Rebels and Leaders

Friends Before Faction

I woke up in Eric's bed with him nowhere to be found. My face flushed as the memories of the night before played in my head. Eric, the one person I hated more than anything, the man who tortured me, yelled at me, hurt me. He had admitted his feelings to me. Showed me a side of himself I had never imagined was there.

I had kissed him, wanted to this time, more than anything. We lay on his couch for most of the night, neither one of us saying a word, just silently giving the other what we needed most, comfort. Never had I thought Eric, of all people, needed anything of the sort, but the look in his eyes as he called himself a villain, made me think otherwise.

It was then that I finally saw Eric as what he truly was, lost. Lost in a world of betrayal and death, where being different got you killed and speaking your mind got you just the same. So he conformed, became something he hated looking at in the mirror each morning, but it was something he had to be to survive, and somewhere down the line, those lines of who he was inside and who he had to be on the outside became blurred, and he lost himself to the darkness of this world, this faction.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps.

"Ava?" Eric said, gently opening the bedroom door. "You awake?"

I roll onto my back, my body still too sore to move much(who am I kidding, I'm just lazy), and gave him a tired smile. Eric emerged from behind the door with a grim look on his face. "Everything ok?" I ask, sitting up finally.

He doesn't say a word, he just stands there, his eyes fixated on his shoes and his fists shoved into his pockets.

"Eric?" I say, my tone more frustrated than I had wanted it to be. He looks at me then, his green eyes full of that familiar intensity.

"Edward," he says, scratching the back of his neck. "He was attacked last night."

My body goes numb, and my stomach turns to knots.

"What do you mean he was attacked? What happened? Is he okay? Who attacked him?"

The panic rushes through my body like a raging storm and suddenly the air around me becomes very thin.

"Answer me!" I yell.

Eric clenches his jaw, most likely resisting the urge to bite my head off for yelling at him, but instead he says flatly,

"He was stabbed in the eye and he's in the infirmary."

I jump up from the bed and scramble for the clothes Eric had brought the day before.

"Who?" I say through gritted teeth as I yank the clothes on as fast as I can, not caring about Eric's eyes lingering over my bare skin. "Who in the world would do something like that?"

His body stiffens and he brings his gaze down to his feet once again.

"Tris suspects Peter." The blood drains from my face and I feel as if I'm going to faint.

"What?" I say in almost a whisper. "How. You, you said you took care of him, that he got what he deserved."

"I did!" He snapped.

"Obviously not, because he's still attacking people!"

Eric sits down on the bed, his gaze still firmly planted at his feet, and lets out a long sigh.

"I did what I could Ava, there's only so much I can do."

I know what he's saying is true. I don't know what I expected him to do in the first place… That's untrue. I know exactly what I wanted him to do. I wanted them dead, gone, tortured, thrown off the chasm or tied to the rails, seeing their miserable lives flash before them as their death comes hurtling towards them. I knew Eric did all he could do, but it wasn't enough, the thought of Peter's sadistic smile is forever planted in my head and I can't be here another minute longer.

"Where are you going?" Eric says, jumping up from the bed as I swing the bedroom door open, determination evident in every step.

"I'm going to make sure my friend is still alive." I hiss, and slam the door behind me.

When I enter the infirmary I see Tris standing over a sleeping Edward. I stop before I get there, taking in the sight of him. He looks so defeated, so helpless laying there, his blonde hair stained red with blood. Tris senses my presents and glances at me, and although her tear stained face is rough, and hard as stone, she manages to force a smile my way.

"Ava?" Edward says, his voice coarse and tired.

"Yeah it's me." I say as cheerfully as possible willing my body to move forward.

"I'm glad you're here." He smiles, and I gently place my hand over his. "Are you okay?" He asks, furrowing his brow, causing the bandage over his eye to move slightly.

"What do you mean?" I ask a bit confused. He was the one in the infirmary after all.

"Four told us you were attacked a few days ago, and none of us have seen you since, we've been worried about you."

What? Is he really asking how I'm doing when he's the one who just got stabbed in the eye? And then I realized something. Edward cared about me. He stood up to Eric for me, knowing the consequences that would hold. He was always there for me when I needed someone, he made me feel safe, and even though he did like me, never had he crossed any sort of line. No, he wouldn't do anything like that because Edward was a good guy. He was nothing like Peter, nothing like Eric. Edward was a hero.

"I'm fine." I say, forcing a smile. "You should be worrying about how kickass you're going to look with an eyepatch."

This makes Edward laugh at the thought. "Yeah, I suppose I will look pretty kickass."

I laugh light heartedly and Tris chimes in as well.

"You really do know how to turn a situation don't you Ava." She smiles.

"It's a 50/50 shot that the situation either gets better or worse." Edward grins.

"Hey!" I say and slap him playfully in the arm.

Someone clears their throat behind us and I turn around to see Eric and Four, both of their faces void of any emotion, and I know whatever news they bring can't be good.

"We need to talk to Edward alone." Eric says flatly.

"No, it's okay, I want them here." He says grabbing my hand so I won't move. Eric clenches his jaw as an unreadable expression flashes on his face ever so briefly. I look over at Four to see he's in a staring match with Tris, a sadness in his eyes that I know means this can't be good.

"Tell them Eric." He says dryly.

"You're out of Dauntless Edward." He says with a sigh, as if the news doesn't faze him.

"What?!" Tris and I say simultaneously.

"I didn't stutter did I?" Eric huffs.

"How-how could you do this? He gets attacked by some assholes, the same assholes, may I add, that attacked me, and they walk away with nothing but a slap on the wrist, while Edward.."

A knot forms in my throat and I can't finish my sentence.

"There isn't any proof they were the ones who did it." Eric says.

I can tell he knows the truth, that the words he says are not his own, but in that moment I still resent him.

"I know they did it!" Growls Tris through clenched teeth.

"How?" Eric snaps. "How do you know? Did you see them do it?"

Tris glances at Four, a pleading look on her face, but he only drops his gaze to the floor.

"No." Tris says, an anger in her tone I had never heard before.

"Who else would be going around attacking people?" I hiss.

Eric ignores my question and directs his attention to Edward.

"You need to have your things packed and meet me in the pit by morning." he says, void of any emotion.

"No." I say, the tears that had been threatening to fall, now run down my cheeks.

Then the thought hit me. I didn't belong in Abnegation, and I don't belong here. I don't belong anywhere.

"I'm going with him." I say, determination in my voice.

"Ava." Tris whispers.

Eric clenches his jaw, and his eyes light with rage.

"You're not going anywhere." He growls.

"I don't think that's your decision to make."

"Like hell it's not, I'm a…"

"Dauntless leader, yada yada yada." I interrupt. "Yeah, we get it. But since Dauntless is all about kicking the ones who were attacked out instead of the ones doing the attacking, then I should probably go too."

"That's not how it works." Eric says, his jaw clenched tight.

"Oh really? Then enlighten me, please, I would just LOVE to understand the reasoning behind this."

"That's ENOUGH Ava!" Eric yells.

"Eric." Four finally speaks up. "She's right. Let her leave if she wants, you do understand, however, once you leave, there's no coming back."

I nod my head in agreement without hesitation. I will NOT let Edward do this alone, not after all he's done for me.

"No." Edward says. "I can't let you do this."

I squeeze his hand reassuringly. "The decision has already been made." I smile.

"No!" He snaps, snatching his hand from mine. "You're not going anywhere Ava!"

His tone causes me to wince. I had never heard Edward raise his voice before, never thought him capable of such.

"Just-just please stay here." He says, the familiar gentleness back in his voice, and then turns his attention to Eric. "I'll have my things ready in time."

Rage tears through my body and the walls begin to cave in around me. I had to get out of there. Without another word, I shove past Eric and slam the door behind me. When I'm halfway down the hallway I here Eric call out for me, I know I should probably keep walking but I will by body to stop.

"Ava." He says, finally catching up to me.

"I’m really not in the mood for this." I sigh, my back still turned to him.

"What was that back there?" He says, grabbing my shoulders and spinning me around to face him.

I stare at the floor because I don't want to see the hurt that is evident in his eyes.

"Look at me." He says, his tone soft and gentle like the night before, and grabs my chin, forcing me to look into his eyes.

"What do you want from me?" I say hoarsely.

"I want the truth." He answers.

"Why? Why would you want to leave your faction, your home? To prove a point?"

"I have no point to prove." I mumble.

"Then why?"

"Because Edward shouldn't have to do this alone!" I yell, tears stinging my eyes once again and I move my face from his gaze.

"Why do you even care?" Eric yanks my face to meet his gaze once again. "Did last night mean nothing to you?" He growls.

"No," I say, yanking away from his grip. "Last night meant nothing to you. And to answer your question, Edward is my friend, and unlike some people, I'll do whatever it takes to protect the people I care about. Now if you don't mind, I have a lot of training to catch up on."

Eric goes to say something, but I don't listen. Instead, I turn on my heels and head down the hallway, a new agenda on my mind. If Eric and the other leaders wouldn't take care of Peter and Drew, then I would.

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