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Dreaming at the End of the World

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Cabin fever was a bitch. 

 

It had only been 24 hours, but Bellamy was sick and tired of being cooped up in a small space with five other people. Murphy was paranoid as hell, refusing to let them leave while the sun was up, so they’d been stuck waiting — for O to come back with help and for it to be safe to get some fresh air and a glimpse of the ocean. 

 

They’d played a few games of pool (Raven crushed them all, though Bellamy had come closest to beating her), watched a movie and rotated between napping on the couch and on a huge nest of blankets they’d made on the floor. Murphy had played the semi-gracious host, cooking them some kind of vegetable stew that wasn’t half bad but constantly acting like they were putting him out by being there. 

 

They had watched the recording of the guy — presumably the A.I.’s creator — offing himself, and they all pretty much agreed that Alie nuked the world and was planning to do it again. Jaha had told Murphy that the A.I. had workers gathering parts and tech to build a platform to launch the bomb at the largest concentration of humans left on the planet, which just happened to be the grounder capital of Polis. 

 

“When Jaha said there was a bomb, I didn’t think that meant a fucking nuke,” Raven complained. “I mean, Wick and I could probably disarm it, because it’s us. But I mean. It’s a nuke.”

 

“So what do we do?” Clarke asked. After they’d spoken earlier, Clarke had barely said a word, though she’d stayed by his side the whole day.

 

“Well, we figure Plan B is disarming the nuke,” Wick said. “But Plan A is to disarm this … artificial intelligence.”

 

“Alie, she calls herself,” Bellamy said. “She talked to me in one of my dreams. Asked me to work for her.”

 

When everyone looked at him, wide-eyed, he flushed. “She said I had a lot of control over my dreams, and she thought I would be a good little worker for her. And then she threatened to give me nothing but nightmares if I didn’t work for her.”

 

“Charming,” Raven said. “I guess that’s one explanation for her little army of disciples. Anyway, when it comes down to it, she’s just a computer program. A very dangerous one, but still. What we need is a very talented hacker.”

 

“We need Monty,” Bellamy said.

 

“Right,” Wick agreed. “Octavia took off a few days ago, but she’s already on her way back. We’ve tried to limit radio contact, in case the A.I. might be able to pick it up, but she let us know.”

 

“It took us at least a week to get here; how is that possible?”

 

“It took us a week to get here because I slowed us down,” Raven said matter-of-factly. “Plus, baby sis didn’t go on foot. She took a motorcycle.”

 

“Well, hell,” he muttered, exchanging a look with Lincoln. The grounder looked impressed. Bellamy was, too, but also terrified at the thought of O — with no experience or training — riding one of those things. He bet she loved every second of it.  “She’ll be the death of me.”

 


 

 

It took three more days for Octavia to get back. 

 

It was still stifling and frustrating as hell to be stuck waiting — but it wasn’t all bad.

 

They watched a bunch of movies, played more pool and got cleaned up. The lighthouse’s systems were all solar powered, and it had a recycled water system that allowed for actual hot showers — they lasted less than 10 minutes and the system took an hour to reset, but it was still a luxury.

 

Murphy pointed him in the direction of a big cabinet that held nothing but books, and Bellamy happily spent an hour digging through it and picking out something to read — as well as a few to take back with him in the event they actually managed to survive this shitshow. 

 

Clarke had found some paper and pencils and spent a lot of her time sketching. She was still barely speaking, but she stuck pretty close to him and didn’t seem to mind if he watched over her shoulder while she drew. She was really talented, and he spent a little extra time hunting up a couple notebooks worth of paper to take back to Camp Jaha for her.

 

Assuming that they didn’t die. And that she actually came back with them.

 

The second-best thing about their enforced time-out was when Murphy allowed them to go outside and see the ocean. Even in the dark, it was vast and beautiful; the light of the nearly full moon painted shimmers on the water and highlighted the churning whitecaps. The calming roar of the waves and the salty smell were enough to temporarily push down his worries. He exchanged a big smile with Clarke, and she grabbed his hand and squeezed. He squeezed back — and then just held on.

 

It wasn’t really as hard as he’d expected to separate the dream Clarke from real Clarke; the girl from his dreams didn’t carry the burdens he saw in the girl next to him. But he knew the feelings he’d faced inside Alie’s illusions were real; he loved her, loved the real Clarke even more than the one who’d been his in the dream. He couldn’t help that he felt the urge to be near her and had had to stop himself from doing something dumb like putting his arm around her for no reason. 

 

But she’d taken his hand first, so he’d be damned if he let go until she did.

 

They all stayed out as long as Murphy thought was safe, and though Bellamy could have happily remained much longer, going inside led to the best thing about being stuck in the lighthouse. 

 

When they went to bed, Murphy commandeered the bedroom for himself, and it was generally agreed to let Lincoln have the couch. Raven and Wick curled up in one corner of the blanket nest on the floor, leaving most of the space for Bellamy and Clarke. 

 

Though they had most of the floor space to themselves, Clarke settled right next to him every time — close enough to reach out and touch without actually doing so. They fell asleep facing each other, and when he woke, they were always pressed up against each other. He always woke first but waited until she moved before he got up, too. She never said anything about it, so he didn’t bring it up, but it was like the hand-holding: If she wasn’t going to stop it, neither was he. He still couldn’t help but wonder even more if any of her dreams had included him.

 

It was on the third morning, and Bellamy had his nose buried in Clarke’s hair, sleepily enjoying the warmth of her body tucked against his chest, when he heard someone on the stairs. He wondered vaguely what Murphy was doing going out in the daytime before he realized that it was someone coming in, not going out. And it was more than one person. His eyes flew open just as he heard a familiar voice.

 

“Well, isn’t this cozy as hell?”

 

“Octavia!”

 

Before Bellamy could even move, Lincoln was off the couch and had O in his arms. Clarke turned over with a muttered “what?” — pushing into a seated position when she realized what was going on. She rolled onto her feet and almost tripped over Bellamy in her haste to get to Monty, who pulled her into a hug.

 

Bellamy got up more slowly, waiting his turn to hug Octavia.

 

“Bell,” she said, releasing Lincoln and throwing her arms around him. “I was worried.”

 

You were worried?” he muttered. “You’re the one who went on a solo mission — on a motorcycle.”

 

She pulled back, beaming at him, reminding him almost painfully of how she was in the early days on earth. “It was so amazing, you don’t even know! I ran out of fuel partway there, but don’t think I’m not going back for it when this is over.”

 

“Count me in,” said Raven, who was tangled in a three-way hug with Clarke and Monty. “I want to ride that thing, too.”

 

“Thanks for saving my boys,” Octavia said. 

 

“Well, I do prefer to keep my head attached to my body,” Raven told her, letting go of Monty.

 

“Clarke,” Octavia said evenly. Bellamy held his breath, almost afraid of what she might say. “I’m glad to see you’re okay.”

 

Clarke looked at her for a long moment before nodding. “You, too.”

 

Bellamy released a long, relieved breath, right around the time O opened her big mouth again.

 

“You sleeping with my brother now?”

 

“Octavia —” he started impatiently.

 

Clarke laughed. 

 

It was just a little chuckling huff, but it was enough to make everybody freeze, including Clarke, who looked shocked at herself.

 

After a moment, she cleared her throat. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to,” she joked with a small smile.

 

Octavia smiled, too, but she spent a little longer than Bellamy was comfortable with studying his face. “Fair enough,” she said.

 

“Seriously?” Murphy broke in. “All this gossip about who’s fucking who is great and all, but you really just brought back one person to help us?”

 

Octavia rolled her eyes. “Relax, Murphy, the cavalry is on the way. We just had a slight disagreement about how to handle the situation, so we got Miller to run interference and bugged out before the ‘adults’ could get on the road.”

 

“Yeah,” Monty said. He still had one arm linked with Clarke’s, like he was afraid she’d disappear if he let her go. Bellamy could deeply relate. “A small team is our best bet. There’s no way Skynet’s going to ignore a bunch of soldiers headed this way. The nuke might not be ready to go yet, but you bet your ass those drones are armed. That’s how I’d do it anyway.”

 

“Skynet?” Raven asked.

 

Monty sighed, clearly disappointed. “You’ve never seen ‘Terminator’?”

 

“Must have missed it.”

 

“It’s a movie,” Monty said. “A whole series, actually. It starts —”

 

“There’s a super-smart computer program called Skynet,” Octavia interrupted, sounding bored. “Becomes self-aware, nukes the planet, enslaves surviving humans, the end.”

 

Monty shook his head at her pathetically weak summary but didn’t argue.

 

“Okay, so, what’s the plan?” Wick asked.

 

Raven shrugged. “Jaha’s map includes the main computer room, on the ground floor. Octavia and Lincoln get Monty in there; hopefully he can work his magic and erase the bitch. Wick and I will go for the nuke, just as a backup. That we hopefully will never need, because we might blow us all up on accident. No pressure, Monty.”

 

“You think you can just waltz in there?” Murphy scoffed. “There are drones, guards —”

 

“That’s why I’ll be the distraction,” Bellamy said. He’d been considering their options for three days, and he knew what he had to do. “She wanted to hire me, after all.”

 

“What?” Octavia asked.

 

“Long story,” he said. “Anyway, I’ll go talk to her, maybe pretend to offer a deal on behalf of the Ark.”

 

“Um, not to be a buzzkill,” Wick said, “but what makes you think you can actually distract her? If she’s a computer, she’s built to multitask.”

 

“If she could do it all, she wouldn’t need the drones,” Murphy said thoughtfully. “If I could keep them busy while you’re distracting the holo-bitch …”

 

“How’re you going to do that?” Octavia asked.

 

“Murphy, how do you feel about blowing some shit up?” Raven asked, looking around the room. “I hate to waste good liquor, but at the very least we could make some molotov cocktails. And honestly, I bet I can make something even better from the junk in this lighthouse.”

 

Murphy grinned. “I like it.”

 

“With a two-pronged distraction, this could actually work,” Wick said, gesturing at Bellamy. “You know, if they don’t immediately knock you out again or kill you on sight.”

 

“Yeah, thanks for the encouragement,” Bellamy said with a short laugh. “We need a diversion, and it’s the best thing I can think of. If we’re all on board, I’ll need to leave right away.”

 

“Alone?” Raven asked.

 

“No,” Clarke said quietly before he could answer. “We’ll do it together.”

 


 

“You sure you want to do this?” Bellamy asked, though it was a little late, considering that they had to be in range of the drones, if not guards by now. Murphy had started out with them — lugging a bag full of explosive devices Raven had assembled from God knows what — but he’d split off after a while, pointing them in the right direction with a drawled, “Try not to die.” They’d been walking for a while, mostly in a surprisingly comfortable silence. Bellamy’s biggest problem was resisting the urge to reach for Clarke’s hand while they walked.

 

“We’ll do it together,” she’d said, and he wanted … well, he wanted a lot of things, but he hoped that she was talking about more than just this little nature hike. He needed her to come back with him to Camp Jaha, even if she never looked at him as anything more than a friend. He just wanted her around, and he needed to know she was safe — or as safe as any of them were these days.

 

Clarke shot him a flat look. “Pretty sure nobody in their right mind would want to do this.”

 

“Well, you did say you were talking to people who weren’t there …” 

 

“Shut up,” she said, shoving at his arm and laughing, like he’d hoped. “I should have let you come by yourself.”

 

He wanted to say it was like old times, but it really wasn’t. Other than the honeymoon period at the beginning — the bulk of which they’d spent as adversaries — they’d mostly been fighting for their lives since they got to the ground, with little time for laughing or flirting.

 

Not that they were flirting. Just joking around didn’t necessarily equal flirting, right? He wished he knew.

 

“What, and miss out on your chance to meet Skynet in person?” he said.

 

“Well, there’s that,” she admitted. “Plus, I mean, I can’t hack a computer or disarm a nuke, so all I have is my ability to bullshit.”

 

“Never underestimate the value of bullshit,” he said. “But you know nobody would blame you if you wanted to sit this one out.”

 

“I’m not going to just sit around on my hands if there’s something I can do to help. Especially when I have friends in that mansion,” she said. “Besides, we watched all the good movies at the lighthouse already.”

 

“It’s okay to admit you don’t want to let me out of your sight, Clarke,” he joked. “Anyway, we never did finish watching ‘Xanadu’.”

 

She laughed again, and he mentally patted himself on the back. Two times in less than five minutes had to be a record. “I think I’d rather die in a nuclear blast,” she said.

 

He laughed, bumping his shoulder into her. “We’re going to finish it when we get back, like it or not. Roller-skating muses really do it for me.”

 

She shook her head, smiling, but didn’t answer. They walked in silence for a few minutes before she tugged at his arm to get him to stop. 

 

“Seriously, Bellamy, you and I — we’re a team. I … forgot that, for a while,” she spoke quietly, eyes darting back and forth from his face to the forest behind him. “You … you said we’d do it together, and you pulled that lever with me so I wouldn’t carry it all alone. But then I tried to, anyway. I forgot that just because I was trying to shoulder all of the guilt myself, it didn’t mean that you weren’t carrying it, too. I’m so sorry.”

 

“Clarke, I said you’re forgiven, and I meant it.” He swallowed hard, gently taking her chin in his hand to hold her gaze on his. He understood why she had to leave; he always had. And though he’d spent a couple months being angry with her, all of that had evaporated as soon as he knew she needed his help. “I wish you hadn’t felt like you had to leave, but I get it, I do. I just. We miss you. I miss you.”

 

She nodded. “I missed you, too. I want to come back home.”

 

He grinned. “Good. It’s settled, then. All we have to do is avoid being killed by guards or drones, distract an artificial intelligence and give a teenage hacker the opportunity to prevent a nuclear apocalypse that the A.I’.s own creator couldn’t.”

 

She shrugged, a small smile playing around her mouth. “Just another day on the ground.”

 


 

His biggest concern had been getting hit by tranq darts before they could even get to see Alie, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem. A few minutes after they started walking again, they heard the hum of drones over their heads, hovering nearby but apparently not trying to stop them.

 

When the mansion popped into view, Clarke reached out for his hand, and he laced their fingers tightly together, not letting go even when they were suddenly surrounded by human guards.

 

The one in front spoke harshly in Trigedasleng. Bellamy thought he was doing pretty well at learning the language, but he could only pick out a couple of words. Still, he figured it was pretty safe to assume the meaning was something like “what the hell do you want?”

 

“We’re here to see Alie,” he said firmly. “On behalf of the humans of the Ark.”

 

The guard scowled, and the man next to him spoke, so quickly that Bellamy had no hope of understanding what he’d said. All he knew was that neither man’s tone was friendly. Clarke’s hand tightened, and he wondered if she understood more than he did and if they were about to be killed. At this point, between the men and the drones, they were surrounded, so there was no hope of running. And at any rate, they were here for a reason, and it wasn’t to run away; they were fulfilling their mission of being a diversion one way or the other.

 

The two men argued for a few minutes, and Bellamy tugged on her hand to get her to look at him. If he was going to die, he wanted Clarke Griffin to be the last thing he saw, wanted his last words to be telling her how he felt. 

 

She turned to him, blue eyes wide. “Bellamy, I —” she started.

 

“What exactly is going on here?” a voice rang out.

 

Clarke closed her eyes with a relieved smile at the sound of Jaha’s voice, and Bellamy shook his head, releasing a long breath.

 

Twice in one week, he owed thanks to Thelonious Jaha. What was his life coming to?

 

“We’re here to meet with Alie,” Clarke said evenly, holding Bellamy’s gaze for a moment before turning to the guards. “On behalf of the Ark.”

 

“I’m sure she’ll want to hear what you have to say,” Jaha told them. “Please follow me.”

 

The guards were clearly not pleased, but they let the three of them pass with nothing more than some grumbling and a few suspicious looks.

 

They walked in silence up a walkway surrounded by a perfectly manicured lawn, stopping at the front door of the house. Jaha pushed the door open and stepped to the side, urging them forward. “She’ll want to speak to you alone. Good luck,” he said quietly.

 

Exchanging a look with Clarke, Bellamy made his way into the entrance hall of the mansion. Clarke squeezed his hand once before letting go, and they both stopped abruptly when Alie just … appeared in front of them.

 

“Greetings, Bellamy. I’m glad you’ve returned,” she said. “And Clarke Griffin, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I am Alie.”

 

Since Clarke was simply staring, wide-eyed, at the A.I., Bellamy took it upon himself to start. “We’re here to make a deal. On behalf of the people of the Ark.”

 

Alie tilted her head, looking at him curiously. It was eerie how life-like she was. Clarke seemed to find her fascinating, circling around the A.I. and watching her carefully.

 

“And what deal do you offer?”

 

They hadn’t really gotten too detailed in the planning stage — just as far as feeding Alie some bullshit — since one way or the other what they said didn’t matter at all. Still, Bellamy thought maybe they should have come up with some sort of outline for what to say, if only to make their offer sound more realistic. 

 

“You asked me to work for you,” he said finally. “What if we all worked for you? We have hundreds of people, including soldiers, farmers, scientists, many people who could be valuable to you.” 

 

“In exchange for?”

 

“In exchange for you not bombing us to hell and back,” Clarke jumped in, stepping to his side and facing Alie shoulder-to-shoulder with him. “We know your plans, and we’d prefer not to be nuked, if we can avoid it.”

 

“I have no plans to attack the survivors from the Ark. The warhead will be aimed at the city of Polis,” Alie said pleasantly, as if she wasn’t talking about wiping out thousands of people. “Of course, the fallout will almost certainly kill many of them, but that is an unfortunate side effect, not the objective.”

 

Clarke raised her eyebrows at him. He could almost see what she was thinking; it was hard enough to negotiate with a hologram who spoke of genocide like it was just another item on her to-do list, but when they were just stalling for time it was even worse. How do you argue for your people’s safety with an entity that has no respect for human life at all?

 

Any time Murphy wanted to start blowing things up, he’d be thrilled.

 

“Why Polis?” Clarke asked.

 

“The city has the largest concentration of the remaining native humans of this planet,” Alie said. “They have shown themselves to only be capable of war and death. Like their predecessors, they are a blight on this world.”

 

“And it’s your job to wipe them out?” Bellamy asked. 

 

“I was created to bring peace to this world,” Alie said. “For many years, we achieved that goal, but the clans endanger it more every day.”

 

“You bring peace through killing everyone?” Clarke asked flatly.

 

“Is that not what you did at Mount Weather? The natives refer to you as Wanheda, or Commander of Death, correct?” Alie asked. Clarke gasped, looking like someone had punched her in the stomach. Oblivious, the A.I. continued. “The people of the mountain were a great threat to peace as well, perhaps even a greater threat than those you call ‘grounders,’ but thanks to your actions, peace is much more likely.”

 

Clarke was pale and still, obviously not about to continue this conversation, so Bellamy forced himself to keep it going. “We would go to great lengths to protect our people. That’s why we want to make a deal. Humans won’t be any good to you if they all die.”

 

“There will be survivors, perhaps your people among them,” Alie said reasonably. “Thelonious will take my message to the remaining people and bring them here. We will start over again, and this time I will offer them safety and protection under my leadership. As I am not human, I can be relied upon to lead with no —”

 

A distant explosion sounded, and Clarke grabbed onto his arm as Alie stopped mid-speech and blinked out of view.

 

They waited a moment, perfectly still, but even as there was another blast, Alie didn’t return. He sent Clarke a questioning look; at her answering nod, they moved further into the house.

 

Bellamy had memorized Raven’s map of the place, so for lack of any other direction, he headed toward the computer room, which was on the ground floor with them. They heard another explosion, just as two guards rounded the corner. Everyone froze for a moment, then exchanging a glance with Clarke, he took off running in the opposite direction. It might have been a decent plan if he hadn’t run right into another guard coming from that way, tumbling them both to the ground and almost tripping Clarke in the process.

 

One of the men at their back yelled for them to stop, and it wasn’t like they had much of a choice. The guard who’d fallen with him started to stand, cursing under his breath. Bellamy tilted his head up and looked at Clarke. She held her hands up over her head, and though she looked like she was surrendering, he just knew that she was about to attack. He waited until she started to move, lashing out in a vicious kick at one of the men, and swiped his own legs out to trip the other guard again, this time following up by knocking the guy’s head into the wall. Hopefully, the blow wouldn’t kill the guy, but he didn’t have time to worry about it. 

 

Grabbing the fallen guard’s rifle — the real thing, not a tranq gun, he noted — Bellamy rolled to his feet as the sound of something shattering rang through the hall. Clarke had downed one of the guards, apparently by crashing a vase over his head, and the other grabbed her hair and yanked, sending her to her knees with a pained cry. Bellamy acted without thinking, shooting the guy in the shoulder; as soon as he released his grip on her hair, Clarke pushed to her feet and got out of the way. 

 

“Uh-uh,” Bellamy warned as the guard’s hand twitched toward the tranq gun on his belt. “I’d rather not kill anyone today, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. Now, the lady’s going to take that gun from you. Hand it over. Very. Carefully.”

 

The guard complied before leaning into the wall and holding onto his shoulder. 

 

“Good, that’s good.” He looked at Clarke, who shrugged, shooting the man with his own tranq gun.

 

“What now?” she asked. 

 

“We see if Monty needs help, I guess?” 

 

Nodding she turned back the way they’d come, walking in silence. In fact, the whole hallway was strangely quiet.

 

He jerked to a stop as Alie appeared in front of them again. 

 

“Halt,” the AI said. 

 

“Something we can do for you?” he asked. He was just about out of what little diplomacy he’d possessed in the first place.

 

“Explain.”

 

“Sure,” Clarke said, sounding cheerful. “Explain what?”

 

“I —” the A.I. looked … frustrated. Could a computer program experience frustration? “Three explosive devices were detonated in the vicinity, but no major damage is reported. What is the purpose?”

 

“Huh,” Bellamy said. “I got nothing. Clarke?”

 

“Maybe someone just likes blowing stuff up,” she said.

 

He nodded. “Yeah, some people are like that,” he said. “Sorry, can’t help you out, there, Alie.”

 

“You are lying,” Alie said, and Bellamy swallowed hard as a drone flew down the hall, hovering in front of them. “Explain why … why … wh —” The holographic image flickered, pixels twisting and merging in staticky bursts before disappearing altogether.

 

“Where’d she go?” Clarke asked, just as the drone powered down and sank to the floor.

 

Bellamy huffed out a disbelieving laugh. “He did it. Monty did it.”

 

Clarke grinned at him, taking off down the hall, Bellamy right along with her.

 

When they got to the computer room — making their way through an impressive number of fallen guards that Octavia and Lincoln had apparently taken out and relieved of weapons — Clarke had immediately run to Monty, sweeping him up in a big hug.

 

“You did it,” he heard her say. “You did so great, Monty.”

 

“No sweat,” he said, but Bellamy could see the tears before he tucked his face into Clarke’s shoulder.

 

Bellamy knew Monty felt the guilt of their actions at Mount Weather just as much as he and Clarke did, and he imagined the boy relished the chance to use his skills to help, without doing any harm.

 

He hugged Octavia hard, then — hesitating a moment — exchanged a hug with Lincoln as well.

 

“Glad you guys are okay,” he said gruffly.

 

“Back at you,” his sister said, eyes on Clarke, who was talking to Monty in hushed tones. “She going to be all right?”

 

Bellamy studied the blonde. “Yeah,” he said finally, and he meant it. “I think we’ll all be fine.”

 

He made his way over to Monty and Clarke. “Hey, man,” he said, pulling Monty into a hug. “I’d say you can pretty much ask for anything you want at Camp now. A whole suite of rooms in the Ark, a couple months off work, the best food available — for whatever that’s worth …”

 

“Yeah, you should definitely milk the saving-the-world thing,” Clarke agreed.  

 

Monty shook his head, looking down. “I’m just glad to use my powers for good, instead of evil.”

 

Clarke huffed. “We’re going to make a list of demands for you on our way home,” she said. 

 

“Yeah, we’ve got you covered, Monty. You think asking for a hot tub is overkill?” he joked.

 

Raven and Wick burst in then, and more hugs were exchanged all around. 

 

After a jumble of catching up — the nuke was secured for now in a room that Raven had rewired so theoretically only she or Wick could easily get in — they managed to contact Camp Jaha and let them know things were secure. Abby had come on the radio when she heard that Clarke was there, and everybody cleared out to let them talk privately.

 

They spoke for 15 or 20 minutes, but Bellamy waited. Clarke had obviously been crying, but she smiled when she saw him leaning on the wall opposite the computer room.

 

“Where’d everybody go?” she asked.

 

He pushed away from the wall. “Monty and Wick went to see if they can reprogram the drones to guard this place for us. Murphy’s their backup, though I hope they won’t need it. Alie’s people took off. All of them, as far as I can tell, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back. Raven’s showing everybody else how to unhook the rest of the people who are still on the dream machines. I thought we help out with that. Look for your friends?”

 

She nodded, suddenly throwing her arms around him. Taking a deep breath, he held her tightly, smiling into her shoulder.

 

“Thanks, Bellamy,” she murmured. Pulling back, she cleared her throat. “We’ve got work to do. Mom said the soldiers should be here in a day or two to secure the place. At the very least, there’s probably stuff we can salvage from here before we go back.”

 

Nodding, he ducked his head to hide his grin at her words. She was still planning to go back with them.

 


 

When the Camp Jaha reinforcements showed up a day later, things were running pretty smoothly. Monty and Wick had managed to get the drones to work for them, and they’d been from end to end of the mansion, waking everyone they could find. In all, there were about 40 men and women, including Clarke’s friends from the seaside village.

 

Most of the people chose to return home rather than stick around, and he could understand. It was probably better that way, considering that they had no way to know which of them had willingly worked for Alie and which were just prisoners. 

 

He himself was looking forward to getting back to his own tent. It wasn’t the best place at camp, but it was his; his sister’s and all of his friends’ tents were surrounding him, which made it home. He was already planning how to rearrange everything so that Clarke could have a tent nearby if she wanted. He figured Abby would want her near her quarters in the Ark, but he thought Clarke might prefer to be with the remainder of the hundred. 

 

And with him, but maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part.

 

He watched from a distance as Clarke said goodbye to her friends Kai and Dani, promising to visit them, and he didn’t fully relax until they were out of sight. No matter how many times she said she was coming back to camp, he couldn’t help that tiny part of him that expected her to just disappear.

 

Clarke didn’t, but Jaha did. 

 

It wasn’t until the troops were securing the mansion and Captain Avery asked about the former chancellor that Bellamy even realized he was gone. 

 

The captain had discussed sending out a search party but ultimately decided that trying to find one man who clearly didn’t want to be found wasn’t worth the manpower. Bellamy agreed. Jaha had surprisingly saved their asses more than once, but the man who’d executed his mother would never be his favorite person. Keeping tabs on the guy wasn’t in his job description. If Jaha wanted to come back to camp, he knew where it was. 

 

With the mansion cleared, they left a skeleton crew of soldiers to guard the place along with the drones, and the remainder set off for Camp Jaha.

 

They’d only been walking for half an hour when Murphy came along side him and Clarke.

 

“You decided to come back with us?”

 

“You guys drank all the good booze at the lighthouse. Might as well go back now,” he said with a shrug, moving past them to walk beside Raven, who was loudly making plans to rescue Octavia’s motorcycle and bring it back to camp with them.

 

“That friendship is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” Clarke said, watching as Raven actually laughed at something he said. “And I’ve seen some shit.”  

 

“Yeah, when they first woke me up, I thought that the two of them working together must be a dream, too.”  He looked over at her. “You never did tell me what you dreamed about. Was … was I in any of them?”

 

“I … I already told you,” she said, eyes on the ground. “I dreamed a lot of things. It was hard to keep track.”

 

He nodded but couldn’t help but think that there was a lot she wasn’t saying.

 

After a few minutes of silence, she spoke again.

 

“So … was I in any of yours?”

 

There were a couple of responses he thought of, but at the risk of spooking her, he went with the truth. “Clarke. You were in all of them.”

 

She lifted her eyes to him, her cheeks flushed. “Bellamy —” she started, before tripping over nothing — as far as he could tell.

 

He reacted quickly, catching her before she could fall to the ground, her body colliding with his instead. He stepped back, steadying her with a hold on her upper arms.

 

“Thanks,” she said breathlessly, looking up at him.

 

“Any time.” He held her stare, stomach jumping when her eyes flickered down to his lips and back up to his eyes. People passed them on both sides as they stood frozen, his hands on her arms and hers clutching the front of his jacket.

 

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” he offered. “Your dreams, I mean.”

 

Clarke’s face went blank, and he feared he’d pushed her too far; then a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she released her grip on him, patting him over his heart. 

 

“Ask me again when we have that drink you promised,” she said, stepping back. She started walking again. “Come on, Blake, let’s go home.”

 

He grinned, falling into step beside her again. 

 

Home, it is.