I couldn't accept what happened on Thursday, so this is set as if Clarke had just left Polis and returned to the Ark. Hope you enjoy, reviews always welcome!
Every step of the horse's hoof beneath her sent a fresh wave of nausea over her body. They had been riding for hours without break and the sky was slowly brightening to an inky blue above her head as dawn crept upon them. The monotonous rustling of the animals movement did little to calm her nerves as she felt the flow of heartbreak and dread run through her.
Clarke looked to her right with tired eyes to see Octavia. Her head was held high as she watched the trees in the darkness, searching for another movement apart from the slight breeze in the early morning chill. Clarke could sense the eagerness in her friend's body. She knew that Octavia craved to be back at the Ark. She knew that as much as Octavia loved Polis, with its simple ways and depth of soul, it was not where she belonged. It was not where her heart belonged. Lincoln would be waiting for her with a pacing impatience that Clarke knew well. She knew how it felt to long for something that seemingly would never appear. She managed to muster a slight smile when she thought of her friend's happiness. Octavia had grown greatly from the girl that first stepped off the drop ship in to these treacherous new lands. She had found herself and she had found love in her newly discovered lifestyle. And most impressive of all, she carried this with little regard to what any of the others thought. This was something that Clarke couldn't help but to envy.
A pain behind Clarke's eyes started to burn as the thoughts rolled in her head. She thought back to not even a few hours ago when her skin and heart had both been warm and full. In her lack of sleep, she could have almost convinced herself it was a dream... Almost. She knew that she'd never be able to forget the light touches and pressing of lips that she'd experienced. The lowering of her walls for the first time in a long time and the false sense of security that came with broken promises.
Maybe some day, you and I will owe nothing more to our people.
She inhaled deeply at the thought, pressing down the emotions that were seemingly trying to crawl up her throat and scratch out of her skin. Clarke had left her. Clarke had left her to wake up to a cold bed and a broken alliance that would never be what it once was. She allowed her insecurities to pull at her thoughts; a fleeting moment where she wondered if Lexa would be experiencing the pain she was right now. Wondered whether she could really take comfort in the fact that Lexa would be yearning as she was or whether she'd already be forgotten in the place of duty. She almost thought convincing herself this to be true would be easier. If she could force herself to believe that she'd been nothing more than a well timed pawn in Lexa's political game then it would be easier to forget the dull ache that seeped deeper in to her soul with every beat of her heart.
But she simply knew it wasn't true. Even for Lexa, the master of composure, deception and calm. She hadn't been able to hide herself when they had kissed, when they had made love. Clarke remembered the stain on her cheek as their lips touched. The dazzling streak in the candlelight that had catalyzed the match to start the fire within her. Lexa loved her. She was sure of that. But if she was honest with herself that was the last thing she wanted now. It was never supposed to be this way. Allies, equals, even friends could have been acceptable for their circumstances. But lovers had never been on the cards. Although she had disagreed with Lexa in the beginning now she realised how truly full of wisdom the Commander was. Love is weakness and Clarke knew that now more than ever. She had never been so truly weak.
A cough to her side drew her out of her deep musings and she looked up to see Octavia staring at her with steely eyes. She knew that her friend hadn't quite forgiven her everything and if this was Octavia's current opinion on her leadership, she knew the wrath that awaited her at the Ark was going to be worse when she came with news of boundaries and death orders.
"Were about 5 minutes away, Clarke. It looks like we've made it just in time." Octavia said in an emotionless tone, nodding up towards the horizon where the first orangey dustings of light were scattering in the sky. Clarke merely moved her head in return, unable to voice anything that was going through her mind at the time. The people that had once brought her so much so much solace and calm now felt like a jury awaiting to seal her fate. She felt like she deserved whatever ill destiny was awaiting her after all the sins she'd committed in her time, but even so she couldn't help the flutter of her pulse as she started to make out the edges of the Ark in the morning light.
She didn't even know what she was going back to. For so long she had relationships she'd thought were unshakeable. Octavia, her mother, Raven, Bellamy. All pillars that had seen her through her time since she'd first stepped on the ground. And now she didn't even really know how to distinguish friend from foe with anyone. Well except for one...
A fresh rush of nausea flooded through her as she thought of her once again. It had been mere minutes since the last, but the pain was still as toxic as ever. She collected herself with what little strength she had left and held her head high as they approached the high gates to her familiar home.
Clarke hated how she couldn't help but compare the dense metallic walls to the carved wood she really craved. Hated how the hum of generators and computers had replaced the sound of the market square and tents flapping in the night. The sight of season warriors with spears and arrows had been replaced with soldiers and guns, a view which now made her stomach turn. A place that had once felt more home to her than ever before now felt like a prison keeping her away from where she really wanted to be.
But Clarke knew she had a job to do and that being a leader never came easy. When she first stepped off of the drop ship, what felt like a different life time ago, she had made a promise to herself and these people that she would keep them safe and put their needs before her own. To go against it now for her own selfish reasons would mean to lose herself. She had made her choice and now she just prayed that she had the strength to stick to her convictions.
"Halt!" an armed guard bellowed from above them as they were mere feet from the heavy gates. She could almost feel the weapon penetrating her skin as she slowly raised her head. She recognised the guard from her time aboard the Ark and tried to soften her face in hopes of some form of reciprocation of recognition. All she received in return was a hard stare and a welcome she had known was coming all along.
She raised her hands cautiously, her eyes quickly flicking down to the pistol that was attached to her thigh. "Clarke Griffin. Octavia and I have returned. We have news from Polis and wish to speak to the Chancellor." Clarke stared at the man in return, hoping that her facial expressions wouldn't betray the amount of unease she was feeling about the situation on the inside. Octavia pulled up on her horse directly at her side. She could feel her friend's leg strapping brush against her own and it was a welcome feeling of unity she hadn't felt from any of her own kind in what seemed like an eternity.
"She's telling the truth." Octavia answered in response to the weapon that was still being pointed at them both. "Send out your scouts, we travel alone. We are here to return to our home, nothing more sinister." Octavia called out, the tone of defiance in her voice as present as always.
The guard above the gates held their gaze with his own. The weighted impasse seemed to drag further and further on, with Clarke's mind drifting closer to the weapon strapped to her body with every passing second. She was just about to try and reason again before the guard reluctantly lowered his rifle. His head flicked back to the Ark for the smallest of moments before turning to face them again. Clarke braced herself for whatever might happen next, glancing at Octavia as she did. The sound of the gates parting hit her with a wave of relief. The Ark was now more foreign to her than anywhere in these lands. On her last visit She had gone from esteemed leader to prisoner in what felt like minutes. She had no idea to what depths of treachery and treason she had fallen to in the Ark's opinion now.
"Dismount the horses before you step over the threshold." The guard barked from above them. Clarke couldn't help but roll her eyes at the order, her irritation of the new ethos at the Ark more present than ever. She slowly slid off the animal that had carried her so well, softly patting it's side before leading it by its reins in to the grassy opening of her old home.
In the dull light she could see Chancellor Pike ahead of her, his face a stone mask of emotion that she neither trusted nor welcomed. She edged slightly closer to Octavia as they cautiously walked closer to the man that had torn down everything they had fought and died to build. The loathing that pulsed within her didn't do justice to how she felt about the man. As they neared she could make out Kane and her mother to his left. The ache in her chest instantly soothed as she saw that Abby was both well and clearly still holding some weight of authority due to her proximity to the Ark's new leader. Clarke offered a slight smile in her mother's direction and was pleased to see that it was returned. However, she couldn't help but see the look of both apprehension and anxiety in her eyes.
She stopped walking alongside Octavia when they were a few meters from the group. They had now been sucked deeply back in to the grounds of the Ark and a part of Clarke longed for the gates to still be open so she could make an attempt at getting back to where she really wanted to be. Now all chance of that hope was lost.
"Chancellor Pike. We have much to disc-" Clarke started before feeling the sickening blow to the side of her head from the butt of a rifle. She crashed to her hands and knees, her blurred vision just about making out Octavia in the same position as herself. She felt the familiar sting of the shock baton swipe at her back as she fell face first in to the grass and tasted the bitter mud. In her half conscious state, she watched as both horses were swiftly executed with shots to the brain. There was a ringing in her ears but she could just make out the haunting echo of her mother's screams. She thought she'd be scared, when faced with an almost certain death. She thought she'd use every fiber in her body to fight back and struggle. But right now, with her very bleak and alone future, she half accepted it. It was only the memory of warm touches, lingering kisses and green eyes that made her try and keep her hopes of survival alive. .
Her dazed view was then filled with the face of her enemy. Chancellor Pike stood over her with his armed guards cocooning him in safety. He bent down so he was mere inches away from her ear and his words chilled Clarke to her core. "If we didn't want Grounder horses, we certainly don't want Grounder citizens." He snarled before shouting for Octavia and herself to be handcuffed.
Clarke felt the slow trickle of blood seep in to her eyes as she was lifted up and carried by the guards that had been at Pike's side. She was swiftly losing her battle with consciousness, as she was walked in to the main hub of the Ark and in to one of it's prisoner bays. The cold floor hit her back with an unwelcome sensation as her head lolled backwards from her shoulders. The last thing she remembered before she slipped in to the deep blackness was the door being locked behind her and the all consuming fear that she'd never be back to where she belonged again.