Disclaimer: I don't own The 100.
Set after Contents Under Pressure. Undetermined amount of time later, before next episode. Probably not in line with the series at all. Read. Enjoy. Comment. Fanfic writers get paid in reviews.
"Regretting saving his life, Princess?"
That voice. As much as I hated to admit it, I knew exactly who it belonged to without turning around. How could I not? Ever since we came to Earth, that voice had been the guiding light of over ninety people under the age of eighteen. It was the dissenter, the revolutionary, and then the unifier. It was the voice that teased, taunted, and derided. Sometimes it went soft and affectionate, but those times were so few and far between they might as well have never happened. I didn't hate that voice, but neither did I look forward to hearing it. I knew from painful experience that hating someone took up too much precious energy. Here on Earth, every scrap of energy I could gather needed to be geared toward survival—mine or someone else's.
So I didn't need to look in Bellamy's direction to know it was him; I turned because part of me didn't want to give him my back for long. Call it the human instinct that was never truly bred out of mankind. Nobody ignored someone as dangerous as Bellamy Blake.
I wished I could say I knew for sure that he wouldn't kill me. I couldn't because I didn't. We weren't friends. We were tentative allies. Our situation turned on a dime here. There was a real possibility that one day things would take a turn for the worse, and Bellamy would decide it was in his best interest to get rid of me.
Or worse...that I would come to the same conclusion.
He leaned against the tree in that lazy way of his, like this whole forest belonged to him. I guess it did in a way. For a ragtag society that could do whatever it wanted, people naturally gravitated towards Bellamy Blake's leadership.
The night was cold, but he didn't have his jacket on. Did he follow me out here? How long was he standing there? "Which him?" I asked cautiously. "There's a dozen patients a day here."
"You know exactly who I'm talking about." Brown eyes shifted to the drop ship.
Or maybe it was the main part of camp, where all the tents were. People were settling in for the night. The drone of chatter and the occasional laugh punctured the darkness. Even with Grounders and the multitude of problems that faced us every day, at night it almost felt like things were normal. Peaceful. Add in the hum of machinery and it would almost be like the Ark again.
Except I didn't miss the Ark. I missed the illusion I used to have there, but I didn't miss the cramped space and artifical air or harsh lighting. I didn't miss the metallic clanking of my feet on layers of machinery. I liked the hard but forgiving ground and the smells. God, the smells of Earth after the rain was something I could never have accurately imagined. There was no one left alive on the Ark that could even describe it.
I swallowed and shook my head. "I'm not doing this with you."
"Why not? Because it might be true?"
"Because I just don't see the point of it. We both know it's none of your business. There's no reason for you to even take an interest, unless you're bored. Can't see how that could be an issue between Grounders and finding food. That must mean you're looking for a fight, but if that's the case, Octavia's your girl."
He pushed away from the tree. "Guys like the Spacewalker get off on charm and a few slick moves. I just wondered how you could fall for that."
My chest squeezed. "He's not a bad person at heart. Even if you're right. Chalk it up to circumstances." I didn't know why I was even discussing this. Bellamy was not my friend. I didn't have any of those in camp.
That compressed feeling increased. I think it was loneliness.
"Yeah. Circumstances. Those can be a bitch." He came to stand beside me, but angled his body slightly to align chest to shoulder. I snuck a suspicious peek at him. What was that about?
Even if we weren't friends, I couldn't deny that there were moments here and there that Bellamy and I managed to hit on the same note. With everything we were going through, those instances of communion were critical, and that was when I understood him. Bellamy Blake was someone that made sense to me. Pretty rare thing for me lately.
But right then? I couldn't figure out his motive. That put me on edge.
"You didn't answer my question. Do you regret saving him?"
I shook my head, frowning. "Why would I?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Maybe I was just checking to make sure the one healer we've got hasn't suddenly turned sociopath."
Was that...a joke?
Okay, what surreal world did I just land in? "How did you know, anyway?"
He shrugged, taking a step or two to put himself right in front of me. "I'm observant. Comes from all those years of keeping tabs on patrols and hiding O." He looked down his blade of a nose at me. "Finn's too weak for you in any case. He's the kind of guy that needs to be needed. That's what Raven is for."
"Why are you suddenly shelling out dating advice?" I asked, growing irritated. And more than a little disturbed. This was so out of the ordinary I felt off kilter. Given that we were probably being watched by possibly homicidal Grounders and we didn't know half of the things that could kill us on this planet, that was saying something. What was Bellamy's game? Trying to win my trust?
"Just making conversation."
"That's weird," I told him bluntly. "Especially coming from you. What do you want?"
His mouth kicked up. There was a new purpose in his gaze, like a knowing, and I didn't know who or what it was directed at. Or why.
Those were dangerous questions to not have answered.
"The thing about strong girls, Princess, is that they need strong men."
He was leaning, I realized suddenly. The kind of leaning that brought him imperceptively closer to me, that curved his body just slightly over mine. That was the kind of thing guys did when they were interested.
What the hell?
Okay, this was definitely a game. Some sick and twisted play at either adding me to a harem number or getting me into his back pocket. That pissed me off. This was how he was going to do it? Really? I didn't kid myself with how much influence I had over the others. They would turn on me if I ever became less than useful. But I was the closest thing we had to a doctor, and that meant I was valuable. The others might let that sway them in certain decisions, but me and Bellamy together? He'd be the closest thing to a king we'd ever had.
I lifted my chin. "What do you want, Bellamy? Just say it."
"Funny choice of words." He didn't reach out. He didn't even move. But I felt touched, way down where I had no business feeling the affect of that low, raspy tone.
I turned on my heel, so done with this conversation. He was lucky I didn't try to clock him, except there wasn't a law saying he couldn't talk to me. There wasn't a law at all, as a matter of fact. Just a set of guidelines that were so loose they often weren't worth the air it took to repeat them. And really, he didn't do anything worth clocking him for. Just implying and trying to play me for a fool.
"You're not seeing the bigger picture," he called out after me.
I wheeled around. "Is this the part where you tell me that it would be smart to attach myself to the alpha male? Are you going to list all the reasons that would benefit me? Because I don't see it. That's not the way this works. I have agency and functioning reasoning skills, and none of them are pointing to you."
His smile faded, and his gaze sharpened. "You're reading this the wrong way." Then he shrugged again. "Fine. They may not be pointing at me now, but I've got time. Even better, I've got facts on my side." He dropped his arms and ambled toward me, unhurried. "This is a new world. I'm not going away. If I'm interested in you, the others are going to take notice. We both know no one in this camp is going to challenge me on it."
I watched him, wary. "They might surprise you."
"Maybe, but I can be tenacious." He moved over the uneven ground with a surety that never seemed to falter in him. At least, not in front of anyone else. I could have been the only person in camp alive to witness how he felt with Adam. Octavia probably saw all the different sides to Bellamy that existed, but nothing I'd glimpsed suggested he gave up easily.
That thought sent a shiver of something down my spine. Foreboding? Dread?
I couldn't deny he was handsome in a harsh way. Even in the firelight his symmetrical face and dark eyes were easy to see. It was the way he wore responsibility that really made him different though. That and his determination.
Suddenly he was turning some of that on me.
Dammit. I did not need this. "I'm not into games. There's too much to deal with already."
"You wouldn't pick any of them anyway," he remarked. He was already in front of me again. "You would have done it already if that were the case."
I clenched my hands in a rare display of frustration. "This conversation is so irrelevant to life that words are failing me." Did he not get it?
"I'll make it simple for you, Princess. You've got the right to say no, but it's not going to magically make me disappear. I'm going to be right here, in camp, under your nose. Nobody's going to gainsay me. In their eyes, you're as good as mine. And I'll be around when you figure that out for yourself."
I had this crystal clear picture in my head all of a sudden; working every day, carving out a life, talking to him, and having other people follow this crazy unwritten rule that nobody touched what belonged to Bellamy Blake. "That's not how this is going to go," I said. It wasn't. I would be damned if I allowed him to dictate my life like that.
"I'm just telling you what people will do. All they'll have to do is see how I look at you."
"Then stop. Stop looking at me."
"Circumstances," he said softly. If I didn't know better, I'd think he even had a little regret mixed up in there. "We're on a little island in an ocean of the unknown, Clarke. There's only so much we can do to change that."
He searched my face, looking for something I wasn't sure existed in me. "See you in the morning."
He walked away then, treading towards the camp without so much as glancing back.
I watched him go, my chest rising and falling like I'd been running for my life. I had no idea what just happened. Not really. A few words, some subtext that could have been totally different from what I heard. I just had a feeling that I wasn't wrong.
I looked at the camp, that place that Bellamy Blake ruled over, and suddenly I was less sure of the future than I had ever been.