Clarke doesn’t know what surprises her more: the fact that she is still alive, or that Bellamy’s face is looming over her.
Last she remembers, she was put under a chamber, about to be exposed to critical levels of radiation. Bellamy Blake was definitely nowhere in the equation. Yet somehow, she is not dead, and Bellamy is standing before her.
Is she even awake?
Clarke isn’t entirely sure—until the burning begins. Flames blisters her middles, her insides, her limbs, and she cries out. The radiation poisoning. Its heat is consuming her.
Above her, Bellamy has turned a distinct shade of white. “Hold on, I’m getting Abby—”
“No.” Her voice is hoarse with disuse. She grits her teeth, waiting for the rush of pain to ebb. “Don’t.”
Bellamy stares at her as if she is insane. “You need your mother.”
Clarke shakes her head. She knows what will happen the moment her mother arrives in the room. The only treatment for the pain of radiation sickness. “Sedation,” Clarke gasps. Back to unconsciousness, and she has just caught sight of Bellamy Blake. She can’t face another goodbye.
Bellamy’s jaw clenches. He understands. Of course he does. His shoulders droop—in relief or defeat, she doesn’t know—and he bends down at the side of her bed. Clarke is too weak to sit up, so she rolls her head to look at Bellamy. Really look at him, after so many days have passed. She drinks in his eyes, his limbs, thanking God that he is alive.
It takes her a moment to feel his rage. It’s latent, quiet, but she feels it simmering in the air between them. He is angry at her, and Clarke knows very well as to why. The cause is streaming through her veins, blazing away at her insides.
She doesn’t know how to remove the venom in her blood, and she sure as hell can’t eliminate it from Bellamy’s eyes. Screw it. She’s conscious, now. She might as well spend it looking at Bellamy Blake.
It’s been entirely too long since she’s seen his speckled skin, the dent on his upper lip. Her eyes land on the smudges under his eyes. They’re darker than usual. She frowns. “When did you last sleep?”
The bitterness in his eyes fade momentarily, converting to something Clarke can’t quite place. “Not too long,” he says.
Clarke refrains from rolling her eyes. He is a very bad liar. “How long, Bellamy?”
“Three days”, he mumbles.
A strangled sigh leaves Clarke. This boy has been awake for days, and here she is, lost in oblivion for who knows how long— “How long have I been asleep?”
Clarke’s throat is suddenly dry. Bellamy blinks, and the fire returns to his eyes.
“I had to,” Clarke says, because she knows what he’s thinking.
Bellamy says, “You almost died, Clarke.”
The pain in his voice sears Clarke more than the burning in her veins. She says, “I had no choice. What else could I have done?”
His voice is exasperated. “Me, Clarke. One call, and you could’ve tested me.”
“Absolutely not.” He blinks, and Clarke realizes the intensity of her voice. She tries to manage her snarl, but what does is he expect? So eager to sacrifice himself. What an idiot.
Bellamy’s eyes narrow. “Why not?“
“Because our people need a leader. They need you.”
“They need me?” A small, bitter smile pulls his lips. “Hard to believe. Considering I can’t save anyone.”
Clarke doesn’t have the strength to punch him. So she reaches for his hand, resting beside her head. Immediately, like a reflex, his fingers engulf her own.
“You’ve kept me alive more times than I can count,” she says. “I owe you my life, Bellamy.”
His eyes flick away. He always seems so startled when Clarke mentions his worth, how much he means to them. To her. It never fails to surprise her how little he values himself. Her eyes land on the smudges under his eyes and she frowns again. “You need to sleep.”
He says, “You don’t need to worry about—”
“Yes, I do!” Clarke snaps, “You need to take care of yourself when I’m gone."
Bellamy’s jaw tightens. She wonders if he realizes his thumb is rolling soft circles over her wrist. The gesture intoxicatingly soothing.
He says, “Then don’t leave.”
She doesn’t know whether it’s the way he’s looking at her, or the distinct way his voice has gone soft. But for the first time in a long time, Clarke is at a loss for words.
Which isn’t a problem, apparently, as a sudden, vicious torrent of pain streaks down her body. Clarke cries out.
And immediately Bellamy straightens, his face sharpening. “I’m getting your mother.”
Clarke tightens her grip on his hand to keep him from pulling away. “No,” she says, but it’s a gasp. She knows she needs her mother. She knows she needed her the moment she woke up. But now she knows Bellamy is alive. That he is safe. And she knows that she’s scared him. In his eyes, what she’s done is unforgivable.
Clarke chokes out, “I’m sorry.”
She doesn’t know what he replies. If he replies. The pain is blinding, now, turning the world white at the edges.
But through the flames, she thinks she feels warm lips press against her fingertips.
Clarke has one coherent thought before the world turns to black: for what time they have left on this Earth, she will make Bellamy Blake come around and see how special he is.