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It takes some time for Clarke to realize anything’s wrong.

At first, it’s because rational thought checked out long before that bright, explosive moment when all she knew was white-hot sensation. She’s felt something like it before, alone in her cell in the Wizard’s Keep, but it’s different with someone else, with Finn—like pleasure is filling her up, pressing out against the inside of her skin, and when it breaks free it pours into Finn and tugs him closer, closer until it’s like there is no Finn, no Clarke, only this perfect fusion of them both.

It’s the single most intense experience of Clarke Griffin’s life, and the rebellious teenager inside of her feels a sharp stab of resentment that her mother always warned her so strongly against something that feels so good.

Sure, it’s a little weird how intensely Finn smiles at her when she wakes up (she doesn’t even remember passing out), but she hasn’t exactly done this before—maybe this is what guys are like after. Besides, it’s not like she can judge; her cheeks are starting to ache from the stupid grin she can’t seem to wipe from her own face.

There are other things they should be doing, should be worrying about—the blood crystals Monty fried, making everyone still in Aydindril think that they’re all dead; the bright green burst of magic that streaked across the sky not too long ago, and who or what it might have been carrying; the fact that they’ve only just convinced the rest of the hundred that maybe doing whatever they want isn’t the best survival strategy.

But that’s out there, in the real world; right now Clarke is more than content to stay in their underground shelter, trailing her fingers over Finn’s bare chest and at least pretending like she can put it all from her mind.

The devotion in Finn’s eyes doesn’t fade, though, and the way he fusses over her starts a distant blare of alarm in the back of Clarke’s mind. Finn was never a jerk , not really, but he wasn’t this either—waiting on her hand and foot, checking every few moments to make sure that she’s pleased with him.

She draws the line when he tries to help her dress, and the look of utter dejection on his face twists at her stomach. It’s sort of abstractly familiar, like a story she once heard and now can’t remember the details of.

Then she does, and guilt rises like bile in the back of her throat.

Her mother warned her about her power—about never using it unless absolutely necessary, about keeping it hidden so the Council didn’t find out. Theirs is a bloodline too powerful to let die, she was told, but the rest of the world isn’t ready for it, ready for them. She knows what her power is supposed to do to people, but she’s never seen it happen before.

She knows, now, why she felt so close to Finn in that moment—why it seemed all of a sudden that there was one person present, not two, even with his body solid and warm above her.

Finn is gone.