A/N: I ship it.
She's always taunting me. It's as if the stupid chemicals bursting through my veins know all I want is to hear her voice. And I do, and they do know. Tendrils of the drug snake into my memories, the ones locked deep, deep inside and pull the perfect replication of her painfully forward. Marlene's voice chirps, over and over again: "Jump. Jump. Jump."
I stare down the edge of a building that never ends. Somewhere down there I know, in a sickening way, there is concrete that'll cradle my shattered bones and broken body once I finally reach the bottom. Jump. I step carefully onto the raised ledge. My heart is in my throat, tight and heavy, and no matter how many times I swallow it does not budge. I tell myself I'm not scared. I've never feared heights before.
"Jump," Marlene whispers, in reach, but forever gone.
This has nothing to do with heights.
Jump, says the wind, caressing my cheek. Jump, commands the ledge beneath my feet, so thin and fragile that it rattles with each of my breaths. The air is tight, thin, and if I just barely shut my eyes... all I see is Marlene. She's leaning on her tip-toes, as she so often skipped. The breeze throws her hair over her face; a pale-golden veil. Worst part; there is nothing but a blank, dead stare to her once child-bright eyes. The mere image of that closes a fist around my throat. My palms sweat, wish to reach out and catch her, pull her down –
"Jump," Marlene breathes, not quite begging.
I open my eyes and suddenly, I'm not on the ledge. I'm several yards away from it, facing it. Marlene is in my place, facing me, smiling. A sporadic wave of her fingers tells me she sees me. I open my mouth to speak, to express my dismay. I take a step closer. She takes one back.
"No! Wait!" Too late. She's already falling. No amount of running will get me there in time to catch her. She is dust, sunlight that passes right through my fingers when I throw myself across the distance. Staring after her, I fall to my knees, clutching the ledge, cursing incoherently. There's a grace to her even then. Falling, falling...
Jump, she mouths stories below me. An arm unfurls and her fingers reach upward, beckoning.
I shut my eyes. Rattling in my chest, burning furiously, my heart yearns to jump, to follow Marlene down, down, down to the endless pit that can only mean death. I'm shaking, I realize, when I turn my head from the sight and nearly retch. "No," I tell her, and in an instant I know I did right. The building beneath me disperses. Endless blue sky transforms into the usual Dauntless surroundings.
Uriah rushes forward to help me to my feet. But I'm too angry to accept his help and I shove him off harshly. I run a hand through the short spikes of my hair and find that they're sweat drenched. Physically I'm drained. All I want is to curl up in my bed.
But the anger gets the better of me.
"That wasn't even fear," I spit, frustrated. I point an accusing finger at Four. "What was that?"
"The same thing everyone else has been given." He shrugs.
"Don't lie –!"
"Lynn, chill." Uriah lays a heavy arm around my shoulder and pulls me back. He shoots Four an apologetic look, then Tris, and pulls me from the room. We cross the Pit and the noise of my faction washes over me, and for once I don't seem to hear it. I hear Marlene's voice, the wind howling up the side of the building, the rush of air that pulled her down. The moment Uriah and me reach a dark, empty hall I shove him off, stumble to the wall and lean into it.
"You look awful," he says.
I choke on my bitter laughter. "Glad you took the time to notice."
He gives a trying laugh, and then falls silent for a few moments. "Are you alright?"
"Will be. Once you leave me alone." I push myself up and move toward my room, but he catches my elbow, forces me to meet his gaze. The dark doesn't hide the drip of sweat slipping from my hairline, down my nose, and onto my lips.
Uriah studies me. "There were eighteen fears this time. You always have sixteen or less."
"War gives me a lot to be scared of."
"No. This isn't normal..." A pause. "You're shaking."
I am. Tremors run through my toes to my fingers, live-wire. I rip my arm away from his grasp. "None of your business." I want to fight him off. I can't tell him. Of all people, it can't be him.
It should have been her, I think, unbidden. Suddenly the anger rushes heat to my eyes. I'm crying before I can stop the tears. Flustered, I make to flee, but Uriah pins me. I knee him in the gut. He doubles over, still clinging to my shoulders and I thrust my chin into his face. Two seconds later I have an elbow in my ribs. Breathing is tight, I clutch my side. I use my other hand to punch him square in the nose.
Finally, I'm free.
I spurn forward three steps, but something bunches up the back of my shirt and rips me downward. No. I can't be on the ground. Anyone can knock me out from there, kicking my head, my chest… I twist backward, kick out a leg and sweep the feet out from underneath Uriah. He lands with a hard, satisfying smack.
Blood swells passed his lips and he spits. I back away. "Fine," he says. "I won't help you!"
Back in my room, I cry underneath my blankets.
How pathetic. How undauntless.
Marlene would be disgusted.
At that thought I pull myself from the bed. I swipe away the tears, find the mirror and stare into it. I trace a line over my cheekbone. I recall all the boys who've ever told me I'm beautiful. Then I remember the way Marlene gushed over their looks. I decide my hair is too long and I retrieve the electric shaver in my drawer. As I watch a thin layer of brown hair gather on the floor at my feet, I remember the last time I did this. How it had been Marlene who'd done it for me, so carefully, so precise, smiling the entire time. She thought it daring, bold.
It is not quite so much that way when my red-rimmed eyes are staring balefully back at me from the reflection.
Jump. I can hear Marlene everywhere. Even here, so far away from the Dauntless headquarters.
Underneath the bridge I can hear the other's ragged, forcibly calm breathing, and the officials on the bridge at the parley, talking. In their words, in their breath, I hear her; jump, jump, jump. But jumping from where I am won't do me any good. There is something else in her request. The word she constantly sings that had once meant one thing, but now means more. Jump: avenge me. Jump: do something daring, for me. Jump: throw caution to the wind, take a chance.
Jump: you have nothing left to live for.
I wipe the sweat from my palms before I slip my gun from its halter.
I make sure I have a sturdy hold on the bars before I push myself up to reach my hand over the ledge.
I aim, barely; eyes squinted in the glaring sun.
When I pull the trigger I feel some sort of momentary satisfaction as the officials scream.
The chaos that follows is blurred, fast-forward, until the bullets find my body.
Later, when I lay dying, I'll bleed out thinking: I did it. I jumped. For you.