Tobias: Chapter 23
"Four, wait, you can't just go barging in there! They'll kill you."
I glare down at Caleb, standing at the base of the stairwell, his feet planted firmly in front of me. His hair is plastered to his face, his blue shirt untidy and stained as if he ran here by foot, but I pay him little mind as I shove past and continue down the stone steps.
"You think you can break into a secured building alone? It's not like they'll hold you in a cell next to hers!" He shouts, his voice echoing off the walls as he follows me down. "You're a threat to them and everything they've constructed. You won't get within a mile of her."
"I have to try," I say, rounding the turn and coming to the bottom. I push open the metal door and step into the crisp daylight.
"What, try to kill yourself? Look, Tobias," he moves in front of me and stops until I almost ram into him."You are the one single thing-the only thing-that can break her. You're the only person who can make her see and you're willing to risk all of that just to get her back a few days sooner when you have no plan," he counts them off on his fingers, "no way of knowing where she is, not knowing what state she's even in, along with interfering with a government scheme that will take you down in a blink if it's necessary, which it will be since you'll have a barrel at your back every step of the way."
He takes a deep breath. "Please, just let us figure out a different plan with a higher probability of walking away from this alive and with Tris than improvising everything."
My eyes meet his and I tighten my hands over my bag, desperate to stay calm. "Did you not say that they wouldn't have gone through all this if they didn't plan on using her for something?" I ask, my tone steely. "Is it not possible that the longer we wait, the more pain and confusion may be brought to her?"
"Because you don't know what they're doing to her!" I yell, the anger breaking through whatever flimsy barrier I'd built. "We may not have days. We may not have hours and every one of those minutes that passes by carries the possibility on it that she might already be dead. And I will not- will not-say goodbye. To her. Again."
I move around him and continue walking, trying to calm my racing heart as I go.
"And who's to say you won't be the one to get you both killed? Will I be the one to tell Christina that she lost her best friends?"
I pause and glance back at him once more. Caleb's a man who just doesn't know when to stop.
"You might feel bad for what you did to her-for betraying her. For abandoning her. For watching her walk away and not doing anything about it," I spit. "And after all that, I would have thought you'd want to do everything you could now to get her back and fight for what you threw away then. I would have thought that after having every member of your family die for you that it would have given you some piece of courage."
I shake my head. "But instead, you hide behind your plans and your science, behind your books and your logic instead of that courage your family left for you. And you know what that's called?" I ask before turning back and walking away. "It's called cowardice."
There are armed guards stationed outside of the Erudite quarters. Big military vehicles are loaded by them, revved and waiting. I'm actually surprised I'm able to get this close without being spotted, ducking behind an alleyway that keeps the building still in view. I don't even know what I was planning on. Tris to be waiting out in front? No, of course not, but as much as I hate to admit it, I know part of what Caleb had to say was right. I don't know where she is. I don't know if she's still even here.
I rub the back of my neck, trying to think.
What I do know, though, is that everything has to do with Tris. Everything. She's important to these people-no, she's essential. At the length of which they've gone to in order to keep her alive and in their hands, and yet make her a stranger to herself, would mean that they would implicate her in something that only Tris could do.
Or maybe it's not what she can do, but rather what she can endure.
Just then, one of the humvees roars again, breaking me from my reverie. I watch as a guard steps into it along with a woman, clothed in white colors, almost sterile. She doesn't get in, though. She just stands there and waits, staring at the guards as they load into the vehicle and begin driving off, one by one.
And that's my signal. I drop to my knees just as one of the trucks pass, skirting from my hiding place and along the wall until they're gone. Then my instinct kicks in and I follow after, watching the dust and dirt trail up in their wake.
They're headed to Candor.