Survival Is Dirty Business

Disclaimer: No money made here, just playing in the sandbox for fun.

Spoilers: S1:E11 – The Calm
Summary: Short ONESHOT. Clarke is returned to the camp after being held captive and reflects on her captivity.

A/N: Not planning on continuing this, just thought I would share some thoughts. As always, thank you for reading.

"To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself." - George Orwell


It was the Grounders that saved her after she ran.

Or more specifically, Anya did.

She saved Clarke from the Mountain Man – beast-like and savage – who captured her. He scared the shit out of her, and really, how else was she to react to waking up chained, covered in cuts, abrasions and contusions all over her body? Not to mention her twisted, sore and tender ankle from being hauled up into the air and suspended for so long. It was a miracle it wasn't broken.

What happened afterward, how she ended up sitting before Anya (her captor once more) in front of a campfire, is still hazy. Come to think of it, she doesn't even remember how she got cut down from the tree in the first place. She does remember however being in a lot of pain, in fact she's still in a lot of pain and she can't even begin to imagine what she'll start feeling once all the adrenaline begins to fully wear off.

But what happens next confuses her even more. Mostly because she doesn't know how she managed it in the first place. Clarke sure as hell knows she failed that day on the bridge – Jasper's happy trigger finger or not. And even though Clarke is sure she can be commanding and persuasive (interning with her mom groomed her to be this way) how in the world she talked Anya into letting her go and forming an uneasy alliance against the Mountain Men who would be descending soon because of winter, let alone the fate of Finn – is beyond her.

All she knows is that she's back.

In camp.

With her people.

And maybe that was part of it.

Maybe Anya got why Clarke wanted, needed to get back. And maybe there was a sliver of respect for her efforts in attempting (yet failing) to save Tris. Maybe the Grounder Princess had a crisis of conscience, even though they were a warring race, trained to kill, to fight. And maybe, there was a hint of admiration for Clarke – because by now, they obviously found the Grounder that had his throat cut by the only healer for miles around.

Clarke wonders if she'll ever get a chance to know, because suddenly there is darkness again and when she awakes, she's within sight of the wall around camp. She vehemently ignores the searing headache and manages to stand on wobbly legs to limp her way forward.

She now sits on the hard metal of the drop-ship, in the smallest, tightest corner of the make-shift medical bay with a blanket wrapped around her. She's out of sight of anyone that would enter seeking help. It's not like her to hide but the visions won't stop – of the Grounders, of Tris dying, of Finn being yanked away from her, of the grisly mask on the Mountain Man that took her – his harsh grunting, forceful handling and strong fists swinging out and smacking her in the face. They are like flashes in her mind's eye, gory, sore, raw reminders of the past twelve hours.

God she tries, it's broad daylight, just hours from finding her way back to them and she can't not think of her ordeal. She's unable to put them out of her head. It is a waking nightmare and she's desperate for some normalcy for some shred of the present, because she's back. She's back with the eighty or so remaining of her people.

But she knows clearly what this is. Aside from the already forming bruises and healing cuts on her skin, inside, inside her head and her heart it's post traumatic stress. She won't recover soon and it's crazy but she almost doesn't want to.

Clarke aches all over, she shakes with fear, anger and relief, she cries and her chest and head hurt, her hands tremble and clutch desperately at the blanket around her shoulders and yet, she's never felt more alive.

She thinks she disagrees with Bellamy now – who we are and who we need to be to survive are two very different things. She's fucking falling apart but changing and never has her path – being kidnapped, Tris dying, her killing that Grounder, her escaping and then her being let go – been so clear.

It is to survive no matter what the cost. And if that means growing and becoming something else to do so, than so be it.

She would do it for herself.

She would do it for all of them.