A/N: I RETURN! For those of you who don't know me ignore that. :) This is actually my first fic for a novel rather than an anime/manga series, so I hope it does the Divergent fandom justice. And many, and I mean many thanks to Kuraun Kuraun for all her support for this piece, and kicking my lazy rear in gear. Please, review at the end!
Dining with the Dauntless was always a bit of an adventure. Coming from a place of plain food, Tris was very much a victim of the dishes her new home served; the first time she had experienced the burn of hot sauce was permanently seared into her taste buds, along with the many glasses of milk that followed.
So as with all great adventures, this one started with dinner. Tris yawned widely as she carried a tray piled high with food to the table her group had claimed. Settling between Christina and Will, she dug in, catching up on their previous conversation. They chattered about how training was going, what the initiation tests would be like, if smashing Peter's face in a pie was an acceptable pastime, etc. Tris let loose another yawn, supporting her head in the classic hand on face, elbow on the table position. Her eyes drooped, her face being smooshed in a very unflattering way.
Christina and Will leaned in front of her face. "I wonder if she'd notice if we drew a mustache on her," Christina mused, poking their sleeping friend with her spoon.
Tris started awake, looking around a little lost. "Sorry, did I doze off?" she asked, frowning slightly.
"Jeez, go get some coffee before we're really tempted to draw on you," Christina teased.
"Coffee?" Tris stated, puzzled. She'd seen her friends drink the stuff, but hadn't herself, it not being a beverage of her faction. Correction, her former faction.
"Yeah, it's over there on the far wall," Will offered, taking her confusion to be over where rather than what.
Tris got up and made her way towards the table on which various coffee fixings were laid out. She frowned at the plethora of pots. Why were there so many different kinds? Regular, decaf, espresso, mocha, latte, black, and blonde roast? Tris pulled a piece of her hair in front of her eyes. Was it made out of hair? She shook her head; that was too silly...she hoped.
She scanned the choices before her. She tentatively took the one labeled "espresso", seeing as that was one she'd heard before. Ignoring the little cups next to the beverage, she grabbed those she'd seen others using, filling it to the brim with the dark liquid. She took a whiff, and figuring it smelled pretty good she took a swig. Her nose crinkled in disgust as she swallowed. Dear lord, it was vile! She held the poison at arms length, wondering what to do with it.
She briefly thought of tossing it out, but sixteen years in Abnegation die hard and the waste didn't seem worth it. "You should put some sugar in it," suggested a voice behind her. She looked over her shoulder to see Tori standing with a similar cup in her hand, although she didn't seem to be treating it like a bomb. "It makes it taste a whole lot better." The woman smiled at her an grabbed a little fat jar from the table. "Just say when," she ordered. The sugar spilled into the coffee and disappeared beneath the murky liquid. Tris watched in fascination. Where was it going? The coffee was eating it!
Tori chattered aimlessly, simple things like work and tattoos and God knew what else because Tris was paying no attention. Tori paused in her conversation; Tris looked up from the coffee to be met with a confused look. "Looks like we're out of sugar," the older woman commented, turning the jar upside down and watching as the last few grains of sugar fell into the coffee. "You need anything else?"
"Oh, thank you," Tris replied, "But this is fine." She took a tentative sip as Tori retreated into the crowded cafeteria. The coffee now had an incredibly sweet taste to it, which Tris found strange yet tasty.
She returned to her table and slid quietly back into her seat, trying to catch up on the current conversation: was Four secretly a ninja?
Over the course of the meal she refilled her cup with the magical "espresso" twice, each time pouring an entire jar of sugar into the mix.
"Christina, are you still awake?"
A loud groan echoed in the dorm. "Tris, it's been three hours, I can't talk anymore. Go go to sleep," she grumbled quietly, pulling herself farther into the nest of blankets.
"But I can't," Tris whispered back, fidgeting with the screws in her headboard, the fingers of her other hand tapping along with an unheard beat as they'd been for the last hour and a half. "It's like I'm buzzing or something..."
"Maybe you should go burn off some of that energy," Will commented, looking down from a nearby bunk in concern.
"Please, for the love of God, leave," hissed the unmistakable voice of Peter, earning a few half-hearted cheers.
Tris sat up slowly to be met with the many eyes of the many angry initiates she was keeping awake. With a murmured apology, she shuffled to the door, Christina unwinding herself from her cocoon to follow. "Go run around the compound a few times," she suggested sleepily, her hair sticking up at odd angles.
"Really, do you think that'll work? I don't know, maybe I should try going back to sleep, it may just be that I'm not trying hard enough, and maybe the-" Whatever she was rambling about was cut off as Peter got up and slammed the door on her. "Fine, be that way," she grumbled, turning on her heel and making her way towards the training room.
Four yawned widely as he moved down the hallway, long strides leading him away from a night shift in the computer room. Training was going to be the death of his schedule.
He stalked past the room in which he was teaching teenagers to use guns (scary, scary business), continuing on the path to salvation: sleep. Stretching his arms overhead, he received a satisfying crack from his back before an eerie feeling passed over him, traveling down his spine and making hairs stand on end. His steps slowed, arms still above him; it was like somebody was watching him...He continued walking, and as the feeling grew he wondered who he might turn to find. He did not want to meet Eric in a dark hallway at this hour.
Quick as a whip, he spun, pulling out his gun in one fluid motion and aiming...at nothing. Bewildered he scanned the hallway. He briefly wondered if someone had slipped something in his tea before realizing he'd made it to his room. Holstering his weapon he opened the door, only to be pulled away by a loud "Four!" that bounced around the stone of the hall.
"Been looking all over for you," exclaimed Lauren, the trainer for the Dauntless-born initiates if he remembered correctly. "They told me you were in the comp. Room, but low and behold." After a quick conversation that Four believed could have waited till morning, he was able to finally enter his room, closing the door behind him with a sigh, rubbing his brow.
Opening his eyes, he took in his quarters, the neat desk, small bathroom, closet, blond girl bouncing on his bed, the dresser. Wait...
"Holy mother of-!" he scrambled back against the door, startled.
"Hi." Tris waved lamely as she continued jumping quietly on his bed, the springs screeching in protest.
Four blinked, not sure how to process this. "Not that I'm not delighted to see you at-" he checked his watch, "-1:37 in the morning, but why the hell are you in my room?"
"Well..." Tris took a deep breath, "I had coffee for the first time at dinner and I really didn't know what coffee did so I had, like, three cups and then I couldn't sleep so I got kicked out of the dorm because I was keeping everybody up -I know, not my fault- and anyway they told me to go run around the compound, so I did, but after running around the entire trail four times, I got bored and was just wandering around and saw you, so I followed you, but then you pulled the gun and I hid and then followed you some more and you left your door open to go talk to Lauren, so I slipped in all ninja-like and then you asked me why I was here so...yeah."
Four, being a soul of pride and dignity, refrained from face-palming with great difficulty. "Are you sure you just had coffee? I have seriously NEVER seen someone this...hyper." Tris was currently jumping from his bed to the chair at his desk and back again, occasionally doing a flip in between.
"What if it wasn't coffee! It didn't say coffee on the container! Oh no, did I drink some sort of drug? Why would you people keep that out for people to just grab?" she stared suspiciously at Four, as if this whole mess was somehow related to him.
He sighed. So close. So very close to a decent amount of sleep."Tris, can you tell me what exactly you drank?"
Four looked at her blankly. "Three cups you say?"
Tris nodded, her bouncing momentarily halted.
He thought for a moment. Sure Espresso was some powerful stuff, especially for being new to the wonders of caffeine, but he couldn't see why it would affect someone so, unless..."How big were these three cups? And did you put anything extra in it?"
"Oh, they were normal sized cups. And as to the extra, I put in the sugar jar, like Tori showed me."
"You put in an entire jar of sugar...each time?"
"Well, yeah, that's what you're supposed to do, right?"
Four did some mental calculations and blanched at the result. The sheer amount of sugar and caffeine in that girl...and her size...
"Tris..." he sat down on his bed defeated, Tris moving her feet to make room. "No, you're not supposed to dump in an entire sugar jar. You only put in a little to make it sweeter...and as to the cups, did you see the little cups by the Espresso?" She nodded. "You're supposed to use those. The other ones are meant for normal coffee."
"Oh..." she looked down, shoulders beginning to slump.
"Really though, it's understandable you'd react this way," he backpedaled. "I'm assuming it's the first time you've had caffeine in general being from Abnegation, let alone coffee levels. And really you're so small that it probably affected you mo-Tris?"
His response was having the blond girl fall over, fast asleep. He looked at her incredulously as she wrapped her arms around his pillow, claiming it in her sleep. "You crashed hard," he murmured, getting gingerly off the bed and covering her up. Running his hand through his hair he gathered a blanket and pillow from the closet and resigned himself to a night on the floor.