prompt: ‘Bellamy loses Octavia to the system; Clarke is a first time foster parent who takes her in; Bellamy tracks them down and typical co-parent domesticity ensues!’ for @karinaisloud
word count: 10495
The girl is scrawny and sullen, all long limbs and sharp angles, her eyes hooded and wary as she regards Clarke. According to the social worker, her name is Octavia Blake, she’s fourteen, and she’s been in the system for five years.
“She’s not older than Bell,” says Octavia, to Roan.
“No, but she’s much richer,” says the social worker, without looking up. “Which is important.”
Octavia looks back at her. “How rich are you?”
Clarke shrugs. “Pretty rich. My dad was rich, and he died, so I have a lot of money now. Who’s Bell?”
“Bellamy Blake,” says Roan, sounding amused. He always sounds amused, in Clarke’s experience. He has a perpetual smirk she wants to punch off his face, but in a lowkey, mostly friendly way. He just has that kind of vibe. “Her older brother.”
“He’s twenty-five and I can still stay with him,” Octavia says.
“According to the state, you can’t.”
“That’s because Cage Wallace is a fucking dick.” She crosses her arms over her chest. “He takes care of me fine.”
“Mr. Blake recently lost his job,” says Roan, turning his attention back to Clarke. “Without a steady source of income, the state doesn’t feel he can provide care for his sister. If he gets another job–”
“When,” Octavia snaps.
“When,” Roan agrees, inclining his head. “As a blood relative, he has the right to petition for custody.”
“Cool,” says Clarke. It seems like a good place to start. “So, once he’s set, you’ll go back to him. You can stay with me until he’s ready.”
Octavia gives her a wary look. “Just like that?”
“Just like what?”
“You’re going to give me back?”
“I’m fostering you, not stealing you. If I wanted a kid, I’d try to adopt one instead. I figure if you need someone to look after you until your brother gets the state to listen to him, I can do that. That’s the kind of thing I thought I’d be doing.”
“There is a reason I selected Ms. Griffin for you,” Roan adds, dry. “Just give us a minute. Please don’t destroy any government property while you’re waiting.”
“If you don’t want me to destroy government property, you shouldn’t leave me alone with it,” says Octavia, flouncing out, and Roan turns his attention to Clarke.
“I’d say I tried to start you off with an easy case, but there aren’t any.”
“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting one.” She considers, but has to ask, “Is the brother into drugs or something?”
“No, he’s mostly just unlucky. As she said, he’s twenty-five, and their mother died when he was in his sophomore year of college. He dropped out of school to take her, but he’s had trouble holding down a steady job. And–” He considers. “Just because they’re related doesn’t mean she behaves for him either. It’s a difficult case. He’s local, and he’ll want to be–involved.”
Roan shrugs. “He’s not a bad guardian, aside from the money. If he bothers you, let us know. Historically, he does his best to stay on our good side, but it’s difficult for him.”
She makes herself smile. “Honestly, a little guidance wouldn’t be the worst thing.”
“No, it wouldn’t,” he agrees. “If I thought you’d only get a little, I’d feel much better. As I said, if he bothers you, let us know. It’s possible to get a court order to–”
“She’s his sister,” Clarke says, horrified. She doesn’t have siblings, but–it’s clear his sister cares about him, and it sounds as if he cares about her too. And he wants to get her back. If he seems awful, if they seem destructive–but even that doesn’t feel like her call. “He’d have to be really bad, for me to try to get him banned from talking to her.”
Roan considers her, and finally says, “The two of them have not been well-served by the system. I’ve only recently been assigned to their case. Octavia has been through a number of social workers and foster families, both because she objects to them and because her brother objects to them. If my instincts are wrong on this, don’t take it to heart. We’ll give you an easier one next time.” He hands her a piece of paper with a telephone number and the name Bellamy Blake on it. “I assume his sister is passing on your contact information to him now. You deserve to be prepared if he calls.”
“Oh good,” says Clarke, but she puts the number in immediately, just in case. “Trial by fire?”
“It’s all fire,” he says, even. “I’m just giving you a straightforward one. Call me if you need anything.”
Octavia is on her phone when Clarke goes back out, and she gives the girl a smile. “You ready?”