She ran between the trees, not knowing where she was going but feeling a sense of urgency to press on.
Never looking back.
There was an inner voice telling her that this was the way to go.
The fallen leaves became crushed under her feet as she ran, fear pounding through her heart.
Must be quiet. Shh, don't make a sound.
Don't get caught. They'll hurt you again.
She jumped over branches and ducked under low hanging tree limbs. Obstacles to slow her down.
Run, run, run.
So close yet so far. Just keep going, don't think.
Her head throbbed in pain, her vision hazy. Blood crept down her face from the cut on the forehead.
The landscape was a blur; she had to rely on instinct to get her there.
An image was just at the edge of her mind, but she couldn't grasp it. The harder she tried, the more elusive it was.
There was a snap of a twig and she stumbled, startled from her thoughts.
The hard ground rose up to meet her and she closed her eyes against the pain that it inflicted on her abused body.
A rustle sounded close and her eyes shot open, glancing in its direction.
Could she make a run for it? The chance never came.
Several people appeared, looking down at her with a mixture of surprise and relief on their faces.
"Oh, my God. What happened to her?"
"We've been looking for you for days."
"Are you okay?"
No words came to her as she stared back at them.
Her eyes narrowed in on a dark, curly-haired male with intense brown eyes, as he approached the group.
There was something about this person that called to her.
Some discernible feeling that kept her tongue frozen in place as he sauntered over.
She watched as he skidded to a stop when their eyes made contact.
He knelt beside her and whispered, "Welcome back Clarke."
"Who are you?" she asked, finally finding her voice.
Bellamy flinched as if he'd been stuck.
There were several whispers behind him at her question but he needed to focus on Clarke.
"Shut up." he hissed to them.
Clarke looked at him with no recognition and a feeling of dread started to creep in. By the expression on her face, she didn't know any of them. Including him.
Bellamy could tell that Clarke was cautious about the group, but when she looked at him he could see no fear. He dared to hope that deep down Clarke's heart knew she could still trust him even if her mind didn't.
A quick glance told him that she'd been beaten more than once.
There were bruises that had faded to a nasty yellow coloring indicating they were older but there were several newer bruises that marred her pale skin with their darker purple shade.
He felt a rush of anger at whoever had done this to his Princess. She was so strong and brave all the time but to be degraded to this...this...beaten and lost girl? It made him want to kill every single Grounder he could lay his hands on.
But first, he needed to take care of her.
Bellamy scooped her up into his arms gently, not wanting to scare her, and tried not to feel hurt when she flinched. He could tell she tried to hide her reaction, but with her body in his arms it was impossible. At first Bellamy had thought it was because he was holding her, but then he saw pain flickering across her face and realized he must have hurt her on accident. He felt even worse than before.
"I'm sorry Clarke. I'm so sorry." he murmured in her ear.
He meant it for more than just the pain he had caused. It was for sleeping with Raven while she'd been a prisoner. For not being able to save her. For not finding her in time to avoid this loss of herself.
Guilt had consumed him every day since she'd been gone.
They started the trip back to camp and he spent the time wondering how to fix this for her.
She turned her head to the person speaking her name and found Finn standing next to her; apparently he had tried to get her attention for a while. It was unusual to respond to a name that she had no affinity for. There was nothing in it that called to her.
"I just wanted to know if any memories had surfaced yet?" he asked.
Clarke shook her head and he looked disappointed.
It had been a few days but she still couldn't remember anything. All she had to go on was what people had told her, which wasn't much. They said it would be better for the memories to come back naturally so they limited it to her name and few random details about the camp.
Camp, not home.
Home was an elusive memory that slipped through her fingers when she tried to grasp it.
She got the feeling that this boy wanted her to remember something in particular but she didn't know what. It was frustrating to have all these people know things about herself that she no longer did.
Now and again, she would catch Finn or Bellamy giving her an odd look when they thought she wasn't looking. But Clarke saw more than they realized.
While Finn kept seeking her out for conversation, the leader Bellamy just watched her at a distance.
She liked the boy who Bellamy called Spacewalker. He was funny and charming with a great smile. Yet, it was nothing compared to the inferno that went ablaze inside of her when she caught Bellamy watching her.
It was confusing.
Bellamy never spent more than a few minutes in her company and she was beginning to think that maybe he hated her. It was odd, because he had seemed so protective and caring when she had first met him in the forest.
Clarke had tried to ask Octavia about it but the girl had been no help.
"Why does your brother hate me? Did I do something to him?"
Octavia had snorted at the question. "Trust me, Bellamy doesn't hate you."
"Well, he certainly doesn't like me either. He won't even talk to me." She didn't know why it bothered her but it did.
"Why don't you just ask him?"
"Maybe I will." she murmured, already knowing she wouldn't.
The girl just smiled as if she had a secret but refused to answer any more of her questions on the subject.
There was a part of him that was glad Clarke didn't remember him.
She wouldn't know how much they had despised each other at first, nor would she care that he had slept with Raven while she was gone.
They could start fresh. A clean slate.
Yet he missed their camaraderie that had developed over time. He missed her fierce determination, her warrior spirit. It was like a part of her was missing.
It felt like cheating if he was friends with this girl without the history.
He wanted the Clarke that he had fallen for without even realizing he had.
Finn was with her almost every day, talking and laughing. Bellamy knew it was because he was hoping to get the old Clarke back as well. To remember what the two of them had been to each other.
As much as he hated it, Bellamy understood why Finn did it.
They both wanted the Clarke they knew back.
But she wasn't here, so he stayed away.
Another week passed and still no memories came to her nor did Bellamy talk to her. It was disheartening. Clarke didn't know what this fascination with him was but it was annoying when all he did was avoid her.
One day, she finally decided she'd had enough of it.
Bellamy was standing by the fire, the flickering light casting a shadow over his face. She could still feel his eyes on her as she stomped up to him.
"Who are you to me?"
She watched as he jerked in surprise at her question. Whatever he had thought she was going to say, that wasn't it.
"What do you mean?" he asked, hesitation in his voice.
"You know what I mean. You may be an ass but you aren't stupid." There was a flash of an image in her head of a tree and this man but it was gone before she could take a closer look.
"Brave Princess." he said, a smile appearing on his face as if he was pleased by something but she couldn't grasp what.
Clarke gasped. Princess. She had heard that before.
A touch of his hand on her wrist, his eyes staring down into hers.
She shook her head in confusion, feeling so lost in her own thoughts. "I just want to know who I am. How can I survive here if I don't even know that?"
"Who we are and who we need to be to survive are very different things." He muttered softly as if to himself.
Humming a song in the forest. A boy dying in front of her.
Bellamy gave her an odd look and shrugged, "Nothing. Just something I told someone once."
A girl on a cliff. We make the rules.
"Please Bellamy. I need you to tell me." Clarke had the inexplicable feeling that he was the key to all those fragmented thoughts pouring out.
He stared off into the distance and she thought that he would refuse her.
"You're brave and stubborn. You're strong and smart. You don't back down. You believe in second chances. You look for the good in monsters. That's who you are."
Arguing in the woods. Wishing on a star.
The more he spoke, the more images were being pulled from her deep within. It was like he was the spark needed for her memories to surface.
Smiles at a party. A shot on a bridge.
Finally. Every look, every touch. Glazing up into his dark brown eyes, she remembered them all.
And that's when she realized that home wasn't a place for her, it was a person.
Home is where the heart is.