Tobias: Chapter 31
I don't know if it's such a good idea for Christina to come here and talk with Tris. I can't deny it to her, though. She's been through as much pain as I have so I leave it up to her. She comes in about an hour later, expression blank as she stares at Tris.
Tris stares back, looking between her and me, anxiously. I try to stifle the tension. "Tris, this is Christina," I say, ignoring the pang of sadness that drills through me at introducing her to her best friend. "You knew her before..."
I don't know what I'm, supposed to say. Before you died? The words bring on another overwhelming feeling and it's almost as if I need to rest against the wall to keep my body upright.
Tris gives Christina a speculative look, a frustrated crease appearing between her brows. "We were friends?"
Christina is fast to shield her crestfallen eyes and smile. "Yup. We were really tight," she says, sitting on the bed.
"I'll be in the other room with Caleb if you need me," I say, and leave Christina to have some private time with her best friend. If I can't gauge anything from Tris, maybe she can.
In the other room, Caleb is going through files and looking things up on the computer and I appear from behind him. The anger I felt earlier-towards Erudite, the woman who had taken Tris, to everything that had been done to her; the time I'd wasted grieving when I should have been planning. Months I'd spent believing a lie.
I turn around and my fist connects with the nearest wall. Caleb jumps as the noise richochettes around the room, hot pain blazing over my knuckles. I watch the red swell there and drip down my fingers.
"What was that for?" Caleb asks. I turn around. He stares at my injured hand.
"Did you find something yet?" I ask, my tone desperate. I can't stand this. The realization is crashing over me again and again and each time it hits, it's more painful than it was a few moments ago.
Tris doesn't know who I am. After everything that's been done to her, after losing her family, her home, her friends, her own life, people were still managing to take things from her and what had been left?
Her memories that defined who she was.
Rage burns a pathway inside me and I want to hit the wall again, so I do. This time with the other hand, because I want it to be even and I know it's stupid and pointless but there's nothing else to put the anger in to. Until I meet the people who did this to her, the wall will have to serve the sentence in their place.
Caleb knows better than to grab me so insead he just walks over, stepping in my line of sight.
"Stop, Four," he says. "It's best if your fingers stay unbroken."
"Did you find anything?" I ask again, my hands fisting. More biting pain appears but I don't care. I haven't felt much in months; it's a welcomed sensation.
Caleb gives me a blank look before backing away and sitting down. When he speaks, his voice is rushed. "Not yet, she's only been here aprroximately a day, and awake for a few hours. This kind of research will take more than that. I don't even know what I'm looking for. My research is all from scratch and it may not even lead to an answer. I'd need to know exactly what was done to her. The amount of times. There are a lot of factors to consider."
"So basically we can't do anything," I answer in a dry, icy tone.
Caleb shrugs, typing something. "Not necessarily. I can ask Beatrice more of what happened to her-what she does remember. I can add that to my search and maybe come up with something. I don't know if what was done to her is temporary or permanent or maybe some of it is temporary and the dulling in exact detail will always be fuzzy. But she is recalling some things. In vivd detail, considering her reactions." He looks up at me. "We just have to monitor her. She might not be recalling anything simply because she doesn't want to."
"So we shouldn't explain her past to her." It's not a question.
Caleb hesitates before slowly shaking his head. "No. But we should tell her what she wants to know. We shouldn't push her, though because that probably isn't the best thing for her. Minimize stress because that weighs on the nervous system and her body and mind have already endured enough."
"Do you know how to find the people who did this to her?" I sit on the desk across from him, rubbing the back of my hands. The knuckles are an uncomfortable sting now-burning, actually, but I make no move to bandage them. "How we can get to them? If we had one of the Erudite that did this, couldn't that help figure out a way to reverse it?"
"And what do you propose we do?" he asks. "The entire city is on practical lockdown. I don't even know what happened. It's like everything disappered. I can't get into any security systems. When you came back, I took a sample of Tris's clothing and yours and it's taken hours to analyze, but you know how we were talkinig about serums? The extra one Christina took?"
I nod, crossing my arms over my chest.
"It matched. The serum that's supposed to supress certain emotions? Like shove them down? That's what it is. It had affected you, considering that when you came back, you seemed dazed. It did not, however, affect Tris which is precisely why I think they had her. She could do exactly as they said without having her own judgement and pattern impaired. Obviously, however, I think it did affect her in the opposite way," he says. Caleb purses his lips. "I think it triggered those memories."
I feel the blood drain from my face, the stinging suddenly feeling numbed over. "What are you suggesting?"
He raises his hands. "I'm not suggesting anything. I'm just implying that if it triggered some memories, maybe it can trigger more. If she truly wants to know what happened. You can't get angry, it's the only workable theory we have. I didn't say it had to be enacted."
"I found her lying in the middle of the road, Caleb. I can't..." my voice cut off and I glance away. "I can't give her something that will send her to that again."
Caleb shrugs. "Maybe it's not your choice. Have her decide." He adds, "no one can hide forever, Four. This might be the only way. After a few times, it may become involuntary and she could gain everything back. I have no available alternative now."
I shake my head, hating that I can actually see his point. I don't want to send her back to that place again, but I wouldn't be the one doing it. She would be. I close my eyes and walk back to the door. "Keep looking," I say.
I leave Christina and Tris alone for an hour and when I come back, she's telling Tris about me. I don't know what she's saying and I'm instantly wary, hoping it's nothing that would set Tris on edge. But this is Christina. Big-mouth Chris that, after practice, now knows what to say and when not to say something else.
Tris's eyes flicker to me as I enter.
"I can...leave if you want," I say, unexpected emotion rising in my throat. I never imagined seeing the two of them talk again. But apparently, even the barriers of death can be breached.
Christina catches my expression and shakes her head. "That's okay. In fact, I have some things from Matthew to give to Caleb." She smiles once more at Tris. "I can't tell you how good it is to see you." Then she leans over and hugs her.
Tris looks taken my surprise, but she slowly squeezes back and Christina gets up, walking past me and into Caleb's lab.
I loiter by the door for a second, trying to think of how to start this conversation. Nothing seems adequate, so I just jump to the point. "Caleb might have a way for you to trigger more memories," I say.
Tris bites her lips, her hands toying with the sheets. "How?" her voice is a whisper, but she doesn't look away from me.
I swallow. "The serum that Christina found...it was on us when we came back. It's supposed to surpress certain things," I say, coming forward and standing at the base of her bed. "You're different, though, and Caleb thinks that instead of you being immune to it, like you've been with other serums, it did the exact opposite. Instead of surpressing anything, or doing nothing in general, it forced those memories to surface."
Her eyes widen slightly, but other than that, there is no change. "So I could...I might be able to get more memories back if I take it?"
The word burns my tongue and I say, "yes."
She's quiet for a moment. Then her eyes fall on my hands and her mouth drops. "What did you do?"
"I," I'm about to tell her I fell. Slammed my knuckles against a door, but I don't want to lie. She deserves the truth. "A wall got in my way," I say, with a smirk.
Her eyes narrow. "Looks like you got in its way."
I smile. For a moment, it's like nothing has changed. I can almost call her my Tris again.
"Why'd you beat it up?" she asks. I shrug, trying to look nonchalant. "I was mad," I say, sitting in the chair next to her bed.
She studies my face. "Mad because I'm here," she guesses, her voice sounding unsure.
But I shake my head. "Mad because you weren't," I clarify. "That you weren't here for...a while." My voice catches on the last word and I stand again, suddenly feeling restless. I don't want her to see how much this is affecting me; how much it hurts because then it puts pressure on her and I won't do anything that makes her uncomfortable.
But she just purses her lips and reaches her hand over to me. Using the glass of water set on a tray at the other side of the bed, she dabs the bedsheet in it and wipes away the red over my knuckles.
I stiffen, unknowing what to do. Her touch is still natural to me. I doesn't feel weird or un-Tris. It's very much her, regardless of whether she knows that or not.
"I'll do it," she whispers.