Disclaimer: I do not own The 100 or its characters. Only a broken heart.
Octavia watches her brother fall apart every day.
He tries to hide it. Bellamy has been strong for so long that he plays the part well. He goes about his day doing everything he can for his people. Octavia watches him flit from tent to tent, checking to make sure everyone is getting the proper medical attention they need, making sure they're being fed properly, finding blankets so everyone is comfortable during the fall chill.
But his facade cracks a little bit more with each passing moment.
He walks like he aches, like his very bones are covered in bruises and cuts, like one misstep could shatter him. His entire body bows like a weight is pressing down on him every time he sees Jasper's sullen face, only emerging from his tent for enough provisions to survive before returning to solitude. Bellamy still hasn't been able to face Chancellor Griffin, after being the last person to see her daughter before she vanished.
Octavia watches it all in silence.
He doesn't talk about what happened in Mt. Weather. Octavia doesn't know if he doesn't want to, or if he physically can't find the words to say about it. Or maybe she's just not the person he needs to be saying them to.
Octavia tries to be there for him the best she can. He spends so much time looking after others that he barely ever cares for himself, and so for now the little sister has become the caretaker. Every night she brings him his rations while he stands guard at the fence, reminding him that he needs rest too. But she knows him. Bellamy Blake must protect his people at all costs. The truce with Lexa went sour and the Sky People don't know where they stand with the Trikru. Bellamy keeps watch with the Guard because that's what Bellamy has to do. He doesn't know any other way.
Octavia can't help but feel like his darting eyes aren't always searching for a threat, though. The heat of his gaze doesn't look like someone searching for danger. He waits for a flash of blonde, for striking blue eyes to meet his. She knows it, because the look on his face is a look of need.
One night she's sick of it. It's been months since Clarke left, but the look on her older brother's face is as broken as ever. Most people have recovered from the tragedy in Mt. Weather, but Bellamy has only gotten worse as time goes on. She's afraid to touch him, afraid that the contact might shatter him completely.
"Why don't you just go after her?" Octavia spits at him, half of her fed up with him and the other scared of how much longer he can go on this way.
"Don't shout, Octavia. I'm trying to get some sleep."
"No, you're not," she says with venom, though she can't identify where the anger burning in her belly is coming from. "You haven't gotten a good night's rest in months. You sleep for a few hours, then you're back out there guarding the perimeter. You haven't stopped looking, so just go. Find her."
The look he gives her only breaks her heart more, because she can tell he's serious, she can't tell he's mad, but there isn't enough energy in him to convey it. The fire in him has burnt out.
"You wanna know why I haven't gotten rest in months?" he says, his voice dangerously low. "I can't."
Octavia is silent. The anger churning inside her is still there, but it's not at her brother. She doesn't know why it never leaves, but the feeling she has for her brother is sorrow. She reaches out for him on his cot and recoils when she sees him flinch.
"I can't. Every time I close my eyes, every time I fall asleep, I see them. Everyone in Mt. Weather. Dante, who tried to help us save our people. Maya, who saved me from being drained of my blood, who protected me so I wouldn't be captured, who saved my life—" his voice cracks. "I see all of them."
Octavia can't find the words to say. Nothing can make this better, nothing can take his pain away. She finally sits down next to him, the weight of her dipping his cot and forcing him to lean toward her. Octavia gently rests a hand on her brother's back, ignoring his flinch this time, and rubs small circles into it. His entire back is hard and hunched, like it's a single, giant knot. She'd do anything to relieve him of his pain, but where would she even start?
She's quiet when she asks her next question. "Do you see Clarke too?"
Octavia doesn't think that her brother could get any more tense, but the second the words leave her lips Bellamy's entire back goes rigid.
"Do I see Clarke?" he repeats, his tone acidic.
He's standing up now, pacing away from her, and Octavia's sure she's done it. She's broken him completely. His eyes are wild as he turns back to her, and she can't help the waver in her voice when she speaks again.
His voice is still low, still dangerously controlled. "Yeah, I see her too. I see her hand on that lever, right beneath mine. I see her back as she turns away from our camp, from our people." The anger shakes him, like his whole being is too weak to contain it. He's silent for a moment while he steams, and Octavia can do nothing but hold her breath.
"I bear it so they don't have to." His words are only a whisper. "That's what she told me that day." Octavia knows this. It's one of the few things Bellamy mentioned to her, and she's been turning it over in her mind ever since. "She thinks she's bearing it alone."
Octavia understands. Clarke left, thinking that all the decisions made on that day were her own weight to carry, but she had never been more wrong. One look at the broken man before her can tell Octavia that that statement wasn't true in the slightest. Two hands pulled that lever, but only one person stayed to face the aftermath.
Bellamy comes crashing back to his cot, too exhausted from his outburst to cushion his fall. Octavia is there, though. Her arms catch him, and she holds him tight for the first time in what feels like forever, trying to hold together what's left of him. He can't go on this way, and she won't let another day go by without trying to do something about it.
She had told Bellamy that she was going on a hunting trip with Lincoln. Her footsteps are light and her trail is practically invisible as she treks through the uneven terrain alone. They were lucky that winter ended fairly early for this time of year, and while the trees still look dead and the woods are still quiet, the ground is becoming softer, and most of the snow has melted away.
Lincoln had only followed her for about a day before realizing that Octavia was not hunting animals. Her pack was far too heavy and her weapons weren't meant for butchering large animals.
"When will you be back?" he had asked her, his eyes knowing and accepting her choices. Lincoln was not one to hold her back, but that didn't mean he needed to go on this excursion with her. While the incident at TonDC had faded from the minds of some of the Sky People, it had not faded in his.
Octavia had nodded, knowing this and not resenting Lincoln in the slightest.
"When I find her," was all she said, and turned from him, leaving him to make up his own explanation for why she wasn't returning with him. She didn't care if he lied for her or not. Either way she wasn't returning until she found who she was looking for.
It's been almost two weeks since she left camp, and Octavia is beginning to lose hope. She's found traces of human life a couple of times, but the small snares and long-forgotten campfires could be from anyone. She can't tell if she's getting closer, but she knows that soon her pack of rations will be depleted, forcing her to either hunt or turn around and go back. The weapons that she has will not last her long for the former option, but the latter is not an option at all.
She uses her sword to sharpen a branch into a spear, just in case, and continues her silent search.
She comes upon it so suddenly that she doesn't know how to react. The hole near the base of the large oak tree looks like a fox den, and with the weight of her pack so light on her back, Octavia knows that she can't pass up this opportunity, not when food is so readily available to her. She perches herself just downwind of the hole and snaps a branch clumsily, hoping the noise will be enough to stir one of the animals from its home. With her spear in hand, she prepares to end one of the foxes the second it steps out into the open.
The person that crawls out of the hole surprises Octavia so much that she actually starts, her automatic reaction to jump slightly and spit a curse.
Of course, she immediately regrets her actions, because the muddied face of the person is swinging her way. Their movements are practically animalistic, and while Octavia knows that she can take out someone so gaunt and frail-looking fairly easily, she still backs away from the person approaching her. This is not a member of Trikru. This creature is small, and slinks towards her, hunched and practically snarling as they sport their own spear, much cruder and much bloodier than Octavia's.
Octavia drops her wooden weapon and pulls her sword from its sheath, preparing to end this pathetic human's life when she sees the familiar wristwatch glinting in the light of the setting sun.
"It can't be," she whispers, and watches as the person before her straightens a little at the sound. "Clarke?"
"It's not much," Clarke says once Octavia slides down the hole after her.
But it's home. Octavia waits for Clarke to finish the common expression, but she never does. She hasn't said much since Octavia found her outside, prepared to kill her for her next meal. When Clarke realized who was standing before her beneath the war paint and furs, she didn't seem any happier or more relieved than she was when she thought Octavia was the enemy. Her eyes remained the same, flat and almost glazed over, but she had welcomed Octavia into her living quarters all the same. Octavia supposed that was the best she could hope for at the point.
And that's all Octavia can think of to describe the pitiful hole in the ground. Living quarters. Clarke was right not to finish the expression, because it barely counts as a home. From the pelts hung on the clay walls, it seems like the tiny space was indeed a foxhole at one point, but Clarke had long since killed the family of animals residing in it, and had taken it for herself. The north wall had been expanded as well as Clarke was able with the few tools that she seemed to have with her, and the once-tiny fox den is now able to fit both of the women, if just barely.
"Where are your supplies?" Octavia asks quietly, afraid that any loud noise will startle the shell of a person that used to be their leader.
Her voice is hoarse from not using it for months, and Octavia has to strain to make out the words. "Buried a couple hundred yards east. I keep all the essentials here with me. Nothing else will fit."
Octavia grimaces. She spent her entire life living in a hole, and is not keen on being in another one.
"Why did you stay here?" she asks bitterly, her gaze shifting from the pile of furs in the corner, to the pail of water by their feet, to Clarke's sunken face.
"It was hard to build a shelter that would protect me from the cold. Everything was too flimsy or too-"
"I don't mean why are you here," Octavia interrupts, gesturing to the foxhole, "I'm asking why you didn't come back."
Octavia feels the fire burning inside of her again, and this time she has someone she can direct it at. This is not her brother, who is doing everything he can to keep himself from falling apart at the seams. While Bellamy is barely holding on by a thread, Clarke has let go a long time ago.
"You couldn't?" Octavia is surprised by how deadly low her own voice sounds. Clarke doesn't even bat an eye. "Or you just didn't want to?"
Clarke gently sits down on her pelts, not bothering to wipe off the mud that's caked on her cheeks or take her dirty boots off before wrapping herself up in their warmth.
"I couldn't," she repeats, her voice a tad sterner, but her eyes just as unwaveringly flat, like she can't even see Octavia in front of her.
"I don't think so," Octavia says, rising on her knees because the hole isn't deep enough for her to stand. "I couldn't," she spits, "is not good enough!"
"I left so I could bare the pain of what I did. They didn't need to suffer for the choices I made."
Her blood is boiling and her veins are licked with flames, and it takes everything inside of Octavia to not reach behind her for her sword. Her mission is almost completely forgotten in the heat of the moment, where she watches Clarke curl up like an animal in a hole talking about how she's suffering alone.
"Bullshit, Clarke!" she shouts, and Clarke's eyes spark for a moment with fear. "They don't need to suffer for your choices? Do you know who's suffering the most because of your fucking choices?"
Octavia doesn't need to utter his name, the weight of him already bowing Clarke's spine until she's practically curled in on herself.
"I left so I could shoulder the blame," Clarke says, and Octavia can't tell if Clarke is speaking to her or herself.
She feels no pity for hunched girl before her. "Even in the end when you were wracked with guilt, you still thought you were being a martyr by leaving. But you aren't fooling anyone, Clarke. You ran away."
She doesn't know when she moved, but now she's bearing down on Clarke, her gaze burning into her as Clarke shies away. "You aren't the one dealing with the aftermath of your decisions. My brother is. He's the one helping Harper get over her fear of loud noises. He's the one sitting outside Jasper's tent every day with hot food even when Jasper lashes out. He's the one patrolling the perimeter every night because he's not sleeping. The only one bearing anything is Bellamy!"
"I know you're mad at me after everything that's happened," Clarke says coldly, though her body is still bent over. Her voice begins to waver."But you have no right to come in here and yell at me when you have no idea the kind of pain I've been going through because of all of this."
Octavia is quiet at this statement. She grits her teeth against her rage and backs up, giving herself room to breathe and in turn giving Clarke enough space to look up at her.
"You're right. I don't know what you've been going through. And I don't care."
If Clarke had enough emotion to look surprised, that's probably the look that flits across her face in this moment. But the widening of her eyes and the twist of her mouth still doesn't look completely genuine, not to Octavia.
"It's not me who needs to hear your explanations. And it's not me you want to be talking to right now anyway."
But Clarke is already shaking her head. "I'm not leaving here. I can't go back."
"You need to face him."
"How?" Clarke asks, hushed and quiet. "How am I supposed to do that if all you said is true?"
Octavia shrugs, crawling back towards the entrance of the hole. "You're gonna have to figure that one out on your own. You seem to be good at that." She makes it halfway up the narrow passage of dirt and clay before craning her head to glance behind her. "I'm leaving tomorrow morning to go back to camp, and you're coming with me. Figure out a way to make your peace, because I'll drag you back kicking and screaming if I have to."
She pulls herself out of the hole, not bothering to wait for a reply.
When Octavia walks through the gate, Bellamy is the first to reach her. His arms wrap around her in a tense hug before he's pulling back, eyes frantic as he cups her face in his hands.
"What were you thinking, huh? Leaving for weeks, not telling anyone, making the whole camp worry-"
"Relax, Bell, I'm fine." She rubs her hands comfortingly on his arms, but the tension never leaves his frame, not that she expected it to.
"Where have you been?" he asks, like he's still scared that she's out there, hurt or lost. Octavia aches when she thinks of how worried she must have been, but the pay-off will be worth it in the end.
She left Clarke about a mile from Camp Jaha, near the river. Within the past couple days she had untied Clarke, allowing her to walk alongside her when Octavia was sure she wouldn't run.
Clarke walked with a crouch, her hands splayed out before her like she was ready to crawl on all fours at any moment, and Octavia couldn't help but be curious of the life she lived in the past four months that transformed her into this. She didn't ask, though. Clarke's story belonged to Bellamy first.
When Octavia and Clarke stood near the river, the commotion from Camp Jaha within earshot, Clarke had stopped suddenly. Octavia had almost regretted releasing Clarke from her bindings, but Clarke didn't flee.
"What is it?" Octavia had asked her, trying to keep the harshness from her voice. No matter how angry she still was at Clarke for all she had done, she had to keep a level head if she wanted her to make it through the gate.
"I never thought I'd see it again," Clarke said, her pale blue eyes somewhere far away.
Octavia had allowed Clarke a few moments of contemplative silence before chucking a bar of soap at the back of her head.
"You're not going back to camp looking like you do," Octavia had stated plainly. "You can scrub that crap off of you and then come back when you're ready."
Clarke was silent for a moment, then nodded. Octavia wasn't sure whether or not to trust her, but when Clarke bent down to the water to begin splashing it on her face, Octavia nodded to herself. Clarke had come this far, she would see it through.
"I was hunting, like I said," Octavia says to her brother, her chin raised in defiance.
"Don't play with me, Octavia. You left for three weeks. Where were you?"
He's so close to cracking, Octavia has to look away from the concern in his eyes. It's strange that the blue eyes she'd been looking into for the past week could be so dull while Bellamy's were bright as ever, still too concerned with others to notice the wreckage of himself.
She hears the Guards stir behind her and knows that she doesn't need an explanation now. She peels Bellamy's hands from her shoulders and glances behind her, noting that Bellamy's gaze follows hers past the gate.
She's cleaner than she's probably been in months, though much thinner and paler than she has any right to be. Even from where she stands, about a hundred yards from the gate, Octavia can see how frightened Clarke's eyes are, and that she still can't help but crouch a bit, like she might run at any second.
But Bellamy looks like he's seeing for the first time in months. His hands fall away from Octavia's shoulders and fall limp at his sides, and Octavia stays back as she watches him slowly pace toward the gate, like he's sure that his eyes are deceiving him.
Her name falls from his lips like a whisper, or a prayer, and somehow the Guard knows without being asked to open the gate for him.
"Clarke?" he calls out louder, probably as loud as his voice can get in this state of shock. But she hears it, and when she sees him for the first time, Octavia still isn't sure if Clarke will flee or not.
But Bellamy is already running, faster than he's moved in a long time, lighter too, and Clarke seems to move toward him before even realizing it. She's running as well, her spine straightening and her shoulders pushing back as she pumps her arms hard, each of them coming closer to the other with every step.
And Octavia can see the pain within each of them wash away in that very moment their bodies collide. Clarke's fingers dig into his shirt like she's gripping a lifeline, and Bellamy's arms wrap around her like a vice, and Octavia knows that this is what they needed. Despite all the pain, despite all the suffering both have felt and caused, all they need in this moment is to feel the other, to know that the other is there. Neither of them can carry their weight alone, but together they can move mountains.
She knows that this will not be easy. Having them together will not magically fix everything. They will fight, they will fall apart, and they will hurt each other like they always have. But the only way that either can exist is with the other, this Octavia is sure of.
And as she watches Bellamy and Clarke fall to their knees, still clutching each other with smiles on their faces so bright it's like looking into the sun, Octavia can see that that two broken people can't mend each other, but they can make a mosaic that might just make them feel whole.
A/N: Because with a finale like that, how can you NOT write angsty fanfiction about it, am I right?
Anyways, thank you for reading! Reviews are always appreciated!