Rebels and Leaders

Respect

I left the infirmary after my head decided to stop pounding for a bit, and headed to the dining hall to meet the others. I see Tris, Christina, Will, and Al seated at a table towards the back and I take a seat beside them.

"Yikes!" Christina blurts out as I sit down.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I retort, furrowing my brow.

"I-I mean, wow, you look great!" Christina corrects.

"You still need to work on your lying skills Candor." I smirk.

"I'm just glad you're okay." Tris says, relief in her eyes.

"Tris, I got knocked unconscious, I didn't die!"

"Yeah well when Eric made us leave the infirmary I didn't think I'd ever see you again! What he want anyway?" She asks expectantly.

"Probably to rub it in no doubt." Will cut in.

"He just asked how my head was." I shrug. Tris and the others look at me with disbelief.

"He asked if you were okay?" Al asks. Was he being sarcastic about it?"

"I don't know, I couldn't really tell but I don't think so."

"Well what else did he say?" Pry's Christina. "He had to have said something else."

I really didn't feel like rehashing the whole conversation to them, especially the part where he said he'd try a bit harder to teach me a lesson, not even I still knew what that meant, and to be honest, it kind of worried me.

"Nothing." I lie. "That was it."

"That's it?" Tris questions suspiciously.

"Yep."

"He just asked you how your head was and left?"

"Yes."

"No sarcastic comments?"

"No, he wasn't being sarcastic."

"I meant from you!" She glares.

"NO!" I say in frustration.

"I take it back," She says. "Maybe you aren't meant for Candor, because you're a terrible liar."

I roll my eyes at her dramatically.

"You know, you keep on getting on his bad side and you're going to end up factionless, or worse." She sighs.

"Well good thing you're here to protect me then." I smile wryly.

"You guys are exhausting." Christina sighs. "Come on, let's go get tattoos!"


I flip through the designs absentmindedly. I really didn't like the thought of getting a tattoo at the moment. Only the dauntless had tattoos and well we hadn't earned a place amongst them yet. Tris had tensed up for some reason when we entered the parlor and she saw Tori, the woman who had given us our aptitude test. I looked at her curiously as she rushed into conversation with her, which Tris doesn't do very often with people, and the fact that Tori didn't look too happy about it. But I wouldn't pry, Tris would tell me what it was all about if she wanted me to know.

"Find one you like yet?" Will says standing beside me.

"No, I think I might go for a piercing instead." I smile.


We arrived in the training room a few minutes late and to my misfortune Four wasn't there, just Eric. Great.

"Nice of you to join us initiates." He says nonchalantly before turning and addressing the room.

"You will all be paired up for fighting today. The pairs are on the board, there are an odd number of you so one of you will have to sit out."

Everyone gathered around the board, anxious to see who they would be fighting. I rolled my eyes. Who would I be fighting today? Peter? Al? HIM?

"The first fight is Christina and Molly. The two of you go ahead and get in the ring." He says.

The two girls do as they're told and I give Christina a reassuring smile. Molly was a big girl, with broad shoulders and a mean attitude just like Peter, but if Christina uses her speed against her, she could take her.

"Ava."

The sound of my name startles me.

"You'll be sitting out today." Eric says emotionlessly without looking in my direction.

Did he just call me by my name? And did he actually just let me sit out?

"Same rules apply as yesterday." He says turning his attention to the ring. "Now fight."

The two girls circle one another, fists in front of them, until Molly steps forward and lands a punch in Christina's stomach. Christina's arms go to her middle almost instinctively, giving Molly a good opportunity at her face, which she took, knocking Christina on her back.

Molly charges at her but Christina gets to her feet in time to dodge her. Molly's momentum causes her to tumble to the floor and Christina knees her right in the jaw. Molly hits the ground hard but when Christina comes in again Molly grabs her leg and flips her on her back punching her in her face over and over again.

"Please." Christina whispers and holds up her hands in defeat. "I'm done. Please."

My eyes dart to Eric as he approaches her with an unreadable expression on his face. Oh no. I think. This can't be good.

"You done?" Eric asks in an eerily concerned tone.

"Yes." Christina exhales.

"Ok." He says and holds out his hand. "Here, let me help you."

Oh no. Christina takes his hand and he lifts her off the floor.

"Take a break!" He addresses everyone and guides Christina out of the training room.

I give Tris a panicked look and follow closely behind them. Eric slows down as they get to the chasm, and before I know it he lifts Christina up and is dangling her over the edge.

"Grab the edge." He growls. "Or don't." He shrugs.

Christina grabs the edge of the chasm with both hands tightly, both arms shaking uncontrollably.

"What are you doing?!" I yell as I run up beside him.

"If she hangs there for five minutes I will forget here cowardice."

"And what if she doesn't? What if she can't hold on?"

Eric shrugs. "Then she falls".

Anger radiates through my body.

"This is insane! You can't do this!" I growl, and reach down to pull Christina up.

Before I have time to react, Eric kicks me in the side, and I fall forward into the chasm. I reach out in a panic and grab the edge, and struggle to hold on. My whole body is trembling so badly with fear, and anger, that I can't say a word. So I just dangle beside Christina with my eyes closed and hope I don't lose my grip.

"Get her up." Eric says pointing to Christina.

Tris and Will rush over and drag her up over the edge. Will grabs her, steadying her to her feet before leading her to safety down the hallway. Tris stands still, panic in her eyes as she stares at me. Suddenly Eric grabs me by the shirt and heaves me over the edge. Tris goes to grab me but Eric shoves her back.

"Go! All of you!" He snaps, and all of the initiates scramble away, all except Tris, who's eyes are filled with determination once more.

"I said go!" Eric barks.

I give Tris a reassuring nod, so she doesn't get herself into trouble. She lingers a bit more but nods back and disappears down the hallway.

I lie on the ground sputtering for air and trying to slow my breathing. When I finally gather myself, I shakily get up to see Eric standing over me, arms crossed, and that look on his face that he gets when I've pushed him too far.

"You-you almost killed me." I exhale.

"I wouldn't have let you fall." He says quietly.

"You're the one that pushed me!" I growl.

"And you disobeyed me, again! How hard is it for you to follow orders? I'm trying to teach you valuable lessons that you'll appreciate later if you truly want to become Dauntless!"

"Lessons?! You're trying to teach me lessons by kicking me into the chasm?"

Eric let out a throaty growl and leapt towards me, shoving me up against the wall.

"Why can't you just learn to respect me?" he hisses through clenched teeth.

"I'd respect you, if you were worth respecting." I hiss back.

His face goes dark and he shoves me harder against the wall, his hand wrapped tightly around my throat.

"I think I became worth respecting when I became a Dauntless leader!"

"You don't just get everyone's respect just because you become a leader, you have to earn it, just like everyone else, more so even. And pushing me off the chasm or pinning me against this wall isn't going to earn anything, except more back talk." I spat.

To my surprise Eric's face softens and he lets out a chuckle. I look at him confused as he just stands there, staring at me. A few moments pass before he lets go of my throat and brushes his fingers over the gauges I had gotten early in my ears.

"New?" he asks nonchalantly, but I don't answer. I'm too stunned to do anything. He was freaking me out too badly.

Suddenly, without any warning his lips come crashing down into mine, his hands entwining in my hair, steadying my head. Before I have time to react he pulls away and smirks at me. My body begins trembling, although I'm not sure whether it was from rage or something else, but I go with rage and punch him in the chest.

The force knocks him back a little bit and he lets out a laugh, so I hit him again, and again, until finally he grabs my wrists and shoves me forcefully into the wall again, the weight of his body pinning me down, and he crushes his lips to mine once more. His lips were rough and feverish and made my heart do a million flips in my chest. I couldn't tell if it was because of him or because this was the first time I had been kissed by anyone before.

I pull my head back and stare at him anxiously, not knowing what to do. Suddenly my body has a mind of its own and I grab him by his shirt and pull him into me once more. I'm not sure what I'm doing, or even that I like what I'm doing, but my body becomes more and more uncontrollable with every touch.

His body tenses for a moment, but only for a moment, before he deepens the kiss, his lips warm and demanding against mine. He nips my bottom lip and I let out a groan, before he finally pulls away. He stands there, staring at me expressionless for a moment before he takes a step back from me.

"Go." He says void of any emotion, and for once I listen without any retort, one, because I have no idea what else to do, and two, because I couldn't find any words to say even if I tried.


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