The following morning I was walking to breakfast when I heard the alarm go off. "What's going on?" I yelled at someone who was running past.
"Containment breach!" They called back.
"Containment– Clarke!" I took off down the hallway towards the elevator and ran right into Dante. "Someone escaped?"
"Clarke, but I have a feeling you already knew that."
"Clarke doesn't particularly like being locked up."
"I've just come from talking to her, as soon as she's cleaned up I'm sure she'd appreciate seeing you."
"Yeah, I'd like to see her too."
We took the elevator down to the 3rd level. I knocked on the door and then walked in. Clarke was knelt behind a train case, similar to the one next to my bed, changing. She stood up and saw me and almost knocked the case over as she ran towards me. Catching me completely off guard she hugged me. "Maia, I knew you weren't dead!"
"Yeah, me and Monty got lucky."
"He's here too?" She asked.
I nodded. "Yeah, I don't know how much Dante has told you but there's almost fifty of us here."
"Forty eight," she said. "Who else is here?"
"Jasper, some kids I didn't know that well."
I looked around the hospital room. "We were hoping she was in here. Jasper told me what happened."
"If she's not here, then she probably didn't make it." I turned away, and Clarke grabbed my arm. "She understood why you were upset, she felt awful about it."
"Finn and Bellamy are gone too," I told her. She let go of my arm. "I'm sorry."
She pressed her head into her hands. "We waited as long as we could." She looked up at me. "I'm sorry, Maia."
"You didn't have a choice, I get it. Bell would have wanted you to save everyone."
"He wanted to come after you, we all did, but with the grounders coming…I should have told him to go, he might still be alive."
"He never would have left you guys, that's not like him." I shook my head. "If I hadn't-"
"You couldn't have done anything, Maia. None of this is your fault."
"I should be glad he's gone, I told him I wanted him dead. I should still hate him. Do you know how hard it is to hate someone you're in love with?" I asked.
"He told me why he did it, turned you in, I mean."
"To save Octavia, I know. But Jaha stopped pardoning kids after he realized we were running out of oxygen on the Ark."
I nodded. "Yeah, ran across some logs while I was on a med run. If Bellamy had just told me what he was doing I would have been able to explain that they couldn't pardon Octavia." I shook my head. "Even if she had been pardoned, he left me for dead in there. There's no way they would have pardoned me at my retrial."
"He was going to keep stealing, he said he learned enough from you that it would seem like you were still the thief. If things kept going missing they would have no choice but to pardon you."
"What if he'd gotten caught? Hell, they would have floated him just for turning in the wrong person."
"But you and Octavia would have been okay. He was willing to die for you."
"Right before, he told me no matter what happened he would always love me. I guess that was what he meant." I shook my head. "But I almost died. If he had just told me!"
"I'm not saying I think he went about it the right way, but I'm saying it wasn't your life he traded for Octavia's, it was his."
"And now he's dead." I pressed my head into my hands and for a second I just sat there with my eyes squished shut, then I started crying. "I was scared I would lose him again, isn't that ironic?"
"What?" Clarke asked.
"He told me he was still in love with me and I told him I didn't trust him. I didn't give him a second chance because I was terrified that I would lose him."
Clarke put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed, for once we weren't at odds against each other. We were both in mourning. We understood each other. "There's a chance he and Finn made it," she said. "They knew what was coming, if they were able to get away from the grounders, they could have made a run for it."
"They might still be out there," I murmured.
"They might still be alive."
The door opened and Clarke and I both looked up. "Maia, why don't you go upstairs with the others? I'm sure they're all wondering where you went. I'll give Clarke a tour and then bring her upstairs."
I bobbed my head. "Okay, yeah." I wiped the remaining tears from my cheek and stood up. "Don't get into anymore trouble while I'm gone, okay?" I said, trying to joke. Clarke smiled sadly at me.
Upstairs the others were talking to Keenan. Jasper slung his arm around my shoulder. "Here's our fearless leader. Where'd you go?"
"Clarke's awake. Also, please stop, I'd prefer Robin Hood." I cringed. Jasper grinned.
"She okay?" Monty asked.
I nodded. "Confused, and a little shaken up. But that's to be expected."
"Are you okay?" Jasper asked.
"Me? Yeah. I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Jasper, please. If I want to talk about it, I'll talk about it." I glanced over my shoulder. "There she is."
Monty and Jasper both turned. "Clarke!" Monty shouted as he pushed through the crowd towards her. He and Jasper hugged her and she smiled. The other kids whispered amongst themselves. I walked towards them, Keenan followed with a guidebook for Clarke.
"We were just about to go eat lunch," Jasper told us. "Want to come with?"
Clarke shook her head. "I think I'm going to go to the room for a bit, but you guys go on ahead." Clarke headed one way and the rest of us went into the dining hall. Today we sat with some of the other kids. Occasionally one of them would make a comment loud enough to make the whole table laugh, but for the most part we stayed in our little groups.
Monty returned with deserts and plopped them in front of us. I took a bite out of my cake and sighed. "This is heavenly."
"Hey, how come you didn't bring me cake?" Jasper asked.
"That pie looked better."
"Really? Cause Maia looks like she's about to cry."
"There was only one piece left, I didn't want to be that person," Monty argued.
"At least let me try a bit," Jasper said. Monty and I both pulled our plates closer to us. "Oh I see how it is."
I saw Clarke coming in and waved her over. "You've got to try this," I offered her a bite.
"I'm not eating their food." My eyes flicked to Dante, even though he wasn't looking our direction I knew he was paying attention. "Look at this." She opened the guidebook to the map. "There's no exits on this thing."
"Clarke-" I started.
"Maia, you've been here the longest, tell me everything you've seen. Dante trusts you. Me, on the other hand, he's got some reason to dislike." I shook my head. Clarke frowned. "This place is too good to be true, don't you see that?"
"I'm going to go get some of that cake," Jasper said standing up.
"Clarke, please. Look at our people, they're happy. They have clean clothes, and real beds, and full stomachs, some of them for the first time ever. Who are we to tell them this isn't right?" As I spoke I dragged my fork through the icing of my cake.
I flicked my eyes towards the plate, and Clarke followed my gaze. "Being watched." Her eyes slowly scanned the room until she was looking at Dante, over my shoulder.
"You're right," Clarke said. "I think I'm going to try some of that cake too." She stood up and walked away.
Monty and I watched her walk towards Jasper and Maya. I scraped my fork over my words erasing them.
After Clarke made a break for the surface I was called into Dante's office. "I assume you know why you're here."
"No, actually, I don't. I didn't have anything to do with Clarke."
"Yes, I know that. Your leader has become problematic. I've given her two opportunities for redemption now, I will not be so lenient if it happens again."
"Okay, well, Clarke doesn't take orders from me. So I'd suggest you work it out with her yourself."
"You seem rational, Maia. Less prone to outbursts. Your people admire you, even I can see that."
"Clarke is our leader."
"I want to work with you, to help your people assimilate here. We both want this to work out don't we?"
I nodded. "Of course."
"Then you will sway your people from Clarke's example."
"Everyone loves it here, honestly. Clarke will come around."
"I hope so too, but if she doesn't and her doubt spreads it will end badly for us all. Be the example, Maia. Lead them." I heard the underlying threat in his words.
I gulped but nodded. "Okay."
"Now, go back to your friends. It's almost dinner."
I walked into the hall without saying another word to Dante. I didn't go straight to the dormitory, instead I just stood in the corridor out of the way, as Dante left and people started to make their way towards the dining hall. Finally, when things were quiet and I had a moment to collect myself, I followed them.
I came in late and slid into the empty seat in between Jasper and Clarke. "You okay?" she whispered.
"Hmm? Yeah," I told her. She took a small sip of her soup and smiled. "Good to see you eating."
"You guys were right, it is good."
"See, things can be alright here," I told her and attempted to smile back. She gave me a funny look. "Wait till you try the cake."
I looked at Dante who was sitting at the head table. He raised his glass to me and I nodded at him. A chill ran down my spine. Inside these walls we may have escaped the grounders, but I had a feeling that we might have walked into something even worse.