Disclaimer & Notices
Copyright: See the Prologue.
AN: First, details about the story's future is way down at the bottom. I know everybody wants that news. Second, I'm sorry it took two more weeks than planned to post this chapter. I was so close to being done then I got sick... recovered... and got sick again. What a way to end 2016. But, here we are and I hope you enjoy this super long chapter.
AN2: As a side note, I have started an Omegaverse Clexa (short) story that begins at the end of S2. I'm about two chapters deep into it. But, not sure I want to post it. I can't quite gauge how Clexa fans feel about Omegaverse. I can say my idea for a story line is basically about the grounders being alphas and omegas while the Sky people are everyday humans. The Sky people have no idea that the grounders have mutated this way until Clarke pieces together Lexa is an alpha and what it means. The story would focus on the trials & tribulations of alphas/omegas getting along with humans when it's in their nature to fight. Thoughts?
Started: March 3, 2015
Series: Series 1, Story #2
by Red Hope
Clarke Griffin of the Trikru sat cross legged on the bed of furs. She had a brush and began working the knots out of her hair. Off to her right, Ares was nestled in the furs and watched her movements. As Clarke brushed her hair, she visually followed Lexa through the tent. She was enjoying the show while the commander prepared for bed. After awhile, Clarke broke the comfortable silence in the tent.
"My mom likes you."
Lexa had already hung up her heavy coat. She fussed with her boots next. "Sha."
Clarke narrowed her eyes at her warrior's tone. There was a hint of self-confidence that made Clarke curious. "I can't believe she showed you all those pictures." She saw a smirk ghost across her warrior's features.
"Everybody falls for me… eventually," Lexa casually stated.
Clarke chuckled and argued, "I thought it was the soap, actually." She received a grin from the commander.
"Maybe so." Lexa was out of her boots and stripped off her top shirt. She was simply left in a tank top and pants. Since sharing the bedroll with Clarke, she discovered she was plenty warm with her second. Clarke's own body acted as a fire.
"Lexa…" Clarke lowered the brush to her lap. A thick furrow creased her brow.
Lexa was quickly washing her face and hands with fresh water. Already the water had chilled even though it came from the outside bonfire moments ago.
"You remember when I was telling you about the Farm Station and the cocoa beans?"
"Sha," Lexa muffled between the hand towel.
Clarke carefully weighed her next words. She hoped no arguments were spurred to life after such a nice evening. "The Farm Station… it's…"
Lexa put the towel away then came over to the bedrolls. Tense waves rolled off her second, and she wondered what was on Clarke's mind. "What is it, Klark?"
Clarke toyed with the hair brush between her hands. She stared down at it but looked into green eyes. She felt Lexa's concern and openness, and Clarke sighed, in relief. "The Farm Station is one of the stations we haven't found yet."
Lexa noticed how Clarke was thinking in Sky people tense rather than Trikru. It would be a long time before Clarke saw Sky people and Tree people as the same. But, one day it would change, Lexa promised it.
"Have you heard any clans talk about other stations?" Clarke hooked a piece of golden strand behind her left ear. "That may have crashed in their lands."
Lexa reached out and covered her second's hand. "I have not, and if I did then you would be the second person to know." She fell quiet and bowed her head for a moment.
Clarke patiently waited for Lexa to think through something. She squeezed her warrior's cool hand.
"That does not mean there are not stations in clan controlled lands," Lexa whispered. She lifted her head.
"It means they haven't told you," Clarke summarized. She chewed on her bottom lip and struggled with a nervous twinge in her belly. "You've made a Skaikru your second." She rubbed her brow with her freehand. "Skaikru prisoners could give leverage over you." She held Lexa's gaze, which gave her confirmation. "Is there any way to find out?" Her worry grew heavier. "Spies that can tell us?"
"Sha," Lexa softly replied. "But, spies have not reported stations in the clan territories except for one clan I have no intel."
"Azgeda," Clarke guessed.
Lexa nodded. "I only have one spy in Azgeda. And I am lucky to have the one."
"It's Echo, isn't it?"
Again Lexa nodded then further explained, "But Echo has been in Mount Weather for months… she was taken before you fell from the sky." She frowned and worry shined in her eyes. "I know very little about Azgeda's plans and movements right now."
"But you will soon now that Echo is returning," Clarke pressed.
"Possibly." Lexa ran her thumb across her second's knuckles. For the first time, she truly noticed the calluses on Clarke's palms. "There is now a higher risk that she may feed me wrong information, intentionally." She sighed and explained, "With Anya dead, Echo has completely lost her ties to Trikru."
"So she may not see a reason to help Trikru," Clarke worriedly concluded. "She may side with her mother after all… become a double-spy." She again rubbed her forehead. "Just great," she muttered. Anger sparked in her chest about Anya's death. She was a fool not to free Anya sooner. More than just Lexa and Echo would suffer from Anya's death. "I should have freed her before…" Clarke fisted her freehand.
Lexa squeezed her second's hand and reminded, "What is done is done. We cannot change the past, Klark." She reached up and cupped her second's cheek. "We will find a way."
"Gods… I hope so," Clarke murmured.
Lexa sighed and ran her thumb along a fresh scar on Clarke's cheek. Under the candlelight, she admired the scars' story about Clarke's battle against the mountain lion. "How many stations came down?"
"Twelve," Clarke replied. She noticed how Lexa's eyes traced the scars on her face. She became self-conscious about them even though she had insisted on allowing the scars to form.
"How many have been found?"
"Three," Clarke sadly answered.
Lexa's frown only lingered after such a worrisome number. "And they could have landed all over the world?"
Clarke shook her head. "No. They would have… landed in different locations. Dante Wallace told me within a hundred mile radius." She thought about the Ark's entry into Earth's atmosphere and finally crash. "The Ark was all twelve stations together but when it entered Earth's sky then the stations broke apart."
"Some may have landed in the ocean… in a Dead Zone," Lexa sadly suggested.
Clarke huffed and mentioned, "The damn Factory Station slammed into a cliff. It killed everybody except one person."
Lexa shook her head.
Clarke should have left the topic alone, but she was reminded of it after talking about the Ark tonight. "There's more than one Dead Zone?"
"Many," Lexa whispered. She focused on her second again. "The old cities are Dead Zones."
"So New York City is a Dead Zone?"
Lexa dipped her head in agreement. "Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and one further north." She attempted to remember the name from the old maps.
"Boston," Clarke guessed. She saw the confirmation in her warrior's eyes. She was saddened by the thought of such massive populations of people being wiped out by the war. However, it made sense why those locations were targeted for best impact.
"We shouldn't dwell on this further, Klark. It is rather late, and we are both tired."
"I know... I just started thinking about it on our walk back to camp," Clarke softly told.
Lexa sympathized why it was brewing in Clarke's head. She climbed to her feet and went around the tent to blow out the candles.
Clarke wiggled under the furs once Ares moved for her. She contently settled into the bedroll and waited for her warrior. She closed her eyes while Lexa crawled under the furs with her. "Lexa, this assembly next-"
"Sssh," Lexa hushed. She was curled up on her side, front pressed against Clarke's left side. "No more politics tonight." She snaked her left arm across her second's chest.
Clarke smiled and turned her head to her warrior. "I thought we were going to make out?" She nuzzled Lexa.
"What is this make out?" Lexa muttered into Clarke's ear. She smiled too when Clarke chuckled at her question.
"Kissing… a lot," Clarke answered.
A low hum vibrated deep in Lexa's chest. "That time has passed us." Yet, she slid her hand under Clarke's shirt and ran soothing circles over Clarke's heated skin. She then adjusted her other arm under Clarke's head. She was quite comfortable now.
Clarke pushed in further and sought out soft lips. She enjoyed a tender kiss. After brushing their lips together again, she whispered, "How about you tell me a bedtime story about the City of Light?" She noticed how Lexa's feathery touch halted on her stomach. It caused the sleepy edge to fade from her.
"Where have you heard of the City of Light?"
Clarke drew her head back and found green eyes twinkling in the last flames of candlelight. "Raven told me that Jaha left with a group of Skaikru to find the City of Light." She and Lexa were quiet, and she wondered if she would get any information about the strange place. "Where is the City of Light?"
"Nowhere," Lexa softly answered. "It is merely a myth."
"It's in Thrigad?" Clarke tempted.
Lexa huffed. "It is not of our faith, Klark." She continued drawing circles around Clarke's belly. "It is merely myth told by outcasts… those looking for a new life. They say it is a place where anybody is accepted." She sighed and muttered, "The former chancellor will find nothing, if not his death. None have returned from such a quest."
Clarke closed her eyes and struggled to quiet her mind. She tried not thinking about the City of Light or about Jaha and even his son Wells. For a few seconds, her heart ached for Wells, and she wished he was still here. There were so many she wished were alive.
"Stop thinking," Lexa gently commanded.
Clarke turned her head into Lexa's own and silently conceded. She had a long but good day and tomorrow would most likely be mentally draining from the last meeting. She released a content breath and whispered, "We're making out tomorrow morning." She felt Lexa's smile against her neck.
"Your needs are my needs," Lexa purred, huskily. She chuckled at Clarke's slight shiver.
Clarke bit her bottom lip to halt any smart comments. It was late, and they needed to rest soon. "Sweet dreams," she whispered.
Lexa hummed low. "Sleep well, Klark." She easily drifted off once Clarke's breathing deepened too.
Clarke's dreams had been better than the ones earlier in the fall. Occasionally she returned to Mount Weather to face Cage and Dante again, but the horror had weakened over the days. Instead, Clarke often found herself in the usual strangeness of her imagination. Tonight though took her to a familiar place that would always follow her as a shadow.
All around Clarke was steel and aluminum that had become a part of her DNA. She breathed in the familiar stale air of the space station. Bright white light guided her through the metal hallways. Her heavy boots echoed against the cold walls. Behind her, two Sky guards followed her through the halls. Clarke turned at the next junction then passed an automatic door. Directly before her was a sealed door.
The right guard stepped forward and unlocked it. He swung open the door, held it, and waited for Clarke to pass through it. He then softly mentioned, "We have ten minutes, commander."
Clarke curtly nodded as she slipped into the jail. She waited until the door closed before she released her internal defenses. She hastened forward to the sole occupant of the jail cell. Instantly, she was taken into strong arms, and she fiercely returned the hug.
"What are you doing here, sister?"
Clarke tucked her face into her sibling's neck and rasped, "I had to see you." She blocked the tears, but her heartbeat was erratic. She pulled back and gazed upon her sister's drained features. Even in her sister's green eyes, she could tell that the fight was nearly gone.
"This is far too dangerous."
Clarke shook her head and cupped her sister's bruised cheek. "I have to get you out of here, Woraun." She saw her sister was about to argue her, and she cut her off. "I have a plan."
"No, no, no," Woraun fought. She took her sister's hands into her own. "She's already destroyed Polaris. God only knows what she'll do if she finds out that you-"
"I'm not going to let her float you," Clarke snapped. She was squeezing her sister's hand hard, almost too hard. "And she needs me… our people need me. She can't touch me."
Woraun stared at the determined fire in her sister's sky blue eyes. Once her sister made a decision, it was nearly impossible to change her mind.
Clarke was breathing hard, and her chest rose and fell dramatically. All the air around her burned with power. She studied her sister's soft features. She wanted to remember every beautiful detail about Woraun. She memorized her sister's forest green eyes then the dark brown, long hair that framed her stoic features. Woraun's full lips were rosy from biting on them in worry. But, Clarke swore that her sister would no longer have to worry.
Woraun reached up and held either side of her sister's head. She pulled her sister's head down until their foreheads met in tenderness. "You risk far too much for me. All of this is my own doing… please let me pay the price."
"No," Clarke whispered. She closed her eyes and whimpered, "No."
"Commander, it is time to go," a guard advised.
Clarke took a step back and parted from her sister.
Woraun let her arms fall. She shook her head and pleaded, "Don't do this, sister."
Clarke swallowed and straightened her back. "Be ready… tonight." She turned on her heels when the guard opened the door. She vanished from the cell and left with the two guards.
Woraun back stepped then sunk down onto the bench. She dropped her head and wavy strands of hair framed her face. She tried thinking what her sister had in mind to save her. It was impossible now that they were all doomed to the confines of a small space station. She straightened up and twisted her head around until she could gaze out the porthole window. Far beyond her grasp, a battered planet half glowed in the sunlight. For the first time since childhood, a tear dropped from Woraun's eye. All that had been home was taken from them, and Woruan drowned in the guilt for what she had done to their home.
Woraun leaned her head against the cool steel hull. She continued staring at the damaged planet that would take decades to recover. Woraun shut her eyes against the horrible memories, but they kept looping her head until she became exhausted from it. For days upon days, she had sought answers to an unsolvable problem. Sleep had become a lost gift until she collapsed, like now.
Woraun slept hard against the bulkhead. She was startled awake by the door opening and the sudden movements.
"Get up, Woraun. It's time to go." Clarke rushed her sister to her feet. "Come with me."
Woraun was groggy at first. She pushed through it and moved faster alongside her sister. "Where are we going?" She had no idea what her sister had in mind to protect her.
Clarke ignored the question as they approached a guard at a locked door. She gave a faint nod to him.
The guard reached to the left and punched a code into the touch screen. He stepped aside as his commander led the prisoner through the door.
Woraun hastily thought about their direction and was confused by her sister's plan. She then pulled up short when they came to sealed bay doors.
Clarke released her sister and went to the touch screen, but it was different than many others. She placed her hand flat against the biometric reader. She looked at the heavy, tall doors that drew open once her biometrics was approved by the system. "Come on." She took Woraun's hand. Once in the bay, the doors started to reseal automatically.
Woraun stepped forward towards what was directly in front of them. Her hand loosely slid out of her sister's warmer one. She stared wide eye at the obvious plan. She looked back at her sister. "A pod?"
Clarke nodded then went over to a table.
"To where?" Woraun demanded. She approached her sister. "To Earth," she concluded when her sister ignored her.
Clarke opened a silver briefcase. She lifted the lid and stared at the contents.
Woraun shook her head several times. "Earth is destroyed," Woraun reminded. She then hotly added, "I destroyed it, remember?" She tried controlling her stomach's sickening feeling. However, her sister's all too calm features made it worse.
Clarke reached into the briefcase and pulled out a medical syringe. With her right hand, she gently retrieved one of the vials that showed a black substance through the window.
Woraun slotted her eyes and shook her head. "What's going on?" She watched her sister load the vial onto the needle. "What is this?" she frantically demanded.
Clarke turned to her sister and held the loaded needle in her left hand. "You're being sent to the ground."
Woraun clenched her teeth. "It's not safe," she hissed.
Clarke took a cautious step towards her sister and held up the needle. "This gives you a chance to live."
Woraun stared at the inky substance in the needle. She started shaking her head again.
"I don't have time to explain everything. Please trust me, sister." Clarke approached Woraun with the needle. She sensed Woraun was scared but still trusted her. She carefully brought the needle to Woraun's neck and gently inserted the tip. She wished she could promise it would be painless and easy. Clarke had no idea though and simply murmured a prayer as she injected the substance into her sister.
Woraun gasped and started to fall until her sister hooked her waist. She clutched at her sister and inhaled painfully from whatever coursed through her veins. Her head rolled back, and she was lost in the blue orbs that gazed back at her. She was reminded of their world, their broken home.
"Earth, Woraun. You get to go to Earth." Clarke cradled her sister tightly in her arms until they sunk to the steel floor.
Woraun was breathing heavy and eyes half open. She became chilled when her sister left her, but the pain was receding from her body. Distantly, sounds of metal and fabrics then fiberglass brushed against each other. Woraun rolled to her side and blinked until the fuzziness faded away from her vision. She saw her sister hurry back from the pod's open door. Woraun tried getting up then her sister hooked her arms. Once on her shaky legs, she noticed the orange suit.
"Come on." Clarke helped her sister get the suit on in record time. "You are the strongest one of us," she reminded. "You will survive down there." She zipped up the suit to Woraun's chin. "We can fix this."
Woraun shook her head and asked, "How?"
Clarke hooked the back of her sister's neck and replied, "You will find a way… you always have." She sadly smiled and whispered, "I believe in you."
"But our sister will never-"
"She will forgive you, one day," Clarke insisted. "I know she will." She looked to the pod and softly declared, "It's time to fly."
Woraun followed her sister's gaze to the pod.
"Get in it. I'll get your helmet," Clarke ordered.
Woraun went to the pod and paused by the open door. For a second, she peered down at her suit and read the badge on it. There was no name but simply the title of 'Commander' stitched into it. She sadly realized it was her sister's space suit. She bit her lip then quickly climbed into the pod.
Clarke was at the metal table. She snared the white helmet and went to the open briefcase. Already the needle was back in its cushioned home in the briefcase. She counted the remaining vials then slammed the lid shut. She hastened across the distance to the pod's open door.
Woraun was seated and had switched on the pod's systems. All the lights reflected off her suit and the controls in the cockpit. "Everything is ready," she reported.
Clarke handed the briefcase first. "There are nine left." She watched Woraun's gloved hands latch onto the case. "Only give it to those that you trust." She knew her sister understood her. She released the case then offered the helmet next. "We don't have much time."
Woraun had secured the briefcase in the cockpit but tossed the helmet onto the dash. She refused to take off without a last goodbye. She reached for her sister.
Clarke met her halfway and returned the hug. She tangled her fingers in wavy brown hair. For the first time, she heard a pained moan come from her normally stoic sister. She tightened her arms further and murmured, "Stay strong."
Woraun had buried her face into her sister's warm neck. "I can't-"
"Yes you can," Clarke insisted. Then her own strength betrayed her, and her entire body shook from emotions. Soon her sister would be separated from her by space and time. There was no other solution, and she had to let Woraun go.
"I can't leave you," Woraun rasped. She trembled as she lost the battle against her fears. She dreaded having a life without her sister. "Come with me," she pleaded.
Clarke screwed her eyes shut, but it failed to hold back the tears. "I-I-I can't," she breathed. "I have to stay… Our people need me."
Woraun withdrew a little, enough to see her sister's tear stained face. "But I need you too."
Clarke wiped her sister's cheeks dry. "And Earth needs you." She nearly broke when she clearly saw the ache in Woraun. "People on Earth need you now." She clenched her teeth. Tears continued rolling down her cheeks and filled her mouth with a salty reminder.
"Please," Woraun begged, so softly and so painfully.
Clarke's heart was cut in half. She had to give Woraun hope, and even herself. She held her sister's cheek and promised, "I will come for you… when it is time."
"How can you even find me?" Woraun shook her head. She would never see her sister again. Whether she went to Earth or she was floated, she was still dead either way. It was hopeless, and Woraun wanted it all to end now.
"I will find you," Clarke vowed. She freed her left hand and reached into her jacket. She retrieved a clear orb, and it neatly sat in the palm of her hand.
Woraun cut her eyes to it and curiously watched as a flame came to life in it. She peered up at her sister.
"Always keep this with you." Clarke handed her sister the orb. "I will follow my flame to Earth one day… to you." She watched her sister place it in her lap. "Only you or I can touch the flame." She ruefully smiled at her sister. "And you will know it's me."
Woraun kept one hand over the orb. It was the most precious object in her life.
"Promise me you will be there for me," Clarke asked her sister.
Woraun grabbed her sister's hand and laced their fingers together. "I promise."
"And I promise to find you," Clarke swore. She then leaned in for a final hug. "I love you."
Woraun had both arms around her sister. She forced her upset far down in her belly. She grounded her teeth together and reached deep into her spirit for the strength that her sister saw in her. Woraun took a deep breath and whispered, "I love you so much, Staurra."
Clarke kissed her sister's temple then ended the hug before she gave in and jumped into the pod's other seat. She stepped away from the door and promised, "We will meet again."
Woraun nodded and reached up for the door. "Stay strong." She shut the door, locked it, and quickly began buckling up for the ride to Earth.
Clarke's next breath shook her entire chest. She weakly smiled one last time to her sister before she went to the hangar doors. She hastened out of the bay then went to the biometric pad. She let it scan her then she had access to the controls. She entered the launch code, which immediately initiated the system to open the bay door's that separated Woraun's pod from space. First she heard the pressurization system make an adjustment in the hangar then the exterior door to outer space began opening for the pod.
Clarke felt the faint vibration when the heavy doors opened inside the bay. Suddenly an alarm sounded and alerted the entire station that an authorized departure had been made by somebody. The alarm's piercing sound actually brought hope to Clarke. Her sister had a second chance, even if it was on the Hellish planet. She believed that given enough time that her sister would make Earth survivable for all.
Clarke brushed a loose blond strand behind her ear and walked over to the large windows on the right. With her face close to the window, she had a slight view of the pod disembarking the hangar. Further in the distance, Earth's murky atmosphere beckoned for the pod. Clarke dropped her forehead against the glass and silently called out to her sister. As the seconds passed, she felt her connection to Woraun become thinner and thinner until it finally splintered in half. After a wounded moan, Clarke closed her eyes and held onto the fiery burn in her chest that had been divided. She pictured the other half being cradled by Woraun's hand. One day they would be whole again.
The central doors to the station flew open and announced the newcomers. However, Clarke continued staring longingly out of the window. She could no longer see Woraun's pod.
"What have you done?" an all too familiar voice demanded. "Where is Woraun?"
Clarke had closed her eyes. By the footsteps, she heard three other sets of boots, most likely guards. She drew her eyelids up and saw that Earth was gone from her view. Then a speck of bright light started at the corner of the window, and the station continued turning towards it.
"Ma'am, the pod is gone," a guard reported after looking at the pad's data for the hangar.
"What's its destination?"
Another guard had a tablet in hand and started researching it.
"Earth," Clarke quietly answered.
Clarke ignored how bitterly it was repeated back to her. "Yes, sister." She pushed off the window as the bright speck suddenly flared to life. She turned to her sister, who was completely blotted out by the sun's intense light. "I sent our twin to Earth."
"You think you saved her?" A bitter laugh echoed in the control room. "You just sentenced her to a crueler death than being floated."
Clarke stood in the warm sunlight from the window. She shook her head and argued, "She will make Earth survivable again." She approached her sister and the guards. "And if you want to arrest me for it, go ahead." Clarke stared at the white face in front of her and only saw judgmental eyes. She silently dared her sister but the guards' lack of action told her plenty.
After a long pause, the sister finally stated, "No, I refuse to draw another line… commander."
Clarke had known she had the upper hand on her sister. However, she sensed it had less to do with power and more about their family. They had already lost Woraun, who was indeed punished in everybody's eyes. Now Clarke, too, would suffer without Woraun. And even under the darkness in her sister, there was a trace of love for Woraun. Everybody was broken and even dying from the destruction.
After a long silence, Clarke passed her sister and went to the doors, which opened up for her. She hesitated for a moment, as if to say something else to her sister. She came up empty, just like her heart. It would take a long time for all them to heal and be family once more. Clarke quietly passed through the doorway.
Just then, the sunlight from the window cut off from the space station's rotational direction. Every shimmer of whiteness was snuffed out and instantly they were plunged into total black. Clarke fought when the darkness seized the oxygen from her lungs. She gasped for air only to inhale ice in her chest. Just before it froze her spirit, she released a scream for Woraun.
"Klark, wake up!"
Clarke jerked, hard and accidently kicked Ares in the muzzle. She fought to get up and strong hands helped her sit upright. "Lexa?" she pleaded and frantically grabbed her. Everything was still dark, but not black as it had been in her dream.
"I am right here," Lexa promised. She encircled her frantic second's body and drew her against her. "It's okay… it was just a dream."
Clarke sighed and twisted her fingers in her warrior's shirt. She shut her eyes and breathed in Lexa's distinct scent, and it soothed her racing heart.
"It's okay," Lexa softly repeated. She combed her fingers through blond strands. "We are together."
Clarke tightly closed her eyes and felt the dream wash over her. She bit her bottom lip for a moment. "It wasn't just a dream." She calmed more when Lexa's head leaned against her own. "You were there." She freed one hand and slid it under Lexa's shirt. "I know it was you." Every strand of her being had felt Lexa there in the dream with her. Clarke had sent Lexa to Earth, to survive. "It was you," she whispered.
Lexa sighed and carefully maneuvered them under the furs again. She ignored how wildly her heart pounded in her chest. She pushed away the dream's last moments and focused on the present. "In Thrigad religion, there is a belief that our spirits always remain together as a family, from one life to the next."
Clarke settled against her warrior's body that anchored her. She rested her head on Lexa's shoulder and hooked her arm over Lexa's chest.
"That in one life we will be brother and sister… grandmother and grandchild then in the next father and daughter." Lexa turned her head into Clarke's hair. She finally felt her heart rate slowed when she breathed in the fiery scent that was Clarke. "The life after that perhaps houmons." She sensed that Clarke had calmed too. "But we are always family and always return to each other."
Clarke released a heavy breath and closed her eyes. "Our dreams crossed again, didn't they?" At her feet, Ares rested his muzzle on his friend's calf. His huff brought comfort to Clarke.
Lexa nuzzled Clarke and murmured, "Sha." She adjusted the furs over her shoulder.
"Why doesn't this bother you?" Clarke grew more curious when her warrior chuckled in response.
"I have had these types of dreams all my life." Lexa had grown accustom to them over the years. She relived the past commanders' wars and loves. However, this was the first time she had a dream from the first commander.
"You share dreams with other people?" Clarke checked. Hints of disbelief laced her voice. Again, Lexa chuckled in her ear, and Clarke sighed in frustration.
"No but I have had many dreams from past commanders," Lexa explained. She considered all the dreams from over the years. "There is little that surprises me now."
Clarke rolled her eyes and decided they could talk about it another day. She felt drained by the dream. After a small yawn, she relaxed and shortly fell asleep in Lexa's arms. She remained still until Lexa woke up just before sunset. For half a second, Clarke wondered how Lexa could get up at the same time every day, like clockwork. She then rolled onto her side.
Lexa faintly grinned at her second's sleepiness. She let it pass, for today. Soon they would be on a regimented schedule for training again. She already imaged Clarke's protest to the early mornings and late nights. Lexa went to the tent flap after getting dressed for the day. She grabbed her long coat, shrugged it on, and started out of the tent.
Ares popped up from his spot and quickly crossed the tent. He followed Lexa outside and sniffed the cool air.
Clarke groused when her furry companion left her. She turned on her other side but far too awake to sleep any longer. She muttered a curse under her breath. She silently swore that if there was a snow storm this winter that she would lock both Lexa and Ares in their sleeping quarters. Clarke contently smiled at the thought of being snowed in with her warrior and wolf. However, her smile slipped once she remembered they had a meeting first thing today. Anymore sleep was pointless so Clarke started her day too.
Once outside, Clarke grouchily went over to Octavia and Lincoln, who sat near a campfire. She dropped onto a small wood stool and looked over her shoulder at the pair. She frowned at the card game between them. How in the Hell they could play a game this early was beyond her.
"War," Octavia excitedly declared. She grinned at the two jack cards she and Lincoln had put down.
"Wor," Lincoln agreed in Trigedasleng. He and Octavia setup the three faced down cards for their war.
Clarke shook her head and looked at the fire. She stared in it until Octavia called her name again. She looked over at the pair.
"How are you doing?" Octavia questioned.
Clarke sheepishly smiled and replied, "Still waking up."
"Obviously," Octavia poked. She and Lincoln paused during the game.
"Have you seen Jasper?" Clarke asked.
Octavia was playing with her card hand. "We visited last night, but he was still asleep." She sighed and shifted on the furs that she and Lincoln sat on. "Do you think we're leaving today?"
Clarke considered the possibility. "Maybe." She leaned forward and rested her upper body against her thighs. "Heda hasn't said one way or the other. I guess it'll depend on how long this meeting takes."
"We must dispatch the army soon," Lincoln softly reminded. "Winter is fast approaching."
Octavia sighed and was about to say more until she sensed their leader's approach.
Clarke twisted her head around and contently watched her warrior emerge from the darkness. Slowly the bonfire's reach spread over the commander. Briefly, only Ares's green eyes were visible, as they hovered above the ground. Clarke smiled when the commander and wolf began to glow in the warm firelight.
Lexa adjusted the gloves over her hands and neared her second. "Have you eaten, Klark?"
Clarke shook her head first then quietly replied, "No, Heda." She attempted rubbing the sleep from her face. She peered up at the commander and barely saw Lexa's slight grin.
"I will get us something then."
Clarke felt guilty. "I'll get…" She was halted by a firm hand that pushed her back down onto the stool. "Or not," she muttered as the commander left her.
However, Ares sat down in front of his friend. He pushed his nose into her warm hands.
"Good morning, my Two Tails." Clarke ran her fingers through his thick coat. She wished her own was as warm as his seemed to be. She could only imagine how much he would shed in the springtime.
"How was your mom's last night?"
Clarke looked over at Octavia. "It went really well, actually."
Octavia was playing the card game again, but she flashed a grin at her friend. "No broken hearts… or bones?"
Clarke softly laughed and shook her head. "No." She bit her lip then offhandedly mentioned, "Mom actually showed Heda all my childhood pictures."
Octavia was mid-motion of placing another card down. She held it in the air and slowly turned her attention to Clarke again. "What?"
Lincoln had already set his card in the space between him and Octavia. He curiously listened to the discussion.
"Seriously?" Octavia checked. After Clarke's nod, she blew out a breath. "Wow." She had expected a lot of things but hardly the chancellor sharing family pictures with the commander. She put down her six of spades over Lincoln's card. She was still thinking about Clarke's dinner last night and nearly forgot the card game.
Lincoln collected the two cards since he won the battle. "Why has Bellamy not shown me pictures of you?"
Octavia came out of her thoughts and looked at her lover. "Because they'd just be pictures of me in the floor."
Clarke cringed and saw Lincoln's frown. She knew Octavia was trying to be smart, but it also made her feel for Octavia. She looked to her left when she saw the commander returned with their breakfast. She realized she was famished and was happy to eat. She accepted the bowl from her warrior.
Ares looked pleadingly at Lexa. He then wagged his two tails when a bowl was placed on the ground next to him. He wasted no time in diving into it.
Clarke smiled at her warrior's care for the wolf. She knew, without doubt, that the wolf had wormed his way into Lexa's heart.
The commander took the empty seat next to Clarke.
Clarke turned closer to her warrior and leaned into the small space between them. "You think we'll leave today?"
Lexa was quiet for a moment then finally answered, "Perhaps." She picked up the spoon and started into the cooked quail egg at the top of the bowl. "It would be best, but we may not make it to camp by nightfall."
"We could push through the night," Clarke suggested. "We'd probably get there a few candlemarks after sunset."
Lexa gave a low hum at the idea. She would enjoy being back in her larger tent although it would mean she and Clarke would be separate again. She frowned into the bowl in her lap. "We must move to Tondc soon." Once in the village, she and Clarke would share quarters.
Clarke considered why her warrior's thoughts were already on Tondc. She let it go and enjoyed her meal. "There's a bit to do if we want to leave today," she softly considered. As she thought about it, the warriors could breakdown the camp while she and Lexa handled the meeting. "We should really go," she finally decided.
Lexa lifted an eyebrow at her second.
Clarke looked at her warrior. "We should," she quietly insisted.
Lexa tilted her head back so she had a better view of Clarke's features in the firelight. She silently questioned her second.
Clarke sighed at the look and admitted, "I'm ready to go." She saw how Lexa continued to stare at her, like she had spots on her face. She wondered if she was overstepping her role as a second. She decided on another tactic and prompted, "Can we can go, Heda?" She suddenly smiled sweetly and added, "Beja." She finally noticed how Lexa's shoulders shook, and she realized Lexa was withholding laughter.
Lexa released a low breath and decided, "Then we shall go."
"Thank the gods," Clarke muttered. She went back to her food, quite content now. She had spent many days in this camp and was prepared to move on from the talks, the alliance, the Sky people, and the rougher camping lifestyle. She agreed that getting settled into Tondc would be much better.
After breakfast, Lexa departed and met up with Indra. She gave the order to have the camp broken down and prepared for travel by the afternoon. Even she could tell that Indra was keen on the idea. Secretly, she was glad Clarke had suggested they return to the army's camp. There was much to be done before winter was in full force.
Eventually Lexa and Clarke headed to the Sky camp with their two guards in tow. Ares trotted alongside Clarke and busied with sniffing the ground. He became more aware once they passed the gates. After the usual trek through the Alpha station, they entered the meeting room where Abby and Marcus waited for them.
Abby smiled at seeing the pair. She came around the table to wish them good morning. She was surprised when Clarke hugged her.
Even Clarke was caught off guard after she had done it. The hug had come without thought, much like it had been when she was younger. She pulled back and noticed how warmly her mom smiled at her.
Abby then looked at Lexa and formerly greeted, "Good morning, commander." She knew this morning was different than last night's homey dinner. However, she saw less of a guarded look from the commander.
"Good morning, chancellor." Lexa inclined her head, respectfully.
Abby briefly touched the commander's arm before she indicated the table. "Let's hope this doesn't take long."
Marcus Kane had remained by the table. He had watched the exchange with curiosity and then recalled they all had dinner last night. Whatever had transpired over dinner had remolded the women. He smiled to himself.
"Good morning, Marcus," Clarke offered. She traded a smile with him.
Abby went around the table, but as she did so, she petted Ares on the head. She enjoyed how he nudged her palm with his wet nose.
Marcus looked to Lexa. "Commander," he warmly greeted. Like the others, he took a seat at the table. He tapped on the screen and brought it to life. "I don't think we have much left," he started. He scanned over the notes he had taken so far from all the meetings. "So we finished off with the time frame to move out of Mount Weather. What about when to move in?" He looked at both Lexa and Clarke.
Clarke looked at her warrior. "Right away…?" Distractedly, she heard Ares's groan and saw him sink to the floor, out of boredom. She concluded Ares would vote to go back to the Trikru army camp, if he could voice it.
Lexa weighed the suggestion then placed her hands on the surface table. Slowly, her green eyes met Clarke. She questioned, "Are you ready for this then?" At her second's confused look, she explained, "You will oversee the Sky people's move into the mountain." She enjoyed Clarke's loosened jaw. "I will be busy preparing Tondc, and Indra must focus on dispersing the army now that Tondc has limited space." She tilted her head and waited for Clarke to handle Marcus Kane's question.
Marcus could tell Clarke was blindsided by the new orders from the commander. He gave Clarke more wiggle room with the question. "How about you take a radio, Clarke? Then we can coordinate when to start the move into the mountain."
Clarke gathered her thoughts then nodded at Marcus's idea. "That'll work." She paused. "But I do think you should begin the move as soon as possible." Part of her mind considered the pending future of Mount Weather. It meant she would have to go back into the mountain. She took a deep breath in hopes it would calm her anxiety.
"It's not getting any warmer," Abby agreed. She was contently resting back in her seat. It was the first time in any meeting that she looked relaxed. "We can begin to prepare here before we actually travel to the mountain."
"We will announce it after you leave," Marcus offered to the commander. He was glad when the commander nodded at him. He then noticed that Clarke was in deep thought.
Clarke focused on the chancellor after a quiet moment. She softly mentioned, "Mom, I'm concerned about Jasper going in the mountain."
Abby sat up after her daughter's excellent point.
"He probably shouldn't return to the mountain," Clarke further continued. She was unsure what to do about Jasper. She then hesitantly turned her attention to her warrior. "He may have to stay somewhere else."
Lexa easily read her second's thought process. She slotted her eyes and warned, "He made an attempt on your life. I will not allow him in Tondc."
"What about a smaller village?" Clarke quietly posed.
"They will only shun him," Lexa guessed.
Clarke sighed, but it was her mom that brought up Clarke's last idea.
Lexa clearly bristled at the idea.
Clarke held up her hand, just above the table. "Okay… we don't have to figure out Jasper right now." She rested her fingers on the table. "And maybe he'll want to face the mountain." She swallowed at the idea because she would have to face the mountain too. "But…" She looked at her mother. "Can you tell him, Mom before you announce it to Skaikru?"
Marcus was nodding already.
"I'll take care of it," Abby promised.
Clarke was relieved and shelved ideas on how to handle Jasper Jordon. She returned to the meeting's main purpose and finalized the alliance between the Skaikru and Trikru.
The alliance itself was built around checks and balance in order to build trust between the two groups. Clarke's idea to have Skaikru educate Trikru was a first stepping stone to bringing the cultures together. Lexa felt that Trikru teaching Skaikru how to hunt and scout would also bring them closer. As the meeting wound up, the chancellor went back to a disconcerting discussion from the prior meeting.
"Why destroy the mountain?"
Clarke straightened after her mother brought up the topic. She looked at her mother and felt Marcus Kane's attention on her. "Heda and I have decided that the missiles are too dangerous."
"Then why all the elaborate plans to split control over them?" Abby argued. Like the others, she was drained from the heavy discussion about how and who controlled the missiles while the Skaikru wintered in the mountain. Like Marcus, she was willing to allow Lexa and Clarke to set the launch codes for the weapons. In return, the Skaikru would act as guardians of the destructive weapons.
Clarke was unsure whether they could talk about what was happening amongst the clans. She silently questioned her warrior. She slouched in the seat after Lexa took commander of the conversation. She lowered her hand and sought out Ares's comforting fur.
Lexa decided to handle the chancellor's concerns. "In about a moon, we are holding an assembly for the coalition. Years ago, I built the coalition to what it is today after many sacrifices to achieve this peace."
Clarke flinched at what personal sacrifice her warrior made for the peace of the coalition. She shifted in her seat and continued listening.
"But?" Abby countered.
"But," Lexa agreed, "Things have changed now that the mountain has been defeated." She folded her hands in her lap. "The mountain's destruction was the foundation of the coalition."
"Now there is nothing binding the clans together," Marcus concluded.
Lexa nodded at Marcus. "The assembly I am holding is to determine the fate of the coalition."
"Do you think it will fall apart?" Abby checked.
Lexa was quiet and felt everybody's eyes on her, including Clarke. She took a deep breath and finally voiced her suppositions for the future. "Most likely it will split." She tilted her head. "Either in half or in three parts."
Marcus shook his head and tempted, "Why?"
"There are those that wish to have my power," Lexa replied. She withheld the fact that those same individuals would want Clarke's power. There was no use in worrying the Skaikru about one of their own. Lexa would protect her second, at any cost.
"So it's another war," Abby whispered. She shook her head. "Who against who?"
"Trikru and Azgeda," Lexa answered. She already imaged the war ahead of them all. "There will be a line drawn."
"And the missiles are a scare tactic," Marcus realized aloud.
"For now," Clarke spoke up again. "We'll see how things go at the assembly, but we still don't like the idea of anybody having them." She looked to her warrior for confirmation.
Marcus looked at the chancellor. "Clarke is right… it would be wise to dispose of them."
"I thought you didn't like that idea," Abby prodded.
Marcus sighed and shifted on the chair. "If there is a war coming then everybody is going to want those missiles." He worriedly held the chancellor's gaze. "What's worse is that they don't know how to use them so that means they need us to do it." He read how the fear was building in Abby's eyes. "That means our hand will be forced to do it."
Clarke looked down as she remembered her own hand being forced to pull a switch that killed so many. She fought off the ugly memory and returned to the present. "Or they'll use Emerson."
"Emerson?" Abby echoed.
Clarke nodded. "He escaped the mountain."
Marcus was stunned into silence then looked at Abby in awe. Both he and Abby were distraught to realize they had forgotten about Emerson, even after burning the dead. They had located Cage Wallace not too far down the mountain and concluded Lincoln had dispatched him. But Emerson was a forgotten anomaly.
"My scouts have tracked him north… most likely to Azgeda," Lexa informed.
Abby had a thin frown and look at Marcus. "It's imperative that we move into the mountain soon so we can lock down the missiles."
Marcus seconded the idea.
"I do have guards posted around the entrances to the mountain," Lexa assured. "But having the Skaikru in there will be more secure."
Clarke was pleased to hear her warrior truly accept the security that the Skaikru offered to the mountain. It will give them time to figure out how to destroy the mountain so that it could no longer wreak havoc on their clans.
As the sun peaked in the sky, the meeting came to a slow end with many key pieces in place. Lexa shook arms with Abby and Marcus after they had an agreement. Clarke smiled to herself at seeing the alliance complete after facilitating it for days. Somehow she had done it. Not every detail was perfect, but it was solid and strong compared to the first alliance. Clarke wanted it to work, for both her clans. She was grateful that Lexa felt the same way.
Ares stood next to his human friend and tried being patient. He gave a low whine to Clarke and earned a few tender pets. Still, he was ready to leave the metal beast and go outside to freedom.
Clarke hooked his head and pulled him against her hip. "Patience, Two Tails." She chuckled when he huffed at her.
"We will leave this afternoon," Lexa answered the chancellor's question. She started towards the door where Clarke and Ares waited for her.
"Not tomorrow?" Abby pressed.
"We have a lot to do, Mom."
Abby frowned at both younger women. "I understand." Like Marcus, she followed the commander to the door. "Is there anything we can do to help?"
"I think we're okay," Clarke replied.
"I'll get you a radio," Marcus reminded.
Clarke nodded. But the radio made her think of something else. She curiously looked at Marcus Kane. "Did you ever find out how Jasper got that gun?"
Marcus shook his head. "I'm afraid not. I'm still looking into it though."
Clarke kept her concerns at bay and instead opened the meeting room's door. She allowed Lexa to go first then she and Ares followed next. Together, they traveled through the Alpha station as a large group until Abby and Marcus left them.
Clarke waited until her mom and Kane were gone before she mentioned, "I'd like to see Jasper."
Lexa slowed her pace and softly asked, "Is that wise?"
Clarke shrugged and admitted, "Probably not but…"
Lexa understood her second's constant need to fix things. She inwardly groused but kept a neutral expression. She looked over her shoulder and ordered, "Konor, mafta Klark op."
Connor curtly nodded back and departed with Clarke and Ares.
Lexa briefly watched her second before she and Ryder left the Alpha station. She wanted to be sure that Indra had the camp broken down. They would most likely leave in two to three candlemarks.
Clarke entered the hospital and easily located Jasper's room because Monroe was on guard. "How's he doing?"
Monroe bit her bottom lip and replied, "Better… I guess." She considered the brief conversation she had with him. "He's not talking about death anymore at least."
"Has Monty been to see him?"
"Yesterday when Jasper was still asleep," Monroe replied. She looked at Clarke's guard then back at Clarke. "He's handcuffed to the bed."
Clarke weighed her choice whether to let Connor come into the room with her. She decided against it, especially since Ares would protect her. She turned to her guard. "Set raun," she ordered. But the annoyed flash in Connor's eyes made her fist her hands.
"Set raun," Clarke repeated. She countered with her own dangerous look. She received no further verbal rejection, but Connor continued her glare for good measure. Clarke slipped into the room with Ares at her side.
"You get use to it," Monroe mentioned to the grounder warrior.
Connor huffed at the Sky guard then took a post near the door.
Inside the hospital room, Clarke warily observed her friend seated on the bed. She noticed he had recently showered and was in clean clothes since yesterday's fight. She was grateful when Ares pressed against her leg.
Jasper continued sitting on the bed and stared at the wall rather than his visitor. "What you want, Clarke?"
For a moment, Clarke was unsteady and mostly because Jasper's voice lost its malice and was hollow. She tried deciding whether that was good or bad. "I came to check on you."
"You have." Jasper then indicated the door. "Now you can go." He was hardly surprised when Clarke stayed in the same spot. He slowly dragged his attention over to her. "What is it you really want?"
Clarke kept her distance from him. She sensed Jasper was no threat, especially since Ares stayed calm. "I want to know my friend is okay." She expected his cynical smile any second, but it never showed itself.
Jasper turned his head away and stared at the adjacent wall. "I'm fine."
"You're not fine," Clarke softly countered. She took a hesitant step towards Jasper.
"Because you always know everything, don't you?" Jasper snapped. But there was hardly any bite in his words. He had unshed tears already in his eyes.
Clarke stung from the remark, yet she hid it. "No… I don't," she admitted. "I feel like I hardly know anything lately." She swallowed. "I didn't know what to do to save my friend." It was what led her to default to Lexa's idea about the ceremony.
Jasper pretended to ignore Clarke and just stared at nothing.
Clarke took his lack of verbal or physical assault as a good sign. She made another slow step closer to Jasper. "I'm sorry this happened to you, Jasper." She shook her head then hauntingly whispered, "I didn't mean to turn you into this."
Jasper hung his head and allowed the apology to sink into him. He had heard so many of them from his own people, but Clarke's apology was the only one that he needed to hear. It cut the anger's last string attached to his heart. "I could have stopped him," Jasper painfully murmured.
Clarke clenched her jaw for a second then softly replied, "Maybe you could have… but…" She took one last step then placed her hand on the bed. "I couldn't risk losing you or the others."
Jasper lifted his head and looked at Clarke with tears falling onto his cheeks. "I still see her in my arms every day."
Clarke took a risk and reached for Jasper's hand that gripped the side of the bed. Her fingertips brushed the cuff's cool metal before she found warm skin. "So do I," she rasped. She covered her hand over Jasper's own.
"How do you make it stop?" Jasper pleaded. He looked at Clarke, for help.
"Time," Clarke answered. "And you learn to let go… to forgive."
Jasper nodded then slowly turned his tear stained features away from Clarke. He went back to staring at the wall.
Clarke squeezed his hand then finally withdrew. She knew they had crossed one bridge but many more still faced them. She went to the door with Ares in tow. Just as she pulled down on the handle, Jasper's voice came to her.
"Clarke… thank you for not giving up on me."
Clarke peered over her shoulder at Jasper. There was truly gratitude in his eyes. She nearly broke down but held strong. She faintly nodded at him before she left him to his silence. From earlier conversations with her mother, somebody would be working with Jasper to help him heal. It was obvious that the ceremony had somehow realigned Jasper. Clarke was thankful for it and especially grateful to her warrior.
Ares followed Clarke out of the room and through the hospital. He kept his head up and occasionally sniffed the air. He peered up at Clarke, who had a calm expression.
Clarke passed several Sky people along the way. She received greetings from most of them. It created a slight smile on her lips. Over the days, her people were learning to accept her new lifestyle as a Trikru warrior. She suspected her friendlier demeanor helped compared to the coldness of the Trikru.
Connor continued following her charge. However, she realized they were staying in the metal monster rather than leaving it. She suspiciously eyed Clarke's back, but she kept her silence. She suspected Clarke wanted to take care of a few things before they left the area.
Clarke made a right turn and entered the small quarters. She recalled the exact door and knocked on it. She heard the familiar voice inside the room then the door's handle squeaked at her. She glanced at Connor and gave an unspoken order to remain there.
Connor inwardly sighed and took post beside the door.
Clarke slipped in with Ares on her heels. She warmly smiled at her friend in the room.
"Hey, Clarke." Monty shut the door and quickly exchanged a hug. He then petted the black wolf.
"How are you?"
Monty continued petting Ares but looked over at his friend. "Better," he quietly replied. "You?"
Clarke nodded at Monty's reply and sympathized with him. "Better too." She sadly smiled at him. "Jasper is awake."
"I heard." Monty went over to the desk and leaned against it. He was clearly nervous about the topic. He fidgeted with his pant leg, as if dirt was there. "I need to go see him."
"He's… calmer," Clarke mentioned.
"You saw him?"
Clarke nodded. There was a seed of hope in Monty's dark eyes. They all had lost sleep over Jasper's future. Now there was a chance that their friend could heal and move on from death. "You should go see him soon." She heard the low hitch in Monty's next breath. Then his hopeful eyes grew slightly wider. "I think he could use his best friend."
Monty remained still. His rattled heart was loud in his ears. He had prayed and wished that his childhood friend was still alive inside that shell. Whatever had transcended during yesterday's ceremony was a blessing, if Jasper was truly free from his hatred.
After a deep breath, Monty nodded and promised, "I will." He then twisted to his right. "I have something for you… and the commander."
Clarke perked up at what news Monty had about the article. "Did you fix it?"
"I did," Monty replied. He tapped on his tablet's screen, which lit up instantly. "It took a lot of work, but I got it." He quickly pulled up the article for his friend, who came to his side. "So it's an article from the Time Magazine about Rebecca Wordah." He crossed his arms and leaned against the desk again. "She was named Person of the Year for 2051. Apparently she designed this incredibly complex artificial intelligence called Artificial Life Intelligence Entity or ALIE for short." He shrugged.
Clarke was skimming through the article while she listened to Monty.
"This Rebecca woman made millions at an early age. She built her company from the ground up."
"Polaris Technologies," Clarke murmured.
"Yeah that's it," Monty agreed. He peered down at the screen. "She even had a space station up in the sky… completely owned and controlled by her company, not the government."
Clarke straightened up and looked at Monty. She felt her blood starting to warm as he continued telling her about Rebecca Wordah.
"And ALIE…" Monty pointed at the screen. "It was being designed for NASA so we could send astronauts to Mars." He recalled the finer details about the artificial intelligence. "NASA needed an AI to navigate the ship, monitor the astronauts' health, and handle any heavy analytical analysis that would need to be done."
"Why the astronauts' health?" Clarke prompted.
"Well…" Monty considered it for a second then mentioned, "The article doesn't get into details about that, but I do remember learning that NASA was researching cryostasis at that time. I'm pretty sure they had it well figured out by then but were testing cryostasis's effects on people in space. So maybe they were planning to put the astronauts into cryostasis while the AI flew them to Mars."
Clarke allowed the information to sink into her head. She was slowly piecing together that Lexa's great-great grandmother was a programming engineer, who was highly regarded in her field, especially to be named Person of the Year in 2051.
"This Rebecca Wordah is really amazing," Monty gushed. He picked up the tablet from the desk. "I mean to be named Person of the Year is huge."
"I have never heard of her," Clarke mentioned.
Monty lowered the tablet to his lap and considered Clarke's words. He flicked his head a little to get the hair away from his eyes. "You know… she would have been taught in our history classes. I mean they taught us about Churchill, Kennedy, Martin Luther King-"
"Obama, Popes, Lindbergh-"
"Gandhi, Chrysler…" Monty paused and curiously studied his friend. "Why haven't we ever heard about the woman that created the first AI?"
Clarke chewed on her bottom lip then met Monty's stare. "Do you remember ever seeing any parts of the Ark that were marked Polaris Technologies?"
Monty narrowed his eyes as he realized Clarke's point. "No."
"Maybe it was the thirteenth station," Clarke murmured.
"That was blown up?" Monty was wide eye. "Why would they blow up a private space station?"
"I don't know." Clarke pushed off the desk. "But we all know the records on the thirteenth station are gone." She pointed at the tablet in Monty's hand. "Can you give me a copy of that article? I want to show it to Lexa."
"Yeah… sure." Monty shut off his thoughts about Polaris Technologies and Rebecca Wordah. "I have a holo somewhere around here." He opened a drawer and located a tiny round disc that sat in his palm. He placed it on the desk next to the tablet. He tapped the disc, which lit up a soft blue. He glanced at the tablet and copied the article onto the disc. "I'm not sure how much the commander will understand about the article."
"She understands quite a bit, actually." Clarke would explain whatever went over her warrior's head. She received the disc from her friend. She tucked it into her pant pocket.
"You know, I was thinking about how she really wasn't fazed by that Control Room in Mount Weather." Monty thought it was strange at the time.
"She spent a lot of time in her childhood reading old books," Clarke mentioned.
"She can read?"
Clarke nodded and grinned at Monty's shock. "Lexa is… full of surprises."
Monty shook his head and murmured, "Respect." He huffed and seriously argued, "If I was born on the ground, I think I'd be more worried about learning to fight than read."
Clarke gave a low hum of agreement then she reached for Ares. She toyed with his ear. "Thank you for this."
Monty walked his friend to the door. "And please don't lose that holo disc. I don't have many left."
"Don't worry." Clarke smiled promisingly. "I'll return it."
Monty trusted Clarke with it. At the door, he hugged Clarke and received another thank you.
"We're leaving today," Clarke mentioned. She worked the heavy handle but looked at her friend.
"Probably in a couple of hours," Clarke guessed. "I'm headed out there now to see when."
Monty suspected word would spread once the grounders were departing the area. "How'd the meetings go?"
"Good." Clarke had only cracked the door. "There's a new alliance." She saw the relief in Monty's features.
Monty grabbed Clarke's shoulder and held it firmly. "Thank you," he sincerely offered.
Clarke smiled then slipped out of the room with Ares. "I'll see ya later."
"See ya, Clarke."
Within a few minutes, Clarke was outside and beelining to the Trikru camp. Both Ares and Connor walked alongside her. Clarke was lost in her thoughts about the article she had skimmed and her conversation with Monty. Pieces from her dream last night came back to her. There were more questions about the past than answers now. Clarke was slightly distraught and immediately scanned for the commander even though the camp was yards away from her.
Once in the camp, Clarke hastily pinpointed the commander and went over to her. Her own antsy presence caused the commander to quickly finish her talk with Indra.
Lexa waited until Indra departed then she looked at Clarke. She already knew something was amiss by the look on Clarke's face. "What is it?"
Clarke noted the warriors that walked past or around them. Everybody was busy breaking down the camp with only a few tents left up. She realized their tent was already being dismantled by Penn. She cut her attention back to Lexa and replied, "We need to talk… alone."
Lexa nodded and proceeded to leave the camp with her second hurrying to her side. She and Clarke left the camp until they had enough distance from any ears. She turned to her second and patiently waited for Clarke to tell her what was wrong.
Ares took a seat in the tall grass. He looked between the two humans, curious about the strange meeting out here on the hill.
Clarke fished out the disc from her pocket. "Monty was able to fix that article." She noticed a glint of curiosity in Lexa's eyes. "It is about your grandmother." She opened her hand with the disc in her palm. She pressed her index finger into the center of the disc and held it there. She lowered her hand once a hologram formed in the air in front of them.
Lexa tensed up, unprepared for the illusion in front of her. She stilled though once she took in the picture of her great-great grandmother. "Rebecca Wordah," she whispered. She studied the woman's soft features and dark, long hair. In those earthy brown eyes, Lexa saw shadows of the first commander there.
Clarke paused from moving the article forward and allowed her warrior to memorize the face of her descendant. Even she was taken by Rebecca Wordah's porcelain face and full lips that mimicked Lexa's own. After a long minute, she gently tapped the disc and signaled it to go to the first page of the article. "She was chosen as Person of the Year in the Time Magazine… back in 2051." She glanced at her warrior's profile, but she noticed Lexa was captivated by the hologram's article.
Lexa took a step closer so she could start reading it.
"The Time Magazine was a long time running newspaper. And to be chosen as the Person of the Year was a big deal back then. It means the person had a huge influence on the world." Clarke went quiet and decided Lexa had undoubtedly followed in her great-great grandmother's footsteps.
Lexa hungrily read the article and hung onto every sentence. For years, she had ached to learn more about her ancestor. All she had known was a name and title. There were countless tales about Pramheda, but the article in front of her was the first evidence. And it was from a time before the war, before commanders, and before radiation.
Like her warrior, Clarke carefully read through the article. She soaked in every detail about Rebecca Wordah. She was proud of Lexa's heritage and wondered if Lexa felt the same.
"Is there more?" Lexa whispered.
Clarke tapped the disc and went to the next page. When they finished reading it, she shut off the disc and looked to her warrior. She could only imagine what was going through Lexa's mind. She patiently waited for Lexa to speak first. Clarke knew it was a lot to absorb and understand from the article.
"An AI is a computer?" Lexa softly asked. She looked to her second for help.
Clarke tucked the disc into her pocket then came closer to her warrior. "It's really software and coding on a computer," she explained. She struggled to find an easy comparison. "It's a combination of a program and machine that is intelligent… can think and reason like a human… like us."
Lexa absorbed the simple breakdown of an artificial intelligence. She moved her hand to her sword hilt and rested it there. "They were using it to go to Mars." She tried fathoming the idea of another planet, unlike the one she walked on every day. "Why did they need this AI?"
Clarke tucked her hands into her pockets. She slightly smiled at her warrior's constant drive to learn and understand both the old and new world. "Monty seemed to think that NASA… " She faltered and shifted gears again. "NASA is-"
"National Aeronautics and Space," Lexa defined, mostly.
Clarke slowly grinned at Lexa's extensive understanding about outer space and the space program. "Yeah." She rocked on her boots and went back to the original topic. "Monty thinks NASA had pretty much figured out cryostasis, which is a way to freeze a living person so that they can wake up years later without really ever aging." She saw that Lexa understood the idea. "NASA contracted with Rebecca Wordah's company to develop the AI so it could fly the ship to Mars while the crew slept in stasis." She considered the entire purpose behind the Time article. "So your grandmother was known for designing the first AI… that would no less get us to Mars."
"Until the war happened," Lexa whispered.
Clarke agreed that the war would have completely halted the Mars program. "Lexa…" She shifted on her boots. "That dream last night…" She edged closer to her warrior and touched Lexa's arm. "In that dream, you mentioned Polaris." Clarke shook her head and corrected, "Woraun mentioned Polaris."
Lexa easily slipped back into the dream's memories and gave a low huff. "Juseda destroyed Polaris." In the dream, Lexa had been wrought with despair and anger about so many things. She pushed aside the emotions and instantly tied the information together, like Clarke.
"Polaris was the thirteenth station blown out of the sky when the Ark was formed," Clarke revealed. "If Woraun and Rebecca Wordah were one in the same then she did something really bad to destroy the Earth." She gently squeezed Lexa's arm. "And your blood is black just like the stuff I injected into your…" She sighed and again corrected, "I injected into Woraun's arm." She groaned. "Staurra injected into Woraun's arm."
Lexa grinned at her second's frustration and confusion. "That was not a dream, Klark. Those are memories from our ancestors."
Clarke fought to be okay with such strange happenings between them. She had yet to explain Lexa's incredible strength or the markings on her own back or even their connecting dreams that were actually memories. She shook it off and finally started, "Sooo…" She took a hesitant breath. "That means my great-great grandmother is a twin sister to your great-great grandmother."
Suddenly Lexa's grin became wolfish and a low chuckle started deep in her chest.
Clarke stood frozen for a moment then suddenly walked away as she tried absorbing every bit of chance that she would land on Earth and be connected with her great-great grandmother's sister. She and Lexa shared common ancestors that more than witnessed the world go to Hell, but had a hand in it, somehow.
Ares remained in the same spot but twisted his head in Clarke's direction. He gave a low whine then peered up at Lexa.
Clarke spun around and stared over at Lexa, who was utterly calm. Clarke thought too calm considering the situation. She approached her warrior and mentioned, "You do realize we're technically cousins?" Lexa's deep laugh did nothing to calm her increased nerves.
"Hardly," Lexa countered. "I think our blood lines have been well diluted since our grandmothers."
Clarke huffed because it was true they were removed cousins, very far removed ones. Yet, the shock had yet to leave her completely. "I can't believe this." She touched her forehead, which was rather warm. "When I was a kid, my mom would talk about Grandma Starr and how amazing she was… kept the Ark together in those first years." She lowered her hand. "My mom liked talking about her because I was named after her." She focused on her warrior. "Her name was Starr Abigail Clarke and… an-and I was named Clarke Starr Griffin after her."
Lexa closed the small distance between them. "Did your mom ever mention your grandmother's sisters?"
Clarke mentally thumbed through her memories and sighed as very little came to mind. "Mom only said that Grandma Starr had a sister on the council, but they weren't terribly close."
"Now you know why," Lexa sadly replied.
Clarke was trembling some and her mind wildly sparked like a thunderstorm. She started moving away from her warrior. "I have to talk to my mom about this." Suddenly her arm was hooked by the commander.
"Klark." Lexa halted her second and drew her back. "Now is not the time."
"But…" Clarke lost before she battled her warrior's reason. She sighed and attempted, "Lexa, what are the chances that we met? That our ancestors are related and-"
"Klark," Lexa cut off. She tightened her grip on Clarke's wrist in hopes it would ground her better. "This is not the time. We must focus on the present." She shook her head. "And right now, our people are ready to travel." Slowly her speech sank into Clarke's head. "We will figure this out but not today."
Clarke nodded and whispered, "Sorry. I just…" She relaxed further Lexa gave her a smile, only meant for her. "I guess you were right." At Lexa's raised eyebrow, she grinned and reminded, "Family always returns to each other."
"Sha," Lexa firmed.
Clarke took a deep breath then bobbed her head as she refocused on right now, as Lexa asked her. "I guess we should check on the troops." She then looked towards the camp. All the tents were gone now. It would be time to go soon. Clarke was still looking forward to leaving the Skaikru premises. She turned her attention to her warrior. "Pas yu, Heda."
Lexa brushed aside her red sash and started towards the camp. In seconds, Clarke and Ares were right alongside her. "Once we are prepared to leave, I would like you to alert the Skaikru."
Clarke silently agreed to her warrior's wishes. "Anything else I can do?"
Lexa looked over at her second. "You have done plenty, Klark."
Clarke softened at the highly pleased note in her warrior's voice. "Mochof, Heda."
Lexa nodded in kind then finished the short walk back to the camp. Together, they learned how much more time the warriors needed to get ready for travel. Clarke was surprised that they would be riding in about a hour. She parted ways from her warrior and returned to the Skaikru camp. Ares hastily followed her.
In the Alpha station, there was much discussion about the activity from the grounders' camp. Rumor had spread about their departure due to the tents coming down. A few brave souls asked Clarke about the plans, and she quickly answered them. It also gave Clarke a chance to locate her mother, who was in the hospital. Abby insisted that she and a few others would most likely see the grounders off. She promised they would come out to the Trikru.
Clarke left the hospital and went in search of one particular person. She and Ares weaved through the metal space station until she came to a particular sector. She approached an open door just as an annoyed yell rolled out of the open doorway. Clarke grinned to herself.
Raven Reyes tossed the junk onto a table after she failed to fix it. She shook her head and was about to continue her quest in vein, except she saw a dark but golden figure in the corner of her eye. She looked over her shoulder at her best friend.
"Hey, Raven." Clarke warmly smiled at her friend.
Raven was relieved to have a break from her mindless work. She limp over to the nearest table and leaned against it. "I heard you were leaving soon."
"Yeah." Clarke looked at her watch. "In about half hour." She sadly smiled at Raven. "I just wanted to... see you before we left."
"I was planning to say goodbye," Raven promised.
Clarke shrugged and countered, "I know but..." Her smile went silly, and she wrinkled her nose. "I wanted to say goodbye alone."
Raven softened at her friend's tender heart that was hidden under all the armor and weapons. "Thank you."
Clarke nodded then became serious. "How are you feeling?"
Raven understood what Clarke was really asking her. Memories from ceremony by the creek from days ago came back to her. Several pounds of pressure had been washed away after Finn's ashes drifted down the creek. "Better," she softly admitted. She thought about that day more and appreciated Clarke's determination to fix things. Then Jasper's own ceremony reinforced what was on her mind. "Thank you for still caring about us."
Clarke was confused by both the appreciation and remark. "Why... why wouldn't I care?"
Raven shrugged but then softly admitted, "Some of us thought you gave us up." She swallowed and nodded at her mistake. "But we were wrong... I was wrong." She shook her head. "I'm sorry I doubted you, Clarke."
"I doubted myself too," Clarke whispered. She felt Ares nudge her, and she ran her fingers through his fur. She could tell something else was on Raven's mind.
"You've done a lot for us, Clarke." Raven had her head bowed down. She was lost in her thoughts about the past months since they started landing on the ground. "None of us would still be alive if it wasn't for you."
Clarke shook her head and debated, "We're survivors and would have made it... somehow."
Raven doubted many would survive the onslaught from the grounders. But now, their people had two of their own among the Trikru and offered a chance at a stable future.
"So..." Clarke stopped playing with Ares's ears. "The new alliances is going to let the Skaikru move into Mount Weather for the winter."
"Really?" Raven perked up at this news. "You got the commander of twelve clans to agree to it?"
"After a lot of convincing," Clarke admitted. "It wasn't easy."
Raven huffed at the understatement.
"When the move starts," Clarke softly continued, "I really need you and Monty to work together."
Raven narrowed her eyes at her friend. Something was about to be weaved into an top secret mission. Raven loved it already. "What's up?"
Clarke neared her friend so that they could talk more quietly. "I want to know exactly what's in that mountain."
"Like the medical resources and food," Raven guessed.
"More like weapons, weapon systems, surveillance systems, and any kind of transportation," Clarke explained. "I'm hoping we can us the satellites to figure out where the other parts of the Ark went." From her brief time in Mount Weather, she recalled an important detail Dante Wallace. "President Wallace had told me that the stations landed within a hundred square mile radius."
"Of where?" Raven countered.
"I'm not sure, but it does mean that his people could see the crash sites."
Raven gave a low hum. "And we lost our chance to pick up radio frequencies from the other stations after we left Mount Weather's jamming antenna intact."
Clarke sighed at the reminder. During the alliance meetings, there had been a brief discussion about Raven's continued efforts to radio the other stations but to no avail. The mission to locate the other stations would be a tedious and political one. The Sky people would have to tread lightly while Clarke worked the politics with the clans within the region. She prayed they would find other Ark survivors despite the amount of time that had passed since the crashes.
"We'll see what we can do," Raven promised Clarke.
"You may have to go under Mom and Kane's noses."
Raven smirked and mentioned, "I think I know a few reformed criminals that are good at breaking and entering."
Clarke chuckled and nodded. She felt more at ease now that she had both Raven and Monty lined up to figure out what secrets lie within Mount Weather. "I'll be the go-between. I have to monitor the Sky people's move into Mount Weather."
Raven was glad because it meant she would see more of Clarke. "When do we start moving?"
"As soon as possible," Clarke replied. "It's not getting any warmer."
Raven agreed because she was struggling to get the Alpha station prepared for winter. Everyday it seemed as if the temperature lowered another degree. Fortunately only the surface of the ground froze at night, but it would soon change.
"I should be going," Clarke mentioned. She was about to go yet paused after staring at her friend. "You seem tired." Most likely Raven slept poorly from the constant workload.
"I run on tired," Raven admitted. She shrugged it off. "Maybe it'll be better once we're in the mountain." She worked hard, verbally sparred with Wick, and struggled with a growing pain in her injured leg. On top of it, her sleep was riddled with eerie dreams.
Clarke briefly studied Raven's crutch. She silently prayed that the medical technology in the mountain could allow her mother to further remedy Raven's injury. "I hope so," she softly agreed. She was about to go until Raven grabbed her for a long hug. Clarke sighed contently and rested her head against Raven's own. So much had transpired between them in a short time and connected them closer than others among the remaining delinquents. What had been a seed of friendship now grew into a tree of family.
Raven ended the hug first and offered, "I'll walk you out to your camp." She wanted to see Octavia too.
Clarke started out of the room with Raven steadily behind her. She allowed Ares to slip out first then she followed next. "Have you seen Jasper?"
Raven placed her hands into her red jacket's partially torn pockets. "I saw him briefly this morning. He was still kind of out of it." She planned to visit him after her shift ended.
Clarke nodded but said nothing else. Slowly they made their way out of the space station and out to the former camp that was now broken down. She noticed several warriors finished with cleaning up the campsite and reading the horses for the journey. She watched Raven head over to Octavia.
The commander was beside her horse, Star Gazer, and checked all the tack again. She twisted her head when she sensed her second's approach. "Your horse is already tacked, Klark."
"Mochof, Heda." Clarke and Ares took either side of the commander. "Mom and a few others will be here to wish us farewell."
Lexa paused mid-motion of adjusting the girdle. She turned her curious features to her second.
Clarke smiled at her warrior's hidden surprise behind the hardened green eyes.
Lexa hooked the girdle tighter and then replied, "Then we shall wait for them." She nodded at the horse next to hers. "You should check your tack."
"Sha, Heda." Clarke slipped away from her warrior and went in front of Star Gazer. As she checked the horse's tack, Ares shadowed her as if ordered by Lexa to check on Clarke's technique. Clarke shook her head at the strange notion.
Lexa left her horse and went over to Indra, who was flanked by her healing son. She exchanged a quick nod with Lee. Already the dark circles under his eyes were fading, and he held his head up proudly again. Lexa knew Indra was proud of Lee's strength to recover from the Red.
Indra quickly gave the commander a status update for their departure. They were ready to leave in a few moments. There was obvious energy to go.
Lexa was about ask more about the recovering warriors, such as Lee, but her attention was drawn to the small crowd of Sky people coming up the incline towards them.
Indra followed the commander's gaze and was curious about the party.
"They merely wish to see us off," Lexa softly informed her general. She noticed Clarke approach them.
At the head of the group was Abby Griffin and Marcus Kane then behind them was Sinclair, Jackson, Bethani, Monty, Monroe, Bellamy, Gina, Harper, Nathan Miller, and David Miller. Within minutes, the two different groups of Sky people and Tree people blended together as a group and talked amongst each other. At the center was Clarke and Lexa as they exchanged various conversations with different Sky people.
At hearing her name, Clarke turned to her friend and saw hopeful eyes under curly locks. "Bellamy," she whispered. There were shards of forgiveness reflecting in his eyes, and Clarke was thankful for whatever had soothed his anger. She quickly hugged him.
Beside them, Lexa briefly watched the exchange, but she returned to her conversation with Marcus Kane. Ever since the first day, she had a soft spot for Kane, and he continued to secretly impress her.
Bellamy continued hugging his friend back. He muttered an apology near her ear.
Clarke weakly shook her head and withdrew but held onto his arms. "We'll talk about it later," she promised. She could see the uncertainty in him. "Promise."
Bellamy weakly nodded.
"As long as you don't act like a total douche again," Raven quipped from the side. She limped a step closer and leaned against the black wolf for support.
Bellamy rolled his eyes at Raven. "Because you're so perfect."
"I am," Raven agreed. She beamed a smile at Bellamy first then turned it on Clarke.
"She is," Clarke played along.
Bellamy sighed at the two women. He was outnumbered and outgunned by them. He placed his hands on his hips. "So when do we see you again?"
Clarke kept her hands in her jacket pockets for warmth. "Probably pretty soon... a week or so." She shrugged and withheld any further details.
Bellamy accepted the answer. He took stock of all the grounders and Sky people that chatted together among them.
Abby Griffin continued talking to Indra, and her hands constantly moved as she spoke to both the general and Lee. Jackson was chatting with Nyko a few steps away from Abby. Then Bethani accepted Connor's arm in a show if newly formed friendship. The rest of the delinquents were around Clarke, Octavia, and Lincoln. Not far, Penn stood beside Lincoln. Slowly a few recovering warriors from the Red made their way to Jackson, to shake arms.
"If... if you have any concerns, just have Clarke radio me," Abby insisted to both Indra and Lee. "But, you should be okay now."
Lee had a thin smile. "Thank you." He held out his arm.
Abby stepped forward and clasped arms in a firm hold. "It meant a lot to help." She had been humbled by Indra's request for help. She released Lee and turned to the general. She wanted to say more to Indra, but it would have to be saved for another day. Abby believed that Indra was still learning to be both mother and warrior. She could understood the ongoing tribulations. Abby simply offered her arm to Indra next.
For a second, the general weighed her choice after threatening Abby Griffin's life a couple of months ago. Things changed so quickly on the ground. Indra finally took the chancellor's arm in a strong grip.
Abby smiled but stumbled when Indra jerked her forward. She found herself pressed against Indra's stiff front and the warrior's one arm briefly across the back of her shoulders in an awkward hug. Abby muffled a cough after a clap against her back before it all ended in a blur. She flashed a warm yet unsure smile at the grounder general after the strange moment.
After one last well wish, Abby departed from the pair then slipped into conversation between Marcus Kane and the commander. She smiled when Marcus looked at her. "May I borrow you for a moment, commander?"
Lexa was unsure why the chancellor wished to speak to her alone, but she nodded and slipped through the crowd behind Abby.
Once far enough from Clarke, Abby faced the commander and offered a slight smile. "I have something for you and Clarke." At her side, she carried a filled satchel and reached into it. She retrieved another but small pouch, which she fished out a glass container. Like a prize, she held out the contents to the commander.
Lexa studied the contents through the glass and instantly her eyes glowed brightly.
Abby shifted her attention from the two slices of chocolate cake to Lexa's enthralled eyes. She nearly chuckled but restrained herself. "They should be eaten in the next few days. The cooler weather will help them hold up." She then stowed the sealed glass container back into the pouch. She held it out to the commander. "I will entrust this to you."
Lexa happily took it. "Thank you, Abby." She revealed a soft smile. "It will not go to waste."
"I know," Abby whispered. She watched how Lexa protectively cradled it. She briefly considered whether Lexa would have as a hard time sharing the cake as Clarke would, if she had given it to Clarke. "And I hope you will do everything in your power to protect my daughter."
Lexa inclined her head slightly. She understood a mother's fears. Later in life, she had learned that her own mother had such a conversation with Anya. "We are bound together, as warrior and second. All of my power and spirit is tied to Klark." She nodded and promised, "I will protect her before I protect myself." The air between her and Abby had calmed after Lexa's profession.
"Thank you," Abby whispered. She felt more settled about her daughter being with the commander. Up in space, there were so fewer threats even if life had been mediocre and mundane. Here on the ground, there were threats at every turn. Abby had always done her best to protect her daughter. However, one day she would have no control over things and that day was coming soon. Abby's next best chance was to ensure the person closest to Clarke would fight for Clarke.
"When will we see you again?" Abby prompted the commander. She would see Clarke sooner than Lexa.
"I will visit Mount Weather at a later point," Lexa informed.
Abby nodded. "The doors will always remain open."
Lexa bowed her head after the meaningful offer. She knew it was both literal and metaphorical. Abby wanted zero hostility between Sky people and Tree people and also wanted Lexa to personally feel welcomed to the mountain. Much had changed since the day Clarke first landed on the Earth. There was still plenty of work to be done but progress had been made between their people.
"And Tondc's gates will be open for you." Lexa hoped the chancellor would visit them, especially Clarke, in the rebuilt village.
Abby smiled. "Thank you." She looked over at Clarke, who was nearing them. She caught Clarke's concern so she mentioned, "We were just saying goodbye."
Clarke nodded but studied her warrior's features.
"We should mount up," Lexa decided after she met Clarke's gaze. She took a step towards her second. "I'll ready the warriors while you say goodbye."
Clarke silently thanked her warrior then focused on her mom. For an uneasy second, she played with Ares's ears. "I'll be in touch with Kane about getting organized to move into the mountain."
Abby put her hands into her jacket pockets. "We'll give you some time to rest before we start to leave Camp Jaha. I'm sure you could use it."
Clarke hoped that was the case, but her weapons training was also ahead of her. She doubted Lexa wanted to relax. There always seemed to be something to be done.
"Thank you for everything you've done, Clarke."
However, Clarke shook her head and countered, "It takes two to tango, Mom... when it comes to alliances." She glanced over her shoulder towards the group of Sky people, whom watched the Trikru start mounting the horses. "I appreciate you being open minded."
"Marcus had a lot to do with that."
"Still," Clarke argued, "It had to come from you."
"Well..." Abby hesitated and gathered her thoughts. "We come from a long line of great leaders."
Clarke stiffened at the reminder of her heritage. She had promised Lexa to let it go, for now. At some point, she would drill her mother about the past.
"And you are no different," Abby softly finished.
For once, Clarke felt like a child under the mother's proud gaze. It had been many years since that feeling filled her. She boxed away the familiar, warm feeling and focused on her mother. A lot had reshaped their relationship since her father's death. It would forever be a hard memory, but it was less painful today. Only recently, Clarke understood he mother's desire to spare Clarke with the truth about her father's death. Abby and Clarke only had each other on the Ark after Jake was floated into space. If it was reversed, Clarke would have twisted the truth in order to salvage her relationship with her mother.
Abby let her guard down when Clarke stepped closer to her.
"In your letter you asked me if you were still enough to be my mom," Clarke murmured. A tremble shook in her chest and thickened her voice. "You will always be my mom. I'll always love you... no matter what we say or do." She reached up and wiped away the tear from her mom's cheek.
Abby gathered her daughter into her arms. "I love you," she whispered near Clarke's ear.
Clarke tightened her arms around her mother. "I love you too, Mom." Very slowly, she withdrew after the hug sealed a crack in her heart. "I'll see you in a week or so."
Abby smiled and nodded. She placed her hand to the small of Clarke's back as they started towards the group.
Ares trotted ahead of them and went over to Lexa. He patiently waited for the signal to leave.
Like Octavia, Clarke exchanged several hugs and finally goodbyes with their friends. In days, she would see them again, but it was still hard to part ways. Marcus Kane gave Clarke a small pack, which contained more ammunition for her handgun and a VHF radio for their communications. Her last hug was for her mom, and Clarke was surprised to receive a tablet from her mom. Abby insisted she take it and softly mentioned it had family photos on it. There was also a solar charge for both the tablet and VHF radio. Clarke thanked her mother and exchanged a last hug before she left her Sky people.
Lexa waited until her second was mounted on the horse. In Trigedasleng, she ordered the warriors to ride off. She and Clarke were the last to ride away after waving goodbye to the Sky people. Once they were on the road, Lexa nudged her horse closer to her second. They were several paces behind the traveling party.
"So what did my mom give you?"
Lexa tilted her head and replied, "A gift."
Clarke instantly slotted her eyes at her warrior. "What was the gift?"
"I cannot recall," Lexa smoothly lied.
Clarke leaned towards her warrior and teasingly whispered, "Bullshit." She knew Lexa was being evasive for a reason and the confirmation came in a form of a smirk from Lexa.
"I suffer from selective memory," Lexa countered.
Clarke rolled her eyes and sat up in the saddle. She was convinced it was something Lexa liked, but Clarke was still unsure what her mom would give Lexa. She gave a low hum then lowered her attention to the black wolf. She admired Ares's two tails and smiled at the energy in his pace. He was happy to leave too.
"So I guess back to the grindstone tomorrow," Clarke commented. At the warrior's questioning look, she better explained, "Training." However, the drawn out silence made her think otherwise.
"The day after tomorrow," Lexa declared.
Clarke instantly swung her head towards the commander. She was dumbfounded that her warrior was giving her a day off, at least it seemed it.
"Then we will begin." Lexa nodded.
"Mochof, Heda." Clarke smiled to herself and thought about her day off tomorrow. She would enjoy it.
"You have done well, Klark." Lexa had soft features when her second looked at her again. "You bring your people peace." Pride was infused in her voice. The talks had been difficult, even for Lexa. Soon their decisions would be tested by the other clans and the Senate, but Lexa would prepare for it.
Clarke wondered which people were hers only to understand Lexa meant both. She softly smiled and corrected, "We bring our people peace." She enjoyed the shared smile on her warrior's features. However, they both knew the peacefulness would only be temporary, but it was a gift that they would savor until war. Today, they had time to enjoy a peace between their people and in their hearts. What storm was coming for them, Clarke and Lexa would weather because they were stronger together.
of Volume I
Trigedasleng to English
Konor, mafta Klark op. - Connor, follow Clarke.
Pas yu, Heda. - After you, commander.
AN: So, as you'll see Chapter 40 marks the end of Volume I. After much debate, I decided to break up Hedatu into volumes rather than one nonstop story or sequels. There's not going to be too many adjustments to do for the story, thankfully. I will continue the story, Hedatu, exactly as I have been doing on the website. That means there's no change of links, alerts, bookmarks, favs, and follows. However, I'll most likely go back and insert a "blank chapter" that is a cover page for Volume I. The volumes will probably get names too. So you may get one or two false alerts that a new chapter has been posted, but it's just a tweak to the story to add in a cover page. I also want to clean up some errors (like Finn's 8 vs 18 murders) and add the Trigedasleng translations in the early chapters.
It may be a few weeks before Chapter 41 (Volume II) starts up just because I'll be cleaning up the older chapters. But, I will spoil that Chap 41 will open up a couple of weeks from the ending of Chap 40. We'll jump right into Tondc, Mount Weather, Clarke & Lexa's love relationship (yes to those with their minds in the gutter haha), and also what's up with Anya's missing body. I'm really looking forward to it myself.
Hopefully everybody is open minded to the idea of volumes for Hedatu. I think it's the easiest way for some readers to have enough closure for the story and find an ending. I also agree with many that sequels are just not the same as the original piece. So, for those as crazy as me, we still have a story to tell together. :)
Thank you all for your amazing support. Stay strong!