Convergent (Part One)

Her: Chapter 30

I've hurt him again-this strange man who isn't really strange. But I can't even focus on that right now; the guilt in my head is screaming too loud.

I killed those people. That woman with a son...I wonder if she even got to see him this morning. One last time. Did she kiss him? Tell him she loved him? And the man in grey. Someone is probably mourning for him. In making a boy without a mother and a family without a loved one, I've made myself a murderer. Maybe I was one before this, but I can't remember that. You can take away a memory, but the person beneath it will resurface.

I squeeze my hands so tightly, that I feel my nails bite into my palms. I can't even tell if they draw blood. I just want the screaming to cease.

Killer.

Murderer.

Executioner.

"Tris, stop," the man's voice appears through the haze and my attention reverts back to him, his eyes suddenly so close, I'm reminded of that ghost memory; of a girl and a boy folding into one another just as the rushing water does.

I jerk away and his jaw tightens, but he doesn't move. He gently grabs one of my hands, and pries my stiff fingers back. Sure enough, there are half-mooned imprints on my palm, oozing crimson.

"You can't keep hurting yourself," he says, using the bottom of his shirt to wipe away the blood. I tense. "Why not?"

He looks at me again, hard, when he replies, "because I won't let you."

I ground my teeth. "You shouldn't try to protect me."

"Well, I am."

"Even after what I did?" I'm nearly appaulled. Appaulled at the fact that this man would risk things to protect a killer. Is that what he did when I knew him?

"Yes," he states simply, focusing on the inside of my hand. The blood smears around and dries and his wipes grow more slow and deliberate.

I narrow my eyes at him. "I can't be saved."

"I know you don't remember, but I've lost you from about every aspect a person could lose anyone from. That's including death." He says this in a very matter-of-fact way, "So I'm sorry if my optimism for believing you can come back from this is getting in the way of your self-condemnation."

He's mad. That much I can tell. No matter how smooth his voice is, something burns brightly beneath it.

"Four..." the other boy pipes up. He is familiar to me in an entirely different way. And then I place it.

"Faction before blood." It was his voice and I instantly know that I knew him. Not only because of that flimsy piece of past, but because I see parts of me in his face; because we have the same eyes.

"She's been lied to enough, Ca-" he stops himself, glances up at me. "Keeping things from her is not going to protect anyone."

The boy throws his hands up. "Why do I even bother?"

"Who are you?" I ask then, unable to take these men without having names to put light to both faces.

They glance at each other, the one that looks like me clearly undecided. For some reason, I decide then that I trust the other one. His name is so close, like a whisper somewhere in the back of my mind. I gnash my teeth together, vainly attempting to grab onto it.

"Maybe we shouldn't-," says the one standing, but the man looking into my eyes now interrupts him. "That's Caleb."

The word jars something inside me and I see his face in a building of white and the same words "faction before blood" appearing in the distance. My hands clench tightly, reopening the cuts again, but I don't notice the pain.

Then, as quickly as it came, the image is gone.

The man sitting next to me looks at my face anxiously, but I shake my head. "And you?"

I need to know. I need to know him almost as much as I need to know me, but I feel fear rise up in what I might find when I do.

I don't miss that small, almost imperceptible glance of his that falls to my lips. "Some people call me Four," he states, matter-of-factly. "Others call me Tobias."

Images surge up at that, like a great barrier. In my head, I see a hand reach over in the shadows, across corded rope as it finds mine. I see the glint of cold metal as a flash of pain pricks my ear. I see him leaping onto a train, all strength, all fearless. I see his palm held up against glass, screaming something I can't make out, like there's a screen hanging over him.

His body close to mine in a hot box.

Men restraining him as he tries to get to me.

Him, turning his back as he walks away.

"I'll see you soon."

It's overwhelming. And just when I think my heart will explode, they disappear, like voices fading from a distance.

I look back at him-Tobias- and there's concern in his face. My heart is pounding and I let out a shaky breath. "I know you," I whisper, "but I also don't."

"You've suffered extreme trauma," the boy-Caleb, says, stepping towards my bed. "Under that level of stress, and this isn't counting whatever manipulation tactics Erudite used on you, your mind has almost placed a wall between it and yourself. You can't connect the two. I'm going to guess that some memories have surfaced?"

I nod. "They don't feel like mine."

He shakes his head. "I'd be surprised if they did."

"Are you saying they'll come back?"

He hesitates, holding his hand in mid air. "I don't know. But some are already returning. It doesn't seem to be permanent. It's quite possible it will all come back or significant fragments will."

Another lie Glas told me. She promised me my memories if I killed those people, but I doubted she could do anything about them. She couldn't fix anything- there was nothing broken. Except for a girl who has now been labeled a murderer.

But there's a bigger part of me that I'm ashamed of-the part that doesn't want to remember. I want to take those pieces of me and throw them away, dispose of them so no one can ever see the truth again.

I don't admit this out loud. I just clench my fists again and try not to think of boys without their mothers and girls kissing men in chasms.

I look up at Caleb, changing the subject. "You're a family member, aren't you?" I ask. "Brother? Cousin?"

His jaw drops just slightly. "You-you rememb-"

I shake my head. "You just look like the woman I saw." The woman I watched die. The woman I inexplicably felt was my mother.

"What woman?"

I don't want to repeat it.

He seems to understand and nods, wringing his hands. "Yeah, I'm your brother."

"Are we close?" Maybe if I know I cared for him, I'd know I wasn't a complete monster once.

Caleb hesitates again, struggling to grasp the right words. I don't miss the hard look Tobias gives him. "We've had our... differences. Things that I did wrong. And you still saved my life."

My eyes meet Tobias's. "And you?"

If I don't ask, I'll be too afraid to do so later. I don't want to remember me, which is exactly why I have to.

His voice doesn't waver as he says, "you're the most selfless person I've ever met. And I will not lose you again."

In any other scenario, that statement would have sounded foreboding. Possessive. But there's something comforting in the way he says it and, just for a moment, I believe him.


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