The Path To Heaven Runs Through Miles of Clouded Hell

A 100 Fanfiction for the Sci Fi week competition. If Clarke and Bellamy had met on the Ark and they had still wanted to protect Octavia, on the ground.

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1. The Path To Heaven Runs Through Miles of Clouded Hell

“For someone who forgets where they are all the time, you seem awfully confident in where you’re going,” Wells said behind her, strolling along as if he was supposed to trust that she knew what she was doing. Of course, Clarke really didn’t have a clue – but her best friend didn’t need to know that.

“I do know where I’m going,” Clarke lied, stepping around another civilian and looking down the hallway to her right. That didn’t feel like the correct hallway, but she couldn’t be sure. So Clarke kept going down the long one, hoping to find Walden’s med bay eventually.

Right, and I’m the King,” Wells replied sarcastically. Clarke rolled her eyes.

“Not a good comparison when you literally are,” she told him, only briefly glancing back at her friend. Wells laughed.

“I’m not, Clarke, and you know it.” She shrugged.

“Alright, Prince,” she amended.

“Have you been talking to that Waldenite again?” He asked, amusement laced in his tone - because, yes, she had been, but also because he knew about her crush on him.

“What’s it to you?” She retorted. “Everyone’s a Waldenite around here – we’re literally in Walden.” Clarke waved her hands about, gesturing to the part of the space station that they were heading through. She came from Phoenix – the richest of the twelve stations that made up the Ark. The differences were obvious and many. First off; she could tell that the metal of Walden, that kept in the oxygen, was thinner than that of her station. Second, there was litter on the ground (litter was practically outlawed in Phoenix), and third, there was no distinct smell of her mother or Chancellor Jaha, who had made it their life ambitions to never leave Phoenix ever.

The two continued onwards, Clarke refusing to ask for directions and Wells meandering along behind her, hands in his pockets, amused. He really had nothing to do if he was willing to follow her about all day as she tried to find the one med bay in the Ark that her mother wouldn’t dare to pop in on her in.

Clarke had spent her whole life learning medicine; watching her mother as the chief surgeon save lives and do her job. She did it well, too. Clarke had grown up wanting to be just like her; so she’d taken her tests and exams, and she’d grown up, abiding by the law, if only to find somewhere she could help people.

And Walden, while being out of her mother’s reach, was practically crawling with illness. They couldn’t afford medical care, in this station, which meant that Clarke wanted to be there the most; she wanted to help them in any way she could.

“Clarke,” Wells said behind her as she sighed, turning another corner.

“Yes?” She asked, glancing out the window and finding nothing but darkness. Even the stars weren’t as bright from this station.

“You’re heading in the wrong direction.” Clarke fell to a stop, turning heavily to look at her best friend.

“What?” Wells cracked a smile.

“There was a sign, like two turn-offs ago, for the med bay.” She groaned, rubbing a hand down her face.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” He shrugged.

“Seemed fun to watch you get lost,” he replied, turning on his heel and leading them back the way they came. Clarke reluctantly followed after him. “But then it just got sad,” he added. The blonde rolled her eyes and walked after Wells, back until she saw the clearly marked sign for the med bay, painted on the wall. She groaned once more at the sight of it, and pushed past her grinning best friend, marching ahead of him.

The med bay was much, much smaller than Phoenix’s. It was grey and metal just like everything else, with a smaller amount of cabinets and pills, and a smaller amount of staff. She greeted the first one she saw and asked about the job position. Then she was handed a form which she filled out, carefully and neatly.

“Here comes the Waldenite,” Wells whispered in her ear, leaning down next to her as she wrote. Even though they were in the Walden station, Clarke knew exactly who her friend was talking about. She finished off the form before looking up, not wanting to seem too interested.

The Waldenite in question was a janitor, but Clarke knew he used to be a member of the guard. His dark hair was pushed back on his head, and his brown skin could still show off the freckles that were scattered across his features. They reminded her of stars; constellations dancing across his cheekbones, and Clarke desperately wanted to count them all. But she knew she couldn’t, so she settled for smiling when he turned, lifting a bin bag into his cart.

“Hey, Princess,” he grunted, wheeling the cart towards her.

“Bellamy,” she smiled.

“What brings you down to rock bottom?” He asked, leaning on the handles he was just using to push with. She rolled her eyes, trying to ignore his ingrown hatred of the elite (A.K.A. Clarke and her entire being.)

“Applying for a job,” she replied with a shrug. Bellamy raised his eyebrows and looked around the med bay.

“Here?” She nodded. “Why?”

“They needed an intern, and I want a job,” she replied casually, handing her form back as the head of section walked over. Bellamy immediately straightened as the form was looked over, and the doctor smiled.

“Best application we’ve received so far,” he mused, and Clarke wondered if they’d actually received any other applications. The man shrugged though. “You can start on Monday,” he told her. Clarke grinned and she knew Wells was doing the same behind her. The doctor went to fetch a time table and she glanced over at Bellamy, lifting up a bin bag from another bin, now, and dumping it in the cart with the others.

“I guess we’ll be seeing a little more of each other, then,” he shrugged, and Clarke wondered if Bellamy actually cared or not. But she nodded anyway.

-

“What’s the deal with Bellamy?” Wells asked when they were back in her compartment, lounging across the sofa.

The deal with Bellamy Blake was as follows: he was one half of the infamous Blake siblings. On the Ark, each couple was allowed one child, and one child only. If they were to have another, they were to abort it – measures were taken to make sure that no one who wasn’t married became pregnant, and that people weren’t able to have another child after their first. It was all rigorously thought through.

But then came Aurora Blake. She had Bellamy, and six years later, secretly gave birth to her daughter in her compartment. Octavia Blake lived under the floorboards, and was only six months beforehand – and it became an Ark-wide story. People were amazed that she’d survived that long, and that the secret hadn’t been spread, not even once. More importantly, though, they watched as Octavia was thrown into lock up, just for being born, and Aurora was sentenced to death. Bellamy was stripped of his title as a member of the guard, and demoted to a janitor for his crimes of not wanting to see his family killed.

Aurora was floated, and Bellamy was rightfully bitter.

And that’s when Clarke met him.

-

A few weeks later, Clarke sat in her bedroom as her parents argued in hushed whispers.

“You cannot go public with this,” her mother hissed, and Clarke knew exactly what they were talking about. Jake Griffin was the head engineer of the Ark, and Clarke had heard him tell her mother, only days before, that there was limited oxygen left. It wouldn’t last them the rest of the year.

“The people have a right to know,” Jake urged in a low voice. “Abby, they need to.”

“No,” she replied firmly. “We talk to Thelonious about this, and we keep it a secret. We need to know that it won’t be fixable.”

“Abby,” he sighed. “It’s not possible to fix it. The leak is too big, and there’s not enough oxygen. The Ark is dying.”

Clarke held her breath as she stared at the ceiling, her back pressed solidly against the wall. She wanted to tell someone – anyone – but she knew she couldn’t. Her mother was on the council, her word was practically law. And if her father told anyone about the secret, he would be killed. So Clarke resolved to keep it to herself, and act as if she didn’t know a thing.

-

Only a day later Chancellor Thelonious Jaha was sitting in their living room with Abby and Jake Griffin. Clarke was in her room once more, and they were under the impression that with the door shut, she couldn’t hear a word. But Clarke stood on her bed with her ear to the vent, and could hear them perfectly. She never told anyone that, either.

“There is a solution,” Jaha told her parents. He sounded sad and Clarke wondered why. Her first thought was that they would cull their people, and Clarke knew immediately that the people from Walden would be first. “We could go to the ground.” Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes widened.

The ground.

It had been ninety seven years since a nuclear war wiped out the Earth’s population. People had travelled to space, in their fear, and decided to spend the next four hundred years, circling Earth from afar, before deciding to return. It was supposed to be four hundred years – not ninety seven. The Earth wouldn’t be survivable, she knew that. Was this how they would cull their people – just send them to Earth and hope the radiation would do it?

Wouldn’t it have been quicker just to float them?

“The Earth isn’t survivable,” her mother said, voicing Clarke’s thoughts. “We can’t just take the Exodus ship down.”

“No,” Jaha agreed. “We can’t. But we can send a small number, as a trial.”

“Like who?” Jake asked.

“The delinquents,” Jaha replied.

-

The delinquents were the names of the criminals. In the sky, if you broke the law and were under the age of eighteen, you would be thrown into lock up – what they called, the Sky Box. The people in there were kids; caught stealing, or committing petty crimes. Others did worse; some were in there for murder, rape, assault. When they hit the age of eighteen – which Clarke had surpassed some months beforehand – they would be re-evaluated; if their crimes were deemed petty, and they had shown that they could become good members of society, they would be allowed back into the Ark. If not, they would be floated like all other criminal adults.

And floating – well, opening the air lock and letting yourself combust in space wasn’t a nice way to go.

-

The moment Jaha was gone, Clarke left her room. She made an excuse of wanting to see a friend, and practically ran to Walden. Her crush on Bellamy Blake, while fairly obvious, made it that Clarke wanted to tell him first. And really, who else to tell? His sister – the only sister on the Ark – was amongst the criminals in the Sky Box.

As she ran, she dodged civilians, and took heavy corners, trying to remember the route back to his compartment that she’d only been to once. When they met, she was wandering around Walden, lost out of her mind, searching for Raven Reyes – a girl she’d met at the exchange. Bellamy was the only one around, and escorted her to her friend, personally. Sure, he was bitter and grumbled half his words, but he was passionate and sarcastic, and she liked his jokes.

The next time they saw each other, they ended back in his compartment, only a fifth of the size of her own, with just a bed, a sink, and a separate room for the toilet. She’d tried not to make it obvious that it was different to hers, but he knew anyway and made rude comments, offhand, about their social statuses. And while he got under her skin so easily, she also liked the way he was so honest. He told her about his sister, in lock up, and Clarke put the pieces together – the dead mother, the demotion. Him being a guard in a former life didn’t change much for Clarke, but the fact that he’d spent his entire life looking after his sister, did.

Now, she pounded on the door to the compartment she hoped would be his. Clarke’s breathing was laboured and she leant against the wall, half-heartedly hitting the door with her fist. It slid open a moment later and Bellamy raised an eyebrow at the sight of her.

“What’s up?” He asked as she slunk through the door way, landing on his bed to catch her breath. Her friend watched her with a raised eyebrow and she held up a single finger for him to wait. “Did you run here from Phoenix?” She nodded, much of her wanting some water. But water was rationed on the Ark and Bellamy would have far less than she did, and she couldn’t waste that.

When she had her breath back, she looked around his room, finding an old CD player in the corner. She was surprised he hadn’t sold it off in the exchange for food, yet, but she assumed it would be next to go. Clarke pressed the play button and listened to the music fill her ears; it was classical, a string quartet from the Pre-Bomb period. The instruments in space were only brought out once a year, and otherwise kept in a sealed room to preserve them – but this was music of the ground. She  breathed it in for a moment, having heard it before but not caring, before twisting the volume up.

Then she looked over to Bellamy, whose expression had grown serious since she thought to drown out any microphones, lingering in the compartment. They stepped close together and she noticed he smelt of soap; the kind from the exchange.

“What is it?” He asked her with a low voice.

“Don’t freak out just yet,” she told him, sending him a pointed glance. “But they’re sending the delinquents to the ground.” She watched Bellamy’s eyes widen and him step back, looking around his home for God knows what.

“How do you know this?” He hissed.

“Jaha and my parents were discussing it,” she replied. “There’s a hundred criminals, and they’re going to send them to Earth.”

“Why?”

“To die? To see if it’s survivable? I don’t know. But the Ark is dying, Bell – they need an escape route.” Bellamy went silent, mulling over her words, and the music drifted around her.

“I need to protect Octavia,” he told her. Clarke nodded.

“Let me help you,” she replied seriously. Bellamy shook his head.

“My sister, my responsibility. I have to do this alone. I can’t risk your life, too.” She rolled her eyes.

“My life is already in danger,” she hissed. “The Ark is dying, and Earth is the unknown factor! We’re both too old to get into the Sky Box, but if we play it right, I’m sure we can get to the ground!” Bellamy eyed her; studying her young face, pale skin, neat plait over one shoulder. They came from such different worlds but Clarke wanted nothing more than to help him. Eventually, he sighed.

“Fine,” he agreed. “How are we supposed to do this?”

-

It took a lot of effort for Clarke to listen in on the council meetings. They were private, done in a chamber with no microphones and no way of leaked information. But, Clarke’s father was the head engineer, so of course there were blue prints in his office, and all she had to do was figure them out.

When the meeting started, Clarke was elbowing her way through an air duct that ran alongside the chamber. She kept going, wondering how terrible an idea this was, and how quickly she would be floated for it, when she heard Jaha’s voice.

“We have a few important points to discuss today,” he was saying, and Clarke nudged her way through the vent until she reached the gap. Between the slated metal, she could see the round table where the council members sat, and her mother, sitting straight on the right. Clarke waited as the conversation drifted through supplies and wages, until the oxygen leak was addressed.

“My idea that I’m going to propose,” Jaha started. “Involves the one hundred criminals in lock up. What if we send them down on the Drop Ship for them to test out Earth – find out if it’s survivable or not?” Clarke waited silently until the meeting was adjourned before crawling backwards through the vent, the way she came. Bellamy lifted the hatch away, at the end, and helped her out, looking as inconspicuous as possible. She then nodded him forward, and walked alongside him as he pushed his cart.

“They’re going to send them down on the twenty-fifth of next month,” she said lowly to him. “They’re creating bracelets that’ll report back to the Ark on the conditions of the planet, and all one hundred criminals will be going down there.”

“Including Octavia?” Clarke nodded grimly.

Something that was so upsetting about the situation with Octavia, Clarke realised that night, was that if she had lasted a couple more years in lock up, at eighteen, she would undoubtedly be set free. She had not committed a crime, and therefore would have been able to live her life in peace. Or, as peaceful as she could manage without much oxygen left.

-

Clarke sat opposite Wells, playing chess. She was distracted; her mind running through possibilities with Bellamy, and how they were going to get to the ground in one piece. Apparently, this was evident.

“Clarke? Are you okay?” Wells asked, glancing at her move.

“Yeah, of course, why wouldn’t I be?” Her best friend raised an eyebrow.

“Because your move just left your King wide open?” He suggested, and Clarke looked at the board with a sigh. “Come on, you can tell me anything.” Clarke knew she could. Should could tell her best friend anything – but she didn’t want to. Not when it would get her and Bellamy floated.

-

She and Bellamy sat in his compartment, two weeks before the launch to Earth. The information hadn’t been released to the public, and no one knew about either the oxygen leak, or the potential culling. Jake Griffin had been subdued, and decided not to go along with his plan to tell the people, only under the agreement that he could tell them if the one hundred didn’t survive Earth.

So, she and Bellamy waited. He’d been approached by a guard called Shumway, only a day prior, about getting onto the Drop Ship, and they were still mulling over the consequences.

“I would have to kill him,” Bellamy sighed as music filtered through his compartment. Clarke nodded.

“How bad would you feel about that?” She asked. He gave her a dry look.

“I’m not a criminal, Clarke,” he informed her and she nodded. She hadn’t thought he was. “If I killed him, they wouldn’t be able to punish me, because I’d be on Earth.” Clarke stared at the compartment door.

“But when the Ark came down they could,” she replied bitterly. Bellamy nodded as Clarke paused, turning to him slowly.

“What?”

“They couldn’t if you gave them the name of the man who wanted to kill the Chancellor,” she smiled. “You get freedom in return for his name.” The two smiled at each other for a moment before there was a banging on the door.

“Random Inspection!” The guard called out. Clarke’s eyes widened, staring in shock. She wasn’t supposed to be in someone’s compartment – especially a janitor’s from Walden. Not only would that raise suspicion, but-

“Just a minute!” Bellamy replied, seeing her afraid look. “You’re going to have to trust me,” he told her quietly. Clarke nodded frantically, at loss of anything else to do. She watched as Bellamy stripped off his t-shirt and the guard called for them to open the door. “Come on,” he urged her, and she followed suit, yanking her t-shirt off of her body. He lifted the covers of her bed and she climbed underneath. The compartment door was pulled open just as Bellamy leaned forward, pressing a kiss to her lips.

It was chaste; a little dry as he desperately tried to cover them. Then he pulled away as Clarke stared first at him, before the guard in the doorway, eyeing them carefully.

“Random inspection,” he announced again, snapping off the volume of the music and walking around the compartment. “I didn’t expect to find Miss Griffin in here, though.” She noticed Bellamy’s jaw tensing, and Clarke felt the same, gripping the bed covers to her body, even tighter. He and another guard nudged around the compartment for a minute before shrugging.

“All clear,” the other said, heading for the door. The first guard eyed Clarke for a moment longer, before nodding and following him out.

“Turn down the music next time,” he said, leaving the door wide open. Bellamy scrambled to shut it, before turning back to Clarke, who was already laughing. She flopped back on the bed with a sigh.

“You want to make a bet on how quickly the rumour of us spreads throughout the Ark?” He grinned, and Clarke noticed that she really liked it when he smiled.

“I’ll bet your lunch for the next three days that my mother will know by the time I get home,” she replied with a laugh.

-

When the day was upon them, Clarke met Bellamy by the loading deck. There were doors to get to it, and she waited, leaned up against a wall, for him to arrive. When he did, he was dressed in full guard gear.

“Where did you get that?” She asked quietly. He shrugged.

“Shumway got it for me.” He tapped the gun by his hip and she swallowed before nodding. They had planned everything out specifically – this wasn’t one of his spur-of-the-moment ideas, that would leave them to get floated. If Clarke was going to do something stupid, she was going to do it after planning it out first, and assessing the risks.

Already that morning, she’d made excuses of leaving early so she could get to Walden, and then to Wells, about other plans. Now, they just had to make it onto the Drop Ship.

“I wonder who’s going to lead the delinquents, on Earth,” Clarke mused as Bellamy used the guard key to unlock the door. He shrugged, glancing around.

“No one, probably – they’re kids.”

“You’re not a kid.” He shrugged.

“I’d be a terrible leader,” he sighed. They slipped through the door and Clarke made sure to stand behind him at all times, her backpack full of food she’d gotten at the exchange. They watched carefully as unconscious teenagers and children were lifted into the Drop Ship and strapped into their seats, one by one.

They stayed silent and hidden until the last delinquent was loaded, and only then did Bellamy nod, and they wandered out. At first, they didn’t receive any looks; Bellamy was a guard and Clarke was high up in the social status. But then, people started glancing at them, unsure of why she was here, and Clarke knew that if she had let Bellamy go alone, he wouldn’t have had this problem. But they kept going anyway, to where Jaha was standing in front of the air lock door.

“In peace may you leave the shore,” he was saying, staring at the Drop Ship and the delinquents, a few of which were glaring back. “In love may you find the next. Safe passage on your travels until our final journey to the ground. May we meet again.” Then he turned to face the other guards, as Bellamy and Clarke pushed through. Jaha stared at them both for a moment, opening his mouth to question it, when Bellamy pulled out his gun and held it to Jaha’s back, holding the Chancellor around the neck in a death-like grip.

“Get in, Clarke,” he told her, and she nodded, jogging into the Drop Ship. Bellamy had pulled Jaha just behind the line of the airlock, and the Chancellor was trying to get his words out about closing the doors. The doors started to shudder and move, and Clarke stared at the two of them, as Bellamy shifted the gun, exhaled slowly and pulled the trigger.

The commotion that came next, as Bellamy pushed the limp and dying body of the Chancellor out of the airlock and back into the Ark. He looked a little rattled when he first turned around, but Clarke nodded at him firmly, and his jaw tensed, becoming impassive. The start-up engines were shaking and the looked out to find empty seats.

“She’s not here,” he hissed to her, and Clarke decided that it was better to sit with someone else. She found a younger child, and unstrapped her seatbelt as the Drop Ship shuddered, disconnecting from the Ark.

“There’s another level,” she called out to him over the motors, and jerking her head at the ladder. “Help me, here.” Bellamy nodded, although distracted, and pulled the little girl into the lap of the older girl next to her. They fastened the seatbelt around the two of them, and Bellamy sat in the empty space, and Clarke on his lap, doing the belt around the two of them.

Clarke glanced back at him for a moment, her neck uncomfortably craning to see him. He was just as beautiful as he always had been, even now. She knew that his hair was actually curly and ruffed, when he hadn’t pushed it back to look like a guard. Still, his eyes were dark and his freckles danced across his skin like they always had. Bellamy looked down at her, too, and for a moment, it was just them, not in the Drop Ship, or surrounded by others. Just them, with their lips suddenly pressed together and his hand on her neck. Clarke pulled away first, more for the pain of looking around than because she wanted to stop, and sent him a smile.

Clarke leant her head back on him as they floated through space, and she felt his lips in her hair.

As they descended to Earth, the delinquents woke up. Many screamed and she heard shouting from the level above. She clutched Bellamy’s hand and he wove his fingers through hers, his head resting on her shoulder. They stayed still as Jaha’s picture and pre-recorded message appeared on the screen. It was cut short, though, as he was talking about where they’d land – Mount Weather.

-

She and Bellamy were first on their feet after the crash, heading towards the door.

“The radiation could kill us,” she informed him as he moved towards the lever. Other kids started getting up and a few climbed down the ladder, from the floor above.

“If the air is toxic, we’d be dead anyway,” he retorted, and Clarke remembered that they’d had that exact argument during the week beforehand.

“Bellamy?” A voice asked from the crowd. Her friend’s head snapped in the direction it came from, as a girl with long brown hair pushed through the group. “Oh my God! It is you!” She enveloped him in a bone crushing hug, and Clarke grinned.

“I told you she’d be here,” she mused happily, watching Bellamy roll his eyes.

“How did you get on the Drop Ship?” Bellamy and Clarke met gazes for a moment before he shrugged.

“We have our ways,” he told her calmly. “Now, do you want to be the first person in a century to step on the ground?” He asked her, and Octavia grinned. He pulled the lever, and Clarke felt his hand wrap around hers as the door lowered and the world was shown to them. Clarke knew, from the moment that Octavia stepped onto the grass, bright and green, with her screaming and the way that everyone rushed out of the Drop Ship in joy, that Earth was going to be a very different life for them.

It wasn’t space – but it was probably going to be even better.

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