I need to talk about the woman who, when confronted with a wounded patient chose to take him to the place she had been tortured without a single thought about herself; without concern for what she personally had suffered; with only a concern for her people and how it might affect them.
I need to talk about the woman who is struggling to be the soul and lungs, the rational thinking head and the stubbornly beating heart of all of her people.
I need to talk about she’s still doing whatever she can, whatever she must, regardless of the cost to herself to save people who aren’t even technically hers, who are just wounded and lost and desperate and in need of her assistance.
I need to talk about how she’s trying to balance doing what her heart tells her is right against what her head tells her she must consider for the sake of all of her people.
I need to talk about how this woman gives and gives and gives and gives until there’s basically nothing left of her, she’s worked herself to exhaustion time and again for other people and all they do is tell her it’s not enough.
I need to talk about how she is governing her people with her wits and her compassion and her integrity and her intelligence while keeping every single one of them alive with her blood and her sweat and her tears.
And then I need to talk about how all they do then is ask for her more. They take it all, they bleed her dry, they work her fingers to the bone and push her to her wit’s end and then they demand more. They throw it back in her face, they turn compassion into spite, they turn everything into nothing, they tell her she can’t do what she’s done for three months in keeping them alive, in building a civilisation, in helping them all heal at her own expense.
I need to talk about the fact that everyone comes to her with problems. Fix this. Mend that. Save them. Again and again and again, problem after problem after problem and she solves them again and again and again and she gets nothing back for it but cruel words and cold rebukes.
I need to talk about the fact that Nyko, a Grounder, has shown Abby more respect, more compassion, more reverence and more gratitude then her own people, the people she has worn herself away to the bone to protect and continues to do without thinking, without considering the cost to herself because it’s the right thing to do.
I need to talk about a woman who always does what is right; not what is easy, not what she wants, not even what she needs but what is right. A woman who, despite having lost her husband, with her daughter missing and everyone turning on her and twisting her intentions so out of shape she looks wrong and bad, has never lost her integrity, has never lost her humanity, has never lost her hope.
I need to talk about this woman, the only woman, the only person, capable of leading her people from the wasted refuge they were trapped in to the blossoming settlement that Arkadia has become, she has nurtured the people with her bare hands, she has watered the ground with her blood, she has built her hopes on faded dreams and unshed tears and she has built them a fucking empire with sheer grit and determination, while she was still healing from the wounds they inflicted upon her at Mount Weather.
I need to talk about the woman who can look on the darkest things in this world and still find hope within them.
I need to talk about the woman who can see the tool that was used to shock lash her and cause her pain and punish her and use it to restart another person’s heart and save their life.
I need to talk about the woman who looks at the place she was imprisoned, where she was tortured, where she was expendable and helpless and merely a means to an end, where she was supposed to die, like the thousands there before her and sees it not as a nuclear war base, the way Pike sees it, but as a medical facility, as a place to help people.
I need to talk about the woman who still believes, even after all the things she’s seen and done, that ‘hope is everything’.
Sure enough they were. The three of them – why did it always feel like it was the three of them lately? Ever since they’d gotten back from Texas, it had gotten harder and harder for Riley to be around the two of them, watching them dance around their non-relationship the same way Riley and Lucas had for a year and a half before that.
Riley had had her turn, hadn’t she? Wasn’t it only fair that Maya get hers now?
But it made her heart feel cloudy and dark; it made her feel like all the sunshine was gone, and it hurt so much more than just some stupid first crush to see them together – it hurt so much more than Riley could ever describe.
Maya looked up, and then she glanced at Riley, and then she turned to Lucas. It was probably asking for permission… a glance to ask if it was okay for them to participate in the timeless Christmas tradition here, in front of her, where Riley had to see it.
She couldn’t see it. Riley was a lot of things, and one of them was certainly selfless… but she wasn’t a masochist. She couldn’t watch the two people she loved the most kiss for the first time right before her very eyes, but how could she escape without making it obvious she still cared? Without ruining her best friend’s newfound happiness?
She didn’t know what possessed her to do it, and later she’d never be able to remember the lead up to this moment. All she remembered was grabbing Maya’s face, pulling her best friend close, and going for it.
Riley’s lips hit Maya’s, and suddenly it was like her whole body was waking up. The clouds that had been hanging over her dissipated, and there was a burst of color – purple, Riley’s favorite, gold, like the colors Maya saw in Riley when 5:30 rolled around…
Red. Everything was red, like love, like passion, like fire.
She pulled back, her lips still slightly parted, her heart stopped in her chest… and she giggled maniacally, trying to cover up the eruption in her chest that she’d never seen coming.
“Well, we were all three standing here!” Riley reminded them, pointing up at the mistletoe. “Um, I have to go to the bathroom, so I guess it’s – I guess it’s your turn now!” she added, shoving Lucas and Maya closer together as she disappeared into the back of her house, completely reeling from what had just happened…and from the realization that maybe, deep down, she wasn’t jealous of Maya at all.