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          But for tonight, turn out the light

          Hold me, come on, come on,

          And set me free

          Lend me your charity



When Clarke tells him about the power plants, his whole body shudders, and Bellamy thinks he might collapse right there.  He ducks his head and inhales, tries to shut out the spectre of her words until all that’s left is the reality before him.  

“Okay, I believe you,” he croaks.  Already his throat is swelling, and it’s becoming harder to speak.  Each word is measured and meted out.  “We’ll talk about that, but right now we have to get our people out of this tower.”

And for the next several hours, that’s all they do.  Most of the survivors on the top floor are Arkadians, and the few Grounders are cooperative enough, despite the language barrier.  As if by some twisted blessing, ALIE has left all of her victims weak, malleable, and grief-stricken.  Softened of their harder edges—at least at first.  The ones who were unaffected direct the rest as best they can toward helping the wounded and setting up a pulley system with the lower floors.  They manage to pass water back and forth, and tools.  Unfortunately, the effort to destroy the base of the elevator was almost too effective, and it could be weeks before they get it operating.  The stairs will take at least two days to clear of debris, so, for now, the formerly feuding groups have to patch each other up and hope someone keeps order on the ground.

They lose four people to jumping before they set up a mandatory pair system.  Suicide, Abby explains through her broken voice—half whispers and half gestures—is the greatest immediate health threat, and if they have to tie people down to keep them alive, then that’s what they’ll do.  Grounders and Sky People alike, no one else is going to be lost to this.

Night comes quickly, and Bellamy is enough of a realist to know that he has to sleep at least a few hours, or he might actually start to hallucinate.  There’s already dark spots in the corner of his vision, and twice he’s had to stop and touch the wall to stave off dizziness.  Their small group out of Arkadia didn’t sleep the in night leading up to the attack, and except for a few minutes in the Rover on the way here, Bellamy hasn’t closed his eyes since waking up on Luna’s beach.  When exhaustion finally bears down on him, Miller and Bryan wave him over to lie near their spot.  A fission of fear runs like ice down his spine at the thought of sleeping in the open of the throne room.  He shakes his head and tucks himself into a corner by a closet, his back to the wall and his knees up in front of him with his gun across his lap.

When a gentle touch lands on his knee, he jerks and swings his rifle tip out so fast the person has to reel back to avoid being hit.

“Shit,” he gasps, barely audible among the moans of the survivors scattered down the hall.  “Clarke.  Sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry."  Clarke winces, and with a single finger pushes the barrel in her face to one side.  “I should have said something first.”

“What is it?”

She gives him a grim half-smile, the kind he’s seen all too often lately.  “You need to come with me, I’ve got something to show you.”

The push to his feet takes an eon, and his muscles creak and pop.  Clarke gives him a hand, and he takes it because pride and Bellamy parted ways about three disasters ago.  She slips her hand around in his but keeps a grip on it, tugging him down the hallway.  He steps over sleeping bodies and tries not to jostle anyone.  The urge to ask where they’re going hovers on his tongue, but speaking hurts and sometimes it’s just easier to let Clarke do what she wants to do.  When she stops by a small room on the East side, Bellamy recognizes it as one they’d checked during the barricade.  It was locked tight, so they’d let it be, but as he watches Clarke pulls a ring of keys from her belt and slips one into the iron keyhole.

“Where?” he croaks.  She waves the question away, and tugs him into the room, turning the lock shut behind them and adding a cross-bar for insurance.  He blinks and meets her eyes in question.

“It’s safe now,” pronounces Clarke.  She tries to smile.  “As safe as we can be for the night.  If you’re gonna sleep, sleep here.”

Bellamy nods, accepting her reassurance at face value.  Clarke’s constantly doing this stuff—surprising him with her resourcefulness and her consideration—yet his inclusion in these gestures still takes him aback.  She found this room and saved it, then hunted him down and brought him here and now she’s looking at him with her eyes gone soft.  Of all things, it humbles him.

“Okay,” he whispers, and Clarke does smile this time.

The chamber around them is smallish, sparsely decorated in comparison to the stately bedrooms they’d been fighting across this afternoon.  A few accoutrements hang on the walls, but everything is old and weathered, and if Bellamy were to guess, he’d say the room belonged to a servant of some kind or a low ranked ambassador.  There’s a high shelf of personal items, a wash tray and a tub of water by a desk, a waste bucket with a lid in one corner, and a narrow window with bars on it.  

A medium sized bed fills up the back half of the room; Bellamy glances at it, exhales, and looks down at his tattered, filthy clothes.

“Come on,” says Clarke, ignoring his gloomy demeanor.  She nudges him to take his jacket off, and he does.  “We’ll sleep in our underclothes, okay?  Nobody’s getting in here with that bar down.  It’ll be okay.”

Her earnestness is so intense it makes him blink, but Bellamy nods and starts to strip as best he can.  And he gets it—she’s trying to tell him that he doesn’t have to be ready to fight at any moment.  They can relax a little here, and let their guard down.  Bellamy knows it’s a false hope, that they really can’t forget where they are, but if pretending will help her sleep, then he can pretend too.  He tugs his top off, wincing as all his bruises ache from the gesture.  Out of the corner of his eyes, he sees Clarke gingerly peel off the corset thing around her torso.  He quickly lowers his eyes to the floor and tugs his shoes off.

When he’s down to just his trousers, he notices Clarke standing by the wash basin, dipping the corner of a cloth into the water and trying to dab her chest.  The movement is weird and stilted, too specific for his liking.  

“Clarke,” he says lowly and crosses over to her.  She glances up, and presses her lips together, trying to avert her eyes.  She’s already stripped out of her pants, and normally the prospect of seeing of Clarke in nothing but a dark shirt that barely reaches her thighs would make him anxious, but he’s too fucking tired to care.  Bellamy takes the rag out of her hand and examines the blood on it, then sees more blood crusted in two dark, risen scabs on her chest.  The placement is strangely surgical: two even points, marring her flesh and muscle but avoiding the heart.

“That’s not from a fight.”

“No,” agrees Clarke, voice trembling.  She won’t meet his gaze, but she doesn’t take the rag back either.  When he tentatively raises it, she nods.  In slow movements, Bellamy drags the wet cloth over the skin around the two punctures.  He can see them for what they are now: incisions.  Very narrow, but deep enough to worry him.  Small dribbles of blood leak out of the crust covering them, and he tries to wipe it away without disturbing the new scabs.  Docile, Clarke waits with her arms at her sides, letting him touch her with a trust that is almost unnerving.  He dips a fresh corner of the cloth in the basin, and tries to clean a few other cuts on her neck and cheek.  When that’s done he looks at the two wounds and frowns.

“We need to wrap it,” she says, answering the question before he can ask it.  Bellamy raises his eyebrows, and Clarke points at the bed.  “Can you tear a piece off the sheets?  At least five inches wide, and at least three feet long. Please.”

The sheets are as clean as anything else around here, so he prepares the bandage the best he can, folding it to make a long strip.  Bellamy swallows when Clarke slides her shirt down a little and pulls first one arm, then the other, out of the wide collar.  He’d already seen her bra folded neatly on the desk with her other clothes, so now her shoulders are bare and the black cotton is pushed down enough to give access to the space just below her collarbone.  She sees he’s ready, and raises her arms with a grimace.

“A cross wrap would be better, but I don’t have the energy.  So here’s what we’re gonna do..."     

Under Clarke’s careful direction, he winds the bandage under her arms, flat across the wounded portion of her skin, and then behind her, and crossing back to the front to tie it off.  He only tightens it when she insists.  

“Doesn't it hurt?” Bellamy asks when he sees the pinch of it under her arms, the way the fabric is stretched taut over her skin.

“It’s not going to hold off the bleeding if we don’t put pressure on it,” replies Clarke, so he shrugs and ties it off in the front, snug as he can.  “It’ll loosen up when I sleep anyway,” she adds, “so better if it's tight now.”

When he’s finished Bellamy makes to back away, but Clarke catches his arm.  “Wait,” she whispers, ushering him toward the stool by the desk.  “Let me see your neck?”

At a loss for any reason to say no, Bellamy lowers himself to the stool and lets Clarke tilt his head up, frowning down at his features.  Bellamy almost makes a joke about how he’d be frowning too if he had to look at himself, but the thought of breaking their companionable silence with a joke feels taboo.  When she slots herself between his knees, with her impossible posture and the elegant way she does everything, his eyes swing dutifully up to the ceiling.

He expects her to go for the place where Kane’s fingers wrapped around him, but Clarke surprises him again.  Beginning at his forehead, she works her way methodically down.  With deliberateness and care, she wipes Bellamy’s face in broad strokes, removing gore and dirt.  The tackiness of someone else’s dried blood falls away with her ministrations until his skin feels slightly cool, and all that remains is the lingering sting from a week’s worth of strikes and bruises.  

“Hello,” she whispers, the corner of her mouth raising a little.  She swipes the cloth over his mouth and his chin, and even with the fabric between them Bellamy can feel the pressure of her thumb on his lips.  When Clarke puts her finger under his chin it saves him from a reply.  He closes his eyes in a grimace as he bares his neck.

“Oh Bellamy,” she sighs.

One by one, he feels the soft pads of her fingers touch his throat.  He doesn’t need a mirror to guess what she’s looking at because he’s seen it before: blue and purple blooms across his neck, like a ring of flowers meant to choke the life out of him.  With his eyes shut, Bellamy sinks into the stool and tries not to shiver as Clarke wipes his throat with the damp rag.  There’s not much she can do, and they both know it, but a tender part of him loves her for trying.

Eventually, she cleans him up to her satisfaction, and even though his throat is ablaze with pain, he’s grateful to feel a little refreshed.  She makes a cursory pass over his shoulders, sliding the wet fabric quickly up the back of his neck once, then around to the front.  Almost hasty, she hands the rag to Bellamy and steps back.  

Finished, one hand on her hip, Clarke examines her handiwork.  When she clicks her tongue in consideration, the sound and gesture is so much like something Gina used to do that it takes him aback.  Clarke goes on.

“Try not touch your throat.  Actually, try not to do anything.”

He stands, so abruptly that she jerks.  For a moment all they do is stare at each other.

“I’ll try,” says Bellamy after the pause gets uncomfortably long.  “Thanks.”

“Yeah,” says Clarke.  “Same."   She takes back the half-bloody rag and sets it on the desk, straightening the corners until it’s a neat square.  “You wanna get some sleep?”

Relief washes over Bellamy, and he almost sways on the spot.  “More than anything.”

Together, they climb into their respective sides of the bed, Bellamy kicking off his trousers at the last minute.  The fabric is itchier than the stuff they saved from the Ark, but it’s heaven compared to the scraps and leaves they had for that first month on the ground.  Instead of a pillow, a large blanket is folded flat at the top of the mattress, and Bellamy sinks onto it with a sigh.  He knows he’s selfish, taking comfort when friends and strangers are making do just outside the door, but Clarke wants him here.  

“Goodnight Bellamy,” she whispers.

He pushes the words past his sore vocal cords: “Goodnight Clarke."  

She snuffs out all the candles but one, then turns on her side to face the door, pulling the light blanket up over her shoulders.  Bellamy forces his eyes shut and tries to make his muscles relax.  There’s a method he used to do as teenager when fear for his family kept him up all night: focus on each limb, one at a time.  Tell that part of himself to slow down.  Relax.  Rest.  Be safe.

Sometime halfway through, he tricks his body into sleep.

When a rustle pulls him awake, it’s full dark.  The last candle winked out some time before, and the only light remaining is a thin silver glow from the window.  Bellamy blinks as his eyes adjust, taking in the wooden slats of the ceiling, then the quiet room.  Beyond the door, he can hear men and women moving and whispering, but the sounds are muted: a hush of a prayer, a soft whimper of pain.  He turns his head, expecting to see Clarke asleep beside him in the darkness.  She’s not.

She is awake too, and she’s watching him.  

Bellamy stares for a time, then gingerly shifts onto his side.  The motion brings him close enough that he can see the moonlight glinting off Clarke’s eyes: they are wide and gray in the darkness, with little glimmers of light reflection.  Her hair, thick and pale, spreads across the bed in a messy nest of waves behind her.  Bellamy wonders if she’s slept at all, or if she just took the bed so that he would too.  When he settles, his head rests on the makeshift pillow, but this time, his eyes are open and his gaze doesn’t break hers.

It’s tempting to talk, but the longer the silence between them stretches, the more impossible it seems to break.  Clarke watches him, still and shadowed, her appearance almost vulnerable.  Even in the dark, Bellamy can see the quiver of her lower lip and crease between her forehead.  So powerful is the urge to comfort her that he almost speaks, but something greater holds back his words.

Maybe she sensed that something too, because in the silence and the moonlight, her expression changes.  It's hard to quantify the difference, but he knows it immediately.  People have looked at Bellamy this way his whole life.  On Earth, on the Ark.  He recognized desire even when he was eighteen and too terrified of discovery to act on it.  What use is that to a boy with a secret? Pretty whims like lust or romance were for other, freer people.

Clarke looks at him that way now, as if by the force of her attention she can summon him to cross the sheets and take the step that she won't.  Her gaze breaks from their staring contest to run over his features: big shoulders to hold her with, big hands to cup her with.  Clarke's eyes drop to his mouth as her own falls open, and Bellamy feels himself already stiffening beneath his briefs.

He almost says the words—he can be those things for her.  He can be hard for her and soft for her and he can hold her until all the shadows have fled.  But it would be a lie.  Tomorrow the shadows will still be there.  The radiation will come and the ghosts of their loved ones will linger, and there is nothing Bellamy can offer Clarke Griffin to take that pain away.

Like he did weeks ago, he lifts a hand to push a lock of hair back from her eyes.  She tips into the gesture until he’s cupping her cheek, and takes a deep breath.  As she inhales, Bellamy sees her chest rise and her body relax, as if this point of contact lets him breathe right along side her.  He inhales too and it’s hypnotic, almost unreal how in tandem they are.  How synchronized they can be, down to the even air that fills their lungs.  

As one, they breathe.  In.  And out.  

In.  

And out.  

Clarke’s gaze is unwavering, unshaken, when Bellamy slides across the bed to her.

His hand on her cheek travels up to her hair, his long fingers cupping the back of her head and pulling her mouth to his.  Clarke surges forward, her own hand grabbing his upper arm and digging into the muscle for purchase.  Her kiss is overwhelming, almost volatile.  When she smashes lips against his Bellamy meets her with equal fervor, opening his mouth and taking the thrust of her tongue.  It’s hot and unapologetic, all that he's ever wanted from Clarke, and after today he doesn’t care about the rest.

He doesn’t care about what it means, or why she’s doing it, or what it will change.  If it turns his world upside down again and ruins their trust, or even—he’s ashamed to think it, but not ashamed enough to stop—if this is a betrayal of Gina’s memory.  He doesn’t even care if it’s a huge mistake.  It could make everything harder and someone is probably going to end up hurt but he doesn’t care. About feelings, or their past, or what their poisonous, violent world will do tomorrow to take this away.

Fuck the world.  Clarke is right here, pushing him backward into the bed and sliding her leg up his side.  Fuck the chips and the armies and the stupid people outside.  As Bellamy cups her face with both hands, her hair falls in a curtain on either side of them, blocking out the faint moonlight from the window.  Clarke pulls back to breathe, and he gasps too, then she’s on him again, and it’s almost a fight for control.  Bellamy drops a hand to her waist and pulls her fully on top of him, one leg on either side.  He bucks up with his pelvis and Clarke groans into his lips.  If it weren’t for the rough inelegance of the whole thing, he’d think he was dreaming, so he kisses her as intensely as he can just in case it ends.  She pulls up long enough to sweep her hair back in annoyance; he tugs her down again to curl his tongue into her mouth.  

They slow grind for a while, and Bellamy can feel every inch of her hot thighs on top of his, her panties rubbing down on his briefs until his cock is hard between them.  The weight of her excites him.  From her breasts pushing into his chest to the hand moving up his body, and further down to the hot center of her practically fucking him through their underwear, he wants this.  He has wanted this, for so long it can’t even be measured.  Just a sense hovering on the edge of his mind, ever-present and yet shunted away.

There’s the Clarke he cares about and trusts, and there’s the Clarke he wants to fuck until she passes out from coming, and most of the time he can tell them apart.  Most of the time she’s his friend, and sorting his libido from his head is like putting on a different shirt.  Think this, don’t think that.  Live, fight, survive.  Trust in Clarke and forgive her when she fails and don’t be the monster that asks for more than she can give.  Don’t be the next person to demand another piece of her heart.  Don’t resent her for not cutting it out.  Don’t, don’t, don’t.

Clarke squeezes him with legs as strong as a vice, banishing any thought but yes.

She swipes her tongue against his, and Bellamy reciprocates by hooking his fingers on the edge of her panties and rolling them down.  Always quick on the take, Clarke shimmies out of them and is back again, the raw heat of her cunt pushing down on the fabric still covering him.  His dick feels sensitive enough to come just from this, but he has the self-control to go so much farther tonight.  As far as she needs him to go, he will.  Bellamy pushes up and over until he rolls her beneath him, one hand fisting her hair into the mattress.  He kisses her hard as he slots his hips between hers.  With a moan Clarke combs her hand through his hair too, her caress trailing down to the back of his neck.

Like a chain pulled tight, Bellamy’s muscles lock and his body freezes up.  For a second he can’t move, the pain a fresh blossom on his skin.  Clarke instantly drops her hand to his shoulder, rubbing it gently.  She pulls away from the kiss and tucks her cheek flush with his.  Her warm breath tickles in his ear, a physical counterpoint to touch of her hands, and in that caress Bellamy gradually relaxes. As he comes down from the tension, he takes shallow gulps of air and leans into the safety of Clarke’s embrace.  

For the next minute she drops small kisses along his cheek and jaw, mindful not to go too low.  Here’s another thing they should talk about first, but then—talking sounds like work.  He doesn’t want to work or think when Clarke is below him, her shirt riding up to show the bottom swell of her breasts and her knees high on either side of his waist.  Bellamy dips his head and kisses her collarbone, up her neck, drawing a line to her ear with the soft press of his lips.  One hand holds his weight off her and he slides the other up to cup Clarke’s breast.  It’s warm and heavy under her top; when he lightly squeezes she hisses and arches into the contact.  He doesn’t know if that means she’s greedy or he is, because he squeezes more and she turns her face to kiss him.  

Always, always she goes back to kissing.  He’s gonna remember that.

Her own greedy hands find his briefs and she attacks them like an obstacle.  She yanks them down over his ass, stopping to squeeze his cheeks roughly before shucking them off.  Bellamy loses them somewhere down in the sheets and he doesn’t care, a problem for tomorrow.  He drags one palm from her raised knee down to her thigh, and he pulls her legs open as he slides his cock over her slick entrance.  Clarke’s breath catches.  They’re forehead to forehead now, not so much kissing as breathing the same square inch of air.

Slowly, she captures his bottom lip in her mouth.  When Bellamy thrusts inside her, she bites down on his lip, and the combined sensation wracks him.  The sting of her bite contrasts with the wet, hot brilliance of her cunt, and he could drown in the feeling.  Clarke lets him go almost as quick, kissing away the sting, and draws her hands down across his spine to cup his ass again.  She pulls him into her, fucking up and doing most of the work while he’s distracted.

Distracted, drowning, overwhelmed.  

Being inside Clarke— being with Clarke—it hits him harder than he thought, and he takes half a second to catch up to the real world.  The real world where Clarke has her legs around his waist and he can feel her cunt surround him.  Like time has slowed down, Bellamy feels his body start to move.  His eyes catch hers, and in the faint glow of the room, it’s mesmerizing.  He holds her gaze as he fucks her, gentle at first and then, when she sighs, deeper.

They build a rhythm together, Clarke squeezing his arm when she wants to go slower, then pinching his ass to go faster.  Soon keeping their heads together is too much and she falls back to the bed, her neck a long column for him to lick and suck.  Her shirt is scrunched up above her breasts so he kisses those too, fucking her with a fierce, machine-like steadiness as he worships her tits.  Bellamy’s had dreams about these tits, and he’d feel guilty about that if she weren’t urging him on with little half-stuttered sighs and gasps.  

When her legs around him start to shiver and her fingers dig into his skin, Bellamy picks up speed, putting more passion and intent into every thrust.  He wants to be deeper, as deep as she’s ever let anyone be.  Bellamy would climb inside her heart if he could, make camp there and stay forever.  Clarke is gorgeous beneath him, a tapestry of soft skin disguising hard muscle, strong and hungry from six months on the ground.  She pushes up to kiss him again, and Bellamy thrusts his tongue into her mouth as he thrusts his cock inside her.  

He grinds up against the top of her cunt, and when she starts to shiver he drops one hand down between them.  His fingers find the slippery warm spot of their joining, and then he presses down on her clit.  Rubbing it fast and hard, he feels it when Clarke spasms.  A messy whine escapes her as her fingers press into the muscle of his back and her cunt clenches around his cock.  He fucks her through it, harder and faster, until her legs go slack and she lifts her head to meet his eyes.  

Even in the dark her lips are plump and from kissing, and there’s sweat on her brow and her cheeks are flushed.  Seeing her like that—knowing he’s made her look like that—it sends Bellamy over the edge in a sharp, hot wave.  He stays inside her as he comes, and Clarke wraps both arms around his shoulders.  She pulls him down, full-bodied atop her.  As his head falls to rest in the curve of her neck, his frame still shuddering, she kisses his temple.  

More kisses land on his eyebrows, his hair, and he’d like to reciprocate but he’s too boneless to move.  His eyes flutter closed for a moment, and he tries to breathe regularly.  

In.  And out.

The arms that held Bellamy up feel like lead, but he pushes himself off anyway, just enough to fall to Clarke’s side.  She turns into him, tucking her chest against his arm and throwing one leg over his nearest.  With disarming tenderness, she puts her hand on Bellamy’s cheek and turns him to face her.  She gazes at him, attention flickering over his face, his lips, and back up to his eyes.  Then Clarke rises, just slightly, to press her lips to his.

It’s a soft petal of a kiss, the brush of lips barely an echo of the ones before it.  Her thumb caresses his cheekbone, a warm compliment to the feel of her body alongside his.  Bellamy’s eyes slide shut, and her face in the quiet darkness is the last thing he sees before exhaustion takes him.