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one of your french girls

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Except:

This time she takes five whole minutes to reach them, when they come back, but he waits anyway.

“Hi.” Bellamy is unrecognizable under a host of new bruises since she saw him last.

When she smiles, she can feel the gravel under her feet, cutting into skin. It’s the most she’s felt in days.

 

 

 

 

Wick is the one to ask first: so, what happened to Finn?

I don’t know, she almost says. This isn’t him, she almost says.

“Who we are,” she repeats, parrots; he’s a boy she loves- loved- loves- family- god, maybe it says something about her too, “and who we need to be to survive aren’t the same thing.”

She’s angry, without reason, a deep seated anger, she can't control. And for some reason, she's terrified. And Wick’s eyes are careful when he next says:

“You don’t actually believe that.”

No, she doesn’t say. I tortured a man once, do you know.

He looks at her for a long moment. Nods anyway.

 

 

-

 

 

The first time she picks up a pen, it feels heavier than it should, which is strange, because she’s used to handling guns.

“What are you writing?” Bellamy looks over her shoulder at the blank page, hand coming to rest loosely next to hers, and she writes in capitals:

A CRIPPLES' GUIDE TO SURVIVING WAR WITHOUT, Y'KNOW, DYING.

“Useful,” he comments.

She doesn’t know if she wanted sympathy just then, she thinks she might have. She doesn’t need it, but she thinks she might want it anyway. Just enough to be able to push it away.

She busies herself with the ink, "why are you here anyway."

His amused snort tells her that her deflection skills aren't as good as she may think, "you haven't changed at all."

She looks up at that, "and you have?"

He sits down on her bed, the springs creaking under him, staring into the distance somewhere, and suddenly she wants to know about everything she missed, sitting here, unable to move. To know every decision, every choice she would have made out there. Who she would have been.

"Yeah," he answers, "I think I have."

“I took a bullet for you,” she says, just to be vicious, because this sucks. The whole damn thing sucks. He can just waltz in and break all the rules, and save people, and do his hero thing, but she can't so much as walk fourteen steps, without pausing. Can't so much as walk away when she wants to. Can't so much as, you know, walk.

He’s silent for a while, and she can feel his eyes on her moving hand, on the paper. The words are out of order, but she’s not trying to make sense anyway.

His voice is slow, deliberate, quiet, “I’d take a bullet for you.”

Well, there’s no answer to that.

 

 

-

 

 

It was easiest in the beginning, actually.

When it felt like she would get through this. Like she would mellow down, stop for a bit, and run again in a while. A temporary break, a life lesson, a new appreciation of the everyday movements she'd taken for granted, or whatever. She has it catalogued somewhere at the back of her mind; how exactly the story goes.

“Fuck off,” she says, and Wick just grins, like he’s getting used to her, like he’s already gotten used to her.

“Hello to you too, sunshine,” is all he says, as he picks up the tool kit, and is absorbed in the capacitor he’s been working on.

The silence is comfortable. It feels strangely like being back on the Ark. The times she used to sneak glances to see what he was doing. How he was doing it. When she wasn't even old enough to be the youngest zero-g mechanic they had. It was a stupid streak of hero-worship back then.

Thank god she lost that before he ever knew. She'd never have heard the end of it.

"Hey, did you ever figure out that-"

He stops mid-sentence, and stares at her.

“What?” she doesn’t know if it’s a radar she didn’t know she had, but every single thing he does annoys her to the point of insanity.

“Your hair’s falling over your face,” he replies, unexpectedly.

He pushes back the strand escaping from her rubber band, without warning. The gesture feels strangely intimate, his hand lingering against her skin, the nape of her neck. And it doesn't feel awful, so she pulls back.

“Thank you,” she mumbles, avoiding his eyes. It would be easier to be rude, but he’s expecting that, and she doesn’t want to be predictable.

“You’re welcome,” he says, easily. Doesn’t look back down till she does.

 

 

-

 

 

If she were a nicer person, Raven thinks, she would be taking this better. She’d do what she could, and leave alone what she couldn't, accept help where she needs it, and be grateful for being alive.

"I don't need you to hold that," she snaps, the pail in a shaking grip, water spilling over the sides. The third person in a row, and all she's doing is crossing the yard.

"You don't need to be doing this." Number three is apparently made of stronger stuff.

"Tell me, Ver, you only do things you're supposed to? Explains why Kane treats you like his lapdog. Such a good, little, useful footsoldier to have around."

He reels back, "just trying to help, okay. God, you don't need to be such a bitch about it."

Problem is, of course, she thinks, arms tired already, watching number three walk away- and she's sorry, she really is- that she’s not a nicer person.

 

 

-

 

 

Clarke takes up drawing again, her fingers charcoal stained almost constantly, and Raven wishes she could draw.

“You can try,” Clarke encourages, because Clarke is the sort of person who believes you can do anything if you try. And Clarke is the sort of person who makes you believe you can do anything if you try.

“Okay,” she says, because why not.

That doesn’t look like anything, Bellamy will tell her later.

He’ll kiss her, afterward, hands on the collar of her jacket, no finesse, just a hint of desperation, of anger, the same chaotic urgency she's been sensing since he's come back.

The first time since the last first time. But he’ll say that first.

(She’ll pull away.

But lean back in. And leave charcoal streaks down the side of his face, when she kisses him next.

So, okay; she’s getting the hang of telling the whole story.)

 

 

-

 

 

“I thought,” Wick says, a mock, dramatic hand to his chest, “that Finn was just lucky with the getting there first and the childhood bestie shtick. But you’re a one-way journey to heartbreak, Reyes. You’ve already moved on before I’ve had my monologue that’s been five years waiting? Does that seem fair to you?”

“If you have time for monologues,” she shoots back, pushing her hair back on instinct, “you also have time to figure out the frequency range the Mount Weather communication equipment is working on. Unless you're planning on going out there with famous last words, instead of functional weaponry.”

“You’re sexy when you talk shop.” He declares, and she rolls her eyes, “I don’t believe in love, Reyes, but-”

“You obviously believe in non-sequiturs,” she mumbles, because she has no idea where this is going with the punchline. Sometimes she forgets this doesn't always go how she wants it to, because she can't write other people's words for them.

“-but I believe in timing,” he finishes. Looks at her through half-lidded eyes. Waiting.

Something inside her flares at the odd seriousness in his gaze, the foreignness to the curve of his jaw.

“That’s not a punchline.”

“No,” he says, “no, it’s not.”

 

 

 

 

Wick shines the mechanically powered flashlight in her face, from across the ground. It’s working, he mouths, and she smiles.

“I don’t like the way he looks at you.”

She turns to Bellamy, sprawled on his back against a stone, face lit by the glow of the firelight. His bruises are beginning to crust over. It’s strange how beautiful he sometimes is, how much she wants to touch him.

Evenings on the ground are quiet. Some of them, at least. She doesn’t feel useless then. Because there’s nothing to be done that she can’t do because she’s crippled. At least for the moment. She can feel his breath against her ear. The intimacy part never gets less strange.

She scoffs. “You make it sound like you’re in love with me, shooter. Jealous, much.”

She thinks he’ll laugh at that. She would have. What he said was a stupid thing to say anyway.

His hand comes down to play with the frayed ends of her jeans. She thinks she can feel the heat from his palm. She probably can't, but it feels like she can. Sense memory, or something.

“You took a bullet for me,” he shrugs, “that sounds like the beginning of a love story.”

That’s not the reply she-

“One that sucks,” she replies, on autopilot. 

“I don’t mind,” he says.

And, well, there’s no answer to that either.

  

 

-

 

 

(Do you know, he’ll ask, how long I’ve-

and she’ll say: shut up. But he’ll only grin from between her legs, pushing her knees apart, gently, and she didn't think she’d ever be able to let anyone touch this return-to-sender, broken version of her, but-)

 

 

-

 

 

The silence isn't uncomfortable, oddly enough, even now. She doesn't understand that.

Wick keeps his tool-kit on the ledge, before leaning down, adjusting the strap of her brace, hand coming to circle around her ankle, “this is getting loose.”

“I’m losing leg muscle,” she frowns, “because I don't fucking use it.”

“So fucking use it.”

He offers her his hand to stand up.

Seconds pass.

She takes it.

 

 

-

 

 

"I'm sorry," rushed, awkward.

Vernon doesn't ask what she's sorry for.

"It's okay," he replies. Smiles.

Wick sends her a thumbs up from the window. She flips him off. He winks. She shakes off the urge to laugh.

Bellamy catches Wick, and scowls in his general direction. He winks again, just to annoy the other guy she knows. She turns away from both of them. Boys can be stupid.

"Okay," she says back to Vernon. Even though that doesn't make sense. But, whatever. It is.

 

 

-

 

 

So, here’s what could possibly happen:

Raven becomes a nicer person. She learns to deal with the hand she’s been dealt and makes the best of it. She does what she can and leaves alone what she can’t. Accepts help when she should, and is grateful for being alive.

Or:

She fights.

(Sometimes with the people who love her. Sometimes with herself. Gives in, sometimes, when she shouldn’t. Lets people in, sometimes, when she doesn’t want to. And she tries. Every day. Even when it makes no difference either way, and just exhausts her. Tries, still.)

Or:

She's learning to tell the whole story, and it's not over yet. Everything that can possibly happen has the time to happen.

(She doesn't become a nicer person, but sometimes, even when she shouldn't be, she's okay.)

And:

Survives, anyway.