The fluorescent lights were the first thing that woke her up; the second being the soft numb feeling she had from the hanging chill in the air. After only a little over a day, the room in the infirmary was growing familiar to her. Its bare walls, clean smell, slight tint of blue among the grey and white that covered nearly every surface… She didn’t mind it.
It was a lie to say that she expected to be here this long. But it wasn’t her fault. Natalie’d never known of anything like this before, a coma. She didn’t know how long people were normally out, or how dangerous the situation at hand was. Like a routine, she pulled the blanket over his body to its usual position, getting comfortable in her chair and cracking her back before speaking. “G’morning, Clarky.” The blonde said, bringing a hand to her face to tuck her hair behind her ears. “I hope y’slept well…” She says, pausing. “I hope y’can hear me. I… I can’t imagine what this’s like for you. I dunno what’s going on in your head. But…I really hope y’can hear me so y’know you’re not alone here.”
Over the years she’d spent in the Capitol, Natalie knew more than anything what it was like to feel alone, even if she was surrounded by people. All strangers, even a stranger to herself, the girl had created an isolated mindset, a brash, almost dark personality to keep herself away from getting hurt by anyone. But the man in the bed…he’d gotten her to open up almost immediately. In a matter of days, she’d changed. Not to everyone, but…overall, she’d learned so much more, felt so much more than she ever had.
Clark had changed her. Made her a better person. Made her feel like a person. Even in the moments their eyes had met in the Capitol…he was the first person from the outside world she’d ever seen. The first face that proved to her that she wasn’t alone. That there was so much more than the hell she’d been living. And she could never completely repay that. But this was a start.
“Y'know, when old man lost me in the Capitol–don’t be mad at’m for it, it wasn’t his fault–I found those surgeons and scientists who worked on me.” She said, later that day. “They were still down there, workin’ on things like they were expecting m'back. I think they were surprised when I pulled a gun on'em and made’m go into the cage. Y'know, I think they were really scared.” Natalie paused to think before laughing quietly to herself. “I didn’t even know how t'shoot that damn gun.” It was true. She’d only really half paid attention when Brutus had taught her the gun work because, when it came down to it, she was really just plain uninterested. “Y'would’ve been proud.”
For a few hours, the girl merely resolved to resting her head on his chest, eyes focused on the wall. The steady beating of her boyfriend’s heart played in her mind, just as important as her own, when it came down to it. The sound was soothing, a constant reminder that Clark was still in there somewhere. As long as the beating continued. It would. She was confident of it above anything else she knew. Hadn’t they been in something like this before? She was meant to die since she’d gotten here. That was fact. They’d always get through things. Even the impossible. They were impossible. Natalie and Clark. Nat and Clarky.
“You know, I had this feeling in my chest the first moment I saw y'in District Seven. I mean, I didn’t know what it was then. But…I still get it now. It’s terrifyin’, really, and I hate it. It’s rubbish. It’s like..like I’m falling. And…I’m dizzy, too. Oh! And, and.. Even though I didn’t east anything odd, I feel like I’m gonna throw up. ‘Cause I’m so nervous. Not scared, like I was in th'Capitol. Nervous. Cause I don’t wanna say something stupid, even though I almost always do anyway.” Natalie mused, her fingers gently moving through Clark’s hair as she watched the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.
“Everything in m'life’s always been so..uncertain. Are they gonna send me out tomorrow, are they gonna kill me mid test, am I going to have t'take more innocent lives, or, or will I just sit in this cage for another 20 something years?…And, I mean…I know things’re still kinda uncertain. With th'war and all. But…whatever my future holds… I know I want y'in it. Forever.” She said softly, bringing her lips down to his palm, closing it on the kiss.
Some time after Brutus left that night, standing and laying one of the blankets on her own chair, and the other, the one from their bed, over Clark in the bed, Nat pulled her chair up to the side of the bed. She gave a small smile at the piece of notepaper that laid at his bedside, covered in honest corrections and compassionate words. “You know, you really are wonderful, Clarky.” She whispers, pulling a bit of the blanket over herself in her chair. “And I love you. I’ll make sure I tell y'everyday. Y'deserve t'hear it more. I love you, you wonderful, fantastic person.” Natalie said, a yawn escaping her lips as she brought her head back down to its spot over his heart. “Sleep well…sweet dreams.”