Hey guys! I'm not usually a big fan of YA dystopians, but Divergent was an exception. I agree with Veronica Roth - Four is the bomb. So why not dedicate an entire fanfic to him being all angsty and stuff? ;)
Rated T for angst and some language
Disclaimer: I don't own Divergent, or any of Veronica Roth's characters.
Shattered glass is on the ground and the waves - a slow, monolithic mass - collide inexorably with his shoulder. His eyes burn as he looks up at the black, starless sky.
He grunts against the current and suddenly the water feels like quick sand, sticking to his body and weighing him down against the sharp granules of sand.
He tries to push with his arms. They are gone, sinking to the vast base of the sea, broken off like the feeble arms of a plastic doll.
He's drowning, he knows it, and he can't do anything about it. His scream sounds like a child's laugh, mocking him as he struggles against the claws of nature. He will never swim away.
He's drowning, drowning under the force of the waves, under this dark sky that no god watches over. Drowning.
He hates feeling weak.
He came back two months ago and Zeke was waiting for him in the cafeteria. He smiled.
"Nice to see you," he said. He looked at Zeke and his dull skin and dull eyes, crinkled from fake smiling for so long.
"You're back," he said, trying to sound incredulous. Of course they knew he would come back - it was the only option.
Although the only sound either of them made was of peas sliding across their plates, the silence was too loud. There was too much to say, not enough time to say it, and no way to say it. But Four liked silences - heavy, light, jesting, serious - he heard too many screams in too short of a period of time.
The other Dauntless were as rowdy as usual, throwing plates and flicking food. But there was a tacit somberness among the older members. There were brief glances between them, evanescent traces of a past that gave them the illusion of a better future. They never stayed solemn, at least not long enough for the young ones to notice. And so the somberness went and stayed as quickly and transiently as it came, because Dauntless was supposed to feel liberating, not confining.
"How are you?" Zeke said. His fork clanged against his plate. His question sounded forced. He knew what the answer was.
"Fine," he replied. He put his spoon to his mouth and looked at the new initiates who were laughing loudly and telling dirty jokes.
Want to hear a joke about my dick? Never mind, it's too long.
Whoops, woots, and a seemingly scolding (but obviously flirtatious) Shut up, Nick!
Want to hear a joke about my vagina? Never mind, you won't get it.
Flecks of food fly through the bright dining room, and the more laughs, claps, and cheers come from the wooden table.
"No - honestly, Four. How are you doing?"
Four let his eyes wander nomadically to the boisterous table. They're all young - probably a year or two older than initiates. A boy and a girl sat on the edge of the bench, giggling and looking at each other. The polished metal of the table reflected the lovers' faces. Their cheeks were flushed for exertion, and their eyes never left each others'. Four turns to Zeke. His eyes stared back at Four's - black and tired, but not dull.
"I'm fine. Really." He's always been a bad liar, but his eyes suggested a change of subject.
He wanted the conversation to end. He hates small chat. Zeke probably wanted to help, but it was fruitless. Some questions do not have answers.
Zeke swallowed a piece of bread. "How's the ki –"
"She's fine." The bread tasted stale and the voices in the room seemed louder. Four took his butterknife and began tracing patterns onto the wooden table. First, aimless squiggles and lines, then two letters, one word.
I love you, I'll be back.
I'll be back, I love you.
I love you.
Some questions do not have answers. Some promises are never kept.
The conversation was over. Zeke finished his dinner and said goodbye. Four nodded. He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.
He did not open them until the voices faded and the cafeteria lights dimmed.
It is perched on the simulation chair when he opens his eyes again. He inhales heavily, glancing around panickingly at his sterile surroundings, and it caws. He is alone the simulation room, vials of serum neatly stacked in rows, but towering precariously.
It looks him in the eye and caws again – straight in the eye – unfazed by the presence of a larger animal. It is a plain bird – black feathers that conceal black eyes. There is elegance to its imperturbable conduct, with its chest feathers puffed and shining in the artificial light of the lamp. Its head cocks as if observing him in return. It almost seems amused. He reaches out, instinctively, to stroke it.
It tilts its head back and its eyes do not move - but it's smooth beak does.
"Be brave," it caws.
He lunges forward and reaches towards the bird's shiny feathers. "Be brave," it caws again in its scratchy voice.
It slips through the glass of the window, knocking down vials of simulation serum on the way. The vials fall as neatly as they were stacked, one after the other, like a row of yellow, bubbling dominoes.
Black shapes rise from the congealed liquid, forming themselves into millions of tiny feathers. The feathers swirl in indecipherable patterns, forming wings, tails, beaks -
More birds come through the window.
"Be brave be brave be brave be brave be brave," they shriek, crashing against the walls and dissolving into the sizzling serum. A huge rumble comes from one of the walls, and thousands of birds fly out as the wall itself crumbles into more birds. Dust rises, stinging Four's eyes.
Four yells and ducks as he is hit by a black, homogeneous conglomeration of birds, their claws scratching his face.
Birds fight their way out of the spilled liquid.
"Be brave," one says as he struggles to reach for it.
He yells and dives into a moving pile of the dark beasts, trying to – at least – grab a few.
They slither out of his fingers like crafty serpents.
"Be brave," they mock.
He stands in the middle of the room flailing his arms pathetically, hoping to knock one down from the air. He needs to catch one. He does not know why, but he feels trapped – like a little boy too short to reach the cookie jar. Satisfaction is only an inch away.
The birds avoid him.
The room turns upside down. A deep buzzing noise resonates within the walls. He can see only in black and white.
The shrieks are everywhere, filling his head and ears as he struggles to stay upright. He shuts his eyes and screams to keep out the shrill ringing. Birds knock into him, clawing his face and arms while tearing his clothing.
He falls to his knees.
A deep buzzing noise – flashes of red -
The room grows quiet. He opens his eyes.
The birds are all dead, slumped against the walls and floor, their blood matting their feathers. It is the calm after the storm.
He hears a small shuffle and turns to his right.
A raven stands in a puddle of blood.
Slowly, this time, he reaches out to stroke it. The bird seems relaxed. He is relaxed. He starts crying. He does not know why.
His fingers pause inches away from the bird's feathers. He can feel the raven's even breaths. It has bright eyes.
He moves his hand slowly. The bird jumps back, but when it opens its mouth, an ugly cackle does not come out.
"Be brave," it says in a soft voice. The voice of a young girl.
It dissolves into hundreds of small silver fish that dart away in the puddle of blood, slivers of light in a dark tunnel.
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