From The Ground, Up

For the Sci Fi week competition, a The 100 Fanfiction.
What if Clarke was a grounder? Born on Earth to Commander Abby - what if she's still there when the Drop Ship hits the ground?
This story was originally posted on my AO3 account, entitled Get Knocked Down, Get Back Up. I've changed the name and edited it, and posted it here, as well. Hopefully it will still be eligible for the competition. (Was written in the beginning of August, 2015, still abiding by the rules.)

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3. What The Fire Takes Away

 

 

Very few of the sky people trusted her – and she couldn’t blame them. Their numbers were down to about ninety, and it was because of her people. But Bellamy had decided that staying away wasn’t a good course of action.

He would sit with her during the meals, and take her on a tour around the camp. He found her a place to sleep in the Drop Ship (however she did notice the extra patrols that were added after she joined) and took her to their med bay. She met Wells there, and they traded healing tips – she taught him about different roots, and he showed her the manufactured pills that they had with them. Bellamy always kept a close eye on her though.

After a couple of days, she decided to ask him about it.

“Do you think I’m going to kill everyone?” She asked him casually, as they sat around a fire. He paused, turning to her. “I mean, you’ve been watching me very closely since I arrived.”

“I know,” he told her with a sigh. “It’s just…” He trailed off and Clarke shrugged.

“Trust is difficult,” she agreed. “You’ll get there, though.” Bellamy nodded, staying silent, and the two of them ate without talking. Clarke watched the flames of the fire, and listened to the conversations around her – one boy threatening another with a knife, two girls discussing how someone was attractive. She wondered about these people – in times of war, and they still laughed and sat around a fire. In her own village, they would be preparing for battle. But she didn’t say this. She stayed quiet.

“Is Lincoln going to fight against us?” Bellamy asked quietly. She glanced over to him, finding his eyes locked on his sister’s form, by the fences, staring out into the trees. She could guess that the girl was waiting for a signal from her friend.

“I doubt it,” she replied. “Even if he is drafted, he will probably refuse to fight on either side.”

“Will they still accept him?” She shook her head.

“We are grounders by birth right – but if you do not continue to grow in their customs, you lose the privilege.” She felt Bellamy’s eyes on her skin and she turned to meet them. “We grew up very differently.” He nodded.

“We did. I was a janitor, on the Ark. And O lived under the floor.” Clarke raised her eyebrows.

“You protect her,” she said. He nodded. “It’s the same way that Lincoln protects me.” Her mind flashed back to the day in the woods, screaming for them not to kill the child. It would die on its own, and Lincoln had held her back as she announced herself as a traitor.

“Is he your brother?” She shook her head.

“He is seven years older than I. My father died before I was born and my mother died during the childbirth. She was Commander, at the time, and I was supposed to grow to be her second.” Bellamy raised his eyebrows.

“You’re supposed to be Commander?” She shrugged.

“By birth right, yes. But Commanders are not royalty, and royalty uses birth right to continue the line. Commanders are a matter of rebirth.” He watched her carefully as she spoke about her culture, and she wondered if she was saying too much, or just not enough. “When a Commander dies, they are reborn into another person, who will grow to become a second, to learn to be Commander again. My mother died, and some believe her spirit passed on into me. But her second took over, a woman called Ilya – and she was a cruel leader. Anya was her second, and Lexa is hers. More people believe that my mother, or Ilya’s spirit is in Lexa.”

“Do you?” Clarke shrugged.

“I don’t know. Lexa is as ruthless as Ilya – you would do good not to offend her.” Bellamy nodded silently, and Clarke leant her head against his shoulder, as she would if he were Lincoln. But he wasn’t Lincoln – he wasn’t a brother to her, but a man who was leading the camp she was born to fight against. She wondered if there was a certain type of hell for traitors.

In their silence, Clarke remembered the baby, screaming in the woods. She had stopped crying and stayed in her hut until nightfall. The baby had been taken far away, but it’s distant screams could still be heard. She was only thirteen, and she couldn’t take the cries any longer. In the night, she ran through the camp, her body low and her footsteps quiet.

She followed the wood by memory, finding the spot where the screams were loudest. And she knelt down, Clarke’s hands trembling as the new born cried out it’s lungs. There was no way to save it; the face was shifted, an eye covered by skin and a graft along the left cheek. It would never be accepted in grounder society and Clarke cradled it, crying with it over this. When the baby slept, she placed it back down, looking around, unsure.

It would die painfully on its own, and she couldn’t bare for that to happen. The knife was cold in her hands, and the whimpering of the baby in its sleep finally stopped.

“I do not show weakness,” she had said aloud as she trudged back to camp. Her face was passive after that, and she did not go back to that spot in the woods, for fear of the body still there, drenched in its own blood.

As if Bellamy was seeing these memories too, his arm snuck around her shoulders. They stayed there like that, staring into the fire, until Clarke’s eyes shut.

The battle came quickly after that. She expected a virus to swarm the camp; dwindle their numbers and make them bleed. But none of them left the camp without another person, and any time they were captured, they fought their way back. She was impressed by the delinquents, as they called themselves, and she slowly became impressed with Bellamy’s leadership.

The grounders were coming, she’d told him. So he had Raven build a bomb. At camp, she could see the smoke rise and the drums of war falter. She wondered how many of her people were dead. Was Lincoln? Was Kensuk? Was Anya?

She refused a gun every time she was handed one. She wouldn’t touch them. Eventually, Bellamy sighed over this, the battle only a few hours away, and they needed this time.

“You have to take one,” he told her.

“I am fine with my blade,” she replied, hefting her katana. Lincoln had made it into camp only a few minutes beforehand, with the warning of them coming at dawn. He was leaving for the water clan, a couple of days East, and had asked her to go, too. She was too ashamed to admit that she wouldn’t leave Bellamy, and instead told him that she wouldn’t leave the entire group, when they were facing a battle. Lincoln had understood anyway.

“Why won’t you hold the gun?” Bellamy asked, dropping it down by his side. Clarke sighed, glancing around. Lincoln was talking to Octavia in hushed tones by the gates, and she assumed he was persuading her to leave with him.

“Because there is a legend that goes with it. Why do you think we fight with swords and spears?” He looked around quickly.

“What’s the legend?” Bellamy sounded exhausted, and she knew he’d been awake for days.

“The first of us to touch a gun will be the cause of the Mountain’s win against us. The reapers will overthrow the land, and soon we will each become one.”

“All because you touched a gun?” He cocked an eyebrow. She nodded seriously. Bellamy rolled his eyes. “Fine, fight with your sword. Don’t come crying to me if you die, though.” Clarke smirked at this.

“I won’t. I’ll be dead.” Bellamy rolled his eyes, but he was smiling, and she instructed him to go and sleep before the battle. There was much to be done, yes – but it would get done whether he was awake or not.

 

 

 

Clarke’s story began and ended with fire.

In the battle, Raven and Jasper wanted to use the rocket fuel underneath the Drop Ship to burn the grounders to a crisp. It hurt Clarke’s heart, but she agreed anyway. They were in a war, now – sacrifices must be made.

Octavia was injured, and Bellamy handed her over to Lincoln, who promised to keep her safe. Lincoln turned to her, Octavia in his arms and smiled reassuringly.

“Ge smak daun, gyon op nodotaim,” he told her. She smiled back.

“Get knocked down, get back up,” she repeated. They nodded to each other. “Don’t die, big brother,” she said to him, and she could almost see how he wanted to stay by her side and protect her in his eyes.

“Don’t die, little sister,” was all he said, before he ran off into the darkness.

Bellamy and Clarke fought side by side, he with a gun and she with a blade. In the lapse, as the reapers emerged in the clearing and Finn ducked out of sight, they took a breath.

“Why were you following me, that day in the woods?” He asked. She glanced up at him, breathing heavily.

“You interested me,” she replied, just as she had told him when it was happening. She was bleeding a lot and she was fairly sure that there was a blade, embedded in her side. But taking it out meant a quicker death. Clarke was going to die anyway, she was sure. Bellamy smiled at her, and Clarke realised that every dying person got a dying wish, right?

In the moment before the reapers were slaughtered, and the cries of the grounders were directed back towards the Drop Ship, Clarke rose up onto her toes and pressed her lips to Bellamy’s. It was a chaste kiss, quick and simple, but as she drew away, she found his mouth following. A hand cupped the back of her neck and her free hand gripped at his arm.

They pulled away and she smiled, before turning back to the wall as the grounders rushed it again.

 

 

 

 

Clarke’s story began and ended with fire.

She could hear Jasper and Raven yelling to each other inside the Drop Ship as she sliced through a man she swore she recognised. A woman to her right swung her blade at her, but Clarke parried and stuck out her foot, tilting it around the enemy’s ankle and tripping her, before her blade entered the grounder’s stomach.

There was yelling to get inside the Drop Ship next. And Clarke fought her way towards it. Nearby, Bellamy was still outside, fighting Tristan – the military leader of the grounders.

“Bellamy, go!” She yelled to him, slicing through the next man and making her way towards him.

“No, get inside!” He called back, ducking and hitting the grounder with his gun. He was out of ammo. She made her way to them, swiping out at Tristan with her blade – but he was a military leader for a reason, and he caught the blade with his own. They fought it out, cutting and swiping at each other, until blood dripped over her eyes. Bellamy was nearby, on the ground, still breathing but possibly unconscious. This was it for them, she realised.

 

 

 

 

Clarke’s story began and ended with fire.

As she fought, Bellamy awoke, and she made a quick move with her katana, stabbing it into Tristan’s chest and then pulling it out again. The Drop Ship door was about to close, and she pushed Bellamy up from the ground.

“Go!” She yelled to him. They found themselves running, and Bellamy jumped into the Drop Ship. Clarke didn’t. She couldn’t make the leap that he could – the one that Anya made straight after. And while she was worried for his life – she was more worried for her own at that moment. The grounders surged forward, but she knew the fire would be coming at any moment.

So she ran. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her; ducking under blades and pushing people out of the way.

She had to make it away from the Drop Ship.

 

 

 

 

Clarke’s story began and ended with fire.

It began in a small hut, with candles burning as she cried into the air and her mother died, bleeding out in front of her. It ended with a ring of fire, shooting out from underneath the Drop Ship, setting fire to the men and burning them alive. Their bodies fell to the ground, charcoaled remains of skeletons. Every inch of them was turned into ashes.

Clarke fell, too. Her legs were burned and her skin bubbled and blistered.

“Yu gonplei ste odon,” she whispered to herself. Your fight is over.

 

 

 

 

Clarke’s story ended with fire.

 

 

 

Heda Clarke’s story began when she rose in the morning light, her skin red and raw, bleeding down her skin and making her cry out.

 

 

 

Heda Clarke’s story began in the ashes of the fire where Clarke died, and the next Commander of the grounders was born. Even if she had to go against herself and her own belief that no one deserved death, Heda Clarke would reclaim her birth right.

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