Clarke's absence is noted immediately by their people, but they're all too shell-shocked to really question him about it. Bellamy isn't oblivious, though; he knows they want to. He sees the questioning looks they're throwing each other and the whispers that pass between them. He's watched more than five of them look at him with pitying eyes.

It's a few hours later, when he visits Clarke's mom in Medical that he officially breaks the news for the first time.

"Where's Clarke?" Abby asks, looking around. "She should be here, I want to see her."

Bellamy shakes his head. "She's gone, Chancellor," he answers, his tone distant and formal. "She left."

"She left?" Kane wonders from behind the Chancellor.

"Well, then, bring her back! I want to see my daughter; she has to be around here somewhere."

Bellamy shakes his head. "No," he says, "you don't understand. She didn't come inside the gates. She left."

Bellamy expects her to look at him with distrustful eyes, the way she did when he first got to Camp Jaha. He expects panic and worry, followed by demands for a search party to bring her back. He expects her to blame him, to say that he should have tried harder to get her to stay, but she doesn't. Not any of it.

Bellamy watches her breathe in sharply, tears welling in her eyes, as she fights to gain control. He has never seen Abby Griffin look more like her daughter than in that moment, pushing through the pain to think rationally and calmly. It doesn't take more than a few moments for her to do so, and then she nods to him.

"She's had to make a lot of hard choices," Abby murmurs. "The blood won't come off this time." Bellamy isn't sure if she's talking to him anymore, or just speaking to herself. He's not sure if she knows either. What he does understand is that, for the first time since being reunited with her daughter on the ground, Bellamy thinks mother might finally understand daughter.

-x-

More than a week goes by and there hasn't been any word from Clarke. One of the 48 remaining members of the original 102—excluding Murphy and Clarke, who are unaccounted for—are always posted at the gate, waiting. Ironically, it's one of the few things they all are excited to do. They all want to be the one to finally see her, or get word of her. Sadly, nothing has come of this constant watch.

At the request of the Chancellor herself, Bellamy and Lincoln have both been invited to be a part of the Council. Bellamy on behalf of the other 45, and Lincoln as a sort of unofficial ambassador of the Grounders. Neither one refuses. Bellamy thinks it is his duty to look after the 45—because Clarke told him to—and Lincoln looks at Abby Griffin and sometimes sees Clarke.

Octavia waits outside the meeting room during every meeting, hoping one of them will talk to her about it, but neither really does. A part of her resents this, Bellamy knows; just like he knows a part of her resents Clarke for leaving, for putting him in this position he never wanted. (For a lot of other things as well, but they don't talk about that.)

"You need to do something about this, Bell," Octavia tells him one night while they're eating. "You're trying to be a leader, you're trying to be a comforting presence to the others, and you're trying to be a member of the guard. You're trying to do too much, and you're floundering."

Bellamy shakes his head. "I have to do this," he replies resolutely.

"For her?" she asks, with venom in her words. "She shouldn't have put their welfare in your hands. That was wrong of her. Leaving and handing off all responsibility to you."

Bellamy just shrugs. "She needs this…I don't know what she needs, but she didn't think she'd find it here."

Octavia gets up, her expression angry and determined. "Well, they needed her—they need the both of you, and she abandoned them."

Eventually, Bellamy and Lincoln manage to persuade Abby into letting Octavia onto the Council as well; and in sharing that duty with her, he is able to balance his other responsibilities a little bit better. Octavia's attitude toward Clarke's absence softens as she starts to really see how being a leader effects people.

-x-

He makes it a point to keep an eye on all of the original 100. Some of them got to reunite with family, so there are a few that are genuinely happy to have a home and feel safe, but the rest were not so lucky. Most of them are likely orphans, and Bellamy had to arrange housing for them.

Abby had wanted them matched with adults from the Ark, but Bellamy had fought against this. They may not be eighteen yet, but they are far from needing supervision. They went through hell that first month alone, and then even worse hell once they were trapped in Mt. Weather. The last thing these kids needed was to be restrained by adults once more.

Rooms and tents were set aside for them—three or four delinquents each—and they roomed together, responsible for the safety of each other. This is what they had wanted, and this is what keeps them loyal to Bellamy, and not a true part of Camp Jaha.

Bellamy tries to visit with at least one of the groups each day, to make sure they're doing alright, and to talk through anything they need to say but can't say to anyone else. He is their spokesperson in meetings with the council, and fights to keep them separate as much as possible.

It's not a fully formed plan in his mind, but he likes to think that, when Clarke comes back, he and the kids are going to leave. Perhaps go back to the dropship or something, but he doesn't like the way the Arkers keep trying to push the kids aside. They deserve so much more than that.

-x-

Bellamy, Lincoln, and Marcus lead training exercises for the guard as well as scouting missions, hunting missions, and peace missions over the next two weeks. With the Mountain vanquished, the deal Lexa struck with the Mountain no longer applies, and Abby is determined to have peace after all this fighting.

Bellamy isn't sure how he feels about making nice with the same people who abandoned the rescue of his people, leaving them to die. At the same time, he recognizes that they need allies, and they are the most logical place to start.

Indra, with the help of Lincoln and Octavia, eventually comes around. For now, it is merely a ceasefire agreement as well as a trade agreement with the intention of a true alliance if things continue amicably.

They are walking back from Tondc to bring these terms to their Chancellor when Marcus asks Bellamy a question. It is the question he knows everyone has been wondering, but no one—even the grounders—has asked.

"What if she never comes back?"

Bellamy knows immediately who Kane is referring to.

"She will," Bellamy says. "I don't know when, but one day, she'll come back." Lincoln, by his side, nods silently, his face unreadable, but Bellamy appreciates the silent show of support.

"How do you know?" he asks.

Bellamy isn't all that sure why he is so confident that Clarke will return one day, but he is certain of it. He thinks back to their goodbye. The feel of her arms around his, the devastation in her eyes, the way she all but trembled with emotion. In the two months they've been on this planet, he's never seen her more shaken—not even after Finn—and yet, he knows.

"She as good as promised."

She needs time right now, to come to terms with everything, to find herself, to do whatever it is she needs to do; but once that is done, she'll come back. May we meet again, she had told him, and he intends to hold her to those words.

He has to believe that.

-x-

His faith in her is rewarded a few days later. She doesn't come back—it'll be a long time until then—but Miller, the Delinquent on guard that day notices someone walking toward camp, someone who is clearly not one of theirs. He notifies the other guards on duty and within minuets, Bellamy, Abby, and Lincoln are all standing by the doors of the gate, waiting their unannounced visitor.

Relations with the Grounders are primarily peaceful now, but Lincoln looks concerned.

"Who is he?" Bellamy asks Lincoln, trying to puzzle out the reason behind Lincoln's expression.

"He isn't Trikru," he answers.

This puts all of them on edge. They haven't yet attempted talks with the other clans. They don't know where they are, except for Lincoln, and he thought they should wait until they have his clan on their side before attempting to broker peace with the others.

"Could you make a guess?" Kane wants to know, having quickly been caught up to speed.

Lincoln studies the man, takes measure of his clothes, his weapons, his posture. He says a word in Trigedasleng that Bellamy isn't familiar with. When all his compatriots look at him with confused expressions, Lincoln translates. "The Wet Clan." No one looks impressed or enlightened by the name. Lincoln sighs, and Bellamy can't help but think the Grounders are not the most imaginative bunch. "The translation isn't perfect. They're northwest from here, it rains a lot."

Bellamy shrugs. It's no more creative than the Tree Clan, he decides.

"Why is he here?" Abby wonders.

"Is he actually alone?" Kane adds, glancing into the trees, searching for others.

"I think he is alone," Lincoln says.

Bellamy turns to Kane. "Open the gates," he says. "If he's alone, he can't be here to attack us—he wouldn't get very far—so we might as well let him in to hear what he has to say."

Kane nods and turns to Abby. "Yes, Marcus," she says. "Open the gates and take our…guest, to the council's meeting room." That said, Abby turns and walks away back to the fallen Ark. Bellamy assumes she's gone to ready the meeting room and summon the required people.

He introduces himself as Baton of the Wet Clan and says that he must talk to their leaders, so Bellamy, Lincoln, and Kane take him to the council's meeting room, as instructed.

Octavia, Abby, and the other members of the council are waiting there.

"My people have sent me to make peace," he tells them. "After the fall of the Mountain, word of your people—and especially your leader—has traveled across the land, and then she came."

"Who came?" Abby asks, but Bellamy already knows.

"You've seen Clarke?" he interrupts. "How is she? Where is she now?"

Baton shakes his head. "She left when I did. We traveled together for a little while and she pointed me in the right direction to reach your camp, but then we split off.

"Where did she go?" Lincoln wonders.

"I do not know. She left in the night, while I was asleep. She left this behind though. I think I was meant to bring it to you." Baton shuffles around with his clothing, and reaches into a pocket and pulls out a bit of tree bark with writing on it. He passes it to Bellamy. Abby tries to make a grab for it, as is her right as Chancellor, but Bellamy sees his name on it and doesn't let her take it.

Bellamy, it reads. I am not sure where I am going or when I will come back. I will try to send you word when I can. I don't want everyone to worry too much. Baton and his people are nice. Don't do anything stupid.

He snorts. She signs it with a crudely drawn image of a crown. Once finished reading the short missive, he hands it to Abby, and taking her daughter's word, starts negotiating with the man.

-x-

What follows over the course of the next four months is much of the same. Clarke doesn't return, but the kids remain hopeful, as does Bellamy.

Four other clans from the surrounding areas journey to their camp after having met with Clarke. Each one of them brings Bellamy something from Clarke. Sometimes they bring notes, sometimes other gifts. He takes them in stride, these offerings; though he can't help but think they resemble that which someone might give to a king. One message in particular, shapes the course of his actions, and he does not relay this message to Abby.

I don't know how the Arkers have been treating you all, but I hope you aren't causing too many problems. I want them to be safe, because they deserve that much; but I do not want to live with all of them. They did not want us; they sent us down here to die. We cannot live with them.

"She's a legend to them," Raven tells him one night, referring to the reverent way these new allies seem to view Clarke. She had spent the night talking with the girl from the Nation of Ruins (the clan that lives in the ruins of one of the larger cities). They have so much defunct technology that they're repurposing, and Raven's taken an interest.

Raven continues as she sits beside him. "She took out three hundred of Lexa's best warriors, she held down an alliance, and she took care of the Mountain Men. Obviously, they're at least somewhat aware that she didn't do all of it by herself, but they all view her as our leader, so she takes the credit."

Bellamy eyes her carefully. He hasn't been able to figure out where Raven stands on the whole Clarke issue. Last he knew, they were not quite on good terms after the way Finn had died, but then Mt. Weather happened, and Clarke left.

When Raven begins speaking again, he wonders if she could tell what he was thinking. "I did kind of hate her for what she did to Finn." She shrugs. "Maybe I still do, a bit; but it had to be done. I saw what they were doing to the kids in Mt. Weather—they did it to me, too—so I know. Clarke wanted to stop that. Everything she did was to stop those kids from suffering. So I understand why she did what she did. I came to terms with it a while ago. I just…" Raven hesitates, and Bellamy sees the pain in her eyes. "I just wish it were different."

"Yeah," Bellamy mumbles. He thinks of Finn, of the missile that landed on Tondc, of the mountain in the distance that is filled with the ghosts of the guilty and innocent alike. "Me too."

-x-

More months go by, more clans visit. Caris comes from the Desert Clan, and reunites with Octavia for a while, and then Echo comes from the Ice Nation. They all bring messages from Clarke, but Echo's the only messenger so far who has given Bellamy any more information than that which Clarke directed them to.

"She's lost," Echo tells him. "She did some things she never wanted to do for her people and it has affected her."

This, Bellamy already knew. He had hoped she could find herself here—with him, beside him—but perhaps that could have never been possible. Perhaps she really couldn't look at the kids' faces without seeing the innocents from Mt. Weather. "Ghosts have been following her around since we landed on this planet," he tells Echo candidly.

She nods, and the way she's looking at him, he's sure she can tell that he's talking about himself too. "She'll come back," Echo tells him confidently, catching one of his hands in hers. "In my village, she was healing. She'll find herself soon enough."

Bellamy's eyes travel to the gates, as if Clarke will just walk through them. He hopes she's right. He doesn't want to lead the kids without her. A part of him feels as if it has been missing since she left, and though he tries to pull it to him, it isn't there. He isn't at his best with Clarke gone. He knows it, and he's always worrying others will know too.

Echo sits beside him by the fire for awhile before speaking again. "Some of your people have said she ran away, but I would like to correct that assumption. Clarke did not run from her people."

Bellamy's eyes don't leave the flames, but he's curious.

"She's learning how to lead, gaining knowledge of this world, and making alliances. Clarke already made an agreement with my people. Me coming here—that is more for your Chancellor's people."

Bellamy turns back to Echo after that statement and she laughs. "Do you Sky People think we cannot see the division between the young ones that follow you and the others? We see it, and know that you will be two groups soon enough; your leader has eluded to it. I am sure when she comes back, she will explain her agreements with the clans to you."

Somehow, Bellamy is shocked. Yes, he'd been gearing up for an abdication of the 100 from the Arkers since Clarke's message, but he hadn't known she'd been preparing as well.

Finally, Echo stands up, reading herself to leave. "One last thing before I take my leave. Your Clarke is a great warrior, and she'll be a great leader, Bellamy of the Sky People. She will come back to you soon, but when she does, she will want to harden, to stop feeling to keep her head level. Don't let her do it—don't let her harden. It is not necessary, and it will not help her, you, or your people."

He studies her face as she speaks, noticing the pain and regret in her face, and wonders about her past. He wants to ask, but recognizes that if she had wanted him to know, she would have told him.

Whatever her reasoning, her advice will not be forgotten.

-x-

With the passage of time, comes a new society within the Camp. Bellamy watches trade agreements being carried out and apprentices being trained from different clans. The adults' society has begun to flourish, and his people have watched from the sidelines.

The guns around camp are rarely brought out anymore, as everyone feels safe without them. The first children are born to the ground from the Sky People, the sun shines down upon them all, summer air smells sweet and blue skies reign. Bellamy wonders if this is what the dawning of a new era feels like, but he dismisses the notion. The new era cannot happen until Clarke's return, because he's been making plans.

Jasper and Monty, who have long since made up and come to terms with all that happened in Mt. Weather, have been secretly disseminating the information. Octavia and Lincoln have been traversing the ground required, setting up a perimeter, and negotiation secretly with Indra and her people. Raven and Wick have been gathering supplies and allocating the resources to the necessary people for future use.

"How long do you think it'll be now?" Miller asks him one morning as they talk in secret about the abdication plans.

"Not long," Bellamy says, meaning it for the first time. He isn't sure how he knows, but he can feel it in his very soul. Clarke should be coming home soon.

-x-

Clarke's return proves to be rather anticlimactic. In this, Bellamy harbors some resentment to the Arkers. Clarke gave so much of herself for these people—to protect them from enemies they didn't even believe they had—and they don't care one bit when she finally returns to them.

Harper, as the delinquent on watch, is the first to spot her. Abruptly, she abandons her post and makes a beeline for Bellamy, finding him in the training area with some of the younger delinquents.

"She's back," Harper says, slightly out of breath, but a smile on her face.

Bellamy rushes to the gates as the delinquents he'd been training disseminate and spread the word to the relevant people.

Bellamy himself opens the gates for her, and the two embrace. "I've missed you, Princess," he whispers in her hair.

Clarke smiles against his neck. "I told you I'd come back—repeatedly, if my messages made it to you as I suspect they did—but, even still, I missed you too, Bellamy."

They stay in their embrace for what feels like hours, not even hearing the chorus of voices that circle them. When, at last, they do break apart, they are greeted by 45 delinquents who are all smiling at them.

Just outside the gates of Camp Jaha, 47 people come as close as they can to each other, embracing whoever is nearest them. A few tears are shed, a few laughs are heard, but overwhelmingly, there is silence, as they reunite.

-x-

A few days later, after the other necessary reunions, Clarke comes to Bellamy with the news. "I told my mom," she announces from his bedroom door. "We're leaving in two days."

"How many are we taking?" he asks.

Clarke shrugs. "However many wanna come, I guess."

In the end, their numbers include the Bellamy, Clarke, the 45 delinquents from the 100, Wick, Lincoln, David Miller, a few other parents who do not wish to separate from their children again, and twelve other Arkers who would rather follow Bellamy and Clarke. It's a small number—less than the original intended number of the mission—but it's perfect for building a new society.

They make their way to the place where it all started—cleaned up and rebuilt. Bellamy gives Clarke a small smile as he reaches for her hand. "This time, we're going to make it work. We're going to do it right."

"You really think we can do it this time?" she asks him.

Bellamy nods. "Between your diplomatic skills, Princess, and my charming personality—" Clarke snorts at this "—and our desire not to repeat past mistakes, I really do think we can do this."

Clarke laughs for the first time in as long as Bellamy can remember. "What?" she teases. "No 'whatever the hell we want'?"

He just smiles, leans forward, and kisses her brow, before moving into the crowd, ready to give orders. As he speaks, he watches Clarke hang back and watch it all unfold around her. Then, before he knows it, she's standing next to him, speaking to the crowd. It feels familiar. It feels right.