Bellamy and Clarke: A Bond that Transcends
In the hollowed-out heart of the last remaining fragment of the spaceship he grew up on, Bellamy Blake sucks oxygen into his battered lungs, wraps his hand around a bottle of liquor that has long been empty, looks down at the firestained Earth, and thinks of the girl who died down there so that he could live, up here.
Six years and seven days later, on the hood of of a rover that has somehow survived two apocalypses, in an eye of green on the Earth’s still-ravaged surface, Clarke Griffin blinks the rain out of her eyes and smiles up at the sky, then begins her two thousand, one hundred and ninety-ninth radio message to the man who thinks she died.
This is how the show first establishes that the relationship between Bellamy and Clarke has transcended everything it was before: co-leaders, best friends, confidantes, each other’s rock in stormy seas. It’s become something mythical, something either of them aren’t even entirely aware is there. A connection that transcends time, space, and even death.
They are soulmates.
If this wasn’t made explicitly clear in the show’s first four seasons, it is now.
On Earth, Clarke sits in the one patch of green that remains and looks up at an orbiting star in the sky; in space, Bellamy stands at the window and looks down at Earth’s small Eden, never knowing that Clarke is there, that she’s looking up.
On Earth, Clarke speaks into her “piece of crap” radio every morning, detailing her days to someone she knows most likely can’t hear her; in space, Bellamy persists in trying to contact those they believe to be on the ground everyday, despite Raven’s insistence that the radio waves are being blocked by radiation.
On Earth, Clarke finds a girl who was hidden under the floor and takes her under her wing, raises her as her own; in space, distance, both physical and temporal, from Earth’s tragedies has left Bellamy with an idealism that is reminiscent of Clarke when they first landed on the ground.
In space, Bellamy watches as a massive spaceship releases a transport ship, watches it fall through the atmosphere like a drop of black rain; on Earth, Clarke crouches behind cover and watches through the scope of her rifle as a ship like a monster lands in her home.
Of course, it was inevitable — both due to the continuation of the show and the nature of two identical souls — that these two would eventually reunite, but one of the most tragically beautiful things about the situation is that neither of them knew that they would.
Bellamy has been convinced that Clarke is dead for over six years and yet he still holds her last words to him in her heart, strives everyday to be the person she would have wanted him to be so that her life was not given up for him in vain.
Every day for over six years, Clarke speaks into her radio and although she never once hears a response, she doesn’t give up; she has more hope than Bellamy but she doesn’t know for a fact that they’re alive, or that they’re ever coming down. Still she persists, day after day.
For six years.
One has to wonder for how long, had their two lives not once again intertwined, they would have kept up their respective memorials, doing things in each other’s names. Another five years? Ten? The rest of their lives?
The depth of commitment these two developed towards each other over the course of 11 long months on the ground — and then held onto, unwaveringly, over the six years that followed — is astonishing, magnificent in its scope. As of yet unexplored, it lurks in their hearts and is something that must eventually be confronted now that they have once again found their way back to each other.
The story of these two, before it was burned away to rise again from the ashes of Praimfaya, was already an incredible journey:
They sat underneath a tree with the body of a dead boy in front of them, she with the weight of an embrace from her father’s ghost still lingering in her arms, his last words ringing in her ears; he drowning in the blood of 300 lost souls, lost because of him, struggling for breath after gasping breath.
She offered him forgiveness, not because it was what he deserved but it was because it was what he needed; and he accepted her forgiveness, not because it was what he deserved, but because it was what he needed.
Underneath a tree with the body of a dead boy who had tried to kill them both, they forged a bond of understanding, of trust, of forgiveness; not quite friendship, not yet, but something as quiet and insistent as the hidden current that tugs at one’s feet when standing in a lake with a surface like melted glass.
Forgiveness: to both Bellamy and Clarke, this is not something that comes easily. And yet, somehow, with each other they managed to carve out this space where forgiveness is not just given, it’s accepted, even if they haven’t yet found what they need to forgive themselves. Even if no one else has yet found it in their heart to forgive them, they forgive each other. They offer each other a place of refuge, of acceptance, of understanding.
He offered her forgiveness when she made the decision to turn a mountain into a grave, when she weighed the dozen souls of her people against four hundred others and determined that they were worth more; he offered her forgiveness that wasn’t his to give, forgiveness that the dead couldn’t, forgiveness that she couldn’t give herself.
She offered him forgiveness when they stood on opposite sides of a bloodsoaked field, even when some of that blood was on his hands, even when those closest to him insisted on seeing him as the enemy; she offered him forgiveness that wasn’t hers to give, forgiveness that the dead couldn’t, forgiveness that he couldn’t give himself.
He forgave her for leaving him to bear the weight for the role he played in the destruction of Mount Weather alone. She forgave him for attempting to hold her against her will within the confines of Arkadia. He forgave her for nearly killing him when he was all that stood between a safe haven and the possible destruction of her people. She forgave him for leaving her to die in the fire that ravaged Earth’s surface. Easily, they forgive each other for things that would take them years or more to forgive others for; their forgiveness comes from a place of understanding but, more importantly, it comes from a place of love.
Yes, love. Somewhere along the line, as they forged a careful bond of friendship and unity, they came to love each other. The exact nature of this love can be debated — I doubt that either of them, at the moment, are sure of what it is themselves — but the fact that they love each other, deeply and truly, is undebatable.
When? Was it when she thought him dead in the blast that fried three hundred grounders and, upon seeing him alive, threw herself into his arms with the force of a tidal wave? Was it when, shortly after she murdered a boy she had loved, he offered to go alone into the mountain and take it down himself and she realized with heart-stopping certainty that she can’t lose him, too?
Was it when she left him standing alone outside the gates to their home, half the weight of a mountain on his shoulders, and he felt his heart crumble to dust in his chest? Was it when, after three months without her, he found her only to immediately lose her again, nothing to show for it but a hole in his leg and burning in his lungs?
They stand together in a room for the first time in three months, and the space between them yawns wide: the bond between them fractured, maybe beyond repair, by the hurt they’ve caused each other, the different sides they now stand on, the three months of life lived separately that they can never get back. Their words, sharp-edged, hurled with precision, cut the air between them, leave bruises.
He stands at the door and he wants to leave but he can’t; he can’t because of the tears in her eyes, because the whispered promise of “Together” is something he can’t let go; because leaving would irreparably break something between them he desperately wants to heal.
When you hate someone but you can’t bring yourself to leave them, that’s love. When you hold firm in your belief of who someone is despite the monstrous things they’ve done, that’s love.
Love is when two tearstained words are enough to bridge the gap that splinters between them, because they are both so desperate for healing, desperate to allow themselves to be healed; love is when he kneels in front of her and takes her hands in his, an offering of self; love is the conviction with which she believes they can fix things, and love is the hurt in her eyes when he betrays her.
Love is the acts of healing and protection when shards of anger still pierce his heart. Love is finding comfort in the arms of a similarly lost soul, breathing in rain damp hair and fire-smoked clothes and feeling peace, for the first time in as long as either of them can remember. Love is the promise that if they die, they’ll die together, and if they do he wants her to be the last thing he sees.
Love is unbreakable trust in the face of a dozen mistakes. Love is walking into the belly of the beast because she’s trapped inside.
Love is when she would give up almost anything to save her people, but she won’t give up him.
In the night-dark chancellor’s chambers, Clarke Griffin watches Bellamy Blake sleep, all the tension gone from his body, his face loose, relaxed; she looks from his peaceful features to the piece of paper in front of her that already bears ninety-eight names of the people whose lives she will save, and she writes his name in the ninety-ninth spot.
It’s not what he wants; she knows that he would prefer to be outside when the end of the world comes, but she can’t bear the thought of him perishing in a roaring wave of fire.
She has lost so much and has so much more to lose, but she can’t lose him. She won’t. He is the one good thing she has left. And when he wakes and sees what she has done, he understands; he sees the final blank spot on the page, and he fills it with her name.
They save each other.
They allow themselves to be saved.
When they can’t forgive themselves, they allow the other to forgive them. When they can’t love themselves, they allow the other to love them. When they can’t bear to save themselves, they allow the other to save them. This is who they are, this is the root of their relationship: whatever one is missing, the other provides. Whatever one needs, the other gives. They are each other’s safe haven, point of connection, throughout all their troubling time on Earth.
And as they march towards the end of the world, the depth of this connection only becomes more evident: on a rocky beach, thinking this separation might be the last (unbeknownst to him, it’s the second-last), he almost breathes out the words that would change everything; trapped in a bunker that is humanity’s last chance of survival, with the guaranteed continuation of the human race in one hand and his own small life in the other, she chooses him.
With hours to go until a wave of fire descends upon them and everyone else they love already lost to them for years, they once again find comfort in each other’s arms, arms clasped tight around the other’s living body as the hourglass ticks away their final moments. Beset by an unshakeable premonition that she will not survive to make it to space with them, Clarke takes it upon herself to impress upon Bellamy just how important he is, just how much they’ve been through, just what he needs to do in order to survive without her.
In a room filled with relics from before the last apocalypse they count down the minutes until the next. All that they are to each other, how far they’ve come: all of it rests upon the tip of this moment. She the head, he the heart; without each other, they are not whole. (Two sides of the same coin.)
And when they are, inevitably, separated at the end, he takes her head with him to space and she carries his heart with her on the ground. A part of each other, always. (The same coin, halved.)
Six years later, Bellamy boards the ship of the prisoners who have, in turn, taken Clarke prisoner; six years later, Bellamy and Clarke listen to the same radio transmission, unaware that they are connected at that moment by the thinnest of wires; six years later, Bellamy is still using the memory of Clarke to mould his every decision, and six years later, Clarke still has complete faith that Bellamy will come back to her.
It’s these separate threads of faith that interweave to eventually bring them back together: remembering Clarke, what she died for, how she changed him, allows Bellamy to make the decisions that brings five of them safely back to Earth; and after believing so fiercely that Bellamy will come home to her, it’s only fitting that he’s the one who appears like an angel in the headlights of the rover to barter for her life.
Collared, trapped, collapsed, beaten, Clarke Griffin watches with disbelieving eyes as Bellamy Blake steps out of the rover and walks towards her. In the palm of his hand he holds a bargaining chip with a value of 283 lives.
For the first time in six years, she hears his voice.
For the first time in six years, she sees his face.
He stands like a god of mythological glory, limned in the light of the rover’s lamps, and he looks away from the woman who holds her prisoner to see her, truly see her, for the first time in six years; and as their eyes meet the years that separated them evaporate like they were never there.
283 lives, weighed against her one.
“She must be pretty important to you,” their enemy, says, a simple statement of fact; “She is,” he replies without any hesitation.
Because six years apart can’t change what they mean to each other.
Their bond is so strong that it transcends time and space. It is knitted tightly together of forgiveness, need, unity, and love; unbroken, undamaged, unstretched by the trials they’ve been through.
And when they look at each other for the first time in six years, they’ve both finally come home.