heads up for this chapter: there's a (and mildly graphic) scenes with animal death (and related gore) by the monster pack. It's not incredibly descriptive, but I figured I should warn you all anyway. If you're too uncomfortable, it's an easily skippable scene.
"Hello?" the voice on the other end said. "Who's calling?"
"…Mom?" Clarke said, half surprised the number had even worked.
"Clarke?" her mother replied. "You're alive?"
Clarke felt tears well in her eyes at the sound of her mother's voice saying her name; it made her feel like a kid all over again.
"I – I am," Clarke affirmed. So she really thought I was dead, she thought.
Clarke had braced herself for anger, or even all-out silence. But that wasn't what she got.
Instead, Abby started crying.
There was an awkward moment where Clarke wasn't sure what she should say, so she just let her mother cry.
"I thought you were dead," Abby said after a long moment, her voice thick with tears.
"Takes more than a couple of demons to kill me," Clarke said, trying to make a joke.
Abby laughed wetly, but then sobered up. "Why are you calling now?" she asked. "What's happened?"
"I – there's something out here," Clarke began. "I don't know what it is, but I think you might.
Abby was silent for a moment, and Clarke worried she'd been hung up on. She wouldn't have blamed Abby for it.
"Where is here, Clarke?" Abby said finally.
"Ark," Clarke replied. "It's in Virginia. Just past –"
"I know where it is, Clarke," Abby said in a deathly serious tone. "You should get out of there."
"What?" Clarke said, caught off-guard by her mother's urgency.
"It's not safe out there. You have to leave," Abby repeated. "Are you with anyone?"
Clarke ignored the question. "What's out here?"
"Something you need to stay away from. Do they know you're – of course they do. The best thing for everyone is for you to leave."
"I can't do that," Clarke said firmly. There was too much at stake, and she couldn't just leave a death unsolved. Lawrence Palmer, and others she didn't know the names of, deserved to have their killers bought to justice.
Abby sighed angrily. "Of course you won't," Abby said. "Do you have your father's journal?"
"There's nothing in there," Clarke replied, tensing at the mention of her father.
"I thought as much. Your father didn't want any record of it."
"He was here?" Clarke asked, figuring it was better to be clueless about this. She wasn't sure how much Bellamy would tell her about it. Maybe Octavia would talk him around, but she didn't want to count on it. He was a pretty stubborn guy.
"He was. You were only a kid, then."
"I don't remember it," Clarke said. "Did he kill them?"
"He left, and never came back. It was the safest option."
"Just like that?"
"It wasn't easy for him, but it was the only way."
"I can't just leave – people have died here."
"Then walk away. These aren't just a demon, Clarke. Nothing you try will be able to stop them."
"Do they have a name, at least?"
Abby sighed. "I don't think they have a name. As far as I know, they're some kind of hellhound hybrid. They called themselves the Pack."
"That's all your father said about it. Please, come home Clarke."
Clarke felt her throat tighten. "You know I can't do that. Not now," she replied. Truthfully, she had no idea if she even had a proper home anymore. The road was all she had.
Not to mention she had no idea if being around her mother would be a good idea. The wound of her father's death wasn't as raw as it was, but it was there all the same. Could she ignore it for her mother's sake?
"Then at least call me," Abby said. "I want to know you're alive."
"I'll try," Clarke conceded. "Thanks for picking up."
"I'll always pick up, Clarke," her mother replied.
Clarke hung up quickly to stop herself from crying on the phone.
For a long moment afterwards, she stared at the wall, eyes fixing on a pagan protection rune Octavia had painted on the wall.
This place is probably the safest on earth, Clarke thought. She was glad Octavia was figuring out how to protect herself, even if she did think she was taking it to the extremes. But then again, Clarke knew she couldn't argue – she couldn't even sleep in a room unless she's put up at least three protective markings.
Clarke wondered if she could get Octavia and Bellamy to agree to let her stay here on the regular. It'd be cheaper than a motel, at least. And this house was growing on her – Bellamy had offered her a place to stay without even thinking about it, and Octavia had even insisted she stay.
It could be a life, she thought. For a moment, she allowed herself to indulge in the daydream. But she knew it wasn't likely – few people ever really stayed in her life, and maybe she'd keep up with Octavia a little, but Clarke wasn't sure she'd see her or even Bellamy again after this was all over.
The thought made her unexpectedly sad. She liked to think she didn't really need people – sure, she had those she trusted, and other people she knew, but it wasn't the same thing. If she didn't have them, then she'd figure out some other way.
Besides, life as a hunter was messy. It wouldn't have been fair to allow herself to get attached to anyone. Nobody deserved to be dragged into this life, and those that were already in it knew better than to get too close to anyone.
Her thing with Finn might've been nice, but after it'd all fallen apart, she'd realised exactly how reckless it'd been. It was probably a foolhardy idea to think she could ever have someone like that.
It made her wonder about her mother. How had Abby managed a life like that?
Clarke shook her head, trying to forget about her mother. I need a drink, she thought, and then decided she'd just head to the bar. Maybe she'd even get Bellamy to apologise. At least she'd stop thinking about mother.
Starting back at the bar, Bellamy felt all eyes on him. Animal attacks might not have been too uncommon here (though in light of this recent revelation, he wondered if they were really just animals), but he'd been tending here for years now. His abrupt disappearance and injury was definitely something people had been gossiping about.
"You alright, son?" Chief Miller asked.
Bellamy nodded. "I'm fine now," he replied. Chief Miller gave him a smile and handed him a full twenty dollars. He'd always liked the detective.
"Consider it a tip," Chief Miller said.
Bellamy half wanted it to hand it back and refuse, but he kept his mouth shut and poured the Chief another beer.
As his shift wore on, people stopped staring so much, but every so often Bellamy could feel a pair of eyes on him.
"I'll take a whiskey tonight. Neat," someone said suddenly. Bellamy looked up to see Clarke sitting there, still dressed up in her suit. Looking at her now, he wondered how he'd ever thought she was an FBI agent.
"Rough day?" he asked, wondering if he was the cause of that.
"Phone call I didn't want to make," Clarke replied.
Bellamy poured her a double, just to be polite. "You've more than earned it," he said when she raised her eyebrows.
Clarke drank it all in one, barely even blinking at the alcohol. "Thanks," she said.
"I talked to Octavia earlier," he began.
Clarke raised her eyebrows. "And?"
"She told me what happened. I – I want to say thanks."
"I did what anybody would've done."
"Not everyone believes in demons."
"Anybody smart," Clarke amended.
Bellamy took a deep breath and prepared himself to apologise. Might as well get it over and done with now. "I'm sorry," he said.
"Wow. Okay." Clarke blurted out.
"I – I didn't mean it like that. I just thought you'd take a little more than that."
"So, it's all real?"
"All real," Clarke said. "I wish I could've saved her sooner."
"What about the monsters out there? What do we do?"
"You're not fighting, for one," Clarke said.
"I'm not just sitting here. Those things are dangerous and I'm not letting them hurt anyone else."
Clarke sighed. "Well, maybe you can help some other way. You any good at research?"
"Do you know what they are?"
Clarke shook her head. "That's the problem. We don't know."
"Then we'll find out," Bellamy said. "And kill them."
Clarke tilted her head at him. "Maybe I've been going about this the wrong way. You're on the inside."
"I'm an outsider here. Nobody wants to talk to me. You probably know more than you think."
"Why can't you just get Chief Miller to talk?"
Clarke shook her head. "He'd check me, dead easy. Finn dealt with that when he arrived. I haven't spoken to him. I thought we were in for a werewolf."
Clarke shrugged. "I came here because I thought there was one. I'm yet to see any proof. My father never mentioned seeing them."
Bellamy studied her. Looking at her now, and his own faded memories of the day his mother died, he could see the similarities between her and 'Jake'.
"Your father come here a lot?" he asked.
Clarke shook her head. "As far as I know, that was the only time he was here."
"You asked him about it?"
Clarke blinked. "He's dead."
"I didn't know."
Clarke waved her hand. "I never said."
"You have a mother you can ask?"
"That's who I just called," Clarke said, and held her glass out for another drink.
"She give you anything useful?" he asked as he poured the whiskey out. He wondered about Clarke's life growing up – she couldn't have been that much younger than him. Had she even grown up in a proper home? He might've been an orphan for most of his life, but he'd always had a home to return to.
Clarke shook her head. "Just that they call themselves the Pack. And I should leave," she said, an edge of bitterness to her voice. "She's too overprotective."
"Maybe she was just trying to look out for you."
Clarke shot him a dirty look. "I can take care of myself."
"I know you can," he conceded. "But maybe she
"You're a bartender, not my therapist," Clarke said, rolling her eyes.
"Not much of a difference in some people's books," Bellamy said with a shrug.
Clarke laughed. Bellamy was a little surprised at getting a response like that out of her. He'd come to expect argument and sarcastic comments from her, not laughter and smiles.
Maybe she isn't so bad, he thought. It was a little unexpected – he never really changed his mind about people. But after what Octavia had told him, he was starting to see her in a different light.
"You know, you're not so bad when you're not angry," Clarke said. "Maybe we can do this."
"We definitely can," Bellamy agreed. "Another drink?"
Clarke smiled again. "Thought you'd never ask."
The pack waited until dark before they started on the hunt. It wasn't often they got to indulge in this, but when they did, things got bloody fast.
The tension of being so close melted away during the hunt – such a time was probably the closest they'd ever feel. All that bloodlust channelled into one common goal was a powerful magic.
Tonight's prey wasn't large – they were sending a message.
The hunters and their psychic were going to die if they stayed here. This would be their warning.
The leader was the first to spot the deer. It was a nice surprise – normally the wildlife had better sense to stay out of this part of the forest, but here one was.
It was practically gift-wrapped.
The kill took almost no time at all – a deer wasn't much, but it was something. Most of the pack had to hold themselves back from ripping right into it. They needed something left to leave as a warning.
Clara was the one to be the one to deliver it – she walked into town in her human form, carrying a backpack with the message inside it. The scent of blood set her teeth on edge, but the hunt had given her some reprieve from the worst of it.
Finding where the hunter was didn't take long – the house with the salt rings wasn't too hard to spot. Besides, she knew all about the Blake family and the sudden strangeness of the younger one. People talked a lot about them, especially now. Why the hunter had settled there, she wasn't sure. Maybe it was because of Aurora. That could be why the hunter was there.
With a quick glance around to make sure nobody was watching, Clara moved as close to the salt rings as she dared – though she'd never reacted to them before, there was a hunter in this house. There was no telling what was in there.
She knelt down on the grass, sparing a final glance and dumped the contents of the backpack on the ground. The smell of blood was stronger now, and she had to take a steadying breath before writing out the note to go with it.
GET OUT OF HERE. OR YOU'RE NEXT.
A/N: and I did it! Just as promised, here's the chapter. Ideally, I would've liked to have gotten it done a few days earlier, but uni's pretty damn busy. But I'm still definitely committed to finishing this asap. Currently, I'll aim to get at least one more chapter done this week. Once again, please hold me to it.
Also, thanks for all the reviews/faves - lovely to see people are still invested in this (or have just joined the party too). You're all the best.
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