A Very Divergent Trismas
Mistletoe hanging over the chasm, tinsel threaded on the pit railing, half price Christmas tattoos, jingle bells playing loudly all through the compound. This is a Dauntless Christmas.
I stroll down the halls, gazing dumbstruck at the dazzling array of colored lights that dance and flicker around me. Other Dauntless sprint laughing around me, hidden under piles of red and green boxes, or dragging rolls of sparkling ribbon. Through the PA system, which is scarcely used, a joyful tune blasts.
...Dashing through the snow
On a one horse open sleigh...
What is going on here? What's with all the elaborate decoration, presents, and strange songs?
I wander into the chasm and freeze in shock. For towering far, far above me, almost meeting the glass ceiling above, stands an immense pine tree. Not just a pine tree, it seems, for this one is decorated with that sparkly ribbon, sending red glints over the walls like a disco ball. Golden balls hang from the branches, along with tiny angelic figures, reindeer, and small bells that tinkle and sing whenever someone walks past.
The image of this gigantic tree strikes something in my memory, and the pieces begin to come together.
I think that I remember, years and years ago, when the prejudice against Abnegation was just a slight warning that you had to squint to see, I had a friend in Amity. I must have been about four when she invited me over to her house, and while there I saw a tree, standing proud in the corner of the living room. I didn't ask what it was of course, but questioned my dad after, at dinner. He didn't really explain it to me, simply stating that it represented a holiday celebrated by other factions. He told me that it involved the receiving of things by others, a selfish idea. I didn't ask more.
"Impressive, isn't it?" A voice behind me hides a well-meaning chuckle.
I turn around to see Tobias standing in front of me, blue, blue eyes crinkling into a smile.
I shake my head. "It's incredible! All these decorations, the presents, the tree, the songs. But..." I hesitate, not wanting to sound ignorant and silly, "What holiday are we celebrating?"
Tobias' smile widens, and he lets out a single, light laugh.
"I didn't know either, when I came. Christmas, It's called. It's brilliant."
Sometimes I forget that Tobias was originally from Abnegation too. He fits so well into Dauntless society.
"I thought that this was just an Amity holiday."
"Well, the Amity seem to claim it as their main celebration. But at Dauntless, we give it our own personal touch." Tobias points up at the tree, and I see something that my eyes passed over.
At the very tip of the pine, a star nestles on the topmost branch. It is almost pure black, yet glows with a strange ghostly light.
"So what else happens on Christmas?"
"Well, on Christmas Day, everyone gives eachother gifts, and, of course, down comes jolly old Saint Nick."
"Um," I frown, "What?"
Tobias chuckles. "Santa Clause. He rides his flying sleigh to bring all the children of the world presents. Well, the good ones. The bad ones get coal." Another smile pulls at his lips. Christmas seems to be bringing the joyful side out of Tobias. "Come on, I'll have to take you to buy some presents. Wouldn't want you to be feeling all guilty on Christmas, would we?"
I follow him, somewhat eagerly. I want to learn more about this 'Christmas'.
We come to shopping district, were a line of stores stretch along the walls. I feel intimidated. I have never bought a present for anyone in Dauntless before, I don't know what to do.
"Don't worry about your monthly credits," Tobias continues. "You get extra for the Christmas season, complements of Dauntless."
I nod, and still stare at all the shops. I glance at Tobias helplessly.
"I don't know what to buy!"
Tobias just shoots me yet another smile and takes my arm, leading me into the first building.
This one holds racks and racks of clothes and accessories. I suppose I might be able to get something for Christina here, so I begin to wander through the maze of fabrics.
I don't boast a terrific sense in fashion, so I play it safe and find a pretty top with multiple layers that float and drift, along with a lacy headband. It's all an endless shade of black. When I get to the counter, Tobias meets me and I pay for the clothes.
The next store is lined with shelves which hold thousands and thousands of books. A musty smells weighs in the air, and the place has an unkempt feel. Books are stacked in corners, some even lie open across the floor, dusty and dog-eared. I scan the titles along one wall, there are so many!
With minutes, I find several books that I would love to read myself, but restrain my instinct to grab a pile and sit in a corner for hours on end. I need to buy some presents.
Soon, I find a thick volume labelled "Dauntless Fighting Techniques- A History". I take it, it will be good for Will.
Another leather bound novel catches my eye- "An Earth's Slow Death: The speculations of global warming explained". It seems interesting enough to me, so I decide to get it for Caleb.
Tobias adds a couple of other books to my pile at the register. I raise a questioning eyebrow at him.
"What? I need to do my Christmas shopping too."
After the bookshop, we enter a store dedicated solely to weaponry. There are no guns, of course, at least not real ones, but training knives, swords and other strange tools of harm litter the shop.
I know that I will find something for Tobias here, and slip away from him in the large store.
After a short wander through the plethora of weapons, I find what I want.
It is a dagger, about fifteen inches long, with a gleaming silver blade and a polished mahogany handle carved with a howling wolf framed by an intricate pattern. A silver sheath, also carved with the same wolf, but also a shining quarter moon, completes the ensemble.
The dagger is beautiful, but also serviceable and useful. The blade is sharp and refined. Perfect.
I discreetly approach the counter and pay for the knife. It is quite expensive, but what the heck. I love it too.
I need to buy something else now, as well, so that Tobias doesn't suspect. I decide to get something for Tori, as she has helped me so much. I find a leather case, sewn with pockets that are fitted to hold a gun, bullets and several growing knives, along with miscellaneous pockets for general use. The case is designed to be strung over the shoulder, ready for action. I like it, and take it to the counter with Tobias.
At this point, I am getting a bit tired of shopping, so we head to just one more store before we finish.
This shop has vouchers for credits, and other stores. I find some gift cards that give the faction less ten cans of soup, or five woolen blankets with each purchase. I buy three of these, one each for my mother, father, and Susan.
Once done, I collapse onto a bench outside.
"There. Done. I hate shopping."
Tobias smiles. Smiles. Again!
I snap rudely, "What are you doing?!"
Tobias looks confused. "Um, what?"
"Since when do you smile so much?"
"Well, I guess initiation is over. And you won that thing. And we don't have to worry about anyone seeing us together anymore. And, it's Christmas."
I snort. "I guess holidays bring the rainbows and unicorns out of you. Come on. Lets get out of here." I get up and start off to the cafeteria- dinner time.
Tobias trots along beside me.
"Rainbows and unicorns?"
I narrow my eyes at him. "I'm tired. Shut up."
"Ah come on Tris. It's christmas! Celebrate!"