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Bellamy squelched across the camp, mentally grumbling at the damp state of things. It had been storming for the past several days. It had been all natural though, Clarke hadn't influenced the weather at all. Not that she hadn't tried to slow the storm, if not stop it. She had. It turned out that her stunt with the outcasts the previous week had drained her abilities to the point where she had only been able to slow the wind a bit.
Now that the storm was over, everyone was soaked, cold, and miserable except for Clarke. He had seen her go out into the middle of the camp during the worst part of the storm and turn her face to the sky, watching in delighted fascination as nature created its art in the clouds. If he had thought it possible, he would have said she was learning.
However, Clarke's ease with the situation wasn't universal. Everyone else, including Bellamy himself, was tired of the wet and irritated with the cold. They hadn't had to truly worry about the temperature ever since they had landed. The only fires they had built were for light and cooking food. Fire wasn't needed for anything else down here yet; it was warm enough already. When they were dry, that is.
When wet, every little breeze was magnified, and every drop in the temperature was more pronounced. The 100 had been shivering for the entire duration of the storm – and even after due to the lack of anything warm and dry. Clarke had been tactful in not openly expressing her delight in the storm, even though it was obvious to anyone who looked at her. Still, Bellamy had seen the concern that overrode the thrill whenever she cast her gaze across the camp over their people.
Bellamy was drawn out of his thoughts as Miller approached. The boy had rapidly become his second, and Bellamy was glad for his steady, levelheaded presence when surrounded by impulsive teens. As he approached, Bellamy could see the slight stress on Miller's face. He was instantly alert. When Miller was stressed, things were not good.
"What's wrong?" he said, in lieu of a greeting. The boy didn't seem to mind, having gotten used to Bellamy's habits weeks ago. It was a good thing, because otherwise Bellamy was sure he would have offended Miller many times over by now.
"It's nothing too bad." Miller began, intentionally stating that bit first so that Bellamy could relax some. "The problem is that the storm soaked everyone and everything. People are cold and wet with no way to warm up and dry off. We can't even get a fire going, because all of the wood is drenched just as much as everything else. I was wondering if you had any ideas?"
Bellamy thought about that for a moment. He really couldn't think of an easy solution other than a fire. However, Miller had just been saying that they had been trying that, and had failed because of the wood not working. Bellamy knew he could get it to light, it was just a matter of whether or not he was willing to expose his Talent like that out in the open.
People had speculated on what his Talent was. He'd heard them whispering about it from time to time as he walked through camp. He still hadn't confirmed or denied their theories (really only denied, they hadn't guessed the right one yet), and hadn't used his Talent since they'd landed. Now, as he glanced around the camp again, he knew that his choice about using it had already been made. Maybe he could still hide it though by disguising it as something else.
"Take me to where you were trying to start a fire." He turned to Miller, and saw that the boy was looking like he wanted to protest. "I just want to try and see for myself that it won't work. If it doesn't, then we'll try something else. I just don't want to spend extra energy if we don't have to." Miller studied him for a moment. Then, placated, he nodded and motioned for Bellamy to follow.
He led Bellamy to the place where their cooking fire usually was, and Bellamy rolled his eyes internally for not realizing the obvious. Of course that's where it was. Why would they build the fire elsewhere when they already had a perfectly good location for it that they'd been using before. Miller stopped and picked up their flint and handed it to Bellamy. There was a small crowd around the clearing, evidently hopeful at the thought of the potential heat. Bellamy and Miller had drawn more over with their walk across camp.
He took the flint from his second, and crouched by the base of the wood, snagging some of the more flammable stuff from the center of the wood formation. If he was going to disguise his Talent, he'd have to make it believable by using it, despite the fact that he could easily light the whole thing right now. Bellamy arranged the material the way he wanted it, then struck the flint, sending sparks to the bundle.
The energy from the sparks flared in his senses before they were immediately extinguished. He cursed, and struck again. There were more sparks this time, and he could feel them like he felt his arm or leg. Their energy was there, his for the taking. He couldn't take it though. Not just yet. Putting a frown on his face, he prepared to strike one more time.
"Come on, I know you can light!" He said it just loud enough for several of them to hear, then struck. This time, he caught the energy released, and guided it to the little bundle of grasses and bark. He made it linger there until the water was gone and it began to smoulder. Putting the flint aside, Bellamy quickly scooped up the now smoking materials, and gently deposited it back into the tower of wood.
Recalling what he'd seen others do, he blew gently on it, mentally boosting the ember he could see forming. It burst into flame, and Bellamy held it there as the rest of the flammable material around it dried then caught fire. The clearing erupted into cheers, drawing the attention of the rest of the camp. Soon, everyone was crowding around the flames trying to get warm and dry. Bellamy stayed nearby, keeping an eye on the bonfire, and making the wet wood light when it seemed like the flames were weakening. He was absorbed in his task, and only once all the current wood was lit did he look up.
It was a knee-jerk reaction of his to find his sister. He was pleased to see her sandwiched at the front between Jasper and Monty, her cheeks flushed with warmth and a bright smile on her face. The sight of her happiness had his own lips curling up slightly. Bellamy's next reaction was to seek out his co-leader. He scanned the crowds for her for a while, and was just beginning to wonder where she was when he saw her.
Clarke was staring at him intently when his eyes met hers. Had her expression been less intense, Bellamy might have flushed slightly under her scrutiny. As it was, he felt his heart freeze, and he briefly wondered if she had guessed his Talent. He wouldn't put it past her; Clarke was definitely smart enough to have figured it out with the little information that she had. Suddenly feeling uneasy despite the warmth and dryness caused by the fire, Bellamy stood and began moving to his tent. The others congratulated and thanked him as he passed, but he paid them little mind.
He entered his tent and paused, letting his nonchalant mask fall from his face. If Clarke guessed, what would she do? He didn't think she'd tell anyone. She had experience being feared for her Talent, surely she would understand that with his, too. Right? He also didn't think that she herself would fear him, because had she seen her own abilities? She could knock him flat or fry him without a second thought, and there would be nothing he could do to stop her. There wasn't anything to worry about with her. Probably.
Bellamy sighed, and decided that he'd go to bed so that he didn't have to think about it anymore. His bedding was still rather damp, but he figured he could dry it off tomorrow. He was too tired and stressed to do anything about it tonight. He took a step forward and moved to sit down.
"You're a Firecaster, aren't you?" Clarke's voice had him spinning around in a heartbeat, his stomach plummeting to his feet at her words. She had her arms crossed and had all her weight shifted to one foot. Her expression was unreadable, and he felt his tension rise when he realized that he couldn't figure out what she was thinking. She was cut off from him in a way she hadn't been since the beginning, and that made him anxious. "Why were you hiding it back there?"
"You're kidding." He saw her deadpan expression, and was startled. "You're not kidding. Seriously? They'd never want to be near me again, much less listen to me as a leader. Firecasters are dangerous. Lethal. Deadly." Clarke raised an eyebrow.
"To their enemies, yes. To the people they care about, they offer protection. Like you just did out there." Bellamy paused, and thought back to when he started the fire, the cheers and laughter, and realized that she was right. Catching the realization on his face, Clarke took a step forward, and now she was in his space. She was just a little too close for the proximity to be considered completely casual, and Bellamy fought the urge to back up. She studied him for a moment before speaking again.
"What do you know about Firecasters from the past?" Bellamy blinked. What did that have to do with anything?
"Not a lot." he admitted. "But enough. The ones I read about were considered bad or dangerous people in almost every source I read. It's not all that hard to figure out what that says about me." He wasn't sure why he was telling this to her, but there had always been something about Clarke that made him open up, even all the way back to their first week when they had found the guns and eaten the hallucination-causing nuts.
"You're information is incomplete then." she said, refocusing his attention back on her. A slight crease formed between her eyebrows as she thought about what she was going to say next. "The ones you read about, they were all the leaders of something or another, right? Probably people like Genghis Khan, Hitler, Attila the Hun – all harsh people and cruel leaders?" Bellamy nodded.
"Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?" Clarke gave him a look that clearly said that had he not been so thrown, she would be calling him an idiot. The familiar look was actually rather reassuring to him, despite the fact that it was unfortunate he was so used to it.
"Well, they were all great leaders. Cruel, yes, but great none the less. Other Firecasters from the past were peaceful or good, too. They just weren't talked about as much. Gandhi, Cleopatra, and Aristotle were all Firecasters. A little known fact is that Joan of Arc and Mother Teresa were too. Just because you control fire, that doesn't make you a bad person. Your Talent is a part of you, it doesn't define you."
Bellamy was stunned. All those people he'd read about in books, they were all Firecasters too? If Clarke knew about them, then surely the people who had made the library aboard the Ark had too. So why had he only found books that covered the harsh Firecasters when he went searching to learn more about his Talent's history?
"Because they were afraid." Clarke's voice cut into his thoughts, and he realized that he'd said the last question out loud. "I asked my dad why there hadn't ever been any good Firecasters, and he laughed, asking where I'd gotten the idea that there weren't. When he found out that the library only had the cruel ones, he was shocked. He did some investigating, and discovered that the previous Chancellor had ordered most of the books on Firecasting to be locked away. By that point, he had already read about the good ones, but anybody looking into the Talent beyond the removal date wouldn't have.
"My dad called in a favor and got ahold of some of the removed books for me. He was only able to because I'd already been proven a Stormcaller. Had I not been, they wouldn't have let me read them at all. Firecasting has always been a sign of a strong leader. A revolutionary one. If anybody had displayed Firecasting abilities on the Ark, they would have been put into solitary like me, because the people in charge would have felt threatened."
Bellamy was reeling from the information. The Ark felt threatened by people like him? Boys who grew up in the poorer part of the Ark, who kept to themselves, and tried to never stand out? Of course, the last two parts of that were to keep attention away from his family due to Octavia, but even still it was hard to believe a worker like him could be a 'revolutionary leader'. Clarke suddenly frowned at him.
"You're doubting yourself. I recognize that look. Think about all that has happened here on the ground, and compare that to revolution." she said. Bellamy almost didn't want to, but another glance at Clarke's still-too-close and intent gaze had him deciding to comply.
Now that he thought about it, he had taken control almost from the start. He had gathered followers by promising change, promising to break away from the rigid and harsh structure of the Ark. Maybe he had gone too far with it, but it was still . . . a revolution. When Clarke had begun to temper his decisions, his revolution came back from the brink of destruction. He had the ideas and charisma, he just needed the logic and sturdiness that she provided. Together they had created a revolution.
"Oh my god." He said, face slackening in surprise. Clarke laughed at his face when he realized just what he had done, and just what his Talent implied. He would go down in whatever history there would be as the man who changed the world after 100 years of isolation and desperation. "This changes everything."
"Only if you want it to. You're the revolutionary leader, remember? You decide what changes, not the past." Bellamy looked at her, and felt a warmth grow in his chest. How did he get lucky enough to get her as his partner in all of this? Had she not been there, his revolution would have crashed and burned, dragging him down with it. It was thanks to her that everyone was still here today, due to her smarts, sharp tongue, and healing hands. Bellamy suddenly noticed that she looked a little hesitant and like she wanted to ask him something.
"What is it? What's wrong?" he asked her. Clarke bit her lip, and paused for a moment. Bellamy wasn't even sure she was aware of the nervous habit that she had. "Clarke, whatever you want to ask me, it's fine."
"Will you show me?" she blurted out. Bellamy blinked as Clarke's cheeks turned slightly pink. "Your Talent, I mean. Without the flint, because I know that's not how it truly works, that was just a disguise. Would you show me?"
Bellamy felt a little nervous. Other than Octavia and his mother, he'd never shown his flames to anyone. In fact, the bonfire earlier was the first time he'd used his Talent since Octavia had been found and locked up and his mother floated. Catching sight of Clarke's increasing embarrassment at the perceived refusal due to his silence, he realized that he couldn't bring himself to say no.
He nodded, and Clarke instantly relaxed, her embarrassment at a potential faux pas fading fast. He sat down on his still-damp bed, and motioned for her to do the same. She looked a little surprised at the wetness, before she turned her attention back to her co-leader. Bellamy could see the child-like excitement that she was trying to hide in her eyes, and had to bite back a smile. It was rare to see the princess be anything but serious, and the thought of his flames making her almost gleeful felt good.
Bringing his hands together, Bellamy closed his eyes. He focused on the warmth in his chest, and drew on its energy, sending it through his body to his palms and then out into the air. Hearing Clarke's quiet gasp, he opened his eyes. A strong, reddish-orange flame was dancing over his hands, lighting up the surrounding space. There was a cone of pale yellow in the very center, and Bellamy could sense that the flames were hottest there.
His eyes drifted up to Clarke's face, and he saw her entranced expression. She lifted a hand as if about to touch the flames, then paused as she remembered that just because he could handle fire and not get burnt, it didn't mean that she could. She looked up to meet his gaze, her eyes glowing from the flames.
"Thank you for showing this to me. It's beautiful." Bellamy's lips twitched upwards in response, and for several moments there was nothing but comfortable silence between them as the flame stayed lit between them. An owl hooting outside made them both jump, and Bellamy lost his hold on the fire, causing it to go out. Clarke stood. "It's getting late. We should probably get some rest if we want to be of any use tomorrow." Bellamy nodded.
"Right. Night, princess. See you tomorrow." He shifted so that he could lay down, and heard her footsteps stop. Clarke had paused at the opening of Bellamy's tent, and turned back around to face him, a confused look on her face as she frowned.
"What are you doing?" she asked. Bellamy's eyebrows rose.
"I'm going to bed. We just discussed this. Sure you aren't losing your memory?" Clarke rolled her eyes at him, then pointedly raised an eyebrow at him.
"In that bed? You'll catch pnemonia in the state it's in. There's plenty of space in the dropship, where there are plenty of dry hammocks to choose from. Come on." Bellamy raised his eyebrows at her, but stood. He wasn't going to say no to the offer of a dry place to sleep. As they made their way to the ship, Bellamy could hear the laughter and shouts coming from the bonfire. He could see its glow even though he couldn't see the fire itself from his angle.
A small smile formed on his features at the sound. Maybe he bring himself to grow into his Talent, if it meant listening to more sounds like that. He'd already grown into his role as a revolutionary. This was just the next logical step. As he followed Clarke up the ramp of the dropship, Bellamy cast his gaze behind them once more. He could see the fire now, and the people surrounding it. They formed a single bright spot in a sweeping field of darkness. His smile growing, Bellamy turned and entered the ship.