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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2. What The Ground Has To Offer

 

 

“What happened?” Clarke asked, rushing after him into the cave. They’d hugged and held each other, and then Clarke had seen the cuts and bruises, and she knew something had to be done.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Lincoln replied mildly. She caught his hand and he groaned, so Clarke looked down, immediately letting go when she saw the hole.

“What happened, Lincoln?” She ground out, her eyes ablaze. He sighed, leading her into the cave. They sat on the pelts and her friend started the fire before he spoke.

“They captured me because I had Octavia locked down here – which was your idea by the way,” he said first, giving her a pointed look. Clarke sighed, covering her eyes with her hands.

“I’m sorry, Linc.” He shook his head.

“I was tied in the top of the Drop Ship-“

“Drop Ship?” He nodded.

“It’s what they call the metal thing. Anyway, they kept me tied up there and the leader is the older brother of Octavia, it seems.”

“The girl?” He nodded again. “What’s the guy’s name?” Lincoln paused for a moment.

“Bellamy, I think.” Clarke let the name roll around her mind, it was sweet on her tongue when she repeated it back. It reminded her of spring and the flowers growing and she smiled a little. “He was the one who started the torture.” Clarke’s smiled vanished and turned into a scowl. Asshole Bellamy.

“Why?”

“Because their friend… Finn, or something, was stabbed with a poisoned blade and they needed some of the herbs I was carrying to cure him,” he replied with a sigh, running a hand over his shaven head. “They didn’t think we spoke English.”

“And they do now?”

“Octavia does.” Clarke nodded silently for a while, mulling over the words. So the sky people were dangerous; that was an annoying part. She had hoped for a peace treaty with them before Anya got out the swords and they’d go to war. Clarke was sick of wars – she hated trying to heal them, and she hated watching her friends and family die.

Lincoln had once told her (along with every other proud member of her village) that her father was a warrior, killed by a reaper. They looked upon that with great respect, before turning up their noses at her mother’s death.

As Clarke trudged back to the village, she considered Bellamy. She knew that pretty faces couldn’t be trusted (reason ninety five why she didn’t like Anya), but Lincoln had said that the girl – Octavia – was his sister. He seemed to be trying to protect her, in his strange, mixed up way.

Back at the village, only one person noticed they were gone at all. She claimed she wanted to go on a trek for a while, and Lincoln tagged along only for a wild animal to attack. They nodding approvingly and walked on, not questioning the not-so-animalistic marks on Lincoln’s skin.

He kept disappearing over the next few days, and she could easily place a bet on where to. She would watch him in the early morning, walking home, and late at night, sneaking off. So, when she hadn’t actually seen him all day, and realised that her supplies in his cave were running low, she decided to go out there by herself.

It wasn’t a too-long walk, and she made her way there quite easily. She took the steps quietly, one at a time, and noticed the light already coming from his den. So, she descended the remaining steps and turned the corner to find him on the ground, above the girl.

“Oh, Lincoln!” Clarke cried, raising a hand to block the image. The two scrambled on the ground, trying to find some pelts to cover them. “I could have lived my entire life without seeing that.” She heard Lincoln chuckle, but her eyes were staring determinedly at the ceiling.

“It’s okay, you can look,” he told her, a smile in his voice. Hesitatingly, she lowered her hand and turned to the couple, watching her from underneath the pelts. Then she sighed.

“Anya would throw a fit if she knew this was happening,” she told him, moving through the cave to find her healing supplies.

“That’s why you’re not going to tell Anya,” he replied easily.

“What’s going to stop me?” She asked. Lincoln looked at her for a second before cracking a smile.

“I’ll change the pencil trees without telling you.” Clarke paused, looking over to her best friend as she narrowed her eyes. She needed those pencil trees, really. The coves the pencils were hidden in had been the same since they found the place. And now the sky people were here, she wouldn’t be able to wander into a bunker as easily.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she told him. He raised an eyebrow.

“Wouldn’t I?” They stared at each other for a moment before she repenting, sitting down and crossing her legs as she brought the kit onto her lap.

“Fine. Our little secret.” She looked to Octavia then, who was watching the two of them with curiosity. “I am Clarke.”

“Octavia,” she said slowly, as if Clarke didn’t already know. Clarke nodded, checking through the vials in her bag. “Were you the one patching me up?” Clarke nodded again, absently.

“She’s a healer,” Lincoln supplied. “It’s what she does.”

“But aren’t I the enemy?”

“I heal those with a heartbeat,” Clarke replied without looking up. “I do not care where they come from.” She knew Octavia would be watching her carefully, so she continued about her work. The other two sat, talking quietly as Lincoln explained that Clarke was there the entire time he was in the Drop Ship, and that she was probably the healer behind Jasper, too.

“The boy with the goggles?” Clarke asked, sitting up. Octavia nodded, her expression open, and Clarke assumed that they were never taught that it was a weakness. “Yes, he was to be killed. I wanted to save him.” Octavia stared a little longer.

“Thank you,” she told her earnestly. Clarke didn’t reply, but she studied the girl. She had seen her close up before – when she was fixing her wounds, but never like this. The girl was gorgeous, to put it short, with the long brown hair, beautiful eyes, strong jaw. She could have easily been born into Clarke’s village and she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

“Where did you come from?” Clarke asked next.

“Space,” Octavia replied. “There are one hundred of us, and we were sent to Earth to see if it’s survivable.”

“They were all criminals,” Lincoln added in.

“But most of our crimes were petty,” Octavia replied. “I’m here because I was born. Jasper and Monty smoked something they weren’t supposed to – I think Miller stole something. But there are a few murderers, admittedly.”

“What about your brother?” Clarke asked, because she remembered that he looked older than the rest – the automatic leader. Octavia sighed, rolling her eyes.

“Bellamy. He wasn’t a criminal – he shot the Chancellor, our leader – to get onto the Drop Ship, so he could protect me.” Clarke eyed her for a moment, wondering how a protective man such as him could also torture Lincoln. She voiced this and Lincoln stared into the fire, while Octavia swallowed, not meeting her eyes. “He felt like he had to,” was all she said on the matter.

Clarke agreed to come back another day, when she was done with the supplies, and speak with Octavia then. But she informed her that they should really have a meeting with someone on her side, to express that they don’t want a war. She left after that.

Clarke was sent out to scout the sky people a couple of times after, so she’d sit in the trees and watch them all go by. They had these large black things now – someone called them ‘guns’, which sent dread racing through her veins. The girl who Jaha called ‘Raven’ had fixed up the radio, and it seemed that Bellamy was not amused with this in the first place.

She still watched the man, even though he hurt her best friend. He didn’t seem too bad – but he was on a form of power trip, and they all knew it. So, she followed him when he went hunting.

It was a group of five, and they split up, Bellamy claiming he could go by himself as they others went in twos. His eyes were always reaching the trees, searching for grounders as much as they were for animals. She walked behind, silently, through the undergrowth, staying crouched and watching carefully.

But then he stopped, so she did, too. He looked around once, turning a full circle and eyeing everything.

“I know you’re out there,” he announced. Clarke figured she should get up – it seemed like the easiest way to not get hurt. So she did. She stood up in full view and Bellamy’s eyes landed on her, widening and his hands tightening on his gun.

“Hello,” Clarke said, raising her empty hands as a gesture of surrender. Bellamy didn’t reply, just narrowed his eyes. The gun was aimed at her, and she told herself that this was a good idea – it had to be. “Bellamy, please do not shoot.” He faltered, toying between lowering the gun and keeping it pointed at her chest.

“How do you know my name?” He asked.

“I have been watching for quite some time,” she replied. “Plus, your sister is fairly talkative.”

“What did you do to her?” He demanded next. She furrowed her brow, before lowering her arms.

“Nothing. She just speaks openly and freely. Nice girl,” Clarke added. Bellamy lowered the gun a little more, but it was still in a position to fire.

“Why are you following me?” She shrugged.

“You’re interesting.” And that was all there was to it, he held the gun by his side, studying the girl opposite him. Clarke had blonde hair, braided and flowing loose. She had similar tribal tattoos to Lincoln, on her right arm – but he couldn’t see that. She had been given them when she became a fully-fledged healer, and they’d hurt like a bitch (the irony of which was not lost on her).  Clarke never wore the masks that her brethren wore, but instead had messy lines of war paint, where she’d dragged her fingers across her face. On her back was a katana, and she had several concealed knives, too.

She knew she looked dangerous, but he lowered his gun anyway.

“So you know Lincoln?” He asked carefully. She nodded.

“He’s my best friend – but we shouldn’t talk about this out here.” He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “The trees have ears.” Bellamy tensed a little, and looked around – and while neither of them could directly see another grounder, she knew that there would be one, somewhere. However, she suspected it was Lincoln.

Bellamy nodded, and walked a couple of metres behind her, as she lead him to the cave. There, she lit the fire, and stared at him for a while; noting that he had a smattering of freckles across his face, and a scar above his lip. His hair was no longer slicked back like it used to be, and she saw it ruffled and curling at the tips. Clarke tried not to smile – he had been the one to hurt Lincoln, after all.

“Are your people going to attack us?” He asked at last, breaking the silence they had formed together. She nodded.

“Most likely. You come from the sky, are there more?” He sighed, nodding again.

“A couple thousand more, yes.” Clarke bit her tongue, wondering what this meant for her people. She refused to get into a war – she just wouldn’t do it. “Will you help in the attack?”

“If I am drafted, I have to. But I am a healer, not a warrior.”

“Octavia said you healed her.” She nodded. “Thank you.” Clarke stared at the man opposite her, obviously uncomfortable in the cave, but subconsciously sinking into the pelts underneath him.

“I do not wish to betray my people,” she told him. “But I do not want a war.”

“Finn’s set up a meeting with your leader,” Bellamy commented. Clarke froze for a moment, and she decided that must have been what Lincoln was doing that morning, when she had left to scout.

“He’s meeting Anya?” She asked.

“No, I am. I’m the leader.”

“What about Jaha?” She tilted her head to the side and Bellamy looked surprised.

“You know about Wells?” Clarke connected the two names together in her head, and she realised he was the one to heal Finn, after he was stabbed.

“I listen,” she replied simply. He stared for a moment before shaking her head.

“No, his father is the Chancellor on the Ark, and he just wants to keep us alive. I’m the oldest, though, and I’m the leader.” Clarke nodded, wondering if he was really a good leader or not. But, then again, Jaha seemed to be the more caring and considerate one of the job, but they still went for Bellamy anyway. She shrugged away the thought.

“Anya will kill you,” she announced. Bellamy stiffened all over again, staring with wide eyes. “You will be asked to bring no weapons, and they will kill you from the trees.”

“How do you know this?” He asked quietly.

“Because I listen,” she replied. “And because we have been doing it since before I was born.” He nodded, absorbing the information. Soon, they stood up to go – he needed to get back to his camp, and Clarke needed to go tell Lincoln just how bad an idea it was for the two leaders to meet. They moved to the stairs and both expected to go up first, bumping into each other.

“Sor-“ she was cut off when she noticed their proximity. Clarke stood there, barely breathing as Bellamy stared at her. She noticed how close they were; how easy it would be to move up and-

The moment was over. Bellamy coughed, stepping back and letting her go first. She just nodded, turning quickly and making her way up the stairs. He’d tortured her best friend, anyway. Clarke slammed open the ceiling bars and climbed out, giving Bellamy a hand after.

She lead him back through the forest, until they were close enough to his camp to hear it.

“Be careful,” she told him. “I do not wish death on you.”

“Why not?” He asked as she turned to go. Clarke paused – why not? She didn’t know, not really. It would be completely understandable to wish death on him. So she took a breath before answering.

“You tortured my best friend,” she said, turning around. “You hurt him and kidnapped him from his own home and have killed a couple of my people so far, since you landed in our territory. But I do not wish death on you.” He was watching her carefully, and she imagined that if she were him, she would be doing the exact same thing. “I wish death on no one. You do not deserve death. And especially not at Anya’s hand.”

She watched him swallow, and move closer. Not far, but a little.

“Did you save Jasper, too?” She nodded at this. “And you’ve been watching our camp since the beginning?” She nodded again. “Are you a good shot?” This time, she the corners of her lips rising at the thought of her and a bow and arrow was all the answer he needed. “And you never killed any of our people?” Bellamy had moved closer with each thought, and he was near enough that she could reach out and touch him. But she couldn’t. Because he was from the sky and she was from the ground – and Lincoln might be able to bend the rules, but she knew he would be banished for it.

Instead, she kept her hands firmly by her sides and looked him in the eye.

“Be safe.” Then she turned, running through the trees and scaling one. She looked down to find his eyes passing through the leaves, trying to spot her, so she ducked out of sight, waiting until he shrugged and trudged back into camp.

Back at the village, a man handed her a bow and arrow. Anya stalked up to her before climbing onto her horse.

“You will be in the trees,” she commanded. Clarke gripped the arrow tightly. “If you get a clear shot, you will take it.” She watched Anya ride off on her horse, and followed behind, on foot. There were six of them, to climb the trees, and Clarke situated herself on a branch near the bridge. It was the dividing barrier between Anya’s camp and the sky people’s.

She sat silently, arrow notched. But she didn’t want to fire on Bellamy – she didn’t want to fire on the sky people. It wasn’t that he was attractive, and had begrudgingly formed a small crush on him. It was for Lincoln’s sake, too – it was because she could see Octavia and Lincoln, standing side by side at the other end of the bridge, and she wondered if Lincoln was a traitor now.

She wondered if she would be, too, if she didn’t take a shot.

Lincoln moved, though, forwards ahead of the sky people on the bridge, until he reached the middle. Anya moved from her horse and they stared at each other. Words were exchanged and Clarke couldn’t hear them. After, Lincoln glanced back to his girlfriend before walking to Clarke’s side of the bridge. She swallowed. Was he picking a side?

Then Bellamy moved forward and she pulled back the string of her bow, following him along the bridge. Lincoln disappeared from sight, and Clarke glanced around. All she saw were the people on the bridge. However, down by the side of it, she caught movement. A boy with a gun.

Jasper, she thought.

He wore goggles around his neck, and his gun was trained on Anya – could she let him shoot her? Or was he there as a backup? Clarke didn’t know, but she didn’t really want to find out. She lowered her bow, glancing between the other trees. Anya and Bellamy were speaking now, and it was clear to the grounders that the sky people had declared war. They had blown up a village, south of them, but Bellamy spoke loudly about them being flares to signal the people on the Ark – before they had created a radio.

Anya was having none of it, and Clarke heard a bird call through the trees. A warning to take the shot. She pulled back the string again, aiming it at Bellamy’s chest and took three long breaths.

“Don’t do it,” a voice hissed beside her. Clarke jumped a little, clutching the tree for balance. The arrow stayed on the bow.

“I have my orders,” she replied.

“You can’t do what Anya says,” he told her.

“She’s in charge.”

“She’s a bitch.” Clarke rolled her eyes.

“I know that, but if I don’t shoot, I’m a traitor.”

“You’re already a traitor,” Lincoln told her. “You were the day you screamed for the baby, left in the woods. You were when you kept that boy alive, and when you fixed up Octavia. And you certainly were when you didn’t kill Bellamy in the first place, and instead brought him to my cave.” She stared at him, wide eyed. Only Lincoln was allowed to see her weakness. “Do not do this.”

Clarke looked back to the bridge, where Bellamy was struggling to hold on to the conversation and Anya was getting restless because no one was dead yet. And then she turned to Lincoln and nodded.

“I know what is right,” she said to him. “And war is not the answer.” She heard the bird call again, but ignored it, taking the arrow and sliding it back into the pouch on her back. Lincoln nodded reassuringly, and they climbed down the tree together. If Clarke didn’t shoot Bellamy – someone else would.

They made it to the end of the bridge, where Kensuk glared at them.

“Why didn’t you do it?” He hissed – but it was loud enough to draw Anya’s attention. Clarke didn’t reply, just glared levelly at the woman on the bridge. She scowled back, before turning to Bellamy and stepping away.

“Yu don yu klin, Klark,” Anya told her. That translated into ‘you have made your choice, Clarke’, and she knew it to be true. Clarke nodded, regret seeping into her stomach. She could have made the shot and stayed, although in a war, in a place that would protect her. But she made the call to leave – leave her home and the family she had forged. All because she didn’t want to start a war, or kill the boy with the olive skin.

Clarke strode across the bridge and stood next to Bellamy. “I am sorry,” she said. “But I will not help begin a war, and I will not kill a member of the Skai Kru – not when they do not deserve it.” She felt Bellamy’s eyes searing into her skin, but she didn’t care. (She had told him that no one deserves death – yet she knew herself to be a hypocrite because she had killed anyway.)

“And what about Lincoln?” Anya asked coldly.

“Lincoln can make his own decisions.” She turned, then, to walk down to where the sky people stood, unsure. She was not one of them, but Octavia still smiled anyway. She looked down the bridge, and Lincoln stayed put. Octavia’s smile faded at that, but Clarke shook her head.

“He knows what he is doing,” she told her. She would not get shot with an arrow – not until they’d received the orders. And Clarke didn’t know how quickly they’d come, so she moved behind the sky people and announced that they should go back to camp.

“Why?” Raven asked, staring at her as if she were poison.

“Because there are five armed warriors in the trees, with the arrows pointed at you.” With that, she turned and walked into the tree line, away from the bridge, and heard the rest of them follow only moments later. There was the sound of gunfire, but after that, it was silent.

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