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The Newana

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Adia I'm empty since you left me
Trying to find a way to carry on
I search myself and everyone
To see where we went wrong
- Adia, Sarah McLachlan


 

She just so happens to be in the right place at the right time to watch the ship fall.

She knew, theoretically, that the Ark was up there, one of the many twinkling lights in the velvet navy of the night sky. But she hadn’t actively thought about the space station for a very long time, so seeing the spacecraft rocket towards the ground at an alarming speed was a lot like getting doused with a bucket of icy water.

She watches, crouched in the fork of an apple tree, as the craft disappears into the tree line less than a mile from her, the resulting boom and plume of smoke making her cringe. She waits, frozen in place, but when no evidence of fire presents itself, she lets out a slow breath. The ship must have survived the fall relatively intact to not immediately burst into flames.

Carefully, she climbs down from her tree, hitting the deadfall with a soft thud. There, amidst the tree’s roots, she hesitates. Should she go back to her bunker to change, or go investigate? She’s dressed in jeans, boots, a threadbare t-shirt and her sheepskin lined denim jacket, and she knows that she sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the Survivors. But she has no idea how people on the Ark dress, and she wants to make a good impression on the very, very rare chance that she decides to approach the ones that landed.

Ultimately, curiosity wins out and she sets out at a lope through the dense forest towards the landing site. The woods are oddly quiet, as if the arrival of the ship had caused a shockwave effect. No doubt there are already scouts in the area, watching just as she did. No doubt reporting back to their clan leaders as she heads towards the unknown.

When she gets close to the landing sight she slows down, hesitating again before creeping forward, hiding herself in a thicket of bushes to watch.

She is met with complete and utter chaos. People are running every which way, pushing and shoving, rolling in the underbrush, shouting and screaming at the tops of their lungs. What shocks her the most, however, is how young they are.

They’re only children, some too young to even begin Second’s training amidst the Survivors. Her lips purse as she watches, before a rustle in the bushes makes her tense and turn. She watches as a group of five leaves the landing sight, led by a young woman with pale gold hair. Once the blonde and her four stragglers have disappeared, she turns back to watch the adolescents.

There’s no rhyme or reason to anything they’re doing, just pandemonium on every level. They’re all dressed almost identically, their clothing very similar to her own, but there are small touches on each of them that set them apart from each other. An elaborately embroidered patch on the breast of a jacket, a yellow hem on a plain grey shirt, a red shoulder guard. Each of them, despite being given the same stock, has managed to individualize.

Biting her lip, she shifts a little and comes to a decision. She takes a deep breath before carefully venturing into the clearing.

It soon becomes apparent that she needn’t have been so cautious.

No one pays her any mind, too busy running around as they are. Some are leaning against trees, arms thrown out, others have fallen together in the shade, hands tangled and bodies pressed tightly together. She skirts the grey metal ship, eyes flicking around warily.

From the open mouth of the vessel an older boy with dark, slicked back hair eyes her appraisingly, before a girl slides up beside him and draws his attention. He turns away.

At the edge of the camp another boy, this one with dark skin and eyes, is digging two depressions in the dirt with a small shovel. She edges closer and notices the two unmoving forms laid out beside him.

So, some of them didn’t survive the landing.

She’s about to step from the tree line, thinking about offering her help when something collides with her side. She staggers from the impact, looking down. She feels her heart stutter when a little girl, no older than eight, wobbles on her feet and nearly falls. Her hand darts out to grab the girl’s shoulder, steadying her, before lifting her gaze to the gaggle of adolescent boys that had been chasing the child. The tears on the little girl’s face make her glare steely and the boys scatter.

“Are you alright?” She asks gently. The little girl nods and she drops to her knees to be on eye level with the child.

“I’m Adia, what’s you name?” She asks. She almost winces as her voice rasps even in the din of the dropsite. She’s spent far too long away from people and regular conversation.

“Bethany.” The child sniffs. She nods.

“What happened?” She realizes her mistake too late, but the girl is answering before she can think about a way to fix her blunder.

“They thought it was funny.” Bethany shrugs, not meeting her gaze. She nods again in understanding, relief rushing through her that the child had misinterpreted her question about the landing as one about the motives behind the actions of the pre-pubescent boys.

“Are there any others? Is there someplace safe?” She asks. Bethany eyes her for a moment before nodding, taking her offered hand and leading her away from the ship.

A ways away, tucked into a thicket of trees, are around a dozen younger children, all below the age of ten. Adia feels her heart squeeze as she looks at them, watching the older children roughhouse with something like longing in their eyes. But it’s mixed with a healthy dose of wariness, so she settles in beside Bethany and waits.

She chases off a few groups of older teens over the next few hours, until a different kind of scream draws her away. Giving Bethany’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze, she follows the sound.

A sharp faced boy is holding a girl over an open fire. The ground around them is littered with the silver wristbands that she’d noticed almost all of the children wearing. She tenses, preparing to step in, but someone else beats her to it.

The dark skinned boy she’d seen digging graves earlier, Wells, grabs the other, Murphy, by his collar and throws him off the girl. They circle each other for a moment before the older boy who’d been looking at her from the dropship, Bellamy, steps between them.

Bellamy seems to have taken up the mantle of the groups defacto leader, and while Murphy may listen to him, the way he's eyeing Wells makes it apparent that he'd rather slit the other boy's throat than stand down. Bellamy, seeing this, makes a snide comment about fair fights and throws an improvised knife at Wells. He hesitates to pick it up, only doing so when Murphy lunges at him with his own shiv.

They both stop, however, when the blonde from earlier stumbles out of the forest, accompanied by three of the four children she’d left with.

Adia tries desperately to keep her expression neutral as she listens to them.

 

Chapter Text

'Cause there's no one left to finger
There's no one here to blame
There's no one left to talk to, honey
And there ain't no one to buy our innocence
- Adia, Sarah McLachlan


The Ark, for all it’s sophisticated, high tech superiority, is dying, life support facing a catastrophic failure. Adia tries not to consider what would have happened had this occurred and the Earth hadn’t been habitable. More deaths than she cares to think about, probably. The complete eradication of mankind.

She shudders.

From the sounds of it all of these people, these children a voice hisses in her mind, are considered criminals. And they were sent down here, to Earth, to determine if it was safe for the rest to follow.

Adia clenches her teeth and feels the heat of rage curl in her belly at the thought that somewhere in the vastness of the sky is a space station full of people, adults, who thought it was acceptable to sacrifice children to save their own skins. The fact that they thought these kids were expendable makes her chest ache with rage.

After her little speech the blonde, Clarke, storms off, leaving Bellamy to send the rest of the group off with sudden purpose and clear orders.

Adia lingers for a moment, considering returning to her bunker to think things through, but ultimately decides to return to Bethany and the other younglings.

She has just turned away when a voice stops her.

“Nice knife.” It’s Murphy, eyeing the hunting knife strapped to her hip with envy. She doesn’t answer, simply stares him down. He smirks to the two boys flanking him, before taking a step forward and reaching a hand out. Adia’s lip lifts at the implication, at the audacity of this child, to think that he can take anything he wants from her.

Before he can touch her she grabs his wrist, twisting his arm and squeezing until she feels the bones grind together. When she shoves him away, he goes down hard, surprise written across his face.

She doesn’t look back as she walks away.


John keeps his attention on the girl with the gold eyes.

Bellamy Blake might be older, with an air of authority that many of the other kids lack, but he’s hiding something. Clarke Griffin, with her shimmering blonde hair and crystal clear blue eyes, is almost too bright to look at. And looking at Wells Jaha just makes his molars ache as they clench together.

But this girl is different.

She keeps mainly to herself and the group of much younger children. Her bronze hair is cut in a rough bob, the sweep of her long fringe falling into those pale brown eyes, bright gold when they catch the light of a fire or the sun. The tiny glimpse he catches of the lining of her jacket, a thick denim he thinks enviously, is some kind of animal fur. The jacket alone is worth a small fortune and there’s the handle of an honest to god knife partially hidden at her belt.

He’s trying to place her face, wondering which aristocratic family she comes from, because she obviously comes from wealth and power to have received such special items, despite her criminal status. He wonders about it, though, because not even the daughter of the Chief of Medicine or the son of the Chancellor received anything more than a set of standard issue clothes.

He frowns and determines to continue watching her, curiosity burning in his gut.


Adia has taken the group of younglings under her wing, so to speak, helping them erect a set of interconnected tents and making sure each of them got a chunk of the panther meat that Bellamy and Clarke had brought back along with the wounded boy, Jasper.

All she’d had to do was flash her bare wrist at Bellamy and he’d stepped aside, only lifting an eyebrow when she’d made to grab more than was obviously her share. Slowly, so as not to draw any unwanted attention, she’d tilted her head towards the group of huddled young ones at the very edge of the fire light and his face had immediately softened. He’d let her go with the extra without any verbal comments.

Murphy, however, had turned at the last second and seen her, headed towards the little ones. He’d lifted an eyebrow at Bellamy, who’d shaken his head. He’d let it go.

Now, sitting amidst the fitfully sleeping children, Adia wonders, not for the first time, what she’s still doing here. Ordinarily, she would have observed from afar and then retreated to safety, letting events take their own course. As is stands, she’s in danger of becoming attached. However, she thinks wryly, nothing about this situation is ordinary.

She notices one of the children, Charlotte, twist in her makeshift bunk and sit up, shaking. She makes to get up, intending to comfort the girl, but the little body slips out of bed and is out of the tent before she can stand.

Frowning, she follows, careful to keep out of sight.

She watches from a distance as Clarke walks across the camp to slide down the same tree as Charlotte, pulling the girl into a one armed hug and murmuring reassurances into her hair. When it becomes apparent that the blonde has things under control, Adia returns to the tent.

The next morning, Clarke approaches the gaggle of younger kids with a determined stride. Adia deliberately doesn’t look up to meet her gaze, unnaturally focused on pulling a makeshift needle through the torn fabric of one of the tarps, though she can feel the blonde’s eyes on her.

“What’s your name?” Clarke asks when she finally raises her head. Adia doesn’t know what it is about this one, but something in her tone rankles her. Bellamy’s talk of privilege was apparently not totally misguided, because as much as she tries to smother the reaction, it’s obvious Clarke isn’t used to being ignored.

If she lets the silence stretch out for a few seconds, it’s certainly not to watch Clarke squirm.

“Adia.” She finally replies, and Clarke nods.

“Could you help me with Jasper, please? I could use another set of hands.” Adia hesitates, eyes on the blonde, before nodding. She pats Bethany reassuringly on the head before pushing herself to her feet and following Clarke to the dropship.

She hesitates there, too, because seeing it from the outside is one thing, but stepping into the hulking metal structure is another.

But she shoves her uncertainty aside as the wounded boy’s moans of pain reach her ears.

Jasper is feverish, constantly crying out in his sleep. Adia mechanically helps Clarke re-bandage his wounds, trying to drown out the horrible noises he’s making as they move him. She stays silent when Bellamy enters the improvised medbay and Wells blocks his path.

She thinks it’s foolish, because Bellamy is older and taller and broader than Wells, who is still limping, but she has to give the boy props for his bravery.

Or is it stupidity?

When Clarke and Wells depart, leaving her and Octavia to watch Jasper, Bellamy catches her eye for the briefest moment before turning on his heel and exiting the ship, barking orders as he goes.

Adia misses Charlotte following the hunting party out of camp.

She does not miss her sneaking off later that night, however.

Chapter Text

I'm not a victim
'Til I let you take me down
I'm not a target in the sights of your mercy
I never asked for anything
I'm not asking now

I will not be afraid

- Hell & Consequences, Stone Sour


The mob is getting restless, angry muttering running through the gathered crowd. Adia frowns, watching as fear creeps into the corners of Murphy’s eyes, twisting his lips and making his brow furrow. His shoulders have tensed and he’s standing with all of his weight on the balls of his feet, ready.

Ready to run.

Adia blinks, before her gaze shifts, settling on Charlotte at the edge of the gathering.

Inside her head, something clicks.

“Murphy didn’t kill Wells.” She’s getting more used to talking out loud. At the very least, her voice doesn’t shock her anymore. As it stands, Clarke spins around to face her, eyes too wide in her pale face.

The crowd has fallen silent, expectant eyes on her. But she keeps eye contact with Clarke, letting her words hit home.

“Why don’t you ask the person who snuck out of camp last night while Wells was on watch?” She says lightly, before turning to look at the shivering twelve-year-old at the edge of the would-be mob.

All eyes fall to Charlotte, who’s lower lip is trembling, before she lowers her eyes and nods the tiniest bit.

“Charlotte.” Clarke breathes the name like it’s taken all of her strength just to say the word.

Suddenly, Bellamy is at Charlotte’s shoulder, having muscled his way through the crowd. He clamps a hand down on the little girl’s arm and yanks her towards his tent.

“You, you, and you.” He jabs a finger at Clarke, Adia, and Murphy, before jerking his head. They follow, Adia much slower than the other two. They duck under the tent flap and then it is just their harsh breathing in the cramped space.

Clarke turns to Charlotte, fire in her eyes.

“What the hell, Charlotte?” She says, and it’s not quite a yell.

“Bellamy said I had to slay my demons myself!” The little girl nearly wails, and Bellamy looks like he’s been gutted.

“This isn’t what I meant.” He says, and he sounds helpless and just as young as he looks.

“You can’t just go killing people to make yourself feel better.” Clarke hisses, and Adia nearly rolls her eyes.

“You’ve got nowhere to talk.” She says, and suddenly all eyes are on her again. Clarke’s shoulders square up, chin jutting out.

“I haven’t killed anyone.” She says, and there’s a waver in her voice. That, and the way Bellamy’s eyes flit to the blonde make Adia nearly sneer at the blatant lie, but she suppresses the reaction.

“You would have.” She hisses, taking a step forward. Clarke has gone still, and Adia puts the extra two inches or so she has on the girl to good use.

“You confronted Murphy in the middle of camp, where anyone could see and listen in. You didn’t think about the consequences, not even once.” She’s nearly growling now, the ball of anger that’s been spinning in her gut starting to expand. Clarke opens her mouth, but Adia plows on.

“What would have happened if I hadn’t said anything? Do you really think you could have stopped a mob hellbent on revenge? They would have strung him up, and it would have been your fault.” She snarls the last part, watching as the extent of her actions catches up to Clarke.

“I wouldn’t…” She tries, but Adia only snorts, cutting her off.

“What could you have done?” She asks, ice in her tone, and Clarke visibly flinches.

“Enough.” Bellamy steps forward, voice once more that of a leader, and Adia takes a deep breath, deliberately forcing herself to relax, uncurling her fists finger by finger. She takes a step back, away from Clarke, face once more a neutral mask.

“What do we do with her?” Bellamy jerks his head at Charlotte, who hasn’t moved from her spot at the back of the tent. Murphy, who’s been silent this whole time, glares.

“I can think of a few things.” He growls.

“Murphy.” Bellamy says in warning, but the other boy shakes his head.

“I didn’t do anything and they were ready to lynch me! She confesses and, what, nothing?” He snaps.

“So, what? We should float a twelve-year-old?” Bellamy asks, voice shaky.

“Hell yeah!” Murphy snarls.

“No, we don’t decide who lives or dies. Not down here.” Clarke cuts in, but she’s looking at Adia, something like understanding starting to seep into her eyes.

“So you’re just gonna let her go?” There’s disgust in Murphy’s tone, but Clarke shakes her head.

“We banish her.” She says. Bellamy and Murphy go completely still, because they must be thinking the same thing that Adia is.

Outside the camp, away from the protection of those sympathetic to her, Charlotte will be defenseless against the Survivors. There’s not much a twelve-year-old can do against organized, trained adults.

“Isn’t that…” Bellamy swallows, eyes darting to Charlotte. Murphy has turned slightly green, because talking about killing a child is one thing.

Throwing her to the proverbial wolves is another.

“We give her a knife and some water. She’s not allowed back. If she returns, we’ll kill her.” Clarke’s voice is firmer now, resolute.

When neither of the boys says a word of protest, she turns to Charlotte.

They march the girl through camp. Curious stares follow them all the way to the gates.

The guards on either side eye them warily, but stand aside as Clarke pushes Charlotte ahead of her, past the makeshift barrier. She stands back as Bellamy moves forward with a plastic travel bottle of water and an improvised shiv. He presses both into Charlotte’s hands and steps back.

“For the crime of killing one of our own,” Bellamy’s voice is firm, with none of the uncertainty he showed in his tent. It is completely silent as his voice carries across the camp.

“Charlotte is banished from the 100. She is forbidden to return on pain of death.” He says. Charlotte stands there for a few seconds, and for a moment Adia thinks she’s just going to stay there forever, before turning and running off into the underbrush.

Adia knows the incident had a major impact on Clarke, hopefully making the blonde more aware of her actions.

But she wonders as to the cost of the lesson.

Chapter Text

It's the reason we wait for the world to survive,
The meaning behind every word that we write
It's time that we started living

- Alive, Storm the Sky


 Finn foams at the mouth, spitting blood, and Adia knows what she needs to do.

She makes her way up the ladder without incident, rapping her knuckles on the trapdoor to the top floor. It’s opened by Miller, Murphy looking over his shoulder. She climbs through despite both's protests, before turning to face the Survivor Bellamy has strung up against the wall.

He glares at her through the gloom and his rapidly swelling eye and Adia’s lips purse. She knows this one, remembers him as a young boy, bright eyed and curious. He’s a man now, broad and heavily muscled from surviving on the ground, tattoos decorating his arms, chest, and neck.

Slowly, deliberately, she steps closer, into the pool of light that illuminates the improvised interrogation room. It takes a second, Lincoln’s one good eye darting across her face and hair and the knife at her belt before he draws back with a strangled sound, mouth open to reveal bloody teeth.

Adia steps up beside Bellamy, who is eyeing her curiously.

She ignores him and looks to Clarke, who is watching her in confusion. Noticing the bloody knife in the blonde’s grip, she extends a hand. Clarke drops the knife into her open palm without question and Adia lifts it, sniffing, before her tongue darts out to taste the blade. Grimacing, she spits, recognizing the bitter taste underneath the copper tang of blood.

Glancing down, she sees that someone has spread a handful of glass bottles across the floor at Lincoln’s feet. She crouches, sifting through them.

Some she immediately discards, knowing they aren’t what she’s looking for. Finally, she holds two tiny bottles, one with clear fluid, the other a pale amber. She rattles them around in her palm for a moment before looking up at Lincoln through her fringe. He’s still staring at her, wonder and amazement and fear in his gaze. She sighs in resignation, but holds up the bottles.

He stares at her for a moment longer before his eyes fall to the one with the clear liquid. Standing, Adia turns to Clarke, holding out the antidote.

Snatching it, the blonde makes for the ladder, disappearing down the hatch in a matter of seconds. It’s as Adia is turning away from Lincoln that Bellamy’s hand closes around her upper arm.

“What the hell is going on?” He asks, steel in his tone, but she turns flinty eyes on him, expression cold.

“Not now.” She says, before following Clarke through the trap door, the burn of Lincoln and Bellamy’s eyes following her.


She doesn’t catch the tainted nuts in time.

Granted, she has over a dozen young children to look after. So, by the time she’s gotten around to settling them all for the day, the hallucinogen has been circulated all through camp. She takes one look at the small bag of dried nuts brought in by the last of the kids and snatches it, cursing Bellamy and Clarke for being gone.

All she has to say to the little ones is that the nuts are poisonous and all of them promise not to eat any.

She makes a bee-line for the food table, noticing the worryingly empty box containing the little white packets with a grim expression.

She closes it and takes it to the dropship, leaving it under a tarp to be dealt with later.

She skirts the perimeter of the ship, watching Jasper hug a stick and another boy she doesn’t know strip to his underwear. The rest of the camp’s inhabitants seem to be losing their damned minds, staring off into space or babbling incoherently.

It’s as she passes a bush by the border wall that a hand clamps over her mouth, an arm like a steel band closing around her middle and dragging her into the shadows. She struggles, managing to jab her elbow into her attackers gut and stomp harshly on his instep. He makes a hissing noise of pain and she recognizes Lincoln’s voice.

She twists out of his grip, immediately noticing the jacket around his shoulders.

They stare at each other for several long moments, his dark eyes searching her face, before she snorts.

“Octavia.” It isn’t a question, but she has her answer when his lips thin. She rolls her eyes.

“Who are you?” He asks. She lifts her lip at him, showing teeth.

“Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to, brat.” She hisses at him. He looks like he’s going to argue, but she shakes her head.

“I assume you’re going to try and set up a meeting between Clarke and one of the clan leaders. Anya probably, considering she’s closest and she’s the most likely to have any kind of sympathy.” She holds up a hand when he opens his mouth to speak.

“Whatever, I’m not stopping you. If you want to get away cleanly, though, I suggest you leave now.” He frowns at her.

“You’re not going to say anything?” He asks warily. She snorts.

“I’m not going to say anything.” She confirms. His lips press together, like he has something more to say, but he obviously thinks better of it. In the next instant he’s melted into the darkness and she sighs.

She extricates herself from the bushes, stumbling a little when her foot gets caught on a branch, only to run smack into Finn. He grabs her upper arms to steady her, but doesn’t let go when she tries to pull away. She eyes him warily, wondering just how much he’d witnessed of her exchange with Lincoln.

He’d been the only one sympathetic to the Grounder’s situation, even though he was the one who got stabbed. Regardless, she’s not about the let her guard down.

She tries to extricate her arms again but his hold just tightens, his mouth opening, but another pair of arms wraps around her shoulders before he can speak, a warm body at her back.

“I don’t think the lady likes your hands on her, Spacewalker.” Murphy says, watching the other boy through heavy lidded eyes.

“Get floated, Murphy.” Finn snaps.

“Not until you let go of her.” Murphy replies smoothly.

“You first.” Finn challenges.

“Actually, it’d be great if you could both let go of me.” She has no idea where the sarcasm comes from, considering she hasn’t used it in a very long time, but something about the situation just makes it flow passed her lips. Both boys look at her, Finn surprised and Murphy unreadable.

It is Finn who moves first, fingers slackening reluctantly from around her biceps before falling away completely. Murphy follows suit, moving to stand beside her, hands stuffed in his pockets.

They stand in silence for a few moments, Finn’s eyes darting between her own, as if trying to convey some kind of message.

Adia plays dumb.

“Did you need something?” She asks him. Finn’s lips thin.

“No.” He admits grudgingly. When she doesn’t say anything else, he slinks away.

“Good riddance.” Murphy says under his breath, before turning to look at her. She levels him with a look.

“Did you need something?” She repeats, and he snorts a laugh.

“Nope.” He says, popping the ‘p’ unnecessarily, before sauntering off.

She watches him go with something like trepidation unfurling in her gut.
 

Chapter Text

Sometimes the only pay off for having any faith,
Is when it's tested again and again everyday,
I'm still comparing your past to my future,
It might be your wound but they're my sutures (Ooh),
I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass
...
And live with me forever now,
And pull the blackout curtains down

- Immortals, Fall Out Boy


 She’s kneeling in the dirt, elbow deep in thorny branches, when Murphy comes across her.

“What are you doing?” He asks, startling her. Adia freezes, looking up at him with what she hopes isn’t a guilty expression.

“These are edible. I thought I’d get some for the younger kids.” She says, nodding towards the small mound of berries she’s amassed, piled on a scrap of left-over tarp to keep them out of the dirt.

It’s somewhat late in the season for blackberries, so she’d considered herself fortunate when she’d stumbled across the laden bush a good hundred yards outside the walls. There might be just enough for all of her charges, but there’s certainly not enough to go around camp, and she knows the older kids will covet the sweet fruit. She had hoped to get back to camp without anyone seeing her or her precious cargo.

“So, you weren’t gonna share?” Murphy asks, noticing how few of the berries she’s collected. She squares her jaw.

“No.” She says, and the look in her eye is daring him to argue with her.

Murphy only stares at her for a long moment, one eyebrow quirked up nearly to his hairline, before he shrugs and turns away from her.

Adia tugs down the sleeves of her jacket, hiding the unblemished skin of her hands as she carefully folds the tarp around her haul. Picking it up, she follows Murphy back to camp.


She’s pulled aside by Bellamy, into a group that consists of Miller, Murphy, and two other boys she doesn’t know, who are introduced as Sterling and Myles, and is handed a gun. Only a handful of the older kids are receiving them, even though there are more than enough to go around camp. Clarke and Bellamy, at least, seem to be erring on the side of caution when it comes to adolescents and firearms.

She simply stares at it, head cocked to the side. The others are in a similar state, eyeing their rifles as if they’re poisonous snakes waiting to bite them. All except for Miller, who seems comfortable enough with his, if still wary.

Bellamy sighs in resignation, before raising his own, as if to begin showing them how it works.

Adia snorts derisively, swift fingers turning the weapon in her hands and ejecting the magazine into her waiting palm with a loud click. With a deft twist she opens the chamber, ejecting the bullet that had been in it, and locks it in place. Satisfied that the rifle isn’t loaded, she lifts her gaze.

“Rule number one when handling a firearm, never point it at anything you’re not willing to kill.” She reaches out and pointedly moves Sterling’s rifle barrel so that it’s not pointed at Murphy’s head.

“Rule number two, whenever you’re handed a rifle, always check to see if it’s live.” She holds up her own as an example.

“Rule number three, unless you are actively preparing to shoot something, it’s considered good etiquette to keep your gun unloaded. Less likelihood of a misfire and an unintended injury.” She lifts the magazine that had been in her rifle and stuffs it in a pocket.

“Rule number four, never store your firearms and ammo together.” She casts her gaze skyward, worrying her bottom lip and thinking.

“Rule number five, I suggest an age limit on those who get to handle these.” She looks at Bellamy, finding him staring at her with an unreadable expression.

“Teaching them gun safety is all well and good, but actually letting them handle a firearm is something else.” She says.

She is met with silence for several seconds before Murphy turns to fully face her.

“Show me.” It’s a command phrased as a request, but she obliges him, having him turn over his rifle and showing him the buttons he needs to push to eject the magazine, then how to pull the slide to advance a round and how to open the bullet chamber and lock it open.

Miller, Sterling, and Myles watch, and then repeat the motions once Murphy has them down. Bellamy continues to watch them, face tight.

“How’d you get so good at that?” He finally asks. The others look at him, before turning their gazes on her. She shrugs nonchalantly.

“I read a lot.” She says by way of explanation. She shoulders her rifle, meeting Bellamy’s suspicious gaze head on, face completely neutral.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have little ones to look after.” With that she turns on her heal and walks away. A few seconds later and another pair of boots fall into step with her own.

She glances to the side to see Murphy walking beside her, but she doesn’t comment on it.

If he’s going to follow her, on Bellamy’s orders or his own curiosity, she doesn’t care.

She’ll put him to work helping her with the young ones, regardless.


Murphy is at the back of the line, making sure none of the children they’re taking for a walk to the river wander off and get lost. Adia leads at the front, Bethany pressed to her side like a limpet.

The little ones have been particularly quiet since the incident with Charlotte, and Adia would feel bad if she didn’t know she’d prevented someone from being lynched for a crime they didn’t commit.

Today, though, they’re oddly chatty, talking almost non-stop about something called ‘Unity Day’. As she’s never heard of it, she stays quiet and listens.

From what she can gather, it’s the celebration of the unification of the twelve individual space stations that make up the Ark. And it was a big enough deal up in space that even on the ground it’s the only topic of conversation.

Just ahead of them, the trees thin to reveal the sparkle of sunlight glinting off of water.

She and Murphy manage to get all fourteen children down the pebble strewn bank, stripped to their underwear, and into the water for a scrub, though Murphy mainly watches the tree line, cradling his rifle in his arms.

Adia doesn’t mind.

Once all of the little ones are as clean as they’re going to get, she ushers them up onto the bank to dry off in the sun. She glances at Murphy, who still has his back to her, and decides to take advantage of the situation.

She leaves her boots closest to the water, mainly because she’s learned the hard way that if you have to make a run for it, proper footwear is essential. The rest of her clothes with the exception of her underwear she leaves with Bethany.

She takes her knife with her into the water, the blade clamped firmly between her teeth.

She dunks her head, scrubbing as best she can without proper soap, before resurfacing and shaking her head, sending water everywhere. A strangled noise makes her look up, wary and alert, just in time to catch Murphy quickly looking away. She squints, wondering if the light is playing tricks on her, but she’s sure that the tips of his ears are bright red.

For the briefest moment she wonders if he got sunburned on their way to the river, but then she realizes her error.

Some of the kids, like Clarke and Miller, keep making her forget that they’re all just children. But Bellamy is the only one other than her who is past the age of majority, and those who act like adults only have to because there’s no other choice.

She sighs, abashed, because she hadn’t meant to embarrass Murphy.

Satisfied that her sixty-second dip in the river has washed away most of the grime, she hauls herself back up the bank to retrieve her boots. Most of the children are already dressed, having dried off quickly in the sun, so she forgoes her own sunbathing in favor of getting back into the relative protection of her clothes. She’s still damp, but she’s been through much worse, and so ignores the mild discomfort.

Murphy still hasn’t turned around, so she taps him on the shoulder when she reaches him. He blinks owlishly at her, and there’s a definite pink tinge to his cheeks, but he doesn’t say anything as he sets off, this time leading the line of children.

Adia falls into step at the back and they trek back to camp.


The Unity Day party is in full swing by the time they get back, the setting sun painting the sky the rusty red of old blood.

Adia loses sight of the kids and Murphy almost as soon as they’re through the gates, but she doesn’t think much of it. She’s barely halfway across camp when Monty is pressing a metal cup full of clear fluid into her hands, grinning from ear to ear before bouncing off into the gathered crowd. Adia raises the cup, sniffing the liquid sloshing around inside experimentally. It smells heavily of alcohol and she blinks at it, surprised despite herself.

Taking a small sip, she welcomes the not-quite-pleasant burn of it. Lowering the cup, she catches sight of Bellamy across the cook fires, staring at her. She can’t help the cheeky grin she throws him, mock toasting him with her cup before lifting it and downing all of it’s contents in one go.

She shakes her head at the liquid heat pooling in her belly, even if it’s only for a few seconds. It’s certainly been a long time.

When she looks up again Bellamy is gone from his spot.

She gets pulled down to sit beside Miller, a plate of food shoved into her hands, though she declines any more of Monty’s moonshine.

By the time it’s fully dark she’s pleasantly warm and full, listening patiently as the new girl, Raven, goes on and on about the intricacies of the Unity Day pageant back on the Ark. She can see Murphy from the corner of her eye where he’s plopped himself onto the log across from them.

Something makes her look up, a kind of tingling at the back of her neck she’s learned not to ignore, and she searches the sky without really knowing why.

It becomes apparent, however, when she notices the fireball.

She’s on her feet in an instant, eyes glued to the bright ball of light as it gets larger and larger, trailing fire in its wake. Miller and Murphy, despite being halfway drunk, follow suite, their own eyes finding the falling spacecraft without difficulty.

She can hear murmuring and some cheering all around her, something about this being the first group of Arkers to make it to Earth, but she knows, somewhere in her gut, that this won’t be like the 100 and their dropship.

And when the Exodus ship lands with a massive explosion, the fireball rolling up into the pitch black of the night sky, she knows that this will change everything.

Chapter Text

Falling too fast to prepare for this
Tripping in the world could be dangerous
Everybody circling, it's vulturous
Negative, nepotist

Everybody waiting for the fall of man
Everybody praying for the end of times
Everybody hoping they could be the one
I was born to run, I was born for this

- Whatever It Takes, Imagine Dragons


 The charred remains of the spacecraft are something else.

Watching the Exodus ship fall and the resulting fireball that followed was one thing, but walking amidst the blackened corpses that had once been its passengers is another.

Adia feels a twinge of sympathy for these people. She knows from first hand experience that burning alive isn’t a pleasant way to go.

“Fire in the hole!” She turns at Raven’s voice just in time to catch the explosion. It rattles her a little, making her step back and accidentally bump into Murphy. He reaches out to steady her, a reassuring hand on her shoulder and she takes a few deep breaths before stepping away and nodding to him in thanks.

They trail after Bellamy into the trees, and Adia casts one last look over her shoulder as they go.

No one, not even the most sympathetic of the Survivor clans, will take this as anything other than an act of war.


She hears about Charlotte’s return by accident.

She’s walking passed the smoke house on her way to her tent when she hears Octavia talking about the little girl they’d found in the woods that morning.

The news that she had ‘escaped’ from the grounders is what makes Adia turn and run for the dropship.

She bursts through the curtain, nearly running into one of the scouts, Connor, even as her eyes land on the little bundle of bloody clothes in the corner.

Charlotte takes one look at her and starts to cry, but Adia isn’t concerned with that in the slightest.

“Where is Clarke?” She asks Connor. He blinks at her, before shrugging. Adia curses and spins on her heal, heading back outside.

She catches Clarke by Monty and Jasper’s tent with Bellamy, Raven, and Murphy. She doesn’t bother with subtlety as she grabs the blonde by the shoulders and spins her around, ignoring Clarke’s yelp of surprise.

“Did you touch Charlotte?” She asks, worry and concern warring with anger in the back of her throat. Clarke nods dumbly, and Adia curses again.

“Who else?” She asks.

“Why does it matter?” Bellamy asks, looking peeved at her treatment of Clarke.

“Do you really think she just ‘escaped’ from the grounders? Really?” She asks him.

“So they let her go? Big deal. What’s a twelve year old going to do?” He asks her.

“There is more than one type of warfare, Blake.” She snaps at him. His mouth clicks shut, but the look on his face is still mutinous.

“Octavia, Connor and I brought her in.” Says Murphy, the crease between his eyebrows showing that he, at least, is picking up on her distress.

“Adia, what’s this about?” Clarke asks.

She’s turned back to face the blonde, mouth open to reply, but her eyes fall to the bloody tears leaking from the girls eyes and she knows she’s too late.

“Clarke, your eyes!” Raven makes to step forward but Adia puts a hand out to stop her.

A strangled coughing sound comes from the dropship, and they watch as Connor stumbles out from behind the curtain, hacking up blood as he falls to his knees. Clarke is staring at him, before her eyes snap to Adia.

“Biological warfare.” She breathes, and the grim set of Adia’s mouth is her answer. Clarke turns to Bellamy.

“Get everyone who had immediate contact with Charlotte into the dropship. We need to quarantine this as soon as possible.” She says with authority. He nods, eyes wide in his too pale face.

Murphy helps Adia carry Connor back into the dropship while Clarke goes to check on Charlotte. Sure enough, as they stumble through the door it’s to see the little girl seizing on the floor, blood spewing from her mouth.

Murphy’s mouth is set in a grim line as he and Adia settle Connor on the ground. She stands up just as Charlotte goes unnaturally still.

“Is she…?” Clarke nods to Murphy’s question, and he looks like he might be sick. A sudden, wracking cough makes him stagger and Adia helps him to sit properly, wiping away the blood that starts leaking down his face with a rag.

Bellamy chooses that moment to enter the dropship with Octavia, Finn hot on his heals.

“What’s he doing here?” Clarke asks and Bellamy grimaces.

“He insisted on tagging along.” He says.

“Foolish.” Adia states, deadpan, from her position crouched in front of Murphy, who snorts a weak laugh.

“I heard you were sick.” Finn says to Clarke, ignoring Adia’s comment.

“And you’re not. Get out of here.” Clarke turns away from him, moving to grab a work light which she takes to Octavia, instructing the other girl to open her mouth. Finn hovers for a moment before leaving.

It goes downhill from there.

Adia tries to help where she can, but Connor is the next casualty, seizing just like Charlotte did before going deathly still. More sick kids trickle in, some less severe than others. She remains close to Murphy, though, making sure he stays hydrated and rolling him onto his side when he starts coughing up blood in earnest. The first time, he grips her hand so tightly it hurts, and she lets him.

The day passes slowly.

Gunfire outside makes her tense, the rag she was wiping a young girl’s face with frozen in mid air. Angry voices filter through the curtain leading outside, Clarke’s, then an unidentified male, then Bellamy.

Then silence, until suddenly the curtain is being thrown back and Finn strides in, Clarke cradled in his arms, Octavia hot on his heels.

“She can have mine.” Adia turns to watch Murphy get out of his hammock, and immediately stands up to help. But he manages to walk on his own as he steps away and Finn sets Clarke down. He and Octavia hover while Murphy moves towards Adia.

“Can I help?” He asks. She eyes him, at the blood still on his face, and he holds his hands out in a placating gesture.

“I feel better, honest.” He says.

“That’s what Lincoln said, that the fever doesn’t last long.” Octavia’s voice draws their attention and Adia sighs, handing Murphy a cup of water and a somewhat clean rag.

“Make sure they keep hydrated. If they start coughing up blood, turn them on their side so they don’t drown in it.” She tells him. Murphy nods and dutifully sets about as she’s instructed.

It isn’t until later, when they bring in Bellamy, that she learns about the plan to blow up the bridge.

Chapter Text

I am flesh, bones
I am skin, soul
I am human
Nothing more than human
I am sweat, flaws
I am veins, scars
I am human
Nothing more than human

- Human, Sevdaliza


 

“Foolish, idiotic children.” Adia seethes, pacing her bunker, considering her options.

She can walk away, leaving what’s left of the 100 to work out the situation themselves. They’re resourceful, as made obvious by Monty and Jasper’s inventions and Raven’s homemade bomb. They have competent leaders in Clarke and Bellamy. They’ll be able to work it out, negotiate, something.

But even as she considers the option, she knows she won’t take it.

She’s grown too attached to them. To Monty and Jasper’s antics, to Raven’s good natured wisecracks, to Murphy’s biting sarcasm, to Bellamy and Clarke’s constant bickering, to Octavia’s overwhelming curiosity, to Miller’s stoic but comforting presence.

Adia sighs, feeling the anger drain from her as she deflates, shoulders dropping as most of the tension leaves her in a great rush. In its place is an assured calm, one she uses to start coming up with a plan.

She goes back to pacing, thinking about what she can do, but the sound of the bunker door opening makes her freeze.

She waits, breath held, for more sound, and hisses when the sound of boots on the stairs reaches her ears. She snatches up her rifle, her real weapon, her father’s hunting rifle, and levels it against her shoulder. It’s nothing like the gun she was given by Bellamy, which is back at camp. The bolt action Remington 700 is lighter by far, with a stainless steel barrel and Swarovski scopes.

She’s perfectly confident the .30-06 Springfield round in the chamber will take down a human, but she checks that she has an extra magazine within easy reach regardless.

She waits in the dark, barely daring to breathe, until booted feet come into view, followed by long legs and a familiar jacket, and then Murphy’s wary face. He has his gun in his hands, but it isn’t up, ready to shoot. Something in Adia eases, but she stands stock still, waiting.

When he finally see’s her, hidden in the gloom of the bunker, his eyes widen slightly, but he makes no move to raise his rifle. She lowers hers slightly, a calculating look on her face.

“What are you doing here, Murphy?” She asks.

“I followed you.” He says, matter of factly.

She snorts.

“Obviously. But why?” She asks. Murphy shifts his rifle into the crook of his arm, eyeing hers with a calculating expression.

“Clarke and the Spacewalker went out with Myles to hunt for food. He was found injured, and there’s no sign of Griffin or Collins.” He says. Adia swears, before lowering her rifle completely and turning away from him. She picks up the rucksack she’d packed when she got there, whether in preparation of running from or back to camp, she hadn’t been sure at the time, and slings it over her shoulder.

She moves quickly through the space, putting things away before returning to the stairs, where Murphy has remained, frozen as he watches her.

“You weren’t on the dropship with us, were you?” He asks, sweeping an arm out to indicate the obviously lived in bomb shelter. She looks up at him from the floor, his standing a few steps up giving him a good two feet of height on her.

“No.” She says truthfully. He nods, as if to himself, before shouldering his rifle.

“And yet you’re helping us.” He says, and it sounds like a question.

“I’m trying.” She says. “You lot aren’t exactly making it easy for me.”

He snorts, but smiles at her, a genuine smile devoid of the snark she knows him for.

“But you’re on our side, and that’s all that matters.” He says, stepping aside so that she can ascend the steps beside him. She snorts.

“Try explaining that to Bellamy.” She says, and he actually laughs.

They exit the bunker into the midday sun, and Adia shields her eyes as she looks up into the sky. Locking the door behind her and letting the key fall back around her neck, she turns to Murphy

“Instead of going back to camp, show me where you found Myles.” She says, and he nods, setting off at a lope through the trees.

They don’t speak as they travel, but if the fact that Murphy doesn’t once look back to check on her says anything, then he trusts her to watch his six. Adia is oddly grateful. In all of this, she at least has one person who knows some of the truth and still trusts her.

Finally, they stop in a thicket of trees, and Adia can see the dark rusty stain where Myles must have stood and bled.

She turns in a slow circle, Murphy content to stand a few feet away and watch her. Finally, she stops, looks up into the trees, and sets off again, in what she knows is the opposite direction of the dropship.

They continue through the forest, this time with Murphy at her back, before a sudden rustling in the bushes ahead of them makes her draw up short. Sounds of a scuffle come to them and Adia glances back at Murphy. He nods, keeping his gun in hand but lowered, ready to fight but not actively threatening.

Adia draws in a deep breath and steps through the underbrush.

It takes a few seconds for the grounders gathered in the clearing to notice them, but Adia only has eyes for Anya, standing beside a fire with Clarke and Finn bound at her feet. A bald man with a thin face and flinty eyes stands beside her, looming over the two captured kids.

“It’s been a long time, Anya.” Adia says. The woman’s head jerks up, sharp eyes flicking over her for a moment before comprehension dawns in their dark depths. Satisfied, Adia steps forward. One of the grounders makes to lunge at her, but Anya barks an order and he freezes, before retreating.

Adia continues to the fire, unimpeded, with Murphy at her shoulder.

Anya turns to face her fully, all of her attention directed at Adia. They stand for a few seconds in silence, sizing each other up, before Adia speaks.

“Go home, Anya.” She says. The other woman’s lips purse and her eyes narrow.

“What are you?” She asks. Adia sighs, looking down at her boots. For being more than a century old, they’re in pretty good shape, but then again she’s taken exceptional care of them.

Aside from her father’s rifle, they’re all she’s got.

“There are so many ways to answer that question.” She says quietly, and she can feel Murphy shift at her back, before lifting her gaze to Anya. The man beside her is looking between them, eyes hard.

“I want to speak with Lexa.” She says, louder, making sure that her voice carries through the clearing. A murmur goes through the Grounders and the thin faced man’s shoulders tense. He steps forward, teeth bared as he draws his sword. Adia hears the click behind her and reaches back, a hand closing over one of Murphy’s on his rifle. His fist is tense and shaking under her fingers, but he relaxes slightly at her touch.

“Who are you to speak of the Commander?” The man spits. Adia ignores him, eyes still on Anya. The other woman’s eyes are drawn, lips pursed, but she’s nodding.

“I can get you an audience.” She says, finally. Her companion whirls on her.

“NO! They must be destroyed!” He yells.

“You cannot defeat her, Tristan. She isn’t like the Sky People.” Anya says, calmly. He snarls and gestures with his sword.

“Have you forgotten who is in charge here? I was sent by the Commander herself because you were too soft on the Sky People.” He says.

“And what will the Commander say when she hears you denied her an audience with the Newana?” Anya asks and Tristan stiffens.

When his eyes find hers, Adia doesn’t so much as blink, simply stares him down. He’s shaking, but she knows it’s with anger and not fear. He’s been denied his fight. Anya is the one who speaks next.

“Three days.” She says, before turning and beginning to walk away, the other Grounders following her.

Tristan is the last to turn away, eyes not leaving Adia until the last moment, when he whirls on his heel and stomps off into the woods.

Once they’re gone, Adia lets out a breath and feels Murphy relax at her back. She turns to Clarke, still bound on the ground, and crouches down to cut her bonds.

She meets the blonde’s eyes and gives her a weak smile.

“We need to talk.” She says.


The third floor of the dropship is deserted except for Bellamy, Clarke, Murphy, and herself. Adia has no doubt that Miller, Raven, Finn, and Octavia are on the next level down, trying to listen in.

Clarke gets right to the point.

“Talk.” She commands, imposing and golden in the dropship lights. Adia laughs hollowly.

“Where do I even begin?” She asks absently.

“You’re not one of the 100.” Clarke says, and Adia nods. Bellamy tenses, taking a step forward, but is blocked by Murphy.

“Hey, hear her out.” He snaps, standing between the older boy and Adia, hands raised. Bellamy’s eyes narrow dangerously.

“You knew.” He accuses, and Murphy snorts.

“I figured it out, genius.” He snarls back.

“Enough.” Clarke snaps, getting between them.

“What year is it?” Adia suddenly asks, derailing the coming fight. Three sets of eyes turn to her.

“What?” Clarke looks bemused and Adia rolls her eyes.

“The year? You must have calendars on the Ark.” She says sarcastically. Clarke frowns, but replies.

“It’s 2168.” She says.

Adia blinks, a clear look of surprise on her face.

“Oh, wow.” She runs a hand down her face, looking a little bit stunned.

“What is it?” Clarke asks, suddenly concerned, and Adia would have laughed at the girl’s motherly instincts if she wasn’t reeling from her own revelation.

“It’s just…I haven’t done the math in a while. I stopped counting after the first three decades or so, actually. But this is…wow.” She looks up, meeting Clarke’s eyes head on.

“I was born Adia Kennedy, to Patrick and Marry-Anne, on the 15th of May 2048 in San Francisco.” She says, taking in their stunned faces with a wry grin.

“From what you’ve told me, that puts me at around 120 years old.” She says, running a hand through her hair.

“That’s not possible.” Says Clarke weakly, eyes darting across her face with amazement and horror in her gaze. Adia shrugs, walking across the deck to plop herself down on an overturned crate.

“Possible or not, here I am.” She throws her hands out in a ‘ta-da’ gesture before looking between them.

“My family used to vacation here every summer, that’s why my dad picked this place to be where he built our bunker. Murphy’s seen it.” She gestures to the boy and he nods in confirmation, even if his eyes are glued to her every movement.

“The bombs started dropping on August 3rd, 2071. I wasn’t prepared. No one was prepared.” She breathes the last bit as she drops her eyes briefly to the floor before they flick back up to take in the three stunned faces in front of her.

“Anyway, my brother was supposed to get our mother and I was with my dad, but we got separated.” She pauses, gazing off into space, the memory making her throat tighten a little.

“I was the only one who made it here.” She says, voice quiet.

“I waited…I waited for them to show up, but days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. By the time I’d been living down in the bunker for a year, I’d already accepted that they hadn’t made it.” She’s staring at her boots, tapping the toes together contemplatively.

“I didn’t notice anything strange, at first. I stayed down in the bunker for a few years, but then there was a problem with the water pump. If I didn’t go above ground and either find a replacement part or fresh water, I was gonna die anyway. So I went up, and lo and behold, not only is the world not a total barbecue briquette, but there are honest to god survivors.” She says, lifting her eyes to her audience. Clarke is staring at her with wide eyes, completely enraptured. Bellamy looks stunned. Murphy looks sympathetic.

“I started hunting, trading with the survivors when I had to. It took me over twenty years to realize that I wasn’t aging. I remember looking in the mirror and wondering why I didn’t have any grey hairs. I mean, I was supposed to be in my early forties. Something should have changed, but I looked exactly the same as before the bombs had dropped.” She looks away from them then, grimacing.

“I started trying to limit my contact with the survivors, staggering my visits to the villages.” She says.

“So that no one would recognize you.” Clarke says, and Adia nods, staring at her boots again.

“Sometimes I couldn’t help it. There have been a few very public instances where I’ve shown myself. Which is how Anya knows me.”

“She called you ‘The Newana’, didn’t she? What’s it mean?” Clarke asks. Adia’s lips thin as they press together.

“Newana is Trigedasleng for ‘Immortal One’. It wouldn’t be such a widely know title, except for one of those incidents I mentioned. It happened about twenty or so years ago, but unfortunately the story seems to be gaining in popularity rather than dying down.” She says, waving a hand dismissively.

“What incident?” Bellamy asks, voice tight. Adia pauses, eyes darting between them, before she haltingly continues.

“I had a…disagreement with a nomadic tribe that wanted to settle where my bunker is.” She says.

“Disagreement?” Clarke sounds intrigued.

“I may have lost some time and killed a few people.” Adia says hesitantly. Her jaw tightens as she continues.

“The tribe in question had this really nasty tradition of kidnapping young children from neighboring tribes and brutally killing and eating them.” She says in clear disgust. All three kids go quiet, shocked by her words.

“Why?” Bellamy sounds slightly sick. Adia shrugs.

“The Grounders are a warrior people, and as such, they start combat training at a young age. The Bludkru believed that by stealing and eating these warriors in training, they would gain all of the potential power they might have had. Anyway, I took offense to them murdering kids on my front lawn.” Adia says.

“It’s how I met Lincoln, actually. He was one of the children that had been kidnapped.” She continues.

“What happened?” Murphy asks. Adia turns her head from where she’s staring into the middle distance to look at the three faces turned towards her, entirely focused on her.

“I killed them all.” She says quietly.

There’s a beat of utter silence, where Clarke, Murphy, and Bellamy simply stare at her, waiting for the punchline, for her to say ‘just kidding’, but it never comes. Clarke swallows thickly.

“What?” Her voice is hoarse.

“By the time I was done, I had killed every warrior that stood against me. So, around a hundred people, give or take. The only ones spared were the children too young to fight. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ve learned to accept that it happened.” Adia says in a detached tone, as if she’s not discussing her involvement in a mass slaughter of human beings.

Bellamy is staring at Adia with an expression bordering on horror. Even Murphy has gone pale.

“You could ask Lincoln about it if you want more details. I don’t remember much of the actual massacre, but I distinctly remember him. There were three: him and Anya’s younger sister, and a third child that was dead by the time I arrived, and I remember trying to approach them after.” Here, something like sadness creeps into Adia’s voice.

“Lincoln was barely six, maybe seven. Anya’s sister was younger, probably closer to four. But I just remember this tiny boy standing between me and this defenseless baby and offering himself up in her place.” She sighs, looking down at her clasped hands.

“I told him I only hurt those who hurt others, but it’s hard to convince someone of that when you’ve just murdered an entire clan.” She says.

There’s a long pause before Bellamy speaks.

“Why?” His rifle clicks and they all turn to look at him. The expression on his face says enough: if he doesn’t like her answer, then he’s prepared to shoot her. Eliminate the threat. Adia blinks and looks away.

“I told you I tried to limit my involvement with the survivors. Well, at that point, I hadn’t had any close human contact in over fifty years. And when I do, it’s to suddenly find a dead baby on my doorstep, with these monsters eating her flesh and internal organs. And there are two more kids, crying and screaming, who are next on the chopping block.” She chokes, eyes closing as she shivers, the memory apparently too much. When she opens her eyes, they’re wet.

“I lost it. When I came to, I was covered in blood and standing amidst a field of corpses.” She holds out her hands, which are shaking uncontrollably.

“You know the expression ‘Seeing red’? Well, I actually did, and it terrified me. I’d never felt so adrift, so out of control. I hated every second of it.” She looks up at Bellamy, who still looks horrified, but slightly less afraid.

“I managed to convince Lincoln to let me take him back to his village with Anya’s sister. Then I went back and burned all the bodies I could find. From what I heard later, the children I didn’t kill were found by another tribe and taken in, but it’s little consolation. Regardless, I imagine the story has warped over time, but Lexa was Anya’s second, so she’s no doubt heard every version imaginable.” She says.

“That’s who you requested an audience with, right?” Murphy is the one who speaks, and she nods again.

“The current Commander, yes.”

“The what?” Clarke asks. Adia sighs.

“The clans are all pretty much self governing, but the Commander is their central power. Their Chancellor, if you will. When she calls, they will answer. If I can talk to her, I can try and get this whole mess taken care of.”

“Why?” Bellamy asks again. Adia looks up at him with something like melancholy.

“Because I’ve been isolated for too long? Because I’ve gone mad from loneliness? Because I don’t want anyone else to die?” She meets his eyes, and he’s the first to look away.

“I don’t know why I stayed after the first night. I just thought I’d see what was going on, scout around, gather some intel. I never expected the ship to be full of children.” She says. Clarke’s face twists and Adia laughs at her, a hollow, empty sound.

“I’m 120 years old, Clarke. To me, you’re all infants.” She sighs heavily, letting her head fall into her hands, eyes sliding closed.

“I’m so tired.” She mumbles. Movement in front of her tells her someone has knelt before her, but she doesn’t lift her head until a hand gently grazes her cheek. Clarke is staring at her, something like knowing sparking in her eyes.

“There’s something else you’re not telling us.” She says. Adia smiles, a grimace if ever there was one, before reaching for her belt. Clarke doesn’t move back as Adia brings the knife up to her own neck, but she does flinch when the razor sharp blade brings beads of blood to the surface as it opens the skin.

A moment later and the blood bubbles, boiling as the skin underneath visibly knits back together, leaving the pale expanse of Adia’s throat unblemished and smooth.

“How do you think one person killed over a hundred Grounder warriors by herself?” She asks wryly.

 

Chapter Text

You cut my fuse and lit it
And I'm a psycho menace (don't blame me)
I don't wanna have to do this again

I pray for peace but I'm ready for war
I pray for change 'cause I've been here before
I pray for peace but I'm ready for war

- Ready for War (Pray for Peace, Adelitas Way


Murphy and Miller flank her wherever she goes. She doesn’t mind Murphy, because he doesn’t act any different, making snide comments left and right. But Miller is a pillar of oppressive silence constantly looming over her shoulder, gun at the ready like she’s going to start attacking people.

“If you’re going to lurk, at least be useful.” She finally snaps, gesturing to the food she and Murphy are distributing amongst the younger children. Miller blinks at her sudden outburst, casting a quick glance to Murphy, who is giving him a bland look, before he slings his rifle over his shoulder and begins to hand out portions.

Miller won’t speak to her and she’s fine with that. She’s certainly gotten used to silence over the years and the camp is noisy enough without idle chatter, which Murphy provides plenty of.

Still, her chest feels too tight, like her ribs are too small for her heart and lungs.

She doesn’t look at Miller and he doesn’t speak to her.

She understands.

And she doesn’t.


It’s a subtle shift in the air, like the oncomings of a storm. It’s charged like those few frozen seconds before the lightning strikes, like the forgotten scent of new rain on hot pavement.

It’s what makes her seek out Clarke, who’s standing with Bellamy in front of the supply tent.

“Get everyone into the dropship.” They don’t even question her, simply start barking orders. She turns to Murphy and Miller as Clarke and Bellamy turn away and the camp erupts into activity.

“Open the gates.” She commands.

By the time Lexa arrives, Adia is left standing alone in front of the dropship. Clarke, Bellamy, Murphy, and a handful of kids with guns stand in the open doorway, ready. They’ve tugged down the curtain, meaning that those left on the bottom floor can see her.

And the Grounders entering camp.

Anya enters first, followed by Lexa and her advisors. Adia recognizes Indra and Gustus, but the handful of others trailing behind the Commander are new. Except for Tristan, who is scowling at her. He’s flanked by half a dozen young warriors, all looking around excitedly and twitching.

She’d laugh at the pups if she wasn’t so worried.

Lexa lifts a hand and Anya, Indra and her entourage pull up short, letting the Commander continue forward. Adia moves to step forward, but a noise from the ship makes her look back. Murphy, unlike the others, is watching her, worry written clearly across his face.

She gives him a reassuring smile before moving to meet Lexa in the middle of the clearing.

“It’s been a long time.” Adia says, meeting kohl lined eyes calmly. Children playing dress up don’t scare her, and that’s all these people are. It’s all that any of them are.

Lexa tilts her head in acknowledgement, but when she speaks her voice is cold.

“The Sky People have declared war.” She says. Adia shakes her head.

“Not intentionally.” She says. Lexa frowns at her.

“Intentional or not, blood must have blood.” She says. It is Adia’s turn to frown.

“I disagree.” She says and Lexa’s lips purse.

“You’ve been a neutral party up until now. Are you telling me you’ve finally picked a side?” She asks. Alice’s eyes narrow at the implication in Lexa’s voice.

“You owe me a life-debt, Commander.” She reminds her, and though her voice is quiet, it still carries enough to make the Grounders shift uncomfortably. Lexa has stiffened, eyes narrowing.

“But I owe no such thing to the Sky People.” She hisses. It is Adia’s turn to snarl, lips peeling back from her teeth as something like possessiveness burns in her gut.

“These children, the Sky People, they’re mine.” She growls the last word and realizes that it’s true.

For all her attempts at isolation, she’s become attached. Drawn in by a group of children desperately attempting to carve out a place for themselves.

Lexa’s eyes flit over her shoulder to where Adia knows Clarke and the others are gathered at the dropship doors.

“I can’t just let this go.” She finally says.

“Then try and take them, Lexa.” Adia feels the challenge fall from her lips and watches the Grounders shift. The children in the dropship don’t understand what she’s done for them, but they must detect the change in the Grounder’s attitude, because there’s muttering behind her. Which she ignores. Lexa is looking at her as if she’s grown a second head.

“One on one combat. If I win, then you leave and promise to negotiate with the Sky People for peace.” Adia says.

“And if you lose?” Lexa asks. Adia feels her gut churn at the thought, but ignores it too.

“Then I won’t stop you from going to war.” She says.

Lexa watches her for a few long moments before nodding and turning away. She barks an order and a figure slinks in through the open gate. Adia recognizes Lincoln immediately. He stops by one of the guards, who hands him a bundle before heading towards them.

“You have thirty minutes.” Says Lexa to Lincoln as they cross paths, her heading back towards Indra and the others. He nods.

Adia falls into step with him as he leads her back to the dropship. She pauses just inside the doors, considering him as he eyes her.

“Do you need…?” He shakes the bundle, which she knows holds more than just a selection of weapons. She shakes her head.

“I brought my own.” She says, and turns to Murphy. He holds out her rucksack and she opens the flap, pulling out a bundle of black and red leather. Lincoln eyes it, before motioning to Octavia.

“Help her dress.” Is all he says. They retreat behind a curtain made from a tarp and Adia makes quick work of stripping out of her normal clothes. Octavia helps her wordlessly to get into the leathers. Black pants with a skirt of red and chainmail at either hip, and a red leather vest laced tight to her skin. For just a moment, as Octavia helps lace her into the knee high leather boots, Adia closes her eyes and just breathes.

Lincoln is there as soon as they emerge from behind the curtain, deft fingers braiding her fringe away from her face. He ties his work in place before gesturing behind him, to where he’s laid out several swords on a low bench. Adia feels her left leg twitch a little at the sight.

It’s starting to set in just what she’s doing.

Crouching, she runs her hand along the hilts of the offered weapons, before settling on a mid-sized blade. Picking it up, she unsheathes it to reveal a single sided sword, slightly curved and wicked sharp. It gleams dully in the dropship lights and she knows that this is it.

Lincoln apparently knows, too, because he starts packing the rest away. He stands once finished and simply stares at her for several long minutes, eyes flitting across her face.

“I can’t die.” She says finally. He frowns, but it’s Murphy who speaks.

“That’s bullshit. You still feel pain, don’t you?” He asks. She sighs, looking down to the white knuckled grip she has on the sword hilt. She consciously relaxes her hand.

“I can’t lose.” She says, and her voice is steady, determined. It must be convincing, because Lincoln straightens, eyes narrowing a little before his mouth relaxes and he nods.

“Your seconds?” He asks.

“Clarke and Bellamy, Commanders of the Sky People.” She says and he nods in understanding.

They fall into silence, simply standing quietly in the doorway of the dropship as the remaining minutes tick by.

Finally, at the thirty minute mark, Lexa comes striding back through the gates, likewise dressed for battle in a sleeveless tunic, leather pants, and sturdy boots, her sword in hand. Adia gives her own sword an experimental twirl and feels something in her shoulders ease. This is something she’s gotten very good at, over the years. Something she’s familiar with. This, at least, she can do.

So, if nothing else, she’s going to give the damn brat a run for her money.

As she moves to step down the ramp, a hand closes around her arm. She blinks, turning to face Murphy, who’s eyeing her with an almost pained look on his face.

“Be careful.” He says. Her smile is humorless.

“I can’t…”

“Die, we know. But as I already pointed out, you still feel pain. And there’s always the possibility she might pull off a miracle and kill your un-killable ass. And then camp would just be super fucking boring.” He says, leveling her with an unamused look.

“So, you know, don’t die, ya hear? I don’t want to have to look after all those brats by myself.” He says, glancing away from her. She blinks at him, at the pink creeping up his neck, and smiles a genuine smile.

“Alright.”

She turns away from him and instead faces Lexas across the clearing, the distance between them shrinking as they draw abreast of each other. Then, turning, they each take fifteen paces until they’re on opposite sides of the campsite.

Adia cracks her neck, feeling her spine pop and the tension almost fully leave her shoulders. Her grip loosens on the sword hilt until she’s holding onto it with a loose fist, all of her weight shifting to the balls of her feet.

Finally, Gustus moves forward.

At his barking cry, the two of them step towards each other and to the side, closing the distance as they circle each other.

Adia feels eyes on her back but doesn’t turn, ignoring the stares she can feel pressed along her spine. She feels calm in a way that she hasn’t in decades.

There is purpose to this, the outcome of this fight means something.

She cannot lose.

The first strike comes from Lexa. She darts forward, flicking her blade up and towards Adia’s neck. She bats away the sword almost absently, lunging at the last second to bring the flat of her blade down across Lexa’s thigh before moving out of range.

Lexa’s lip lifts from her teeth at the insult and Adia smirks, knows she’s courting pain, but doesn’t care.

Too much rides on this.

They’re close now, moving within range. Adia is careful where she places her feet, mindful of the deadfall under her boots.

The next clash is mutual.

Their blades come together in a shower of sparks, metal screaming against metal as they pull apart before coming together again and again and again.

It’s a dance Adia knows, has perfected over the years. But she hasn’t had live combat partners for a long time, and it’s apparent from the way Lexa moves that she has.

They duck and swerve, dancing away from each other before coming together again, locking blades before one of them pushes or pulls and they break apart.

And they’re drawing blood.

A gash on Lexa’s arm lets blood flow freely, mirrored by another at her waist. Adia has been hit too, on her cheek and arms and chest, but they only sting for a moment before they fade.

She presses her obvious advantage, lunging with the full force of her swing behind her sword, before shifting her weight at the last moment and twisting the blade. Lexa, who had been expecting a hit on her sword side, is instead left open and stumbles back as the hit lands, opening up a gash along her ribs that gushes blood and makes her gasp.

Another cut is opened up along Adia’s forearm, but she ignores it as it hisses and closes. She’s covered in the leftover remnants of her healed injuries and Lexa’s blood, but she’s so focused that she can’t see anything except her opponent, bleeding and stumbling before her.

The scream comes too late.

Her back is turned towards Lexa’s people and she watches as the Commander’s eyes widen. Behind Lexa, at the dropship ramp, Lincoln’s face goes ashen and Clarke’s mouth opens on a cry.

And then pain erupts in her right shoulder.

She staggers, nearly going to her knees as white hot agony runs down her spine. Her arm falls limp and she nearly loses hold of her sword. Her breath is a wheezing rasp in her ears, her heart pounding at the base of her skull as she turns, fury burning through her.

Tristan stands a few paces before Gustus and Indra, looking stunned. She knows it’s his axe buried in her back, but none of his people make a move to help him as a feral scream of rage bubbles up from her gut.

The pain spurs her on as she charges and he scrambles backwards, meeting a wall of drawn weapons as he fumbles for a knife. And then she’s on him, sword barely deflected by the crude knife he brandishes. She uses both hands to grip the hilt of her sword, anger keeping her feet rooted to the ground and her knees locked as black spots erupt at the corners of her vision. She presses forward, teeth bared in a menacing snarl as she spins, a flick of her wrist causing the knife to fly free before she takes Tristan’s head.

Her blade meets his neck and cuts through with little resistance, his blood washing her face with wet, viscous warmth.

It feels like an eternity but can only be a matter of seconds before she’s standing over his unmoving corpse, breathing heavily, shoulder still blazing.

When she lifts her head, Lexa will not meet her eyes.

“I forfeit.” She says, lowering her head, in shame or defeat Adia doesn’t know. She simply grunts in acknowledgement, before starting to stride across the clearing. She doesn’t meet Lexa’s gaze as she passes her, headed for the dropship.

Her vision is starting to tunnel when Lincoln and Murphy appear on either side of her to guide her the rest of the way into the ship. She doesn’t stumble but she’s grateful for their comforting presence nonetheless. She sits heavily on a bench when Lincoln pushes, Murphy falling to sit beside her, holding her up when she teeters dangerously. She hunches forward, feeling blood run down her back as the wound pulls.

Softer hands fall on her shoulders and she knows it’s Clarke.

“Don’t bother with being careful. Just yank.” She says. Clarke makes a disapproving noise before moving around behind her as Lincoln takes her place, hands carefully unclenching Adia’s fingers from around the hilt of her sword, setting it aside before letting her close her fists around his forearm.

One of Clarke’s hands fits around the back of her neck, and then she’s gripping the axe handle and pulling and Adia hears the wheezing sound but can’t comprehend that it’s coming from her. All she knows is pain and agony as the blade gives, inch by excruciatingly slow inch.

Finally, with a sickening sucking sound and the crunch of bones grinding together it comes free and she sags sideways into Murphy, who wraps his arms around her. He’s making soothing noises as she gasps for air, shaking as the wound hisses and closes and the pain slowly fades away.

Someone is putting a blanket around her shoulders, but she just sits there with her face tucked under Murphy’s chin, trying to sort her thoughts. Eventually, however, she sits up.

“Thank you.” She smiles at Murphy and he looks relieved.

She turns to Clarke, who is watching her with a worried expression.

“They’ll stay in the woods tonight, and tomorrow I’ll have to escort them out.” She says. Clarke looks like she wants to argue, but Adia has already turned away from her, looking to Bellamy.

“I’d like you to come with me, as a leader of the 100.” She says. He blinks at her, looking slightly ashen, but nods. She frowns in thought, before casting around for a moment.

“Finn, too, I think. He was the most anxious for peace.” She says. Again, she’s met with silent nods, before Octavia speaks.

“Are you okay?” She asks, voice almost a whisper. Adia sighs, before holding up one of her hands.

It’s shaking uncontrollably.

“I got trapped in a burning building, once.” She says. It’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

“I was burned alive, but my body just kept regenerating, over and over again until hours later when the fire had burnt itself out. I remember, after I crawled out of the smoking ruins, I just felt raw, like a live nerve ending. But it wasn’t anything physical, because my body was fine. It was all in my head, from the pain of it.” She glances around at them all before returning her attention to her hand.

“This is a little like that. There’s no physical pain, but my brain hasn’t quite caught on that there’s nothing wrong with my body.” She says. There’s movement at her side and she looks up to find Clarke sliding down to sit beside her.

“Is there anything we can do?” She asks.

“Yeah, I feel kinda useless.” Murphy mutters from Adia’s other side. Adia shakes her head.

“It’ll pass on its own.” She says.

“But what can we do?” Clarke insists, and Adia opens her mouth to speak, but then she gets a good look at the girls face. Clarke’s face is drawn, her skin as ashen as Bellamy’s, pupils dilated to the point that she can barely see any blue at all. Adia blinks, thinking, before letting her shoulders sag.

The experience has been traumatic for everyone, because while she was the one who was injured, Clarke and the others still had to witness it.

And Clarke rarely feels calm unless she’s doing something to help someone.

“Some food would be nice.” Adia finally says. Clarke immediately perks up.

“I’ll go.” She says, jumping to her feet, but Bellamy catches her arm before she can leave the dropship.

“Can we let the others back out into camp?” Bellamy asks. Adia nods.

“Yes, just don’t let anyone outside the walls yet. I’ve bought you peace with the Grounders, but it’s tentative. The last thing we need is one of the younger kids jumping the gun and putting us back at square one.” She says, and Bellamy looks like he agrees.

“Alright, so don’t poke them, and they won’t poke back.” He says, letting go of Clarke’s arm. Adia nods again.

“Something like that.”

Murphy stays by her side as Bellamy lets the rest of the 100 out of the dropship with strict orders to remain in camp. They cast confused looks her way and wary glances at Lincoln, but disperse to their tents in relative silence. When Clarke shows up with a jug of water and a bowl of soup, Adia downs all of it without complaint, suddenly ravenous.

Afterwards, Murphy helps her to one of the hammocks strung up in a secluded corner. She doesn’t need the help, per say, but she’s grateful for the arm he slings around her, regardless.

“I’m sorry I won’t be able to help with the little ones.” She mumbles, eyes heavy as Murphy tucks a blanket around her. He snorts, glancing at her with an amused look on his face.

“Don’t worry about them. I’ll make Miller help me, he’s surprisingly good at it. You, on the other hand, need to sleep.” He says, smoothing her hair out of her face. She hums sleepily, and drops off almost immediately.

 

Chapter Text

Things we lost to the flames
Things we'll never see again
All that we've amassed
Sits before us, shattered into ash
...
I was the match and you were the rock
Maybe we started this fire
We sat apart and watched
All we had burned on the pyre

- Things We Lost In The Fire, Bastille


 

“Are you sure I can’t come with you?” Murphy asks, glaring balefully over her shoulder to where she knows Bellamy and Finn are waiting. Adia sighs, before setting a hand on Murphy’s shoulder. He doesn’t stop glaring at the other two boys, so she shakes him a little. When he finally looks at her, she speaks.

“I need you here.” She says. He frowns, but some of the tension leaves his shoulders.

“After all, who will keep Clarke in line while I’m gone?” She asks, and Murphy snorts. His shoulders slump as he relaxes and she feels a little relieved. Truthfully, she would like to take Murphy with her, but she wasn’t lying when she said she needed him at camp. She’s taking Bellamy, one of the 100’s leaders and probably their best with a gun besides herself and Miller, and Finn, their best tracker. She needs someone here to watch Clarke’s back.

“Have Miller help with the little ones, and make sure Raven, Monty, and/or Jasper don’t blow up camp while we’re gone.” She says.

“Aye aye, Captain.” Murphy says with a mock salute, mouth turned up with wry amusement.

“And make sure Clarke gets some sleep at some point, please. You have my permission to drug her if you have to.” She says, and Murphy lets out a bark of laughter. She grins at his amusement, before cocking her head to the side. She adjusts her hunting rifle, slung over her shoulder next to her rucksack and the sword she’d used the day before. It’s a Grounder tradition that she gets to keep it, seeing as she earned it. But she has to wear it, too. At least until Lexa is gone.

“We’ll be back tomorrow. The day after at the latest.” She says. He nods, the smile slipping from his face for a moment. She makes to take a step back, prepared to join Bellamy and Finn and the group of impatiently fidgeting Grounders, when a hand on her wrist pulls her up short.

She lifts her gaze to Murphy’s, whose eyes are darting between her own, brows furrowed and lips twitching as if he wants to say something. A long moment of silence follows where he seems to be having an internal argument with himself.

“Be safe.” Is all he says, letting go of her wrist. She nods, giving him a small smile, before jogging to catch up to Bellamy and Finn.


The border turns out to be the charred remains of the bridge Raven blew up.

While not quite a day away from the 100’s camp, Lexa has insisted that they stay the night there, before returning the following day. Something about hospitality and strengthening relationships. When Bellamy casts Adia a skeptical look, she nods slightly.

It’s not unheard of, these kinds of meetings. They’ll share a meal and sleeping space, and talk about things that aren’t the wrecked bridge visible through the tree line.

Adia stays awake through the night, watching over Bellamy and Finn as they sleep. She’s sure of Lexa’s sincere commitment to peace, but she’s also not naive enough to leave her people vulnerable. Lexa may be a peacekeeper, but many of her advisors are battle hardened generals, if not downright war mongers. Enough pressure from the right people and the Commander will have to cave to their demands or be seen as weak.

So Adia keeps watch from dusk until dawn, rifle at the ready.

In the early mist of the morning after, Lexa hashes out a meeting time with Bellamy, when he and Clarke will travel to Polis to formally negotiate with Anya and the other Trikru leaders. Adia and Finn stand at Bellamy’s back, and she only has to poke the taller boy once when he starts to lift his hand for the Commander to shake. He casts her a quick glance and she shakes her head once. At Lexa’s regal nod, Bellamy seems to catch on, inclining his own head as she turns away and Indra and Gustus fall into step beside her.

Finally, when the last of the Grounders have melted into the trees, Bellamy, Finn, and Adia turn back for camp.

The trip is made in relative quiet, something Adia, at least, is familiar with.

However, when they’re about a quarter of a mile from the dropship, she becomes aware that the silence is deafening.

She abruptly draws up short, making Bellamy and Finn pause as well.

“What is it?” Bellamy asks, shoulders going high and tight with tension in response to the look on her face.

Adia strains to hear something, anything, but the woods around them are mute. There’s no sound of birds or small animals in the bushes and, most worrying, there is no sound from the direction of camp.

It’s as if the entire forest has fallen asleep.

“It’s too quiet.” She whispers, as if she’s suddenly afraid of breaking the fragility of the stillness. Both boys pause, doing their own listening, before they seem to reach the same conclusion she has.

Either everyone has barricaded themselves in the dropship, which sounds unlikely because there hasn’t been an acid fog attack in a while, or they’re no longer in camp.

But what would make the remainder of the 100 pack up and leave unexpectedly, especially when they were expecting people back?

Adia lifts her gaze to Bellamy, who nods and sets off again, gun raised and ready against his shoulder. She falls into step behind him, Finn bringing up the rear.

They make the last quarter mile in utter silence, straining for any sound, flinching at every broken twig underfoot.

When they catch sight of camp, it’s to see the gates left wide open, yawning like the mouth of some fearsome beast. Finn jerks behind her and Adia flings out an arm to stop him before he barrels by her. She hisses at him, low enough that only he and Bellamy can hear her.

She gestures with her gun, and Finn seems to get her message.

People without weapons shouldn’t charge in blindly.

She nods to Bellamy, who takes point once more. They creep through the open gates, and Adia feels her gut clench.

Everything seems to be frozen in time. The fires crackle merrily, plates of food left on benches half eaten, projects left where they’d apparently been dropped. Bellamy pauses and Adia looks beyond him. To the dropship.

The curtain sways in the breeze like a ghost in the oppressive silence.

But if anyone is left, that’s where they’ll be.

They creep forward once again, tense, ready. Bellamy eases through the curtain first, Adia right beside him, her rifle raised.

It takes a second for their eyes to adjust to the gloom.

Murphy, with his own gun raised, lets out an actual sob at the sight of them, his weapon falling to the deck from limp fingers.

“Murphy?” Adia is the one to break ranks, slinging her rifle over her shoulder in favor of hurrying to the boy’s side. He simply stares up at her, shellshocked, before she recognizes the body laid out behind him at the same time Finn does.

“Raven.”

Adia falls to her knees, Murphy shuffling out of her way as she lays her hands on the unconscious girl’s forehead. She’s burning with fever, sweat slicked across her skin, but what worries Adia the most is the blood. Finn is at her side in an instant, grief written across his features.

“Murphy, what happened?” Bellamy barks, and the younger boy turns to look at him, hollow eyed.

“One of the younger kids got their hands on a gun, it went off when they were playing with it and hit her. They left her when they took them.” He says, voice hoarse.

“Took who?” Bellamy demands.

“Everyone.” Murphy says weakly.

There is a beat of dead silence before Adia reaches for Murphy. The boy sags under her hands as she pulls him into a hug, cradling his head against her chest as he starts to shiver.

“What happened, Murphy?” She asks, gentler. He takes a great shuddering breath and begins to speak.

“I don’t know, exactly. I was outside the walls when it happened, checking a trip-wire. There were canisters, thrown over the wall, that let out this yellow smoke. I think it was sleeping gas, because the last thing I remember was seeing someone in a hazmat suit walking through the gates. When I woke up, everyone was gone. They left Raven and me behind.”

Adia glances at Bellamy, whose mouth is a tight line. Finn still hovers over Raven’s prone form.

“Do you know if anyone else got out?” Bellamy asks, voice carefully calm. Murphy heaves a deep breath and draws himself up, away from Adia. She keeps a hand on his shoulder, regardless.

“As far as I know, the only ones out besides me were Octavia and Lincoln. They were going to check through his supply of herbs or something.” Bellamy’s shoulders sag a little, but the air is suddenly, violently rent by raised voices outside the dropship.

“This is Marcus Kane of the Ark, come out with your hands up!”

There is a heartbeat of silence before Adia casts a worried look at Bellamy.

“They can’t find out.” She whispers. He turns to her, shocked to see her eyes wide with fear.

“They can’t find out I’m not from the Ark, about what I can do. Please, Bellamy.” She implores him, and he nods.

“Of course, you’re one of us.” He assures her.

She nods, before quickly taking the sword and rifle from over her shoulder and heading for the far wall. A panel detaches relatively easily, and she shoves both weapons and her rucksack into the space beyond it, before shutting it and returning to Murphy’s side, taking up his fallen gun. Finn hasn’t moved from Raven’s side.

Bellamy has moved to the curtain, lifting it to show himself.

“This is Bellamy Blake of the 100, hostility will be met with hostility.” He yells, voice carrying into the empty camp. Muttering from outside carries in.

“Blake?” The curtain has been lifted enough that a middle aged man with graying hair can be seen through it. He’s staring at Bellamy warily.

“Put the gun down, son.” Says another voice, cajoling.

Adia steps up beside Bellamy, gun likewise raised. The group of men in the clearing, all of them wearing a dark military-esque uniform except the first, shift uncomfortably at her appearance.

“There’s no need for this, Blake. Jaha gave you a full pardon.” Says the first man, Kane.

“And you’ll honor it?” Bellamy asks, and it’s only because she’s standing right next to him that Adia notices his unease. Kane nods.

“Of course.” He says.

Slowly, Bellamy lowers his rifle, and Adia follows his example.

“We have wounded.” She says.

Kane jerks a little at the sound of her voice, but nods.

“We’ll help you get them back to camp. The first thing Abby got up and running was Medical.” At her side, Bellamy’s shoulders sag and Adia files it away as something to ask about later.

The guards help them cobble together a stretcher for Raven, and once she’s settled they set out, Finn holding her hand the whole way.

Adia walks between Bellamy and Murphy, who has found another gun. All three teens refused to relinquish their weapons, and Kane had finally sighed, thrown up his hands, and let them be.

 

Chapter Text

I've battled demons that won't let me sleep
Called to the sea but she abandoned me
...
And I won't let you get me down
I'll keep gettin' up when I hit the ground
...
Oh yeah, I'm haunted by the distant past
Called to the skies but she was overcast

- Never Give Up, Sia


 

Adia hesitates when the hastily erected metal fence come into view, a fractured piece of what was once a spaceship looming high behind it.

She swallows thickly and Bellamy leans down, voice low enough that only she and Murphy can hear him.

“You’re afraid.” He says, and he sound surprised. She doesn’t bother hiding it, simply nods. Murphy hisses at her side.

“Why?” She turns to look at Bellamy, and all he can see in her too wide eyes is fear.

“Because no one on the ground had the technology or know-how to dissect me.” She breathes quietly. Both boys stiffen, suddenly casting around to check where the guards are. They move a little closer to her.

“We won’t let anything happen to you.” Bellamy assures her, and she shakes her head.

“How many trained adults are in that camp? We’re three, four if you count Finn, five if you count Raven. You can’t possibly fight them all off. Besides, we need to stay in your Chancellor’s good graces if we want any hope of being allowed out to look for our people. We still don’t know who took them.” She whispers.

“Grounders?” Murphy asks, but he sounds skeptical and she shakes her head.

“Grounders don’t use gas canisters or hazmat suits.” She points out. Bellamy’s face is unreadable.

“It can’t have been the Ark, they haven’t been down here long enough.”

“Looks like they’ve done a lot, actually. And Kane said they already had Medical up and running.” Adia points out. Bellamy and Murphy both frown.

“But to take back their own by force?” Murphy asks, casting a glance at the back of Kane’s head, at the head of the line.

“Yeah, I thought of that. There is one other option.” Adia says. Both boys look at her and she jerks her head slightly to the West.

“Mount Weather. I’ve never had dealings with them, but there’s a reason the area around the mountain is considered off limits by the grounders.” She says.

“Why?” Murphy asks.

“Because anyone who goes near the mountain disappears, never to be seen again. There’s also a rumor that the Reapers are connected to the mountain, somehow.” She replies. Both boys shiver at the reminder of the Reapers.

“Regardless, we need to get Raven medical attention, then we can see about some food and a good nights sleep. Then we can go look for our people.” Adia says. Both boys give her reluctant nods as they come out of their huddle.


Abby Griffin is a harsh looking woman with dirty blonde hair and eyes sharp enough to cut. Something about her nose and the curve of her jaw instantly brings to Adia’s mind a picture of Clarke, and the heartache is instant and crushing.

She keeps her eyes down and doesn’t enter the medical tent, staying right behind Bellamy through his entire debrief with Kane. Murphy keeps mostly quiet, only speaking when spoken to, and he keeps within touching distance of her. All three keep a firm grip on their weapons.

It’s as they’re being led towards a tent that smells distinctly of food that Adia catches a snippet between Kane and Abby, who has ducked out from the medical tent. She only catches a few words, like “hyper vigilance” and “PTSD”, but she has a pretty good idea that the adults simply think they’re overreacting. That the grown-ups will be more capable of dealing with what the ground has to offer and getting the rest of their people back will be a simple affair.

It makes her gut churn.

They sit together and eat in silence, very aware of the eyes of the adults in camp trailing after them.

Adia, especially, keeps her head down, eyes fixed on her bowl of stew. But she is comforted by the fact that Bellamy and Murphy sit on either side of her, warm walls of protection that she can’t help being grateful for.

All three tense as a bloodcurdling scream rips through the air.

Adia instantly recognizes Raven’s voice, as does Bellamy, who springs to his feet. Her hand on his wrist stops him from running off towards the medical tent, though.

“I don’t think she’s in danger.” Adia says, casting a glance across the guards milling around. Some look perturbed, but no one is rushing to the medical tent.

“They might not have any anesthesia.” Murphy points out, but his grip on his cup is white knuckled and there’s a haunted look in his eye as another scream rips through the air.

Soon, the screaming dies down. None of them are able to finish their food.

There isn’t an available tent or compartment for them, so the three take the blankets offered to them and find a patch of relatively clear dirt by the Ark wall, sheltered from the wind, and curl up together. Adia takes first watch, then Murphy, then Bellamy. They sleep fitfully, but they’re full and warm and relatively safe.

In the grey chill of dawn Finn comes striding towards them.

“When are we leaving?” He asks quietly, falling to a crouch in front of them. Bellamy, who is propped up against the cold metal of the ship with a blanket draped around his shoulders, tilts his head to the side. Adia lifts her head from the blanket cocoon she’s sharing with Murphy, who grumbles unhappily.

“How’s Raven?” She asks, instead of answering. Finn’s lips thin and he looks away.

“She’ll be okay, I think. Abby had to take the bullet out without any anesthesia.”

“We noticed.” Says Bellamy tightly.

“Told you.” Murphy grumbles, lifting his head to blink at them sleepily.

“She’ll walk again, but there’s no telling how much mobility she’ll have.” Finn continues, ignoring the other two boys.

Adia nods in understanding.

“We need to go back to the dropship. If there’re any clues, that’s where they’ll be.” She says. All three boys look at her: Murphy with a nod, Bellamy with understanding, and Finn with pursed lips.

Now all they need to do is sneak out.

 

Chapter Text

The stars that pierce the sky
He left them all behind
We're left to wonder why
He left us all behind
...
Hey Miss Murder, can I
Make beauty stay if I take my life?
...
I would gladly bet my life upon it
That the ghost you love, your ray of light
Will fizzle out without hope

- Miss Murder, AFI


 Adia scrambles back towards Murphy, one hand closing around his shaking fist while the other grabs hold of the straining tether. She digs in her heels and throws her weight against the makeshift rope, every muscle straining under Bellamy and the girl’s weight.

Another set of hands, Finn’s, close around the rope and they pull, the other girl, Monroe, appearing at Murphy’s back, hands reaching to help.

They tug and strain, slowly pulling the two teens up the cliff face.

“Go.” Murphy barks when Bellamy’s head crests the edge. Adia eases her hold and the other three take the extra weight while she dashes forward, reaching over to grab the girl by the back of her shirt. With Bellamy pushing and Adia pulling, the girl clambers up onto solid ground. Adia reaches for Bellamy next, whose free hand closes around her’s with an almost painful grip. She pulls, and then there is another set of hands besides her own, grabbing at Bellamy’s jacket and arm as they drag him up over the ledge.

They fall in a heap in the dirt, panting desperately, and Adia simply lays there for a few moments, her head on Murphy’s stomach where he’d fallen, hand still tangled in Bellamy’s while they catch their breath.

Finally, they sit up and disentangle themselves.

Adia doesn’t bother asking if any of them are okay, because the adrenaline is still thick in her own blood, drowning out everything except the shaking of her hands and their labored breathing.

Instead, she checks on the crying girl, Mel. She’s banged up, but alive.

Unlike Sterling.

Adia casts a quick glance at Monroe, who is staring at the edge of the cliff with grief in her eyes.

Bellamy, Murphy, and Finn are having a rapid fire conversation, at the end of which Bellamy waves her over.

“We’re splitting up.” He says. Adia quirks a brow at him.

“Why?” But she already has a good idea.

“Mel’s injured and needs medical attention. You and I will take her back to Camp Jaha, while Murphy and Finn go ahead of us. We’ll meet back up at the dropship.” Bellamy explains.

Adia frowns, reluctant, but finally lets out a sigh.

“Alright, but take this.” She hands Finn her gun, which he takes reluctantly. Murphy grins.

“Try and keep up, Spacewalker.” He snarks as he spins on his heel and dashes off.

As he and Finn disappear into the trees, Adia feels something like unease unfurl in the pit of her stomach.


“Go to hell, Raven.” There’s hurt in Murphy’s eyes, shock in the tense line of his shoulders, anger in the set of his mouth.

Adia doesn’t even stop to consider Raven’s disabled leg, simply pulls back her arm and punches the girl across the face as hard as she can.

The gun clatters to the deck, Raven glaring at her from the floor through the blood spewing from her nose.

“Oh, so now that it’s Murphy, you suddenly think it’s a bad idea to hand him over to the Grounders, huh?” The girl snaps, and Adia really wants to hit her again.

“Murphy didn’t murder 18 non-combatants.” She hisses.

“He was there! He could have done something!” Raven shouts.

“I tried!” Murphy interjects, taking a step towards Raven, but Adia stays between them, one arm out to keep Murphy where he is.

“Two people went into that village with loaded guns, Raven. But Finn was the only one to murder a bunch of women and children.” She snarls.

“If we give them someone else…” Raven starts, eyes darting around wildly.

“There is no one else!” Adia shouts, loudly enough to make them all freeze.

“There is no substitution in this, Raven. A witness has already named him. The Commander can’t take another in his stead.” Raven stares at her through the tears rapidly gathering in her eyes.

“You could…” She starts weakly, but Adia shakes her head.

“They won’t take me.” She says. At her back, Murphy actually growls at the implication. Adia ignores him and continues.

“Don’t you understand? The only way to end this without unnecessary bloodshed is to give him up so he can pay for his crimes.” She says. Raven shakes her head, but it’s Clarke who speaks.

“We can run.” She says. Adia sighs, closing her eyes, before opening them to look at Clarke. There’s hope in the blonde’s blue eyes, igniting a spark of anger in the pit of Adia’s stomach.

“Then we might as well leave our people in Mount Weather, because they’ll certainly be safer there when the Commander issues the kill order for any and all members of the Skaikru. Being harvested for their bone marrow will be a cake walk compared to what the Grounders will do to them.” She says harshly. Clarke’s eyes are wide as she continues.

“And what of Camp Jaha? There are children in that camp, families with babies. Will you abandon them to death, too?” She asks. Clarke shakes her head.

“No, it won’t…”

“Won’t what, Clarke? Unlike you, I’ve seen all this play out before. There’s nothing you or I or anyone else can do for him.” She says. Clarke’s eyes are wet as they look at her.

“We can’t.” She whispers. Adia presses her lips together.

“Then we’ll go back to camp, and I’ll gather up all of the Arkers in a line and you can go down it, explaining to each of them in turn why their life is less important than Finn’s.” She says, not bothering to keep the anger from her voice. Clarke flinches.

“And you can go to the radio and personally tell Monty and Jasper and Miller and everyone else in that thrice damned mountain that you’re not coming for them because you’d rather save one man’s life than any of theirs.” She continues. Raven is openly crying at this point, and Clarke won’t look at her, but there’s just enough bite in her words to sting.

“You’re heartless.” She accuses.

Adia lets out a bark of laughter, a sharp, cold sound that echoes hollowly through the dropship.

“It’s hard to keep your heart when everyone you’ve ever loved has been dead and buried for a century.” She snarls. They’re all staring at her now, horror in their eyes, and she snorts derisively.

“I’m practical, Clarke. Even you must realize that one life isn’t worth more than another.” She says. Clarke’s lips wobble.

“But…” Adia cuts her off.

“Look, I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but I’m not the one who royally fucked up. But if I had, you better be damned sure I’d give myself up before I let anyone else be hurt because of my mistakes.” She says.

“But you can’t die!” Raven nearly wails.

“I’d do it even if I could die!” Adia yells back.

“I’d give myself up because I know it would keep all of you from my fate. That my sacrifice meant no one else had to suffer.” She looks at Clarke with sad, tired eyes, and Clarke knows, on some level, that she’s right, but she still can’t accept it.

“Please.” She begs, and Adia lets out another sigh, before leveling Clarke with a flat look.

“If you insist on protecting him, then everything that we’ve ever done to protect our people, the blood fever, the bridge, the acid fog, will have been for nothing. Everyone who has died up to this point will have died for nothing.” She says.

Clarke looks devastated. Raven is sobbing. Bellamy’s face is a mask of pain. Murphy, whom Adia can’t see, is silent.

And Finn is gone.

Chapter Text

Said goodbye, turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone
Faded into the setting sun,
Slipped away
But I won't cry
'Cause I know I'll never be lonely
For you are the stars to me,
You are the light I follow

I will see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
'Till I see you again
...
Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on 'cause I know
I will see you again, oh

- See You Again, Carrie Underwood


Clarke hasn’t said a word to Adia since she returned, bloody knife still clutched in her white knuckled fist. Raven hasn’t spoken to either of them. The camp is ghostly quiet, people talking in hushed tones as if they’re afraid that a raised voice will shatter the oppressive weight hanging in the air.

Adia finds herself sitting by a fire at the edge of camp, eating her dinner alone. Movement beside her announces Murphy’s arrival, sliding down to sit on the log beside her. She doesn’t turn to look at him. They sit in silence for several long moments before she speaks.

“Do you think I’m heartless, too?” She asks, her voice hoarse. Murphy doesn’t say anything for a minute, before he lets out a sigh.

“I don’t disagree with you.” He says. She blinks, the fire having left ghostly afterimages in her vision, before turning to look at him. His blue-grey eyes are haunted.

“They…if Finn hadn’t given himself up, the Grounders would have done that to all of us. They would have strung up any Sky Person they found and tortured us, until they finally got him.” There’s something like empathy in his gaze.

“You’ve been down here longer than anyone. You understand the brutality of life on the ground.” He says, before his lips thin and he turns his gaze to the fire.

“But it doesn’t make death any easier.” She voices his unsaid thought. He nods, still staring into the flames. They lapse into silence for a while before she speaks again.

“It’s human nature to want to fight for the things we care about.” She says. She can feel Murphy’s eyes on her, but keeps her gaze on the middle distance.

“I think I’d forgotten what it meant to be human. I’d been alone for so long, unable to die, trapped with my grief and my own thoughts. I think I’d started going insane.” She blinks, then looks at Murphy, willing him to understand what she’s trying to say. He stares back at her with rapt attention.

“And then a spaceship full of children drops out of the sky and it felt like time started moving again. I found a reason for my existence, but I’m still trapped by the knowledge of my own immortality.”

Murphy sits, stock still, as she continues.

“I’m a greedy old thing. I want all of you to live, to thrive, but I know I can’t save everyone. And it hurts.” She presses a hand over her heart, where the ache is greatest, and blinks back the tears suddenly stinging her eyes.

“I didn’t want to.” She breathes, and it feels like her throat is closing up, like all the weight of the past few days is suddenly bearing down on her, and she heaves a great shuddering breath, trying to draw air. A pair of warm arms wrap around her shoulders, pulling her into a solid chest.

“You didn’t kill him.” Murphy says into her hair.

She shivers.

“But I did. As surely as Clarke did when she stabbed him, I killed him when I sent him to the Grounders.” She says. Murphy stays silent, but he’s started petting her hair.

“He was ready to follow Clarke, to run like Raven wanted him to. But he didn’t, because of what I said.” She says, unable to stop the tears as they overflow, a harsh sob tearing from her throat.

“I killed him.”

Murphy holds her through it, rocks her gently as she cries. She clings to him, taking comfort in the soft noises he makes and the soothing touch of his hand across her back.

Finally, when she’s calmed, he speaks.

“Clarke saved Finn from a terrible fate, granting him a much swifter and kinder death than the Grounders would have given him.” He says. She remains silent, head tucked under his chin, simply listening.

“And you saved all of us when you convinced him to own up to what he’d done. To do what was right instead of what was easy.” He pulls back a little to look down at her.

“Finn was going to die either way, but you and Clarke ensured that not only did he not suffer, but that no one else had to die.” He says. She stares at him with watery eyes.

“That doesn’t make it any easier.” She says quietly. He nods.

“You’re right. So grieve for as long as you need to, but know that I don’t think any less of you.” His voice is firm, and she blinks at him in surprise.

“When did you get so insightful?” She asks. Murphy snorts.

“Fuck if I know. Don’t get used to it.” He says.

They lapse into silence, Murphy holding Adia against his chest, her simply staring into the fire, thinking.

Eventually, however, they’re interrupted.

Bellamy falls to sit on the log across from them, watching them both with understanding and compassion in his eyes. Slowly, Adia sits up. Murphy’s arms drop from around her shoulders, but they remain close enough to touch.

“What’s up?” Murphy asks the older boy. Bellamy frowns, his dark eyes on Murphy.

“Word is Jaha is leaving with a few of his sympathizers. I want you to go with him.” He says.

Adia tenses, casting a glance between the two boys. Murphy, for his part, doesn’t immediately speak, just lifts one eyebrow in question.

“Don’t we need every fighter we can get? We’re going up against Mount Weather, after all.” She points out, frowning. Bellamy drops his shoulders.

“I would rather not send him, either, but I’d prefer to have a trustworthy set of eyes on Jaha, regardless.” He says. Adia taps her chin.

“Murphy did say he was acting crazier than normal.” She muses.

“Murphy, who’s right here, wouldn’t mind being included in this conversation.” Murphy says sarcastically, and Adia and Bellamy both glance at him.

“Sorry.” She says, and Bellamy looks abashed, but Murphy just shrugs.

“No problem, but I think I should tail Jaha, too. Something’s definitely off about him.” He says to her. Adia sighs.

“How’re you gonna approach him?” She asks, drawing her legs up onto the log and wrapping her arms around her knees. Murphy thinks for a minute, leaning back a little to stare up at the night sky, before answering.

“I’ll get him to come to me. I’ll convince him that I’m considered an outcast even in the 100, say that I was the one who was banished but didn’t deserve it. If I can get him to think he’s convincing me to leave with him, then he shouldn’t be suspicious.” He says, before turning his gaze to Bellamy.

“So, I need you to hit me.”

“What?” Both Adia and Bellamy stare at him in shock, but Murphy just waves a hand.

“It needs to look like I’m an outsider amidst my own people, that I’m more trouble than I’m worth. It won’t be hard, considering my rap sheet from the Ark. Getting in a fight with Bellamy is the first step. There’s also that meeting with the Grounders tomorrow. I’ll pick another fight then. It shouldn’t be too hard, considering they’ll be wound up from being denied their gore show.” He says.

Adia’s lips are pursed as she stares at him, worry creasing her brows. Bellamy, however, sighs, before pushing himself to his feet.

“Are we doing this publicly?” He asks, sounding resigned. Murphy grins cheekily at him.

“Just enough that word spreads, but not enough that either of us gets thrown in lockup for it.” He replies.

“I don’t like it.” Adia grumbles, and both boys turn to look at her. Murphy’s smirk is indulgent.

“I’ll let you patch me up afterwards.” He teases, and she throws her spoon at him.


“Of all the idiotic plans.” She huffs as she dabs at his split lip. Murphy simply smirks at her.

“I know for a fact that one of the witnesses was someone on Jaha’s short-list. So, if everything works out, I’ll have my in.” He says, wincing only slightly when she pokes his bruised cheek.

“And you really have to pick another fight tomorrow to accomplish that?” She asks, skeptical. Murphy shrugs.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” He says. She snorts derisively.

It’s as she’s applying salve to the cut under his right eye that something suddenly occurs to her.

“I don’t know your first name.” She blurts, embarrassed at the realization.

Murphy blinks at her in surprise, before letting out a short bark of laughter.

“I can’t believe that’s what you’re worried about.” He mutters, amused, running a hand through his hair.

“It’s John.” He finally says, trying to smile around his burst lip.

Her eyes dart between his own for a moment before she reaches for her waist.

“John Murphy.” She says, and something about the way she says his name makes the boy in question sit up a little straighter. She presses her knife, wrapped in its leather sheath, into his hands.

“I know you can’t promise me you’ll be safe, considering where you’re going, and with whom.” She says, eyes sad. He watches her, not moving a muscle.

“Just, promise me…promise me you’ll come back alive.” She says. He’s still for a moment longer, before he reaches out to squeeze her hand.

“I promise.”

Chapter Text

Solider keep on marching on
Head down till the work is done
Waiting on the morning sun
Solider keep on marching on

Head in the dust, feet in the fire
Labour on that midnight wire
Listening for that angel choir
You got nowhere to run

You wanna take a drink of that promise land
Gotta wipe the dirt off your hands
Careful son you got dreamers plans
But it gets hard to stand

Solider keep on marching on
Head down till the work is done
Waiting on the morning sun
Solider keep on marching on

Quiet now, you're gonna wake the beast
Hide your soul out of his reach
Shiver to that broken beat
Dark into the heat

- Soldier, Fleurie


 Clarke feels numb, empty in a way that makes her ache to the very center of her bones.

Her mother’s accusatory words keep repeating over and over in her head.

‘You knew.’

It’s a mantra inside her skull, reverberating through the hollow places left by Finn’s blood on her hands, Raven’s pained wailing, and the absence of the rest of the 100.

A presence at her side makes her tense, not wanting to have to deal with her mother or Octavia’s accusatory eyes.

Instead, when she lifts her wary gaze it’s to see Adia walking beside her, eyes forward as she puts one boot in front of the other. She doesn’t speak and Clarke is immensely grateful for that, taking comfort in the solid warmth the ageless woman provides.

The convoy makes it’s slow way towards Mount Weather, but it’s not until they pass into the shadow of the mountain that Adia speaks.

“Don’t trust Lexa.” She says, voice just low enough that only Clarke can hear her. The blonde, for her part, doesn’t make any outward indication that she’s heard except a subtle tilt of her head in Adia’s direction.

“I bought you a ceasefire, but nothing’s been finalized. Consider the truce to be stuck in limbo. Nothing can happen until you and Bellamy make a deal with Lexa and Anya’s successor, and that won’t happen until after this business has been resolved.” She turns her gaze to Clarke, who is watching her with something like dawning comprehension in her eyes.

“If Lexa is offered a deal for her people in exchange for yours, she’ll take it because there’s no official treaty obligating her to help you. All of this,” Adia waves her hand slightly, to indicate the surrounding army of Grounders and Arkers. “Is off the record until you become a formal ally.”

“So tread cautiously and don’t expect too much. That means that Bellamy will have to find an alternative route for us to get into the Mountain, in case freeing the Grounder prisoners doesn’t work out.” Clarke says, and Adia nods. The two fall silent once more, before Clarke can no longer stand the quiet.

“We both seem to be missing a shadow.” She says, and she means for the comment to come out lighthearted, but she can’t stop thinking about Bellamy infiltrating Mount Weather by himself. Another tally to add to her list of sins.

Adia’s shoulders are a taught line under her jacket, jaw clenched so tight that the muscles jump.

“I have absolute faith in Murphy’s ability to survive.” She says, not bothering to deny the implications of Clarke’s comment, before turning to look the blonde in the eye.

“Just like you do for Bellamy.”

Clarke stares at the other woman for a long moment before voicing a question that’s been nagging her for a long time.

“What did you do?” She asks, voice almost timid.

“What?” Adia asks.

“Before the bombs?” Clarke clarifies.

Adia’s entire form goes tight and tense, like a bowstring pulled to it’s limits, and Clarke is suddenly very afraid that she’s overstepped her bounds. The silence stretches out so long that Clarke doesn’t think Adia is going to answer.

“Do you want to know what my childhood dream was?” Adia finally asks, voice having dropped an octave. Clarke nods and leans in a little to listen.

“I wanted to read every book in the whole world.” She turns to Clarke with a wry grin, but there’s something haunted and sad in her eyes that makes Clarke’s heart hurt.

“The war started when I was thirteen. Instead of becoming a librarian like I wanted to, I joined the military right out of high school. Because I didn’t have a choice anymore, no one did. Mandatory drafts for everyone, male and female. Only the wealthy could afford the lawyers necessary to exempt their kids and send them to college.”

“So your aptitude for guns…” Clarke’s eyes fall to the rifle strung over Adia’s back, who nods.

“I learned a lot of what I know on a war front.” She says, and that haunted look is back in her eyes.

“What happened, at the end?” Clarke asks, suddenly nervous. Adia sighs.

“There was a massive amount of money to be made in war. Manufacturers of weapons, ammunition, and vehicles stood to profit handsomely from the contracts they were awarded. The longer the conflicts raged on, the more they made. So, you can understand why they weren’t eager for the peace talks to start.” She says. Clarke nods.

“I don’t know exactly what happened. So many of us only cared about our discharge papers, about being able to go home. We were tired of the endless blood and death at our expense to line someone else’s pocket book.” She stares up into the cloudy grey sky, face unreadable.

“I had been home for only a few weeks when I got an insider tip from a friend who had gone into MIT.” She says. At Clarke’s blank look she elaborates.

“Military Information Trading. He told me there was some kind of chatter online, something about disrupting the peace talks and setting off another war. He told me to get my family and hide. We were on our way to our bunker when…” Here, she makes a sweeping gesture with one arm, indicating the forest around them.

“I was the only one who made it. You pretty much know the rest.”

They fall silent again and Clarke presses her lips together into a thin line, thinking about every word she’s ever spoken to the woman walking beside her, and feels shame claw at her gut.

“I’m sorry.” She finally says.

“For what?” Adia doesn’t sound concerned, and that bothers Clarke.

“For what I said to you, about being heartless.” She says. Adia simply glances at her, before shrugging.

“I think a word that works better is ‘ruthless’.” She says, before turning to level Clarke with a look that almost makes her stop dead.

“Because I will do anything to keep you and the rest of the 100 safe. If I have to kill every last Grounder and Mountain Man that stands in my way, then so be it. The Arkers, Lexa, they mean jack shit to me. But you kids…” She trails off.

“I’ll do anything to keep you alive, and if I fail, then I’ll move heaven and hell to avenge you.” She keeps careful eye contact with Clarke, who knows without a shadow of a doubt that Adia means every word she says.

“So, when everything has gone to shit and you feel at your lowest, know that I will always have your back.”

Chapter Text

A soldier bleeds, and a soldier dies
Have you ever thought that war was a sickness?
I'm a son of it, fucked up from it,
Casualty of my family 'cause of it
We dare to dream, or live to die
Reunited by the truth at the right time

Something's wrong here
Or so it seems
Cause I'm not sleeping in
American Dreams,
American lies
We're trying to see through the smoke in our eyes
So give me the truth
Don't tell me your lies
Cause it's harder to breathe
When you're buried alive
By American Dreams

- American Dreams, Papa Roach


“Adia.” She looks to Bellamy, whose face is a twisted mask of worry and trepidation. He swallows, as if there’s something lodged in his throat. Miller, behind him, is wearing a similar expression.

“What is it?” She asks, worry creeping up her spine at their behavior. Bellamy glances down and away, before his eyes flick back to hers.

“There’s something you need to see.” He says, taking a step back.

Curious, she follows him.

Ten feet down the wall from the Frankensteined radio is another painting, maybe eight feet high by five feet wide, the sheet that had once covered it crumpled on the floor. Cautiously, Adia steps towards it, eyes widening as she stares back at the likeness of herself.

The painting is rendered in exquisite detail. She’s seated in a simple straight backed chair, her hands folded in her lap over a book. She’s wearing her dress uniform, slacks with a single red stripe down the leg and a navy blue jacket. She’d rarely had the opportunity to wear it, except at the funerals. Pinned just above her heart is a row of multi-colored bars and three medals hanging from colored ribbons. Gold stars shine from her collar while gold and black chevrons decorate her shoulders. Her frame and cover is hanging from the back of the chair, barely visible over her shoulder. Her hair isn’t pinned up, as it should be in uniform. Instead it's just brushed out of her face, left to fall freely to her chin.

Her eyes, creased at the corners by her little half smile, spark with light and softness and a heartfelt warmth that is tangible through the canvas. And which Adia can’t find in herself.

Instead, dread and horror and regret all war in a tangled, icy snarl in her belly.

She takes a shaky step forward, trembling fingers tracing the signature scrawled in black paint just over her portrait’s left shoulder.

Bellamy steps up beside her, sympathy and sadness creasing his eyes as he reads the name.

“Alfred F. Kennedy.” Adia nods mutely, silent tears tracking down her face as she lets out a great shuddering breath, fingers still ghosting over the name.

“My baby brother. I thought…” She trails off, eyes closing tight as she bows her head. Slowly, Bellamy puts an arm around her shoulder, tugging her in close to his side. She lets out another quivering breath before lifting her head.

There are still tears in her eyes, but instead of the breakdown Bellamy is expecting Adia just looks incredibly exhausted.

“At least he made it to safety. At least he didn’t die…out there.” She takes another deep breath, this one much more assured, before stepping away from Bellamy with a small, watery smile.

“Are you okay?” He asks, keeping his hand on her shoulder. She wipes at her eyes with trembling hands.

“I’ve spent almost a hundred years mourning my family. At least I know that he got to live a little longer. And I didn’t have to watch him grow old while I stayed the same.” She says. Bellamy’s eyes flit between her own, searching for something. There’s sorrow in her eyes, yes, but it’s tempered by time. Primarily, all he sees is resolve.

“We can’t help the dead, Bellamy. All we can do is remember them, and try to help the living.” She says. He nods, letting his hand fall from her shoulder.

Adia casts one last glance at her portrait, mirroring its smile, before walking back towards Miller and Maya.

Bellamy watches her go and feels a newfound respect for the ancient woman bloom bright and quick inside his chest.


“How dare you!” Adia seethes, teeth bared. Bellamy catches her around the shoulders when she lunges for Dante, shoving her back a little.

“Look what you’ve done to her! Look what you’ve done to my country! You’ve twisted her into this…this thing!” She yells, anger and hatred and disgust a bubbling acidic warmth in the back of her throat.

“What…?” Octavia is staring at her in utter confusion, but there’s understanding in Bellamy’s eyes. He, at least, knows his history. Clarke, as well, looks sympathetic.

“I can’t believe it.” Adia takes a shambling step back, ducking her head and burying her fingers in her hair.

“After so many of us died, after everything we did, the country that we fought for has been reduced to this.” She spits and whirls on the spot, hands flexing in her rage.

“The girl in the painting.” Wallace breathes, comprehension lighting up his eyes as he stares at her, his eyes darting across her face as if he means to memorize every detail.

Or as if he knows her.

Adia meets his gaze head on, anger mirrored in the angle of her brows and the creases around her eyes and mouth.

“How old are you?” Wallace breaths the question and Adia sneers at him.

“Old enough to know better.” She snaps.

“What?” Clarke looks confused, but Bellamy catches her eye and shakes his head.

Wallace is nodding, eyes still darting across Adia’s face.

“I understand now.” He says, breathless. Slowly, he extends a hand to Adia.

“Why don’t you take your rightful place with your people?” He asks her. Adia sneers at him, showing teeth.

“You’re not my people.” She says harshly, taking a step back, away from Wallace’s outstretched hand.

“On the contrary, I think you, above all others, are the most qualified to lead them. Seeing as it is your birthright. After all, Kennedy wasn’t a very common name.” He says. Adia freezes, eyes widening, before she lifts her lip and actually snarls at the old man.

“Fuck you.” She growls.

“I did some digging into our records after I found your portrait, since I was curious about its creator. Your brother, Alfred, was the second child and only son of Patrick Kennedy, the great-grandson of Robert F. Kennedy. Now, not much survived the apocalypse, but information about that particular family was both popular and prolific.” Wallace points out.

Clarke is staring at Adia in shock, as is Bellamy, but Octavia still looks confused. Wallace addresses her.

“You stand in the presence of political royalty, child.” He says.

“Oh, shove it out your ass.” Adia snaps angrily, taking a step forward. Bellamy moves to block her way but she ignores him, staring Wallace down.

“My family tree means jack shit here and you know it.” She says. Wallace shakes his head.

“On the contrary, it means more now than ever before. Your brother never married or had children, which, in effect, makes you the last of the Kennedy clan. Your name alone could move those who remember it to great things.” He says.

“Things I want no part of.” Adia says. “My brother was the aspiring politician. I’m just a soldier.”

“Which is why you’d be perfect…” Wallace continues, imploring.

“Enough!” Adia snaps.

“I’m not JFK! I’m his great-great-grand-niece, I’m barely related to him! I’m just Adia, just a soldier who went to war for love of country, who went to war on a lie! All I know how to do is kill!” She’s shaking, tears of anger gathering at the corners of her eyes, hands balled into such tight fists that her nails are cutting into her palms.

“That’s enough.” Bellamy moves so he’s standing directly in front of Adia, cutting off her view of Wallace. She stares resolutely at a spot on his jacket’s collar, refusing to meet his eyes.

“You could do great things here.” Wallace persists, unperturbed.

“Clarke, shut him up.” Bellamy snaps and Clarke cocks her gun and aims it at Wallace’s head.

“No.” Adia takes a deep breath, and Bellamy is somewhat happy to notice that most of the anger has seemingly drained from her.

“I may be a killer, but staying here with you would make me into something much worse.” She says. She takes a step back and meets Bellamy’s eyes. He nods to her and she turns her attention to Wallace.

“You’ve forgotten what it means to empathize with others. Life dealt everyone a shit hand, even before the apocalypse happened, but all you can see even now is yourself.” She takes another step back, turning her back on Dante as she heads for Octavia and the door.

“And I’ll have no part in that."

Chapter Text

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

- The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel


 Adia walks at Clarke’s side, Bellamy on the other. Her fingers are linked with the blonde’s, a silent show of support that she knows the younger girl needs.

Adia doesn’t tell her it will be alright, or that she made the right decision, because this isn’t the time for platitudes.

She knows that both Clarke and Bellamy are suffering, and hopes that they can help each other. If their linked hands are anything to go by, they just might.

She glances farther down the straggly line of Arkers and the 68, to where Raven is once more laid out on a stretcher, Abby in a similar state farther up the row. Octavia is walking beside Kane, glancing back at the three of them every so often.

Adia mentally does a tally in her head.

Eighteen buried at the dropship camp. Which means that fourteen where killed in the mountain, harvested for their bone marrow like cattle for citizens who would never receive the treatment.

Wasted deaths.

Adia’s free hand clenches on the strap of her rifle painfully tight, until her knuckles turn white and her nails open the skin of her palm.

She tries not to think about the faces of the dead she’d seen in the tunnels, but she can’t help it.

Because three of her kids had been there, including little Bethany. Tiny, pale forms dumped down a chute like trash, left to rot as food for the Reapers.

Adia shivers, drawing Clarke’s attention. The blonde turns sad, but concerned eyes on Adia, who simply shakes her head and lets her hand go, stopping to let Clarke and Bellamy draw ahead of her.

Taking a deep, shuddering breath, she closes her eyes tightly, because all she wants is to reset the clock. Go back and save her kids, or go back and stop Clarke. But not so she can spare the Mountain men.

No, Adia wants to go back and kill them herself.

She seethes inside, rage lapping at her belly like acid.

Clarke is absorbed by her own guilt, ignorant and blind to Bellamy’s matching remorse, but Adia just wants to take her by the shoulders and violently shake her. She wants to show her the corpses littering the tunnels underneath the mountain, the whisper thin piles of bones and skin and bloodstains that had once been children.

Those, more than anything, justify what Clarke had done.

She wonders if Clarke knows that the youngest was barely five. His name had been Max, and he’d been orphaned by a disease on Agro, then thrown in the Skybox when he’d stollen food to feed himself.

No, Adia doesn’t blame Clarke for what she did in the mountain.

But she’ll never tell the blonde that she wishes the Mountain Men had suffered more before they’d died.


 Clarke looks back, once, just before she hits the tree line, and meets Adia’s eyes. They hold for a fraction of a second before the blonde looks away, turning and melting into the shadows of the forest.

Adia sighs, stepping around Miller and his father to walk towards the gate, where Bellamy is standing, despondent.

“What did she say?” She asks, moving to stand beside him.

“To take care of them.” He says, voice flat. She nods, though he’s not looking at her.

“I don’t understand.” Bellamy whispers.

“We’re her people, she should rely on us to support her when she needs us.”

Adia’s lips thin as she watches the trees, the setting sun painting them in orange and gold.

“And yet everywhere she turns, she’d be reminded of what you’ve done.” She says. Bellamy jerks, eyes finding hers with wide surprise. She meets his head on.

“Clarke thinks that this is the lowest thing she’s ever done. But none of the people in that mountain where innocent. They were willing to kill all of us to gain something that wasn’t necessary for their survival. Above ground or below it, they were all going to die anyway. You and Clarke where defending your people when you pulled that lever.” She says firmly, conviction in her voice.

“I, at least, don’t hold it against you.” She says. Bellamy stares at her for several long moments, before his lips thin.

“But I haven’t forgiven myself.” He says, and she nods.

“Someone important recently told me that I had to take the time to grieve. So take as much time as you need. Clarke will be back.” She assured him.

Bellamy continues to stare at her for a few moments, before his eyes slide shut and his shoulders drop a little, a tiny bit of tension bleeding out of him.

Adia is satisfied that he, at least, is on his way to moving on.

Chapter Text

Somebody left the gate open
You know we got lost on the way
Come save us the runaway train gone insane
...
Into the wild
How are we living living living

- Into The Wild, LP


“How long are you planning on playing out the plot of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’?” Clarke jumps a little at the voice, turning sharply to point her spear in the general direction it had come from. Slowly, Adia’s shape solidifies as she steps forward, less a shadow among the trees and more a solid mass.

“What are you doing here?” Clarke snaps harshly. She immediately regrets her tone, but Adia doesn’t seem phased in the slightest. If anything, the question seems to amuse her.

“I’m here looking after my people.” She says simply.

“Are you now?” Clarke mutters under her breath.

“Damn straight, and don’t sass me.” Adia says coolly.

“How did you find me?” Clarke asks, gentler. This time, one of Adia’s eyebrows hikes up, an incredulous look flitting across her face.

“Really, Clarke? I’ve lived in these woods since before your parents were born. A day hasn’t gone by when I haven’t known exactly where you were.” She says matter-of-factly. Clarke deflates a little, a tangle of emotions writhing in her gut. It feels a lot like a combination of relief and despair.

“What am I supposed to do?” Clarke asks dejectedly.

“Pardon?” Adia looks puzzled, but Clarke is suddenly too angry to care.

“How am I supposed to grieve in peace if people won’t leave me alone!” She shouts. Adia blinks a few times, before letting out a put-upon sigh.

“First of all, don’t scream at me. I’m trying to help you. Second, you can grieve just as well back in Arkadia.”

“Arkadia?” Now it’s Clarke’s turn to look confused.

“Your mother and Kane decided to rename the camp after Jaha pulled a Roanoke Colony and up and disappeared with a dozen people. That’s what they settled on.” She explains.

“And what’s there that would help me?” Clarke asks, sounding exactly like a spoiled child. Adia snorts derisively.

“Do not make me humor that question with an answer, brat. You know damn well what’s back there.” Adia says. Clarke’s pout is downright petulant.

“I can get human companionship out here.” She defends. Adia outright laughs at her.

“Niylah? Really?” She waves a hand dismissively.

“Right, right, because emotionless sex is going to fill the gaping hole in your heart. Whereas the comfort and support of people who actually give a shit about you will do absolutely nothing.” She says sarcastically.

Clarke turns away, shame and regret burning red across her cheeks. She hears Adia sigh behind her.

“Look, Clarke, I’m not being mean for the sake of it. Do you remember what I told you before we went into the Mountain?”

“That you’d always have my back.” Clarke says quietly.

“Correct. And that still holds true now. But your people need you, Bellamy needs you.” Adia says.

“I need more time.” Clarke defends.

“You’ve had three months, Clarke.” Adia points out. Clarke turns sharply to face the older woman.

“Is Murphy back yet?” She asks icily. Adia’s eyes immediately narrow and the muscles of her jaw clench.

“No, but I haven’t stuck my head in the sand because of it.” She snaps.

“Besides, that’s not even remotely related to what we’re discussing.”

Clarke is silent for a few moments before she raises her eyes to meet Adia’s.

“What’s your secret? How did you do it?” She asks.

“You’ll have to be more specific.” Adia says, deadpan.

“How did you get used to killing?” Clarke asks. Adia freezes, completely still for a single moment, before she bares her teeth at the blonde.

“Don’t fuck with me, brat!” She’s down the slope and in Clarke’s face before the younger girl can even blink.

“You think this is the lowest you’ll ever sink? That you can’t do anything worse in your life? I was barely an adult when they threw me into the middle of a war. I’ve seen death on a scale that you’ll never understand. I’ve done things that can never be forgiven. This, what you’re mourning, it pales in comparison.” As quickly as her anger had come, it’s gone, and her face smooths over. She turns sharply away from Clarke to head back up the slope to the tree line. Before she disappears into the gloom, she glances over her shoulder.

“And my secret, Clarke? I’ve never gotten used to the killing.”


“Who taught Blake how to drive?” Is the first thing out of Monty’s mouth as he climbs out of the back hatch of the vehicle, followed closely by a glaring Bellamy. Adia, who is waiting with Raven, cocks an eyebrow at him.

“I did.” She says, deadpan.

“Well, you’re a lousy teacher.” Says Octavia, who has swung down from her horse. Adia scowls at her.

“It’s not my fault he’s inept. Blame Raven.”

“What’d I do?” The mechanic grouses.

“You just had to pick a vehicle with a manual transmission as your project.” Adia points out.

You said you knew how to drive one.” Raven defends herself.

“I thought I would be driving it, not teaching someone else how.” Adia complains.

“Enough.” Bellamy says, but there’s a crease of amusement in the curve of his mouth. Octavia and Raven are both grinning, and Adia rolls her eyes before cracking a smile.

“Did you find anything?” She finally asks. Bellamy shakes his head.

“We’ll keep looking, though. There are still several stations unaccounted for.” Says Monty. Raven grins.

“You’re in luck, then. I just so happened to get a ping from Farm station.” She says proudly. They all perk up at this.

“Where?” Bellamy asks.

“About 50 miles North of here.” Raven replies.

“Oh.” Adia’s smile falls and she suddenly looks worried, which immediately puts the others on alert.

“What is it?” Bellamy asks her. He’s come to rely on her advice a lot in the past three months. It had certainly come in handy when they’d gone to Polis to negotiate peace with Anya’s successor. Adia’s lips press together in a thin line as she glances between them.

“I wouldn’t hold out much hope for survivors. Not if they’re that far North.” She says.

“Why?” Asks Monty.

“It’s Ice Nation territory. Even amidst the Grounders, they’re considered especially vicious. And they have a problem with the Commander’s authority.” She says.

“So don’t expect them to honor the treaty.” Bellamy says grimly.

“Exactly.”

“Oh, honestly, when have we ever done anything that the Grounders actually approved of?” Octavia piped up.

“Your sister has a point.” Adia says, some amusement creeping back into her tone.

Bellamy lets out a long winded, long suffering sigh.

“Alright, who’s going?” He asks.

Chapter Text

Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer?

- No Church in the Wild, Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean


“How’s Clarke?” Bellamy asks.

They’re doing inventory in Raven’s lab while the mechanic and Monty work on the Rover.

“Not exactly happy with the fact that I’m keeping tabs on her, but fine.” Adia says, not looking up from the ledger she’s double-checking. She’d made it herself out of a few sheets of folded paper and some string, which, while incredibly simple, was still close enough to an actual book to be impressive. Bellamy hadn’t been the only one to take notice.

“Do you have any idea when she’s coming back?” He continues, voice hopeful. Adia sighs and closes the ledger, before leveling Bellamy with a blank stare.

“I don’t, because I have never met a more stubborn individual in my life.” She says, deadpan. Bellamy blinks and then chuckles.

“Sorry.” He says, rubbing at the back of his head sheepishly.

“It’s not your fault. You want her back just as much as the rest of us. But you also know she’s stubborn as a mule.” She says.

“True.”

“Anyway, I’m a little more concerned with her mother.” Adia says, frowning into the middle distance.

“Abby?” Bellamy asks.

“The same. I think she’s on to the fact that I wasn’t on the dropship with you. I do my best to avoid Medical, but she’s becoming insistent.” She says, turning her attention back to him.

“She doesn’t have any proof and none of us will give you up.” Bellamy assures her.

“I’d like to believe that, but…” Adia is interrupted by Miller, who barges into the room windswept and out of breath.

“Murphy’s back.” He blurts. At Bellamy’s side, Adia straightens, suddenly tense.

“What about Jaha and the people he took with him?” Bellamy asks. Miller shakes his head.

“Nope. Just Murphy and two Grounders.” He says.

Adia’s hands tighten on the ledger to the point where it starts to crinkle. Gently, Bellamy takes it from her trembling hands.

“Go on.” He says, jerking his head towards the door. Adia glances between him and Miller, who grins at her, before she bolts.

She jogs through camp, ducking nimbly around the people she passes on her way towards the gates, where a small crowd has gathered. She picks up speed as she catches sight of a familiar figure arguing with a wary looking guard.

By the time she reaches John Murphy, she’s running flat out. He lets out an ‘oof’ as she throws her arms around his shoulders, swaying with the impact. There’s a long beat of silence before he seems to recognize her and his arms close like steel bands around her back. He presses his nose into her neck and lets out a shaky sigh, breathing deeply against her skin.

They rock there for a minute, suspended in time, simply clinging to each other, before he draws away.

He’s smirking mischievously, but his eyes are soft, and Adia smiles at him in return, wide and bright.

“Good to see you, too.” He says, amusement in his tone. She laughs.

“I’ve missed you.” She says, reaching a hand up to trace a healing cut on his cheek. His grin turns lazy and indulgent as she catalogues his face, making note of his old scars and new wounds.

A shift in her peripheral makes her turn to see a young woman with a facial tattoo staring at them, something flashing in her dark eyes before it’s smoothed over into a blank expression. A teenaged boy hovers over her shoulder, glancing between them.

“Oh, right. Adia, this is Emori. We picked her and her brother up from the dead zone.” Murphy says, indicating both Grounders. Adia nods to them cordially.

“Welcome to Arkadia. I am Adia Kennedy.” She says by way of greeting. Both seem to hesitate for a moment before Emori nods back.

“Thank you for having us. I am Emori, and this is my brother, Otan.” She says, motioning to the teenager beside her. Murphy takes a step back from Adia in order to adjust the gun slung across his back, and Adia doesn’t think she imagines it when Emori’s eyes drop to where their shoulders are touching.

“Emori’s got some information Clarke and Bellamy might want to hear.” He says. At the mention of the blonde Adia grimaces, which Murphy immediately picks up on.

“What?” He asks, suddenly wary.

“Later.” Adia soothes, a hand going to his arm. He relaxes, but it’s marginal.

“For now, let’s get some food into you. Then Bellamy can debrief you.” She says. She turns to the two Grounders.

“If you’ll follow me, we can introduce you to the Chancellor, and then get you settled.” She says. Emori nods and both she and her brother follow as Adia leads them into camp.


“I can’t believe that Princess really flew the coop.” Murphy says over his cup of shine, looking slightly awed. Adia, sitting across from him, shrugs.

“She was traumatized. I can’t really blame her for running away.” She says. One of Murphy’s eyebrows hikes up and he gives her a skeptical look.

“Oh, really? You, who seem to take trauma in stride, know how she feels?” He asks sarcastically. Adia rolls her eyes at him.

“Yes, really. She’s young, practically still a child, she doesn’t know how to cope. I’ve had a century to figure out the proper way to deal with my grief. And I had counseling in service to help deal with my kills. I may not agree with some of Clarke’s methods or how long she’s taking, but I understand the need to grieve.” She gives him a pointed look over the rim of her own cup and he throws his hands up.

“Fine, fine. So we can both agree that Princess needed time to herself. Blake seems to be coping just fine here, why couldn’t she?” He asks.

“Because Bellamy isn’t Clarke and Clarke isn’t Bellamy. They’re two separate people, John.” She points out, taking a swig of her moonshine and missing the shiver Murphy suppresses.

“Alright. Let’s say, for just a second, that I believe any of this. That the Princess isn’t off her rocker and that running off into the woods to play ‘wild child’ was the best course of action. Why won’t she come back?” He asks. Adia shrugs.

“Because sometimes fear of pain is a stronger motivator than pain itself.” She says quietly, something haunted flashing behind her eyes. Murphy falls silent, watching her closely for a moment, before he looks away.

“Right.” He mutters, staring down into his own cup. Adia sighs.

“She’ll come back. Eventually. Something will happen that will draw her back to her people.” She says.

“Something?” Murphy’s sharp, suspicious eyes jump to her face and she keeps her voice carefully low.

“I hate to say it, but the peace has lasted too long. It’s been far too quiet.” She says, eyes steady as they meet his.

“It’s only been three months. Didn’t you and Blake negotiate for peace with the Commander? You think someone’s plotting something?” He asks, voice just as quiet. She shrugs one shoulder.

“I’m just saying that the Grounders are usually much more active than this. There were plenty of people, high ranking people, who weren’t happy with the Commander’s decision to spare the Skaikru. And they were vocal about it.” She points out. Murphy frowns, before glancing around. Adia nods to his unasked question.

“There’s that, too. Sooner or later, your Chancellor and the people of the Ark are going to realize that I’m an outsider. Not only that, but it’s only a matter of time before my…abilities become common knowledge.” She says, and she looks worried enough to worry Murphy.

“We won’t…” He starts, but she shakes her head to cut him off.

“I would much rather you survive than condemn yourself trying to save me.” She says firmly. He frowns at her, unhappy, but she shrugs.

“Besides, it’s not like I’m unused to looking after myself. It’s the rest of the kids I’m worried about.” At this, Murphy’s mouth turns down at the corners and he looks away.

Adia had told him about the Mountain, and about the children they’d lost to the citizens inside it. He hadn’t taken it very well.

“This is a right mess, isn’t it?” He finally asks, throwing back the rest of his cup’s contents. Adia smiles humorlessly.

“You certainly managed to get caught in the middle, that’s for sure. It’s like a really fucked up game of ro-sham-bo. The Skaikru are weak to the Commander and the Grounders, who in turn are weak to me.” She says.

“And you’re one of us.” Murphy finishes. She nods.

“Rock-paper-scissors analogies aside, though, violence affects all of us. The weakest amongst us most of all. We’ll have to make sure, if, despite our efforts, it comes to war, that the weak ones are safe this time.” She points out and Murphy nods in agreement.

They fall into silence again, until the bell for dinner goes up and people start shuffling towards the food line.

“You want me to get anything for you?” Murphy asks, shoving himself to his feet. Adia shakes her head.

“No, thanks.” She says. He nods to her and heads off.

Adia watches just long enough to see Emori join Murphy in line.

Chapter Text

You and me
We're in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
If the world should break in two
Until the very end of me
Until the very end of you

- We're In This Together, Nine Inch Nails


“Are you angry with me?” Adia looks up to find Murphy standing in the doorway of her tent, a look of uncertainty on his face. She shakes her head.

“No, I’m not.” But she can’t keep the tinge of…something from her voice. Because seeing him standing next to Emori in the food line, laughing at whatever she’d said, had made Adia’s heart ache. He frowns, obviously not believing her, before letting the tent flap fall closed behind him.

“But…” He starts, but she stands quickly, suddenly feeling very claustrophobic.

“You never promised me anything.” She says, too quickly, eyes darting away to look at anything but the man standing in her living space.

“I have no right to interfere. I’m too old anyway. I mean, talk about robbing the cradle. Just know that you have my blessing and…” Her panicked rambling is cut off by arms wrapping around her, Murphy having crossed the tent in two long strides to pull her against his chest. She takes a deep breath, the scent of him filling her head with a sudden sense of calm. He rests his cheek on the crown of her head and speaks into the space around them.

“I never promised her anything.” He says. Adia goes completely still, barely daring to breathe.

“And you’re wrong. I did promise you something, didn’t I?” He says. She pulls back a little, so she can look up at him. His smile is soft, something she’s growing increasingly familiar with.

“I promised you I’d come back alive. Not Bellamy. Not Clarke. Not anyone else. You.” He pokes her lightly, just under her collar bone, and she feels the touch like a brand.

Slowly, she closes her eyes, letting the warmth of his presence wash over her, before letting out a long, slow breath.

“I never did thank you.” She says. He snorts.

“For what?” He asks, amused. She catches his eye and smiles at him.

“For coming back alive.” She answers. He grins at her, cocky and self assured, and pulls her close again. They stand there for some time, until Murphy notices the rucksack laid out on her bed.

“Going somewhere?” He asks, curious. Adia pulls away to glance behind her, before nodding.

“I need to check in with Niylah, see if there’s any updates on Clarke. Also, Raven said something about needing a device with a memory chip, so I was going to swing by my bunker and look around. I think I might have something in mind, if I can find it.” She says. Murphy nods in acceptance of her answer, before he tilts his head.

“Did you ever go back for your rifle?” He asks, curious, and Adia shakes her head.

“Its appearance would bring up too many questions. When the time comes, I’ll go get it, but not yet.” She replies. He nods in understanding, before stepping back from her. His touch lingers, hands drawing down her arms before he finally pulls away.

Slowly, he reaches for his belt, where he unfastens her knife and its scabbard. He places both back into her palm with a flourish, curling her fingers around them.

“I am returning this to you. Thank you for letting me borrow it, it has served me very well these past three months.” He says, oddly formal. She smiles, bringing her fist up to press it over her heart.

“I am glad it could guard you when I could not.” She says, equally as formal.

There’s a few moment of silence before they both dissolve into giggles, the tension broken by their lighthearted laughter. When they’ve caught their breath Murphy lets her fasten the leather sheath to her belt before he pulls her into his arms again.


She pushes her borrowed horse as hard as she dares. As it stands, the trees race past, a mere blur as the dappled mare flies through the underbrush.

It isn’t until she bursts through the tree line into the field before Arkadia’s gate that she pulls up, the horse slowing to a canter. She doesn’t want to incite panic by racing all the way into camp, despite the fact that her heart is beating a wild rhythm against the inside of her ribcage.

Miller, standing with some of the Ark guards, waves to her as she approaches, and she waves back, trying to keep the smile on her face genuine.

“Where’d you get that?” He asks conversationally as she dismounts just inside the gate, letting the horse drink from a waiting bucket.

“I borrowed her. I did some scavenging for Raven while I was out, but I needed to get back fast. I’ve got some news that Bellamy might be interested in.” She says carefully, aware of the eyes and ears all around them. Miller, also aware of their audience, nods.

“Sure. He’s out with Octavia and the others, checking on the ping from Farm Station. But I can send him to Raven’s lab when he gets back.” He says casually. Adia smiles at him, clapping him on the back before turning to the horse. She pats the mare apologetically on the neck before looping the reigns of her bridle over her neck. Adia uses the halter to steer her out of the gates, before giving her rump a firm smack.

The horse sets off at a trot, quickly disappearing into the trees.

At Miller’s raised eyebrow, she shrugs.

“She’ll find her way home.” She explains, before waving goodbye to him and heading for Raven’s lab.

Chapter Text

We'd be so less fragile
If we're made from metal
And our hearts from iron
And our minds from steel
if we built an armour
For our tender bodies
Could we love each other
Would we strive to feel

- Three Wishes, The Pierces


 “This might help.” Adia says as she walks through the doors. Raven looks up just in time to catch the small, rectangular object Adia throws to her.

“What is this?” She asks, turning it over. Lincoln and Murphy lean over the table to get a better look. It’s about four inches wide by six inches long, the back composed of shiny metallic plastic while the front is black glass. It’s thin, barely a quarter of an inch thick, and there are several oddly shapes ports on one end. The word ‘Samsung’ is printed across the top.

“It’s my cellphone. It hasn’t worked in decades and I don’t know how much help it’ll be, but you said something about needing a memory chip, right?” Adia says, hopping up onto one of Raven’s work stools.

The mechanic excitedly starts prying the phone apart, but Murphy is watching Adia’s face, a frown on his own.

“What’s wrong?” He finally asks. Lincoln turns to her, Raven looking up from her work table, but Adia shakes her head.

“I’ll explain when Bellamy and the others get back.” She says. Murphy nods and they fall silent, watching Raven make quick work of the phone. Lincoln moves to stand next to Adia, and though they don’t speak the silence is amicable.

It’s over two hours later when the doors swish open and Bellamy, Monty, and Octavia tromp in, followed by Miller. There’s no sign of Jasper.

“How’d it go?” Murphy asks. Monty is smiling broadly, and even Octavia looks pleased.

“We found Pike and 63 survivors. Kane went out with reinforcements to help the rest back to camp.” Says Bellamy.

“63 is a respectable number, considering they landed in Ice Nation territory.” Says Lincoln.

“Pike? Charles Pike? Our Earth Skills teacher?” Murphy cuts in, sounding surprised. Bellamy nods.

Adia sits quietly, face blank as the kids continue to chat about what happened. Finally, Bellamy turns to her.

“Miller said you had some news?” He asks, and there’s hope in his voice. They all turn to look at her and she feels her gut churn at the expectation in their eyes.

“The Commander has issued a living bounty for Clarke.” She says quietly.

The kids go completely quiet, suddenly tense, so she takes a deep breath and continues.

“They’ve taken to calling her Wanheda, which translates to ‘Commander of Death’. Probably something to do with the Mountain incident. I don’t know what Lexa wants with her, but it can’t be good.” She says.

“Wait, a living bounty? She wants her alive, then?” Octavia asks. Adia nods.

“Clarke wasn’t at her usual camp when I went to check on her, and there was evidence of a struggle. Niylah says she hasn’t seen her for a few days, so it hasn’t been long. If we leave now, we might get to Polis the same time they do.” She continues.

“They?” There’s murderous intent in Bellamy’s voice.

“Whatever bounty hunter collected her. She’ll be delivered alive, that I am certain of.” Adia says.

There’s silence for a few moments before Bellamy lets out a long sigh.

“Alright; Murphy, Adia, and myself will go to Polis to get Clarke. Raven?” He turns to the mechanic, who motions to her workbench and the partially cannibalized cellphone.

“Once I have this relay up and running, our radios should work over greater distances.” Raven says. Bellamy nods before turning to Miller.

“Keep an eye on Pike. He’s adopted a rather hard edged anti-Grounder attitude. Which is why I want you to try and stay away from him, Lincoln. But the more you can continue to teach the kids about defending themselves, the better.” He says, turning to the Grounder. The other man nods, arms crossed.

“I’ll help Raven with the relay.” Monty volunteers. The mechanic claps him on the back, grinning.

“We should go gather supplies for our trip.” Adia says, sliding off her stool

“Thanks for the phone.” Raven calls, and Adia waves at her as she leaves the lab, followed by Murphy and Bellamy.


“Who was that?” Pike asks Kane as he watches the group of three leave through the front gates, a pack slung over Blake’s shoulders. All three kids are carrying guns, but the only girl carries hers differently.

Very differently.

“You must recognize them? Bellamy Blake, John Murphy, and Adia Kennedy. Something happened and now they’re going out after Clarke Griffin.” Kane explains.

Pike’s eyes narrow as he watches the three disappear into the tree line.

Because he has always prided himself on remembering all of his students. Every single kid that ever went through Earth Skills, those doomed children he had taught to the best of his abilities. Even Octavia Blake, the sibling that shouldn’t exist. Every face, every name, he remembers them all.

And he doesn’t remember Adia Kennedy.


Raven feels sick.

Her fingers are white knuckled where they clutch the edge of her workbench, eyes watering as she fights back the rising bile in the back of her throat.

It hadn’t been anything malicious, no ill intent had made her plug in what was left of Adia’s cellphone to a power source.

But now she wishes, desperately, that she hadn’t.

Her eyes flit across the last app that had been open on the phone, at the words that scroll across the screen, at Adia’s desperate, pleading words, begging for her family to respond, to answer, to tell her they’re alright.

But no answer ever comes, and Raven feels sick.

She closes the phone.

Chapter Text

Did you have to hit me, where I'm weak? Baby, I couldn't breathe
And rub it in so deep, salt in the wound like you're laughing right at me
...
Did you think we'd be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife
So don't think it's in the past, these kinda wounds they last and they last.
Now did you think it all through? All these things will catch up to you
And time can heal but this won't, so if you're coming my way, just don't
...
Band-aids don't fix bullet holes

- Bad Blood (Rock Version), Silence the City


“Some of the Arkers want to move into Mount Weather, now that it’s empty.” Says Bellamy. Murphy snorts derisively from the back of the line.

“Stupid.” He mutters. From ahead of them, Adia makes a noise of agreement in the back of her throat.

“Agreed. If they move into the Mountain and close themselves off, then we’re just going to have the exact same problem several generations down the road.” She says. Bellamy hums noncommittally.

“But if we could fortify it without sealing it?” He asks, and the question hangs in the air for a few moments before Adia speaks.

“The big question is ‘if’. The very nature of the Mountain makes it incredibly difficult, considering the human psyche, because it was specifically designed to be closed off. Like an aquarium. There are thousands of metric tons of rock sitting on top of your head, closing you off from the outside world. Once those doors close, I don’t think it would be that easy to open them again.” She says. Bellamy sighs, before nodding in acquiescence.

“However, as an emergency bunker, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea. It would have to remain temporary, as a last resort. Say, if someone, somehow, got their hands on a nuclear warhead.” She says pointedly. Bellamy glances up at her.

“You’re thinking of Jaha?” He asks. She nods.

“Emori and Otan didn’t have any specifics about the City of Light, other than that they were looking for it, but you actually saw the warhead, right John?” She calls back, and Murphy waves a hand both in agreement and to show that he’s listening.

He’d told them all about the lighthouse and the mansion attached to it, describing the woman in red whom Jaha had spoken to and the fact that Murphy had passed straight through her, stumbling to his knees only to look up and see the warhead displayed in the foyer like a trophy.

Adia had a sneaking suspicion she knew who, exactly, A.L.I.E. was, but she’d kept her opinions to herself. If it came down to it, she would handle that situation herself.

“Jaha was spouting some crazy shit, even by his standards.” Murphy says, glancing over his shoulder back the way they’d come.

“You said he was headed back, right?” Bellamy asks, sounding concerned, and Murphy nods.

“But it’ll take him much longer than it took us, because he’s by himself on foot. That’s if he makes it.” He says, not sounding too concerned.

“We’ll deal with him when the time comes.” Adia says firmly, and Bellamy turns to stare at her.

“You sound like you’re going to kill him.” He says quietly, and Adia shrugs nonchalantly.

“If I have to.” She says. Both boys fall silent before Bellamy lets out a sigh.

“You know, the first time I shot someone was the day we came down on the dropship. It was so hard, thinking that I’d killed a person, even though it turned out I hadn’t. But now, I find myself seeing it as a viable option for almost every problem.” He says. Adia is quiet for a moment before turning to Bellamy.

“While I don’t want you to always end conflicts with violence, if it comes down to it, point me in the right direction and I’ll do what needs to be done.”


“It’s awfully quiet.” Adia says, looking around what was, the last time she and Bellamy visited, a bustling market. There isn’t a single vendor in sight, and the only people milling around glance at them for only the briefest of moments before looking away. They move in groups of two or three, and all of them appear to be in a hurry to be anywhere else.

“Yeah,” Bellamy agrees, glancing around warily. Murphy, the only one who didn’t go to Polis the first time, shrugs and shoulders his rifle.

“So they closed up shop for the day?” He asks. Adia shrugs.

“It’s always a possibility. But Clarke’s bounty coinciding with odd things happening in Polis seems far too convenient to me.” She says.

“Well, regardless, I have to take a piss, so I’ll be right back.” Murphy says, waving a hand to indicate a side alley. Adia frowns.

“Don’t go too far.” She warns. He rolls his eyes.

“I made it through the dead zone twice, and that hellhole of a lighthouse. I can take care of myself.” Murphy quips.

“Be careful, regardless.” Bellamy warns. Murphy rolls his eyes again before loping off into the gloom.

They wait in silence, Adia growing increasingly agitated as the seconds tick by and Murphy doesn’t reappear. Finally, after ten minutes, she turns to Bellamy.

“You don’t think…” She trails off, and he looks past her to the alley Murphy had disappeared down. Wordlessly, he nods, before stepping forward, rifle in hand, index finger just outside the trigger guard. Adia follows, her own borrowed gun held in a white knuckled grip.

“I swear, if he got hurt after all that talk about taking care of himself, I’m gonna kick his ass.” Adia hisses as they reach the mouth of the alley. Bellamy snorts a laugh despite himself, before easing down the narrow passage.

They’re barely twenty feet inside the alley when they come across a fork in the road. Adia tenses, something about the air around them feeling off. She’s just turned to whisper in Bellamy’s ear when an arm closes around her shoulders.

She acts on pure instinct, twisting to break her attackers hold while bringing the butt of her gun up into their solar plexus with a solid crack. Ducking, she sweeps their feet out from under them before taking them to the ground with her knife to their neck.

The confrontation is over in a matter of seconds, but when it is Bellamy is looming over her shoulder, gun pointed directly at the face of the Grounder Adia has pinned to the concrete.

She blinks, taking in the facial scarring and dark eyes, before her expression deepens into a scowl.

“What have you done, Roan?” She growls. Behind her, Bellamy tenses.

“You know him?” He asks. She doesn’t bother answering, simply tightens her knife against the man’s neck.

“If you’re talking about the boy, I didn’t do anything.” He says, hands up in surrender. Adia bares her teeth at him.

“Bullshit.” She snaps.

“I swear it. He was taken by Ontari’s people.” Roan insists. Adia’s head tilts down dangerously.

“Who?” She asks.

“The new Commander.” Roan says calmly. Bellamy is totally still for a moment before he swears violently under his breath. Adia continues to ignore him.

“What happened to Lexa?” She asks.

“I don’t know.” Roan says, but Adia presses her blade tighter against his skin, drawing a thin line of blood to the surface.

“If you’re here and there’s an Azgeda sitting on the Commander’s throne, then Nia is behind it. Talk or I’ll kill you.” She snarls. Roan glares at her for a moment before answering.

“I don’t know what happened to the previous Commander. And I don’t know what my mother is planning. She banished me years ago and I was forced to become a bounty hunter because of it.” He says.

Adia regards him with narrowed eyes.

“You’re here to deliver Clarke of the Skaikru.” She says in understanding, and Roan nods as best he can with her knife to his throat.

“I already did.” He says.

Bellamy lets out another string of expletives, but doesn’t move from where he stands behind Adia, gun still leveled at Roan’s head.

“That means that the one who issued the bounty wasn’t Lexa.” Adia says, and Roan nods again. She regards him for a moment.

“What does Ontari want with members of the Skaikru?” She asks. Roan shrugs one shoulder.

“I don’t know. Subjugation, most likely.” He says.

Adia continues to regard him, and Road swallows thickly at the calculating look in her eyes.

“I can take you to them.” He offers hastily.

Adia doesn’t take her eyes off of him, but she tilts her head back towards Bellamy. He leans closer, just enough to whisper in her ear.

“Think we can trust him?” He asks. Adia sighs.

“As much as I don’t want to, I don’t think we have a choice.” She replies. She feels Bellamy nod, before slowly retracting her knife. Standing, she lets Roan sit up, gingerly rubbing at his still bleeding neck.

“One wrong move, and I will kill you.” She warns him, before offering him a hand. He looks at it for a few seconds before taking it.

Once on his feet Roan gestures behind him, into the darkness of the alley.

“This way.”


They have to wait for nightfall, something that doesn’t sit well with Adia, but they pass the time by changing into the borrowed Azgeda clothing that Roan brings them.

Now, Adia can’t help but note that the underground dungeon smells strongly of blood and fear, even through her mask.

It’s a pungent smell, one that feels more like a physical blow than a scent. It settles under the tongue like the bitterness of poisonous fruit, making her heart beat faster inside her ribs as it brings long buried memories to the surface. For the briefest of moments, as Roan leads them down a shadowed hallway, she’s back in time, storming an enemy building.

The flash of a light grenade, the thunder of gunfire in her ears, the charred scent of burning bodies carried through the smoke, the taste of ash on her tongue.

Bellamy’s hand on her shoulder shatters the memory, making her start and turn to stare up at him. His eyes, the only things she can see through his mask, are worried. She shrugs one shoulder, not daring to speak, and he nods in understanding.

Roan has drawn up short at a heavy metal door, the torch in his hand casting distorted shadows across his face.

“The guard changes soon. You’ll have a few minutes, but that’s it.” He says, before turning to face the door with a ring of rusty keys.

Adia’s view is partially blocked by Bellamy, who sucks in a sharp intake of breath right before she steps out from behind him.

The first thing she’s aware of is Clarke, looking slightly worse for wear. There’s blood in her hair, once again her natural blonde, and her face is scratched, but she’s alive. She’s chained to the far wall, straining against her tether to reach something laid out nearer to the door.

It’s the bloody, broken body of John Murphy.

Adia feels the breath leave her in a sibilant hiss and the next thing she knows she’s falling to her knees beside him, fingers scrambling to tear off the mask covering her face. Her hands tremble as they hover over his lacerated skin.

When she touches him, he hisses in pain, and her answering whimper makes his eyelids flutter open.

She carefully curls her fingers against one of Murphy’s bloody cheeks, eyes flitting across his face and down his torso, cataloguing every cut and burn she comes across. Slowly, he focuses on her, but it takes him a moment before he seems to recognize her.

“…Adia…” His voice is hoarse, like he’s been screaming, and she has to tamp down on the bile rising in the back of her throat.

“Don’t try to talk.” She says, using her sleeve to try and wipe a trail of blood away from the corner of his mouth. His smile is weak, and she feels something in her chest break a little.

“…What took you… so long?” He manages, despite her words. She snorts, but it sounds hollow.

“Looking for your sorry ass. What was that about taking care of yourself?” She says. At the door, Roan hisses at her.

“We need to go.” He says. Adia looks up at him, before glancing back down at Murphy.

Slowly, carefully, she leans down and kisses him. It’s the briefest brush of lips, but his eyes are sharper and more focused when she draws away.

“Wait just a little bit longer. We’ll be back.” She says, before she grabs up her mask and heads for the door. She doesn’t look back, because she knows she won’t be able to walk away if she does.

As Roan re-locks the door and they retrace their steps, Adia turns to Bellamy.

“I don't care who Ontari is, I’m going to kill her.” She says, voice cold.

 

Chapter Text

You felt the coldness in my eyes,
and something I'm not revealing.
Though you got used to my disguise,
you can't shed this awful feeling.

It's the me that I let you know,
'cause I never show - I have my reasons.
I hate to say that I told you so,
but I told you so, yeah!

There's blood on my hands
like the blood in you.

- Blood On My Hands, The Used


Bellamy trails after Adia, wisely keeping his tongue in check as she makes her way up the front steps of the tower, not bothering for subtlety. She’s still wearing the clothes she borrowed from Roan minus the mask and hood, but her knife and gun are on full display. Said Grounder brings up the back of the line, looking slightly awed at her fierceness. She ignores both men as she ascends the landing.

The guards freeze when they see her, but dutifully move to block her path before she can get to the door. She lifts her lip at them, a clear warning in her voice.

“Get out of my way.” She growls. The guard on the left scoffs at her.

“You cannot see the Commander while you carry weapons.” He says. The other guard is watching her warily. He, at least, must know who she is.

“The Commander isn’t here.” She says, voice low. The first guard jerks his head behind him, to where the Commander’s flag flies from the battlements.

“Are you blind?” He asks, before making a gesture like he expects her to hand over her rifle.

Slowly, she nods, taking a step forward before unexpectedly bringing her knee up into the guard’s crotch with a sharp crack. He lets out a high pitched whine before crumpling to the ground, moaning piteously.

Adia turns to the second guard, who takes a hasty step back, hands up.

She pushes the doors open, ignoring the aides and Seconds who freeze in what they’re doing as she strides for the elevator, Bellamy and Roan trailing after her.

She makes quite a sight, Bellamy thinks. He’s seen many emotions in the ageless woman in the time he’s known her. He’s seen her happy and sad and content and upset.

But never has he seen such unbridled rage. It freezes over her eyes, making them little more than chips of golden ice, pinning every person she sets her gaze upon in place. Her mouth is a thin line, brows drawn down to hood her eyes, jaw clenched so tight he can see the muscles jump.

The elevator ride is silent, but Bellamy shifts so he can stand at her right shoulder.

Whatever she decides to do, he’ll support her.

When the elevator dings and the doors slide open, Adia doesn’t hesitate as she steps out into the Commander’s war room. Her face is more neutral, less blatant anger coloring her features, but her eyes are still cold and hard.

A dozen advisors stand before the throne, including Indra and Nyko. An unfamiliar girl sits above them on the dais, little more than a teenager, with dark hair and elaborate scars decorating her face. She must be Ontari, and she draws herself up as Adia walks across the room, coming to a stop at the foot of the platform.

“Who are you who dares to disrupt me?” Ontari snaps, fingering the sword laid across her lap. Adia tilts her head, before raking her eyes blatantly over the girl.

“Who are you who dares to sit in the Commander’s seat?” She asks, quietly, and Bellamy is beginning to fear that voice more than when she shouts. It’s colder than a tundra, emotionless and empty.

It scares him.

The advisors shift uncomfortably. Ontari’s face has gone red with anger.

“I am the Commander!” She nearly shrieks and Adia lets out a bark of laughter, though there’s no humor in it.

“No, you’re a child playing dress up. Where is Lexa?” She asks, no room for argument in her tone.

“Lexa is gone.” Ontari says haughtily, and Adia’s lips purse. Bellamy can tell she’s losing her patience.

“I can see that, you insufferable idiot. If the Commander leaves Polis, she will appoint a delegate. Someone to watch over things while she’s gone. I’m asking where that person is.” She says snidely, and Ontari colors even more. Bellamy chokes down a laugh. Adia sounds like she’s talking to a particularly difficult child, tone just this side of patronizing.

“Lexa is no longer the Commander. I took her place.” Ontari replies. Adia blinks, before shaking her head.

“And when do you say this theoretical Ascension took place? A Conclave takes at least a fortnight, and I met with Lexa less than seven days ago.” She says. Ontari shifts uncomfortably, clearly not having expected this outsider to be so familiar with Grounder traditions.

“I defeated the other Natblida and ascended.” Ontari informs her imperiously. One of Adia’s eyebrows ticks up.

“All of them?” She asks slowly. At Ontari’s nod, Adia turns to Indra.

“She killed them all in their sleep, didn’t she?” She asks, the coldness creeping back into her voice. Indra’s silence is all she needs for confirmation. With a derisive snort, Adia turns back to Ontari, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“Slaughtering the other candidates doesn’t automatically make you Commander.” She says condescendingly.

“I know that!” Ontari snaps.

“Then show me proof. Where is the Fleimkepa? Where is Titus?” She asks. At this, Ontari’s face drains of all color, and Adia nods.

“You can’t produce him because he’s not here. Most likely he went with Lexa, as he normally does. You, seeing an opportunity, killed the Commander’s Delegate and then slaughtered the other Nightbloods in an attempt to make yourself seem more legitimate. And you idiots just went along with it.” Here, she turns to the advisors, who are all, save for Indra and Nyko, watching her with horrified awe.

“How dare you!” Ontari is on her feet, breathing heavily, hand tightening around the hilt of her sword. She suddenly seems to recognize Roan, standing behind Adia, and snarls at him.

“You! This is your doing!” She nearly shrieks, taking the first step down from the dais. Adia sighs, before moving to stand in Ontari’s path.

“I’m still speaking to you, idiot. Indra,” Here, she turns to the other woman, who straightens slightly.

“What are the penalties for impersonating a Commander in an attempt at a coup?” Adia asks. Ontari has paled again, eyes wide in her scarred face. Indra drops her chin, before speaking clearly.

“Death.” She says, and you could hear a pin drop in the quiet of the throne room. Adia nods.

“And if, in the process, this impersonator broke a treaty with the current Commander’s allies?” She asks. Indra blinks.

“Death.” She repeats.

“I haven’t broken any treaties!” Ontari’s voice is beginning to grow shrill, and when Adia turns back to her Bellamy feels the breath leave his lungs. There is such deep, utter rage in her eyes that it makes him take an unconscious step back. At his side, Roan does the same, eyes wide and mouth slack.

“Oh, but you have.” Adia’s voice is liquid silk, venomous and cold.

“You have a member of the Skaikru in your dungeon, one you’ve seen fit to torture, for some reason. This is clearly a break from our treaty with the Commander.” She continues, voice a sibilant hiss in the stifling quiet.

“Th-the Wanheda broke from the Skaikru.” Ontari manages to squeak, but Bellamy can see that her hands are shaking with her fear. Adia’s eyes, pale gold and sharper than a blade, narrow.

“I was not speaking of Clarke Griffin.” She says slowly, one foot raising to take the first step of the dais. Ontari takes a step back.

“I was speaking of John Murphy. He is very much a member of the Skaikru, but, more importantly, he is mine.” She snarls the last word, teeth bared, and Bellamy thinks Ontari might actually piss herself.

Ontari, frozen as she is, apparently seems to realize that she’s carrying a sword at the same time her legs unlock. Bellamy has barely managed to open his mouth to shout a warning before she lunges down the steps of the platform, driving her sword into Adia’s left shoulder. It bursts through the other side, blood splattering across the floor in a spray of red. The brunette hisses, swaying with the impact, but she doesn’t budge an inch.

Raising her head to meet the look of dawning comprehension on Ontari’s face, Adia smiles. It’s a slick, spine chilling thing with no humor behind it and no place being called a smile, more a baring of teeth than anything else.

“I am the Newana, you foolish child, and you can’t kill me with something like that.” She shoves Ontari at the same time she kicks out with one foot, causing the girl to fall backward to sprawl across the steps of the dais, staring up at her, dazed and shaking.

Bellamy moves to place a hand on Adia’s other shoulder, careful not to look at the one impaled on Ontari’s sword. With a sigh, Adia reaches up and grasps the handle. With a sickening sucking sound she pulls it free, letting it go to clatter to the stone floor, blood falling in its wake.

“What, exactly, possessed you to do something as stupid as harm a member of the Skaikru?” Adia asks, voice almost conversational. Ontari just lays on the floor and shivers.

“Was it because he wouldn’t bow to you? I know that boy, and he’s almost as stubborn as I am. Doesn’t like authority much. Won’t follow orders at all, we have to phrase everything as requests. And even then, he only does the things he wants to.” Adia is watching Ontari through heavy lidded eyes, and though Bellamy can tell she’s still angry, she primarily just looks disgusted.

“Indra, seeing as you aren’t an idiot and are the most senior of the Commander’s advisors, I suggest you take over the delegate’s duties until Lexa returns.” She says, lifting her gaze to the Grounder in question. Indra nods back in acceptance.

“I also suggest you send a messenger to inform the Commander of what has happened.” She continues, shuffling her rifle around so she can undo the safety and check the chamber. Bellamy, realizing what she’s doing, takes a hasty step back.

“What of her?” Indra asks, indicating Ontari with a nod of her head. Adia lifts the gun, leveling the barrel on Ontari’s slack face.

“Let Lexa know that the person the girl harmed was mine, and that I saved her the trouble of having her tried and condemned. As is my right.” She says casually, before pulling the trigger.

Ontari jerks, body spasming for a second as the bullet enters her skull between and just above her brows, blowing out the back of her head as it exits her body, spraying the dais and throne with black blood and fragmented chunks of bone.

Lowering her rifle, Adia redoes the safety before turning to fully face Indra, ignoring the body slumped across the dais steps.

“Clarke Griffin and John Murphy are to be released. We’ll have to stay here momentarily while his wounds heal, but I’m sure Lexa won’t mind, considering what’s happened.” She says, and though her voice has returned to normal, there’s just enough of an edge to it that Indra simply nods in acquiescence.

“I will have quarters prepared.” She says.

Chapter Text

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger
Now we know what it takes, we will fight
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger
Now we know what it takes, we will fight to survive

Let's dive a little deeper
Show them who we really are
Try a little harder
We've already come this far

- Kill Us, No Resolve


Murphy wakes slowly, drifting up from somewhere dark and calm. He blinks, the weak light filtering in through the curtains still managing to sting his eyes. He shifts a little, and is immediately made aware of the pain as it returns full force.

He grunts, settling back against his pillows, but the noise and movement wakes Adia.

She’d been sleeping in the chair beside his bed, head buried in her arms where they’re folded atop the fur blanket. She jerks when he moves, head lifting and eyes blinking rapidly as she glances around.

Murphy notices that she’s not as distraught as she was in the dungeon, but she’s still on high alert as she turns to him, and he watches in fascination as her pupils dilate as she takes him in, her eyes going from bright gold to warm amber.

“You’re awake.” She breathes out, and it sounds so much like a sigh of relief that Murphy feels his heart skip a little.

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t well leave you to take care of all those idiot brats by yourself, could I?” He asks playfully. She huffs a laugh, her smile slightly watery.

“How are you feeling?” She asks, sitting up straight. He shifts again, testing the waters, before shrugging one shoulder.

“Sore, my side hurts.” He says, gesturing to his left. She nods.

“Clarke found that they fractured one of your ribs. She says we can move you in about seven days or so, but it’ll take between three and six weeks for it to heal completely.” She says. He nods in understanding. Adia leans over and now Murphy’s heart is skipping for an entirely different reason. She reaches out, as if to place her hand on his shoulder…

And promptly smacks him upside the head.

“Ow!” He reaches up to rub his smarting skull, blinking through the sudden sting and wondering if he should keep his arms up in case he needs to fend off more blows. When he looks up at her, he can see that Adia’s smile is gone. Instead, her lips are pressed into a hard, thin line.

“You’re an idiot.” She says. He glares balefully at her.

“You didn’t have to hit me.” He whines. She scoffs.

“I should do worse. ‘I’ll be fine, Adia.’ ‘I survived the wastelands, Adia.’ ‘I can take care of myself, Adia.’ Yeah, fucking right you can.” She snarls at him. His glare gains some heat to it.

“You are not blaming this on me.” He snaps back.

“Ten minutes, John! It took you ten minutes to get kidnapped!”

“That’s still not my fault!” He tries to yell, finds that it hurts too much, and settles for just raising his voice as much as he possibly can and glaring.

“Do you have any idea how worried I was, you dingus!” Adia shouts, standing so suddenly that her chair scrapes across the floor. She leans over him, breathing hard, and Murphy can see tears glittering in the corners of her eyes.

All of the fight leaves him in an instant, his chest constricting at the look on her face.

“Adia…” He begins, but she shakes her head, straightening and wiping at her eyes.

“When we found you in that dungeon…I thought you were dead.” She says, and she might as well have taken her knife to his heart. He watches helplessly as she takes a deep, shuddering breath and looks at him.

Gone is the glare and the frown. Instead, she just looks resigned and very, very tired.

“I thought I’d lost you.” She says, very quietly, and Murphy feels like the absolute biggest heel in history.

“Come here.” He reaches for her, and though she hesitates for a minute, she eventually takes his hand and lets him pull her down on the bed beside him.

He loops his good arm around her shoulders, letting her rest her head on his chest. She takes another deep breath, letting the scent of him fill her head and calm her nerves.

“I’m here, I’m alive, I made it.” He reassures her. She sighs.

“You got lucky.” She says. He frowns into the distance, but she continues.

“Ontari didn’t want you dead, she wanted you to bow to her. The torture was her punishing you for refusing. But what if, next time, the person who comes after you doesn’t want you to kneel?” She asks.

“What do you mean?” He asks her. She draws away enough so that she can look at his face.

“I’m practically immortal, John. They can cause me pain, sure, but they can’t kill me. Before now, they didn’t have anything to use against me, nothing they could threaten me with to make me comply.” She says and Murphy feels a sinking feeling in his gut.

“Until me.” He says in sudden understanding. She nods shakily, not meeting his eyes.

“The incident with the Bludkru and a handful of small skirmishes have been the extent of my contact with the Grounders, but it was enough to get them to respect me. But it was all out of fear. I’m a soldier, one they can’t hope to take down even with their greatest warriors. Because, while their people get stabbed and will bleed out within a matter of minutes, when I get stabbed I just keep fighting.” She says. Murphy remains quiet.

“Broken bones, punctured organs, cuts and bruises, burns, I’ve come back from all of it. Sometimes a little shaken up, but otherwise alive. None of their people can boast such a thing, and it frightened them enough to leave me alone. I was a legend more than anything, a boogie man used to spook their Seconds, something lurking in the dark that you didn’t poke for fear of waking it up. And then you came along,” She trails off, her eyes sad and fearful and resigned all at once.

“And I’m breakable.” He supplies and she nods.

“You are mortal. When you bleed, your wounds don’t heal instantly. When your bones break, they take weeks to mend. If you were shot or stabbed in the heart or the head, you would die.” She says.

“Ontari got to you. Without even knowing, she got to you.” He realizes, and she nods again, taking a shaky breath.

“You’re my weakness.” She admits, her words so quiet that they’re barely a whisper. He rests his chin on top of her head and blinks against the sudden damp gathering in his eyes.

“‘m sorry.” He mumbles into her hair.

“It’s not your fault. I’m sorry I yelled at you.” She says with a sigh. Lifting her head a little, she pokes him gently in his good side.

“But when you’re better, I’m teaching you a few things about self-defense.” She says, before once more resting her head on his chest.

Murphy tightens his hold on her and wonders when, exactly, they’re going to catch a break.


Bellamy balances a tray in his hands, laden with cured meat, fruit, and a dark bread made from a local wild oat. There’s also soup, if Murphy isn’t feeling up to keeping down solids.

When he pushes open the door to Adia’s room, however, he is pleasantly surprised by what he sees.

Murphy is laid out on his back, his good arm looped around Adia’s shoulders as she curls into his side, her fingers tangled in the hem of his shirt. They’re both asleep, breathing quite in the stillness of the late afternoon sunlight.

Bellamy smiles, walking over to a side table and setting down the tray, before quietly walking back to the door, which he closes with the utmost care.

He’ll leave them alone for a little longer. Planning their next move can wait for a while.

Chapter Text

Looking down the barrel of a
Hot metal 45
Just another way to survive

California rest in peace
Simultaneous release
California show your teeth
She’s my priestess; I'm your priest

- Dani California, Red Hot Chili Peppers


 “Will you tell me about it?” John asks. Adia, who has been lightly dozing beside him, blinks her eyes open to look at him, curiosity in her gaze.

“About what?” She asks.

“Where you grew up.” He answers. She blinks, and then her eyes lose focus, like she’s looking at something very far away. Her voice is wistful as she begins to speak, tinged with nostalgia.

“I remember fog. Not acid fog like with the mountain, but real fog. It could get so thick that sometimes it was like driving through soup. It clung to everything, creeping in on the softest paws and settling over the city like the heaviest blanket. It seeped into your bones, it brought the cold and the damp all the way through you, through whatever you were wearing. I swear it could touch your soul.”

“I remember an island prison, the concrete and steel bones of a different era. They said it could never be breached, that no one could ever escape. The water was too cold, the swim too long, the prison too secure. But a group of men did, broke out, disappeared without a trace. It was turned into a tourist attraction. Some people said they could hear the ghosts of those who had been inmates there. I never went, but now I kinda wish I had.”

“I remember sailboats on the water, the regatta every year. I remember cruise ships, how they seemed too comically large for the places where they docked. I remember the kites, sometimes hundreds, thousands of them at a time, filling the sky with color. I remember a pyramid in the middle of a bustling city. I remember the cry of gulls and the scent of saltwater, how it would get into your hair and you’d smell like brine for days.”

“I remember going to baseball games with my father and the art museums with my mother. I remember my brother’s first day at the Maritime Academy.” Here, her eyes turn melancholic.

“He had his whole life planned out, you know? He was studying Engineering so that he could serve in the Navy before going to work for our Grandfather. He was going to become a politician so he could introduce legislation that would actually help people.” Her smile is brittle and John reached up to cup her cheek, not speaking but supportive.

Her sigh is a full body thing where she seems to deflate, eyes sliding in and out of focus for a moment before they open fully and settle on him.

“When we were children we would spend our summers with our Grandfather. There was a Kennedy family compound in Massachusetts, North-East of here. It was beautiful, all lush gardens, with a private beach. I remember learning to ride horses with my cousins, and exploring the tide pools. I always wondered why we couldn’t have all those wonderful things at home, but…” Here, she trails off with a little shrug. Murphy frowns.

“Wasn’t your family wealthy?” He asks, curious. Adia blinks, then shakes her head.

“My parents weren’t, not really. My father hadn’t wanted to go into politics so he took a nine to five job, and my mother was from a working class Portuguese family. We lived on the other side of the continent from the rest of the family and while we never went hungry, there were a few periods where it was kinda tough. So, no, growing up we weren’t wealthy. But my Grandfather was, and he doted on us when we came to visit him.” She pauses here, staring at a spot over his shoulder with a sad look in her eyes.

“He called me Sunshine.” She says it so quietly that it’s barely a whisper, but Murphy catches it. He feels his heart break for her and reaches for her hand, linking their fingers.


Adia counts the passage of time with Murphy’s bruises, the change in color and shape and size.

On the sixth day, when most of the dark purple has faded to a sickly yellow-green, Miller finds them.

He looks haggard and he has a bruise of his own blooming dark against his left cheekbone, but the set of his jaw is determined and his eyes shine with defiance.

“Pike has taken over.” He says by way of greeting.

Clarke and Bellamy are curled together on the couch, having been deep in a whispered conversation. Adia had been watching John shuffle around the room, not hovering but aware of his movements.

At Miller’s arrival and words, she groans.

“If it’s not one thing it’s another.” She sighs in exasperation.

“What about the kids?” Bellamy asks, sitting up. Miller glances at Clarke briefly before giving Bellamy his full attention.

“We’ve evacuated to the dropship. All 68 delinquents, including Octavia, along with 14 kids from the Ark and some adults.” He says.

“Who?” Clarke asks, sounding worried. Adia’s lips purse but she says nothing.

“Sinclair, Jackson, and my dad. Everyone else is trapped in Arkadia under Pike’s militia.”

A terrible feeling suddenly blossoms in Adia’s gut and she stands up.

“What about Lincoln? Emori and her brother?” She asks. Miller shakes his head.

“Lincoln is fine. He got out with us. Emori did too, but her brother was killed. She’s pretty shaken up.”

Adia hangs her head, brows furrowed as she thinks.

“I’ll have to talk to Lexa.” She says in resignation, before turning to Bellamy. He’s barely opened his mouth to speak when Clarke stands up.

“I can do it.” She offers. Adia’s expression hardens in an instant, lips turning down at the corners as she lifts her chin and stares down the blonde.

“Are you coming home, then?” She asks. Clarke blinks, obviously not having expected the hostility in Adia’s tone.

“What, no, I just thought…” She trails off as Adia glares at her.

“You just nothing. So long as you remain apart from us, then you don’t get to speak for us. When you decide to come home, then we’ll talk.” Adia says. Clarke stares at her, before turning to Bellamy, obviously expecting him to side with her.

Instead, Bellamy shakes his head.

“I’m sorry, Clarke, but I’m with Adia.” He says. Clarke’s jaw sets and she turns steely blue eyes on Adia.

“So that’s it, is it? An ultimatum? Return or else?” She spits. Adia folds her arms and shifts her weight, her glare taking on an unamused edge.

“You don’t get to have it both ways, Clarke. You can’t be Grounder and Skaikru at the same time. You have to choose.” She says, and though her face is fierce her voice is soft.

At Clarke’s flinch her face softens as well.

“We want you to come back, Clarke. But you have to choose that for yourself. If it does or doesn’t happen is entirely up to you. But the only way I’ll allow you to speak for us is if you choose to return.” She says.

Clarke’s eyes dart between her own before lowering to the floor.

Adia sighs and turns away.

“Bellamy, I’ll let you and Miller handle the delinquents and the dropship camp. We’ll need everyone on the same page if we want it back up and running sooner rather than later.” She says. Miller nods while Bellamy stands from the couch.

“Are you good to travel?” He asks Murphy, who shrugs.

“Slowly.” He admits.

“I’ll talk to Lexa about getting some horses and a cart. It’s a long shot, but it would solve your transportation problem.” Adia says. The boys blink at her.

“Are you not coming back with us?” Miller asks. Adia glances between them.

“I’m going to stop by my bunker. I’ve got something that could help us if negotiations with Pike fall through.” She says slowly.

Bellamy nods.

“Alright.”

As the boys put their heads together, Adia glances at Clarke, who has gone back to sit on the couch. She frowns, head tilting as she observes the blonde.

Perhaps she’ll ask Lexa for one more favor.

Chapter Text

 

I'm not lost I just haven't found everything I need
I'm not torn I'm just getting it together
I'm not broken don't ya mind the pieces of me
You see scattered on the ground
I swear, I'll turn this all around
...
I'm a mark, I'm a martyr, I'm a victim, I'm a jerk
I'm an engine that just doesn't seem to start
I'm a kingdom with no king, I'm a king without a crown
So I fall down on my knees and I pray nobody sees

- Me With No You, Bowling For Soup


Clarke isn’t expecting her lap to suddenly be filled with a squirming, fluffy mass, and she sputters as the thing starts licking her face with its warm, wet tongue. She gets her arms up and pushes, managing to get a good look.

It’s a puppy, with mismatched eyes and light grey fur. One of its ears sticks straight up, while the other flops over, giving it a very lopsided look. But it seems more than happy to see Clarke, struggling to get around the hands she’s put in front of her face in its attempt to lick at her skin.

She blinks at it, before looking up, at where Adia is standing in front of her, another puppy in her arms.

“That’s Remus.” She says by way of explanation. Clarke simply stares and Adia adjusts the second puppy. It, too, has mismatched eyes, but its fur is slightly darker and both ears stick straight up. It cocks its head at Clarke.

“This is Romulus.” Adia continues, indicating the puppy she’s holding. When Clarke simply continues to stare, Adia lets out a sigh.

“He’s for you.” She says gently, nodding to the puppy that’s still trying to lick Clarke’s face. She looks down at him, at his mismatched eyes and his lopsided ears, and feels a familiar burning sensation well up in the back of her throat.

As she buries her face in the puppy's baby soft fur, Remus whining at her tears, she’s vaguely aware of an arm winding around her shoulders, a hand running gently over her hair.


Murphy stares at the puppy that Adia has just deposited in his lap.

He glances at Clarke, seated across from him in the back of the cart, her own puppy trying to lick her face, and raises an eyebrow at Adia.

“Why?” Is all he asks.

“They’re from Lexa. Partly a parting gift, partly a peace offering.” She says by way of explanation. His other eyebrow hikes up to join the first, a clear indication she should continue. She shrugs.

“Dogs are very valuable down on the ground. They’re used as guards, companions, and in hunting parties. Lexa indicated that if we continue or expand our alliance that she may even give us a good female.” She stuffs one hand in her pocket and rocks back on the balls of her feet, jabbing a thumb over her shoulder.

“Remus is for Clarke, and you.” She says, turning to address Bellamy, who had been watching the puppy in Clarke’s lap with fascination and a little envy.

“Romulus is for us.” Adia continues, turning back to Murphy. He blinks, sitting up a little straighter.

There’s just the faintest edge of uncertainty in Adia’s voice.

“If that’s okay?” She finishes, quietly. He looks down into mismatched eyes, one blue and one brown, before glancing back up at gold.

“Yeah,” He says hoarsely.

“Yeah, that’s okay.”


There’s a familiar kind of calm that washes over her as she finally sees the walls of the dropship camp appear through the trees.

She recognizes Miller and a handful of other kids staked out along the wall and the boy waves at her as she approaches, yelling down to whoever is manning the gate to open them up.

It’s only as she’s dismounting from her horse and handing off the reigns to one of the older teens that she gets to look around.

Nothing much has changed. Some of the fires have shifted to accommodate expanded tents and the rebuilt smoke house, but everything else looks exactly the same.

Including Bellamy and Raven as they approach her, the girl with something slung over her shoulder.

“Find what you were looking for?” Bellamy asks by way of greeting. Adia’s smile is somewhat sad, but she hefts the metal case she’s carrying with relative ease.

“I hope I don’t have to use it, but yes, I found it.” She says.

“What is it?” Raven asks.

“My M40C8.” Adia says. When she receives identical blank looks, she can’t help a lopsided grin.

“It’s my service weapon, my sniper rifle.” She says. Bellamy’s stare has turned thoughtful.

“You really think our talks with Pike will go south?” He asks. Adia shrugs.

“I hope not, but I’d rather have safeguards in place. Lexa already knows about the situation and has ordered her people away, but she won’t be sympathetic if Pike or any of his people kill unprovoked.” She says. Bellamy’s face is set.

“And if they do we’ll either have to kill them ourselves or hand them over.” He says. Adia nods.

“We’ll be alright, I think. There’s a pretty clear distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them,' a difference we made sure the Commander understands and that we reinforced when we left.” At this, she sighs. “But I’d like to stay in Lexa’s good graces for as long as possible, and Pike’s raring to spoil that pretty quick.”

“A lot of these kids have parents who are still in Arkadia.” Bellamy points out quietly.

“How many?” Adia asks.

“Almost forty who are taking orders from Pike willingly, maybe more. The rest are pretty much hostages.” Raven finally pipes up.

Adia draws in a deep breath and holds it, counting to ten before letting out her breath in one long sigh.

“For the moment, there’s nothing we can do for them. How are things here?” She asks. Raven grins.

“Exactly the freaking same. Its like we never left, in fact, some people seem happier here than they were in Arkadia, and there were actual beds there.” She says. Adia turns to Bellamy, who nods.

“We were able to dig up all of our weapons caches, so we’re well armed, at least. Hunting parties have already been dispatched and we’ve begun smoking the surplus. We only needed to make a few tweaks to the watch schedule, but other than that, everything’s the same.” He says.

“Except we’re not expecting a Grounder attack.” Raven remarks sarcastically.

“No, we’re just expecting an attack from our own people.” Bellamy shoots back. To dispel the coming argument, Adia cuts in.

“Enough. What about Clarke?” She asks.

At that, Bellamy immediately looks away, cheeks pink, and Raven huffs, throwing a hand out to indicate the dropship.

“Princess has holed herself up in her tower with her dog. She’ll only talk to Bellamy.” She says with a shrug, before seeming to remember the thing she has slung over her shoulder.

“Oh, that reminds me. Here.” She reaches around and grabs the strap before handing Adia her rifle.

“Thought you’d want this back. Murphy has your bag.” She says with a little grin.

“Thanks.” Adia says, taking the weapon and putting it over her own shoulder. Something in her immediately eases as the weight settles across her chest. It feels like it is suddenly much easier to breathe.

“Well, on that note, I’m gonna get back to Monty. We were delayed by the move, but we’re still working on getting the relay up and running.” Raven says, limping off with a little wave, leaving Bellamy and Adia alone.

There’s a moment of silence where she observes him and where he resolutely refuses to meet her eyes.

“How are you?” She finally asks. He blinks and glances at her, before his eyes flick away.

“Fine.” He says.

“At least look me in the eye when you feed me a line of bullshit.” She says, deadpan. Bellamy sighs, dropping his chin before glancing at her from underneath his lashes. His cheeks are decidedly pink.

“I’m…better.” He finally concedes. She smiles encouragingly, and he sighs again.

“It’s…I wasn’t expecting…” He seems at a loss for words, so Adia helps him along.

“It’s easier with a buffer, right?” She asks. He nods.

“We’ve talked a lot. About everything. I think we’re both getting better.” He doesn’t have to say Clarke’s name, but Adia knows anyway.

“That’s all anyone can ask for.” She says.


“They just make sad, googly eyes at each other when the other’s back is turned and it’s driving everyone in camp insane. Make them stop.” Is the first thing Murphy says when Adia steps into their tent.

She stops and blinks at him. He’s sitting up in bed, Romulus laid out across his lap, a scowl on his face.

“Hi Honey, I’m home.” She says sarcastically. The tips of Murphy’s ears turn pink and he drops his gaze.

“Sorry,” He says.

“It’s alright. They’re working on it.” She says, moving to sit in the chair beside the bed. His scowl returns full force.

“They’re morons.” He says.

“I never said otherwise.” She laughs a little, setting the metal case on the ground and her Remington on top of it. Murphy is eyeing both when she looks up.

“You found what you were looking for?” He asks.

“Yup.” She says, grinning. He tenses.

“What’s with that look?” He asks.

“I think its high time you learned how to shoot.” She says.

Chapter Text

 

There is a hunger that is stirring up inside of your mind
It keeps on twisting and turning to the sound of desire
You want to taste and see and drink from my cup
You cannot rest, there is no giving this up

- Speak In Tongues, Machineheart


Crack

“You’re holding your shoulders too high.”

Crack

“Don’t pull the trigger, squeeze it.”

Crack

“Loosen up, you’re too tense. Otherwise the kick could injure you.”

Crack

“You need to breathe when you fire. In or out is your preference, though an exhale is usually preferred.”

Crack

“Hmm.”

Murphy snarls, lifting his head to shoot Adia a glare over his shoulder, even if it burns his side to do so. She’s kneeling beside him on the bed of pine needles that she had fashioned in her temporary sniper’s nest, face neutrally blank. She had been teaching him how to use her old service weapon, voice soft as she poked his shoulder to lower it or brushed her fingers against his elbow to lift it higher.

But her instructions were starting to grate on him because, despite them, he wasn’t improving much.

She met his glare head on, one eyebrow hiking up the only indication she was anything except infuriatingly calm. She tilted her head to check down her own scope, set up on a tripod at shoulder height, and hummed.

“You’re still pulling on the trigger when you should be squeezing. It moves the rifle too much and that’s why all your shots are slanting up and to the right.” She says.

“This is getting us nowhere.” He snarls, going back to his own scope. His scowl deepens when he sees the target, a hundred and fifty yards down range of them, propped up against a massive fallen log. It’s little more than a wood plank, scavenged from a dilapidated hut they’d found before the Mount Weather incident, with a tiny, inch wide circle of black painted in its center.

As far as targets go it isn’t very exciting but, more importantly, it is almost impossible to see, even with the scope. That is emphasized by the smattering of holes he can make out in the wood, none of them in the black circle.

“We have time.” Adia tries to soothe him.

“We have no idea when Pike will make a move.” He snaps back. Her slow blink is a warning, an indication of her slowly simmering temper, but he ignores it.

“If this is about Bellamy and I leaving you behind when we go to negotiate, I’m sure you’re well aware that you’re in no shape to go.” She says, voice dropping an octave.

And there it is, the very core of his seething emotions. Once again, he finds himself completely and utterly useless.

“But if I can learn to shoot, then I can provide backup.” He says, voice still too tight.

“A sniper is never alone. He or she will always have a spotter to keep an eye out and watch their back.” She points out. He throws her a look.

“What’s your point?” He says waspishly. She gives him another slow blink.

“There is no one else who can currently do this job other than myself. And I’m not always going to be here to hold your hand.” She says bluntly. His face flames at that and he feels his temper flare again.

“Well, if you could teach worth a damn, we wouldn’t have a problem, would we?” He snaps.

A beat of silence passes where he feels regret and shame claw at his guts, before an icily calm voice breaks through his thoughts.

“Pike has a gun to my head.” She says. Murphy jerks, but one of her hands clamps down mercilessly on his shoulder, keeping him in place, staring helplessly down the scope at the target.

“If you don’t shoot him then he’s going to shoot me. And he’s going to keep going because he feels he’s in the right, that what he’s doing will protect us all, and I’m just some outsider trying to get in his way. He doesn’t care that I’m practically immortal. He’s going to try his damnedest to kill me, and he doesn’t care how much lead he has to waste to do it.” She continues.

Murphy swallows thickly at her words, because while what she’s explaining is horrific, her voice is still eerily calm.

“And while my body twitches in the mud, trying to heal itself, he’s going to turn his gun on Lincoln, because what’s one less Grounder? Then he’ll move on to Bellamy, then to Miller and Octavia and Monty and Raven, because they’re stubborn and will refuse to submit to him. They’ll spit in his face and snarl and snap at him, but they will never, ever yield, and he’s ruthless enough to only feel pity when he puts a bullet in each of them, too.”

Murphy feels sick, bile rising in the back of his throat, and he squeezes his eyes closed.

He can see it in his head, Pike poised over a kneeling figure, gun held to their head, demanding submission, and he knows what comes next, can visualize it perfectly, but that doesn’t stop him from retching when his mind conjures the blood and bone fragments and brain matter that a 9mm would produce when exiting a human skull.

When he blinks his eyes open, the black dot morphs, becoming the dark center of his former teacher’s left eye.

Murphy inhales and relaxes, letting his shoulders drop, before he squeezes the trigger on the exhale.


“If a sniper is twenty feet up a tree and his target is half a mile away, calculating for variable windspeed and the earth’s curvature and rotation, what kind of loss of altitude would a bullet suffer if fired from a rifle at roughly 3300 feet per second?”

Jasper blinks, gaping at the woman standing in front of him, an expectant look on her face as the puppy at her side observes him with a somewhat severe look.

“Uh…” Is all he manages to say, even as his brain kicks into gear, already running calculations. Something of it must show in his face because Adia smiles, head tilting slightly as those gold eyes observe him.

“Good. If you want to be of some help, meet me at the gates tomorrow morning after breakfast.” She says, waving at him as she walks away, the puppy hot on her heels.

Jasper wants to shrug the encounter off, ignore it and just keep going about his life as he has been, but his mind won’t stop turning the calculations for loss of altitude and wind speeds and the earth’s rotation over and over again inside his head. He endures through the night, sleepless, before he makes up his mind just as the sun starts to lighten the sky.

He arrives at the gates a few hours later after scarfing down his first real meal in weeks. There he finds Murphy leaning against the outer wall, Adia standing in front of him with the puppy sitting between them. They both look up as he approaches, Adia with a warm smile, Murphy with a neutrally blank expression. The puppy cocks its head at him, curious, even as Adia extends a hand, a pair of yellow tinted glasses dangling from her fingertips.

“You’ll need these.” She offers.

For the first time since he held Maya’s cooling corpse in his arms, Jasper feels something other than apathetic indifference blossom behind his breast bone.

He reaches out his hand.


Adia enters the clearing just outside the gates to see Bellamy and Lincoln standing in front of two dozen of the older kids, all looking grim and determined. An older man she recognizes as Jacapo Sinclair is sitting on a log at the edge of the clearing, watching them with interest. When she appears his expression turns curious, but she ignores him and instead heads towards Lincoln.

“You called for me?” She asks. She’d been watching Jasper and Murphy argue the finer details of scope calibration over lunch when one of the kids had run up with the request for her presence.

Lincoln nods.

“I think its time we demonstrated some of the strategies we talked about.” He says, gesturing towards Bellamy, who is holding a handgun in one loose fist. She blinks slowly, before nodding in understanding.

She pauses briefly to think over her how best to go about their demonstration. Because while the idea of going barefoot goes against every single one of her instincts, she doesn’t want to injure her sparring partner. Finally, she kneels to remove her boots, stuffing her socks into them and setting them aside. She shifts from foot to foot before moving to the open space directly in front of the amassed teens. They watch silently as she falls to her knees, hands lifted as if in surrender. Bellamy swallows, before his shoulders lift and he strides forward to stand in front of her, the gun cocking and lifting until it is leveled on her face.

A murmur goes up, the kids shifting slightly. Adia can see Sinclair, eyes wide as he stands, mouth open the slightest bit.

The give of the pine needles under her knees and toes makes her shift a little. A harder surface would be better, but beggars can’t be choosers, and this move could save lives in the coming days.

She lifts her eyes, then, locking with Bellamy’s, defiant. He frowns, brows drawing together, waiting.

She doesn’t want to drag it out too long, so she waits for his finger to twitch in the trigger guard before she strikes.

Her hands wrap around the gun and jerk upwards, knocking the barrel skyward at the same time that she throws her torso back, jerking her knees up in order to kick out with her feet, catching Bellamy just under his kneecaps with her heels.

He grunts and goes down as she wrenches the gun from his suddenly slack fingers, rolling to her feet in the next instant, gun poised and leveled.

“And that is how you can disarm an opponent if you’re ever in a similar situation.” Lincoln says, sounding impressed, even as a knowing smirk crosses his face. The kids around them are silent for a long, drawn out moment, before muttering breaks out amongst them. It’s tinged with awe and quite a lot of excitement.

Handing the gun to Lincoln, Adia extends a hand to Bellamy, who lets her help him up from the forest floor.

“Even if I knew it was coming, that still hurts like a bitch.” He groans, hands rubbing at his abused knees. Adia’s grin is lopsided as she stoops to retrieve her shoes and socks.

“Imagine how much worse it would have been with my boots on.” She says and Bellamy makes a pained noise of assent.

Lincoln starts pairing the kids off, most of them scrambling to undo their laces in their excitement to try out the move, but Adia’s gaze flickers across the clearing towards where Sinclair had been.

Her eyes narrow as she watches his back retreat into the trees.


“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be.” Bellamy says. He and Adia are doing a round of the wall, checking in with the guards as they go. She hums noncommittally, and he glances at her out of the corner of his eye.

“Something on your mind?” He asks.

“Yeah. I’d be much more comfortable if we took a smaller party with us, or at least fewer of our essential personnel.” She says.

“What did you have in mind?” Bellamy asks. Adia thinks for a minute before answering.

“Leave Miller behind, we really need him to run the place. Raven will be here to man the radios with Monty, but we can take Jasper and Murphy with us to replace Miller.”

“Clarke said Murphy won’t be back to a hundred percent for another week or so.” Bellamy pointed out.

“Jasper and Murphy won’t be part of the delegation. They’ll be our sniper team.” Adia says.

Bellamy falls silent. They make their way towards the gates, which are open in expectation for the return of a hunting party.

“There’s something else you’re worried about.” Bellamy says, and Adia sighs.

“From a military perspective, attacking a base while it’s leaders are away is a solid move.” She says.

“You think Pike will move against us when we go to negotiate.” He says. Adia nods.

“It’s what I would do. He has the manpower for it.” She says.

Bellamy falls silent, thinking.

“We’ll have the long range radios and the earpiece system by then.” He points out.

“Raven said they’ll only work if the weather holds. Gambling on mother nature out here is a death sentence.” Adia says. Bellamy frowns.

“Is Murphy ready?” He finally asks.

“He is, and Jasper will be too.” She says, turning from staring out of the gates to look at him.

Bellamy sighs.

“They’ll have to work as a team. You have faith in them?” He asks. Adia grins, nodding.

“I do.”

“All right then, let’s go find Miller. It’s time to get this show on the road.”