Chapter 1: Darkness in the air
I just shot a squirrel in the eye. Although it had two tails, something that would've concerned me during our first days on Earth, at this point, I am okay with everything. I was actually pretty proud of myself for that one; shooting the squirrel in the eye saved all the other parts of it. It would not be an ideal meal that I was hoping for, but it would have to work for now. Ever since I left the camp and everyone else behind, I had to find a place for me to live in and survive. I didn't have to hunt before except for that time when Finn and I got captured by the grounders. Even though I was weary at first, I adapted, yet again. I started studying the plants, animals, everything that could help me and let me get through the winter without losing some very important parts of me. I found myself a cave and turned it into my home. Surprisingly, I am doing relatively fine.
"Stop where you are or I will shoot!"
I was lost in my thoughts and didn't notice someone creep up behind me. From the lack of the accent, I figured it was someone from camp. I couldn't afford being recognized even though like grounders I took on a habit of covering my face with paint. i didn't want to risk it anyway.
"Let me go and I will let you live" I answered to the brave-heart behind me. I haven't spoken in a few months and my voice was very raw and rough.
"You are a grounder, aren't you? What are you doing so close to our camp? This is our territory, you are trespassing" the stranger asked me. His voice however did sound familiar.
"I didn't pay attention to where I was going. I didn't mean to trespass. Please just let me go. I mean no harm to any of you!"
"Do I know you? I recognize your voice. Who are you?"
Before I could stop him or run away, Monty marched over to me and made me face him. His eyes couldn't quite take in the face paint and the new grounder hairstyle and my new clothes all at once but when he managed to focus on my eyes, he knew. I knew he knew by the way his jaw feel open and his pupils grew twice their size.
"Clarke? Is it you?"
I heard notes of nostalgia in his voice and knew he missed me and he was happy to see me. I however, felt irritated at him for blowing my cover and mad at myself for being so dumb to wonder right into his arms.
"Hello Monty? I haven't seen you in 4 months and now it's hello Monty? I din't know whether or not you were alive and this is how I find out that you are. By catching you and making you face me by force? Where were you? Why didn't you come back?" he looked on the border of tears and I just felt more and more annoyed.
"What? you missed the pleasure of my company? Oh, that's a shame! Good thing I don't feel responsible to answer your questions so... can I go now?"
I noticed hurt enter his expression like he was not expecting me to answer to him that way, like we were still besties who kill hundreds of people and then hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
Here is one thing that should be cleared up right now so there is no confusion later on. I don't care. Those people died because it was their time to go. I don't look deeper into it, don't try to justify the action or find forgiveness. I am at peace with that knowledge. Every man is responsible for himself and I made damn sure to drill it into my mind when I left the camp. I am not the Mother Nature, I am not going to take care of anyone but me because at the end of the day, I cannot guarantee that I won't be in a situation again where I will have to kill them. If I have to kill them, I can't feel anything towards them. They are my enemies because they're alive.
"Go? you want me to let you run away again and not see you for the next four months?
"No this time I will make sure you never see me again for your own well-being, Monty. Because the next time you point that gun at me, consciously or unconsciously, I will put this arrow though your skull so fast, you won't even know what hit you until after you die. Do you still want to continue this conversation?"
Monty looked over my face looking like he was searching for something. Whatever he was looking for, he seemed to have failed to find it.
"Clarke, this isn't you. You would never do anything like this. I was hoping you were joking, but you're not, are you? What happened after you left the camp? What happened to you?"
That last question seemed to have packed multiple questions in one and I didn't feel like answering any of them.
Out of nowhere, Monty grabbed my arm and started pulling me towards the camp. He got stronger since I saw him last time even though he looked scrawny as ever.
"Monty let me go! I am not stepping a foot in that camp!"
"Clarke, something is wrong! Please let us help! Please come back", he stopped and turned to look me straight into my eyes, "Come back... if not for you, then for us. We need you. We miss you!"
I remembered my body's response in the past. I could see it play out as it would've played out before I left the camp. I would look into Monty's eyes, see that he really meant those words. I would think that I couldn't afford any of them getting hurt, they were my responsibility from the day one. I could fix this. It wouldn't mater what I felt, I would always choose them first.
The only dark cloud in that beautiful silver lining was that I wasn't that person anymore.
"Are you going to let me go Monty? I am telling you that I do not want to and I will not go back to the camp. Will you let me leave in peace?"
I felt his hand tighten and his eyes shine with determination. "If it means that you will run away in this condition and I will never see you again, then no. I'm sorry, Clarke"
I felt my eyes look at him with sympathy that I didn't really feel but rather came out of habit. "No, I'm sorry"
With that I kicked him in the knee, feeling it give out under my boot. On the way down I twisted my arm and grabbed the back of his head connecting it with my knee. It was a hard hit, with me packing most of my strength there and in my elbows. Now Monty was holding his head with both hands, dropping his gun. I picked up the gun and as Monty looked up at me, I swung my arm and clocked him with the butt of the gun.
Three minutes later, Monty was tied to a tree and coming back to consciousness. He slowly opened his eyes and looked up at me.
"Monty, Monty, you need to learn when to let go. That was your chance and you didn't take it, now you suffer the consequences. I don't need your saving or help, the same way you don't need me at the camp. I tied you up to give myself a head start and the only reason I didn't kill you was because I didn't necessarily need to. But the next time I see you and you decide that you want to try to force me to do anything, I will make sure you meet God faster than you would've ever thought. I'm done with the camp and I would think by now the camp would be over me as well, but they were always clingy, those little cowards. Go home and forget this ever happened. Enjoy my mercy for today."
With that I stood up and headed towards my poor squirrel laying next to Monty's gun. I picked up both and looked back at Monty.
"Thanks for the gun, by the way." With that I smiled at him and he must have seen something in my face because for the first time since I met him, Monty looked scared. Scared of me.
Chapter 2: Those we left behind
I heard the sound of gunshots 50 feet away from the training room. I knew the sound better than I knew my own voice, this is the sound of both danger and safety. What I wasn't expecting was to see Monty in there shooting away at the poor target that at this point wasn't in one piece anymore but consisted of a few shattered ones.
I had to shout over the sound of the bullets and after I repeated his name several times has he finally noticed me.
"What are you doing here? I don't think I have ever seen you here. Is everything alright?"
"You know today was the first day I went out to patrol the grounds?" he said turning to fully face me. I noticed a bruise on the side of his head confused by when he managed to get it. "I just had a feeling like I should go out today, that something was going to happen. And it did."
He stared at me for a few moments after that finally saying "I saw Clarke today."
There are some news in your life that bring you so many different feelings, you don't know which one to focus on. These news were one of them. I felt excitement, disbelief, happiness, anger, worry, sadness. So many so fast I had to settle on one. I settled on disbelief.
"That's not possible, we haven't seen or heard from her in four months. You want to say that she finally came out?"
"Oh it was her alright! I got really close and personal with her when she almost broke my knee, hit me with my own gun and tied me to a tree. And if by come out you mean decide to come back to camp, then the answer would be "Hell no!"
"Hit you and tied you up, you say? You do know we are talking about Clarke right? She would never hurt you, Monty and she is your friend, if you forgot. She would never do anything like that to any of us. I though you knew her better than that."
i started feeling irritated that he would think that about Clarke. While I wasn't happy with her either, I certainly would never mistake some girl with her. Never.
"Apparently none of us know Clarke that well anymore. Bellamy, I was one of the last people who has seen her, I know Clarke. And today, earlier, she talked to me. I know it was her even though she didn't look like her. She told me she is never coming back to the camp and that she is over us now. Something was wrong with her, Bellamy. Something very wrong."
"And you're training now so that you can shoot her the next time you see her?!"
"No, I would never use a gun on her! She was my friend, Bellamy, too. That will always come first." With that he walked out. I looked at the set of his shoulders and saw the sadness there, the helplessness. I followed him out and looked around the camp.
After Clarke left, I did exactly what she asked me to. i took care of them. For her and for me. I was still angry at the fact that she left, I was furious. I remembered that we pulled that lever together. Unlike her, I didn't have a choice of running away and healing. I had to stay but this time I had to do it without Clarke. It was so damn hard, not having her next to me, not having her tell me what was right and what was wrong. I could see gratitude in the eyes of some we freed from Mountain Weather while in others I saw fear. Of me. Of us. Octavia still hasn't forgiven Clarke for the bombing and Jasper is still hurting too. He never talks about that, but I can see it every time he looks at me or Monty. He is still mad even though we didn't really have a choice in what happened to mountain men. It was easy for people to judge something if they weren't the ones doing it. Clarke and I made that decision together, and as she said we bear it so they don't have to even though she thinks she is the only one bearing it.
I didn't know what to do with this information that Monty gave me. I was mad that it wasn't me that saw her today, that it was Monty. The reason I was so hesitant to believe him was that to this day, I go out almost every night and look for her. I pray, pray, that she is still alive, that she is still breathing. I prayed she would come back to me, to the camp. At times I would walk through the forest and beg her to come out, to talk to me, to at least let me know that she was okay. She is my friend, will always be no matter what but since she left I missed her like I never thought I would. We are connected, she and I, and I am not ashamed to admit that I will not give up until I bring her back to the camp. I owe her this much.
With that I grabbed my gun, my traveling pack and went to do something that Monty and I both failed to do in the past, get Clarke home.
Chapter 3: Demons of Past
Flashback to what happened to Clarke that made her who she is now.
4 months ago
As I turn around to walk away from the camp and Bellamy, I hear him say "May we meet again". The conviction in his voice makes me feel a bit better, I can really hear that he believes that we will in fact meet again. It's hard, harder than I thought it would be, walking away from them. But what I did... what I could do in the future... I can't live here every day and be happy. I can't be happy seeing all the people that we managed to save knowing that other people, some innocent, some good, some so young, had to die for them to be here now. "This is the right choice" I told myself. But to be honest, this was the only choice.
That night I slept under a tree. I know it wasn't the ideal choice but I had no other choice. In fact it felt good. The cold, the roughness, the pain, the hunger - I deserve all of this and so much more. "This has to happen" I told myself. In reality, it was happening.
Day after day I learned more and more about the survival. I learned to make knives out of branches, learned to climb trees, started hunting and collecting plants. I was persuaded that these plants could be a very important factor in our survival. I could research and tell Bellamy at some point about this. Our people could use all kinds of help now. I also found myself a shelter in a cave and started training combat and shooting with a bow and arrows I made myself. I never got around to practicing shooting a gun with everything going on but now I had no choice. I had to know. I was hoping the more time I would be away from the camp, the more tolerable it would be when I do come back. "I am getting better" I told myself. In all honesty, I was only getting worse.
Every night I wold wake up screaming from nightmares. I would see faces of children from the mountain, young and old people, Maya's face begging me for mercy while I pull the lever. They look me straight in the eyes as their skin burns away and the smell of burnt flesh fills the air. I inhale it and I smile while they burn. While they die, I smile.
One of these nights I was too loud and while I was trying to fight off the dream, I felt a hand go around me and drag me out of the cave. For a moment, I thought it was the ghosts finally coming to punish me. I didn't fight it, they had every right to punish me for what happened to them but then I heard words being screamed out right next to my ear while I was being shoved around like a doll. I finally opened my eyes and saw that I was being dragged not by a ghost but by a grounder. And they had no right to punish me for anything. With that thought, I placed my feet on the ground and twisted bringing my elbow in the grounders nose. Blood came out and the hands finally released me just to be replaced by someone else's. For a second I turned my head sideways and saw that there were at least 4 grounders. I was obviously outmatched and both I and they knew it.
That's when I felt a hit on the side of my head and darkness.
"Clarke, wake up!"
I opened my eyes and waited for them to focus on something. That something ended up being Lexa's face.
"You?!" To say I was furious to see Lexa was like saying I merely gave the mountain men a light flu. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have done things that I have done. It must have showed in my eyes loud and clear because she took a step back and said:
"I know you're not happy with me but I had to do what I did. You would've done the very same thing, I know!"
"You don't know anything! We would've gotten our people out. All the preparation and plans would've worked if only you didn't do what you do best: choose yourself. You ask your people lay their lives for you yet you are nothing but a coward. I feel bad for anyone who ever decides to believe or put faith in you!"
"You want to be mad at someone besides yourself, Clarke. I am not going to be sorry for saving my people like you are not sorry for saving yours. You may pretend to suffer now but you don't need to. That was your choice, it was you who pulled the lever. I simply gave you an option to do so."
At that point I was seeing red. I don't know why I was so angry, why I was still listening to what she was saying but I wanted for her to stop talking. I wanted for it to stop.
"You call me a coward but I had courage to do what was right for my people. My hands are clean." with that she leaned into me and said "Are yours?"
I took out the knife hid in a secret pocket of my pants and started cutting into the ropes binding me to a chair. I didn't answer Lexa's question but she saw the answer in my eyes. She turned around and went to a table nearby.
"My men said they found you in a cave where you were living. You left the camp, huh? I thought you would be grieving what you did to all those people but I din't think you would leave your people behind because of that. But if you think you're the only one who is suffering, you're wrong. The alliance between two clans was greatly affected by your decisions. At least five of the clans want out and I am left trying to secure a peace with all of them. I knew it was too much to hope for you to just give up in front of those doors and turn around. Clarke, if it means anything, I did feel like we were connected at some point. I wanted you to come with me. But of course you had to go and ruin it with a new brilliant plan of yours. I should've known you would."
She looked me straight into the eyes and said "You realize that you killed that Finn boy that loved you for nothing, right?"
I didn't even feel me tear the rest of the ropes and lunge at Lexa. Somewhere halfway through her speech she unlocked something in me. I finally realized why I was so mad at her. She was right.
I clocked my fist back and hit her with all I had in me. She went down and I wasted no time climbing on top of her and hitting her again. Again and again and again. I was letting out the pain I thought I felt, letting in the acceptance. She finally voiced what I was feeling all this time and she had to suffer because i was done suffering. Her guards finally ran in diving for me bur I was ready this time. I dragged Lexa up by her hair and pressed my knife above her heart.
"You might wanna tell your guard dogs to let me go or I will make sure to send your spirit in search for a new body really fast." I whispered in Lexa's ear.
She said something to them in their language and they moved to the side. I started walking through and near the exit Lexa seemed to collect what powers she had left and rip away from me. I hesitated a second before plunging my knife into her stomach, leaning in and replying to the question she asked me not that long ago "Now they're clean".
With that I threw her at her guards and made a mad dash out of the hut and into the woods. Some grounders tried to follow but they didn't have nearly enough determination to survive as I did. I ran for what seemed hours just trying to put as much distance between them and me as I could. Only when I thought I would collapse, I stopped and tried to regain normal breathing. I looked at my wet bloody hands and I felt nothing. Just numb. I thought I would feel remorse or at least fear but there was nothing.
"I am better" I told myself. In fact I've never been better.
"I don't hurt anymore" I told myself and to be honest I felt absolutely nothing.
"I will survive" I told myself because truth be told, now I was invincible.
Chapter 4: May we meet again
Bellamy and Clarke finally meet face to face
It's been 4 hours since I left the camp and still nothing. At this point, I lost all hope at finding Clarke. To be honest, I lost hope after two hours. The other two hours were more about clearing my head, doing something else besides running a camp, which has been my life for the last few months. Deep inside, I don't know if I wanted to find Clarke, I was still angry at her for leaving me behind to deal with something that she promised we'll deal with together. She practically dumped me and I don't know what my reaction would be if I saw her right now. But that didn't stop me from sitting down on the nearest rock and speaking out loud to her again. Deep down, while I was mad, I needed her now as much as I did 4 months ago.
"You know what I don't understand?" I started "I don't understand why you hide. Do you know what kind of people hide? Frightened ones, the ones that can't face the people who are looking for them. Are you one of those people, Clarke? It's me. The person who never judged you for anything you did, the person who you left behind regardless of how that affected me and everyone else, your friend back in the day, your co-leader. If you can't face me, how can you face anyone else? Are you planning on staying hidden for the rest of your life?
Things have been hard, if you're wondering, which I'm guessing you're not. It's been harder lately because grounders are starting a fight with us once again. They started picking us off one by one and while we were able to get all of our people back, the camp is restless. Like you, like me, they can't quite recover from the last time we fought someone. I just wanted to warn you to be extra careful because no matter where you go and who you become, in grounders' eyes you will always be associated with us. And while I don't think that's a bad thing, you may have a different opinion on that."
I didn't know what else to say so I stood up and said the last thing on my mind that I wanted her to know "I miss you, princess. Come back to me."
With that I turned around and started my walk back to the camp when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw an arrow fly by and land in a tree right next to my head. I whirled back raising my gun when I heard "If I was your real enemy, you would be dead by now so there's no need to point a gun at me. I believe Monty passed on my message to you which should give you a clue that I don't really like guns directed at me."
That's when I saw her. She had red paint on her face, wore clothes that looked like grounder's and walked with a lethal grace that I've never seen in her before. She looked dangerous and so different from Clarke that left the camp that day.
Even her voice sounded different. I couldn't stop looking at her, finally realizing the fact that she is alive and well. I have been so scared that one day, I will be walking through the forest and find her, unconscious or dead, knowing that I let this happen when I let her go. I say that the camp is my responsibility now but so is she. That's why I couldn't stop looking for her, why I had to make sure she was really okay. I cared for her too much for me to just let it go.
"Clarke." I finally managed to say.
"Why won't you give up?"
I knew what she meant but decided to ask her anyway. "What do you mean?"
"Why do you keep coming back? You've been doing this for the last 4 months, ever since I left. You would spend HOURS in this forest searching, talking to me. You kept believing when everyone else gave up. Why?" She had a look of confusion on her face like she couldn't quite figure out why I didn't give up on her.
"Didn't you hear what I said few minutes ago? You're my friend, Clarke, one of the closest ones I've ever had. I would never give up on you."
"Even after what I did to Monty? Even after I left you?"
"As you may see, even then. Why did you come out? Out of all the times I've looked for you, why did you decide to come out now?
"Because I wanted to warn you about something I've overheard grounders talk about. Do you remember the biological war they proclaimed on us by sending a disease with Murphy?"
"Well you need to get ready for round two because they are preparing to do that all over again. But this time, I think they have developed the disease and it won't require a human carrier anymore. They're planning on giving it to you some other way."
"Why are you telling me this? I thought you were done with the camp."
"Because between you and the grounders, I prefer you. At least you know of toothpaste and general hygiene and you know how important that is to me." At that, she smiled. This was the Clarke I knew, the Clarke I missed.
"You should come back and tell others that yourself."
"Why? Even back when I was a leader, they never failed to let me know how poor my decisions were and how they were blaming me for every wrong thing that happened. I am not going to tolerate the judgmental, shameful looks for their benefit. I won't make them feel better by making myself feel worse. They are a bunch of sad pathetic individuals who refuse to think for themselves and require a leader. A leader who they then blame, and beat, and judge. I am genuinely sorry for leaving you with them for the last few months. I see you did a great job though. Good for you."
I was speechless. Clarke was saying things I've never heard her say before and I was starting to realize that I don't really know her as well anymore. Now I see what Monty meant when he said something was wrong.
"What happened to you, Clarke? Since when do you think of our friends as sad pathetic individuals?"
"Tell me this," she started "Is Octavia still blaming me for what happened in TonDC?"
She was. She hasn't failed to bring that up every time I would talk about bringing Clarke home. Clarke understood what my silence meant and chuckled.
"That's what I mean. Bombing in TonDC helped us get our people back so I had to make a decision and I made one. A decision which if she was in charge and incapable of making, our people would've been hung and bled out for. However, if I come back, I'm sure she will rub the fact that I let hundreds of people die that day into my face. So, no thank you. I am doing good over here."
With that she turned around and started walking away.
"Will I ever see you again?"
"Will I see you again?" Bellamy asks me as I turn around and start walking away.
It gets to me. His voice. It's been so long since I've heard it directly straight at me, not about me or even not to imaginary me who he talked to when he felt stressed or lonely. I knew he was angry I left him, and I don't blame him. I would be angry too. I slowly turn around and really look at him. God, I missed him. I can't ever admit to that because he will never see me that way, but his eyes, his hair, his voice, I missed it all so much. In my time away I grew to like him not just as a friend but something more. I couldn't help but imagine us together, partners like we've always been but this time more intimate, more caring. Thinking back to Lexa and the time before she betrayed me, I remember her asking me to come with her and I said no. Partly I did say that it was because of Finn, but I think deep inside it was also because of him, Bellamy. I couldn't leave him behind, couldn't be with anyone else because somehow I felt that would be me making a choice between him and Lexa. I guess I did choose him after all, I just didn't know it yet.
"Do you want to see me again?" I asked back finally showing some kind of human emotion. Despite their beliefs, I was still capable of feeling, I just chose not to.
He looked me in the eyes and started walking towards me with long purposeful strides. Once he reached me, he did something I didn't expect him to at all. He hugged me. This was the first time HE hugged ME and it felt huge. He squeezed me, so hard I had a little trouble breathing but that was us. He was never afraid of breaking me and I always knew that once I did break, he would be there to put me back together. That is how we always worked and that is how we will work until one of us won't be able to do this anymore. I embraced him back, trying to show him that I was sorry, I did miss him, I did trust him.
"I searched for you for four months. I called to you, I talked to you, I listened. I was here all this time because I wanted to see you. What makes you think that I wouldn't want to see you again? I spent too much time on you, you know?" he joked and that made me feel like we would be okay. Behind the bravado, I cared for him and for what he thought of me.
"I thought you were mad at me, for leaving you behind. Aren't you?"
"I am. I am beyond mad, but not at you, at myself. For letting you go, for not running back after you and dragging you to the camp, if that's what I needed to do. I have to stop myself from doing the same right now and just throwing you over my shoulder and carrying you to the camp. Please come with me!" At this point he pulled back and was staring me straight in the eyes. I saw something there I never have before, adoration. Maybe even a little bit of desperation. At that moment, in this embrace, I hoped that maybe he did feel the same way, maybe there is hope for us. I started to lean in when he suddenly looked sad right before pulling away.
"So, will you come?"
I was startled by his question out of the stupor I fell in. That stupor was hope. I looked him in the eyes and said steadily and confidently:
"I am never coming back."
With that I pushed him away and slipped back behind the mask of not caring. Or maybe it was more than a mask. That hurt, his rejection hurt. I let myself believe for a brief moment and I was reminded that nothing will ever change. I will always end up hurting when I start caring too much. I learned there was no cure for a broken heart but there certainly was strength in it. And that is what will become my crutch from this point on.
If you guys like this story, and if you like Greek mythology and romance, I also just started a new story "I'm a myth". You in no way have to read it if you don't want to but it's an original and if you do check it out, I really really hope you like it!
Chapter 6: I'm coming home
Pow! A hit right on the side of my head! Oh no, you didn't! Octavia is going to regret ever finding me, that spoiled brat!
"Aww did that hurt you?" she mocked me from behind.
"that didn't hurt me, you ignorant twat! It does disappoint me that you stooped so low as to attack me from behind! I thought you grounders were above that, you know? But then again, your commander is Lexa and that's all she's famous for!" With that I kicked Octavia's feet from underneath her and felt the training and survival instinct kick in like noone'"s business.
Apparently she was looking for me because she sneaked up on me while I was collecting berries... Berries! Come on, now! The worst attack I could've expected while collecting berries was a jump from some demented raccoon or some crazy bird, not this grounder-wannabe with leadership illusions and shitty personality.
It's been a week since I saw Bellamy and I know that he keeps coming back to the place where we talked. How do I know that? Because I come there too but I never come out. There's just no need, he can't give me what I want and in return, I can never give him what he wants.
"Aaah!" I screamed out as Octavia's boot connected with my knee. that was a low blow and I could feel my eyes starting to water.
"Oh are you going to cry, princess? Is conscience finally catching up to you for all you've done?"
That angered me even more which I didn't know was possible! It seems that these days I was made out of nothing but anger!
As Octavia started to get up I grabbed the back of her head and slammed it into my other knee. She went to grab her head, which I was guessing hurt like a son of a bitch and without overthinking it, I grabbed her arm and got behind her. With all the force I could possibly master, I kicked my foot into her back all the while twisting her arm and in return I heard a satisfying crunch of her arm breaking. She cried out in pain after which I let her go and moved back.
I cursed my encounter with Bellamy because if it wasn't for him, I would've already killed her and did justice to the rest of the world that wouldn't have to deal with her anymore.
"I see you've changed" she moaned through pain. "I thought you were supposed to be this leader that would do anything for her people".
"You thought so? Well I can't be that leader anymore because you deemed me unworthy, Octavia. You thought I would just take your accusations, the shame you tried to put on me and just move on? I feel no guilt" I grabbed her twisted arm and started pulling on it, causing her so much pain, she started shaking "I feel no remorse, and I sure as hell don't feel any kind of consideration towards any of you anymore! I tried to be the good person, the right person but you made sure I always remember just how wrong my choices always were. And now you don't have to worry about that anymore!"
i screamed finally letting her go. She slowly tried to crawl to the tree and when she did, she finally looked me in the eyes. I saw she was crying at this point, but it was a different kind of tears. They were tears of regret. Like she saw something so sad, so heart-wrenching in front of her.
"You're right." She whispered, all the while looking at me.
"You are right. It's my fault. You are a great leader, Clarke. I felt horrible when Bellamy told me that you left. I tried to keep blaming you and not caring that you left but I knew that it was my fault. I always made you feel wrong and you know after you left, I did believe that and I wasn't quiet about that either. It was Bellamy who finally just shouted at me, making me listen and I was never as grateful for him screaming at me like I was that day. He made me see that YOU had to make all the hard choices and live with them afterwards, and if that wasn't hard enough for you, I didn't help with what I kept telling you! I'm so so sorry!"
I was stunned with nothing back to say. I finally understood what caused her tears, the regret. I was not expecting that so I wasn't sure how to proceed here.
"Then why did you attack me and say all those things?"
"I don't know... I think deep inside I was trying to hold on to my belief that I was right and that opinion made me so angry at you, it clouded any kind of judgement I had." She was quiet for a minute and then she finally said. "I'm scared, Clarke. Being a grounder, it did something to me. I have this anger in me and I don't know how to contain it. I'm scared for others and I'm scared for myself. I don't know if that makes sense but..."
"It makes perfect sense." I interrupted her "I know how that feels." With that I walked over to her, picked her up by the good shoulder and started walking back to a place I thought I'll never see again, the camp.
Chapter 7: We're back, bitches!
My eyes were burning as I struggled to carry Octavia to the camp. It was more or less bearable but we've been walking for at least two hours now and judging by the look on her face, she was about to pass out and pass on her whole weight on lil ol' me. Peachy! Not that she was much help right now but at least she tried to move her feet which I have to admit was helping. I put her shoulder back in its place at the beginning of our what-now-seems-endless journey and the other hits she is suffering from will go away soon enough. My head in return was throbbing with every step I took which makes me think that hit on my head by Octavia was brutal enough to give me a headache for the next few days.
"Hey stay awake! I now I may seem invincible to you but there is a limit to how long and how far I can carry you around! My knee still doesn't feel right after your very accurate and disturbing kick" I told her as I saw her eyes close and not open. I paused long enough to lean her away from me and slap her to keep her awake. I had no time for pleasantries, she needs help and I need to get to that camp to drop her off and be on my way to take care of my battle wounds.
"You don't have to help me... I wouldn't blame you if you just left me somewhere and went back home. You don't look that well either..." she whispered trying to make her feet move to match my pace.
"No without me you will pass out of exhaustion and pain. You can't do that in case you have a concussion. We're almost there, don't make me regret walking all the way out here for you to just pass out on me. Fight it, stay with me." I finally saw the gates of the camp and exhilarated my walking even though it slowly killed me inside. I made out a shape of a person in front of the gates and called out to whoever it was:
"Hey over here! Help us!" I screamed at the top of my lungs and saw the person start running towards us. At that point all I could do was stop and hold on to Octavia. I couldn't move any further than that. I looked up and saw the face of the person who was sprinting towards us. Because of the blood and dirt on my face, he didn't recognize me but he did recognize bloodied and beat-up Octavia in my hands which made me an enemy right from the bat.
"What happened to her? Give her to me." He pulled out a gun and pointed it at me all the while reaching for Octavia trying to get her away from me in case I turned out to be dangerous. Which I was.
As the boy got closer to us and took Octavia off of me, he finally got a good look at my face and stumbled. His eyes got huge and he kept staring at me like I was just an image.
"Hi, Jasper." I said right before I felt my consciousness slipping away and collapsed on the dirt next to Jasper's feet.
"So what happened between the two of them? Did someone attack them?" I recognized my mother's voice but couldn't make myself open my eyes. Everything was pounding and my head felt like it was on the edge of blowing up.
"Did something attack them? How about their pride and quick-to-jump-to-conclusions personalities?" answered Bellamy. He sounded irritated but a second later I felt someone move my hair off my face. The touch felt gentle and very cautious. My face felt raw and clean which meant someone washed off my paint. That kind of made me pissy and that, of all things, gave me strength to open my eyes and glare at Bellamy who was so startled to see me awake, it took him a second to realize his hand was still on my face. "No, sir, you don't get to do that." I thought as I lifted my hand and pushed his away.
I slowly raised like something out of a zombie horror movie. I bet I even looked like one depending on how my body felt like I was hit by a launching ship. Ouch!
"Clarke? You're awake! Oh thank God! Octavia hit you right next to your temple and we didn't know how hard or precise the hit was. We were worried she caused a bleeding in your brain!"
"Bleeding? I dragged her ass for three hours and was just fine. I think if I was bleeding into my brain, it would've taken less than three hours for it to take place."
"Honey you were bleeding out of your eyes, nose, ears when you passed out and Jasper brought you in..."
"Oh, I didn't know it was that serious. Well I feel better now so I think I will be on my way. I just wanted to make sure you got Octavia after she and I had our little disagreement.."
"You broke her arm, dislocated her shoulder and gave her a concussion. She almost broke your knee and ALMOST made you brain-dead or worse, dead. I would call it something more than a little disagreement! What were you thinking?!" Bellamy exploded next to me. He looked furious and relieved at the same time. I was finding it rather disturbing because his eyes kept coming back to various parts of me like he was checking me out or something. Which couldn't be the case, at least not with the way I looked right now... and well since he doesn't really like me that way.
"Why are you so angry? Since you're here, it's safe to assume that Octavia is alright otherwise you would be either next to her or next to me but with a lethal weapon in your hand about to cut my head off." I told him honestly.
Something flashed in his eyes and he turned around and left.
"You should cut him some slack. He was next to your bed ever since Jasper brought you in. Octavia was hurting, yes, but she told us what happened and that she attacked you and he wasn't happy about that. He was very worried about you and him yelling doesn't mean he's angry at you. He was scared for you as much as we all were. You were unconscious for 5 days, Clarke. He left only rarely and when I basically had to drug him and carry him out of here so he can finally get some sleep."
I couldn't quite process the information just thrown at me so I latched on to the next thing playing in my mind "Five days?"
"Yes, five days."
I thought back to my sanctuary and how unprotected it was these five days. And what if grounders came up with a way to get revenge on the camp and I wasn't there to listen in on it. I got up quickly and had to pause to stop the room from twirling around me. Mom tried to grab my arm and was saying something but I had to get out of here. I stayed too long already. Now was not the time. I had to go home.
I stumbled towards an exit and started walking towards the gates when out of nowhere 10 guards came out and blocked my path. I looked at them and turned around to see my Mom who had the audacity to look apologetic.
"I'm sorry honey. You're too hurt! Please stay, at least for a few more days. Let me make sure you're okay."
So this was how it's going to happen. She was going to force me to stay... I don't think so.
I turned back to the guards and made a gesture with my hands saying come at me like a dizzy disoriented badass I was at the moment. The first guy stepped towards me and because I was feeling weak, I figured why not turn it into my strength. I grasped my sides and leaned forward and when he was standing over me, I quickly pulled my head back, hitting him in the forehead. I think it hurt me more than him but I was determined to go out with a fight. He tried to grab at me as I swung my hands back and hit him on the sides of his head, temporarily disorienting him. He leaned forward and I stroke my final hit, right in his crotch. The guy laid on the ground and I had to lean forward on him for a second to catch my breath and stop myself from passing out. As I prepared myself for my next fight, I felt strong arms grasp my legs and turn me so I ended up on a shoulder. That stunned me for a second so I lashed out with fists and hits and screams as the guy who threw me over his shoulder carried me to the huts. When we were almost to one of the huts, I decided to break free one last time when I felt a slap on my ass and a harsh voice saying "Stop struggling princess! I'm not letting you go and you'll end up hurting yourself if you keep fighting. Let me do this for you. Please!"
"Why must you get to me like you do, Bellamy?" I wondered yet again as I let him carry me in peace the rest of the way.
Chapter 8: Great (but really could've done better) escape
Bellamy dropped me off in his hut. As soon as he lowered me to the ground, you best believe I made a dash for it. To the left of him, to the right, unsuccessfully, my last attempt was trying to take a running start and drop to my knees and slide underneath him. Yeah it worked much worse than i thought it would.
My knee was still wobbly from the hit, the floor was nowhere near being slick and his crotch was way closer to the ground than I thought it would be. So what happened was I dropped on my knees, hit my head with a great night against his crotch and most probably got a second concussion. He, however, doubled in pain which was a clear sign for me that I emerged victorious from this fight as I tried to crawl past him and towards the exit.
I later figured I was wrong about that as well.
"Dammit Clarke! There was no need to hit me in the balls. With your head! Where do you think you're crawling?!" He asked me grabbing my feet. I kicked him with all i had, which was completely not enough to dislodge Bellamy.
"God Bell, what are you, a leach? Get off of me! I'm trying to get out of here! Let me go!" I screamed at him.
In that moment, Raven, stuck her head inside the hut. Now was my chance!
"Raven, please help me!!! He hit me and I can't get up. Everything is blurry and my head feels like a cracked egg! Please, Raven, please!!" I started crying, tears rolling down my face, my hand outstretched towards hers.
In her face, I saw a look of a friend that missed me. Sympathy overtook her features and she pried Bellamy's hands off of me.
"Bellamy, what the hell do you think you're doing?!" She yelled at him, all the while comforting me.
"Reyes, do you really think I would ever harm her? You know me! She was escaping, I tried to stop her, she hit me in the dick. That's all that happened."
As he was telling his side of the story, I got behind Raven and pushed her into sprawled Bellamy and made a maddest dash out of that place.
Just to run up to the gates again and get thrown over Bellamy's shoulder. Again. So much for my great escape.
As I swung over his shoulder and his hand draped over my legs, I got close to his head and whispered:
"I need to use the restroom. You gonna be there for me as well? I honestly learned how to take care of that business by myself like a big girl but if it makes you feel better... just say the word." I would've winked at him but his back was to me and my face already felt like a smashed tree so I saved up all my flirtation for my post-stitches and bruises time. Hopefully, there will be such a time...
Chapter 9: Adjustment is overrated
No matter how long I tried to go without shower, food, sleep in some grand gesture of protest towards my captivity, I didn't really last that long. It was stupid of me to become weaker and weaker by day unable to use a perfect opportunity to slip out of this dodgy camp. I started coming out of my hut, eating, walking around the camp. In the eyes of my Mom, she could only see her daughter finally adjusting back at the camp. I say adjustment is overrated. I was looking for a weakness in their security and extra supplies I will be trying to take with me when I leave.
Every day people would stare at me and whisper behind my back. Children weren't allowed near me and the adults would avoid me like a plague. I guess saving their lives doesn't really deserve a gratitude but these are my people. These people in exchange for 300 people of Mt. Weather.
As I was sitting one night in front of the fire, eating my berries, I could see people assembling to the left of me and lose all attempts to whisper.
"She killed them all. I mean children, old people, mothers, fathers, her own friends,.. who does that?"
"I heard she laughed as she pulled the lever. She really enjoyed it."
"I bet when she left, she just wanted to go out there and kill a couple of hundred more innocent people..."
I heard laugh and mockery and thought enough is enough. If they didn't know what it was before, it was time for them to learn what gratitude is. Silent gratitude.
As I went to stand up, I turned and stared in their direction. They didn't expect me to address them so they looked immobile and scared. They should be.
"oh don't stop on my account. Keep going, I simply wanted to be in the conversation."
"We weren't talking about anything," some brave soul risked the reply.
"But you did. You want to tell me again how much of a monster I am? Say it to my face. Or are you afraid I'll kill you too?"
"We know you won't," girl with two side braids answered, "we're your people."
"who said you are still my people? I was gone for awhile and I came to a decision that I am tired of taking care of you every time you get in trouble, which seemes to be all the time" the whole time I was slowly moving towards them, like a panther stalking its prey. "I have no patience for fools and hypocrites so next time you think it's okay for you to open your mouth to comment on anything I do or have done, I will burn your whole face off. I've got the desire, I'll surely find a way." I start laughing at their shocked expressions as I turn around to walk away. At that moment I feel a heavy hand of one of those idiots on my shoulder.
"Wrong move," I say as I twist around with the arm, breaking it. The kid falls to the ground but instead of holding his arm, he holds his head.
"What the hell is the matter with you?" I say as I kneel down next to him. In that moment, he looks up, blood pouring out of his nose, mouth, eyes, ears, scalp. Blood is everywhere. Blood is all he and I see.
"All the fucking time..." I whisper to a boy who is dead in a span of seconds.
The Grounder revenge is upon us. May the strongest survive.
Chapter 10: Are you strong enough?
"Get out of my way! Move! Move! No one touch him!" shouts Bellamy as he is carrying the dead boy in his arms to Abby. He holds on to hope that he'll make it on time, but I know better. Death took that boy faster than any of us could blink. There is no hope for him; there is even less hope for us.
"What happened?" asks Mom looking him over. She also sees it's too late but that doesn't stop Bellamy.
"He collapsed. I don't know what happened. Can you help him?" he asks her with that sad look in his eyes.
"Bellamy, I'm sorry, but he's already gone. You did the best you could, it just happened too fast."
Bell turns around and stalks back into the night. Not even a minute passes when he comes back dragging one of the boys that stood around and laughed at me seconds ago.
"What happened to him?" he asks a trembling boy who is trying to avert his face from the corpse.
"I'll tell you what happened. She did!" he turns suddenly pointing an accusatory finger at me. I don't even know how he found me in this darkness. I stood to the side, away from everybody. When the boy collapsed and the blood poured, I stepped back. I didn't try to save him, to hold and comfort him for it would have been wasted. He was dead before I could do anything. But blaming me for his death was simply overreaching.
"Me? What do you think I had to do with his death?" I ask the boy.
"You brought this disease here! We were fine before you showed up and then Derell touched you and died. What did you do to him? How did you kill him?" he screams pinning me with his hatred-filled gaze. He's trying to rip himself out of Bellamy's hold and possibly rip my throat out. I'm not sure even he knows what he'd do to me once he's got his hands on me.
"Wanheda... isn't that what they call you? Those savages? Commander of Death! Death wants a life? Why don't we give it yours?"
Now, it is really hard to explain how you know when it happens, but you just do. You feel yourself being closed in from all sides, you feel the gaze of all on you, hunting you, tracking you; you know deep in your subconsciousness that if you don't run or don't fight, you will be dead in seconds. That is the feeling of a mob rising against you, feeling of being chosen as a sacrifice for joy of others. And I will be noone's sacrifice.
I started towards the boy, my eyes on him alone as I said: "You are pathetic. You think I would need some kind of elaborate disease to kill your friend? If I wanted him dead so much, I would've just slit his throat in front of you all. I do not fear you; nor will I ever. I see that memory fails all of you," looking around me, "you are starting to forget that we have encountered this before. This is a biological warfare. This is what I came here to warn you of. But the only time you ever listen to me, it seems, is when your lives are hanging by a thread. Is now the time when you finally start paying attention to what I have to say?" I scream the last words, full of rage. All I have done, all I've lost to save these people and they waste it all out of pettiness?
"I agree with Clarke. We knew something like this would be coming. Granted, we did think it was going to be a physical war with losses on both sides, but this is quicker, smarter. They can eliminate us all in a span of days if we are not careful. Clarke, what do you think we should do?" asks Mom looking at me. I looked around me, noticing that people got some of the humanity back in their eyes and started listening to reason which was all shattered by the words that came out of my mouth next:
"I don't know"
Their eyes turned bleak and you could hear a pin drop in the silence that followed.
"You don't know?" asked Bellamy.
"I have no clue, Bell. I can't beat this. This is nothing I've ever seen before," I say, trying to make him understand just how doomed we are. "This is the survival of the fittest. If it's anything like the previous disease, it is based on the immune system. The stronger you are, the more likely you are to survive. From now on, the only question that matters is not where it came from or what's going to happen next. It's "Are you strong enough to survive this?" I suggest all of us start praying and making amends. The disease is already here and it will claim who it'll claim."
I turn and leave the gathering spot. I touched that dead boy in his last seconds, seen how his eyes filled with terror and blood. It was fast and ruthless and it was here. I always knew that the camp will be the death of me. I didn't know it was going to be that literal.
Chapter 11: Together
Fifteen days have passed since Derell died in front of the camp. Following that, people started dropping left and right. Friends, family, foes; the disease spared no one. I have been trying to help as many as I can but there are only so many places I can be at once. I haven’t seen Clarke in days now, but I know she is still here, in the camp, because that’s just who she is. Regardless of how much time passed and how mad she was at all of us, she would never leave her people, her mother and friends, to suffer through this alone. Maybe, that’s why I was so mad in the first place that she left. Not because she left by herself, but because she left us alone. She ripped herself away from us, without letting any of us have a say in it. Thinking back to what happened in front of the gates, I also should have tried harder. Should have talked to her longer, maybe even begged her, got on my knees. It feels now as if I let her go so easily, almost not conveying just how loved and needed she was in this camp. It that selfish of me to think? Definitely. But I’m getting a feeling I might not make it past this illness so when is the better time for selfishness than now.
Octavia and Abby are working away in the patient rooms, both of them looking strong and healthy, which was good, very good. Bellamy still felt alright so he continued on checking on everyone, most of whom were just paralyzed with fear that they were next. They weren’t wrong to be scared. Bell was scared too.
He finally makes a round and comes back to the same spot he’s returned to countless times, in front of Clarke’s hut. Debating with himself, he decides to check on her. He realizes now that the reason he waited so long to see her was that a) he didn’t want to contaminate her, in case he has the disease, which is a silly thought now, since it seems the very air is contaminated and no one is safe; and b) he was afraid of what he might find in the hut. Calling out to Clarke, Bellamy slowly parts the drapes to reveal a sleeping figure. Her face flushed, her breathing shallow. She is sweating profusely, not due to the heat, since they were in the middle of October, but because she is sick. Bellamy knows it. He leans closer to her to check her temperature, which is when Clarke opens her eyes.
“Bellamy? What are you doing here? You need to leave; I don’t feel too good. I think I got it, Bell. The disease,” admits Clarke with tears in her eyes. “so you need to leave before I pass it on to you. Please!”
Clarke’s eyes are desperate, turning off all the functions in Bellamy’s brain, which is how he finds himself in the bed, wrapping his arms around her body. He knew for a long time that she brought out the best in him, and now he knows that living without her and leaving her in pain is not something Bellamy will ever do.
“It’s okay if you give it to me. But I am not leaving you, Clarke. It’s not up for debate. You and I will go through this together and we’ll either die or survive together. I will not leave you, I won’t fail you again, I promise,” says Bellamy with tears in his eyes. He wanted to say those words for so long now and, once they are out, he understands that he means all of it.
“Bellamy,” pleads Clarke. “Please!’
“Shh, it’ll be alright. Together, right?” Bellamy reminds Clarke, kissing her forehead.
“…Together” replies Clarke.