The shot doesn't come. He stares at me with the same ferocity but doesn't move. Why doesn't he shoot me? His heart pounds against my palm, and my own heart lifts. He is Divergent. He can fight this simulation. Any simulation.
"Do you think that is what is happening? He is fighting it?" Shauna asks looking directly at Eric.
"I don't know. Maybe," Eric sounds uncertain. "Anything seems possible with those two." Eric points to Tris and I.
"Tobias," I say. "It's me."
"What was that Uriah?" Zeke asks.
"I was trying to sound like Tris," Uriah defends.
"I don't sound like that," Tris squeals.
"Just read with your normal voice Uriah," Max shakes his head.
I step forward and wrap my arms around him. His body is stiff. His heart beats faster. I can feel it against my cheek. A thud against my cheek. A thud as the gun hits the floor. He grabs my shoulders—too hard, his fingers digging into my skin where the bullet was. I cry out as he pulls me back. Maybe he means to kill me in some crueler way.
"Tris," he says, and it's him again. His mouth collides with mine.
"You have to be kidding me," Eric groans. "How the hell did that happen?"
"You're just disappointed they didn't kill each other," Zeke chuckles.
"This is sooo romantic," Marlene coos.
His arm wraps around me and he lifts me up, holding me against him, his hands clutching at my back. His face and the back of his neck are slick with sweat, his body is shaking, and my shoulder blazes with pain, but I don't care, I don't care, I don't care.
He sets me down and stares at me, his fingers brushing over my forehead, my eyebrows, my cheeks, my lips.
Something like a sob and a sigh and a moan escapes him, and he kisses me again. His eyes are bright with tears. I never thought I would see Tobias cry. It makes me hurt.
"How is this possible?" Eric still can't seem to get his head around what has happened.
I pull myself to his chest and cry into his shirt. All the throbbing in my head comes back, and the ache in my shoulder, and I feel like my body weight doubles. I lean against him, and he supports me.
"How did you do it?" I say.
"I don't know," he says. "I just heard your voice."
"This must be a Divergent thing," Zeke says.
"I think it's more than that," Shauna says.
"Why do you think that?" Eric asks.
"I don't know. The way he said he heard her voice. There would have to be a pretty powerful connection with someone to be able to pull them out like that."
"But Tris thought he faltered earlier," Eric says.
"Yeah but she was talking to him then too," Shaun says.
"It has to be because they are Divergent," Eric states. "It has to be."
"Page break," Uriah says.
After a few seconds, I remember why I'm here. I pull back and wipe my cheeks with the heels of my hands and turn toward the screens again. I see one that overlooks the drinking fountain. Tobias was so paranoid when I was railing against Dauntless there. He kept looking at the wall above the fountain. Now I know why.
"Took you long enough," Zeke says.
"Why are there so many cameras in Dauntless?" Will asks. "Is every faction like that?"
"There are cameras in all factions," Max says. "They have always been there. I don't remember it being any other way."
"It seems a bit over the top," Will says.
Tobias and I stand there for a while, and I think I know what he's thinking, because I'm thinking it too: How can something so small control so many people?
"Was I running the simulation?" he says.
"I don't know if you were running it so much as monitoring it," I say. "It's already
complete. I have no idea how, but Jeanine made it so it could work on its own." He shakes his head. "It's...incredible. Terrible, evil...but incredible."
"You would think Erudite would be trying to spend their time for the good of the factions. Not trying to develop programmes and serums to annihilate factions," Will says.
"But Jeanine thinks that getting rid of Abnegation will help the other factions to prosper," I say.
"I don't see how," Lynn says.
"What do you mean by that?" Eric asks Lynn.
"Well, if you get rid of Abnegation that throws the government out. It also stops people from helping the factionless," Lynn says.
"But that's exactly why Jeanine is doing this," Eric explains.
"What do you think the factionless are going to do now that their handouts are taken away?" Lynn asks.
Nobody answers. I know I have a thousand thoughts running through my brain and I am sure that my mother would be glad to see what is happening to the factions.
"Keep reading Uriah," Eric sounds distracted. Maybe Lynn's comments is making him think differently.
I see movement on one of the screens and see my brother, Marcus, and Peter standing on the first floor of the building. Surrounding them are Dauntless soldiers, all in black, all carrying weapons.
"Tobias," I say tersely. "Now!"
He runs to the computer screen and taps it a few times with his finger. I can't look at what he's doing. All I can see is my brother. He holds the gun I gave him straight out from his body, like he's ready to use it. I bite my lip. Don't shoot. Tobias presses the screen a few more times, typing in letters that make no sense to me. Don't shoot.
I see a flash of light—a spark, from one of the guns—and gasp. My brother and Marcus and Peter crouch on the ground with their arms over their heads. After a moment they all stir, so I know they're still alive, and the Dauntless soldiers advance. A cluster of black around my brother.
"Tobias," I say.
He presses the screen again, and everyone on the first floor goes still.
"You did it!" Shouts Zeke.
Their arms drop to their sides.
And then the Dauntless move. Their heads turn from side to side, and they drop their guns, and their mouths move like they're shouting, and they shove each other, and some of them sink to their knees, holding their heads and rocking back and forth, back and forth.
"Does that mean they remembered what they did in the simulation?" I ask.
"Yes," Max answers.
"So, you put us in a simulation, have us kill innocent people and then we just have to live with what we have done," Tori spits out.
"You weren't supposed to come out of the simulation," Max quietly answers.
"Do you understand how fucked up this is," Tori yells. "Why Max? Why would you let her do this to us?"
"Just read Uriah," Max says.
"I'm getting sick of you not answering our questions Max," Tori says. "You need to give us a reason why."
"I don't have to do anything," Max shouts. "Uriah keep reading."
The room goes quiet. Why won't he explain his reasons? I don't understand this at all.
All the tension in my chest unravels, and I sit down, heaving a sigh.
Tobias crouches next to the computer and pulls the side of the case off.
"I have to get the data," he says, "or they'll just start the simulation again."
"You would think Erudite would have a backup," Will says.
"Probably, but if enough time passes the serum would become ineffective," I say. "It doesn't stay in the system for long."
I watch the frenzy on the screen. It is the same frenzy that must be happening on the streets. I scan the screens, one by one, looking for one that shows the Abnegation sector of the city. There is only one—it's at the far end of the room, on the bottom. The Dauntless on that screen are firing at one another, shoving one another, screaming —chaos. Black-clothed men and women drop to the ground. People sprint in every direction.
"This is chaos," Shauna says.
"I wonder where we are?" Lynn ponders.
"Could be anywhere. We could already be dead," Marlene says and then let's out a sob.
"Her Mar," Uriah tries to comfort Marlene. "I'm sure we aren't dead. Not yet anyway."
"Got it," says Tobias, holding up the computer's hard drive. It is a piece of metal about the size of his palm. He offers it to me, and I shove it in my back pocket.
"We have to leave," I say, getting to my feet. I point at the screen on the right.
"Yes, we do." He wraps his arm across my shoulders. "Come on."
We walk together down the hallway and around the corner. The elevator reminds me of my father. I can't stop myself from looking for his body.
It is on the floor next to the elevator, surrounded by the bodies of several guards. A strangled scream escapes me. I turn away. Bile leaps into my throat and I throw up against the wall.
I feel Tris tense in my arms. She hasn't moved much since we read about our fight. I just keep holding her and rubbing her back. I don't want to ask her how she is, not while we are with everyone. She won't want to discuss it here either.
For a second I feel like everything inside me is breaking, and I crouch by a body, breathing through my mouth so I don't smell the blood. I clamp my hand over my mouth to contain a sob. Five more seconds. Five seconds of weakness and then I get up. One, two. Three, four.
"Page break," Uriah says.
I am not really aware of my surroundings. There is an elevator and a glass room and a rush of cold air. There is a shouting crowd of Dauntless soldiers dressed in black. I search for Caleb's face, but it is nowhere, nowhere until we leave the glass building and step out into sunlight.
Caleb runs to me when I walk through the doors, and I fall against him. He holds me tightly.
"Dad?" he says.
I just shake my head.
"Well," he says, almost choking on the word, "he would have wanted it that way."
"Why would he think that?" Marlene sobs.
"Because he saved his children and now he is with Natalie," I say. "It was the ultimate sacrifice for someone from Abnegation."
"Abnegation are just stupid," Marlene states.
Can't disagree with her on that one.
Over Caleb's shoulder, I see Tobias stop in the middle of a footstep. His entire body goes rigid as his eyes focus on Marcus. In the rush to destroy the simulation, I forgot to warn him.
Marcus walks up to Tobias and wraps his arms around his son. Tobias stays frozen, his arms at his sides and his face blank. I watch his Adam's apple bob up and down and his eyes lift to the ceiling.
"I can't believe he would hug you," Zeke says.
"Had he ever hugged you before?" Shauna asks.
"Not even when my mum was around," I say shaking my head.
"Son," sighs Marcus.
"Hey," I say, pulling away from Caleb. I remember the belt stinging on my wrist in Tobias's fear landscape and slip into the space between them, pushing Marcus back. "Hey. Get away from him."
I feel Tobias's breaths against my neck; they come in sharp bursts.
"Stay away," I hiss.
"Remind me to stay away from you," Zeke laughs. "You are seriously scary."
"Beatrice, what are you doing?" asks Caleb.
"Tris," Tobias says.
Marcus gives me a scandalized look that seems false to me—his eyes are too wide and his mouth is too open. If I could find a way to smack that look off his face, I would.
"Just hit him Tris," Zeke calls out.
"Zeke," Shauna scolds. "What have we told you about yelling at the book people?"
"I'm not stopping," Zeke says. "They need to be told."
Shauna just shakes her head while the rest of us just laugh at Zeke.
"Not all those Erudite articles were full of lies," I say, narrowing my eyes at Marcus.
"What are you talking about?" Marcus says quietly. "I don't know what you've been told, Beatrice, but—"
"The only reason I haven't shot you yet is because he's the one who should get to do it," I say. "Stay away from him or I'll decide I no longer care."
"Oh Yeah!" Zeke shouts. "That was awesome."
Tobias's hands slip around my arms and squeeze. Marcus's eyes stay on mine for a few seconds, and I can't help but see them as black pits, like they were in Tobias's fear landscape. Then he looks away.
"Even Marcus is scared off you now Tris," Lynn says.
"Maybe he heard about what happened to Eric," Zeke starts laughing his head off.
"You're so funny," Eric says sarcastically.
"I know," Zeke says while still laughing.
"Bro," Uriah says. "You really need to tone down the laughing at your own jokes."
"We have to go," Tobias says unsteadily. "The train should be here any second."
We walk over unyielding ground toward the train tracks. Tobias's jaw is clenched and he stares straight ahead. I feel a twinge of regret. Maybe I should have let him deal with his father on his own.
"Sorry," I mutter.
"You have nothing to be sorry for," he replies, taking my hand. His fingers are still shaking.
"You need to shoot that bastard Four," Eric says. "Straight between the eyes."
Easier said than done I think to myself.
"If we take the train in the opposite direction, out of the city instead of in, we can get to Amity headquarters," I say. "That's where the others went."
"What about Candor?" my brother asks. "What do you think they'll do?"
I don't know how Candor will respond to the attack. They wouldn't side with the Erudite—they would never do something that underhanded. But they may not fight the Erudite either.
We stand next to the tracks for a few minutes before the train comes. Eventually Tobias picks me up, because I am dead on my feet, and I lean my head into his shoulder, taking deep breaths of his skin. Since he saved me from the attack, I have associated his smell with safety, so as long as I focus on it, I feel safe now.
"Even after he attacked you?" Christina asks.
"He was in a sim," Tris defends but then says, "I don't know, it's not like I have lived this yet."
The truth is, I will not feel safe as long as Peter and Marcus are with us. I try not to look at them, but I feel their presence like I would feel a blanket over my face. The cruelty of fate is that I must travel with the people I hate when the people I love are dead behind me.
Dead, or waking as murderers. Where are Christina and Tori now? Wandering the streets, plagued with guilt for what they've done? Or turning guns on the people who forced them to do it? Or are they already dead too? I wish I knew.
"So do we," Lynn says.
At the same time, I hope I never find out. If she is still alive, Christina will find Will's body. And if she sees me again, her Candor-trained eyes will see that I am the one who killed him, I know it. I know it and the guilt strangles me and crushes me, so I have to forget it. I make myself forget it.
"It wasn't really your fault," Will murmurs.
"Yes it was," Christina smacks Will's arm.
The train comes, and Tobias sets me down so I can jump on. I jog a few steps next to the car and then throw my body to the side, landing on my left arm. I wiggle my body inside and sit against the wall. Caleb sits across from me, and Tobias sits next to me, forming a barrier between my body and Marcus and Peter. My enemies. His enemies.
"I can't believe that weasel," Eric says. "You should have reported him when he attacked you Tris."
"That's bullshit," I yell at Eric. "I told you what happened and you didn't want to know about it."
I hear gasps around the room.
"Don't sit here and act like you care now. Tris has shown she's more Dauntless than Peter or you could ever be. You need to realise that your methods are the problem," I state.
"You think you know best," Eric spits back at me. "You know nothing Four."
The train turns, and I see the city behind us. It will get smaller and smaller until we see where the tracks end, the forests and fields I last saw when I was too young to appreciate them. The kindness of Amity will comfort us for a while, though we can't stay there forever. Soon the Erudite and the corrupt Dauntless leaders will look for us, and we will have to move on.
Tobias pulls me against him. We bend our knees and our heads so that we are enclosed together in a room of our own making, unable to see those who trouble us, our breath mixing on the way in and on the way out.
"My parents," I say. "They died today."
Even though I said it, and even though I know it's true, it doesn't feel real.
"They died for me," I say. That feels important.
"They loved you," he replies. "To them there was no better way to show you."
"I will never understand the Abnegation," Shauna shakes her head.
"I bet it would be seen the same way in Dauntless," I say. "If your parents died to save you, there would be a huge celebration."
"I guess," Shauna says. "It just all feels wrong though."
I nod, and my eyes follow the line of his jaw.
"You nearly died today," he says. "I almost shot you. Why didn't you shoot me, Tris?"
"I couldn't do that," I say. "It would have been like shooting myself."
"Ohhhh," Marlene coos.
He looks pained and leans closer to me, so his lips brush mine when he speaks.
"I have something to tell you," he says.
I run my fingers along the tendons in his hand and look back at him.
"I might be in love with you."
"Seriously Four?" Zeke says. "I swear I am taking your man card from you."
"Why?" Shauna asks.
"Because he shouldn't be saying that yet," Zeke tells her.
"Just because you aren't man enough to admit it," Shauna challenges him. "You shouldn't make him feel bad for being honest."
"I don't need to say it," Zeke complains. "You know how I feel."
"Do I?" Shauna turns from Zeke.
"Come on baby, you know," Zeke whines.
"Whatever Zeke," Shauna goes and sits on one of the spare bean bags.
"Looks like your sleeping on the couch tonight," Uriah laughs.
"Just read," Zeke snaps.
He smiles a little. "I'm waiting until I'm sure to tell you, though."
"That's sensible of you," I say, smiling too. "We should find some paper so you can make a list or a chart or something."
I feel his laughter against my side, his nose sliding along my jaw, his lips pressing behind my ear.
"Maybe I'm already sure," he says, "and I just don't want to frighten you."
I laugh a little. "Then you should know better."
"Fine," he says. "Then I love you."
"You could learn so much from Four, Zeke," Lynn teases Zeke.
Zeke just crosses his arms over his chest and starts mumbling to himself.
I kiss him as the train slides into unlit, uncertain land. I kiss him for as long as I want, for longer than I should, given that my brother sits three feet away from me.
I reach into my pocket and take out the hard drive that contains the simulation data. I turn it in my hands, letting it catch the fading light and reflect it. Marcus's eyes cling greedily to the movement. Not safe, I think. Not quite.
"Page break," Uriah says. "Nearly finished."
"Then just read it," Zeke snaps.
I clutch the hard drive to my chest, lean my head on Tobias's shoulder, and try to sleep.
Abnegation and Dauntless are both broken, their members scattered. We are like the factionless now. I do not know what life will be like, separated from a faction—it feels disengaged, like a leaf divided from the tree that gives it sustenance. We are creatures of loss; we have left everything behind. I have no home, no path, and no certainty. I am no longer Tris, the selfless, or Tris, the brave. I suppose that now, I must become more than either.
"All done," Uriah shouts and throws his arms in the air.
"Well that didn't finish how I thought it would," Shauna says.
"What were you expecting?" I ask.
"I don't know. It's just we have no idea where the rest of us are. If we are even alive," Shauna says. "Our world looks like it is in a complete mess."
"I think we should take a day off from reading," Tori says.
"But don't you want to know what has happened?" Uriah asks.
"It will still be there when we start to read it again," Tori says. "I just feel like we need a break from it all."
"I agree," I say.
It has been a lot to take in. Tris could do with a break, I am sure of that. We all could.
"Only one of us is dead," Will says.
"So there is going to be a lot more to come," I say.
"Even more reason to take a break," Tori says.
"Okay," Max says. "No book reading tomorrow."
Looks like even Max must be rethinking his position.
"We can sleep in," Uriah says.
"Haven't you slept in while we have been here?" I ask.
"Are you joking? Zeke comes in every morning trying to jump on my head," Uriah says.
"Not every morning," Zeke states.
"That was only because you caught Marlene and I in the middle of something and you went screaming out of the room," Uriah laughs.
"Yeah, well I didn't need to see your naked ass all up in the air," Zeke counters.
"Is that what had him screaming?" Shauna laughs. "He wouldn't talk about it."
"Don't you have a lock on your door?" I ask.
"Do we?" Marlene sounds shocked.
"You should check that," I say.
"We do," Zeke says.
"Us too," Will says.
"We do too," Lynn says.
"Man, I am going to have to remember that," Uriah shakes his head.
"I'm going to bed," I say as I rise from the couch with Tris in my arms. She is already half asleep.
That's it. All done.
Thank you to everyone for your support, reviews, follows and faves. You know I appreciate all the time and effort you put in to supporting my stories.
To Paula08 thank you for helping me with typing Divergent out, for your support as I rambled on about my ideas, your friendship and for giving me your opinion about certain chapters before I released them out into the world of fanfiction.
To Lunaschild2016, you are awesome. I love our chats. Thank you for your inspiration, for your opinion when I had self-doubt and for the amazing stories you keep coming up with.
To the Guest who thought that Tobias should be worried that he could turn out like Marcus after the sim. I agree, under normal circumstances he probably would but being locked in the apartment his main concern is how Tris is coping with what has happened and trying to think of ways to stop the war. I think that it could be an issue for him at some stage (if they survive), but for now he has bigger problems to worry about.
Look out for 'Insurgent Uncovered'. It should be out in the next few weeks. Not sure when but it shouldn't be too far away.