deeperwonderment: (Writing)
[personal profile] deeperwonderment
Title: The Seasons Stop and Hide Beneath the Ground
Author: [personal profile] shadowcat
Fandom: The 100
Words: 2,900
Prompt: may we meet again at SmallFandomFest 17
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Post Season 2 Finale
Notes: Title is taken from "Bleeding Out" by Imagine Dragons
Summary: When the Mountain fell, Clarke walked away from her people. It was Bellamy who realized the truth of why.




She didn’t know where she was going when she started walking away from Camp Jaha. She had no destination in mind, no plan of action. She just knew that there was something broken inside her and that she just couldn’t return to that life and pretend like everything was okay. She was teetering dangerously on the edge of something and even though she didn’t know what that was, she knew without a doubt that she could not go through those gates with the rest of her people.

Of their people.

The Delinquents. What was left of the original 100 that had been sent down to Earth to see if Earth was able to sustain life.

And that was part of the problem. She was just as angry at the ruling Council of the Ark for deciding that so many of them were disposable as she was at Cage and the Mountain scientists for deciding that they were a resource to be harvested. As she was at Lexa for betraying their alliance to save her own people and leave Clarke’s people to torture and death.

When she disappeared into the tree line, Clarke hesitated. She leaned against a tree for support and looked back the way she came. She could still see Bellamy. He was the last one to enter and she knew, she knew that if she called out to him, he would come with her.

She almost did. She didn’t want to do this alone; not really. She wanted him with her, the Rebel King to her Princess. If anyone would understand everything she was dealing with – everything she was caving under – it was Bellamy. He had said before she hugged him that she didn’t have to do this alone.

She cupped her hands around her mouth to call him and then stopped, her hands dropping back down to her sides in defeat.

As much as she wanted him with her, she couldn’t call him to her. She couldn’t be selfish and take him away from the people who needed him, away from his sister.

Octavia’s angry words still rang in her head over and over again about endangering Bellamy and about not doing enough for everyone that were relying on her.

She needed him, but their people – the ones that had been with them since the beginning – needed him more. He needed his sister. Without either her or Bellamy there, their people wouldn’t get an equal voice in any of the decisions that were made. Without Bellamy, Octavia would no longer have the most important person in her world.

She’d destroyed, broken and killed so many people since she had been sent down here from the Ark. She couldn’t destroy Bellamy, too.

She watched him until the gates closed and even when she could no longer see him, she still watched. She didn’t know why, but she did. Finally, she forced herself to turn and continue on the path through the forest.

This time, she didn’t look back.


***



One week, three days and seven hours.

That was how long Bellamy managed to hold himself together before he broke down in his tent one night after his guard duty shift was over. All in all, he was surprised that he made it to his tent before everything he had been holding in came pouring out.

The nightmares were getting worse, not better. All of the faces, all of the fear… all of the loss.

The feeling of being powerless and not knowing what to do to save everyone. The moment when he and Clarke realized that the only way to save their people was to wipe out another group of people. Putting his hand over Clarke’s shaking one on that lever to pull it down and irrevocably changing everything.

It wasn’t like what Raven told him was happening on the Ark. He hadn’t known that he was killing those three hundred people by destroying her radio. This time, he knew exactly what he was choosing… exactly what he was doing.

They killed the Mountain people so that their people could live.

Even now, in the aftermath of too many sleepless nights and too many nightmares, Bellamy knew he would make the same decision again. He would choose his sister… his people… over anyone else at any time.

A leader made the hard choices so that they could survive. All of the things he had done here on the ground, they were all about survival. No matter the reasons, it didn’t make the load of regret and sadness any easier for him to bear.

He flopped down on his cot. If he was having such a hard time dealing with all of this when he had people around him that cared, then how was Clarke faring when she was out there all alone?

She wasn’t.

He suddenly knew that without a doubt. As strong as she tried to always be, as strong as everyone thought she was, even his Sky Princess had her breaking point.

His arm fell over his eyes as he groaned, trying to figure out what he needed to do. No, what he needed to figure out was how he was going to do what he had already decided needed to be done. He finally understood everything that Clarke hadn’t told him when she decided not to walk through the gates with him.

”I bear it so they don’t have to.”

He had thought that she meant that she was dealing with the guilt so that the others wouldn’t know exactly what she had been forced to do. But that wasn’t it. They knew that he and Clarke had killed the people of the mountain – trading their lives of them for their own people. They knew that the entire mountain community had been wiped out so that they could get them out alive and in mostly one piece.

But now, he understood everything that she hadn’t been saying – that probably hadn’t even known that she wasn’t saying.

Clarke hadn’t been trying to protect everyone from what she had done. She was trying to keep them all from seeing what she was doing.

What she was doing, he realized now, was falling apart from the guilt of everything that had happened. She didn’t want their people – or the Grounders – to see that she was torn apart. For their people, he knew that it was because she felt that they deserved to have strong leaders that they could look to when things were bad. He could only assume that she was trying to keep the idea of her strength of will alive in the thoughts of the Grounders who had abandoned them, too.

Threaten my people and I will destroy you. I took down the mountain without you.

“Damn it, Clarke,” he groaned behind his arm.

Strong Princess. Brave Princess.

Foolish Princess.

His Princess.

Bellamy sighed. He should have put all of this together sooner and he felt a new kind of guilt over the realization that Clarke was somewhere out there, trying to put herself back together all alone. Things worked better when they worked together and they both should have remembered that.

He wouldn’t forget it again.



He slept better than he had since they returned to Camp and when he woke up the next day, he already had a plan formed in his head. He would take what provisions he could for both of them and he would find her. If she wasn’t ready to come home, then he would stay with her and wait until she was ready. He wasn’t going to leave her alone with her guilt and her grief any longer than he already had.



Kane didn’t seem at all surprised when Bellamy told him that he was leaving.

“Miller, Octavia, Raven and Lincoln are in charge of our people while I’m gone,” Bellamy said in a tone that brooked no argument. Things were still tense between the surviving delinquents and the people from the Ark who thought they all needed adult supervision. “Raven and Octavia can fill mine and Clarke’s seats on the Council.”

Kane nodded as he helped Bellamy pack extra ammunition for the guns he was taking. “I’ll make sure of it.” He sighed once Bellamy was all packed. “Just bring her back, Bellamy.”

“I’ll bring her back when she’s ready,” Bellamy corrected. “She deserves time to heal, too, Kane.”

Kane looked like he wanted to argue and then he sighed again. “I know. I just don’t like her… either of you being out there all alone.”

“We’ll have each other,” Bellamy said firmly. “It’s always gotten us through before.”



The argument he had with Octavia over his leaving didn’t bear repeating. He tried not to think about it or the things she had said in anger. Surprisingly, or maybe not all that surprisingly, it was Lincoln who interceded on his behalf. There was a lot of comments about how he and Clarke were parts of the same war-forged blade. Bellamy lost track of the words and everything that was said because all he could think about was getting out of the gates and finding Clarke.

Octavia finally let him go with a hug and a request for them both to come home soon. Raven hugged him and Miller clasped his shoulder.

He was relieved that he didn’t run into anyone else on his way out of the camp.


***




Two weeks, six days and fourteen hours.

That was how long it had been since she had turned her back on the closed gates of Camp Jaha and struck out on her own.

That was how long since she had last seen Bellamy.

She still believed she had done the right thing in leaving, but she missed him a lot more than she had realized she would.

After aimlessly wandering for a while, she returned to the Mountain only once. She stayed in there only as long as it took her to stock up on some provisions and other necessary supplies. She’d only had her Grounder clothing and her gun when she left Camp Jaha. Those weren’t going to be enough to get her through however long she stayed away.

She wasn’t sure if she would ever go back to Camp Jaha or even if she would be welcome. She had done so much and went against so many of their rules to save her people even before what she had done at Mount Weather. Could she ever be content there knowing that everyone from the Ark still saw her and the others as children at best and criminals at worst? It made her head and heart hurt to think about, so for the moment, she buried it down like she buried everything else.

Survival was the first thing on her mind.



She didn’t know what made her return to the original camp – the camp they had all created when they had first been sent down to the ground. She didn’t even realize she had decided to make that her new home for a time until she was walking through the fallen gate and to the drop ship that had served both as prison and salvation at different times. It was something familiar and a place she could stay while she tried to work out long term solutions and living arrangements.

She steadfastly ignored the piles of ash and bone that were still visible as she entered the ship. Those bones didn’t weigh her down as they once might have. They belonged to an army trying to kill them.

Some of the hammocks were still intact and she tightened the ropes on one and made sure both ends were secure before she let herself lie down in it. The ghosts that might still be here were ones that she was at home with. These ones were ones that would welcome her back home.

For the first time in far too many days, she lay down her burdens and closed her eyes.



Clarke woke up to the smell of smoke and the more calming smell of meat cooking. She opened her eyes and looked around, trying to make sense of what she was smelling. There was a blanket stretched over her and the hammock that she hadn’t had when she went to sleep and her brain tried to puzzle out where it had come from. When she swung her legs over the side of the hammock to stand, she noticed that her boots had been taken off.

Standing up and wrapping the blanket around her shoulders, she climbed down the ladder and walked to the door. Her boots were there and she pulled them on before she stepped outside of the ship. Not far from the door, there was a fire going and there was some kind of meat on a spit over the fire.

That wasn’t what was important. What was important was the shadowed silhouette that was tending the fire.

Tears filled her eyes as she stepped forward. He turned his head when he heard her and she could see the eyes that she had been missing for the past few weeks. When he got to his feet, she stepped toward him and then hesitated.

“Bellamy?”

Bellamy closed the distance between them and looked down at her, his eyes full of too many things that she couldn’t or was afraid to identify.

“Clarke.”

His voice was quiet, even gentle and she didn’t know how to react. When he reached out and wrapped his hands around her arms, she was even more confused. He looked down at her in silence for a long moment and then pulled her to him so that he could hug her tightly.

“Do. Not. Do. That. Again.”

She heard the pain in his voice and wrapped her own arms around him. “I don’t… I thought…”

“You need time to heal, I know that,” he said softly. “What you don’t need is to do it alone. We’re in this together, we always have been.”

“I can’t go back right now, Bellamy,” she finally whispered. “I don’t know if I ever can. It’s not just the kids…”

Although, one thing she had been convinced of since being alone was that the other kids would accept what she had done for them a lot easier than the adults ever would.

“If you can. We’ll go. If not, we’ll make a new home, Clarke.”

“I can’t ask you to do that,” she protested softly. “Octavia…”

“You’re not asking me. I’m telling you.” He rested his chin against her head. “Octavia will be fine and if you can’t go back, she’ll come to wherever we are or decide to go. I’m pretty sure a lot of the others will, too.”

“I never wanted to be a hero or anything like that. I just wanted to be myself and I’m not even sure who I am any longer. I feel like I’ve lost pieces of myself and if I don’t stop… I’ll shatter.”

“You’re still you, Clarke. You’re still the strong and amazing person you’ve always been.” He pulled back so that he could look down into her face. “Don’t run away from me, ever again, and I can help you find all of those lost pieces. I’ll put you together and you’ll put me together. You’re not alone, Princess. As long as I breathe, you never will be.”

“Bellamy I –“

“We’re stronger together. We’ve always been that way since we started leading our people. You said once that you needed me and couldn’t lose me. I need you, too.”

“I almost got you killed.”

“No. I knew the risks. I knew that one of us had to go and I was the best choice.”

“I let innocent people die at TonDC.”

“You were put in a shitty situation. I’ve heard the details.”

“I’m not a good person. I’ve tried to be the good guy, but I’m not. A good person wouldn’t have done all of the things I’ve done.”

“Clarke, stop.” Bellamy’s voice was firm. “You’ve never hurt people just to hurt people or to get some kind of glory for yourself out of it. Everything that you’ve done… that you’ve had no choice but to do has always been to preserve and save as many of our lives as you could.”

Clarke was quiet for a long moment and then her shoulders slumped against him. “I’m just… I’m so tired, Bellamy.”

She didn’t know how to better explain everything that she was thinking and feeling than that. She felt so defeated in every way imaginable. And here was Bellamy, the one person who seemed to understand her better than anyone else telling her that everything was going to be okay.

“I’m tired, too,” Bellamy admitted, pulling her close again. “So, we’ll rest. We’ll do nothing but rest and let our bodies heal from everything they’ve been through. We’ll work on everything else as it comes to us. One step at a time, right?”

She managed a small smile and then looked up at him. “I think I can try doing it your way for a day or two.”

“You don’t have a choice, Princess,” he said with a hint of his usual smirk as he met her eyes. “You’re stuck with me. I’m not leaving without you.”

She buried her face against his chest again. “You promise?”

“I promise.”

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