what a great chapter that was i was even left disappointed that it ended ♥️ p.s. fuck finnick -🪐
but yeah, finnick is not it right now :/ what an asshole (as i am the writer lol)
what a great chapter that was i was even left disappointed that it ended ♥️ p.s. fuck finnick -🪐
but yeah, finnick is not it right now :/ what an asshole (as i am the writer lol)
Also, I’ve realized that I accidentally called Finnick blonde in c5 of anteric but I won’t be fixing it 🥴
i’m so lost everyone talked about aubade but there’s no links to it on the masterpost IM SO CONFUSED
Hi!! The series isn’t finished just yet. If you’re talking about Halcyon Talks for people talking about it, it’s for the previous version of Aubade (it was called Tacenda).
So, in other words, Aubade isn’t rewritten just yet. I’ll probably get to it before July (hopefully) but I want to finish Anteric and rewrite Berceuse before I get to it.
the one thing tumblr needs to steal from twitter is the “follows you” icon on people’s profile…. the embarrassment of treating someone like a mutual for like 6 months only to realize you’re not actually besties bc they don’t even follow you is the actual Worst
warnings; swearing, BLOOD MENTION, GORE, FIGHTING, TECHNICAL GUN USE.
NOTES; I give reader a last name to fit the world.
In the darkness of the dormitory, the only electronic that produces light is the alarm clock. Numbers that are bright red and glowing, casting a soft ring of light onto the floor. Each time you look, the numbers burn into your eyes temporarily, and taunt you. It’s beginning to feel like time isn’t moving at all, especially now that you’re paying attention to it.
You stare at the ceiling for a couple of seconds, secretly missing having your own room with a window to tell you when it’s an acceptable time to get up. With mornings like these, you had a rule; if the sun was up, then you were allowed to be too. It’s not easy to follow that rule anymore, Dauntless is underground. The only way to tell is if you go to the Pit to see for yourself, which defeats the whole purpose of just rolling over and looking.
Speaking of which, you carefully roll onto your side to take a peek around the bedframe to see the clock again. It’s only been a minute. At this rate, you’re not going to fall back asleep. You should probably stop with the wishful thinking, and just take advantage of the early start.
The pain isn’t as prominent today, your body just aches. You see this as a good sign. It might have only been a day, but progress is progress.
You sit up on the bunk, dig your clothes out from beneath your pillow, and then neatly make your bed as quietly as possible. You swing your feet in the air for a couple of seconds, liking the feel of freedom before you place your clothes off to the side and carefully lower yourself down. You’re careful to look out for Finnick’s leg so that you don’t step on it.
The bed sinks beneath your feet, you scoop up your clothes, and step off. To make sure that you haven’t woken up Finnick, you pause and watch him for a split second. He’s rolled onto his side, facing away from you. His hair is all over the pillow, blanket pulled up to his shoulder.
Thyme is almost the same way, except she’s on her back. Neither of them seem to have woken up, which means that your mission was successful. You disappear into the bathroom to brush your teeth and change, skipping out on the shower. If there’s anything that causes too much noise, it’s the squeal of the shower while it warms up.
You throw your dirty clothes back onto the top of the bunk, hook your shoes around your fingers, and leave the dormitory. As soon as the door is shut behind you, you feel like you can breathe a little louder and officially think to yourself without worrying that you’ll accidentally make noise in the meantime.
You don’t get very far down the hallway without shoes. The ground is too uneven, and the rock cuts into your feet uncomfortably. You stomp your shoes onto your feet, tie the laces tight, and then leave before someone comes to investigate the sound of your escape.
It’s a little after six, so you have a whole hour to find what you want to do. A few things come to mind, but the most prominent one is breakfast. You’re not entirely sure if the dining hall is open this early, though it doesn’t hurt to swing by real quick on your way to the Pit.
On the way, you find yourself running your fingers over the jagged wall in the dark. With no Finnick here to walk in front of you, it’s much harder to make your way through the long stretches of black. At every corner, there’s a blue lamp that gives off the same gentle glow that the clock in the dormitory gives. It’s just enough light to keep you from falling on your hands and knees.
The rock wall pokes into your fingers, occasionally catching on a particularly sharp rock. As long as you don’t start bleeding, you don’t find a reason to pull away. Not until there’s no wall to touch anymore because you made it to the hall. The lights are on, suggesting that it’s open, but there’s not the usual roar of the Dauntless. You suppose that you all normally get up at the same time, then.
Despite this, you go ahead and go in to check it out. It’s weird to see all the tables empty, no sea of black clothes and brightly colored hair to make you feel at home. It’s almost been a week since the Choosing Ceremony, and you can’t picture yourself in Abnegation anymore. No matter how hard Dauntless initiation is, you know that you’d rather be here, than anywhere else.
You’re only a couple of steps into the room when you realize that you should probably come back later.
Gathered in a small group of five, sits what you recognize as two of the Dauntless leaders, and the two trainers for the initiates. The fifth woman sitting at the table is older, with greying hair and wrinkles in the corner of her eyes. The moment your eyes land on her, you realize that she’s the first old person that you’ve seen the entire time that you’ve been here.
You move to back up and return to the original plan that’s been brewing in your head, but someone looks up at your appearance. You’re not surprised when you lock eyes with the one and only Caspian. You are when his face lights up and he motions you over, causing the others to realize that you’ve intruded in on their meeting.
Caspian sits on the left of the older woman, tongue playing with one of the piercings that run through his lip. The older woman sits in the middle, she doesn’t have any holes in her face, only an excessive amount in her ears. Tattoos are drawn up her arm, all following the theme of water. Fish, seaweed, bright blue waves with white foam that make it look like the tattoo was done just yesterday.
On her right side sits Damon, the man that you had met on the first day you got here. In fact, he was the one that cleared the way to allow you to jump off the building first, securing your title as First Jumper. Initially, when he looks at you, it’s like he’s staring right through you. As if you’re just another forgettable initiate. And then his eyes focus, and he sits up a little more.
Laurel and Pleurisy have to look over their shoulders to take a look at you. You saw Laurel just yesterday, during the volunteering, but you haven’t seen Pleurisy since the first day, either. She gives you a polite smile.
You stop near the table, your hands finding their ways to your jean’s pockets. You don’t feel as vulnerable with them there. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is awkward.
“You’re up early,” Caspian says, motioning for you to take a seat.
“Early is an understatement,” Laurel scoots to the right, giving you more room, as if there isn’t a whole empty table for you to have.
You sit to her left, trying not to tense too much when you feel the coldness of the wooden bench beneath your thighs. You place your hands between your legs before crossing them.
Caspian is sitting directly across from you, which was a total accident. You think this is the first time you’re seeing his tattoos up close, though. Caspian has a habit of hiding his arms beneath the table, on his lap. If you didn’t know any better, you’d say that he’s ashamed of the tattoos in the first place. But that can’t be the case, especially since he’s so open about his lip piercings. There’s no way that he doesn’t realize that playing with it, draws attention to it.
Red and orange flames dance up his arms, taking on various shapes that each have their own meaning behind them. They’re beautifully inked, the gradients perfect, the shading placed nicely. As you admire, all you can make out is an eye, before he’s moving his arm. It must be on purpose, as he places it below the table.
You briefly look at him, and then to the older woman because she starts speaking, “You’re one of the transfer initiates, aren’t you?”
“Yes.” You say.
“I remember her, she was the first jumper.” Damon says, “(Y/n), isn’t it?”
You nod, trying to give him a smile. It doesn’t feel confident at first, you have to lean into it to feel more natural. You’re not sure if you like your title, that now you’ve got two Dauntless leaders with their attention on you.
You should’ve just skipped out on the breakfast idea. You would have, if you’d known that you’d land yourself here. At the table, intruding on what feels like an important meeting that you were definitely not anticipated for.
“What are you doing here?” Caspian plays with his fork, the metal gently scraping against the plate.
“Oh!” Pleurisy pushes a couple of plates toward you. You’re able to deny, because this food was made for them, but Laurel has already set up a plate for you, “Help yourself, this is all leftovers.”
Okay, no reason to feel guilty after all.
You go ahead and evaluate the options first, hash browns that’d cooked a golden brown. Eggs tinted orange because of cheese, and small pancakes. You take a small portion of each, figuring that you’ll grab more if you’re really that hungry.
“What’s her ranking?” The woman looks between Caspian and Laurel.
“Top five,” Laurel plays with a ring on her finger.
“She lost her last fight.” Caspian volunteers the information, “But it was by a hair. If she didn’t have the opponent that she did, (Y/n) could’ve won.”
Your face feels hot, especially when the woman looks you over. You’re sure she can see the evidence, the bruise that’s on your jaw is pretty hard not to stare at. Plus your nose is discolored at the moment too.
You quietly each the hash browns, which are seasoned and make your mouth water. Back in Abnegation, it’s oatmeal and toast for breakfast. Here, there’s a lot more variety than you thought there would be. But you suppose that Dauntless doesn’t follow the same rules as Abnegation.
As you chew, you try to come up with a name for the woman in the middle, searching. You have a vague remembrance for the leaders of the other factions. Elysia Petalsong leads Amity, you only know this because you have a vivid memory of seeing her face during your brother’s Choosing Ceremony. And Haymitch Abernathy belongs to Candor, you saw him less than a week ago
You know that Abnegation is led by many people, one of them being Naida’s husband, Amon. It’s practically impossible to remember all of their names, only that they exist in the first place. As for Erudite and Dauntless, it was a complete mystery to you. You’ve only been to three Choosing Ceremonies in your life, one of which you partook in.
You think that Abnegation was in charge of Reed’s ceremony. It would explain why you don’t know much about Erudite and Dauntless past the fact they have leaders in the first place. Factions rotate leaders all the time, so it’s hard to keep track of them after a while. Especially with Amity, since they take down the elected leader if they believe that they don’t follow their values anymore.
Either way, you can’t cough up a name for the woman. You’re just going to have to narrowly avoid using a name when it comes to her. At least until one of the people at the table addresses her directly.
“She won her first fight, then?” she asks, looking up at you.
“Yes, she barely took any hits.” Laurel says, “But if you think that she’s good, you should see her friend. He’s won both of his fights in less than five minutes each. Took—how many hits did Finnick take during his last round?”
The question is directed to Caspian, you can tell by the way she waits patiently, staring at him. But you clear your throat, “Two.”
Caspian motions, “After that, the fight was over because he took the girl down.”
“And he’s also a transfer from Abnegation?” The woman asks, eyebrows raised.
“Yes, he was the second to jump.” Damon traces a figure eight on the table, “And after him was the Amity girl.”
Caspian nods, “Yeah, they’ve formed their own clique.”
“Happens every year.” Pleurisy says, waving it off. She raises a mug to her lips, drinking from it.
“Okay, but the last time I checked, your initiates aren’t clumped together in groups of twos and threes.” Laurel says back, “And it’s interesting to see who comes together.”
“How is it surprising that the Amity and Abnegation transfers found comfort in each other?” Pleurisy turns her body toward Laurel.
You have a feeling this might get ugly, so you don’t stare for too long, and find a special interest in your hash browns. The conversation ensues just as you expect it to, with Laurel trying to hold her ground, and Pleurisy trying to point out that she’s just boring. While they’re talking, you quietly take note of what they say in the meantime.
The first, which you already know, is that Laurel designs clothes. She owns her own shop in the Pit, it’s the one you were initially too afraid to approach because of the vibe that it was giving off. The name of the shop is ‘La Lune’, the inside is–naturally–moon themed, but not in a way that makes it overwhelming.
This matters to the conversation because Laurel doesn’t typically train initiates, this would be her third time doing it inconsistently. Which then makes Laurel point out how Pleurisy only ever trains the Dauntless-born initiates, so how would she ever know anything about the transfers? Pleurisy goes to say that transfer initiates are annoying–
“You are a transfer!” Laurel suddenly bursts, “I am a transfer! In fact, everyone sitting at this table is a transfer.”
The three leaders are either smiling, or quietly laughing to themselves. You raise your eyebrows, a little surprised to hear that none of the people leading the Dauntless faction, are Dauntless-born. But you guess that’s just what happens in all the factions, when one person is better than the rest.
And you guess that to some extent, you transfers are working harder to solidify your place in Dauntless, because you’re afraid that the initiates that were born here, are automatically better than you. Basically, you’re all overcompensating for something that isn’t nearly as hard as you’re thinking it is.
It does make you wonder where they all came from, though. You know Caspian is from Abnegation, obviously. But for everyone else… well, you thought that the older woman, Damon and Laurel were the Dauntless-borns. Pleurisy talks a certain way, fun but lighthearted. She’s not brash… she’s either Abnegation or Amity, you’re calling it.
“Anyway.” Pleurisy tries to change the subject, “Go on and tell us about the clicks, then.”
“No.” Laurel says, “Not after that. How about I inform you on how much of a moron you are?”
Pleurisy sticks out her tongue.
Since you’re done eating, you neatly place everything back onto your plate, the handle of the fork hanging off. As much as you like being here with them, you think you’re ready to move on, to continue to your final destination. But you’re not entirely sure how you can squirm out of this. It feels rude, somehow.
“They’re like this all the time.” Caspian says, you give him a smile. He pauses for a moment, and then leans in, “If you’re done, you can just go, you know. Don’t have to wait to be dismissed or anything.”
Slight attention is turned to you.
You give a half-shrug, “Old habit, I guess.”
“Run, kid.” Pleurisy says, you slide off the bench, “Before Laurel can question you why you’re hanging around the people you are–”
You let out a laugh, “Thank you for breakfast.”
“In the training room by eight!” Caspian tells you.
You leave the dining hall before you can be pulled back into their antics or questions. You go to the Pit first, feeling more awake than you had initially. There are a few people that are roaming around, all varying in different degrees of awake. You take the uneven steps of the Pit to the glass building above it. Your legs are still fairly sore.
Golden streams of sunlight move through the glass, reflecting into your eyes. You shield your face slightly, wanting to see where you’re going. It seems like you spent a little too much time in the dining hall with Caspian and the others, because you’ve missed your chance to watch the sunrise.
Really, you just wanted to be able to see the run come up. To actually see the light for once, and realize that it is a new day. You push the exit doors open to leave and stand out on the grass, feeling a rush of cool air wash over your skin. For a compound that’s underground, the Dauntless headquarters are warm.
You take a seat in the grass, criss-cross your legs, and sit here while you stare at what you can see of the city. It’s not much. Besides Amity, Dauntless is one of the factions that’s pretty far from the heart of it. Candor, Erudite and Abnegation are all clustered together, though.
Yesterday, after helping the Abnegation initiates, Laurel said that the fights would resume today. She had to yell it over the wind of the train, standing right in front of the doorway. The only thing that had kept her from falling out was the one hand she had on a handle overhead. The other was firmly placed in her pocket.
She wasn’t in a very good mood during your entire encounter with the Abnegation trainers and initiates, and you have a feeling that it’s because the work had lasted more than just a couple of hours. It took two trains to get there, and there had been a lot more to carry and lift than they said there would be. At one point, Laurel had to jump down and help too.
You can’t blame her for being irritated. You were too, with the sun beating down on the back of your neck, sweat glistening. Finnick’s face was a beet red for the longest time because of how much effort he was putting into it. And when it came out that Trink, Eytelle and Allio weren’t pulling their weight, they got reamed by Laurel in front of everyone.
You tried your hardest not to laugh in front of them.
The whole process finally sped up when the Dauntless-born initiates and Pleurisy showed up for extra hands. They had this whole plan for yesterday, that the Dauntless-born would have the morning to practice with shooting guns by themselves. So that when you guys came back, you could switch with them. But when you didn’t come back on time, and wouldn’t be coming back for a while, they were sent in to help.
It was all heavy lifting, and it was constant to make sure that the job got done in one day, rather than having to go back again today. The Abnegation initiates weren’t much help, either. They tried their best, like they always do, but they aren’t as physically prepared as the rest of you are. And that would have been you too, had you stayed with them.
You got to see some familiar faces, though. You don’t think most of them recognized you, but there were a few who’s eyes lingered just a little too long. You’d see them out of the corner of your eye. It was only when they wouldn’t stop looking, would you stare back at them, a smirk as a challenge.
One of the initiates was your neighbor from the right side. You wonder if he’ll go on to tell your brother that he saw you. Face bruised, swollen in some areas, nose crooked and pierced. Or you wonder if he’ll keep it to himself, so that he doesn’t cause discomfort.
Either way, you don’t dwell on it for too long.
When you’re sure that it’s nearing eight, you get up and brush your pants off, watching the loose grass blades float to the ground. It’s easy to get back into the building, and you take your time for the most part. There is no Finnick here to ask you what you think today will look like, so you’ll just have to fill in this gap by yourself on the way there.
While you sat watching the city, you had more than enough time to review what you’ve done so far in this past week. And you thought over the fights more than anything, trying to come up with some sort of solution to the problem that you’ve created. You think you’ve finally begun to see the pattern that’s emerging with Caspian’s pairings.
The most obvious part is that Finnick is always paired with a winner, but not of anyone he’s fought already. He went up against Eytelle and Thyme in the last two fights. Trink and Ossie sat out on the last one, which you think would make them losers. And you obviously lost your fight to Allio, as Amos lost his against Eytelle. So really, the only person that’s available for Finnick is Allio. All on the assumption that your theory is correct.
After that though, you’re unsure. Caspian and Laurel might think to pair the only two initiates that aren’t hobbling in pain. That takes out Thyme and Eytelle all together, even though their height difference isn’t by any means fair. But neither was pairing Eytelle and Amos in the last fight, so you’re not sure if height is even a factor anymore.
In the end, that only leaves four of you. Trink, Ossie, Amos and you. You fought Trink already and won, she’s out of the question. The only options left are Ossie and Amos, the same options that Trink has. There is only one thought that comes to your mind at that, cruel and unwavering.
You hope you’re placed with Amos.
You shove the doors to the training room open, spilling light into the dark hallway that you’re coming from. Inside of the room are the rest of your fellow initiates, all standing in their little clique groups, as Laurel called them. Caspian is in the middle of speaking when you enter, but he doesn’t stop to address you. Him and Laurel give you a nod, no mention of the fact that you’re a few minutes late.
You take your stand next to Finnick and Thyme.
“So, again, tomorrow is a training day. You will meet Laurel and I in the gun training room. The day after tomorrow is your final fight. Winning it is important, especially if you are not ranked highly at the moment.” Caspian looks over at specific faces–Amos, Ossie and Trink. “We will also be joined by one of the other leaders of Dauntless.”
It’s quiet for a moment, before Trink leans forward, venom in her tone, “Damon?”
Caspian shakes his head, “No, Damon will be overseeing the Dauntless-born fights. You will have the pleasure of seeing our only old member of Dauntless at the moment, Mags.”
The bell in your head rings. Mags is her name. You recognize it, but you can’t place your finger on why. You had never seen her before today, you’re sure. So why is she so familiar?
No one says anything in turn.
“Let’s get to it.” Caspian moves out of the way, showing the names on the chalkboard.
Finnick and Allio.
Thyme and Eytelle.
Trink and Amos.
You and Ossie.
Your hope deflates like a balloon. You try to tell yourself that it could always be worse, you could’ve been paired up with Eytelle or Thyme. Both of them are considerably worse than Ossie. But you can’t draw yourself out of this black hole of apprehensiveness. This is not how today should go.
Finnick wants to talk to you, you can see it in the look on his face before he leaves for the ring without being prompted to. You and Thyme wish him luck, Allio separates from his trio too, meeting your best friend in the middle of the room. You think Thyme is trying to say something to you, but you’re staring right at Caspian, hoping that he’ll see the worry on your face.
He doesn’t look at you, and neither does Laurel.
Finnick hops on his feet lightly, fists raised. The moment that Allio starts shuffling in a circle, Finnick follows, moving in. He looks a lot more serious today, eyebrows drawn in so close that they almost touch. He’s not up for playing around, not that he is normally, anyway.
Finnick fakes a jerk at Allio, causing Allio to overreact and jerk back too. It gives away the fact that Allio is antsy about the fight. That’s all Finnick needs to know before he’s moving in. The back of Allio’s foot touches the white circle, Caspian shouts a warning loud enough to startle him, catching him off-guard.
Finnick launches, fist flying across Allio’s mouth in a blur. A distinct crack fills the air, whipping his body to the right. He falls, unmoving from the floor. Finnick slides his hands into his pockets, staring down at Allio. Without any question, Caspian circles Finnick’s name, and motions for someone to get Allio out of the circle.
Less than three minutes.
Eytelle and Trink go to collect their friend, Finnick comes back towards you. His hard expression softens considerably when he looks at your face. You have to manually wire your mouth shut to keep it from falling open again.
Allio is dragged across the wood floor, only Trink goes to wake him up, while Eytelle goes to the ring with Thyme.
Finnick mutters out a good luck to her.
You stare at Finnick, suddenly feeling distant. That raw power move is new to you. Normally he waits a little while longer to get a feel of his opponent before pouncing like that, but he didn’t. He just… went for it.
And you guess that he saw Allio fight Ossie, and then you. So he might have picked up on a few things. But even then, you thought he’d be a little more careful just in case Allio is a magician and had more tricks up his sleeve.
“Where’d you go?” Finnick asks, his body turned toward you when he stops.
You give him a half-hearted shrug, watching Eytelle get cocky because of her height advantage. You can’t blame her, you’d be the same way if you were paired with Amos. It’s hard not to have a power trip when there’s such a distinct difference in strength between two people.
Your eyes snap to Caspian, the gears turning in your head. This must be why Caspian didn’t put you with him, because he knows that you would easily win against him. It’s not much of a challenge, and it’s hard to measure rank when you’re fighting against someone who has lost all of their fights.
Although, to be fair, Ossie hasn’t fought past the first day. So, you’re not entirely sure if she’s even on the same wavelength as you. Of course, you did lose the fight against Allio, but you also beat Trink into the ground. Plus, now that you’re thinking about it, the only similarity that you have with Ossie is the fact that you both had gone up against Allio and lost.
“(Y/n)?” Finnick asks.
“What?” Your eyes begin to focus, you look at him.
“Where’d you go?” He repeats.
You guess the shrug wasn’t a big enough hint that you don’t want to talk about it, “Watched the sunrise. Why? What’d you do?”
“Look for you.”
His lips are turned downward, a knot forms in your stomach. Guilt. You guess you didn’t consider the fact that your disappearance would cause a little bit of trouble. You and Finnick have been attached at the hip since the Choosing Ceremony.
“Finnick, I’m sorry,” you give him a gentle smile, “I didn’t wake you because it was six, I thought I’d let you sleep in. And I really needed a moment to myself.”
Finnick opens his mouth to speak, but the sound of skin-on-skin cuts him off. The two of you look over to see that Eytelle is wincing on the floor, propped up on one elbow while she rubs that shoulder. Her eyes are locked on Thyme, who’s breathing heavily, shuffling still.
“You seem to be needing a lot of those lately.” Finnick murmurs.
You press your lips together, body slowly heating up. You’re going to pretend that you didn’t just hear him say that, for his own sake. Otherwise, he’s not going to like what you have to say about his recent attitude with the initiation. The streak, the bragging, Thyme acting as his own personal fan. But it’s hard to, especially when he has the guts to be so open in the first place.
You have to remind yourself that you only have a few friends here. You can’t afford for Finnick to turn on you. Even though it looks like he’s already slipping through your fingers, despite your efforts on trying to keep the peace. Which he doesn’t even seem to realize.
You grind your teeth.
It’s hard to pay attention to Eytelle and Thyme’s fight. And it isn’t because of the shit-stirrer standing next to you. Really, the two in the ring are just a blur of skin and clothes, moving faster than you think is possible. Eytelle will swing, a perfect shot for Thyme’s head, until Thyme ducks her head when she uses all her force to uppercut Eytelle’s stomach.
They go back and forth, but Thyme seems to be dodging more hits than taking them. Eytelle doesn’t have the height advantage after all. She might be skinny, but since she’s tall, Thyme has more to work with. She can aim practically anywhere, even if it’s not directly Eytelle’s face.
If there’s one thing for sure; you’re glad that you’re not going against Thyme today, because she is determined. And if there’s anything that’s dangerous in fights like these, it’s willpower.
Thyme swings her leg between Eytelle’s, twisting at an awkward angle to force Eytelle to lift a leg to balance. It works, Thyme grabs and yanks, ultimately bringing Eytelle back to the floor, again. This time, instead of hovering over her, Thyme pounces, specifically with her foot.
Like she’s kicking a soccer ball across the field, Thyme swings her foot back with grace, and slams the toe of her shoe right into Eytelle’s chest. When Eytelle falls back, Thyme moves forward again, going for the same move, landing the kick on her stomach. And then to her ribs. And again to her side.
Your eyes slowly drag off to the side, to Ossie. She’s chewing on her nails, watching the match in front of her. She’s nervous, not a good sign. You remember what you said about overcompensating, so she’s going to give your guys’ fight her all. And considering that she really needs a win…
To be fair, so does Amos, but he’s like a little dog. Small, feeble, doesn’t know how to fight back properly. All you could do is blow air and he’d fall over. This is why you want him. Plus, the way that Ossie fought the first time was so irritating to watch. She likes to tease, wear on patience. And you’re running thin on that lately.
Thyme kicks Eytelle’s shoulder blade, causing a shout of pain to sound from her. You ball and unball your hands. You want to run from this fight when you know that you should be leaning into it. Ossie is considerably smaller than Trink, you should have an advantage. But Allio has fucked you up, and Ossie has had two and a half days to recover. You’ve had one. This isn’t fair.
“Alright!” Caspian calls the fight, he circles Thyme’s name.
She backs off of Eytelle, her black shirt is wet, darker because of the sweat. It sticks to her like a second skin. Thyme’s hair is stringy, in small ringlets, she brings her hand through it to get it out of her face.
Eytelle’s face is bloody, swollen in some places. She gets off the floor with a drag, joining Allio off to the side. Two out of three of the smartmouths are currently beaten to hell. There’s a special hope in your chest that Amos somehow comes out on top against Trink, so that all three of them could be put in their place together.
Trink saunters to the white ring, picking at her nails. Amos appears opposite of her, not as cool and relaxed. His whole body screams tense, his fists pulled so tight that his knuckles are a pale color. He breathes through his mouth, eyebrows downward. He needs to chill out before he self-sabotages.
Her blonde hair is pulled into a ponytail today, and it swishes from side to side as she bounces. Her fists are up, one higher than the other. You hope that Amos sees this mistake, because it’s the same one that you saw and took advantage of, in turn. It leaves her stomach open, a small gap that Amos will have no problem targeting.
Thyme stops on Finnick’s left side, confirming your theory that she prefers to stand by him, instead of you. Finnick’s always in the middle, but he’s normally on your right side, and she’s on the right of him, making her closest to the exit door. Today you’re the closest, a change that you don’t like.
Trink starts, throwing her fist straight at Amos’ face, joining the many forming bruises from his previous opponents. Amos jerks out of the way quickly, making him stumble to the side. Trink swings her other hand, prepared for this, and catches his cheek. His head knocks back.
He catches his footing in time, not giving up. He raises his hands again, staring at Trink, but doesn’t move in. It looks like he likes to wait it out to draw the other person to him. Reminds you of a certain person you should be fighting within the next ten minutes.
When Trink finally heads towards him, wanting to punch the living lights out of him, Amos tries to slip past her. She moves just as fast as him, bringing her knee into his stomach. Honestly, Amos pales for a moment, making you think that he’s going to lose this morning’s breakfast all over the wooden floor, but he persists past Trink anyway.
And grabs a fistful of her hair.
There’s only three gasps that fill the room. Two of them being Eytelle and Thyme, who have both fought against Amos already and one. And the third being from Trink herself, outraged and turning an angry shade of red.
She grabs a hold of the wrist that has her hair, and as if she has claws, digs her nails in, hard. In an instant, she’s drawn blood, and Amos is shouting for her to let go. His hands finally release her hair, and she swings him around with too much force. He hits the wooden floor, skin squealing against the polish.
The way she stands above him is predatory, circling her prey. Her ponytail is now ruined, no longer flat and pristine. You have a feeling that out of all the options he had, that was by far the worst to take. And she proves this when she lands on top of him, and her arm is nothing but a blur.
In no time, there’s blood leaking down his face, and he’s screaming in pain. A beg for her to stop, for someone to call the match over. Caspian circles Trink’s name, but he doesn’t call the match over. Not until Trink finally rocks backwards on the heels of her feet, going to stand up. And before she leaves Amos there, she sends a wad of spit onto his face.
“Pig.” she snarls, “That’ll teach you.”
She yanks her hair tie out, joining her friends again. No one goes to move for Amos, so he has to get up by himself. It seems like you’ve all stumbled across an unspoken rule: hair-grabbing is not allowed.
Amos sits against the wall, near the exit. You think you can hear him heaving sobs, you can’t draw an ounce of sympathy or pity for him. Although, you’re sure that you would prefer hair-pulling over whatever fucking situation you’re about to find yourself in.
Finnick and Thyme say nothing to you when you leave, no luck to be given to you.
It’s okay, you don’t need them.
You crack your neck first, despite the pain that blossoms through your jaw. And then your knuckles, one by one. Ossie watches you in silence, her short hair is tucked behind her ears. If you want this fight to be quick, you’ll have to target her head somehow. Picking her up isn’t an option, she’ll be too heavy. Which means that you need a good punch to her jaw, once and for all, so she can fall in a heap on the floor.
You raise your fists.
It’s a dance between you two while you try and spot her problems. Her face twitches each time she lands back onto the floor, so her head definitely isn’t recovered. Other than that, you can’t see a problem with her. Which makes you remember the fact that the fight between her and Allio was brief because he got a hold of her early on, and the fight ended right after that.
Compared to you, she’s practically got a clean slate injury-wise.
You’re going to have to work for your win.
You move in on her, being careful where you step and how close you get. You don’t want to be within hitting distance, but you’d like to back her up against the circle as much as possible. If she’s cornered, it means she’ll only have a few places to go.
Ossie rotates her elbow before she makes her move. You move out of the way, feeling the air get blown on your cheek. Cool and refreshing against the heat. You use your left fist as a drill into her jaw, steering away from her chin. You don’t need two bruised hands. They might not be broken, but they still feel like they are.
Ossie backs off, but she moves too far. The heel of her foot is clearly outside the ring, Caspian sucks in air to yell at her. You move forward again, blocking her path from getting back inside. You wonder if she’ll get in trouble for this, completely eliminating this match. Like a forfeit.
A win is a win.
“Get back in there!” Caspian shouts.
Ossie doesn’t jump at his tone of voice, even though it’s filled with annoyance. When she moves, you move, until she lowers into a crouch, going to dive. You’re out of the way before she can hit you. She slides across the floor, giving you more than enough time to get on top of her.
She scrambles to her feet, hands a bright pink color in patches. Floor burn, you can’t imagine how badly that stings. Not your problem, though. She moves from side to side, almost as if she’s pacing. Which makes you think that she’s looking for an opening.
Pain explodes across your jaw, causing aches to begin in the nerves in your teeth. At the rate you’re going, you’ll be lucky if you aren’t toothless by the end of the first stage of initiation. You have to resist the urge to grab your face, returning your hands to their positions just a little too high.
She catches this, and the next pain blossoms in your bruised stomach, too loud to think. You dodge her next attack, breathing through sharp gasps between your teeth. You use your right hand to punch the other side of her face, her cheekbone, but she moves out of the way.
You try to move as quickly as her, knowing what’s coming before it happens. You can see her arm drawn back, taunting you, aimed toward one special place on your face. The area that two people haven’t been able to resist since you started fighting.
You hit the floor hard, black overcoming your vision. The explosions of pain in your nose keeps coming, pulsing with your body. You blink fast, trying to ignore the feeling of blood rushing down your face.
You have to be careful when you stand, slowly rising from the ground. The entire room is spinning around you, too quickly for you to focus on one specific thing, except for Ossie. You watch through squinted eyes, hoping that the world will stabilize but it doesn’t. It just keeps spinning.
A sick realization sprouts, telling you that you will not be winning this fight. You can hardly keep upright without falling over, and with the blood coming from your nose, you need to see Cleo, from the infirmary.
You don’t want to quit. This is admitting defeat.
But then you can hear your history teacher’s voice in your head, loud and clear: “Sometimes you’ve got to lose the battle to win the war”. Who knows how many days there will be between now and the next fight, all you know is that you need those couple of days of recovery.
You will lose now, you just have to win the next one.
You have to.
“I’m done!” You say, backing away from Ossie.
Your feet are dragging, heavier than you remember. Your hand sticks out for balance, your eyes casted toward Laurel and Caspian. You’re not sure if you’ll survive the punishment they have in mind. Not with the blurriness of their faces.
Except, Caspian isn’t totally blurry. You can make out the disappointed look on his face.
“You’re done?” He repeats.
You remember his hopeful look this morning, telling Mags that you had lost your last match by just a hair. Like he was trying to salvage her first impression of you. You even think you vaguely saw a glare get shot toward Laurelafter she told Mags.
And now here you are, forfeiting a fight.
“Yes.” You breathe, pressing the back of your hand to your forehead. You can’t tell if you’re going to pass out or be sick.
“Fine.” Caspian spits, anger peeking through, “Come.”
You think that you’ll be able to take your time following him, but he harshly grabs a hold of your upper arm, yanking you with him. You can’t help but to think of the fact that he’s so moody. Happy in the morning, content during the other fights, angry now that you’re barely hanging on.
You want to ask him to loosen his grip, afraid that he’s going to give you a bruise, but you bite your tongue on this one and pretend. You continue to pretend.
Caspian drags you out of the exit doors, you can hear the shuffling of everyone else’s feet behind you, scuffing against the black rock. Cool and unwavering, there’s a desire to lay your face against it and sleep until you feel better. Whenever that may be.
Caspian takes you to the Pit, and you begin to grow concerned. Almost resistant to where he’s taking you, afraid that you’ve just made a mistake bigger than you realized. If he starts to take you toward the stairs, you’ll full-force stop him, you will not be dragged and thrown out in front of everyone.
He doesn’t, instead he keeps walking, straight into the darkness. He takes you all the way to the bridge that connects one side of the Chasm to the other. Below you is the river, the one you went to see the other day. Then, this place seemed so private and secretive, like your own little escape. No one would come here to bother you, but now it’s like your dirty laundry is out to dry.
Caspian lets go of you, almost throwing you. Your hand immediately grabs one of the railings now that he’s not here to hold you upright. You stare at him with droopy eyes.
“Get on the other side of the railing.” His voice is hard, mean. Just like how it was when you both were still in Abnegation. The type of mean that forced Reed to finally step in and tell Caspian to leave you alone.
Reed is no longer here to protect you.
This doesn’t bother you as much as it should, now that Caspian’s got the authority to abuse. No, it’s the fact that he’s telling you to go on the other side of the railing. Laurel said on the first day that a jump into the river would be enough to kill someone. So what makes him think that you’ll just willingly go over it.
Is he trying to kill you?
You hold onto the railing a little harder.
“I am not jumping off.” You snap at him.
“I’m not asking you to.” He’s much calmer this time around, “Get on the other side.”
This is a bad idea, but you’re not left a choice.
You slowly climb over the railing, pale-knuckling it the entire way. One little way could send you falling off. You grit your teeth hard. You can’t see the bottom below you, you only know that it exists.
“You can hang by your hands for five minutes and continue initiation, or you can leave Dauntless and become factionless.”
You were wrong, you do have a choice. You always have a choice, but it’s one you won’t take.
You swallow the regret rising in your throat, carefully getting down to just your hands without saying a word. You feel the unmistakable urge to cry when your first leg falls off, followed by the other. Your fingers curl into every crevice possible, some too small for them.
It is only open air beneath you, and further down is the rushing river and the jagged rocks. You hang low, not straining to hold your head above the metal floor. You know that you’ll need the energy to pull yourself up. Plus, you’re bracing for the inevitable.
It happens, and it’s not you falling. There’s a particular gush of cold, salty air that appears in your nose. Now you tense your body, keeping your legs out straight beneath you. You grip on harder, closing your eyes. You can hear the water hit the wall, and the sound of it shooting in the air.
A spray is thrown over your head, landing on the bridge, soaking your hair and clothes. This is what you were afraid of, the sensation of the metal slipping from beneath your fingers. You’ve got wiggle room, your entire hands are still here, but all it’ll take is more water.
You breathe through your nose.
You have to admit, if it weren’t for the circulation in your fingers and the ache in your shoulders and wrists, you would think that you were suspended in the air, jumping off the train and onto the roof. Permanently fixed in time, a picture in a book for all to see.
Another bout of water comes over you. Your hair and shirt stick to your skin, you picture Thyme the same way. Only, she’d won her fight. And you gave up on yours.
You huff out, and then freeze when your fingers begin to slide. Your eyes open in a panic, looking up to see if you’re just imagining it. You’re not, your fingers are coming out of the tiny holes in the platform as if you didn’t struggle to get them in there in the first place.
You really hope someone is keeping track of the time.
Gritting your teeth harder, you swing your body from left to right to build up momentum to bring your hands up higher. In short bursts, you can see the black shoes of your fellow initiates, and the polished one of Laurel, and Caspian. But you can’t see their faces, only their shoes.
Water drips off the metal, landing on your face. You can feel tears appearing in your eyes, pain stabbing your stomach. You want to be on solid ground again.
“Time’s up.” Caspian says, “Get up here by yourself.”
You take in deep breaths through your nose, swinging yourself from side to side, slowly pulling yourself higher. Your right hand grabs a hold of the bars, tight and slippery. The other uses the little room on the platform that you have, to pull yourself up. Only one more wave comes up the wall, like a final goodbye.
Your shoes slip multiple times, not being able to grip onto the ground. You barely get yourself upright, fumbling because of how much your hands are shaking. But the moment that you’re on the other side of the railing, you feel slightly better. Now that the threat is gone.
“Break for lunch.” Caspian stares past you, and then his eyes land on you, “Go get your nose fixed, don’t come to evening practice.”
You press your lips together, a tight feeling growing in your throat, tears threatening to swell over your eyes. You watch Caspian leave in a blur, the initiates going with him. Not even Finnick stays behind to check on you.
You stand there for a moment, holding onto the railing, staring after your best friend. In the next, you’re leaving in the opposite direction, heading toward your quiet corner, near the silver railing in the abandoned hallway. The part of the river that hadn’t tried to kill you.
In the silence of the dark, unlit hallway, you burst into tears, collapsing. Your teeth ache, your fingers are just returning to normal color, your shoulders hurt, your heart hurts.
You want to be normal again. You don’t want this, you don’t want to be fighting others. You thought coming here would be fun, that it wouldn’t be this bad because you’re supposed to have someone to lean on. You were wrong during the Choosing Ceremony. Finnick is not an even trade for Reed and Alyssum, he doesn’t even come close.
At least with Reed, he’d have moments in the living area where he’d just listen to you. No judgement, no Abnegation ideals, no scolding, he would listen. And of course, it wouldn’t be all the time because you were getting older and needed to rely on yourself more, than others. But he was there when you really wanted him to be and…
And you were so focused on the bigger things that you forgot to look into the little things too. The smaller reasons why you should have stayed. The ones that seemed so insignificant at the time of the Choosing Ceremony, that they just disappeared from your mind.
You want to tell Reed that you’re sorry for doing this to him.
You hope he comes on Visiting Day.
You stare at the ceiling, making out what you can in the darkness. Despite today’s strenuous activities, you’re not tired. If anything, you’re wide awake and dwelling over all the mistakes you’ve made in the past twenty-four hours. And how you’re going to keep them from happening again a couple days from now.
After the Chasm, you had Cleo set your nose straight. You ate lunch after you were sure the rest of the initiates were gone, and you came straight here, figuring that you could skip out on dinner. You’re not really in the mood for talking. And even if you did, the only person you have left to rely on anymore is Laurel.
Since she’s the holder of your secret, you don’t want to burn that bridge. You’d rather have no relationship than a ruined one. At least then she won’t be able to hold a proper grudge against you.
Right when you go to roll over to face away from Thyme, the dormitory door opens. Streams of light fill the room. You sit up, which causes one of the beams to land on you. You hold up your hand to block it, eyebrows drawing in as you squint through it.
“Everybody up!” A voice cuts through the peaceful silence, there’s a groan that sounds across the room. It’s Trink, face twisted into an angry expression, but she stands up.
You slide off on the left side, landing on your feet. Finnick spares you a glance, you can’t see much, now that your eyes have readjusted to the light. But if it was a look of unhappiness, you’ll personally give him a real reason to give you a look like that. As far as you’re concerned, this is his fault.
You can only name a few faces that hold flashlights, but the first three are Caspian, Laurel and Cleo. You recognize the man who pierced your nose, and a few others that wander around the Pit or sit together in the Dining Hall during lunch or dinner. Other than that, the rest are strangers.
“You have five minutes to get ready and meet us by the tracks.” Caspian snaps his fingers, “Get to it.”
You half expect him to tell you to stay here, since he has no problem shaming you in front of the others. Instead, his eyes don’t even land on you, as he turns away and leaves with the rest of his friends. On the way out, he slaps the lightswitch, causing a few complaints. He chuckles, and the door shuts behind him.
You let out a sigh, before digging out your everyday clothes to pull on. With no shame, you strip in the middle of the aisle between bunk beds. You don’t have enough time to run back and forth between the showers and the beds. Once you’re dressed, you pull on your shoes quickly, double-knot them, and you’re out the door before Finnick and Thyme.
You jog the entire way to the Pit, following behind Trink. She didn’t bother to wait for Allio and Eytelle, which you find funny. For a group of three that seem so close sometimes, they’re not. But you suppose the same can be said for you, Finnick and Thyme.
Needless to say, you and Trink are the first two transfer initiates to make it to the train tracks. There’s a cluster of Dauntless-born here already, standing around talking to each other. You run a hand through your hair, trying to catch your breath.
As you look to the left, trying to see if you can spot the train coming, you catch sight of the city lights, which are sparse but bright. You move forward, toward the tracks to get a clearer view. The buildings remind you of stars in the sky.
“That big one is Erudite Headquarters.” Trink says, stopping next to you, “I can tell because it’s glowing blue.”
She’s not wrong, you’re sure. Considering that was her home, she’d be able to spot it the easiest. Plus, if you were to begin to make guesses, that one would’ve been labeled Erudite anyway, blue glow or not. You have a feeling that Erudite is the biggest consumer of electricity out of all of the factions. It would make sense that they were the biggest. Just how Dauntless is probably the least.
“It’s not possible to see Abnegation from here.” You mutter, “It’s too far.”
“Yeah, I heard you guys are secluded in your neighborhoods,” her voice is getting tense, “Like you guys are planning something.”
Leave it to her to not be able to keep the peace for one minute. Also, you’re not sure why she’s referring to you as if you’re still in Abnegation, because you’re not. It’s been a week now, that ship has sailed.
You let out a sigh, wondering if you can salvage this conversation, “Trink, you act like all the other factions aren’t secluded too. Dauntless is all the way out here, Amity is all the way out there,” you point toward the fence, “Even Candor isn’t anywhere close to Erudite, so why is it Abnegation specifically that’s the problem?”
When you look at her, she’s got her mouth screwed shut, but she’s thinking it over.
“It doesn’t make sense, does it? Erudite says Abnegation does all these things, when the same can be said for the others. Why isn’t Dauntless suspicious, when they hold all the guns? Why isn’t Candor suspicious, when they’re the ones that decide right or wrong? What about Amity? They provide all this food, and they go outside of the walls, and there has never been a finger turned toward them. So why Abnegation?”
Trink shakes her head, “They’re in control of the government.”
“Which all of the factions had to agree to at some point, right? And if Erudite is supposed to know better for this city, then they should know that the government will be in good hands with Abnegation.” You cross your arms, looking back out to the city, “I just don’t think it’s smart. There’s no evidence of what they’re saying either. So they’re just creating problems with no backbone and it’s working.”
Trink hums, quiet for a moment.
You rock on your feet before turning to her, “I’m sorry for taking my anger out on you during the first fight.”
She shrugs, “I would’ve done the same if I could’ve.” she gives you a smirk, “So, where’s your friends?”
“Where’s yours?” you ask back.
She lets out a small laugh. The two of you can hear the exit doors open behind you, revealing the rest of the initiates. Before you can automatically go to join Finnick and Thyme, Trink grabs a hold of your sleeve.
“You can hang around us, if you want to.” she lets you go, “Not right now, but during whatever we’re doing. I don’t care.”
You give her a smile, “I’ll see if it benefits me.”
Trink gives you a look, and then laughs, “So the Abnegation girl can be selfish!”
“And the Erudite girl doesn’t have a stick up her ass.” you retort, making her laugh a little louder.
You and the rest of the initiates gather around a black pile. You have to squint in the darkness to make out anything about it, and you’re not surprised when you figure it out. It’s a pile of guns, but it’s not the pistols you’ve been shooting for the past weeks. These ones are much longer, maybe for rapid fire?
Next to the pile is a box that reads ‘PAINTBALLS’. Must be the ammunition that you’ll be using during this. It’s not something that you’ve used before, but the name practically speaks for itself, you think. It can’t be that complex, and it’s probably better to be shot with than actual bullets.
“Everyone grab a gun!” Caspian shouts, causing everyone to move forward.
You and Trink are some of the first to get your hands on a gun and the ammunition. This gun is definitely heavier, so you’re lucky that a strap comes with it. You pull it over your head, let the gun hang by your side, and grab a box of paintballs. It’s big enough to slide into your pockets, so you carefully slide it in.
“Train will be coming any minute!” Caspian says, a smile on his face, “Don’t miss it!”
At least he seems to be in a good mood. You thought that he’d spend the rest of the day like an asshole, afraid that it would eventually trickle into tomorrow too. You remember the long periods of time of grumpiness with Caspian. And it would be the worst stretch of days to experience ever, because he couldn’t directly say his feelings. He’d only be passive-aggressive about it.
You’re not sure what version of him you prefer just yet.
“(Y/n).” Caspian says, motioning for you to go over.
A few people move out of your way, not really paying attention. Caspian walks a few paces off to the side and reaches into his pocket. You watch in silence as he pulls something out of his pocket. You’re not sure what it is at first, until he’s insisting you take it.
You can’t read what it is, but it’s food.
“Protein bars, you skipped dinner.” Caspian’s voice gets quieter, as if anyone is listening in, “The next fight is in two days, Mags will be overseeing it, so don’t lose.”
His face is grim, which starts a sick feeling in your stomach, “Who am I against?”
Caspian shakes his head, which you take as him not going to tell you, not the fact that he doesn’t know. He’s one of the Dauntless leaders, and Laurel might be running training, but Caspian has more power than she does. They’re probably been working together to figure out who goes against who.
“Okay, well, thank you.” you hold up the bars, “Can I ask what we’re doing?”
Caspian’s face lights up, a grin coming over, “You’ll see on the train. And speaking of which–”
He motions behind you, and you turn to see a small ring of light in the distance, coming up quick. The train blares it’s horn only once, alerting everyone who hasn’t noticed yet.
“Put the gun on your back.” Caspian says.
You adjust it to follow what he said, the black strap goes across your chest.
Caspian starts running first, almost going the same pace as the train. You’re right behind him, not wanting to wait. Caspian pulls himself in, and immediately turns himself around to help. You grab a hold of his hand, he yanks you in, and moves onto the next initiate. You stand off to the left, but quickly switch to the middle once you realize it.
In the hours you’ve spent in bed tonight, you’ve decided that you don’t have a side anymore. But the sudden change in Trink’s attitude tells you that it could all just be misunderstandings. Which you’re sure is the case with you and Finnick, but how do you explain to him that his personality is getting on your nerves? You’ll just sound like a jerk for asking him to tone it back.
And how do you tell him that Thyme rubs you the wrong way each time she hangs around?
Once everyone has gotten inside, with no one uncounted for, Caspian motions for Laurel to speak.
“We’re playing capture the flag!” she shouts over the voices, making them slowly quiet down, “We’ll divide into two teams, with Caspian and I picking who we want from the transfer and Dauntless-born initiates. It should be an even divide. When we get there, one team will get out and hide their flag, then the other team will when they’re done.”
“This is a Dauntless tradition!” Caspian yells, “Don’t fuck it up!”
“Transfers first! Go ahead, Caspian.” Laurel raises her eyebrows.
Caspian motions for you to head towards him, you do.
Already at odds, you’re not surprised. You crack your knuckles in the meantime.
Caspian hums, “Trink.”
“Gonna collect them all?” Laurel asks, looking at him, “Or should I take Eytelle before you can?”
“Leaves me Finnick, if you want Amos. Then you’ll have two losers.” Caspian gives her a smile.
“Finnick.” Laurel says lowly, eyes staring into Caspian’s.
On the contrary, Caspian looks pleased to have Eytelle, “Eytelle.”
“Amos.” Laurel says, “My team on the left!”
There’s shuffling in the car, until your entire team is on the right side, the Dauntless-born initiates in the middle, and Laurel on the other side. You catch Finnick’s eye for a moment, he’s the first to look away.
“You pick first!” Caspian shouts over the howl of the wind.
“Fine, Blare!” she yells.
You go to think that Blaire is one of the tallest boys in the Dauntless-borns, but there are multiple others that have him beat. Blaire easily clears six foot, just like Finnick. Except, Blaire has curly black hair, a ringlet is curled around his finger at the moment. When he smiles at Laurel, it’s contagious.
He joins Finnick and Thyme, and hits it off immediately.
You grit your teeth.
“Lennox.” Caspian says, no hesitation. He must have everyone figured out already.
Lennox is also tall, he wears a tank top that shows off his arms, which are completely muscular. He’s got brown hair that hangs in his face, and almost a hook nose. You say almost because the bump isn’t noticeable at first, not unless you’re staring directly at it. He stops next to you and Trink, arms crossed and leaning against the wall.
Laurel looks dead at Caspian, “Horace.”
Horace is the tallest of them all, a giant compared to initiates like Amos. He’s got dark skin, long dreadlocks that hang loose. You’re fairly surprised that he wasn’t a first choice but to be fair, Finnick wasn’t either. You and Thyme were the first two picks.
“Ameer.” Caspian says.
“Mirza.” Laurel retorts.
It isn’t until they move, do you realize that they’re twins. Ameer comes towards you guys, bouncing on his feet, excited. Mirza lets out a groan, “He’s been waiting for an opportunity like this for forever.”
“Yeah, and now I can do it without getting in trouble.” Ameer high-fives Lennox, stopping beside him.
Ameer and Mirza look strangely familiar, actually. You just can’t place your finger on it.
The last couple of people don’t nearly seem as important, because Caspian and Laurel take too much time deciding. And each time they think they have it, they change their minds.
The final list for Caspian’s team, though, is you, Trink, Eytelle and Allio from the transfer initiates. And Lennox, Ameer, Sydney, Nestor and Claris.
For Laurel, it’s Thyme, Ossie, Finnick, Amos. Then Blaire, Horace, Mirza, Cass and Hallie for the Dauntless-borns.
During the decision, you’ve all finally made it to the arena that you’ll be dealing with. Caspian and Laurel stand across from each other, discussing who will get off the train first and who will get off second. For a while, it seems like Caspian is set on going first, until he resigns in an instant and motions for Laurel to go.
“Now I know you’re up to no good.” she says, motioning for her team to go, “Don’t underestimate me, Caspian, you might just end up regretting it.”
“Yeah?” he says, but that’s it.
You turn your body away when Finnick passes through the door. You’ve also come to the conclusion that Finnick should be the first to apologize, and not you. He was the one that suggested you couldn’t have moments to yourself, which you’re accustomed to, thanks to your house in Abnegation. You’d have hours alone to think, and now your thoughts no longer belong to you.
As soon as the last person is out of sight of the train, Caspian backs up to take a look at you guys. He doesn’t say anything for a long while, and then he smiles, “We’ve got a good ass team. We have ten minutes to decide a strategy before we need to pick a place for our flag.”
He holds out his wrist, the one with the watch on it, and sets a timer.
You move away from the others for a moment, standing in the doorway of the train. Your eyes search, going over the land that’s offered. The more you stare, the more you realize that it’s the marsh that’s near the city. The lights are much closer now, the blue-tinted one has to be less than a mile away from you are now.
“Where do you think she’ll place her flag?” Trink asks, she’s tying her hair up when you look at her.
“Her team will probably pick the carousel, Mirza’s pretty familiar with it.” Ameer says.
“I think you mean that you both are pretty familiar with it.” Sydney says, she looks like she belongs in Dauntless. She’s pale enough to be a ghost, and her black hair is such a stark contrast that it makes her creepy-looking, instead of balancing it out.
The boy standing next to her, Nestor, looks a lot like her. But his skin is more tanned, and he’s only taller than her by a hair. Out of all the Dauntless-born boys that you inherited on your team, he’s the shortest. Nestor doesn’t say anything, only plays with the trigger on his gun..
“Whatever.” Ameer says, “Either way, we’ll be heading off in the other direction. It’s more stable over there, tall buildings and all.”
“Tall buildings?” You ask, suddenly interested. You look at Caspian, “Can I step out?”
“Don’t go far.” he says.
You only go out far enough to see the buildings against the sky. He’s not wrong, they’re pretty tall, maybe fifteen stories or less. They’d be a good advantage point against the other team.
“Okay, I say we station ourselves on top of the buildings, and place our flag on the tallest one so that they have to work for it.” you point, eyes on the furthest one, which also happens to be the tallest.
Trink comes out to join you, seeing the building that you have your eyes on, “Oh! And there’s a street in-between, so we can ambush them if they come through. We just have to make sure that we spot them so that we know they’re coming.”
One by one, everyone else comes out of the train so that they can see the buildings for themselves. Once you’re all staring and figuring things out for yourselves, adding onto the plan, murmurs of agreement begin to sound. Just like that, you guys have a solid plan on how to defend the flag.
Now what about getting to it?
Caspian’s watch goes off a couple of minutes later, while you’re still thinking over the next part of the plan to yourself. You’re sure that two brains, or multiple, would be better than one. But you think that you should at least have an outline or an idea before you present it to anyone–especially Trink.
Caspian walks in front, gun in front of him, finger on the trigger. Behind him are Ameer, Sydney and Nestor, who all seem to be really good friends. Lennox is caught between talking to them, and turning to talk to you guys. As for Claris, she’s quietly playing with her hair, taking up the back.
There’s ten of you in total. Four transfers, five born, and Caspian. You’re pretty sure that Caspian is participating, considering the fact that he’s got a gun and agreed on your strategy. You’re just not sure how hands-on he’s going to be in the end.
“I’m surprised you sabotaged Mirza so quickly.” Sydney says.
“If you guys really wanted me to, I could tell you exactly what he’s thinking right now, because it’s the same strategy every time,” his voice drops quieter, “And I’m tired of him winning each time we play out here, just me and him.”
“I heard that.” Caspian says without turning around.
Ameer straightens up, but he doesn’t seem concerned, “You’re cool Caspian, as long as you don’t tell my dad. Then I might have to kick your ass.”
Ameer raises his hands in time for Caspian to turn around. Caspian struggles to press his lips together so that he doesn’t look amused, but it doesn’t work. He lets out a laugh, and shakes his head.
“Your dad?” you ask.
“Yeah, my dad is one of the leaders,” Ameer gives you a grin and wiggles his eyebrows, “He says that one day, I’ll be the one to replace him.”
It clicks instantly, his dad is Damon. That’s why he looked so familiar on the train, because he looks almost exactly like his dad, “Oh! Right!” you say, he smiles and nods, turning back to Sydney and Nestor.
The buildings that you looked at from faraway, are clustered together, and there’s only one walkway that Laurel’s team can possibly go through. The fences around are too high, and some of them have remnants of barbed wire at the top. It would be too risky to try and go over, and too long to go around.
The first two buildings that lead into the mouth of the alleyway should definitely have people at the top. Since there’s ten of you, you’d like to say that you can spare two on each. As you keep walking though, you can see that the tallest building isn’t that far back. Really there’s only four buildings.
You stop walking, staring up at them.
Four buildings, ten of you. And there needs to be enough left over to scout out the other team and break their defense. There’s a lot you need to take into consideration with this.
“Caspian.” you call, making him come to a slow stop. You’re in the back now, half-facing the way you just came, “Do you oversee the Dauntless-born training?”
He makes a face, tilting his head from side to side, “Sometimes, Damon mostly does it when he can.”
“Have you at least seen them shoot? Or their rankings right now with the fights?”
Caspian comes closer so you aren’t speaking as loudly, which begins to create a circle between you all, “Yeah, do you want me to list them?”
“From best to worst, starting with guns.”
He nods, “For transfers, Trink, you, Eytelle and Allio. For Dauntless-born, Ameer, Lennox, Sydney, Claris and then Nestor.”
You hum, “Okay, and from best to worst fighting-wise?”
“You,” he starts, which immediately doesn’t sound right, “Allio, Trink and then Eytelle. Lennox, Ameer, Nestor, Sydney and Claris.”
You press your lips together, “Here’s what I’m thinking–we station two people on each of these buildings. Let’s say Allio and Eytelle on one, and Nestor and Claris on the other.”
You turn to face the building that’s to the left of the tallest one, “We place only one person here, and it’s Sydney.” you turn to the final building, “We place the flag on this one, Trink, Ameer and Caspian will be here to protect it.”
There’s silence, and you really hope that you don’t have to explain your thinking. Caspian is already nodding, humming, “You want the worst in the front and the best protecting it.”
“Yes.” you say.
“What about me and you?” Lennox asks, raising his eyebrows.
“We go for the flag. We’re second in guns and first in fighting, both. We might have to get physical, which is exactly why we need to be good.” you pause for a moment, looking to the others, “Any problems, or holes?”
You’re looking at Trink, who’s thinking it over. She shakes her head slowly, “No, I don’t think so.”
“Good, okay.” you throw out your arms, “Let’s get shit set up!”
There’s a roar of whoops that come from your group as you load guns and split extra ammo. Caspain, Trink and Ameer take the flag with them to the tall building, while Trink, Eytelle, Nestor and Claris head to the front two buildings. Sydney hangs around for a minute, before deciding to go too.
“Have you been to the carousel before?” you ask on the way with Lennox.
He nods, “Yeah, we play every year. Normally we get creative and hide the flags in less-obvious places, but Mirza can have a pretty big influence. Ameer wasn’t lying when he said that they play between them a lot.” Lennox shrugs, “Mirza wins every time with the carousel. Why fix something that isn’t broken?”
“True.” you say.
There’s a few seconds of silence, “What do you think that they’ll do?”
You shrug slightly, “I mean, Finnick might want to rush in, he’s top ranked in both guns and fighting.”
“What makes you think that?”
You look at him, “He’s a natural with a gun, and he hasn’t lost a fight yet. And it’s nearly flawlessly, he’s only been hit twice, and they were minor stuff.”
Lennox whistles slightly, slowly grinning, “I’ve won all my fights too, my last one was against that big guy–Horace.”
Your eyebrows draw in as you turn to Lennox, “How tall are you?”
“Six foot, but I’m still growing. Horace is six inches taller.”
“Damn!” you push his shoulder, “You must be proud.”
“I’ve been bragging about it.” he admits.
“Who do you think they’ll send out to scout?” You pull the gun in front of you, and Lennox follows. You’re far from the buildings now, which means you need to start thinking of being stealthy.
“Probably Cass, she’s the closest person we have that’s super quiet when she does anything. Have anyone like that?”
“That moves quickly? Probably Ossie. I’m not sure about quiet, though.”
“Thinking about it, they’ll probably send their entire team.” Lennox says, “Let’s go this way.”
Lennox leads you through a dark building, it’s abandoned. The building is actually pretty vacant, there’s not even shattered glass on the floor, only dust. You’re about halfway through the building when you can hear voices, immediately making the two of you duck.
You press your hand to the floor, finger on the trigger of the paintball gun. You hold your breath to hear better, but you’re not sure if it’s even needed, because Laurel’s team isn’t trying to be quiet at all. Their voices are loud, echoing through the building.
“Are you sure about this?” It’s a girl, but it’s not Ossie or Thyme, you look to Lennox to see he’s holding up his finger.
“Cass.” he mouths.
Okay, makes sense, but there’s a lot more people than just her. You hold out your fingers to count them all.
You can hear Thyme, her voice might be soft but it’s distinct in a crowd. She sounds exactly like how you imagined an Amity transfer would sound like. And then there’s Finnick, you pick his voice out immediately. You close your eyes and duck your head, trying not to get distracted.
You don’t hear Ossie or Amos, but they do tend to be pretty quiet. This would all be so much easier if you could see them…
Your head shoots up, and you press your fingers to your lips, going out the back doorway of the building, since there is no door. Lennox follows behind you, making no noise except for the very gentle taps of the soles of his shoes against the cement floor.
The two of you creep around the corner, being sure to hold your guns to make sure that they stay flat against your body. Your eyes sweep over all of them as fast as you can before one of them turns around. You count six, notice that there’s no Ossie or Amos amongst them, and then flatten yourself against the brick wall.
There’s six of them.
“What are the rules, again?” You look at Lennox.
“Color them and they’re out of the game.” Lennox says quietly, “Why?”
“Because the competition is right here.” you say, “Go on the other side of the building, we can do this.”
Lennox gives you a grin, and then moves inside of the building and disappears. You creep around the corner again, watching the group of six slowly get further away. As you rise to your feet, you firmly place your index finger over the trigger.
Lennox is the first to first, a puff of air sounding from his gun.
You aim the gun the best you can, trying to get as many people out as possible before they realize what’s happening. You get one, and then two. You think you can see Lennox hit a few people too, maybe the same people that you’re targeting. All you know is that Horace, Cass and Thyme are out.
You hold up the gun a little higher, bringing it to your face to see better. You follow Finnick for a moment, and when you pull the trigger, you watch blue paint explode over his blonde hair. His head jerks forward, turning to face you.
You pull it again for good measure. You know, just in case he didn’t get the memo.
Lennox narrowly avoids a paintball, shooting at Blaire, following him around. But so is Mirza, both of them fixed on Lennox, and not so much you. But then Lennox gets Blaire, turns towards Mirza, and they pull their triggers at the same time.
You lower your gun, not being able to see at first. You have to peer around Mirza’s, only to see that he’s got a pink splatter right over his heart.
You are the only survivor of this raid.
And you’re not even sure where you’re going.
They all stare at you, and you make sure to look around your body to double-check that you’re paint free.
“Her, really?” Thyme’s voice cuts across the silence, whiny.
Finnick’s face twists, and you can’t decide if it’s in disgust or not. But Mirza, Blaire and Cass seem to be pretty impressed.
“The Stiff made it through.” Mirza murmurs, mouth forming into a smirk, “Good luck.”
“Luck?” you ask, “You left Ossie, Amos and Hallie to guard the flag, luck is the last thing I need.”
“I can’t go with you any further.” Lennox says, “But keep going straight, you’ll see the Ferris Wheel eventually.”
You give him a thumbs up, and then you look at Thyme, “And by the way Thyme, intelligence beats brute force every single time. Enjoy your walk back to the train, bitch.”
You turn around, practically skipping. But it isn’t until you’re over the bridge and out of sight, do you begin to get nervous. There’s only one of you, and three of them. If it were only one person stationed at the carousel, you’re sure that you’d be able to take them out easily.
You can see why Mirza was smug.
Either way, you don’t have much of a choice.
This part of the city is even more abandoned, but the buildings begin to die out the closer you get to the swamp. You manage to spot the Ferris Wheel, exactly like Lennox has promised. You’re sure that the carousel will be someplace close to it.
When you get closer, you see it.
Ossie is sitting on one of the horses, the flag is tied up high on the pole. Hallie is patrolling, her gun in hand as she wanders around the area, eyes searching for you. Amos is sitting on the edge of the carousel, feet on the floor. His knees are pulled to his chest, and he rests his arms on top. The gun is placed next to him, the strap off completely.
You circle around the area for a little, trying to spot a way you can get in, but it’s too risky. You could be caught and immediately shot because of it. The only possible scenario where you get the flag is if you shoot all three of them.
But then you hear the crackle of a shoe against the street, making you jump and point your gun in the direction. You nearly pull the trigger, but thanks to your stumbling, you’re forced to take a closer look. It’s half of your team, here to help.
Ameer gives you a smile, his eyes fixated on the flag. Sydney has her knee placed to the ground, gun slung over her back, and Trink is twirling a strand of her hair around her finger. Nestor stands behind Sydney, but he’s hunched over so that he’s hidden behind the bush with you guys.
“Nice job with the others. You got three of them by yourself?” Ameer says.
“Yeah, but it’s nothing special.” you give them a smile.
“What’s your assessment?” Sydney says.
“We just go in and fucking shoot them?” Trink proposes, “I mean, Ossie and Amos are the two worst initiates in our group.”
“I want to grab the flag.” Ameer moves to the side to look at it again.
“Okay, it’s settled. We go–” Sydney tries, but Trink has moved out from around the bush. When you go to warn her about giving Ameer a head start, you realize that he’s already gone.
The rest of you emerge too. Four against three, and you’re all pretty good shots. You manage to get Ossie in the ear, her head slamming against the metal pole hard enough for it to make a sound. Trink screws her mouth tightly, standing above Amos when she holds down the trigger, spraying paint all over his hair. Sydney takes a single shot at Hallie, but then Nestor shoots too, and suddenly a competition starts.
All while Ameer has snagged the neon flag, holding it up to display it to you guys. Cheers sound from you five, high-fives going around. But the three that were sat to wait here, don’t look so happy.
Amos shoots up from where he sat, “Fuck you–”
Trink’s already got her hand coiled back, and she slams her fist across his face. He falls back to sit where he was seconds ago. And without missing a beat, Trink turns to Ossie, “Got something to say too, or are you going to keep your mouth shut?”
Ossie doesn’t say anything, only walks past you guys and out of the fair grounds. Amos and Hallie go to follow behind her.
On the way to collect your team, you realize that you hadn’t seen Laurel. But Trink clears that immediately, saying that Laurel went to get Caspian and them. All you guys have to do is meet them back at the train. So really, you aren’t going to collect them.
Your entire team is waiting there to celebrate, and the moment you’re in sight, their voices fill the air. You watch as Ameer holds the flag up high with one hand, and pumps his fist with the other, a cheer leaving his throat. The rest of you follow, before erupting into laughter.
There’s pats on your back, voices in your ears. You know that your entire team is proud, excited that you have an achievement to put on your records. Caspian congratulates every single one of you on the way inside of the train, before you’re heading back to Dauntless.
When the train really starts going, everyone has to yell to hear each other. Caspian makes a small speech about how he knew that we were the better team from the beginning. The entire time, Laurel flips him off with a straight face, not amused at all. It got better when he called on Ameer to make a small speech too, and he immediately chose to bash on his brother, Mirza.
“When’s our next day off?” Ameer shouts over the wind.
“Three days from now!” Caspian says, “Why?”
“We should do this again!”
“Haha.” Caspian says.
“No, I’m serious!”
“What will you do for me?” Caspian asks, he’s leaned up against the wall.
Ameer thinks for a moment, and then lights up.
Caspian cuts him off before he can speak, “And it can’t involve the word ‘cool’!”
Ameer deadpans, “You’re no fun!”
add yourself to the TAGLIST
listen, i am about to start anteric, but ive got three of my friends reading every work in haylcon. no joke, i think you're the best author and i will sell my soul to read your writing for forever. we are all geeking over it and my insta spam friends LOVE the funny moments, your work is fantastic. you're so talented please just i know i've harassed you with compliments but i have to again im sorry
This means a lot!! I’m really glad you like my work enough to share with others 😭 and feel free to come back and talk about any of the series whenever, I don’t mind!! :)
nah nah wait-
I came as soon as I heard that my hot caspian came back 🥵
Ayo Caspian do be kinda hot doe 🥴
I CAME AS SOON AS I HEARD MY DEAR ANTERIC PT 4 WAS UPLOADED 😳
I came as soon as I heard 💃
warnings; swearing. GORE, HEAVY BLOOD, FIGHTING, PAIN.
NOTES; I give reader a last name to fit the world.
There’s only a few people that can get ready without complaining. And proudly, you can say that you’re one of them. With Finnick, Thyme and Allio being the other three that had practically gone untouched from yesterday’s fights. Well, actually, Finnick did go untouched, but that’s for obvious reasons.
You watch the other initiates move around the dormitory, all varying in the ways they hold themselves because of their injuries. Amos’ face is swollen, thanks to Thyme’s fists–which was split at her knuckles because of how spread out her skin had been. She didn’t find this out until after the fight, when Amos’ blood had been wiped off and she could see why her hands were stinging so badly.
Amos also has an arm wrapped around his ribs, where Thyme had kicked him. He’s been rotating ice packs since last night, so he’s got one pressed to his cheekbone right now. It looks like he might end up with a black eye by the end of the week. Too bad it won’t get any time to heal. All your injuries will just keep piling on until the physical stage of the initiation is over.
Finnick’s victim, Eytelle, does everything she can to avoid touching her jaw. Unlike Amos, it seems like she has some sort of pride about not using ice to make it feel better. Her face will occasionally twist when she opens her mouth to speak, so you’re happy to say that her smartass Candor mouth won’t be running today.
And finally, Trink is the worst out of everyone in the room. Even compared to Amos, who didn’t go down easily when he went up against Thyme, is better than her. Trink has been complaining about a headache in her temple since yesterday, and each time she brings it up, she’ll glare at you. You ignored it the first couple of times, but you went ahead and reminded her that she had a chance to give up, and she didn’t.
The only person missing from the dormitory today is Ossie, she didn’t come into the room last night before the lights were turned out. So, you’re going to take a good guess that she’s in the medical unit that they have here in Dauntless. If that’s the case, you’re nota ll that surprised, there’s no way that she should be authorized to come back into the ring if she’s seriously hurt.
However, if she doesn’t recover soon, she’ll end up being cut. Caspian won’t exempt her from the rankings, because it’s not fair if he does. To someone else, it’d be unfair because she can’t control how fast her healing process is. If she jumps right back into it, she risks injuring herself even more, which could then make a permanent problem. But, it’s perfectly fair. She couldn’t defend herself inside of the arena, therefore she needs to step up her game.
Or she’s not cut out to be in Dauntless.
It’s a ruthless faction for a reason.
The aptitude test can tell you what faction you’re made for, but when you’re face to face with other initiates that fit the requirements better, suddenly you don’t measure up. You’d like to say that at some point, Dauntless wasn’t always like this, and they didn’t cut most of the initiates like they do now. But something changed, which then prompted for Dauntless to become a harder faction to get into.
And it makes perfect sense, at least to you. Dauntless is supposed to be the police, security, the ones who watch the wall and what may be on the outside. Dauntless is the army that would be called on if it were needed. There’s a saying that every army is as strong as their weakest link. And in Dauntless, no one is supposed to be weak. They want to eliminate that problem, so initiation continues to get harder to only allow in the persistent initiates. The ones that can handle Dauntless.
Anyway, if Ossie isn’t careful, she’ll be the first of the four to be cut in the first stage. You’re not sure how long the first stage lasts, or how many fights you have to cycle through before you’re finally over, but she’ll need a comeback. Just like everyone else who lost their first match. Otherwise, they’re just going to find themselves factions. Which, in a way, would probably be a better option than running themselves into the ground. At least then they’d have a chance at living.
For them, being factionless may always be an option. But you think that you’d rather die trying to get into Dauntless than live with the shame of being factionless because you couldn’t make it. And since Abnegation has a reputation for welcoming former members back in, you think it would be even worse. Crawling to Reed’s doorstep and begging for forgiveness.
Knowing Reed, he’d probably turn you down.
Thyme jumps into her black jeans, shifting from foot to foot to make sure that they’re up all the way. You can vaguely see Finnick in the bathroom, leaned over a sink while he brushes his teeth. You’d be getting ready with them, but you had an early start this morning. Mostly because after you woke up the first time to roll over, yesterday’s question about your family made itself known.
And then, as the hours drew on and your mind wandered, you sank deeper into your mattress when you realized that your words can have consequences. You are not untouchable here in Dauntless, and Caspian is in a position of power. He can retaliate if he wants, sabotage your stages to make it harder for you to pass. And he’s going to feel more inclined to, now that you’ve accused him of still being attached to Abnegation. Especially since you did it right in front of Laurel.
You may be his ex-best friend’s little sister, but he never had an attachment to you. To him, you’re expendable, he’s got other initiates that he can really pour his focus into. And being one of those people is Finnick, who showed great significance yesterday. He has fighting experience, which means that he should be in some sort of advanced class. He’s already better than the rest of you.
For now, at least. We’ll see how well he keeps up during the emotional and mental stages of initiation.
Thyme sits down on her bottom bunk, beginning to tie her shoes. Finnick comes out of the bathroom, fully dressed and running a hand through his hair. On the way out of the dormitory is Amos, his shoulders are hunched in and he’s still holding the ice pack to his cheek. The more he collapses in on himself, the smaller he seems. And since he’s not very tall to begin with, the last thing he needs is to appear less threatening.
“Ready to go to the training room?” you swing your feet, watching as Finnick continues to fix his hair, standing off to the side.
“Wish we had enough time for breakfast.” Thyme mutters, she yanks her laces tight, “I also wish we didn’t have to fight first thing in the morning.”
“It’s a good way to wake up.” Finnick says.
“You just want to fight.”
You try to kick near his head, he dodges, grabbing a hold of your ankle, “I was actually hoping I’d get to fight you.”
You stare at him, “Why?”
He lets go of your foot, giving you a shrug, “I’m just curious how you’ll hold up against me.”
You mock a smile, “Well, let’s just hope I end up with you, then.”
If you were put in the ring with Finnick, you wouldn’t come out as the winner. Not only does he have more experience, he has a height advantage, he’s unpredictable. You’ve spent several years of your life watching him fight other teenagers, and there’s only been a couple of times where you’ve been able to predict his next move. The most you’ve figured out is that he likes his fights over with as soon as they begin. Which is as dangerous as dangerous can get.
Thyme stands up, so you slip off the top bunk, landing on your feet. Thyme leads the way out of the dorm, you and Finnick elbow each other back and forth on the way out. When you pass in front of Trink, Allio and Eytelle, they momentarily fall silent. As soon as you’re through the door, they resume speaking.
You might end up fighting one of them today, with the exception of Trink. If you’re lucky, it won’t be Eytelle, she’s got the same height advantage that Finnick does. If you’re extremely unlucky, you’ll end up with Allio, who hardly looked fazed at Ossie’s kick yesterday. And it looked like she put all her strength into it. So either she’s weak, like you originally thought she was, or Allio is a sponge.
Then again, you could always land yourself with Amos, Thyme or Finnick. Amos is shorter than you, much like Thyme. You think that you could easily take him on. As for Thyme, she might be more of a challenge, she did seem to give the fight her all when she needed it at the end. However, just like Eytelle and Finnick, you’ve got an advantage when it comes to height.
Honestly, you really hope that you aren’t paired with Thyme or Finnick at all. It’s an unrealistic hope, because there’s not enough people to be rotated around, so you’re going to be stuck with one of them eventually. But if it really came down to it, you’d rather take on Thyme than Finnick anyday.
“Tell us your predictions.” Finnick says. It sounds like a demand, but it’s actually a question.
You’re quiet for a moment as you all go through a stretch of darkness. The first match was predictable, Caspian would want to set you guys up against people that look like you guys to see where you measure. That’s why Finnick was placed with Eytelle, based on height. Thyme with Amos based on scrawniness. And Ossie and Allio because they had to be together in order for you and Trink to be in the ring together. However, you and Trink could have very well been placed together because of body weight and the way you carry yourselves, and Allio and Ossie were leftovers.
Needless to say, you were more or less right on the prediction. All you have to do this time is go off your gut feeling again, because that’s what happened last time.
You decide to hold your answer until you get to the next light source. Then, you three stop and stand around it, “Okay, Ossie wasn’t in the room last night, so I think that she’ll be sitting out. Since it’ll be uneven, I’m pretty sure one of us won’t be fighting.” You pause, you don’t think that it’ll be you or Finnick. It could be Thyme, but she was a winner, so they’d want to push her to see what she can do. A loser would sit out instead. Maybe Amos?
“I’m thinking that they’ll pair us with opposites today. And I don’t mean strength-wise.”
Finnick nods slowly, probably trying to decide who would be his opposite. Thyme massages her knuckles, eyebrows raising slightly. You can hear the faint echo of Trink, Allio and Eytelle in the background, and they do too. So, you all start walking again.
It’s quiet for the rest of the way. Finnick pushes open the set of the doors, holding it open for you and Thyme. Laurel and Caspian stand next to the chalkboard, standing in the way of the names. Amos stands by himself, hands shoved into his pockets. Ossie is by herself, a bandage around her head, arms crossed as she stares at the ground.
The three of you stand on the other side of the ring, opposite to where the chalkboard is, where you’d been yesterday. It gives you a clear view of Caspian, who raises his eyebrows faintly. Other than that, there’s no expression on his face. No hint that he might be angry after what you said to him yesterday.
You’ve never been afraid of Caspian, but when he burns in silence, is the time where fear begins to sprout in your stomach. The times where he doesn’t have to look smug, are times where he’s set up something particularly hellish. You said that he’d pair you with your opposites, but you’ve failed to remember, again, that Caspian might be angry.
Allio and Ossie were leftovers last time, an exception to the idea you presented last time. Which means that he could very well have made a second one. It would make sense, not everyone can have an opposite. And the only person who can serve a real punishment to you, would be Finnick.
Your eyes peel away from Caspian to look at Finnick, who’s playing with his nose ring again, staring into space. He wouldn’t make you go against Finnick, it’s too predictable. You look back at Caspian to see that he’s got a small smirk on his face, the same one he wore after you won the fight against Trink yesterday. And you change your mind again, because when has Caspian ever cared about his motives being out in the open?
Trink, Allio and Eytelle make it into the room just as the clock hits eight. They decide to stay near the door today, so you go ahead and move left more. It’s just an open space between you and Amos, and since hatred hasn’t been expressed between you two, you don’t think it’ll hurt to be closer to him. Especially if it means to get away from the other three.
“Good morning.” Caspian says, “I see some of you are doing better than others.”
No one says anything back, he cracks a smile. He then waves a hand toward Laurel, signaling her to move out of the way. She side-steps, and reveals the pairing. There’s only three rows, which means you were right about someone sitting out.
“It’s uneven today, only six of you will be fighting. If your name’s not on the board, congrats, you get a break today.” Caspian says.
You read over the names.
Finnick and Thyme.
You and Allio.
Amos and Eytelle.
Ossie and Trink are sitting out today.
There’s a couple of things that come to mind immediately. The first is that the winners are paired together, and the losers are too. The second is that you’re not with Finnick, it’s Thyme who gets the misfortune of having to face him. You know that he’ll get it over with quickly, but Thyme is going to want to win the fight. She’s not going to take the loss.
A cruel thought spirals, nearly passing through your lips. Thyme will be the perfect opponent to ensure he keeps his streak. You don’t see her winning against him, which means he’ll bag two wins. And depending on whether or not you beat Allio today, you might too. In the end, you might have to end up facing Finnick.
You look over at your friends to see that they’re less than thrilled. Thyme is still staring at the chalkboard, as if it’s some mistake. And Finnick doesn’t look as excited as he did yesterday. He crosses his arms, but still reaches up to play with the nose ring with his thumb. It’s even worse because they’ll be going first today, they say nothing to each other.
And because you can’t help it, you go ahead and look at Allio, who’s already got a small grin on his face as he talks to his friends. You and him will be the second fight today. You wait for some type of fear to appear in your body, but there’s nothing. You were wrong on your theory. Allio isn’t as bad as Finnick. You have a chance at winning.
While you’re staring at Allio, you catch a glimpse of Trink, who looks relieved. So, you lean toward Finnick and Thyme, not trying to be quiet but trying to diffuse the growing tension between them. “They’re only letting her sit out because I beat her to shit.”
Eyes land on you, you pull back and stand straight again. Finnick lets out a laugh, Thyme has a smile on her face, “It’s like putting her into time out.”
You know that you will not face Trink again, there’s no reason to be afraid of her. The only people you’re worried about, are the two Candor idiots standing next to her. One of which you will face today.
“Finnick and Thyme!” Caspian calls, motioning to the ring, “Get to it.”
“Try not to kill each other.” You tell them, neither of them say anything.
Inside of the ring, they pick their spots opposite of each other. Finnick is the first to raise his hands, in perfect position. Thyme rolls her wrists once or twice before she raises hers. With them standing across from each other like this, she seems to have a chance. But when they’re standing next to each other, you have no hope for Thyme.
They shuffle in a circle, Thyme trying to find an opening. She won’t, not unless Finnick takes the first punch. And he might, if they continue to go around like this. A look to Caspian tells you that he’s getting impatient. They make a loop again, he clears his throat. Neither of them lunge at each other.
This won’t last for much longer. This is going against Finnick’s rule of making a fight quick. But he’s probably stalling so that he doesn’t have to hit her first. For a second, you think that he might let her win, since she’s a friend. Then you remember what he said to you fifteen minutes ago, his hope that you’ll be his opponent. Which transforms into the streak thought. He will not pass up this opportunity.
Finnick gets impatient, starting to move in on her. Thyme tries to keep backing up, trying to get away from him. In your hand, you chant for her to stop moving and let him make his move. Finnick wants it quick, he’ll aim for weak spots on her head. All she has to do is dodge the punch, and give it her all as fast as possible before moving out again.
She has to be like a wave of water.
Thyme hits the edge of the ring, Caspian briefly moves forward to shove her back in, “Fight!”
Thyme stumbles over her feet, drawing her too close to Finnick. He doesn’t wait for her to recover, swinging. You think Thyme sees, because she drops to her knees, avoiding the hit. She stops long enough to draw her arm back, fist aimed toward his shins. But then she hesitates, changing her move.
You watch her full-force uppercut Finnick’s crotch.
There’s a gasp from Finnick, face twisting as his hands grab the area. You press your lips together, covering your mouth. You shouldn’t laugh. Thyme gets back onto her feet, raising her fists again, the soft expression she had, has faded now. She brings her foot up, slamming it into his back.
Finnick’s hissing through his teeth, stumbling forward and trying to straighten himself out. He’s clearly in pain, and you can’t blame him. Thyme looked like a hard hitter yesterday, and Amos is the display case.
Finnick turns towards Thyme, cracking his neck, “See, I was going to go easy on you.” his face takes on the same scary look that he gave Eytelle, “But if you want to play dirty…”
Thyme beckons him closer without saying a word. Finnick heads closer. She’s aware of where the ring ends now, you can see her glance down every now and then to make sure she hasn’t backed out of it. But each time she looks away from Finnick, he jerks closer, until he’s right in front of her, and she doesn’t even realize it.
Her hands are protecting her face, so he aims for her stomach. This sends her stumbling back, standing on the white line. He tries to punch her again, she slips under his arm unharmed, and appears behind him. She goes to take advantage of this, but she’s too slow. Finnick spins around, and slams his foot into her ribs.
Just like that, Thyme hits the floor, eyes wide, hands on the spot he just kicked. She sucks in a breath, looking up at Finnick, who towers over her. She stares for a moment, and then her eyes flicker to his feet, and she tries to get moving. She’s just barely on her feet, going to slip under Finnick’s arm again, when he grabs a hold of the back of her shirt, yanking her towards him.
He’s quick to grab the neck of her shirt when he can, twisting his fist and lifting slightly to keep her from sliding out of her shirt. He draws his right hand back, tilts his head to the side, and goes to punch her face. She moves out of the way by a hair, eyes continuing to widen, following his fist. He goes to try again, and manages to graze her cheek.
Thyme winces, trying to squirm out of his grasp. And for one final time, he brings his hand back, and punches her jaw.
She hangs in the air, Finnick slowly lowers her back to her feet, and then wraps an arm around her body. He looks up at Caspian, who gives Finnick a nod before circling his name.
Finnick won, just like you thought he would.
Finnick half-carries, half-drags Thyme’s body out of the ring. He slowly lowers her to the floor, where she lays there for a minute or two, not waking up. But then her eyes pop open, and she blinks a couple of times, squinting.
She’s alive, which means it’s your turn to fight your life.
“(Y/n) and Allio!” Caspian calls.
Finnick gives you a pat on the back, “Good luck.”
You wish you could say you don’t need it.
You and Allio come from your respective groups. With you on the far left, and him on the right. From where you stand, Caspian is still in sight, and he has a smile on his face. There’s something that you’re not aware of.
You stretch your arms and legs, cracking your knuckles, tilting your head from side to side. Allio watches you with raised fists. You bounce from foot to foot, raising your own hands. You inhale and exhale, looking over his form.
The only movement he allows is moving in the circle, like you guys were taught to do. His face is straight, his hands are where they need to be. You sweep over his body over and over to find that there’s no openings. Which means that you need to create one without getting hit.
You made the first move yesterday, it was in your best interest to. This time, you need to let Allio come to you. You keep shuffling, but don’t move, not even when he begins to come closer. In fact, you start circling the other way, making him change his rhythm and show you what he might have been planning.
He takes much bigger steps towards you with his right leg, now. But will hesitate and back up when you pause for a moment, going toward him. Either he wants to kick you, or he wants an easy escape if you move toward him. You let him continue to come closer, prepared for a kick.
And then he launches forward.
All it took was a single blink.
There’s an explosion of pain across your nose, a sickening snap that fills the air. You inhale sharp enough to trigger a cough attack. Your hand flies to your nose, now throbbing and sending needle-like pain through the nerves. In just a couple of seconds, your palms are coated in blood, beginning to pool.
You look back up at Allio in time to see him jumping at you again. You move out of the way, flinging your handful of blood at the floor, right where his foot lands. There’s a moment of steadiness, before he slips and hits the floor hard enough for you to feel it beneath your shoes.
You grit your teeth, drawing your foot back, lip curling, aiming for his head. You expect him to block his face with his forearms, like you were taught to. But he grabs a hold of your ankle with a tight grip and rolls over, pulling you down.
Your entire body hits the wooden floor, hands slapping hard enough for them to make a sound. Allio lets go of your foot, and goes to start crawling on top of you. If he wants to play the foot game, though, then he’s going to get it. You wind your foot back, sending your heel into his chest, knocking him back. You scoot back after that, getting to your feet.
He broke your nose, and it’s gushing blood. Your nose is crooked. You bring the bottom of your shirt up to your lower face, wiping away the fresh wave of red. Each time you breathe out, there’s a couple of droplets that fly through the air. Allio gets back to his feet, you raise your fists, gritting your teeth harder.
You didn’t expect him to be an easy fight, but you were hoping he wouldn’t be this hard.
Allio comes at you again, swinging at your face. This time, you see, so you duck. His arm flies over your head, making a clear path for his chin. Without thinking it through, you shoot up, knuckles slamming into skin and bone. Immediately, there’s a sharp pain that goes through your hand, but you’ve temporarily immobilized Allio.
His mouth is hanging open, backing away from you as he grabs the area you just punched. In the meantime, you steal a glance at your knuckles to see that they’re turning a deep shade of purple already. You try to stretch your hand, and end up crying out in pain.
You look back up at Allio to see that he’s recovered. You don’t know if you can punch him again. Not with your potentially broken knuckles. Your non-dominant hand isn’t all that strong, either. You could always try, but you’ll end up failing.
You suck in a breath through your nose, raising your fists again.
Allio comes in again, since you refuse to move. You need to get the upper hand. So far, you’re the one taking all the injuries, so he needs to receive some too. You sniff, feeling all snot and blood, and then you breathe through your mouth. It’s hard not to pay attention to your nose.
When he’s close enough, you fake right, but go left, swinging your non-dominant hand. It doesn’t feel right, and you don’t hit as hard as you mean to. The punch to Allio’s jaw just moves him backward. You didn’t get as close to his chin as you wanted to.
Allio seems to realize your dilemma, and a sadistic smile grows on his face. There’s a sudden boost in confidence in his movements, and he doesn’t hesitate to come closer anymore. He must’ve been wary of your punches, but now that you can’t hit him, he’s practically untouchable. The only way you can kick him is if you get him down. But even then, he managed to catch you last time.
You have three choices. Two of them back you into a shameful corner, the third means you go down swinging, or you win the match. No matter what happens, you will not take whatever punishment Caspian has lined up for you, in the case you decide to call mercy. And you will not just stand here and take what Allio has to deliver.
Allio swings, you back out of the way. You have to get around him somehow. Get behind him like how Thyme got behind Finnick. She was able to duck under his arm, but you’ve done that twice already. Allio has probably learned his lesson, you need a new way.
He barely comes close enough, you drop to the floor and sweep his feet. Allio loses his balance, you raise up a little, but he’s on his back, vulnerable. You jump at him, fist raised, hand wrapping around one of his wrists, pinning his arm to the ground. You hesitate actually punching him for too long, and his other hand slams into your jaw, making a red hot pain spread through your face and teeth.
Your head knocks back, eyes on the ceiling before you’re falling against the floorboards. You can feel the coolness of the wood through the fabric of your shirt. And for a moment, you think that you could lay here all day and not move. But then you see Allio coming towards you, eyes dark and threatening, and decide that you’ll lay on the floor another day.
Even though you should get up, you don’t move, trying to catch your breath, but you keep an eye on him. If he comes any closer, you think you’ll kick him in the face. Kick him like how you punched Trink. One hit that’ll get him to stop moving for good.
You lift your foot to find that he’s already holding onto it.
You twist around, rolling over and kicking his shoulder with your left foot as hard as you can. He doesn’t let go, instead pulling you in. He lets go of your ankle, and since you’re just beneath him, he raises his fist. His elbow bends, lifting it up far too high just for it to be a knockout punch, and unwinds on you.
You jerk to the left in time for him to slam his hand into the floor.
“Idiot.” you snuff, your voice doesn’t sound like it belongs to you.
While Allio is shaking his knuckles, hissing out curses, you lazily raise back to your feet. Your mouth has an overflow of snot and blood because you refuse to breathe through your nose. You send a wad of red spit flying out of the ring, towards Caspian’s feet before raising your hands.
This fight is not over yet.
When Allio raises back to his feet, his hands aren’t raised, and he comes at you with genuine rage. This is the look that Ossie must have seen yesterday. The look of pure anger from the taunting, going all in and pulling back before it’s too late. The difference now is that you’re embarrassing him. For him, this should have been an easy fight, considering his brute strength yesterday.
Allio finally raises his fists when he gets you cornered. He swings with his left hand–no, he normally punches with his right.
Large black blots block your vision. The pain is hard and warm, pounding on the side of your head. Your hands connect with the cold floorboards once again, and you struggle to blink your eyes free of the dark restraints. For a moment, you’re terrified because the darkness is staying longer than it should. But a ray of light comes through.
You can hear Allio coming up behind you.
Even if the stars are just now allowing you to see, you need to get up.
You struggle to make your legs solidify beneath you.
When you turn to face Allio after what feels like forever, you’re met with a solid pain in the middle of your chest, knocking you backwards, stealing your air. You barely keep on your feet this time, anticipating the ground, gasping to try and fix the empty feeling in your lungs. It hurts to breathe in this much. You press an open hand to your chest, eyes finding Allio’s face through the spots, only to see that he’s mere inches away.
One hand on your shoulder, the other one drives it’s way into your stomach. Nausea sprouts, accompanying the dizziness that hasn’t gone away since he punched you. All the air you had just gained, is gone again. A moan leaves your lips from the soreness.
Allio wraps his hand around your throat, you can feel the ground disappearing beneath your shoes. There’s a sudden spike of terror again, and all you can picture is this exact same scenario with Ossie. Allio lifting Ossie into the air as if she was as light as a feather. Allio throwing her down to the floor. The sound of her head cracking open. Her not moving after. The blood turning her blonde hair, rich red. Laurel having to carry her out.
This will not be you.
You swing your foot as far back as possible, desperate for air. Your foot crushes into Allio’s stomach, making his face turn a sudden shade of bright red, and then he drops you.
The ground is a lot further down than you realized.
You try to catch yourself and fail, a scream leaving your throat. Your head slams against the wooden floorboards anyway, but you don’t hear your head breaking open like an egg. Only the hot, pounding feeling on the back of your head. Black spots come back to dot your vision, stealing the sight of the ceiling. Or maybe your eyes are closed.
Can you get up?
The thought alone hurts.
You can hear Allio’s tennis shoes against the wooden floorboards, shifting on his feet. He must be waiting for Caspian to call it. And if the fight is over, it means you lose.
So, get up.
Your eyes open, stars dot the ceiling. You blink and squint to see better. No, not stars, the ceiling lights. Which form little sparkle shapes as your eyes begin to focus, adjust.
You turn, your hot, sticky skin pressing to the floor. It sends aches and pains through your body, your muscles in your legs pulse, letting you know that they’ve had enough. It’s a good thing that they’re not in charge. You are. And this is not over with.
Your skin slowly peels away from the polished wood, leaving a faint stinging sensation behind. It’s hardly noticeable, a needle in a haystack, considering you’ve collected an impressive worth of injuries in just one fight.
“She’s up–” Caspian starts, once you’re on your feet, hunched over and trying to build enough confidence to stand straight. It’ll hurt too badly. And you’ve run out of time, you took too long to get up. Caspian thinks it’s over.
It’s not over until you win.
You take one step, and then another, testing the waters. Every step you take, sends a jolt through your body that always ends up at the back of your head. Your skull is not broken. You can keep moving.
This is the opening you wanted, after all.
You launch yourself right at Allio’s torso since he’s distracted, wrapping your arms around him for added effort. There’s shooting pains through your nose since it’s pressed up against his body. You pull away before he hits the ground, hard. And before he can move, you’re scrambling on top of him.
Your knuckles are not broken.
You wind your arm back, eyes locked on his nose.
They just hurt.
You drive your fist into his face. And when it doesn’t start to bleed, you punch him again. And again. “I’ll never look the same.” you snarl through your teeth, “So why should you?”
You switch hands, leaning all of your body weight into it. He’s bleeding now, there’s blood running out of his nose and down the sides of his face. His blood mixes in with yours, which coats your knuckles and fingers. If he’s going to target your weak spots, it’s only fair you give him a couple of his own.
You miss the fact that he gets his right hand back, not missing the chance for retaliation. All you can feel is your head jerk to the left hard enough for your neck to crack. You slide across the floor, skin burning along the way. You unscrew your teeth from each other, gasping.
Allio has drawn himself to his feet. Through the tunnel vision, you can see that his face is swollen. Blood is dripping off his chin. You sneer a laugh, which fizzles into coughs, your lungs not being able to support your brief moment of victory. Allio doesn’t look like he did this morning, and he won’t look like himself for a while.
He doesn’t like the fact that you can laugh at him. You can barely decipher the fact that his face twists in anger. He heads towards you, foot drawing back like he’s going to kick a ball to send it across the field. You brace your body for the impact, smile fading.
A scream draws from your throat as the kick lands. You squeeze your eyes hand enough to see vivid patterns dance across the back of your eyelids. Pain so bright and black and white that you can finally understand why Candor doesn’t believe in grey areas.
“The fight is over!” The voice is drowned, underwater and floating away.
You fade into the sea of darkness.
And think: is this how dad felt when he faded too?
It wasn’t until after dinner, did you leave the medical ward last night. You would have attended dinner at the actual dining hall, but the woman working in the unit gave you a plate and was there to help if you needed it. Plus, you got a little taste of Finnick’s thoughts after your loss, and you decided that you’d much rather spend the evening alone.
And you did.
Cleo, the doctor-nurse, let you go after you showed her you could get up and move without falling. Apparently, Ossie had tried to do the exact same thing the night she hit her head. She crumpled a couple of steps in, and almost made her head injury worse. And since you had been dropped on your head too…
You’re fine, though. The injuries that you got from Allio’s fight are painful, of course, but they’re not anything totally awful. Cleo thinks that your chest and stomach will bruise, thanks to Allio’s punch. Your jaw is sore, so she wants you to eat soft foods and ice it as much as possible. As for your knuckles, they’re heavily bruised, not broken. Cleo tried to set your nose as straight as possible, but you’ll need a cosmetic procedure to get it back to the way it was.
You had a lot of time to sit and wallow in your loss in the medical ward, but the tightness in your throat wasn’t nearly as bad as it was until you left. You wandered in the dark for a while, taking deep breaths. You ended up at the railing that blocks you from wandering into the chasm. And you stayed there until you felt better.
Even though there are no real bodies of water inside of the walls—with the exception of the swamp, but that has no water in it anymore—the sound of the rushing river below you was strangely familiar. And each time the water would crash against the jagged rocks, fresh air would be coughed up into your face. It lessened the headache.
And left you alone to think without any disruptions.
By the time you made it back to the dormitory, the announcement had already been made; there would be no training today. Capsian was just leaving the room when you got there, and he passed by you quietly at first. But he was halfway down the hallway when his words echoed off the walls, “Glad to see you’re on your feet, (Y/n).”
You didn’t say anything back.
On the first day, Laurel said that there would be a few breaks from fighting. Today is one of those days. When Finnick and Thyme had explained it to you, they didn’t say what you’d be doing exactly. Only that you all had to meet Laurel at the tracks by eight fifteen and not to be late. You have a feeling that they didn’t know what you’ll be doing today, either.
The only person that seemed to be upset last night over the break, was Finnick. Everyone else has something to complain about, not going unharmed in all the fights they’ve taken place in. You’re one of them, yesterday’s pain has settled into your bones, making itself right at home. Every move you make, you’re reminded of your loss. Which wouldn’t be that bad, but again, you have Finnick at your side. And the only thing that’s on his mind lately, is the streak.
With yesterday’s loss, it means that he is the sole survivor of the streak. With his perfect gun aim, and the fact that he hasn’t lost a fight yet. You’d say something to him, if it weren’t for the fact that you have two friends total at the moment, Finnick and Thyme. Normally, you can handle Finnick being mad at you, because you had other people to talk to in Abnegation. But Thyme is more on Finnick’s side than yours, Ossie and Amos aren’t technically your friends, and your relationship with the other three is pretty much established.
For now, you have to bite your tongue and bear it. But you wonder how long Finnick will go unchecked for. Until you finally snap and shove back. You can handle the teasing, but it’s like holding a glass of water for a long period of time. It doesn’t start off heavy, it ends up that way.
You guess that it’s partially your fault, because you’re giving him ammunition. If you want it to stop, you need to win the next two fights, and then do better than him at the last two stages of initiation. In theory, it sounds easy, but you don’t know what the second and third stages have to offer. Plus, you’re damaged goods at the moment, what are the chances you can win the fights?
As long as you try. Trying is good enough.
A shoe scuffs against the floor, sending a sharp squeak through the air.
You don’t have to lay here anymore.
You could hardly roll over last night because of your stomach. And after a couple of times, you stopped and laid on your back until your muscles finally relaxed and you couldn’t feel the pain anymore. You got a couple hours of sleep in.
It was ruined when you jolted awake around midnight, a scream rising in your throat, your bed sheets soaked in sweat, and a very hot feeling spreading over your body. It took a while for you to finally feel normal and calmed down, and by then you were awake. The memory of the nightmare that you had just been submerged in, was at the front of your mind.
You stopped having nightmares last year, you had finally begun to feel comfortable in your own house again. You guess you went and ruined your streak when you moved here, to a faction that would make your mother feel shame, if she were still alive.
Surprisingly, that was not the main story of the dream. Instead, you dreamt that you were back inside of the aptitude test, with all the knowledge that would come after. That every choice you would make, would conflict and result in Laurel telling you that you’re Divergent and you could be murdered because of it. But you still went through with your original answers, because you didn’t want to end up in Abnegation. You thought, for a second, that being three things was better than one.
When you came out of the test, the room was full. Men and women dressed in Dauntless black, an army sent just for you, with their guns pointed at your chest.
Standing at the front was Caspian. “Divergence is against the law.” He droned, “You are not welcome here.”
And just before they all fired, he told you that you were another stain on your family’s lineage.
The word that has stuck with you for hours is another. Not the fact that you could feel every bullet they fired pierce your body. Or feeling yourself slip away in the sinful room of mirrors. It was the fact that you were not the only anomaly in the family. The only other person that has moved away—moved on from Abnegation is Mox. Which made many people turn a brief eye to your family, watching him go.
But it doesn’t fit right. That is not the puzzle piece that needs to be there. It’s only a supplement. You know this.
Two weeks before the aptitude test, there was a unit in your science class that was about the human brain. The lesson was brief, but your teacher mentioned how dreams come from the subconscious mind, before moving onto another section. She’d only mentioned it in passing, but it has stuck with you ever since.
To you, this idea seems wrong because you don’t think of Mox as a stain. That thought is not yours to begin with. And yet, even though you’ve been awake for hours, you still haven’t found a better conclusion.
You’re starting to think that there isn’t one.
You suck in a deep breath through your nose, reaching over to the side of the bunk to help pull you into a sitting position. You grit your teeth tightly, sure that they’re going to break, but you’re determined not to make a sound. You let out a low groan anyway, which dissipates into a sigh of relief as soon as you’re sitting upright.
Leaning back on one hand, you use the other to lift the end of your shirt to see your stomach properly. Right in the middle, sits deep shades of purple and red. You press your lips together, gently running your fingers over the skin like a ghost. It’s tender, beginning the stages of healing.
You let your shirt drop, turning towards the end of the bed, hanging your feet over the side. You remember what it took to get you up here. There’s no ladder, because that would be far too easy. Tears had sprung in the corners of your eyes, you were forced to wriggle your way up on your stomach, hands clamped tight against the metal bars.
Once you got up here last night, you weren’t allowed to get back down. Not that you really wanted to, what you really wanted to do was sleep it off. Obviously that didn’t pan out too well, either.
You can see Thyme from the top of the bunk. She’s still sleeping, tangled in her blanket, shirt collar desperate to choke her. Half her body is turned one way, the other half twisted away. Her head isn’t turned toward you.
You’re pretty sure that Finnick is still asleep beneath you, but you can’t exactly tell without accidentally falling off the bed. And if you’re going to get off by yourself, you think that you’ll do it on your own time. Speaking of which, it looks like you only have forty-five minutes to get ready.
That should be enough time, right?
The only other people awake inside of the room are Eytelle, Ossie and Amos. Eytelle disappears into the bathroom, clutching her clothes to her chest. Ossie is already dressed, pulling on her hiking shoes, yanking the laces as tight as possible. And Amos is… sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at the floor.
Trink and Allio are across the room, both turned away from you. If you get off the bed, the only people that are here to witness your pain are the two people that you wouldn’t mind seeing. Apart from Finnick and Thyme, of course. You’d ask for help, but the idea of Finnick’s teasing appears in your mind, setting your destiny in stone.
You suck in a deep breath through your nose, moving your ankles around in circles. Your calves are tight, they feel like you’ve had twenty leg cramps in a row. They’re going to be uncooperative today, which is the last thing that you’re going to need. Especially if you’re supposed to be jumping in and out of trains today.
The thought of missing the jump on the roof occurs to you, and you can’t help the shiver that runs through your body.
You decide that you’ll try and lower yourself down, instead of just scooting off the edge and jumping. Since your calves clearly can’t handle it right now. You’re careful to lean on your wrists and not your hands, turning yourself around. You’re glad that you’re starting to develop more upper body strength, otherwise this would be impossible.
Your body begins to ache, arms shaking the further you go down. You feel Finnick’s mattress dip beneath your bare feet. Your other foot touches his blanket, and after that, you just step down. The cement is freezing cold, making your toes curl.
You spare a glance at Finnick before you get moving, and you start to glare once you realize that he’s awake. He has a cheeky grin on his face, raising his eyebrows, “I see you’re feeling great this morning.”
“I’m not.” you say back, “Maybe I should’ve stepped on your face like I originally planned to.”
Finnick lets out a laugh, getting up and off his bed. Ever since the two of you left Abnegation five days ago, he’s begun to stand at his full height. It makes him look like he belongs inside of Dauntless. There’s tall people in Abnegation, of course, but none of them are as tall as Finnick.
You have to look up at an angle to see his face. He stretches his arms above his head, shirt riding up, he yawns, and then groans. Unlike you, he doesn’t have any concern for the other people sleeping in the room.
You gather your clothes, throwing them over your arm. Finnick has no shame and decides to change right where he is. A part of you wishes that you could do the same, but your body is more valuable than his, to an extent. You shake Thyme awake, watching her squint and blink and wake up.
“Seven-forty.” you say.
She hums and rolls over. You head toward the bathroom, which is just as an open room as the dorm. Except, there’s stalls and the showers have curtains. You step inside one of them, and try to wash yourself as fast as possible. It hurts to bend down, tears appear in the corner of your eyes and run down your face. By the time you’re done showering, there’s fifteen minutes left.
You get dressed and brush your teeth. Finnick and Thyme work together to help you tie your shoes, since you can’t bend down to do it yourself. You thank them both, and after that, you have to get to the train. There’s no way you’ll make it to breakfast, climb the Pit and make it to the train in time.
“How about I get us breakfast then?” Finnick’s got a grin, jumping at the opportunity.
Thyme gives him a look, “We’re not covering your ass if you’re late.”
“No problem, I’ll see you there.”
He takes off, leaving just you and Thyme. The two of you head up the stairs of the Pit to the glass building above it, in silence. Your thighs begin to complain at the strain, in perfect harmony with your calves. When you pass through the exit doors, you’re able to see that it’s only Amos up here, arms wrapped around himself in a hug. He looks over slightly to see you two, and then he looks away.
“Where’d you go yesterday?” Thyme asks.
She’s still rubbing sleep from her eyes, there’s dark bags forming. She hasn’t been getting much sleep, it looks like. But you think that goes for everyone here. No one has slept soundly since the Choosing Ceremony. It just got worse as soon as the fighting began, for reasons you discovered last night.
“Hmm?” you hum, looking at her.
“We went to visit you in the medical unit, and you weren’t there.”
“Oh.” you say, looking to where the train will be coming. Behind you, you can hear the doors of the building open again. Judging by the amount of voices, it’s Trink, Allio and Eytelle. “I needed a minute to myself, that’s all.”
An arm slams into yours from behind, knocking you into Thyme. It’s Trink, who gives you a smug side-eye when she walks past. You grit your teeth, hands balling into fists.
“Here.” a voice says, you jump and look over to see it’s Finnick, handing you the toast he got from the dining hall. It’s still hot, he must have ran here to give it to you before it cooled. You go to thank him, but he’s distracted. His eyes are on the back of Trink’s head.
Two words burn like fire on the tip of your tongue, “Do it.” you encourage.
It’s all it takes. Finnick presses the six squares of toast into your hands before he starts over toward Trink.
“Why would you say that?” Thyme hisses in a whisper, eyebrows pushed in. She’s worried for them. Typical Amity behavior, especially since she’s not for the fighting to settle differences.
“Because Finnick doesn’t negotiate.”
You don’t include the fact that, if it weren’t for your current condition, you’d be helping him.
Finnick spins Trink around, her mouth falls open. Her two idiot Candor friends turn around too, only halfway. By then, Finnick punched Trink straight across her mouth, whipping her head to the side. She loses her balance, hand flying to touch her teeth to make sure they’re still in place. When she opens her mouth, her gums are bleeding, white teeth turned red.
Allio goes to ask her if she’s okay, and Eytelle puffs up as if she’s actually going to do something about it. The moment that Finnick matches her energy, her height, and how his hands curl into fists, she backs off.
“Next time, I’ll break your fucking nose.” Finnick snaps, looking directly at Trink, “Or better yet, I’ll hold you down so she can.”
Finnick comes back over, face flushed a shade of red. He grabs his breakfast from your hands, and Thyme does the same. The doors open behind you, Laurel and Ossie come out. Laurel has her hair in a ponytail today, sleek and straight. She walks right past Trink, Eytelle and Allio. And stops a few feet away, sticking her hands into her ironed business pants.
There’s a moment of baffled silence on Trink’s part, and then she bursts, “You’re not going to ask what happened?”
Laurel looks over, straight-faced, “What happened?” she asks lamely.
It’s good enough for her, “He punched me!”
Laurel stares for a moment, probably deciding if Trink’s behavior is worth feeding into. She doesn’t look at Finnick when she starts towards Trink. Laurel crouches down in front of her, being careful that pants don’t touch the grass beneath her. “You will have a lot more to worry about if you continue to tell on your fellow initiates. You are displaying signs of cowardice. I am not your mother, handle the situation yourself.” Laurel stands, glances at Finnick, and says; “From now on, no fighting outside of the ring. Once you’re a member, the rule lifts.”
She goes back to where she was standing before.
If Trink wants to say anything else, she can’t. You finish your piece of toast, brushing the crumbs off your hands and shirt just as the train comes in. The horn blares, letting you know that it’s coming. Laurel stands close enough for the wind to blow her clothes flat against her body.
Amos is the first to pull himself inside of the train, disappearing off to the left side. You jog with the train, remembering the high feeling the day of the Choosing Ceremony. How you had pulled yourself inside of the train like you’ve done it every day of your life.
Now you’re struggling to push past the violent burning feeling in your calves and thighs with each step you take. You wonder, is this progress, or are you falling behind?
You grab a hold of the handle, grit your teeth and hold your breath, yanking yourself in. Immediately, there’s an achy feeling in your chest and stomach. You massage your chest, not dumb enough to go lower. Finnick pulls himself in next, almost effortlessly. He slams his head against the doorway of the train, curses leaving his mouth. You burst into laughter, you can hear Amos chuckling behind you.
Finnick rubs his forehead, face twisted. He moves inward, allowing Thyme to come in next, “Think it’ll bruise?”
“You didn’t hit yourself that hard!” you shout over the wind.
He gives you a grin.
Laurel comes in next, standing off to the side and judges every person who comes in next. Eytelle, Allio, Ossie and then Trink. Ossie comes to the left side, where you are. As for the other three, they take the right side, huddled up like they normally are. Laurel presses herself against the wall, crosses her arms, and stares out of the door.
You still don’t know what you’re doing today.
The train brings you all the way to the far fence. It brakes too harshly, making Finnick jerk. You grab a hold of his arm before he knocks into Laurel and gets himself into any more trouble. Finnick might be tall and an experienced fighter, but sometimes he’s as prepared as a baby deer. When you’d ride home together on the bus in Abnegation, he’d have to hold onto a pole, not the overhead handles. It’s because the poles are steadier.
The train comes to a complete stop underneath an awning. Laurel exits firsts, jumping down gracefully and walking a couple of steps before she stops and waits. You move out next with Finnick. This time, he makes sure to duck dramatically so that he doesn’t hit his head again.
There’s a chain-link fence with barbed wire, a green field on the other side of it, with hills that stretch as far as your eyes can see. Dotted around are a mix of healthy green trees, and trees that are far too dead to be revived.
On the other side of the fence is the Dauntless guards, wearing black and carrying guns, patrolling what may be out there. Only recently, in the past couple of years, have the Dauntless begun to patrol the outside of the fence. As far as anyone knows, there isn’t a threat. Only more Amity farms that couldn’t fit inside of the fence. Before, the Dauntless had been controlling what went on inside of the factionless communities. But Abnegation argued that they don’t need Dauntless with guns. They need food, water, places to live. They need to be rehomed and given a new opportunity.
“Follow me!” Laurel shouts, once everyone is off the train. The eight of you wander behind her, “Today, you’re doing volunteer work, carrying heavy shit that the Amity and Abnegation can’t.” she leads you to a gate, with a wide, cracked road that leads back to the city, “And I’ll give you some insight on the jobs you’ll be eligible for if you don’t rank high in initiation.”
She nods at one of the guards on the other side, “If you don’t rank in the top five at the end of initiation, you’ll end up here. Once you’re a fence guard, there’s not much room for advancement. If you get the job, you probably won’t find a way to squirm out of it. Most who work here, say that it’s not as bad as it seems. Isn’t that right?”
She has a smile on her face when she looks at one of the guards. They give her an amused expression, and then eyes over you guys.
“Don’t mind them, they’re just shy. The most you’ll get out of the job is the potential to go beyond the Amity farms, but that’s the extent of it.” she stops, turning to face you guys.
“What else?” Trink asks, she’s standing behind you.
“Well, you’ve seen the shops, tattoo and piercing parlors. If you’ve visited the medical ward, you can be a doctor, or a lunch lady. We have security cameras all over the Dauntless compound, so you could make that your day job.” she pauses for a moment, “Oh, and police officers. But that’s about it.
“If you rank in the top five, you get your pick of the litter. Or maybe, the litter will pick you, in some cases.” Laurel doesn’t elaborate for a moment, and then she smiles, “Did you know that they’re looking for a temporary, fourth position for leadership? If the person fits the requirements for leadership, they’ll replace one of the leaders we have now.”
“Is that what you’re going for?” Thyme asks.
Her face twists, raising her eyebrows, “It’s not a job for the fainthearted. And I’ve already got my job. Who do you think designs all the clothes you’re wearing?”
You remember the mannequin on her arm. You originally thought it was her fear, as you’ve come to realize that most of the Dauntless will get their fear somewhere on their body. But maybe it’s a passion thing, instead.
A horn blares, making Laurel raise her head, “The next train is here. Let’s get this over with, so we can get back to the headquarters.”
add yourself to the TAGLIST
I FORGOT TO PHYSICALLY ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
IM IN A RAGING GOOD MOOD IF THAT MAKES SENSE
WOO IM HAPPY FOR YOU (i know this is from yesterday)
Idk if I said this yet but I really hope that Jennifer Lawrence won’t be in TBOSAS (it was rumored for a while) bc the story isn’t about Katniss,,, it’s about Lucy Gray & Coriolanus.