A/N: Like many, I was unhappy with the ending to Allegiant. It broke my heart to see what became of Tris and Four. It's not the ending I imagined for them.
This is my way of making it right.
This story begins at Chapter 43 in Allegiant:
Tomorrow will be hard on both of us. I have complete faith in Tris, but I hate that she'll be in danger. She may not need me to protect her, but that doesn't mean I don't constantly feel compelled to do so. Tomorrow will be hard.
Tonight, though, she is with me. We walk hand in hand in the Atrium. Just being together like this, at peace in our lives, is so rare. I stop and really look at her. She's gazing up at some dangling vines. Her eyes are wide. In her eyes, I have always seen wonder and hope. Her eyes have always shown me innocence no matter how many hardships she has suffered.
Her eyes are beautiful.
I reach up and take her cheek in my palm. She turns and meets my gaze. I feel as if I'm swollen inside when she looks at me like that. There are so many things I want to share with her. Things to come. Our future. I don't want to allow this inane war or something as trivial as our genetic differences to come between us.
Everything has become so dark.
I wish there were no barriers between us. No arguments. No hard choices.
I want us to have a future where the most complex thing we have to consider is how to spend the afternoon.
I push that swollen feeling down, and it settles in my heart, where all the things I'm afraid to say live.
She's watching me. Her eyes are searching mine, but she doesn't need to ask me what's wrong. I know she can see through me. No one has ever looked at me the way she does. No one has ever understood me.
She doesn't need to ask me why I'm staring at her, because she already knows. Her lips part, and I bend down toward her sweet and strong face. Our kiss is soft and slow. I try to absorb all the sensations I feel... Her skin, both smooth and scarred. Her tiny hands pressed against my ribs. The warmth of her body as we come together. My arms around her back. Her hands on my neck. The taste of her. She's warm and familiar. Her lips move with mine until I feel I have no breath left in my lungs. I don't want to just kiss her anymore. I want to be as close as we can be tonight. When I break the kiss and slip my shirt over my head, Tris raises an eyebrow, and her eyes dart around.
"What are you doing? We could be seen here."
I grab her shirt in my fist and pull her body toward me. I kiss her neck and nibble at her ear. "I don't care. I don't want to resist this anymore. I just want you, Tris. Please."
"Tobias, you know I'm already yours."
I slide my hands over her hips and brush my thumbs against her center. She gasps at my bold touch. I look straight into her eyes. "I want you like this."
She considers what I'm proposing. I can see her weighing her thoughts against her desire, and I'm afraid that reason will win out over passion, but instead, she answers me with a kiss. With her hand in mine and my discarded shirt in the other, I lead her back toward one of the large stone sculptures in this room, looking for a place where we can find privacy. There's a door in the shadows. I open it with care, silently, as Tris holds on to my arm. We discover there are many couches and chairs inside the small room. Silver hooded canisters punctuate the space along the walls. A sign above the large windows reads "Smokers' Lounge," a relic from when this building was an airport.
Suddenly, we're both gripped by the urgency of this moment. We are alone. We are never alone. I close the door and watch as Tris walks toward the couch beneath the window. She sits and slowly takes off her shirt. Then she leans back, and with her gaze on mine, she unbuttons her pants, slipping them over her hips and down her legs, where they rest in a pile on the floor. She sits before me topless, in nothing but panties. She always trembles with nerves when she's undressed, and I'll never understand why. She is so beautiful to me. Every time I look at her body, the feeling I have inside is gratitude. Gratitude and lust.
I walk to where she sits on the couch. Flurries of snow have begun to fall outside the window. All I can hear is our breath. When I'm close enough for her to touch me, she reaches out and undoes my belt. My jeans fall to the floor and are left in a pile beside hers. I cradle her cheek in my hand, and then I guide her body back onto the couch and lay beside her. Facing each other, our fingers intertwine as we stare into each other's eyes.
I love her. I've loved her since the moment I saw her. I loved her even more when she didn't know how I felt. And in this moment, I love her more than I ever thought possible.
I kiss her forehead, the tip of her nose, her closed lips. She tucks her head into my shoulder and begins to kiss my neck. I feel my hair stand on end, and desire for her possesses me. I explore her small but perfect breasts and then slide my hand between her legs. She hums a sound of pleasure as I touch her there. Her breath becomes hot and fast against my neck, and then her warm hand wraps around my hard flesh. She strokes me in the same rhythm with which I'm touching her. I search for her mouth and kiss her hard. Our movements become desperate. Just when I feel I can't withhold myself from entering her for another second, she slides her knee up onto my hip and guides me toward her with her hand. I grasp her shoulder, pulling her body down to meet my hips and push myself inside of her.
This is the light in the darkness. This is the reason we both keep going. For each other. She's the reason I fight for this life. We both groan, and Tris gasps once I've fully forced myself inside. I linger there without moving and grip her neck, turning her chin toward me so I can look at her.
"I love you, Tris."
Her eyes well with tears, and she kisses me gently, whispering, "I love you, too. I love you."
I deepen our kiss as we rock our bodies against each other. My palms slide over her ribs and the curve of her back. I can feel her small fingers tracing over my muscles and shoulder blades. Then, I'm gripped by a wave of blind lust. I hold her tiny body against mine and thrust into her sweet warmth over and over. She moans, and I hear her muttering sounds of encouragement. I take her hands in mine and shift my weight so she's beneath me. I pin her down and kiss her deeply. I gaze into her eyes and kiss her again while my hips pulse against her. I see her face change like something is about to happen, and I realize what it is. I feel it, too. I move quickly hoping to bring her pleasure before mine overtakes me. She throws her head back and cries out just as I feel I can go no longer.
I've thought that I felt happy just a few times in my life. Now I know those moments were pale and hollow. I lay my head down on her chest where her heart beats inside. All I want is to feel this feeling again and again. All I want is to listen to her heart beating for the rest of my life.
"What are you thinking?" she asks.
I answer truthfully. "I've never felt this happy."
It's a quiet moment. I had wondered if we would be as good with the quiet moments as we are with the loud ones. The answer, it seems, is yes. My body is trembling from the bliss I feel. We are always running toward some challenge or away from some terror. We never get to feel this.
I'm struggling now with what we're about to do; our plan to release the memory serum and reset everyone here and in Chicago.
Tobias senses my thoughts and looks at me expectantly.
"I'm just thinking about what we have planned. What is it all for anyway?" I ask. "Genetically 'pure' versus genetically 'damaged' people. Even if we reset everyone and start again, isn't it just a matter of time before people find something else to destroy each other over? Is this really worth losing lives?"
Tobias is quiet, and I know it's because he agrees. He's going along with my plan, because he loves me, and I know he cares about the greater good. But he cares about me more. He would abandon all of this if that's what I wanted to do.
I wish I could be like him.
Maybe I can be.
"What if we left?" I ask. "What if we found somewhere to go? This country is huge. You've seen Caleb's map. What if we could find a place that's pure and just… be."
"That sounds like everything I could ever want," he admits.
"But it feels wrong to just leave here. Maybe after we're done with this last effort, then we could go? With a clean conscience? A clean slate?"
He nods. "I'm not happy about you putting yourself in danger, Tris. I'm never happy about it."
"Going back to Chicago is just as risky."
He sits up and takes my shoulders. "If we're going to do this you have to promise me, promise me, Tris, that you will abandon this mission if it gets too risky. I can meet you on the border of the fringe. If anything goes wrong, if it goes bad, you have to promise me you won't give up everything we have. You have to promise you won't leave me."
I feel tears in my eyes. He's asking me to go against my nature. The selflessness I learned in Abnegation. The bravery I learned in Dauntless. My desire to erase the word damaged from the collective vocabulary. My lust for vengeance against the people who let my parents die. That is the reason I let Caleb volunteer for a suicide mission. Because they were his parents, too.
And then I get it; why Tobias is so afraid I'll risk everything. Because I would risk everything for revenge on the people who hurt my family.
I stare out the window at the falling snow, but Tobias touches my face, commanding my gaze to meet his.
"If you die, I die, remember?" he asks.
I look in his eyes and get lost in the love I feel. "I won't do anything to jeopardize what we have. I promise you. If it goes bad, I'll run."
"Can I see that map you have?"
Caleb seems shocked I'm talking to him and downright dumbfounded when I sit down beside him on his bed.
He takes it from under the cot and hands it to me. I stare at it, not really understanding the size of this country and how small we are. I examine all the land around us, all the places Tobias and I could go.
"What's this?" I point to a long dark line on the left side of the map.
"I'm not really certain, but from what I understand, it's a large chasm. A 'canyon,' they call it. There are rumors that people live there. There's a river that runs through the bottom. I've heard there's a community there. But it could just be nonsense."
I remember the chasm, which was a place of terror and wonder while I lived with the Dauntless. It sounds like it would suit Four and me perfectly.
"How far away do you think it is?"
I can feel him staring at me with suspicion. "Beatrice, what are you planning?"
I don't trust him enough to share this secret. It feels wrong to disclose plans meant for Tobias and me.
I stand and fold the map. "Nothing. I was just wondering. That's all. Can I borrow this?"
A smile crosses his lips and then fades. He nods. "Sure."
A place where there may be people. A new life for Tobias and I. I tuck the map in my pocket, guarding it like gold.
Today is the day we erase everyone. I walk beside Matthew and Caleb. I'm becoming more and more conflicted about this mission and the sacrifice Caleb is making.
What if there was a way for us to defeat David without anyone having to die? There must be a way. If I could just think of a way…
A voice interrupts my thoughts. "Attention, all compound residents. Commence emergency lockdown procedure, effective until 5:00 a.m."
Shit. Something's wrong. We have to go now.
There's no time.
I freeze. I promised Tobias. I promised him if something went wrong, I would run.
We hurry down the hall, and I stare at the backpack Caleb wears, working on a plan. How are we going to get to the weapons lab now? We could split up. If we create a diversion…
"Matthew, fire your gun."
"What?" he asks. "Are you crazy?"
"Fire your gun into the air. We need to create chaos so Caleb can get to the weapons lab."
Matthew understands and does as I say. The loud popping sound causes people to scatter frantically. I grab Caleb, and we run.
I expect to see Caleb panic, but he does not. He rises to the challenge we're facing and runs with a force and determination I did not expect from him. But maybe I should have. His actions may have been evil, but he's decisive. Just what a leader should be.
As we run, everything slows down to a crawl. I could see Caleb leading these people. He's the least likely candidate, but he could do it. He could alleviate his guilt by doing something good instead of losing his life for this cause.
I can't let Caleb die. But how can it be avoided? I know the answer, and it makes me feel like I'm breaking my promise to Tobias. I could resist the death serum. I've resisted every serum that's been manufactured. I can resist this.
I can do it.
Suddenly, guards are at our back, screaming for us to stop, but we have no intention of stopping. "Run zigzag," I tell Caleb through shaky breaths. "It will be harder for them to shoot us."
Hi jaw is set, and he does as I say without hesitation. The love I once felt for my brother is rushing back into my heart as we face this battle together. I see my parents in him. I see their bravery. No faction can change what's in your blood.
The guards are gaining on us. I fire back at them over my shoulder, and by some miracle, one of them falls and doesn't get back up. We round the corner, and it's time. Caleb opens the backpack. He takes out the clean suit and puts it on. Wearing it will delay the effects of the serum, and maybe I can get him out of here in time. I kneel on the ground and hold my breath. When the next guard rounds the corner, I exhale and fire, striking him in the chest. His weapon flies from his hands, and he lies twitching on the floor in a pool of blood. When I turn around, Caleb stands before me with his gun drawn. It's pointed at me.
"It's time for you to go, Beatrice. You got me this far. I can do this."
"Caleb, I can't let you die. You're my brother. I love you. We can do this together. I can't let you…"
He releases the safety and my body turns to ice. "What are you…?"
"Run!" he shouts. "Run away from here. You won't survive the serum. I can do this. Get out of this place, Tris. Leave here with Tobias. He loves you. Leave, and never look back."
I step backward. Visions of my brother and I playing when we were young flash before my eyes. He turns away from me and begins the task of setting the explosives.
I take a step back and then another. The thread that ties me to Tobias pulls me back. I promised him I wouldn't leave him. Caleb can do this. I won't break my promise. I won't leave Tobias.
"Caleb!" I shout.
He turns to me.
"Caleb, I forgive you, and I love you."
We exchange a long last glance, and then Caleb runs toward the weapons lab doors. I back up past the dead guard and crouch down. I brace myself for the explosion.
The blast booms and shakes the linoleum floor beneath my feet, and the fluorescent lights above rattle, flickering on and off. My ears ring from the blast, even though I have covered them.
I peek around the corner and see Caleb stride through the damaged and open doors. Then he disappears through the mist of the death serum.
The death serum.
I jump up and burst into a sprint. I have put myself in danger when I promised Tobias I'd run. If he knew I did it to save my brother, he would forgive me, but I'm breaking my promise. I will not. I will not die before our lives have even begun.
I run until my legs quiver and my chest burns with fire. My face is wet from the tears I'm shedding for my brother. He's no longer a traitor. My brother is a hero. Because of his bravery, so many lives will be spared. He will not die in vain. He's a hero.
I avoid any areas where I'll be heard or seen and make my way toward an exit door. Just when I think I'm free, I hear a guard scream, "There she is!"
Then he stops dead in his tracks. He seems to have forgotten what he was looking for.
Caleb did it.
Even if everyone's memory is erased, there still may be danger. My instinct is to stay and fight, to make sure all my friends are safe. But my pride and my need to save everyone must be subdued. I made a promise.
I rush out into the snow and cold and uncover the emergency bags I packed for myself and Tobias. I throw one pack over each of my shoulders and surge forward under their weight toward the place where Tobias and I promised to meet if something went wrong. I open my pack and slip on a warm parka. Now, I wait. I wait and hope Tobias makes it out of Chicago alive.
We ride together back to the compound, and Amar's driving is making me nervous. As we approach the fences, I wonder if we'll be returning to a world that's better than the one we left. There's a knot of anxiety in my stomach, and it grows as we get closer. The first thing we notice is that the front doors are no longer manned by guards, and I smile with relief knowing Caleb must have been successful.
It's like a ghost town when we enter. On the other side of the checkpoint, I see Cara. Her face is badly bruised. Christina rushes past me to check on her.
"What happened?" she asks.
"I'm fine. Things got… complicated… but everything's fine."
The troubled look on her face worries me. She won't meet my eyes. "Where's Tris?" I demand.
She presses her lips together in a thin line. "We… We can't find her." Her eyes water.
I should tell her not to worry, but I don't. I just run.
"Four! Where are you going?" Christina shouts, but I don't stop. I run to the fringe where I told Tris to meet me if anything went wrong.
I just hope to God my girl kept her promise.
I bounce around, kicking at the light cover of snow, trying to keep warm, trying to keep busy. Trying to keep the tears that won't stop falling from freezing on my face.
I'm grieving for my brother.
I didn't think I would feel sad when he gave his life. I thought I'd feel relief. Though I know he did it for a noble reason, I feel broken inside. A piece of me is missing now, and I have to let it go. I should have stopped him. I should have gone in his place.
When I think about the choice I made, to let him be the one to die, I feel guilt and despair, but it is infinitely better than the alternative. If I had gone in Caleb's place, I would have destroyed the man I love. Tobias would have been far more broken by my death than I am by Caleb's. He would have been only a shadow wandering the compound or the streets of Chicago, never whole again.
I could never do that to him.
He should be back anytime now. Before I know it, I'll see him. I keep glancing in the direction of the compound, but all I hear in the shrill whir of the cold winter wind whistling around me.
"Four! Will you fucking wait!"
I'm bolting toward the fringe when I hear Christina's voice behind me. I slow down to look over my shoulder, but she is not alone. Cara is with her and Matthew… and my mother.
I slow to a jog and then stop completely.
"Jesus, you're fast," Christina says through gasping breaths.
Cara is bent over with her hands on her knees, nodding at Christina's observation. Matthew laughs.
"What is it?" I ask.
"Well, if you had waited before taking off you would have discovered what we did," Cara says. She hands me a letter.
It's addressed to her from Tris.
"Pack up everything you could want or need and meet me west of the airport where the fringe begins. I'll be waiting for you. Join me if you're ready to move on from this place."
I smile wide, and my heart is warm knowing that she's alive. She made it. She kept her promise to me.
"She left a letter for each of us. George and Amar wanted to stay. They want to help rebuild. But we're coming with you," Christina says.
I look at my mother. She carries no pack, only a piece of cloth in her hands. "I just wanted to say goodbye," she says.
I clench my jaw to keep myself from becoming overtaken with emotion. I have just reconciled with her, and now I'm leaving.
"Take this," she says. Inside the cloth is the piece of blue glass she gave to me so long ago. A frivolous thing, I had hidden it under my bed but left it on display as an act of defiance toward my father when I left Abnegation. My mother had kept it.
Not able to speak, I just nod and embrace her.
"Those people will need a good leader," I tell her. "You'd be perfect for the job."
She smiles and turns back toward the compound. I watch her go.
It's been hours. I sit on top of my pack, and the painful reality is beginning to set in. He's not here. He didn't come.
I jump up and shake that thought away. I won't allow myself to believe it. I've never known anyone as strong or as brave as Tobias. He will come.
On the horizon, I see a shadow persisting through the snow. It's flanked by three others, but they can't match the pace of the first.
The long, lean shadow comes closer at an unthinkable speed, and my whole body tingles when I realize it's Tobias.
He barely slows down as he approaches, lifting me up into an embrace. Before he kisses me, I hear him whisper, "Thank you. Thank you for choosing me."
With his hands on me, I feel whole. I may be a fighter, I may be strong, but the love Tobias gives me makes me the person I am. He has always been the light in the darkness for me. He's the reason I breathe. Of course I chose him. I always will.
We search the area until we find a deserted truck. Tobias jump starts it, and we pile in. I show him the map and share my plan with him. We are heading to the chasm where we can start over. We can have a new life. I sit in the back of the truck with Cara and Christina. They tell me the story of what happened and how everyone has been reset. No more war. No more experiments. We link our arms together, and I nod off to sleep.
When I wake again, the sun is rising at our backs. I see Tobias watching me in the rear view mirror as he drives. He winks, and I smile.
I've learned that life is filled with choices. In each moment, we can decide which battles we will fight. We decide who we will be.
No matter where we go now or what will become of us, I will always choose him.
I will always choose love.