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Keep Your Hands Clean

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“And how are we doing today…” Abby looks down at her chart quickly. “Bellamy?”

The little boy on the table looks up at her, big brown eyes and freckles everywhere. “Um, okay,” he says softly and the woman next to him gently nudges him. “Doctor Griffin,” he tags on quickly, glancing up at his mother. Abby vaguely recognizes her, the way she kind of recognizes everyone now that she’s second to the Chief of Medical. She surreptitiously checks her chart and sees Aurora Blake listed as next of kin. There’s no other living family.

“Well, Bellamy,” Abby says gently, drawing up a stool since her back hurts and her ankles are swollen: being almost nine months pregnant is starting to take a toll. Jake has been trying to get her to take time off, but as long as Abby can stand, she wants to work. She’ll take time off once she can spend it with her little girl. “If you were okay, your mom wouldn’t have brought you in to see me.” She smiles at him encouragingly when Bellamy sneaks a look at her, shy, fingers curling into his ragged sleeves. “Want to tell me what’s going on?”

“He can’t sleep,” Aurora says, worry creasing her brow as she runs her hand over Bellamy’s hair. “And when he does, he has nightmares.”

“I see,” Abby says and pulls out her little flashlight. “Any recent trauma in the family?” She asks as she tilts Bellamy’s chin up in her hand. “Can you look at the light for me?” she asks Bellamy softly.

“His father…” Aurora starts and then trails off, presses her lips together. Abby hums gently, it’s one of those cases. “But it was nearly a year ago now.” Bellamy’s eyes dilate appropriately and Abby lets him go, watches as he scrunches his nose and blinks a bit. As has been happening more and more often with her younger patients, she gets a sudden pang of softness for him.

“Want to tell me what your nightmares are about, Bellamy?” He’s looking at her stomach, huge on her small frame and Abby can’t help but smile, rub a little bit at where her little girl is kicking, already vibrant and full of life.

“Being floated,” Bellamy whispers, glancing back at his mother. “My mom being floated.” He shivers a little bit and his mother rubs his back gently. “Are you having a baby?” He asks suddenly, eyes back on Abby’s stomach.

“I am,” Abby says, smiling. “Any day now.”

“Do people always get that big?” Bellamy asks, voice wavering.

“Bellamy,” Aurora chides sharply even as Abby laughs.

“Usually,” she tells him. “It’s kind of funny looking, isn’t it?”

Bellamy just frowns a bit and stares at his hands. “Just big,” he says quietly, like he feels bad for asking. Worry creases his brow again and he glances at his mother.

“Big, but that’s because the baby needs to grow,” Abby tells him gently, looking back down at her chart. “Listen, Bellamy. I’m going to give you some medicine to help you sleep, okay?” Bellamy nods, eyes intent on her. “And I want you to know, that you don’t need to worry about being floated. Or your mom. You just keep your hands clean and stay out of trouble, okay?”

“We can do that, can’t we, Bell?” His mother asks, soothing, and Bellamy bites his lip, gives her a quick nod and then looks back down at his hands.

“Okay,” Abby says, pushing herself back up to stand. “And you come back in if it doesn’t get better, okay, Bellamy?”

“Okay, Doctor Griffin,” Bellamy says. And then, “Can I… my mom says babies kick. Does yours?”

“She does,” Abby says with a smile. “All the time. She is right now, actually.” Abby rubs her stomach, wincing at the sharp heel that digs into her. She sees the way Bellamy stares at her stomach, awed. “Would you like to feel?” Abby asks him, mostly because she wants to see this little boy smile, wants to give him something nice to think about other than memories of an executed father and fear for his future.

Bellamy nods and Abby takes his hand and presses it right where her little girl is nudging her foot into her stomach. Nothing happens for a moment and then her baby kicks again, hard, right against Bellamy’s hand and his face lights up, surprise and excitement making him smile wide and toothy. He looks back at his mom.

“She kicked me,” he laughs and Aurora’s face softens as she smiles at her son. “It doesn’t hurt you?” He asks, looking back up at Abby.

“No,” Abby assures him. “Just means she’s getting ready to be born. She’s excited.”

“Okay, Bellamy,” Aurora says gently. “Say thank you to Doctor Griffin and let’s go home.”

“Thank you, Doctor Griffin,” Bellamy pipes up dutifully but he’s grinning now and that makes Abby smile in return as she writes him a ‘script for a low dose anxiety medication and hands it to Aurora.

“You’re very welcome, Bellamy. Feel better for me.”

“I will,” Bellamy promises and then hops down and takes his mother’s hand, not seeking support but looking up at her, face determined. Aurora smiles at her son, kneels in front of him to tie his shoelaces that’ve come undone.

“Ready?” she asks him softly and Bellamy nods.

“I’m ready, mom.”

“That’s my boy.” Aurora presses a kiss to his forehead and then stands back up and nods to Abby.

**

The next time Abby speaks to Bellamy Blake, he’s tall and lanky, face ragged as he stares at the floor of the council room. Aurora has been floated, the little sister he and his mother hid for sixteen years locked away. “I vote for a pardon,” Abby says quietly. “Removed from the guard, certainly, but his record shows he’s a hard worker and did well in all his classes. His crime was one of silence, but it’s a waste to execute someone with so much potential.”

Jaha leans back in his seat, arms crossed. Kane looks at Abby from under his eyelids, bored. “This man violated Ark laws. There are no exceptions to the rules, Abby.”

“We consider circumstances, Marcus. Bellamy Blake was not responsible for the girl’s birth, nor can we expect a boy of five years old to turn in his own mother, especially after his father was floated.” She thinks of Clarke, bright, joyful Clarke and what she would do if she found out Jake’s secret. Her stomach turns over and she forces it down; right now she has another life to save.

“I agree with Councillor Griffin,” Jaha says. “But a demotion is certainly in order. An example should be made. All in favor?” All but one other councillor and Kane raise their hands. Kane shakes his head and rolls his shoulders in a little, dismissive gesture of frustration.

“Bellamy Blake,” Jaha says, raising his voice loud enough for the handcuffed boy to hear.

Bellamy looks up at the Councilors and from way back in her memory, Abby remembers pressing a little boy’s hand to her stomach, the worried crease in his eyebrows. The sister, a little slip of a thing with panicked dark eyes and dark hair, is close to Clarke’s age, younger by maybe seven months. She wonders if Bellamy touched his mother’s stomach the same way, felt his little sister kick the way he had felt Clarke. She wonders if he remembers that.

“You have been pardoned of your crimes. However, we cannot allow you to continue as a cadet for the guard. I believe there is a position open in our janitorial department. You will take it.” Bellamy doesn’t look like he’s heard anything Jaha has said, eyes glazed as he just slowly nods his head.

“You are dismissed.” Jaha says and the council shuffles their papers. Abby stands and walks over to where a guard is unlocking Bellamy’s cuffs without looking him in the face. There are dark, heavy bags under his eyes and his skin looks loose on his face despite his lean frame.

“When was the last time you slept?” Abby asks Bellamy quietly, taking his hand carefully and examining the red marks the cuffs have left on his skin, checking for damage.

Bellamy shakes his head. “Can I see my sister?”

“That’s not under my purview,” Abby says gently and Bellamy looks at her like he doesn’t understand. “I can offer you something to help you sleep, if you’d like.”

“No,” Bellamy says hoarsely. “I just want to see Octavia.”

“Keep your hands clean and you might,” Abby advises him under her breath and releases his hand.

“Please,” Bellamy whispers but the guard is already taking him by the arm to lead him from the chambers.

“Come by Med-bay if you change your mind,” Abby says and his stricken, dark eyes haunt her all the way home until she can wrap her arms around Clarke, press her face into her daughter’s hair.

“What?” Clarke complains, but she hugs Abby back, grinning over her shoulder at her dad. Abby can’t imagine Clarke ever looking so lost, doesn’t know if she could stand it. When she looks up at Jake, he’s smiling a little sadly, a little forlornly at them as if he’s committing their image to memory. Abby’s heart goes cold.