When I finally located my sister that afternoon, she was wandering around in the garden. I saw her smiling as she smelled the flowers, she had always loved nature. She had always been running around outdoors, following Lincoln on his hikes. She was more in tune with nature than I was. She was happy out here in the flowers, she was in her element. I watched her enjoy the castle without me knowing. I knew she wanted to hate it here, but I could see her adjusting.
I tried to talk to her last night after Bellamy and I made up. She wouldn’t open my bedroom door. I heard her crying, it broke my heart to know I had caused her that much pain. I hated knowing that she was upset with me. Bellamy came to find me when he found the bed empty. He carried me to our bed and kissed away my tears. I should’ve been happy, Bellamy and I had made a huge step as husband and wife. We were no longer strangers, we were a couple. That was more than enough to call for a celebration.
But we weren’t celebrating. Instead I was trying to convince my sister not to hate me.
I sighed, stood up straighter and walked towards Octavia. We were going to settle this once and for all. She was my little sister, I had pretty much raised her. She was going to listen to me, and I would listen to her. I would hear her out, I would take her feelings into account. But I wouldn’t let her shut down my life, telling me I was wrong for loving the person I did, because of her closed mind.
I didn’t raise her to keep such a closed mind. I knew she was better than this, grudges did nothing but pull you down into the anger.
The sun was high in the sky, it was hot. My mouth went dry within seconds of being outside. I could feel my skin burning, Octavia had been blessed with the dark skin, the dark features. She was kneeling down, a flower brushing against her nose. I smiled as she looked up at me.
She didn’t smile back.
“Hey,” I offered quietly as she stood up. We stood staring at each other, this was the only time I could ever recall feeling awkward around my sister, “can we talk about what happened last night? Or just talk?”
She nodded, squinting at me, “yeah,” she sighed, “I’m done being mad. I’ve missed you for too long to hold onto the anger I feel.”
I hugged her tightly, she didn’t fight me. I was glad she had gotten over our little disagreement last night. I loved my baby sister, she was the only one I had. I held onto her tightly as I tried to find the words to say I’m sorry. I pulled away and felt a tear fall down my cheek. She laughed, wiping her own away.
“I’m sorry,” she beat me to it, “I was a brat last night, I don’t want to believe Bellamy is a good guy. Last night, I was angry that you went after him and not me. I’ve never known a Clarke who doesn’t put me first and that hurt me. It scared me to see you here for more reasons than the obvious.”
I sighed, “it is different, isn’t it? I just,” I tried to fight off the tears, “you’re important to me too, Octavia. You’re my little sister. I just want you to like the person I am with. I want you to know that I’m happy, the way you’re happy with Lincoln.”
She smiled, “I can see how happy he makes you. I can promise that I’ll try,” her voice caught as she squeezed my hand, “I’ll try for you.”
I hugged her close, feeling the calm after the storm settle around us. I was glad she was here, even if she had broken in. I was glad my sister had come to rescue me, because I had been homesick before I even knew I was. I just wanted to know she was strong and that she was taken care of. She just wanted to know I was alive and not being held against my will. We both got the answers we were hoping for.
She just got a bigger truth than anyone outside the castle realized was happening.
"So what happened last night?" Octavia pulled her hair up off her shoulders.
I laughed, "I told him the truth. He uh, he told me he knew about Harper. So I told him everything," I sighed as my sister raised an eyebrow, "then he told me to finish what I started and threw a dagger at my feet.”
She looked as surprised as I had been last night, "what? Wow no wonder you didn't come back to your bedroom."
I blushed, "well actually I don't sleep there anymore. I uh, one of the guards sort of attacked me and I've taken to sleeping with the king.”
She laughed, "I shouldn't be surprised. You seem to really like him.”
I grabbed her hands, "I do O, I really do. I tried to stop it, when it started happening I still hated him. But once I realized he wasn't the monster we thought he was, I fell hard."
She hugged me tightly, "I'm glad you're still alive. I'm glad you're happy.”
I smiled, "thanks little sis," I whispered feeling better than ever now that I knew my sister was accepting of my relationship, "I never wanted you to hate him.”
We were quiet, watching the clouds roll by. I sat down on the grass, the needles tickling my legs. Octavia followed my lead and took a seat beside me. She sighed as I glanced towards her. I realized she was wearing one of my dresses, her battle armor was gone. Her hair was still braided, but her face was clean. She looked younger in the light pink dress.
She looked like my little sister again.
“So why did you write to Lincoln? I have to be honest I was a little hurt to see that given the chance to contact us you choose Lincoln first.”
I bit my lip, "it's complicated," my voice was quiet. My mind was tired of thinking about the curse, running through the motions of the day while trying to find a cure. I knew I could trust Octavia, but I wasn't sure she needed to know. What if she was put in danger because of it?
"Sometimes things become less complicated when they're talked about.”
I nudged her shoulder with mine, "I can't believe you're using one of mom's lines on me. God you're so old now.”
She laughed, something she hadn't done since we were reunited. It was nice, I could see her adjusting, "I'm serious. Clarke I'm not a little girl anymore. I want to help," she looked at me.
I closed my eyes, "the king is cursed," my voice was soft, the wind carried it away as I told her everything Bellamy had told me. It sounded weird, like I was making up another story. The words were weaving together like a fairytale, but they were the truth. I didn't go into as much detail, she didn't need to know everything about Roma.
Once I was finished I opened my eyes, "Lincoln has always been inquisitive about magic. He's always healed the sick, found a way to make ends meet. I thought if anyone from home could help it would be him.”
Octavia knew better than any of us how capable Lincoln was of helping, "I should've given him the letter. I'm sorry, I just wanted to see you.”
"It's okay," I wouldn't make her feel bad for missing me. She was important to me, "not all is lost. I'm sure Lincoln will come looking for you once he realizes you're gone.”
She smiled, biting her top lip, “he is pretty protective isn't he?”
"It just means he loves you," I hit her with my shoulder again, enjoying this afternoon with my sister. It had been a long time since we sat and talked about our lives. Even before Harper was taken we had started to grow apart. Lincoln made her happy, I stepped into the background to let her find her way with him.
Octavia looked at me with big eyes, "sort of like the king? I've seen the way he looks at you. He looks at you like you hung the moon.”
I felt blood rush to my cheeks as I looked away from her. He had become softer with me. And now after last night he was even more patient. It wasn't like I hadn't noticed the way he looked at me, the way his smile would appear slowly. That didn't mean I wanted to talk about it.
"I wouldn't go that far," my voice caught, "he really does like me doesn't he?”
She giggled, making me feel even more like a teenager, "this is weird, talking about boys with you. You've always been my mom, you've always told me to be careful with my heart."
I pushed a stray hair behind her ear, "I still think you should be careful with your heart. But when it's real, you take a risk anyways. Because you would rather jump in than wonder what it would've been like if you had never given them a chance.”
"You never believed me when I told you that's what it's like with Lincoln. You told me I was too young to know love and that I was going to get hurt," I remembered our fights when they first met. She was right I had been set against their relationship.
I nodded, "I'm sorry. There is no age for love, Octavia. I realize that now. I guess you have to experience it to realize how amazing and truly special it is to fall in love with the person who's meant for you.”
She hugged me tightly, "oh my gosh, my little Clarke has grown up.”
I pushed her back and she laughed loudly as I tried to tickle her sides. We were both too ticklish for our own good. She batted my hands away as we regained our composure. I wished Raven was here, she would've loved this side of Octavia. Sadly she had only gotten to know the angry side.
“When you were born mom pulled me up onto the bed beside her and placed you in my arms,” I swallowed the memory as I looked away from my sister, “she told me that a sister is the most precious gift you were given and that I had to make sure you were safe. I was responsible for you, I was to look out for you.”
My eyes were filled with tears as she looked at me, “Clarke that didn’t mean you have to give up your life for mine.”
I nodded, “you're my sister, my responsibility. Mom told me one day we would be best friends, we would rely on each other for strength and for advice. I think this is the moment she was talking about. She knew we would need each other in order to face something like this. Sometime bigger than both of us.”
She smiled, wrapping her arms around my neck, “I love you big sister,” a tear slipped down her cheek as I laid my hand on top of hers. If our mom could see us now I knew she would be smiling. She always wanted us to be more than sisters, she wanted us to be friends.
Octavia swallowed her tears and played with the bottom of her dress. For a moment I forgot about the curse and the horrible future I might face here in the kingdom. For a second I imagined my sister here with me, happy and content within the walls of the castle. I saw toddlers tan like Lincoln waddling around, Octavia chasing after them.
It was a painful picture. Because I knew if we didn't find a way out soon, I could never have a future as beautiful as that.
"What does Bellamy do all day if he isn't spending time with you?" Her voice startled me as I snapped out of my trance.
I laughed at her question, "he is the King, O. He has business he has to take care of, a kingdom to run. The drought has got him working overtime to find a water source so the crops don't die and everyone starves.”
She nodded, "true. I just imagined him following you around like a puppy," she laughed, "the way Lexa used to.”
I rolled my eyes, "no. He does not follow me around like a puppy. But I'm glad you think my husband would be more fearful of me than the other way around.”
She laughed loudly, "I've seen you angry Clarke, I'm scared of you."
I shook my head, "God I've missed you Octavia.”
She hugged my side as we sat together, the shadow from the tree keeping us cool. The kingdom was beautiful from the garden, it was even more breathtaking at night. I would have to bring her out here, I would have to show my sister how amazing this place really was.
The sun wasn't as high in the sky, I knew we had been out here for a while. I was surprised Raven hadn't come looking for me. Then again I'm sure she was dealing with her own little secret. She had been getting sicker as the month passed.
Octavia squinted at the sky, "think we should head in? I'm getting pretty hot and I'm sure that dinner will be ready soon.”
She nodded, "sure. Maybe we can actually eat this dinner without stabbing someone with a fork.”
I laughed as Octavia stood up first, "that was all you.”
"I make use of what I've got handy," she shrugged and then offered me her hands. She pulled me up fast, I felt light headed for a moment. I closed my eyes, her hands letting me go.
The feeling didn't go away. I was afraid to open my eyes. I was pretty sure if I opened then I would fall down. I shivered despite the heat, my palms were sweaty. I let out a slow breath, opening my eyes.
I was right, I felt worse than when my eyes were closed.
"Octavia," I reached for her, the ground was spinning. My hands started to shake as black spots appeared before my eyes, "something's wrong.”
She looked at me confused. I must have looked terrible because her confusion gave way to panic as she grabbed my arm, "Clarke. Hey, look at me.”
I closed my eyes, "call for Raven or Bellamy," I winced as my stomach turned and suddenly my entire lunch came back up. I puked into the bushes as my sister held my hair back. I heard her call Miller over, telling him to find Bellamy.
I would've smiled if I wasn't in so much pain.
She squeezed my hand, "you're going to be okay," she said as I stumbled to stand up a little straighter. I spit, wiping my mouth on the back of my hand. I groaned as the heat hit me.
I shook my head, "I don't think so,” sweat had gathered on my forehead as I felt the urge to puke once again. I grabbed my sisters arm as I closed my eyes, “Octavia."
She screamed as I collapsed, her arms catching me before I hit the ground. My eyes were closed as Octavia yelled for Bellamy. Her grip on my shoulders tightened as my body started to shake. I couldn't control what was happening to me, my body wasn't mine.
I heard voices, a deep voice yelling for people to get out of the way. I felt a hand press against my cheek, that same deep voice begging me to stay. I wanted to stay, I wanted to tell him I was okay. Every fiber in my body screamed for me to open my eyes and look up at my husband who sounded so worried about me.
But I couldn't open my eyes, instead I stopped fighting exhausted from the pain and surrendered to the darkness that pulled me under.