Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the television series the 100 and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: When you look for vengeance, you dig two graves. Someone realises that and tries to make things right. Written for the regret square in the Advent Bingo challenge. And bingo!
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers up to and including season three of the 100; references to violence; mentions of a massacre
He thought he would feel better. All he'd wanted was revenge. It was why he'd supported Pike; Pike, who knew how dangerous the grounders were. Because that was the only way Bellamy could get the vengeance he needed.
But it didn't make him feel the way it would.
Although Bellamy was heading back to his room, he knew he wasn't going to sleep. He had the urge to go and see Lincoln and the rest of the grounders they had locked away, but he didn't really know why. Thinking about their imprisonment made his stomach twist with guilt and if he thought too deeply about all of the grounders who had died...
He knew how much of a monster he was.
Bellamy hadn't seen that many people as he made his way back to his room, but as he passed by the closed door of Pike's office, he paused, hearing voices coming from inside.
"I need to make an example of the grounders we have here," Pike's voice was saying. "It's not enough that we've declared they're no longer our allies. We have to make them fear us. And keeping the grounders prisoner here is only eating up the resources we need for our own people."
"Maybe we could organise a trade?" an unfamiliar voice suggested.
"And give the grounders reason to believe we're weak and will roll over for them?" Pike responded. "They never showed us any mercy. Why shouldn't we do the same to them?"
Bellamy nearly moved closer to the door to listen better, as he couldn't make out what the people with Pike were saying, but there was a note of finality in the man's voice that made Bellamy realise he didn't want to get caught. At least not before he'd done the right thing by Lincoln and the other grounders.
It seemed sleep was going to be a long time coming.
"What are you doing here?"
Bellamy stood just outside the cell. Sending the other guards away had been fairly easy; he was nothing if not resourceful and he'd been quite convincing when he'd told them Pike had ordered him to take over their shift.
Ignoring Lincoln's question, Bellamy cast a quick glance over his shoulder, making sure no one was approaching. He then pulled open the door and motioned for the grounders to exit. "There's not much time before Pike will send someone else to relieve them."
None of the grounders moved. Lincoln eyed him suspiciously. "Why do you want to help us?"
Bellamy couldn't help but wince at the perfectly valid question. What was he looking for here? Forgiveness? A chance to make things right with the grounders? Okay. If he was honest with himself, he knew that last one was no longer possible. And it was his fault. If he'd just been more willing to speak for the grounders...
Taking a deep breath, Bellamy gestured again. "I'm on your side."
"I've seen what your side does," Lincoln replied, his voice low and cold. "I don't want any part of it."
"Do you want to make that decision for the rest of the grounders?" Bellamy returned, his voice just as low. "I'm offering you freedom. Do you have any idea what I've lost because of you grounders?"
Lincoln held eye contact with Bellamy. "Do you think you're the only one who's lost anyone?"
Bellamy shook his head, but it was more of an expression of disbelief than a denial. "If you stay here, Pike will kill you. All of you. He's already made up his mind to do it. He's just waiting for the right time. Or maybe the right catalyst." His stomach clenched as he stared at Lincoln. "If you won't let me save you, at least let me save them," he whispered, jerking his head towards the other grounder prisoners. "Don't they deserve the right to choose?"
Lincoln closed his eyes, his jaw tightening. When he opened his eyes again, it was to look towards the other grounders. He then glanced at Bellamy. "I assume you have a plan?"
Bellamy nodded and moved back to let the grounders out. "Keep moving. Don't draw attention to ourselves." Moving out into the open, he added, "Don't get caught."
The 'plan' worked well, up to a point. As they left the mountain, Bellamy glanced at Lincoln's face, not surprised to see the grounder was frowning. "You can find your way from here, right?" he asked, as they reached the border of the forest.
Lincoln stared at him for a long moment before he turned to one of the grounders who looked healthier than the others. They exchanged a nod and then the rest of the grounders melted into the forest...leaving Lincoln alone with Bellamy.
"You're not coming back with me," Bellamy stated. "I got you out this time. I'm not sticking my neck out for you again."
"No? What about when you would have jumped on the group of your people, your soldiers, because they might have come round the corner and discovered us?" Lincoln returned.
Bellamy frowned. He couldn't really recall what he'd been thinking; only that the hint some of his people would discover the grounders escaping...and would kill them...had caused his gut to twist and clench. He couldn't let that happen.
The sound of a branch snapping pulled Bellamy out of his thoughts and he focused on Lincoln with a confused frown as he watched the grounder begin to strip twigs and leaves off a long, thin branch. "What are you doing?"
"Have you ever been spanked?"
"Spanked?" Bellamy frowned. He'd heard the word mentioned when learning about the histories, but the only information was that it had been an unpleasant punishment used on Earth.
"It's a punishment. We've developed it somewhat." Lincoln gently swung the branch through the air and it made a whistling sound as he did so. "Turn round. Lean against one of the trees."
Bellamy didn't move. "No."
"You think you deserve to be punished." Lincoln's voice was soft now. Almost gentle. "You can't help but see them every time you close your eyes, can you? That's why you would have thrown yourself at the soldiers. You thought they'd take you out and you wouldn't have to deal with that guilt anymore."
Opening his mouth to protest, Bellamy quickly found himself closing it again. Lincoln was right. He didn't want to admit it...but the grounder had a point. He did feel guilty. And while he couldn't say he actually wanted to die...it was true that, at that point, he hadn't cared if he lived or died. But what Lincoln was asking him to do...well, he wasn't sure what this type of punishment was, but the position seemed a lot like the one when adults were shock-whipped on the Ark. He wasn't scared, but he was definitely nervous.
Lincoln seemed to be waiting, but when Bellamy didn't say anything, he said, "I'm not going to send you back there with that guilt tearing you up inside."
"And then what?" Bellamy asked. "You'll forgive me and suddenly, everything will be okay again?" He couldn't force himself to continue. His chest suddenly felt tight. His head ached. There was a throbbing behind his eyes.
"No. Everything won't suddenly be all right," Lincoln answered quietly. "But yes. I will forgive you."
Bellamy closed his eyes. He'd never grieved. Not really. Not allowed himself to break down. Not even when his mother had been spaced and Octavia had been taken from him. He didn't honestly see how a punishment would help, but maybe Lincoln knew something he didn't.
Opening his eyes again and taking a deep breath, Bellamy walked over to one of the trees and placed his hands against the trunk, leaning forward enough so that it could take his weight. When he heard Lincoln step up to him, he couldn't help but tense. The grounder didn't speak as he heard the branch whistling through the air.
Bellamy sucked in a breath as the thin branch collided against the crest of his backside, leaving a strip of fire in its wake that dulled to a warm throb as the branch was pulled back and then allowed to fly a second time...and then a third and fourth.
The fire was intense enough, even through Bellamy's pants, to bring tears to his eyes. It was like a target had been painted on his backside, each subsequent strike landing just below the first.
When his entire backside, from the crest down to mid-thigh, had been set aflame, Bellamy assumed the punishment was over and began to push away from the tree.
"Not yet." Lincoln's voice was firm. "We're not done yet."
Bellamy drew in a ragged breath and didn't protest, though he couldn't help but whimper when the branch landed right on one of the previous welts...or that was what it felt like, anyway.
"You didn't just slaughter the army." Lincoln spoke suddenly, his voice piercing into Bellamy's head. "You affected everyone who was waiting for them to come home. Thousands of people have been hurt by what you did."
"You mean thousands of grounders," Bellamy whispered.
"Put us all in one place and we're all people, whether we were born in space, on Earth, or under the Earth."
Bellamy swallowed and felt the first tears begin to escape. "I killed them too," he whispered, spitting the words out like they were poison. "Clarke...she thinks it was her fault. Her responsibility." He slumped as the branch continued to sting his backside, stripes of fire covering every single inch of his skin. But the outward pain was nothing compared to the guilt he felt inside. The self-loathing. "I'm a monster," he whimpered, before the tears overwhelmed him and he slumped forward, head gently thumping against the tree.
"Not a monster," Lincoln said firmly. "A man who made some bad choices. That's all."
Bellamy choked on a bitter laugh as he felt the other man rubbing his back. His entire bottom, down to his thighs, felt like he'd sat down in a fire. "I can't bring them back," he whispered. "I can't make it right."
"You did the right thing today. You made the right choice." Lincoln squeezed his shoulder. "Keep on making them."
How did he even know what the right choice was? Was it right to let Pike take control, or was it time to do something about the man?
Bellamy had let himself be led around for so long. He supposed now was the time to take it back.