Too much love will kill you,
If you can’t make up your mind.
Torn between the lover,
And the love you leave behind.
Bellamy is exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Less than two weeks back on the ground and the peace and quiet of the past six years already seem like a long-forgotten dream.
Blodreina resides where he hoped to find his sister. Eden is taken by a group of dangerous criminals who are not exactly willing to share. People he once knew are like complete strangers he just can't figure out.
Clarke is alive.
Clarke. This one might be giving him the biggest headaches of them all. Because his relationship with Octavia was already strained when they parted six years ago. He might have hoped and imagined that they could start anew, build a healthier relationship between two adults rather than a reckless 23-year-old and his teenage sister, but deep down, he also feared that all of this was just pipe dreams. That his relationship with Octavia might be hard, if not impossible to fix.
But Clarke? They were each other's best friends and closest partners. Their connection was what once gave him strength and kept him going. They understood each other without words.
She is so familiar, yet so different. So close, yet so far away.
When he first found her, it all seemed so easy. They seemed to have fallen right back into their old dynamic, working together, saving people together. He felt like he'd just recovered a limb that he'd had to live way too long without. He felt like his heart was whole again. He felt at home.
But then the rest of them arrived and suddenly, everything feels wrong.
Clarke is now focused on Madi. He is focused on his space family. On Echo.
And he and Clarke don't seem to fit together anymore, even though a few days ago, it was quite the opposite.
And it's driving Bellamy INSANE. He wants so desperately to fix it, but he has no idea where to start. What to say.
What do you say to a girl that you left behind to burn to ashes six years prior? What do you say to a woman you were ready to give up your life for, but ended up doing the opposite? What do you say to someone who spent years living with just one young child as a companion while you were building your new life somewhere far away?
What do you say?
These thoughts are still occupying his mind as he enters his and Echo's tent. She's sitting on their cot with a pensive look on her face. At first, she doesn't even seem to notice him enter, so he takes a moment to simply appreciate that she's here. That she's completed her mission for Octavia and made it back to him.
All of them have.
But, having all of his family next to him and relatively safe, makes him that much more fixated on Clarke, as for the moment, he doesn't have to worry about the rest of them.
He thinks Echo might have noticed.
He's made sure of that when she opens her mouth to speak.
"So--", she starts. "I've been back a couple of days now and I've had some time to... think. And to just observe things"
"Oh yeah?", he asks, taking his jacket off. "You mean, observe Octavia?"
She still has that bizarre look on her face. He doesn't think he's ever seen her like this.
"Not exactly", she answers. Somehow, he feels like she's being cautious.
"Then what?", he asks, as he sits down to take his boots off.
"I want to ask you something, and I need you to tell me the truth"
It sounds serious enough that he stops undressing and just looks at her.
Echo takes a deep breath, as if bracing herself, before she drops the question that changes everything.
“Would we still have gotten together, had she been up there with us?”
There it is.
It makes his entire body tense.
It rings through his mind, instantly causing a storm inside of it. He feels like there is a dam for his long forgotten feelings in there, ready to break if he dares to think about it too much. If he dares to actually reply to that question. If he dares to be true to himself.
He doesn't have to ask who "she" is.
"She" has been on his mind ever since he laid eyes on her for the first time after six years.
He just didn't realize that she's also been on Echo's.
It’s a simple question, really. Yes or no, right? Except, it’s never been simple with Clarke or the extremely complicated feelings he used to have for her. And if he’s true to himself, he knows that it’s a question that occupied his mind for a long time on the Ring.
He tries to push those thoughts back, though. They’re not fair to Echo. They shouldn’t matter now, not so many years later. Nothing is going to change the past anyway.
“Why does it matter?”, he asks, avoiding a direct answer. “We did get together. We are together.”
He’s not sure if he’s trying to reassure her, or himself.
“It matters”, she says. And he knows she’s right.
“Echo --”, he tries, reaching for her, but she shakes him off and stands. He does the same. He can see determination in her eyes. She’s braced herself for this conversation. She wants the truth, no matter how much it could hurt her. No matter what it would mean for their relationship.
He knows she’s going to get that answer out of him eventually. She’s stubborn like that.
“Would we have gotten together, Bellamy?”, she repeats, looking straight into his eyes, ready to read the truth there if he decided to lie to her.
He averts his gaze, looking down at his hands. He can’t bear to look at her when he answers, truthfully.
“I don’t know.”
Because he doesn’t know, does he? What he knows is that six years ago, he loved Clarke with every fiber of his being. He would’ve gone to the end of the world for her. He knows that he would’ve thrown himself at her feet and done anything for her. Everything. He knows he would’ve kept loving her until the end of his days, if she’d have had him.
The question is, would she have? Could she ever have loved him the way he loved her?
He’s not so sure about that. She never really gave him any reasons to believe so. And if Clarke had rejected him, would he have gotten together with Echo, knowing that the woman he truly loved would never be his anyway? Would he have settled for her?
He looks up at his girlfriend again, and the way she’s looking back at him breaks his heart. None of this is fair to her. She deserves better than this.
“I’m sorry”, he says, his voice breaking slightly. “You wanted the truth”
“I did. Thank you”.
She looks completely resigned and he feels like he should remind her that all of that is in the past now.
“But it doesn’t have to matter”, he says. “We’re together. We’re a family now.”
There’s a dim flicker in her eyes for just a moment, before she says:
“Yes, we are. But I also still remember what you said to me back then”
He instantly knows what she’s referring to and the memory feels like a punch to the gut. Shame and guilt wash over him. He hoped he would never have to dwell on that conversation again. Apparently, he’s not so lucky.
“That’s not fair”, he protests, but it sounds weak. “I didn’t know you then. I was grieving and angry at the world and –”
“I know”, she cuts him off. “But you still said it. And no matter how hard I worked to forget it, it all came flooding back when we found out she survived”.
Six years ago
Bellamy was standing at his usual spot by the window, looking down at the Earth below. It had been a week since Praimfaya, and the world was still on fire.
So was his soul.
One week since he’d left Clarke behind to die.
One week of living with a half of him missing.
He wondered whether the hollowness that he felt in his heart would ever be filled. Would he always feel this empty? Would this numbness ever go away?
He gave it everything he had to keep going. To make sure they survived and her death wasn’t in vain. He wanted more than anything to make her proud of them. So, he kept pushing his pain down and forced himself to focus on the six other people stuck up there on the Ring with him.
But every now and then, he had to take a moment to let himself feel. All the emotions he’d had for her when they’d been on the ground, but never dared to vocalize. All the emotions he was feeling now, but kept in check for the sake of the others.
Every now and then, he just needed a moment to mourn the woman who took hold on his heart and didn’t let go, even after she’d burnt in the flames of Praimfaya.
“I miss you”, he whispered to the Earth below, to her ghost that was hopefully at peace now. That thought at least provided him with a little comfort. Wherever she was, she didn’t have to fight anymore.
A sound of heavy boots behind him made him collect himself a little. He didn’t turn around, wasn’t really interested in who it was or what they had to say. He wished they would just let him have this moment and leave him be.
“Hey”, he heard Echo say behind him.
Probably the last person he wanted to see right now.
“What do you want?”, he asked, harsh.
“Raven thought someone should check on you”
He snorted. “And they thought sending you was a good idea?”
He turned his head to look at her now. She looked poised and detached from any emotion, like she always had, but for a moment he thought something like hurt flashed in her eyes. He didn’t care.
“I –“, she started and it surprised him to hear how uncertain she sounded. “The others are busy. I just wanted to be of any use”
He snorted again. God, being a jerk felt good. He kind of hated himself for it, but also couldn’t get himself to stop.
“Trust me, I have no use of you right now”, he said and turned from her, once again looking at the burning Earth beneath him.
“I just –“, she didn’t give up. Why wouldn’t she just leave him alone? “Are you okay?”
What a stupid question.
“Well, I’m not the one who burned to ashes in Praimfaya to save us a week ago, so sure, I’m dandy”
“What do you want me to say, Echo?”, he asked, turning fully in her direction this time. He just needed this conversation to be over with. “No, I’m not okay. I’m as far from it as possible. But what can you do about it? You’re going to bring her back? Make me stop feeling like I failed her? Go back in time and make sure I’m the one who goes to the tower instead of her?”
He shook his head as if trying to make all those thoughts go away. His voice was breaking, tears started threatening to spill from his eyes. And Echo witnessing his breakdown was the last thing he needed.
“I just thought we could help each other”, she said and this time, she sounded more sure of herself. As if seeing him broken and vulnerable made her feel stronger. He hated it.
“I lost someone too, you know”, she continued. “Roan. So, I know how you feel”
“I seriously doubt it”, he spat.
How could she know that? The woman didn’t seem capable of love. She didn’t seem capable of any real emotion at all.
“Right”, she said. She gave him a short nod and turned around to leave. He turned to the window again.
“It should’ve been you”, he said before he could stop himself. “Why did you of all people get to come up here and live, while she had to stay down there to die? How is that fair?”
He was being cruel and unreasonable, he knew that. Clarke’s death wasn’t Echo’s fault. But he hated the unfairness of the world so much in that moment. What kind of a twisted universe had a person like Clarke Griffin forced to sacrifice herself while the likes of Echo got to be saved?
“It should’ve been you”, he repeated, quietly, but he was sure she heard him. He wanted her to. He didn’t think he could ever forgive her or trust her again and he would probably hold a grudge against her for surviving over Clarke forever.
It wasn’t fair to her, but he’d learned a long time ago that the world was not a fair place. Not even close.
“Echo, I’m sorry, I apologized to you for that many times”, he says, extremely tired. “I didn’t mean it”
The look on her face is unreadable. He knows she’s probably been over that conversation in her mind many times.
“No, I think you did”, she says. “Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Six years ago, you would’ve traded me for her in a heartbeat. And I mean, I can’t exactly blame you for that, but it does throw a shade at who we are to each other. Especially now that we know she survived”.
He wants to protest, but he can’t. She’s right. Six years ago, he would’ve given anything to have Clarke survive instead of Echo. And that’s a really sucky way to feel about your girlfriend.
Echo takes a few steps in his direction, so their bodies are almost touching now. He can feel heat radiating off her, a different kind of heat than the one he’s used to. Like a battery that’s been working for too long, overheating itself but still trying to function regardless.
“I’ve always been a second choice to you. And I was okay with that as long as your first choice was gone and never coming back. But she did come back. And I can’t be second to someone who’s alive and breathing and looking at you the way she does”
Bellamy wants to tell her that she’s not a second choice, that he’s with her because he loves her and not because it was convenient on the Ring, but her last words catch his attention and do something funny to his heart.
“Clarke… she…”, he blurts out. “She doesn’t look at me like that”
She never did, right? He was always just a friend to her?
Echo gives him a small smile and shakes her head, no doubt a reaction to what she thinks is his naivety.
“I’m a spy, Bellamy”, she says. “I see things”
She’s so sure of it, it feels like another punch to the heart. Here he is, so torn between these two women, the long-lost love he suddenly got back and the current lover, who is now basically telling him that the other might actually feel about him the way he used to feel about her.
Used to feel or feels?
God, it’s such a mess.
“I always knew we would never be together in a world where she’s alive”, Echo continues meanwhile. “I just didn’t think we’d actually live in that world again. But here we are”
“Echo, I—”, he tries. But he really doesn’t have anything reassuring to offer. “I don’t know what to say to you”
“You don’t have to say anything. It’s simple, really. I can’t be with you when she’s around”
She’s ending it, he thinks. And he hates himself for not being more heartbroken about it. For not being able to assure her that she’s wrong. For not being sure if he wants to be with her anymore, either.
“It’s my choice, so you don’t have to feel bad about it”, she says, and by the way her voices trembles, just a little, he knows that she’s overcome with emotion but too proud to let it show.
He takes her hands in his.
“We’re still family”, he says, wanting desperately to say something, anything that will make her feel better. “We will always be family, no matter what”
She seems to be considering it for a moment.
“I really do hope so, Bellamy”, she says and lays a gentle kiss on his cheek.
And suddenly, he’s reminded of another kiss, and another goodbye. A lifetime ago.
Echo lingers for just a short moment, looking deeply into his eyes one last time, as if that look could tell him every emotion that she’s feeling but doesn’t want to vocalize.
Then she turns around and leaves.
And Bellamy is left standing there, suddenly feeling like he’s been living a lie for years and now finally the truth’s decided to rebel against him.
His head clings to the lie. His heart applauds the truth.