Chapter 1: Journey's Start
"You wanna know why I saved you?" Clarke stepped forward into the Commander's space, eyes hard. "Because I need you. God forbid one of your generals becomes Commander." The blonde shook her head slightly, shifting her weight. "You may be heartless, Lexa, but at least you're smart."
The corner of Lexa's mouth quirked slightly and the tension in the air eased. "Do not worry. My spirit will choose much more wisely than that."
Clarke furrowed her brow. "Your spirit?"
"When I die, my spirit will find the next Commander."
Realization dawned in Clarke's eyes. "Reincarnation," she looked back into deep green eyes. "That's how you became Commander?"
The brunette's head dipped slightly in a mixture of surprise and confusion. "How are your leaders chosen?"
Clarke's eyes fluttered open with the soft sunlight that fell across her face through the entrance flap of her tent. She stretched languidly in the furs before curling up again.
She'd had another one of the dreams.
In this one, she had been young - perhaps 11 or 12 - but confident and wary. She had been running… somewhere she could no longer recall, a sharpened spear of metal clasped in one hand and a mess of hide tied around her slim frame.
The blonde closed her eyes, struggling to remember what she had been trying to do. It had felt… urgent, but not something her dream self was used to or had done before. She just knew.
Despite the hard to recall purpose of her dream character, Clarke vividly remembered each of her counterpart's features, her traits.
She was skinny; hungry, but getting better. Her hair was dark ebony. Her eyes, blue, like her own. Her race, East Asian.
The dream steadily slipped through Clarke's fingers; glimpses of trees, concrete, and a vague feeling of fear, disappearing.
Clarke sighed and slowly sat up, the bones in her back popping into place. These dreams she'd been having felt different. They felt familiar, and vivid, and yet… new.
After everything that had happened at the mountain, Lexa's decision, saving her people only to leave them, killing so many, something felt different in her mind. She felt like a piece of her had changed, or had maybe been… fixed?
It was a strange feeling for the Sky Princess and, along with the dreams, served to make Clarke feel even more conflicted when she thought over all of her feelings and yet, lighter as well.
Clarke finally exited her small tent, dragging her furs out behind her to roll up and pack with the tent. After lashing both folded items onto her pack, Clarke turned to look back at her temporary camp, making sure she had left no signs that someone had spent the night.
The blonde had been confused when she left Bellamy with what was left of the 100 and the Arkers. She had just wanted to get away at first but, in her hunting and exploring, she began to feel a pull in her; a need to travel in a certain direction, as familiar to her mind as it was foreign and, with every step taken; with the pull in her gut leading the way; that feeling of being fixed, of being complete and resolved, grew stronger.
It had been several days since the Mountain. Three days of traveling through the trees before she realized she was traveling a route both known and unknown. Two since then, and she knew she was close to where she needed to be, she could feel it in the back of her mind.
Clarke swung her bag onto her back, clutching a strap in her left hand with the other falling to rest on the hilt of her sword.
She would be there soon. Or could be.
The blonde knew she had a few more days travel at the speed she'd been walking, but she'd been thinking of relaxing before confronting whatever lay at the end of her path. To sort out her feelings, the ideas struggling to surface in her mind, and to unravel the mystery of her dreams.
Clarke hiked up her pack before starting off. She walked leisurely through the tall trees, admiring the colorful birds and enjoying her surroundings, despite keeping one ear open for unusual sounds.
She rolled her shoulders as she walked, relaxing further. She'd figure it out.
Chapter 2: First Glimpse
Hoshiko ran quickly through the rubble and trees of the forest, furs fluttering wildly behind her.
She could hear the others giving chase behind her. She had just been hunting, minding her own business. She didn't understand why they wouldn't let her through the forest.
Her grip on her weapon tightened as she slid down a large fragment of concrete, slipping under more debris at the bottom. They may have chased her from the woods, but she knew the wrecked city. Her leather clad feet carried her swiftly through the darkness, following familiar paths as the noise of pursuit grew faint.
Hoshiko stopped and clenched her jaw. She needed food. All of the local stores that had survived the bomb were bare or burned.
She turned around, facing the dim tunnel she'd come from, her eyes finally adjusted. Her spear twirled before she slammed it against a steel bar sticking out of the wall to her left. Immediately, the sound of pounding feet reached her sensitive ears.
The forest kids may be good at tracking, but this territory wasn't theirs; they had no experience with the fighting that occurred over resources in the city, and Hoshiko was small, very much so for her age. She slid carefully into an alcove created by two slabs of the fallen building she was currently under, waiting with bated breath, her heart pounding as she shifted her spear.
"She can't have gotten far. Find her!"
Hoshiko crouched farther into her hiding place. Two kids roughly her age slipped by, running blindly in her tunnels. As the next pair of feet neared her, Hoshiko leapt out, spear flying to pierce the boy in his leg.
She yanked her pole out of the boy's thigh, turning towards the tunnel where the other two had disappeared as high pitched screams rang in her ears.
The two tree brats approached quickly but slowed when they saw her, crouched in the darkness with her spear poised.
The boy on the right charged her suddenly, swinging his wooden club – more of a branch really. Hoshiko swatted the blow to the side and slammed the back end of her spear into her opponent's face.
The other teenager was more cautious and, if his sweep at her legs was any indication, knew how to fight.
The blow knocked Hoshiko onto her back, the spear coming up to fend off the boy who pounced on her, digging the shaft of her pole into his throat as they grappled.
The other kid was still wailing on the tunnel ground behind them, blood pouring out of his leg as Hoshiko and her assailant wrestled on the floor.
The forest boy managed to rip her spear away, flinging it to the side as she quickly abandoned it to take advantage of his distraction by wrapping her hands around his throat. He growled and grabbed her wrists, crushing the bones painfully, but not hard enough to get the small Asian girl to loose her grip in her desperation.
The sudden shout halted both of their movements, although where the boy, Will she guessed, released her arms, Hoshiko merely relaxed her grip, refusing to lose her advantage if he suddenly attacked again.
"Please, stop fighting."
Hoshiko glanced up from her spot on the ground. A girl, maybe fifteen or sixteen, stood above them, hands on her hips.
Her arms dropped away from Will's throat, scrambling out from underneath him and diving for her spear before whirling around, facing them both off.
The tree girl, for that's what Hoshiko assumed she was to get Will to let go, gave Will a hand up, gesturing wordlessly for him to help the injured boy behind them.
Hoshiko tensed with deep green eyes on her, readying herself for more violence.
The girl held her hands up in a sign of peace before speaking again.
"My name is Blair." She held out a hand, waiting for Hoshiko to step forward. "I lead the group in the park."
Her eyes narrowed at the girl. So she was the leader of the tree brats.
She glared at Blair. "Your people attacked me needlessly. Mine need food."
The blonde's eyebrow quirked before she noticed the lurking shadows in the tunnel behind Hoshiko who smirked.
Her backup had finally arrived.
Hoshiko straightened from her fighting crouch, spear planted firmly at her side as she felt the rest of her city kids crowd behind her, metal glinting ominously in the darkness.
She stepped forward. "You don't own the forest, Blair. We need to hunt too." Several people behind her jeered at the blonde, who held her ground.
Blair's eyes hardened but she remained where she was. She appeared to be surveying the group before her, taking in the motley crowd clothed in a mix of fur and tattered cloth, all with sharpened metal arms.
The blonde stepped forward with her hand held out. "I propose a peace."
Hoshiko raised her eyebrow at the other girl's audacity. She was completely outnumbered, outgunned, and in unfamiliar territory. But, a truce would be beneficial. She had been trying to hunt, scouting alone, and yet, the forest people had found her quickly and overwhelmed her with ease. And her people were hungry.
Hoshiko lowered her spear tip to the ground, relaxed at her side. She stepped forward to meet the other leader's hand.
She gripped Blair's hand firmly. "I'm Hoshiko, leader of the city kids. I accept."
Clarke came upon the river in the afternoon.
It was slow flowing, the water cool where the blonde dipped her feet in, and shimmering in the bright sunlight.
Clarke laid her pack down next to her on the bank, reclining back on her arms as her legs swung back and forth in the water.
She'd remembered more of her dream as she'd walked, the peaceful sounds of the forest setting her mind at ease, allowing the blonde to think back.
With the memories came a feeling of peace, like a cloud that had been hovering overhead had dispersed, clearing her mind.
Perhaps these dreams were good for something.
A quick flash of metallic silver caused Clarke to snap her head to the side, eyes tracing her surroundings for whatever had moved. Her hand drifted to her pack as she sat up slowly, moving to grip the handle of her hunting knife.
Splashing water and a glimpse of a tail calmed her, a small grin at her own paranoia and anxiety appearing on her face.
It was just a fish.
Pulling herself to feet, Clarke began to roll up the legs of her pants; it looked like it was seafood for dinner.
Chapter 3: The Scenic Route
The light of a campfire flickered over the blonde, sitting in a copse of gnarled trees by the bank. A sketchbook, salvaged from that old bunker, leaned against her legs as Clarke drew.
The dark charcoal slowly took the form of a child's face, covered in dirt and hair tangled back in filthy braids.
Blair, her mind murmured.
As the looming figure of her dreams finished materializing on paper, Clarke set down her pencil.
She traced her eyes over the drawing, outlining the features of the girl. She fingered the previous pages in her sketchbook, flipping back to one of her first drawings.
A bear, lumbering through the woods, followed by its tiny cubs.
"Shh, stop fidgeting."
Hoshiko turned to look patronizingly at the person sitting beside her.
"I'm not moving, Blair."
A hand settled on her left foot, stilling its rhythmic jumping. Green eyes twinkled as the younger girl pouted slightly before turning back to the creatures below them.
The mother bear moved slowly through underbrush, her large nose snuffling along the ground.
The brunette started slightly at the unexpected presence of a hand in her hair. She quickly relaxed however, as those long fingers slowly carded through her dark locks.
Hoshiko cocked her head slightly, gazing at the girl sitting on the branch to her right with gentle eyes. Blair caught her gaze and her sharp grin softened, turning into a small smile as the hand in the brunette's hair slipped to her cheek, fingers gliding along her jawline.
The brunette grabbed the older girl's hand, pulling it down from her face to cradle in her lap.
A horn sounded in the distance, causing both leaders to whip their heads towards its origin.
Blair's hand twitched in Hoshiko's lap before the older girl drew it back. She nodded at the girl beside her.
The pair leapt from their tree hidden deep in the center of the park group's territory, Blair taking to the treetops as Hoshiko sprinted among the sprawling roots of the ground. As they ran, several other forms appeared, joining the leaders in their chase to the horn blower.
As they came to the edge of the park, the blonde dropped from her trees, swinging to follow behind Hoshiko as the girl twirled her spear out from its place on her back. They slowed to a trot as the now crowd of ten or so kids approached their barricade at the edge of their territory that stretched toward the city.
The mangled wall of balanced concrete and steel loomed over the two leaders as they finally reached it. A scrawny kid in tattered clothing crept out from the belly of a car as Hoshiko took a perch on a jutting piece of rebar.
While the forest may be her and her crew's current home and base, the city would always feel familiar, and the brunette clung to the pieces of it she could. Sometimes literally.
She glanced at Blair out of the corner of her eye as the blonde finished picking her way carefully across the city debris. Maybe the forest was starting to feel more like home.
Hoshiko snapped back to attention.
She jerked her head at the kid crouched in front of her. "Gerrit, report."
He gestured into the car he'd been positioned in. "I saw them skirting the second barrier, Hosh. Tree crew over there blew the horn," Gerrit said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder to the tree kid positioned awkwardly on a chunk of concrete.
Blair furrowed her brows. "Did they cross it, Yaz?"
The girl shrugged somewhat. "They looked to be preparing some sort of crossing."
"There's no way you could've been able to tell that from here," Gerrit shouted.
The tree girl pushed him back as the boy whirled on her, getting in her face.
"Maybe for a city kid like you!"
Hoshiko growled and leapt onto Gerrit's back, plowing his face into the rubble beneath them. At the same time, Blair wrapped a restraining hand around Yaz's arm, pulling the girl back.
Gerrit grunted beneath his brunette leader, tapping out on the ground next to him. She wasn't the leader of her group without reason.
Hoshiko stood up, dusting her hands off on her pants as she studiously ignored Blair's incredulous look.
She helped Gerrit up, clasping his arm as he did hers, before turning back to the tree kids.
"This hostility must end. We cannot be forced to quarrel with each other while they remain a threat."
Blair dipped her head in acknowledgment before turning to both of the sentries again. "Yaz, check on them again," she told the girl. She looked at Gerrit. "How many were there?"
Gerrit eyed the retreating form of the tree girl before looking at the blonde. "By my count, there were at least thirty of them."
Both leaders' eyes widened before Blair's hand went to the horn tied to her waist.
The large horn was already at Blair's lips as Yaz's panicked shout reached them.
"They're across the barrier!"
Clarke's brows furrowed as she shook her head slightly, shaking away the memories.
Dreams, she corrected herself. They were dreams, not memories.
The blonde stretched back, lying on her furs spread behind her. Above her, the stars shone brightly, visible in the clear night sky. There was no need for her tent tonight.
Idly bouncing her foot up and down where it rested on her knee, Clarke considered her plan.
The dreams made her anxious to continue on, to march steadily toward her destination, wherever that may be. Like peace could be found at the end, nestled in a warmth and hidden from prying eyes and enemies.
But the sky girl herself wanted to explore, to pick at her surroundings as she had failed to accomplish at the start of their story on the ground. She had taken responsibility and led her people to safety and a shaky peace at the cost of her momentary freedom and happiness at returning to the place that screamed home to all of the hundred.
In the end, Clarke decided to take the scenic route to her final destination. She wouldn't travel straight to where her gut tugged her, but she wouldn't wander aimlessly and avoid it needlessly. She'd take her time, enjoy her peace in privacy, and make her own time.
Nodding slightly to herself, the blonde turned on her side toward the fire, arm curled over her stomach. Clarke nuzzled the fur beneath her face, remembering and acknowledging, as her eyes slowly drifted closed, just whose furs she had taken; who her mind pushed away and who her heart pulled her to.
Chapter 4: Gilded Façade
She crept through the night, the darkness of the sky and shadows of the trees covering up her movement and hiding her from the men she was following. They stomped through her woods and made no attempt to quiet their footsteps nor hush their speech.
Swinging to a lower branch, the teen whistled softly, waiting for the answering hoot before sliding to the ground, in the shadows of the lanterns of the Business.
Several forms filled in the empty space around her as they snuck up behind their enemy.
A sharp caw echoed through the forest.
The city kids were in place with their portion of the ambush.
Blair gave a loud call in return, letting Hoshiko know that her and her crew were in position.
They wouldn't fall to the men of the Business tonight – those foul kidnappers and brainwashers. Tonight would end their tyranny, end the fear of being stolen into slavery and bondage, branded and soiled and abused.
For too long had her people suffered at their hands. For too long had her people been forcibly turned against her to enforce and carry out the orders and whims of the men in charge.
She had recently discovered, too, that the Business had taken the city crew and molded them, smothered them into obedience before Hoshiko freed them and took them away into the cool darkness of her wood.
The two different crews followed the band of men, of adults, through the trees until they began to make camp, burning unnecessarily and killing animals and plants encountered without mercy.
Blair signaled her followers, watching as her most trusted split up her following into groups and led them up into the trees. Ten of her group remained, half to provide assistance to her and half to corral any of the Business who escaped their two-part attack.
When the majority of the city crew drew the Business' warriors away, Hoshiko, Blair's tree climbers, and the city warriors would attack, away from the safety of the adults' camp. The remainder, led by Blair and her five warriors, would attack and loot their camp, killing those left behind and destroying anything nonessential or unusable.
Her plan had to work.
Blair steeled herself as she heard the beginnings of the start signal. She could just make out the noise of one of the city kids stumbling around the opposite side of the camp above the rising volume of shouts from the Business camp. The teen looked over her shoulder, catching as many reflective eyes as possible before turning forward, stance hardened.
They were ready.
The walk from the mountain was torture.
As Lexa and her people commenced their walk of shame down and away from those large steel doors, the Commander felt her mask tighten against her features.
The few Skaikru warriors they passed stared on with desolate expressions, acknowledging the Trikru's betrayal and their own subsequent defeat.
She tore away their hopes and their days of careful planning and maneuvering. She turned her back on the one who filled her warriors with inspiration and passion, igniting their fire for battle and freedom. The one who filled Lexa with warmth and slowly broke through her tough exterior, often times drawing out playful sarcasm and witty remarks from the normally war-hardened leader.
Clarke. Skaiheda. Killer of over three hundred of her men. Healer of many. Leader to her people. Betrayed.
The Heda had no hope for the blonde's true forgiveness, even with her final remarks. May we meet again. While Clarke had begun to accept, understand, and even embrace her people's ways, she was too connected to her soul, her compassion and her people to reconcile the brunette's difficult turn.
It was one thing to kill many to protect your people. It was another to betray warriors-in-arms for the safety of only her people.
Even knowing the unlikelihood of Clarke ever seeking her out – for Lexa would never disrespect the blonde by forcing her own presence – a tiny flame of hope flickered deep in the recesses of the stoic leader's heart.
So it was with an outward appearance of strength that the Commander led her people away from the Mountain, allowing the Skaikru to join their sad march to camp; forcing a struggling Lincoln – who continued to live up to the Skai ideals placed upon him, ever faithful to his new friends and lover – and her dying heart to leave behind the heartbroken blonde and her people still trapped within the Mountain.
Lexa felt tendrils of ice creep their way into her mind, shifting her thoughts. She needed to remain who her people required her to be, living by them and for them. Ruling with her mind.
In the weeks that followed the destruction of the mountain by the ever persistent Skaiheda, the Skaikru and Trikru remained in a state of hesitant peace.
A majority of her warriors had felt little over Lexa's perceived betrayal of the fallen, and had returned home with the Commander's well wishes, and she could not fault them for their disinterest. However, many remained in their stead.
The ones freed from the Mountain were the first to offer their assistance and pledge of peace to those who resided in Camp Jaha. Lead by a warrior from the Azgeda, they helped the Skaikru with hunting and building, returning the favor of the young Bellamy.
The rest of the warriors who stayed in their war camp by the Skaikru settlement were there as a result of their newly formed bonds of battle and friendship with the fallen.
The Commander herself returned to Polis.
Lexa's heart ached as she returned to her familiar capitol. It's large tower and spiraling dwellings seemed stagnant; unchanged in the face of the transformation that occurred in its leader's mind.
She didn't stay long.
She felt suffocated in her suddenly cold home. Her people looked at her with pride and awe, the fabled Commander of the Twelve Clan Coalition, now defeater of Mountains.
Lexa departed the city under the pretense of visiting the different clans who had been living in the shadow of the Mountain. The Commander was left behind, the persona floating away as she ordered her guard to temporarily ignore their duties.
She wandered under the guise of a normal warrior; a hunter trader from Polis making her wares. It was freeing, leaving behind her notable sash and pauldron.
The forest seemed welcoming, with its cool shadows and whispering creatures. Lexa felt she could hide forever.
Her heart sped her journey through the woods as her dreams began to swirl through time.