You've been wandering through the woods for a little more than a month. You have no destination and you really don't know what to do with yourself. Before Mount Weather, you had a purpose. You had had a driving force behind you, something to push you on and make you do the unbelievable just to save your friends, your people. After you and Bellamy had killed all of those innocents, you knew that you had to leave, to go somewhere- anywhere away from them.
You couldn't look them in the eye day after day only to be reminded of what you had done. More importantly, you couldn't stay to be a constant reminder to all of them what the price of their freedom was. You have no doubt that they will be reminded of it constantly, they will be haunted by it for the rest of their days but at least this way they don't have to look into the face of the person who had payed that price.
Some days it feels as though the price you paid for their freedom was your soul, you feel empty when you see the radiation burnt bodies lying on the floor of the mess hall. You feel empty when you wake from dreams that are laced with the moans of the dying, whether because of Lexa's lessons or because you are numb you don't know.
Now that the war is over there is nothing for you to do with yourself, and so you wander. When the first snow falls, you don't feel the cold that you're sure is pervading the air. It should seep into your bones and settle there, it should send shivers wracking through your core, but it doesn't. Nothing is as it should be anymore, your world doesn't make sense any more. When it hits you're in unfamiliar territory and you have no idea where you are.
In truth you don't tend to pay much attention to your surroundings at the best of times, bug this is the first time you have felt truly lost. Night is just lifting as the snow begins to settle in layers upon the ground, you find yourself fascinated by the way it flutters through the air, it's the first time you've ever seen snow. For some odd reason you find yourself wanting to taste it on the tip of your tongue and so you tilt your head back idly.
Just as you catch one, you hear a horn, loud and clear. For a second you panic and freeze in place, thinking that the acid fog is on its way. That is, until you remember that Bellamy took it out and that you're out of its range any way. There are only two other meanings for three blasts of the horn and those are to either announce the commander of to warn the Grounders of Pauna about to attack.
You're not sure which of the two would be worse, at this particular moment you think you'd prefer the second. At least if the beast kills you there will be no more guilt or emptiness or smarting over a betrayal that you took slightly more than personally.
You hope for the beast, ever though it's a foolish thing to hope for. At least you're armed and have a decent chance at defending yourself, if it were Lexa you wouldn't know how to react to her. In the distance, not far enough away for comfort, you hear a howl and a feral snarl that you shouldn't be able to hear from this far away. You feel the ground vibrate as the (you hesitate to say animal) starts to move once again.
You're still frozen in place, trying to figure out what the best strategy is. At this moment all you can think of is that you're thankful for the light that is starting to filter in through the trees once again now that morning has arrived. The vibrations start to get stronger, you figure this means that the Pauna is coming your way. It's either fight or flight and at this moment you figure that running is the best chance you've got.
The beast howls again as you set off, tearing through the woods in what you hope is a direction that will lead to familiar territory. The snarling of the Pauna begins to get louder, you just know it's gaining on you and you're no closer to known territory than you were before you started running. The beast's snarling pauses for a second before it howls again, baying at a no longer visible moon, it's caught your scent. You urge yourself to run faster, you run for what feels like house before you skid to a stop in a clearing that feels strangely familiar. Making a decision, you turn to face the creature that has been tracking you relentlessly for what has felt like eternity but isn't even close to that long in reality. As the creature enters the clearing, it almost looks as though it is grinning at you, you're certain it can smell your fear but there's nothing you can do about that. Relax Clarke, you think to yourself, either way this will all be over soon.
After circling you for a minute, the creature lunges for you. Cursing, you duck out of the way and twist to find it staring at you intently. Immediately you know that he likes to play with his food. After a while of playing cat and mouse with the creature finally seems to tire of its games. This time it means business but you're almost too worn out to care. You're exhausted both physically and mentally and you don't care what happens any more, as long as this unbearable weight is lifted from your shoulders soon, one way or another.
The Pauna rises up onto its back legs and readies itself to strike. You tiredly raise your gun but the weight if it is almost too much for you. As it lunges for you, it receives four shots to its chest, but they seem to do nothing but anger it. Before you can aim again, you feel an enormous paw strike you hard in the chest, sending you flying backwards. You land hard on your back, you can't breath and you can't move. There's a pain in your chest that you recognise immediately, at least two of your ribs are broken along with your left arm.
Painfully, you try to sit up, only to find that you can't. Slowly, as though it senses its victory, the creature starts towards you. It looks like an appropriate harbinger of death, just seeing it would be enough to fuel a persons' nightmares for a month. It almost seems as though it is glaring at you, idly you wonder if this beast is able to judge you for your crimes, the awful atrocities you committed in the name of war. That would be fitting. As it stands above you, you know that this is your end and you can't help but be glad that it will all be over in a matter of minutes.
Just as the creature bares its fangs to strike, you hear the Grounders' horn again. Three blasts you note, as the world swims above your eyes. The creature is no longer directly above as it readies itself for the kill. It is a small mercy as it allows you to see the sky one final time before your fight is over. It makes for a strangely peaceful end for one so violently killed, it almost seems poetic in your mind.
You hear the thundering sound of hooves against the forest floor and the beast above you growls furiously, destroying the tranquility of your final moment. It howls wildly and throws itself onto its back legs, towering high over the Grounders on horse back. You try to make out who they are but your eyes swim in their sockets, it's strange because you're almost sure you can see Lexa. That can't be right though, you're sure it's a figment of your imagination, trying to appease you as a replacement for the tranquility of your final moments that was stolen.
As the creature rears itself ready for attack, it finds itself pierced with a dozen staffs. It squeals like a speared pig before falling backwards into the dirt. For a few moments it twitches wildly before going completely still.
The Grounders don't pay you any attention, you're pretty sure they're going to leave you here to die in the mud, but you're not sure you mind much. You don't eclectic any thing more than that either, there may still be a truce between you but that doesn't mean that the Grounders and sky people are still allies. Then again you're not really a sky person any more.
The pain starts to kick in even worse and you wheeze in a breath through clenched teeth. As it wheezes back out of you a curse accompanies it. Amongst the Warriors is a young woman, at hearing your curse she turns around to inspect you. When she sees your face she freezes in place. Before you can comprehend what is happening, orders are being snapped in her native language and you're almost certain that you recognise that voice (of course you do but you don't want to acknowledge that).
She rushes to you and her hands caress your face. Lexa is perched above you, and you realise that you're glad you got to see her before you died. She whispers for you to stay with her, to not let go, to be strong. You would laugh at that if it wouldn't cause immense pain because since when have you been strong? Then every thing goes black and you find you're almost happy to surrender yourself to it.
Before you open your eyes your aware of three things: the first, how much pain you are in, the second, there is a lot of noise surrounding wherever you are and the third, you're not dead. Finally you open your eyes and you are surprised by what you see even if you probably shouldn't be. You knew immediately that you are in Lexa's personal quarters, the surroundings are familiar enough after the amount of time you spent in them planning a war that never happened.
You turn your head and you are even more surprised to find Lexa asleep on a chair next to her bed, her head resting next to your shoulder and her hand interlocked with yours. Her breath is tickling your neck and if you weren't in so much pain you're still not sure you'd move just because of how nice it feels.
You stay still out of both necessity and not wanting to wake her. You can tell from the lack of natural light that it is night time, how long you were out for you have no idea. As she sleeps you watch Lexa's face, she seems so different in sleep. It's not that she looks peaceful, because she doesn't, it's more that she looks lost. Every so often you're certain you can hear your name being breathed out with the air leaving her body on every exhale.
Less than an hour later, by your calculations, she wakes up suddenly. For a fraction of a second, her face is clouded by fear and her hand tenses around yours. Then she looks at you and the tension drains out of her body and she visibly releases. If you had blinked you would have missed it, she really was trained well.
It takes you almost a fortnight before you are allowed out of bed with your arm in a sling. The only reason you are allowed out at all is because you insisted that you and Lexa needed to have a conversation where you were on equal terms. She sees the weight that is upon your shoulders and when she offers to send riders to Jaha to tell them of your safety, you know that she wishes to question your far too fast reply of "no". You're thankful that she doesn't.
The conversation between the two of you is surprisingly emotional, for the first time, you see her cry. You speak to one another of the trials you have faced since you last saw one another, she tells you of her fears that you wouldn't wake, the fear she held of death clutching you in its grasp. Somewhere along the way you begin along the road to forgiveness and it gives you hope for a better future.
It makes you hope for a better future that involves the beautiful and broken mess of a girl sat in front of you. After all you have been through, after the betrayals and deceit and forgiveness, you know that your future has to involve her because she is the only one who can block out the awful memories of what you had to do to survive. She is the only one who helps you to shoulder the burden of what you did for love when no one else could even remotely understand.