Love, I have wounds only you can mend
Only you can mend
I guess that's love
I can't pretend
Only you can mend
I guess that's love
I can't pretend
When she looked at him it felt like someone smashed a hammer into his skull.
His head began to throb and his hands began to shake; his body felt shivery and his stomach sick. A thousand things flew through his mind all at once, and he couldn't grasp whether her standing in the clearing was reality or fantasy. Perhaps a little bit both.
He had searched so hard for her and for so long. He had hoped against hope that she was safe and sound and that he would find her. Yet in the midst of his hope a nasty little part of him screamed that he should quit; that she was dead and all the searching in the world would do him no good; that hope was fickle, and on the Ground it meant absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. Not for anyone.
But there she stood.
His heart began to pound and a relief so overwhelming flooded through him that all he could do was stare in an attempt to alleviate his craving – his craving of her. His eyes drank in her haggard appearance hungrily from the top of her muddy, blond head to the tips of her scuffed and worn boots. And as he swallowed thickly and lowered his gun, one single reality rushed forward with a thunderously joyous truth:
She was alive.
He wanted to reach out to her; he wanted to grab her and hold her and feel the warmth that he so desperately missed and needed. He wanted to tell her that he fought for her, that he searched and tortured and killed for her. But his words fell short before they even left his mouth, and in the end all he could manage was what rang clearly through his system and made his heart pound and chest swell. He opened his mouth and the words passed through his lips in a mixture of triumph and desperation, and despite their emptiness to everyone around him, they held everything he wanted to say and more in his own ears and he knew by the look in her eye that they meant to the same to her, too.
“I found you.”
She wouldn't look at him.
When she spoke to him, it was curt and without eye contact. She would be around him as little as possible and speak to him only when absolutely necessary.
At first he was upset. He tried to force her to look at him, to speak to him, to simply be in the same room as him, but she would always evade his attempts, skirting around the camp with excuses or taking to Bellamy's side without a glance his way. On the very minimal occasions when she actually spoke to him they were always words of halfhearted reassurance. Terse. Cold. Disconnected.
“It's not your fault.”
“I'm not angry at you.”
“I don't hate you.”
But he knew her words were empty. Meaningless statements that she was trying to convince herself to believe more than him.
He wanted to call out to her, he wanted to scream for her to look at him, to hear him, to listen; but whenever he tried his tongue, rough like sandpaper, would stick to the roof of his mouth and he would do nothing more than part his lips soundlessly, only to press them closed once again as she turned her back to him. Fingers twitching to reach for her, muscles straining to grab for her, he yearned to touch her. He wanted to scream in desperation that everything he did he did for her.
I killed those Grounders for you.
Yet no matter how much he ached for her to understand, he could never say it. No matter how much he bled for her to simply look him in the eye, he could never touch her. He knew he was dirty – tainted by the blood on his hands. His decisions to kill were for her, but he knew they didn't matter. She wouldn't understand nor would she accept them. He had been in such a state of euphoria when she first broke through the treeline that day that he had failed to notice the look in her eyes; the look that gave away her fear and horror. The look that haunted her face whenever she came near him. It was like he was a stranger to her. Like he was no longer the Finn that came off the drop ship. It was like she no longer knew who he was.
“So first you can't look at me, and now you're looking at me like I'm the enemy.”
Maybe that's what he was. Maybe he was the enemy now.
He didn't know anymore.
He woke up sweating and grasping at his blanket. Screams pierced the night and the sound of gun shots rattled his brain. He scrambled out of his bed and frantically searched for the source of the chaos, but all he could see was darkness. The sounds came from every direction. They steadily rose into a crescendo of madness, and then they dropped so low that all he could hear was the ragged intakes of his breathing and the chest-shivering throb of his heart.
Then, a gun shot so loud resounded through the air that it felt as if it had gone off right beside his ear. A scream followed, piercing and agonized, a cry of words that he had heard before. A different language.
He clapped both hands over his head, eyes swiveling from one side of the darkness to the other, his mind spinning, stomach churning, and body shivering.
But there was nothing.
One thought seemed to echo through the air, snaking into his ears and repeating in his head:
Why? Why? Why?
He fisted his hair, tugging at the roots and plucking a few pieces from his head. He didn't get it. He didn't get anything. The Finn that had gotten off the drop ship would have refused to pick up a weapon, let alone use it to massacre innocent people. The Finn that had gotten off the drop ship would have found another way to make someone talk. The Finn that had gotten off the drop ship would have done everything in his power to save Clarke, but in a peaceful manner. What happened to that Finn?
Something was broke inside him – he could feel it. Like a loose bolt or a snipped wire. He realized it when he had been in the bunker with the one-eyed Grounder. He had grown restless and irate with the Grounder's incorporation and suddenly, the next thing he knew, he was leaving a corpse behind. It had scared him just the slightest, but he had been so worried about Clarke it meant little to him at that moment. Until it happened again in the village. It was like a part of him slipped away in those moments; like his survival instincts took over and he had no control over himself. Yet at the same time, he knew fully what he was doing. Like a caged animal, desperate for escape.
He inhaled sharply, the air around him growing cold. He was broken beyond repair, he knew. And there was nothing he nor anyone else could do about it. He had the blood of eighteen Grounder's staining his hands, and no amount of washing would ever take it off. And now, he had lost even Clarke.
The darkness slowly began to dissolve until it was a room bathed in moonlight. He was in the Ark. There were others cooped up inside with him, asleep, snores mingling and bodies sleepily shifting. Safe.
He had been dreaming about the Grounder's village.
He closed his eyes and a quiet, bitter laugh escaped his lips.
He really was broken, wasn't he?
When Clarke went down, he thought he had lost her. It had all been a haze in the heat of the moment: the Grounder, Clarke's cries, his frantic mind trying to process what was going on, his instincts screaming to survive, his heart pounding. But after it had all been over and he saw her laying there, motionless and her head bleeding, he had thought he would vomit.
I've lost her. She's dead because of me. It's all my fault. Everything is my fault.</b>
Word's couldn't express how he had felt when she woke up in the drop ship.
The tiniest bit of guilt had taken root in him when Raven had reassured him of Clarke's safety; the look on her face had been one of worry, but the look in her eye had been one of pain. He knew it had hurt her to see him so frantic over Clarke, but he couldn't help himself. He couldn't bury his agony that Clarke had been in danger because of him. He couldn't fight his delirious anxiety that Clarke might have died in the woods. He couldn't hide that he loved her.
When Clarke stirred and Raven left them alone, the guilt had vanished and had instead been replaced by such a feeling of alleviation that he might have cried if he had any tears to shed, and the guilt for Raven had turned into remorse for Clarke's physical state. She had been hurt because he had run away. Like a coward. She had acted like she was protecting him, but he had known better.
And he hadn't understood why she cared.
It had been clear that she was disgusted with his actions. He deserved to be killed by the Grounders for his massacre in their village, yet Clarke had blatantly refused to hand him over even if it put their hard-earned treaty in the garbage. She had looked at him like the enemy, had treated him like a murderer, and had spoken to him like a stranger, yet she wouldn't give him the punishment he deserved.
He really didn't get it.
“How's your head?” he asked.
“Awesome,” she replied satirically, holding her wound with a grimace.
He paused, watching her, then said, “When you went down... I thought you were dead... Because of me.”
“I'm right here,” she murmured, meeting his gaze for the first time since the Grounder village.
He wanted to say something. He wanted to apologize, to tell her how he felt. He wanted to say something that would make up for all that he had done. But he didn't know what.
He opened his mouth, breathe shaky and unsure, voice ridden with guilt and desperation as he began, “I've killed so many people...”
“Finn,” she cut him off gently. “The things that we've done to survive – they don't define us.”
Oh, how he had wanted to believe her. How he had wanted to let her words wash away the blood on his hands; rid him of his guilt. How he had wanted to revel in her blue eyes and forget the world, if just momentarily, and simply be there with her.
But he couldn't.
That was why he had turned himself in. That was why he was tied to a wooden beam, waiting to be tortured until he died or until they finally killed him. Waiting to pay and feel the consequences of his eighteen murders. His eighteen murders for Clarke.
His heart was erratic and his stomach even more so. His brain was trying to keep up with everything going on around him, but it couldn't. He was scared. Terrified. And in the end, he would die alone. Just like how he knew it would always be. Just him. Just Spacewalker.
But then she was there.
She was holding him and kissing him and he could finally feel her. The way her lips melded with his, her warmth, the soft caresses of her hair, how her fingers clung to him like if she let go, he would vanish. And somehow, he felt like he would.
When she pulled back, kissing him chastely and brushing her nose against his as if she were reluctant to move away, she continued to hold his face and searched him with her wide, glassy eyes. He could tell that something was wrong just by looking at them.
“I love you too,” she said hoarsely.
And then it hit him.
Then he understood.
He inhaled sharply.
She said nothing in return, just lowered her hands to his arms and pulled herself closer to him, breathing ragged and nose runny. She pressed her chin into his shoulder.
“You're going to be okay,” she choked.
Warmth seeped across his chest where her hand was pressing into him, wet and sticky and vividly familiar. His breathing became shallow and his vision swam. He knew what was happening. He knew that this was the end.
“You're okay,” she managed again.
And he believed her.
There was an end to everything, a way to wash the blood off his hands and to escape the world that had twisted him so. There was a way to say goodbye. And Clarke was giving it to him.
Finn closed his eyes and dropped his head on top of hers, a small smile tugging at his lips.
And it was the perfect goodbye.
But I guess that's love
I can't pretend
But I guess that's love
I can't pretend