maybe it’s stupid that she says “didn’t acknowledge it,” immediately after he leaves because it’s not like she doesn't know that the only standard response, which Clarke shrugs and gives her is, “didn’t deny it either.”

 

 

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Insanity, she's heard, is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. Which, well, she’s practically done a thesis on Einstein, so how she lands up on top of First Available Guy, without clothes on, again, is completely—

Her back’s not even completely healed and there are seconds when she expects him to forget and turn her over hard against the floor. She won’t have the strength to get back on top, she knows.

(He doesn’t, though, for what it's worth. He seems to get the hint, and she doesn’t know what she’s even hinting at.)

It takes so long, and he moves so slowly, his hand only hovering somewhere above the base of her spine, barely touching, like he’s afraid she’ll break, till she can feel the radiating heat from his skin, but still can’t get a rhythm because she can’t fucking move and she can’t fucking arch when he does that and how the fuck did this happen at all. How the fuck did she- they- get here. Again.

“What the hell are we doing,” he whispers sometime in the middle when it already feels like an eternity of building and she's drenched in sweat, and she can hear him breathing, and it's too close and too loud, and well, her question exactly. She’s going to be paralyzed for cheap relief and seriously, this is not who she is. And she doesn’t even know what he’s getting out of it because there’s nothing she can give now. Maybe not ever. She’s not the giving sort. That part of the genetic coding got messed up somewhere, cut off with the umbilical cord, maybe.

He moves away, running a hand through his hair, and he's drenched too, "God."

She feels weighed down by the loss of his body weight as soon as he's not inside her anymore, a strange heaviness in the pit of her stomach; which is so backward, she can only put it down to delirium, or maybe insanity. Perhaps both. 

And this is for her, she knows, he's stopping for her, and that, more than anything, makes her want to hit him, because since when does he get to decide? Who is Bellamy fucking Blake to be doing her any favors, anyway. He's just some jackass who nearly threatened to kill her at first sight, and who's probably in love with the same girl the last guy she loved was in love with, or maybe he's in love with her as Clarke thinks, and god, whatever, it's not like she can tell at all, and no, seriously, how the hell did she end up here.

So obviously just as she says, "this was a mistake", he says "rain check", and then gives her a half-smile that's mostly insolence, and he's not even phased by her any longer, because somewhere in the middle of relying on him for the stupid little things, the necessary, everyday things, like she didn't want to, but had to, because of a stupid bullet wound that she technically took for him, she became predictable.

But then he's looking up at her, his gaze serious, and somehow she knows what he's going to do a split second before he does it; his hand slipping down in an unerring cartographic instinct. And she’s so genuinely afraid she’ll snap. And she's too proud to tell him she's afraid she'll snap.

But when she closes her eyes, she melts instead. And— oh.

 

 

 

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“So, are you?” she asks, once, when he’s sitting next to her in the evening, the fire masking his face in shadows, and sulking- for the lack of a better word, or maybe the only appropriate one, really- about something Kane said or didn’t say.

Truth is; she doesn’t know why she’s scraping at it, because it's not going to change anything either way, and she's not sure she wants to know anyway. But- she can't explain it exactly, but it's like- like status quo isn’t going to hold this place together anymore and she’s almost started calling it home, and there’s distance enough- in miles, if not in years- that, in her head, when her mother laughs, the only thing she can think of is that her mother is so beautiful, it’s almost ridiculous that they’re related.

“If I love you,” he says slowly, carefully, so she can tell it’s something he read somewhere, memorized at some point, and he's not even trying for originality, “what business is it of yours?”

The silence is unintentional; she’s running low on quips these days, every sentence ending in a grimace of pain. But it’s getting better; impossibly, it’s getting better. When someone helps her walk these days, she lets them, because the only reason to refuse would be her own stereotype, and she's Raven Reyes, she's not just a goddamn stereotype.

“It isn’t,” she says, finally. Shrugs.

He hands her the bottle for his last swallow of Moonshine. He used to complain before, she remembers. Still does, whenever he remembers. But sometimes he just hands it over, almost like a reflex, like a habit; like he's getting used to it.

It burns going down her throat, and explodes somewhere inside her into warmth.