Fandom: The 100
Pairing/Characters: Clarke, Bellamy/Clarke, past/mentioned Finn/Clarke
Word Count: 3016
Warnings: [Spoiler (click to open)]major character death
Summary: Clarke learns that healers and leaders have one thing in common: they can't save everyone. "Bellamy’s waiting for her when she reaches the gate. They stare at each other for the longest of moments. Finally, he reaches out and eases the knife from her hand."
A/N: For mollivanders' prompt at stainofmylove's The 100 Comment Ficathon Part 2.
Clarke Griffin once spent her days drawing in a metal cell.
She drew everything, but most often, she drew pictures of Earth—animals and landscapes from memories of pictures studied for hours. She liked to imagine that, one day, she’d get the chance to step foot on Earth. She wanted nothing more than to feel the sun and smell the air and swim in the water. She liked to imagine that she’d leave this metal ship in space.
Well, perhaps she would. She counted down the days until her birthday—the day she’d get reviewed for her ‘crimes’. Her birthday was coming up, and Clarke knows no one really makes it past their review. It’s just a minor delay before she ends up in the chamber where she last saw her father.
She never expected to live until 18.
She never expected to see the ground.
He’s lying on the forest floor, gasping for breath when she sees him. There are burns all over his body, and she can hear his whispered pleas for death. Bellamy’s kneeling above him, a knife in his hand, but he can’t seem to move. She walks closer, a twig snaps under her foot, and Bellamy turns. He tries to explain, but Clarke’ pretty sure there aren’t words enough to explain what Atom’s been through.
Beside him now, she assesses the damage. She trained at her mother’s side for as long as she can remember, until she was locked up. She knows about burns, but she doesn’t know of anything to cure him or make him better, and there’s nothing quick to stop the pain. A quick death is all she can offer.
Bellamy’s looking at her with concern and fear in his eyes. When she shakes her head, Clarke can see the sadness at what is to come. He nods back in understanding before looking down.
Clarke breathes deeply, trying to gather her courage. She whispers softly to Atom, and tells him that she’ll help him. There’s a moment—this fraction of a second—where he seems to understand her meaning and is grateful. Clarke just swallows hard as she takes the knife from Bellamy.
She begins to hum, she strokes his hair, and plunges the knife into his carotid artery. She keeps humming, strokes his hair, and listens as his gasps get weaker and his breathing stops.
When it’s over, she doesn’t know what to say. She wants to curl up in a ball and cry. She drops the knife and scoots backward, away from the body, avoiding the blood pooling on the ground. Her breathing becomes rapid and she knows she should look away from the body, but her eyes don’t seem to be under her control anymore. Then, suddenly, there’s a hand in hers, where the knife had been. It’s squeezing hers.
Clarke turns her head, and finds Bellamy beside her. “You’re okay,” he whispers.
Clarke shakes her head as she lets out a low moan. “No,” she replies, “I’m not.”
Bellamy doesn’t speak for a moment, just squeezes her hand. Then, finally, he whispers, “You did what had to be done.”
Clarke has watched her mother perform miracles with the limited resources of the Ark. She has sat in on many cases: bruises and scrapes, viruses, training injuries, ten hour long surgeries, and even a few amputations. She’s seen a lot in of blood on the Ark, and it stopped making her sick pretty quickly. Medical has been a second home to her—it’s where she goes after classes, where she does her homework, where she eats with her mother when her mother can’t leave.
She’s seen her mother perform miracles. The illnesses she didn’t know but eventually found a cure for, the wounds Clarke was sure weren’t survivable that Abby patched up, the many births she got to watch—with mothers screaming, doctors and nurses everywhere, and the anticipation of the baby’s cry. She’ll go to sleep smiling on these days, wondering what these people are doing with their lives, what they’re dreaming as they sleep.
Then there are the nights she doesn’t sleep. The nights she’ll stay up and listen to the sounds of her father tinkering in the next room as she fights tears.
“The hardest lesson for a doctor to learn, is that not everyone can be saved,” she’ll always remember her mother telling her. “And sometimes all you can do is help them along.”
Clarke hates this lesson most of all, and especially hates when those words are reinforced as her mother pronounces the time of death of the little boy whose lungs never fully developed or the mother who bleed out after giving birth, or the old man who had a heart attack on the job. Clarke watches her mother stroke the little boy’s hair and hold his hand as he struggles to breathe, watches her hum to the dying mother, the melodic tune weaving in and out of the little baby girl’s cries. She silently observes her mother sit beside the old man’s still body for a moment, before whispering the traveler’s blessing.
It doesn’t get easier, but eventually she does learn the lesson her mother intended. Sometimes all that can be done is to offer them peace and end the suffering as quickly as possible.
There’s this heartbreaking moment when she’s pleading with Lexa for the last time—this moment when Clarke realizes that Finn will not survive this night—and she is faced with this all-consuming fear. She sees Finn tied to the recently erected pole and her body trembles with the realization of what is to come. She remembers what Lincoln said they’d do. Fire. Swords. Sunrise.
(He killed for her. He’ll die for her.)
She runs to him for the last time and kisses him. She tells him she loves him too, and neither has the time to acknowledge the fact that it isn’t the same kind of love. Clarke can’t shake the voices in her head that it’s her fault—that he did it to find her—and she feels that if he has to die for her, than perhaps he should die feeling like it was worth it. So she gives him that comfort.
Clarke unsuccessfully fights back tears as he whispers that he’s scared then hugs him close. Her right hand trembles as she moves it from it’s place caressing his neck down to his chest where she slowly inserts the knife. As she does so, she tells him that he’s going to be okay, that he’s okay, and she continues to hold him until his head drops onto her shoulder and she feels the life leave his body. She steps back, her eyes transfixed on the blood.
She walks back to Camp Jaha, one rider trailing behind her, the knife in her hand, Finn’s blood drying on her skin. She hears Raven’s screams. She wants to scream herself, but she’s not sure if she can. She sees Finn’s eyes in her mind—from when they first landed on Earth, all bright and excited, then again just before she killed him, full of fear and sadness.
Bellamy’s waiting for her when she reaches the gate. They stare at each other for the longest of moments. Finally, he reaches out and eases the knife from her hand. She hears his voice from what seems like a long time ago in her head.
(Who we are and who we need to be to survive are very different things.)
She lets him lead her away, to an area where no one is around and sits her down in a chair. He leaves her there for a moment and there’s this blissful and damning silence.
(This is not who we are.)
(It is now.)
(You and Bellamy are leading us down a dangerous road.)
(I guess we're gonna have to get used to people dying down here, aren't we?)
When he returns, he’s carrying a cloth and a small bowl of water. He picks up her hand slowly runs the cloth over her skin, before dipping the cloth back into the water, rinsing off the blood. Finn’s blood. When he’s finished, he dumps out the water, leaves the cloth and the bowl on the ground, and walks her to her tent.
“You gonna be okay?” he asks, cringing even as the words leave his mouth.
Clarke looks at him blankly and shakes her head. “I don’t know,” she whispers.
She wants to ask him if she made the right decision. She wants to know if she did what she needed to do, or if she should have fought harder, pleaded more. But she knows he doesn’t have the answers for her any more than she does.
Clarke spends a lot of time thinking about the implications and definitions of murder. When is it justified? When is it necessary?
Bellamy shot Chancellor Jaha. He was told to kill the Chancellor so he could get on the dropship to be with his sister, and he did it. He only wounded him, though; Jaha didn’t die.
Bellamy delayed their communication with the Ark, causing three hundred people to be sacrificed. He was trying to protect himself so he could protect his sister. He didn’t want to be imprisoned for killing Jaha. He didn’t know about the culling, though; and once he did, he tried to help, to save them.
Charlotte killed Wells. She stabbed him in the neck to ‘slay her demons’ because of something Wells’s father had done. She was a child, she was confused, and she had been through a lot, but she still did it.
She killed that Grounder when she and Finn had been taken. She had lured him into a false sense of security, found a weak spot, used it, then slit his throat and held a hand over his mouth so he couldn’t scream. She had to escape, to get back home, to warn everyone about the danger they were in.
Murphy killed Connor and Myles. He wanted revenge for their participation in trying to get him hanged.
Finn killed the reaper when they were escaping after being kidnapped. He bashed him on the head until he stopped moving. He was trying to kill them, though, so Finn had to do it.
She came up with the idea to burn those three hundred Grounders. She yelled for Jasper to execute the plan. She was the first to step out into the ruins. She hated what she’d done. She was disgusted with herself as she stared at those charred bodies, but she never regretted her decision. She was trying to protect herself and her people, so it was necessary.
Clarke killed Atom.
Clarke killed Finn.
When is killing someone murder? When is it necessary—to save yourself or someone else? When is it mercy?
What comes next isn’t easy. The war is not yet won and lives are lost. Clarke watches as friend and foe parish and she has to wash the blood off of her hands more times than she’d ever like to remember. And later, in the aftermath, she and her mom try to help heal the wounded. Not everyone makes it, though, and Clarke finds herself sitting by the bedsides of people, holding their hands and trying not to cry as their strength leaves them.
Time passes, the war ends, and, slowly, Clarke recovers. She smiles more, even begins to laughs again by spring. The 100, some Ark stragglers, and a handful of grounders form their own society back at the debris-cleared dropship; the wall is reinforced but, once finished, is only closed at night. Alliances are formed, treaties and trade agreements are made, and Clarke and the rest of the 100 begin to really live. Bellamy and Clarke lead, as they always have, and the camp flourishes.
One day during their second summer on Earth, Clarke kisses Bellamy. She’ll tell everyone who pesters her about it that it wasn’t a big deal—which damn near is everyone—but it eventually leads to something much bigger. They move in together, and later commit to each other in a beautiful ceremony led by Lincoln and Octavia.
Clarke spends that winter pregnant. Bellamy is overprotective and easily startled—he gets on everyone’s nerves, Clarke’s most of all—but is quickly forgiven. Clarke finds herself cared for by the entire camp, and by their third summer on Earth, they have a healthy baby girl. Clarke lets Bellamy name her, but later lives to regret this when he declares their daughter’s name to be Cleopatra. “Just call her Cleo,” she whispers to people when they give her and Bellamy weird looks after they learn the baby’s name.
Years go by and everything is great…until it isn’t.
A sickness spreads throughout the camp—they lose eight. The drought that summer depletes their food stores. The winter is harsh and cold. A clan to the west nearly starts a war with them over a hunting accident.
That’s when it happens.
Clarke’s in the med tent stitching up a wound when she hears the screams. She turns the work over to Octavia, who has been apprenticing for the last few years and rushes out to see what’s happening.
The first thing she notices is the blood. There’s so much blood—he’s practically covered in it. After she takes that in, she glances up at the face and nearly faints. Bellamy!
Clarke forces herself to remain calm. She breathes through her nose as she steps forward, initially assessing the damage before demanding him be brought to the med tent. “Hold something to his neck and keep pressure against the wound!” she shouts after them.
“What happened?” she asks, whirling on Miller as four men move Bellamy’s unconscious body to Medical and one adjusts the placement of the shirt being used to stop the bleeding.
“He was attacked by an animal—a panther or a tiger or something. The thing had two heads, Clarke—like the deer we hunt—but they both tore into him.”
Octavia’s crying at Bellamy’s side when Clarke enters Medical. Clarke squeezes Octavia’s hand before nodding to Miller, who escorts her out. She doesn’t even have to say anything and she knows Cleo will be kept away as well. She orders Kaia and Reese to get hot water, a cloth, a needle, and thread ready. Her two assistants rush to do her bidding as Clarke removes Bellamy’s shirt to assess any damage done there.
There are a few surface scratches on his chest, but the real damage is done to his neck. If his carotid was severed, he would have bled out before he made it back here, but it sure appears to have been severely nicked. She works to stop the bleeding, cleans the wound, and stitches it closed. Even then, she’s still not sure if he’s going to make it. There was so much blood—too much—and he’s very pale.
She waits for hours for him to wake up, but he only seems to get weaker. When he does open his eyes, he smiles when he sees her, and she starts crying. She knows, in much the same way that she’s always known, how this is going to end.
Bellamy must know too, because he whispers to her, “You’re gonna be okay, Clarke. You and Cleopatra will be okay.”
Clarke doesn’t have the heart to argue with him.
He won’t tell her he’s in pain, but she can see it in his eyes. With the blood loss, and the brimming infection she tried and failed to stave off, he’ll be dead by morning. Clarke goes over to her supplies counter and gathers some herbs. She orders Reese to bring her some hot water, and she brews Bellamy a tea. She orders Kaia to summon Octavia and Cleo. “Drink this,” she whispers to him as she puts a small cup to his mouth. He gives her a look that makes her cry harder before he begins to drink.
Octavia and Cleo come in and Clarke quickly and quietly explains through her sobs. Cleo rushes to her father and gives him a hug. Bellamy whispers to her and Cleo nods solemnly. Octavia then does the same, and Octavia hugs Cleo close. Clarke can see that the effects of the tea are beginning show and she lies beside him as the tea does it’s work. It’s quick and painless, and Clarke holds him tight, kisses his mouth, his forehead, his eyes.
“I’ll always love you, Clarke Griffin,” he tells her, his voice weak but steady.
“I’ll always love you, Bellamy Blake,” she replies, choking on tears.
Clarke washes blood off of her body for the last time that night.
Clarke continues to lead her people because Bellamy would have wanted it that way, but she’s never the same person she used to be. She tries for Cleo, and often she can almost pull it off. Sometimes she thinks about her own mother and her own childhood—how Abby was after Jake died.
The entire camp mourns for two weeks. Everything is a solemn affair, and crying can be heard at all times of day and night.
Once Clarke has passed on all her knowledge to Octavia, Clarke abdicates from her role as head doctor. She doesn’t want to do it any more—doesn’t want to see the death and sadness. She focuses on leading.
Clarke works with a now fifteen-year-old Cleo, training her in how to be a leader while Octavia and Lincoln teach her different facets about healing. Cleopatra initially balks at the idea of taking over for her mother someday, fearing that she may soon be losing another parent, but Clarke promises that won’t happen—not if she has a say anyway.
Eventually Cleo comes around. “Dad would have wanted it,” she says.
Clarke never expected to fall in love after Finn…but she did.
She never expected to lose him, either…but she did.
(Everything changes then, but life continues on.)