Octavia sat with Lincoln on the camp walls watching her idiotic brother from where he was hammering metal scrap for Wick and Raven to use. She had already talked to Clarke about him and they both knew he wasn’t doing well.
After Mount Weather he hadn’t been sleeping and had developed a strange aversion to water. She knew because she had seen him flinch when Harper had accidentally spilt her drink onto his lap and when he ran inside when it started to rain.
She knew where it came from, Lincoln had told her what the mountain did to the people they caught. How they hosed them down and prepared them for their next layer of hell. Lincoln said it had been torture and she hated to think about her brother going through something like that alone or the fact that it could still be affecting him.
She didn’t know how she could help her brother with the water thing but she could definitely make him sleep.
She hopped down from the wall with a sigh and Lincoln gave her a nod as she walked towards Bellamy. She could see how tired he was, hammer missing the mark or his eyes falling closed every now and then. He turned around as she approached and gestured to the scrap metal.
“Hey, O. Raven has a new bomb she wants to try out and Wick has some grand scheme cooked up for a new process-“
“You’re taking a break Bellamy.”
Bellamy raised his chin in defiance, still holding the hammer.
“You’re tired, you need to rest and you’re doing it now before you accidentally hammer your own hand.”
Bellamy turned back to the scrap and raised the hammer to keep working.
“What I need is to finish straightening this out so Raven and Wick can use it.”
Octavia rolled her eyes at her brother’s stubbornness and hit his wrist sending the hammer crashing to the ground. When his hand came at her to push her backwards she pulled it up over his shoulder while she tripped his foot making him fall right on his back as she pinned him in the dirt.
“Lincoln taught you well I see. Ughhh get off, you’re heavier than you used to be O.”
She didn’t budge but they could both hear Lincoln chuckle from the wall.
“Are you gonna go to bed like I told you or am I going to have to drug your food? Oh wait I forgot, you don’t eat anymore do you.”
Bellamy’s resolve broke a little at Octavia’s words. He hadn’t meant to worry her, he didn’t even know how she had found out. He should have known she was watching out for him. He let a little of his fear show through his eyes to one of the only people he would show it to. He couldn’t sleep because when he did the nightmares came and he knew from the screams heard at night that others had them too.
“I can’t O, you know I can’t.”
“Bellamy you are going to go to your tent, eat something and then sleep-“
“And I will be right there with you.”
She looked him in the eye as she said it letting him know that she meant it. For as long as he slept she would be there to wake him from his dreams. They would slay their demons together.
He finally nodded and Octavia pulled him up from the ground finding Miller at her shoulder when she did.
“Hey, what happened?”
Octavia turned to the boy and simply said. “Nothing, Bellamy’s just gonna take a break for a bit.”
Miller nodded and picked up the dropped hammer. “Good idea. You deserve it man.”
Bellamy clapped a hand on his shoulder in thanks as the siblings made their way to Bellamy’s tent and Miller took over his job on the scrap metal.
They got to the tent and found a plate of food and a cup of water with a note sitting beside it.
“Eat and drink ALL OF IT.”
It was Clarke’s handwriting and Bellamy sighed. Of course she knew. It seemed like all of them did.
Octavia started fixing up his bed while he ate which actually made him feel a lot better. He hadn’t had an appetite recently since killing a whole bunch of mostly innocent people usually takes your mind off your food but he hadn’t realized just how much he had missed eating. He emptied the plate and cup before Octavia finished fussing with his bed and stashed them in the corner while not so discretely tucking the note under one his spare shirts.
It was kind of lame but it was the only proof he had that she cared even a little bit and he was keeping it to look at on the nights when “it’s worth the risk” rang in his head.
Octavia turned around and helped him strip his jacket before tugging his boots off.
It was a little funny the way the roles were reversed on them. He remembered easing his hand-me-down boots off Octavia’s feet and pulling her hair into braids before tucking her into bed. And now she was the one pushing him down and tucking his blankets over him.
He looked up at her in gratitude as she ran a hand through his hair.
“Get some sleep big brother you have a big day tomorrow.”
He hardly had time to think about what that really meant before her gentle tugs on his curls lulled him to sleep.
Octavia watched as her brother’s eyes slid shut and his breathing eased out and she sighed. He was too stubborn for his own good, he had passed that trait onto her but that didn’t make it right. Clarke had agreed when she told her about Bellamy’s lack of self-preservation and had planned something to help with his recent fear of water.
While she didn’t completely forgive Clarke for what she let happen in TonDC, she saw how the girl felt for Bellamy and she knew Bellamy felt the same. She trusted Clarke to do what was best for him and since she was one of the only other person that didn’t let her brother get away with anything, she had to let her.
Bellamy shifted in his sleep a little and Octavia resumed her hands movement through his hair until he settled. Sleep was something that always made Bellamy look as gentle and soft as he did on the Ark. Before all the horrible things they had endured. When he was asleep he looked like the big brother that gave her piggy-back rides and braided her hair when she whined, no matter how much he changed he would always be that ‘best big brother ever’ to her.
She rubbed her thumb along his forehead and he hummed and turned into it, smiling a little in his sleep. Octavia let out a smile despite herself, smiles were rare these days for both of them but she was so glad to be close to her brother again. She had really missed him.
Bellamy slept for almost twelve hours straight and Octavia slept a little too but stayed with him the whole time, keeping her promise. He hadn’t even woken when Clarke stopped by to check on the both of them, smiling with some food and a pillow for Octavia. The blonde had lingered a while, watching the sleeping soldier like she was drawing him in her mind which she probably was. Octavia had finally cleared her throat which startled Clarke out of her stupor and she left.
Bellamy did have a nightmare around the nine hour mark and Octavia had been going through trikru phrases in her head when her brother started mumbling. His breathing was quickening and he was grabbing at the blankets like they were holding him down. When he started crying out she slipped her knees under his head to hold him in her lap.
“Shh Bellamy it’s okay. Your safe, you’re here with me.”
He curled into her and wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his face in her stomach as if he were hiding. He gripped her so tight but began to calm down when she rubbed his back. She was just talking to him for a while. Reminding him of all the times they had played some made-up game on the Ark, hoping to give him something else to dream about.
When he finally woke he seemed more alert than he had in days. He rubbed his eyes and let out a gravelly groan.
“How long did I sleep?”
“About twelve hours, you really needed it.”
He sat up in his bed and grabbed his shoes, already pulling them on.
“You shouldn’t have let me sleep that long. I have work to do.”
Octavia shook her head looking amused. “Nope, your schedule is cleared. You’re going with Clarke today after breakfast.”
He stopped in his shoe tying and looked worriedly at his sister’s cheeky expression.
“Nuh uh I can’t ruin the surprise.” And with a laugh she left the tent.
Bellamy groaned but finished tying his shoes and ate all the breakfast left for him beside his pillow.
When he was ready he shifted the tent flap aside to find Clarke already waiting there for him.
“How’d you sleep soldier?” She was already geared up with a pack of supplies and a rifle slung on her shoulder. Bellamy decided the gun didn’t suit the kind hearted princess and he pulled the loop of the strap off her and slung it on his own back.
“Like a rock. Thanks for the food and may I ask where we’re going today my darling little sister wouldn’t tell me anything?”
Clarke huffed a laugh and shook her head.
“Can’t ruin the surprise but I can assure you it isn’t terrible.”
Bellamy narrowed his eyes at her choice of words.
“So it’s not terrible but that doesn’t mean it’s good.”
She winced and smiled apologetically at him.
“Just trust me okay?” The silent ‘Do you still trust me?’ was there in her eyes and Bellamy nodded.
“Yeah, okay.” Clarke nodded and readjusted her pack before leading him to the gate.
As Bellamy assumed, their little expedition was taking place outside the camp and Bellamy wasn’t afraid of leaving but that didn’t mean he liked it. Inside the walls were safe. Inside the walls meant being surrounded by people he could trust. Not like these trees that often hid enemies as well as their recent victims.
But Clarke was there and he had his rifle in his hands so he grit his teeth and kept going.
Clarke only pretended not to see his wary glances at the trees and longing looks towards the camp walls. She knew he was anxious and he had a right to be but she needed him as calm as possible for when they got to their destination so she made a big show of lazily stepping over logs and trailing her fingers through patches of flowers like nothing in the world could harm them.
The walk wasn’t too long but Bellamy had time to relax while striding along beside Clarke. She even got a laugh out of him when she accidentally slipped on a rock.
“You try keeping your balance with this pack on big guy.”
He chuckled but went to take her pack from her only making her shake her head and reassure him that “I can carry my own supplies Bellamy. I’m not as much of a princess as you think.”
He shook his head thoughtfully.
“I don’t think of you as much of a princess as I used to but the name still suits you. Would you rather be called Doc?”
She laughed again grabbing his hand when she stumbled on a root.
“No I think Princess is fine.”
She didn’t release his hand as they walked and Bellamy continued to help her over rocks and fallen branches but really he was grateful for the contact. He doubted she was really this clumsy, he’d seen her handle herself fine in the woods. I mean sure, she did this really cute ‘super high step’ thing to get over plants and rocks but she was okay out here.
While they walked they mostly just chatted about little things. Like how Monty and Jasper seemed to be slowly mending their friendship and how grown up everybody was now. Clarke talked a lot and seemed really excited but Bellamy knew she was only hiding how nervous she was. Where was she taking him?
He was getting nervous too when Clarke stopped in front of a very familiar curtain of branches.
“Bellamy I need you to keep calm okay? Everything’s alright and I will be here the whole time so just listen to my explanation before you freak out and-“
He pushed passed her to move the branches out of the way and immediately let out a growl.
“-don’t get mad.”
“What is this?” Clarke winced as he looked with disgust at the river that lay ahead of them.
“Look I know you probably don’t want to do this and I understand why. Lincoln told me about what happened when they caught you in Mount Weather-“
He flinched at the mention of the mountain.
“Then you can understand why I’m not doing this.”
Clarke moved forward slowly, grasping his hand and walking him forward a little.
He resisted her movements toward the water and pulled back on her hand.
“Bellamy I know you don’t like the water but that’s only because you associate it with what happened in Mount Weather. There is nothing wrong with the water, it’s the memory you attached to it that’s the problem.”
Bellamy resisted a little less in her tugging because what she was saying made a little bit of sense. He still wasn’t going on the water but maybe it would be okay to move towards it a few steps.
They were a few meters from the water’s edge when Bellamy stopped moving, eyeing the river nervously.
“Okay so what do I do about it then?”
Clarke gently let go of his hand and dropped her pack onto the shore along with her jacket. Moving carefully as to not scare him she slowly eased the rifle off Bellamy’s shoulder and onto the shore and started tugging his jacket off.
“We’re going to make a new memory that you can use. It’s alright to not feel okay and if it’s too much we’ll stop but I know how strong you are and I want you to try.”
His breathing was quickening now and he let out a small whine, still looking at the water.
“Try what? Clarke I don’t think I can-“
“Yes you can. I’ll be right here and we’ll go nice and slow got it?”
He finally looked at her and nodded. He wasn’t happy about it but this stupid aversion to water had to go.
She pulled his hands and walked with him till they were right up to the water. The boy was still pulling back on her hands but he reminded himself that he trusted her.
He knew it was ridiculous but he couldn’t deny the terror going through him as his feet neared the waves. Clarke started toeing her shoes off and he did the same trying to focus on the feeling of her hands entwined with his. He still shivered when his feet touched the wet ground.
Clarke started moving slowly into the river, walking backwards till she stood ankle deep in the water. She wasn’t too far but their arms were stretched between them as Bellamy stayed out of the slow lapping waves.
“Come on, Bell it’s okay. I’m fine see? And you’ll be okay too.”
The boy nodded fearfully and nudged forward till his toes dipped into the water.
He let out a sigh, it wasn’t so bad. He frowned concentrating, and walked a little further into the water to stand beside Clarke in the ankle deep waves.
He could see her toes wiggling in the pebbles in glee and wriggled his back. He looked up at Clarke and smiled pleased with himself even for this small victory.
It took a while but they finally made it waist deep. Bellamy was taking deliberately even breaths now as memories floated to him but the warmth of Clarke’s hands kept him grounded.
“Okay I did great we can go back now.”
Clarke nodded but had that crease between her eyebrows which meant he was going to get some bad news.
“You did do great. But there’s just one more bit you need to do okay?” She turned and looked at the water fall behind her. It wasn’t far and the sound brought back too many sharp memories at once.
Hoses, chains. He couldn’t do this.
“Clarke I can’t do this.” His words came out with a whimper and he pulled back on her hands again.
“Bellamy, yes you can. I’m right here it’s okay.”
He shook his head but followed her a little closer anyway. He wanted to be strong.
But when they water hitting the river sent splashes onto them he couldn’t go any further.
The memories were too sharp and it hurt. The chains on his neck. The cold then scalding water. Then the powder.
“The powder burns.”
Clarke stopped moving. “What?”
“The powder hurts, it won’t stop. I can’t get out. We should have gone through the other way Lincoln we should have gone the other way.”
He was breathing way too fast and Clarke took his face in her hands noting his darting, glazed over eyes.
“Bellamy! Take a deep breath it’s okay, I’m right here you’re safe. It’s just a little water.”
He seemed to focus a little more but Clarke had never seen him this scared.
“Yeah Bell it’s alright.”
She locked eyes with him as she pulled his hands around her waist. Her own hands went around him and her fingers weaved through his hair before tipping his head forward so his face was pressed to her neck.
She held him tightly and rubbed circles over his shoulder blades.
“We are going to walk into the water together and I won’t let go for as long as you want me to. Just keep breathing.”
Bellamy nuzzled into the warmth of her neck but he could still hear the crashing water.
They walked slowly to the shower of water coming down and Bellamy focussed on the feeling of his arms wrapped around her waist. The smell of her skin, and the warmth of her hands against his back. He was surrounded in her and before he knew it they were under the spray of the water.
It was hard and he was scared but Clarke said it would be okay. And he trusted her. She would keep him safe.
It didn’t bother him as much when she held him like that because Clarke wasn’t there the first time. The first time he was alone, and hurting but now she was with him and she wouldn’t let him go, she promised, not till he was ready.
After a while he peeked his head out from under her chin and found that the water felt nice trailing down his neck.
He stood straight and looked at Clarke. She was smiling at him and he couldn’t help but smile back.
“You wanna make a new memory now Bellamy?”
He wasn’t sure what she was talking about but he nodded anyway.
His hands were still around her waist and his hands soon met the skin of her hips as she pulled her shirt off. He watched her as she calmly took the garment off and lay it on a rock nearby.
He was still watching her as she start pulling his off, placing it on the rock beside hers.
“Now what do you think about this water?”
She said it with a cheeky smile because she knew exactly what he was thinking. He trailed a hand down the side of her face and smoothed back a few strands of her hair that were plastered to her cheek.
She took that as a good sign and leant up to press a kiss to his wet lips closing her eyes as he returned it.
The kiss was sweet yet passionate as they had both been waiting a long time for this moment.
The water didn’t bother Bellamy at all now as they stood under the water fall together.
They stayed in the water for a long time, taking the chance to wash up and relax. They floated in the water and held hands so they wouldn’t drift too far from each other and Clarke laughed when Bellamy told her that’s what sea otters did.
When afternoon came and they had dried enough on the shore they started to make their way back.
Octavia was waiting for them when they got back and Clarke only nodded happily at her before they went for dinner. Octavia nudged Lincoln with pride when she saw her brother only smile when a drink was spilled in his lap. (not an accident this time though Miller did seem surprised when Octavia asked him to do it)
Lincoln only nudged her back and nodded towards her brother as he tried to hide his and Clarkes entwined hands under the table. It seemed the day had gone better than expected and the grounder was proud of her big brother.