Soli Deo gloria
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Divergent. Guys, you all are so fabulous with these reviews! Now, I have six stories I'm working on here *facepalm* which was stupid of me to start and work on at the same time, so I'll update this as much as I can but don't count on regular, normal updates. ALLONS-Y!
"Troops! Recruits! Get up! Roll call!" A horn blares from the door. I groan and look up to see Eric, with Zeke behind him, taking the lay of the land. He walks through the narrow hallway between the beds, calling out his usual morning barking orders for troops to get up. It's still dark. And 4:30. Still, you're not allowed to argue with the military.
Eric leaves, leaving the lights overhead on in his wake. The air fills with complaints, groans and slight snores before broken as everyone stretches their sore muscles and starts to get up.
I sit up in bed and nearly start when Christina jumps down from her bunk. She yawns as she stretches, "I need a mirror."
"Why?" I say.
"I need to brush my hair before we go out." Christina and her girly habits. I barely pay attention to my appearance, but I look in a mirror when I can't help it. I've been getting thinner, more jaunty ever since I came here. My eyes are slightly sunken in, with bags under them. They used to sparkle, almost. Add a sort of beauty to my plain body. Now they're dull.
"I'll brush your hair," I say.
She shakes her head and says, "Nah. I'll do it in the bathroom. You're slow. We need to get moving before Eric comes in again."
"And Zeke with that blasted horn," Lynn growls. She hates mornings the most.
"I see what you did there," Marlene says, grinning as she gathers her training clothes.
I can hardly see why she wants to smile this early in the morning. I gather my clothes and head to the changing room, which is just the bathroom in this facility. I lock the stall and tug my shirt off of my head. I put on another one with my military jacket.
I'm about to pull my pants over my underwear when someone bangs on my door. "What?" I say, stopping in an awkward position, one pants leg on, the other off.
"I want this stall." I burn. It's Molly.
"I'm using it," I say, and I finish putting on my pants as she bangs on the door again.
"Get out, Stiff," she yells.
"Get lost before someone comes and reprimands us, Molly," I say. I put on my shoes and try to ignore her pounding, hoping it doesn't send Lauren running in wondering the hell is happening. I bend and quickly gather the rest of my clothes before I open the door abruptly, nearly hitting her in the face.
"Sorry," I say, without any guilt. I walk past her to the sinks.
Marlene is busy trying to brush her long hair and Lynn washes her face. "Think we'll be doing CLS again today?" Marlene wonders. CLS, or Combat Live Saver, is basically First Aid to a higher, battling degree. We're forced to answer questions about setting bones, dressing wounds and applying medicine to casualties. Tobias has demonstrated how to set a tourniquet on a leg of a dummy. His long fingers seemed uncommonly at ease doing so.
"Probably. You'd just love doing CPR on Uriah, wouldn't you?" Lynn says sarcastically, making Marlene duck her head. She has a blush.
Lynn shakes her head and finishes up. "Come on," she says, and she and Marlene head out.
I take my dirty clothes to the laundry and Christina finds me, saying, "We have to go make our beds, you know. Let's go see if Will and Al decided to get out of bed." For their sake against Eric, I hope so. Especially Al. He's a big guy, but he got beaten by Molly a couple of days ago during physical hand-to-hand combat. They fought in an almost small wrestling ring and Molly dominated him. Eric got mad and yelled at him more.
We do a variety of stuff around here. It's mostly the same things, but our schedules are different everyday. Everything is in hours, and we have different classes to fill our hours each day. It adds a little variety to our schedule.
Christina and I hurry into the barracks. Everyone leans over their beds, working quickly to set the corners straight and make sure there's no wrinkles. I know from watching Eric berate a girl named Myra that wrinkles are intolerable. I remember that as I tighten the corners on my bed.
Someone yells and everyone jumps to the front of their beds. I stand straight next to Christina. She's a good few inches taller than me. Her shoulder hits the top of my head.
Lauren comes in and inspects each bed before she nods and yells out orders to follow her for the physical examination in the mess hall.
We enter, our footsteps all even and hard against the tile. I stand in the long line that extends from the left to the right, the entire length of the mess hall. I straighten my back, as like everyone.
Eric, Lauren and Tobias walk down past us, taking a minute or two to look us over. I keep my face straight, blank, when Eric looks my scrawny body over. He doesn't make any noise or say a single word before he passes on to the next. My eyes look away from the kitchen across from me, though, and carefully set on Tobias as he looks at Christina. His face is set in an expressionless look, only nodding when he's finished. His muscles are defined through his jacket, a bit of dark hair prickling at the back of his neck. I think I almost see a bit of a stripe of black on him, but Eric sees me, and I quickly look straight ahead once more.
The inspection ends and we're off to physical training before breakfast. I get in a rank with Christina, Will, Al, Drew, and Peter, among others. Peter pokes my back as we walk out into the yard. I try to ignore him. A minute later he tries again, and Christina catches his finger and twists his wrist. All without looking behind her. He lets out the slightest choke of pain. She lets go and we keep walking into the yard.
It's pitch-black out. The entire fort, a small one, is enclosed with electric fences. Tobias leads my group. He stops and orders us, "ATTENTION!"
We stand at attention, and he walks up and down the line, and we settle down for our usual routine of jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and running. We're all in straight lines, eight by six.
The push-ups are hard on my arms. I've got skinny arms, but I also have a skinny body. It helps as I go up and down, heaving in breaths, trying to focus on keeping myself calm. I need to not overexert myself. I still need to show that I'm a good soldier, though. I need to keep up.
Beside me, Christina puffs away. She's not the best, but she's not the worst. I can hear Molly's snorts in the back. I use this as fuel to finish with my push-ups, and Tobias yells for me to start running. Four loops around the fort, following the gate without touching it. Each loop is a quarter mile.
I head to the door where the jeeps go through and start from there. I follow the gate. It stays on my left as I jog, my hands pumping beside me. Recruits are in the front and the back of me. I hear Christina get called to run by Tobias. She will play to catch up with me.
I head around twice well enough. My muscles aren't nearly as sore as yesterday. I only get a sort of ache when I pass the office building for the third time. Peter, on his fourth lap, nearly shoves me into the fence as he passes me. I stumble into a low ditch, but manage to get out and run. I can beat him. Well, he's ahead by a lap. But I can pass him.
I relax a little, and take a burst of speed. My feet speed ahead. My heart pounds. I pass Lynn. I pass Marlene. I pass Will. Peter is ahead of me. Drew is nowhere in sight, probably still back in push-ups. I push forward. My muscles burn and I pass Peter. He must be angry now, but I don't care. I speed ahead around the fort, and then pass him again when he's nearly at the finish line.
Within three minutes, I'm at the finish line. I nearly fall to my feet, but instead grip my kneecaps with my sweaty hands. I look up when Christina says, breathing heavily, "Nicely done, Tris."
I smile and look behind me at Peter, who burns, even though he was a lap ahead of me. I get a feeling of relief and smugness despite myself. But then I remember I've got Peter annoyed with me now.
But he's always annoyed with me.
Tobias calls for us all to fall into ranks. I feel his eyes on me as I quickly fall in with Christina. He glances at me but then quickly turns away when he sees someone behind the rank that must be looking at him. I don't know who. I don't see anyone as we march back into the mess hall.
We're released and we set off to breakfast. Uriah, as usual, takes to the front of the line. The rest of us assemble after him. I get behind Christina, and turn away slightly to see Tobias sitting with his fellow sergeants. I think Zeke makes a joke. Eric barks out a rough laugh. Lauren looks annoyed with the both of them. Tobias ignores them all and eats a muffin.
Someone pushes me from behind and I move ahead in line. I take a muffin, a carton of milk and a couple of sausages on my tray, and then follow Christina to our usual end of the one of the long tables. We sit there with Al and Will, who are both loaded down.
"Do you just take the pan of bacon or did you leave some for the rest of us?" Christina says teasingly to Will.
"There's some left. I think," Will says.
Al doesn't say anything. He just picks at his eggs.
I look away from him, not sure what to do. I open my carton of milk. I pick at my sausage, which Christina tells me to eat.
"Bulk up, Tris," she says, almost cheerfully.
"You could use it," Lynn says, sitting next to Will. Marlene sits next to Christina. Uriah sits next to me.
He leans toward me and says, "I'll take it if you don't want it."
"Stop it, Uri," Lynn says. "You've eaten half of the food already."
Marlene giggles, making Uriah smile at her. I don't care for the sausages. I grab my muffin and slide the plate to Uriah.
"That was exhausting," Marlene says, eating her bran muffin.
"No more than usual," Lynn says.
"Do you think we'll be doing hand-to-hand combat again today?" Uriah asks.
Al looks interested at that.
No. Not interested. Worried.
"I'm interested in having Edward fight," Will says. "He's good." Here in our fort, it's boys against girls in hand-to-hand combat. I hope I don't have to go against Edward. He's tough looking, though I think he's with Myra. So I think he's okay unless he's fighting against you. He nearly pulverized Christina when he fought her."
"Pity the poor thing that goes against him," Uriah says.
"It's a shame we can't have Peter against him," Will says. This makes Christina laugh heartily. Everyone else nods and agrees. No one, especially Christina, likes Peter.
Breakfast over, we get rid of our trays and then head out into the yard for training. Tobias marches out behind us and calls for us to separate into two groups. Girls on one side, boys on the other. We do so. Christina stands beside me and looks across the yard to Peter. He cracks his knuckles. She doesn't flinch in the slightest.
Eric looks around the ranks, rolling a ring in his lip. He pauses and then: "Prior, step up!"
I step forward. I know I'm not supposed to disobey him. I just hope that I don't get put against Edward. Or, worse in my opinion, Peter.
I gulp and wipe my hands on my pants, looking around at the boys' side, wondering which one is going to go against me. Al looks away, toward the offices. Will looks a little worried under his brave face. Peter looks excited. He grins slightly.
"Hayes, get in," Eric says. Peter steps forward. He has a sneer around his lips.
I clutch my fists and people step back. Eric stands near Tobias, a hand at his chin, his eyes intently watching us with a sort of greedy look. Tobias looks concentrated on what's about to go on.
I try to ignore them as I step forward. Peter stands before me, cracking his fists. I take a deep breath. He's larger than me, so I need to use my strengths to take him down. My body weight isn't my strength.
"You've got a thin frame, albeit, so you should use your elbows and legs to your advantage." Tobias's words echo in my head. My elbows and legs. I can grapple Peter with my legs, if I can get him in my grasp.
Tobias had also said I should use my brain to my advantage. That means I have to be smart rather than bulky in order to beat Peter.
I haven't beaten anyone since we began wrestling around. No one, except Al. He was too easy, though. He failed on his own account, not on my skill.
I take a deep breath as Eric says, "Go ahead. Fight!"
Peter steps forward to me, saying, "How long will it take to take you down, eh, Stiff?"
I ignore his words and look for a weak spot on him. His hands are raised near his torso, leaving his legs vulnerable. I highly doubt the army would like it, though, if I kick him in the groin, nearly rendering him useless. The sides of his legs, though . . .
He starts at me, wrapping his burly arm around my neck. I land a punch in the middle of his stomach, but it does little to deter him. He lands a punch on my back as I reach my leg around his leg, kicking him in the thigh. The action combined with him hitting my back causes me to fall, bringing him down on me.
He sits on my back, releasing his arm from around my neck, allowing me to breathe. I twist my leg and kick him in the back, though not very hard. He sinks one foot into my hair. The other goes from my side to my nose, which he stomps. I scream and twist my head out from under him, and manage to bring my elbow out. He dips his head down, a fierce look on his face, and I punch him in the nose with my elbow. He instantly goes back, howling. With him distracted, I land both of my arms against his sides, and push him off of me with a grunt. I stand up, panting, and he makes to stand up as well.
Before he can, I land another elbow to his face, then to his thigh, then his stomach. He stumbles. I step forward and wrap a leg around his back legs, sliding him against the ground. I elbow his head with an angered force as he goes down, and he coughs. I stand back, panting heavily. My heart pounds. My muscles hurt. My elbows hurt.
Eric pronounces him down and yells for us to get back in line. I stumble quickly to Christina, who looks at me, saying, "You did well."
I just nod. She wants pain on Peter, and he has just that. He glares at me. He's not going to let this go. Not Peter.
Eric doesn't say anything about me beating Peter. He just calls for Will to go against Christina. I go on my tiptoes, nearly biting my nails down to the pale nail. Christina goes up and sizes up Will. He's bigger. He's probably going to win. They're friends, though. I know neither of them want to hurt the other, but they're being forced to.
Eric shouts for them to fight, and they take to each other. Will forces Christina down, making a SMACK! on the ground. She grunts and manages to flip him over before he can land a fairly good blow.
He grunts and does the same. He's on top of her, pinning her legs down with his arms, his teeth gritted together, within a minute.
I look to Eric. So does Tobias, but he isn't looking as interested. His eyes are looking darker than either as they look at Eric, almost in anger and annoyance.
Eric pronounces Will the winner. Will gets off of Christina and offers her his hand. Eric says, "Let her get up by herself."
Will steps back and Christina manages to shove herself up. She exchanges a look with Will. Will isn't very chivalrous but he's gentlemanly, and he tries opening the doors for us girls. Still, even though I note his efforts with gratitude, I know what Christina feels as she joins me. No one is supposed to need help from anyone like that. Not in the military.
After a couple more fights with Eric yelling for more progress and aggression, we get into ranks to walk to our next training class. Tobias walks and lingers just near me, just for a moment. He looks ahead to where Eric leads, and then quickly turns to me, whispering, "You did well, Tris," and then he walks ahead to join Eric.
I nearly stop in my rank. I'm in the back, so no one bumps into me. I watch after him as he disappears among the heads, and Christina quickly turns and says, "Tris! Come on!"
I hurry up to join her, and she whispers so as to not move her lips, "What was that about?"
I shake my head. She rolls her eyes. She can see the slight blush I've taken on. I put a hand to the ear he whispered in for a second before I walk on around a corner. He called me Tris. Not Soldier or Prior.
And so the Fourtris building begins. Someone hand me some bricks and mortar, this Fourtris is going to be THICK! Ha ha ha. Excuse the bad pun. Please.
Thank you for reading, oh my lovely fellow Initiates. Fare thee well! God bless you!