Fallout

Chapter 9

For a day and a half nothing eventful happened. Clarke was quiet, staying away from the rest of our group and sticking to drawing in her new sketchbooks. I had been the one to tell Dante about Clarke's love of art, it was something she'd told me about the night we found the guns. We had spent the night avoid the topic of Bellamy's certain punishment for shooting Jaha and instead discussed trivial things, like art. I cringed now, knowing that I had shared this detail with Dante.

Monty plopped down onto my bed next to me, making me jump. "Breakfast?"

"Sure," I said. Honestly, I had never been a breakfast person. I preferred to skip it and save the money for a big lunch or diner, or prior to Octavia's arrest, for her to spend at the sale. Now, however, I was expected to attend each morning. Clarke excluded, there were forty-six other kids who looked to me as an example.

Monty and I had a long discussion the previous night about my character. His point was that I was inherently good, but unlike Clarke I didn't know how to inspire good in others. I added that my charming disposition probably didn't help much either.

I pointed out Jasper and Maya talking across the room. "I suppose he won't be sitting with us this morning."

Monty grinned. "I like her, she's cool."

"Well, I'll let her know she's got the best friend's blessing," I joked. Someone patted me on the shoulder and I jerked around. "Miller!" I was a little surprised to see Bellamy's former lieutenant on his feet so quickly. "I thought you were still in the med ward, I would have come to see you."

"No worries, you've clearly got your hands full here. I'm feeling better than ever, three surgeries patched me right up." There was a pause. I hadn't known Miller well, the only interaction I'd had with him was really just through Bellamy.

"We're going to breakfast, would you like to join us? You'll love the food."

He smiled. "I'm starving." Monty and I stood. An alarm made everyone freeze. I turned toward the entryway, in a defensive position, half expecting an attack. Maya scurried towards the front of the room.

Clarke jumped from her top bunk. "What's going on?" She asked Maya.

"That alarm means a search party has returned from the surface and needs medical attention. I've got to go." Maya sprinted down the hall.

Clarke looked at me. "There might be more of us, we need to go with her." She chased Maya down the hall, without looking back to see if I was with her.

"Clarke, wait!" I called after her. I turned around and saw Jasper. "Go, with her, please!" He nodded and took off after them. The rest of the group stared at me, equal parts confused and afraid. "I'm sure everything is fine! The rest of you should all get to breakfast, you know the best dishes will be picked over if you wait too long." As if coming out of a spell they all began moving, some towards their bunks but most towards the door.

It was my turn to be frozen as I watched them, wanting someone to argue with me, or demand to know where Clarke had gone. Monty pushed my shoulder till I was facing the door. "Let's take your own advice and get breakfast, alright?"

OoOoO

I was picking at an orange cranberry muffin, when Clarke practically yanked me out of my seat. "Be right back," I mumbled. "What's going on upstairs?"

"One of the guys they brought back was shot," she said. "With a gun."

"Grounders don't use guns," I said confused.

"Exactly! They're lying to us, our people are out there." A few people glanced our way.

"Clarke, you can't just keep butting your nose into places it doesn't belong," I said, loud enough for the tables near us to hear. I pulled her farther away. "The grounders could have gotten ahold of ours guns after the fight."

"But that wasn't your first thought."

"No, you're right," I admitted. "But, one gunshot is not proof our friends are alive."

She yanked away from me. "Fine, I'll find proof." She stormed off towards Dante and I walked back to my seat.

"Everything okay?" Miller asked.

I shrugged. "Yeah, Clarke is just being Clarke. You know how she is. Paranoid, aggressive," I tried to think of another negative adjective but my mind failed me. "She's had a hard time recently."

"You both have. I heard about Bellamy and Raven, I'm sorry."

"It's no one's fault but my own," I mumbled.

"We did everything we could, for both of them."

I nodded. "I know, but our best was not a lot. These people on the other hand have it all."

"I'm luck they brought me here, without them I'd be dead."

"We all got lucky," Monty mumbled. He glanced at me and I looked away, lucky was not exactly the word I'd use.

OoOoO

Later that day I was sitting on my bed reading, I did enjoy the endless supply of books in Mount Weather. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Clarke walk in. I turned slightly so I could see her and Jasper talking. Clarke was visibly distressed. I hopped over the rail and walked over to them. "What's going on?"

"They want us to believe that man was shot by an arrow," Clarke told me.

"Maybe he was shot by an arrow," I suggested. Jasper nodded.

"Maia, our people are still out there."

"I know, Clarke. I know that. But look around. Look at our people. Half of them are kids. This is a safe place, with food, and beds, and you're trying to take that away from them." I knew my voice was rising; it tended to happen when I got upset. I took a deep breath. I didn't want to worry any of the others.

"There's something they aren't telling us, I know it."

"You sound like a crazy person, Clarke." I looked over my shoulder, the talking had quieted to whispers and most of the kids were watching us.

Clarke laughed. "Priceless."

"What?" I asked confused.

"A few days and it's already gone to your head. You're just trying to turn them against me. You know as well as I do that something is going on here, but you want to be the one to save the day."

"Clarke, please. I just want you to calm down and think about this rationally."

"I am, Maia. You're the one who needs a reality check." She shook her head. "You're on your own, I hope this is what you wanted." She turned around and walked away.

I looked at Jasper perplexed. "I swear, I'm not-"

"I know," he said. He steered me back toward my bunk.

"You okay, Maia?" Monty asked joining us. Jasper walked back towards the others.

I shrugged. "The only person that really understands what I'm going through basically just called me a manipulative bitch, but other than that I'm great."

"Clarke isn't herself right now," Monty said. "Not that I'm excusing her for yelling at you."

"Maybe she is the rational one." I looked at him for a moment. "Monty, I believe her."

"About the gun shot?"

"That there's something going on here. She's right about that, I feel it too. But I don't want to be the one to save the day, I can't be."

"What are you talking about?"

"Dante threatened me," I confessed. "He basically said keep my people under control or we die."

Monty's eyes widened. "He said that?"

"More or less. The point is I can't help Clarke. He's watching me; I have to be the embodiment of assimilation. If he thinks I even have the potential to inspire distrust in all of you, things could end badly."

"You're scared."

"I have the well being of forty eight people on my shoulders. I'm terrified." He squeezed my shoulder. "Clarke has to find a way out of here."

Monty surveyed the room. "They're not going to go easily."

"She's going to need proof too if we're going to convince everyone to leave."

"And if she can't find it?"

"It's Clarke, she'll find it."

OoOoO

That night I barely slept. I woke up countless times from night terrors and surveyed the room to make sure nothing was wrong. It wasn't until the next morning when it hit me that something had been missing. I hopped off my bed and walked towards Clarke's, it was empty.

It wasn't the emptiness that sparked worry, Jasper and a few of the others were early risers and their beds were already empty as well. What worried me was that I didn't remember seeing Clarke all night.

I went back to my bunk and shook Monty awake. "Hey, get up."

He groaned but set up. "Did I miss breakfast?" He asked.

I shook my head. "Did you see Clarke last night?"

"I was asleep. Weren't you?"

"No, not really." I stood up and peeked over my bed at hers, willing her to be there sleeping soundly, but of course she wasn't. "Clarke hasn't been here all night."

"Are you sure?"

"Almost positive."

"You think she fell asleep in the library or something? You know she was trying to research this place as much as she could."

"Maybe," I said doubtfully.

"Let's just get changed and go to breakfast, she's probably there scowling at everyone like she normally does."

OoOoO

I sat in the dining hall until almost everyone had cleared out and every plate was empty. "She's not here. Why isn't she here?"

"Library?" Monty suggested weakly.

Out of the corner of my eye there was movement, I looked over my shoulder quickly. Jasper smiled at me and I sighed. "Good morning to you too."

"Sorry," I mumbled.

"We were hoping you were Clarke," Monty said.

"She wasn't at breakfast?" Jasper asked.

"She wasn't in the room at all last night," I informed him. I stood up and the three of us walked across the hall to the room. I walked up to Clarke's bunk and started inspecting it. Her art supplies were still sitting on top of her train case. I flipped through her sketchbook hoping it would tell me something about her whereabouts. Her annotations on the map were detailed, but useless.

I tossed the book on the bed and trailed my fingers along the metal side until I landed in something sticky. I jerked my hand back and noticed red on my fingers. I bent underneath the bed to get a better look. "Is that blood?" Monty asked. I nodded.

"Recent?" Jasper asked.

"Maybe from yesterday afternoon," I said.

"So Clarke's hurt," Monty said.

"We don't know it's hers," Jasper said.

"It's Clarke's bunk, it's most likely hers. Even if it's not, we've got someone's blood and a missing person, she's in trouble at the very least," I said.

"I can ask Maya to check into it, she's got access to all of that stuff because of her job," Jasper suggested.

"Can we trust her?" Monty asked.

"Do we have any other options?" Jasper countered.

"Good idea, do that, please." He nodded and left.

"Do you think she's okay?" Monty asked.

"I really hope so."

OoOoO

"What did you find out?" I asked when Jasper brought Maya to us later that day.

"I asked around at the med center, apparently Clarke had a breakdown yesterday. She pulled out her stitches and started freaking out on the staff. They've taken her into psychiatric care, they don't want her to hurt herself again."

"That explains the blood," Monty said.

"Can I see her?" I asked.

Maya hesitated. "I don't think they're letting anyone in to see her right now. Give it a few days, I'm sure once she's calmed down you'll be the first person she wants to see."

"Unlikely," I mumbled. "But please have someone tell me when I can talk to her."

Maya nodded. "I really hope she's okay. I know she's had a rough time adjusting to life here, and she's upset about your other friends, I understand why she's lashing out. We have good doctors here, if that's what she needs we can give it to her. If it's just support, I can tell that you and the other outsiders are here to give her that."

"Yeah, we try to be."

Jasper walked with Maya and I sat down on my bed with a thump. Monty leaned against the rail. "So Clarke is just going through a rough patch."

"She's not crazy."

"I didn't say that."

"I know, but I'm telling you, that's not it. Maybe she did rip out her stitches, but I guarantee you it wasn't because she was having a breakdown."

"What are you thinking?" Monty asked.

"That she wanted to get sent to the med ward. What better place to look for information than down there?"

"But then her plan backfired and ended with her in a padded cell?"

"If she's even in there," I said skeptically.

"Maya wouldn't lie to us. Would she?"

I shrugged. "I mean I don't know her that well. But, it could be that someone else is lying to her. Someone who knew Maya would report back to us, someone who doesn't want us to know where Clarke is."

"Dante?"

"Could be."

"If Clarke isn't in lock up, where is she?"

I paused. "In trouble."

"You don't think…"

"I don't know, Monty. I don't trust these people."

"Then what do we do, how do we find her without President Wallace knowing we're suspicious?"

"We ask Maya for help and hope she isn't on their side." I stopped and thought for a moment. Clarke wasn't exactly a damsel in distress. I had a hard time imagining her locked up somewhere. "What if…"

"What if, what?" Monty asked impatiently.

"What if she got out? She made it clear she wasn't sharing anything else with me. If she found an out, I think she'd take it. She could find the Ark survivors and the rest of our friends and come back for us later."

"Hypothetically, if she did get out, would we go after her?" Monty asked.

"No," I answered quickly. "Clarke can handle herself. Our people need us here. If I leave, there's no telling what Dante would do to the rest of you. As happy and complacent as these kids are right now, I think they'd notice if both of their leaders vanished into thin air."

"Even if they said you went crazy too?"

I gave Monty a look. "I like to think I'm a pretty level headed person. Do you really think anyone would believe I lost it?"

"Maybe not. But if they locked you up for verbally assaulting an official…well that is something I could see you doing."

I rolled my eyes. "Either way, we don't tell anyone about this, okay? Not even Jasper can know what we suspect. It's dangerous enough for everyone that Dante knows I have my own suspicions without him thinking I'm converting everyone. I'll pull Maya aside and press her about Clarke. I don't think she'll take it back to Dante, but if she does, it'll just be me involved."

He held his hands up in surrender. "Hey, I want to protect my own skin as much as you do."

"Good. As far as everyone else is concerned, we are nothing more than a couple of kids who are happy to have a second chance."

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