“Jasper’s party is tonight,” Clarke reminded him.
Bellamy topped off her travel mug and then poured the rest of the coffee into his own. “I’ll be there right after Debate practice ends,” he promised and kissed her cheek. “I’ll hope for nothing more exciting for you than a couple of broken bones.”
Clarke laughed and fished her car keys out of the bowl. “Fingers crossed,” she said, and then with another chaste kiss she was out the door.
It was a day like any other— mundane and uneventful, but comfortable. Jasper’s birthday party at the restaurant, followed by Clarke falling asleep nestled in his arms. The next day was much the same, and the next, and the next. Bellamy couldn’t remember ever feeling so happy or so safe, so content to simply wake up each morning next to her and fall asleep with her each night.
He was leaving work when his phone beeped with a voicemail. He pressed it to his ear and was rewarded with a burst of static and Clarke’s voice, muffled as if from a great distance. “Three years…” she said faintly. The message went on, just disjointed bursts of words. He couldn’t make heads or tails of it, and when he got home Clarke shrugged.
“Must have been a glitch; an old one popping back up. Maybe from our three year anniversary?” she said, and he didn’t have a better explanation, so he nodded and pulled her to him for a long, languid kiss.
He was happy.
A problem with his phone was nothing.
Three days later— or maybe a week, it was hard to remember, exactly— he got another strange voicemail. More static, more jumbles of words and phrases that made no sense. “Madi…the bunker…rubble…home.” Clarke seemed more puzzled by this one, but when she pronounced his phone haunted he couldn’t help but laugh. She laughed into his mouth and then her hand found his cock and he forgot all about cryptic messages and a phone that needed to be replaced.
The third message was harder to ignore. Clarke sounded upset, like she’d been crying. “Five years,” she kept saying, over and over again. “Five years,” and “you said you’d come back.”
Clarke didn’t even look up from the pot of spaghetti. “Just get a new one. Clearly that one’s broken,” she said.
“Pay no attention to it.” A brunette he had never seen before appeared in the corner of the kitchen, her head tilted and her hands clasped in front of her.
Bellamy jumped. “Who the fuck are you?” he said, but when Clarke looked up, she’d disappeared.
“What’s wrong?” Clarke asked, concern written all over her face.
“Didn’t you see her?”
“That woman. The woman who—” Clarke silenced him with a kiss and pulled his forehead down to rest on hers.
“I think we need a vacation,” she said, running her hands up and down his arms. “You’re stressed.”
Bellamy breathed her in and nodded, so relieved to have her in his arms he decided he didn’t care he was hallucinating.
Clarke on the beach was a sight to behold. She loved the sun and the water and he loved the way she looked in her blue bikini, sunglasses pushed up into her hair while she laughed. The sand stuck to his back and she leaned down to kiss him, her hair falling around them like a curtain. She smelled like salt and sand and sex, and his hands roamed her body because it was just the two of them and the waves. There no one else to worry about, no wars to win, no battles to fight.
Static blared in his ear. “…if you’re alive…2,199 days…praimfaiya…” Bellamy slammed on his brakes. The brunette was back, sitting calmy in the passenger seat and completely unperturbed by the fact that she’d appeared out of thin air. The last thing he remembered was the beach, Clarke’s lips on his and her body wrapped around him desperately. But now he was driving to work, cars behind him honking frantically.
“Pay no attention to that,” the woman said calmly. Bellamy stared at her and she stared back, unblinking. There was something familiar about her movements and the robotic way she spoke, but he was sure he had never seen her before that moment in the kitchen. It called to mind Raven, somehow, but Raven Reyes was fierce and warm, not cold and calculating.
The honking grew to a crescendo and he started driving again, stealing looks at the unnaturally still woman in his car. “Who are you?”
“I’m no one, Bellamy,” she said in what was clearly supposed to be a soothing voice.
More static. “Where is that coming from?” he asked. He missed a turn to to the school and then suddenly realized he hadn’t— it was two blocks away, just like always.
“It’s nothing,” she replied. “Just a relic of the past.”
“…safe for you to come back for over a year now. Why haven’t you?” Clarke asked, her voice loud in his ear. Bellamy jerked the wheel and his car went up over the curb, slamming into a tree. Suddenly new memories flooded him, of driving through ash in a hazmat suit; of Clarke smiling weakly at him; of crashing into a tree and a fierce fight with arrows and fists.
None of it made sense, but then all of it did.
The dropship. The grounders. Mount Weather. A hug so tight he thought his heart would break, and then more pain, more heartbreak, more battles and scars and wars. A wave of radiation sweeping inexorably towards them all. Clarke was beside him for all of it, until she wasn’t.
“I still have hope,” Clarke said, and the world around Bellamy melted away.
Metal walls replaced trees and sun, silence replaced the rumble of cars and chatter of children walking to school. An engine hummed and Bellamy sat up, back on the Ark. Clarke’s voice sounded from the radio, clear and steady and alive. “The rest of the world basically sucks,” she said, and Bellamy’s lips curved into a grin in spite of everything.
He blinked and was back in his car, the engine smoking and the brunette sitting placidly next to him. The sun poured in, impossibly bright, and she tilted her head curiously. “Leave it,” she ordered him. “This is better.”
Bellamy felt like he was swimming through quicksand. The world kept flickering back and forth— metal and silence and space, sunshine and cacophony and earth, one into another. The only constant was her.
That was who it had to be. And that was why he didn’t recognize her but remembered her mannerisms. He had seen them before, but from Raven that day at Niylah’s. “Clarke’s alive?” he asked ALIE.
The ark solidified around him once again and he touched his cheek, finding it full of stubble. ALIE clasped her hands. “She is. But likely not for long. The odds of surviving are—”
Bellamy ran for the radio but the world shifted and he was back on the ground in a life he had imagined but never really lived. He was in the bedroom he shared with Clarke, her clothes strewn across the floor and her scent lingering like she had just left the room.
He rounded on ALIE. “Let me go,” he demanded.
“It’s better here,” ALIE said instead. “I can make you happy. No more fear, no more loss.”
“Clarke. is. alive,” he growled. “What did you do? How did you do this?”
She waved her hand. “I was locked up here for months before you came. Re-engineering the algae farms with my code was child’s play.”
“Let me go,” he ordered again. “Clarke’s down there. I can’t—”
“You can’t ever have the life you want down there,” ALIE countered. They were back on the ark, the earth hanging just outside the window. “Stay here, and you can. Stay here, and you can live in peace with Clarke by your side. That’s what you want, isn’t it? If you go down, she could already be dead before you arrive. Could die the next day. You could die in the attempt. The outcomes are poor, no matter what. But I can offer you happiness, Bellamy Blake. Happiness, and Clarke.”
A lever appeared before him. It was identical to the lever in Mount Weather, the lever that made him into a monster. A sick joke, he figured, and set his jaw. ALIE looked at the lever and something like fear flashed behind her eyes. “I pull this, you disappear, right?” he asked.
“I do. And so does that life. You were happy there, Bellamy. Let me make you happy.”
Bellamy looked out at the ground. Clarke was there, waiting for him, but ALIE was right— she might not make it until he could get back. He might not make it back. And even if they both survived, there was no guarantee of happiness or peace. It was uncertainty and pain, and the life he had in the City of Light was predictable and comfortable. It was easy in a way Bellamy’s life had never been and never would be, if he pulled the lever. His heart yearned for that life, for the peace he found with Clarke. He reached out but his hand wavered, remembering how good it felt to fall asleep, safe by her side.
“Nevermind, I see you,” Clarke said. The hope in her voice wrapped around his heart, reminding him of who he was and what he wanted.
And he pulled the damn lever.