A/N: This story begins at the end of 3x16 and everything that happened on the show has occurred. This is a long story and it would be my version of Season 4. There will be Clexa in this story along with a loose interpretation of "science" and yes, I meant to put science in quotes like that. This story is unlike my other Clexa stories in that because of the events that occurred in season 3, Clexa is featured and will be heavily, but other plots and characters are featured heavily as well. This one will deal with the aftermath of the CoL, Clarke trying to save her people again, more battles as well as a major character death.
After everything she'd been through, it would all end anyway. Despite all her efforts to save everyone; to save the people she loved, they'd all be gone. They'd all die. She'd die too, of course. She'd never really considered being scared or fearful of her own death. She'd never had time. It had always been about everyone else.
On the Ark, life was just life. People worked and went to classes to learn how to work. Their sole purpose as a unit of humanity was to keep the ship in space. That's how humanity would survive. They'd keep the Ark running, even if it was barely clinging to life itself because that's what they had to do. Humanity had to survive so they put in the work until even the work wasn't enough and they sent the 100 down to the ground. They weren't expected they'd survive, but survive they did. Most of the time, it felt like they were barely hanging on. Most of the time, that was enough for Clarke. Until it wasn't anymore.
She'd be lying if she said she didn't always dream of earth; that she didn't draw up it both in her waking and sleeping hours inside her head. The thoughts of what it must have been like before the bombs swirled inside her brain daily because it was all that she had outside of her parents and friends to sustain her. When one parent was floated and the other looked on and then saw her escorted to a solitary cell, she lost all of that and earth was what was left.
She'd always been envious of the future humans who would be around when the radiation died down enough for them to finally step foot on the ground. They'd be exploring a place no one had stepped foot on in hundreds of years most likely and they'd get to explore the forests and the cities that had become ghost towns. She wondered if there would be bodies; long decomposed of course and bones by the time anyone would see them, but people were at work and at home and walking on streets when bombs blew up the planet. Some weren't killed in blasts, but by radiation poisoning and they'd likely died in their own beds or in hospitals. She used to wonder if it made her a bad person to consider these things when she thought of the ground. These dark thoughts often came to her just before lights out as she faced the ceiling in her stifling cell. She'd often thought about how the people that were alive on the Ark at that moment were really just killing time. It was there job to keep humans alive long enough for their offspring's offspring maybe to try for life of earth instead of inside a patched and battered metal box. They only existed to make sure the future could exist.
When their feet hit the ground, she had a moment of absolute hope before everything changed. They'd survived the fall and apparently the intense radiation was depleted enough for them to make it. She'd been stupid to think that a group of teenage criminals would actually want to send their signal back to the Ark so that the adults could come down and most likely lock them back up and take over the world. And it really was that way. They would run the world. There was no one else on the planet. It was either the 100 or the adults from the Ark that would create the new earth. Clarke wasn't exactly sure which she preferred herself when things started to change.
They discovered they weren't the only people on the planet after all. The dark thoughts she'd been able to push out of her mind briefly returned and multiplied as they began fighting for their survival in a different way than on the Ark and somehow she'd been gifted with the role of leader of her people. Gift is a funny way of looking at it since for most of the time, it was but a curse to Clarke Griffin. Every moment of her day and night was about just getting people to the next one without someone among them dying.
Then, she met Lexa. As she thought back to their meeting, she couldn't conceive how the woman before her that day could become so unbelievably important to her. How she'd be considering, in this very moment, that she no longer wanted to live if she couldn't have the one person in the world she felt truly understood her; the one person she'd finally opened herself up to loving more than her people; the one person she'd love forever.
In the immediate moments after Lexa's death, Clarke had pushed through her grief because that was what was asked of her by her people. In order to save them, she had to save herself and to do that, she had to flee Polis with the Flame. She had to find a way to defeat A.L.I.E. and get everyone out of the City of Light.
Using Ontari's blood was the best chance she had and she took it. She took it because she needed to find the kill switch, but she also took it because there was a chance she'd see her again. Even if that chance was miniscule, she had to take it or she knew she'd regret it for the rest of her life. Sure, she'd searched for Luna and really any other Nightblood. She hoped they'd take the Flame and end A.L.I.E.. That was their best chance. Her taking the chip wasn't a possibility then.
When she was out of all other possibilities though, she knew she was their only chance. Before she woke up in the City of Light, there was a moment of black; of solid darkness where she thought she was dead. She also thought about how it always came to be that these were her burdens to bear. Why had she been chosen and who had done the choosing? Was it as Lexa had repeatedly told her that she was born for this? It was pre-determined before her birth that this would be her destiny? In that same moment, she thought about how she was just a teenage girl who'd lost her father, lost friends, nearly lost her mother and lost the love of her life all within a short span of time. She was just a girl and yet.
When her eyes opened, it was bright and she realized the Flame had led her where she needed to go, but it wasn't until she saw Lexa look over her shoulder with a small smile that she felt like she had a real chance. It wasn't until Lexa was in her arms that she felt like she was home. She recognized the feeling immediately because she'd felt it before. She'd felt it when she leaned in and kissed Lexa in Polis, when she looked down at her on her bed and saw the tear sliding down her face and she knew Lexa loved her back. She'd felt it again and again that day until Titus took her home away.
She'd gotten a chance to say those three words she never did in life to Lexa before Lexa reminded her she'd always be with her and Clarke wondered briefly how hard it would have been for Lexa to just say the words back to her. Then, at least Clarke would have them to hold onto along with their memories, but when she awoke after flipping the kill switch, she realized that though those words would have meant everything to her, she didn't need them. Lexa had showed her time and again how much she loved her. The truth was that Clarke had never seen someone love another person the way Lexa had loved her. It wasn't always in words. In fact, it was rarely in words. It was always in her actions. And it started when they first met.
Clarke had no time to grieve after Lexa's death. That was true, but there were moments where she had to sleep. They were few and far between as they tried to determine how to kill A.L.I.E. and get her friends out of the City of Light. Those moments when she stared up at the sky at night or the ceiling when she was inside were the moments when she ran through her entirely too short time with the Commander of the 12 Clans; Lexa kom Trikru. Lexa. Her Lexa. No one would ever know what they meant to each other. No one could ever understand how Lexa had pulled her out of the dark. She'd never be able to explain it properly to anyone and while that bothered her, in a way, it also felt right somehow. She and Lexa were special together, but they were more special in their private moments.
Lexa had spared her life after Clarke's mercy killing of Finn. Truthfully, she could have killed her the moment she entered her tent. Indra wanted her too. Every grounder wanted her to kill the Sky Girl that burned their warriors, but Lexa didn't do it. She believed Clarke when Raven was blamed for trying to poison her. Lexa drove a strong sword into the chest of the perpetrator and Clarke saw in her eyes that this was someone she cared about. She was someone who could care and when she heard Lexa talk of Costia, she knew she'd been right in her assertion. The harsh Commander had a heart.
Unfortunately, at the mountain, Lexa had thought with her head and not her heart. It killed Clarke in more ways than one when Lexa walked off leaving her there to save her people. She'd understood it, but it hurt like hell and Clarke had to admit to herself all those months wandering, hunting, trying to stay hidden, if the reason it hurt so much was because she felt betrayed by a fellow leader or if she felt betrayed by someone she'd grown to care about. The answer, she'd decided was both and that didn't make it better.
Lexa saved her from the bounty on her head. Clarke knew it wasn't just for the possibility of an alliance and because she wanted the power of Wanheda. Lexa saved Clarke; not the Commander of Death. As she'd stare up with tears in her eyes trying to both sleep away her always present exhaustion, but also somehow remain fully awake so she could think of her and recall every single moment of their time together, she'd remember Lexa always giving her space; never pushing Clarke toward their seemingly inevitable romantic relationship. Whenever Clarke needed to push her away, Lexa had allowed it. Lexa allowed Clarke to speak to her as a person when no one else was allowed to address the Commander that way. She never yelled at Clarke in the way she yelled at others even when they disagreed. She'd always respected Clarke's position as a leader of her people.
That night, when Lexa knelt before her, Clarke saw all of Lexa for the first time. Sure, she'd really seen all of her when they finally bared themselves physically to one another a time later, but the Commander knelt before no one and Lexa had knelt before her. She'd pledged fealty. She pledged to treat Clarke's needs as her own and in that moment, Lexa reminded Clarke of the wedding ceremonies that had grown more and more infrequent on the Ark before she'd been sent down. She saw Lexa. Lexa loved her. Lexa wouldn't leave her again. She'd never betray her. As Clarke helped her stand, she thought about what it would mean if she kissed Lexa in that moment. She gripped onto her hand moments longer than was needed to help the girl rise. Her breath stopped momentarily before it seemed to require pushing out of her body all at once so she could take in more oxygen. Her heartrate increased as her skin met Lexa's and she considered sliding her fingers between Lexa's longer ones before leaning in. Their eyes remained locked as they stood in silence considering what had just happened. Clarke was certain Lexa had planned that moment prior to Clarke kneeling before her in front of the ambassadors and others in the room. Lexa wasn't one for in the moment decisions unless they were in battle and she and Clarke were no longer in battle. Lexa had planned to bow to her as a way of apology, but also as a way to tell Clarke she viewed her as her equal. Clarke knew more than she'd known anything before that she loved her then. While things seemed to be looking up for their alliance and they finally had at least some people on their side, time would never be on their side. Clarke hadn't slid her fingers between Lexa's. She hadn't connected their lips. They'd been interrupted by Titus as they had been before and would be again. Clan business pulled Lexa's hand away from Clarke's that night.
She thought back to the night Lexa fought Roan and killed the Ice Queen. She'd come to say thank you and they'd spoken briefly as Clarke tended her wound, but if Clarke had one regret besides not being able to stop a bullet from entering Lexa's body, it would be that night. She'd said good night to her when they could have had more time together. She'd sent her away because she wasn't ready, but now that Lexa was gone, she pushed her mind back to that night more than any other and made herself ready for Lexa's love. She'd wrap her hand and then hold it in her own while rubbing a thumb softly across Lexa's skin. She'd feel her heart beat loudly and sense Lexa's doing the same. She'd move slightly closer and watch as Lexa had a momentary freak out and Clarke smiled at the thought as she recalled that night and continued to play out her revision of it in her mind.
That's all she had left of her now; the too few happy memories and the revisions she made in her mind of all the others. Lexa's smile, she worried would leave her memory first. She'd seen it far too rarely and it was beautiful. She'd squint her eyes closed as tightly as she could as she tried to sleep those first few nights after Lexa's death and she'd force that smile to stay in her mind. As much as it hurt to remember that last day together; holding Lexa as she died and feeling her dark blood on her fingers, she'd forced herself to replay that smile while they were naked next to one another. She forced herself to replay it over and over again in the hopes that if she did this a little each day, maybe she'd never forget it. She would touch her fingertips together and pretend her fingertips were touching Lexa's skin. She tried to remember the tattoo on her back, the feel of her soft lips against her own, the smell of her skin when Clarke was pressed close. That was all she had left of her until she took the Flame.
Unfortunately, their reunion in the City of Light, like their time together, was all too brief. Clarke wanted nothing more than to run off with Lexa. She considered it when Jasper reminded her how much humans continued to hurt each other. Life was hard and painful and Clarke thought about the woman standing next to her as Jasper spoke for A.L.I.E. and she wondered what would happen if she just gave in. She could hang up her guns. Lexa could put away her swords. They could live together in the City of Light. Was it really that bad?
She knew it couldn't be that way though. Lexa had been right about her all along. She was special. She was the one who had to save her people; who had to save the world.
"I love you." Clarke pushed out in one shaky breath.
"I'll always be with you." Lexa replied and before Clarke could breakdown entirely at those words knowing Lexa was going to take on an army by herself, she took another deep, shaky breath and followed Raven's door to Becca. Clarke had no time to consider that if Lexa got killed here, she'd be dead for good. Her consciousness that had been stored on the Flame, would evaporate and she'd be gone entirely. Her body was gone already, but her mind and everything Lexa was had been kept in this Flame. Clarke still didn't fully understand it, but when she held Lexa and kissed her again on those stairs, she knew it was her. It was her Lexa. She hadn't stopped to consider that no one else made it through that door. No one followed her into the kill switch room. Lexa had managed to keep them back long enough for Clarke to pull the switch and Clarke held onto that thought as Abby attempted to check to see if she was okay. Ontari was gone. The Nightblood was gone. The Flame, however, was still alive and Clarke had it in her hand. She still had her Lexa. She just had to figure out a way to get back to her.
Clarke watched as Octavia left the room. Pike was dead and Clarke thought for a moment about stopping the girl from leaving. She thought for a moment about trying to see if Pike could be saved, but it was clear he was dead and also, she didn't want to save him. He didn't deserve saving. He was responsible for so much of this pain. He'd executed Lincoln as Octavia had to watch. He'd caused the violence in Arkadia. He'd recruited Bellamy. He'd killed hundreds of people. Despite what he did at the end, it would not redeem him. There was no redeeming Pike.
Clarke stood in the room and watched Octavia disappear. She had no idea where she'd go, but Clarke had other worries now.
"What do we do?" Bellamy asked her while she looked down at Pike's corpse. Clarke didn't answer. "Clarke? What should we do now?" He repeatedly asked her.
"Clarke?" Abby checked. "Are you okay? You should sit down." She put her hands on Clarke's arm and over her stomach while Clarke stood staring. "She should rest." She directed toward Bellamy.
"Earth is covered in reactors that are going to meltdown." Clarke finally spoke up.
"What?" Abby asked.
"I think I just killed everyone with the flip of a switch." She clarified mostly to herself.
It was hours later and there was still confusion. People were embracing one another; others were helping the wounded. Some were clearing the dead. Clarke didn't know where to go or what to do. She held the Flame tightly in her hand as if she didn't, it would disappear. Lexa would disappear.
She needed a moment to herself. She needed just one moment where people weren't asking her questions or calling her name. She couldn't go back to Lexa's room because Ontari had tainted it just by being there. She couldn't go back to her old room in Polis because that's where she watched Lexa die. So, she stood on the balcony overlooking Polis while others moved around inside. Abby paused her questioning of her daughter to tend to the wounded. She'd enlisted the help of Murphy and anyone who could move or stand. She sent people outside to the crosses and into the city to help others. Clarke heard the commotion inside, but she did nothing to turn around and help. Bellamy had run off after Octavia and Clarke was glad he'd left. She knew Bell and he wouldn't be able to stop asking her questions about what had happened in the City of Light and in this moment, she just wanted to think. She needed to think.
This city was no longer Lexa's and that broke Clarke's heart almost as much as losing her had done. Lexa wanted peace so badly for her people. She'd seen hope when no one else before her could and it had cost her her life. Well, Clarke had some responsibility in that as well. Titus was aiming at her. He wanted Clarke dead. He wanted the Commander free of her influence and that is how Lexa got shot. Clarke struggled with that every day, but she knew Lexa didn't blame her. She knew Lexa would tell her it wasn't her fault and that she can't feel guilty about it. She also knew that she needed to see her again. She clung tighter to the Flame in her hand and finally turned around.
"Mom, I need you, Kane and Indra."
Abby turned away from a grounder she was bandaging and looked toward Clarke.
"Thelonious too." Abby offered and stood. She motioned toward the grounder that he was done and he nodded and walked off.
"No." Clarke objected.
"No!" She repeated a little louder this time. "Just us."
"What about me?" It was Bellamy. He'd returned from looking for Octavia. "I can't find O. I sent a few guys to look for her. I can't believe she'd just-"
"Kill Pike?" Clarke interrupted. Bellamy nodded. "I can."
"Mom, clear the room." She turned toward Murphy. "Murphy, can you get Kane and Indra here?"
"Yeah, I think Kane went outside. I'll find him." Murphy jumped to leave and Emori stood to go with him.
"Bellamy, you don't need to be here." Clarke stated.
"Clarke, I can help. Let me help." He implored. He gripped her somewhat gently by the arm and she looked down at his hand. It was as if seeing Lexa in the City of Light brought her back to a time when she and Bellamy were enemies. He was partly responsible for much of this. He didn't trust her. He didn't trust Lexa. He handcuffed her in Arkadia. He killed hundreds of people in cold blood. Clarke couldn't help but let those feelings come back into her; to engulf her in anger and disappointment in this person she used to trust. She'd been able to work with him to get them here, but she was unsure how she'd ever be able to fully trust him again. His actions along with Pike's led to so many horrors.
"Help people out there. I don't need you in here."
Bellamy opted not to argue and he nodded affirmatively, yet clearly he was hurt.
"I'll go see about helping outside." He turned and walked out of the room. Clarke didn't have time to worry about Bellamy's pain. She had too much of her own to deal with and unfortunately for her, the City of Light wasn't the pain free place it was for everyone else.
The crowd of people that had been in the tower began to disperse and after several minutes of Clarke standing back out on the balcony looking at the chaos that had finally begun to quiet, she heard Indra's voice.
"Klark kom Skaikru!" She greeted confidently, but was clearly in pain. Kane was helping her to a chair while Abby rushed over to assist. Murphy and Emori entered behind them. Then, she saw Jaha walk in behind them.
"Indra, how are you?" Clarke asked as she dismissed Jaha and moved toward the general.
"I'll be fine." Indra nodded in defiance of her clear pain.
She heard his voice and turned toward him.
"Thelonious, you should get checked out." Abby advised and looked back and forth between Jaha and Clarke.
Jaha just looked at Clarke.
"I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought…" It was clear he had been crying. Clarke didn't know if it was because now he was back in a world where there was pain or if his tears were because he actually had to deal with the consequences of his actions now.
"Just go." Clarke ordered, but softly because she had no more energy to fight.
"Help?" She finished his sentence with an assumption. "I think you helped enough."
"Clarke?" Kane stood up next to Indra. "He didn't know. None of us could have known it would have led to this."
"I need people in this room I can trust." She turned toward Kane and then back to Jaha. "You are not one of them."
"I guess we should go then too." Murphy spoke up and started to turn with Emori.
"Murphy, stay." Clarke stopped him. "Stay." She repeated.
"Thelonious, you should-"
"Go?" He questioned Abby's words. "I'll do what I can outside to help the others."
"We'll talk later." Kane assured him.
Jaha nodded and began to turn before stopping and turning back around to face them.
"I am sorry." He stated with defeat in his voice and turned back to leave.
Clarke waited until it was only Indra being helped by Abby and Kane and Emori standing pressed up against Murphy. She noticed they were holding hands. She looked down at the floor and took a breath before looking back up at the group.
"The City of Light is gone, but we have something else to worry about now."
"Don't we always?" Murphy questioned as he pulled Emori closer to the rest of the group.
Clarke felt strange just standing in the middle of the room while everyone else looked at her. It felt off somehow. Plus, she felt the weight of her body begin to attack her tired legs.
"Honey, you need to sit down." Abby noticed Clarke sway slightly. "Your body's been through too much. You need to rest."
Clarke swayed slightly again and realized her mother was right.
"Clarke, come on." Kane approached and took Clarke's arm delicately and moved her backwards.
Clarke sat down and rested her head back against the seat before closing her eyes briefly. She saw Lexa's face looking up at her, smiling and considered not opening her eyes again before she heard Indra's voice.
"That's the Commander's." Clarke opened her eyes and glanced in Indra's direction. Indra paused as she stared into Clarke's eyes. She bowed her head slightly. "Heda." She stated without a sign of reluctance in her tone.
Clarke sucked in a breath. There were no more Nightbloods save Luna and she wanted nothing to do with being the Commander.
"I told you my spirit would choose wisely." Clarke heard Lexa's voice telling her.
"Clarke, I think you just became the Commander of the 12 Clans." Kane posited and moved back slightly. He nodded his head at her as a sign of respect and walked back toward Indra to help her into a standing position.
"13." Abby reminded. "Skaikru is a part of this alliance now."
"We have no more need for an alliance." Indra stated.
"Indra?" Kane questioned.
"You misunderstand me." She addressed his confused tone and grunted through her attempt to stand upright fully on her own accord. "We had no need for an alliance because we are united."
"Except for the Ice Nation." Emori reminded. "Now that everyone's out of the City of Light, I doubt they'll be happy their Commander is dead."
"Our army can handle Azgeda if they attempt a coup, but the other clans will support Clarke as Heda."
"How do you know that?" Murphy asked.
"Because she was worthy of the Flame. The Commander's spirit chose her."
"But the Flame isn't-" Murphy started to tell Indra something she wasn't aware of apparently.
"The Commander's spirit." Abby completed and glared at Murphy before looking at Clarke. Indra was unaware that the Flame had been removed. Murphy and Abby were the only ones in the room that knew and apparently Abby felt the need to protect that secret.
"Oh, yeah." Murphy took the hint.
"To us it is the spirit of our past Commanders and Clarke has it now. She is Heda. I do not know how she was able to receive it without being a Nightblood. Our people will believe that makes her even more powerful. They already thought her powerful as Wanheda."
"I guess that's a good thing." Murphy shrugged. "Right?"
"It is a good thing, but there will be some who wish to challenge her power." Indra explained. "Trikru will protect you. The Commander would have wanted that. The other clans will swear allegiance as Lexa commanded."
"What?" Clarke felt her legs finally relax and she lifted her head with what little energy she had left. "What do you mean?"
"Lexa commanded her generals and the other ambassadors in the coalition to protect Skaikru from Azgeda. She made them swear fealty to you, Klark kom Skaikru. Some did it willingly and some did it because their Heda commanded, but all will fall in line. I will see to it."
"Lexa did that?" Kane asked Indra who nodded.
"I knew she asked the other Nightbloods to…" Clarke faded as she leaned forward in the Commander's throne. Lexa's throne. "I didn't know…" She dropped off again.
"It was unnecessary for you to know."
"Did you swear it because you wanted to Indra or because Lexa commanded it?" Abby asked Indra.
Indra side-eyed her for a moment before looking back at Clarke. She took a step forward toward the girl in the Commander's chair and she knelt down on one knee.
"We have had our differences in the past, Klark kom Skaikru, but I swore my allegiance to the former Commander willingly as I swear it to you now. Skaikru is a part of the coalition and you are the new Heda." She looked up at Clarke. "If Azgeda forms their army and attempts to take Polis, we will fight for you."
Clarke gulped though she prayed not audibly as suddenly she felt the room draped by silence. She didn't want to be Commander. This was not what was supposed to happen. She felt the Flame in her clasped hand and wished Lexa was here to guide her through this. She didn't know what to say or what to do.
"I learned something when I was in the City of Light." She spoke and tried to regain her composure as Indra stood back up. "A.L.I.E. claimed she was trying to bring us all to the City of Light because the nuclear plants that survived are melting. Most of the planet will be uninhabitable within the next 6 months once that happens. We'll have nowhere to go, nothing to eat. We'll die from radiation poisoning."
"Oh my God!" Abby covered her mouth.
"Well, what are we going to do?" Murphy questioned. "In case you forgot, we kind of destroyed the only machine capable of getting us into space and even if we had another Ark, I'm not going back up there to live in a tin can."
"We'll think of something, but for now, you're the only ones that know. Jaha might know. I don't know what A.L.I.E told him. She seemed to trust him."
"She was a computer, Clarke." Abby offered.
"She was an AI, mom. She was programmed, but she understood us. She understood emotion and how to manipulate people enough to get them to the City of Light willingly." She paused. "At least at first." She glanced in Kane's direction and then back at Abby. "Look, right now we need to assess the damage in Polis and Arkadia. We'll gather the ambassadors and others. We need to come up with a plan then and figure out what we're going to do."
"You need to rest." Abby repeated for what Clarke guessed was the tenth time. "I'll assess the wounded and Marcus can regain control of the city."
"I'll send people to Arkadia to see what needs to be done there. We should rendezvous back here though." Kane suggested.
"Tomorrow." Indra offered. "I'll need time to gather the ambassadors and see who is on our side." She paused. "Those who are not…" She faded out. "I will be able to tell and they will be dealt with."
"Jus nou drein jus daun, Heda." Indra interjected. "I will have them rounded up."
Clarke nodded. She knew Indra had cared for Lexa, but she never really understood how much actual care was for the person and how much was a general following her Commander. She knew now though.
"You should go to the Commander's room. It's kind of yours now." Murphy suggested.
"I can't-" Clarke stated immediately.
Murphy hung his head and shook it slightly with disappointment in his own suggestion.
"I'm sorry." He offered her.
"There are other rooms. I'm sure we can make-" Abby started.
"I can help get us situated." Emori offered the group after probably feeling a little left out of the conversation.
"Do that." Clarke stood. She felt her legs regain their strength. "I can't stay here though."
"Do you want to stay in Arkadia?" Kane asked her.
"I can't stay there either. At least not now." She walked toward them. "I'll be in the room, Murphy."
"What room?" He asked her turning his head to the side as she walked past him.
"You know what room." She replied.
"Clarke?" Abby yelled after her.
"Mom, I can't right now. Please." Clarke didn't turn back. She just kept on walking.
"She'll be fine, Abby. She's just been through a lot. She needs some time."
"Marcus, she's just been made the Commander. I don't think any of us expected that and there are people out there that need to know there's a leader in control of this situation. They're traumatized and injured and-" Abby started rambling.
"So is she." Murphy completed for her and took steps away from Emori and toward Abby. "She watched Lexa die and she loved her. She watched you torture her and then you almost kill yourself. She saw her friends leave her for A.L.I.E. and Pike and she's probably seen more death than any of us at this point." He pointed out to everyone's surprise before calming down slightly. "I'm just saying she probably needs some time. She never got any time to…"
"Grieve." Emori finished his thought and took a step beside him to take his hand.
"I was there, okay. I watched Lexa get shot and I saw how Clarke reacted and how she had to watch her die and see her body lifted off the bed away from her and then we had to stay in that room while they figured out what to do with us. She had to see Lexa's blood on that bed and she just stared and then it was like another war started and she had to lead us through it. So, I gave Clarke a lot of shit before, but I won't again because she's the only reason we're all standing here right now and not trapped in A.L.I.E's mind games so if she needs a night to herself to mourn her girlfriend, I say we give it to her."
"Okay." Abby muttered in shock at Murphy's mild outburst.
"Clarke? Hey!" It was Bellamy jogging over to her as she passed through the crowd of people mostly unnoticed and walked toward her destination. "What happened? I can't find Octavia. I'm worried about her. She just-"
"Bell, I can't right now." Clarke replied honestly, but impatiently.
"Hey, talk to me!" He demanded and she stopped in her tracks and pulled him off to the side of the road toward a small hut that had been a merchant's booth at some point, but no longer contained any items to sell since Polis had been taken over.
"Bellamy, I can't talk to you. Don't you get that?"
"Clarke, I thought we were-"
"Fine? We were fine, but now nothing is fine. I just- You have no idea what you've done. You think you do. You think you have the guilt over killing those grounders and you played a part in what happened to Lincoln, but there's more Bellamy." She lowered her voice when she noticed a few people start to stare. "Ever since we got down here, you've been making bad decisions and those decisions have gotten people killed. I've killed people too and I will always feel guilty for that, but you are reckless and you are entitled. I'm sorry Gina died, Bellamy. I am, but you contributed to a war because she died. You supported Pike because of it. You didn't trust me when I told you Lexa was on our side; that we could have peace with the coalition and you got him elected Chancellor. Because of that, there was a kill order put on Arkadia. Because of that, I had to say goodbye to Lexa that day. Because of that, Titus couldn't trust us. He couldn't trust you or Pike or me and he couldn't trust Lexa to make the decisions he thought were right and he tried to kill me, but he got her instead." Clarke took a deep breath while Bellamy stared at her in shock. "I've been holding this all in for a long time, Bell." She paused. "You don't get to have a monopoly on grief. I loved her, Bell." She felt tears welling up, but she pushed them down. "I loved her. We could have had peace. We could have all been fine, but she died."
"Clarke, I'm sor-"
"She's gone, Bellamy and I have to live with that." She took a step toward him. "And instead of starting another war, I finished one and now we'll all have to work together to prevent another end of the world. I loved her more than…" She let her words die out. "And I held it together for everyone. Why couldn't you do that?" She questioned and then calmed herself. "If you want to help, you'll find Octavia and make sure she's okay. I doubt she'll be worried about this right now, but she won't be punished for what she did."
"I don't think she cares if she's punished." He offered with a sense of defeat in his tone.
"Tell her that I'm Commander now. She's pardoned and we need her here… when she's ready." She finished and then walked past him toward her destination.
Bellamy stood in that spot for a few more moments while running his hand over the back of his neck repeatedly as he thought about what Clarke had said. He turned off to the woods and began walking to try to find his sister.
Clarke made it to the only room she thought she could be in right now and noticed the candles lit inside. They reminded her of Lexa. The pod was still there with POLIS written on it and not much else. She stood at first looking around at the origin story on the walls. They'd never known how connected their people really were. She felt her legs get heavy and then she felt her heart get heavier. Her body felt as if it was melting into the floor as she sank into her pain and she cried against the cool concrete beneath her. She cried for the Lexa she'd lost when the bullet hit her and now she cried for the Lexa she'd gotten back in the City of Light. She cried at the thought that she hadn't said "May we meet again" as she always had when they parted before. She cried at the finality of it as she grasped the Flame in her hand. She cried for her father, she cried for Lincoln, she cried for Wells, she cried for Anya, she cried for Finn, she cried for every innocent at Mount Weather, she cried for every person from the sky and from the ground that had been lost in this seemingly endless battle and when she thought she couldn't cry anymore, she finally cried for herself.
"Clarke, wake up."
Clarke's eyes remained closed.
"Clarke, wake up. Come on."
She tried to open her eyes and realized it was harder than it should be. She'd fallen asleep crying and it felt like her eyes were salted shut. She finally opened them and saw Murphy kneeling in front of her.
"Hey sorry, you've been asleep for a while. I told your mom I'd come check on you and I wanted to make sure you weren't dead."
She sat up and pressed her hand against the cool, hard ground.
"I'm still here."
"You know; we could get a bed in here for you or at least a blanket if you plan on staying here permanently."
"I don't. I just needed somewhere that wasn't-"
"I get it. You don't have to explain it to me."
"Thank you." She ran her hands over her face. "How long have I been out?"
"Just the night and some of the morning. It's almost noon."
"I should get back." She went to stand so he did too.
"I didn't tell anyone about this place. Your mom tried to get it out of me, but I didn't know if you wanted anyone else to know where you were."
"So, what's the game plan?" He asked as they began to leave.
"Honestly, I have no idea."
"Well, that's great." He retorted sarcastically.
They emerged into a crowd of people moving to and fro throughout Polis. People who were new to the city wouldn't have even know about what had happened if they'd just arrived. Things were moving about as normal and Clarke squinted against the harsh sunlight and wondered if the people of Polis were just so used to battles and blood that they recovered this quickly.
"Raven!" Clarke yelled when she saw Raven climbing down roughly from a jeep.
"Hey! Welcome back!" Raven reached out for her and Clarke hugged her.
"Thank you!" She took a breath in and out. "You saved us in there."
"Pretty sure you're the one who saved us, Clarke." Raven replied when they parted from their embrace. "How you doing with all this? I heard from Abby on the radio last night that you've been made Commander."
"I didn't ask for it."
"I know. Who would?" Raven shrugged at her. "I take it you got that thing out of you and lived to talk about it since you're standing in front of me. Also, Abby told me."
"The grounders don't know. They think it's still inside."
"So, that's why you're in charge now?"
"I'll tell Indra when the time is right and we'll see what she thinks we should do."
"Hey Clarke." It was a soft voice off to her left and she turned to see Jasper standing next to Monty and Niylah was standing behind Raven, but off to the right and she appeared to be looking around Polis and not paying attention until she heard Jasper speak and then she looked at Clarke and nodded. It seemed like so long ago that Clarke needed her comfort to push the events at Mount Weather behind her; to try to push Lexa out of her mind.
"Jasper. Hey, Monty." Clarke looked back toward them.
"It's okay, Jas. You don't have to apologize. A.L.I.E manipulated everyone."
"Not you." Jasper answered. "And Raven was able to take her." He motioned with his hand toward Raven.
"Well, I'm a badass." Raven tried to lighten the mood.
"Let's just move forward." Clarke offered him.
He took several steps toward her slowly and leaned in.
"She made it, Clarke." It was almost a whisper.
Clarke's entire body tensed at his words and her eyes drifted cautiously to his.
"What?" She gulped.
"After she punched me, I saw what happened. She made it. She was alive when you flipped the switch."
Clarke let out the breath she'd been holding.
"I don't know what it means. The City of Light is gone. I don't know how AI works. I just… I thought you should know she didn't die in there. She fought for you. She was still fighting when it happened."
Clarke didn't know what to think. She'd known Lexa was a great fighter and she'd hoped she'd survived until the switch was flipped, but Jasper was right. The City of Light was gone so Lexa existed only in the Flame that she had in her pocket; the pocket her hand was currently covering as if protecting it from anyone who might try to take it. There was no way to get back to her. There was no way to verify what Jasper had said and even if she could get back to her, what would it mean? She didn't have time to think about that because Monty was approaching.
"What you did, Clarke… you saved everyone." He offered her a hug, which she took.
"Raven helped. I never would have gotten to the switch without her." Clarke admitted.
"I didn't know for sure if it worked until the computers went black and Jasper came back to us."
"The computers went black?" Clarke asked her.
"Yeah, like they shut down all at once."
"So, it really is gone?" Clarke muttered mostly to herself.
"What is?" Raven checked.
"Nothing. Let's go. My mom's probably wondering where I am."
"How are you two?" Raven asked her as they started walking toward the tower. "I mean after what happened. People were all connected in the City of Light so when Abby was in there…"
"And she tortured me, everyone knew?" She looked toward Jasper who'd probably revealed a lot of what happened on their drive. "We haven't exactly had time to talk about it."
"I'm sorry, Clarke. I can't imagine what she feels like knowing she did that to you. I mean, it wasn't really her."
"Raven, it wasn't just her." Clarke stopped walking and motioned with her head for Jasper, Monty and Niylah to keep going so they could have a moment. "It was me too."
"What do you mean?"
"A.L.I.E. wanted the Flame and I wouldn't give it to her so she tried to kill my mom in front of me. She thought I'd give it to her then, but I didn't. My mom almost died because of me." Clarke revealed out loud.
"Clarke, your mom understands you did what you had to do to stop that bitch. I'm sure she doesn't blame you for anything that's happened."
"It doesn't matter if she does. I do. That was me, Raven. I can't say I was in the City of Light or I was being manipulated. I chose to let her die so that I could-"
Raven met Clarke's eyes before she watched Clarke hang her head.
"Clarke, that wasn't about Lexa." Raven expressed and took her hand. "You did it to save everyone. You didn't do it because you were trying to save the Flame because of Lexa."
"How do you know that?"
"Because I know you. You've sacrificed everything for everyone. You were willing to lose Abby so you could save us again and I know you loved Lexa, but you wouldn't have risked Abby's life just to save her consciousness in that Flame and even if you did…" She paused. "Even if you did, Clarke, so what? You loved her. You were protecting her just like you were protecting all of us. Abby understands that." She dropped Clarke's hand. "Now, come on. We've got to figure out how to save the world again." She smirked at Clarke who tried to return a small smile.
"First, we need to find out where the nuclear plants were when the bombs went off, which ones are still active, where they are in relationship to where we are and then we need to calculate the likelihood of the radiation from the meltdown reaching us here." Abby explained to them as they sat around the room. Clarke felt both uncomfortable in Lexa's throne and yet somehow felt like she was right where she belonged at the same time. She wasn't sure what that meant.
"How do we do that?" Kane asked.
"We can send our warriors out past clan lands." Indra proposed.
Raven, Jasper and Monty had joined the conversation. Niylah had opted to stay outside to help some of the people who still needed medical attention from either the battle or being forced to take the chip. Abby and Kane sat next to each other in chairs that had once belonged to ambassadors. While Indra had managed to determine that most of the ambassadors would be with them and lock away one she suspected of siding with Azgeda if there was a battle to come, they'd decided not to include them in these initial conversations. Clarke wanted to have a plan at least somewhat prepared when they brought them into the fold. Everyone had agreed that this was the way to go to get them to trust in her ability to lead without Lexa by her side now.
"We don't need to do that." Monty shared.
"Yeah, we had specs on the Ark. They're on the network. It won't tell us which are most in danger of melting down on us, but it will at least tell us where they are and then if we need to, we should be able to calculate what the range of radiation would be based on that regardless of whether or not it's on the meltdown track." Raven added. "We can have the specs up on a screen in Arkadia as soon as we get back."
"A.L.I.E. destroyed the network, didn't she?" Clarke checked.
"Some of it, yeah. Not all of it though. I mean, I haven't exactly had the time to run full schematics and determine exactly what's still there and what's not, but the specs would have been on a storage drive; not on the active network. A.L.I.E. didn't have any need to pull those. She was around then. She knew where they were located. They should be fine. I'll get back and pull them." Raven explained.
"We should setup a station here." Monty pointed out. "We should bring what we can from Arkadia. If Clarke is staying here, that makes this our H.Q. We should have a setup here too." Monty proposed.
"I'll help." Jasper offered. Clarke could tell he was still shaken up from being pulled out of the City of Light. He'd been one of the most messed up after the mountain and being taken into the City of Light didn't actually resolve anything for him. It just postponed what he'd been going through. She sensed he was doing what he could to contribute and maybe that was because he felt bad about being a part of the problem or maybe it was because he wanted to keep himself busy or he'd risk breaking down again. As their eyes met, she knew she understood what he was feeling where that breakdown was concerned.
"I should get back to Arkadia myself." Kane spoke up. "There's no Chancellor and we need to maintain order."
"You're technically the Chancellor." Abby reminded.
"Pike was technically the Chancellor." Kane corrected.
"You ran against him and he's gone now." Clarke addressed. "You are Chancellor now, Kane."
"Sha, Heda." Raven mocked slightly. "Hey, where's Octavia? Bellamy? Shouldn't they be here?" She asked.
Clarke met Abby's eye and then Murphy's who was sitting next to Emori on the floor.
"Octavia took off after…" Clarke tried to explain.
"After she ran Pike through with a sword." Murphy completed.
"Bellamy went to look for her. Hopefully, we can bring her back."
"You miss a lot when you're stuck behind code." Raven retorted. "I'll take Monty and Jasper back with me. We'll get the gear we need." She paused. "You coming with us Chancellor?" She asked Kane. He nodded. "Monty should stay behind. He can run the rig there if we need someone with skills on that setup." She started to move toward the door.
"When you return, I'll take the jeep back and check on the hospital there." Abby told them. "I want to make sure everyone there is okay too. Make sure we have what we need in place in case I need to spend more time in Polis."
"Raven!" Clarke yelled slightly after her and stood to meet her as she walked out of the room.
"I should accompany you to Arkadia." Indra suggested to Kane as they walked off and passed Raven and Clarke, Monty and Jasper. "I should take stock of our supplies there. Weapons, soldiers." She turned back to look at Clarke who was pulling on Raven's arm to get her to slow down. "Heda?" She checked.
It took Clarke a moment to realize Indra was talking to her.
"Go. Just get back when you can." She agreed and Indra walked off with Kane.
"Murphy, Emori, we could use your help setting up the aid station outside. There are a few healers and a couple of Ark doctors, but we need people to help resupply, take blood donations from donors. Come on."
Murphy and Emori stood somewhat reluctantly. Clarke guessed they were searching for a moment of calm to just be together too.
"I'll meet you guys by the car." Raven told the rest of them who walked out. "What's up?" She asked when she turned back to Clarke.
"I thought the computers died when I flipped the kill switch."
"They went black and the code is probably a mangled pile of 0s and 1s, but the computers still work. A.L.I.E. couldn't break the hardware."
"But the City of Light is gone?"
"Yeah, you killed it with the switch, Clarke. What's going on?"
"Nothing. It's… nothing." Clarke took a step back from Raven and ran her hands through her very messy hair.
"Clarke, what happened in there?" Raven asked softly. "I saw the code and I sent you a signal, but I wasn't actually there so I don't know what you went through."
"It doesn't matter. It's gone." She put her hand inside her pocket and touched the Flame.
"Lexa?" Raven guessed.
Clarke met her eye and then her glance shifted to the now empty throne.
"She helped me."
"She's still in the Flame."
"And I can't get back to her."
"You want too?" Raven checked.
Clarke glared at her as if that was the most ridiculous question she'd ever heard.
"Jasper said she made it, Raven. If you died in the City of Light, you died out here, right? But she didn't die according to him and even though the city is gone, she's still inside the Flame."
"Which you can't put back in your head because you're not a Nightblood and Ontari's all used up."
"I shouldn't be worrying about this right now anyway. We need to find a place that's going to be habitable in a few months or all of this would have been for nothing. She would have died for nothing." Clarke's eyes returned to Lexa's chair.
"I get it, Griffin." Raven shared with her. "When I lost Finn the first time… when you guys were shipped down here and I thought I'd never see him again because you guys would all be dead within minutes of landing on the ground, I kept thinking about everything I never said to him and any of the bad things I may have said to him. I have a temper; you know?" Raven smiled and Clarke tried to smile back. "Then, I lost him for good and if there was a Flame out there with him inside it and I thought I could get back to him, I'd try."
"You really loved him."
"I did." She took a breath. "Things were different once we were down here. He and I never had a chance once he was off the Ark. He was all into you after that, but maybe he and I would have found our way back to each other one day."
"I'm sorry, Raven." Clarke wasn't sure exactly what she was apologizing for, but she just knew she needed to do it.
"I know." Raven replied. "Look, I don't know what's left of A.L.I.E. on our system if anything, but even if I could rebuild the City of Light for a reunion for you two out of some patchwork in the code, you couldn't get there anyway."
"And we'd risk bringing A.L.I.E. back if you did that." Clarke shook her head no.
"No, she's gone. You killed her. Any code left behind isn't really AI. It's just code. Even if we created a new world, A.L.I.E. is gone for good."
"How can you know?"
"Because I'm a genius, Clarke. I saved the day in there, remember?" Raven winked. "I should get back to the Ark and get things setup. I'll be back." She turned to walk out of the room. "And look, if you need to talk more about this… about her, I'm here." She offered with a small nod.
Clarke was left in the now empty room. She'd sent everyone else off with tasks and managed not to give herself any. Things were always better when she could keep herself busy. There had been two things she kept with her since Lexa died. Two things she protected because they were all she had left of her. The Flame rested in her pocket and the other item was in her jacket. She regretted having to fold it up, but it was the only way she could keep it safe and as she pulled the drawing out, she sat back on the throne and stared at Lexa's sleeping form. She had another regret now. She'd drawn her sleeping. Her eyes were closed. She'd never see those eyes again and she had nothing to remember them by. She squeezed her eyes closed again and focused on the smile and then her mind shifted the memory and she saw them. Those green eyes, bright with love and happiness for the first time Clarke had ever seen. They were smiling too. She wondered for a moment if her supplies were still where she left them and decided it was worth the pain to find out.
Before she went to Lexa's room to say goodbye, after Octavia had left her alone, she'd walked around the room Lexa had given her and she realized she'd basically made it home. She had clothes there, she had a hair brush in the bathroom. She had her art supplies somewhat stocked and she never knew for sure, but she thought Lexa had something to do with it. During one of their early conversations in the tent waiting for the battle to start at Mount Weather, they'd talked about a few things outside of battle strategy and Clarke had let her love of drawing slip. When she arrived in Polis, she stayed in her room most of the time initially and drawing was something she did to pass the time, but she didn't have real supplies. She had a few sheets of random paper that might have been left over from even before the bombs and she had a small piece of brick that had chipped from the wall that she'd managed to turn into a fairly convincing chalk pencil.
When Clarke and Lexa began to work together again though, suddenly a sketchbook appeared in her room. Then, there were a few charcoal pencils. Clarke never talked to her about it, but she hoped Lexa knew she appreciated the gesture when she picked up the drawing Clarke had made while she rested on the couch. Clarke had yet another regret. She never actually found out of Lexa liked it. Her expression when she saw it appeared to be more shock than anything and then they were interrupted as she always seemed to be and they never had a chance to talk about it.
She took in a deep breath as she stood in front of the door as if that breath would protect her from any pain she'd feel by pushing it open and walking inside. It took a few minutes for her to work up the courage and she was glad there were no guards around to watch her. She considered that for a moment. She was Commander now. Once control of Polis was regained and order restored, she'd be surrounded by guards all the time. Moments of solitude for her were about to become even rarer.
She pushed the doors in front of her open and stepped inside the room. She glanced at the bed only for a moment before moving swiftly toward her destination. She pulled open the drawer and grasped two pencils and a few sheets of loose paper before closing it once again and turning to flee as if someone was chasing her; as if Titus was still there aiming the gun at her. When she made it back to the doorway, she halted her movements as if her body had taken control. She was standing in the spot where it had happened. She tried to keep herself from remembering it, but the image of Lexa standing there, with her hair draped beautifully down one side of her neck and her eyes looking at Clarke and then down at her stomach and then back at Clarke in shock pushed itself inside her mind. "Lexa!" She'd yelled and her arms went instinctively to stop her from falling. That was the moment she'd lost her. Her hand went out in front of her as if Lexa was still standing there. It hovered and moved gently through the air over the spot where the bullet had entered her body. She stood silently for a moment and waited for her legs to start moving again. She felt yet another tear leave her eyes and she wiped it away with the hand that had been held out and she shook her head to get herself out of this memory and left the room. She closed the doors tightly behind her and walked until she was outside the tower and moving quickly past the aid station Abby had setup. She watched her mother work. She saw Murphy helping someone stand from their bed. They had bandages on their hands and were hooked up to an IV. She kept moving until she was back in the room she'd broken down in only the night before.
She noticed something was different about it though and reminded herself to thank Murphy or maybe even Emori because while there was no bed, there were 3 or 4 blankets in a small pile and food and water sitting next to them.
She heard the voice greet her from behind and turned quickly to see Octavia standing there.
"I'm not back." Octavia started and took a few steps into the small space. "I saw Bell. He didn't see me, but I saw him looking for me. I figured you'd just keep sending him and probably others to find me unless I asked you not too." She stood in front of Clarke. She'd clearly been injured, but Clarke continued to marvel at Octavia's strength to always carry on. "I saw you leave the tower and followed you here."
Clarke leaned forward and pulled her into a hug; dropping the art supplies to the floor.
"He deserved it, Clarke." Octavia defended her actions. "He executed Lincoln. He was responsible for-"
Clarke pulled back.
"Octavia, I know. It's okay. You don't have to defend yourself to me; to anyone."
"I guess I wanted to check on you too." Octavia admitted. "How are you after everything?"
"I've been better."
Clarke stared down at the ground and the paper and pencils she'd dropped. She leaned down and Octavia followed. They collected the items and Clarke sat them all on the pile of blankets before returning her eyes to Octavia.
"You're not staying, are you?"
"I told you. I'm not back. I can't be back right now. Please don't send people to find me. I'll come back when I'm ready."
"And what if we need you?" Clarke asked.
"For what? You stopped A.L.I.E. Pike's gone. Looks like they've put you in charge at least for now. Things will get back to whatever normal is for people now."
"The nuclear power plants are melting down, Octavia. That's what I learned in the City of Light. We have maybe 6 months if we're lucky and then most of the world will be swimming in radiation and if we can't find a way to stop that or at least somewhere to-"
"We can't exactly flee in a ship this time."
"You don't need me for any of this, Clarke. I'm no good to anyone right now anyway." She paused. "Remember when you left after the mountain? That's what I need to do right now."
"Octavia, if we have to make a move somewhere-" Clarke protested.
"I'll stay close enough. I'll know if something happens. Just give me this time… Heda." She stated and lowered her head slightly before lifting it back up. "I overheard out there."
"I didn't want this." Clarke explained.
"No." Octavia started and took a step backwards. "You want her and I want him and neither of us is going to get what we want, but you're Commander now, Clarke. Lexa thought you were special enough to trust and it looks like she was right. She left you all of this. She must have had some kind of faith in you." She turned. "What do I have left of him? Just the image of him on his knees being shot in the head and the anger that comes with it."
"I'll see you around, Commander." She was gone.