Fandom: The 100
Spoilers: Up until the end of Season 2
Disclaimer: The bits from the show are not mine. The *feelings* and extra bits are mine but are greatly aided by the way Lindsey and Paige play Raven and Abby... (Gah!)
A/N: I made up the word for those plastic sheets they write messages on. If they already have one I totally missed it.
Chapter One is here.
Chapter Two - Mass and Distance
Abby found herself once again staring at her daughter's drawings, the multitude of them reminding her just how long Clarke had been imprisoned in this cell. She forced her eyes from them, sitting on the floor and staring up at the small glass window in the ceiling, the Earth filling the scene in dark blues and greens, wisps of white clouds obstructing the features beneath. Clarke was down there - she knew it as much as she knew the ground was their best hope. Raven would make it, she would save the Ark.
Abby covered her mouth with her hand as her eyes welled up. Raven had not asked for this but who out of them had. She was now their best hope whether she liked it or not.
Jaha came by before long, meeting all her inquiries about Raven's shuttle with silence. But she knew Jaha, he would not hesitate to use Raven's death as proof of her recklessness, which meant Raven's ship was still in one piece.
He handed her a tablet and she read it in disbelief. The o2 levels were even worse than Jake had predicted. She looked up at him, questioning the figures but he confirmed it, adding that she was being released to help in Medical pending review by The Council.
She thought he was done but he continued.
"Abby, the council approved Kane's population reduction plan three hours ago," Jaha stated evenly.
The statement stunned her in the way he had intended it to.
"How many?" she asked.
"320 people will be excised from the grid," Jaha replied, clearly trying to distance himself from the tragedy that was about to occur.
"Murdered," Abby corrected, "320 people will be murdered. We need to wait for Raven to report back."
"Look at those numbers," Jaha replied, loosing the even tone he had maintained, "Look at those numbers, every hour that passes puts more people in danger."
"Raven risked her life for those people," Abby countered, staring down Jaha's righteousness.
"No," he asserted, tone hardening as he took a step towards Abby, "you risked her life."
Abby blinked, taken-aback. He was right.
"Will you ever believe that loving a boy somehow meant trusting her life in 100 year old metal coffin?" Jaha rhetorically asked before continuing without pause, "That trust is going to kill her, another child dead just like all the others, just like our own," he finished, face centimetres from Abby's.
Abby steeled herself against the possibility in his words, blinking back all trace of the tears that threatened to present themselves at the thought that Clarke, Wells and Raven were dead due to her decisions. But she had trusted Raven's abilities enough to risk her own life to the mechanic's handiwork, and Raven had made her own choice. She swallowed the guilt but the fear remained.
"Raven will make it to earth, I know she will," she stated. She was not sure how to relay the rest of it, the fact that she knew Raven would make it like she knew Clarke was alive, so she kept silent.
"God speed to her," was Jaha's only reply and she knew he did not believe her but they would know soon enough.
Raven had to succeed, it was the only option.
* * *
Raven fell. The turbulence was more than she had expected but the pod seemed to be holding.
That brief thought was succeeded by a sharp pain.
When she came back to consciousness her headache made her wince. She put her hand to her head and found blood trickling from the wound on her head.
"Ah crap, that's not good," she muttered to herself as she unbuckled.
She turned to her left to see a blonde appear in the entrance, her vision doubling for a moment before resolving the image.
"Oh my God," the blonde exclaimed, staring at her in shock.
"I made it?" Raven asked, still a bit woozy from the fall and the knock to her head. The blonde nodded, backing out so Raven could exit.
Raven exited the pod, feeling the stale pod air replaced by a sweetness that lingered on her tongue and filled her lungs with every inhale. She stepped on the ground and turned slowly, her arms out, feeling the sun against her face. The trees around her were coloured in shades of orange, trunks melding with a deep green underbrush full of buzzing insects. She had never thought about the ground except as a distant idea, never thought about how beautiful the sights, sounds and sensations would be to experience firsthand. It felt like a dream.
She heard a noise in the underbrush and was pulled from her reverie by Finn running towards her. She could feel her face break into a smile as she wrapped her arms around him. He was alive. She had made it and he was alive. It almost seemed unreal.
He introduced the blonde as Clarke and Raven remembered Abby, remembered the reason she was on the ground. She told the others about the situation on the Ark, leaving out the fact Abby might be spaced for masterminding her escape, before turning her attention back to her ship to radio the Ark. She felt the blood drain from her face as she saw the empty space that once held the radio. That radio was the only chance she had of proving Abby right and stopping her execution. It was the only hope for the 300 people who were going to be subject to population reduction. She cursed herself for not taking better care fastening it to the fuselage as Clarke and Finn came up behind her.
Raven caught a look that passed between them before Clarke suggested it had probably been stolen. Daring to hope, Raven followed them both into the woods, if there was a small piece of it left she would get it to work. She had to. Abby depended on her.
Raven tried to ignore how long it took to recover and then fix the radio, hoping the flares had somehow stalled the executions. She had to be in time. She could not allow herself to think that Abby was not there, especially now that Finn's Grounder-inflicted knife wound meant he needed her. And yet she could hear the desperation in her own voice as she called again and again across space to the metal in the sky she used to call home.
* * *
Abby had always wanted to save people, it was the reason she had become a doctor. But since Jake's death there had been a desperate self-effacing aspect to it, as if by putting her life at risk to save the lives of others she could somehow redeem herself. It was a saviour complex disguised as stubbornness, guilt disguised as self-righteous flaunting of the laws. But it paid off, first with the list of volunteers for Section 17 and then when the ground made contact.
It was fuzzy but Abby recognised Raven's voice immediately. She ran to Earth Monitoring, relief mixing with fear and jubilation as she ran through the corridors, anxious to hear what she had found.
She got on the channel as quickly as she could, unable to tone down the smug smile when Sinclair confirmed the origin of the signal to Jaha.
"Raven are you there?" she asked the microphone that would transmit her voice to the ground.
"Mom?," came a voice she was worried she would never hear again. "Mom, it's me."
It was a sound that became even more precious when they learned of Wells's death. That could have been Clarke. But it wasn't. Clarke was alive. And she needed her.
As soon as she heard about the knife wound she had Sinclair patch her through to Medical. With the technology of the Ark and Jackson's help she proceeded to talk Clarke through removing the knife from Finn.
A storm on the ground played havoc with communication but eventually she heard Raven's voice confirm that the knife was out and Finn was alive.
Communication scattered before lining up and scattering again. When the channel stabilised for a moment she heard Raven's voice, concern evident despite the distance.
"Should he be this pale? Warm too," she asked.
"He's lost a lot of blood Raven, but if your boyfriend is anywhere near as tough as you I'm sure he'll be fine," Abby replied, smiling. She was not sure why the playful sincerity of her statement filled her with warmth but Clarke and Raven were both alive and Finn was out of the woods. There were worse days.
* * *
Raven saw the pod as it flew across the sky, streaking towards the earth much faster than it should have been. Her heart thumped, waiting for the parachute, for something to change, but it continued it's unbuffered descent.
'Abby,' she mouthed as the impact of the pod lit up the night sky.
She knew it was too far away but she felt the impact like a concussive force, her chest constricting as her breath came in gasps. It felt like grief for someone she barely knew.
She tried to push it away, there was no time for grief on the Ark and the ground was even less forgiving.
* * *
Raven knew the bullet John Murphy had fired was killing her but she fought against the ever darkening stain of her blood loss to stay alive and conscious. And yet, not even the threat of Grounders and the threat of sharing the pod with Murphy could stop the inevitable as her body succumb to the darkness.
When she heard Abby's voice her first thought was that she was hallucinating. Yet the fog cleared and she found herself in the drop ship, Abby crouched over her.
"Raven honey it's Abby," the voice said and she resolved Abby's dirt-streaked face painted with concern.
Raven's head spun, she was alive, they were both alive. There were hundreds of things she wanted to say but she knew what the most important thing would be for Abby.
"Clarke isn't here," she responded, her tongue thick in her mouth, "I don't know where she is."
She saw the concern on Abby's face momentary fade to relief when Raven spoke only to be modified by disappointment when she had processed what she had said.
"What happened to you?," Abby inquired, and Raven could tell she was trying to assess her injuries.
Raven looked at Murphy but responded only with, "I got shot."
Abby called for a stretcher before turning back to Raven.
"Let's get you back," she offered, a comforting smile breaking through as she gently squeezed Raven's arm.
Raven felt a half smile cross her lips as she fell into darkness once again.
* * *
Abby entered the tent they had set up as a medical bay to see Raven lying on the bed, eyes sunken and bathed in sweat, with Finn standing beside her.
"How are you feeling?" she asked although it was clear Raven was in a lot of pain.
"Awesome," Raven croaked out.
"She's lying," Finn piped up.
Abby shot a look at Finn that conveyed her recognition of this fact before turning her attention back to Raven, wishing she had better news.
"I know that face, spit it out Abby," came Raven's prompt and the fact Raven could read her so well only made the next words harder to say.
"The bullet is still shifting, that is why you're in pain," she started, the facts gave the rest of it form, "I was hoping it would stabilise by now."
"So how about you take it out?" Raven asked. As if anything was that easy.
Abby took a step towards her, her hand edging Raven's leg without touching it, "Raven we need to talk about that. The bullet is pressing on your spine," first the facts then the options. Abby wondered why this never got easier. "If we leave it in you'll live but you'll never walk again."
"Then take it out," Raven responded without hesitation.
Abby took a deep breath, "The surgery could kill you," she explained, knowing from the look on Raven's face that she was arguing a loosing battle. She was not surprised. She knew Raven would always choose to fight, it was one of the qualities she admired in the younger woman, but she also worried that it gave her a distorted perception of her options. "We have no equipment, no anaesthesia," she explained, almost begging her to listen, to not ask her do this.
"Will I walk again?" Raven asked simply.
"Maybe," Abby replied. In theory if she could relieve the pressure without harming the spinal column Raven could walk again, "But you'd be awake the whole time, you would feel everything."
"Sign me up," Raven repeated, and Abby stared back at her wordlessly. She had no other argument, just her own fear that Raven would die by her hands.
"Wait, Raven," Finn interrupted, "You could die."
"In Zero-G I didn't need my legs," Raven explained, "Down here I do." She turned to Abby, "Take it out," she instructed with unwavering determination.
Abby pressed her lips together and nodded, leaving the room to tell Jackson and make the necessary preparations.
* * *
Raven looked at Abby curiously as she entered half an hour later with bottles of moonshine and a handful of pills. She sat beside Raven on the bed.
"It isn't anaesthesia but I'm hoping the sedatives will help a little," she qualified, her lips forming a smile that never made it to her eyes.
Raven had not really considered the implication of surgery without anaesthesia, she just knew she needed to deal with whatever came, but Abby coming to her having clearly rummaged any painkiller she could get her hands on, that scared her.
Abby put the flasks and pills on the table beside the bed and helped Raven sit up. Despite her newfound fear of the impending event Raven found Abby's presence oddly comforting. She had not realised quite how much she enjoyed the older woman's presence. And yet Abby seemed more somber, guilt-ridden.
When Raven was sitting up Abby passed her one of the flasks and the pills. Raven downed the pills with the liquid as instructed.
"Good. Now finish that slowly," Abby advised of the flask, getting up from the bed and taking the other for sterilisation.
She turned to help Jackson but Raven grabbed her arm, conscious of the warmth beneath her fingers.
"You trusted me to get you to earth in a scrap heap and I trust you to do this," she told her, holding the other woman's eyes in an unwavering stare and reading the truth in her assumption, that part of Abby's guilt was about her, "Whatever happens Abby it was my decision," she confirmed before releasing Abby's wrist.
Abby nodded but the undercurrent of responsibility never left her eyes.
Once Raven finished the alcohol Abby, Jackson and Finn helped her onto her stomach.
Jackson started preparing Raven's back for the procedure and Raven's mind started forcing herself to consider what was about to happen. The alcohol, in addition to making everything a little foggy, made her thoughts harder to control. She tried to force them into a loop of what she had said to Abby. That she trusted her to do this, no matter what happened.
She had gone through the loop a few times when she felt a hand stroking her hair, and Abby's voice in her ear.
For a moment she forgot to be afraid.
"We're almost ready," Abby said softly, her breath ghosting Raven's ear as her fingers gently flexed against her scalp.
Raven tried to ignore the panic rushing to the forefront of her thoughts, focusing on the hand in her hair, but her thoughts would not obey her. And then the hand was gone and Finn was speaking. She knew what he was trying to do but she just wanted to tell him to shut up. She wanted to be calm, silent. Yet she did not trust herself to speak, to utter anything might stop what she knew had to be done. So she remained silent and let him speak, focusing on the sound to drown out her own thoughts.
She felt the strap across her back, Abby's hand on her lower back and the scalpel against her skin.
"Stop!," burst out and she hated the fact she sounded so panicked.
The hands and scalpel lifted immediately.
Raven tried to breathe but breath would only come in gasps and gulps.
"I'm so scared," she uttered as tears streamed across her nose.
Finn put his hand on her head and held her hand tighter, "Just keep looking at me," he prompted and she did, using the points of his eyes to focus, silence the panic in her head, and breathe normally again. She nodded and Finn gave Abby the okay.
Raven eased herself back into the loop 'I trust you to do this, I trust you to do this, I trust you to do this' as she felt the blade bite her skin and then all she heard was the sound of her screams echoing in her ears.
* * *
Abby left her patient unconscious but alive. As she washed the blood from her hands she tried desperately to block Raven's screams from her mind, the cries that only quieted when the pain had become so intolerable her body sent her into unconsciousness. Raven would sleep for a while now and Abby could only hope that she had been precise enough to have not caused any permanent damage.
She told Jackson to wake her when Raven woke and went back to her bunk to crash, lying on top of her bed still in her clothes as exhaustion claimed her.
She heard Jackson's voice and bolted out of bed, expecting an emergency. Jackson assured her Raven was fine but awake. Abby checked the time, it had only been a few hours.
"Already?" she asked incredulously, wondering if that was a good or a bad sign.
Jackson nodded, "I've checked her vitals, she appears to be stable. She's in a lot of pain but that is to be expected."
Abby thanked him and he departed.
She walked over to the bowl of water in the corner and splashed her face, the simple action making her feel slightly more awake. She grabbed the towel beside the bowl and patted her face dry before putting the towel back on the makeshift hook and leaving her bunk.
When she arrived in the medical bay it seemed as if no time had elapsed. Finn was sitting in the same position she had left him, on a stool beside Raven's head, holding her hand. Raven was asleep.
Finn looked up when Abby entered, the exhaustion visible on his face.
"Sorry, Jackson said she was awake," Abby remarked softly, assessing Raven's sleeping form.
"She was," Finn replied, his voice croaky. He cleared it before continuing, "Jackson checked her over and left to get you and she fell back asleep."
Abby nodded. "Good," she uttered softly, "she should sleep for a while." She checked the stitching and felt Raven's forehead before turning to Finn.
"You get some rest, I'll stay with her," Abby offered, taking in Finn's heavy lidded gaze.
Finn opened his mouth to object but Abby raised her eyebrows, "I'm not listening to any arguments," she uttered in mother-mode before softening, "She may need you again before this is over and I need you awake," she finished honestly.
Finn nodded before disentangling his hand from Raven's and standing.
"Thank you. Come get me if she wakes up," Finn asked, making his way towards the exit.
"I will," Abby replied, sitting herself in the seat Finn had just exited.
Finn nodded again before turning and exiting the medical tent.
Raven made a sound as her hands grasped for the empty space that had been Finn's hand.
Abby took her hand, "Shhh, it's alright," she muttered, stroking the back of Raven's hand with her thumb.
Raven's eyes fluttered open, a half-sleepy gaze, before falling shut again "Finn," she uttered without intonation.
"Finn had to get some sleep honey," Abby replied to the unspecified question, putting her free hand to Raven's head and stroking her temple with her thumb, "go back to sleep."
"Abby," Raven exhaled.
"Yes, it's me, go back to sleep," Abby repeated.
"You didn't die," Raven voiced so softly it was hard to distinguish from breath.
Abby took a moment to decipher the murmurings, "No, I didn't die," she chuckled in spite of statement, realising that while she was worrying about Raven making it to Earth, Raven must've been worrying that she would be executed, "I'm right here," she confirmed, squeezing Raven's hand gently as a smile spread across her face unbidden.
Raven remained silent and soon her breathing became deep and regular. Abby adjusted her stool and rested their hands on her lap. She knew she would not do this for every patient but she considered Raven a friend and used that as an excuse for her presence. Yet, if she was honest with herself, she was drawn to Raven. The younger woman had a combination of strength, determination and confidence that Abby respected but she also had a fragility about her that Abby felt the need to understand and protect. Which is why she was here, at the intersection of professional duty and personal care, protecting her as best she could.
* * *
Abby stood at the bottom of Raven's bed surveying her patient. Raven had more colour in her face and was clearly in less pain but it was time to test her reflexes to see how the surgery had gone.
Abby took a deep breath and exhaled before running her fingers up the bottom of Raven's right foot. Raven's toes twitched in response and she could not help the hopeful happiness that bubbled up inside her.
"You felt that?" she asked, although the answer was obvious. Raven nodded. She tried the other one, hoping that she had been precise enough, that all Raven's pain had been worth it.... but nothing.
"Try it again," Finn demanded harshly.
Abby flinched but ignored him, testing Raven's leg from her foot upward, but it was not until she passed the knee that Raven spoke up.
Abby paused and looked down, licking her top lip as she try to find the words to confirm what everyone in the room knew to be true. She wondered for a moment what she could have done better before remembering that they were waiting for her to say something.
"Raven, it seems you have significant damage to the nerves in your left leg," she heard herself saying and she riled against the clinical tone to her delivery. She wanted to say something more, to find some comfort in this but she struggled to find the right words.
"Will it get better?" Raven asked. It was the logical question.
"For now you'll need crutches," Abby elided, trying to give an encouraging smile. "But you're alive and you're not in pain anymore," she reminded her, trying to reassure both of them.
"But I'm still crippled," came Raven's reply. The tears ran down her face despite the fact Abby could tell she was fighting them.
Abby felt her own strength crumble in the face of Raven's desolation and grasped at anything that would allow her to leave before it betrayed her.
"I'm going to give you two some time," she found herself saying and nodded at Finn before exiting the room.
She took the quietest route to her bunk and sat on the side of her bed. Her head fell into her hands as she came up with hundreds of things she should of done, or should not have done that might have improved Raven's outcome. But it was ludicrous, she was a surgeon and not all of her patients had good outcomes. She knew Raven was lucky to have survived, to have feeling in one leg in addition was a good outcome, and yet she could not shake the feeling that she had failed her.
Tears burned behind her eyes but she forced them away. Clarke was still out there and she now knew what she needed to do to save her.
* * *
Abby knew that she had broken the law by freeing Bellamy and giving him and Finn guns and yet she could not believe that this was the punishment that was warranted. Yet as the whip bit into her skin she knew she deserved it, not for her current crime but for betraying Jake and for not protecting Clarke in the first place.
Her body was shocked again and again, just offbeat from Kane's even tone and Abby could feel the skin of her back blistering. She tried to pull the pain toward her, let it eat the grief and guilt bubbling up to suffocate her, but it would not comply and she felt more than heard the ragged cries as they were torn from her throat - pain, guilt and grief echoing through the air.
Raven had passed the last few days in her recovery bed staring at the entrance or the ceiling, wishing the bullet had done its worst or that she had died during the surgery. She knew she should be grateful to be alive but this half-recovery felt like purgatory.
She heard a noise at the door and looked over to see Abby enter with some piping and padding, her movements slow and purposeful.
"What is that for?" Raven asked without preamble, her voice was low and even, edged with a hint of annoyance.
Abby noticeably prickled before speaking. "I thought you could help me make you crutches," Abby replied with a forced lightheartedness as she lay the piping against the wall.
"Right," Raven replied, self-loathing infusing her tone as she glazed over Abby's face to the door beyond. She could not look the other woman in the eye, she knew Abby had done everything she could but Raven's body had disappointed them both.
Abby moved closer to her and she felt a finger on her chin as it was forced up to focus on Abby's face.
"You are lucky that the bullet didn't kill you," the older woman began in an even tone, "that you didn't bleed out and that you survived the surgery," she pointed out. "Finn and Bellamy are out there right now trying to rescue Clarke and the others from the Grounders," she told Raven, her voice growing harder, "and here you are feeling sorry for yourself because you can't feel below your left knee?" she asked, crooking an eyebrow as she released Raven's chin. "Where is the determination that made an 130 year old drop ship survivable in 7 days? What happened to the Raven Reyes who fell to the ground in a contraption she built, bled out for days without dying and then went through surgery without anaesthesia? Because that Raven Reyes wouldn't let a lame leg stop her from anything."
Abby stepped back, her eyebrow raised as she crossed her arms and watched her words sink in.
Raven nodded, she still could not feel it but she knew what Abby said was true, that she needed to accept this and move on.
"Sounds like I'll need crutches," She replied evenly, unable to muster enough antagonism to support the helplessness she felt.
Abby nodded in approval and turned to the pipes she had put down earlier, wincing as she turned.
"What's wrong?" Raven asked with an energy she had not possessed a moment ago, moving up in her bed to see what had happened.
"Nothing," Abby brushed off, betraying her words by wincing again as she pulled the pipes and padding away from the wall. Her shirt rode up to betray a sliver of burnt skin.
"That's not nothing," Raven pointed out as she remembered the screams she heard earlier. "That was you screaming?" she asked, her voice laced with shock and concern, her pain momentarily forgotten in the face of what Abby had endured. She took her legs out of the bed and carefully swung them over the edge of her bed to face Abby, struggling momentarily with the left one.
Abby looked at her, her lips pressed into a thin line. She closed her eyes for a moment before opening them and nodding.
"Yes," she finally admitted.
"They actually whip-lashed you?" Raven asked, still incredulous despite her admission. She knew what the exodus charter said but to have it enacted on Abby seemed insane.
Abby nodded again, leaning the piping against Raven's bed.
"Why?" Raven asked.
"Helping Bellamy escape and arming him and Finn," she acknowledged, her eyes shifting between Raven's.
Raven was silent for a moment, trying to hold Abby's gaze before she looked down at Abby's hand, positioned close to her own right hand. She realised Abby was holding on to the bed and unobtrusively steadying herself. Raven covered the hand with her own, needing some way of conveying how much it meant to her that Abby had helped. "Thank you," she stated simply, her eyes on their hands for a moment before looking up.
She felt something then, as their eyes connected, like a current running from Abby's hands to hers and settling in her stomach. Abby broke the gaze and took a step back, the connection lost. And yet the feeling in Raven's stomach remained, niggling her with something she did not quite recognise.
Abby cleared her throat, "Shall we get started then?" she offered with a forced nonchalance that bordered on awkward.
Raven shook her head. “Not until you let me put something on your back,” she bartered determinedly, “it looks really angry.”
Abby sighed, looking at Raven for a long moment before nodding.
Raven watched Abby move to the cabinets, surprised but how easy it had been to convince her. She came back with a small vial of oil and handed it to Raven. “Just a small amount will do,” she instructed before turning around and carefully leaning forward with her back just shy of Raven's bare shins.
* * *
Abby pulled the back of her shirt up to expose the burn marks, suddenly feeling uncomfortably naked despite still being mostly covered. She should have let Jackson do this earlier but she had been stubborn and hated him fussing.
She drew in a sharp inhalation of breath as Raven's fingers ghosted one of the burns and she felt Raven pull back instantly.
“It's okay, it's going to hurt at first,” Abby counselled, “keep going.”
Raven's fingers returned and even though the burns reacted to the lightest pressure she could feel the care Raven was taking, easing fingers along her back in light strokes. She fought to stay still, to be the patient for once and let Raven do this, but even as part of her fought she was also calmed by the younger woman's touch in a way she had not felt with Jackson. There was a methodical regularity to her slow trail of pressure, release, pause, return, and Abby had found herself hypnotised by it, the oil dulling her pain as a warmth spread along her back and into her stomach.
She felt the extended pause as a chill and turned around, meeting Raven's gaze and catching something that reflected her own contradictory emotion of nervous calm.
“I think I'm done,” Raven offered, clearing her throat and breaking the gaze as Abby took the breath she had not realised she was holding.
Abby forced a smile on her face that became sincere when she met Raven's eyes again. “Thank you,” she acknowledged with an easy sincerity before taking the vial from Raven's hands, “Now let's measure you for these crutches,” she instructed before putting the vial away in the cabinet.
* * *
Raven kept her touch light and even, feeling the rough edges to the burns beneath her fingers. She could tell Abby was trying her best to keep still and smiled knowingly at how difficult it must be for her – that she had relented so easily was surely a sign of how much the burns were causing her pain. Raven could feel the warmth of Abby's body bleeding through the space between her shins and Abby's back and the proximity felt good, addictive, even as it seemed awkward that she was this close. Did Abby's trust in her mean she was more to Abby than a patient? Were they friends?
Raven finished applying the oil, pausing to see if she had missed any spots as Abby turned around. She met her eyes and felt it again, that niggling in her stomach that was both familiar and frightening.
She broke the silence hurriedly, Abby returning the vial to its place before turning her attention back to Raven and her crutches.
“It would be better if I could measure you standing,” Abby began “but I don't want to pull so stop if anything is painful,” she cautioned.
Raven nodded, slowly pushing herself off the bed, Abby's hand grabbing to support her arm as soon as Raven shifted.
Raven felt the warmth in her forearm as Abby supported her left side, and although contact between them often felt strange as they shuttled between patient and friend, there was a comfort and solidity in her support that had nothing to do with the pressure on her arm. Raven's right foot met the floor and Abby guided Raven's left hand to the bed to allow her to steady herself.
Raven watched as Abby took the measuring tape from her pocket. She tucked one end under Raven's right foot and brought it up the length of her leg, the tape brushing against skin. At Abby's instruction Raven took her right hand from the bed and raised her arm, instinctively grabbing for Abby's shoulder with her left hand as she began to wobble. Abby froze in place, allowing Raven to get her balance back, before continuing and measuring under Raven's armpit. It was beginning to feel almost normal, this lack of distance between them, until Abby raised her eyes from the measurements, meeting Raven's as that awkward something passed between them again.
Abby helped Raven back in bed, and although Abby had started to explain her idea around the construction of the crutches and the concerns she had with weight distribution, Raven thought she seemed distracted. She brushed off her concern and tried to focus, knowing Abby was trying to give her a problem to solve and appreciating the effort, even though it felt like spoon-feeding.
Even before Abby had finished speaking Raven began looking around the room, her mind firing with ideas.
"I need something to write on, do you have a flimsy?" she inquired when Abby had finished speaking.
Abby looked around, "Be right back," she replied as she exited the room to return a few moments later with the clear plastic sheet and a marker.
Raven inched up in bed, wincing as the bed covers caught her stitches.
Abby moved the marker to the hand with the flimsy and helped arrange the covers with the other. Raven felt the heat of Abby's hand by her stitches and the featherlight touches tingled up her spine. She found the effect both disorienting and oddly comforting and involuntarily leaned in to the touch.
When she was situated, Abby handed her the flimsy and the marker. Raven took the offered items and began scribbling away a few design ideas, talking them through with Abby before deciding on the one that would make the most sense. She wiped the sheet free of all other designs before enlarging the agreed one and adding the measurements and connection angles. Abby watched intently, Raven passing it to her when it was completed.
“Try Tomas if he isn't on anything else,” Raven suggested. She knew she could work circles around him but while his work was simple it was sturdy.
Abby nodded, turning to collect the pipes but Raven put a hand on her arm to stop her.
"You really suck at taking care of yourself don't you?" she asked rhetorically, eyebrows raised.
Abby turned to look at her, a quirked smile on her face. "When did you become a doctor?" she teased, raising one eyebrow in response.
"It doesn't take a doctor to realise that load will put pressure on the burns on your back," she teased back before dropping her tone, "Seriously. Let someone else get those."
Abby dropped her smile and nodded, leaving the poles and padding behind and leaving the room.
Raven felt her face smile as Abby left. She had forgotten how much she enjoyed working together.
Tomas entered a few minutes later to retrieve the pipes, looking at her somewhat sheepishly as he started to explain his presence.
"It's okay. I know," she interjected, "Thanks Tomas," she added, smiling a little.
Tomas nodded and scurried out of the room, pipes in tow.
* * *
The crutches were functional and Raven could not complain about their fabrication, but she still loathed their usage. They reminded her that she was no longer whole, no longer fully capable and that knowledge burned within her as self-hate.
Abby had only returned once, to make sure she knew how to use the crutches properly, and when she did she seemed distant, distracted. Raven felt that distance as an acknowledgement that she was not important to Abby (or anyone) and it only fuelled her feelings of insignificance.
She jumped at the chance to get back to work, to bury herself in some problem and find escape in it and it did help. There were enough problems at the camp to throw herself into and between helping solve them and the brace she made to help support her leg she started to feel a bit more like herself. Abby still barely spoke to her and that rankled more that it should have. She was, after all, just her doctor.
* * *
Abby read the note, furious at her daughter for going against her. She wracked her brain as to how she could have escaped and when she fell upon the simple answer she felt the betrayal even more acutely.
She stalked across the camp, note in hand, making a beeline for the table where Raven was seated. She noticed that Raven ignored her approach until she put the note down on the table in front of her.
"Did you know about this?" she asked, keeping her voice even.
Raven looked up at her with big round innocent eyes before making a show of reading the note. She looked back up at Abby.
"No," she replied simply.
Abby stared at her, she knew she was lying and the fact she was doing it to her face hurt more than her helping Clarke. She eased herself into the chair opposite.
"Sure, have a seat," Raven quipped but Abby was not going to be charmed out of this.
"Tell me where they went and you won't be in trouble," Abby threatened.
"Abby, I.." she started, throwing a careless smile but Abby cut her off, leaning forward as she made to stand.
"Someone let them through the fence. Someone gave them guns," Abby accused, standing over her.
Raven's eyes gave nothing away as she stared Abby down without rising to defensiveness but Abby saw her swallow and she knew Raven was about to lie to her again.
"I don't know.." was all Abby heard as the fear-fuelled anger overwhelmed her.
She felt the pain in her hand, heard the silence around them, and felt the stares boring into her from all around but she kept her eyes on Raven, expecting her to lash out, confess, anything that would substantiate the fact that she had just slapped her.
But Raven just turned her head back slowly and looked at her with a mixture of shock and sadness. Abby's heart ached in the light of that sadness, the betrayal she had felt moments ago reversed, and she crumpled into her chair with her head in her hands.
She heard the scraping of Raven's cup on the table top and looked up in disbelief at the woman opposite her. In one motion she had shown both sympathy and a maturity of understanding Abby herself had lost.
Abby dropped her hands on the table, floundering for something that made sense in this world turned upside-down.
"She thinks because of what she's been through she's changed," she began, not sure why she was telling Raven, "but she's still just a kid," she added, her voice cracking as she held back the tears building behind her eyes.
"You're wrong Abby," Raven replied kindly, and her eyes held sympathy but also a sincerity, "She stopped being a kid the day you sent her down here to die," she pointed out evenly, her eyes trying to soften the blow of her words.
Abby watched her for a moment wordlessly, knowing that Raven was not trying to hurt her and that, despite Abby's reasons for sending Clarke to the ground, Raven's point was valid. They had sent children down to survive. It should have been no surprise that they became adults in the process. She took the proffered cup and downed the liquid in one gulp, wincing at the bitterness as it burned down her throat.
"How did you become so smart?" she asked ruefully. She placed the cup back down as the liquid tingled through her, making her a bit lightheaded. She realised she had not eaten since breakfast.
"Some of us were forced to be adults even younger than Clarke," Raven replied wistfully as her eyes glazed past Abby to the camp beyond.
Abby wanted to know what had happened to Raven to make that statement viable and so deeply painful but before she could muster anything adequate to address the intensity of Raven's words the younger woman's gaze returned to the present, "Don't worry about Clarke," she reassured, changing the subject, "Octavia knows these woods even better than Clarke and Bellamy. They will be fine."
"I knew you were lying," Abby replied softly, staring into the now empty cup before looking up.
Raven caught Abby's gaze and held it, "Then arrest me Chancellor," she challenged, a bitterness in the way she uttered Abby's title that chilled her.
"I'm not going to arrest you," she replied calmly, "I did the same to find Clarke," she added offhandedly.
"Yes, you did," Raven emphasised each word, as if that had been her point all along.
Abby nodded resignedly, pausing for a moment before speaking again. "Thank you," Abby uttered, covering Raven's hand with her own, remembering too late to keep her distance from this contact that made her feel both contented and flustered in equal measure.
Raven looked at their hands oddly for a moment before looking up at Abby quizzically, "Thank you for what?"
"For.." Abby began before pausing, trying to get her thoughts in order.
'For not causing a bigger scene? For making me realise my hypocrisy?' she contemplated, but they did not cover what she was feeling.
"..for being you," she finished carelessly, a smirk on her lips. It was far less specific and far more personal than she had meant it to be. She pulled her hand away slowly and made to stand, knowing she needed to leave before she said anything else.
"In that case you're welcome," Raven replied, her usual confident bluster returning, "stay for another?" Raven asked taking her cup from Abby's side of the table.
Abby shook her head, "Maybe next time," she demurred as she stood.
"I'll hold you to that," Raven replied cockily as Abby turned and walked back to her bunk.
As she walked away from the common area Abby replayed the scene in her head. She saw the way Raven's betrayal hurt more than Clarke's, the way Raven could read her without hesitating, and the way contact felt additively warm but also disorienting. She had realised there was an intensity to their friendship since Raven helped her with the escape pod, that kind of pressurised circumstance made fast friends, but this felt different.
And was Raven flirting with her? The idea filled her with warmth as the conscious recognition of her own want hit her like an ache in the stomach, replacing that warmth with dread. Raven was barely older than her own daughter and whatever she thought either of them were feeling she was mistaken. She took a deep breath and pushed the thought away as best she could but it lingered on the periphery of her mind, acknowledged.
She took the few steps remaining to her bunk door, resolving to keep her distance from Raven. It was the only way she could maintain what objectivity Clarke's actions left her and keep everyone safe.
* * *
Chapter Three: Inertia