A/N: I'm baaaack~ So brief update for those of you who didn't read the last chapter of Don't Look Behind You; I was just super busy with college and writing fell to the wayside. So now that I've graduated, I've finished Don't Look Behind You, I'm going to finish this one, I most likely won't be finishing All Too Well but I have another fic in the works set in that same AU and I'll finish Mar'i's Escape if there's interest. But that's enough from me, I've kept you waiting for far too long. On with the show!
Disclaimer: Still don't own Teen Titans or Divergent
Sergei's funeral was awful. I'd always hated funerals; in Abnegation, they'd been very somber, quiet occasions. But here in Dauntless, they were loud parties with alcohol, as if a death were something to be celebrated. Jason had given a speech that made my stomach churn in pure disgust. He'd called Sergei brave for hurling himself into the Chasm to "explore the unknown of death". That couldn't be farther from the truth. If he were brave, he wouldn't have gone along with Xavier's plan to scare me.
Yet while I wanted to hate Sergei, I still felt somewhat responsible for his death.
Rachel and Gar were helping me feel better though. With the funeral over and the Pit empty, we'd gathered up every Erudite report about Abnegation we could find and were throwing them into the Chasm, watching as they disappeared into the dark waters below. As I picked one up, Roxanne Mandrake's face stared back at me. I crumpled it up in disgust before I turned to Gar, who I think was only doing this out of solidarity and not because he actually felt any animosity toward his old faction.
"Did you ever meet her? Roxanne?"
"Once, yeah. She's so smart it's like she's not just one person. It was… unsettling." He shook his head as he picked up another report. "I used to admire her knowledge but these reports… I don't see what good could possibly come from publishing such nasty lies. It makes me want to hate her."
We let Gar's words hang between us as we toss the last of the reports. Gar was usually a goofy, easy-going guy so to hear him speak so seriously was jarring. He was the one who spoke up once we watched the last report disappear.
"Alright, time for bed. Come on, if Xavier's asleep, I wanna stick his hand in a bowl of warm water so he'll pee himself."
Rachel rolls her eyes and I giggle at the idea; there's the Gar we know.
"That is the most imbecilic, juvenile idea I have ever heard. Let's do it."
I laugh even harder at the idea of Rachel going along with one of Gar's dumb pranks, but stop when I spot Robin walking up to the building above the Dauntless compound. Toward the fear landscape.
"Um, you guys go ahead. I need to talk to Robin about something first."
Rachel raises a brow at me and Gar looks worried.
"Kori, I really don't think you should be wandering around by yourself at night."
"I won't be alone, Rachel. I'll be with Robin."
This seems to mollify them enough to head back to the dorm. I watch as Gar playfully shoves Raven and she ruffles his still dyed green hair, making me wonder if I'm watching the beginning of something before heading up to the fear landscape to meet Robin.
"I was hoping you'd come. There are some things I've been wanting to tell you for a long time and I think this is a good place to start."
"Through your fear landscape? Is that even possible?" I ask as Robin approaches me, a syringe filled with orange liquid in each hand.
"The serum connects you to the program and the program decides whose landscape you see. Right now, it's set to mine."
After a brief explanation of how to inject myself with the serum, the program starts, sending me and Robin into a small, dark room. There's hardly enough space for the two of us to stand; we're practically chest to chest. For some reason, I feel my heart begin to race while Robin starts speaking.
"Fear one, claustrophobia. To be honest, I'm not sure where this one came from, but it gets me every time."
"Yeah, while we're being honest, I'm not exactly wild about this myself."
"I figured that this would be one of yours too, since all of your other simulations revolved around being trapped. Come on, you know how we get past this."
How to get past it? Right, either we calm down or face it head on. I nod and together, Robin and I kneel, causing the room to shrink even further. We wait for the simulation to move on, but this fear must not be "conquered" enough.
"Okay, I think I know how to do this. Sit down and bear with me, this is gonna be awkward for a minute."
Robin sits and I begin carefully shifting around until I am sitting in his lap. I'm certain my face is bright red and am thankful my back is to him so he can't see my flush. He wraps his arms around my midsection and I can hear a hint of a smile in his voice as he speaks again.
"Deep breaths, Kori. We'll get through this. Together."
I give a small nod and focus on breathing; in through my nose and out through my mouth until the simulation finally fades into Robin's next fear.
The room dimly lit, a table with a gun on it was sat in the middle. Against the wall, I see an unfamiliar crying woman, looking at the gun with sheer terror in her eyes. Robin's face turns to stone as he walks over to the gun and loads a bullet into the chamber. A deep voice speaks from behind us. Slade.
"You know what you must do, Robin. If you ever truly want to be Dauntless, you must do exactly as you're told."
Robin grits his teeth and presses the gun to his own temple.
"Never, you coward."
I don't even have time to scream as Robin pulls the trigger and sends us into his next fear.
However, his next fear coincidentally begins with the sound of a woman screaming, a woman who sounds eerily like me. We're standing at the top of a cliff, the wind rushing around us as the sea crashes onto jagged rocks below. We rush over to the cliff's edge to see a girl clinging to the rocky face for dear life. A girl with bright red hair, green eyes and golden tan skin.
It WAS me! Why in the world am I in Robin's fear landscape?!
I'm about to ask Robin what exactly was going on, but he's down on the ground, arm outstretched to the simulation me, who was just beyond his reach.
"Kori! Take my hand! I've got you, come on!"
I never thought I'd get to watch myself die, even in a simulation. It was a very surreal feeling; my basic sense of self-preservation wasn't kicking in, even as simulation me's fingers brushed against Robin's just as the rock she'd been holding on to crumbles away and she falls screaming into the dark abyss below.
My heart wrenches at the sound of Robin's scream; it was the scream of a desperate man. I watch as he growls and punches the ground.
I slowly walk over to Robin and place my hand on his shoulder.
"Robin… I'm okay, I'm right here."
After what feels like an eternity, the scene starts to fade as Robin turns to face me.
"I know. I know you're here. And remember how I asked you not to call me Robin anymore? Well, see if you can guess my real name."
He stands as the new fear finishes materializing. This time we're up on a high platform in a red and white striped tent. Like one you'd see at a circus…
I gasp as I gaze ahead of me and see a trapeze, a man and woman swinging toward us on another. John and Mary Grayson, of the Flying Graysons. They were the greatest family act in the whole Dauntless section of the circus. With their son…
"Richard. Richard Grayson."
He looks back at me with a twisted, sad smile and gives me a small nod before pointing to the empty trapeze ahead of us.
"We have to jump on. It's going to break, but this is it."
Of course it is. This was the one fear of his I knew. Falling. Well after what had happened to his parents, who could blame him?
"On the count of three. One, two, three!"
Once Richard calls three, we jump for the trapeze which snaps just as he said it would. I stretch out my arms to take his hand, but I'm not sure if he notices. His eyes are fixed on his parents falling across from us.
We don't fall for very long before we're back in the fear landscape room, Richard panting hard next to me. I don't pressure him to talk, instead waiting for him to break the silence between us.
"Do you ever feel like the fears you see in the simulations were put there by someone else? This probably sounds insane but it's like you're afraid of what you're facing but the fears aren't really yours? Or like you can't remember why you're afraid of that thing or you have no reason to be afraid?"
I look over and tilt my head at Richard, resisting the urge to say 'Really? THAT'S what you want to talk about right now?' and ponder over what he's saying. I'd had such a strong, negative reaction to confinement inside his fear landscape but I couldn't ever recall a time in my life where I'd despised small spaces. He'd even said during the simulation that he didn't understand that particular fear of his.
"I mean, it definitely sounds insane but… Yes. I know what you're talking about. It's almost like it's my fear but not from my life."
Richard finally looks over at me and simply nods.
"Yeah, that's it exactly. Come on, let's go somewhere else. I know that's not what you want to talk about after… after all that."
He helps me up and together we walk down to the Pit, sitting by the railing blocking off the chasm. I cross my arms over my chest and wait for him to start explaining himself. He sighs and doesn't make eye contact with me as he begins.
"Well, you know my name now, which means you know part of my story. I was Dauntless born, taken in by Bruce after the accident and then came back to Dauntless. I hated everything about Abnegation. I hated the structure, the blandness, the quiet… At least I hated everything until the year before I transferred. You probably don't even remember that night that Bruce invited your family over for dinner; it was a couple days after Jericho came into his care."
He was wrong, I do remember that night. He'd kept his head down through the whole meal and I never got a good look at his face. He finally looked up at me, a real, genuine smile on his face.
"That was the first time I saw you not just in passing. You were the brightest thing I'd ever seen in Abnegation. Everything about you shone like a star; your hair, your eyes, your smile… It would've been enough to make me consider staying in Abnegation, but I just had a feeling that you wouldn't stay either."
I feel my face flush bright red, just as it had when we were in his fear landscape. I must still be in a simulation; there's no way this is happening right now.
"Is that why I was in your fear landscape? You're afraid of losing me?"
He reaches up to touch me face, his thumb running across my cheekbone.
"My biggest fear is being the reason that light you carry inside you burns out. Your first day of training was… Confusing for me. I wanted to protect that light, but I wanted to see just how brightly it could burn. When you're afraid or when you're fighting or when you're standing up for what's right is when you're at your best and your brightest. And it terrifies me cause that amazing part of you is what makes you so dangerous. It's why they'll try to find you."
I brush his hand off my face in frustration.
"Okay, I've had it up to here with these vague warnings. Why do you know so much about… that? Who's looking for me?"
"Because I'm like you. Nobody suspected me during training because I was technically Dauntless born, so it made sense for me to be doing so well. I'm sorry Kori, I wish I had more answers, but I probably don't know any more than you do. But I know we can figure it out together."
I press my lips together as Richard laces his fingers through mine. I was suspicious that he was Divergent too and that was why he could recognize it when he saw it. I want to press him for more answers, but I believe what he said about not knowing much more than me. I decide that changing the subject may be best, for right now.
"Alright. Then can I ask where you got the name Robin from?"
His smile returns and he squeezes my hand.
"My mom used to call me that when I was first learning the ropes. She said I made it look like I was flying. I'm sure the fact that the Amity were the ones who made all the costumes for the circus probably helped provoke that nickname with all that red and yellow."
I can't help but smile at the story and I'm realizing just how close our faces are to each other.
"That's really sweet. I… I'm really glad you finally told me all of this. A lot of stuff makes sense now that-"
Without another word, he closes the gap between us and presses his lips against mine and everything else fades away. My arms wrap around his shoulders and his are around my waist as if this were the most natural thing in the world for us. His lips felt so familiar even though this was our first kiss.
Behind my closed eyes, I see a flash of… a memory? I was kneeling outside during a rainy night in a place I'd never seen before. I was sharing my first kiss with a boy wearing a domino mask…
In shock, I pull away from Richard and I can tell from the look on his face he'd experienced the same thing.
And I knew in that moment that something even stranger was going on; something more than just corrupt factions and eliminating Divergents.
A/N: Finally, Robin's story revealed! And Kori finally admitting her feelings for him out loud! But what could possibly be happening now? What was that weird memory they had of their first kiss? Why do their fears feel so… off? These answers and more, next time! In the meantime, let me know if you liked this update! I'll probably do more chapters of this before I start the new fic I mentioned in the beginning so until next time, lovelies! -Starprincess