2: One Of Them

The previous day was long forgotten as I stirred, my thoughts drifting from the sweet dreams of the night before. The soft sounds of chirping and cool morning breeze whistling through the tent were finally enough to wake me from my sleep. The sun peaked through the trees, its light shining on the white and reds of the tent and filling my temporary home with a pink hue. I knew I had put off waking to a new day long enough and so I stood up, letting out a moan as my muscles stretched and awakened to prepare for the day ahead. My gaze drifted over the fabric surrounding me, and a proud smile appeared on my lips as I took in the sight of my new spacious and sizable home in the daylight. While I was sure that the space was large enough to accommodate many more, I was more than happy to have it all to myself.I was content; I slowly breathed in the crisp morning air as my thoughts drifted to my home in the village. I missed waking up to a warm hearth; my sisters' nagging voice always the first thing I woke to hear with each new day. Our hut quaintly decorated with furs, simple artwork, and bones. Now that I was no longer in the comfort of my own home, I found myself feeling uneasy and uncomfortable with where I was. I swallowed back the sickness slowly rising in my throat; I had to do this. The faster I learned all I could about these strangers, the sooner I could return to the familiar scent of fresh game meat smoking on the fire, and the soft giggles of the children as they played around me. They were simple things, small things I would never imagine I could miss so much when they were no longer part of my routine.

I smoothed the wrinkles from my black shirt, making sure to smooth it over my exposed waist. While the people in my village were more than okay with baring a little skin, it was obvious the sky people were more modest, at least for now. And it was my job to blend in, regardless of however uncomfortable or strange it was to me. I pulled at my dark pants, thankful at how they hugged my curvy frame and allowed movement necessary enough to make a quick getaway if it came to it. Glancing around the tent as I reached to braid my hair over to side, I made sure every knife and trinket that I had brought with me was still attached to my holsters. I finished the braid, letting the end fall just below my chest as I pulled the fabric of my tent aside and stepped out into the open forest. A small smirk pulled on the corners of my lips as I took in the scene before me. The sky people were still fast asleep, exhausted from the excitement of the previous day and snoring softly as they struggled to get in the last few minutes of shuteye. It was strange seeing them asleep amongst the dampened forest, completely oblivious to the danger that lurked just beyond their makeshift campsite. I knew I had to take advantage of their ignorance and negligence and so, making use of the last few minutes I had before they would inevitably awaken, began to make my way towards the drop ship. Hopefully it was vacant, and so would allow me to do what I had been sent here to do; investigate. I had already been here longer than I would have liked, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the others figured out about the clans. However my plan quickly fell apart when I caught sight of Wells. He was focused on the last few scoops of dirt he shoveled onto the two graves freshly buried beneath him. Seeing him caught me off guard, and when I tried to back away, my foot stepped onto a twig and crushed under my weight, the sound snapping Wells out of his daze.

"Good morning, Ava," He said softly as I approached. My gaze locked on the two graves, I never was any good with death.

"Hey," I mumbled with a grin, "how did you sleep?"

"I've had better," A hint of a growl evident in his tone as darkness clouded over his expression. His eyes glazed over in deep thought. Wells' stiff tone made me curious, I wondered what was bothering him, and my eyes drifted down almost automatically, as if knowing his wristband would no longer be firmly wrapped in place. As I guessed, his wrists were bare, only a few small marks in his skin hinted at what had been there only hours ago.

"Did they do that to you?" I asked, looking up and seeing the hurt in his eyes as he nodded.

"Can't say I didn't put up a fight, I tried to stop them," he sighed, defeated, "it was no use, I was outnumbered."

"They shouldn't have done that…" I hissed. Imagining the sight of Wells struggling against faceless enemies just to keep that stupid metal band. I had no doubt it was Murphy and Bellamy at fault for this. It wasn't just a stupid band to him though, it was a symbol of hope; hope that his friends and family would find him. And now that had been taken from him.

"What's done is done, he'll pay for it later," Wells shrugged, but I could see he was still clearly affected by it.

"You shouldn't let them walk all over you like that," I muttered.

"Like I said," Wells sighed as he reached for a pile of clothing, "what's done is done."

"What is all that?" I nodded towards the small pile he struggled to keep in his grip.

"Clothes, took them off these two. Figured we could still put them to use," Wells nodded to himself, as though he were trying to talk himself through it. It was a smart decision on his part though. My own people often did the same, and I knew it wasn't easy to strip a friend of the very clothing they had been killed in, it felt wrong. I shivered, the thought of my own friends lying in the earth sent chills through me. Wells glanced over just as I grabbed onto myself. I tried to ease my mind of the visions of blood and the screams of my own people, but he confused my anxiety for something else.

"Did you need a jacket?" he tugged the black read leather-looking jacket off of his pile, "I don't know how you even managed to stay warm last night. I'm sorry I didn't think of getting this to you sooner."

"No I'm fine," I insisted, but he shook his head.

"This is a smaller size, and you don't have one. With the temperature drop after the sun sets…at least this will help," Wells waited patiently until I finally gave in, reaching for the jacket and shrugging it on. It was a little large, and definitely framed for shoulders a little broader than mine, but it offered comforting warmth in the crisp morning surrounding us.

"Need help carrying the rest of those?" I asked. Wells nodded gratefully, handing me the shoes. As we made our way back towards the center of the camp, I couldn't help it as my thoughts drifted. I had barely been with these people a whole day, and yet it didn't take long to notice how the others treated Wells differently, as though he were the most disgusting thing they'd seen. They taunted him, ridiculed him or ignored him completely. And he didn't at all seem fazed by it. Hurt, a little, maybe, but otherwise completely indifferent to it. We made our way back, coming across many still asleep amongst the forest floor. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a different movement, and caught sight of one couple finding some time to get more intimate. Wells chuckled awkwardly as he quickened his stride, the way the crimson flourished across his cheeks told me just how uncomfortable he was, embarrassed even. I wasn't so affected by it, public displays of affection were something all too common in my clan, and in fact it was more aggressive. But perhaps that was why Wells fascinated me, why any of these sky people fascinated me; they were different. Wells was different. He was so unaware of the innocence he had to my world, in more ways than one.

As we started to get closer to the drop ship, the camp slowly awoke. The morning growing more chaotic as we shouldered past others, our destination still unknown to me. Bodies flew fast us, roughly shoving at one another as they continued their fun further down the path behind us. In no time at all is was as if the whole forest became alive. It was oddly familiar seeing the dancing and games, hearing the laughter and soft drumming in the background. Home didn't feel so far away for a brief moment. Just as we walked back the drop ship a young man blocked our path, his green eyes scanning the items in our arms greedily.

"Hey, where'd you get the clothes?" he asked as he stepped forward.

"Buried the two kids who died during the landing," Wells said stiffly, holding the clothing more firmly. The man glanced over at me, smiling slyly.

"Smart," he looked away with a nod, "you know what? I'll take it from here. There's always a market for…"

"Hey! We share based on need, just like back home," Wells stepped away as the man reached for the clothes, tugging at it roughly. My eyes were still on the man in front of us when Bellamy stepped out from inside the drop ship.

"You still don't get it, do you 'Chancellor'?" Bellamy asked as he stepped forward. His upper body was bare, and it was plain to see why when a half dressed girl appeared behind him, planting a playful kiss on his lips before setting off into the woods, "this is home now. Your fathers rules no longer apply."

I scowled at Bellamy as he stepped closer, but he only smirked at the ugly look I was giving him. Before I knew what was happening, he reached and snagged a navy blue shirt from Wells' grasp. He stepped away quickly, chuckling at our protest. Atom, the man who had stopped us, shoved Wells away when he tried to reach for the shirt but Bellamy quickly stopped him, holding the shirt in his fist as he taunted Wells, daring Wells to take it from him. Wells turned suddenly, throwing the clothes behind him before turning back to Bellamy. I watched as a few boys scrambled to fight for what they'd had their eyes on. I was pissed, seeing Wells defeated once again just because Bellamy liked playing alpha. I snapped. Shoving the boots at his feet, I stepped forward. The move clearly caught him off guard as his eyes widened and his brows rose slightly in surprise, though he didn't step away. Instead he kept that same smirk on his face which only fueled my rage toward him.

"Is this what you want? Chaos?" I snapped, gesturing at the argument happening behind us as the boys continued to fight for certain items. Another quickly dove for the boots I'd thrown at Bellamy's feet, quickly ducking away and scurrying into the forest before anyone could fight him.

"What's wrong with a little chaos?" Bellamy chuckled darkly, lifting the shirt over his head and shrugging it on. My eyes lingered over his exposed skin as he did so, but a cry for help in the distance interrupted our argument, immediately catching our attention, and we quickly set off to find the source. I reached the group just in time to see Murphy holding a girl over a fire, going on about how they had to make the ark think they were suffering. Without a second thought, I raced over, shoving Murphy onto his back with a grunt. Ignoring the glare from him as I did so, I hurried over to the girl, making sure she was all right before I turned back to Murphy, unaware that he was getting ready to lung at me. I wasn't prepared, and tried to brace myself but Wells stepped in the way, taking the punch and lashing out a few of his own. They struggled for dominance, but Wells finally got a few punches in before standing up to face Bellamy.

"Don't you see you can't control this," Wells insisted, looking back at Murphy with wild eyes.

"You're dead," Murphy growled, bringing out his knife.

"Wait," Bellamy warned, and I looked at their leader, hopeful that he would stop the fight, instead panic set in when I saw him drop the knife at Wells' feet, offering a fair fight. Bellamy walked back over to my side, watching Wells and Murphy eye each other with rage.

"Stop this, Bellamy," I pleaded. He looked down with a slight shake of his head.

"I can't," he replied simply looking up in time to see Murphy lunge for Wells. A few slashes later and Murphy had drawn blood. I felt myself step forward, reaching for my own knife. Bellamy caught my arm, holding me in place. I looked back at him, seeing my own anger reflected in his eyes as I prepared to pull from his grasp. I expected him to make another cocky comment, instead seeing a brief moment of concern flash over his otherwise stoic expression before he spoke again, "Save yourself a few scars, it has to be done."

"I can't just let them…"I began, but another voice caught our attention. We looked up seeing Wells had Murphy in a chokehold, which he quickly released when the blonde girl came into view. Murphy took the opportunity to lunge at Wells again, but Bellamy quickly intercepted and shoved Murphy away. After making sure Murphy was stable, Bellamy rushed over to the brunette limping into the clearing.

"Octavia, are you all right?" he quickly took on her weight as she leaned into him. I recalled Wells mentioning something about Bellamy having a sister, and seeing the similarity in their appearances it didn't take long for me to put the pieces together.

"Clarke," Wells breathed heavily as the group joined the others. Everyone was eager to hear what news they brought back, and I was quick to notice they were a man short. Had Lincoln killed him?

"Where's the food?" Bellamy asked as he hovered over his sister, examining her injury with fluttered movements.

"We didn't make it to Mount Weather," another man said, sitting down as Bellamy watched him curiously.

"What the hell happened out there?" Bellamy demanded.

"We were attacked," Clarke admitted; worry filling her voice as she replied.

"Attacked?" Wells stepped forward, concern growing in his eyes as he looked over Clarke, "By what?"

"Not what," the man sitting down said calmly, "who. It turns out when the last man from the ground died on the ark, he wasn't the last grounder."

"It's true," Clarke began, but I had already begun slipping away. Backing myself slowly into the crowd as they gathered around closer, eager to hear more about the new threat, "everything we thought we knew about the ground was wrong, there are people here, survivors. The good news is that means we can survive. Radiation won't kill us."

"Yeah, the bad news is the grounders will," the man finished as whispers started around me. I was close to escaping, only a few feet away. As soon as I broke from the group, I heard Wells speak up, but didn't stay behind to hear what he had to say. As I climbed up the incline, making my way back towards camp, I glanced back to make sure I went unnoticed. I was just about to turn back around, to continue back to camp when my eyes locked with another's. Bellamy's dark eyes watched me carefully as I stood there for a moment, unsure if I should take another step. He didn't hold my gaze for very long, eventually looking down as he joined the conversation again. I hoped that this whole situation didn't appear as suspicious as it felt. And while I knew Bellamy wouldn't confront me about it later, I didn't want to give him any reason to question my place here. Taking advantage of the now abandoned drop site, I hurried back to my tent at a pace I was much more accustomed to. Though I hadn't been away from my clan very long, I was staring to miss the little things; I missed running, I missed hunting and I missed not having to worry about saying the wrong thing. Pretending to be one of them was becoming much more mentally and physically exhausting than I could have ever imagined. But now things had changed, they knew they weren't alone, and now they saw my people as a threat. Grounders? Is that what we were now? My being here had just gotten a hell of a lot more difficult.

I had heard shouting in the distance just after I climbed into my tent, but I remained there until I heard the voices getting closer. Once I was sure it was safe, I climbed out of my tent, forcing a smile at a few of the people I walked by as I made my way towards the drop ship. Jasper, that was the name of the kid with the goggles, the one who was apparently taken by the 'grounders' when they'd gotten close to Mount Weather. I knew they would go back for him, but I also knew that my people would be watching them, making sure they stayed away from the threat Mount Weather posed for us. I met Clarke as she exited the drop ship, Wells following shortly after.

"Hey, heading out again?" I asked them, ignoring the look Clarke gave me as I asked.

"Yeah," she answered, her eyes calculating me carefully, I was sure she was trying to put a name to my face.

"I'm coming, I want to help. I can't stay here and watch another game of tag," I watched as she smirked at my words, nodding finally as she relented to having me join them.

"The more the merrier I guess," she muttered. She didn't linger, stalking away towards Bellamy, I didn't catch the brief conversation, but I did notice the item holstered in his waistband, and judging by the way everyone reacted to it, I knew it was dangerous. Bellamy joined the rescue group along with Murphy, much to Wells' dismay.

"This should be fun," I muttered to Wells as we made our way out of the camp.

"I just hope we all make it back, Jasper included," he sighed.

"We'll find him," I promised, Wells shrugged it off, quickening his pace to catch up with Clarke. We would find Jasper, I was sure of it, but I wasn't so sure as to the state we would find him in and whether he was alive or dead.

The journey to save Jasper began with little conversation flowing between the five of us; the only sounds filling the silence were our feet against the earth as we marched along an unmarked path, and the occasional exchange between Murphy and Bellamy as they chuckled to one another while they conversed behind us every now and again. When they caught up, Bellamy had his gun out, and Wells was quick to object, telling him to take it off and bringing us all to halt. I tuned out their argument as I scanned the trees, looking for any sign of Jasper or my people. The conversation was starting to get heated, Bellamy demanding Clarke take off her wristband but she refused to give in. When I finally looked back over to my group, I noticed a new member. Finn, I think his name was, appeared and began splitting us up. Before I could object, him and Clarke disappeared ahead. We kept a few paces behind them, Bellamy and Wells' spoke just ahead while Murphy and I stayed behind.

"So, Ava, was it?" Murphy drawled, "I think you and I should get better acquainted, maybe even…"

"Not interested," I interrupted, quickening my step.

"You didn't even hear what I was going to say," Murphy hurried to catch up to me.

"Alright," I stopped, turning to face him, "what were you going to say?"

"C'mon, how about you and I slip away for a few minutes, swap our stories on what got us locked up and get to know each other more intimately," He stepped closer, his voice lowering in an attempt at seducing me that was almost laughable.

"Still not interested," I shrugged, pushing him away. I hurried up to Bellamy and Wells, interrupting whatever argument they were having as I motioned to a different path, "how about we cover more ground?"

"What? Split off again?" Bellamy asked.

"Fine by me," Wells' huffed and made his way down a different line of trees; I followed him only daring a glance back to confirm the feeling we were being watched. Bellamy and Murphy's eyes were locked on us, following us as we disappeared behind the bush. And while I could tell he wasn't happy that we didn't wait for his order, I knew Bellamy didn't care enough to stop us.

"What do you think the chances are that we're actually going to find this kid?" Wells' asked solemnly, his shoulders sagging as we kept on.

"Depends I guess," I mumbled, my thoughts drifting to Lincoln. Surely I wasn't the only one to notice his interest in the sky people. Anya must have known that when she assigned him to watch them, and watch over me. I didn't doubt that his interest in them could form sympathy, enough so that had me thinking he couldn't actually hurt these people.

"Do you think they're a threat?" Wells glanced back at me, something lingered on the edge of his tone, but I couldn't place it.

"I don't know," I answered honestly, "It's hard to say when we still know so little about them."

"You've got that right," Wells shook his head, "I feel like we're just waiting for them to strike."

"How do you know they're hostile?" I countered, my voice shaking slightly.

"Seriously?" he laughed darkly, "aren't we looking for the guy who was just speared by one of them."

"Yeah, I guess," Dammit.

"Wait," Wells paused, his arm outstretched to keep me from walking any further, "do you hear that?"

"Yeah," I smiled, my ears perked up and picked up the familiar sounds of rushing water, "C'mon, lets check it out."

"Are you sure…?"

"Trust me," I insisted, grabbing his hand and leading him to a small stream. Wells stumbled along the rivers shore as we wandered further towards the waterfall I knew was coming.

"How did you know this was here?" Wells asked, his breath hitching as he tried to steady himself on top of a jagged rock.

"You didn't know there was a river?" I asked, my excitement briefly blinding me from the mistake I had just made.

"No…" Wells frowned, "I've never seen one of these before."

"Right," I forced a laugh, "I did a bit of exploring when we first got off the ship, found a smaller stream closer to the camp."

"Do you think that thing that attacked Octavia could be in here?" Wells asked, he was watching the water warily, searching for any kind of movement beneath its surface.

"Water's too shallow, I'm sure we're safe here if you want to take a little swim," I shook my head, while I knew the serpent he was talking about was homed further downstream, he didn't, and so I had to play along.

"I don't think that's a good idea. Besides, how sure are you that that thing won't come here? I'd rather play it safe," Wells muttered as he began throwing nearby pebbles into the water.

"Alright then," I huffed before sitting a few boulders away, "how about we take a break?"

"Exactly what I was thinking," Wells stretched. We were silent only a moment more before a bird flew above us, gaining his immediate attention as he called out to the creature, "Look!"

"What?" I searched the sky to where he was pointing; only noticing a crow, and my interest quickly vanished, "What? The bird?"

"Right, cause I'm sure you saw them all the time back on the Ark," Wells shook his head, "nothing amazes you does it?"

"What do you mean?" I defended myself, "Sure, it's a pretty bird. I'm sure we'll see them all the time."

"How do you know?"

"I don't know I just do," I shrugged. Wells shook his head, reaching for another rock.

"Ah!" he grunted.

"What happened?" I stood up quickly; my eyes darting wildly as I scanned the tree line. I couldn't see any threat, so I moved towards him; effortlessly navigating my way over the unstable rocky path towards where he sat hunched over, "are you okay?"

"Its fine, I just…" he held his hand up to me; a deep gash in the center of his palm was quickly turning more scarlet. Before I had time to reach into my pack, his hand was already cupping a small amount of blood that had begun to ooze from his wound.

"Wait here," I pressed on his shoulders as I stood up, and without sparing a glance back at him I ran towards the forest. I found the few plants I needed easily enough as I pulled them from the earth. It didn't take much to fashion a bowl out of bark and begin prepping the medicine for Wells, it was something I had done often enough for myself whenever I went off on my own adventures without my sister breathing down my neck. Using a rock I ground up the last few ingredients, mixing it lightly as I walked back to where he stood in the river rinsing off his cut.

"I told you to wait," I scolded him.

"Yeah well I figured you were getting queasy after you ran off, and thought the water could do most of the work in cleaning it," Wells mumbled, "I figured we could find Clarke and she could…"

"Sit down," I pulled him back, motioning to a flat boulder and waited until he did as I said. He didn't put up much of a fight, only muttering to himself before sitting down, "thank you."

"What's that?" he eyed the items in my hand cautiously.

"Medicine," I said as I covered a few leaves in the mixture before placing it on his hand.

"It stings," Wells groaned, "are you sure you know what you're doing?"

"Trust me," was all I said. I reached for his shirt, tearing off a bit of it hem before he could object.

"Whoa, I don't think…"

"Just shut up and let me help you," I insisted, wrapping the fabric around his hand and tying it tightly against his palm.

"How did you…?" Wells blinked.

"Does it still sting?" I interrupted; I didn't need him thinking about the 'how's', I was already way past staying under the radar.

"No, but…"

"Good," I smiled. My gaze drifted to where I caught sight of Murphy and Bellamy wandering out of the forest, laughing loudly, "Oh look, our friends have returned."

"Great," Wells rolled his eyes, letting me help him up as he stumbled to keep his balance.

"Aw," Murphy teased, "did we interrupt alone time with the girlfriend?"

"I'm not his girlfriend," I said at the same time as Wells spoke.

"She's not my girlfriend," he glared.

"Hey now," Murphy said, raising his hands defensively, "no need to get all wound up."

"Is there a reason you're here?" I said impatiently, keeping my eyes on Bellamy, who seemed more amused by the conversation than he should have been.

"We lost you two back there, Clarke and Finn wandered off, thought maybe you could help us find them."

"What do you mean?" Wells asked worriedly, "Where did they go?"

"We don't know," Murphy said with an irritated huff, "or else we wouldn't be here asking you to help us find them."

"Well then we should probably go look, instead of standing here arguing about how we don't know where they are," I pushed between Bellamy and Murphy, not bothering to wait to see if they were following.

It didn't take long before we found them, I had only retraced our steps back to where we had last seen them before we saw Finn waving us over. Clarke was holding what looked like oversized glasses in her hand.

"What going on?" Bellamy ran past me, hurrying to Clarke to see what she was holding, "did you find him?

"No, but we found this," she held up the object.

"His goggles?" Wells asked.

"We found it just by a stream just up ahead, I think I can follow the blood. Maybe we can figure out where he is," Finn nodded in another direction, quickly setting off as the rest of us eagerly followed. I found myself yet again hoping that their friend was still alive, and if not alive, then at least in one piece.

"Hey, how do we know this is the right way," Murphy asked as we walked along the stream. Ahead of us, Finn was doing what looked like tracking, though it was clumsier than what I was used to. In attempt to avoid any more suspicion I kept myself towards the end of the group, allowing Finn to slowly lead us to whatever was left of their friend.

"We don't," Bellamy taunted, "Spacewalker here, thinks he's a tracker."

"Its called 'cutting sign'. Fourth-year earth skills," Wells interjected, "he's good."

"You want to keep it down or should I paint a target on your backs?" Finn grunted, his eyes still scanning the forest ahead as he tried to keep on Jaspers trail.

We had only taken a few more step before Finn was crouched down, Clarke alongside him. I knew what they were seeing, and I knew that meant we were getting closer.

"See?" I heard Bellamy whisper to Wells, "You're invisible."

Just then a low moan echoed around us, and we all turned to the direction it had come from.

"What the hell was that?" Murphy looked around nervously.

"Now would be a good time to take out that gun," was all Clarke said before she and Finn hurried off into the direction of whatever noise we had just heard. I was the last to arrive, and the last to react to the scene in front of us. Jasper, barely alive, was tied up to a tree. I didn't have time to warn the others before Clarke was already running to help. Just as I went to shout a warning, the ground beneath her feet collapsed, and she fell into whatever trap was placed there by my friend. Bellamy was quick to react, reaching out for her before she could fall into the spikes that awaited her below. Everyone moved fast, all of us hurried to pull her up, and when she was safely back on her feet I felt the breath I had been holding finally release.

"You okay?" Wells asked as he looked down at the small opening.

"Yeah," Clarke said shakily, but she quickly collected herself, turning to look up at Jasper, "we need to get him down."

The others nodded, Finn directing everyone as he moved towards Jasper and planned how he was going to get him free.

"There's a poultice on his wound," Clarke said as Finn and Murphy began getting ready to climb up the tree.

"Medicine? Why would they save his life just to string him up as live bait?" Wells' brows furrowed as he examined the poultice further. I watched him nervously, hoping he wouldn't think about it too hard.

"Maybe what they're trying to catch likes its dinner to be breathing," Bellamy suggested glancing down at the trap again. Wells kept his eyes on Jasper a moment longer before glancing down at his own hand I had bandaged up just minutes ago.

"Maybe what they're trying to catch is us," Finn said, and though I wasn't sure if he really meant it, it seemed to make something finally click in Wells' head; like the final piece to a puzzle. And before I realized it, we were staring at each other. His eyes locked on mine as I watched him slowly piece it together. And right then I knew what he was thinking. His eyes, widened with fear, said it all.

You're one of them.

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