The 100 fic: No Place Else I’d Rather Be
When Bellamy and Clarke get stuck in the mud, it’s finally time to have a conversation that’s been brewing far too long.
2585 words | PG-13
Bellamy’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. He leaned forward, scowling at the pounding rain. The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up, making it almost impossible to see. Next to him, Clarke stared out her window like she didn’t have a care in the world. This was her fault. He told her coming out here was a mistake. They should have waited until the clouds passed. But she insisted they needed to go now. So here he was, driving through a freaking monsoon. Because Clarke always got what Clarke wanted.
“We need to stop,” he said, not looking at her.
“What? No, we’re almost there.”
“Yeah, well, we’re not going to make it in one piece in this storm. I can’t see where I’m going.”
She craned her neck to see out the front window. “Just stay on the road.”
“What road?” His voice raised an octave. “There’s no road, Clarke. Just mud.”
“We can’t go back. We’re so close.”
Bellamy ground his teeth. “I didn’t say go back. I said we need to stop and wait out the storm.”
She glared out her window, arms crossed defensively over her chest. If he didn’t know better, he’d think she was pouting. She was obviously pissed.
Well, so was he. He was sick of her never listening to him. They used to be partners. At least that’s what he thought, but with every decision, she dismissed his opinion more and more. Like she knew better than him. Better than everyone. Wanheda—savior of them all.
Bellamy swerved to avoid a branch hanging low and almost ran off the road. He jerked the wheel back just in time to miss another tree. This was ridiculous. What the hell am I doing? He was the one driving, so why was he still going? He hit the breaks, sliding to a stop.
Clarke sat up, alarmed. “What happened?”
“Nothing. I’m done.”
“I’m done driving until the storm passes. This is stupid. We’re going to crash, and then we’ll never get there.”
Her brow furrowed. “We can’t stop now. We don’t have time. “
“Yes, we do. And we are stopping.”
“I’m tired of arguing, Clarke. Everyone said it was a bad idea to go tonight, but you insisted. Now here we are, waiting out the storm which we could have avoided if you had just listened to me.” He hated fighting with her. It made him sick in the pit of his stomach. But he was more tired with being walked all over. “You never listen.”
She turned to face him. “I do listen.”
Bellamy scoffed. “Then you must ignore everything I say because I’m not seeing much evidence to prove otherwise.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means why are you pushing this thing? Can you even admit that you were wrong?”
Her eyes blazed with anger. “Do you think I like being in charge? Like having to make all the decisions? Everyone always looking at me for answers?”
“Yeah, sometimes I do.”
She looked away. “Then you don’t know me at all,” she whispered.
That did it—all of the fight left him, and he slumped against the seat. He opened his mouth to say something, but he had no idea what to say. Instead, he stared out his window, pretending her quiet sniffles didn’t shatter his heart. This conversation needed to happen eventually, but trapped in the rover probably wasn’t the best time. Bellamy just wished he could get through to her—to make her understand it was okay to let someone else make the decisions once in a while.
They sat there in silence until the rain petered out a few hours later. “Finally,” Bellamy muttered.
Clarke jumped at the sudden sound and blinked red-rimmed eyes at him. “What time is it?
Bellamy had no idea. He just wanted out of this rover. He turned the key—the engine roaring to life. He glanced at Clarke out of the corner of his eye. She was staring out the window, her chin resting on her hand. He still had no idea what to say to her. He wasn’t sorry. Not for his opinion. Maybe he’d been a little harsh, but sometimes blunt was all Clarke understood.
He shook his head with a sigh then shifted into gear. The engine wound up, but they didn’t move. Bellamy frowned then threw the rover into reverse. The wheels spun, the whine of the engine growing. Clarke looked over at him as he shifted back into first gear. He kicked up mud but nothing else.
Bellamy banged his head on the steering wheel. “We’re stuck.”
“Can we get unstuck?”
He glared at her. “Are you serious right now?”
“We can use the winch to pull us free.”
Of course she was right. She was always right. “Just try the radio. See if Arkadia can send help if we can’t get out.”
He took a deep breath then hopped out of the rover. His feet sank to his ankles in thick, brown mud. He slogged his way to the front. The tires were buried nearly half way. There was no way they were getting traction like this. The mud stretched a couple yards in every direction. He just needed something solid to anchor the winch.
The rain was light, but the air had taken a turn, coming down from the mountains. He shivered against it. This wasn’t exactly the best place to get stuck. He shoved his damp bangs from his eyes then spotted a large tree about twenty feet down the road.
Clarke joined him as he unwound some of the cable. “I couldn’t get anyone on the radio. I think the storm is still interfering.”
Bellamy nodded. “You should wait in the rover where it’s warm.”
“I want to help.
He started walking backward, pulling the cable with him. “You can help by watching the radio.” He glanced up at her. “Where it’s warm.”
Of course, Clarke didn’t listen. She leaned against the bumper, watching him. He’d nearly made it out of the mud when the cable snagged, jerking him forward. He slipped but managed to stay on his feet. Even from this distance, he could tell the winch was jammed.
“Dammit.” Why couldn’t just one thing go right? He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to keep his temper under control. “It’s stuck.”
“What do we do now?” Clarke asked, still leaning against the rover.
“I’ll have to fix it,” he said with a sigh, feeling defeated. He went around to the rear, slipping and sliding the whole way. Clarke followed him but thankfully stayed quiet. He rummaged in the storage under the benches, looking for the toolkit.
“Do you even know how to fix the winch?”
“Yeah, of course.” He paused. “Sort of.”
Bellamy bit back a smile. “Maybe. I don’t know. Raven showed me. I think I remember. I just need to find the toolkit.”
“Is that it?” She pointed to a battered red box sitting on the floor behind the driver’s seat—a huge smirk on her face.
Bellamy rolled his eyes. “That would be it.” He wouldn’t let her smugness get to him. He climbed in far enough to slide the box out the door then carried it back to the winch—Clarke on his heels. “Why don’t you go try the radio again?”
She sighed. “I want to help.”
They stared at each other for tense moments before Bellamy cracked. He rubbed his forehead. “Fixing the winch is a one-person job. You can help with the radio. Inside.” He added the last bit under his breath.
Clarke shook her head. “You’re always trying to protect me.”
“Well, yeah.” His hands fell to his sides. “I thought we agreed that was kind of my job.”
“I don’t always need protecting, Bellamy. And you don’t always have to do everything on your own.”
He frowned, staring at the useless winch. “So, you know how to fix this?”
“You know I’m not talking about the winch. You told me I never listen. Well, you never let anyone help. You do everything on your own.”
“Only one of us needs to be miserable out here,” he said with little conviction. “I don’t need your help. Not with this, Clarke.”
She watched him a moment then sighed like she was disappointed in him. She probably was. “Fine, I’ll wait in the rover.”
It took him a good thirty minutes to figure out what was wrong with the winch and get it working again. Clarke stayed in the rover, alternating between playing with the radio and not looking at him. Finally, he dragged the cable to the tree and hooked it up. He nearly wiped out walking back. He started up the winch, and slowly, the rover started moving. He stood to the side, watching the winch strain.
They were a lot closer to solid ground now. He headed for the back, tossing the took box in the back.
“What are you doing?” Clarke asked.
“When I say, put it in gear and hit the gas.”
Clarke climbed behind the wheel and started the rover. Bellamy braced himself on the bumper. It’d be a miracle if this worked considering their luck today. He took a deep breath. “Okay, hit it.”
The wheels spun, kicking up mud a good six feet in the air. “Come on,” he muttered, shoving with all his strength. His feet sunk in farther, but slowly, the rover moved. “Come on.”
The rover moved an inch. Then another. “Keep going,” he shouted at Clarke.
She gave it a little more gas. Suddenly, it lurched forward about a foot. Bellamy lost his balance and landed face first in the mud.
“Oh, my god!” Clarke cut the engine and scampered through the inside. “Are you okay?”
Bellamy sat up on his knees and flung mud from his arms. “Terrific. Did we make it?”
She smiled. “I think so.”
Bellamy let out a breath he hadn’t noticed he was holding, relief flooding him. Finally, something went right. He tried to stand up too quickly, but the mud clung to him, sucking him back down. He fell back, landing with a splat.
Clarke covered her mouth with her hand. Shoulders hitching in silent laughter.
Bellamy glared up at her. “You think this is funny?” He tried to sound serious, but couldn’t contain the laugh building inside of him. It started as a chuckle but grew quickly until he his side hurt.
Clarke’s eyes crinkled at the sides. He loved when she smiled. He managed to get to his feet but slipped half way to the rover. Clarke started giggling, again.
“Just give me something to wipe off with,” he grumbled as he got to the bumper.
When Clarke offered him a slightly greasy rag, Bellamy gave her an evil grin. She realized a second too late what he had planned. Bellamy grabbed her wrist and yanked her forward, catching her around the waist.
“You think it’s funny that I’m covered in mud, huh?” She squealed as he spun her then dropped her on her butt. “Not so funny now, is it?”
They stared at each other for a long moment before Bellamy couldn’t hold his scowl. “You look ridiculous.”
“Jerkface,” she said, trying to get up and falling back.
Bellamy smiled as he slipped and slid over to her. He offered her his hand. For a second, he thought she might ignore it, but then she reached up. Only instead of him pulling her up, she caught him off guard, jerking him forward. He fell next to her, mud flying everywhere.
Clarke had a huge grin on her face when he looked up, but it disappeared when he nailed her with a glob of mud in the chest.
She gasped then surprised him by lunging forward. Bellamy didn’t try to dodge. Clarke landed on top of him as they both fell back, laughing.
Things sort of slowed down after that. Bellamy became very aware of Clarke’s body pressed against his. When her eyes darted down to his lips, he stopped breathing. Slowly, they moved back to his eyes. A lump lodged in his throat, forcing him to swallow hard. She looked so damn beautiful even covered in mud. He pushed a strand of hair away from her face. She let out a little gasp that set every nerve on fire. He wondered what she was thinking because he was pretty sure his brain shut off a couple minutes ago.
This was way too intense. Clarke must have realized the same thing. She rolled to the side, lying next to him—her head on his shoulder. He leaned his cheek against her hair and tried to keep his breathing steady. She could do crazy things to him.
“If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?” Clarke asked suddenly.
Right here. He didn’t want to be anywhere else but here with Clarke in his arms. But he didn’t think he could tell her that. He licked his lips. “Someplace tropical. White-sand beaches and crystal clear water. Palm trees. I’d like to see that.” The breath Clarke released sounded almost disappointed. He looked down at her. “Where would you be?” he asked softly.
She met his gaze, eyes a little glazed. “Right here,” she whispered. “With you.”
His breath caught in his chest. Clarke wiped flakes of mud from his cheek then leaned over and brushed her lips against his. He was frozen in shock. She hesitated, and damn if that didn’t turn him on even more. He couldn’t let her think she made a mistake. He wrapped his other arm around her, deepening the kiss.
She sighed into his mouth as his hand slid up her back, pulling her even closer. Her fingers curled into the hair at the nape of his neck, setting him on fire. He flipped her onto her back then hovered over her. She stared back, lip caught between her teeth. Bellamy took a deep breath. He didn’t want to rush this.
“Clarke-” His voice cracked, and he cleared his throat.
She wiped more mud from his face. “What?”
Bellamy swallowed hard. “There’s no place else I’d rather be than right here with you.”
“Even though I don’t listen to you?”
He wiped a tear away that slid from the corner of her eye. “Even though you don’t listen to me and I try to do everything on my own.” He gave her a crooked grin. “Of course, I’d rather be with you on a tropical beach somewhere instead of stuck in the freezing rain.”
Clarke laughed. “Agreed.”
There was one other thing Bellamy wanted to tell her. It was on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t force the words out. Instead, he kissed her forehead. And her nose. Each eye and her cheeks before his lips found hers again. She wrapped her arms around his neck again and kissed him back. He didn’t want to think about what would happen when help came. He wanted to live in this moment forever.
He opened his eyes to find Clarke staring at him. And he knew in that moment that if the world set fire tonight and burned, he would die a happy man. And if it didn’t, he’d follow Clarke to the end of the world and back if she asked. Maybe one day he’d finally tell her why. And she’d listen.