A/N: just finished Insurgent a day ago, and this plot bunny immediately popped into my head. My rendition of what will be the third book, just surely not what will happen! I'm thinking more of (as fanfic shippers) Four-tris centric problems that revolve itself around the war. Surely, Veronica Roth's will be an amazing take on both Fourtris and Faction-war itself! i have to put warnings that i have a feeling mine will be a darker story! Also, what do you think Veronica will name her third book? I'm guessing Convergent or Assurgent! What about you guys?
Big big bigggg thanks to Divergent From District Four, a lovely girl that beta-read this chapter for me! thank you!(: also, shoutout dedication to SshannonW, who broke my heart with her recent chapter and left me to wither! Goodluck to you and your sis' exams alright!(:
Disclaimer: disclaimed with a broken heart. -shattered-
Majority of the dauntless start to bang their fists on any solid surface, the walls, the floor, the table tops. Half of them are shouting in what seems like it will burn their throats, clearly showing defiance. The Erudite survivors argue among themselves, probably about the logic behind Edith Prior's video that Tobias had just played. The Factionless traitors, as part of Evelyn's plan to overrule the faction members we have present here, yell back at the defiant Dauntless in outrage.
From where I stand, I cannot see Tobias' reaction to all this chaos. Whether his face is sulking with tire, angered with betrayal, or simply blank with nothing to show. His breaths are even, casual. Yet, his posture lacks that similar indifference. I look down to the floor where Christina and Cara are seated. Cara's face is contorted so uncomfortably, I think it could have hurt. Yet, she doesn't join the other Erudite, and instead, keeps her lips pressed together in a tight line. She resembles Will so much that the guilt numbs me for a short while, until I look away.
My eyes move to Christina, who is yelling and banging the floor like all the other Dauntless. An act of pure defiance; whether towards the Evelyn and the Factionless, or the video, I do not know. I can't help but smile, just a little, at her. A Candor-born being Dauntless, just like she always is. Then, I turn to look at Caleb once more. A Prior. He must have been stunned at the mention of Edith Prior, someone in our family from the past. Caleb notices me staring, I know he does, but he doesn't stare back. Maybe he's guilty, or maybe he knows that all he will see in my eyes is himself, taking the place of the person who betrayed me. Traitor. I bet that's what he will see, like a neon sign above my head.
Somehow, the thought of calling him a traitor fazes me. A small part of the Dauntless in me looks right at the betrayal and addresses it. An equal portion of Abnegation beckons for me to embrace forgiveness and look past his mistakes. And the Erudite in me does what it does best. Compare. It compares me to my brother, from the color of our eyes down to the decisions we make. In the process, I find how illogical and irrational it is to call him a traitor when I am one too.
I betrayed Tobias, and Will, and Christina. I betrayed Marlene, and Uriah. I betrayed my ex-faction, and all the people that loved me. So who am I to call Caleb the traitor I see him to be when I'm no different myself? If I, myself, am worse? But I am selfish. I have to remember who I am, who I was before, and who I was before the war had been a girl, too selfish to be selfless, too selfish to be forgiving. Maybe I can forgive Caleb with who I am now, look past the injustice he had presented to me as he left me to die, and forgive him like I have to forgive myself. Purely for survival. Purely to live with myself.
Purely for my own sake.
I can't. I have a feeling that I'm becoming more and more like Peter, though I detest him. I can't afford to trust someone that dented me before. Well, unless that someone is bleeding to death on the floor, cruelly gutted by a weapon that was meant for me. If so, then my forgiveness would make things even.
No. I will not be like that. I will not become Peter. I will not. I must not. I cannot. Slowly, all my thoughts dissipate until it dawns on me that all I'm doing is escaping reality. Escaping the gravity of the situation in front of me, and escaping whatever happened before that. Jeanine Matthew's death, Evelyn and Factionless' corruption, Lynn's death. And I can't take it anymore. My conscience can't take watching one more body slump, or hear one more gunshot ring out into the open.
It hits me hard on the head until my brain throbs inwardly. My chest squeezes, and I sag into Tobias' side as my throat starts to tighten. My cheeks feel hot with suppressed anger, and my eyes burn with unshed tears. I can't breathe, like in the lab simulation. I feel a hand tighten around my neck and push inwards, almost severing my airways. He holds me up tighter, stronger, and puts his cheek to my hair.
"You okay?" He whispers. I want to answer him, but I can't. My mind can't form answers, and my lips can't form words. I can't tell him that Lynn is dead. I can't tell him that Caleb didn't even try saving me. I can't tell him that if I had ceased to exist in this world, none of this would have happened, and Al, Will, Marlene, Lynn, and my parents would all still be alive. Shauna would still be walking. Erudite, Abnegation and Candor would still be factions. Chicago would still be peaceful. In the end, my throat responds with an abnormal guttural sound, sounding almost like I am choking on a sob though I am not.
Christina reaches for my hand and squeezes it, as a form of a comforting gesture. I squeeze back stilly, and it might have been weaker than I intended it to be. I realize how my self-indulgent act of wallowing in my own pity and grief has tuned me out from the rest of the bustling room.
Suddenly, a shot rings out of a gun barrel, and the bullet shelling clatters onto the floor at Evelyn's feet. It snaps me out of my reverie and urges me to duck under, hiding from a bloodbath that is sure to come. Instead of frantic screaming and shoving, the whole level goes quiet. Another shot rings out, another shelling clatters against the floor, and though I cannot see it, I know that a Dauntless body fell to the floor. A strangled shriek tears at the walls of my throat, but make it out only as a quiet sob.
I hear some of the Erudite immediately stifle a scream, while one or two Dauntless wail beside their fellow Dauntless' limp body. I can see the perfectly round hole in his head now, his eyes hauntingly open as crimson blood and gray brain matter ooze out from the wound. Tobias stiffens further than he already is, like a wound up spring being wound up further. His fingers tighten around my arm so strongly that I swear it hurt. There will be bruises. Still, I do not tell him, because I know if I open my mouth, my voice will crack, sobs will surface, and tears will fall.
An Erudite girl, as I can see is to the left of Caleb, fails to hold back her shock and panics. Caleb immediately covers her mouth with his left hand and soothes her arm with his right, hoping he did it fast enough for Evelyn not to notice. Yet, she does, and I cringe at the splatter of blood on my brother's face as the body he had been coaxing goes limp. My stomach feels upset, and black spots are dancing at the peripherals of my vision, closing in on me ever so slowly.
The wails go silent as two more rounds echo from Evelyn's side of the room to ours. The two Dauntless girls fall to the floor, one dead and the other clutching her shoulder, biting her lip and glaring at Evelyn through the tears in her eyes. I push my face further into Tobias' chest, squeezing my eyes shut with my ear pressed right above his heart. I hear it, an escalating rhythm that rummages fiercely, angrily.
Is he staring, like the Dauntless girl, at Evelyn as the disbelieving son she reconciled with, or as someone else that is completely unrelated? The almost feral growl that rumbles at the base of his throat tells me that he is the latter. He is the Dauntless member that values his faction and its determination. He is the one that values this camaraderie, the people of his faction. And now he is staring at his mother, Evelyn, the Factionless leader whom has just murdered 2 Dauntless comrades and injured one. Out of what? Out of cold blood.
Then, I hear it. I hear him. "You killed Lynn..." says Uriah. His voice is barely a whisper, but the room is dead silent that it's easy to hear. I pull away from Tobias to look at him, and the look in his eyes is accusing. It's wild. "Your stupid plan killed Lynn!" This time, he yells. Evelyn raises her eyebrows just like Jeanine does, and looks at Uriah inquisitively. The hand wrapped around the handle and trigger of the gun shakes, I notice. It is the result of someone, untrained in using the weapon, feeling the recoil of the gun in her bones from wrist to shoulder. Untrained like an Erudite.
And the Erudite like her and Jeanine are heartless, blood craving creatures, unafraid of a little murder.
My heart pounds too quickly. The black spots continue to dance a little further into my central vision, and my legs feel weaker. I am drained, with exhaustion, with the simulation, with trying to keep composed. Evelyn is going to shoot Uriah. I'm sure of it, and I can't watch, after the last 3. I am being torn asunder, all on my own. I cannot take this. Tears burn in my eyes, surfacing and welling up under my eyelids, and I do not feel it when one slides down the side of my face.
Uriah lunges forward too abruptly that it scares Evelyn into stumbling backwards. Her aim wavers, but she gets it back at his chest again. The armed Factionless men hold him back by the arms, although it does not stop him from going for her neck. I remember how I did it to Jeanine, all the rage, all the hate, and how triumphant I felt in seeing the raw fingernail scratches on her face.
The Erudite hall reverts back to its usual monotony, pale and bleak, all of a sudden. And Peter is already pushing me forward and away from that woman's lab. I consent. Tobias is limping towards me. I realize which situation this was, and remember it. His eyes are cold, and I feel cold as well. He doesn't look at me, from anger. You die, I die too. He looks over his shoulder, but not at me. He stares at the floor indifferently. Am I really that hard to look at? Were my actions, actions of a true Abnegation, that detestable? I asked you not to do this. You made your decision. These are the repercussions.
No, this isn't real. This has already happened. But I can't seem to get out of this. I do feel tears in my eyes, and I close them, until I choke and cry. I don't want to relive this. I want to get out. Tris. I know that it isn't real Tobias yet, but my eyes open to his voice anyway. You have to. You have to survive this. I ask him why. I ask him why I have to. Why can't someone else do something for once? What if I didn't want to live? It is the only time that death has felt so inviting.
I know. I can feel the warmth of his skin. I can hear the softness of his voice. I can also feel death inviting me again, inviting me to sleep. Sleep and never wake up. I know it's hard. The hardest thing you've had to do. His fingers trail down my neck and over my shoulder. I can't force you. I can't make you want to survive this. But you will do it. It doesn't matter if you believe you can or not. You will, because that's who you are. The determination in his voice is evident. The desperation behind it is far more obvious.
I remember kissing him. Without barriers, without secrets. Just insane bravery, and insane need. I close my eyes and wait to feel it again, but Tobias disappears. My heart feels empty, until I hear his voice again. Tris! I want to see her! He shouts. Desperate. A boyfriend, completely broken at best by the one thing he cannot prevent. My death.
I am at the door, and my palm feels cool against the glass window. In this position, I feel hopeless. His palm is on the window too, eyes swollen from crying and soul bruised, and torn, and broken, to the point of severe breakage. I imagine I can feel his warmth through the physical barrier that separates us, because we have nothing left. All I am left with is Tobias, and all he has left is me. Well, until I'm dead. His eyes close, and I can almost feel him crying, almost feel his tears dampening my hair and his controlled breathing down my neck and cheek, struggling to contain the sobs that will escape him and break his will.
I can imagine him trying to stay strong, like he has always done regardless of whatever that has happened, because he knows that it makes me strong too; I will be strong, and stay strong, as I give my life to the cruel people that want to claim it. I can feel the anguish in his soul pouring out in silence, maybe because it's how I've always felt him. Or maybe it's because our emotions are unsettled and raging, and the walls can't keep us apart. I can almost feel him pleading, for help or at least for me to depart peacefully, to die protected in the hands of God. Painlessly.
In this moment, all we have is truly just each other. Nothing more, nothing less. No arguments, no secrets. No kept emotions, no kept fears. Because I am going to die, and because he knows that I am, there is no need for anything else but just a moment of quiet.
Just a moment to remember who we are, and embrace them.
When the moment is done, I accept fate and remember who he is. Tobias, Four, my instructor, my best friend, my protector, my lover. Dark blue eyes, intimidating yet dreamy. Beautiful yet dangerous. I remember him like that until the needle is in my neck. I remember him like that until the heart monitor is flat. I remember him like that until silence engulfs me, and I am dead.
The silence stretches. I remember how I learned that simulations end when I am dead. How dreams end when we die, and then we wake up. Still, I am in silence. I can feel myself descend, plummeting towards the ground, but I do not wake. This death feels almost comforting, except that it's not. I know that especially well when the shrill ring of yet another gunshot bursts through the comfort. Uriah. Evelyn shot Uriah. Anger surges in me, and as I pull myself to the surface, I can hear murmurs of people talking.
My eyes blur into reality, and I blink a few more times until my vision is clear. The first person I see is Christina, more interested with me than with the murmurs further away. I am on the ground, and if I remember correctly, I had been standing before my episode. Tobias. What if she shot Tobias instead of Uriah? I panic, as Christina's eyes search my face. "Tris? Tris, are you okay?" Her hand sweeps the strands of hair away from my face. I try to find the words to speak, to tell her that I am, but the only thing I manage to say is, "Tobias?"
"Oh my god! Tris! You just passed out! I was so worried about you!" She says, bursting with joy and relief. I smile with the energy that I can muster through the feeling of lead in my bones. I hear Tobias' voice in the distant background, cold, brutal, and firm. He's not dead. And I'm glad.
"Did she shoot Uriah?" I ask.
Christina bites her lip and nod. "She aimed it at his chest." I guessed it. Uriah was dead. I can feel the tears prickling in my eyes. "The recoil was too great, though, and with her hand already shaking, the bullet went into his collarbone instead. He's not dead, but he passed out from the pain."
I almost sigh with relief, but yet I don't. Evelyn still did shoot him, and he was still injured. Christina helps me to sit propped up against a wall, my head and every part of me feeling like deadweight. I lean against it completely.
"What I want is justice. Justice for the Factionless!" says Evelyn.
Tobias scowls. "No, Evelyn. What you want is control! You killed the people of my faction with this gun, injured them, and you dare say that all you're asking for is justice!" He raises his voice at her, and leans closer to her. Her gun rises to his throat, and I almost gag at the sight. I notice the glint of a knife in between them too, and realize that the tip of the knife is resting on her throat. Tobias retracts the knife by a fraction as he presses the barrel further into his throat.
I can imagine how warm the barrel must feel to his lymph nodes. Evelyn did use it five times before. "I don't know who you are, I don't care who you are, but we, the Dauntless, the surviving Erudite, the Abnegation and the Candor, are going to leave this place alive. Don't try to stop us." He says, now deadly calm. His voice is almost lethal, almost the Tobias I don't know. But I don't care.
He drops his head by a fraction, and sighs subtly. The disbelieving son who trusted his mother. "I thought you were better," whispers Tobias. I doubt that anyone can hear him, because I too have to read the words from his mouth. They reek of disappointment. "I thought that if I'd forgiven my mother, that she would come back the strong, selfless woman she was. I guess I didn't know her well enough. I don't know anyone well enough."
Pulling away, he drops the knife to the floor and lets the metallic clatter of the blade ring against the floor. Tobias glares at Evelyn, her eyes looking at the floor instead of him, and he moves the glare to the armed Factionless around them. The glare must have meant something, or struck fear in them, since they falter with their weapons and stand a little further away. He lifts his chin off the barrel and steps back calmly, turning and starting towards me.
All eyes are trained on him. Eyes from the Dauntless, the Factionless, and everyone else. Yet, he only sees me, and grins almost subtly, almost subtly. "So what do we do now, Four?" asks Christina. She puts the emphasis on his nickname, the one that upholds the level of respect that he has attained among the Dauntless.
One by one, other Dauntless murmur in agreement, and the murmurs get louder and louder until the level is filled with the voice of Dauntless. The voice of Dauntless as one, united, together. Our spirit. I breathe the soul of our faction, and I feel alive. I feel a part of it.
Almost playfully, I eye him. "Yes, Four," He raises his eyebrows at me as he comes within inches of me. I have never really used his nickname as a form of respect, but as a vicious weapon used to insult him when I am angry. "I think all of the Dauntless want to know what you have concluded."
The Dauntless die down within seconds, to listen to his verdict. It is just magical to watch the effect he now has on all of us. He helps me up by the wrists and wraps an arm to the small of my back, then chuckles.
"Home," He says. "We're going home."
The nervous, expectant silence bursts into a roar of joy, a roar of determination and triumph, as they all stand and storm out of Erudite headquarters, running out into the open like the Dauntless I have known.
Beneath the roaring, I hear Evelyn, and I'm sure Tobias hears her too. "You're making a big mistake, Tobias. This is only the beginning." He doesn't spare a look at her, and with me in tow, walks out with the same triumphant smile that is on my face.
REVIEWS IN THAT LITTLE BLUE BOX WOULD BE LOVELY(: