Clarke Griffin was 18 years old when she became a parent – or, maybe she’d been seventeen?
She couldn’t have pinpointed the exact moment it started, but it couldn’t have been more than a few weeks after they landed. Or, maybe it was the second she and Bellamy had decided to work together instead of against each other. Or, maybe it was when they started waking up at night to go and comfort the kids who had nightmares.
She could honestly say that, at first, it had weirded her the fuck out; and who wouldn’t find it odd to be called “mom” by a hundred teenagers, some who were barely a few months younger than you. Even bloody Raven had started calling her mom, and she was older than Clarke.
Bellamy, at least, refrained. Except he didn’t quite count, because the kids had taken to calling him “dad”. He too, was suitably confused.
But they’d gotten used to it, as they got used to everything on the ground.
And Clarke supposed she could see their reasoning, kind of, if she squinted.
She and Bellamy shared a tent – it was platonic. Bellamy lead the hunting parties and provided for the camp, Clarke healed their injuries and hugged them when they got scared of the dark. Bellamy told them all bed time stories around the camp fire and Clarke taught them everything she could remember from school. They sorted out conflicts and were the rocks of the camp when acid fog hit and they had take shelter in the drop ship.
They protected the 100. And that was more parenting than most of them had ever had.
Clarke turned at the sound of two sets of feet entering her tent, placing her paintbrush down next to the unfinished map that was covering the table.
“Raven, Miller, what’d you need?”
“Mom, can you please tell Raven to stop blowing things up?”
“It’s not like I’m doing it on purpose!”
“You’ve scared away most of the game!”
“I said sorry!”
“Well that doesn’t rea – !”
“Guys!” They quieted in an instant, Clarke took a deep breath before continuing, “Miller, Raven is working with extremely old material and trying to make… what are you making, again?”
“A plumbing system.” She muttered.
“A plumbing system! See Miller? Raven’s working with old material and shitty tools to give us plumbing! Isn’t that a good enough reason for minor explosions?”
She patted him on the cheek, sue her, you can only be treated like a mother for so long before you start acting like one. “Just hunt a little further away from camp. But don’t get too close to the river, and don’t do anything stupid.”
“yes, mom.” He groaned out.
“Good. Now get out of my hair, I’ve got a map to finish. And Raven, ask Monty for help with the plumbing system. He knows a lot of stuff about plants and mechanics and shit.”
“Thanks mom. Bye!” She chirped before following Miller out the tent flap.
Clarke shook her head as she watched them go, watched her kids go, and then looked back at the map. She’d only done about a quarter of all the places she wanted to get down, she sighed.
In another world, a world where Clarke had been a little less observant and Bellamy a little more mean, a world where she hadn’t figured out the truth of what he’d done to get down here two days in. In that world, maybe, he’d destroyed the radio that raven brought with her, and maybe they’d tried to send flares in the hopes of saving hundreds of innocent lives. And maybe they’d failed, and started a war they could never have truly won in the process.
But none of that happened, because they were a goddamned team and Bellamy would shoot himself in the foot before believing that Clarke would just let the ark execute or imprison him.
So they’d brought Raven back to the camp, and she’d joined their weird, highly dysfunctional family, and she had the radio fixed up in a matter of minutes. Not enough for proper communication, Raven said she couldn’t figure that one out for months at the least, but enough to let the ark know they had survived.
There had been no shooting stars or flares of destruction.
So now, here they were, welcoming a troop of Trikru emissaries and their guards into their shoddy excuse for a camp. They’d made contact over a month ago, just after Raven had fallen, demanding to know who they were and why they were trespassing on Trikru territory.
They had almost fallen over each other to apologise – and thank God someone had thought to bring a translator along, because they would’ve more than likely offended someone if there hadn’t been one. Some of their own had scoffed at the idea of forming a truce with these people, they felt like there shouldn’t be a price to pay for the land they were taking up.
But Clarke and Bellamy knew better, one look at the spears and the closed ranks and the fact that none of these people looked accustomed to hunger told them that they needed this truce. Not just for protection from the Azgeda, who, according to Anya (their leader, though to be honest no one could really tell if she was a guard or an emissary, it didn’t really matter, because they knew she was dangerous), would likely kill them all just because they could.
They needed them for knowledge.
Sure they had a few farm kids in their midst, but none were accustomed to the grounds soil, that wasn’t filtered and pumped with nutrients like the stuff on the ark. They needed to learn to hunt properly, and fight, and use these weapons that didn’t make as much noise as Bellamy’s one gun. And they sure as hell needed help building better shelters than the tents, because those definitely wouldn’t do much when winter struck.
And all they were asking for in return was that the skaikru leaders swear fealty to the Heda and that they allow some of their numbers to be trained in combat. It was a damn good deal.
So Clarke and Bellamy held a vote – Not before explaining just how much they needed this truce, mind you – but they’d held a vote. This wasn’t the ark where one group of people made all the decisions, they were starting fresh, and here they all had a voice.
No one voted against the truce.
“Clarke,” Her mother started, in that tone of voice that made her want to throw something, preferably a spear, “We can’t just let him get away with it. He –“
“I know what he did!”
“Then you see why we have to punish him.”
“No, I don’t. Bellamy Blake is the reason most of us are even alive, he’s directly responsible for saving my life.”
Abby sighed, and Clarke’s eyebrows twitched in frustration, “ Clarke, when the ark comes down we will all have to work together to survive, and we can’t have someone who has already shown that he is capable of becoming a traitor living amongst us!”
“I don’t care.” She stressed every word through gritted teeth.
“Well, you will, young lady. This is not your decision.”
“Not my decision!?”
“Don’t take that tone with me, I am your mother.”
“And I am theirs!”
Abby blinked in surprise, “What? You have children, Clarke? Is this why your protecting Bellamy Blake? He got you pregnant? Oh honey, it’s alright. We can help you take care of the child – or, children, you said? You don’t – “
“Bellamy did not get me pregnant.”
“Then who –?”
“Nobody, jeez. That is not why I’m fighting you on this.”
“Clarke, we can discuss this when the ark comes down. Right now we need to talk about how you and the other delinquents can help us get –“
“No.” Clarke threw her head into her palms. Raven finally fixes the radio and this is how the first, and probably last, communication with the ark was going.
“I said no. When the ark comes down, you can broker your own deal with Heda, you can figure out how to hunt by yourself and survive out here. And if you do anything to give Heda any reason to take up arms against you, we will stand with her.”
“No. Bellamy is one of us, my Co-leader. And if you want him dead, well, you’ll just have to go through the entire coalition because we are the thirteenth clan. Not you. And we, especially our leaders, have their protection.”
Abby made a sound, to beg, to plead, Clarke didn’t care. She flicked a switch and the room was filled with static. She threw herself back on the wooden chair and groaned, she knew the ark coming down would be a pain in the arse, but she didn’t think it’d be like this.
“Monroe!” Clarke called out, because she had seen her on duty outside the tent when she’d first walked in.
“Coming, mom!” A second later Monroe’s head was ducking into the communication tent, “Yeah?”
“Get one of the scouts ready – no, wait, ask Octavia, she’s our fastest rider. We need to get a message to Polis, ASAP.”
“Got it. What’s gonna be in the letter?”
“I’ll tell you all tonight, I need to find Bell first. Have you seen him?”
“Yeah, Dad’s over by the cabins, they’ve almost got the first few insulated, I think.”
“That’s great Monroe, could you get him in here for me? Or send someone else for him?”
“Sure thing, mum. Love you, bye.”
“Love you too!” Clarke called out after her before turning back to her maps.
With any hope, Lexa would meet them here within the week and give them enough time to prepare for the arks decent. Octavia, with barely three months of practice under her belt, was a fearsome rider who could make distances in half the time of warriors who had ridden for years. But Polis was a two day ride, and Lexa couldn’t just drop everything, not even for her favourite clan.
That was one of the things that had shocked Clarke more than anything on the ground, that she and Bellamy had somehow, against all odds and to Anya’s everlasting shock, struck up a strong friendship with the commander of the twelve – well, thirteen now – clans.
She thought it had something to do with the fact that they were the only leaders in the coalition anywhere near Lexa’s age; them all being leaders so young had given them an almost instant bond. The fact that they all shared the same kind of humour helped things along too.
“We need to get a god damn raven.” Clarke muttered to herself, just as Bellamy pushed open the tent flap.
“What’s up, Clarke? Monroe said it was important.” He made his way forward until he was stood next to her, leaning his hip on the table.
She reached up to catch his hand in hers, “The arks coming down.”
“What? When? We barely have a quarter of the cabins – “
“They won’t be joining our clan.”
Bellamy looked at her in surprise, tightening his hold on her hand, “Why?”, he questioned, but a glance at her pained eyes told him everything he needed to know.
“They wanted to execute you.”
“I’ll never let it happen, and neither will Lexa. You have to know this.”
“Clarke, I know it, I trust you. But your mother –“
“I choose you, Bell. I pick you, and the one hundred, and this family we’ve built.” She brought his hands close to her heart, “I won’t let them take it away from us.”
Bellamy moved to stand in front of her, his hands never leaving hers, “They won’t take our home. Never.”
“Never,” she echoed.
And neither of them would ever figure out who surged forward first, but in the next moment they were sharing the same breath. Bellamy kissed her like she always imagined he would – not that she had imagined this over, and over, and over – strong, pushing and pulling until she was out of her chair and pressed flush against him.
“I love you.” She gasped out as he moved to mouth at her neck, and realised all at once that, though she’d said those words hundreds of times to each of the children in their care – and she’d meant it each time –, she and Bellamy had never said it to each other.
He mumbled something too low for her to hear, then, “God, Clarke. I love you too. So much.”
Somehow, without alerting Clarke, Bellamy had managed to maneuvre them so that Clarke was perched on the edge of the table, just barely brushing the maps she’d painted, and Bellamy was stood between her legs.
Clarke let her hands dip under Bellamy’s shirt, running her fingers over the harsh lines of his back, then the tensed form of his abs. God. She wanted to draw him. He kept his hands in her hair, tugging every time she did something he particularly liked.
They didn’t notice Mbege entering the tent, the wouldn’t have, if it wasn’t for the sharp ‘eep’ of surprise that had them springing to their feet, but not away from each other.
“Uh, Mbege. What do yo –“
But Mbege’s surprised look was already melting into a grin, he lent back out the tent and shouted, “Guys! Call in the bets.”
“What?!” They all heard Monty’s disembodied voice call back.
“Mom and Dad were making out!”
A round of cheers mixed with a symphony of groans, as people realised they had either won or lost respectively.
“Hold on.” Clarke narrowed her eyes, “You all bet on when we’d get together?”
“Yeah. Sorry Ma.” Mbege said, completely unapologetically.
“What did you guys even bet with? We have no money.” Bellamy pointed out.
He shrugged, “Chores.”
Bellamy stuck his head out the tent, “Everyone who won the bet has extra latrine duties for the next week!”
Echo’s of groans and “Daaads!” sounded throughout the camp.
“And why are you still smiling, John?”
“Ugh, Dad, I told you to call me Mbege, it gets too confusing with me and Murphy.”
He reached forward to ruffle Mbege’s close cropped hair, the boy scowled to hide the smile that tugged at his lips.
“That’s what you get for betting on us.”
Clarke laughed when Mbege stuck his tongue out at Bellamy, who returned the gesture. “Anyway, what did you need?”
“Oh, Kath needs help with the insulation on the cabins.”
“Couldn’t you have asked Lincoln?” And Clarke was proud that Bellamy didn’t hesitate at using the name.
“He’s training with Octavia.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s do not disturb time.” Clarke shivered at the memory of the last time she’d tried to end their work out session early.
“I’ll be right there.”
“Oh, can you tell everyone we’re having a family meeting tonight by the drop ship?”
“Sure, see you guys later.”
They waved him off before turning to each other. Bellamy broke the silence first.
“So… we’re together now, right?”
She laughed, “I think we’ve been together for a while, we just didn’t realise it.”
“Yeah, I think so too.”
Clarke realised they were staring at each other’s lips again and took a step back, “We have plenty of time for that later. We’ve got to figure out what to tell Lexa. If I know the council, and I do, they’re likely to storm our camp and try and bring us back under their rule.”
“They have guns.”
“Yeah. And shock batons. And they outnumber us three to one.”
“Shit, we need Lexa.”
“She won’t be able to get here before they land, but we can hope that the landing will leave them incapacitated for a few weeks, months if we’re lucky. We won’t be their first priority.”
“So by the time they come for us…”
“We have an army on our side.” She grinned at him.
“Damn, it’s a good thing Lexa likes us.”
Clarke snorted, “Ain’t that the truth.”
“Are you going to tell them everything at the meeting tonight?”
“Some of those kids have parents out there, their actual ones, do you think they’ll want to go back.”
“I don’t know, Bell. But if they do, we’ll let them. We won’t keep our people prisoner.”
“And I doubt it will be many of them, they like the life we’ve built here.”
“I like it.”
“So do I, Princess.” He flung an arm around her waist, “So do I.”
“Are we gonna let any arkers join our camp?”
“I think, if they are willing to accept the way we run things, we should let em’.”
“Yeah, I agree.” Clarke rested her head on Bellamy’s shoulder for a second before stepping away from him. “Go on, Kath needs your help.”
“Almost forgot about that.” He grinned.
“What would you do without me?”
“I have no clue.”
“Good.” Clarke laughed as she kicked a laughing Bellamy out the tent.
“Can we have everybody’s attention please.” Clarke stood up, waiting a few moments until all the kids had settled down and turned their attention towards her before starting, “The ark has informed us they will be coming down in approximately a week’s time. However there’s been… a bit of a change in plans.”
“Is this what the letter was about.” Monroe asked.
“Yes. My mother,” She spat the word like it was poison in her mouth, “Has given me forewarning that, should we join camps with the ark, the council would call for the execution of Bellamy Blake.”
Immediately, a number of large shouts and screams of denial sprang up from the delinquents, almost moving Bellamy to tears. They went silent when Clark held up her hand and made a fist.
“As such, Bellamy and I have decided not to join camps with the ark. We will not stop you should you wish to region the ark, just as we will not bar any ark citizen who would like to join our camp, provided, of course, that they follow our rules.”
“Is there anyone who would like to move back to the ark? Please raise your hand so we can reassign your cabins.” Bellamy’s voice almost cracked as he asked the question, the thought of losing one of the kids was devastating.
Not a single person raised their hand.
“This is our home.” Monty called out.
“Yeah, and you two have been better parents then mine ever were, I think I’ll stick around.” Roma nodded at them.
More and more, the kids were chiming in with their reasons for staying, ranging from “I’d rather be mauled by a mutated panther than go back under Jaha’s rule” to “The arkers will never manage to make deer jerky as good as we do”.
Then Bellamy actually did start crying.
“Oh come here, all of you. I don’t care if it’s cheesy we’re having a group hug.” He said through the tears.
They all squeezed in tight, even Lincoln and Octavia who looked like they’d rather be anywhere else. For a minute they stood there, relishing in the feeling of community, of love, of hope.
And then it was time for a vote.
Bellamy cleared his throat, “All in favour of joining the ark when it lands.”
“Well that settles that.” He tried to add a bit of humour, but the happy tears ruined the effect. “Now, we think that the ark is likely to try and force us back under their rule. So we propose a request for back up from Trikru, an army is likely to allow us a fighting chance. All in favour?”
Roughly a hundred hands shot up.
Octavia stood immediately, “I’ll ready my horse.”
“Go,” Bellamy said, “Clarke’s already got a letter penned. Take Lincoln for protection, the Maunon are out for our blood.”
“Got it.” And with that Octavia raced off to get saddle on Hermes, her horse, while Clarke jumped up to go fetch the letter.
“The rest of you. Eat up, because we have a long day tomorrow if we want to finish building all the cabins anytime soon.”
“Are you and mom panning to share a cabin now?” Murphy shouted with a wink, a string of whistles and hollers followed his question.
“Well, I’ll have to speak to her about it. But I hope so.”
“We’ll just put that down as a definitely.”
“Do you guys really think she’d say yes?”
“Oh my god, Dad, of course she’ll say yes.” Fox giggled, along with a hundred other nods and affirmative sounds.
Bellamy beamed so bright the stars looked dim in comparison.
As it turned out, Clarke was right. The ark crash landed eight days later in the dead of night, exactly two days after Lexa had written back saying that she would assemble her troops as soon as possible. With everyday that passed that the ark was on the ground, Clarke got more and more jittery.
She knew the ark wouldn’t be able to locate them, let alone move against them, for weeks.
They had to focus on building a semi-stable camp and taking care of the injured. Finding food would be important too. They didn’t have time to overpower a hundred or so wayward teenagers.
Lexa arrived about a week after the ark did, and Clarke nearly collapsed in relief when she saw the size of the army – more than enough to overpower the arkers five to one. They’d set up base right next to the skaikru camp and proceeded to be scarily efficient at erecting an entire camp overnight, complete with giant tents and actual beds.
Their presence made more difference than Clarke could ever have expected. It had started with Lexa and her guard, switching between which camp they slept at every other night. Then slowly, after the first few days of awkward separation, the camps started to bleed together.
A gona or two showing up with their bows and teaching a few kids how to shoot, an offer to combine training with skaikru guards. A group of sixty who – supposedly – got bored and decided to help set up the skaikru cabins. Within two weeks dinner started to include the entirety of both camps, mixing and mingling like old friends, with Clarke, Bellamy, and Lexa sitting right in the middle of it all.
A month passed and the ark still hadn’t made much progress. According to their scouts, a mixture of skaikru and Trikru, the arkers hadn’t moved beyond a hundred meter radius outside of their make-shift camp. But they were venturing further and further each day.
Two months and the Cabins were all completely finished, furnished, and insulated. They even had time to build a couple of extra for guests and new clan members, a school, and a med building. The gate was coming along nicely, completely surrounding the camp.Their crops were flourishing and Clarke was pretty sure at least twenty of her kids had new Trikru partners. Lexa had had to leave every now and then to check on things at Polis, but never for more than a week or two at a time.
It was just as they were coming up on the third month mark that a group of ark guards showed up at their front gates. They’d known about their approach, of course, just as Clarke had predicted they were as noisy as the chickens early in the morning. It seemed that the council hadn’t deemed them a big enough threat because they only sent a measly thirty guards.
It was almost pitiful, the looks on their faces when they realised just how outnumbered they were.
Almost – but not quite.
Because they’d brought guns, and shock batons, all for the express purpose of forcing a hundred kids back under their control. They probably could have done some serious damage, but even the most inexperienced guard could tell that, eventually, no matter what, they’d be overwhelmed.
They hadn’t even attempted to make contact, turning tail at the first sign of the sheer multitude of the grounder camp.
Next time, they sent Kane and Abby, only accompanied by two guards each.
Skaikru had held the quickest vote of all time, ultimately deciding that letting them in now would be better a better alternative then risking them returning with the full force of the ark’s guard. So they opened the gate, and the six arkers were met with dozens upon dozens of spear ends and scowling faces.
Kane held his hands up in surrender, “we’re just here to talk.”
No one moved.
“Where is my daughter?” Abby demanded more than asked.
“She’s unavailable at the moment.”
The delinquents and gonas alike stepped aside to reveal Bellamy and Lexa, the pair striding forward in even, measured steps until they were face to face with the arkers.
The four guards immediately trained their guns on Bellamy, but Lexa had her sword at the closest ones throat in one, fluid motion. The gonas steeped closer, each with their own weapon in hand ready to fire in Bellamy’s defence.
“You can place all your weapons on the ground.” Lexa said in that calm voice of hers that made it seem like everyone was beneath her.
Abby opened her mouth to protest but Bellamy shot her a stern look to quell it, “It’s either that, or you’ll be kicked out and declared an enemy of the thirteen clans.”
Kane pinched his face but still made a motion to the guards, who hesitantly placed their guns and shock batons at their feet.
“What is your business here?” Lexa raised a brow at Abby and Kane.
“And just who are you, young lady?” Abby’s voice was snide, and Bellamy would have winced for her if he wasn’t so offended on Lexa’s behalf.
“I am the commander of the thirteen clans, Lexa kom Trikru.”
This seemed to give her pause, “But – but you’re just a child…”
“Abby, be quiet.” Kane cut in before turning back to Lexa, “We are here to bring our people to their new homes.”
The commander snorted, “These are not your people. The last time I checked this was skaikru, the thirteenth clan, who requested my presence specifically in case you tried to capture them.”
“Capture them –!”
Lexa silenced Kane with a sharp motion of her hand, “Do not think we are unaware of that pathetic little army you sent a few weeks ago.”
All six of their eyes widened in surprise, and Bellamy wanted to laugh at how bad they were at masking their emotions.
“It does not matter. You will not take them by force. And I do not know why you would want to bring them to that sorry excuse for a village, anyway.” She waved a hand behind her, “When they have done so much better for themselves.”
For the first time, it seemed, the arkers looked around. Taking in the well-built, stable cabins, the med bay, the growing crops. Then they looked at each of the teenagers, the muscle they had acquired and the easy way they handled their weapons. And they shrunk back on themselves.
“Well then, we should move the rest of our people here.” He tried for a smile but Lexa’s unimpressed glare made it falter.
“You will do no such thing without the permission of the leaders of this clan.”
“Can they not speak for themselves?” Abby cut in.
“As the thirteenth clan we swore fealty to the commander.” Bellamy held up the coalition brand on his forearm with pride, “We trust her to speak for us.”
Abby’s eyes widened at the sight of the brand. What kind of uncivilised creatures branded people?
“Would you allow us to join camps?” Kane asked Bellamy with a look that very clearly translated to ‘I hate this so, so much’.
“What? you can’t –“
“Yes, I very much can. We have taken a vote and decided that combining camps would not be in our benefit. Especially since you all seem so dead set on executing one of our leaders.”
“How would it not be in your benefit? We have so much to offer.” Kane’s eyebrows bunched in confusion.
Bellamy laughed, “Like what? A flimsy camp that will do just about nothing come winter? Which, by the way, is in less than three months.”
“We have medicine.” Abby tried.
“So do we, the clans have just as much medicinal knowledge as we did back on the ark. More, even, it’s not like you know about the effects of the new plants.” He pointed at the crops, “We have everything we need.”
“You have nothing to offer us. You can’t hunt, you don’t understand how to grow crops on this land, you can’t even move through the woods without alerting everyone within a miles radius.” Bellamy’s eyes were hard.
“Then help us.” Kane pleaded.
“Why should we? You sent children here to die.”
“Do none of these children care for their parents? Are forbidding them from seeing their families?”
“Any member of our camp is free to return to the ark if they wish it,” Bellamy was smirking now, “What did you say, again, Jess? Oh, yes: I’d rather be mauled by a mutated panther than go back.”
He smiled at Jess, who smirked back, “And any ark member is welcome here, provided they accept the way we run things.”
“And how it that?” Abby asked. “Like dictators.”
“Did you not here the part about the vote? Clarke and I are in charge, yes. But we simply speak for our people. We all make decisions, together.”
“So, there’s no chance of us combining camps?” Kane said before Abby could anger anyone else.
“No. there isn’t.” He smiled a little before continuing. “And we know you wouldn’t have actually told any of the arkers about our offer.”
“Yes we would –“ Kane sounded offended, but Abby’s eyes were darting around like a child who’d stolen a cookie.
“It doesn’t matter if you would have, we’ve already sent a few messengers.”
“What! The guards will shoot on sight!”
“Oh please, we sent Miller to lead the group. Everyone knows he’s the captains son.” Bellamy snorted. “And your guards rotate every two hours, very inefficient system, I must say. There’s about… five minutes, or so, where the coast is completely clear.” He smirked when all six of them turned pale.
“She went with them. We figured, if they didn’t know Miller, they’d sure as hell recognise their new chancellors daughter.” Bellamy stepped back a bit, beckoning the arkers forward, “You lot better get comfortable.”
“Why.” A guard asked, suspicious.
“Stupid, really, sending both of your leaders into an enemy camp at the same time.” Bellamy didn’t bother holding back his laugh when Abby turned to his Kane on the shoulder. “You’re not leaving until Clarke and the others get home.”
The arkers had severely overestimated their ability to guard their new home, as proven when Clarke and four other skaikru waltzed in completely unnoticed – and on horse back none the less. Even if the guards could have shot them down, they’d been recognised by far too many people to let the guards get away with it.
Parents surged forward, clambering to see if their kids had arrived. Some shouting in joy at the sight of their child unharmed, others breaking down in worry. What if this was the entirety of the survivors? A measly five of the hundred sent down. Shouts were ringing from every direction, worried parents mixing with startled guards finally noticing their presence.
They all shut up when Clark shouted, “Enough!” it wasn’t instantaneous like it was back at skaikru, but they did all quiet enough for her to be heard over their mumblings.
“Are these all the children?” A women called out from the crowd.
“No, the rest are back at our village.” Cries of relief rang out at her words.
“You have a village?!” another voiced.
“We do.” Clarke nodded, “but we are simply here to deliver a message.”
“Where are Doctor Griffin and Kane. We sent them to bring you here, shouldn’t they be with you?” A guard asked.
“If they have reached the camp already they will still be there, and they won’t be sent back until we return home.” She shot him a dirty look, “Now, everyone present please pay attention, it will be your job to relay this message to the others.”
The fifty or so people crowding around them perked up, listening attentively, though remaining sceptical none the less. Not everyone had noticed it, but those who did were suspicious at the vied threat Clarke had thrown. Clearly, Abby and Kane were being held hostage. If these kids didn’t return, then neither would their leaders. This wouldn’t be necessary if they were planning to come back to the ark.
“We have established ourselves as the thirteenth clan.”
“Clan?” Someone asked.
Clarke blinked in surprise, “Yes, Clan. Did the council not tell you?”
Some of the higher up guards were looking guilty, “Ah, no Miss Griffin, the council ordered us to not let anyone know on pain of death.”
She looked up to the sky and said a prayer to any God who would listen, “Long story short: there are other people on the ground, thousands of them.” She ignored the gasps of surprise, “We have joined the coalition as the thirteenth clan, meaning we have twelve clans worth of protection, access to trade, and a specific territory.”
She waved a hand to quell the whoops of excitement, “Due to the decisions of the council, this does not include any of you.”
“What? But you said –“
“The one hundred delinquents sent to the ground, all because we were expendable, are the thirteenth clan. Not the ark.”
“But we didn’t know about that!”
“That wasn’t our fault!”
“That’s not fair!”
Clarke raised her hand again, “We know this. Your exclusion from our alliance with the commander is again the fault of the council, and so that is why we are here to offer you a place in our village.” Exited murmurs seeped through the crowd, “However, there are some conditions. First, you will have to accept the way we run things. Bellamy Blake and myself are in charge.”
This caused the first round of protest, but Clarke ploughed on.
“We are not a dictatorship, every major decision calls for a vote between every skaikru member.”
“That is our clans name, yes. The second rule is that everyone must do their part. We have field work, hunting, our own guard, even teaching positions open. And finally, if you do join our camp, it will mean coming under our oath of fealty to the commander.” Clarke paused to reveal her coalition brand, “A portion of you will have to agree to train with the coalition’s army and in a conflict, fight for her. Your highest loyalty will be to her. If you can live with that, you are welcome at skaikru.”
Miller nudged his horse forward, “We will be setting up camp outside your fences for five days, any who wish to come may meet us there. If any harm comes to us, if we do not return to skaikru in seven days times, Bellamy will know. And you will have the full force of the coalition breaking down your fences.”
With that, Miller whistled and they all turned their horses simultaneously, causing more than a few people who were standing too close to stumble back in surprise. Nobody tried to detain them, whether this was because of shock or their threats was unknown.
In the end they only ended up taking back thirteen people. Most were sceptical of the teenagers ability to provide, others too faithful to the council to even consider deflecting. They had a few parents – and Clarke wondered how they would take to the fact that all their children called her mom – plus a mechanic named Wick, Millers boyfriend – who had shown up at their camp that night with the biggest smile on his face (Clarke had never seen Miller so nervous than when her was introducing Bryan to her), and Ravens mentor Sinclair.
She knew more would come in the coming months, the arks leadership would never work for long down where they couldn’t just murder anyone who disobeyed. It was only a matter of time.
She almost cried in relief when she saw that gates of skaikru.
Shouts rang out from the guard posts as they spotted the group, the gate swinging open as Bellamy ran through. Clarke leapt of her horse met him half-way, jumping into his arms with a cry of happiness. He picked her up and swung her in a circle, just like in those old earth movies they used to play for the kids back on the ark, for a moment they looked just like regular kids in love.
More kids came forward.
“Mom!” Monty’s mum perked up at her sons voice, but her mouth dropped in surprise when he ran forward to embrace Clarke instead. Then Monty spotted her and shouted “Mom!” again before giving her a long hug as well.
It was easy to set them up in Cabins. Bryan moved in with Miller, and Wick and Sinclair said they’d share. All the parents either moved in together or with their children, only filling up four of the extra cabins between them (meaning they still had six left over).
It had taken all day to get them situated, but with Bellamy at her side Clarke forged on until everyone was where they needed to be. Once it was done, and she’d given every one of her children a hug, she went to her and Bellamy’s cabin to collapse on their bed.
He was already laying on it when she arrived, so she just collapsed on top of him instead. He made a soft ‘oof’ sound when she landed, but quickly wrapped his arms around her and settled down. Sometimes, the height difference between them frustrated her to no end, but right now she was loving it. From her position she could hear the soft thumping of his heart, lulling her to sleep.
They’d have to get up for dinner tonight, but for now, they napped.
Well, they tried to nap.
The pair had just drifted off when their door slammed open, causing them both to jump in surprise.
“Clarke!” Abby said in surprise, “They said this was your cabin…”
“It is.” She raised a brow.
“You said you weren’t with him.”
“Incorrect, I said he didn’t impregnate me.”
“I’m sorry what?” Bellamy said, but the Griffin women kept talking.
“You should have told me he –“
“it’s none of your business.”
“None of my business!”
“You wanted him dead the last time we talked!”
“He deserves it!” She screeched, and Clarkes eyes turned cold.
“Why are you here?”
“I -I just wanted to talk to you.”
Clarke made a motion with her hand that said ‘go on’.
“alone.” Abby eyed Bellamy wearily.
“Not a chance in hell, Chancellor.” Bellamy took Clarkes hand, half because he wanted to and half because he new it would piss Abby off. “We’re a team.”
“Well then, fine.” Abby took a deep breath, “I have seen what you have done here, and I believe you should allow us to move all our people here.”
“The offer is out there for people to come, we brought back a few.”
“No, I mean you should step down and let us take charge, this will never work long term. You are only children, many will not submit to your leadership.”
“Any who don’t are welcome to leave. If you live here, you follow our rules, it’s simple as that.”
“I said no, mother. You don’t get to have this place too.”
Bellamy nodded grimly, “You leave at first light tomorrow, don’t come back unless you change your mind.”
Abby pulled her lips into a tight line, looking like she wanted to say more, yet turned and left the room.
“We should get locks.”
Clarke threw her head back to rest on Bellamy’s shoulder, “I’ll get Jasper to start carving one tomorrow.”
Dinner was a feast of panther stew, apparently, while they’d been gone, a hunting party had killed a pair of panthers and the potato yield was strong. Those coming from the ark dug in with gusto, calling out compliments every time their mouths were empty.
Lexa and the army had set off a day ago, so the stew was more than enough for everyone to have seconds and thirds while still having a good bunch to dry out for the winter.
As it turned out, the only people leaving tomorrow would be Abby and one of the guards. Kane and the other three having elected to stay at the village. Kane had decided to retire early and become a teacher, he’d once dreamed of leadership, but that was a very long time ago, and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The three guards had all decided to join the hunters party with varying degrees of excitement.
Knowing they’d have to be up early, Clarke and Bellamy bid the others good night, along with a couple of guards who had early shifts.
Once in their cabin, Clarke snuggled up to Bellamy on their bed, taking advantage of his eternally warm skin and made a noise of contentment. They’d built something good here, and, in time, even her mother would have to admit it.
The morning was a quiet one.
Abby and her single guard left with no tearful goodbye and a small ration of jerky each. Clarke and Bellamy watched them go until they were specks in the trees, he said nothing about the way she gripped his hand like a vice.
Years passed, and Clarke was proven right again and again.
Winter came, and with it a handful of arkers begging for shelter. They’d swung open the gates and handed out blankets and warm soup.
A sick mother brought her sicker child, and after Clarke had given them a herbal tea known for it’s healing properties, they’d decided to stay.
Another year and a large group of women came knocking at their doors, bringing word that the council had made it mandatory for all women aged 19-30 had to bear two children within five years. Skaikru, now a bit fuller with some Trikru who had moved in and children of it’s own, welcomed them with open arms.
A few months after that, when Clarke, Bellamy, and Lexa had led the charge to bringing down the mountain, their village grew yet again with the few Maunon adults who weren’t awful and about seventy of their children. Almost half of skaikru had adopted a child or two; including Clarke and Bellamy, who had taken in a set of one year old twins, they’d named them Apollo and Artemis, and a six year old named Madi.
They scrapped the building of an orphanage once it became clear there weren’t going to be any more children left to put in it. And they should have known, because the hundred, all abandoned teenagers in one way or another, would have never let another child feel like that. Not if they could help it.
Clarke never saw her mother again, and though sometimes, when she played with her babies or started growing heavy with her fourth child – or should she say one hundred and fourth –, she mourned for their lost relationship. All it took was the bright smile of one of her kids, or the crinkle in Bellamy’s eyes to know she’d never give this up for anything.
Bellamy decided to leave the hunt and become a teacher – History, Clarke liked to tease him about how much of a nerd he was – and Clarke continued on as head of medicine, mentoring anyone who wished to learn.
Their kids grew up. Apollo and Artemis took after their namesakes, the sun and moon respectively. One a brilliant huntress, the other a gifted healer. Madi trained under her aunt Octavia, eventually taking her place as the head of the guard. And their last child, Jake, grew up to be a ridiculously talented farmer. Clarke could swear Monty would tear up every time his ‘little brother’ would fix some problem with the crops that nobody else could figure out.
In spite of every challenge they’d faced, every person screaming how they’d fail a hundred different ways, they lived a good life.
They lived to see Lexa change hundreds of laws, from the way the next commander was picked to the punishment for stealing. Lived to see ‘jus drain jus daun’ fade into obscurity. Lived to see Aiden ascend to commander, Lexa standing proudly at his side while the other Natblidas smiled from the crowd. Lived to see the last of the ark dwindle and collapse, its final members cursing their names.
Lived until their hair was more grey than gold or black, lived until they’d seen more years on earth than in space and their bones were creakier than unoiled doors.
In spite of it all.