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Caitlin and Hunter ran with a purpose and a confidence that Clarke couldn't have anticipated. They knew the Earth, the way to their home and their friend was in danger; there was little chance of catching up with them. To Bellamy and Clarke, the siblings were blurs in the distance until Caitlin disappeared from sight.
It nearly made Clarke stop running but she could feel Bellamy sprinting behind her so she kept going until she met a still Hunter. He was panting but pulled aside a large clump of bushes to reveal a tunnel. "The area is littered with them," he said, "It's been a secret of our tribes for so long but we need to get to our camp now. Come on."
Clarke and Bellamy just glanced at each other before following Hunter down the tunnel. It was dark and damp so they trusted Hunter to lead the way. Clarke could hear the echo of Caitlin's footsteps further on and she didn't blame the girl for not stopping for them. If Caitlin loved Mason even a fraction of how she loved Bellamy, then Clarke understood perfectly. She was just thankful that Hunter had the patience to stop for them.
She had never known exactly how far away the Grounder camp was but in ten minutes, the light from the other end of the tunnel appeared. She saw Caitlin go through it and they followed moments later. They were standing in a large clearing that was filled with fruit trees. Clarke could barely believe they were all there, growing tall and healthy. The Grounders knew how to grow food that was for sure. It would have been a beautiful spot if not for the air being choked with smoke and a foul smell.
A dark twister of the smoke came from the other end of the clearing and Caitlin was hurrying towards it. The trio ran after her only for them to turn a corner and nearly bang into her. All four of them were left standing there in shock. The remains of buildings were scattered around a blackened and ash covered circle. Objects that had once been books, the remains of cars and even pots and pans were chipped to bits and dotted around the space. Diana had certainly done her job.
Caitlin suddenly scampered down the hill they were standing on, her footsteps uncertain on the bumpy ground. "Mason!" she screamed, "Mason where are you?!"
Some people, covered in dirt, pushed their way from the forest and from under the shelter they had taken. From their tough work clothes, Clarke guessed that they had been working in the village at the time. Hunter was swerving around trying to spot Mason but Bellamy and Clarke had never seen him so they couldn't help.
"We have to find that bomb or what's left of it," Bellamy said softly, "It'll prove what Diana did."
She knew that he was just trying to do something to aid their friends but Clarke couldn't help but think that Diana was a past problem. A loud coughing came from the far side of a rotting clump of trees and a guy appeared from behind them. He was about Bellamy's height but with blonde hair and Grounder clothes on.
"I step away for one second and the whole place blows up!" he coughed out with an irritated expression.
"Mason!" Caitlin breathed out and she practically jumped into his arms. Mason, who was staring at the blast sight, didn't seem to notice at first exactly how emotional his fiancé was. "The books! They've destroyed the bloody books! Oh they are so lucky those were copies because I would...Hey, hey what's wrong?"
He finally saw the tears in Caitlin's eyes and he held her face in her hands. "I knew you were here today and-and I thought you were dead," she stuttered out and Mason just pressed his forehead to hers.
"Well, a certain someone asked me to pick up her sharpened knives at the blacksmiths so I left just in time. Looks like you being a bossy leader helps now and again."
Caitlin actually laughed and she reached up to kiss him. Clarke smiled and suddenly felt someone take her hand. She looked over to see Bellamy and he smirked at her. "What, I don't get a kiss too?" he asked.
"You weren't in a dire situation."
"Well, I ran all that way didn't I?"
By the time they turned back to their friends, Hunter had hugged Mason so tightly that the other Grounder had gone red. Then Mason spotted them and he gave them an easy grin. "Ah, you must be the Sky People I've heard so much about."
He shook Clarke and Bellamy's hands but kept a firm grip on Caitlin's. "We just came from their camp," she told him, "The ambush went well and we stopped their leader but not before we realised that she had planted one more bomb here. Don't worry, the guards have her and she'll be tried by our people."
Mason nodded but he seemed obviously distracted by the destruction around him. "There weren't too many people here today," he explained, "Everyone is in the main village talking about the group of fighters that went out with you this morning ironically. But we should still do a sweep of the area and check for the injured."
"Alright," Caitlin agreed, "I'll take the left, Hunter take the right and Mason can go between us. I'll send someone to run to the village and get helpers. There's no way they didn't hear the explosion." Hunter and Mason set off, after Mason gave Caitlin a wink. She grinned almost bashfully.
"What can we do?" Clarke asked but Caitlin just shook her head.
"Go home," she advised, "You two will have enough on your hands in the next few weeks without worrying about us. Don't worry; we can take care of ourselves."
"Oh we know," Bellamy muttered.
Caitlin rolled her eyes at him and said goodbye before setting off after her brother and fiancé. Clarke watched them leave and spread out across the blackened area. She knew that it would take a long time to rebuild but they were Grounders; who knows what skills they had. She felt Bellamy squeeze her hand and she looked over to smile at him. He was covered in dirt and she was pretty sure there was a twig in his hair but in that moment, he was best thing she had ever seen.
"You heard Caitlin," he said, "Let's go home Princess."
"Bellamy! Stop teaching Chris how to cheat!"
Both boys looked over at Clarke who was standing outside the Main Hall with her arms folded. Chris was sat on top of Bellamy's shoulders again and they managed to stop every shot that was sent towards the goal. Granted, the goal posts were two jackets and the ball looked like it was falling apart but the game of football was still being taken seriously by all involved.
"This isn't cheating Princess," Bellamy protested, "Its strategic game play."
"Yah what he said," Chris yelled back only for Bellamy to hold up his hand for a high five. Chris slapped his hand and they went back to playing. Clarke could only shake her head at them.
It had only been two days since Diana had been captured but it felt like so much longer. As expected most people moved over to the 100 Camp and there were happy reunions mixed with nervous stares. There wasn't really enough room so people had to bunk together or even sleep outside. Thankfully, the weather was getting warmer but it still wasn't a great idea.
Clarke and her mother had been rushed off their feet in the medical bay while Bellamy had been busy organising new patrols, new houses and extending the walls. More food had to be gathered, more clothes had to be made and they needed a list of the skills the old Ark campers had in order to know who could really be useful. It felt like chaos but Clarke knew that eventually things would settle down. There was no more running away; this was home.
Abby appeared at her daughter's side, sipping a cup of warm tea. "It's getting late," she said, "You should get something to drink and turn in for the night."
"I wish. I really need to sort out the rest of the new medical supplies and check on the malnourished campers again."
"Monty said he would do that," Abby interrupted, "You should take some time for yourself. Things can go on for a night without you hovering; Bellamy too."
Abby glanced down at the make shift football field and smiled. "He really is great with children. And he has such a confidence amongst the others. So many of the old Ark Campers had immediately turned to him as co-leader with you."
Clarke scrunched up her nose and muttered, "I liked it better when you hated him. Now it's as if you like him better than me."
Abby shrugged with amusement. "Well, he did clear away all the dried leaves from my new cabin."
"Oh come on Mom."
Abby brushed away some stray hairs from her daughter's face. She titled her head and looked at her curiously. "You smile more when you're around him. I think we'd all like to see that smile again."
With a final soft grin, her mother turned away and walked back down the steps of the Main Hall.
Clarke sighed and folded her arms over her chest. For the past two nights, she had either been on her feet or had a nap in a chair in the medical bay. It would be so nice to just have a few hours in her own bed. And like her mother had said, things could be handled for those few quiet hours when everyone else would be asleep too. People were winding down already with the game or sitting in the Main Hall.
So Clarke made her decision and hopped down the steps and across the camp to Bellamy's house. Their house. She didn't want to say goodnight to anyone even. She was going to take these few hours to recharge. Clarke closed the doors behind her and went into their room. She hadn't really been in it since she had returned but all her things were still there, including her sketches stacked up on the table. Clarke let out a shaky breath and closed her eyes for a moment.
The sound of the door creaking made her open them again and look over her shoulder. Bellamy grinned at her warmly as he let the door shut. "You made a quick getaway Princess," he commented and Clarke shrugged.
"I thought it was time to get some real sleep after all we've been through in the past few days. I've barely been in this room since we got back."
"You're not the only one."
He took a few steps towards her until he could tug on her hand and pull her into a hug. Clarke finally let herself relax and she melted into his embrace. They just stood there for a while, wrapped up in each other and not saying a word. It was all they needed after days spent apart. "You do realise that you're still wearing my jacket?" Bellamy hummed and Clarke just smiled against his chest.
"I don't need it anymore," she said, "I've got you back now."
Bellamy pushed the jacket off her shoulders and it fell down to her elbows. He didn't give her time to shrug it off because he leaned down and kissed her. Clarke just grasped his arms and breathed him in. "It had been too long since I've had a good night's sleep with you beside me," Bellamy murmured, "And, conveniently, all my jobs for the evening got taken off my hands."
"Well, isn't that a coincidence, mine too," Clarke agreed with a hum.
Outside the guards were slowly lighting all the torches on the trails and people were making their way back to their homes. Monty was darting from cabin to cabin, checking on all the patients with Abby helping and advising him. Jasper and Kane were giving out the rotas for watch. And everyone had the same order to not disturb Clarke and Bellamy.
"Open the gates!" Miller called from the wall, across the camp from the two guards stationed at the entrance.
They quickly did as they were told and the impressive doors were thrown open for Caitlin, Hunter and Mason to walk into the 100 Camp. The Grounders carefully marched through the camp, making sure that people weren't startled by their presence. People still gave them glances and worried stares but no one stopped them.
They reached the main area and saw Bellamy and Clarke standing on the porch of their house. A table was put out with papers and maps which Clarke was studying. Bellamy was sitting on the railing and he spotted them easily. "You're late," he complained, "I thought Grounders could pop up anywhere they wanted."
"Unless you want us to dig a tunnel in the middle of your house, I suggest you be grateful we're here," Caitlin grumbled but Mason just threw an arm around her shoulder.
"Ignore her scowls; she's just grumpy the early wake up this morning. The early riser rebuilds the village and all that."
"The early riser can stay the hell away and leave me to sleep," she added but her brother changed the subject when he saw the details on the maps.
"So you are planning to extended the walls," he said, "If you're going in every direction then it might be a lot of work."
"Nothing we can't handle. But what was it that you wanted to talk about? Your messenger from yesterday said it was urgent."
"It isn't about Diana, is it?" Clarke asked Caitlin in a whisper.
Caitlin shook her head and replied, "No, we've taken care of her. She won't be bothering anyone again. It's actually about that lake of yours."
"What about it?"
The three Grounders exchange looks and then Hunter said, "What would think about Grounders and the 100 having a joint festival there in the next few weeks. It could be in celebration of another year on Earth and a hint that our two camps can finally co-exist together without the Ark Camp hovering like a shadow."
Clarke and Bellamy turned to each other and he just said, "What do you think Clarke?"
She frowned slightly at the use of her first name but instead looked back at the Grounders. Bellamy had been staying away from her nickname for the past few days and it was starting to irritate her more than the actual name ever did.
"I think it's a great idea. We can share food, materials and I've heard you guys know how to make good music down here with actual instruments, not just computers and records."
"We know how to have a good party, that's for sure," Hunter said with a grin.
Bellamy just nodded. "I like it. And it's close enough to our camp so nervous people don't feel threatened and can return home whenever they want."
"Easy for everyone," Clarke agreed.
"So it's settled," Caitlin said happily, "We can start organising in the next week. Don't worry, it won't interrupt your camp expansion either."
Clarke looked between her and Mason and she found herself smiling warmly. "Will your wedding be as big a party?"
"Of course, we go all out for those things," Mason replied. "Yup, there's a feast, music , dancing and the whole ceremony part of course."
Clarke laughed, actually looking forward to the event now. "Maybe Mason and Bellamy can fight it out to see who gets to be Hunter's best bro. Monty and Jasper have been taking bets all day."
It wasn't hard to find that funny but Hunter replied, "They'd have no chance; Caitlin's been winning that fight since we were kids."
"Oh yah, I am so not taking on your sister," Bellamy added.
"Hey there you guys are!" They all turned to see Raven standing at the door of her cabin. "Come here, I have something to show you," she called before disappearing through her doorway.
"That would be the bomb pieces we found at your village. Raven collected them and she wants you to see it just in case something like this ever happens again," Clarke said.
"Sounds like plan to me," Caitlin said and as the two boys headed off down the steps, she leaned in closer to Clarke. "And then maybe you can ask Bellamy why he's suddenly calling you Clarke when he's not annoyed, worried or angry. It's weird; make him stop."
Clarke snorted and said goodbye to her friends as they went over to Raven. She sighed and leaned against the table. The plans were very well put together and thought out. They had the supplies, the materials and the workers. It would be a good project for everyone and it would let people bond over building a new wall.
She turned back to Bellamy who was still sitting on the railing but gazing out at the camp and the people strolling around its trails.
"What is wrong with you today?" she asked but he only raised an eyebrow.
"Nothing, I'm good Clarke."
She suddenly stepped forward and prodded a finger against his chest. "Ah you see, right there. You've just been calling me Clarke for the past few days. What happened to Princess?"
Bellamy just grabbed her belt loops and pulled her to stand in between his legs. He wrapped both arms around her waist and then shrugged. "It's nothing. You...you're just not the Princess anymore. That name was because the Ark still haunted us, because people still thought of you as one of the privileged. Now, we're all one camp and... it's ok if you don't like the nickname anymore."
"Bellamy," Clarke mumbled, and she let her hands rest on the back of his neck. "The nickname doesn't have anything to do with the Ark anymore; that's not why I still like it. Princess means...it means you're teasing me for being too uptight. It means you're stressed but you don't want anyone else to know. Princess means you're sleepy and want me to come back to bed. Princess doesn't mean that Ark or who we used to be. Princess, the name, means you."
Bellamy just tugged her forward into a breathless kiss and she smiled against his lips. "Feeling better now?" she asked and he nodded.
"Yes but if you start calling me Princess, we might have a problem."
Clarke laughed but above her giggles they both heard, "So gross."
Turning their heads, Clarke and Bellamy saw Chris standing there with a disgusted look on his face. "Grown ups are so gross," he repeated but Bellamy just scooped him up and started to tickle him.
"So gross, huh? Wait until you start kissing girls, then Clarke will be the one annoyed," he said.
"There will be no kissing anyone for a long time," Clarke protested, slightly freaked out at the thought of Chris growing up that fast. Chris just kept laughing until he managed to wriggle away and hit the porch on two feet. He scampered down the steps again and re-joined the group of children, who were organising a new game already.
Clarke took a moment to examine the camp again, the people a mix of the 100 Camp and the Ark Camp. Clothes were being exchanged and attitudes were so high that you couldn't always tell which camp they had lived in for the past two years.
"There are no more divisions, Princess," Bellamy said as he kept on arm secured around her waist, "We're all stuck together now."
"We actually did it," Clarke mumbled but the smile on her face showed how happy she was about that fact.
Bellamy stood up and held out his hand to her. "Come on; we better do a patrol of our new camp. We've got a lot of changes to make."
Clarke linked her fingers with his and together, they walked down the steps of their house.
Then there was a thump and crash, loud enough for the entire camp to jump. Bellamy and Clarke looked between the broken window and very guilty looking Chris. "Change number one," Bellamy sighed, "No football near the cabin windows."