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Blue Mornings and Cream Skies

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Blue Mornings and Cream Skies

 

 

The joys of snow last for all of two days before people realize that one, it melts into water and two, it's fucking cold.

Winter on Earth is just as ruthless as Clarke feared it would be. Aside from chapped lips, stiff fingers, and a peevish reluctance to get out of a warm bed in the mornings, food becomes a problem. Vegetables and herbs, once so abundant in the summer, become almost impossible to find as the air crispens and desiccates. The firewood logs, piled high behind the tool shed, become moist and damp, the fires themselves feeble and waning in the harsh winter drafts.

Morale becomes low, too.

One has to have seasons to have seasonal depression, and there had been no such thing on the Ark. With their opportunities to go outside once again curtailed, this time by the sheer chill of the air, most of the kids become restless. Raven's taken to pacing her tent, fingers itching to assemble, disassemble, strangle. Monty has been giving lessons on botanical lore and Finn's been teaching people how to carve wooden figurines to pass the time, but the food issue still nags at them all like a canker sore that won't go away.

The larger birds have migrated, and the fish seem to have developed some sort of intelligence unknown to the rodents in the leaves that are still easily caught. As a result, most of the hundred have been eating small, stringy mammals and are irritable to show for it. More than a few fights have sprouted up over blanket-sharing, and a couple of kids have even resorted to eating bad Jobi nuts for a good time.

Luckily some of the plants that freeze in the forest flourish in the caves, even if it means lengthier treks out to retrieve them. And, on the plus side, tent-sharing for warmth brings camaraderie and hunger inspires better teamwork than Clarke has ever seen.

So yeah, winter is one fine beastie, but all beasts, in time, can be slain.

 

--

 

Then come the snow bears, as Spacewalker's been calling them. They look like small grizzlies but with long tails, longer snouts, and an extra or missing leg, in some cases. They don't hibernate.

The problem? They are delicious.

Hearsay from Octavia (meaning Lincoln) is that there is some sort of protein compound in the meat that, in addition to having enormous health benefits, creates a pleasurable feeling when consumed. Despite the snow bears' rather aggressive nature, which makes them a pain in the ass to hunt, they quickly become a camp favorite. Lincoln warns that the bears are endangered, but his warning is half-hearted and pale in the faces of red-blooded, teenage hormone bombs who just need to go out and kill something because they have nothing better to do.

 

--

 

Octavia drapes a shawl of deer fur around her and sits down next to Clarke on a log. "Did you know tomorrow's my birthday?"

Clarke, who's been trying to salvage a blunt pocket knife with a stone stops, frowns. "How do you know it's tomorrow?" she asks, smiling a little behind her frown.

Octavia shrugs. "I don't," she replies, "but we've been tallying the days since we landed, right? Bellamy always said I was born around the winter solstice."

Clarke resumes her sharpening. "Well happy birthday, then."

Octavia rolls her eyes with a kind of relieved grin. "My first birthday not in a hole in the floorboards," she exclaims. Then, after a moment of careful contemplation, she leans forward. "Hey Clarke?" Clarke pauses in her sharpening to show that she's listening.

"Any chance we could…get a snow bear for tomorrow night?"

Clarke sets the knife and rock down with a sigh. "I wish we could, Octavia," she says, "but we're not really supposed to be hunting them, and it would take a whole day just to bring one back—"

"Half a day."

Both girls turn around and see Bellamy. His hair is damp from a recent shower and he's shaved. He folds his arms and looks at Clarke pointedly, a little half-smile playing about his lips. "You need to lighten up, Clarke," he says. "I think my sister deserves something nice, don't you?"

Clarke's frown deepens. "It's not about deserving anything, Bellamy," she replies. "It's about wasting energy and people on something that could get us into more trouble with the Grounders."

"It's not a waste," he says, shaking his head. "People are getting antsy again. We need something to boost morale."

Octavia weighs the air with her hands. "So party, moonshine, feel-goody meat…come on Clarke." She nudges Clarke's shoulder gently. "We need a celebration. If not my birthday then Christmas."

Clarke raises her eyebrows. "Christmas? We stopped doing religious stuff decades ago," she says.

"What better time to start again?" Octavia asks. "Besides, it's more about the food than it is about baby Jesus or whatever the hell it was originally about."

Heaving another sigh, Clarke brings a hand up to her temple and massages lightly. "Okay, fine," she tells Bellamy. "But you're organizing it yourself. I'm staying here today." Octavia looks thrilled.

"Yeah, wouldn't want you complaining the whole time," Bellamy says and ruffles Octavia's hair. He spares a glance down to where Clarke's set her knife on the log, and his eyes fall on the blade.

It still looks crooked and blunt.

 

--

 

New project for Raven, Bellamy decides, spitting sweat-salty water out of his mouth. Make something that predicts the weather. Semi-frozen rain pellets that sting when they hit your face are uncomfortable enough, but four hours of them has made Bellamy more than a little tetchy.

He and six of the guys get the snow bear. It's a miracle they manage it at all, since Zack—before Bellamy can stop him—decides to go after a baby. Which is possibly the stupidest thing you can do because babies of any species never wander alone. See very pissed five-legged mother that had required all seven of them and a good two hours to take down, resulting in some rather sodden Skypeople.

By the time they get back to camp only the thought of his sister's smile keeps Bellamy from strangling the kid at the gate who says, "What took you guys so long?" from under his nice, makeshift umbrella. His socks are nothing more than soggy soups of yarn in his boots and his hair is plastered to his freezing cheeks in unflattering clumps. The others, in similar wear, head straight to build a fire. Bellamy, however, makes a beeline for the food shed, dumps the bear on the floor, and orders the three surprised kids there to start skinning now, or else.

All he wants to do is sleep but hey, what do you know, on top of everything else there has been a Grounder sighting while he was gone and it's his turn for the night watch.

"You are the best big brother," Octavia says, squeezing him hard around the middle and wrinkling her nose when she realizes how wet he is. "Take the night off," she orders. "I can bully Hera into covering your shift—"

"No," Bellamy shakes his head, "I got this, O." Octavia looks at him skeptically, realizes that he's not in the best of moods, and mutters something about at least getting into drier clothes before leaving him to change.

Fucking Grounders, Bellamy thinks, toweling his head dry and putting on a clean tee. He grabs his rifle, using his former wet clothes as an umbrella, and stations himself in a semi-comfortable nook between the gate's wooden poles. The others on watch seem to sense his black mood and keep their distance. They don't even wake him up when, against his better judgment, he falls asleep.

 

--

 

Overnight, the hailstorm leaves crystallized icicles that catch the rays of the late-morning sun and make everything twinkle. Octavia, now officially seventeen, goes around after breakfast to remind people to attend the lunchtime meeting. Her shoes crunch, crackle, and tinkle on wafer-thin ice crystals as she practically dances around camp in a whirl of braids and furs.

Her high spirits seem to affect everyone except Bellamy, who in contrast wakes up late and in a foul mood, glaring at anyone who has the gall to speak to him.

After lunch everyone huddles together outside the drop ship as Clarke commences the meeting: bear traps, and the decision on whether or not to a) make them, and b) put them outside the gates for snow bears and unsuspecting Grounders.

Clarke, as predicted, is against the idea. "They'll be hard to see if we're walking back at night, or if we're being chased, which runs a greater risk of us injuring ourselves," is her statement.

"But, as long as we keep sharp eyes, the traps will give us food—not just bears—and excellent defense from the Grounders," Bellamy counters.

"Lucky for us they genetically fixed myopia ages ago," some clown remarks, which sends a rumble of laughter weaving through the crowd.

Most are in favor of the traps. Others join the discussion, though it mainly consists of Bellamy convincing the few who are iffy about the decision. Clarke sits back, defeated but not too disappointed. She admits the traps could work, if made and used right. She's thinking about bringing up the issue of extra metal when someone to her left utters a soft "uh-oh."

Clarke feels a dip in her gut, for an uh-oh—even a little one, is never good.

Questioningly, she turns her head to Octavia, who is biting her lip and looking at her brother with a worried expression. "Octavia? What's wrong?"

Octavia looks pained. "He has to sneeze."

Clarke blinks. "What?"

Octavia only shakes her head at Clarke with a cocktail of amusement and secondhand embarrassment that only comes from watching someone you love make a complete ass of himself. Clarke looks at Bellamy, who is in the middle of explaining the mechanisms of the bear traps. She doesn't see anything wrong; only that Bellamy appears to be in a worse mood than usual. But that is not out of the ordinary, per say. Lots of things tend to piss Bellamy off.

"Octavia, I don't see—"but then Bellamy crinkles his nose after a sentence, pausing to run a hand under it, and what do you know, Octavia may be right. Bellamy begins to talk faster. He keeps a finger bent under his nose, knuckles white.

Granted, worse things than sneezing during a camp meeting have happened, but sneezing after (or during) a speech certainly has the effect of denouncing the credibility of what you've just said. Clarke stares at Bellamy, who's gotten…twitchier. She notices that his eyes have begun to water. He's got seconds left, if that, but it doesn't look good.

"Alright everyone," Octavia says suddenly, standing up and clapping her hands together. "Traps, great, yes, but I think we're forgetting our Christmas party tonight! Woo! Who's ready for some bear meat and moonshine?"

The cheer that goes up is exactly what Bellamy needs to turn away and sneeze violently without being noticed or heard. Clarke almost feels sorry for him, but then again he'd been the one who had insisted on going out bear hunting in a thunderstorm. She snorts. You don't get anything out of that but the sniffles.

 

--

 

The Christmas-birthday party is a huge success, even more so than the Unity Day party. Strong, crackling flames and Monty's still—a particularly potent batch this time—make the icy evening bearable. Some of the kids put together drums out of buckets and leather and compose ridiculous songs, while others dance, kiss, or throw caution to the wind and decide now's the time to play with sharp objects. The more sober watch with amusement and bandages ready.

Clarke soon tires of drunken teens throwing darts and slips away for some air around midnight. She closes her eyes and listens to the night, the sound of evergreen leaves hissing in the breeze more comforting than, say, the voices of two arguing people behind the artillery shed.

Clarke opens her eyes. She knows eavesdropping is impolite, eavesdropping is bad, eavesdropping got her put in solitary. But when she gets close enough to recognize the voices of Octavia and Bellamy, she can't help but listen in.

"Did you really think I wouldn't notice?" Bellamy is saying, and he sounds angrier than Clarke has heard him in a long while. The question is punctuated by a rough sigh. "When?"

"Bel, it doesn't—"

"When."

Clarke hears Octavia give a sigh of her own. "Yesterday, alright?"

"O, you know what I said about seeing him."

"Why? Are you afraid he's going to make me another pretty necklace? Maybe next time he'll make me a matching bracelet. Ugh, God forbid." Clarke almost smiles at the Blake sarcasm. It seems to run in the family.

"You know why," comes the reply. "If his people catch you two, then…"a hitching inhale replaces the rest of his sentence, followed by a firecracker-explosive sneeze. Clarke starts a little from her spot on the other side of the shed because shit, that was loud. Afterwards, she hears Bellamy sniff and snarl a soft curse.

"…Are you sick?" Octavia asks, some of the ire leaving her voice.

"I'll be fine."

"You only sneeze like that when you're coming down with something, Bel. Don't think I didn't notice this morning."

"You know," he snaps, his voice getting louder, "maybe it was because I was out killing your goddamned snow bear for hours in the fucking rain yesterday since you wanted to eat special food and get special necklaces from murdering Grounders!"

Cringing, Clarke makes a mental note to stay the hell away from Bellamy until he gets better.

"That's really not fair, and you know it," comes the quiet, but cold reply. Abruptly there is the sound of boots crunching on frozen dirt and Clarke ducks behind a pile of firewood logs to avoid being seen by Octavia as she makes an exit.

Although it is dark and she only catches a glimpse, Clarke has to admit the necklace is kind of pretty.

 

--

 

Most of the kids are too hung-over from the Christmas-birthday festivities to notice that Jacob, one of the guys on scouting duty, never made it back to his tent. It isn't until sundown that Clarke scrounges up a search party with torches to look for him, and it isn't until two am that they trudge back to camp empty-handed.

Jacob comes back of his own accord the following day with gashes on his chest, arm looking like a Reed Richards workout gone wrong, and half his teeth missing only to sputter out that the Grounders have sent him with a message. Immediately, several of the kids who are helping him into the drop ship jump back.

"What's the matter with you?" Clarke snaps at the kids.

"Last time the Grounders sent someone back with a 'message' we all got Ebola!" one of the teenagers exclaims, pointing a shaking finger at Jacob, who protests that he feels fine, sort of. "I don't care, I'm not touching him!"

Clarke does not even bother to remind them that they are now immune to the hemorrhagic fever, merely saying, "drop ship, now." She glares at them with a look that has the kids scrambling to get Jacob inside and cleaned up.

"I'm going to have to set the bone," Clarke warns the boy. Bellamy whips the curtains back to the drop ship just as Jacob starts hollering. He packs himself on a plastic bin, crosses his legs, and watches silently as Clarke splints the arm and blots the worst of the dried blood off the kid.

Eventually, he asks, "What do the Grounders want?" His voice is scratchy and hoarse and yeah, Clarke notices, but she has bigger problems to deal with now.

"They want us to stop hunting the snow bears," Jacob tells them through gritted teeth (or what's left of them). "If our answer's yes we have to send up a flare at dawn tomorrow. If not—ow!" he hisses as Clarke pokes a stitching needle in his chest.

"Sorry. If not, then what?"

"If not, they said they'll make sure we never hunt again," the kid says. Clarke and Bellamy share a look.

"What's that supposed to mean?" The kid only shakes his head, too exhausted to say much else, and Clarke strokes his hair reassuringly.

"You never should have gone out the other day," she says to Bellamy, once Jacob has fallen asleep.

Bellamy sniffs. "Hey, I didn't know the Grounders were keeping tabs," he says. "They must have seen us come back with the kill."

"Yeah, and now thanks to that we're probably going to be under attack soon."

"And here I thought you'd agree to the flare," Bellamy replies, smirking.

"The only reason the snow bears are endangered is because the Grounders have been eating them too, and it looks like they don't want to share," Clarke says, snipping some excess stitching wire from the wound she just closed.

Bellamy eases himself off the bin, asking, "So what, do we…" his eyes widen with the onset of an idea. "Set traps."

"Bear traps?"

"We'll make a bunch, set them around the camp under the snow, and hope the Grounders step on them."

Clarke nods. "Fair enough. Get people to molt down metal—anything, buckles, basins," she orders. "And Bellamy?"

He's halfway out the door but pauses, pulling back the grimy red and gray curtains to meet her eye.

"Get some rest," Clarke says, frowning, because he's a little too pale and she doesn't think she can deal with this all on her own just yet.

They don't send up a flare the next morning.

 

--

 

Bellamy doubles the guard at the gates, sending anyone who isn't working to making bear traps for the Grounders. It takes them another two days. The fact that they have not seen a single Grounder in that time worries Clarke more than she lets on. But with difficulty, a few cuts, and several burns, they manage to melt down enough steel and pewter for fifteen bear traps. Each one weighs about ten pounds, complete with sharp steel jaws and a circular trigger mechanism in the middle. Death on a chain.

On the second day it snows; light, airy flakes. Perfect for covering traps. Bellamy, Clarke, Jasper, and Finn set out when the sun rises high to hide them in the frozen leaves. One would have to be thick to notice that Bellamy's not looking or sounding too great, but he snaps at Finn and Jasper to go cover more ground before either one of them can commit the blasphemy of commenting on it.

He glares at their backs as they leave and realizes that he's one person short. "Clarke?"

"Right here," Clarke calls, several paces away. She's trying to lift part of a fallen tree to hide a trap, but the tree is far too large for her and she looks ridiculous. "Bellamy, can you help me move this?"

Wordlessly, Bellamy walks over and lifts the branch. "Thanks," Clarke breathes, standing and dusting herself off. "You know," she says, trying to sound casual, "we could probably get these set up faster if we'd brought more people. Octavia knows most of the Grounders' paths leading from camp." Bellamy's jawline tightens.

"What?" Clarke asks, though she already knows.

"I don't think it's a good idea for my sister to be leaving camp for a while," Bellamy replies. He turns away from her to run a sleeve under his nose, which is running.

"Why not? She's seventeen now." Clarke pulls another trap out of her bag. "And like it or not? Lincoln's taught us a lot about living here."

"We would've figured things out without him."

"Maybe," she admits, "but maybe we'd also be dead." Having set the trap, she turns from her crouching position to face him. "Look, Lincoln obviously cares about your sister, and he's been useful."

"Yeah, pretty necklaces and all," Bellamy mutters with a humorless chuckle, which is probably a mistake on his part, because it turns into a cough. Several coughs. Clarke rises, alarmed, as Bellamy bends over double with deep, phlegmy barks that sound severely painful. By the end his eyes are streaming. "Fuck," he mutters.

"Bellamy," Clarke says, eyes narrowed. "How long have you had that cough?"

Bellamy looks at her long and hard for a minute, still catching his breath, before he answers. "A few days."

Clarke is looking madder by the minute. "And you didn't tell me why?"

Bellamy snorts. "In case you haven't noticed we've been a bit busy, Princess." His voice sounds like tractor wheels over gravel and joy, he feels a sneeze playing at his sinuses. This day just keeps getting better and better.

"Bellamy—"

"H-KXT!" He's pinched his nose closed over a forcefully stifled sneeze. Clarke winces. She opens her mouth to say something, but it's then that Jasper calls out to them.

"Clarke! Bellamy!"

Clarke does a quick scan of Bellamy's face, taking in the freckles that stand out a little too well against his current color, which reminds her of old bone, and finally meeting his red-rimmed eyes. "We're talking about this later," she tells him. "Let's go."

They pass a clearing of trees to see Jasper pointing at something wet and pinkish-red on the ground. "What is it?" Clarke asks.

Finn sighs. "It looks like meat," he answers.

Bellamy scowls. "Meat?"

"We found about four of these on the main trail," says Jasper. Bellamy and Clarke glance at each other uneasily.

Finn holds up the meat, which looks like it might have been a rabbit at one point. "Clarke. They were placed," he says, slowly. "It's a trail."

"A trail for what?" Bellamy asks.

"I don't know, but it leads back to camp."

"So we can assume the Grounders are going lead some sort of animal here to attack us."

"Or animals," Jasper adds. Clarke looks at him. "It was," he swallows, "a lot of meat."

Bellamy clears his throat. Painfully. "We need to get rid of this trail now," he says.

"What are we going to do with the meat?" Clarke asks, folding her arms. "Whatever is coming for us can probably smell this miles away."

"Lead it to the river, away from the camp," Finn suggests. "Here—"he fiddles with his side strap, dislodging his rifle. "You guys take this and go on ahead. Jasper and I will stop to get more guns."

"Good. Set the traps closer to the walls," Clarke orders, taking the rifle. "And while we're at the river I can get more seaweed."

"Medicine?" Finn frowns, hand coming up to brush a fallen lock of hair out of his face. "Do you think these animals will get past the gates?"

Clarke's mouth tightens at the corners. "I don't know, Finn," she says. Her gaze falls on Bellamy, who has already gone ahead on the path. "But what I do know is that some people are idiots."

 

--

 

"Clarke. Clarke, stop."

Clarke whirls around, still jogging. "We can't Bellamy, I—"she skids to a halt. Bellamy's leaning against a tree, actually wheezing. It sounds wet and congested. Guilt and frustration line his face and etch themselves into the corners of his eyes.

Clarke at least has the decency to look apologetic. "We need to keep moving, Bellamy."

"Yeah, running? Not really happening right now." He coughs once. "I can barely fucking breathe," he grinds out.

Clarke's nostrils flare. "And whose fault is that?" she asks. "You should have told me you weren't up for this before we left. If you need to rest I'll go on ahead and do this myself."

Bellamy pushes himself away from the tree with effort and shakes his head. "You're walking alone in a forest carrying a giant pile of meat, Clarke," he says. "If the Grounders' pets don't attack you first, something else will. I'm not leaving you alone."

"Fine. Come on." She gestures with what looks like roughly three quarters of a squirrel to the camp. "Maybe next time you'll think about our people the next time you decide not to take care of yourself." And with that, she storms off in a crunch of boots on snow.

Bellamy stares after her, trying to figure out exactly why she's so mad.

 

--

 

After successfully leading a trail of raw, pungent meat to the river (and washing their hands profusely afterwards), they make their way back to camp with caution. Bellamy is coughing steadily but quietly behind a hand, careful to stay off the trail and in the safety of the snow-dusted bushes.

Though it hurts, he swallows. The air is too heavy, too quiet, somehow, and he doesn't like it. Whatever the Grounders are sending after them will soon be coming their way, and he isn't betting it'll be a herd of deer.

They come within ambsace of getting back without a problem. They come so close. Alas, since Murphy's Law tends to rear its ugly, ugly head at any opportunity, they are mere paces from the wall when the ground begins to tremble. Bellamy grabs Clarke and pulls her into the underbrush, not a moment too soon.

A shadowy mass of something large and black runs by, and Clarke hisses between her teeth. "Cougars."

"Fucking-A. How many can you see?"

Clarke bites her lip and clutches her rifle.

Bellamy places a warning finger to his lips as the cougars growl and gobble up the meat on the trail. As a precaution, he evens out his breathing and places a cupped hand over his nose in case the urge to sneeze strikes him. Thankfully, it doesn't.

Clarke clenches her fist in triumph as they hear the snap and yowl of a cougar getting caught in one of their bear traps. Another metallic snap a few yards away gets the message across, and the cougars bolt for the river. Bellamy and Clarke wait in the bushes after they've gone until the forest becomes still again. Their breaths come in a pair of white plumes and wet snow seeps into the seats of their pants.

Finally, they crawl out into the open. Clarke breathes a sigh of relief. Bellamy braces himself with his hands on his knees and hacks.

Clarke locks the safety on Finn's rifle with a click and glances over at him. "You sound terrible," she snaps.

Bellamy, winded, tries for a smirk and ends up with something more like a grimace. "Didn't know you cared," he says.

"Of course I care," Clarke replies, sounding exasperated, "and no, not just because you're not expendable. When we get back—"she pats her bag, which is full of medicinal seaweed from the river, "I'm making you the strongest, most foul-tasting antibiotic ever and am going to watch as you drink every last drop."

Bellamy opens his mouth, possibly to make a jibe about the how the Blakes aren't the only stubborn ones on the ground, but before he can Clarke stiffens and points behind him.

"Bellamy, look out!"

He whips his head around to see a cougar—an extremely fat one, by cougar standards—slinking toward him, tail low and ears flat. Predatory. Clarke's shout is enough to launch the cougar into a pounce, tackling Bellamy.

For the love of the Chancellor, he doesn't fucking need something else on his chest when he's having enough problems with it as it is. Bellamy struggles to throw the cougar off while behind him, Clarke's scrambling to unlock the safety on her gun. Her fingers fumble, slow and imprecise in the cold; she accidentally opens the clip instead and out fall the bullets into the snow like lost lifelines.

"Really, Princess?" Bellamy grunts, trying to throw the cougar off. He gets a leg and an arm free, but the cat immediately jumps back in for another go, fangs yellow-white and gleaming and he's really not up for this today.

Clarke digs around in the snow until she finds two bullets. "Hold on, Bellamy!"

"Trying!"

After what seems like an hour Clarke manages to reload. Her lips pull back from her teeth as she takes perfect aim and fires (which, considering how they're moving about, is pretty fucking impressive). The shot hits the cougar in the neck, narrowly missing Bellamy's arm, and the cat twitches once before slumping down into the snow.

Bellamy heaves the cougar off, coughing. There is a long scratch down one cheek and his jacket is torn in several places. He looks at the dead cougar, gulping sweet winter forest air.

"This is why I'm a dog person," he pants, eyes on the cat as if to make sure it is truly dead.

 

--

 

"I don't think siccing a pack of hungry cougars on us is going to improve our relationship," Octavia remarks, munching on a slab of meat and some pine nuts.

Bellamy looks up from the map he is reading from his sleeping bag, brow drawn together.

"With the Grounders, I mean." Octavia notices her brother's eyes fall in a quick glance to her chest. "No, I'm not wearing the necklace," she sighs. "Happy now?"

Bellamy smiles. "You can wear it, O. I don't mind," he says, voice little more than a rasp.

"What did I say about talking, Bellamy?" Clarke calls from the other side of the drop ship, where she is giving Jacob his final bandages. The kid's arm will be in a sling for a month but he looks relieved at being able to leave the ship-turned-med-bay.

Octavia grins. "Uh-oh, looks like Clarke is still mad at you. You are officially grounded, big brother." Bellamy raises an eyebrow.

"Hey, I'm not the one who gave myself bronchitis and caused more work for her," Octavia says, shrugging. "Just be thankful that red shit she made for you works."

"Speaking of that red shit, I have some more," Clarke says, kneeling down by Bellamy's sleeping bag with a cup of boiled seaweed. "Merry Christmas. Drink," she orders. Bellamy grimaces, but takes the cup and sips methodically, expression stormy.

Octavia watches her brother drink with no little amount of amusement. She brushes her hair away from her shoulder and tilts her head towards Clarke. "So I guess this means no snow bears for a while, right?" Bellamy snorts, despite himself.

"It's gonna be a long winter," Octavia says, reading her brother's thoughts.

Clarke smiles and nods for Bellamy to keep drinking. Bellamy looks like he would rather wrestle another cougar. Clarke's smile widens.

"Oh, I think we can come up with other ways of boosting morale," she says.

 

End.