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they all die in the end (but not really)

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The delinquents didn’t need a reason. That phrase was whispered among the criminal underworld and the mercenaries alike. The delinquents didn’t need a reason any more than they needed permission - to slaughter a gang, to kill an army, or to change the course of history. If the delinquents decide to come for you then you were already halfway to your grave. Nobody knew who they were or where they come from or who they worked for or how they chose their jobs. Nobody knew if it was a company that recruited people or if it were the same people training others like them. The Delinquents have been in the nightmares and prayers and whispers of armies and smugglers and victims for as long as anyone can remember. They were almost a myth. Almost. 



Clarke always thought the name was quite ridiculous. It was started by some king two or three centuries ago, maybe. She didn’t put the effort into remembering anymore. They had started calling them that because of the recklessness the delinquents operated with. It literally meant juvenile offenders. They were offenders, maybe. But Juvenile, no, far from it. They were immortals. Almost.

 

 


 

JASPER



Jasper sat down with a grunt. He regretted bringing the sniper rifle in his bag. But then again he didn’t like to be parted from it. Others on the table looked up at him in acknowledgment. Bellamy gave a side nod before going back to his book. Raven was showing Octavia something on her laptop, talking rapidly like a podcast played in double speed. Miller and Jackson were in their own world, half-asleep and hungover. Only Echo seemed to be genuinely interested in scanning the area, she was always the most skeptical one. Side effects of being a spy, Jasper thought.

 

“What?” Jasper said with hurt in his voice. “I don’t even get a hello? How are you?” 

 

“You called this meeting on a Sunday morning while we were on vacation. What did you expect?” Raven said in a dismissive tone.   

 

“Nice to see you too, Raven, you look good.” Jasper cheerily replied. “It was urgent.”

 

“When is it not,” Octavia muttered under her breath. 

 

“Where is Clarke? And Murphy?” He asked, looking around. 

 

Bellamy put his book down and picked up his cup of coffee before answering, “Murphy is Murphy. And when has Clarke ever stuck to a schedule unless it’s business. She sets her own schedule. She always has.”

 


 

CLARKE

 

The Sunday bazaar on the streets of Calcutta looked almost the same as it had for the last two centuries. The smell of spices and fish invaded her lungs. Clarke glided through the crowd looking for their designated coffee house. Her blonde hair and pale skin stood out in the crowd, gaining unwarranted attention. Initially, she had not wanted to do this in such a public place but Jasper had insisted that it was urgent. And this was the closest place for all of them to come together so quickly. Most of them had landed or drove or sailed here last night.

 

She was late. Her bike had broken down midway and she had to take the train. She could feel the exhaustion in her bones. 

 

She clutched the rucksack on her shoulder tightly as the coffeehouse came into view. She regretted wearing the leather jacket over the hoodie. It gave her some anonymity but the weather was hot as hell. A figure joined her from her left swiftly. She would have sliced the intruder’s throat, had she not recognized those footsteps and the faint smell of whisky coming from his body. 

 

“Hello, princess.” He said with his habitual smirk.

 

“Thought you had started the meeting already,” Clarke said, looking around the area for anything unusual.

 

“Couldn’t do it without you, boss,” Murphy smirked, he knew how much Clarke hated being princess or boss or anything other than her name. She was too exhausted to dive into their usual bickering, so she just nodded her head. 

 

She spotted the others easily in the coffeehouse. Raven was moving his hands animatedly to the others who listened to him with smiles on their faces. Must be one of his wild stories, Clarke thought. 

 

“There she is,” Miller said to the others as she approached the group. Everyone turned their attention to her and gave her a nod or a smile. She smiled in return. It was good to see them all happy and alive. Even Jasper seemed radiant. Jasper had a new haircut, Clarke noticed. Somehow it made him look older.

 

“Hello, Jasper,” Murphy smirked. “You look sober, the first time in what, five years?”

 

“I am clean,” Jasper said, indignantly. “And sober. Are you?” 

 

Before Murphy could retort and escalate the matter even further, Bellamy put a hand on his shoulder. “Leave it, Murphy.”

 

“This better be worth it, Jasper,” Clarke said, taking her seat. 

 

“Carl Emerson reached out again,” Jasper said.

 

“Emerson, the guy from the assignment in Colombia last year. He was CIA, or was it FBI?” Bellamy asked, intrigued. 

 

“Ex-CIA. And yes he was the contact for the rescue operation in Colombia.” Jasper turned on his Ipad and gave it to Raven. 

 

“You can tell him, we pass,” Clarke said. 

 

“But Clarke-” Jasper started.

 

“Jasper, I love you, so help me, Zeus, if you say another word before I have had my coffee, I will slit your throat. Then, I will do it again.”

 

“Wouldn’t be the first time.” Raven snickered. Her hands were busy connecting Jasper’s Ipad to her laptop. 

 

“Or the fifth,” Murphy added, taking a flask of whisky out of his jacket.

 

Clarke grinned and opened up her rucksack. “Here, Bell, I got you something.” She held out an old hardcover book. 

 

Bellamy eagerly took it and opened up the first page.

 

“What is it?” Octavia craned her neck to see.

 

“The great gatsby, signed first edition,” Bellamy said with surprising delight. “Thank you, Clarke. This couldn’t have been cheap.”

 

“It wasn’t.” Clarke shrugged nonchalantly, picking up the menu. Once their respective drinks and food arrived, she turned her attention back to Jasper. “So, what were you saying, Jas?”

 

“Emerson wants to meet Clarke,” Jasper said. “He is here in Mumbai. We can go see him tomorrow.”

 

“We don’t do repeats, especially these days. You know that, Jasper. It’s too risky.” Clarke said. 

 

“He’s saying it’s urgent. He is offering a lot of money.” Jasper said to the rest of the group in hopes that someone might get interested because of the money. But who was he kidding? Everyone seemed to be waiting for Clarke’s decision. 

 

“With men like him, it’s always urgent.” Murphy quipped.

 

“And always a lot of money,” Octavia added. 

 

A chorus of their different notification alerts chirped up.

 

“And you have had a lot of experiences with men like him, haven’t you, Murph?” Octavia replied teasingly.

 

“Not more than you-”

 

“I have sent all the information to your devices,” Raven interrupted Murphy. She scrolled through her screen. “It looks like a hostage situation.”

 

“There are kids involved,” Jackson said, sitting up straight, putting his hands on the table. 

 

“It is a private corporation, Emerson is working with. Mount Weather Pharma.” Bellamy said to Clarke who was too busy cutting through her french omelet and still disinterested. “A group of armed men attacked one of their relief foundations. They killed the teachers and abducted the students at gunpoint.”

 

“The girls, they took the girls,” Jasper added, looking hopefully at Clarke. 

 

Clarke halted her fork mid-air. She always had a soft spot for her team. How they all falsely believed she was a good person. She smiled. 

 

“Raven?” She said and resumed her breakfast. Raven, their tech-genie was one of her oldest allies. Raven had always used her time to catch up with the technological advancement of each decade. In fact, Clarke was pretty sure that Raven was a few decades ahead of the world in some cases. 

 

“Yeah,” Raven started at her usual faster-than-normal pace. “I cross-checked with the local newspapers, police reports, and Radio transcripts. The story holds. I have the satellite images as per Emerson’s co-ordinates. There has been activity in the compound since last night. It’s legit.”

 

Clarke nodded and placed her fork down. Done with her breakfast, she scanned the menu for something sweet. 

 

“I wouldn’t have brought it up if it weren’t legit,” Jasper said like an eager puppy. 

 

Clarke turned to Echo for much-needed rationality. Echo was a spy in KGB in the 1950s. She was probably the most rational person in the group after Clarke. She had this calm, detached, practical thinking process that Clarke admired. 

 

“Check if they have any connections with Tree Crew Securities.” Echo said after some careful thinking. Clarke shot her an appreciative smile, thanking her for the reminder.

 

“On it.” Raven typed away at her computer. The others picked up the conversation about other menial things. Their new and old hobbies. Bellamy’s new car. Jackson’s old records and Octavia’s getaway in the mountains. Murphy was sleeping again or pretending to be, his mouth hanging open. Echo scrolled through the satellite maps on her phone, zooming in and out several times. Clarke picked up the newspaper. 

 

“It’s clear,” Raven said after a while. “I have checked and cross-checked every accessible database. Tree Crew Securities have no involvement whatsoever.”

 

“So?” Jasper returned to Clarke. 

 

“This isn’t a picnic, Jasper.” Murphy snickered.

 

Clarke tapped her fingers on the table. She was thinking. Tree Crew securities have been after them for a long time. Forty or fifty years even. But they had doubled their efforts in the past few years - trying to lure them into traps and fake assignments. Raven and Octavia have been successful at duping them so far both in the physical and virtual world. But the threat was still there. And as the leader of the so-called delinquents, it was her job to keep them safe and away from such traps.  

 

“The photos of the port, they are being held in…” Bellamy said,  “There is no sign of food or water being brought in.”

 

“So they are not staying there long.” Echo supplied. 

 

“Or worse, they are gonna split up and we will never find them again,” Octavia said. 

 

“It’s got to be done fast and it’s got to be done by the best,” Jasper added.

 

“And we are the best,” Murphy smirked, pouring whisky into his coffee.    

 

Clarke stood up and put her jacket back on. They all looked up to her in silent questioning. She sighed and dropped a fifty on the table. 

 

“Fine.” She said. “We leave tonight. Bell, Echo, and I will go to meet Emerson to finalize about the finances.”

 

They all nodded respectively, packing up their belongings and getting ready to leave the coffeehouse.

 

“Jasper and Murphy, get the chopper and the gear.” 

 

Jasper looked at Murphy in slight disgust. “Yes, boss.” 

 

“Raven, you know what you have to do. Erase the money trail after it is transferred. Jackson, we might have some injured civilians. Prepare the field medical kits. We will discuss more later.”

 

Raven closed her laptop and fiddled with her cables to put them in order as Jackson nodded in agreement. 

 

“And O, I want you to shadow us in our meeting. I still don’t trust Emerson. Keep an eye from above. See if anything’s unusual.”

 

Octavia gave a mock-salute. “Si, jefa.”

 

Clarke almost smiled at Octavia’s nuances. But she saw the look they were giving her. Like she was some sort of a saint to look up to. She was not. Everything good inside her had died a long time ago. She was not the good guy anymore. If thousands and thousands of years have taught her anything, it is that there are no good guys. 

 

“Don’t get your hopes up, Jasper, we haven’t talked money yet.” She said with one of her wicked smiles. “See you tonight.” She picked up her rucksack and left the coffeehouse. "When it's our time -"

 

"It's our time." They all replied.




 

LEXA

 

Lexa stared at the budget reports but did not read them. Her back was aching from sitting too long in the same position. The accounts guy was presenting some data related to their quarterly performance. This meeting could have been concluded without her but Titus was adamant that she joined it. 

 

In retrospect, Titus has been adamant about a lot of stuff lately. Or maybe he always has been and she was noticing it now. Since turning twenty-two four months ago, her life has been quite hectic. She finished her Master’s in Business and gradually assumed her role as the CEO of TCS with Titus as her advisor, just like her parents had wanted. 

 

Truthfully, she missed the gym. She hadn’t been there in months. Although she wasn’t the best at combat, she liked the honesty of it.  She could’ve been better if Titus had let her train. Instead, he forced her to sit at every boring meeting, attend pretentious galas, and go through every report. She missed the sweat and physical exertion of a good spar with Indra or Anya. Anya.

 

Her fleeting thoughts halted on Anya. Anya had left for one of their most awaited assignments with her team a few days ago. Anya was leading the team, in fact. Lexa trusted Anya. She was their best shot at catching the Delinquents. Lexa wished she could go with her. But Lexa was stuck here in this boardroom while Anya was out there catching the most wanted criminals of all time like the badass she was. 

 

Anya had been fourteen when she had decided that she wouldn’t take part in any management. She loved fighting. It was her thing. By default, Lexa was the one who had to take over. Tree Crew, as her grandfather had fondly named it, was a defense, securities, and intelligence company, which meant most of the fun happened in the gym and field.

 

“Lexa?” Titus nudged her by her elbow. His frustration was evident in his tone.

 

“Yes?” Lexa said, putting on her best stoic mask. Titus glanced towards the head of the accounting department who was eagerly waiting for her reaction.

 

They had done well last quarter. Their overall profits were even higher than projected. They were doing great like they always had. Then what was the guy droning on about for so long?

 

“Jerry,” She patted herself mentally for remembering his name. “Well done. And the team as well. You guys are doing a fantastic job. I appreciate your commitment to the betterment of this company.” The accounts’ head was preening by this point. “Send me a brief report on the Arms and weaponry section. We could use some cuts there. Again, good job.”

 

Titus was giving her a disappointed glare which Lexa truly hated. After her father had died that night, Titus was everything she and Anya had left. He was there for them as much as he could. He was her father’s best friend and now her advisor. In her absence, Titus had been managing the company and taking it to new heights for twelve years. Now that she was twenty-two, she was the CEO of the company. But she still relied upon his advice for every crucial decision. But just because she trusted him, didn’t mean she liked him. 

 

He stood up as soon as the room emptied. He walked up to the minibar overlooking the cityscape. He poured whisky in two glasses and handed one to Lexa as he sat down. 

 

“You were distracted.” He said in his usual condescending tone. “As their commander-in-chief, you should be focused-”

 

“I know.” She sighed. He really wanted to get on her nerves today. She gulped the alcohol down in one swig, she wasn’t sure she could get through this conversation without alcohol.

 

“You don’t act like you know.” He raised his voice. “I had expected more from you.”

 

“I know. I was trying. It-it’s…” Would he even care if she told him? “I am worried about Anya. I do understand why she had to go but I am worried.” 

 

He turned around, piercing her with a cold gaze. His red tie was a sharp contrast to the bright blue sky outside. He stepped closer to her and took a seat at the nearest chair, prompting her to look at him.

 

“Lexa,” He tried to soften his voice. “Anya trained her whole life for this. She was ready. We might not get an opportunity like this again. We have waited too long for justice. Your parents, your town, your people deserve this. And Anya is just there to make sure we catch them all.”

 

She understood that. She had approved the mission. She was aware of Anya’s capabilities. Still, Anya was her sister. Her only family. 

 

“But it would all be wasted if you keep getting distracted like this. We all have our jobs and responsibilities. We can’t afford mistakes and distractions especially in a position like yours. Do you understand what I am saying?”

 

She hated him sometimes. Wasn’t she allowed to be selfish for one moment? She should have taken the day off. “Yes, I understand.” She closed her eyes, trying to relax. 

 

When she opened them, she was standing in a dockyard in the dark. She blinked again. Walls of containers on both sides. What the fuck?  She could smell the salt and blood in the air. She was holding swords in both her hands. The swords were coated in a thick layer of blood. In front of her, a man hit another with the back of his gun.

 

“Thank me later, Princess.” said the man who had defended her.

 

She blinked and she could hear Titus’s voice again who was oblivious to her predicament.

 

“- Good.” He said, opening up his laptop again. “We have another meeting with Mount Weather in thirty minutes. Let’s go over the objectives once again.”

 

“We already went over that,” Lexa stated, regaining some of her postures. She could feel the early waves of a headache coming. She hadn’t eaten anything in eight hours. “I am not accepting their proposal. It’s shady. There have been reports of illegal human experiments from their labs. And from what I hear, they are under federal investigation as well. Why do they need so many armed guards for a lab? I don’t want Tree Crew to be involved in it.”

 

Titus loosened his tie before speaking. “I would disagree with you. Why do they need such protection is none of our business. It’s a multinational company. They are potential A-tier clients. They are offering more payment than usual. And which pharma company is not involved in experimentation. You can’t let your personal feelings cloud your judgment. They value us as a company. I say we should do the same.”

 

Lexa disagreed with him. It didn’t feel right. Her head was throbbing. “We can’t reach a decision like this Titus. I understand the potential but if they are seriously involved in some illegal businesses, we will be protecting them in it.”

 

“It’s a good business opportunity is all I am saying. And every good opportunity has its risks. Just listen to what they have to say about it.” He leaned back in his chair. “I hear, Dante Wallace will be handing over the business to his son Cage Wallace. He has been grooming him for the role since he was a child. And what a handsome young man Cage has turned out to be. Both of your stories are quite similar - ”

 

“Titus, you realize I am gay, right?” Lexa said, somewhat angrily. She couldn’t believe she was having this conversation with him right now.

 

“Of course,” he said. “I know. But think about it.”

 

“You are suggesting that I think about marrying someone I will never be able to love, for what? Business?” She didn’t even put in the effort to hide her frustration.  

 

“Lexa, love is -”

 

She raised a finger to say something but suddenly, her hands were gloved. She blinked in hopes of clearing the view. But it did not work. She was in a crouching position behind a shipping container. She was near water, she could tell from the sound of waves hitting rocks somewhere nearby. The air smelled like metal and blood. Her eyes took their time to adjust to the darkness. Then she heard gunfire, loud and close. There were screams and curses in different accents. Something was weighing down her hands. She looked at her own hands. They were scratched and bruised and not hers. She gasped as she noticed a deep slice near her abdomen, just beneath some sort of armor.

 

A gun fired just around the corner. Her instincts kicked in as he reached behind her back to find a gun. It wasn’t there. Why didn’t she have a fucking gun? A shadow landed behind her with a resounding thump. They were holding a gun. Lexa felt her heart pounding. She fumbled with the swords, not knowing how to distribute their weight properly. 

 

“Boss?” The shadowy figure had a female voice. “You okay there?” They asked. As they came closer, Lexa noticed that their face was covered with a scarf but she sounded young, almost her age. “You seem pale.” The figure said.

 

“What the fuck is taking so long, Echo?” A voice shouted from somewhere behind them. “I can’t hold them off forever. We gotta go.”

 

“Just getting her out of here.”  The figure said. “Let’s go, boss.” They said to Lexa. Lexa’s face was one of fright and confusion. But it was covered in some sort of scarf like the figure before her. As Lexa tried to stand up, another figure in professional tactical gear turned the corner of the container. 

 

Lexa would have recognized her anywhere. She had seen her too many times in the same gear, lounging on her office sofa. 

 

“Anya,” Lexa said, getting up. But Anya pointed a gun at her like she didn’t recognize her at all. The figure on Lexa’s left, Echo, or whatever, pointed her gun at Anya in response. In a quick motion, Lexa wrestled the gun out of Echo’s hands. But before she could get back to her sister, another figure had come up behind Anya. The new fighter landed the pommel of their sword on the back of Anya’s head as Lexa watched it happen in slow motion. The force of the sword toppled her sister to the ground as blood trickled down from under her helmet. 

 

“NO!” Lexa screamed. 

 

Suddenly, there was too much light. She squinted her eyes at the floor to ceiling windows, trying to make the pain in her head stop, trying to go back to her sister. She was sweating profusely. Her own heart was hammering a ragged rhythm and her lungs already felt tight. Her body was numb and aching and the light seemed impenetrable. She could hear Titus’s distant voice; people rushing in through the door. She felt like she was dying.

 

Then, everything went black. 


 

The trojan war (A page from Clarke's sketchbook)

Chapter Text

CLARKE

 

The chopper dropped altitude once the harbor came into view. The dock was filled with containers in various colors and sizes. Clarke could smell the scent of fish and salt in the air. 

 

Clarke rubbed the oilstone back and forth on the edge of her sword. Sometimes the friction between stone and metal produced little sparks that were visible in the low light of early dusk. She tried to focus on that. Her swords were already as sharp as glass but she needed something to do with her hands.

 

Why had she agreed to this, again? Money, right. They had offered a superfluous amount of money. But it wasn’t like she needed money. She had more than enough already. Her team had more than enough. But she chose to do this anyway. So, why? It wasn’t like their little missions were making any difference in the world. Her thoughts were interrupted by Octavia’s constantly bouncing legs.  

 

“Stop bouncing your leg, O.” Bell hissed. He was sitting opposite Clarke, between a very excited Octavia and a mildly interested Echo. He was trying to load his pistol before they landed. 

 

“Sorry.” Octavia sheepishly replied. The hilt of her Gladius sword was poking from behind her back. She adjusted her faded Yankees ballcap. “I am just nervous.”

 

Something in Bellamy’s expression softened. He put his pistols back in their holsters and held Octavia’s hand. A silent conversation happened between the siblings. The tension in Octavia’s shoulders lessened a few seconds after that. 

 

“I don’t get why you are nervous.” Murphy cocked his head. His rifle hung loosely from his shoulder. Half of his face was covered by his hoodie. He was sitting on Clarke’s left, with Miller in between. “It’s not like we can die.”

 

“There are worse things than dying, Murphy,” Clarke said. “You should know that by now.”

 

Murphy shook his head disapprovingly. 

 

“Besides,” Clarke continued. “Not everyone gets a thrill out of dying as you do.”

 

Murphy snickered. “I don’t get a thrill out of dying. I get a thrill out of living. If I am worried about staying alive, I forget about everything else. It’s like having sex, but deadlier.” 

 

“I just wish I would die one day in one of these battles,” Jasper said after a bit. He was seated at the front but his voice was audible in their earpieces. ”We might have a limited number of strikes that we can endure, you know. Like in video games-”

 

“I am sorry, Jas,” Miller interrupted with bewilderment, his knife hanging mid-air. The chopping board that he was using to cut small pieces of some explosive blocks, titled on his lap. “Did you just say video game? Since when do you play videogames?”

 

“Since they were invented,” Jasper said as if he was offended. “I think your old age is affecting your memory.”

 

“You are older than me!” Miller exclaimed.

 

“Shut up.” Clarke interrupted. Clarke noticed the pilot was holding up two fingers. Clarke held up her own two fingers signaling that she had seen his gesture

 

The chopper was to drop them two clicks away from the harbor where the hostages were being held. Raven and Jackson were already there in two non-descript vans beside their getaway boat. They had planned to rescue the children, put them in the vans, and drive them out of there while they waited in the exit transport. Raven was handling the technological aspect of it as always. Making sure no cameras or offsite transmissions were going out of the building. She was yet to make contact with them. 

 

The chopper was lowered to the ground a few minutes later. Clarke jumped out and held out a hand for Miller. When all seven of them had their feet on the ground, they started walking. 

 

The sun hung low in the sky and wind howled in the vast abandoned space. Clarke was walking in front with Miller and Echo on her sides. Murphy, Jasper, and Octavia walked behind them with Bellamy in the back. 

 

“According to Emerson’s intel, we are facing numbers. But mostly limited combat training.” Echo said as their targeted row of containers came into view. She adjusted the weight of her submachine gun across her shoulder. 

 

“Raven said that the perimeter defenses look insignificant,” Clarke added. “But we can expect resistance to strengthen once we are inside.”

 

Miller and Echo nodded. 

 

“Seventeen hostages are being held in a shipping container,” Jasper said from behind. His hands were itching over his holsters, ready to fire at those bastards. “The oldest is seventeen and the youngest is twelve.”

 

“We are getting all of them out. Alive.” Clarke stated. They all exchanged approving looks with each other. “When it’s our time-”

 

“It’s our time.” they all replied in unison.

 

By the time they reached the exact location, the night sky was adorned with a full moon. The air tasted of salt and decaying metal. The port they were in was abandoned by the country's government after they had failed to pay their loans. So, it was mostly run by organized crime mafias and private sector companies now. It was heaven for drug smugglers and human traffickers. 

 

Clarke signaled them to part ways when the rows and rows of containers became dense on both their sides. Murphy was instructed to find high ground. Bellamy and Octavia left to cover the right side as Clarke and Echo took the left. Jasper and Miller went through the middle. 

 

“Raven, come in,” Clarke said into her earpiece. Her handgun was held in front of her and her double cutlass swords were secure in their sheaths on her hips. Echo was covering her from behind as she scanned the corners and counted the rows that they were passing.

 

“This is Raven,” Raven answered through the radio. “Delinquents, requesting radio check-in.”

 

One by one, they all confirmed that they were able to hear Raven loud and clear. 

 

“I have visuals on y’all,” Raven said after a while. “You have already made it halfway through. The container is blue, the number is TCS12720. I repeat, Blue TCS12720.” 

 

“Got it, Rey.” Octavia said. 

 

“I can see four men in combat gear near it,” Murphy reported. 

 

“Just four?” Echo said behind her. She gave Clarke a look of disbelief. Clarke could sense it too. This seemed too easy. Why did Emerson need the best team for such an operation? Why would they waste so much money on a team like hers? But they were in too deep to back out now. 

 

“There is something fishy going on here,” Clarke said into her earpiece.

 

“Of course, there’s something fishy. This is a bloody harbor. Even I smell like rotten fish.” Miller joked, trying to lighten the tense situation.

 

“I am not joking, Miller.” Clarke seriously replied. “Let’s just get out of here as soon as possible.”

 

“As you say, boss,” Miller replied.  

 

They followed Raven’s direction through the dark spaces between containers. They had planned to meet in the middle, where the target container was placed, from three directions. Clarke had sent Murphy to the watchtower with his sniper. Under normal conditions, she would have sent Jasper. 

 

Jasper was better with sniper rifles but since Maya, he had not been very good at anything. She understood that he was grieving. He couldn’t be trusted so high above. In their last job, Jasper had not been able to land even one shot. He blamed it on the fog and smoke but they all knew those weren’t the only reasons.

 

She and Echo reached the end of the gully and waited for the others to confirm their position. Bellamy and Miller were in position after a minute or two. Clarke could see the guards’ silhouette in the shadows. There were indeed four guards stationed on each corner of the container. Why was this so easy, Clarke wondered again. She nodded at Echo to tell the others to begin. 

 

The man standing guard, watched into the night through night vision glasses, scanning the surrounding containers. Another man making rounds passed behind the binoculars-man. At that moment, binoculars-guard saw a muzzle-flash from the watchtower, but too late; a high-powered bullet went through both heads, one after the other. They dropped instantly.

 

“Gotcha, motherfucker.” Murphy murmured. He cocked the rifle again.

 

The six of them slightly spread out, silhouetted against the containers as they walked toward it. They reached the back of it. Miller, with a hoodie in place, moved forward, rifle ready to fire. Bellamy also had a rifle ready at the other side of the group. They aimed at the remaining two guards and shot them down before they could even blink.

 

They all gathered from their various points and moved toward their target, Clarke in the lead. They approached the thick, metal gates of the container. The others stood watch, poised and ready, as Miller placed the explosive at various points on the door. As he waited, Jasper stared warily at the pile of bodies of the guards that Octavia had created in a corner. 

 

Clarke reloaded her handgun. Miller nodded to Clarke. 

 

“Fall back.” Clarke signed. 

 

They all stepped away and turned their faces. A rather quiet blast destroyed the door. Clarke stepped up to the door as others spread out behind her. Rifles and swords stretched and ready to fire. 

 

She shined the flashlight inside the container. The container was filled with soldiers in full combat gear, their guns pointed at each one of her friends. They were standing right in the middle, with no covers whatsoever. 

 

“What the-” She gritted her teeth, lowering her gun.

 

“Puta Madre-” She heard Miller’s voice behind her. 

(~Spanish/Motherfucker)

They were being hit with multiple rounds of machine-gun fire as a dozen or so mercenaries stepped out of the shadowed container. The mercenaries continued firing until their weapons were empty. The delinquents jerked repeatedly as the bullets hit; perforating their skin. They fell to the ground. The mercenaries - shadowy, amorphous figures backlit by the moonlight - waited for a moment, machine-guns still aimed, to ensure that their targets stayed down.

 

Shell casings clattered to the floor. The leader of the mercenaries stepped out in front and looked down at the unmoving bodies. They nudged Octavia’s face with their foot. There was no reaction.

 

“All clear!” The leader said and ordered her team to find the rest.

 

The mercenaries lowered their weapons and gathered near their leader, chatting among themselves, taking their next orders.

  

On the ground, Clarke gasped. Her eyes focused on Echo’s face on her right, bloody and lifeless. She heard the soft crackling of flesh as her flesh healed. She took a soft breath, her eyes blinked. Beside her, she saw Echo’s pupils contract and regain focus. Echo spat out a bullet from her mouth as a bullet hole on her cheek filled up. Echo gasped a few more times before giving a slow nod to Clarke.

 

Jasper gasped quietly behind her. Octavia shifted her head, blinking; a bullet extruded from the skin near her eye and clinked on the floor. She groaned quietly. Her hands clutched the hilt of her sword on her back. Bellamy’s hand, resting a bare inch away from his rifle, grabbed the stock tightly. He winced as a bullet fell out of his forehead. Miller shifted beside him and gasped for a few seconds.

 

Clarke shifted her eyes upward to assess their enemies silhouetted against the lights coming from the watchtower. She brought a hand under her, raised her head, and began to push herself upward. The others did the same.

 

As Bellamy lifted himself, he immediately turned his head to find Octavia. He saw her looking back at him. They shared a nod. Echo groaned quietly as she pushed herself up, but it was heard; the leader turned to see the bodies moving.

 

“Bring out the collars and handcuffs!” The leader shouted at the other mercenaries as they scrambled to follow her. 

 

“Kinky much?” Octavia grumbled. 

 

Clarke rolled back her shoulders and cracked her knuckles as the mercenaries spread out in disarray, shouting warnings at each other and trying to reload. 

 

“Our Turn,” Clarke smirked, cocking her head to the side. 

 

Echo grabbed her pistols from her holster and sprinted towards their enemies. The men kept pace, spreading out to engage. 

 

“Fall back! Fall back!” The leader shouted as Octavia unsheathed her sword and glided from body to body, slicing, and cutting. Men fell all around her, grabbing their throats. 

 

Clarke’s eyes found Octavia as she drew her own sword. She held Octavia’s eye as they swam and cut through the incoming mercenaries. Clarke tapped on her left ear and Octavia realized their earpieces had gone silent. 

 

“Find Raven and Jackson,” Clarke shouted when Octavia was close enough.

 

“Roger that.” Octavia swung her sword, slashing another approaching man. She walked back into the shadows as Clarke took her place, covering her exit. 

 

Clarke charged with her double cutlass swords in both hands. She kicked an incoming man and slashed his thigh as he fell. She closed in with another, shoved his rifle aside, and backhanded him with it. She thrust the pommel of her sword into his head as he staggered backward. She grabbed his rifle, tossed it into the air; Miller snatched it.

 

Miller opened fire at the group approaching him. When they returned fire, he pushed further into their circle, thinking his skin would heal soon enough. Bellamy came beside him before he could position the rifle for firing. Bellamy shot the mercenary in front of them with his left hand. Miller aimed and fired at the others surrounding them.

 

Jasper turned sharply to the right to engage another enemy as Echo shot someone on his right. Bellamy moved forward, shooting anyone in front of Jasper. Miller has a pistol in his left hand and an ax in another. He covered them from the back. Men started falling around them in bloody deranged piles.  

 

Beside them, Clarke swung her swords viciously. Sound of sword cutting flesh and men crying as they fell on the ground echoed around her. As soon as one man was down, she spun to attack another and then another. She shot a man with his own pistol as she saw the leader approaching. She shook her arms and gripped her swords tighter. 

 

She blinked and suddenly she was faced with blinding light. She blinked again, trying to see. A bald man in a black suit and red tie was saying something in an American accent. 

 

“-Love is weakness. You have to remember that. Your father and I spent years building this company. Now all of it relies upon you. Am I clear, Lexa?”

 

Clarke felt like he was threatening her. There was something cold and detached in his eyes. She found herself nodding. She shook her head and blinked. 

 

She was back in the shipyard. Bellamy clubbed a man across his face with his pistol. He was saying something.

 

“Thank me later, Princess,” She read his lips. 

 

Clarke noticed Echo was also fighting by her side. She rebalanced her swords but a piercing pain shot through her head. No, no, no, no, no, no. This was not happening now. She sliced another throat out of sheer instinct. She fell back on the wall of the container. She panted, sucking in the air in an attempt to clear her mind. 

 

She stumbled, turned a corner to take cover between two other containers. Bellamy and Echo were engaged in keeping the mercenaries away from her. She felt like throwing up. Despite the cool breeze, she was suddenly drenched in sweat. Her head was resting against the metal body of the container. She shut her eyes. 

 

Suddenly, that strange man’s voice was back again. This time she knew what to do. She opened her eyes slowly. Her hand was mid-air and the bald man was looking at her expectantly. She cleared her throat. And when she spoke an unknown voice came out of her mouth. 

 

“Give me a minute.” She was surprised at how authoritative her voice sounded. The man let out an exasperated sigh as if she was an unruly child.

 

She lowered her hand and pushed her chair back. She noticed she was wearing a suit. Her eyes roamed around the room, taking note of every little detail. The room was fairly large and modern. It was well lit due to the floor to ceiling windows. She walked towards the windows and instantly recognized the mid-afternoon Washington D.C. skyline. So, she was in the states. She turned and sat back down on her chair. 

 

“Lexa, love is weakness.” The man started again. Did he say that same stupid line? “Mount weather pharma is the future-” 

 

“Could you please shut up for a moment?” She snapped and held his gaze for a moment. His face was priceless. He did not like being ordered even though from her position at the table, Clarke had concluded that this person had more authority than the bald man. 

 

He gulped and turned his red face away. Clarke closed whatever excel sheet and graphs were on the laptop screen in front of her. On the home screen, there was a picture of two girls sitting close to each other on some office couch. Which one was she, Clarke thought. Quickly, she found the front camera option and turned it on. 

 

She looked beautiful like the goddesses in ancient Greece. High cheekbones and forest green eyes. She touched the laptop screen, trying to memorize every freckle and crook. The bald man suddenly stood up with a storm in his eyes. He snapped the laptop close and stood over her with a menacing look. 

 

“Enough, Lexa! What has gotten into you?” He screamed. 

 

Clarke tried to stand up but stumbled back down on her chair as the pain shot through her head again. She closed her eyes. Every one of her senses felt as if it was on fire.

 

When she opened her eyes, she could hear the sea waves crashing against the harbor. She could smell gunpowder in the air again. She blinked and inhaled deeply. Murphy was looking at her curiously with his sword in his hands and an unmoving mercenary at his feet. Echo was kneeling beside her, her gun discarded behind her. She placed her hands on Clarke’s shoulders. 

 

“Clarke?” She spoke softly. “What’s wrong?”

 

“Everything.”

 


Alexandria Woods (21), from photoshoot for Forbes 30 under 30

Chapter Text

MURPHY

 

The view from above was troubling. The Delinquents were outnumbered seven to one. Clarke had warned them to anticipate trickery, the Tree crew, or whatever were on their tail for a long time. But they were putting in too much effort today. They were surrounded by mercenaries in tactical gear. He supposed it could have been worse; they could have been mortals and dead on the site. Then again, it would have been a blessing to die for once. 

 

Murphy crouched down to reload and couldn’t believe the sight that met his eyes. The delinquents were back on their feet and slicing down those mercenaries as if they were overgrown grass in a forest. He shouldn’t be surprised after all this time. But he was jealous that he wasn’t on the ground. He wasn’t their sniper. He liked to get his hands dirty. This was Jasper’s job. But Clarke always made them switch their usual roles every once in a while. Their immortality was uncertain, she’d said, so everyone needed to know everything. But he had known that the reason was not that simple. Jasper had fucked up last time. He had died three times that day. 

 

On the ground, he couldn’t get a clear view of the targets. They were moving too fast and there were too many of them. Through his scope, he watched Bellamy shoot a man in his mouth as Miller kicked another on his head. Their leader was shouting at someone to bring something. He followed the men through his scope and saw that they were unpacking collars and handcuffs from a crate. His breath hitched. They were not here to kill them but to capture them. 

 

The wind was in his favor for a moment and he took the chance. A bullet went through the head of one man and then through the throat of another. They both fell to the ground. He saw Jasper notice it. Jasper gave a small salute in his direction and stood near the crates so that no one could get to it. 

 

Next, he spotted Echo and Clarke wreaking havoc all around them, but Octavia seemed to be running in the opposite direction. Where was she going? At least six men were on her tail. Sometimes she stopped and fought some of them but it was hard running and wielding a sword at the same time. 

 

Raven and Jackson! He figured. They were near the boat, practically defenseless. Clarke must have sent Octavia to protect them because if these guys knew about them being here, they might know about Raven and Jackson too.

 

Octavia was struggling against four warriors now. Some were shooting at her while others tried to corner her. She was far from the main fight, nobody could get there soon enough. 

 

He leaped from the watchtower to the roof of a container. He threw his rifle over on one shoulder and drew his sword. He ran lightly over the tops of the containers, making his way down the row to Octavia. It was easy enough. None of them expected the threat to come from above. He slid to the ground behind two men firing at Octavia, and slit one throat, then the next. By the time the second man dropped, Octavia had already gotten rid of the other two. 

 

“Took you long enough.” Octavia grinned, her face was nearly red with all the blood.

 

“Fashionably late?” he cocked his head. 

 

Octavia shook her head and said, “Go find the others. I will contact you once I reach the boat.” 

 

Then she vanished in the darkness again. He climbed back up and moved on to the next aisle of crates, following a mental map of the other attackers’ positions. 

 

Two men were firing on the docks with their backs to him. He killed them with two quick thrusts of his blades through their heart. Miller gave him a thankful nod. He went back to the shadows and kept attacking them from behind. His hands were covered in blood now. He liked how warm it felt. While Clarke always liked to wear gloves, he chose to go barehanded. He liked to feel the life go out of them. These mortal bastards didn’t even realize how lucky they were to die. 

 

He wiped his blades on his leather jacket and returned them to their sheaths, then backed up and took a running start at the nearest cargo container. These people, whoever they were, were way more skilled than their usual enemies. They were not going down easily, not until they were dead. He made sure to shoot each one of them in the head once, even the ones on the ground. 

 

He helped Jasper take out a particularly giant man then covered Miller as he chased a mercenary to the back. When he got back again, he saw Clarke stumbling in a corner. Echo and Bellamy were exchanging concerning looks. 

 

He laid down another series of shots. One revolver empty, he lunged away from the crate and climbed into the shadows. From above, he saw Echo go after Clarke, so he followed them keeping his footsteps light. 

 

Bellamy and the others were keeping most of the fighters outside but a figure dressed in armor and helmet passed through them. The figure held up a strange-looking gun and pointed it at Echo who was already on her feet and aiming right back. For a second, Murphy thought he wouldn’t need to interrupt. Echo hated interruptions anyway.

 

But to his surprise, it was Clarke who spoke. 

 

“Anya!” She shouted. But the figure didn’t respond. They pointed the gun at Clarke now.

 

Suddenly, Clarke pushed Echo. Echo lost her balance in shock and the gun fell from their hands. The mercenary’s fingers barely brushed the trigger as Murphy jumped from above, hitting their head with the hilt of his sword. He would have killed them but Clarke had recognized them somehow, so he stood watching the blood trickle down from their helmet.  He pressed the tip of his blade into the helmet camera lens, grinning.

 

In front of him, Echo was crouching in front of Clarke. Clarke’s eyes looked distant, unfocused. Her hands were trembling. And Clarke never trembled. 

 

The gunfire had abruptly halted as well. He figured they had won. 

 

“Clarke,” Echo said, “What’s wrong?”

 

“Everything,” Clarke whispered. 

 

“What?” He said. “What do you mean?” 

 

“I need a piece of paper and a pen and light.” Clarke stood up and put her swords back in their place. 

 

“No.” Murphy wished it was a dream. They just fought for their lives and now this. How could they be so goddamn unlucky? Echo seemed to be thinking the same thing. Echo followed Clarke out of the gully as he dragged the unconscious woman with him out in the clearing..

 

“Bell, I need paper and a pen!” Clarke shouted at Bellamy who was dragging a dead body to a pile in the center.

 

The others looked at her for a second in disbelief. When they understood this was not a joke, their face morphed into an expression of exhaustion and disbelief. 

 

“No, not another one,” Bellamy muttered, hands in his pocket, searching for his little notebook that he kept with him all the time to write down his next groundbreaking story idea that he will never actually write. “Not at this time.” 

 

Clarke grabbed the notebook hasty and started scribbling. She leaned against a container wall. They all gathered around her in a circle. Echo held up a flashlight over the notebook. 

 

“It was Washington D.C., a bald man, a conference room, it must have been fifty stories high. It was a corporate building. They were looking at some budget reports or something. She was some sort of authority figure, I think-”

 

“She?” Jasper asked.

 

“Yes. White. Possibly American. Long black hair. Green eyes. Sharp jaw.” Clarke sketched along as she mumbled the woman’s features out loud.  

 

Murphy heard somebody approach them turned with his gun held out. Octavia held up her hands and shouted,

 

“It’s just us. I got Raven and Jackson.” They jogged up to them quickly, looking at the sea of bodies in bewilderment. Miller ran up to hug Jackson as Bellamy and Octavia shared a look of relief.

 

“What’s going on?” Jackson asked once they approached Clarke. They were all sitting around now. Jasper was counting bodies and piling them up. Bellamy stood shifting his weight from one leg to another anxiously. Echo was sitting down on the ground with a cigarette between her lips. 

 

“Clarke saw another one,” Bellamy said. 

 

“Fuck!” Raven hissed. “Another fucking relic?” 

 

“Not at this time. How are we so fucking unlucky?” Octavia held her head between her hand and sat down. 

 

“Did they get to you?” Clarke asked, still sketching, adding details to the rough portrait. 

 

“Yeah,” Jackson said. “Five of them. But we were prepared as you had said. We got rid of them pretty easily.”

 

“And the bodies?” Clarke asked, her eye still on the sketch, face screwed up as if trying to figure something out. 

 

“Tossed into the sea,” Octavia answered. 

 

“Good,” Clarke replied and then went back to her drawing.

 

“So where are the girls?” Jackson asked after a while.

 

“There never were any girls,” Octavia said with a crestfallen look. “We have been set up.”

 

“By whom?” Murphy seemed more pissed off than usual. 

 

“Tree Crew Securities,” Echo answered. “They all have badges and logos on their uniforms. They were sent here to capture us, not to kill us. They have collars and handcuffs. They knew we couldn’t be killed.”

 

“That’s fucking inhumane!” Raven kicked a dead body. “They even had signal jammers to block our radios. And there was some kind of transmission going out of here. I think it was from their tactical helmet cameras. Fucking Emerson!” 

 

“So, they have footage?” Bellamy asked.

 

“Yeah,” Raven replied. “But I could just hack into their system and delete it. It’s easy, I have done it before. Should I go do it, now?” 

 

Clarke closed the notebook and capped the pen. She stood up and took the flashlight from Echo. “No, not yet.”

 

“Jasper!” She shouted. Jasper looked up from where he was dragging the bodies. His face looked like he had died a few times over.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“How many bodies?” Clark asked.

 

“49,” Jasper replied. “Excluding that one.” He pointed at the woman Murphy had dragged back. 

 

“49, That’s overkill. Guess, they were desperate.” Clarke handed the pen back to Bellamy. “Did I say anything else while I was back there?” She asked Murphy and Echo. 

 

“It seemed like you recognized this one,” Murphy pointed at the leader’s body.

 

“You called her, Anya, I think,” Echo added. 

 

“Anya,” Clarke felt the name on her tongue, it seemed familiar somehow. They were all standing in a circle as Jasper jogged back to them.

 

“So, what’s the plan?” Jasper asked, panting slightly and wiping his face with his sleeve. 

 

Clarke sighed before answering. She turned on her flashlight and shone it upon the unconscious mercenary's face - Ayna. She picked up a strange-looking gun from her arms. It was some sort of a modified tranquilizer gun. It had a strange murky black liquid instead of a bullet. Anya had seemed pretty determined to use it on them. But none of the others had this. That either meant that a small dose was enough for all of them or they had a limited supply of it.    

 

She pulled out the sealed glass tube and turned to face her soldiers, eagerly waiting for their next orders.

 

“Take a look at this.” She tossed the vial to Jackson. 

 

Jackson shook the vial. “I have never seen anything like this. It has Mount Weather’s logo on the side. See.” He pointed to the base of the vial.

 

“Could be some sort of anesthesia to knock us out?” Raven guessed.

 

“Very unlikely,” Echo said. “Only the leader had it. If it was something as common as that, won’t they all have it?” 

 

“Exactly,” Clarke agreed. “Jackson, run some tests on it. See if you could figure something out. Also, make sure this one lives.” Clarke pointed at Anya. 

 

“Sure, boss.” He pocketed the vial and nodded at Miller to help him to drag Anya back to their boat. Murphy voluntarily went to grab a handcuff to put on her.

 

“Jasper,” Clarke said. “Get hold of Emerson. He has got some answers.”

 

“Yeah,” He answered. “I will do that.” He looked like he was ready to take the blame upon himself even though nobody accused him of anything.

 

“Raven,” Clarke said next, “Find out the link between Tree Crew and Mount weather. And here,” she held out the notebook, “This is the new one. See if you can find something about her.”

 

Raven flipped through the notebook to pause on the page where Clarke had drawn a fairly decent portrait of their next partner. Raven blinked a few times upon seeing the sketch.

 

“Holy mother of Zeus!” She exclaimed like Clarke had drawn a picture of Cerberus' three-headed dog. “This can’t be true!” Raven let out a breathless laugh.

 

“What?” Clarke asked.

 

“Bring your flashlight here.” She demanded. As Clarke moved closer and the light fell upon the page, Raven laughed again. 

 

“What the fuck is going on, Raven?” Bellamy strode closer to them. Raven ignored him and turned to Clarke again.

 

“Are you 100% sure that this is the girl?” Raven asked, making her words louder and clearer. 

 

“Yes, Raven,” Clarke stated. “This is ninety percent accurate. Her eyes were green, like the forests in Albania. But I couldn’t exactly paint them here because I didn’t bring my art supplies to a mission! Now, will you please clarify, what is so amusing?”

 

“I am sorry. I am sorry.” Raven said, controlling her laughter. “It’s just like the universe keeps fucking with us.” She dramatically exhaled before continuing, “So, these mercenaries that were sent to capture us and put us into glass cases for experimenting, who sent them?”

 

“As far as we know,” Echo said. “It was Tree crew.” 

 

“Right, right. And,” Raven turned to Clarke. “What was the name of this team’s leader that you said?”

 

“Anya,” Clarke replied.

 

“So,” Raven whistled. “Tree Crew was founded by Augustus Woods and Titus Flame in the 1970s. Now, Augustus had two daughters. Anya Woods and Alexandria Woods. Titus Flame had been managing the company since Augustus died eleven years ago. But five months ago Tree Crew anointed a new CEO and Managing director. Her name is Alexandria Woods.” Raven looked from one face to another, watching if any of them made the connection. 

 

Echo’s eyes were focused upon Miller who was now carrying Anya over his shoulder. They had put a bag overhead and handcuffs on her wrists. Murphy and Jackson had their backs to the team. Unaware of the conversation they were having. Echo opened her mouth to say something as realization dawned upon her but Bellamy beat her to it. 

 

“That is Anya Woods, sister of Tree Crew’s CEO.” Bellamy pointed towards Miller. 

 

“Bingo!” Raven said. 

 

“Holy fucking shit!” Jasper held his head in his hands. 

 

“And the forty-nine people you just killed were working for Tree Crew which means they were working for Alexandria Woods, Anya’s sister. And I shit you not,” She held up the page on which Clarke had made the sketch. “This is Alexandria Woods.”

 

“I think I’m gonna faint,” Octavia said. Bellamy rushed to her side. He looked rather pale. 

 

“Me too,” added Echo as she sat down on one of the nearest crates. “But I don’t understand. Why would she send people to hurt us, if she is like us?” Her frustration with the whole situation was evident as her Russian accent took over her usual neutral tone.

 

“Because she doesn’t know it yet,” Clarke said, looking up at the sky as the dark blue of the night faded into deep red scatterings of dawn. “We need to get out of here. We all need some rest. We will discuss this later.” She sighed. 

 

They all nodded in unison. 

 

“What do we do with these bodies?” Bellamy asked.

 

“Burn them,” Clarke answered. 

 

“Wouldn’t that attract attention?” Raven questioned, putting the notebook safely in her pocket. 

 

“We are practically abducting the heiress of a company that has been hunting us for decades. I think burning a pile of dead bodies won’t make much of a difference.” Echo said, opening up her cigarette lighter. 

 

“We need to get rid of the DNA evidence anyway,” Clarke added. 

 

A few hours later, they were all on-board on ‘The Dropship’. A yacht that could accommodate up to twenty-five people. When Clarke looked back at the abandoned port, all she could think was how fucked up their situation was. Jackson was tending to an injured heiress who had tried to kill them. The said heiress’s sister was one of their kind who probably didn't know what she was. And the forty-nine best fighters she had sent to get them were now dead and burning - nothing more than ashes or smoke.


Lexa; drawn by Clarke after the battle on harbor, from Bellamy's notebook

Chapter Text

LEXA

 

When Lexa was six years old, her mother died of cancer. She was young so she didn’t recall much of her mother but the night after her funeral was a special one. The night was still ingrained in her mind vividly. They had come back from the funeral and Anya had locked herself in her room like the moody teenager she was. With no one to turn to, she had buried herself in her Father’s lap and sobbed for her mother. 

 

“Does everyone die, Papa?” She had asked.

 

In answer, that night her father had told her a story. A story about the people who cannot die.

 

“They look just like us. They sound just like us. But they cannot be killed by air or water or fire or wind. They have been walking the earth for thousands of years.”

 

“Are these people bad, papa?” 

 

“Some of them are bad.” He had said. “But all of them are selfish. See, they have this gift of immortality that they could share with the world. But they choose not to. Everyday people die of disease and disaster. Good people, kind people. And these-these immortals stand there and watch us perish.” Her father’s eyes would then have this hint of ambition that she could not quite grasp at that time. “The world is changing so fast, we went to the moon, we have vaccines for incurable diseases. Imagine what we could achieve if we get a hold of their DNA. We could cure cancer. So that nobody has  to go through the pain that your mother endured.”

 

As she grew up, she had realized that the story did have some truth in it. Her father was a smart man and he was obsessed with it. After her mother’s death, he was a man on a mission. He had gathered all of the company resources to find them. He would cure cancer with their immortal blood, he had said. And she had believed him. Even though Anya was a little skeptical, she had believed him wholeheartedly.

 

Then three years later, her father had gone out to a meeting with the immortals. I found them, he had said, whirling her around in his hands. She had never seen her father so happy after her mother’s death. So full of joy and hope. She had laughed and fixed his tie. Even Anya had come down to wish him luck. 

 

When I come back , he had said, I will take you to meet them .

 

You will? She had asked in disbelief. The immortals were like superheroes for her. Humans beings with extraordinary powers. 

 

Anything for my little commander , her father had promised.

 

She was so excited. These people were superhumans. She had so many questions to ask them. Were they there when the pyramids were built? Were they there when Troy fell? Did they meet Achilles? Were they a part of Indus valley civilization? She had followed her father stealthily like Anya had taught her once. 

 

She was nine and eager to meet the immortal. She had climbed into the car which took her father to the meeting and hid in the trunk. She wasn’t stupid. She was a spy. Or at least she felt like one. 

 

The meeting was held in a small town, not far away from their city. Her father and Uncle Titus were the only ones attending it in a small warehouse. Her father had offered the immortal money for the rest of his life in exchange for his blood. It was a business transaction. Simple give and take. But it didn’t turn out to be as simple. 

 

Lexa hid under a table as her father talked to the immortal in a run-down warehouse. The immortal looked so young, barely older than Anya. He had a gun hanging by his side and he sounded so angry. Oh, so angry. Lexa couldn’t hear what they were saying. She could only see their silhouettes. She had crouched a little and crawled through the dark, damp space. She hadn’t been afraid of the dark then. It was only then she heard the loudest thing she had ever heard in her life. Her father had shrieked. A terrible sound that would haunt Lexa for years to come. Lexa had jumped up and run only to find him on the floor. Blood was soaking through his white shirt and red tie that she had fixed that morning. His eyes were open but there was no life in them. 

 

Anything for my little commander, he had promised but he didn’t wake up when she demanded him to. She felt like the hopeful child in her had been cut into small pieces and blown away by the harsh wind.

 

She didn’t remember much after that. Only what Titus had told her. Apparently, the immortal was angry at her father for something and he had killed him for it. The immortal’s rage was so big that he had demolished the whole town. When Titus carried Lexa back to a car, guarded by Tree Crew soldiers, she had seen innocent blood flowing in the streets. She had seen lifeless bodies of mothers holding toddlers to their chest. And students mangled up in the outside cafes. It was termed a massacre. Titus had told the police that some gang rivalry was the reason for the carnage. 

 

Lexa had wanted to scream that it was the immortal who did it. But Titus had asked her not to tell them. Because if the world knew about the immortals then the immortals would destroy the whole world like they had destroyed the town. So when Anya asked her what had happened, Lexa told the same lie. Perhaps that was the reason, Anya didn’t hate them as much as she did. She had seen the destruction caused by the powerful beings first hand. Anya hadn’t. 

 

Her life after her father oscillated between bad days and worst days. Recently it has only been the worst days. After her father’s funeral, she was sent to a boarding school in Europe. She remembered it to be colder and darker. Anya had said that it would be like going to Hogwarts. She had hoped it would be. She was an orphan after all. How bad could it go from there? She was wrong. That school was a prison.

 

Bullies were after her like vultures were after corpses. It was as if they knew her darkest secrets and her weakest points. If they knew she loved basketball, her shoes would go missing. If they knew she loved to play piano, her fingers would get accidentally crushed in the locker door. If they knew she liked playing chess, she would get mysteriously locked in the bathroom during tournaments. If they knew she had a crush on the school’s favorite cheerleader, the school walls would be filled with copies of her personal journal, declaring her admiration.

 

Her every waking moment she was reminded of how miserable her life had become because of the immortals. Yet, she had held her chin high and went through it all to become one of the most successful businesswomen in the states. And once again it was all coming undone because of these people who could do whatever they want and never be held accountable for it. 

 

The immortals became the monsters who had taken her father away, who had taken her life away. And now her sister. Now, she felt the same emotion. Helpless and cold. Even the whisky had failed to warm her tonight. 

 

Anya had not come back. Nobody from the alpha team had come back. Forty-nine of her best soldiers were dead and unceremoniously burned at the hand of these delinquents. She wanted to crush something and kill someone. She regretted authorizing the mission. She regretted underestimating them. 

 

She tilted her head back on her chair and replayed the footage from Anya’s head camera and the other cameras they had strategically placed in the harbor. She had already watched it enough times to memorize every frame of it. Yet, she watched again, wishing she had a drink. 

 

After she had fainted in the conference room, they had taken her to the hospital. She had regained consciousness in a few hours. There was nothing physically wrong with her, they had concluded. But later, they did find traces of lethal poison on her glass of whisky. Her body somehow rejected the poison, the doctors had said, though they weren’t sure how. She didn’t waste her time pondering over it. She had rushed back to the headquarters only to discover that her sister had not come back.

 

The only reason she believed that Anya was alive was because of the video footage.

 

On the television screen, in her office, the video reached the point where Lexa had been. She paused it. From Anya’s point of view, she could see a girl with short blonde hair almost kneeling in the small space between two rows of containers. There was no audio. Had she been that girl? How is that even possible? 

 

“Commander,” Titus said from behind her. He and Indra had been standing there, waiting for her orders the whole time. “What is the next step?”

 

“Did you sign the deal with Mount Weather?”

 

“Yes,” His voice faltered. “As the interim CEO, I signed it. The media had reported that you were taken out in an ambulance. There were rumors that Anya had gone missing. Our stock prices were plummeting. I had to give them something else to talk about.” He explained.

 

Truthfully, it was the least of Lexa’s worries now. The deal had garnered positive support from financial experts. Besides, they needed some sort of profit to compensate for the resources they were spending on their little side project. She could deal with Mount Weather once this was all done. Lexa stood up and turned to face them. Her advisor and General were standing with their hands behind their backs.

 

“Titus, make sure that the families of the soldiers who lost their lives on the harbor are taken care of. Make funds dedicated to their children, wives, and husbands. Have it done in the next two days.”

 

“Yes, Commander.” Titus typed down a reminder on his tablet.

 

“Indra, have we been able to identify them?” She glanced towards her General.

 

“No, commander. Their faces were covered the whole time. There wasn’t enough light to capture any distinguishable features. But we have our best intelligence personnel looking at them.”

 

“No need to waste resources on it anymore, we have what we need right here.” She said dismissively.

 

“I don’t understand, Commander,” Indra said.

 

“They took Anya for a reason.” She said, turning back to the screen again. “Look at the footage. They kept their faces covered throughout the battle. These people thrive in anonymity. This footage is proof of their existence. They will come back for this.”

 

“What if they demand ransom?” Titus said, coming closer.

 

“We will give neither this footage nor money,” Lexa stated. “This time we will be prepared when they come.” She walked over to the window, a plan already taking shape in her mind. Her eyes were trained on the skyscraper across the street with a huge signboard of Mount Weather. “What level of security did the Mount Weather request for, Titus?”

 

“Level Z, commander.” 

 

Lexa nodded. “Indra, prepare a team of Level Z soldiers for dispatch. Prepare another strike team with ten of our best assassins, including you. Train them for what they are going to face. When the time comes, we will hit these delinquents where it hurts the most.”

 

“But commander, what about your security? You were poisoned. Somebody attempted to kill you. It could all be coordinated. Anya and you, what if somebody is trying to take out both of you?”

 

“But they failed, didn’t they? I am alive and breathing. We cannot live in the fear of what-ifs. Now get out of here and do as I ordered.” Lexa’s raised her voice. She didn’t need pampering security guards when Anya was in far more danger than her. 

 

“Yes, commander.” Indra bowed her head a little and left the room, leaving only her and Titus behind. 

 

Titus hovered behind her as she waited for him to throw an objection at her plans. He could be insufferable at times. Especially now, what she was doing for her sister could put company assets at risk. She knew that but she would do it anyway. Because if it were Anya in her place, Anya would have slit his throat before he could objectify. But what Titus said next, surprised her.

 

“Even if we catch them, what are we going to do with them? Have you thought about it?” he asked.

 

She had thought about it multiple times. But she wasn’t sure what to do with them. The world didn’t even know about their existence. They could be highly dangerous in the wrong hands.

 

“Once we capture them and Anya is safe, we will hand them over to the authorities.” She said.

 

“But, Lexa,” Titus started. “What if we could use them ourselves? If we hand them over, they will be forever lost in the bureaucracy. But we could change the world. They are unnatural, yes, but they have a gif-”

 

“And how will we do that? We are not a research institute. We are defense contractors.” 

 

“Yes, but we have partners. I am pretty sure they would be interested in a venture like this.” He walked to stand beside her and tilted his head towards the building across the street. “These delinquents could be the key to the future. Their blood could revolutionize the whole pharmaceutical company. Imagine shoulders with enhanced healing. It could help so many people.”

 

“We could cure cancer,” Lexa repeated the words her father had once said to her. 

 

“Yes,” He said. “Isn’t that what Augustus had always wanted?”

 

She clenched her fist and gritted her teeth. While what Titus was saying seemed like the logical course of action, it didn’t seem right. She wanted to kill those delinquents. She wanted to shoot them and watch them burn as they had done to her soldiers. And God knows how they must be treating her sister. They took away her father, her mother, her town. But she will not let them take her sister. 

 

“We will think about it when we have them.” She said. “Until then, we will keep them. Prepare the holding cells. They are monsters and we will treat them as such.”

 

“Yes, commander.” Titus bowed his head and left the room. 

 

She turned back to the video and pressed play again. She needed to find weaknesses in her enemies before striking them. But as far as she had seen, there was none. Each of these Delinquents fought like a machine. They had swords and axes and guns and machetes. Even in silhouettes, they seemed quite young. Their fighting skills however were anything but. 

 

The blonde who was seemingly their leader swung double cutlasses faster than my eye could follow. It whirled, flashing forward, reversed, then flashed behind. Her feet beat the ground like a dancer, never still. The others fought in sync like they were choreographed. Never afraid to take a bullet even if it slowed them down. 

 

They did have a sniper as well. He was shooting anything that moved. Lexa assumed it was the man who joined the fight a little bit later. He was the angel of death: He shot each soldier with two well-placed bullets to ensure incapacitation. He never slowed, never missed, and did not stop. It was as if he was enjoying it. Lexa paused the video once again as it reached the point her sister met the blonde girl in the gully. 

 

Lexa placed her hands on her knees and clasped them as if praying. She closed her eyes, remembering her father’s eyes, and all the years she had been living with ghosts of her past. 

 

Anything for you, father. It was the beginning of the end for the Delinquents. 


CLARKE

 

Clarke put her hands on the table and looked at her glass of milkshake. The glass had splotches of dirt and something like grease on the side of it. Across from her, Octavia was devouring her plate of pancakes. Bellamy’s eyes were switching between his untouched plate of waffles and the door. 

 

“Are you gonna eat those?” Octavia said with her mouth full of pancakes and pointed at Bellamy’s plate. Bellamy pushed his plate towards her with a disgusted look.

 

“What?” Octavia said as if offended. “These are delicious. I am not kidding.”

 

“Are you sure this is the right diner?” He asked, ignoring Octavia.

 

“Yeah, Raven’s been tracking him,” Clarke answered. “Apparently he comes here every night to chat with that waitress behind the counter.” She gestured to a middle-aged woman in a waitress’s uniform.

 

The bell above the door jangled as a man in an expensive-looking suit entered the diner and smiled at the waitress. He sat on a barstool near the counter as the waitress rushed to take his order.

 

Octavia snorted. “Didn’t imagine Emerson to be a lovesick puppy.”

 

“Let’s go.” Bellamy nodded in Clarke’s direction. 

 

Clarke adjusted the gun resting on her hip and got up. They walked slowly to the counter. Clarke leaned on the counter. Bellamy patted Emerson on the back and sat down on a stool beside him. 

 

Emerson flinched. His confused expression morphed into one of horror. He looked from Clarke to Bellamy and gulped. He tried to slip his hands away from the counter but Bellamy pinned them down.

 

“We are just here to talk, buddy.” Clarke sweetly whispered in his ear and pulled out the gun that he was trying to reach for.

 

“Look, I don’t know anything, okay?” He stammered. 

 

“We will see.” Clarke pushed the gun against his ribs. “Come on, now. Get up. Say goodbye to your little crush.”

 

Bellamy pulled him up by his elbow and shoved a little to make him walk. Clarke did a three-sixty only to notice that nobody paid them any attention. They walked towards an alleyway behind the diner as Clarke kept her gun pointed at him. Emerson kept spewing lies profusely.

 

“I am a good man. I have a family. Kids!”  He kept saying. 

 

They climbed to the roof of a nearby building and shoved him to the edge. It was when he made the mistake of trying to disarm Clarke. 

 

Emerson clenched his fist and his whole demeanor changed. As if he was done playing the victim. He shut his blabbering mouth. He punched Bellamy on his face with his free hand. Startled, Bellamy released him. Emerson pulled Clarke by her wrist and twisted it until Clarke let go of the gun with a scream. Clarke jammed her knee into his crotch. He bent over his knees and cried from the pain. 

 

Bellamy was already on his feet. He charged at Emerson. But Emerson already had his hands on the fallen gun. He shot Bellamy in the head. Bellamy fell instantly. He shot at Clarke as she dodged and hid behind a wall. 

 

“Come out!” He shouted. “You unnatural piece of shit!”

 

Unnatural? Is that what they are calling them these days? Clarke reached for her gun. Before she could get to him, she heard his gut-wrenching cry. She came around to see Octavia standing over his kneeling form. There was dark blood pooling around both of his knees. The same blood was dripping from Octavia’s sword. Bellamy was already up and coughing a few feet from them.

 

“Aghh,” He cried. “He was right! You are inhuman!”

 

“What the fuck is he going on about?” Octavia said with little interest.

 

“Same shit we have heard for hundreds of years. Witch, demon, devil, vampire, inhuman and now unnatural.” Clarke bent down on one knee facing him. “But that’s not what we are here to talk about, Emerson. Now, tell me, who told you that it would be a good idea to dupe us?”

 

“I ain’t telling you anything!” He was sniffling and pressing his hands on his knees. “I am not afraid of you.”

 

“But you would be.” Clarke stood back up and nodded at Octavia. 

 

A few minutes later, they had hauled him from the edge of the roof. Bellamy was barely holding him from his ankles. Emerson almost wet himself, screaming and spitting curses at them.  

 

“Again,” Clarke stated. “Who sent you?”

 

“I am not-”

 

Bellamy let his hand slip a little. He cried.

 

“No, no, no- I am telling you. I am telling you. Cage Wallace! It was Cage Wallace!”

 

“Dante Wallace’s son.” Bellamy supplied. “He is the heir to Mount Weather Pharma.”

 

“Weren’t they the ones who hired us?’ Octavia asked.

 

“Yes. What were the Tree Crew doing there?” Clarke prompted.

 

“Those soldiers?” He laughed or tried to. “If Mount Weather is the brain then Tree Crew is the brawn. They will do anything to get you. And sooner or later they will fucking get you. You have put an ax to your own feet with Anya Woods. Alexandria is going to burn you alive.”

 

“Good thing that we know what it feels to be burned alive then.” Clarke chuckled. She reached into her pocket and took the vial they had found on Anya. “Now if you don’t want to know what it feels like to fall five stories then tell me what this is?”

 

“I don’t know- Please.” He begged as he tilted his head to see what Clarke was talking about. “He will kill me. He-he will kill me if I tell you.”

 

“And what do you think we are gonna do, king idiot?” Octavia threatened.

 

“I don’t know anything about it. I swear. I have only seen it once. Cage was handing it over to the bald guy from Trikru. He- he called it Compound I.”

 

“Was there more of it?”

 

“I don’t know. Cage - he had it in a - in a black case. He said they only had one for now. But that - that they will be able to make more soon. ” He stammered as the cold wind touched his skin raggedly. 

 

Bellamy was about to reel him back up when he started saying, 

 

“I know what you are capable of! I have seen it! I can get you out of this mess.” 

 

“I thought you hated us,” Clarke said. “Unnatural was the word you used if I were to be precise.”

 

“I-I-” He stammered. His teeth clattering from the chilly wind. “Please let me go. I can help you. The Tree crew wants you dead but Mount Weather only wants the blood of your kind. If you let me go I can convince them to let you live.”

 

“What else?” Clarke asked, pretending to be interested.

 

“I can help you get rid of that bitch.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Alexandria fucking Woods. I can help you. She wants to kill you all. But not if I help you get rid of her first.”

 

“And how would you do that?” Clarke tilted her head to the side.

 

“Her advisor. Titus Flame. He already attempted to kill her once. The day you were supposed to get captured, he poisoned her. But that bitch somehow survived. With enough motivation, he will do it again. I can do that! I can get her killed!”

 

Clarke looked at Bellamy. Slowly he began to let Emerson’s leg slide from his grasp. 

 

“It feels terrible to know that someone holds your life in his hands, doesn’t it?”

 

Emerson’s voice rose another octave as he began to realize the mistake he had made. “I will help you! I am a good guy! I swear I am a good guy.”

 

“There are no good guys, Emerson,” Clarke said. “The world doesn’t let them survive.”

 

Clarke nodded and Bellamy simply let go. Emerson’s screams and cries sounded farther and farther until it all stopped with a resounding thud from below. 

 

“Can I get some pancakes now?” Octavia sheathed her sword as Bellamy rolled his eyes.


From Raven's personal camera, after a rescue mission in Zimbabwe, 2010

Chapter Text

CLARKE

 

Clarke stayed behind on the ground floor as Bellamy and Octavia went ahead to relay what they had learned to the rest of the team. They had decided to keep Anya on the top floor of The Ark . The Ark was a small drinking establishment founded somewhere in the 18th century by a war veteran. It had large windows overlooking the Hudson River, several mismatched furniture for patrons, and a pool table. The dartboard was a new addition, Clarke noticed. The bartender, a beautiful woman in her twenties, was busy attending to other patrons. Clarke smiled when the bartender looked her way. 

 

Niylah’s grandfather had started it for small businessmen and college students. It was a nice place to have a good time. When Niylah’s father died, not being able to compete with the newer places, the pub was in a mountain of debt. So, Clarke bought it. It became a meeting point for them later on. Niylah kept running her business on the ground floor and lived on the first floor, keeping the second floor and the basement empty for Clarke and her team. Niylah knew that they had been coming to the place for nearly a century looking all the same but she easily adopted a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Clarke liked her for that and other more private reasons.

 

Clarke played with her glass of Guinness. She buried her nose into the glass, inhaling the sweetness of her beer, trying to forget how fucked up their life was.

 

“You are supposed to drink it, not snort it,” Niylah said with a hearty laugh.

 

Clarke put down her glass on the counter and gazed at her. Niylah was beautiful in an honest way. Her coffee-colored hair was resting on her shoulders. The loose tank top she was wearing, gave Clarke a good view of her toned arms. Clarke remembered the day she had laid her hands on them, beneath the sheets of her bed, naked and panting. 

 

“If you want to fuck me, you should just ask. No need to drool all over the counter.” Niylah smirked, wiping a glass. Clarke smiled and shook her head. “It’s been what? Four years? And you haven’t aged a day.”

 

“Trust me, I have.” Clarke grinned. It was easy getting lost in idle chat with Niylah. Clarke knew that she knew that they were not normal but they kept up pretenses anyway.

 

“I saw the others go up the stairs,” Niylah said. “You guys staying for long?”

 

“A week or two, hardly.” Clarke took a sip. “How is the business going?”

 

“Good enough that I can finally pay you rent-”

 

“As I have said before, you don’t need to.” Clarke shook her head. “You already do enough for us.”

 

“I don’t do anything.” Niylah protested. “Except for occasionally cleaning up the floor after Raven had puked all over it.”

 

“That girl can’t hold her drink at all.” Clarke laughed. “But seriously, you treat us like people. That’s more than enough.”

 

Niylah just smiled in return. Sound of someone shouting in the basement drifted to the bar. Probably, Octavia, Clarke thought. She finished her drink and got up with newfound energy. 

 

“I should go before they kill each other,” Clarke said. “Again.”

 

She passed a rowdy group of teenagers and entered through a small wooden door at the end of the sitting area. She took a rickety set of stairs going down to the basement. She stood in the corner of the room, watching the scene unfold.

 

“-One way or another, we can’t just leave her there!” Octavia was shouting. She was half kneeling in front of the antique fireplace, trying to keep the fire burning. The basement was always colder than the rest of the building.

 

“Yes. Let’s just all go in there and risk exposing ourselves to save our number one enemy.” Murphy said sarcastically. “Sounds like a great plan.” He was lounging on the sofa, nursing his bottle of beer.

 

“What do you suggest we do Murphy?” Octavia looked furious. The fire reflecting in her eyes. Murphy had a talent for getting under people’s nerves.

 

“Forget about it and get back to our lives?” Murphy suggested. 

 

Octavia scoffed. “Yeah, like we should have forgotten about you when they were burning you at the stake after witch trials. You were alone and miserable. Not knowing what you were, not knowing who to trust-”

 

“And you would know all about being alone, won’t you?” He tilted his head towards Bellamy. “Don’t forget you are the only one here with a living family member.”

 

“At least I am not a selfish cockroach,” Octavia replied.

 

“What did you say?” Murphy rose from his place and drew his sword. Octavia picked up her sword as well. She was faster than him and in seconds he was falling against the wall. Before they could start an all-out fight, Bellamy got in between.

 

“O, sit back down,” Bellamy ordered. “Murphy, drop the sword. Clarke is here. Let’s discuss this. Like civilians.” 

 

“Civilians, my ass,” Murphy muttered under his breath. 

 

When they all calmed down a bit and Jackson came back from tending Anya Woods, Clarke drew a chair to the center of the room. Murphy, Jackson, and Miller were seated on the Elizabethan Sofa with their legs folded up. Bellamy sat on the floor with Echo, their backs against the sofa. Jasper and Octavia were on either side of the fireplace, occasionally stroking it. Jasper was back to his quiet self. Raven was perched on top of a desk with both of her Laptops open, and fingers gliding over her keyboard.

 

“How’s the heiress?” Clarke asked Jackson.

 

“Healing. I gave her a sedative to help her sleep. She knows she has been abducted. She spat at Raven when we tried to explain.”

 

“And the vial with the Mount Weather logo?”

 

“I couldn’t find much without equipment and time. It’s an unapproved drug, that’s for sure. When I tried to reverse engineer it, I found something interesting. It has our blood.”

 

“What do you mean?” Echo inquired. “That is not possible. We never leave anything behind. I always make sure of it.”

 

“But it has. That’s the base material of this compound. It’s not our blood per se, but someone like us. We know there are others like us. They possibly got their hands on someone else.”

 

“Then why do they need us so desperately?” Clarke asked.

 

“I have a theory regarding that,” Jackson said. “This compound is very concentrated. From the little that I have tested, they would probably need a lot of our blood to make a milliliter of this thing. So, whatever or whoever gave them their blood probably didn’t survive it.”

 

“What does it do? The compound? What is it for?” Jasper seemed equally horrified and awed. In all their years of living, nobody has come this close to them.

 

“In this amount,” Jackson gestured to the small vial. “It is three times more addictive than heroin for us.”

 

“Really?” Murphy asked with renewed interest.

 

“But if we double the amount, it could leave us paralyzed. If they pump this into our system, replace our blood with this, it will kill us from inside out. We will live like robots on their whim. We will do anything they ask of us in exchange for one drop of it.” He paused, letting it sink in. “My best guess is they want us to work for them as zombies, for that they need compound I-”

 

“For Compound-I they need our blood.” Miller finished.  

 

When Jackson finished, they all exchanged looks of horror. While death was a possibility in their uncertain immortality, they had always thought it would be on their own terms. Imagine living in cages for eternity sent shivers down through Clarke’s spine.

 

“Raven,” Clarke called, trying to ease the tension in the air. “Stop writing fanfiction and pay attention here.”

 

“I don’t write fics in front of people.” Raven lied. “I am tracking the gentlewoman I left in my apartment this morning to make sure she leaves.”

 

“You are tracking her?” Miller asked curiously. “Like without her explicit consent.”

 

“Yeah. Oh, she left.” Raven distractedly replied. “I track everyone.” She closed her laptops and said, “Big bad people are after our blood so that they can make more of a compound that could make us their slaves. The commander of those people is one of us and doesn’t probably know. She hates us because we captured her hot-as-hell sister and will probably help them create a weapon that could kill us and eventually her. So, what’s new? The universe fucking up with us again and you need a genius that is me to unfuck it.”

 

“Something like that.” Bellamy sighed.

 

“I almost forgot how humble you were,” Murphy muttered.

 

“Clarke,” Raven climbed down from her desk and sat down on a chair beside her. “You can’t possibly think about leaving her there. She probably doesn’t even know that she is unkillable. You guys said it yourself, she died that day for the first time after Titus poisoned her. If Titus keeps trying to assassinate her, he will eventually discover what she is. What if he shoots her in the head or something and she doesn’t die?” 

 

“She is not our problem.” Bellamy asserted. “Our problem is Mount Weather.”

 

“She will be.” Raven said, “Mount Weather and Titus signed a deal a few days ago. They are official partners now. Why would a reputed defense contractor and the world’s biggest pharma company need each other if there aren’t hidden agendas? They are hunting us down for our blood and they don’t even know they already have it. Even if we hide to save our skins, imagine what happens after they discover and lock Alexandria Woods in a cell.”

 

“They will eventually get what they want and the world will know about our existence.” Echo said.

 

“And what about Alexandria? Imagine what she must be going through right now.” Jackson thought out loud. “She probably thinks we are monsters. We abducted her sister after all. She doesn’t even know her enemies are right beside her. At least she deserves to know the truth. We could bring her in and explain it to her. She should know that she is not alone and we are not all monsters.”

 

“Why not arrange a tea party while we are at it?” Murphy snorted. “We will all dress up, get matching tattoos, and bake cookies together. Then we will tell her the tales of our eternal selves over a cup of tea like a fucking book club.”

 

“Jackson is right,” Clarke said before Octavia decided to slit Murphy’s throat again. “But Murphy is also right. It won’t be easy. We will have to get her away from her people first. Away from the city. She will hate us for it, but it has to be done. The question is how.”

 

“Kill all of them?” Murphy suggested. 

 

“By seducing her?” Octavia shrugged. 

 

“Exploding the building and taking her out?” Miller said.

 

“Ask her nicely maybe?” Jackson suggested.

 

Clarke shook her head and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Raven, can you track her?” 

 

“With pleasure,” Raven answered with a smirk. “That woman is intense. Hot and intense. Hot because she’s intense? Intense because she’s hot?”

 

“Get to the point, Reyes.”

 

“She is a serious workaholic. She lives in a penthouse in the TCS headquarters. Never leaves it without a mini-army protecting her.” Raven said.

 

“That was fast-”

 

“I told ya, I track everyone.” Raven shrugged. “Besides, that’s not the point. The point is that the TCS headquarters - Polis Tower - is a fortress. It is fifty stories high and filled with more than three hundred soldiers and security personnel. It is impossible to get in there and lay a hand on the queen even with our skillset.”

 

“You underestimate us, Reyes,” Murphy said with a hint of a smile. Perhaps the thrill of doing something impossible and killing a dozen people on the way sparked up his disgustingly creative imagination.

 

“I don’t,” Raven said. “It could have been possible before. But after Anya, they have doubled down on security. The building is designed like the Titanic-”

 

“Which sank-” Octavia said.

 

“As soon as someone sees a threat, an ear-bleeding alarm rings and they put the whole building in lockdown floor by floor, with six inches thick alloy steel doors. It has happened twice in history and the culprits have been assassinated on the spot.”

 

“No, shit.” Miller gasped. “Is that even legal?”

 

“No. Apparently, Tree crew isn’t like any other company. It is like a small empire. Their soldiers are in the business of protecting important people all around the world. This means they are privy to a lot of inside information as well. All the information goes to the CEO. And information is power, my friend.”  

 

“Good thing we can’t be assassinated then.” Octavia joked.

 

“Yeah, ‘cause being science monkeys in cages for the rest of our immortal lives sounds so good.” Murphy retorted.

 

“Shut up, Murphy,” Clarke said. She couldn’t bear the thought of being prisoned at the moment. “Tree Crew isn’t the only problem. We have Mount Weather as well. Raven, can you get into their servers, see if-”

 

“I already tried. Cracking Mount Weather will take time, almost a month, even if I dedicated every waking hour to it. But I am already in Tree Crew’s servers.”

 

“If we could just infiltrate into the building, it would -” Clarke started.

 

“Clarke, are you serious?” Bellamy asked in disbelief. “It’s like putting our hands in a lion's mouth.” 

 

“We don’t have any other option. We can’t outrun this. You heard Jackson. If I am seeing through her, she’s seeing through me. That makes her a beacon straight to us.

If we could get Lexa on our side, maybe she will even help us.” Clarke explained.

“Besides, they won’t even know that we were there.”

 

“They have us on video, don’t they?” Miller asked.

 

“Yeah, but we weren’t recognizable at all, I checked it. I even erased the audio.” Raven said. “I could delete it remotely right now if you want.”

 

“No.” Clarke rose up from her chair and put her hands in her pocket. “Let them think they have leverage. I have a plan.”

 

“You are planning an ograblenie, aren’t you?” Echo asked.

 

“A heist?” Jasper sat up straighter.

 

“Kind of,” Clarke confirmed. “We will infiltrate Tree Crew headquarters and Mount Weather at the same time and get out with Lexa and the information we need.”

 

“Ooh, I like the sound of that. What’s the plan, Boss?” Raven asked.

 

“Let’s go through the things we learned and did in the last two days-” Clarke said.

 

“We died?” said Murphy. 

 

“Multiple times.” Added Octavia

 

“We killed their forty-nine soldiers. And they increased their security.” Echo said.

 

“Yes.” Clarke agreed. “Which means they are short-staffed.” Clarke looked at Raven who had already gotten up to get her laptop. “They might be recruiting new people because -”

 

“They signed a new deal with Mount Weather,” Bellamy added.

 

“That is correct,” Raven said, looking up from her laptop. “They are hiring. Preferably ex-military. But I can forge those documents overnight. Usually, candidates are under a lot of scrutinies but hopefully, they are desperate enough and they won’t look too close.”

 

“That’s good,” Clarke said. “Bell and O could get inside as new candidates for guards.”

 

“I am in.” The Blake siblings replied at the same time.

 

“Good.” Clarke beamed. “After that Bellamy will get on the team that is deployed for Mount Weather’s protection. And O will be trained under General Indra in their most trusted team.”

 

“Who’s Indra?” Asked Octavia.

 

“She is like Lexa’s right hand. Looks after all the field operations. I already sent the who’s who file to you all like last night. Did nobody read it?” Raven said, looking disappointed. “Anyways, Indra seems like a hard-ass from all I gathered. Will she let Octavia in just like that?”

 

“Octavia will show off some of her incredible combat skills. They are desperate for good soldiers so they will be impressed.” Clarke sat back down, folding her hands on her knees. “And she will also stop another assassination attempt on Lexa, by putting her life in danger.”

 

“Titus is -” 

 

“No, not by Titus.” Clarke interrupted Miller. “By Murphy. Murphy will shoot at her during the induction of new candidates and Octavia will save Lexa. Winning their trust and hopefully getting into their inner circle. Again, I am counting on their desperation here.”

 

“I would love to shoot at Queen Woods.” Murphy grinned. 

 

Clarke ignored him. “Now, once Bellamy is inside Mount Weather, hopefully, he will have access to their servers. If he could plant a bug in their servers, Raven will be able to get inside and retrieve all the information we need on them.”

 

“What about you?” Miller asked.

 

“There was an artist supposed to paint a mural outside of Lexa’s office. Let’s just say she has a severe allergy to peaches and she will be admitted in the hospital for it while I go in as her,” Clarke said mischievously. 

 

“How did you guys come to know that?” Jasper looked surprised.

 

“I have been surveying Lexa’s floor since yesterday. There was an empty wall with paint cans around it. I researched a little and found out that some world-famous artist was gonna paint a mural there. So, I researched a little more and found the artist’s tinder profile. She has some severe allergies to peaches. I already sent her address to your phone, Miller.”

 

“She was gonna start tomorrow morning but she won’t. At least not for a week. And her apology mail won’t reach Lexa because of Raven.”

 

“Yeah, and our Clarke will paint the wall instead. I will forge her documents by tonight.” Raven agreed. “But what about the heiress we kidnapped? Are we not gonna return her? ‘Cause, she's kinda hot and I would really like to keep her.”

 

“Ew, Reyes,” Octavia scrunched her nose. “You do realize how creepy and psychopathic that sounds.” Raven just grinned in reply.

 

“We will contact Lexa,” Clarke said. “We will pretend that we need the video footage in exchange for her sister. She will of course try to outsmart us. Hopefully, she will be so distracted about her sister that she won’t have time to worry about us.”

 

“We are awfully hopeful today, aren’t we?.” Murphy murmured. 

 

“Nobody is forcing you to do anything, Murphy,” Clarke said. “You could get out if you want.”

 

“Like I said,” Murphy smirked. “I would love to have the chance to shoot at Queen Asshole.”

 

“Chance to not shoot,” Octavia said.

 

“Chance to almost shoot.” Murphy corrected.

 

“Even if everything goes right,” Said Echo. “How are we gonna take her out? I read Raven’s file last night. We have no information on the security of Lexa’s floor apart from the CCTV footage, and that only one person has access to her private elevator in case of a lockdown. We don't even know who that person is.” She noticed Raven’s pleased smile at the mention of her file.

 

“I know,” Clarke said. “But we have someone who can tell us.”

 

“Anya Woods,” Bellamy thought out loud. “Do you think she will tell us?”

 

“I don’t mind a little old fashioned technique of torture and blackmail if she doesn’t,” Murphy said.

 

“We are not torturing people.” Jackson broke his quiet. Murphy rolled his eyes.

 

“No,” said Clarke. “I will just do a simple interrogation.” 

 

“Same thing,” Murphy shrugged. 

 

“She should be awake by now,” Jackson said, looking at his pocket watch.

 

“Okay.” Clarke nodded, getting up to wear her jacket. “Raven, Murphy, let’s go.” Clarke slid a pocket knife into her shoes. “Bring your tablet too.”

 

They both nodded and hurried after Clarke.

 

 


 

 

ANYA

 

Anya sat on the floor of the darkroom trying to sharpen the edge of the spoon they had given her to drink soup. She had already cut through the ropes binding her wrists. She had woken up sometime after the fight at the docks with no sense of how long she’d been unconscious and no idea where she was. She remembered being hit from behind and then pain exploding over her skull. The next thing she knew she was awake, head pounding, in the dark.

 

Her hands and ankles were bound, and she could feel a blindfold tight across her face. For a moment, she was fourteen, locked in her bedroom after her mother died, frightened and alone. She forced herself to breathe. Wherever she was the ground was solid beneath her and the air smelled of alcohol.

 

She heard a faint thud of footsteps coming closer and closer. She hid the spoon behind her back and crawled back to the corner pretending to sleep.

 

The door opened with a creak. She saw light flooding the room from the edges of her blindfold. 

 

“You sure you want to do this Clarke?” A voice, a female one, asked. 

 

“Yeah.” Another replied. “Close the door and put the chairs in the center. Turn on the light. Murphy, pull her up.” This must be their leader, Anya thought. What are they gonna do to her? She felt fear ran through her blood like a snake coiling on her spine. 

 

An unfamiliar arm grabbed her by her elbow, trying to pull her up. Whoever they were and wherever she was, she would not quiver like a rabbit in a trap. She was Anya Woods and she would behead herself before bowing down to anyone else. 

 

She brought her hands and grabbed him by the wrist. Still blindfolded, she pushed his body backward. Based on his surprised shriek, he was on the floor. She climbed on top of him and shoved the sharper part of the spoon into his throat with all the power that she could muster. She felt warm thick liquid on her fingers as the body beneath her went limp. 

 

“Oh, for Apollo’s sake,” She heard the first woman shout. She was about to pull the spoon back when she felt herself being dragged away. Someone pinned her to the floor and brought her hands behind her back, throwing away her spoon. She tried to get back up but a knee was pressed into her back.

 

“Is he okay?” The woman on top of her asked. 

 

“He will live.” The other one replied. 

 

She heard a coughing and gurgling sound from the man she had just stabbed. “This was my favorite shirt. Now it has blood all over it. Fuck.” The guy grumbled.

 

“I will get you a new one if you stop whining, Murphy.” the other woman said.

 

“And you.” She heard the guy too close to her face. He smelled of alcohol and cow dung. She held her breath. “Touch me again and I will end you. In a non-criminal way.”

 

“Murphy, let’s go.” she heard the other voice. 

 

Her father was right. These people cannot be killed. For all these years, when Titus kept filling Lexa’s head with hate against these immortals, Anya had steered clear and assumed the delinquents were just a gang of highly skilled professional fighters. 

 

Even on the harbor, she had believed that they were using some kind of armor. Because of that belief she had strived to be the best fighter, there was, to prove to her sister that Titus was wrong. To finally make her see the lies and deceits Titus had been spinning all around her. But now, she felt foolish not to believe him.

 

“Put her on the chair.” The other woman said. “I will get Murphy to Jackson.”

 

She heard the door open and shut again. It was her and only one woman in the room then. She could beat her if she tried. She felt cold metal on her wrist. She struggled against it. But she felt a hand pressing on the nape of her neck. 

 

“Calm down, my lady,” The woman said. “You kind of stabbed my friend there. So we are just taking precautions. No hard feelings.” Then Anya felt the knee move away from her back. She inhaled sharply. 

 

“Did you hurt yourself?”  

 

“No,” Anya grunted. 

 

“We have a doctor. We could get him to check you if you are hurt somewhere.” The woman said with concern in her voice. Why were they so concerned when they literally abducted her? These were unnatural people, she thought, they could do anything. She shook her head.

 

“Okay. Then I will help you get up and sit on a chair.” The woman said. “I am gonna touch you now. Am I clear?”

 

She nodded. Frankly, she wanted to resist but she was exhausted. Everything in her body hurt. She felt like she had not eaten in days. The woman pulled her up and then made her sit down on a chair. She kept her back straight and chin high. Indra had always taught her to be graceful, even in captivity. 

 

“I am gonna open your blindfold now.” The woman said. Anya felt two hands reaching behind her head to undo a knot. The sudden light blinded her for a minute. She squeezed her eyes then blinked a few. Gradually she was able to see. She sighed in relief. If she could see, then she would be able to assess her situation a little better then maybe she could get out. 

 

“I am sorry about my friend. He could be very inconsiderate. I know you must be frightened. I would be too. But we mean no harm. We are kind of new to this abduction thing. You are very beautiful, by the way. Oh, Athena, that sounded creepy.” The woman paused. “I am Raven,” The woman - Raven - extended her hand for her to shake but then pulled back when she realized her mistake. “Oh, sorry. For like… everything you are going through. But you attacked my friends too, so I guess we are even. I should probably stop talking now.”

 

Who were these losers? Raven looked even younger than her. Barely a woman. She liked the way raven blushed and did not match her eyes, but that was irrelevant. Before she could say another word, the door opened again. A girl with short blonde hair and a slightly younger-looking girl entered.  

 

“For Zeus’s sake,” The blonde exclaimed. “Why is she not blindfolded?”

 

“So she could see?” Raven got up from her chair and scratched the back of her head. 

 

“So, Raven could see her eyes, Clarke.” the brunette said with a mischievous grin. She looked at Anya and waved a little. “Hi, I am Octavia. I heard you stabbed Murphy… my friend who was here earlier… I just wanted to thank you for that. Also, sorry if Raven has been ogling you like a creep. She is really nice when she is not a creep.”

 

Christ, why did these people keep apologizing to her?

 

“For a genius, you could be really dumb sometimes.” The blonde - Clarke - said to Raven.

 

“Don’t worry. I will just erase her memory. Haha.” Raven said. Anya’s expression must have been horrified because Raven quickly rectified her statement. “Oh, I was just joking. I probably shouldn’t joke about your memory being erased. Not that I could do that anyway. I mean, not yet. Haha. Joking, again.”  

 

Was this some kind of mental torture technique she wasn’t aware of? Did she let herself be kidnapped by these fools? But the people who were fighting on the docks seemed so skillful in their technique. They took away her best warriors like they were nothing. 

 

“Raven, please shut up.” Clarke sat down in front of her with a tablet in hand. “I am Clarke.” The blonde said to her. “What is your name, Anya?” 

 

Anya frowned. “You already know my name.”

 

“That doesn’t matter,” Clarke said, coming closer. She looked directly into her eyes. “I know a lot of things. But when I ask you a question, you answer.” Anya saw the other women in the room tense up like soldiers. Their playfulness disappears like vapor into thin air. “Do you understand?”

 

Anya did not want to answer. But she said, “Yes.”

 

“Good.” Clarke smiled like the devil. “What is your name?”

 

“Anya Woods.” She answered.

 

After that Clarke kept asking her menial question. What was your father’s name? Do you have a sister? When’s your birthday? Something in the way Clarke asked, told her that she knew the answers already. Sometimes, she asked the same questions twice or thrice. But Anya kept glaring and answering. She was tired and parched but she did not want to show it.

 

“Who is this?” Clarke showed her the tablet which was lying on her lap so far. It was showing a picture of Lexa in a press conference. Anya was thirsty. Maybe she could ask Raven for some water. She blinked. She has to stay focused. She should not reveal too much information. Clarke had something on her mind.

 

Anya ground her teeth and bit her tongue. Clarke already knew who it was then why was she asking? “Lexa, my sister.” She answered.

 

“Tell me about her academic background?” Clarke asked. She had asked the same question twice already. She wanted to sleep. 

 

“She graduated from a private high school in Washington D.C. Went to Harvard to get her degree in Business. She completed her Masters From Cambridge.” Anya automatically answered.

 

“Does she have a boyfriend?” 

 

“No.”

 

“Does she have a girlfriend?”

 

“No.”

 

“Does she have a pet?”

 

“No.” Her brain was practically shutting down.

 

“She had four pets when she was younger?’

 

“No, zero.”

 

“Does she have a private elevator?” 

 

“Yes.” Her mind was getting foggy from the repetitive question. She was dehydrated and sleep-deprived. It had only been two hours but it felt like an eternity. 

 

“Her private elevator has 4 cameras?” Clarke asked for the fourth time.

 

“No, six. Two hidden behind the glass.” Her eyes were closing and suddenly she felt hungry as well.

 

“How does she get into that private elevator?”

 

“Her fingerprint.” harbor the building is in lockdown, does the private elevator work?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Does Lexa have access to it?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then who has access to it?”

 

“Me.”

 

“That will be all.” Clarke smiled and stood up. “Thank you.” 

 

It was too late when Anya realized what she had done. Clarke had been too interested in her sister and she hadn’t even realized it. She told her or confirmed everything, thinking she already knew it. She pulled against her cuffs and screamed in agony. 

 

Raven pulled out a thin plastic and got behind her. She felt something cold touching her fingers.

 

“Forgive me,” Raven whispered in her ear.

 

“No, no, no, no.” She cried and thrashed. They were taking her fingerprints.

 

Raven handed the sheet to Clarke who seemed satisfied. Raven exited along with Octavia, not even sparing her a glance. Clarke was already on her way out when she screamed,  

 

“What do you want from her? What the fuck do you want from her? Take me! Take me instead. She has nothing to do with you and your kind. She never hurt you. I did. Kill me. Hurt me. I don’t care. But please don’t hurt her. ”

 

Clarke turned. “We don’t want to hurt your sister. We will be doing her a favor by taking her out of there. I will send Raven back with some food and water. Make yourself comfortable till then.”

 

“You fucking bitch!” she shouted as the door closed again, leaving her alone in the dark.  

 

They had fooled her with their innocent playful act. She had thought of herself as their bargaining chip but they were not after her at all. They were after Lexa, her baby sister. She felt like murdering them. Like taking apart their insides and spreading it all over the place and keep taking them apart until they died. These people were monsters and her sister was going to be their next victim. She should have shot the biochemical weapon Titus had given her when she had the chance. She hesitated then and now Lexa was going to pay the price. She cried till she fell asleep.  

 


John Murphy,17th century Salem, from Clarke's sketchbook

Chapter Text

OCTAVIA

 

The guards at the entrance of Polis tower were gesturing over their papers and typing the visitor’s information in their computer. They had body scanners and x-ray machines. Almost all the guards were armed. Raven wasn’t joking about extra security. Everybody seemed to be on edge. It felt like little quakes of anxiety and excitement were vibrating under her skin. They had never done anything of this scale. This was the first real moment of exposure, one they would have no control over. They were in enemy territory. 

 

Polis tower had four separate queues at the entrance. Three for people visiting the tower for the first time and one for people with Tree Crew issued ID cards. The three lines were busy today due to the candidates turning up for the interview. The recruiting process was faster this time. What usually took months to complete, was happening in a matter of days. Today, they were supposed to showcase their combat skills in front of General Indra. 

 

There were still two people ahead of her in the queue. She looked to her right where Clarke was in a separate line of visitors to Polis tower. Clarke nodded at her once. She turned to her left where it was almost Bellamy’s turn to go through the scanner. It was impossible to bring a weapon inside like this so they were not carrying any. All they had in their pockets were dismembered thumbs that they had collected from the morgue last night.

 

Clarke dropped a pen. It was time.

 

Outside the huge revolving glass doors of Polis tower, a woman fell on her knees and let out a high pitched cry. All heads turned towards the doors. A pregnant woman was crying in pain, her hands were holding her swollen belly. Several people including Clarke rushed to the pavement to get a better view of what was going on.  

 

Taking benefit of the momentary distraction Octavia and Bellamy slipped a dismembered thumb from their pockets and pressed it into the fingerprint scanner. The machine beeped. The guards’ eyes were focused on the door, they waved a hand and let them pass. Octavia released a relieved breath and discreetly winked at Bellamy as he did the same thing. Get it together, O.

 

“Purpose?” the next guard asked her. She repeated the same sentence as Bellamy beside her. And they were directed towards the interview halls on the fifteenth floor. 

 


 

CLARKE

 

“Oh, my baby!” Raven cried, louder than necessary. “He hurt my baby !” She pointed an accusatory finger at Murphy as fat tears uncontrollably rolled down from her eyes. A considerably big crowd had gathered around the tower entrance just like they had predicted. The financial district was a busy and boring place. Naturally, people were attracted to anything out of usual. Clarke pushed to the front of the circle.

 

“Look, lady,” Murphy said with a scowl. “I don’t know what your problem is but I didn’t even touch ya.” 

 

“You pushed her, I saw with my own eyes” Miller shouted from somewhere behind the crowd.

 

“Yeah, yeah, me too,” Some random people from the crowd agreed too. Good , Clarke thought, she was counting on the collective behavior of the crowd. Also, Murphy had a really punchable face.

 

Jasper, who was holding Raven and rubbing her back, stood up angrily. “You asshole. You pushed my pregnant wife.” He was a terrible actor but his ugly middle-aged man sweater and thick black-framed glasses did the job. 

 

A group of guards in all black Tree Crew uniforms parted the crowd and came into the front. General Indra stepped ahead.

 

“What is the matter here?” Indra said in a clipped tone. Watching Indra up close was a terrifying experience. Clarke saw Raven gulp a little.

 

“He shoved my pregnant wife!” Jasper raised an angry finger at Murphy.

 

“I fucking did not!” Murphy spat at Jasper’s shoe.

 

“You cursed in front of my unborn child!” Raven shouted, getting up with the help of some stranger. “And spat at my husband!”

 

Echo and Miller stepped up. Miller grabbed Murphy by his collar. 

 

“If you could please -” Indra started but soon she was cut by a loud shriek from Raven.

 

“I think it’s - he’s - coming out!” Raven let out a terrible moan. Echo and Miller had already dragged Murphy away from the scene saying something about handing him over to the police. Hopefully, he will have enough time to reach his spot in a nearby building.  

 

“Baby!” Jasper cooed. “Baby! Just hold on! I will get a taxi. Just hold on.” Then he started crying. They both started crying.

 

Indra rolled her eyes and let out a frustrated sigh. She said something on her radio and turned to the couple again. But before she could say a word, a handsome man in medical scrubs came to the front. He smiled at the couple. 

 

“Hello,” He said, calmly. “I am a doctor. I work at a nearby hospital. I could give you a quick check-up to ensure that everything is okay.”

 

“Oh Zu - God!” Raven had tears and snot mixing on her face. “You are an angel.”

 

“Yes, yes, you are. Doctor, you are Godsend.” Jasper kissed his knuckles. “Please help my wife.” Clarke rolled her eyes at the terrible overacting. Raven let loose another heart-wrenching wail to cover for him.

 

“Oh, um, it might be too late to go to a hospital if we could do this somewhere here.” Jackson looked in the direction of Polis tower and so did the crowd. Some even had their phone camera’s on. Raven would have to delete all those videos later. 

 

They turned to Indra because she was wearing a Tree crew badge. They begged her with pleading puppy eyes. If Indra said no, it could turn into a huge media scandal. And Tree crew probably didn’t want a scandal right now. Still, Indra looked like she could eat them alive.

 

“Fine,” Indra said. “We have a medical unit on the ground floor. We don’t have any doctors at the moment.” Because Murphy punctured their car tires this morning. 

 

Raven let out a relieved sigh but quickly covered it with another wail. 

 

“Thank you very much, kind lady. You are saving my wife’s life.” Jasper literally bowed to Indra. Who even talks like that anymore , Clarke prayed that Indra wouldn’t get suspicious. 

 

“Just you, your wife,” Indra said. “And the doctor.”

 

Raven slumped on Jasper’s side, who struggled to keep her up. Clarke rushed to help her stand up. 

 

“Thank you so much.” Jasper nodded at her. “Can she come too?” Clarke hoped that Jasper’s passably innocent charm will work one more time.

 

“Fine. You too.” Indra gritted her teeth.

 

“I was going in anyway. I am Josephine Lightborne. The artist commissioned to paint the mural.” Clarke added. Indra just nodded at her and led them through a path reserved for top-level executives. Thankfully they did not have to go through another scanner because of Raven’s increasingly high-pitched moans. 

 

“This way,” Indra led them through a hallway on the ground floor. She opened a door with her keycard and let them into a small first aid room.

 

Clarke helped Jasper to lay down Raven on the small examination table. Raven was gripping Jasper on one side and Clarke on another. Her screams were consistent. Jackson pulled a pair of hand gloves and turned to an awkward Indra standing by the door.

 

“Do you mind?” He raised an eyebrow.

 

“Of course not.” Indra nodded curtly and turned to leave the room. “My guards are waiting outside. They will escort you back when you are done.”

 

“Sure,” grinned Jackson. 

 

As soon as Indra was out, Jackson locked the door from the inside. Raven let go of her hand and pulled up her t-shirt. Inside was a huge hollow plastic bowl with a plastic zip bag. 

 

“Raven,” Clarke whispered. “Keep moaning for a few more minutes.” Raven nodded as the others opened the plastic bag on the bedside table. 

 

“We can fake a pregnancy. But we can’t fake an actual birth. We don’t have a baby to show for it.” Jackson stifled his laugh. If the situation wasn’t so tense, Clarke would be laughing too.

 

They dismantled the guns and put the pieces into Clarke’s little sachet as parts of paintbrushes. When Clarke finally reaches the top floor, she will hide them inside empty paint cans. 

 

“Guys,” Raven hissed. “My throat is getting dry. And I really wanna laugh.”

 

“We are done,” Clarke whispered, putting in the last components. “Let’s make you pregnant again.” 

 

“That’s what he said.” Raven tucked the hollow bowl inside her stomach again. She stood up and grinned. They all shared a nod and stepped out into the hallway. Two guards, one man, and a woman were waiting to escort them. Jackson was spewing out some medical jargon about babies and pregnancies and the medicinal properties of chocolate as Raven and Jasper pretended to be interested in them.

 

Clarke turned to the guard and gave him her best smile. “I was actually here to the start working at the Mural outside Miss Wood’s office. Seeing that I am late, do I have to go through all of that again?” She scrunched up her nose and gestured towards the long line at the entrance. The guard seemed to contemplate her request.

 

“What was your name again?” the guard asked.

 

“Josephine Lightborne,” Clarke replied, twirling her hair with her finger.

 

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard about you.” He said. “You don’t have to go through all of that. Come, I will escort you to the Commander’s office. And don’t worry about being late, she is busy at the recruits’ induction program.” He smiled and led Clarke to one of the elevators. “Be sure to pick up your ID from the HR desk though. Or I can get it for you.”

 

She bit her lip, trying to contain her grin. She touched his muscled arm lightly as he blushed like a literal teenager. “Thank you, that would be lovely.”


 

OCTAVIA

 

The area they had been assigned was an open hall. It had a floor to ceiling window on one side, giving a view of the city below. Murphy will have a clear view too. They had the new candidates lined up against one wall and old veteran soldiers against another. They had a wrestling mat placed in the center for candidates to show off their hand to hand combat skills. She could easily manage close combat but she still felt uncomfortable without her swords. 

 

The usual cacophony of voices stopped as Indra, Lexa and Titus entered the hall with their personal bodyguards. They looked royal. Like they could end you with a glare. They stood against the wall in front of the glass windows. Perfect, Octavia thought. Lexa gave a small speech about tradition or discipline or something. Octavia couldn’t pay any attention because the tall guard standing behind Lexa kept glancing at her. For a moment, Octavia was worried that he recognized her somehow. But then he smiled at her. A sweet, almost shy smile. Octavia smiled in return. He was handsome. There was no harm in some innocent smiling, was there? She knew Raven who was watching over them would probably roll her eyes at Octavia. 

 

Her eyes met Bellamy’s as they started calling names. One by one they were to compete against one of the veteran soldiers. Winning was not the point, it was rather proving that they were worth it. When it was Bellamy’s turn, a rather old soldier stepped out. He looked at him warily. 

 

The soldier started with an offense so Bellamy easily took up a defensive stance. The soldier’s moves were predictable at best. Bellamy could tackle him in his sleep. Still, he played along a little bit. Bellamy had put the previous working experience in Pharma Company in his forged application so that he could get into Mount Weather’s security detail. Soon, Bellamy had the soldier on his back on the mat. They shook hands as a show of good sportsmanship. Indra looked mildly impressed as she noted down something on her Ipad.

 

“Rina Aima,” Indra called, looking at her tablet. It was the name Raven had put in her application. 

 

She walked to the center of the mat barefooted as her opponent, a fairly young man did the same. Indra nodded for them to begin. Her opponent looked at her like she had stolen his girlfriend. He scowled and jogged a little, his fist raised. Octavia crouched by instinct as he hit nothing but air. Were all Tree Crew members this uptight? She wondered. He regained his balance and charged at her from her left. He was going to use his body as a weight to crush her. Octavia dodged at the last second and swept her leg beneath him. He tripped and fell face first. Blood oozed out from his nose. 

 

Octavia looked at Indra who seemed passively impressed. The tall handsome guy smiled at her. Indra gave her a curt nod. She was turning to go back to her spot when she saw a reflection from the corner of her eye.  Murphy was told to signal her with a mirror. It was the signal. People who weren’t looking for it won’t be able to see it. She inhaled sharply and counted backward. 

 

3…

2…

1…  

 

A faint hissing sound came as Octavia ran towards Lexa. Her guards were drawing their pistols but Octavia was faster. She shoved Lexa to the side. They both fell on the ground as a shot rang out against the walls of the hall. The glass window shattered and the guards all crouched on the ground. A bullet pinged off the wall at their feet, sending up a cloud of dust. Suddenly, gunfire was echoing across the hall. Lexa’s guards were shooting at the building, at murphy, shouting orders to each other. 

 

Octavia was being hauled to her feet by the tall guard. 

 

“Are you okay?” He asked worriedly, checking her out for wounds himself. 

 

“Yeah,” She found her voice a little bit too high. “Commander-” She looked around only to find no one.

 

“She is okay. They already took her somewhere safe.” He said gesturing towards the exit. All of the other candidates were being shown out of the room. “You saved her life today. She asked me to make sure you were okay.” He held her hand gently and led her towards the exit.

 

“I - I” Suddenly she was at a loss for words. That rarely happened to her. “I was just doing my job.”

 

“I thought you were just interviewing.” He chuckled. Octavia bit her lip. “Don’t worry you will get the job. I think Indra might let you in the special operation team. You proved yourself today.”

 

“Thank you.” Said Octavia. He smiled and turned to escort her out of the door. “I didn’t catch your name.”

 

“Lincoln.” He said shyly. 

 

“Rina.” It felt bad to lie to him but she didn’t have a choice. “But you could call me Octavia. I mean my friends call me Octavia… so…“ 

 

“Okay,” said Lincoln. “Octavia.”

 

They stood there awkwardly for a few seconds.

 

“You could go wait in the cafeteria with the other candidates.” He offered.

 

“Sure.” She giggled. “I will just go do that.”

 

He smiled again and she felt a tiny crush taking root in her belly. Clarke was going to kill her. 

 


 

CLARKE

 

Everything had gone smoothly so far or at least that’s what Raven had let her know through a text. Octavia and Bellamy got their placement exactly where they had planned. She even saw Octavia enter Lexa’s office briefly. Octavia had winked at her on the way back. But one thing she had not planned was the actual mural. Sure, she liked to paint and draw in her little sketchbooks and canvases once in a while. But this was a huge white wall in a primarily grey-black-depressed themed office and she was pretending to be some famous artist. 

 

Clarke had been staring at the blank white wall for the last four hours. Shortly after coming upstairs and ditching the guard, she had put the gun parts inside the paint cans she had emptied in the bathroom. The floor had been busy the whole day after another attempted assassination. Lexa had passed her a few times but each time Clarke had ducked her head and pulled her baseball cap a little too low. Neither looking nor being seen.

 

The wall was right outside of the elevator. On the other side, there was Indra’s and Baldie’s office. And if Clarke looked straight down the hallway, she could see Lexa worrying over some papers in her own office. Clarke might have wasted a lot of time just looking at Lexa’s silhouette working tirelessly. Not creepy at all, Clarke, She could hear Raven’s voice in her head. But in her defense, she didn’t have any idea what to paint. They still had to play this game for three days. Was she just going to stare at a blank wall for three days? That would probably look suspicious. 

 

Feeling exhausted by doing nothing at all, she sat down on the floor and started mixing some colors. She put in her AirPods and hummed along with some classical music. An idea was forming in her head. She had been to many wars herself. She had been there long enough to fight from both sides. Maybe she could paint something representing the horrors of war? But this was a defense and securities company. There was a thrill in doing rebellious things that Clarke couldn’t deny. Would they even appreciate such a sentiment? Or would they just kick her out? But why the fuck should she care? She could draw a penis and never come back here. She chuckled at the thought of a large penis in the depressingly lonely wall. 

 

Somebody coughed behind her. Clarke stood up and turned around. Lexa was standing right in front of her. Clarke took out her Airpods and politely bowed. Who the fuck bows? She felt stupid for bowing and hence just awkwardly smiled. Lexa looked at her unimpressed. Up close she looked tired, Clarke thought. But stunning. Like if she walked into a room, all the walls will fall down. 

 

“It’s already past eight,” Lexa said with the usual business tone that Clarke had heard in many press conference videos she had watched prepping for the mission. 

 

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize it.” Clarke had been doodling in her notebook that now laid open on the floor. Two people engaged in a swordfight on one page and a large penis on the other. 

 

“If you are going to draw that…” She pointed at the penis doodle. For the first time, Lexa looked amused. Almost a hint of a smile on her lips. 

 

“No, I was just doodling,” Clark said.

 

“You are the artist Anya hired for the mural?” Lexa asked, seeming genuinely interested. 

 

“No, I am the assassin.” Clarke extended her hand for her to shake. Lexa furrowed her brows.  Clarke internally rolled her eyes, she will fit right in with us . “Too soon? I was just joking. I am Clark - Josephine.” Fuck? What the actual fuck? It was pathetic. She was pathetic. But Lexa smiled. So it was worth it.

 

“Oh,” Lexa smiled like the sun. “Hello, Clarke Josephine. It’s nice to meet you. I am Alexandria, but you can call me just Lexa.”

 

“Nice to meet you too, Just Lexa.” Clarke raised an eyebrow teasingly. 

 

Lexa laughed even though Clarke knew it wasn’t that funny. “You are funny.”

 

“You are hot.” Clarke blurted out. 

 

“What?” Lexa froze with a raised eyebrow.

 

“Oh, I am really funny.” Clarke grinned like a Cheshire cat. 

 

Lexa laughed like a child and Clarke wished more people would laugh like that. But then she seemed to remember something. Her expression turned blank and stoic. And Clarke instantly missed her smile.

 

“I should let you go.” Said Lexa, letting go of her hand.  “It’s late. Or are you going to work all night? I am sorry I have no idea about artistic -”

 

“No, that’s okay. I was just going to wrap up here.” Clarke said, wiping her hands on a rag. “Thanks for reminding me, though.”

 

“You are welcome.” Lexa gave a curt nod and turned back to her office. Clarke wanted to ask her if she was okay. But it was neither the right time nor the right place. 

 

On her way back to the hotel, Clarke wondered why Lexa didn’t seem like the cold-hearted money-hungry uber bitch they were all trying to defeat. Talking with Lexa felt familiar like listening to her favorite song years later and still remembering the lyrics. Lexa was a survivor just like them. Tired of other people’s game yet bonded to a life of responsibility. She wished she could take some of the burdens off of her shoulder. But instead, she felt like she was going to add more responsibility to it in the next few days. 




 

 

They had booked four hotel rooms under aliases. But like the children they were, they were all cramped up in Clarke and Raven’s room with stacks of pizza boxes and beer bottles like a college frat party. Someone had turned up the music. Jasper was perched on top of the window, humming to the song and looking out into the abyss. When Clarke entered, Bellamy was in a heated debate with Echo about which century’s hairstyle was the best. To be honest they were both drunk. They looked like they would either kill or kiss each other. And from Echo, they were both the same thing.

 

On the desk, Raven was tangled up in a dozen or so wires. There were at least six bottles of beer at her feet and soldering iron in her hand. Apparently, she was making a robot baby. She was saying,

 

“Shut up, Murph. Don’t talk to me, I am pregnant!”

 

“I was just saying that Clarke is back.” Murphy protested. “How did fraternizing with the enemy go?”

 

“Lexa isn’t the enemy.” 

 

“So, you accept that you were fraternizing.” He smirked. 

 

Clarke scowled. She just talked to Lexa for a few minutes. Raven jumped up from her seat and crushed Clarke with a hug.

 

“Please tell me you are gonna paint a dick?” Raven said. “Please. Please. Please. It would the biggest fuck you gift to Tree Crew!”

 

“What are you?” Clarke said, untangling her limbs from Raven. “Twelve?”

 

“My body is twelve hundred years old but my heart is twelve.” Raven sang and flopped back down on her chair. 

 

“How did it go with Commander Heart eyes?” Octavia asked.

 

“And you would know all about it, won’t you, Miss my-friends-call-me-Octavia.” Raven teased.

 

“Y’all suck at covert.” Echo giggled, obviously drunk. “By the way, I did steal the minivans that you had requested. I will have it painted and ready by tomorrow.”

 

“Guys,” Clarke said. “Stop acting like children and go to your rooms. Nothing happened with Lexa. We have an early morning tomorrow. Who is looking after Anya?”

 

“Miller and Jackson volunteered,” Octavia said. “Though I am pretty sure, they are looking after each other more.”

 

“And Bell,” Clarke turned to Bellamy. “Where are you on Mount Weather?”

 

“Yeah, starting work there tomorrow. Raven already gave me the bug.” He pointed to Raven who was snoring against the desk. “It will be done by tomorrow.”

 

“Good.” Clarke nodded. “O, you are in the special op team?”

 

“Yeah, I got one better. They offered me some paid vacation or a chance to work in the Commander’s security detail. So, obviously like the good self-sacrificing employee that I am I chose to work for the commander.” Octavia confirmed.

 

“Murphy,” said Clarke. “Did you record the ransom tape?” His punchable face and douchey tone had many benefits.

 

“Yes, Princess.” He said pointing to an envelope on the bed.

 

“Okay good.” Clarke gestured to the door. “Please get out. I need to sleep.” 

 

“You are no fun, Clarke…” Raven slurred in her sleep.

 

One by one they left her room, bidding their goodnights. Clarke went back to pick up Raven from her slump, knocking some bottles off the table in the process. It would be a nightmare for room service tomorrow, she thought.

 

“Clarke,” Raven murmured, eyes still closed. “I am dying.”

 

“Yeah,” said Clarke. “Aren't we all?”

 

Raven giggled in reply. 



From Raven's personal camera, 1976 L.A., celebrating Bellamy's fake birthday

Chapter Text

CLARKE

 

Clarke did decide what she was gonna paint, but the problem was she only had one day. Jasper had dropped off the ransom tape in front of Polis Tower and disappeared through the crowd between the early morning office-goers. When Clarke arrived on the floor, Lexa was already in a meeting, reviewing and discussing strategies with General Indra and Titus. Clarke was relieved that at least Octavia was in the room too. There would be no surprises to greet them when they put the plan in motion. 

 

The only unpredictable piece was Mount Weather. Bellamy was already in there. They couldn’t even begin to imagine what kind of skeletons they would find there. But it was their last hope to convince Lexa that they weren’t the monsters. 

 

Clarke put in her Airpods and started with her piece. It wouldn’t be as perfect or detailed as she wanted but this will have to do for now.  She drew a rough sketch in her notebook and divided it into grids to be transformed on the wall. She had cleaned the wall yesterday. She was painting a moment from her own life. As she painted, she recalled the day vividly in her mind. It was world war I. She was there with her platoon. The trench they were hiding in had flooded overnight. The enemy had been relentless. There were rotten dead bodies of her fellow soldiers. She had been the only one to survive that trench. 

 

Clarke exhaled. The outline was done. She walked backward to take a look from afar. Her back collided with someone. She turned on the spot. Lexa was there. Lexa’s hair was pulled back into a tight professional bun. She was wearing a charcoal skirt and white shirt. She looked ethereal.

 

When Lexa cleared her throat, Clarke realized she had been staring for too long. And she was probably intruding on Lexa’s personal space. She stepped back and wiped her hands on her jeans, self consciously. She wanted to dig a hole, get inside it, and never come back. 

 

“I like - I like the painting.” Lexa cleared her throat again. “It’s like I am standing there with them, you know. You are really talented.”

 

“Oh, thank you.” Clarke felt her cheeks warming. She knew she could paint well. But it was a different thing to hear it from Lexa. “I hope it’s not too dark or anything. It’s basically condemning war and Tree Crew is like…” She waved her hands around trying to convey that the company’s whole business model was violence.  

 

“No, no.” Lexa smiled in encouragement. “It’s perfect. It was Anya’s - my sister’s - idea to paint a mural like this. She would appreciate it.” Her smile dimmed a little as if remembering something sad. She would’ve missed the little show of emotion if her eyes weren’t glued to every feature on Lexa’s face. She was probably thinking about Anya, Clarke thought. She felt guilty, but not guilty enough to ruin the whole mission. 

 

Surprising herself, she asked, “Hey, are you okay? You look stressed.”

 

“Yeah, I am fine.” Lexa automatically answered. “It’s just… my job… it comes with a lot of stress.” She added, putting her hands in her pocket. 

 

Clarke absolutely didn’t need to offer her anything. She will probably hate Clarke in a few days. They will just be acquaintances at best. Still, she offered, “Have you had lunch? I was just about to grab some food from downstairs. I can get you something if you want.”

 

“Thank you but I have a working lunch,” Her face seemed conflicted. Like she didn’t want to say no. Or maybe Clarke was just imagining things. “You go ahead.”

 

“Okay,” Clarke said. “I will see you around then.” She slung her backpack and turned to the elevator. 

 

Christ, what was she thinking? It was stupid and reckless. It was so unlike her. She was hoping to see Lexa, to make her smile, to talk to her, to get to know her. Her friends were counting on her. And here she was utterly infatuated with the brunette CEO. All of it will have to wait until after Lexa was safe and informed about what was going on. 

 

When she came back from her lunch and a brief status update from Raven, Lexa was in her office with the city’s police commissioner, Indra, the bald guy, and a military person. So, they were involving the Police now. It wasn’t good news. Clarke had thought that Lexa would direct most of the force to the bridge which would leave Polis Tower unguarded. Now with the police, there could be enough security both with Anya and the tower.  

 

Clarke sent a quick text to Raven with the new information and went back to her work. 

 


 

LEXA

 

She stared at her salad as the police commissioner went on and on about how the city needed more armed police. She absentmindedly twirled her fork on her plate.  Something was wrong. She couldn’t put a finger on it. It was a feeling. It was strange. It made her want to hang Titus upside down. Titus, who was now lobbying her about arranging a gala in celebration after they had rescued Anya from the delinquents.

 

Personally, she thought it was a bad idea. Someone was clearly trying to kill her. Once Anya was here, she would hug her for days and tell her how much she loved her. When Indra voiced her objection to the gala, she thanked her. She had been reviewing their plans since the morning after her guards had discovered a ransom tape in front of the tower. They had played it and watched it together in her office. 

 

It was just a monochrome picture of Anya with yesterday's newspaper, bound to a chair. Lexa had thrown up her breakfast in the restroom after that. It was a horrific image. Her sister had to go through all of that because of their weird obsession with some immortal people. The tape had mentioned an exchange point on the Potomac river Key bridge. In return, they had only demanded their video footage. It was a fair deal, it was what Lexa had anticipated.

 

Still, there was a slim chance that they will be able to capture those delinquents as well. That is why they decided to involve the city police much to Titus’s reluctance. The Police had not been told that the kidnappers were allegedly immortals. But Lexa had insisted that they were highly trained criminals and they should not be taken lightly.  The commissioner had taken her word for it. They were ready to bring in more helicopters and tanks if need be.  

 

“We do not negotiate with terrorists.” The police commissioner pointed out for the sixteenth time. 

 

The only relief from her stressful schedule was the artist painting the war mural on the hallway wall. She could see the side of the wall from her office. But she was more interested in the blonde artist who bobbed her head to whatever was playing on her earphones. Clarke, the artist, stood out in her bland office like a rose in a thorn bush. Today, Clarke was wearing a baseball cap and oversize hoodie which by now was splattered with grey and white paint. Clarke did not seem to give any fucks about it, unlike her employees. Her hands were always colored in various paints too, Lexa had noticed, even though the painting was fairly monochrome. 

 

Lexa sighed at the mock debate between the Commissioner and Titus about the city’s criminal underbelly. She excused herself abruptly. She found herself standing behind the blonde once again. 

 

She could watch Clarke paint forever. It was almost therapeutic in a sense. Clarke felt like someone she had known in another life. It was also a feeling. A good one. Like the moment she saw her, she just knew that Clarke may become an important part of her life. Maybe it was the look or the eyes or something about the smile or just the way her day felt a little lighter, softer when Clarke was in it. 

 

“Hey,” Clarke said. There was a small shy smile tugging at the corner of her lips. A mischievous glint in her eyes. “What do you think?” She gestured to the wall.

 

She had outlined pretty much the whole wall. It wasn’t pretty. It was grueling and dark and honest. It wasn’t supposed to be pretty. It was supposed to make the seer feel something. And Lexa felt it. You are perfect, said Lexa, but it came out as “It’s perfect.”

 

“Funny you should say that,” Clarke smirked, her mischievousness growing tenfold. “The bald -” She paused, poking her tongue out at the slip. “Titus, Mr. Flame told me that it’s inappropriate.”

 

“He has a bad case of chronic dissatisfaction.” She hissed incredulously, leaning in slightly in Clarke’s direction. “He is an ass, to be honest.”

 

“Oh Zu -God,” Clarke laughed freely, one dirty hand resting on her hips. Lexa loved the sound of that. “No offense, but he does have a stick up his arse. But, Commander,” She said slowly as if weaving a conspiracy. “Don't let anyone else hear you talk like that.”

 

Lexa felt the heat rise on her face. She never used to talk like that. “I-I am not really a commander. It’s just Titus insisted on maintaining the tradition. My father was actually a commander in the navy. So, people just want to pay respect to his name.”

 

“Oh so,” Clarke put a hand under her chin, feigning deep thought. “It’s like being the Godfather.”

 

“Yeah, something like that,” Lexa chuckled. Clarke smiled and said nothing. Lexa looked away at the mural, because Clarke was staring at her, and she knew she was flushed, and she knew she was smiling as well, though she still wanted Clarke to stare at her even if it made her blush, and she wanted to keep staring at her too. It was easy to feel happy with Clarke, to feel vulnerable, to feel something. Perhaps she liked the way Clarke looked at her without fear or judgment. She looked at her like Lexa was everything that mattered, like she was just another human being and not a machine. “We are just all stressed about Anya - my -”

 

“- Your sister, yeah, I saw on the news. It’s tomorrow, right?” Clarke asked, concerned.  

 

“Yeah,’ she responded. “Hopefully, everything will go nicely and she will be here to see the painting.” 

 

“Yeah,” Clarke smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes as most of her smiles did. “I can’t wait. And good luck for tomorrow.”

 

“Thank you.” She replied, keeping her voice unwavering. God, what was she thinking? She knew Clarke for what, two days? And yet there she was, depositing her emotional baggage at Clarke. Titus was right, she should have better control over her feelings. She recomposed herself with a sigh. “I should let you get back to work.” Lexa turned and left. 

 

Once Anya was home safe and the delinquents were under arrest, she would ask Clarke for coffee or lunch or whatever normal people did when they were interested in someone. And hopefully, Clarke will be there till then.

 

By the time, Lexa was done with her day, Clarke had already left. The painting looked almost finished to her. She wondered whether Clarke would like to see her after the commission was done. She wondered whether Clarke was gay at all. But first, she had other things to worry about. 

 


 

CLARKE

 

Clarke had left early after receiving an SOS text from Raven. Her earlier interaction with Lexa had left her a bit shaken. She hated lying to her when the other girl was being so sincere and open. She hated doing it but it had to be done. Tomorrow, she will explain everything and hope that Lexa understands her reasons.

 

When she opened her hotel room door, the scene was a sharp contrast from last night’s. Bellamy, Echo, Miller, and Jasper were bent over several blueprints on the coffee table. Raven was explaining her robot baby with unusually long hands to Jackson. Octavia was with their precious cargo then, Clarke figured. The room smelled of tobacco and tension. There was food getting cold on the dinner table. Nobody had even touched it except Raven, who had a container opened on her desk.

 

Their heads turned up when they saw Clarke approach.

 

“Hey, princess.” Murphy greeted, lifting his head from the rifle he was cleaning.  

 

“Clarke,” Bellamy nodded in acknowledgment. He seemed tense. 

 

“How was Commander Heart-eyes today?” Raven asked, trying to lighten up the mood. 

 

Clarke ignored Raven and washed her hands before taking a seat on the couch, beside Bellamy and Echo. Several cigarette stubs were still burning in the ashtray. 

 

“So?” She finally said.

 

“We have bad news and good news,” Bellamy said. “I will start with the bad news first because it’s important.”

 

“Way to ruin the mood, Bellamy.” Murphy turned his attention towards Bell. So did Raven and Jackson.

 

“Shut up, Murphy.” Bellamy pulled out a blueprint from the stack and put it on top. “This is Mount Weather headquarters’s design.” He pointed at the map. “I stole it today. But what I found out in the process of stealing this, was more disturbing. The building has illegal construction underneath it. It has five floors below ground. All of these floors hold a secret of their own. They have a special elevator for those floors. I didn’t have access to them even as security personnel. They enter through with a key card and a retinal scan. Their server room is below ground, so I couldn’t plant Raven’s bug either.”

 

“Well, fuck.” Raven frowned.

 

“That’s not all.” Bellamy continued. “The compound they used on us was manufactured here. If you look at these prints, you could clearly see that these are labs. But here on level minus three, you can see these holding cells. Clarke, they are holding human beings down there for illegal experimentation. My rough estimate would be around two hundred people.”

 

“How can you be sure?” Clarke did not want to believe this.

 

“I followed a doctor into the elevator. I killed him and took his eyeball and key card, I hid his body in their freezer. Hopefully, they will not be able to discover him till tomorrow.”

 

“Jesus Christ.” Miller blew out a breath.

 

“I don’t regret it. He was a scientist but a morally corrupt one. He was experimenting with unapproved drugs on captive poor people. They keep them in prison cells. Stacked one on top of the other, like animals in a slaughterhouse.” He turned to her. Rage burning in his eyes. He had a soft heart for a worthy cause. “Clarke, it’s all connected. The smugglers involved in human trafficking are actually being funded by Mount Weather. There foundations and charities are just a way to lure innocent people in.”

 

“He is right, I double-checked it,” Raven said in agreement. “They are smart. You can’t see the connections unless you are looking for it.”

 

“This is -this is- Can’t we take this to the newspapers?” Jackson tried to reason. He had his arms folded in front of him as if protecting himself from the worst of humanity. After all of these years, they should have gotten used to it, but they hadn’t. 

 

“They are hiding in plain sight. Mount Weather has hands in every pocket. They will probably bribe some people and slither out of it. We have to take those people out first.” Clarke explained. 

 

“There’s more.” Said Bellamy. “We were right. There is an immortal in Mount Weather. They were not there before. This last level is a fairly recent construction. It is built like a high-security prison. I couldn’t get inside. There was not enough time. But I discovered something else.”

 

“What now?” Murphy slid his rifle by his side with a disgruntled look.

 

“Feds are always looking into Pharma companies. So, how do you think Mount weather gets so many people inside without raising suspicion?” Bellamy asked.

 

“Magic interdimensional portal?” Raven shrugged, taking a bite of her cold pasta.

 

“Airdrop?” Octavia seemed unsure.

 

“Forged documents?” Miller knitted his brows. 

 

“Secret tunnel.” Echo said and put another cigarette in her mouth.

 

“You are right, Echo.” Bellamy pointed to two maps. One of Polis Tower and the other of Mount Weather. “There’s a tunnel connecting the Polis Tower and Mount Weather headquarters. It goes all the way across the street, connecting both the buildings underground.”

 

“So they could transfer people through Polis Tower into Mount Weather,” Clarke concluded. “Tree Crew receives arms and weapons in huge shipments. Nobody would suspect them. How long has this Tower existed? Does Lexa know that something like this is going on in her building?”

 

“The tunnel seemed like an old construction. At least a decade old. It was narrow and dark, I couldn’t go all the way through. And as far as the Tree Crew is concerned, somebody knows something there. An operation like this cannot possibly go on without them knowing. Who knows? Maybe they are keeping some of the profit for themselves.”

 

“And here we thought, we would throw a welcome party and have secret handshakes for our newest member,” Murphy said. “Turns out she is into fifty shades of devilish work already.”

 

“Like it or not, Lexa is our only chance, Murphy.” Clarke put her head in her hands, scratching her scalp lightly. There was a headache coming. “We have to convince her. Make her see all the things that we have discovered. Mount Weather is too big for us to take down, especially under these circumstances. She will see the reason if we explain it to her. She is a good person.”

 

“You said there are no good guys, Clarke.” Jasper reminded her with a scowl. 

 

“There aren’t,” Clarke gave him a pointed look. “But there are people who want to do better. Lexa has to be one of them.”

 

“And if she isn’t?” Raven asked.

 

“Then we will be the monsters she thinks us to be,” Clarke said solemnly. “We will burn down Tree Crew and Mount Weather even if it’s the last thing we do.”

 

They all nodded and hummed in agreement. Murphy grinned and cocked his rifle. “We will need more guns. Some bombs. A Miracle. Most importantly some whisky to lubricate our brains.”

 

“No, no, no.” Jasper interrupted frantically, rubbing his hand on his shaved head. “There has to be a better way-”

 

“Calm down, Jesus,” Murphy was irritated. “We won’t ask you to do anything morally grey, alright.”

 

“This isn’t just about me, Murphy. There has to be a better way for all of us.” Jasper stood up. Clarke caught the quiver of his nostrils. He was drawing a fortifying breath as if they disgusted him. “There are good people there. People who are trying to find cures and discovering medicines. We can’t possibly think about killing them all.”

 

“Jasper,” Bellamy said. “Now that the police are involved, we will need a distraction to get out of there unscathed. Something big. Like an-”

 

“Explosion,” Miller added. “I can do that. We have enough firepower to do that. I could blow up Mount Weather.”

 

“But still, there would be civilians. It’s not in the middle of a desert, Miller. It’s in the center of the financial district.” Jasper protested but Miller just shrugged. “What about the bridge? We could blow up the bridge?”

 

“It would be filled with police officers,” Clarke said softly. She didn’t want to do this either but there was no other choice. “We don’t want an enemy out of the police department. Not yet. Plus, we need to cross that bridge too. There is no other way Jasper. People will get hurt one way or the other.” 

 

“We - we,” Jasper looked like he wanted to cry. “We don’t kill civilians. That’s terrorism. We don’t hurt doctors who are trying to save people. This is not who we are.”

 

“Who we are and what we do to survive are two different things, Jasper,” Bellamy calmly said. 

 

“Is it really?” He shouted back. Jasper let out a frustrated sigh and left the room, slamming the door so hard that a glass showpiece near the door fell and broke. 

 

“He will come around, eventually,” said Jackson. “I will go see if he is okay.” He got up and placed a soft kiss on Miller’s forehead before leaving.

 

“Now,” Clarke continued. “Let’s hope that the first plan works. Miller, how long will it take you to plant the bombs?”

 

“With Bell’s security access into Mount Weather, I could place our hydrazine bombs right near the building’s foundation, it will be more effective that way. I will configure them so that they could be detonated remotely. It will hardly take half an hour.”

 

“Okay,” Clarke turned to Echo. “Are the vans ready?” Echo nodded in confirmation. “Good. Once the van carrying Anya is there on the bridge, we will have approximately thirty minutes to get Lexa out of the building and for you two to get out of Mount Weather. The bridge is a fifteen-minute drive, we will have to cross it before they set up checkpoints.” 

 

“And if we can’t?” Octavia asked.

 

“Then we will use our distraction,” Clarke replied. “It will occupy them. They will need to divide the police force, giving us a small window to escape. And if the feds start looking into the building, maybe they will discover the hidden floors too. Nevertheless, it will buy us some time to get out of there.”

 

“So much risk to rescue a princess from the tower.” Murphy snickered. “What if the princess turns out to be the dragon?”

 

“Like I said, we will slay all of them then. And we will face the consequences like we always do.” Clarke said with a wry smile. “When it’s our time-”

 

“It’s our time.” They all replied.

 




LEXA

 

Lexa spent a restless night in her penthouse. She felt like she hadn’t slept for days. And she really hadn’t. Sleeping peacefully in her home seemed like a betrayal to Anya. When Lexa entered her office that day, everyone knew not to cross her. Her presence reverberated throughout the polished hallways and cramped cubicles. Every soldier, intern, lieutenant, and accountant was a little more awake. They bowed their heads in respect for their commander. They were going to hit the delinquents first and they were going to hit hard.

 

The war room was located right beside her own office. When she crossed the distance between her office and the war room she saw that Clarke had not arrived yet. It was a good thing, she thought. Lexa could not afford any distractions today. Especially her childish crush on a certain blonde, no matter how pretty she was. Lincoln, Octavia, and two other soldiers were positioned outside of the war room. They bowed their heads wishing her good morning as Lexa approached. She reciprocated their gesture. When Lexa walked into her war room and the air changed, her General, lieutenants, and soldiers were on their feet with hands behind their back. 

 

The police commissioner was standing with his head held high. His badges were shining and teeth forming a slow smile. Titus rushed forward to brief her about the preparation but Lexa stopped him with a raised hand. She had read the brief multiple times and she knew it better than Titus ever could. She took her seat at the head of the long table and gestured for all of them to sit down.

 

“Indra,” She looked at her General. “Please, begin.”

 

“Of course, Commander.” Indra gave a curt nod in her direction from her seat in her immediate right. “Today we have two objectives. One, bring lieutenant Anya Woods home safe. And Two, catch the motherfuckers who dared to raise a finger on the law-abiding citizens of our country. With honor and strength bestowed upon us by the grace of the god, we shall return victorious.”

 

Lexa felt her heart beating like a racehorse. Indra had a knack for making a brave soldier even out of the most cowardice. She witnessed the same effect on her colleagues and soldiers. She admired Indra for that. They dwelled on the details of the plan after that. The positions of the squads and the perimeter for the choppers. The delinquents were not getting out of here unless they had a hidden superpower of vanishing into thin air. 

 

“Initially, we will set up a blockade on our end of the bridge. We would be seen as hostile but not offensive. As soon as we have our eyes on the vehicle, we will have the choppers in the air.” Indra repeated the strategy that she had mustered up along with Titus’s wise counsel. 

 

“We don’t want to spook them,” Lexa said, taking the lead. “They should think that they are going to drop Anya and pick up the suitcase containing the tape. Indra will go get Anya after the first contact. When they start to pull their vehicle back, the police will block the other end of the bridge, trapping them in between. Lieutenant Woods will be with us by this point. All we have to do is flush the city until those criminal rats come out.”

 

Lexa saw the police commissioner nodding along with their every word. He was impressed with their thoroughness. If this goes successfully, he will have a share of this glorious victory pie without much work from his side. Lexa couldn’t care less about what he wanted or thought. He was a pawn in this game after all. He didn’t know about their shared history or the feat they were going to achieve with these criminals. 

 

She and Titus had decided to divert all their forces on the exchange point so when the Delinquents were caught, they had to be caught by the Tree Crew. Vengeance still flowed like red hot steel in her spine. They had murdered her parents, killed forty-nine of her warriors, and abducted her sister. She wasn’t going to let them go to a fair trial without making them feel the pain that she felt since her childhood. 

 

When the technicalities of the plan were discussed and finalized and it was time for the battalion leaders to leave, her soldiers looked up to her for guidance and goodwill. She stood up from her place and clasped her hands behind her back. Poised and regal, like she was trained to be.

 

“Today,” She said and it echoed off the walls, vibrating every air molecule in the room with resonance, “our enemies do not wear a uniform, they do not represent a state and do not have faith. They are nothing but petty criminals who think they can get away with hurting one of us. They are weeds that need to be cut out. They have been resourceful, yes. Cunning, yes. But they do not have the truth and honesty and faith that you have. Today, when we rise victorious, we will ensure that no criminal can infect this city. That your loved ones have the same protection as mine. That when they hurt one of us, we hurt all of them.” She paused; looking at the faces of her determined and loyal soldiers, ready to sacrifice their lives on her command, one by one. “Blood must have blood.”

 

A chorus of blood must have blood reverberated through the room. She inhaled the raw courage of her warriors and felt it seep through her bones. It was infectious. So much power and responsibility. This time she was not sending her soldiers to die, she was sending her soldiers to win and end this proxy war forever. It was the ugly truth of leadership, to look into the eyes of her soldier and say, go die for me . But it had to be done. 

 

When the lieutenants and the commissioner left to assume their respective positions, it was only her, Indra, and Titus in the room. Indra turned to her with something on her mind but did not speak.

 

“Indra,” Lexa said. “This is not the time for quiet contemplation. If there is something you want to say, say it.” 

 

“With all due respect, Commander, we have directed all of our specialized soldiers to the bridge and the city as you had suggested. Forgive me for saying this but that leaves the tower, specifically you, without any significant protection for almost an hour. The criminals we are facing today are unpredictable. They have already made attempts on your life here. If they were to turn this way - “

 

“I understand what you are saying, General. I do not deny it. But we cannot pull back from the bridge. They or at least one of them have to be there to take the tape. I do not want to lose them this time. So, no calling them back here for my protection is not an option.”

 

“Well, in that case, I would suggest at least have Lincoln and Octavia here just in case. Lincoln is loyal to you and Octavia has potential. They could be spared for your protection at the moment.”

 

Lexa considered it for a moment. She knew Indra was right. Somebody had already tried to assassinate her twice now. She was not scared, per se. She was trained enough to handle herself but it would not hurt to take precautions. 

 

“I agree with General Indra.” Said Titus after a while. 

 

“Okay. Leave Octavia and Lincoln and take the rest.” Lexa extended her hand for Indra to shake. “May peace be with you.” She said.

 

“May peace be with you,” Indra replied and left the room.

 

Lexa placed both her hands on the table and exhaled. This was the beginning of the end. Titus grabbed a chair on her right to sit.

 

“No.” She said. 

 

“Lexa, what-”

 

“I said no.” Her voice was cold like steel on a chilly day. “You are not needed here.”

 

“Lexa, this is not - ” Titus rose to his full height.

 

“Commander. I am your commander. And as a commander, I say you are not needed in this room. You can go to your office and look over the budget reports from the last quarter.”

 

It was cruel, she knew it. But he had to understand his place. He was a mere advisor to her. A post she had created for his convenience. He had to understand that he had no power now before it was too late. And truthfully, she had heard enough of his nagging and complaints for the past few days. She wanted peace at this moment. She will have it no other way.

 

Titus did not say anything as he left and closed the door behind him with a heavy thump. The war room descended into pure silence after that. It was just her and the four screens in front of her showing different views of the bridge from CCTV cameras and drones. 

 

The bridge had been closed for the day. Barricades had been set up from their side while the other side had been left open for the kidnapper’s van to enter. Once they arrive on the bridge, the police will close it from the other side, they will have nowhere to turn to. 

 

Lexa clasped her hands together as if praying and waited for the clock to strike twelve. On one screen, she had a drone view of the bridge and on the other was a view from Indra’s helmet camera. Indra was giving last moment instruction. Lexa chewed her nails in anticipation, an old habit that Titus had tried to drill out of her. 

 

As the clock struck twelve in noon, a black van appeared on the other end of the street. Lexa held her breath. On the screen, she could see that it had tinted black windows. It was impossible to identify who was driving the van. The van was coming at an excruciatingly slow pace like it was being driven by a sloth. It stopped then started again. Then it stopped once more and started at an even slower pace. Maybe, being immortal does make them slow with technology, Lexa thought.

 

Then the van stopped. It stopped at the exact halfway point on the bridge. They had thought it would come a little farther. 

 

The driver side door opened but no one stepped out. They waited. It felt more like a game of chess than a cat and mouse chase. The drone couldn’t get a clear view of the insides. Lexa considered herself to be a patient person but now she doubted it. Was her sister even in this van? She had taken the words of a criminal for this. What if they never had Anya?

 

“Permission to engage, Commander.” She heard Indra’s voice from the speaker. She pressed a button on her walkie and said,

 

“You have permission. Engage.”

 

Indra shouldered her rifle and walked the distance with five soldiers and a suitcase in her hands. It was now or never. The van could be full of explosives but at least this way the world will recognize the Delinquents as what they really were - monsters. She wouldn’t have to carry the burden of hating them alone anymore. Victory stands on the back of sacrifices, after all. 

 

Indra stopped a few feet away from the van. 

 

“This suitcase has the tape you wanted,” Indra said in a loud booming voice. “Exit the vehicle so we can secure the package.”

 

After waiting for another five minutes of no response, Indra said,

 

“Commander, there is no apparent movement inside the vehicle.”

 

What the hell were they trying to do?

 

“Give a warning,” Lexa ordered. “Then call in more soldiers, block it from all sides, and fall in.”

 

“Yes, Commander.”

 

Lexa watched it happen like some low budget Hollywood action movie. The news channels were already broadcasting the drone footage and swarming the area behind their barrication. Everyone wanted to know what was happening. Everyone wanted to be a part of this. 


One of the soldiers covered the driver’s side open door with his weapon trained, there was no one inside the vehicle. There was a seemingly complex robot attached to the steering wheel. The robot had a plastic baby head attached to it, looking right into the camera. It was a horrifying and ridiculous image. Was this all a fucking game to them?  

 

But if no one was in the van, then how were they going to take the tape? 

 

“We are breaching the back doors, over,” Indra said.

 

She saw her soldiers putting C-4s on the hinges of the van’s backdoor. They fell back a little as the small explosion shook the body of the car. 

 

The doors were hanging open by their hinges when the smoke cleared. As Indra approached the vehicle cautiously with her rifle aimed at whatever was inside, the dust cleared. The back of the van was empty except for her sister. 

 

Anya. Lexa released a sigh of relief. She zoomed in on the screen. Her sister was bound. Her ankles and wrists were tied by nylon ropes. She had duct tape on her mouth. She was conscious and struggling like she had something important to say.

 

“Permission to approach,” Indra asked.

 

“You have permission,” Lexa replied.

 

Indra climbed into the back of the van and gently cut through the ties on her hand. Anya was restless. Lexa had forgotten that Indra had trained Anya herself. That certainly explains her concern, Lexa thought. When finally Anya’s hands were free, she snatched off the duct tape herself and grabbed Indra by her collar.

 

“Lexa!” Anya shouted, her face red with fury. “They want Lexa!”

 

Lexa felt her heart stop.

 

Indra was in action.

 

“Send the troops back to the Tower!” Indra commanded her lieutenants. “Protect the Commander.”

 

This was not over yet. A sick sensation settled in her stomach. Her ears were hot and ringing. Lexa reached beneath her table, searching for the gun they kept for these moments. But her hands couldn’t find it. They kept gliding over nothing. She knelt. There was no gun. 

 

The door opened, bringing in a gust of cold air. Lexa immediately stood up with her hands in a fighting stance. But it was just Clarke. Clarke in a grey hoodie and a leather jacket. Clarke who looked out of place but gorgeous as ever.

 

“Clarke, you shouldn’t be here.” Her voice came out shakier than she had hoped.

 

“I suppose you were looking for this.” Clarke held up a gold plated Remington revolver. It was the gun she was looking for. 

 

“No.”




From Clarke's sketchbook, World war 1 mural to be painted in Polis tower

Chapter Text

 

CLARKE

 

She had entered the tower at her usual time. Lexa had been in meetings all morning except now. A few moments ago, Clarke saw Baldie stalk out of the room with a red face. Perhaps Lexa had wanted solitude. It was better. They would have to handle only her now.  

Fifteen minutes before twelve, she entered the bathroom and locked the door from the inside. Putting in her comms, she emptied her favorite paint cans on the floor. The gun parts fell on the floor with a distinctive clink. Her pulse fluttered through her neck and wrists. She loved this part, the heat, the cold, the rush. It was terrifying and delicious. Like walking on the edge of a sword. She could see how everything could go horribly wrong, but that part of her was stamped down the beauty of perfect execution. She felt alive.

She put in the barrel, the spring, the trigger block, and finally the magazine out of sheer flawless muscle memory. She chamber-checked the weapon and indexed the trigger perfectly to her hand. She closed her eyes, felt the pistol’s weight, then finally looked down at the crisp profile of the front sight. She seated a loaded magazine, racked the slide, and thumbed the safety. Clocked and locked, she slipped the pistol into her waistband along with the revolver Octavia had stolen from Lexa’s office.

Keeping her head down, she exited the bathroom and organized the brushes and cans in order. The unfinished painting will have to wait for now. When she looked up, Octavia had her eyes on her. She nodded once. Octavia lifted her hand to scratch the back of her ear and changed her Tree Crew earpiece with the one given by Raven.

At 11:50 A.M., Clarke heard the most arrogant - but her favorite - voice in the universe.

“This is Raven Reyes.” The voice said. “And we are live.”

“Bellamy, report status,” Clarke whispered, keeping her head low. Lincoln was still on guard. Despite Octavia’s lame attempt to seduce and distract him, he was stoically keeping guard.

“We are almost done,” said Bellamy, his breathing sounded harsh as if he had been running.

“Raven?” She asked next. 

“I am into the Tree crew channel thanks to Lady Blake. And the police channels as well. You are welcome,” Raven was monitoring all of the cameras and communications from the back of a van parked right outside the tower. 

“Murphy?” Clarke asked. Murphy had the role of driving the van containing Anya.

“Yup, in position to drive Robot Chucky.” He teased.  

“Very funny, John,” Raven feigned hurt. “I sacrificed my sleep to design it, don’t insult it.” The robot with a baby doll head was honestly terrifying. It had been hard to sleep in the same room as the robot.

“Victory stands on the back of sacrifice, Reyes,” Murphy replied.

“Echo?” Clarke continued, ignoring Murphy.

“The vans are in position and ready to go.” Echo replied. “I hate these vehicles. They make me feel like the bad guy.”

“We are the bad guys,” Jasper said in a matter-of-fact tone. Clarke needed to talk to him about what the hell was going on in his head. But that would have to wait for now. 

“Yup, the bad guys have all the fun anyway,” Murphy agreed with Jasper in his own way.  

Clarke glanced at her watch. It was seven minutes to twelve. She got up and walked up to one of the windows overlooking the city bridge. Though it was far, it was easy to see that some sort of commotion was going on with helicopters, police, Tree crew soldiers, and News vans swarming both sides of the bridge like ant colonies.

“Murphy, let’s go,” Clarke ordered at exact twelve. A slow-moving black minivan appeared on the bridge. It stopped abruptly and then started again.

“What the fuck are you doing?” She heard Raven scolding. “Just keep the joystick forward. Haven’t you played video games?”

“Your robot is getting stuck, Einstein.” Murphy vehemently replied. Clarke heard a loud cracking sound. 

“That disgusting thing you call a brain is stuck, boludo.” Raven retorted. She must have thrown something on Murphy’s head. Raven had unhealthy unrequited affections for her machines. “Look, you are doing it again!” The van stopped.

(~Argentinian/Ballsack or jerk)

“I am not doing anything!” Murphy shouted on the radio. 

“That is the problem! You have to press it forward!” Raven groaned. The van started moving again but this time even slower. “Oh my Zeus! Did you slow it down?”

“Yes. Look, it's going smoothly now.” Murphy answered somewhat happily. 

“At this speed, we are going to lose our immortality by the time it reaches there.” Raven literally whined.

Tofu no kado ni atama wo butsukete shine, ” Murphy snapped. 

(~Japanese/Hit your head on a corner of tofu and die)

“Shut up, Murphy,” Clarke said with a hint of annoyance. Age had nothing to do with maturity. “Stop the vehicle at halfway point on the bridge.”

“Roger that, princess,” Murphy said. Once the vehicle stopped at the halfway point and one of the doors opened automatically by a switch Raven had installed on it.

“O,” Clarke said and glanced at Octavia who was standing across the hallway. “It’s time.”

Octavia looked grim but nodded. She will have to knock out Lincoln. Initially, Bellamy had suggested killing him, but Octavia had vehemently refused to do it. Clarke had agreed to whatever as long as it didn’t slow them down. Clarke started walking towards the war room Lexa was in. Lincoln watched her approach, his eyes hardened. He changed his stance. A hand over his firearm, he stepped ahead of O.

“Ma’am, I can’t let you go any further.” He stated firmly.

"You don't have to." Clarke sweetly replied. 

He had missed the swift movement with which Octavia had changed her position and was now behind his back. He must have sensed something because he tried to turn around. But Octavia had already struck the back of his head with the butt of her company-issued Coharie automatic rifle. Clarke heard her murmuring a small apology. Octavia grabbed him from behind as he started to fall down then lowered him to the floor without a sound.

“Tie him up,” Clarke said, bringing out the revolver. “Then go lock up Baldie’s door and wait for me by the elevator. You have Anya’s fingerprints?”

“Yes,” Octavia answered and bent to drag Lincoln out of the way. Clarke felt bad for the guy but not bad enough to wake him up. 

She took a deep breath and opened the door, keeping the revolver behind her back in order to appear as a friend for the last five seconds. But Lexa was already in a fighting stance. Her hair was open. Her fitted blazer looked ridiculously sexy over her tailored white shirt.

“Clarke,” her face softened slightly. “You shouldn’t be here.” She seemed stoic, unaffected. But Clarke noticed the trembling hand she had beneath the table. She was looking for her gun.

“I suppose you were looking for this.” Clarke held up the revolver. She could pinpoint the exact moment Lexa realized who she was.

“No,” Lexa said. Her face was a demolition site. Crumpled. Her shoulders crept up, like folded wings, face flinched through emotions of betrayal and hurt and anger.

“Lexa,” Clarke held up both of her hands in front of her with the gun pointed upwards. “I don’t want to hurt you but you have to come with me.”

“I’d rather die.” Lexa snapped, her words bristling with rage. 

What might have been concerning in any other situation was now just ironic.

“Interesting choice of words but I can’t really kill you.” She tried to explain but Lexa wasn’t listening. This wasn’t going to be easy then. She tucked the gun back where it was and pulled out a zip tie.

Lexa lunged at her with fists raised. Perhaps, she believed that Clarke wouldn’t shoot at her because she was a valuable hostage. She was wrong. But Clarke didn’t shoot either. Not yet. It would only slow things down. Besides, she didn’t have the heart to. She had been expecting the attack so she let it happen. She ducked and kicked Lexa behind her right knee. Lexa’s momentum made her fall. But she was quickly up on her feet with a grunt. 

Clarke had underestimated her. She knew how to fight. Just not as good enough as Clarke or her team. She nodded slightly, smiling at Lexa a little wider; as Lexa stalked forward, Clarke stepped back a couple of paces and waited for the next attack.

Lexa feinted a punch, then tried to sweep Clarke’s legs from under her. Clarke lifted her legs to evade; Lexa’s momentum caused her to spin completely around. Lexa rebalanced herself and threw a punch that landed in her face. Clarke turned away slightly, then back just as Lexa threw another right punch. She evaded, moved in, and grabbed Lexa’s right shoulder with her right hand, then rotated her arm under Lexa’s and came up to clamp her left hand under Lexa’s chin, forcing her head up and back against a wall. Lexa’s left hand was holding Clarke’s wrist, trying to keep that hand from pushing higher. 

Clarke’s right hand held Lexa’s right arm close to Clarke’s body, so Lexa didn’t have the leverage to escape. It was excruciatingly painful. Clarke held Lexa there for a moment, looking directly into her eyes, her expression was calm; patient. Then she raised her hand higher, making enough pressure on Lexa’s neck to cause severe pain. Lexa gasped, released her hold on Clarke’s wrist, raised her left arm high, and brought it down on the arm that held her chin. Clarke let the force turn her away and rebound as she turned into Lexa, bringing her right elbow toward her face. Lexa collapsed. 

“I have you on the footage. The world will know about your existence.” Lexa growled. Her voice was thick with barely restrained anger. She was leaning against a chair, grabbing the table to get up again. She didn’t know when to give up, Clarke liked that, but wished she would give up for now.

“What footage?” Clarke said and pointed at the screens. “That one?”

The screens were only showing a glitched animated video of a flying crow, no, a raven. Clarke made a mental note to ask Raven to not waste time on her flair for dramatics even though she secretly liked it. 

Lexa swore and approached again. She tried to shove up. But Clarke dodged left, struck quickly, a rapid jab of her fist to Lexa’s side. Clarke attacked again and heard a cracking rib.  Lexa collapsed against the table. When Lexa spat on the ground, blood came out. She was clutching her sides and gasping for breath. There was a small cut on her lip that Clarke absolutely did not want to kiss. 

“Clarke,” She heard Octavia’s tense voice through her comms. “The tower is going on lockdown.” They were running out of time.

When Lexa tried to rise up again, Clarke pushed her back against the table. She put a hand over her shoulder and shoved hard, holding her in place. Lexa grunted in pain or anger, she didn’t know. But there was work to be done. Clarke grabbed both of Lexa’s hands and forcefully pulled them in front of her. With one hand she tied the plastic zip through both her wrists and kept her still with the other. 

“Move again and I’ll break your jaw,” Clarke whispered a lie against her ears. Fear did wonders under pressure. She will let Lexa believe she was a monster if it helped to take her away from real ones. “Nod if you understand.”

When Clarke pulled her back up by her elbow, there was a new crack on her cheek, leaking blood from the hard shove against the table. She pushed her towards the door. Lexa stumbled. She was wearing heels, Clarke noticed. 

“Lose those heels,” Clarke ordered. “And move.”

Lexa frowned and Clarke realized she couldn’t do it with her hands tied. 

“Sit here.” Clarke directed her to a chair. She knelt down as Lexa sat. She opened her shoes with one hand and kept the gun pointed with another. Lexa was glaring at her like she wanted to feed her to wolves. Frankly, Clarke wouldn’t blame her. “Now, move.”

The height difference was prominent since she was wearing her boots and Lexa was bare feet. Lexa was deliberately walking slowly, trying to buy time. Even wounded she was stubborn as hell.

“If you don’t walk faster, I will have to shoot you in the knee and then carry you the rest of the way.” Clarke threatened. 

Lexa walked comparatively faster after that until she saw Octavia. 

Octavia was waiting by the elevator anxiously. She had one automatic rifle ready to shoot and another hanging from her shoulder. Lexa did not say anything but Clarke could feel the heat of anger waving off of her. Perhaps, Octavia could too because she looked everywhere but at Lexa. 

“What took you so long?” Octavia passed her Linclon’s rifle. She activated the elevator with Anya’s fingerprint and entered.

“What else do you think?” Clarke forced a reluctant Lexa into the elevator, entering after her.

“The building is already on lockdown. They are clearing the sixth floor right now. They set up checkpoints on every street. Nobody is allowed to cross the bridge except for Tree Crew and police cars. And they have encircled the Tower. They were faster than we anticipated. Clarke, there is no way we could get out of here without using the bombs.” 

The elevator was descending through the forty-second floor. Blowing up Mount Weather was the logical choice. It would at least divert the police, leaving the bridge barren to cross. But the Tree Crew still remained a problem. These soldiers did not go down easy. They did not have the time to face the might and numbers of Tree Crew soldiers. But they did have a tunnel. Clarke pressed a button on her comms.

“Bellamy, come in,” She released the hand that was holding Lexa by the elbow and brushed it through her unkempt hair. 

“Clarke,” he replied. “Do you have her?”

“Yes,” She said. “But there is a problem.”

“Yeah, I know. The tower is surrounded. What are you gonna do?”

“We will use the tunnel,” Clarke said. Lexa looked at her like she had said that she’d use a dragon. “But I need to know where it opens in Mount whether? How safe is it?”’

“It opens in a storeroom. Once you are out, it’s a pretty straightforward exit. I can meet you there.”

“Okay.” Clarke agreed. “I’ll see you there.”

“Echo, Murphy, Miller, come in,” Clarke called again.

“At your service, princess,” Murphy answered. 

“I need you all to move the vans near Mount weather’s exit point. We are coming through Mount weather.”

“It will be done, boss.” Echo replied. 

Clarke released a breath. Now, they just had to get out of this place. 

“Do you think this will work?” Octavia questioned nervously. 

“It has to,” Clarke answered.

Lexa was looking between them, probably trying to find an exit or a weak point. She was barefoot. Her perfect hair was disheveled. The pristine white shirt had a blood-red spot. Her blazer was wrinkled like she had just been in a fight, and she really had been. Her hands were bound with zip ties in front of her. Her face was calm but her breathing was ragged. She was scared. Like this was her worst nightmare. Clarke wanted to explain, wanted to ease her fear, but she couldn’t. They had to take her out of here first. 

The elevator doors opened into the commercial side of the parking lot. There were multiple Tree crew vans, containers, and trucks lined up in rows. Two guards were standing alert near the vans. 

“Duck-” Lexa tried to warn them but Octavia shot them before they could turn away. “You-” Lexa lunged at Octavia who ducked swiftly. “You betrayed us!”

“I was doing my job.” Octavia meekly explained. Angry Lexa was terrifying.

“Hey, now,” Clake pulled Lexa back by her shoulder. “We are almost out of here. O, let’s go.”

Clarke pulled a protesting Lexa along with her who kept trying to look back to check for signs of life on the other guards or wishing for her soldiers to come and save her. In their world, Clarke thought, she would quickly learn to save herself. 

The hatch was a manhole like the dozens around it. She had asked Bellamy to point it out on the blueprint last night. That was only how she was able to recognize it. Octavia opened it up with a hard pull. Lexa looked bewildered as if it was an interdimensional glowing anomaly ball. 

“O, in the front,” Clarke said. “Then you,” She looked at Lexa, who for thank Zeus didn’t resist. Perhaps she was too curious to see where it leads them. Clarke entered and closed the hatch behind her. 

“This isn’t supposed to be here.” Lexa tilted her head to the side. So, she didn’t know about this. At least that was a good sign. “Where are we going?” Lexa asked for the first time.

“You will see soon enough,” Clarke dodged the answer because she herself didn’t know whether they would be able to get out of here. Even if she couldn’t see her, Clarke could feel her scowling and plotting some way to outwit them. 

The tunnel was lit by small flickering tube lights on the ceiling. They gave an eerie green illumination to the barely six feet high and three feet wide tunnel. It was hot and smelled of bodies and sewer. Sweat trickled down from her face, sticking her clothes to her back. She rubbed her arm on her forehead. Octavia was in front keeping the pace up. Lexa in between, too curious to refuse following. And Clarke, at last, keeping an eye on Lexa.

“Clarke, come in,” It was Miller’s voice who was with Bellamy in Mount Weather.

“Yes, Miller, I can hear you.”

“There is a slight - uh, no - big change in the distraction plan. We are not gonna blow up Mount Weather.”

Clarke halted in her place. “Why? Are the explosives not working?” 

“No, there’s nothing wrong with the explosives. They are in place and everything. We have a way out without using them. We have a plan. It’s a bit - a lot - complicated. You’ll understand once you hear it.”

“I really hope you know what you are doing, Miller,” Clarke said, walking faster to catch up with the two of them. “We are already running late.”

“Yeah, please hurry up, we are waiting here,” Miller said. 

Clarke kept checking her back to see if someone was following them. Octavia was a few steps ahead of Lexa who tried to keep her usual deliberate slow pace. Clarke tried to imagine what she must be thinking. They were monsters for her. And today, Clarke had proved her right.

“There are stairs ahead.” Octavia held up her flashlight. 

“Let’s move.” Clarke nudged Lexa. 

They climbed the stairs and stopped in front of a metal door. Octavia knocked on it six times in Morse code, spelling ‘Us’. The door opened from the other side. Miller was standing with his hand stretched. He beamed at them. 

“Took you long enough.” He said and pulled Octavia for a brief hug. “Is that her majesty?” He gestured to Lexa. She shot him a scorching glare.

“I am Nathan Miller,” He extended his hand but quickly took it back, realizing that hers were tied. “Oh, I’m sorry.” He looked a bit scared to match her eyes. 

“Don’t worry the glare isn’t lethal,” Clarke said and he gulped. Again, angry Lexa was as scary as hell.

Clarke smiled at his nuances and walked into the room closing the door behind her. When she looked around, they were in some kind of a storeroom. There were boxes with Mount Weather’s logo on them. The room was dimly lit with only one ugly yellow bulb. Bellamy was waiting for them in the center of the room. He had a blueprint laid out in front of him. Octavia went ahead and hugged him. He only glanced at Lexa in acknowledgment. He had bigger priorities. 

“Talk to me, Bell,” Clarke said, moving to stand beside him. Miller was Lexa’s side, keeping guard. “The longer we take the more people will get involved in this and the harder it will be to get out of here.”

“We have planted the bombs but we have a better idea.” He said, pointing at the drawing. “We have a tunnel that goes to The tower which as of right now is surrounded by Police, military, and Tree Crew soldiers alike. But we want to divert more people to the tower so we have an empty bridge to pass through.”

“Yeah, we have discussed that already.” Octavia pointed out. “What are you trying to say?”

“I am saying, we don’t have to blow this building for distraction. We have a hundred or so illegal prisoners here in Mount Weather. We have a tunnel that goes through to the Tower. If we release them and direct them to the tunnel that they were smuggled through, I am pretty sure they will race down to the end of it. And they will create a huge ass distraction.” Bellamy was grinning as if it was a genius idea. He was hopefully looking at Clarke for support. He was thinking with his heart for all these strangers he wanted to help. It was risky. Mount Weather had it's own security system and staff that they were barely familiar with. Still, if they could do it, it would give them much needed hope that they were still the good guys. 

“How long will it take?” Clarke asked, folding her arms in front of her. 

“Longer than the bombs,” Bellamy said.

“But it will be worth it,” Miller added. “Two stones, one bird, kinda thing.”

“Yeah, with all the media attention on the city, a hundred illegal human test subjects wouldn’t go unnoticed.” Octavia supported. 

“Still,” Clarke said. “How much time?”

“There are five cells, give or take,” Bellamy said. “Miller and I can go open them one by one. We don’t have the security key but-”

“I have some C-4s. I could blow the doors right off their hinges.” Miller offered too enthusiastically. He spread his arms in a mock blowing up gesture. 

“And I can lead them to the tunnel,” Octavia added. “It will hardly take twenty minutes.”

Clarke accepted with a sigh. She was impressed by the idea but still, she was worried about them. They were playing a dangerous game with time in enemy territory. If something were to go wrong… 

“Okay,” Clarke agreed. “But you will be as quick as you can. Twenty minutes. The longer we take the harder it will be to get out. I don’t want any surprises. Just point them in the right direction and get back. The vans are parked in the back alley. Get out of here and meet us there in twenty.”

“Aye, aye captain.” Miller gave a small salute and shouldered his gun. 

Bellamy hugged her and said, “See you on the other side.” Clarke briefly nodded. They left the room leaving only Clarke and Lexa behind. 

“Let’s go.” Clarke nodded at Lexa. 

Lexa stood still. Her teeth grinding and her eyes furious. Clarke would be scared if only she weren’t cute like an angry cat. “C’mon,” Clarke said. “We don’t have all day.”

They took the path Bellamy had instructed on. Clarke kept Lexa beside her. She liked her but she didn’t trust her. They reached a staircase that will take them to Mount weather’s parking space. 

Two Mount Weather guards were in front of the staircase talking among themselves. They had not seen them. Not yet, she thought. She pointed her gun at them. But Lexa shoved her with her shoulder. Clarke stumbled from the force of it. Her gun fell to the ground with a clank. 

“Guards!” Lexa shouted.

The guards turned and started running towards them with guns pointed. They clearly recognized her. Lexa half ran, half walked as Clarke tried to gain her balance. She drew out two knives hidden on her hips in seconds and threw them. The knives zoomed through the air and hit the guards right in the middle of their eyes. Blood trickled down from the wound and they fell instantly with a thump. Lexa came to a startling halt and looked back at Clarke as if she was seeing a monster. 

“What- fuck-” Lexa gasped and knelt in front of the fallen guards. She closed their eyes with her bound hands. “You can’t just keep killing people.” 

“Actually I can. But I might have spared their lives if you hadn’t intervened.” Clarke calmly answered and walked towards her. “Next time you try to disarm me, try to imagine the people who had to die because of it. Get up before I have to kill more people.” 

Lexa stood up. Her back was ramrod straight and her face clenched like she was contemplating an escape. “You can’t get out of here. The city is surrounded by Tree Crew and the Police. Nothing is crossing that bridge. This is a futile attempt.”

“We will see,” Clarke smirked. “Now, walk.”

Lexa kept her head down and fists clenched as she followed Clarke on the stairs and then into the parking space. It was empty except for the occasional dead bodies of Tree crew and Mount Weather guards Bellamy and Miller had left behind. Clarke opened an emergency exit door. 

In front of them was a partially shadowed alleyway. Jasper had scouted the place earlier. It was the perfect place to hide three distinct freshly painted vans - one with a tree crew logo, another with some paparazzi channel’s logo and antennas out from above and an ambulance. She heard Lexa gasp. Perhaps, she had finally realized that Clarke did have a way to take her away from her precious tower. They were under an open sky. If Lexa ran down the alleyway, there would be Tree Crew soldiers across the street, Lexa knew it too. 

Lexa was angry; she walked towards Clarke throwing a furious right-left punch. Clarke easily evaded both. Her hands were free. She must have used one of the knives Clarke threw at those guards. Clever, she thought. Lexa lunged forward immediately; she landed a punch hard enough to force Clarke back two or three steps. Clarke paused to regroup. 

Echo came out of one of the vans and marched forward with a gun; Lexa’s back to her. Clarke raised up a hand, telling her not to interrupt, to stay at her position. Echo understood that Clarke wanted her blocking the alley in case Lexa made a run for it. Murphy was looking out from the driver’s seat of a van with a smirk for entertainment. She shifted her focus back on Lexa. 

Lexa whirled to hold the knife on her, but she was closer. She grabbed Lexa’s hand as it came around, using the momentum to flip Lexa to the ground. She stood looking down at Lexa, waiting for her reaction. Lexa was laying on her back for a moment. She groaned softly, turned to pick herself up. She rose to crouch on hands and feet and glared at Clarke as if evaluating her chances. Clarke waited calmly. 

“We are done,” Clarke stated after a while. 

Lexa grunted as she charged forward again, keeping low, driving her shoulder into Clarke’s stomach. Clarke easily grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her aside, where she hit the dirty wall. She was gasping for breath and clutching her side in pain. Her white shirt was no more white. The blazer was torn up in places. But Clarke could see her wounds were already healing. 

Clarke flipped her head to toss her hair out of her eyes. “I said we are done.”

Lexa slowly stood up straight, glaring at her. Clarke glanced at Echo who was watching their struggle with mild interest. Clarke nodded once. Echo reached into her back pocket; threw a metal handcuff at her. 

Clarke caught the handcuff and turned to Lexa. “Hands.” She ordered. In her peripheral vision, she could see Murphy whispering, kinky. When Lexa didn’t respond, Clarke grabbed her wrist herself and placed the cuffs around them. They settled neatly with a soft click. Lexa’s knuckles were an angry red. But they would heal soon.  

“Echo,” Clarke called. “Put her in and keep an eye on her. I will go see Raven.”

Echo nodded and walked up. Clarke did not look back. She entered the van with the paparazzi channel’s logo. Inside, Raven was seated with Jasper and Jackson. They were all looking at camera footage and listening to audio transmissions throughout the city. Any police car or Tree crew patrol vehicle that was coming their way was directed away somewhere else. 

“Hey,” Clarke said. “How is it going?”

Raven beamed at her. She was in her element here. Her body was fueled by pure adrenaline. “As good as it could. The police have set up checkpoints at every street and are checking the vehicles. But they are lenient in case of Press and Tree Crew vehicles, just like you had predicted.”

“Good,” Clarke glanced at her watch. “The prisoners should be out in five-”

“Holy fuck! They are already out.” Jasper let out a breathy laugh. 

Clarke looked up at the screen. Dozens of men, women, and children in hospital gowns and white jumpsuits were flooding through the gates of the tower. They had exited through the parking lot and were now on the streets. They looked ghastly. Their eyes sunken and face crumpled with hope and fear alike. They were seeing sunlight for the first time since they were captured. 

The guards and the police were startled, not knowing what to do. A police officer tried to stop them but they kept spreading into the street like water. On the radio, the city Police officers were asking for backup and reinforcement. The news channels had turned their heed and cameras to cover the strange event. The attention of the city had sharply shifted from them to Mount Weather’s victims, just like they had wanted.

When Clarke looked at her friends, all of them had astonished expressions, like they couldn’t believe what they were watching. From the open back door of the van, Clarke saw Bellamy, Miller, and Octavia emerge from the building, half running, half walking, and fully laughing. 

Echo rushed to meet Bellamy with an embrace. Jackson was already on his feet kissing Miller. Octavia was ecstatically saying, we did it, again and again. Raven gave a tight hug to Octavia. Clarke couldn’t stop her smile. Even Murphy came out of the car and gave Octavia an appreciative pat on the back. It wasn’t over yet but they had done something good. 

“Okay, people,” Clarke clapped her hands like a school teacher to grab their attention. “Now, let's get the hell out of here.”

They all went into their designated vehicles. 

The Blake siblings were in the paparazzi van with Murphy driving. Murphy had an amazingly punch-worthy face, they thought he would be perfect to play a paparazzi guy. They were disguising Raven’s surveillance equipment as News channel’s equipment in case they were pulled over and checked. 

Raven, Jasper, and Jackson were in the freshly painted Mount Weather Ambulance. Since Mount Weather had a respectful presence in the city, Clarke had hoped they wouldn’t be stopped and searched. 

Finally, it was the black van with the white mechanical cog logo painted on the side to match Tree Crew’s vans. Hundreds of these vans were roaming the city streets already. Surely, they would let one of their own vehicles pass without any interference. 

Once they were all in, Clarke entered through the back door and closed it behind her. Lexa was seated on the bench in front of her. She had her eyes fixed on the cuffs. Echo had put another chain around her ankles, tying her to the car. Her knuckles and cuts had healed nicely, Clarke noticed. 

“Hit it,” She said on the radio. 

One by one, the vans exited the alley and followed different streets to go to the bridge’s entry point. 

 


From Metropolitan Police departments traffic camera, Washington D.C. (File corrupted later by 'raven')

 

Chapter Text

RAVEN

Now, this was her kind of chaos. For Raven Reyes, it was always about finding the calm in the chaos. She thrived in chaos. She felt like a circus master playing with the police and the Tree Crew soldiers. Once sending them to the bridge then sending them back to the tower. The city was engulfed in a different kind of madness. Her heart was beating as if it was on fire. She was fucking alive. 

 

As they had predicted, all the forces had been turned back to the city. Leaving the checkpoints almost barren. They had to partially open up the bridge because traffic was mounting on both ends of it. Their only hurdle was the checkpoint at the bridge. Their van was the first to approach the bridge among the three of them. Despite the shortage of manpower, the Tree Crew and Police were co-ordinating on the bridge to check every vehicle. 

 

“Be ready,” Miller warned on his radio. “They are checking every vehicle.” 

 

She hid her tablet underneath her and laid back on the stretcher as Jackson gave her the empty plastic bowl to put inside her shirt. He was taking deep breaths to prepare for his terrible acting skills. Jackson was putting on his stethoscope around his neck. She drank some water; sprayed some on her face and then on Jasper’s to make it look like both of them had been weeping. She exhaled, willing her heart to beat faster. As the van came to a stop, she was ready to wail. 

 

“I am taking a pregnant woman to the hospital,” Miller answered when a Tree Crew soldier asked his purpose. “Her water broke near Mount Weather street. You know how much chaos there is-”

 

“I don’t care.” The soldier said grumpily. “Open up now.”

 

Raven let out a painful moan as they opened the back door. She contorted her face with fake pain. Sweat trickled down from her face. She held Jasper’s arm in a death grip. She screamed as loud and painful as she could, pushing her knees upward and throwing her head back. Faking childbirth was not an easy thing. 

 

“Calm down, honey, calm down.” Jasper was moving a hand through her sticky wet hair. 

 

“I think the baby is coming,” Raven cried. She grabbed Jasper by his collar and pulled him close to her red, scrunched up face. “Aghh… this is because of you! All because of you!”

 

“I know, honey, I know, just a little bit lon-longer… we-we will get you to a ho-hospital I promise…” He stammered, wiping the back of his hand on his face.

 

The soldier who had opened the door stood there awkwardly, not sure what to do. Other cars were lining up behind them and a few people were gathering behind the van to look at what was going on. 

 

“Please sir,” Jasper begged. “Do whatever you want to do with me - my wife and my baby - they need to go to the hospital -” He started weeping. 

 

Another soldier came up behind the first one. “What is going on here?” He seemed irritated at the commotion. 

 

“I know them.” He said when he saw them. He seemed to have more authority than the former one with more star linings on his shoulder pad. 

 

“But sir,”

 

“I have seen them around the tower before. The lady was pregnant. Let them go, they are holding up the line.”

 

They closed the doors hurriedly. Raven heard the chaos - that she had brought -  erupting outside to clear the way for the ambulance. Slowly but steadily Miller drove the van through the gap in the barrication. A few moments later, the sirens and shouting could not be heard at all. They all let out a collective sigh and broke into reckless laughter, holding their bellies and wiping out tears. 

 

Raven picked up the radio and grinned while saying, “This is Raven. We are through.” 

 


 

 

BELLAMY

 

The line in front of the bridge was a short one when they arrived. He had seen their fake ambulance pass through the barricades successfully and had heard Raven’s confirmation on the radio. At first, he had thought that they had a better shot at kidnapping the president compared to kidnapping Lexa. He had doubts about the plan but now that it was all falling into place he couldn’t help but admire it. 

 

Beside him, Octavia’s eyes were switching between the various surveillance monitors in front of them. She was biting her nails and rocking her foot. He smiled at her. She hadn’t changed much from the day Clarke had found them in Rome. 

 

He still remembers the horrible Plague of Galen. He was serving in the Roman army back then. He had returned home from the Mesopotamian war when the plague had broken out. It hit the crowded slums of the Roman Empire hardest. Bodies piled up in the streets and carts. Starvation and death were a common occurrence. 

 

The reapers were taking the dead and undead towards the graveyard outside the city for mass burials all hours of the day. Death in ancient Rome was thought to be something that could infect or be harmful to the living. Therefore there was a strict physical separation between the living and the dead.

 

Bellamy’s fever had come on two days after her mother’s and Octavia’s. They had no money for medicine, so they huddled together in a pile of cotton sheets on the streets. He had thought he was dreaming when they were thrown into a pile of bodies near the graveyard. He had tried to scream, but he had been too weak. His legs had been aching and face was covered in smallpox sores.

 

Bellamy had thought he would wake up in the underworld with his mother and sister. Instead, he’d woken up surrounded by dead bodies. His clothes were soaked through with other people’s fluids, skin smelling sour. Octavia was beside him, nudging him, barely recognizable because of all the dirt and blood. Her fever had broken. His too. They were free of the rashes, their skin had cleared. He had tried to pull their mother from the pile, hoping that she might wake up as well. They had waited, hand in hand, with hunger in their stomachs and pain in their hearts. She hadn’t woken up. 

 

They had buried her body and walked back to the city with only the clothes on their back to face more hunger and poverty. They begged on the streets, too afraid to be sold into slavery. Clarke had found them then. And they had found hope. 

 

“Hey,” A police officer’s harsh voice broke Bellamy away from his thoughts. “Stop the car.”

 

Murphy had pressed the brakes hard, jerking Bellamy away from his thoughts. Octavia looked at him with worried eyes. She was fiddling with her fake reporter badge. They had changed their clothes to look like civilians and hid their weapons under the seats. They weren’t suspicious unless someone looked in the back and recognized him and Octavia from the tower. 

 

“Hey, man,” Murphy said in his casual asshole voice. “What’s up? I am with the press. Can’t you see?” 

 

“You are just paparazzi, dude.” The officer was too young. He looked like he didn’t want to be there. 

 

“Paparazzi’s now news, man.” Murphy laughed like a drunk man. “Look, man, I really gotta go. I’ll give you a real scoop about the news I’m chasin’. Somethin’ to cheer ya up. What d’ya say?”

 

“Let’s hear it then,”

 

“Prez Trump is getting impeached-”

 

“No shit! Really?” The man sounded surprised. He was leaning in on the driver’s side window as he shook his head in disbelief. 

 

“See,” said Murphy. “I just gave ya a real scoop.”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” The police officer chuckled. “You can go.” He waved a hand to let them pass. 

 

“God bless America!” Murphy shouted back at him as they crossed the barrication. 

 

Bellamy felt the tension leave his body. Beside him, Octavia let out a victorious whoop.

 

“This is Octavia. We passed, bitches,” Octavia screamed into the radio.

 

“And now it’s just her highness in the pumpkin carriage,” Murphy muttered, hitting the gas pedal harder than necessary. 

 


 

 

CLARKE

 

Clarke felt relief descend on her like a soft blanket as she heard their voices confirming that they had made it through the bridge safely. She also saw the growing worried look on Lexa’s face. Clarke had tried to tell her that they weren’t going to hurt her. Yet, she had refused to believe. Clarke had to show her that she couldn’t be killed. That in a few hundred years, the life Lexa had built and was so proud of will disappear like ash in the wind. But she had to hold onto that information until they were far away from Mount Weather.

 

Sitting idle was a struggle, especially when someone was looking at her like she wanted to cut her in pieces and feed her to a wolf. Clarke looked down at her own hands. Just to do something with them, she checked for her guns. The revolver was not there. Oh, fuck no. When she looked up, Lexa was pointing the gun at her. Not again, Clarke internally groaned. But she had to admit that the girl had potential skills. 

 

From the front of the vehicle, Echo was chuckling. “You have to stop underestimating her, boss.” Despite the velocity of the getaway, she was calm at the wheel, weaving through traffic like an android.

 

Clarke folded her arms in front of her and tilted her head to the side. “Say what you have to say.” She said to Lexa. They were going to reach the bridge in a few minutes. This was not the time for games. 

 

“I am not going anywhere with your kind,” Lexa said through gritted teeth. Her rage is meteoric. “Turn the car around to the Tower or I will shoot you.” 

 

She did not doubt that Lexa would shoot her. Clarke sighed and unfolded her hands. She brought out her own gun and sat back calmly. It would just slow things down for a little bit until Echo gets them across the bridge. Besides, Lexa should get used to this whole resurrection thing. 

 

“Do it,” she faced the gunpoint, even leaned in a little bit to prove her point. Lexa looked distressed, perhaps realizing that shooting Clarke would be futile. She turned the gun to the back of Echo’s head. 

 

“Tell her to turn around or I will shoot her.” Lexa threatened, her eyes cold and determined. 

 

Echo looked back to see if Clarke wanted her to engage. “Keep driving. She is not going to shoot you.” Clarke said. “I am. Prikinsya mrtvym .” She pointed her pistol at Echo's head and fired. Echo collapsed over the steering wheel immediately. Lexa gasped, panicking. 

 

The vehicle swerved on the busy street. Echo floored it through the stoplight. Other drivers braked hard around her. Clarke sat back and closed her eyes. “You are going away with your own kind.” Lexa blinked, not understanding what Clarke was saying.

 

“We are gonna hit the oil tanker.” Lexa’s panicked voice filtered through the shaking vehicle. Echo still had her foot on the pedal, Clarke assumed. “You go and drive it.” Lexa tried to enforce it by pointing the gun at Clarke.

 

Clarke shrugged. “Give the gun back and I will.”

 

Lexa looked conflicted for a second then she handed over the gun by its handle. 

 

“Good girl,” Clarke smirked. “You don’t speak Russian, do you?”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I asked her to play dead.”

 

On cue, Echo lifted her head and placed her hands firmly against the steering again. She screeched around corners at breakneck speed, always just on the verge of losing control but not. Lexa looked like wildfire. She lunged at Clarke again, only to be restrained by the chains against her ankle. Clarke watched her temper rising like a storm. 

 

“Fuck you!” She growled and spat at Clarke. There was no shelter from this storm. 

 

Clarke wiped her jacket. “Didn’t they teach you manners in your palace, your highness?” The mock title seemed to enrage Lexa even more. 

 

“You and your barbaric friends are the only reason that -” Clarke closed the distance between them and clasped her hand against Lexa’s mouth. Lexa’s forest-green eyes bulged in surprise. She squirmed under her but Clarke didn’t let go.

 

“Stop talking,” Clarke hissed as Echo rolled up the partition between the front and the back seats, engulfing them in darkness. They were entering the checkpoint. 

 

The same realization that had stilled Clarke, lit a fire inside of Lexa. She struggled against her chains, making as much noise as possible. Her breathing was ragged. She held Clarke’s wrist that was over her mouth and dug into it with her nails. But Clarke was used to such little pains.

 

Clarke maintained eye contact with her and kept whispering a small. “Shhh…”

 

Outside, Clarke heard Echo talking to a police officer. 

 

“You from the Tree Crew lot?” The officer asked with a distinct accent. 

 

“Yes.” Echo showed them her almost real ID card. “We have been asked for backup on the other side of the bridge.” She lied flawlessly.

 

“Yeah, yeah. You guys have the whole city running errands for you today, don’t ya?” The officer mildly complained. 

 

“You know how it is…” Echo sighed heavily, bonding over mutual complaints about their employers. 

 

“Yeah…” The officer trailed off. Then he waved a hand and said, “Let them pass.”

 

Clarke heard someone slap the side of the vehicle. Shit.

 

“Wait!” Someone shouted. “The paint is still fresh on the side. She is not one of us! Stop them!” He must have been a Tree Crew soldier. The cogwheel logo of the Tree Crew they had painted on the van hadn’t dried out. 

 

Echo crushed the gas pedal with her foot and flew past them before they could close the barricades. Clarke lurched sideways. She let go off of Lexa as she tried to gain balance. Echo rolled down the partition. Police and Tree Crew cars were swarming like bees behind them. A pair of police cars sped up to them; overhead the helicopter flew with its sights set on their vehicle.

 

“They are going to shoot at us.” Echo said, her breathing labored. She zoomed recklessly down the bridge, they still had some kilometers to cover. 

 

“Let them,” Clarke cocked her gun. 

 

“Clarke, come in,” Raven’s distressed voice came through the radio. Echo revved past the other cars aggressively. 85... 90 mph.

 

“Yeah, this is Clarke,” Clarke said, grabbing a handlebar overhead to keep herself steady.

 

“Do not cross the bridge. I repeat, do not cross the bridge. They have laid out spike sheets. Half of the police force is lining up to fire at you. Do not cross that bridge.”

 

“Yeah, Raven I got it,” Clarke confirmed. 

 

Lexa was observing their exchange like she was watching a tennis match. She was calmer, smirking, probably thinking her people will save her in time. 

 

“What now?” Echo looked back for a second. Clarke lurched as Echo took steered too tightly -- smashing into an Audi -- the mirror on the left side of the car was shorn off. The Audi skidded, tumbling, crashing into the oncoming police cruisers too late to brake. Echo steered the van into another lane; leaving a trail of crashes behind them. 

 

“Remember Bangkok, 1991?” Clarke shouted over the wailing sirens. Her hand was bleeding from the iron tight grip she had on the handlebar. 

 

“Yes! Are you bloody sure?” Echo flashed an all-white grin, eyes crinkling in the corner. She was an adrenaline junkie like her after all, they all were. 

 

“Only if you are.” Clarke smiled wider, wilder.

 

“You have one minute.” Echo said, glancing at her watch.

 

Clarke went to work. In a swift motion, she opened the chain binding Lexa’s ankles. She released the cuff from her left wrist and locked it on her own right wrist. She and Lexa were literally connected now. She yanked off a seat belt and buckled it around her waist.

 

“What the fuck are you doing?” Lexa yelled at her.

 

“Now,” She said to Echo, ignoring Lexa. Echo lowered her head and Clarke emptied her revolver barrel on the windshield of the van. The bullets shattered the glass; cold air rushed through it as pieces of glass rained everywhere.

 

Clarke turned and grabbed Lexa by the back of her blazer; turned Lexa in front of her as a shield and kicked open the back door. The officers and Tree Crew soldiers who were pointing guns at them from their cars lowered them at the sight of Lexa. The air felt cold on her face, a contrast to the heat rushing in her blood. 

 

“Do you know how to swim?” Clarke shouted so that her voice could be heard above the cacophony of sirens and engines. 

 

“Y-yes-” Panic was heavy in Lexa’s voice. Her heart pounded in a ragged rhythm.

 

“Good girl,” Clarke lowered her voice. She felt Lexa shiver under her hold. 

 

Behind them, Echo was in her element - collected behind the wheel of her car almost as if it was a natural extension of herself. She was shifting, spinning the wheel, and skidding -while remaining in full control- as the wheels skimmed over the earth. 

 

“Tri,” Echo screamed. Clarke grabbed the handlebar above with one hand and Lexa’s blazer with another. “Dva,” She paused. “A’deen.”

 

She deftly shifted gears, reaching speeds over 120 miles per hour. At the last moment, she violently twisted the steering wheel- the vehicle leaped forward, bearing down on the railings, sending it toppling over the end, cart-wheeling amidst a cloud of debris, before landing fifty feet into the raging, cold, unforgiving Potomac river.

 

And then Clarke was falling into the black, into the cold, into the river, into nothing at all. She had died many ways in all her years of life still drowning was her least favorite way.

 




ECHO



When she regained consciousness, water was seeping into the van. She was freezing. It reminded her of Vladivostok in winter. They were on the river bed with nothing but darkness and debris. Echo sucked in water instead of air. It burned her lungs. What the fuck were they thinking? It was a fucking stupid move. Out of all the ways to die, drowning was one of the most painful. Bloody fucking adrenaline.

 

Unbuckling her seatbelt that was holding her in place, she swam through the shattered windshield to the back of the van. She searched her pockets for her tactical flashlight and turned it on. The broken glass sliced her thigh. It felt like fire in the chill. The blood spread in the water, painting it red. Thank god there were no sharks in rivers.

 

In the back, Lexa’s body was hanging from the cuffs; straining Clarke’s wrist. Clarke’s pale white face was lifeless. The image of their lifeless faces was horrifying. It scared her. For Lexa, she knew the first couple of times it would take longer for her to come back. For Clarke, it was different. She would never let Clarke die on her watch. She was a spy. She understood the importance of a good leader, a good mentor, and a good comrade. Clarke was all of those things for her and more. 

 

But Echo was human, after all. And even with all her training, she could barely hold her breath for one-sixty seconds. Just keep fighting you bloody fucking immortal. 

 

Three…

 

She pocketed her flashlight and grabbed on to the back door of the van. 

 

Two...

 

She felt the water filling her lungs, the darkness engulfing her once again until there was nothing to see, nothing to feel. Just blackness.

 

One… 

 

She was gone. 

 

Five…

 

Four…

 

Three…

 

Two…

 

A single heartbeat. Pain. 

 

One… 

 

A steady rhythm. Excruciating pain. 

 

She felt life course through her once again like the warmth of the sun in the morning. She closed her mouth shut, putting the flashlight between her teeth, and navigated the water to find Clarke again. She swam with all the strength she could muster.

 

Clarke was hanging from her seat, upside down, a protruding piece of metal keeping her in place, stunned and bleeding from the forehead. She counted the seconds in her head as she tried to yank the piece of metal off of her. She had barely ten seconds left when she felt like dying again. All you have to do is fucking survive. She felt the flashlight dropping from her mouth. Her lungs were filled with water and darkness.  

 

Death was there again, laughing at her like she was a joke that would never get old.  

 

Her heart ceased beating. 

 

When she opened her eyes again, her eardrums were ringing. She was suspended in water. Clarke was holding her by her collar. She wanted to laugh but kept her mouth shut. Clarke was okay. They were going to be okay. Echo saw the reflection of her own relief on Clarke’s face. 

 

Clarke was holding the flashlight in her mouth, her other hand was trying to pull Lexa’s body from where it was stuck between a crumpled bench. 

 

“Pull together.” Echo signed. 

 

Clarke nodded. They pulled the bench and the screws finally gave out, freeing Lexa. Clarke held on to Lexa’s hand even though they were already connected with the cuffs. 

 

“Forty seconds,” Clarke signed. She was keeping count of her time too. “Upwards.” Echo nodded. She still had seventy seconds. 

 

When Clarke’s eyes closed off again, Echo propelled them upwards with Lexa in tow. When the light in Echo’s eyes was gone, Clarke pulled them forward. Finally, after what felt like an hour their feet were touching some ground as they crawled, rolled, and wormed up to the shore. 

 


 

 

CLARKE

 

She was coughing up water, shivering in her wet clothes. Her heart was hammering. Her hands felt like they had carried a rocket to space. Beside her, Echo’s condition was no better. She looked like she was hit by a truck. 

 

“You okay?” Clarke stupidly asked.

 

Echo laughed but it came out in wheezes. Clarke felt a grin spreading on her lips too. “T-this has to be the stu-stupidest thing-thing we have done after that Berlin wall thing in 1963.” Her teeth were chattering. 

 

“It def-definitely is.” Clarke was laughing, remembering the day they had driven a tank through the Berlin wall. They were desperately, giddily happy to be alive and breathing, even though they were laying on the grass, shivering like wet dogs and still nowhere near safety. 

 

“I ca-can’t wait to tell B-Bellamy!” Echo added. Perhaps she was a little delirious. “This was so bad-badass.”

 

“R-Raven i-is going to be so jea-jealous.” Her voice came out broken. She was shaking. 

 

“O-Octavia too.” Echo let out a breath which fogged in front of her. 

 

They laid there even after their laughter died down. The grass beneath their wet backs and constellations wheeling overhead. Night had fallen a few hours ago. The river had carried them far away from the city. Clarke wasn't sure of the speed of the water, but she could see the forests and flora surrounding the shoreline.

 

“You should bring her highness back to life.” Echo suggested, glancing in Lexa’s direction. 

 

“Only her body can do that for her. You know that.”

 

“At least release the cuffs. She is going to panic when she comes back. What if she tore off your wrist?” 

 

“You told me not to underestimate her.” Clarke pointed out. “I am not gonna let her out of my sight.” 

 

“Alright.” Echo conceded. “I feel cold. I am going to find something to burn.” She got up and retreated towards the woods. 

 

Clarke sat up. Beside her, Lexa was still lying lifeless as she dragged her away from the water. Clarke unlocked the cuffs and pocketed them for now. Her blazer had frayed to nearly nothing. Everything from her hair to toe was wet. She was barefoot and there was a long, healing gash near the base of her neck. 

 

Maybe Lexa’s body did need a little encouragement. 

 

Clarke flipped her onto her back gently and started pressing down on her chest with less force than was strictly necessary. 

 

“Come. On. You. Have. To. Accept. Who. You. Are.,” Clarke muttered in sync with her compressions. 

 

She used one hand to pinch Lexa’s nose shut and the other to push his mouth open as she tried to breathe air into her lungs. She pressed her lips to Lexa’s, timing her breaths with the compressions. She felt her shift when Lexa’s heart took over its own rhythm. Then she coughed, chest spasming, water spewing from her mouth. She shoved Clarke off of her, sucking in cold air.

 

“Get away from me,” Lexa gasped, wiping her hand over her mouth. Her eyes were unfocused. She seemed to be staring right through her. “Don’t touch me.”

 

Lexa was trembling, from shock or the cold, Clarke didn’t know. 

 

“You’re in shock, Lexa,” Clarke said. “You drowned. Then died.”

 

Lexa coughed again, her entire body shuddering. “Drowned. D-dead” she repeated.



Clarke moved closer. She removed her leather jacket and covered Lexa’s hunched shoulders with it. Lexa clutched the jacket closer for warmth. 

 

Clarke nodded slowly. “Tree crew? Mount Weather? Near-death? You want to kill me, remember?”

 

“I will kill you,” Lexa mumbled. Her eyes were still unfocused. 

 

“There she is,” Echo announced as she stepped beside them with a makeshift bundle of logs and dried bush. 

 

“Where are we?” Lexa asked, frightened.

 

“I don’t know. But we will get you somewhere safe pretty soon.” Said Clarke. 

 

Lexa mumbled something else but her eyes rolled back a little and she was falling back again. Clarke caught her and gently laid her head on her own lap. 

 

Quickly enough, Echo had made a small fire to dry their clothes and keep them warm. She and Clarke sat across from each other, their faces lit by the soft glow of the fire. Insects were chirping in the background. Clarke saw some curious frogs jumping their way too. They opened their palms over the fire, feeling their sensations return. 

 

Lexa’s head was resting on her lap as she combed her fingers through her brown, tousled hair. Lexa was mumbling something incoherent about killing Clarke and her team. Clarke smiled.

 

“Do you think they will find us?” Echo wondered, putting her dried shirt back on.

 

“Remember, Raven?” Clarke said with a raised eyebrow and a lazy smile. “She tracks everyone. Of course, they will find us.” They shared a laugh. Clarke went back to respectfully gawking at Lexa’s peaceful face until Echo spoke again.

 

“You know, Jackson and Miller have this theory that the people who see through us when they die for the first time are our soulmates.”

 

Clarke barked out a laugh. “That could be true in your and Bellamy’s case.”

 

Echo groaned. “Don’t mention him, please.”

 

“What?” Clarke teased. “You like him. He likes you. It’s just that you guys are painstakingly slow. I bet he will wait another century before he asks you to be his girlfriend.”

 

“Then I guess I will have to ask him myself.” Echo said with an uncharacteristically shy smile. “But I am serious. About you and Lexa. I see how you look at her, boss.”

 

Clarke shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe it is true or maybe we just made it up to make ourselves feel better.”

 

“So what?” Echo fed another piece of wood into the fire. “We deserve good things too.”

 

“Good things never seem to last for me-”

 

“We lasted. Our team. Our family.”

 

Clarke smiled at the answer she was about to give. “Well, I wouldn’t call that exactly a good thing. Pain in the ass, maybe-”

 

Echo threw a stone at her which intentionally missed her head by inches. “You traitor. Wait till I tell Raven what you just said.” She flipped her hair back and pulled it up in a mock ponytail. She jutted out her chin a little bit. “Well, first of all, I am awesome-” 

 

Clarke burst out laughing at the exact mimicry of Raven’s tone. Echo joined in, tear rolling down from containing her laugh. It was risky to laugh like this when a whole nation was searching for them. Yet, they didn’t care. Maybe they had hit their head pretty hard. When the laughter subsided, Clarke held her gaze. 

 

“I just, I just don’t wanna ruin this, you know.” She hadn’t realized how scared she was until this moment. “I want her to set her own pace. I don’t wanna burden her with all our theories and stuff… she will have to deal with a lot already, you now. The first century is always the hardest.”

 

Echo smiled as if Clarke had just revealed the secrets of the universe or given her a cup of hot chocolate. “The theory is true then.” Clarke threw a stick at her face. She dodged.

 

Before Clarke could retort or throw another stick they heard a familiar engine of Raven’s jeep roaring somewhere behind them. Clarke and Echo exchanged a knowing look. They were here. They had found them.

 

“Don’t say it.”

 

“I told you so.” Clarke simply shrugged with a smirk.


From the New York Times, the day after the events of this chapter

Chapter Text

 

LEXA

 

When Lexa had woken up the room was completely dark. It smelled like salt and lavender. She had blinked a few times to make sense of where she was.  She was on some sort of a small bed; wearing someone else’s jacket that smelled like lavender. She hugged the jacket closer; the air was cold. 

 

She tried to recall all the clues to figure out where they might have brought her but all she could think about were the unanswered questions. Who were these people? What did they want from her? How many of these people have infiltrated her company? Why was there a tunnel from The Tower to Mount weather without her knowledge? And who were the prisoners they had used to distract her city? Had they been there the whole time? Who the fuck was Clarke?

 

She remembered plummeting from the Key bridge as Echo crashed the van into the railings, then strangely she remembered feeling like she had died. Like a complete void of nothingness only to wake up with Clarke holding her face, the air scratching against her skin, black starry sky all around, and then pain exploding over her skull. Things were a little hazy after that. She remembered being carried onto a car and strange people - Delinquents - laughing at something one of them had said. She had fallen asleep again. 

 

The next thing she knew she was awake here, in this room, head pounding, in the dark. She felt like she was nine, being sent to a private boarding school after her father had died, frightened and alone. Anya had been too young to take care of her and Titus had been too busy. She was shipped to a place she could never come back from. It was why she completed her studies earlier than most of the other students. She wanted to live in a place she could call home, to live close to the people who wanted her, who she cared for, who gave her a purpose to fulfill. But here, all she could do was wait. 

 

She forced herself to breathe. She was scared. Only fools are fearless, Anya had once told her. Fear was necessary to be alive. She looked around. The room was pitch-black. All she could hear in the silence was her own rapid breathing as panic gripped her again. She composed herself by controlling her breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth. 

 

Where had Clarke brought her? Was Clarke even her real name? She could be in a basement or a warehouse. She might not even be in the United States anymore. It didn’t matter. She was Alexandria Woods. She was stronger than this, she told herself. These people have cheated death too many times but that would, in logic, make them fearless and hence reckless. She would just have to wait for that moment. Whenever that moment was to come, she would seize it. Wherever she was, she would get out.

 

A door opened. White light spilled in the room. A man, not much older than she entered the room. He left the door open. What a fool. Never stop your enemy when he is making a mistake. Outside, it was day. Lexa sat up on her bed. 

 

“Oh, you are awake!” The man said, a white grin flashing. He walked up to a wall and pressed some sort of a button and a sunroof opened up overhead. Lexa squinted at the assault of bright light. 

 

“How are you feeling?” The man asked. He sat across from her on a chair and opened up a small medical kit. When Lexa didn’t respond to his question, he said, “Oh, you must be confused. My name is Eric Jackson. I am the Doctor of the crew even though they don't really need one.” He chuckled. “Last night when Clarke brought you here, you were running a fever. That is why she asked me to come here and check up on you -”

 

“Where am I?” Her voice came out hoarse and scratchy due to unuse.

 

“In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” Eric answered. Lexa couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. Eric took out a pair of surgical scissors from his kit and gestured at the back of his head. “I bandaged a wound on the back of your neck last night. It was bleeding a little. If you could turn around, I will remove it.”

 

Lexa nodded. The next thirty seconds were already playing in her mind. As she turned facing the headboard and lowered the jacket she was wearing, she felt his hands touching her skin. She snaked her own hand around and grabbed him by his wrist. He was caught off guard. She twisted his wrist until she heard a distinct crack; he let out a yelp and dropped the pair of scissors from his hand. Before he could cry out for help, she jammed the scissors into his throat’s soft skin. It was a technique Anya had taught her. He collapsed, holding his bleeding throat. 

 

She broke for the open door. She climbed a small flight of stairs; in front of her, there was nothing but the ocean. Eric wasn’t joking, she really was on a boat in the middle of the fucking ocean. 

 

“Good morning, your royal highness.” A smug voice said from behind her. Lexa turned to see an equally smug face. He had his hand raised as if surrendering. A revolver was strapped to his thigh. 

 

“Nice to meet you. We are the good guys on good days, I promise” He was saying. She did not have time for his bullshit. In a swift motion, Lexa unholstered his gun and fired at his face point-blank. 

 

“What’s going on?” Someone was shouting from the lower deck. Lexa saw a guy climbing the stairs. She had seen that guy before in Mount Weather. He was one of her employees. He paused as he saw her and raised his hands above his head. “Don-”

 

Lexa fired at him. He dropped instantly. She ran for the steps leading to the cockpit in hopes of finding a radio or something to contact the outside world. She descended the steps until she was standing in a hardwood cabin with control panels. The only problem was that Clarke was there. 

 

“What the fuck?” Clarke said as she noticed her. The cigarette she was smoking dropped to the floor. 

 

Lexa knew there was no going past Clarke but she was not going to get caught easily after putting in this much effort. She had murdered three men to reach here. She would not let their lives go to waste. As Clarke started to approach, she ran back to the way she had come until she was on the lower deck. There was only one way from there. She could see the coastline. It was far but she could make it. She had a greater will. She climbed over the glass railing and jumped into the sparkling blue water. 

 

For a moment, the water enveloped her like foam. The fear, the sensation felt familiar. Almost haunting in a way. The cold was the biggest fucking problem. She swam up. Her heart was hammering in her chest. She put all her energy into crossing the waves; not looking back. In retrospect, she should’ve looked back. Clarke had jumped after her. Clarke was a better swimmer than her because she had caught up to her with some effort. 

 

Clarke held her from behind as she futilely tried to pull away. Her rage was thrashing. There was nothing she could do. The realization made her sick, but it was true. She was in the middle of the ocean, freezing, and there’s not a goddamn thing she could do about it. She let out another scream of frustration at the sky and slammed her hand in the water, which didn’t do much but soak her head and made her even colder. She was kicking and treading water, but the cold was going to kill her in a few minutes if she didn't get out of it. Except there was nowhere to get out. Nowhere to go. There was just her, and the ocean and Clarke.

 

“Stop fighting!” Clarke was yelling in her ear. 

 

“Let go of me!” She protested. She wished she hadn’t left the gun on the boat. 

 

“Do you really want to die for the rest of your life drowning and being chewed off by sharks?” Clarke yelled again. “Do you really want that?”

 

Lexa stopped struggling. Mostly because she was exhausted and starving and it was fucking cold. She will have to try again tomorrow. Sometimes we have to lose smaller battles in order to win the war.

 

“Yeah,” Clarke said. “That’s what I thought.”

 

She was taken back to the boat. 

 

The guy she had shot point-blank was sitting against the rails with the same smug look on his face like he had just watched the most entertaining thing in his life. He had blood on the front of his white t-shirt. So he was an immortal as well. Were all of these people here like him? Lexa wanted to kill him again. Octavia was standing on the deck. She looked almost nervous. She passed two towels to Clarke. Clarke handed one to her. 

 

“I asked you to keep an eye on her,” Clarke said to the smug guy. He stood up and lazily walked up to them, hands in pocket.

 

“What could I do?” he put on his sunglasses as he talked. “Her royal highness wanted to go for a swim in Shark-infested waters. Who was I to deny her such small pleasures?”

 

“Shut up, Murphy,” Clarke said. 

 

Murphy extended a hand towards Lexa. “John Murphy. You have been the most interesting thing of this century so far. Except, of course, Tinder.”

 

Whether that was a compliment or an insult, Lexa couldn’t decipher. She didn’t care. She didn’t shake his hand. He retreated with a smile.  

 

Clarke was looking back at her expectantly. “Come on,” Clarke said. “Or do you want to pull some other tricks?” She started walking without waiting for an answer.

 

“They are either gonna fuck each other or kill each other.” She heard Octavia say. 

 

“Since the second option is not applicable here, I bet my immortality they are gonna fuck.” Murphy replied. 

 

When Lexa came back to the cabin, she stood close to the door as if that would give her a new idea to escape. Water was pooling at her feet; she longed for the warmth of the jacket that was lying on the bed. Clarke was inside a walk-in closet. She could hear her swearing. 

 

She noticed the details of the room more carefully. It had three circular windows on one side and a sunroof on the ceiling. The floor and the walls were polished teak wood. There was a small dining table on one side with two chairs. It was curated with style. The bed was in the center with white sheets and cream pillows. Lexa noticed a variety of swords and blades on display on one wall. The other was covered in a bookshelf.  

 

Lexa had been on many boats with clients. This was one of the impressive ones from what she had seen so far. It was at least a hundred and twenty meters long with three decks and a cockpit. There were two other doors in this room only. One for a Walk-in closet and another, Lexa assumed, was for the bathroom.

 

When Clarke emerged back from the closet, she looked at her quizzically. Lexa awkwardly tried to look intimidating but it was hard to do when she felt like a wet cat. 

 

“What are you doing standing there?” Clarke questioned. There was a pile of fresh clothes in her hand. “You are getting water all over the floor.”

 

She scowled. “I-”

 

“It’s okay.” Clarke quickly said. “Get into the bathroom or you will catch a cold again. Being immortal doesn’t make you immune to mortal sickness.” Sometimes, Lexa couldn’t understand what Clarke was saying. “We have hot water. You look like you need it. You have blood all over your hair and clothes.” Clarke pointed out.

 

“Yeah, I wonder why,” Lexa muttered. She dashed for the bathroom and shut the door behind her. She could not bear to look at Clarke’s face. A few days ago, she had wanted to know Clarke but now she wished she had never met her. 

 

Her escape would have to wait a little longer. The prospect of getting a hot shower was too salivating. She came out of the bathroom wearing a bathrobe. Clarke was sitting on the sofa with a book opened on her lap. Lexa eyed the pile of clothes on the bed. 

 

“Can I get some privacy?” Lexa asked, disdainfully.

 

Clarke smirked. “This is my boat, my cabin. I am not going anywhere. You can go to change in the closet.” Clarke gestured towards the other door. 

 

Lexa huffed out a breath. In her head, she knew she was being a brat but she couldn’t help it. She didn’t know how to react when things were out of her control. 

 

In the closet, she searched the drawers and the hangers for any weapons or blades that she could use later. There was nothing except for Clarke’s clothes. Clarke was probably clearing it all when she was inside, Lexa thought. She changed into the oversized navy hoodie and black jeans Clarke had provided. They smelled like lavender and gunpowder. They smelled like Clarke. 

 

When she stepped, Clarke was standing by the window. The main door was shut; the water near it had been wiped off. 

 

“Go sit down.” Clarke pointed at the chair she had put in the middle of the room.

 

Lexa felt like a child being told what to do. She didn’t like it at all. She kept her chin high and folded her arms. Her eyes were cold and stern. Was this going to be some sort of interrogation? She was ready if this was one. She was not going to spill her company secrets and give up because of some menial torture. She could endure it. She wouldn’t talk at all. 

 

Clarke walked behind her back.  Lexa wanted to see what she was doing but she didn’t want to appear too eager or impatient. Clarke put both her hands on her shoulders from behind. She flinched.

 

“Relax,” Clarke said. “Your erratic breathing is scaring the gulls outside.” 

 

Lexa let out a frustrated breath. Whatever Clarke was trying to do, she will not open her mouth to her. 

 

“Put your arms on the armrests,” Clarke said. 

 

There was no point in denying or delaying, she was too exhausted. Clarke came back in front of her with four small pieces of ropes. Her breath hitched. 

 

Clarke started with her right hand. Lexa’s eyes were fixed on the rope binding her to the chair, unmoving. Clarke’s fingers glided around the rope and her wrist as she tied the knot expertly. “I am tying you to this chair. Why?” Clarke asked, maintaining eye contact with her. 

 

Because you are a fucking asshole. Lexa did not answer. 

 

Clarke moved onto her left hand. “Not because you tried to run away. But because you used a weapon on some of the most important people in life to kill them while they were just doing their jobs. While they were helping you. Your actions have consequences.”

 

Lexa matched Clarke’s eyes for the first time since sitting down. They were not angry or smiling. They were steady and calm like the ocean outside. Clarke checked the knot and knelt to tie her ankles with the chair’s leg.

 

“You have to understand that the bullet that didn’t kill them yesterday could be lethal to them today. And while that may not mean anything to you, they mean a lot to me-”

 

“My sister meant a lot to me, yet you abducted her. Tortured her -” Lexa snapped, surprising herself. 

 

“We do not torture people,” Clarke stated simply. “Or at least not the people who don’t deserve it. But tell me, would you have preferred if we had killed her in the harbor?”

 

The thought of her sister dying left a sick feeling in her stomach. She did not answer Clarke’s question. Clarke was done with her legs; she stood in front of Lexa. When Lexa did not meet her eyes, Clarke put a finger under her chin and lifted gently. 

 

“Your actions have consequences but you are not a prisoner here,” Clarke stated.

 

Lexa scoffed. “Am I free to go then?”

 

“Yes. But not until you’ve asked the right questions. If you're not asking then you aren’t ready for answers at all. You have to ask the right questions and listen to what I am saying. That's all. This is as much about you as it is about us.”

 

“No, thank you.” Lexa gave a half twisted smile. 

 

Clarke removed the finger under her chin and folded her arms. She kept her gaze locked on Clarke’s stubbornly. A silent match of who will look away first.

 

“I have tried to treat you respectfully. My friends have told you again and again that they are not here to hurt you. But all you have done is hurt us.” Clarke said. Lexa felt goosebumps rising on her skin. 

 

“You’ll sit here like this until or unless I decide otherwise. You’ll stay in this room. You’ll not meet and hurt any other member of my crew until I am sure that you’ll not hurt them. If you need food or water or anything you will ask me. I will untie you when you need to use the bathroom but then you will come back and sit here. You’ll respect everything we have done for you and understand what I am doing now. You will calm down and listen. And at least try to understand who you are, who we are, and what we do to survive. Until then you can sit here and brood.” Clarke gave a small squeeze on her shoulder. “I will lock the door behind me.” 

 

Lexa scoffed again. For fuck’s sake, now these strangers, these criminals will tell her who she is.  

 

Clarke left her with a smile. 

 


 

 

Lexa had not realized how hungry or thirsty she had been until Clarke had mentioned it. She hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since yesterday. She bit her tongue and tried to distract herself from the drying sensation in her throat. Like this, her options were limited. The ropes were not too tight, yet when she tugged at them, it was clear that they were expertly tied. She tilted her head and tried to read the titles of the books on the shelf. Some were in English but mostly there were in languages she couldn’t even recognize.

 

It was night when Clarke returned to her cabin. There was no clock in the room but the sky was dark outside. The room was lit only by the moonlight. Lexa hadn’t moved, of course, but she was slumped in the chair. Half sleeping; trying to conserve energy as best as she could.

 

Clarke had a glass of water with her this time. She stepped into the dark moonlit room and stood just out of arm’s reach of the chair, face neutral, eyes on half-conscious Lexa. She set the glass of water on the coffee table. 

 

“All you have to do is ask the right questions, Lexa.”

 

The CEO twitched and gave Clarke a bleary glare. 

 

“I am not asking you anything else,” Clarke said soothingly. “It’s very simple. Ask the right questions and I will answer.”

 

Which was true, in their world of lies and truths, Clarke was not asking for money or her company secrets. She was asking her to follow an order. It will start a pattern in her mind, and that pattern will be the start of her demise.

 

Clarke waited. Lexa shifted a bit, opening her other eye. “Fuck you,” she managed to croak through her dry throat, but her eyes were locked on the water. 

 

Clarke laughed. “You sound like a brat. Are you? Do you want water or do you want to keep acting like a brat?” 

 

For a long moment, she didn’t think she was going to answer. She just might be stubborn enough that she would rather pass out than give in. 

 

“Fine,” Clarke eventually said. “We will try again tomorrow.”

 

Clarke turned towards her bed; getting ready to sleep for the night. Lexa sat staring at the glass of water Clarke had placed on the coffee table, just out of reach. There’s a drop of condensed water on the side of it, running down towards her fingertips, and all Lexa could think about was having that water on her tongue, running down her throat. She had never wanted anything so badly in her entire life.

 

A few seconds later, she felt a hand on her shoulders. She flinched. Clarke was wrapping a thick warm blanket on her shoulders.

 

“It gets cold at night. You will need this.” Clarke’s face was neutral. “Sleep well,” She said. 

 

“I hope you get drowned in your sleep.” She muttered in reply. 

 

Clarke chuckled in response. Finally, Clarke picked up the glass and turned to leave again. Lexa watched the water go. A small noise of objection escaped her, one that instantly made her irritated with herself. But Clarke had heard it.

 

“Are you trying to say something, Lexa?”

 

Lexa licked her lips and then said thickly, “I’m not a brat.” Lexa tried to draw in a deep breath, which ended up just making her cough harder. God, she hated how her voice came out.

 

“Then stop behaving like one and just ask, Lexa.” Clarke’s eyes were encouraging, Lexa’s thoughts to behead her were not. Lexa clenched her jaw, fighting the battle between giving in and maintaining her ground. She needed to drink. Desperately. But she also had her pride, which was stupidly winning out over her body’s needs. She needed water. She was going to die without it. 

 

“Water,” Lexa croaked. Lexa stiffened in her chair. 

 

“Yes?” Clarke said soothingly. 

 

“Can I have some water, please?” It took her a minute to actually get the words out. 

 

“Yes, of course.” Clarke gave her a flashing white grin. 

 

She lifted the glass of water to Lexa’s lips, forcing her to drink in small and measured sips. Lexa knew it was safer this way, yet she hated it. She wanted to grab the glass and drink it all in one shot and break it over Clarke’s head. It took her over ten minutes to finish the glass. When the glass was finally empty, Clarke placed a finger under her chin and lifted her gaze to match Clarke’s. 

 

“Well done,” Clarke said proudly.

 

Lexa scowled, irritation crossing her face. She pulled her face away from Clarke’s gentle touch. Clarke smiled then. Lexa knew what was happening. They had used the same basic technique to condition her soldiers for obedience. She was praising good reactions and punishing bad ones. Carrot and stick. 

 

“I will see you tomorrow, then,” Clarke squeezed her shoulder again and turned to go back to her bed. 

 

Lexa wanted to ask for more water. Food, maybe. And to walk. But she stopped herself. There was only so much of her pride that she was willing to trade. Clarke was dangerous and she was going to have to play very carefully if she wanted to go home anytime soon.

 


 

 

When she woke up the next morning, she was not tied to the chair. She was slumped on it, inches from falling on the ground. She blinked at first, trying to adjust to the daylight filling the room. She stood up and walked a few steps when she realized that Clarke was not in the room. Why had she left her unbound then? Lexa dashed for the door. It was locked. Of course, it was. 

 

There were a note and a metal handcuff on the coffee table. Lexa did not want to touch it or read it. She was just going to ignore it and pretend that she didn’t see it. But maybe Clarke had left some sort of instruction on it. Lexa picked it up. She could always place it back and pretend if she didn’t like whatever was written in it. 

 

You can use the bathroom. Don’t drink the water from the tap, it’s unfiltered. After you are done, place the handcuffs on your wrist and sit by the dining table. I will see you at lunch. 

 

-C

 

The thought of lunch made her stomach growl. How long had she slept then? Had she slept past breakfast or Clarke had just decided that she was unworthy of breakfast? She sighed and went to the bathroom. 

 

When she returned, the handcuffs were still waiting for her. Clarke was stupid to believe that she would put on the cuffs willingly. She scoffed and ignored them. She went to one of the windows looking out into the sea and started formulating a plan. 

 

She could use or hide one of the blades on display to break out again. But Clarke would definitely notice if a blade was missing. The consequence for that would not be good. Lexa berated herself for thinking of consequences before the action. These obedience techniques were effective even when she understood what was happening. 

 

What would happen if she tried to go to the cockpit again? The others will definitely try to stop her. She will have to hurt them again. But if she failed like last time, Clarke had proved that she could starve her. They obviously wanted to keep her alive but that could be achieved by minimum food and water as well. She couldn't take that chance. She needed her body at its hundred percent. 

 

She heard footsteps echoing towards the cabin. She was not sure what to do. What if Clarke refused to feed her just because she did not follow her orders? It would cost nothing to Clarke but for Lexa, it was sleeping another day with an empty stomach and an unfocused mind. She dashed to the coffee table and clicked the handcuffs in place on her wrists. A wise warrior knows when not to fight.

 

She was standing when Clarke opened the door. She was holding a tray of food in one hand and a laptop in another. She first placed the laptop on the bedside table then looked at her and raised her eyebrows.

 

“I asked you to sit in that chair, didn’t I?” Clarke said as she walked past Lex to set the tray on the small round dining table. 

 

“Must have missed that part,” Lexa smirked. 

 

“It isn’t too late to listen, is it?” Clarke pulled out a chair and gestured to it.

 

Lexa clenched her teeth against the hungry growl that her stomach was producing. She debated refusing but then what was the point? She would be stuck in this room without food or water. That was unacceptable. She had to get out. 

 

So, she sat down. Her hands were cuffed in her laps for now. Clarke was setting the table. She placed a plate and filled it with some bread, horiatiki, a platter of olives and feta cheese, slow-roasted vegetables, grilled meat, and fried potatoes. Clarke was slow in her ministrations. Lexa just wanted to grab the plate and devour it. 

 

Clarke took out a napkin and placed it on her lap lightly. She then held the fork and knife and sat on the chair across from Lexa who was wondering how to eat with cuffed hands. Her question was answered shortly as Clarke cut the bread into small pieces and looked at Lexa expectantly. 

 

Then only Lexa realized that Clarke was going to feed her herself. She wasn’t going to give Lexa a knife or a fork. Lexa tensed her shoulders. She wanted to resist, wanted to say that she did not need to be fed, that she was not a child. But wasn’t that exactly what a child would say? Hunger was a force of nature. There was no denying it. Her hunger was all-consuming. Her body’s needs were winning over her pride. She needed to eat.

 

Clarke waited patiently, giving her all the time she needed to fight against her pride. But when she did not make a move and lowered her eyes stubbornly. Clarke simply lifted a forkful of roasted vegetables up to her mouth and said, “Open.”

 

Lexa opened her mouth and ate it, not matching Clarke’s eyes. A faint blush traitorously colored her cheeks. The food was delicious. Whether because it was actually delicious or because she was hungry, it didn't matter. She chewed fast and waited for the next bite. Clarke fed her slowly like she had all the time in the world. 

 

“You slept through breakfast,” Clarke said, lifting the fork once more. “Murphy, the first guy you shot, had made some very delicious pancakes.”

 

“You could have woken me up,” Lexa said with food in her mouth, manners be damned. 

 

“I tried to. But you are a heavy sleeper.”

 

It was hard to believe that Clarke let her sleep just because she had refused to wake up. Lexa didn’t bring it up though. She ate in complete silence.

 

“I am glad you didn’t decide against eating. In our case, starvation is one of the most painful ways to die, after drowning of course.” Clarke added.

 

Lexa didn’t particularly want to talk about death while eating. She ate faster and finished it all well within ten minutes. It took another ten minutes to drink water from Clarke’s hand. When she was done, Clarke offered her a tissue and cleaned up the table. She collected everything on the table and started to leave. Lexa didn’t want her to leave just yet. She might come back after hours and Lexa would be left with her thoughts alone till then.  

 

“Wait,” She rasped out and immediately regretted how needy she sounded. Clarke stopped in her tracks. “Why do you keep saying ‘in our case’?”

 

“You are asking questions, finally.” Clarke grinned. Clarke gestured to the tray with dirty dishes. “I will come back in a minute, okay.” 

 

“Yeah, okay,” Lexa said but Clarke was already closing the door behind her. 

 

Lexa anxiously waited for her to return; lining up all the questions she wanted to ask. She shifted to the sofa and sat comfortably, eyeing the laptop. She wondered whether or not it was password protected. Or whether it was some sort of a test Clarke had planned. When Clarke returned, she noticed her but didn’t say anything. She simply sat down beside her. Lexa didn’t give her a chance to start the conversation and took the reins herself. 

 

“Why am I here?” she asked.

 

“That is the first reasonable question that you have asked so far.” Clarke looked amused. “It’s concerning that you have not figured this out yet.”

 

“Can’t you just answer-”

 

“You are here because you are just like us. You are an immortal. You cannot be killed. Not yet at least. You are going to outlive everyone you know-”

 

Lies, lies, lies. All warfare is based on deception.

 

“That’s not possible-” Lexa sprang up from her seat. Her cuffs jangled. “You are lying! You are fucking lying!” 

 

Clarke let out a defeated sigh. She almost looked upset. She walked to the blades on the wall. Lexa took up a defensive stance. Was she going to hurt her again? But Clarke came closer to her. She held the blade in her left hand and spread her right palm open. 

 

“Look,” Clarke said. She pressed the sharp edge of her blade onto her palm and kept pressing until red liquid was oozing from it. She made an inch-long gash on her palm. Lexa hesitated to look at it. But Clarke came even closer.

 

As soon as Clarke removed the blade, her skin began to sew itself. It was like watching her skin travel backward through time. When the wound healed, there was no sign of it left on Clarke’s skin. No scars and probably no pain. 

 

“Now your hand.” Clarke extended her open bloodied palm. She unsheathed another knife and waited for Lexa to place her hand on her own bloodied hand. Lexa did. She was calmer than she had expected, almost curious. 

 

A part of her brain that sounded like Titus was screaming that she shouldn’t let her do this, shouldn’t let Clarke touch her, but she did. Clarke pressed the other blade to her palm, she winced. She made a smaller, shallower cut on her palm. 

 

“It will take some time to get used to the pain,” Clarke said as warm blood spread into her palm. Their gaze was fixed on it. Slowly and surely the cut began to heal. New skin bridging the gap from where the blood was coming. She stared at it in disbelief. It was almost magical. Almost.

 

“It is slow for now. But soon cuts like these will heal in seconds.” Clarke explained. She looked at her with wide blue earnest eyes. “Lexa, you are not alone.”

 

They were all deceivers, killers, and spies, trained to prey on people like her, people without their unnatural gifts. They were predators. 

 

“No!” Lexa stepped back even further. She was a little dizzy. She suspected it wasn’t because of her blood loss but rather from what she was hearing. “You drugged me or - or -”

 

“Very flattering, but no I didn’t drug you. You are an immortal. That’s a fact.”

 

“You did something to me!” Lexa held up an accusatory finger, caught between the shame and necessity of what she was about to say. “You are unnatural. I-I am not one of you. I can’t be.” The words tasted like ash in her mouth. These were the words Titus used to describe them. Unnatural, inhuman, monster. These were the words she was raised on, words that still rang true for her.

 

Clarke pulled out her pistol from her waistband, turned off the safety, and calmly aimed at her. Lexa scoffed. These people knew nothing other than killing.

 

“You’re not going to-” Lexa heard gunfire as she collapsed to the floor.

 



From Clarke's sketchbook, The dropship


Chapter Text

LEXA

 

“You are not going to-” Lexa heard gunfire as she collapsed to the floor. 

 

A bullet pierced her left thigh, leaving her stunned and breathless. The pain came in waves. The blood gushed hot on her cold skin. She has to stop the bleeding. But her hands were tied. She pressed as best as she could.

 

“Fuck!”

 

“Relax,” Clarke was saying. “Let your body do the job.”

 

What the actual fuck? She was about to reply to Clarke when she felt it. The bullet moving inside her skin, slowly but surely. She kept staring at the wound, she must be imagining it. Because it still hurt so much that she wanted to scream. Yet, her gaze was transfixed on it. Clarke sat back down on the edge of the coffee table and placed the pistol on the table. She lit a cigarette as she waited for Lexa. The bullet fell out. The skin around her wound started to knit together, leaving a tingling, itchy feeling. She touched it lightly, the dull ache was still there. There was a bloodied stray bullet lying on the floor. The bullet which was in her leg a few minutes ago. No, this is not possible. This is not fucking possible. 

 

“Why does it have to be so goddamn slow the first couple of times?” Clarke was muttering to herself. She took another drag of her cigarette. Lexa sat up more and scooted backward on her butt. Clarke sat still, patiently waiting with a raised eyebrow. 

 

“You shot me,” Lexa said, bewildered. Her voice came out a pitch higher like someone had strangled her. She had felt the pain. Drowned in the suffocating agony of it. Seen the bullet going in. There was blood trickling down her thigh. There was a hole in her jeans where the bullet had entered. There was a bloodied bullet for christ’s sake. A bullet that had gone through her thigh for fuck’s sake. 

 

“Yes,” Clarke stubbed the cigarette on the ashtray. “Are you gonna listen now? We have just started. So, please.” She gestured back to the sofa.

 

The evidence was in front of her. She was seeing it with her own two eyes. The logical conclusion would be that she was like them. That somehow she could not be killed. But she was not like them. Or that’s what she had thought her whole life. 

 

“I’m sorry I shot you,” Clarke said sincerely. “I’m sorry I abducted you. I am sorry I hurt you. None of it was your fault. I had no choice. There is some shit going on that you should know. I am happy to -”

 

“I am not like you,” Lexa said. She shook her head. She needed to say it out loud. 

 

“I am sorry?” Clarke asked, stepping back, physically making the distance between them.

 

“I said I am not like you. You - you are killers! And monsters -”

 

“Everybody is somebody’s monster.”

 

“You killed and burned fifty of my men.”

 

“Men you sent to kill us!” Clarke raised her voice. There was a blue fire in her eyes. 

 

“You kill people! You are murderers!” Hatred rising off of her in waves. 

 

“There is a difference between what we do to survive and who we are. Sometimes it’s not a choice.” Clarke clenched her jaw as if controlling herself to not shout. But Lexa was having none of it. She wanted to wake up from this nightmare. Wanted someone to shout at her and say that this was all bullshit. A sick joke. Anything but the truth. “Besides, your so-called natural people have killed more people than we ever could.”

 

“You destroy people’s lives. You are not human. You are not meant to exist.”  Lexa spat the words she had heard Titus whisper in her ear for years. They felt foreign to her but she needed to let them out. 

 

“So, existing is our crime?” Clarke was walking forward, forcing her to step back to the wall behind her.

 

“Your crime is against people. Against the human race. You refuse to share your gifts. You murder people and get away with it.”  

 

“Don’t you? Doesn’t your company, your soldiers get away with killing. Don't armies and police and politicians get away with it? But their crimes are not crimes because their enemies were what? Less human? Their reasons were what? Valid? At least we are not pretending to be high and mighty. And our gifts?” Clarke scoffed. “Did you share the fortune you got from your father with the world or did you hold onto it like dear life and dedicated every moment of your life to increase it so that you could have a purpose in your life?”

 

“You-”

 

“We are what? Unnatural?” Clarke raised an incredulous brow. “Who the fuck decides what’s natural and what’s unnatural. Nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is also natural. Nature does not allow what is not possible. Our life, our powers, or whatever the fuck they are as natural as photosynthesis. And we don’t owe anything to anyone!” 

 

Lexa’s back hit the wall. Clarke was close to her. So close that if she tilted her head, they would kiss. To be effective in battle a warrior must not feel for his enemy, Titus said in her head. 

 

“Fuck! Then why do you hide? Why do you live like this? Why do you ruin people’s lives like monsters?” They were practically screaming at this point. As if raising their voices would make the other one understand.

 

Clarke’s lips trembled with something Lexa didn’t recognize. She would have termed it rage if it weren’t directed so inwards. “Because of people like you! Because of people like Titus Flame and Cage Wallace and companies like Tree Crew and Mount Weather who think we owe them our lives. Because of religions that forbid everything that isn’t written in their books. Because of witch hunts and holocausts and crusades. Because we don’t want to be hunted and bound for the rest of eternity.” 

 

Behind the guilt, her anger was rising, slow, and dull. Her heart was hammering in her chest like she had swum a mile. She could see Clarke’s chest was heaving too. They were sweating even though it was cold outside. Neither of them blinking. Desperate to prove their point. Clarke lifted her bloody palm and placed it flat on the wall behind Lexa, effectively bracketing Lexa to the wall. 

 

When Lexa stayed silent, Clarke continued. Her voice sounded hoarse, like a rock against rock. 

 

“Maybe we are the gods they worship. Them with their short lives and their hunger for money and little greedy needs.” Her anger spread like a bushfire, burning every word into Lexa’s heart. “When they see real power, they can’t wait to stamp it out, can’t wait to put it on a cross, can’t wait to burn at a stake, can’t wait to replicate, can’t wait to cage. Your company hunted us for years!”

 

“You killed my father!” Lexa finally gasped out. Her voice sounded strange to her own ears. Her anger spilled its banks like Clarke had touched a raging nerve inside her. Like she was drowning and thirsty at the same time. Her pain was heavy on her chest like the ocean itself. “You hurt my sister! My mother could’ve been alive if -  You took everything from me!”

 

Clarke was taken aback by the outburst. She stepped back, lowered her hand, and looked at Lexa like she was seeing her for the first time. Lexa looked at the top of her blonde head through her tear-filled eyes. She was ashamed at what she had said. Everything possible was also natural. And that these people were more than killers. Deep down she knew she was an immortal now. She was an immortal and she was fighting no one but herself. Fighting for something good. Fighting for some reason to hold onto the last twenty-two years of her life. She knew that little voice in her head that sounded like Titus was wrong.

 

The rage in Clarke was gone, and it was as if some flame had gone out with it. “I am sorry,” She said. It was barely audible. Lexa would have missed it if they weren’t standing so close.  But she was genuinely surprised when the apology came from Clarke. 

 

Me too, Lexa wanted to say but it came out as a silent nod. 

 

“You should rest.” Her voice was small, head lowered as if she was afraid to look at her. “Just, just think about it.” She raked her fingers through her blonde hair. “I am sorry. I-I just need some air.” Something in the way she spoke drained Lexa of all anger and left her with an all-consuming grief.

 

Lexa pressed her lips in muted apology as Clarke left the room leaving the door open. She closed the door herself, covering her face with both her hands and sliding down against it. She squeezed her eyes closed, desperately trying to wake up from this nightmare. Was this some kind of punishment for hating them for so long? And she was tired. So fucking tired. 

 

The truth was like she was being sucked into that wave you hope never finds you, the one that takes you under, takes your breath, your bearings, your sandcastles, and disorients you completely. The wave that fights against your beliefs before letting you go back to the surface again, shattered. What would her father say now?

 

Exhausted from the toll of what had happened in a week she slept for the rest of the day. She chose the comfortable queen size bed with soft-looking comforters. Since Clarke was not using it, she might as well use it herself. She intended to wake up at night. If Clarke asked her to move, she would. But for now, her eyelids were drooping and she felt like she could sleep for the rest of her immortal life. It was strange thinking like that. 

 

Her every thought and every judgment was corrupted by the reason she had to be alone in them. If the immortals had come out and offered their help then her mother could have lived longer. Her father would’ve been alive. She would’ve had a family. A normal life. Or would she? She knew she was selfish to think that, she knew that much. But the immortals were even more so. They would have come out if they were human if they had empathy. 

 

That was why she believed Titus when he said that they were less than human - demons, unnatural. Because what kind of human would live a thousand years witnessing misery and death and not come out to help the world get rid of it, choose to hide and spread destruction wherever they went. They were the reason her father was not with her. They were the reason her sister chose the life of a warrior. She had been chasing them ever since. They had chained her. They had repeatedly invaded her nightmares and dreams. 

 

She was dragged back to the warehouse, the bloodied town, her mother's funeral, and the school locker again and again if not by them then by Titus who kept fuelling her rage. His words were the only words that kept her rage in check, that prevented her from drowning in misery, gave her a false sense of purpose, and made her feel a little less alone in her vengeance. It was the promise of fulfilling her father’s goal that let her sleep at night, that drove her every day, that kept his ghost at bay.

 

But at the end of the day, the truth was that the people she had resented and sought vengeance from her whole life were the ones she will have to live with for hundreds and hundreds of years while everybody else would turn to ash and be washed away by time. In solitude, Lexa understood the weight of Clarke’s words. She understood why they chose to live like this. Public life was already hard enough but to live it for hundreds of years unchanging and undying was something else. 

 

She had devoted her time and resources and sister to find them. She had wanted to tell the world about them. She had wanted to force them to come out and share their gifts. She had wanted them to be held accountable for the lives they had taken. She had wanted justice. But what now? The delinquents weren’t faceless anymore. They were real people with anger and happiness and flaws. It had been easier to hate them when they were faceless criminals. But what now? 

 

What now when the power was in her hands? What choice would she make? Would her choice define who she was? She doubted it. Choices were a luxury she hadn’t been able to afford, much like Clarke. And now with the choices that she had, she wasn’t as decisive about them as she once would have been. 

 

There was a reason these people were running from Mount Weather. She needed to know that reason. She needed to understand. If they had the decency to not out her to the world, then she was not going to out them as well. That was the choice she made. Sometimes to know your enemy you must become your enemy. 

 


 

 

CLARKE

 

Clarke knew she would be atoning for the lives she had taken long into this life and the next one. But hearing it from Lexa unraveled something inside her. They had lived their lives as survivalists. Never getting too attached to a place or a person too much. But they had always lived to see the consequences. Always have been there to witness the worst of humanity yet not being able to do anything to stop it. Sometimes they had done nothing. Sometimes they had done their best. But they had never been able to do what was best for the world despite how much they tried. The world always went to shit no matter what. 

 

And how many people had they killed whose children and wives had grown to hate them? Was it all justified because they were fighting for the greater good? Fuck. She wanted to tear her head apart, raking it to find something - anything good to hold onto. 

 

She leaned against the railings and stared into the vast unchanging ocean. The ocean was calm and powerful at the same time, she wasn’t either. She had lost control with Lexa. She had pushed her beyond boundaries. Zeus, what the fuck was she thinking? She should have been more patient. Should have explained better. She knew better after all. Lexa’s hatred hadn’t started with them. It had started with her mother. But it had grown because of them, because of their decisions. 

 

“It’s been a while since you have had ‘the existential crisis’ face on.” Jackson’s voice brought her out of her thought wreck. 

 

She chuckled. “How is your -” She gestured to her own throat. 

 

“As good as new,” Jackson answered, his eyes fixed ahead on the ocean. “And how is she taking it?”

 

“Worse than expected.” Clarke sighed, wringing her hands together. “She thinks we are monsters.”

 

“Understandable.” He nodded slowly. Clarke looked at him with disbelief. “What?” He said. “We do horrible things. Seven out of ten times our intentions are good but the results end up being shit anyway. That’s just how the world works.”

 

“Yeah.” She sighed, wishing she had worn an extra sweater. The wind was cold. “I told her the same thing. She just… she was hurt by us or someone like us… I don’t know… how to deal with that… they hurt her. How am I going to convince her otherwise?”

 

“By showing her who we truly are. Just be us. We trust her with everything we have got and let her make her choices.”

 

It was easy to say it like that but after the incident, Bellamy and Miller had been adamant about not taking any chances with her. Clarke bit her lower lip nervously. “So far I have been doing a shit job at it.”

 

“Don’t forget you are talking to a guy who killed his own soulmate multiple times before realizing that he couldn’t live without him. We were taught to hate each other as well. Now, look at us.” Jack huffed out a laugh. “Give her some time, she will come around.”

 

Clarke nodded and looked around the deck. Bellamy and Echo were manning the cockpit. Raven was working tirelessly to remove any footage or picture with their faces on it from that day. It was the 21st century, everyone had the means to document everything and anything. Hence it was harder for them to stay anonymous. 

 

“We don’t have time.” She quietly said. “Anya is not going to stop until she finds her. Mount Weather is so close to Tree Crew that… What if Bellamy is right? She’s seen us. What if she still sells us out to Mount Weather before we could convince Lexa? What if Lexa sells us out?”

 

Jackson shrugged. “It was a risk we all agreed to take. Don’t beat yourself over it. As I said, we have to trust her. We have to trust her choices. She is gonna live with this for a thousand years, the acceptance has to come from inside her or she will just keep fighting herself. Besides, there was a reason she was chosen to be like us.”

 

“There was a reason ?” Clarke raised a teasing eyebrow.

 

“Uh-huh, everything happens for a reason.”

 

“That’s such bullshit.” She slapped him on the shoulder. “I can’t believe that you still believe that. The universe is as random as Murphy’s ass-hair.”

 

“Ew,” Jackson gagged, slapping her on her shoulder. “Please don’t remind me of someone’s ass-hair ever again, especially his.” 

 

They shared a hearty laugh remembering the day Murphy had ‘accidentally’ dropped his towel, flashing them his ass. Once they had seen it, there was no un-seeing it. “Where’s Miller?” She asked after a bit.

 

“He and Murphy are cooking today,” Jackson answered with a fond smile.

 

“Is that safe? You know Miller and fire are a dangerous combination-”

 

“Yes, yes. I do remember the Frankfurt incident. But Murphy is with him so I guess they will kill each other only a couple of times.” Jackson said. “He is holding a grudge against Lexa. It’s childish.”

 

“He is worried about you.”

 

“I know and I love him for his soft protectiveness but it’s still childish. Lexa was scared and confused. She had just woken up from a traumatic incident. We literally abducted her from her home. It was an honest reaction. Besides, if I were to die, I could die from a mosquito bite. Death is inevitable. We were lucky to have the time to love each other for centuries. Even though it’s not enough, it’ll never be enough, we are grateful for it.” 

 

Clarke had witnessed their love in war and in peace. It was one of the purest things that had remained with them despite all the pain and death and bloodshed. There was something inherently good about Jackson and Miller which could not be touched no matter which millennia they were living in. But it was dangerous nonetheless. This sort of all-consuming love was devastating. When you love someone in that way - so deep and all-encompassing - losing them would render you hopeless like it had done to Jasper. She wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy.

 

“Lexa will ask questions,” Clarke said after a beat. “I can handle the what and when and who, dodge the how. But even after all these years, I don’t have an answer to why.”

 

“Ah,” He clicked his tongue. “Finally the existential question. I was waiting for it.” He smiled at the ocean. 

 

“No, honestly,” Clarke said. “Doesn’t it bother you? Our uncertain immortality? This is gonna sound so lame but why are we here? What is the purpose of our existence?”

 

“We are here to put some good into the world.” He simply said with a shrug.

 

“Of course, that’s what you would say.” Clarke snorted. “That’s who you are.” Who you will always be. “But no matter what we do, the world becomes more and more of a hell every day. Wars and famines and poverty, we haven’t even made a dent in it.”


“So what?” Jackson held her gaze. “We do better anyway. Like Monty used to say. If not for the world then for ourselves. We have to look in the mirror and face ourselves. We do better today than we did yesterday.”

 

Be the good guys, that’s what Monty used to say. After him, they had lost sight of that somewhat. “Thank you.” She said. There was some clarity. She knew what she needed to do. Even though the constant weight of her immortality still hung in the air. Sometimes it was good to be reminded about what they were trying to achieve. 

 

“Can you ask Raven to share the file she has on Augustus Woods? About how he died and everything?” She requested.  

 

“Yeah, sure.” He nodded.

 

“Thanks again,” Clarke replied. “I should go check how Lexa is doing.”

 

Clarke left with that but she didn’t go straight to her. The boat was running on minimal crew; there were things to be taken care of. She had left the door open as a sign of trust. If Lexa wanted to come out, she could. But when she didn’t, Clarke sent her dinner through Jasper. She helped in the cockpit to set the course for their next day. They weren’t particularly headed anywhere but they still steered clear of the crowded waterways. When night fell, she accidentally fell asleep in the cockpit.

 

She woke up the next morning with a severe headache and Raven nagging her about some pipe leakage. She spent her afternoon fixing it with Miller. She made sure to send food and water to Lexa who still hadn’t come out. Was she still scared of them? She didn’t get much time to ponder over it as a drunk Murphy and sober Octavia started a mock sword fight in the middle of the kitchen while preparing dinner. Bellamy, as always, was trying to mediate it as Raven held up a camcorder to record their bullshittery. She had to jump in between with her own sword and threaten to kill them to stop it from escalating. Finally, Octavia had stepped back because she didn’t want to get blood on her favorite top. 

 

When she finally got the time to get back to her room, Lexa was already sleeping on her bed. Clarke sighed. They wouldn’t be able to talk tonight then. The bedsheets were hanging on one side with Lexa only half covered. Clarke went to tuck it back up but stopped when she saw the glint of silver on Lexa’s wrist. She had forgotten to remove the fucking handcuffs. They were only meant to be a precaution.

 

Clarke searched her pockets for the tiny key as she sat on the side of the bed. She lifted Lexa’s wrists and gently removed the cuffs. She placed them in the bedside drawer and started to stand up when she felt a soft hand holding her arm. 

 

“Clarke,” Lexa spoke like she was afraid to spook Clarke. 

 

“You are awake,” Clarke observed.

 

“I couldn’t sleep,” Lexa answered. The room was dark so Clarke couldn’t see her face. But just the silhouette was enough to make her heart beat faster. “Are you mad at me?” Lexa suddenly asked. 

 

“For what?” Clarke really didn’t have any clue.

 

“For hurting your friends. For the way I talked about you. I let my personal feelings cloud my judgment. And you didn’t come back after so I thought you were mad. As you should be - ” Lexa stated.

 

“Lexa-”

 

“I should have listened better. I was emotional and my love for my family was a weakness-”

 

“Lexa, stop.” Clarke gently placed a hand on her cheek. “You are allowed to have feelings about your family and loved ones. I understand our situation is fucked up. But we can’t change the past. Neither can we suppress how we feel about it. It is okay to be not okay with it. None of us were okay with it when we first found out.” Except for Murphy, he was ecstatic, Clarke thought but didn’t say. 

 

Lexa nodded. She seemed calmer. Maybe she was ready to give them a chance, maybe she was just fooling them to escape. It didn’t matter. She didn’t care. Clarke had told her the truth, now what she did with it would be her decision alone. And Clarke would respect it. 

 

“But love is weakness, Clarke -” Lexa started.

 

“Isn’t that what the bald guy keeps saying?” Clarke raised an eyebrow. “He said it like five times when I was there.” Lexa shook her head with a chuckle. “He has got it completely wrong, by the way. Love is not a weakness. It is one of the strongest things in this world. I am immortal. You should take my advice.”

 

She heard her muffled laugh through the darkness and it shot her dead with unfamiliar happiness. She decided she needed to make her laugh more. When She started to stand up again, Lexa tightened her grip on her arm. 

 

“Would you like to sleep - I mean, stay here?” Lexa tentatively asked. “Only if you are free and it’s your bed, of course -”

 

“Yes,” Clarke said. “If you don’t mind.”

 

“Of course not,” Lexa said. She scooted a little to make space for Clarke to lay down beside her. “I just don’t want to be alone.”

 

Lexa flipped the blanket to cover both of them. They laid side by side, facing each other, a hand tucked under their heads, with respectful space left between them. Lexa was framed in the light from the room. Clarke could spend the rest of her days just looking at her like this. An errant lock of hair fell on Lexa’s face. Clarke lifted her hand to tuck it back. She hesitated, hand hanging mid-air. When Lexa nodded slightly, granting her permission, she tucked the piece of hair behind her ear. But her hand stayed there. Her hair smelled like jasmine. Clarke combed her fingers through it once, she saw goosebumps rise on Lexa’s arm. She realized what she was doing and pulled her hand back. This was too soon. Too fast. Lexa seemed upset at the loss of contact but she didn’t say anything. 

 

Clarke cleared her throat, trying to suppress the wildfire of growing desire to touch her. “You have questions. Ask them.”

 

Lexa contemplated her for a moment. Eyes soft and lips frowned. “How?” Her voice was barely above a whisper as if telling a secret. “How did you know I was like you ?”

 

“Do you remember the day we were in the harbor?”  She had sent soldiers to capture them. They had them all burned. It wasn't their ideal moment but they couldn’t change history. 

 

“Yes,” Lexa’s voice was soft as if she was afraid to acknowledge it. With each fact, each confirmation, her immortality would become more and more real.

 

“You died that day for the first time,” Clarke said. “That day, you saw the world through my eyes and I saw the world through yours.” She intentionally bypassed Jackson’s theory of soulmates. It was a stupid theory anyway.

 

“I- I remember that. I’d taken a sip of that poisoned whisky. I was on the harbor and Anya was there. I thought it was a dream.”

 

Clarke debated telling her that it was Titus who had poisoned her but decided against it. They had no proof except for a dying man’s word and a dying man would say anything to buy time. “You were not dreaming. It happens when you die for the first time. Like Jackson saw Miller and vice versa when they became immortal. Bellamy was Echo when she was shot for the first time. I saw you and I had to find you.”

 

“Why?” 

 

Her voice was quiet when she answered. “There were two reasons. One, we didn’t want to leave you alone. Immortality feels like a gift at first but soon you would start to notice that the people you once loved were getting old and, having children and living their finite lives while you are just there. Unchanged, unaged like the mountains. Every life you touch, every person… will grow old and suffer and die. You would start to question why you didn’t die with them. 

 

“And then you would just feel alone. A deep-seated loneliness would reside inside you which couldn’t be erased no matter how many people you surround yourself with. You would be too afraid to love someone because they would have an expiry date over their heads. You wouldn’t stay in one place because people would start to question whether you are a god or demon or vampire or witch or some scientific miracle. You would have all the time in the world to learn everything, master every skill, be anyone. Yet, you will just be alone. It’s a terrible feeling. I have seen it happen to others and it has happened to me. I didn’t want you to go through it.”

 

Clarke saw the pieces settle in Lexa’s mind by the way her eyes moved with Clarke’s lips. “And the second reason?” She asked.

 

Clarke let out a wet chuckle. “It’s a more practical one rather than philosophical. You were too close to Mount Weather for our comfort. And we weren’t sure whether you were involved in illegal human experimentation or not. If they got to know that you were like us, they could have hurt you. Or used you to hurt us.”

 

“Hold on,” Lexa said, placing her warm hand on Clarke’s cold one. “How is Mount Weather involved in this?”

 

“You don’t know then?” Clarke picked herself up slightly and reached for the bedside drawer on the other side. She took out the small vial. Laying back down, she handed it over to Lexa, “This was manufactured in Mount Weather. Anya had it with her when she was at the harbor. It is made with our blood. In a small amount, it is highly addictive. In large amounts, it could probably kill us, or turn us into mindless zombies.”

 

“Clarke,” Heat and shock rushed through her face. “I never agreed to anything like this. I’d never sanction biological weapons. And Mount weather is a recent deal. We haven’t even cleared out terms of engagement. That day when you opened up the tunnel, it was the first time I had seen it. I thought you guys dug it for - for something.”

 

“We didn’t.” Clarke simply shrugged. “We just found it. Bellamy had to infiltrate into Mount Weather to find out about this compound. But he found out tons of information about other illegal shit they are doing and funding. That’s why it was necessary to get you out of there.”

 

“I understand that. But why would Anya agree to use this? Our mission that day was to only capture you.” Lexa almost looked ashamed. Almost. “Then hand you over to the authorities. I don’t understand. And you said we are immortals-”

 

“We are but it could end anytime. We are effectively immortal.”

 

“How?” Lexa asked. 

 

“You are asking the wrong question. Not how, when.”

 

“So, when?”

 

“You could go for two thousand or three thousand years. Get stabbed, shot, drowned, burnt alive, doesn’t slow you down. Then one day you fall from a horse or just get a fever and you are done.”

 

“That’s… that’s really depressing.”

 

Clarke snorted. “It will feel like a fucking blessing after you have lived enough.”

 

“So, if I could die… then why did you jump in the river?”

 

“You are too new,” Clarke said. “And too stubborn.”

 

Lexa regarded her for a few minutes in mock offense but let it go.

 

“So, this compound, it can undo our immortality?”

 

“We don’t know how it works, it’s just a theory. But we do know how it is made, the more of us they have, the more of us they can kill. The death part we can handle. We have lived long enough to make peace with that knowledge but it’s the being trapped in a cage forever part that bothers us.”

 

“Did you-” Lexa hesitated. “Did you think the Tree Crew was aiding Mount Weather?”

 

“It was,” Clarke said truthfully. “That is why we couldn’t trust you at first. That is why we had to take you away from there.”

 

“I understand. I should have known about it. I never agreed with Mount Weather. It was Titus. But, of course, that is no excuse. I signed a deal with them-”

 

“Lex,” Clarke said. “It’s okay. I understand. You didn’t know. And since you joined, Mount Weather has been more and more desperate to get to us probably because you were looking into them.”

 

Lexa furrowed her brows. She didn’t look convinced, still, she nodded, changing the topic altogether. “In my office - the painting - I saw your painting. Were you really the artist Anya had commissioned?”

 

“No,” Clarke said shyly. “We kind of got rid of that artist so that I could get inside. That is why I was just staring at the wall on the first day.”

 

“But the painting was really good,” Lexa said sincerely. Clarke blushed a little. Lexa scooted even closer, biting her lips.

 

“Clarke,” Lexa said. Clarke loved how she said her name. There was a slight inflection on the ‘k’. She wanted to kiss the place where the sound was coming from. But Lexa had other questions. “How many of us are there?”

 

“Nine in my team. We know Mount Weather probably has one. There are others who lost their immortality and are living normal lives.”

 

“But how do we get and lose these powers?”

 

Clarke chuckled. “Nobody knows.”

 

“You said you had answers.” She slapped Clarke’s shoulder incredulously.

 

“I didn’t say you would like them.” Clarke moved her hand exasperatedly. “Of course, everyone has their theories. Raven thinks we are descendants of some alien race that came on earth and had sex with humans and we were created which is bullshit because Raven reads way too many sci-fi books.” Lexa laughed. “Jasper thinks it’s like some game where we get ‘X’ number of lives before it's a game over. Jackson says there’s nothing different with our blood. Once it’s out of our body, it’s pretty normal. Still, we take precautions. Perhaps we don’t have the technology to decode it yet. But someone might be able to decode it in the next hundred or fifty years.”

 

Lexa just nodded and stayed silent for a bit. “Clarke,” she said. “Was it in me from the very beginning? C-could I have helped my mum - or dad - if I had known?”

 

Clarke furrowed her brows, rubbing her thumb over her knuckles. “You couldn’t have known. None of us did. Some of us even have scars from back before… before we became immortals. So the hypothesis is that it wasn’t there before.”

 

“But Clarke…” Lexa was thinking deep. Her brows knitted together in question.

 

“Yes?” Clarke whispered. She knew what was going to come next. It was the question, she had been dreading so far, the question every one of them had been asking for decades. You can run but only so far. 

 

“Then why me? Why now? Why you? Why any of you? Is there a purpose to our immortality?” Lexa asked earnestly. 

 

“I don’t know. Jackson says, ‘so we could do some good in the world’. But after all these years, that just sounds like a pipe-dream. The world just never seems to get better. But we try to do better anyway. Sometimes it works out… sometimes it doesn’t.”

 

Lexa just stared at her in the dark. Clarke could feel the warmth of her body, could hear her breath, only hear her breath. It was like someone pressed mute on the whole world because this woman was about to speak. “Clarke,” She found Clarke’s hand under the sheets, clasped them together, and brought them to her lips to kiss them softly. Clarke felt electrocuted, hairs rising from her touch. “I want to do better too.”

 

Clarke didn’t remember what they talked about after that or whether they talked at all. When she woke up, Lexa’s head was over her heart and her hands were around Lexa’s torso, holding her close. Clarke shut the sunroof which was getting too bright too soon and pressed her nose into Lexa’s hair, inhaling a scent that was jasmine and coffee and pure Lexa. She was intoxicated with it.

 

“Good morning,” Lexa murmured over her heart. 

 

Clarke smiled. Her groggy sleep meddled voice was insufferably cute. “Good morning Lex,”

 

Lexa lifted her head a little to come eye to eye above Clarke. She looked like she was trying to decide something. She bit her lips and smiled shyly. The undeniable attraction between them was as palpable as their breathing. Clarke could see where this was going and just wished her heart would beat a little slower. She didn’t want to die of a heart attack before kissing Lexa. Clarke, impatient as always, lifted her head to get closer. 

 

“Your Highnesses!” Raven loudly knocked at the door and opened it. Startled, Lexa tried to sit up but fell over Clarke instead because of their huddled limbs. She buried her face in the crook of Clarke’s neck and groaned slowly. 

 

“What is it, Rey?” Clarke asked, irritated. 

 

“I was just here to inform you that breakfast is ready.” Raven smiled mischievously. Eyebrows rising in amusement. “But if you are preoccupied, as I can see, we could arrange breakfast in bed-”

 

“Oh, piss off!” Clarke threw a pillow at her which Raven easily dodged. “We will be up in a minute.” 

 

“Take your time. You could eat someone else for breakfast too-” 

 

Clarke threw another pillow but Raven was already out of the door, slamming it behind her. Lexa sat up and pressed her forehead against Clarke’s once the coast was clear. 

 

“I am sorry,” Clarke said, combing her fingers through Lexa’s hair. “They could be too overwhelming sometimes.”

 

Lexa lifted her head and moved away from Clarke. Her face had the faintest hint of a smile. “It’s okay. I-I shouldn’t hold you back. They must be waiting for you.” 

 

“You should come too, you know.” Clarke offered. “They would be thrilled to meet you. Especially now.” Clarke added.

 

“Are you sure?” Lexa said, unsure of herself. “I mean, I did hurt them-”

 

“So did we. But we said we would do better, didn’t we?”

 

“Yes.” Lexa smiled and kissed Clarke’s forehead lightly. “Just give me a minute.”

 

“Sure,” Clarke grinned as she left the room to threaten Raven. 

 


 

ANYA  

 

From: elbtazcrgphdntqvxf@miucce.com

To: anyawoods1@treecrew.com

Date: 29 Sept, 2019 8:10 A.M.

 

Sub: Lexa

 

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

 


 

From Jackson's journal, Istanbul, 2002


Chapter Text

ANYA

 

She was filtering through the spam calls in the helpline they had set up for any information on the immortals when the email showed up. She could not believe it at first. But there was a high chance of it being a beacon for help. She had been those immortals. They were pretty average with this whole abduction act with her. Lexa had the potential to outwit them if she put her mind to it. And if Lexa had, this was her chance. Besides, these port towns seemed to be their comfort zone, they had kept her near one as well. But to comb through a town of that size in search of Lexa would take resources that she wasn’t allowed to sanction. And that was her first problem, Titus and his entitled ass. 

 

Titus was in Lexa’s office. It irritated her to no end. She had always skirted away from boardrooms and administration because it was more of Lexa’s thing but now looking back, she wished she had been there. The way Titus had jumped on the opportunity to control the reins of the Tree crew was disturbing. 

 

She stormed in through the doors of Lexa’s office startling him as rounded on his chair, his wine sloshing. She was losing her sleep and he was here sipping on his white wine at ten in the morning. Disgusting. 

 

“Anya,” He said in lieu of a greeting. His face morphing into a look of displeasure. “What-”

 

“I need to talk to you about something.” She locked the door behind her and crossed the distance up to the table. He put down his glass and looked at her as if she was a pile of trash. 

 

“What now?” 

 

She opened up the email that had taken away her exhaustion from the last few days and gave her some sense of hope. “This,” She handed her phone to him. 

 

He put on his glasses and read through squinted eyes. “So?” He gave back her phone dismissively as if she had shown him an unfunny meme. 

 

“So?” Seriously. “It could be from Lex.”

 

“Did you trace it back?”

 

“Yes,” She said, placing her hands on the table. “It’s from one of those ten-minute mail IDs. The IP address was untraceable but -”

 

“Anya, do you know how many calls we are receiving on the helpline number each hour? Two thousand -” He said condescendingly.

 

“Of course I know. I am the one filtering through them. I am the one who listens to each one of them.”

 

“Than you very well know how many of those are just fake. We are already stretched thin with our resources. And we don’t have time for following every little trail that goes thrown around in our direction. Let the police and the FBI do their jobs. And look, I care about Lexa-”

 

“Do you?” She scoffed. She couldn’t believe this pig of a man. 

 

“Yes,” He calmly asserted, standing up from his chair and gliding his hand over his bald head. “How can you even doubt that? I am the one keeping this company afloat. If she comes back-”

 

“When she comes back. And she is more than this bloody company,” She said. “And I know that you’re selling our shares to Mount Weather in the name of saving -”

 

“The board needs trust-”

 

“And I need you to find Lexa because god knows what kind of shady dealings you have been doing since she has been gone.” He looked at her as if she had said something offensive even if it was just the truth. She didn’t care about his feelings at the moment anyway. “Look, I’m just saying that give me a search and rescue team. I can arrange the whole thing. I know them, I can recognize them. We will collaborate with the town police. If they are really there, we could maybe negotiate a deal or something. I don’t want to give them another reason to hurt -”

 

He scoffed, wiping the front of his jacket. “They are monsters. They don’t need a reason to do anything.”

 

“You and I both know who the real monster is here. So let’s not go down that road.” She said, standing up to her full height. “As far as reasons are concerned, don’t forget that we had to spin a lie about human trafficking and what not to bring the Delinquents out of hiding. Let’s just give them some credit-”

 

“What? You suddenly care about them.” He laughed mirthlessly. “Don’t forget what they did to your father.”

 

“You are using that line on the wrong Woods, Titus,” She smirked. When this will be over, she will make sure that Lexa doesn’t fall prey to this line ever again. “I don’t know what you fed Lexa about that day but she won’t even talk to me about it. It happened years ago! In a business deal gone wrong by some unknown guy. And you prompted her to go on this massive witch hunt for god knows what reason. It is time to let it go-”

 

He smirked as if he knew something she didn’t know. She suppressed a sudden urge to smash his head against any nearby surface. “Don’t suddenly pretend to be on a high horse, Anya. You weren’t so forgiving when you took Compound I with you to the harbor without her permission.”

 

If he thought he could put her down with this, he was wrong. “Yes and that was a big fucking mistake. The whole mission was a mistake. I agreed to it only because you said that this will put an end to this whole immortal chapter and that you will let my sister live a real fucking life. I thought it would bring her at least some sort of closure. Instead, this whole damn thing has just been dragged out.” She said. “Look, she doesn’t know about the compound yet. But if you want to keep it that way then help me find her.” She hated pleading to him but it was a price she was willing to pay. “Please, I have a feeling about it. Just, just - I won’t tell her about the compound or anything else.”

 

He still looked at her skeptically but she knew exactly what he needed for a little motivation. 

 

“If she is really there,” She said. “Then at the end of this, you will get those immortals that you are so obsessed with.”

 

She could swear that she saw a little crinkle in the corner of his eyes as he tried to conceal his greedy smile. She had said exactly what he needed to hear. He nodded his head slowly. “Fine. But this is for one last time. After this we let the police and the authorities handle it.”

 

She nodded back solemnly. Maybe she did belong to the boardroom, after all. 

 

“But,” He said, raising a finger to make his point. “You take Mount Weather’s guards with you and they handle the transfer.”

 

“Lexa wouldn’t -”

 

“Lexa is not here. You get your sister and keep your mouth shut about anything related to Mount Weather. And I get the immortals. That is the deal.”

 

“Okay.” She nodded reluctantly. 

  


 

 

LEXA

 

Lexa took a quick cold shower and changed into another borrowed hoodie and jeans. She couldn’t understand the wildfire desire that had crawled into her brain a few minutes ago. She wanted to touch Clarke and touch Clarke and keep touching her. And kiss her and be kissed by her. But why? She had had relationships before. Serious as well as casual. But she had never felt a connection like this to anyone. It was as if they were meant to be together. Somewhere deep in her head, she could hear Anya laughing at her. 

 

Clarke was waiting for her outside the door when she came out of the room. She was wearing a white t-shirt and torn jeans with her hair tied in a loose braid. She smiled at her softly. The morning rays of sun reflecting from her blonde hair made her look like an angel. God, she must be losing her mind. Clarke held out a hand for her. Lexa followed her through the stairs to the uppermost deck. She hadn’t had the chance to walk through the boat before. But from what she had seen, it was beautiful.

 

“Let’s go,” She said.

 

 The dining area was an open space. Everybody was already seated when they arrived. 

 

“Fashionably late, are we?” The boy she had shot earlier in the face said from behind them. His name was John Murphy, she remembered. 

 

“Shut up, Murphy,” Clarke grumbled. “I haven’t even had coffee yet.”  

 

Clarke pulled out a chair for her, then sat down beside her. John, who was still wearing an apron, sat down across from them. He must have been cooking. Beside her, the blonde who had driven them into the river was engaged in a quiet conversation with Bellamy. When she looked around the table, most of them were smiling at her, nodding in acknowledgment, or just ignoring her. It hit her then how young and genuine they all seemed. Nobody would have ever believed that they had lived for centuries. 

 

“Alright,” Octavia who was sitting across Clarke stood up. “Since Lexa is finally here with us. Let’s do a little icebreaker.” John snorted, pouring whisky into his coffee mug. “We will tell you our names and stuff. I will go first.” She sat clasping her hands. “Octavia Blake. Roman Empire. First death by the Anotonian plague.” 

 

Lexa smiled in acknowledgment. She made a mental note to question Octavia about the Roman Empire later. Octavia nudged Bellamy with her elbow. He seemed more interested in his book but put it down for a minute. She recognized him from the interview and Mount Weather. She made a mental note to talk to HR about never rushing the scrutiny process while recruiting. He looked rather different here. Lighter, almost. 

 

“Bellamy Blake.” He said flatly after Octavia’s insistent pestering. “She is my sister. So everything is the same. And I don’t trust you. I am only here because Clarke trusts you. But if you try to hurt any of us like your company has been doing for years, I will not hesitate to tie you and dump you into the sea.”

 

Of course, he doesn’t. She was rather impressed, she wouldn’t trust herself either. Lexa straightened her back and replied with her boardroom glare. “I don’t trust you either, Mr. Blake and I can assure you that I won’t hesitate to do the same to you if I find you hurting my people again.” He sat back a little but his facial expression didn’t ease. He ground his teeth as if he wanted to say something else. She was ready for whatever it was. 

 

“Bell, what the fuck? She is one of us now.” A brunette looked up from the laptop that was precariously balanced on her lap. She turned to Lexa in a flashing white grin, “Lex, love, no hard feelings from me. Raven Reyes. I’m the genius. Also, your company’s cybersecurity is kinda shitty, you should look into that. No offense.” 

 

“None taken,” Lexa smiled genuinely. “I’ll look into it myself.”

 

“Does that mean you are going back to Tree Crew, to your tree people?” Murphy asked, cutting a piece of bread with more force than necessary. 

 

Lexa looked at Clarke. Could she go? And how? Her disappearance must have been one of the highlights in the news unless the president did something weird again. Nobody abducts some CEO in broad daylight with a city full of police. If she just went back, it would be tough to explain where she had gone, especially to Anya and Titus. She hadn’t even thought about how Anya would take the news that she was an immortal now. Sure, Anya never wanted vengeance as much as she did because she hadn’t been there when it happened, still, she felt a little bit scared for what might happen. 

 

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” She answered honestly. 

 

“We will be docking in Fort Lauderdale by evening tomorrow,” Clarke said, taking a sip of her coffee. “We can arrange transport from there to Washington if you would like.” 

 

“Hold on,” Nathan held up a hand. Lexa turned to his voice. He didn’t look as friendly as the first time she had met him. “ I can’t believe you. After everything we did to get you out of there, you are thinking about going back to your old life like this was some fucking vacation trip? What if you turn on us after getting out of here? We know about your deal with Mount Weather.  I bet you are thinking about it now -”

 

“Miller -” Clarke started.

 

“Nathan,” Lexa cut her off. “Yes, I am going back to my company. I understand our ways have hurt you before. I understand I was ignorant. And I am aware of the risks. But sometimes to defeat the enemy we have to think like the enemy. There were some things happening in my own company without my knowledge or permission. I have to go back to rectify them. My company cannot go in that direction any longer. I cannot run away from my responsibilities but I will not disclose your identities, you have my word.”

 

“Hell yeah, love,” Raven held up her cup as if toasting. “We still gotta get rid of Mount Weather. We could use some old school corporate espionage for that.” 

 

“But what will you say to the police?” Eric said, putting down his cutlery, already done with eating. “Someone abducted you and then let you go just like that?” 

 

“I will say I escaped,” Lexa answered. All of them scoffed. “What?” She looked confused. 

 

“Nothing. It sounds very unrealistic.” Clarke said in a matter-of-fact voice. “Realistically you would never be able to escape.”

 

“Don’t tempt me.” Lexa challenged. 

 

“Or what?” Clarke raised an eyebrow. 

 

“Mockery isn’t the product of a strong mind, Clarke,” Lexa threw a fry at Clarke’s face as the others laughed. 

 

“Don’t worry,” Clarke added, dodging the food being thrown at her. “They all have more embarrassing stories than you.” 

 

“Really?” Her lips quirked up. She could feel the nerd waking up inside of her.

 

“Yeah,” Raven smirked. “Echo here killed Clarke and Bellamy consecutively a dozen times before they could get a word out. Then she went to Soviet authorities with our secret. She thought they were American spies trying to get Soviet secrets by seducing-”

 

Echo threw a tomato at Raven’s face which she easily dodged. “Well, Jackson and Miller found out that they could not be killed only because they couldn’t keep each other dead in the Napoleanic wars.”

 

Lexa had a look of awed disbelief in her eyes. Nathan laughed. “There I was in Caucasia, thinking about what kind of sorcery this man was doing. I would kill him then see myself killing me from his eyes only wake up and watch him kill me again. It was like fucking inception, man.”

 

Eric laughed freely. “The cycle went on until I stopped killing him and figured that we could not be killed. It was horrible at that time.” Jackson was looking at her and smiling. “Give it a century and you will be laughing at your story too.”

 

Lexa gave a warm smile in return. She was still wrapping her head around this living for centuries thing. She could sense that Clarke’s gaze was fixated on her like she was the most impressive person in the room. Lexa couldn’t help but feel relaxed for the first time in her life. She hadn’t had friends or acquaintances like these before. These people knew each other as they knew themselves. These people who bared their soul to each other without pretenses or ulterior motives, who threw food at each other’s face whenever they felt like it. 

 

“Did you… did all of you find each other like Clarke found me?” Lexa asked.

 

Nathan nodded with a sly wink towards Clarke which she couldn’t decipher. He seemed more at ease with her than when they had first sat down. “We see the world from each other’s eyes until we find each other.”

 

“Why?” She asked again.

 

“Because we were meant to be together.” Eric shrugged, looking around the table with a soft smile. “It’s destiny.”

 

“No, no,” Murphy interrupted. “More like… misery loves company.” Bellamy huffed out a small laugh. Miller shook his head with a grin. 

 

“What about you, Clarke?” Lexa asked, suddenly turning to look at Clarke, who turned her gaze back to her plate. 

 

“Yeah,” John placed his face over his hand, feigning deep interest. “What about you, Clarke?”

 

“What about me?” Clarke shrugged. Her eyes looked down at her plate, purposefully avoiding Lexa’s intrigued gaze. Her phone beeped. “Sorry, I have to go up to the cockpit… Jasper is calling… I think he is hungry. I’ll send him back in a minute.”

 

“There she goes again…” Murphy trailed off as Clarke left the table. 

 

Clarke left after that. They kept up the idle conversation until they were no more hungry. They spread out to do their respective jobs. Lexa insisted on helping Jasper to clean up the table even though he insisted that she didn’t have to. She didn’t want to go back to her - Clarke’s room yet. She wanted to know more about them. Her eyes however were gazing at the cockpit more often than not. 

 

She was wiping the dishes beside Jasper when he let out a small chuckle. 

 

“What?” She asked. 

 

“I get it.” He quietly said. 

 

“Get what?” Lexa furrowed her brows. 

 

“The way you keep searching for her eyes. She does the same, you know.”

 

He was talking about Clarke. She knew that. But she had not been that obvious, had she? “I don’t-”

 

“I know infatuation when I see it,” He smiled, looking at the plates. “It’s hard to find your person. But when you do, they say it’s like finding your other half. Like stepping into a house that instantly feels like home even though you have never been there before. You are one of the lucky ones.” He winked.

 

Lexa understood what he was saying. She had felt that the moment she saw Clarke in her office. She had somehow known that Clarke would become an important part of her life. But it was too soon to admit. It was too soon to expect anything from Clarke. It was unfair after all the things she and her company had done to them.

 

“Have you?” Lexa asked, trying to divert the topic of conversation. “Found your other half?”

 

Jasper smiled with a faraway look in his eyes. “She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She was kind and good and everything that I was not.”

 

‘She was’, Lexa was intrigued. She stopped wiping and looked directly at Jasper. “What happened?”

 

Jasper was silent for a moment, busy washing off a smudge from the dish. “The world is not made for good people. Death likes them too much. She died of cancer.”

 

Lexa gasped silently. She knew what it was like to lose someone to cancer, to death. While the dead were gone, the living were left to pick up the pieces. “I am sorry.” She genuinely said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. 

 

“Don’t be. It was a long time ago.” He shrugged even though Lexa could tell he was still not over it. “And I am tired of mourning. Because of her, I understand you better.”

 

Lexa looked at him as if he was talking in another language. 

 

“Why you supported Mount Weather, why you hated us,” Jasper continued, rinsing off the dishes. “It’s unfair that miserable people like us live for centuries while good people, people who deserve to live, die of stupid fucking diseases.” He shook his wet hands into the sink. “But not anymore. This is the 21st century. Some miracles are bound to happen.” He smiled at her. 

 

“I-” She cocked her head and looked at him curiously. Was he being cryptic intentionally or was that how he usually talked? She will have to ask Clarke. Clarke. The dishes were done. She neatly arranged them in a pile. Jasper had already exited with a quiet see you. 

 

When she got out of the kitchen, the evening sun was barely a red stroke in the sky. The ocean had turned red with it. The cold wind swept through her like she was an empty shell. She went to Clarke's room to retrieve her jacket. The last time she had followed these stairs, she was ready to murder anyone who would come in her way. Now, it felt like a lifetime ago. She was one of them now, one way or another. But in her heart, she knew even if she wasn’t an immortal, she would have understood where these delinquents were coming from. She would have taken the same decision then as well. 

 

She went back to the deck and followed the stairs that would take her to the cockpit hoping that Clarke would be there. The others were sitting out on the deck. Octavia had arranged a portable bonfire pit on the deck, the others were sitting around it except for Clarke and Murphy. She quickly grabbed two beers from a nearby cooler and headed for the stairs leading to the cockpit, ignoring the knowing smirks Raven and Octavia were giving her.  

 

In her twenty-two years of life, she did not remember taking off days from work. There was always some gala to organize, some meeting to attend, someone new to recruit, Titus had made sure of that. Her work ethics were something to be reckoned with. And personally, Lexa thought vacations and holidays were not her thing. But being abducted by a group of strangers was effectively changing her opinion. Even though she had to constantly dodge stuff being thrown across the deck like some ninja monkey game, she felt lighter, like some weight had been lifted off of her shoulder. 

 

The cockpit was lit by dim yellow lights in the middle and LEDs of different navigation panels. Clarke was sitting with her legs propped up on a console. A captain’s hat askew on her head. Her face was a reflection of the setting sun. Glowing and heavenly. Lexa slowly walked up to stand behind her. Clarke was imitating the dusk on her sketchbook, a pencil clutched between her fingers and another held between her teeth as she tried to get the shade of orange just right.

 

“It looks beautiful,” Lexa softly said from behind her. The pencil Clarke was holding in her mouth fell on the sketchbook and the hat tipped dangerously to the falling point. 

 

“I didn’t hear you coming,” Clarke said, picking up her pencil and placing it behind her ear. A slight edge to her voice as if she was spooked. Lexa found herself liking that effect. “Have a seat.” Clarke pointed at a chair beside her. 

 

Lexa sat down and held out the bottle. “Care for a drink?”

 

Clarke smiled. “Sure.” She closed her sketchbook with her pencil between the pages. “I never get tired of the sunsets. There’s always something new about them. Like this one, look there -” Clarke pointed at some spot in the sky that was visible through the glass. 

 

Lexa followed her finger backward and looked at Clarke instead. 

 

“That green shade, like the one in your eyes,” Clarke continued looking at the sky. “I haven’t seen one like that ever before.” She took a quick sip from the bottle. God, Lexa wanted to touch her lips. She’d thought about kissing her. She’d wanted to kiss her, and she was pretty sure Clarke had been thinking the same thing.

 

Lexa cleared her throat, shaking off the traitorous feeling. “So… I was thinking about tomorrow and going back and everything.”

 

“And?” Clarke raised a perfect eyebrow.

 

“I don’t know how to do it,” Lexa admitted. It was hard to get the words out but they had to be said. “For years, my company and I… we basically hunted you, even if you weren’t directly responsible for my father’s death. I drove my soldiers, my company to catch ghost soldiers without realizing the things that were happening inside my own company. For a long time, Tree Crew has been my life. And it would have continued to be so unless…”

 

“Unless you turned out to be who you are?”

 

“Yes,” Lexa said. “But I understand I will have to walk away from it now. Living a public life without getting old will probably raise some eyebrows, ten or twenty year down the line. People will probably think I am a vampire.”

 

Clarke laughed a little. 

 

“That’s why I will step down from being a CEO,” She finished.

 

Clarke placed her bottle on the side table and placed her hand over her hand gently. “Lex, if you would ever want to join us, the doors are literally open. I promise you my team will be there for you and keep you safe even if I am not there.”

 

The thought of Clarke being gone left an uncomfortable feeling in her stomach. She shook her head. “Thank you,” She said, clutching Clarke’s hand. “For everything. Maybe someday I will join you. But first I have to do something else.”

 

Clarke retrieved her hand and sat back seriously. “What do you mean?”

 

“Clarke, I didn’t choose to be - an - an - immortal but I can choose what I do with it. Clarke, my mother died of cancer. If there’s even a slightest possibility that my blood could help in the research-”

 

“Lex, I am sorry but that is dangerous. Mount Weather-”

 

“They are just trying to find a cure. If I go voluntarily, on my own terms, maybe I could really help. I promise I won’t disclose any of your identities. But everyone should have a choice. And my choice is this.”

 

Clarke let out a defeated sigh. “If that is what you want, well then.” She smiled weakly. 

 

“Thank you,” She stopped short of hugging Clarke. She didn’t know what kind of life she will lead but saying it out loud, being acknowledged, felt good. She wasn’t naive to think that every research or pharma company was good. They were also doing business after all. But she was a respected CEO as well. The business was her forte. If there was someone who could do it, it had to be her. There has to be some sort of purpose behind her being an immortal. Maybe this was it. As much as she liked Clarke, there were other things to be taken care of. 

 

Clarke’s cheeks were rosy from the cold, her mouth slightly open. Her gaze was trained on the lower deck where the rest of her team was enjoying the beautiful evening. Raven, Echo, and Octavia were sitting huddled together under a blanket. Bellamy had a book held in his hand, his eyes squinted, trying to read in the low light. Jasper was tuning an acoustic guitar as Miller started playing his harmonica.

 

Clarke laughed softly beside her. “If we squint our eyes and forget like 99% of our reality, it does look like we are on a vacation.” Her voice was a rasp, it immediately created a riot in Lexa’s blood. 

 

She smiled. “Is that why Bellamy’s squinting so hard?” 

 

Clarke laughed, the sound of it vibrated through Lexa. She made her laugh. “Everybody has their thing to hold on to sanity. When you live for this long, people are not a very reliable source of comfort. Bellamy has his history books. He lives his past through other people’s perspectives and tries to understand what went wrong in each era. He likes to think it will stop us from making the same mistakes twice.”

 

“And the others?” Lexa couldn’t help but ask. No wonder Clarke was willing to do anything for them. They were all she had for years. 

 

Clarke picked up her beer again, taking a slow sip before continuing. “Raven attaches herself to technology and machines like they are her children. Octavia does the same with her blades. I am pretty sure she has named them. Jackson and Miller are the lucky bastards. Murphy believes in a more pleasurable approach. He takes and gives pleasure to men and women alike-”

 

“And you?” 

 

Clarke chuckled at that. “I try to keep them safe and out of trouble. That’s my thing.”

 

“Stop lying,” Lexa lightly slapped her shoulder, leaning in to get a glimpse of her sketchbook. “I have seen you pouring over that sketchbook of yours. What’s in it?” She teased.

 

“Nude portraits of Rita Heyworth,” Clarke deadpanned. 

 

She laughed at first but then stopped to regard Clarke’s face. “No, you are not serious-”

 

Clarke shrugged with a smirk and pulled the sketchbook out of her reach as she tried to get it. “Maybe someday I will let you take a peek at it.”

 

“Fuck off,” She slouched back on her chair with an awed look. “Knowing everything about everything. Is that what immortality feels like?”

 

Clarke’s face had a somber shade. She picked at the label of her bottle and looked at Lexa with a sad smile. “No, that’s not - that’s not what immortality feels like. Immortality feels like everyone else dying.”

 

“Not us. Not me.”

 

Clarke’s gaze was steady on her as if they were two paintings staring at each other. She leaned in a little. Lexa couldn’t look away from that clear-water blue. She forced herself to still, inhaled, exhaled. Her lips were bare inches from Lexa’s. She was totally and utterly fucked by the thought of those lips on hers. If she sat up straighter, they’d be kissing. 

 

Survive. Survive. Survive. It was the way she’d lived her life, moment to moment, breath to breath. Since that terrible morning when she’d found her father dead, for the first time, she felt something more than mere survival. Her heart wasn’t just beating, it was racing like never before. She felt like she was living. 

 

“Clarke,” Her voice was breathier than she had expected. Maybe she was a little drunk, but Clarke was beautiful and tomorrow she will be sober but Clarke will still be beautiful. “What if I kissed you now?”

 

A grin split her beautiful face. “Then I would kiss you back-”

 

Lexa leaned forward. It was barely a kiss—just a quick, surprising press of her lips. Before she could even think of moving away, Clarke had a hold of her. She was kissing her back. Slowly, deliberately. Her mouth tasted sour like the beer they were drinking. She felt the pounding of her heart—or was it Clarke’s? Suddenly, the idea of immortality didn’t seem so bad, if she got to kiss Clarke every day like this. 

 

Reluctantly, inevitably, they broke apart. She internally cursed the need for oxygen. For a minute, she was lost in Clarke’s ocean wide eyes. They were both gasping for air. She was somehow half on Clarke’s lap, half balanced by the hand Clarke had on her hips. She didn’t even remember how she had gotten there. 

 

“Hey, captain,” Raven’s smug voice came in through the dashboard’s radio breaking them out of their reverie. “Care to deign us with your presence if you are done screwing commander heart-eyes?”

 

“Shut up, Reyes.” Clarke pressed a button to cut Raven mid-laugh. 

 

Clarke’s lips were still parted as if she was ready to kiss her again. “We should -” She started.

 

“- Get back.” Lexa finished.

 

They both knew that there was no getting back from this point. In a way, it felt inevitable. She wanted to tell Clarke about the riot in her, about the connection she felt. Instead, she placed her hands under her shirt, because she could now, she could do everything she had thought and thought and thought about. Clarke whispered the word yeah under her breath, which made her shudder, which in turn made Clarke shudder, and then Clarke’s hands traveled under her shirt and the demanding hungry feel of them on her skin burned her to the ground.

 

Until the radio chirped up again. 

 


 

 

CLARKE

 

She woke up just after eight. It was bright outside the window, the cabin was warming up. Last night almost felt like a dream. Lexa had kissed her. Lexa had heard her, saw her, understood her, and still liked her. She had forgotten what had happened before that. There was only Lexa’s soft, raw lips that she couldn’t get enough of. 

 

They had gone down to the deck after Raven had spectacularly ruined their moment. She wanted to kill Raven a few times for that. She had sat with Lexa by her side while Jasper sang a sadder rendition of knocking on heaven’s door. She had not wanted the night to end. A new day meant Lexa will go back to her life, leaving her. She understood why Lexa would want to go back. But that didn’t mean she liked it. 

 

She had read the file on Lexa’s father, she was telling the truth. Her father was indeed murdered after a meeting gone wrong in a shabby little town. But the Delinquents were not even in the states back then. The town’s residents including children were shot down brutally. Clarke could only imagine what kind of nightmares such a sight will give to someone. 

 

Clarke had wanted to get back to their bedroom as soon as possible in hopes to resume their earlier activities. But Bellamy had roped her in to cross-check the details about the car they had bought to take Lexa back to Washington. When she had gotten back to her room later than hoped, Lexa was already asleep. She had only lifted a lazy finger to beckon Clarke to bed. Clarke had gladly accepted and laid beside her in complete bliss. 

 

But now that the sun was in the sky, she was dreading it. She should have known better. She knew better. But, Zeus, did it feel amazing to feel like she was alive once again. 

 

Lexa stirred beside her. She looked glorious in the morning light that was filtering through the sunroof. Her eyes opened slightly to reveal the color Clarke had seen yesterday at sunset. “Morning,” she croaked out, pulling Clarke a little bit closer. She was regarding her face with the same intensity Clarke was regarding hers.

 

Clarke ran her fingers through her shiny, tangly brown hair, ran them across the faint, across the dark worrying shadows beneath her eyes, across her red satiny lips. She had never seen lips like hers before. Neither had she seen a face this colorful, this vivid, this lived-in, this brimming with light, unpredictable love. 

 

“Are you just going to stare or are you going to kiss me?” Her voice was low and silken and intimate as if telling a secret. Clarke didn’t trust herself to answer her question so she just leaned in, brushing her lips over hers. 

 

Her phone vibrated on the bedside table. She groaned. Lexa laughed, showering light kisses on her forehead. “I won’t be able to get up if you keep doing that.” Clarke feigned annoyance but her eyes betrayed her.

 

She finally got up when her phone vibrated for the second time. Miller and Echo were leaving early on a smaller boat for reconnaissance work on the port. Lexa had fallen back on the bed again when Clarke exited her room.

 

Near the stern of the yacht, Miller was loading their bags and weapons on the boat to hit the shore early with Echo. 

 

“Morning, boss,” Miller tipped his baseball hat as Clarke approached the boat. “Had a good night?” He smirked.

 

Clarke threw a bag at him, particularly hard. He laughed. Echo jumped into the boat and started the motor. 

 

“Wait!” Raven shouted from behind her. “I am coming!” She had a backpack hanging from her shoulder and her red bomber jacket held in hand. She frantically ran down the stairs making her way to the stern. “Hey, Clarke,” She greeted as she got into the boat.

 

“I gotta buy some batteries and cables.” She explained. “Also we ran out of Cheetos,”

 

Clarke usually would have pointed out that Raven had failed to inform her beforehand. But today, she was more than happy to let her go. She couldn’t endure anymore teasing from her. She just nodded. 

 

“Bye!” Raven shouted as the boat went farther from the yacht. “Give commander heart-eyes a kiss from me.”

 

Clarke shook her head and held up a middle finger for Raven. 

 

The rest of the day went like a blur. They were preparing to dock at Fort Lauderdale It was at least a fifteen-hour drive from Washington. The plan was to get a car to Lexa so that she could go back to Washington alone. It was too risky to show their faces near that town. Everyone except Clarke and Raven were to leave. They had decided to stay away from the states for a few years just to be safe while Clarke and Raven would stay on the yacht in case Lexa needed help. 

 

Now, Lexa was perched near the bow of the yacht, her hair flowing in the wind as she looked on to the pier-66 marina. As corny as it sounded, Clarke wanted to go hug her from behind and kiss her and tell her not to leave. But she stopped herself. It was Lexa’s decision, she will respect it. She will not make it harder for herself and for Lexa. So, she busied herself in the engine room. Bellamy needed a hand to go through the checklist without Raven anyway. 

 

When they finally docked the yacht and placed their feet on solid ground, Miller and Echo were waiting with two identical SUVs to take them to a safe house. Raven was still out there somewhere with someone. They were going to wait at a safehouse until nightfall for Lexa to drive her way back to Washington after dinner. 

 

On the port, Clarke got in the car with Miller, deliberately avoiding Lexa. It physically hurt to be away from her but she had to do it. The path they were on was a slippery one. She couldn’t afford to get attached, especially when Lexa wanted to give her life away to science. 

 

The safehouse was not actually a house. It was more of an abandoned church from the seventeenth century they had discovered during a raid. The structure was haunting and controversial. The townspeople thought it was haunted, hence they were always left alone. But they weren’t afraid of the rumored ghosts because they were the ghosts. 

 

Clarke watched as Lexa chatted away with Octavia about the history of the place. She was such a nerd, Clarke couldn’t stop smiling at it. They passed an overgrown cemetery with bags of clothes and weapons in hand. She was cautious as she walked, occasionally turning to observe their surroundings. It was always better to be safe than sorry. 

 

They entered through the backdoor into a storage room. It had a stove within an arched alcove to the left, a small set of cabinets with a cluttered counter-top to the right. There were a few lights and lamps, but the room was fairly dim. Jasper, Echo, Jasper, and Murphy sat around the table in the center, eating. Miller had brought some takeout from a nearby place. Jackson was laying down on the couch with his head on Miller's lap. 

 

Clarke hadn’t sat down to eat. She had lost her appetite. She had gone into an adjoining room to sort out everyone’s tickets for later. She will sail back to the ocean with Raven while others will go to different continents with different identities. She was stacking their passports when she heard Lexa clearing her throat by the door. 

 

“You’ve been avoiding me,” Lexa said, casually leaning against the doorframe. She was still wearing Clarke’s clothes. 

 

“I’ve-” Clarke stalled. “I’ve just been busy with everything-”

 

Lexa crossed the distance between them. Clarke was pushed against the wall behind her, knocking off a painting. It clattered to the floor as Lexa pressed her lips against hers. She tasted like french fries and cheese. Clarke savored it. And even as she was kissing her and kissing her and kissing her, she wished she was kissing her, wanting more, more, more, and more like she couldn’t get enough of her. 

 

“I hate that you have to go…” Clarke whispered into the underside of her jaw. Her hands were somewhere inside Lexa’s shirt. She touched her breasts and shoulders and hips. Lexa was panting. Her team was right outside of the door, there was a high chance that someone would barge in. But she didn’t care. She wasn’t strong enough to keep her hands off of Lexa. 

 

“You think I am naive…” Lexa gasped as Clarke touched a particularly soft spot under her breasts. She threw her - Clarke’s - jacket on a table. 

 

“I think you are brave,” Clarke was struggling with Lexa’s bra. They shouldn’t be doing this here. They shouldn’t be doing this now. But, Zeus, it did feel like the most important thing to do. 

 

Lexa let out a breathy laugh. “I won’t be gone for long,” She shrieked a little as Clarke turned them so that Lexa’s back was to the wall now. 

 

“Every second away from you feels like a lifetime,” Clarke whispered as her hands finally unclasped Lexa’s bra. It was cheesy as fuck but Lexa giggled, which meant she liked cheesy. Clarke was good at cheesy.

 

“It’s for the survival of the human race.” Lexa weakly argued. Her small moans were getting longer and louder. 

 

Clarke halted her ministrations to watch how devastatingly beautiful Lexa looked with her ruffled hair and dangerously pink lips. “Maybe life should be more than just about surviving,” Clarke quirked an eyebrow. 

 

Lexa leaned in to kiss her again - 

 

That was when they heard a helicopter. It sounded more closer than it should have been. Clarke stopped.

 

“What happened?” Lexa seemed startled as well.

 

“We have intruders,” She said mostly to herself.

 

She had her guns drawn in less than a breath, as the others in the dining room were on their feet. She got out of the room to grab her swords. Lexa took a minute to collect herself then got out. Bellamy shouldered his rifle. Clarke edged to the wall and peeked outside through the cracked stained glass. In the shadows of the cemetery, she saw flashlights bouncing against the cold dark night, shifting shapes that had to be people—a lot of people.

 

“Unless the ghosts just got a lot more lively,” Murphy said, “It looks like we have company.”

 

“Yeah, no kidding.” Octavia rolled back her shoulders and readied her fighting stance. Echo tossed guns to Jackson and Miller as Jasper loaded his pistol.

 

“There are too many of them.” Clarke came back to the center of the room. Octavia turned off the lights so that now they were only illuminated by the single flashlight Bellamy was holding. “Don’t shoot anyone. They could be from Tree Crew. We don’t want unnecessary casualties.” Lexa was on their side now, things would be okay.

 

“We could do it like Tokyo, 1965?” Miller suggested. 

 

“Yeah,” Clarke agreed. “Echo, alert Raven. She shouldn’t come back here. And get her a gun.” She gestured at Lexa who was looking out of place in a well-functioning machine. Everyone in her team knew their positions but Lexa hadn’t been with them long enough. 

 

Jasper tossed a gun to Lexa.

 

“Let’s go-”

 

As if on cue, a front-facing window shattered and two black canisters soared in through it. It hit the floor with a clank. 

 

“Get down!” Clarke shouted at Lexa and pulled her down with her to the floor. The ancient structure was filled with a thunderous boom as the grenade exploded. It lifted a half crouching Jasper off his feet and sent him clashing with the back wall. He slid and fell, his body lifeless. Clarke was suddenly lost in a storm of white smoke and dust that clogged her lungs. She felt like she had inhaled powdered glass. She blinked rapidly, trying to dislodge pieces of debris from her eyes. Others weren’t fairing any better either. The darkness was almost impenetrable. For a moment, there was only the sound of them coughing and gasping.

 

As soon as her eyes cleared, she crawled to Lexa’s coughing figure. She had promised to keep her safe. “Are you okay?” Clarke shouted due to the ringing in her ears. Lexa was gasping for air, her face was littered with shrapnel wounds. Still, she let out a scratchy yes.

 

Clarke heard boots hitting the pavement. Bellamy and Miller were laying lifeless. They had been the closest to the grenade. Clarke heard the boots hitting the ground. More soldiers were creeping along the outside wall of the church.They were coming. Clarke gave a single nod to her comrades. She stood up and unsheathed her swords. If it was Tree Crew then Lexa would explain it all to them. But if it was the police or the bloody Mount Weather, they would not go down without a fight. Beside her, her friends were also up with their rifles and blades. She could see Murphy’s fingers twitching over the trigger. 

 

“Hold your fire,” She ordered. “Do not shoot unnecessarily.”

 

The door burst inward. For a moment, everything was smoke and chaos. Clarke covered her eyes with her arm, crouching down to lessen the impact of the explosion. 

 

A group of shadowy figures entered through the gaping hole in the wall. They were holding shields in front of them. When Clarke looked at Octavia, there was a small red laser dot on her head, Octavia was looking at her like she had the same on her face, so did Echo and Jackson. They were being aimed at. But they were not being shot. Lexa. 

 

Lexa. Lexa, who was standing beside her, was the reason they were here and not shooting. Yet.

 

She turned to face Lexa.

 

The gun Jasper had given Lexa was pointed at Clarke’s heart. She froze.

 

Lexa’s eyes were hard and cold like she was seeing a monster she needed to get rid of. Clarke felt the air leave her lungs. 

 

“Lexa,” Clarke whispered in an unfamiliar voice of heartbreak. “What did you do?”

 

“What you would have done.” Lexa simply answered and put a bullet through Clarke’s heart. 

 


 



Chapter Text

JASPER

 

I fucked up.

 

Jasper’s first thought when he woke up with a stinging pain in the back of his head was, I fucked up. He couldn’t understand what had happened. He had been knocked out by the first explosion. When he woke up, he was laying on his side on what he guessed was a large cargo van. Guards were sitting on both side benches. Beside him, Bellamy was still healing from a ripped up stomach. He had no idea how much time had passed. His hands and ankles were tied, so were Bellamy’s.

 

He nudged Bellamy with his shoulder. Bellamy groaned in response. He wasn’t in top shape. There was a piece of metal lodged into his stomach. The t-shirt he was wearing was now soaked in blood. Bellamy was his brother. Jasper hated to see him like that. In agony and pain. But it had to be done. It had to be done, he repeated like a mantra. He built his walls back up, ignoring the reality of the situation, and went into the only place that gave him comfort - his memory of her. 

 

It was the summer of 1956. Monty was leaving them after discovering that he was not healing from a burn injury. They were both sad and happy for him. He was the best of them. They partied till late at night and drank to drown their misery. Monty had met someone he loved. He wanted to start a family. It was as if he had willed his immortality away. Jasper envied him. He was more than happy for his brother and best friend but he envied that he got off so easily because he was his person. Immortality was easier with Monty by his side. After that, it just felt bland. 

 

In 1999, they buried him. He had lived a good life. He had a wife and a son who didn’t know these strangers who came to attend Monty’s funeral. Clarke had reassured his wife that they were students from his botany class at the University. Harper had skeptically agreed to let them carry his casket. They had all cried that day, even Echo. 

 

It was where he met her. In the cemetery. It was ironic truly. Maya was attending a friend’s funeral. She was dressed in all black. He was crying behind a tree. She had heard him and came to offer a handkerchief. The others didn’t believe him when he narrated the story but he had felt an instant connection. Like his heart was zapped. He had thought foolishly, that perhaps, Monty had sent her to him as a farewell gift - to give his life meaning. Later he realized, Maya gave him so much more than just meaning.

 

That day, he had made some stupid funeral joke and she had laughed. It was easy with her. She was funny and kind and patient. He was awkward and goofy and instantly in love. They had gone on dates in cafes and parks and concerts. He had lied and said that he was a writer. He had told her all the stories of Jackson and Octavia and Clarke like they were fictional characters. One day, he had thought, one day when I lose my immortality, I would tell her the truth. If I love her enough, I’ll lose it, like Monty. Or she will have it. Either way, we are going to be happy. I just need to love her more. And he did love her more than he could ever imagine loving someone. But that day had never come. 

 

Maya hadn’t been honest with him either. She was dying. She wasn’t sunshine and rainbows all days. Some days she was melancholy and disinfectants. She had not told him about it because she was scared he would leave her. He didn’t. He cried and fought. But he stayed. He stayed the late nights at chemo clinics and outside ICUs. He stayed when she slept more than she was awake. He stayed when she made friends with the whole damn cancer ward. When she cried because one of her friends died. 

 

I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.” She had fallen asleep mumbling into his chest, one particularly bad day. 

 

He stayed when her hair was all gone. When they knitted hats together. When they went ice-skating because she loved winters. He stayed when she was quiet and unfunny and miserable. He stayed when she asked him to leave and get a life. He stayed when she wept and apologized for asking to leave. 

 

He stayed when she closed her eyes and didn’t open them again. When her heart stopped beating and that dimple on her cheeks was gone forever. He stayed when everyone left at the cemetery. 

 

He stayed and didn’t do anything. He didn’t tell her his truth. He closed his eyes to the needless suffering of all the patients in the hospital. He kept quiet when Maya said, You only live once, right. He lived when she died. 

 

She died even if she didn’t deserve to, he lived even if he didn’t deserve to. But that was going to stop today. He had waited a long time to find the right time. He was not sorry for what he had done. It had to be done sooner or later, he was the one with the guts to do it. It was the right thing to do. They were lonely and miserable. If their lives didn’t mean something, weren’t used for a good cause then what was the point. 



He was grateful for the days he had spent with Raven when he sent Anya the untraceable mail. He had kept the mail short because there wasn’t much time. The others were busy having breakfast while he was in the cockpit sending the mail. This was his second try. This time he had done it. 

 

Bellamy stirred beside him. He was mumbling something, his eyes were scrunched and his face contorted. He tapped on his shoulder. 

 

“Bellamy,” He whispered. “Bellamy?”

 

“Fuck, it hurts,” Bellamy groaned under his breath. 

 

“I know,” He said. “But it will be over soon.” 

 

“Fuck - Lexa - why -” Bellamy said and laid back against his shoulder. There was so much hurt in his eyes. Jasper did not want it to be directed at him. Not yet, at least. Not yet.

 

“Why what?” he replied instead. 

 

“Shut the fuck up!” One of the guards struck his head with the back of his gun.

 

When the vehicle stopped, they cut off their ties, grabbed them by their shoulders, and shoved them out. They were in some sort of parking space. If Jasper didn’t recognize it from memory, the big ass Mount Weather logo was enough to tell that they were back in Washington, where it all started. 

 

There were five vans, all lined up. Clarke and Octavia were unconscious and being carried out by five guards each. There was fresh blood on their clothes. They probably tried to do something stupid in the vehicle. It was confirmed when they took out three lifeless bodies after them. That was not surprising at all. 

 

They were still zip-tied, taken inside, hobbling with men holding each arm, and armed guards following, weapons aimed and ready. He was surprised not to see Lexa. They were taken upstairs through the elevators one at a time. Jackson was the first to go. Some of the soldiers were in Tree crew uniforms while most of them were wearing Mount Weather’s logo. Mount Weather didn’t trust their security with the Tree Crew after all. 

 

They took them to the fifteenth floor. The building was a fancy modern high-rise with disgusting all-glass minimalistic architecture. The marble was so white that it almost glowed blue. It’s numerous hallways and mazes were clean and sterile in a very ugly way. Maya would have scoffed at the pretentious modern art in every corner. Jasper smiled at the thought. 

 

Clarke and Octavia were awake again when they were being escorted to a room through a glassy hallway into a room that was again, all white. The soldiers held them from all sides like they were afraid of them like they should be. Octavia and Clarke looked like they were going to eat them for dinner. 

 

A man in an all-white three-piece suit walked into the room with a wide puffed chest and slicked-back hair. He reeked of money and an asshole. He spread his hand out like he was welcoming a group of old friends. The guards stopped them, standing next to each other, in the middle of the room. The man walked past everyone as if inspecting his package and took a position in the middle, in front of Octavia.

 

“Gentlemen and ladies, welcome to Mount Weather. I am truly honored to meet you. Together, we shall do great things.” He was grinning ear to ear. Clarke kept looking at him, dead in the eye. He stepped back a little. “Um, can we take the ties off?” He gestured to their zip-tied hands. 

 

“I am afraid we can’t, sir,” A Mount Weather guard, Whitman as per his name tag, said. 

 

“Oh, my apologies,” The man said with a short bow. “Let’s get this off the right foot, shall we? I am Cage Wallace, son of pharma tycoon Dante Wallace and the youngest CEO in the pharma industry.” Octavia regarded him with disinterest as he continued. “Our work here is all about balance. We push the scientific frontiers whilst also turning a little profit.”

 

Octavia held her calculative gaze with a frown, she gestured to Cage to come closer. Cage took a half step, she slammed her forehead into his face -- hard. Cage cried out and stumbled back, catching himself on a desk.

 

“There’s your balance, asshole,” She answered through gritted teeth, with Whitman’s hand around her throat and pistol jammed in her face. The guard behind her clubbed her across the back of the neck. She grunted and folded over, but another guard held her up so she couldn't fall. They all, even Jasper, struggled to move closer to her but the guards held them in place.

 

Cage, now shielded with his guards, composed himself once again, wiping his bloody forehead. “Humanity needs you to share your gifts. We are obliged to take it from you.” He said matter-of-factly. 

 

“Our humanity can go screw itself for all we care.” Murphy spats at his face. He looked at them like they were a pile of dirty dishes. 

 

“Take them to the lab.” He ordered his goons. 

 

They were dragged to a bigger lab through double steel doors with a sign saying ‘restricted access’. The next room was even more cold and bare, lit by the same harsh light as the cells in prisons. It was parted in the middle with a thick floor to ceiling impenetrable transparent glass wall. A holding cell, Jasper realized with a shudder. Get it together, Jasper. The other half of the room was lined up with medical equipment. Five reclining operating chairs were lined up next to each other with monitors in between the gaps. A woman in a long white lab coat was waiting by the tables for them. Dr. Tsing, her name card said. She dispassionately looked up from her clipboard as if they were her everyday lab rats. 

 

Whitman went in front of them and typed a code into a monitor that was attached to the glass wall. A door that wasn’t distinguishable before, opened up to provide entrance into the cell. 

 

Miller was first in the line. And he wasn’t the most patient person in the room. He smacked the guard in front of him with his head, much like Octavia had done with Cage. But it was as if Whitman was awaiting such a hassle. He shot Miller with a dart, Miller instantly collapsed against another guard. Jackson, who was in the back, struggled against his captors to get a better look at his lover but he too was silenced with a tranquilizer shot. 

 

They carried Miller into the cell. The rest of them walked in reluctantly but without much hassle. They were saving energy. It wasn’t the first time they were captured like this. But this would be the first time where they would not escape their fate. The cell was bare except for a tap and a sink. On three sides it had gloomy light grey walls and the glass wall on one side through which they could see the medical area. Whitman locked the door behind them. 

 

Jasper slid against a wall facing the glass and sat down on the floor. Echo and Octavia were still on their feet. Echo looked around the room to find anything of use as Octavia did the same on the other side. They were clearly anxious. Captivity brought out the worst in people. Bellamy was checking on Miller and Jackson who was unconscious but breathing, seated against a wall on the other side. Across from them, Clarke had also sat down on the floor. She had pulled her knees and let her face fall in her hands. She looked defeated, hopeless. Jasper knew that look quite well. He had seen it in his mirror every day.

 

“At least there’s A.C.,” Murphy said, leaning on the glass partition. 

 

“Shut up, Murphy,” Bellamy said as he stood up. His face was a mixture of disappointment and sympathy as he kept his gaze trained at Clarke’s defeated form. He slowly walked and knelt in front of Clarke. “What’s the plan, Clarke?”

 

Clarke snorted. She lifted her face to match his gaze. She looked like she had died a few times over. “The kind of plan that never fails.”

 

“No plan?” Murphy added with a half-smile.

 

“Exactly.” Clarke gave a mirthless smile. 

 

Bellamy stood up abruptly. He gritted his teeth as if he was struggling to keep his words at bay. He gave up, throwing his still hands in the air. “This is because of her, isn’t it?” He shouted at Clarke. “You trusted her and she betrayed you-”

 

“Bell,” Octavia interrupted, coming in between Bellamy and Clarke. “We all trusted Lexa. This is not just on Clarke.”

 

“No,” His rage was a bitter thing. “I trusted her because of Clarke. We never should have let her go. She was a fucking businesswoman. There is nothing more important than money in her life. She was not like us. But we trusted her anyway because Clarke did.”

 

“What has happened has happened. What is the point of this discussion now, Bellamy?” Jackson who had woken up from whatever drug they injected him said in a low voice. 

 

“The point is that she knows about all of us. She has seen our faces. She knows us and she is an immortal. She is going to make sure that we stay locked up forever.”

 

“Look, you are scared. We all are. But blaming each other or someone else will not give us a solution. There’s no point in wasting energy,” Jackson tried to console him with his calm therapeutic voice. Jasper always liked that about him. He always understood Jasper. But sometimes that wasn’t enough. “We will figure out a way out of this. Lexa did what she thought was right. I am sure she had her reasons-”

 

“They always have reasons, don’t they?” Murphy said this time, cocking his head to the side. “But we kill them anyway. Isn’t that what we learned in all these years. It’s always us versus them. Lexa is one of them. Isn’t that right, princess?”

 

Clarke wasn’t looking at any of them. Her gaze was locked on Jasper. Jasper felt a cold sharp panic tightening in his chest. Clarke knew. Of course, she figured it out. He was the one who compromised their location.  

 

“It wasn’t Lexa,” Clarke quietly said. She was barely audible above the noise Murphy and Bellamy were making. But they had heard her. “It wasn’t Lexa who betrayed us,” Clarke said louder this time. The words were innocuous, but that knot of panic tightened in his chest anyway. He found that he wasn’t as brave as he had thought himself to be. It was one thing to betray his friends, it was another to have the courage to face that hurt. 

 

“What?” Bellamy’s voice was trained, shocked. “What do you mean?”

 

Clarke didn’t say anything. She just kept her gaze fixed at Jasper, watching him like he was her responsibility and she had failed him. Like asking, are you even going to tell them? Jasper knew it was time for him to accept what he had done. The shame of betraying his friends was his. There was no running away from it. 

 

“I never told Lexa where we were going until that day at the table. After that, she was with me the whole time.” Clarke clarified a little more. “And I am pretty sure she didn’t hack my password.”

 

“Then how?” Miller asked, his brows knitting in confusion. 

 

Jasper took a deep breath. Clarke nodded at him as if encouraging him. He knew it was anything but encouragement. “It was me,” He didn’t recognize his own voice. He didn’t sound righteous or brave. He sounded like a child who had broken a vase. He hadn’t even realized that he was crying. The others looked at him like they were seeing him for the first time. “I was the one who contacted Anya Woods.” He said it clearer, louder.

 

Miller was on his feet before Jasper could blink. He pulled him up by his collar and smacked his head against the wall. It hurt like hell.

 

“Miller!” Bellamy pulled him off of Jasper. 

 

“Leave him,” Clarke was on her feet too, pushing Murphy aside as he tried to grab Jasper next. 

 

“What the fuck, Jasper?” Murphy spat at his face. “You fucking traitor!”

 

“I-I am do-doing this for all of us, okay?” Jasper tried to explain. He was trembling. The look of rage and disappointment was spanned across the faces of his friends. He made himself memorize it. It was right that he should remember their faces. He was a true traitor and he should carry the burden of it. “If Cage can discover how we keep living, he might find a way to end it. He could find a way to help people. Didn’t we want that? Clarke, you said it. You said no matter how much we did, it was never enough. But this way we are enough. Our bodies are enough. This is what the world needs. This is what we need.”

 

“Not like this, Jasper, not like this,” Clarke said sorrowfully. Unrestrained tears were trailing down her cheeks. 

 

“You selfish piece of shit.” Bellamy fell on his knees slowly, he dropped his face in his hands, rubbed a hand through his dark mane. 

 

“How could you fucking do this?” Miller was barely in control with Jackson keeping a calming hold on his shoulder. “You are pathetic, Jasper.”

 

“Miller,” Clarke quietly said. “Just stop, please.”

 

“No, Clarke,” Jasper muttered. “Why would he know of the burden of all these years alone?” He said boldly to Miller. “You had Jackson all this time, didn’t you? Bellamy had Octavia and Echo. Murphy had his fucking sexcapeds, Raven had her machines. But for me and Clarke, we only had the mounting guilt of never being enough!”

 

“Well, now you have even more.” Murphy’s face was carved with anger. 

 

He stood up, hobbling on his feet. “And what will you have at the end of your selfish fucking life, Murphy? We are not gods. We are miserable people whom even death won’t take. Do you not see it?” Jasper shoved him. 

 

“Just fucking shut up -” Murphy raised a fist. 

 

“The truth hurts. No matter what we do, it never is enough. And it’s-it’s like all of you just stopped caring. Do you even know what happened after the day we released those prisoners?” He pointed an accusatory finger at them, his face contorted with anger. “I do. Those prisoners were deported to their countries with no compensation or justice. No one believed a word they said because they didn’t speak English. Mount Weather bribed the right mouths, sued the construction company for wrongful construction to save their own asses. But that was not the end of it, my friend,” He went on, defiant. His pulse was beating thickly in his veins. 

 

“It pushed back the research on HIV medication for seven years. An almost successful cancer drug was rejected because th-they cannot fund the trial anymore the right way. Another trial drug for ALS now costs ten times more because they have to com-compensate for their trial patients. But you all don’t know that because you all are living in your small bubbles of comfort, fighting meaningless battles… this is the twenty-first century… the time of swords and battles is over… we were meant to end up like this one way or another. I just sped up the process… so that people don’t have to suffer needlessly- And I am tired, okay? I am fucking tired!” His words echoed off the glass walls, hitting the others right where it hurt. He just stood there on one side with his shoulders slumped and heart beating lazily. He was tired of it, he truly was.

 

It was Jackson who approached him with an embrace first. He flinched, wary of the acceptance. He had betrayed them. He wanted to die, not love. Jackson hugged him as traitorous tears rolled down from his eyes.

 

“You are right.” Jackson was saying. “You are right about everything. But you made a decision for us. It wasn’t yours to make. There has to be a better way than this. We could have figured it out together-”

 

“I am ready. Take him out,” A clinical, dispassionate voice said. “That one.”

 

They all froze in their places. They had forgotten they were being watched. The operating table was prepared. Dr. Tsing was pointing at him through the glass. Four guards with dart guns stepped up to the glass door with Whitman in lead. They unlocked the door, their guns were aimed and ready to shoot. 

 

“If you even think about being a smartass, you will be the one on the table,” Whitman warned as his men entered to grab Jasper. Murphy stepped back instantly. Clarke took a step forward, ready to defend him.

 

“Clarke,” He said, almost as if begging. She shook her head. “This is what I want. This is what I choose. Please.”

 

He sidestepped her, moving towards the tentative guards. The other stood closer to him but didn’t move. Jasper was glad they didn’t. This was what he wanted. He would have walked out of his own free will even without the guns and cuffs. 

 

A sob tore Octavia’s throat as Jasper was strapped to an operating table. His stomach and feet and hands were bound one by one as Dr. Tsing pressed an injection into his arm. It was connected through a series of tubes that went into some kind of a blood collection bag and then to an odd machine. 

 

“Fucking hell… ” Jackson said with horror. Jackson, Echo, and Murphy were looking at him through the glass. Others were facing away, probably trying not to throw up. Jasper’s eyes were drooping close but he could still read their lips. “She is draining his blood completely so that his body could regenerate it,” Jackson explained. “Usually that leads to death but-”

 

“He won’t die and she will have as much blood as needed.” Echo finished.

 

“Yes. That machine on the right side, I have never seen anything like that before.” Jackson said with a worried tone. 

 

“They are not just taking samples,” Echo added after a bit. 

 

It finally clicked. “They are collecting our blood to make compound I to keep us in control.” Jackson gulped.

 

“Fuck me,” Murphy muttered, hitting the glass with his closed fist.

 

Jasper wanted to reassure them that it will be alright. That it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t painful. But blood was draining out of his body. If he squinted real hard, he could already see Maya, standing there, waiting for him, as beautiful as the day he had met her for the first time. 

 

“Come here,” She was saying. “Come home, Jasper.”

 

He loved her enough to lose his immortality after all. 

 


 

JACKSON



Jackson sat against the grey walls of the cell for what felt like hours. Nathan was laying down with his head on Jackson’s lap as he combed his fingers through his hair. He had tried to keep up with what Dr. Tsingh was doing but after a while, he had realized that he was nothing more than a monkey locked in a cage in her eyes. She had drained Jasper’s blood three times now. He was looking paler and paler by every minute. Jackson wanted to feel angry at him. To be mad at him. But he couldn’t. Even after he had betrayed them so bitterly, he understood Jasper. God knows, he would have done the same had it been for Nathan. 

 

There were even worse faces than Jasper’s inside the cell. Being a doctor for more than two centuries had made him into an exceptional observer. There were clear signs of distress inside the cell. Octavia was a ball of nervous energy as she paced left and right as if she wanted to wear out the floor tiles. 

 

In contrast, Bellamy was seated stoically, looking out at Jasper, his body as still as a meditating monk. Echo had positioned herself in a corner and fixed the guards with a murderous glare. Clarke on the other hand, sat with her head in her hands, between her knees as if she had accepted her fate as if there was no fight left in her. He had never seen her like this. Jasper’s betrayal had broken something inside of her.  

 

The most interesting one was Murphy. Jackson kept a curious eye at him. He was uncharacteristically agitated. He wiped his face, shook his head, and sat in a distant corner. He wasn’t vocal like before. Maybe, he was saving his energy, Jackson thought. But he knew it was not just that. Murphy was sweating his face red as he tried to grasp onto his knees. 

 

“Murphy,” Jackson quietly called. Murphy seemed like he hadn’t heard him. “Are you okay?”

 

Murphy blinked rapidly. He looked around with wide eyes. “Where am I?” He asked no one in particular. But since everyone else was drowning in their own despair, it was Jackson who answered. 

 

“In Mount Weather.” He said. “Are you okay?” 

 

Murphy shook his head. But then the itching stopped. He was blinking again. Jack wanted to ask again but the guard from earlier, Whitman, stepped in front of the glass door. The doctor was ready for the next one. Jackson shook Miller to wake him up. They didn’t stand up but he saw everyone tensing, ready to defend themselves. Except for Murphy. 

 

Murphy stood up abruptly. He was breathing hard, his pupils were dilated. He blinked and shook his head as if in disbelief. 

 

“What the fuck?” He said then touched his throat like he was hearing his own voice for the first time. “What the fuck is this?”

 

It was Clarke who stood up next. She raised her hands in front of her. “It’s okay.” She said, her voice comforting. “You will be back in a few minutes. It’s okay.”

 

That’s when the rest of them got up to their feet. It wasn’t Murphy in his body. It was someone else. Someone was seeing through his eyes. A new immortal. Murphy looked even more scared. He turned to face the guards as if he was going to ask them for help. They all exchanged a look of concern. Then it was gone, like a fire being stubbed. Murphy doubled down on his knees. His shirt was damp with sweat even though it was considerably cold in the lab.

 

“Murphy,” Bellamy hesitated. “Is that you?”

 

Murphy let out a breathless laugh. When he looked up, his face was adorned with a rare honest smile. “Yes,” he said. “It’s me.”

 

“You saw a new one, didn’t you?” Octavia was tensed, wringing her hands and looking at Murphy curiously.

 

Murphy looked directly at Clarke. “She was in a prison.” He laughed a little in disbelief. “I think it was California? Clarke, you have to draw her. She has a face tattoo-” he gestured to the left side of his face.

 

“Him.” Dr. Tsing pointed out in the middle of the room. “I want him.” She was speaking about Murphy. Whitman nodded and signaled his guards to come up behind him. Jackson turned to Murphy. 

 

Murphy was looking straight ahead. He stood up straighter and rolled back his shoulder. He was ready for a fight. He was a cockroach in every sense but he didn’t like getting crushed under anyone’s shoe. 

 

“Murphy, they are armed.” Clarke tried to reason. “Don’t do anything stupid.”

 

“No fucking way,” Murphy said, his eyes still set on the guards who were now opening the door. “I’m not going to the table, Clarke, not when I’ve finally found her.” He tilted his head to the side. 

 

The main door of the lab opened and in stepped Cage Wallace in his all-white suit and half a dozen bodyguards. He walked up to Dr. Tsing, blind to the tension inside the cell.

 

“Step back.” Whitman pointed his rifle at Clarke and Bellamy who had unconsciously moved forward to block his way. They didn’t step back. “I won’t repeat myself-”

 

“You don’t have to,” Murphy said. His tone casual and devilish, nothing like the boy just seconds ago. 

 

“Murphy, what-” He cut Bellamy with a wave of his hand. 

 

“You,” He turned to Whitman who was still aiming his gun cautiously at them. “I have a proposition.”

 

“We don’t have time for your little games-”

 

“Cage,” Murphy shouted. Mount Weather’s CEO finally turned to him. “I have a business proposition for you.”

 

Cage seemed amused. He walked to stand in front of the glass as his bodyguards flocked to make a human shield around him. “A business proposal?”

 

“Yes,” Murphy yelled. “But first get your dogs out of here.”

 

Cage chuckled. “I already have what I need from you. What else could you give me?”

 

“Two more immortals. Two more like us.” Murphy carefully said. Jackson shared a look with Clarke. What was he playing at? Was he selling out Raven? Or whoever this new person was. That would be a shitty move, even for somebody like him. 

 

“Another immortal?” Cage tried and failed to hide the greed in his eyes.

 

“Yes,” Murphy simply answered. “But first your dogs,”

 

Cage lifted a finger to Whitman who gave a curt nod to his boss and retreated from the cell, locking the door once again. Murphy walked up to the partition slowly. He was smirking as Cage leaned in to hear him through the glass. 

 

“Give us a standard contract. No money. Just our freedom. We walk out of here and in exchange, we will give you whatever you need voluntarily. You can chip us or track us or whatever. But we walk free.” Murphy placed an open palm against the glass and leaned on it. 

 

He contemplated him for a few minutes, then said, “It can be done. But how do we know you are giving the right information.”

 

“No problem,” He smirked. “I will give you one name. If she is you-know-what then you release us and I will give you the second name. And during that time, you don’t touch any of us. Do we have a deal?”

 

“Fine,” He said finally. “Now, the name.”

 

“Alexandria Woods,” He spelled out the words slowly and carefully. Cage’s eyes widened comically. He stepped back a little, regarding Murphy skeptically. Once satisfied with whatever he read on his face, he turned to Whitman.

 

“Get me Alexandria Woods,” He ordered. “Now.”

 

Jackson felt rage radiating from Clarke as Murphy turned back around with a smug face and a request. “Clarke, you have to draw her. I have to find-” 

 

She grabbed him by his collar. Startled, he lost his footing and struggled to stand straight as Clarke pushed his back against the wall. Her face was twisted with rage.

 

“Jesus fucking Christ,” He yelled as his head crashed with concrete. Clarke threw a jaw rattling punch at his face before he could say another word, successfully dislocating his jaw. He screamed in agony. Bellamy grabbed Clarke from her back and dragged her off of Murphy.

 

“What the fuck, Murphy?!” Clarke spat, struggling against Bellamy’s grasp. “What the fuck?!”

 

“He is a fucking cockroach, of course, he would do anything to save his own skin.” Octavia looked like she was on the verge to smash his head through the wall.

 

“Calm the fuck down, okay!” Murphy tried to explain. “I was saving all of us! And at least I was doing something!”

 

“By giving up Lexa?” Octavia said. “That’s a new low for you. ”

 

“She is a fucking CEO of a fucking security company. She has been an asshole to us, all her life. Now, suddenly she matters more than us?” Murphy shouted at her. 

 

“Who are you gonna give up next? Raven? Does she even matter to you?”

 

“I was buying us some time.” He straightened his shirt and switched to Russian. “I’m not gonna give a second name once they have Lexa. Look around, Whitman is not here. We can plan something. And even if we just wait, we can walk away from this. We know how to hide. We’ve been doing it for centuries. They will never find us.”

 

Bellamy let go of Clarke who turned her back on Murphy and paced the small space they were enclosed in. When she faced him again, she looked like she wanted to scream or break his neck. She ran her hand through her hair.

 

“Lexa could have helped us from outside.” She was still angry but her eyes looked just tired. 

 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” He switched back to English. “If she wanted to help us, she would have been here already. Get out of your fucking love bubble, Clarke. She was not like us. She doesn’t come from the same place as we do. We had nothing in our lives when we left it. She has fucking everything. And even if it was Jasper, she is not here with us right now, is she? She is back to her tower or whatever and she doesn’t fucking care about us.”

 

“Maybe she needed time,” Clarke said.  “Maybe she needed the time that you just snatched away from her.”

 

“She was with us for what? A week? She just had a change of heart, huh? You can’t fucking believe that bullshit-”

 

“Time does not equate trust, Murphy.” Clarke snorted in disgust. Her eyes were as hard as granite. “You just proved that. You betrayed me, you betrayed Lexa, for a woman you haven’t even met yet.” He gulped, looking anywhere but in Clarke’s eyes. It was the truth.

 

“A woman with a face tattoo in a Californian prison. Imagine what happens after I trade that information with Cage. He certainly has the resources to find her. He would be thrilled. And I am pretty sure that will buy so much time.” Her voice was rough like the rustle of dead leaves on a tree. Murphy’s fists were clenched, teeth grinding. “Do you feel it? The rage?” She mocked. “It burns, doesn’t it? So, don’t stand there and pretend to be on a high horse. Don’t fucking pretend that you were saving us. We are all selfish, yes, but you are the worst of us.” 

 

He had seen her angry before but never like this, never with one of them. Even with Jasper, all Clarke had was empathy. 

 

“She will be okay, she has her own guards-” Bellamy put a hand on her shoulder, trying to console her. Clarke shrugged off his hand and went back to her spot, resting her head on her knees. Murphy stood there steaming off his rage before sitting back down as far away from Clarke as possible. 

 

The others shared a look deciding not to interfere in them anymore. To try to talk to them would be like touching hot coal. It was better to let time heal the wounds. Clarke was right, Jackson thought, if it had been Miller, he also would have done anything to save him. It was the nature of love, messy, unconditional, and selfish. 

 


 

From Jasper's wallet, New York, 1960

Chapter Text

LEXA

 

She was tired. She could feel it in her bones. They all could see it on her face. Her body was still healing and her head was hurting. After the church, her sister had hugged her, said she loved her. Lexa had said it back and meant it. But still, she could not erase the look on Clarke’s face when she pulled the gun on her as if a whole forest was burning inside her.

 

It would have been futile to reveal herself to be an immortal in front of her sister and soldiers who were conditioned to hate and kill them. It was a decision Lexa had made with her head and not with her heart. So when Clarke turned to her with hope and relief, she ended her life to prove that she was anything but.

 

She felt it again, cold and helpless. The last few days… all the information had taken a toll on her. She didn’t know where they were taking Clarke and the others. Mount Weather had their own security personnel handling the transfer with Tree Crew soldiers there as backup. Lexa was getting a headache thinking about a way to get out of this situation.

 

“You are thinking too hard, kid.” Anya squeezed her shoulder. They were on their way home in a company car. Titus had arranged a different plane for her and Anya. Anya had been busy supervising the security all the way so Lexa was left with her thoughts only. “Did they hit you in the head or something?” Anya ruffled her hair fondly.

 

“I was… just thinking…” Lexa wondered what would be Anya’s reaction if she told her the truth right now. Would she be angry or hurt or would she send Lexa away with the others? No, she wouldn’t do that. At least Lexa hoped not. But it was too risky to tell her here. Lexa was unsure where the loyalty of her soldiers lied. There were a few things she needed to take care of first. “Why aren’t we holding the Delinquents in our cells?”

 

Anya was surprised that Lexa would ask something like that. “Well, Titus said it was bad press or something. He had been doing damage control since… since you've been gone… so, he decided it would be best that Mount Weather has them under their observation. I agreed because I thought that’s what you would want. Use them for research and medicine?”

 

“Yes,” Lexa lied.  “But what about the people Mount Weather was holding against their will as test subjects-”

 

Anya chuckled, startling Lexa. “You should catch up with the news after you have had some rest. That was just a conspiracy theory. Mount Weather wasn’t holding anyone against their will. Those were just illegal immigrants hiding in Mount Weather’s basement that the construction company had built illegally without any proper documentation. None of them even spoke English -”

 

“Because they were brought here -”

 

“Lex,” Anya said, effectively shutting Lexa off. “They were Mount Weather’s problem. As far as I know, all of them have already been deported. That tunnel has been sealed. We - Mount Weather and Tree crew - have already filed a lawsuit against the construction company. Our relationship with Mount Weather is strenuous at best. So just leave it. We can’t afford to lose any more partners and investors now -”

 

“Have we lost investors?”

 

“Some, yes.”

 

Lexa pinched the bridge of her nose and let out a sigh. This situation was getting even worse. “I need to talk to Titus. Set up a meeting as soon as you can-”

 

“Lex, you need rest. You just got out of a traumatic event. You need to take it easy for a few days. Titus and I are-”

 

“I fucking need to talk to Titus goddamnit!” Lexa shouted, her frustration was spilling at its banks. “Don’t tell me what I need.” She exhaled and continued more quietly. “Give me a couple of hours and set up a meeting first thing in the morning. Please.” 

 

Anya threw her hands in the air and turned slightly away from her as if putting physical distance will eliminate her frustration. “You know what your problem is?”

 

“Anya, this is really not the best time-”

 

“I think it’s high time we talk about this. You let Titus get into your head. That bald fucking piece of dick has been putting shit in your head since you were a kid. You believe everything he says to you as soon as he pulls the you-father-wanted-this card out of his ass. And he made you into this-” She vaguely gestured at her, “He made you believe that love is weakness. That you have to work yourself to death to earn his approval. And you fucking accepted because everyone you loved left you-”

 

“That’s-”

 

“That’s the truth,” Anya said with determination. “I know that cause I feel it too. I lost my parents too. You deserve good things. You deserve a fucking break. This company- this empire- Dad didn’t leave it so that you live a miserable life under the burden of it. And this whole saving the world bullshit Titus came up with, is only there until it suits his agenda. We both know it.” She sighed. “You can’t save the world if you can’t save yourself. You weren’t alone then and you aren’t alone now. There are people who care about you, who love you. But you have to let yourself be loved. I am sorry my timing sucks. But I am done hearing his crap out of your mouth.”

 

Lexa leaned in and wrapped her hands around her sister. Anya was startled at first but she reciprocated the hug as she felt Lexa sniffling against her shoulder. Anya rubbed her hands in slow circles on Lexa’s back giving her the comfort she clearly needed. 

 

“You are not okay.” She softly whispered in Lexa’s ear. 

 

“I am not okay.” She shook her head. “But I know that I am not alone.” Lexa’s voice was barely audible but Anya heard her anyway. She pulled back and looked at Anya straight in the eye. “I need to do this tomorrow. I-I am going to make it right. And I need you to trust me with this.”

 

“Okay,” Anya said, looking away to wipe her own tears. “I will be there-”

 

“No,” Lexa said. “Just me and him.”

 

“But, Lex-”

 

“Anya, I love you and trust you but this is something I need to do alone.” She held Anya’s hand in hers. “I need you to trust me. I am going to be okay. I will tell you everything when it’s the right time. Please, just trust me.”

 

Anya seemed like she was going to say something but no words came out when she opened her mouth. She just nodded and squeezed her hand in return. Lexa leaned in to hug her sister again. She was sweaty and disgustingly gross but her sister hugged her anyway.

 

“We are going to be okay,” Anya whispered and kissed the top of her head. “After you take a shower, of course.” Lexa let out a teary chuckle on her shoulder. “And maybe some therapy.” She felt a little less alone. 

 

Her penthouse was as bare as she had left it. Its minimalistic interior and grey-white duochrome theme was something out of a magazine. Lexa never paid much attention to it. It was a place she came to sleep, that was just it. It was not home. It was an efficient place to rest. There was no home for her. 

 

She took a much-needed hot shower and cleaned the blood off of her. Cleaned Clarke’s blood. She had shot her point-blank in her heart. It felt like she had shot herself. The way Clarke looked at her, she would rather drown herself than face her again, it stung. It stung more than Lexa would care to admit. She hoped that Clarke would understand her reasoning, if she got to explain herself that is. But it had to be done. It was a risk. Clarke could have died. But she had made a decision with her head, for her people - the delinquents. She would carry the burden of breaking Clarke’s heart for it.

 

She put on a tailored grey blouse and a black blazer with black trousers. She needed to look her best. She needed to feel her best. It was her armor, not that she needed one. She just couldn’t start her day with Titus berating her about being not composed and unfocused. She took a sip of whisky as well, she couldn’t start this day without alcohol either. 

 

When she stepped out of her private elevator, all eyes were on her. Her personal bodyguards were standing a bit taller and normal office personnel were sitting a bit straighter. They respected her for who she was. But she couldn’t trust any of them. How many of these were on Titus’s payroll? How many of them were working for Mount Weather? How many of them would turn against her if they knew who she really was ? She took a deep breath and braced herself for what was to come. 

 

Titus was already waiting for her in her office. He opened his arms wide. 

 

“Lexa,” He grinned like the devil. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you.” Lies. He wrapped her in his arms. She stepped back. He backed off a little and squeezed her shoulders. He was still grinning. “Look at you. How much you have grown, huh?” Lexa frowned, she was only away for a few days. Titus sensed her unease. “You brought the Delinquents straight to our doors. Who would have thought, huh? I mean, you are already here. I had expected you to take a few days off.”

 

Lexa walked past him and sat on her desk, facing Titus. She was not in the mood for small talk. She rolled up her sleeves and fixed her gaze at him.

 

“There is work to be done, Titus,” Lexa picked up her tablet and went through the reports her assistant had prepared for her.

 

“I assure you everything is taken care of,” He adjusted his tie. “Some of our investors did pull out but we have received more payment from Mount weather-”

 

“Payment for what?”

 

“For capturing those immortals,” Titus stated. “We are still negotiating the financial aspect of it-”

 

“What financial aspect?”

 

Titus looked at her like she was a foreign film without subtitles. “Lexa, we gave them keys to the future. What those immortals have in their blood is invaluable. We found them, we brought them here. We will get what we are owed for it-”

 

Lexa pinched the bridge of her nose. Titus was insufferable. But what bothered her more was the fact that a few days ago she would have agreed with him. “They are people, Titus. Human beings. They are not ours to sell.”

 

Titus scoffed. “What has gotten into you, Lexa? We’ve talked about this before. They are not innocent. They are trained killers. Morever, they’ve been selfish with their gifts. We are morally obliged to take it from them.” Lexa felt sick. The gaping hole in her stomach was growing. “Cage is supervising the testing as we speak-”

 

“How long will the testing take?”

 

“Until they have the results they can replicate.”

 

“I thought this was about samples. Blood, tissues, DNA-”

 

Titus laughed, a cruel mirthless sound that she hated. “Don’t be ridiculous. They are in business. Like us,” Lexa frowned. “Well, you know the concept of proprietary data -- and these immortals are the product. They will stay in cells, under lock and key as they should be-”

 

She shook her head, her frown growing. “For how long?”

 

“As long as they live, of course.” Titus waved a dismissive hand. “Mount Weather can’t have them strolling back out into the world, into their competitors’ laps. If this takes years, decades, what does it matter to them? As long as they are there, Mount Weather will keep paying us. It’s in the contract. If the whole world gets to know about them, they will snatch them like vultures. Mount Weather needs our resources for keeping the world out -”

 

“Titus I did not agree to this.” She gripped the edge of her desk hard. She could feel her revolver digging into her where she had tucked it safely. She knew Titus was an asshole. But his vile and greedy truth still surprised her. How had she respected such a man? How had she compared such a man to her father?

 

Titus let out a disappointed sigh. He turned his back on her and rubbed his bald head with his open palm. “I knew you would say something like that.” He pulled his jacket closer. When he turned, there was a pistol in his hand. “I apologize it has to be like this.” He shook his head in remorse. 

 

“Titus, what are you doing?” Her voice was calm but her eyes were fixed on the pistol he was holding. She stood up to her full height. There were guards outside, he will surely not do this right now. She wasn’t worried about dying per se. She was more scared of Titus discovering her immortality before she could save Clarke. “There are guards outside. You will never get away with this.”

 

He shrugged and took out a small black cylindrical barrel from his jacket pocket. He attached it to the gun’s muzzle. “I had high hopes for you, Lexa. You had a knack for business. I made you ruthless and cold. But you were always so fucking emotional just like Augustus. Your father-.”

 

She felt her blood boil. Her mouth felt like it was filled with sand. “Don’t say his name. You are traitor to his name, his company-”

 

“I built this company!” He screamed at her. “I am what kept it going. Your father had a vision. But he was never the one to take the hard decisions. He was a fucking coward!”

 

He fired at her left knee. She crumpled to the floor with a groan. It stung like a bright burning lash. She knew her wound would heal soon but it still hurt like hell. 

 

“Turns out you are a coward too. Must be something in the blood. Then there’s your sister. Such a hard head. Only useful in the field, being told what to do. A fucking bitch-”

 

“Shut up right now or I swear I will fucking kill you-” In reality, she wanted him to keep talking. She needed to hear it from him. 

 

Titus fired at her other knee, as she started to get up. She collapsed again. It shattered her knee cap and shot pain through her like holt molten iron.

 

He bent over to get to her eye level. His eyes were stripped of anything human. “This is my company. It always was and always will be.” He was on a tangent. His eyes misted with something dark and ghostly. “Your father died like you. By my hand.”

 

Lexa froze. All her pain ceased only to be replaced by cold rage. “You-you didn’t-”

 

“I did. He left me no choice. He was a weak man. He had made this deal with that fucking immortal, what was his name… Finn something… He treated him like a fucking civilian, signing some contract for a vial of blood, mediating between Mount Weather and that filth. He was giving away such a precious thing for nothing. He was blinded by love.” Titus stood up again as if reliving the greatest moment of his life. 

 

“I made a better deal. I promised Finn to Mount Weather forever. I got rid of your father and his weakness. I killed him. But that Finn boy made it harder. He slaughtered the whole town. But that was okay too because you were there. You were a foolish little girl with so much hate for these immortals. You were begging to be trained by me. You were begging for vengeance.”

 

Lexa felt the bullet getting out of her body. It fucking hurt but she let the pain fuel her rage. Appear weak when you are strong, appear strong when you are weak. She could get up if she wanted. But the truth hurt so much more than the bullets. She had followed and worshipped the traitor who had killed her father all these years like an idiot. And maybe, she thought, she deserved this pain.

 

“Do you have any idea how much money that Finn made us?” Titus rhetorically asked. “Still makes us?”

 

“What did you do to him?”

 

“We caught him. He was a lone wolf, unlike these delinquents. I gave him to Mount Weather. They paid us to pull our company out of debt. You were still a child back then.” He turned his back on her and walked to her chair, rotating it with his fingers. Probably thinking that it would soon be his. “Unfortunately Finn lost his immortality after the first few tests. They still kept him there and they still pay us because he is our property. Imagine how much money nine of these creatures could make us. Imagine a team of invincible mercenaries, soldiers, killing machines working for us once Mount Weather replicates their gene. Of course, you lack vision-”

 

 

Lexa was on her feet. Her trousers were soaked in her blood from knee down. Only a faint ache was there. Titus was busy relishing in his moment of glory. Bloody idiot. Never turn your back on the enemy, that’s what Anya had taught her . She walked slowly until she was standing behind him. He must have sensed her as he tried to turn back. But she was prepared. She slid her left hand under his jaw, clamping his neck between her arm and shoulder. She pulled her shoulder back and tightened the grip with her other hand as he gasped for air. 

 

“You wanted death, you wanted monsters, Titus? Let me show one to you,” She said, pulling his face up to the tall windows where they could see a faint reflection of themselves. His eyes were bulging. His face red. He whimpered. He dropped the gun he was holding. She pressed further. It was an excruciating process. He was taller and still fighting to get out of her chokehold, kicking his legs fruitlessly. 

 

“Love is not weakness, Titus.” Lexa calmly said. “It is a strength that a pathetic man like you will never understand.” Titus struggled under the hold for another moment. It took a lot of patience and rage to strangulate someone, she had it. Lexa waited until his body went slack. She slowly laid him on the floor, closed his lifeless eyes. He was not the man she looked up to anymore. He was a murderer. A monster in her own house. 

 

She wiped her hands on his coat and picked up his gun. None of her guards had come to her, they were on Titus’s payroll, she figured. But none of that mattered right now. She wasn’t sure how they would take the news of his departure so she had to be careful. 

 

There was a pool of her own blood on the floor. She removed his suit jacket and used it to clean up the blood. She dragged him over to a chair and placed his body so that it would seem like he was sleeping on the desk. She hid the bloody jacket behind her desk and composed herself once more. She just needed to ditch those guards, find Anya, fix this nonsense deal with Mount Weather and get Clarke and her friends as far away from Mount Weather as possible. 

 

She hoped that the guards wouldn’t notice her blood-soaked trousers as she tucked her gun behind her back and stalked to open the doors to her office. 

 

The hallway was eerily empty. 

 

She heard something whooshing, cutting the air beneath her right ear. Then a pinch. She touched and felt a small dart. The world went dark again. 

 




MILLER

 

They didn’t have to wait long to see the consequences of Murphy’s actions. Within an hour, Lexa was brought in. She was struggling against the hands holding her as the guards dragged her into the lab. Her trousers were wet with blood from the knee down. He had personally never disliked her. But after what she had done to Jackson, he was a little bit mad. Even though Jackson didn’t mind her, he always felt a bit protective of him around her. It was childish, he knew that. But that was the nature of love. 

 

Clarke was on her feet as they opened up the gate to throw her in. She opened her arms as Lexa fell right in them. Clarke’s eyes were soft and forgiving. She rubbed slow circles on Lexa’s back. Lexa grabbed the back of her shirt tightly as if she was afraid of letting go. When they pulled away, they shared a look that Miller knew so well. It was a smile, he shared with Jackson after every mission and before every time they kissed. It was - we are going to be okay. It was - I am here. It was I love you. 

 

It took Clarke and Lexa a minute to realize that they weren’t alone in the cell. Clarke cleared her throat before saying, 

 

“Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”

 

Lexa shook her head. “I am okay. I am sorry. I am so sorry.” Clarke held her hands in hers and squeezed them softly, prompting her to speak up. “I am sorry I shot you. I needed to know the truth and I thought I wou-would have a better chance from outside. I am s-”

 

“It’s okay.” Clarke put a hand on her cheek. “I understand.”

 

“I tried. I tried to make it right, but Titus was there and he-he tried to ki-kill me. He said he-he killed my dad, Clarke. I-I had to kill him.”

 

Clarke hugged her again. Lexa pressed her face in the crook of Clarke’s neck. She was shaking with grief as Clarke held her against her chest. “It’s okay, Lex. It’s going to be okay.” She kept whispering.

 

The others tried to give them their space as Clarke comforted her. Their first kill was always the hardest one to overcome. Jackson was his first in that way as well. He still vividly remembers the day he had tried to stab Jackson. It had taken some force and effort to disarm him. He was frozen on the spot after he had plunged his sword into Jackson’s heart. But at least in his case, Jackson had come back to life and he had found his soulmate.

 

He glanced at Jackson who was sitting beside him with a concerned look on his face. He smiled at him. Jackson was always concerned, always noticing small things about people around him. Always finding kindness in his heart despite all the hatred and evil they had witnessed throughout the years. Perhaps, that is why he loved him and kept falling for him every day even after centuries. 

 

Miller scooted closer to the love of his life and put his head on his shoulder, across from them Lexa was sitting with her head on Clarke’s shoulder, just like them. Miller could understand her a little better now.

 





RAVEN

 

Raven had only two small problems - slow internet and the entire fucking universe. 

 

One of them was really putting her brain to the test right now. 

 

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon.” She smacked her laptop hard. “Mother-goddam-shit!”

 

She had driven to a local cafe to find some wi-fi but it was so freaking slow that it made her blood boil. She had received the alert to not come back when she was barely ten minutes away from the church. The alert was entirely unnecessary because the helicopters flying over the area were a strong enough indication that their location had been compromised. 

 

She had driven away from there as fast as she could. She had hacked into the Tree Crew system and tracked Anya Woods after that. And as she had predicted Anya Woods was indeed leading the mission to retrieve her sister. Raven drove for seven hours straight following their vehicles. There were too many of them to fight. She needed to be smart about this. She needed to be Raven Reyes about this. 

 

She monitored the cameras in the Tower to figure out where her friends were taken. She had watched Lexa murdering Titus and being captured in the process. It was a brave but dumb move by her standards. She was impressed when Lexa had played them and exited the church with her sister, fooling them about her immortality, but that move in the Tower was not smart at all. So, the Tower was out of her list. And the only place being guarded by an army was the Mount Weather building. 

 

As of now, she was in a car, outside a cafe, trying to locate Anya Woods. That woman was a mystery, technically speaking. To her annoyance, Raven discovered that Anya didn’t own a smartphone and lived in a cave of a building with no CCTV cameras or wi-fi she could hack. The only hope she had was her neighbor’s webcam which also turned out to be of no use. She hated it but she had to do this the old-fashioned way. 

 

She tucked a pistol into her waistband and climbed three floors up into the ancient building with no elevator with Run boy Run by Woodkid playing in a loop in her head. Motherfuckers. She made a mental note to ask Lexa to give her sister a raise. She was panting by the time she reached Anya’s door with no confirmation that she was home. She stood awkwardly in front of the red door. 

 

How do people do these things? Should she kick down the door or knock or should she wait? There was a reason she liked to keep her hands clean. Clarke and the rest were best in this kinda stuff. Of course, she was good with any weapon, but she was best with technology. She exhaled and turned the annoyingly golden knob on the red door. 

 

It opened. Huh, she thought, that was easy. She took one step inside the dimly lit hallway. Before she could take another, she felt the air being knocked out of her lungs. She was thrown backward into the door, slamming the door shut behind her. She gasped and felt the impact of a few ribs being broken. Fuck. She was in the process of gathering her senses when she felt her gun being taken away; disassembled and thrown away in different pieces. Boy, she was out of practice. But what’s better than a little pain to remind you that you are alive, right? 

 

When she finally looked up to her attacker, she wished she had brought flowers or something. Anya was standing with her fists raised and hair beautifully disheveled, her tank top lifted up from a corner, and the leather pants lethally hugging her hips. Raven blinked a few times to make sure she wasn’t in a movie or high or dreaming or something. 

 

“We-we should come up with a secret handshake or something cause this greeting sucks.” Raven rasped, trying to control her breathing and a pant-bursting crush. “Look, I think I can explain,”

 

“You think?” Anya raised a perfect eyebrow. She took out a flip phone out of her pocket. Of course, she uses a flip phone. Raven rolled her eyes internally. “I am calling the police, you are staying exactly where you are.”

 

Raven rose up a little to get a clear view. “Uh, if you don’t mind, I would like to have this conversation without the police.”

 

“I didn’t ask for your preferences-” Anya was startled as Raven swung her fist. She dodged out of instinct. The phone fell out of her hand.

 

“Women, dirty blondes to be specifics but I don’t mind redheads either.” Taking benefit of the momentum, Raven threw her body weight on her. They slammed into a wall, knocked heads, drew apart in a flurry of punches and grabs. 

 

“Get the fuck off me,” Anya shouted, her face red. 

 

“Do all Woods siblings play this hard to get?”

 

“Are all immortals assholes?”

 

Fair enough. They were both bleeding, Anya from a cut on her lips and Raven from somewhere on her brow. Raven’s jacket was halfway over her head and Anya’s tank top had a slice near her abdomen. Her breath hitched when she looked at Anya. Who looks that graceful in a brawl? That’s unfair. At her best, she herself looked like an angry chimpanzee but Anya looked like some Amazonian warrior princess.

 

“Okay. Okay. Stop. Time out, please. I don’t want to hurt you-”

 

“You won’t be able to,” God, she was insufferable.  

 

“-Look, the police.” Raven stood up her full height and combed a hand through her ruffled hair, trying to look somewhat sane. “I say ditch them. Let’s just have a talk, just you and me, love.”

 

“Like we did last time?” Anya’s back was leaning against a wall as she suspiciously kept glancing at a nearby vase, like she wanted to break it on Raven’s head. Clearly she and Anya had very different definitions of collaboration.

 

“No,” Raven held up her hands in surrender. “Last time we thought your sister was a douchebag. Turns out she isn’t. So I am really counting on familial love and good genes and hoping that you will listen to me cause your sister is in trouble.”

 

That caught Anya’s attention. She folded her arms in an intimidating way that made Raven gulp a little. “Keep talking,”

 

“Mount Weather is holding my friends captive.” She continued.

 

“Like they should,”

 

Raven tsked. “You don’t believe Titus’s crap. It’s written all over your face. You only supported him because of Lexa.  But now that Lexa is…” She trailed off.

 

“Lexa what?” Anya took an aggressive step towards her. Raven didn’t budge. She was more than happy to close the distance between them but now wasn’t really the time to.

 

“Look, it’s a long story, you should probably hear this from your sister but since I am counting on you sisterly love, you should like… know this now-”

 

“Raven, get to the point,”

 

“Mount Weather took your sister.”

 

“You are lying. She is in a meeting with Titus.”

 

“You’d wish. Titus is in a meeting with god as far as I am concerned. Lexa killed him. Like strangled him real hard. He deserved it, to be honest.” She shrugged, pulling out her phone to show a video of Lexa’s office. She was impressed with Lexa and had initially wanted to form some sort of alliance with her up until Cage Wallace got her as well. 

 

Anya held her head in her hands. She looked at it with pure disbelief. “What does Mount Weather have to do with Lexa?” 

 

“It’s complicated-”

 

“Then uncomplicate it!”

 

It sucked that she had to handle this so she handled it like she handled most things in life, by blurting it out in one breath. “Lexa is an immortal. We are also immortals. Mount Weather is like a typical Disney villain. They want our blood so that they can keep us under control like some highly trained ninja drug addicts slash killing machines slash test monkeys,” Raven held her breath for what seemed like an eternity. Anya said nothing, just responded with a thoughtful huh, that makes sense . Huh, “You don’t seem surprised?”

 

“I figured something was up. She fell from a bridge in a car and survived that grenade in the cemetery without a scratch. And now with Titus-”

 

“Oh, my god, you are a genius like me-” 

 

“But she hasn’t done anything wrong-” 

 

“Huh, maybe not-” Raven mumbled to herself.

 

“She wasn’t even part of the deal. Where did they take her?” Anya said, ignoring Raven. She wiped the blood on her lips with her thumb. 

 

“Same place as my friends. Mount Weather headquarters. Believe it or not, we kinda care about your sister. She is our people now.” Raven said sincerely. “I need your help, your access to get them out. I would have done it myself but it will take a lot of time that I am afraid they don’t have.”

 

Anya nodded, still skeptical of what she was saying. “Okay, what’s the plan?”

 

“Shoot as many people as we can before we die?” 

 

“What?”

 

“Fake our own deaths and flee the country?”

 

“No, you idiot, once we get in, how do we get out assuming we are not already dead?”

 

“Uh… that’s one way to… look at it,” Raven scratched the back of her neck as Anya rolled her eyes. Planning shootouts wasn’t her forte. “Okay. Alright. I don’t have a better plan yet. I will figure something out once we are in there.”

 

Anya pushed her away with one hand and grabbed a jacket and her keys. “I don’t know why I am doing this with you?” She muttered, opening up her front door and holding it for Raven.

 

“Cause I am awesome?” Raven winked and followed her out of the building. 

 

“No. You are an asshole in seventeen different languages.”

 

Fair enough.  

 


 

Chapter Text

ANYA

 

What the fuck am I doing?

 

The thought went through Anya’s head for the thirty-sixth time after agreeing to this clusterfuck of a plan with Raven. She was driving them to the Mount Weather headquarters. Raven was going on and on about something related to servers and the internet and baby koalas that she did not actually comprehend. 

 

“-Koalas have really supportive butts. Living in trees and being wedged between rough branches requires a lot of support. Luckily-”

 

What?

 

  “I am sorry,” She interrupted. “How is this related to saving my sister?”

 

“It’s not.” Raven looked at her like she was the one making no sense. “I told you the plan like seventeen minutes ago-”

 

“We have been driving for only seven minutes-”

 

“Yes,” Raven said. “But the plan was in my head-”

 

“Okay, okay,” Anya held up her hand exasperatedly. “Can you repeat it? In English and a lot dumber.” Anya had tuned out her blabbering for the most part. 

 

“Sure,” Raven grinned. “So, with your key card, you will get me into the server room so that I can hack into the mainframe computer to erase all the information they have on us and then distract them enough to rescue our friends. Simple.”

 

It was the shittiest plan she had ever heard in her life. Anya shook her head and opened her mouth to say something but her phone rang. She parked the car on the side and picked it up.

 

“Lieutenant Woods,” Lincoln said with a heavy voice. “We have a problem. Um, problems, actually.” 

 

“I am listening.”

 

“They found Mr. Flame’s body in the Commander’s office.” He hesitated. “Commander is missing. And Cage Wallace just called and asked Tree Crew soldiers to vacate the headquarters. Apparently, they are canceling the contract.”

 

“Fuck!” She gripped the steering wheel until her knuckles were white. 

 

“I am sorry…” Lincoln tried to say.

 

“I don’t need your apology.” She said. “I need you to meet me at Mount Weather. I have someone with me. We need access to their server rooms.”

 

“But, they already confiscated our cards and canceled our access - ”

 

“Fuck me,” Anya said, frustrated. 

 

“Gladly, love” Raven muttered, smirking.

 

“Now is not the time.” Anya glared at her like a lioness.  Anya cut a left corner particularly hard, causing Raven to lurch and knock her head against the side window. 

 

“Bloody, cunt,” She muttered under her breath, making Anya smile with satisfaction.

 

“Lincoln,” Anya said into the phone, ignoring Raven’s whining. “I will meet you there in five. Stay in there. I am coming.”

 

“That’s what she said,” Raven muttered again. 

 

Anya ignored her. Raven’s plan sounded lunatic at best but at least it was a plan. She was annoying and half of the things she said didn’t make any sense. She was a criminal. A liar and a murderer. But she was cute and smart and - What the fuck am I doing?

 

She parked her car in the alleyway behind Mount Weather headquarters. Lincoln was waiting by the emergency red door wearing his white shirt and black suit uniform. Anya gave him a curt nod as Raven collected her gadgets in a backpack to take inside. 

 

“Status.” Any said, making her way through the back door. 

 

“Mount Weather’s security escorted our soldiers out of the building.”

 

“All of them?” Raven asked. 

 

Lincoln eyed her suspiciously. “All of them except me. I slipped back here through the emergency doors.” He turned to Anya. 

 

“How many guards do they have inside?” Raven inquired.

 

“Fifty, maybe sixty,” he answered. 

 

“What kind of CEO rolls around with his own personal army?” Raven wondered.

 

“These days?” Anya chuckled. “Most of them.”

 

“We will have to be careful then.” Raven took out a cell phone-like device and gestured towards the stairs. Anya screwed a silencer on her gun and aimed it in front of her. 

 

“Uh, may I ask, what is going on?” Lincoln asked out of frustration. He did not like to be kept in the dark apparently. “Something obviously happened.”

 

Anya nodded in confirmation but didn’t give him an answer. She wasn’t sure whether or not to trust him with this. In fact, she realized in horror that right now she couldn’t fully trust anyone else except the annoyingly cute immortal engineer beside her. 

 

“You can go back and report to the base. I can handle it from here.” She said as they reached a set of stairs that will lead them to the underground floors. 

 

“But--”

 

“It’s an order, soldier.” She said sharply. Lincoln lingered a little bit but then shook his head and turned back to the door. Raven let out a slow whistle and raced her down the stairs. Anya rolled her eyes.

 

Level minus one was clear, they didn’t open the door that led to the main floor. Raven informed that the server room was on level minus four. According to the official plans, the building wasn’t supposed to have underground construction. Yet, here they were. 

 

Raven scoffed. “How come someone gets away with so much illegal shit when I can’t even get away with overspeeding?”

 

“You get away with - ”

 

“You don’t need to answer that.” Raven cut her off. “It was a purely rhetorical question.”

 

Anya wanted to dig a hole, get into it and just scream. Raven Reyes was insufferable.

 

She just wished that she could go back in time to convince Lexa to never send their team to the harbor, to get over Titus’s unhealthy obsession with the delinquents and find something productive or spiritual or therapeutic or whatever the fuck people did to heal from childhood trauma. She hadn’t been able to sleep in a week with Lexa gone, she could feel its effect as her hands shook mildly from concentration. The only reason Lexa wasn’t assumed dead was because her body hadn’t been found which hadn’t been reassuring to her at all. She just wished to be in her bathtub with a glass of wine and a Lana del Rey song.

 

“Hate to interrupt your musings but I think we are here,” Raven pointed to a door at the end of the landing. 

 

A red board on top of a metal door said ‘ - 4’ in white letters. 

 

“This is it,” Anya said, holding her gun higher and pointing it towards the door. 

 

“Duh,” Raven said under her breath. “Like minus four isn’t written on the door.” 

 

She just wished she could kiss the genius so that she would shut up for longer than a minute. It was a tactical wish. 

 

Raven searched her pocket for something. She took out two small shiny metal pins and crouched down to the keyhole. She bit her bottom lip and stuck her tongue out a little bit. Anya stood guard and tried not to stare at the devilish brunette. 

 

A bare second later, Raven pressed down the handle and the door swung open. Anya went ahead and checked the corners. They stepped into a seemingly empty hallway, illuminated by bright white light and white marble floor. These people and their obsession with white made her want to puke. 

 

“There,” Raven pointed to a door at the end of the hallway with her gun. “Let’s go.” 

 

They raced down the hallway, passing a set of elevator doors. The air smelled of polished metal. There was a weird buzz of electricity. There were no guards on patrol as of now at least.

 

“I need an eye,” Raven said out of nowhere.

 

“What?!”

 

“An eye from someone who has access to this room.” 

 

As if on cue, the elevator doors opened and two guards stepped out aiming their gun at them. 

 

“Great.” Raven held up her hands and grinned. Anya looked at her like she had grown two heads. 

 

“Stay right where you are-” One of them shouted but before he could finish his sentence, Anya put a bullet through his mouth and another through his friend's head. 

 

“Good shot,” Raven said with a wink. She ran down to their bodies and squatted to search their pockets for the key card. She pulled out a small knife from her boots. Anya’s eyes widened. She was fucking serious about the whole eye thing. 

 

Raven used one hand to force open one eye and used another to thrust a knife through his socket. Anya felt like throwing up. She closed her eyes but opened them again remembering to keep guard. She looked anywhere but at Raven’s hands. From the looks of it, Raven wasn’t faring any better either. 

 

“Sometimes, I hate this job,” Raven stood up, her hand covered in blood; holding his dismembered eye. “I mean, most of the time,” Anya avoided looking at it but it kept looking at her. This was supposed to be her off day. She was supposed to watch Grey’s Anatomy, on her couch with a beer and pizza. But here she was watching Raven carve out eyes from a stranger's face. She hated her job too. 

 

What the fuck am I doing?

 

They ran back to the server room. Raven placed the bodiless eye in front of a scanner. The door opened with a low hiss. The room was lit by a thousand different red and green LEDs coming from servers all around them. There were rows and rows of seemingly endless servers. Raven turned on a flashlight and looked at something written in her hand in black ink. 

 

She gestured at Anya to follow her down a row of servers. Anya made herself follow her despite the creepy vibe of the server room. Raven stopped in front of a column that looked just as same as the hundred others beside it. She bent down and opened her backpack; taking out two laptops, a pen drive, and several cables. She arranged them on the floor and plugged the drive into the server. She was muttering some technical jargon that made no sense to Anya. 

 

“Keep guard,” Raven said, her mind solely focused on her laptop screens as rows and rows of code started appearing. “I’m gonna make them blind.” She smirked as her finger glided gracefully across both the keyboards. 

 

Anya would have been bothered by the growing crush she had on the brunette if her mind wasn’t occupied by thoughts of saving her sister. In under a minute, one laptop screen was showing live CCTV footage from all over the building. Raven selected a camera that showed some lab, parted in between by a glass wall. 

 

“That’s them,” Anya saw a boy strapped to a chair and several other people walking inside the glass cell.

 

“Motherfuckers.” Raven cursed. “Let’s see how they manage without CCTVs.” Raven typed some code into her other laptop as Anya just stared at it. 

 

“What are you doing?” She eventually asked. 

 

“I am turning the security cameras off,” Raven explained. “Only we can watch them now.” She paused. “That sounded creepy, didn’t it?”

 

“Honestly, I don’t care,” Anya said.

 

Raven smiled, her eyes glued to the screens and fingers to the keyboards. “It would take me hours to hack all their data, so I’m just gonna have to irreversibly corrupt all of it.”

 

“Don’t they have a backup of the data somewhere?”

 

“Yes, but… in Layman’s terms, you can say that this virus - that I made - it’s going to corrupt those files as well.” Raven proudly said. “They won’t even know what hit them-”

 

“Reyes, look,” Anya pointed at the screen showing the camera right outside of the server room door. Six heavily armed guards exited the elevator and marched towards them. 

 

Merde ,” Raven clenched her teeth and typed faster as a new screen appeared on her other computer. The guards stopped to examine the dead bodies, checking for a pulse. One of them threw up in a corner after seeing a dismembered eye.

 

“I’ll handle them-” Anya said, lifting up her gun.

 

“No, no, no,” Raven scrambled up to her feet. “You stay put. They want me.” Raven firmly stated.

 

“My sister is out there. I have to save her.”

 

“You dying wouldn’t help to save her. Trust me. Out of the two of us, I’m the one who can survive dying, one way or another.”

 

Anya still hesitated. She couldn’t just let her walk out of there. These men were dangerous, they wouldn’t hesitate to shoot her on sight. But Raven was right about it. She nodded reluctantly. “Okay, what do you need me to do?”

 

Raven genuinely smiled. “Here,” She pointed at the second laptop which was now showing a different screen. “Press this option and select yes when I give you the signal.”

 

“What will it do?” 

 

“It will cut off the power source that is all the lights and alarms for sixty seconds. After that they will turn on the emergency generators, so we could only do it once. Remember, after I give the signal - ”

 

“Press this button and select yes.” 

 

“Good.” Raven cocked her gun and turned to face the way they had come in from. 

 

“Raven, wait,” She said, surprising even herself. She took a step till she was facing Raven. She put a hand on her cheek and leaned in until their lips met. She could feel a weird warm feeling coursing up from her belly. Raven was soft, tentative, but smiling nonetheless. It was barely a kiss but it relieved some of the tension Anya was feeling all along. She felt thrilled and calm at the same time.

 

“What was that for, love?” Raven smirked. Anya was ready to kiss her again. 

 

“Motivation.” Anya found herself smiling despite the danger of the moment. 

 

“I didn’t expect you to be such a romantic. But I like it.”

 

“Now go save the world, genius.”

 

Raven winked and put a small knife between her teeth as she turned around and jogged up to the door. Now, she had to come out of this alive, Anya thought as she went back to the laptop. The guards were all lined up in formation to breach the door. Raven was ready on the other end, with her guns raised.

 

What the fuck was she doing here?

 

Whatever she was doing, it felt like the right thing to do.

 

------

 

CLARKE

 

She kept repeating Jasper’s monologue in her head. Every word that he said. It wasn’t anything new. She had had the same conversation with herself every morning. She knew about the medical trials and the deportation. But hearing it from Jasper - it hurt. She couldn’t help but feel like she had failed spectacularly. 

 

Lexa was sitting beside her with her head resting on Clarke’s shoulder as Clarke held her closer with an arm behind her back. Their closeness grounding them in the chaos.  Killing Titus had obviously taken a toll on her. Lexa was trying to conceal her emotions about it but Clarke could see right through her. Her shoulders were stiff, her breathing labored and she kept rubbing the underside of her left wrist like some nervous tick. No matter what, Titus was someone Lexa trusted with her life. She hadn’t put a bullet through him, she had choked him, watched the life being snuffed out of him. The reality of killing someone was now dawning upon her as the adrenaline subsided. Clarke didn’t know where to even start that conversation. All she could think was that they had to get out of here. None of them deserved this, no matter how fucked up their life choices had been. They could always do better. 

 

Her mind was reeling with possible escape plans. She couldn’t bear to see her friends like science monkeys. She knew at least eight hours had passed since they had been brought here from the wristwatch the doctor was wearing. She knew Jasper had been drained of blood four times during that. She knew Cage Wallace was just here to take a briefcase from the doctor containing a vial of compound I. She had lip-read him saying, ‘ I want faster results.'   There were twelve heavily armed guards in the room including Whitman. They could easily handle them if they could break the glass by some miracle.

 

Lexa moved to scratch her wrist again. “Do you want to talk about it?” Clarke asked. Lexa scooted even closer to her. She shook her head no in answer. 

 

“What’s the plan, Clarke?” She asked. 

 

“There’s no plan.” She replied. 

 

A smile was tugging on her lips as she said, “I know your scheming face, Clarke. The last time I saw it, you asked Echo to jump into the river. This time I would really like a heads up.”

 

Clarke chuckled. “Trust me, there’s nothing, yet. I was just thinking about Raven. She should be halfway across the country by now with a new name and everything. But she is a genius idiot so I doubt she followed the standard procedure.”

 

“She will be okay,” Lexa said. “What’s going on with him though?” Lexa briefly glanced at Murphy. “He has been trying to catch your eye for a while now. But he looks away every time I catch him doing it.”

 

Clarke didn’t look at him. She knew she would forgive him eventually but not so soon. “He told Cage that you were an immortal to buy us some time.”

 

Lexa’s mouth formed a perfect oh that Clarke definitely didn’t want to kiss. “Did he think I betrayed you? Did they? Did you?”

 

“No, never,” Clarke shook her head. “Some of them did. It’s in our nature not to trust anyone. People die when we do.”

 

“But you did trust me anyway. Why?”

 

Clarke touched the side of her face softly. “I don’t know.” She shrugged a little. “It’s like - I can’t really explain it- It’s gonna sound stupid but it was like an instinct - I knew you had something in your mind. The look in your eyes when you did it - it wasn’t hate. It was hate for a long time before that but that night in the cemetery it was more. I put my faith in that - instinct? Does that make sense?”

 

Lexa nodded. She seemed like she understood exactly what Clarke was saying. 

 

“Besides, you once promised that you will kill me.”

 

Clarke could see a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Clarke leaned in and kissed that corner. Lexa gave her a full-blown grin. 

 

“Clarke, we really need to get out of here,” Lexa whispered with a smile. 

 

Before she could reply, she heard the door opening once again. It was the door of the main lab. Clarke stood up, so did Lexa and the rest of her friends. Cage Wallace strutted to the centre of the room as if there was a spotlight on him. What does he want now, their applause? Grand salute?  He flashed his wicked grin and pushed his hands into his pocket trying to look intimidating, but failing miserably. It was hard to feel intimidated by someone wearing an all-white suit. Clarke just wanted to paint it red with his blood.

 

“Alexandria Augustus Woods, youngest female CEO of one of the leading fortune 500 companies. I cannot say I am not impressed. Although I am surprised that you conspired with this lot, given Titus’s stance against them. But you being one of these explains everything.”

 

Lexa stepped closer to the glass. She was standing different, Clarke noticed. She looked older somehow, taller even.  Her edges were sharper, almost regal in a terrifying way as if he was the one in a cage. Clarke stood behind her in awe as she stared down at Cage Wallace with her hands behind her back. 

 

“Perhaps you are too young in the business to not know what you are dealing with.” She stepped closer as Cage took a step back. Her anger was so hot, the air bent and wavered around her. “But trust me, Cage Wallace, this is not going to end well for you. People know who I am. They will start questioning. And when my sister finds you, and I have my fingers on your neck, I will make sure that you drink your food for the rest of your life.”

 

Clarke could bet Cage pictured it himself as he lost some color on his face. He took a minute to compose himself once again. “The world will be searching for you, yes. But as the CEO who killed her own advisor in cold blood.” He smirked when he realized that he had touched a sore point. “Until then I will carve slices off you for years to get what I want. Your time is coming.” 

 

Clarke clenched her fists, willing herself not to punch the glass. The last thing she wanted was to get strapped to a chair. But Murphy walked up to stand beside Lexa. 

 

“As is yours, Wallace.” he didn’t blink as he spoke. 

 

Cage laughed mirthlessly. “Oh, really,” He said. “You lot think you are in the position to make threats. Cute. Let me introduce our next test subject.” He turned to Whitman. “Bring her in.”

 

The doors opened once again. Four Mount Weather guards were holding a furious brunette under control. 

 

“Raven…” Echo gasped out. 

 

“I have to admit,” Cage stated, not moving from his place as if she was just an inconvenience to his plan. “She is a clever one - ”

 

“I was clever six centuries ago. I am a genius now.” Raven spat back instantly. 

 

“Rey,” Octavia shouted. “Are you okay?”

 

“Fabulas. Having the fucking time of my life. Always dreamt of being a science monkey. And look there’s a T.V.,” Raven shouted back. A big guy held her down to the table as the doctor inserted a tube on her left arm. “ Nina mpango. Usijali. Subiri ishara. ” 



Ishara? ” Miller put a hand over his mouth. “She is definitely not okay.” 

 

“We have to do something,” Jackson said, clenching his teeth.

 

Clarke placed a hand on the glass and leaned against; looking at Cage directly in his eyes. “Listen to me very carefully, you don’t know us very well. If you don’t let us go right now you will regret bringing us here in the first place.” 

 

Cage straightened his spine, glided his hand over slick dark hair. “I am sorry but I don’t have a choice. I am doing this for all of humanity. There’s a genetic code inside you that can improve the life of every human being on Earth. I am morally obliged to take it.” He turned to his scientist yelling, “I need faster results.” and left the room with his half a dozen guards in tow.

 

Clarke released an excruciating breath. Raven was already looking paler, the blood draining out of her body. She clenched her jaw and turned to her team. Steps backwardse say, the last part?” Lexa asked, curious.

 

“She asked to wait for the signal,” Bellamy said in a whisper, careful about the guards outside.

 

“How do we know the signal?” Lexa asked. 

 

“If it’s Raven’s signal,” Said Octavia. “Trust me you will see it - ”

 

The lights went out completely, descending the room into pure impenetrable darkness.

 

“Or not see it,” Octavia finished. 

 

Clarke found Lexa’s hand in the dark as she tried to make sense of what was going on from the sounds. The guards were certainly not ready for the lights out. Neither were they sure how it was supposed to help them. The guards started shouting incoherent orders at each other, fumbling with their flashlights. 

 

“Watch the prisoners-” One of them ordered.

 

“You can’t watch them without light, you dipshit.” It was Raven’s voice. “Clarke, get away from the glass.”

 

Clarke instantly stepped back, taking Lexa with her. Ten consecutive shots rang too close to her but nothing happened. The guards had turned their flashlights on and all of them were pointing at Raven who was halfway hanging from the operating table. The lights came back on and Clarke saw the extent of what had happened. 

 

In the dark, Raven had cut through the strap binding her to the table with a pocket knife that was now lying on the floor. With one hand she had managed to disarm a guard and fired at the glass door nine times on the same spot near the hinges where it should have been theoretically weakest, missing one bullet to hit another soldier. Unfortunately, the glass hadn’t shattered. There were visible cracks on it but it hadn’t broken. 

 

“Of course it’s motherfucking bulletproof,” Raven groaned through gritted teeth. “Fuck! God Dammit.” She aimed at the closest guard and shot him straight in the head as they tried to approach her. She fired at another approaching guard. And then again at the door, very close to the hinges. But her position wasn’t advantageous. Whitman had gathered his senses as he aimed his gun on her back and shot her from behind like the coward he was. 

 

Raven let out a heart-wrenching cry. The shock of it made her grip lose on the gun. Whitman lunged at it and kicked it out of her reach. He pointed his gun at her head. 

 

“No!” Octavia punched the glass in frustration. 

 

“Don’t shoot at her,” Dr. Tsing yelled in a clipped accent, coming out of the corner she was hiding in. “She does not have enough blood to heal. Don’t shoot.” She stood in between the gun and Raven’s almost lifeless body. 

 

He groaned and ordered his men to go and check who had done this. No remorse in his eyes as she smiled smugly at Raven’s writhing body. 

 

“Enough of this fucking shit,” Clarke muttered. The rage moving in her was a wild thing. It could not stay inside. It had to go somewhere. And the half-broken glass was nothing compared to pure unadulterated rage. 

 

She walked a few stepsbackwards, took a deep breath then ran into the glass, jamming her shoulder against it. It didn’t break but the cracks started to widen. “FUCK!” Her shoulder hurt like somebody had set it on fire. 

 

Getting the idea, Bellamy and Miller shared a nod before doing the same thing consecutively. The guards scrambled to aim their weapons at them. It was of no use. Clarke slammed her shoulder at it again after Bellamy. It was painful progress but it was something. Echo and Octavia stood next to as Bellamy healed from a fracture. 

 

“This is some serious cowboy horseshit!” Echo’s words were thick with a  Russian accent. She punched the glass once. Twice. Thrice… until her hand was an angry red, white bone protruding out of her knuckles. She stopped with an animalistic growl when the pain became unbearable. The cracking white lines on the transparent glass were meeting, making a dense spider web. 

 

Outside, Whitman was calling for backup, shouting at his guards to take positions. 

 

“My turn motherfuckers,” Murphy rolled his shoulders back, ready to pounce at the glass with full force. Once. Twice… 

 

The third time Murphy slammed it, a guard panicked; shooting at the glass with his machine gun, making their job much easier. They all ducked as the glass wall started to shatter into a million glittering pieces. Their ears were ringing, they had scratches all over their necks and arms and faces, but they had adrenaline in their veins. 

 

Stray bullets hit Murphy but he shrugged them off as nothing. The small gap in the wall was widened as he forced his body to go through the protruding glass, slicing his shirt and skin. Whitman was ready to shoot him down but Murph was quick on his feet. He dodged as a tranquilizer flew past him; keeping low he jammed his injured shoulder to a guard’s middle. He screamed; falling as the pain tore him apart. 

 

Chaos erupted like a raging volcano. Gunshots rang out in cacophony.

 

Clarke was hot on his heels. A bullet grazed her cheek. She moved; agile; swift on her feet, almost a blur. You can’t shoot what you can’t see. They rained bullets on her, but nothing hit anything essential. A guard stopped for reloading; Clarke dashed for his wrist; twisting it until he let off it with a cry. Kicking his knee out, she got behind him, wrapped her arm around his neck, and snapped. 

 

Lexa barreled into another guard aiming for Clarke; he stumbled, his grip loosening. She went for his face, dislocating his jaw. Immortality had done wonders for her confidence in combat. She lunged for his gun, unafraid even as he started shooting at her - her ears rang as bullets flew past. Half of her face covered with her own blood, she disarmed the guard, wrestling his gun away and shot point-blank before collapsing on him. Every one of her senses felt like they were on fire. 

 

Clarke strode forward, dropping two guards with two well-placed bullets apiece when they tried to get their hands on an exhausted Lexa. Her healing abilities were still painfully slow as her body rejected the bullets that had penetrated her skin.

 

“Behind you-” Octavia who was in the midst of pushing her thumbs into a guard’s eyes, shouted at her.

 

Clarke turned, crouched, a dart went past her, hitting another guard in the neck. She smirked as Whitman struggled to load another dart. Dr. Tsing was cowering behind him. Clarke ejected the spent clips, slapped in a replacement, aimed for his leg and shot. He collapsed on one knee, screaming. But his scream was indistinguishable between the screams, grunts and cries all around the room. 

 

A bullet hit Clarke's forearm, Lexa fired at the shooter with a gun she had picked up. 

 

“Thanks,” She said, shaking her arm to regain blood flow as it healed. Lexa smirked in response. She was the visage of death, her chest etched with bullet wounds, blood trickling down his face, wet, dirty, wounded, pale, and yet she was unstoppable. She seemed like she belonged with them.  

 

Miller was covering for Jackson, taking him unharmed to where Raven was still strapped to an operating table. Jackson used Raven’s knife to cut through the straps as Miller shot an incoming guard.

 

Clarke reloaded the handgun, picking up ammo from Whitman’s side. She faced Dr. Tsing, who to her credit, had decided to be brave in her last moments.

 

“Please!” She pleaded. “I am a scientist!”

 

“A very unethical one,”

 

“You think I am unethical.” She said, rising up to match Clarke’s height. “That I go too far. I am a scientist! I think this can change the world. It is my moral responsibility-”

 

Behind her, Murphy lifted up a finger, effectively shushing her. “Don’t you think it’s a little bit immoral to take something that isn’t yours?”

 

“We brought a cancer drug on the market last quarter. It’s already saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Yet, in development, it killed a quarter of a million lab mice. Now, I didn’t ask for their little permissions. I was not going to ask for yours.” 

 

“She thinks we are fucking mice.” Murphy laughed. He laughed and laughed, mirthlessly, turning to Clarke, looking for permission. 

 

She gave him a curt nod. He put a bullet through Dr. Tsing’s head. 

 

“What the fuck, Murphy?” Clarke shouted, bewildered.

 

“What?” Murphy looked bewildered. “You gave me the kill her nod.”

 

“No,” Clarke said. “It was the bind-and-gag-her-to-use-as-a-hostage nod.”

 

“Oops.” Murphy shrugged, clearly not regretting his decision. Clarke rolled her eyes, making a mental note to have this conversation later. 

 

They kept going until the only people standing were theirs.

 

By the time they stopped, they all looked like they have died a few times over, and some of them had. Clarke’s eyes involuntarily searched for Lexa. She nodded once when their eyes met. Lexa nodded back. A silent conversation. Lexa was okay, dripping with blood from head to toe but okay. Clarke released a breath she was holding. At least they were out of that suffocating cage. 

 

“Everyone…” Bellamy was panting, his hands holding the gun where he had just shot a guard in the mouth, “...alive?”

 

Clarke did a quick headcount. Except for Whitman and Dr. Tsing, every other guard was either on the floor or dead against some medical equipment. The room looked like a Jackson Pollock painting painted with red only. 

 

Echo was gasping for air, hands on her knees, barely standing upright. Clarke, too, could feel the ache settling in her muscles. Murphy, however, was standing over Whitman with a gun.    

 

“You will never get out of here alive,” He gritted out. 

 

“Neither will you,” Murphy fired right behind his eyes. He fell on the floor with a thud. 

 

---

 

Raven was still writhing in pain. Her face was ash-white. She cried as Jackson tried to clean her wound. Her back was red on the operating table, jaws set, bleeding from the corner of her mouth where she had bit her tongue. 

 

“She isn’t… healing?” Octavia’s voice was quiet, too afraid to say it out loud. 

 

“The bullet is lodged too deep in her spine,” Jackson replied. His face was carved in horror. “I have to get it out.”

 

“He shot her when she was out of blood.” Dr. Tsing said from her corner, they turned to look at her. “She will not heal, same as your other friend.” She glanced at Jasper. 

 

A cold, numb silence descended over them. 

 

Clarke was the closest to where Jasper was laying. Jasper’s eyes were open slightly. His lips curved in a way like he was smiling at a joke only he knew. His half-lidded eyes void of any life. He wasn’t moving. She could not move. She felt Lexa’s hand on her back, offering some sort of comfort. They were so preoccupied with getting out they forgot that his life was on the line too. 

 

Bellamy bristled in his steps as he made his way to him. Hesitating, he placed two fingers on the base of his neck. After a tentative second, he looked like he might throw up. 

 

“He is not breathing.” His voice was barely audible over Raven’s painful whimpering. 

 

A soft gaze from Lexa reminded her to breathe. She forced herself to step up, to get it together. The most important battles are fought in the mind. Jasper lost his. But she hasn’t. Her friends haven’t. The dead are gone. But the living are still fighting. 

 

Echo held onto Bellamy as his whole body trembled with grief. Clarke wiped her hands on a clean section of her shirt and closed Jasper’s eyes. 

 

“May we meet again.” She whispered, kissing the top of his head. 

 

Clarke wiped the tears that had collected in the corner of her eyes and loaded her gun with a resolute sigh. 

 

“What now?” Asked Octavia quietly.

 

She looked at Bellamy, conveying, we have to get out of here. He nodded, gathering himself. There was still a fight left in him. Left in all of them. Clarke took a deep breath, willing her heart to stop beating so loudly. 

 

Jackson was temporarily patching up Raven. He had injected her with some painkillers to lessen the pain. He had warned, she didn’t have much time. The bullet was stuck inside. Her body was fighting to spit it out. But the damage on the tissue was irreversible, trapping her in an unending loop of unbearable pain. If they didn’t take out the bullet soon enough, she could have permanent damage.

 

She turned around, did a three-sixty of the room. There was only one visible exit, the same door they had come in from. If only they could -  

 

“Since… the bullet has reduced my mobility to… ahh…  fuckall,” Raven gasped out. “I’d r-really appreciate one of your… motivational speeches…”

 

She had to give it to Raven to find humor in one of the darkest situations. “Alright,” She said. “The longer we wait here the harder it will be for us to get out - ”

 

“Obviously-”

 

“-Pick up as many weapons as you can. Cover Jackson and get Raven out of here first thing. Shoot everything that moves and get out of here as fast as you can.”

 

 




LEXA

 

That’s it? That’s the plan? Lexa was skeptical. If this is how they operate, no wonder they have died so many times.

 

“What about Jasper?” Miller asked.

 

“We carry him with us,” Clarke stated. “No man left behind. No evidence of our existence left behind, no blood or tissue or whatever the fuck they took from us - ”

 

“That also means virtual data-” Lexa interrupted.

 

“I can… can take care… of it…” Raven groaned, trying to sit up straighter. 

 

“Absolutely not,”  Jackson pushed her back on the reclining chair. “Don’t you dare move a muscle if you want to walk ever again.”

 

Fuck.

 

Murphy cleared his throat pointedly. “Is anyone seeing the only closed door that I am seeing? Shouldn’t we get out of this first? Cause like for all we know the firing squad is lined up on the other side.”

 

“Let’s open it-”

 

“You won’t be able to unless you have C-4s or some grenades.” Lexa interrupted, stopping Bellamy from storming into the door. “The building is on lockdown. It can be only opened from the outside with a specific code - ”

 

“How do you know that?” Miller questioned.

 

“Because I signed a deal with Mount Weather. Tree Crew was responsible for Mount Weather’s security. I know everything - ”

 

Murphy feigned a cough. “Notthefivesecretfloorsunderground.” 

 

Lexa glared at him as if she wanted to put him in a meat grinder. 

 

“So you know the code too?” Clarke asked.

 

“Yes, but I am not outside, am I?” She raised an eyebrow. “We will have to think of another way-”

 

“Or maybe not.” Echo said, pointing to the small gap beneath the door. Silhouettes moved under it, interrupting the single line of white light. People were moving outside. How many, they couldn’t tell. 

 

Clarke signaled them to pick up the weapons and ammunition from the dead guards. They kept their feet light, not to give away their position. Jackson cut off the electricity wires, turning the room dark. Treading slowly, Lexa retrieved a submachine gun from one of them, unfolded the stock, and pressed it to her shoulder. Clarke signaled Bellamy and Echo to get on each side of the door, while Miller and Murphy knelt upfront behind a desk with guns trained at the door’s center. 

 

“Jackson, cover Reyes,” She whispered, ignoring Raven’s muted protest to jump into the action. “I’ll cover you,” Clarke then turned to Lexa who was standing right next to her, “Lex, you are with me, right?”

 

Lexa nodded once. “Always - ”

 

Clarke felt it before she saw it. Lexa was cut off as the air around them exploded. The door burst out in a hail of metal debris, knocking them all off their feet. Everything turned into dust, confusion, and chaos.

 

Well fuck.  





From Mount Weather's security footage, later deleted