Clarke made sure she was out of sight of the dropship before allowing herself to collapse, leaning back against the closest tree with a groan. The past few weeks had been a gruelling whirlwind, and she was still trying to come to terms with all of it. Being deemed expendable and dropped to Earth as an experiment was about as un-fun as things could get, but at least they weren’t alone on the planet (though that discovery had been somewhat terrifying). None of the Delinquents were sure what to think of these Grounders, but the Earth inhabitants had yet to harm them. Clarke and Bellamy, who had fallen into unofficial leadership, were working on hammering out a truce between the two groups. They had Octavia to thank for all of it, really. She had found Lincoln just as her heat was starting and all the suppressants had been left on the Ark, so that led where everyone expected it to. The more time they spent together, though, the more it seemed like they were truly falling for each other, so it wouldn’t be a loveless mating after all. Whatever the outcome might be in the future, the fateful mating had served well diplomatically so far. And then Raven fell to Earth and Bellamy threw the radio in the creek and sent everybody into angry turmoil again.
And Clarke’s heat was approaching soon, which did nothing to improve her mood.
The omega closed her eyes and just let the smells and sounds of the forest wash over her. It was nice to get away from everyone, even though it wouldn’t last long. For now, she would enjoy the wind in the leaves, the insects, and the…discussion?
Clarke frowned and opened her eyes, listening carefully. She picked up the sound of someone muttering something followed by a paradoxically loud “shh!” in response. The words “she won’t” and “are you sure?” floated to her on the breeze and something about them made her stomach twist. Deciding that stealth would be prudent here, she made her way towards the voices before realising she was upwind of them and they would smell her if she got close. Creeping through the forest as silently as possible, she doubled back around until she was downwind before coming closer to the voices.
“…she’s not gonna put up a fight,” argued one voice. Jasper, Clarke realised.
“You don’t know Clarke. Even in her heat she’s not going to be docile.” That was Wells, her best friend. Or so she’d thought – what he’d just said turned the blonde’s friendship to fear.
“Every omega is docile in their heat. She’ll have no problem spreading her legs for us once it really starts, and we’ll be ready for her.” Finn. So much for the nice guy act.
“Remember, though, she’ll be wet enough that we can all take a few turns before one of us knots her. And we’ll have a few days to take turns knotting her, too.” Bellamy. If Octavia could hear him, she’d kill him with her bare hands. If Clarke hadn’t been frozen in terror and if he’d been alone, she might’ve done it herself.
“Guys, she’ll never agree to this and she’ll never forgive you,” Wells protested.
“She doesn’t have to agree. Her body will agree once her heat starts and she’ll thank us for it later,” Jasper waved him off. “All omegas want a good alpha during their heat. We’re just lucky that she’s worthless.”
“Maybe not worthless if we’re getting a good fuck out of her,” Finn remarked, and the others chuckled.
Clarke stayed frozen where she hid in the bushes, her stomach twisting; her blood running hot and cold and she began to sweat and shiver; the world spinning around her as she swayed on her feet. This couldn’t be happening. These alphas – her friends – were planning on taking advantage of her heat and raping her through it. There was no kind way to put it, no way to soften the blow even to herself. The people she thought were friends were planning to gang rape her because she was worthless. The Worthless Omega.
But Wells was a beta. What was his part in all this?
“You’ll keep everyone distracted, right?” Bellamy was saying. “Make sure no one comes along or questions.”
“Don’t worry, I will,” Wells replied.
Clarke’s heart twisted along with her stomach. Her best friend was going to keep watch for the alphas while they threw her over a log and took turns fucking her. He was going to let them.
The omega knew she had to flee as far and as fast as possible, but she was still paralysed by shock and undiluted terror. The thought that forced her to move was the realisation that a fate worse than death awaited her if she didn’t. She tried to move as silently as possible and thought she’d made it out of earshot when, just like in one of the crappy horror movies she and her friends used to watch on the Ark, a branch snapped beneath her foot.
Clarke broke into a sprint, not caring how much noise she made. She heard shouts behind her and someone’s voice yell “I’ve got her!” followed by the sound of crashing through the brush. Sobbing, she pushed herself into a sprint. She’d just broken free of the forest and into a clearing when she was tackled from behind. She screamed as she was pushed to the ground, praying for someone to hear her but knowing no one would.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Finn growled from above her, flipping her over.
“Get off me!” she shrieked. She tried to shove him off but he was too heavy.
“Come on, Princess, it’ll be fun,” he drawled in a mock-soothing voice. “It’ll feel good, I promise.”
“You can’t have me,” Clarke growled through clenched teeth, unable to stop the tears from streaming down her face. Think, she had to think, she had to get out or else it was over, or else they’d break her piece by piece until she was even more worthless than she had been, an empty shell of a person, she had to think, she had to escape…
“You won’t fight once I get started, trust me.” He unbuttoned and unzipped her pants and even the slightest touch made her whole body scream in agony and disgust. Holding her down with one hand, he opened his own jeans and pulled his cock out, stroking it a few times to get it hard. “Come on, Princess, have a taste.”
The very thought of her mouth going anywhere near him made something inside Clarke snap. With a surge of adrenaline fuelled by terror, the omega managed to free one of her arms and punch him in the face. Her fist hit with a sickening crunch and Finn staggered back, blood streaming from his nose. Clarke crawled out from under him and scrambled to her feet. “Don’t you dare!” he threatened as he, too, stumbled to his feet. The omega saw her opportunity and struck, lashing out with her foot and connecting hard.
Finn’s eyes bugged out and his jaw dropped as he gasped for air, cupping his hands over his wounded groin. He choked on his own breath as he fell to his knees, doubling over and vomiting onto the grass. Clarke didn’t stay long enough to watch. She turned and sprinted away from him, away from her friends, away from the dropship, just away.
She sobbed as she ran, fumbling to zip and button her jeans as she did so she wouldn’t fall. Her lungs burned and she thought her heart would beat out of her chest, but she knew she couldn’t stop, not if she wanted to escape for good. She wasn’t completely lost yet, but she wasn’t sure where she was going – away was good enough for now.
The bridge, she realised in a flash. If I can just get to the bridge then the Trikru will be there and I’ll be safe. Please, let them keep me safe. Her purpose gave her a new burst of energy as she pressed forward, barely noticing as the sun sank lower in the sky.
Night had almost completely fallen by the time the omega reached the stone bridge and she nearly wept in relief as she staggered across and looked around frantically, knowing (or at least hoping) there would be Trikru scouts in the area. She wasn’t wrong; she’d barely stumbled a few steps into the trees when she was met by two Grounders pointing arrows at her. One of them had long blonde hair with black roots and Clarke recognized her from previous meetings. “I will swear fealty to the Trikru in exchange for sanctuary from the Skaikru,” the omega gasped as she came to a halt in front of the guards, arms raised in surrender.
The blonde guard frowned and lowered her bow slightly. “Slow down, sky girl. What is it you want?”
Clarke took a moment to catch her breath before repeating herself. “I swear fealty to the Commander and the Trikru in exchange for sanctuary from the Skaikru.”
Both guards lowered their bows completely and looked at each other in confusion before staring at Clarke again. “Why do you want protection from your own people?” the woman asked – an alpha, Clarke could smell now.
The omega sighed. “It’s…not a good story. Can you just please take me to the Commander?”
The alpha – Anya – was silent for a moment before giving her a slow nod. She said something to the other guard in Trigedasleng before turning back to Clarke. “Come on,” she prompted, holding out her hand. When Clarke flinched away, the alpha had a sinking feeling she knew exactly what Clarke’s story entailed. Withdrawing her hand so as not to scare the omega further, the alpha gestured in the direction of the camp and Clarke followed.
They were silent as they walked, the alpha not pressing Clarke for details and Clarke not giving any. The alpha noticed, though, that the girl was shivering and hugging herself as if to ward away unseen spectres. She kept looking over her shoulder as if she expected to actually see them, too. After a time, torchlight appeared in the distance and soon Clarke and the alpha were weaving their way through the tents to the centre of camp. The omega found herself becoming slowly more relaxed as she made her way to where the Commander’s tent rose above the others. The two women halted when they reached the guards.
“The sky girl wishes to speak to the Commander,” the alpha told them, her tone of voice suggesting that it wasn’t a request. The guards nodded, and one of them poked his head through the tent flap, speaking in Trigedasleng. He must’ve gotten an affirmative reply, for he retreated and held the tent flap aside for alpha and omega to enter. The alpha went first and Clarke followed.
Heda Lexa was seated on her throne when they arrived, looking formidable even without her war paint. “Anya,” she greeted the alpha. “Why do you bring a sky person here?” She sounded more bemused than angry.
“She wishes to swear fealty to you in exchange for protection from the Skaikru,” Anya replied with a nod to Clarke.
Lexa’s expression was neutral when she turned to the omega, but her eyes held curiosity. “We’ve met to negotiate,” the Commander said. “You are Clarke, yes?” When Clarke nodded, Lexa continued, “Are you not a leader of your people?”
“I…I don’t think so…not anymore.” The adrenaline was starting to wear off, the day’s events taking their toll. Clarke hugged herself tighter as she tried to control her shivering, but it was no use.
The Commander saw and smelled her distress and stood from her throne, sending out as many soothing pheromones as she could. “What happened?” she asked gently.
“I…” The omega looked up at the Commander just as the scent of her pheromones reached her. Relief washing over her, Clarke allowed herself to break down, tears streaming down her cheeks as she swayed on the spot. She didn’t even realise she’d collapsed until she felt the warmth of Lexa’s arms around her as the Commander lowered them both to the ground. Clarke buried her face in Lexa’s neck and sobbed, clinging to the alpha as she gasped in her soothing scent. Lexa smelled of the forest and the earth and Clarke wanted to curl up and drown in it. Lexa gently rubbed her back and stroked her hair as she cried and her scent and gentle touch slowly began to soothe the omega until her sobs had turned to shaky sighs.
“What happened?” Lexa repeated in a soft murmur.
Clarke took a deep breath to steady herself. “I was resting in the woods when I heard people talking. When I got closer I recognized the voices of some of the alphas and one of my beta friends. They knew my heat was close and they were planning to…” The blonde shuddered and inhaled more of Lexa’s scent to keep calm. “They were going to use me during my heat. Take me and knot me when I was least likely to resist.” Clarke felt Lexa stiffen, but her touch remained gentle.
“Your own people would do that to you?” Anya barely managed the question through her horror and disgust.
The omega nodded. “I turned and ran, but they heard me. One of them came after me and he tackled me to the ground. He tried to…he almost…”
Lexa held Clarke closer and pumped out more soothing pheromones. The omega buried her nose in the Commander’s neck and gratefully inhaled. “I managed to break free and kick him where it counts,” Clarke continued. “I thought I might be safe among your people so I ran here.” She shook her head. “I never thought they’d be capable of that. They were my friends, and they still…”
“Why?” Lexa asked, as much as she hated to. “Why you and not another omega?”
Clarke let out a self-deprecating laugh. “Because I’m worthless. That’s what they all call me. The Worthless Omega.”
Anya and Lexa shared a look of confusion. “Why do they think you’re worthless?” Anya asked.
“Because I’m infertile,” Clarke sighed. “It’s why I was kept prisoner with the others. They executed my father for giving birth to me and the only reason they didn’t execute me was because I wasn’t eighteen yet. That’s why I was kept prisoner: I wasn’t good for anything.”
Tense silence followed her words. “The sky people determine worth by the ability to breed?” Lexa asked through gritted teeth. Clarke noticed that she’d called them “sky people” and not “her people,” which was surprisingly comforting.
“The sky alphas were going to take advantage of you because there’s no chance of you having pups,” Anya surmised in a grim tone that barely hid her anger. Clarke nodded and Lexa gave a sad sigh.
“You are welcome among my people, Clarke,” the Commander murmured. “If you truly wish it, we will accept you as one of our own. What skills do you have?”
“Medicine,” Clarke replied after a moment of thought. “My mom was a doctor and I studied with her a bit. I think I could help be a healer.”
“Then we shall have you train with Nyko once your heat is over. We leave for TonDC in the morning, only a few hours’ march away from where we’re camped now. There is a tent on the outskirts of the village guarded by betas where omegas without mates or intendeds can ride out their heat. Once we reach TonDC you can stay there. For now, would you be comfortable sharing a tent with Anya or would you prefer to stay with a beta or another omega?”
I want to stay with you, Clarke wanted to say as she continued to greedily inhale Lexa’s scent. It was like a drug she couldn’t get enough of. Lexa, for her part, was trying not to show her own enjoyment of Clarke’s scent. The omega smelt of spring and clear skies and morning dew and it was absolutely intoxicating. “I think I’ll be all right with Anya,” she decided, glancing over at the alpha for confirmation.
Anya gave both women a solemn nod. “I won’t let anyone hurt you and I won’t make any advances,” she assured the omega. Clarke nodded her thanks.
“Then I’ll let you both retire for the night.” Lexa had to force herself to pull away from Clarke’s embrace, but she cupped the omega’s face in her hands for a moment. “You’re safe here, Clarke. Get some rest.”
Clarke nodded and both women reluctantly stood. “Thank you. Both of you,” Clarke said, voice hoarse from tears. Both alphas nodded, then Anya and Clarke left for their own tent.
Once they’d gone, Lexa sat back on her throne and buried her head in her hands. Something about Clarke had called to her – called to something deep inside her she’d thought long-buried. She hadn’t felt such a pull to anyone since Costia, and she hadn’t been nearly as drawn to the beta as she was to the sky girl. Part of her wanted to make sure to avoid the omega to be certain she didn’t fall for her.
Part of her thought of golden hair and blue eyes, of spring and clear skies and morning dew, and knew that she had fallen already.
* * *
Anya and Clarke were silent as they made their way to the alpha’s tent. When they entered, Clarke stood awkwardly to the side as Anya laid out spare furs across from her own. “Thank you,” the omega finally managed.
“You’re not the only one,” Anya said in lieu of a reply.
Clarke frowned. “Not the only one who what?”
When Anya looked up from the furs, her gaze was solemn but steady. “Among your people, I would be considered worthless, too.”
The omega gaped. “You’re…?”
Anya nodded. “And yet it has no bearing on my place here. I am still one of the finest warriors among the Trikru. Lexa was my Second before she became Commander.” She settled herself on her furs and Clarke did the same, the two of them still facing each other. “Fertility is not a measure of worth here, and your people are foolish for thinking such.”
Clarke lowered her gaze. “And what the alphas planned to do…”
“…is an offense punishable by death,” Anya finished. “The one who attacked you today would die by a thousand cuts if he were Trikru, and you would be given the honour of the killing blow.”
The omega nodded her relief that such acts were so greatly punished. “Hopefully that’ll happen someday,” she muttered as she lay back on her furs.
Anya chuckled as she did the same. “I would enjoy seeing that, too.” She rolled so her back was to the omega. “Goodnight, Clarke. Sleep well.”
“You, too,” the omega murmured. She sighed as she tried to will herself to sleep. Despite her exhaustion, lingering fear kept her awake. Clarke buried her nose in the furs to see if Anya’s faint scent would help, but it was only mildly soothing. When the blonde did fall asleep it was while she was contemplating Lexa and thinking how much easier it would be to drift off if she were wrapped in the Commander’s scent instead.