You had to stand there saying:
I love you, I love you, I love you
we’re soul mates, you and I, but that doesn’t mean it works
that doesn’t mean it works
that means my soul can’t bear to be without yours
but that doesn’t mean it works
—“You Couldn’t Just Leave?” Trista Mateer
When you first read your tattoo, you’re four years old and very curious.
It doesn’t take long for the tales to reach your ears—stories of people’s first signs of their soul mates being written against the very essence of their skins. You’ve often seen your mother tracing her fingers against the skin of your father’s shoulder, where an expanse of black ink lay. It sparks your curiosity—and it makes you wish you could read already because you want to know the first thing your soul mate says to you when he finally sees you for the first time.
So, you’re four years old and standing in front of the mirror, looking for the tattoo amongst your body parts. You try your shoulder, the back of neck, your arms but nothing. You’re so close to crying that by the time your dad finds you, there are already tears brimming in your eyes.
“Clarke?” he says, kneeling in front of you as he wipes off the water running against your cheeks.
“I can’t find my tattoo,” you say.
Dad smiles. Somehow, everything always gets better when he smiles. He tugs you close and then makes you face the mirror. You can see how red your eyes are and it makes you feel slightly ashamed. He places his hand against the small of your back and you shiver at how warm his fingers are.
“You can’t read it cause you can’t see it,” he tells you, eyes crinkling at the sides, “It’s located at your back and you’d need to be a really flexible person if you want to read it firsthand.”
“What does it say?” you ask and you see his smile slip.
He clears his throat and then looks at the tattoo written across the small of your back.
“I’m not really sure what it means,” he mutters and you make an impatient noise so he continues, “Okay, okay, grumpy cat. It says—you’re the one who burned 300 of my warriors alive.”
You both fall silent. Your mind is spinning—what kind of soul mate says that? Now you finally understand why Dad looked so uneasy. It’s certainly something else because you know for a fact that you can’t burn anything and that there aren’t any warriors on the Ark, just the Guard and the Council. You’ve only heard of warriors in the stories your mom tells you when you can’t sleep. The thought that springs up in your head is an image of men charging straight through a battlefield whilst holding different kinds of weapons.
“I’m going to burn 300 people?” you say, blinking.
Your dad laughs, pulls you in for a hug. “Nah,” he tells you, nuzzling your hair, “you’re too harmless.”
“Am not!” you growl but you wrap your arms around his neck and marvel at the way his chest shakes with his laughter.
(You’re not harmless and you’re going to prove that to your father someday.)
You meet Wells Jaha when you’re five years old and you’re still oh so curious.
The first thing he says to you is, “Hi. You must be Clarke. My dad told me all about you” and you silently accept the fact that first impressions are very, very important when it comes to soul mates and intertwined fates. You try not to let your disappointment show as your grin up at him. Not your soul mate then.
“Hi Wells.” Your dad told you all about him too. “I’m Clarke. Do you want to see my drawings?”
His face lights up as he accepts. Then you both run up to your room, where you slam the door shut and show your new friend the drawings of earth you’ve just drawn.
(Later, while you’re surrounded with paper and open books and drawings of the blue planet from artists that have died a long time ago, you think of the fact that Wells seems content to sit next to you and it literally takes years for you to realize why.)
You’re seven years old when you stumble across Monty Green and your curiosity peaks even higher.
You’re in science class and the teacher is telling you all about earth and the ecosystem and omnivores and carnivores and everything that comes in between. You’ve zoned out a few minutes ago, content with scribbling on your notebook and trying to draw the serious look Wells always gets when someone mentions his father. The class is quiet, except for the teacher’s voice and you’re sitting next to Monty Green. You don’t think you’ve spoken to each other yet.
Monty is reading the book, mumbling things under his breath. You glance at him every now and then, since he’s got a funny way of reading. He mispronounces words and stops when there isn’t even a period. Also, he keeps bouncing his knee and tapping his pen against the table. And he’s wearing a green shirt that seems too loose on his frame. You’re about to look away when you spot the beginnings of a tattoo against his right shoulder, where his shirt dips.
“What’s that?” you whisper, not too quietly.
The teacher doesn’t notice but Monty looks up, frowning slightly. “What?” he asks. Okay. Definitely not your soul mate then.
You point at the tattoo. It’s too small for you to read but you’re pretty sure that Monty has it memorized. Everybody memorizes their tattoos.
“What does it say?” you ask.
Monty suddenly grows shy. You can understand it but you press on anyway.
“Okay, okay,” he grumbles, when you’re starting to get annoying, “It says, ‘heads up, dork.’”
You frown. “Why would anybody call you a dork?” (Why would anyone say you burned 300 of their warriors? but you keep your mouth shut on that one.)
“I don’t know,” Monty says, shrugging, “I haven’t met my soul mate yet though.”
“Me too,” you tell him.
Monty smiles but there seems to be a hint of bitterness in it. “I thought yours was Wells.”
You blush—not at the thought of you and Wells but at the fact that you’ve been accused of thinking about him as more than a friend. Which he is. You also think fondly of him as your brother, if you had one.
“He’s just my friend,” you say.
Monty nods and you pretend not to notice the way his eyes move up to Jasper, who is sitting a row in front of him.
(Yeah. Just friends.)
You’re ten years old when your dad tells you of his tattoo and really, your curiosity is a flaming fire now.
You’re both sitting on the couch, watching football games on the television. It’s too redundant, you think, because your dad only has four copies of the games and they happened over a hundred years ago. So you tuck your legs underneath your weight and turn to your father, who is engrossed in what he is watching.
“Dad?” you call.
“Hmm?” He doesn’t turn to look at you.
“What does your tattoo say?”
Now he turns to look at you, gaze partly caught off guard and bashful. You grin. He always gets this look in his eyes whenever he talks about mom, almost like she’s the one who puts the stars in the night sky, the same stars that you’ve often stared at through the windows.
“And why would you want to know that?” he asks.
“Because I’m curious,” you answer and honestly, it’s the truth.
He shuts off the television and puts the remote away. Then he reaches up to his shirt and tugs it down, revealing a splash of ink against the skin of his shoulder. You lean forward, because he beckons you to and there seems to be something enchanting about seeing other people’s tattoos when your breath catches in your throat as your eyes drink it the words.
“How are you feeling, Jake Griffin?” you read out loud.
Dad smiles. “I caught the flu years ago,” he explains, “I was really sick so they put me in the sick bay. I met your mom there, when she was leaning over me and checking my temperature. When I opened my eyes, I thought she was an angel.”
“That’s cheesy,” you say, wrinkling your nose.
Your dad laughs, letting go of his shirt and reaching forward to tickle you. You scamper away, laughter bubbling from your mouth as he pins you against the couch, his fingers running against your sides. You swat him away before managing to wriggle out from underneath his grasp.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry!” you call out, wiping the tears from your eyes.
“That’s my girl,” your dad says, fondly ruffling your hair.
You push his large hand away. “So you and mom are definitely soul mates?” you ask, smiling widely when your dad does the same thing. “You love each other? To the moon and back?”
“To the moon and back,” your father repeats, leaning down and kissing your forehead.
(You believe him.)
You’re thirteen years old when you finally see soul mates reuniting before your very eyes and your curiosity is a steady flame inside your chest, one that doesn’t seem to go away.
Your friend Harper’s tattoo reads hey watch it! and the two of you have spent most of your childhood giggling to each other and trying to get Harper to accidentally bump into someone. It hasn’t worked yet, since most of your targets usually roll their eyes or mumble, “Piss off.”
Now that years have passed since childhood days, the two of you have forgotten all about the tattoo since there are far more important things in a teenager’s life. Such as parties.
Someone named Atom has thrown a party for his fourteenth birthday. It’s complete with banners and drinks and music and plenty of people attending. You and Harper drag Wells into it, insisting that his study habits were definitely interfering with his social life. By the time you’ve entered the hall where the party is being held, there are already people dancing to the beat of the music.
You throw a grin at Wells. “This is definitely better than studying,” you tell him.
Wells rolls his eyes. “Whatever,” he mutters, “but if I get a failing grade in my report card, you can tell Dad that it’s your fault.”
“Party pooper,” Harper mutters under her breath. You laugh, right before she drags you into the middle of the dancing crowd.
Yeah, it’s sweaty and there are bodies pressed against you and the smell of perspiration clings to your nostrils but you’re dancing and laughing and showing off your moves. The music reverberates in your bones and you’re whipping your head back and forth, moving your hips, hearing Harper’s laugh in your ears. For a few seconds, you feel weightless.
Then Harper slams against you and you hear someone yelling, “Hey watch it!”
You and Harper both tense because it’s the words, the words that you’ve been trying to get for years now. You’ve never told Harper your tattoo, for fear of her laughing at the absurdity of it and you kind of wish you had now because maybe then—your chances of meeting your soul mate would increase, just like hers had. You push her away and into the same offending person. You catch a glimpse of her wide eyes and open mouth before she manages to stutter, “Uh, sorry but what did you say?”
The offending person—a girl with brown hair braided tightly against her head—tenses as well. Her eyes widen and Harper grins back at her. You feel a flash of jealously in your chest because it’s barely even been a minute and they’re already so ridiculously perfect for each other.
“I’m Monroe,” the girl with the braids says.
“Harper. Do you want to dance?”
Monroe blushes before she laughs. “I would love to.”
They leave you behind and you push past the bodies to make your way over to Wells, who is standing by the punch table and gloomily drinking from a cup. You accept one from him before crossing your arms and glaring at the crowd.
“What’s up?” he asks.
“Nothing,” you mutter.
(It’s sort of everything, really. Because you would rather have your soul mate say “Hi” in greeting rather than accusing you of burning 300 warriors. It’s stupid and it’s full of crap and you drown the rest of your drink and wish you were legal enough to drink real alcohol.)
You’re fifteen years old when your whole world falls apart and your curiosity dies away.
When your father tells you of the lacking oxygen, you try not to think too much about it. You try to think of something else, of your goddamn tattoo (the one you can’t even see yet) or the chess game that Wells is currently beating you at right now or the fact that your favorite rerun show is back later tonight. But it doesn’t work because his words weigh heavily inside your chest and you can’t breathe unless you tell someone.
You tell Wells because you trust him with your life and his eyes are full of understanding as he promises not to tell anyone else.
(You feel a lot better afterwards but it’s cruelly short-lived.)
You’re sixteen years old when your father’s dying scream is the only thing you can think of at night, not your dying curiosity or the stinging words on the small of your back.
You’re locked up in your cell, drawing at the walls, accepting the pieces of charcoal Wells smuggles in (you hate him, you hate him, you hate him) and trying to forget the way your father had smiled at you, right before Jaha pulled the trigger. It feels more like a punch to the throat and the gut the more you think about it and there are times at night where you press your smudged palms against your eyelids and just try to breathe.
You try to draw your feelings out but earth simply spills from your fingers. Canvases of trees and the ground come to life, even in your dull shades of black and white. You draw and draw until you fall asleep with smudges of charcoal painted all over your body. You can’t bear to wash it away.
(If you hadn’t been so consumed in your grief, you might’ve realized that it could’ve been a sign of some sorts from the universe, desperately telling you to come home.)
You’re seventeen years old, heading to earth and fiercely trying to convince yourself that this isn’t a dream and that your curiosity should be long dead by now.
Wells, of all people, is sitting next to you and you’re so filled with a flare of hatred and angry that you can feel the emotion threatening to make you do something you probably shouldn’t do in a metal tin can heading for earth. So, you clench your jaw and sit tight, refusing to look into his vicinity. You’re stronger than that.
It still hurts, though—knowing that Wells had been the one to kill your father, your best friend, the person you knew inside and out from when you were only five years old. It hurts, to be sitting next to him, feeling him stare at you from the side and your chest hurts and you can hear your father’s scream and you hate him—you have every goddamn right to hate him but you try not to think about that now, especially since you’re probably going to die in a few more minutes.
A guy with floppy dark hair and a cute smile escapes from his seat and floats around. He laughs, carefree as he comes to rest next to you and Wells. You try not to get distracted by the lazy tilt of his mouth as he says,
“You’re the traitor who’s been in solitary for a year.”
Okay, not your soul mate then. You almost laugh, because you’re certainly about to die and your last thought will be about your soul mate. Yeah. You’re definitely screwed.
“You’re the idiot who wasted a month of oxygen on an illegal spacewalk,” you shoot back.
The boy’s eyes light up and you are somehow reminded of the way Wells’ eyes had lit up when you first met him, all those years ago. You don’t think too much about it because you’re going to die and it has to be right next to your father’s killer. You’re going to die trying to get to the ground, the one place you’ve been drawing over and over again in the past year.
(Death doesn’t seem so bad anymore.)
You're three days into the ground and Wells is dead and your curiosity rises like a reborn phoenix when you spot the tattoo written against his collarbone.
Your grief is never ending because your own mother had been the one to turn in your father and Wells had just been trying to help you, to make sure you didn't turn back on your family. You had your best friend back, after all these months spent in solitary and you're trying to choke down the bile that rises in your throat when you realize that he's the third one dead upon arrival to the ground.
The first person to find his body is Atom. He runs back into camp, yelling, shouting and basically causing a ruckus. You detach yourself from where Finn has been sleeping next to you and hurry towards the commotion, bleary-eyed and messy-haired. When you see his body, a knife against the throat, it takes a few seconds for reality to set in before the cold, harsh grief slaps you across the face. Wells is dead. Wells is dead and you just lost your best friend all over again. You stand there, shell-shocked while Bellamy desperately tries to get everything under control.
You try not to lose whatever dinner you had last night before you walk slowly towards Wells, your heart twisting uncomfortably inside your chest. Bellamy, for once, backs off. The rest of the 100 stay close, staring and you reach out and grab Wells's cold hand, trying to will the fingers to move again. Please. You can't bear to lose any more people.
Finn helps you bury the body. Bellamy leads you to the back of the dropship where the other two bodies lay. A bunch of guys drag Wells towards the clearing and Finn digs up the hole, insisting that you need time to say your last goodbyes. So, you sit next to the rotting body of your best friend, trying hard not to cry. You've shed so many tears for your father and you have never expected to shed more for his supposed killer. You tuck your chin against your knee, close your eyes, and try to breathe in evenly.
Wells has always been a constant part of your life. You saw him everyday. You talked to him everyday. He was your brother, your best friend and the thought makes the tears fall against your cheeks, hot and steaming. You wipe them off and decide to wash off the blood from Wells' neck. You stray away from the graveyard to grab a towel from camp before walking back to see that Finn still hasn't finished. You kneel down next to the body and start working, using the wet cloth to wipe away the remains of the dry blood.
You spot the tattoo while you're working and your heart squeezes on itself when you read the words. I'm Clarke. Do you want to see my drawings? It's long and neatly scripted and your hands start shaking again because you understand, you finally understand why—after all these years, Wells has always loved you. He always has and you don't know if it's selfish or not, that he came all the way here to make sure you stayed safe. The tears come again, fast and harsh, rolling against your face like a waterfall. You don't bother to wipe them away.
(“May we meet again,” you whisper, your hand still tucked against his collarbone, where the words lay.)
You’re nine days into earth when Finn kisses you, long and hard, his hands clutching desperately at your skin and your curiosity of your soul mate fades away. His mouth tastes sweet and you can’t help but feel as if this is wrong somehow because the words on the small of your back says that this is not meant to be, that you have someone else destined to be with you. Finn is not your soul mate, he never will be—the universe has made sure of that but he is also very desperate and you are also very attracted to him.
Later, as you lay together in the glow of the candle lights, Finn’s fingers tracing the bare skin of your collarbone, you say, “What does this mean for us?”
“It can mean anything,” he whispers against your hair.
He doesn’t speak of soul mates, of tattoos, of fate and you’re grateful. You don’t want to think of Wells loving you as his soul mate, but never doing anything about it. You don’t want to think of him falling into certain death because he followed you into earth. You don’t want to think of him, teary-eyed and smiling, forgiving you for hating him when you shouldn’t have.
Finn closes his eyes, breathes evenly. You perch yourself on your elbows, smiling softly at how beautiful he looks. You reach out and touch his warm skin, running your palms against his beating heart. Then you spot the words tattooed vertically against his ribcage. You lean forward, careful not to wake him as you mouth the words silently.
“Look, I know that we don’t know each other but do you mind sharing some rations?” they read and your chest tightens.
(Oh, the joy. Falling in love with someone who isn’t meant to be yours—now you understand how Wells felt.)
You’re sitting in the shade of a nearby tree seven days after Raven comes crashing down to earth when you see Bellamy’s tattoo and you can feel your curiosity returning slowly again. It’s hot out and there are some pieces of paper lying in front of you. You’re drawing out your location, trying desperately to pinpoint the Grounders’ location or something. You know that there’s some sort of cave nearby, where the boys found Octavia and dragged back an enemy.
Bellamy walks up towards you, head tilted to the side. “Unity day is tomorrow, Princess,” he says, taking a seat next to you. “Shouldn’t you be preparing or something?”
You shrug. “I just need to know where the Grounders’ camp is, so that we know where to expect the attack.”
He nods before looking away. He’s changed somehow. Sure, he’s still arrogant and bossy but he’s shown that he cares a lot and yeah, your co-leader needs to be someone who would do anything for the good of the group so Bellamy Blake fits in that category.
You look up when he tugs his shirt by the collar, complaining about the heat. Your eyes catch on a single word, written across the back of his neck and you reach out and touch his arm.
“What does your tattoo say?” you ask and it feels like you’re four years old all over again, curious and desperate.
Bellamy smirks at you before turning around and showing you the tattoo. It’s a name, actually—his name.
“Bell,” you say.
“First word Octavia ever said and she did it while she was walking towards me,” he explains, smiling as he pulls his shirt back in place. He turns back to you. “Guess I’m not cut out for romance, am I?”
“Yeah, just threesomes with girls in your tent,” you mumble.
Bellamy laughs. “Not everything has to be some romantic cliché, Princess,” he tells you, “Sometimes, love is family. Other times, your soul mate is your best friend. Who knows?” He pauses, looking at you curiously, the glint in his eyes brightening, “What does yours say?”
Nobody knows (except your parents and Wells) about your tattoo. There is a sense of betrayal at the thought of sharing something so intimate when you haven’t even found the person yet. But Bellamy is, in more ways than one, someone you trust so you sigh and pull up your shirt so that he can read the expanse of the words written against your back.
“Now that’s something,” he says, laughing. He sobers quickly, turning back to you with a small smile. “Maybe you’ll find him here. Someday.”
“Maybe,” you mutter.
(Your maybe is starting to sound like hope as well.)
You’re twenty nine days into surviving earth when Finn kills a man and you remember your curiosity. You’ve just escaped the tunnels and you’re blindly terrified, your heart racing loudly inside your chest as you try to catch your breath. Finn has stopped talking, moving to a small pond to clean his fingers. He is shaking.
“Hey, hey,” you tell him, grabbing his hand and holding onto it tightly. He looks up at you, tears in his eyes.
You remember the betrayal you felt, the anger and jealously in your veins, the hurt that stabbed at your already wounded heart but you don’t let any of this get in the way. He is shaking, horrified and shell-shocked and you have to make sure he’s okay.
“He would’ve killed us,” you whisper and he looks away. “You did what you had to do.” There’s a beat and you add, “We all have.”
There’s a silence and Finn is looking at you with that strange gaze in his eyes, like he’s starting to see you for the first time. You wait for him to say something, anything and when he does, the breath gets knocked out of you.
“I should’ve fought for you,” he whispers.
“Finn—don’t.” you say and you want to—God, you want to kiss him, want to take him back, want him to make you metal necklaces all over again—but you think of Raven, defying everything and moving hell and heaven just to get back to him. They are all soul mates, you know that. You can see it in the way they look at each other and this—whatever fling they had—isn’t meant to be. At all.
Somehow, your tattoo almost feels like its burning and you shift uncomfortably as Finn tries to hold your gaze.
“Clarke,” he tells you, his voice very, very soft, “I love you.”
You grow quiet, feel the pain at the very back of your throat.
“I’m in love with you,” he continues, his gaze earnest.
(And this—this is the very moment when you realize that being in love with someone doesn’t necessarily make them your soul mate and that it can only mean pain and heartbreak.)
You’re twenty nine nights into being hunted by the Grounders when you realize that—oh God—the possibility of your soul mate and your curiosity has never seemed so much clearer. Because Jasper is lighting up the spark and somewhere underneath the metal floor, Raven is dying and outside the door, Octavia, Finn and Bellamy are fighting for their lives.
Anya has been reprimanded by the group and you’re standing by the dropship door, your hand on the lever. 300 warriors are outside, screaming for your blood and you’re here, about to burn them. If you pull that lever. Everything in your life has led to this moment, because eventually, if you do this, you will meet your soul mate. The one person who has been destined to be yours forever. And it’s more than selfish, really because people are going to die and you can only think of the words tattooed against your back; the words that you have been thinking about over and over again for the first seventeen years of your life.
You’re the one who burned 300 of my warriors alive, you think to yourself, letting the words sink in quietly.
“Barbecued Grounders,” Bellamy had said, smirking, “I like it.”
You push down the bile in your throat. You can’t do this. You can’t kill Finn and Bellamy. You can’t end 300 lives. You can’t—you just can’t.
You suddenly remember your father, right there and then. His smiling eyes and the way his chest shook when he laughed. Nah, he had said, when you were four years old and had just realized what your tattoo read, you're too harmless.
(You pull the lever, thinking, I proved you wrong, dad.)
You’re thirty days into barely surviving earth and all you can think of is your tattoo and your soul mate and the ever growing curiosity that your soul mate might not be someone from the Ark but someone born of the Ground.
You wake up in a white room where there’s a painting that seems vaguely familiar on the wall and blinking machines on one end. You are, for once, clean and you’ve forgotten the sensation of being fresh and neat that you fear that you might’ve died and ended up in heaven when you pulled that lever. Then you realize—heaven can’t possibly exist. Especially not now, when you’ve just been through hell and back.
You decide that you’ve been captured. By Mount Weather, nonetheless. It’s ironic because they dropped us on the wrong damn mountain comes up to mind and your heart breaks at the thought of Finn and Bellamy, dead out there somewhere.
(But you remember the fact that you’ve just burned 300 warriors alive and you twitch slightly when the tattoo at the small of your back tingles.)
You’re thirty-two days on earth and you’ve just jumped out from a freaking tunnel and into high waters and the adrenaline strongly remind you of the curiosity you are still holding with your soul mate. The Clarke Griffin from the Ark would’ve never done something so incredibly stupid and reckless like this but it was the only way out and the Clarke Griffin on the Ground will do anything to get back to her people.
The water rushes up to meet you and you lose consciousness almost at once. It’s a good thing, really because you’ve never been in such deep waters before and you don’t know how to swim and you’re terrified the more you think about it. Then Anya drags you of the water and you cough out whatever is inside your lungs. You blink, sputter out more liquid and lay there for a few seconds.
You’re out. God, you’re out. And you allow yourself to smile before you push yourself up on your elbows.
Anya is sitting next to you, breathing heavily. You drag your gaze towards her and frown when you spot the beginnings of an older looking tattoo against the side of her arm. You sit up and you’ve never been the one to dawdle when it comes to something important so you say,
“You have tattoos too?”
Anya turns towards you, leveling you with a glare.
(You don’t entirely blame her for slamming that rock against your head.)
You're thirty-three nights on this world and you're leading Anya through an expanse of trees, where you once saw the sign for Camp Jaha, whilst trying to bite your tongue from asking too many curious questions. You did not expect the Grounders to have soul mate tattoos too but it makes sense, in some ways. You've often seen the Grounders as monsters and savages that you don't realize that they are impossibly human too.
“What does it say?” you ask, mentally scolding yourself for not being versatile enough.
“We do not speak while trying to cross enemy grounds, Clarke,” Anya says, her tone clipped.
“But you have it,” you insist, whipping your head back and glowering at the woman behind you. Anya stops walking and the glow of the moonlight shines on her face, adding illumination to the sharp angles of her cheeks. She sighs before showing you her arm, where the words I want to be a warrior, just like you is written.
You hum under your breath, nodding to yourself. “Who is it?” you ask.
“My second,” Anya answers, her voice steely, “The one you failed to save.”
Anya gives a nod. “Yes, but I did not love her as a lover. I loved her as if she were my own sister, which in many ways, she was.”
“I’m sorry,” you whisper, “I’m sorry I couldn’t save her.”
Anya's eyes grow misty as she looks away from you and back into the forest, where many of her people await. "We have had many losses, Clarke," she whispers, “but for now, we prioritize the living.”
(Minutes later, Anya dies with a bullet in her back and blood streaming past her lips and you can only watch as she whispers, "Ai gonplei ste odon.")
It has been thirty-nine days here on earth and today will be the last time you will ever be curious of your soul mate ever again. But as you don’t know that yet. You’re walking towards the Grounder camp and you have no idea that you’ll find your soul mate there. You’re thinking too much about what’s on stake here—the lives of the Arkers, the remaining 47 you’ve left behind at Mount Weather and most especially Finn’s. There are thousands of people counting on you and you mustn't let them down. You walk up to the camp that's been perched right outside Camp Jaha and notice that there are already several warriors waiting for you, standing outside the Commander's tent in two neat lines.
A man with a long beard and a blue tattoo splashed across his eye walks forward to meet you just outside the tent.
“If you so much as look at her the wrong way, I will slit your throat,” he tells you warningly.
You swallow. It’s a good start, you believe. The man turns away from you and then opens the flap of the tent. You take a deep breath, steadying yourself as you force the thoughts of the outcome of this meeting out of your heard. If you can’t convince the Commander that there’s a chance in an alliance, then you’re all doomed.
The tent is everything that you expected. There’s a huge throne at the end and a war table filled with maps and designs of Mount Weather. You can see an outline of Camp Jaha stationed at its location and the dropship as well, even though somebody has made a few scorch marks around the area. You swallow thickly, remembering the 300 Grounders you burned alive. The tattoo at the bottom of your spine tingles and you drag your gaze away from the war table, towards where a dark-skinned woman named Indra stands, before finally resting on the Commander sitting on the throne.
Having already seen Anya and Lincoln, you’re not entirely surprised to see that the Commander herself is attractive as well. With curly brown hair and green eyes smudged with war paint, she doesn’t look up to you as she curiously regards the knife she has in her hand.
And when the words pop out from her mouth—when the words that you have so desperately memorized over and over again for years roll from her tongue, when the words that you’ve been so terrified to hear out loud are finally out in the open—you feel your soul mate tattoo at the small of your back burning almost as if the sound of the Commander’s voice has triggered the reaction.
“You’re the one who burned 300 of my warriors alive,” the Commander says, her eyes flickering towards you.
Your chest feels like it’s being squeezed to death because oh God—you’ve finally found her. Your soul mate. The one person you’re destined to be with and it’s almost cruel irony because you’ve fallen from the skies, burned the land from where your feet touch and your soul mate is the leader of it all, the leader of the same people who have tried to kill you over and over again. It’s painful irony because you’re from the skies and she’s from the ground and it’s like a tragedy written by Shakespeare or Homer himself.
“You’re the one who sent them there to kill us,” you manage to retort, even though your lips are shaking lightly.
The Commander’s eyes widen a fraction as well but she’s still looking at you like you’re the enemy, which you remember that you are. But you can’t help but feel as if she’s studying you as well, almost like she’s intrigued and it takes you a while to realize that maybe she’s finally found her soul mate too.
(You’ve finally found each other.)