Come With Me
"Ava!" Christina cried as she launched herself forward, nearly knocking me off of my feet as I entered the dorms.
I grabbed her shoulders and gently pulled her away from me.
"What happened to you? We've all been worried sick!"
I scan the room absentmindedly, my eyes fall to the showers and a twinge of panic fills my chest as the memory of Peter's rough hands trailing over my bare skin comes flooding back.
"That's not important." I say void of emotion.
Christina looks at me questionably. "Ava?" She says, concern in her voice, then looks around the room before whispering, "Four told us you were attacked, then you go missing, and then right after we're all ranked, Edward is attacked too, what's going on?"
"They've already posted rankings?" I ask, ignoring her question.
"I know you're avoiding the question Ava, but yes, they've posted the rankings, not the official ones, those will be posted later today, but just to give us an idea of where we're at."
I bit my lip nervously. I had forgotten all about the severity of initiation, and if I didn't give a crap about whether I stayed or went at the moment, I would be pretty scared. I lost my first fight, I lost capture the flag, and I've been MIA for three days, the odds weren't really in my favor at the moment. And then it hit me.
"Christina, what was Peter's ranking?" I ask.
"Peter's? Who cares, don't you want-"
"Right, um fourth? I believe."
"And who were the other three?"
"Edward, you, and Tris." A weight sank in my stomach as the realization became clearer.
"When were they posted?" I ask as the knot forming in my stomach grew larger with every breath.
"The morning we came back from capture the flag, at breakfast."
That son of a bitch. He was trying to move up the ranks, first by getting me out of the way, then by getting rid of Edward. I won't even begin to contemplate how I even came in second in the first place, but if my hunch is right, the only person left is-
"Tris." I exhale with a shaky breath.
"Tris? Wha- Ava what is the matter?" Christina says, concern in her dark eyes.
"Where is everyone right now?"
"In the training room waiting for Four, I had just come back to.."
But I don't let her finish, I'm already in full stride towards the training room, and if Peter has laid one filthy hand on Tris, what's about to come to him will be far worse than even he could imagine.
"Ava, Christina, just in time." Four says as I burst through the training room doors. I hadn't even noticed how close behind me Christina was until I felt her brush past me.
"As I was saying to the other's.."
My mind trails off as I scan the room. I exhale a sigh of relief when I see Tris standing beside Will and Al towards the front. I also take note of Eric's absence which, to my disdain, leaves an overwhelming sadness in my chest. My eyes dart around the room and I see Peter and Drew standing off to the side, Peter's eyes fixated on Tris. I tighten my fist at the thought of him laying a hand on her.
"Now this will be your last fight before we post final rankings this afternoon, so make it count." Four's voice echoes throughout the room.
"First fight of the day will be Ava," Four gives me a reassuring nod before saying, "against Peter."
I hear Christina gasp beside me. "What the hell kind of sick joke is this." She says in disgust. "You just get attacked by him and now he wants you to fight him!"
"Christina," I say, gently touching her shoulder in reassurance because I know exactly what Four was doing, he was giving me my revenge.
"I'll be fine." I smile, before stepping into the ring. Peter steps in opposite of me with that sarcastic smirk he always wears.
"Just can't get enough of me huh Stiff?" He grins wider. To his surprise I grin back at him, which confuses him and his smirk turns to a puzzled frown.
"Ok you know the rules" Four sighs, "now let's get this over with."
As soon as the last words left Four's mouth Peter was already at me, kicking me in the stomach and sending me tumbling to the ground. Rage tears through my body as he goes to straddle me, and I twist out of his way just in time and elbow him in the side, causing him to let out a painful grunt. I see the fury fill his eyes as he throws a punch with everything he has into my jaw.
I stagger backwards as the pain surges through my face like electricity. Peter takes this opportunity to land another punch in my ribs and swipes my legs from underneath me, sending me face first into the ground. The metallic taste of blood fills my mouth and I feel my lip beginning to swell. Before I have time to get up, Peter is on my back, a fist full of my hair in his hands, and yanks my head backward towards him.
"Had enough yet Stiff?" He hisses in my ear before slamming my head back into the ground.
My vision blurs for a moment but I can't I WON"T, let him beat me. Peter goes to grab my head again but this time I'm ready and I throw my head backwards as hard as I can right into his face. The sound of his nose cracking vibrates through the back of my skull and I twist around with all the force I can muster up and land another hit into his face. Peter yells out as blood spurts from his nose and mouth and stumbles backwards.
I give him a firm shove and he tumbles to the ground, the images of his sadistic smirk while he pins my bare body to the ground dance in my head, and my body begins to tremble. My vision turns red with rage and I climb on top of him hitting him once more in the face, his head snaps back into the ground with a sickly crack and I know he can't go one, that I've won but I can feel his hands all over me and I can't will my body to stop, so I hit him again, and again, each time more forceful than the last until a firm grip on my shoulder pulls me from my trance.
"Ava" Four says gently. "That's enough, he's done."
I stare at him a moment as my chest heaves for breath, before running as fast as I can out of the room, Tris calls for me but I hear Four tell her to let me go and for that I'm thankful.
I'm not exactly sure where I'm going, I just keep walking trying to wrap my head around what I'd just done. A part of me felt guilty but I knew I shouldn't be, Peter deserved everything he got. What scared me the most was my inability to stop, it was like I was watching what was happening in horror through someone else's eyes, and even though it felt good to know he wouldn't hurt anyone anymore, the thought of what I'd just done terrified me.
"Ava!" I hear someone call out behind me.
I turn around to see Eric jogging towards me, a look of horror washing over him as he sees my face.
"What happened to you?" He growls.
"Peter." I say flatly, wiping the blood from my face.
Eric looks like he might explode but I put a hand on his arm and try to force a smile.
"It's ok, we fought in the ring, you should be proud because I beat the shit out of him."
Eric's expression softens and gently wipes some of the blood from my lip with his thumb.
"Come on. Let's go get you cleaned up." I give him a nod and follow him down the corridor.
"Sit down," he says as we enter his apartment, his Dauntless leader complex back in full swing.
I smile slightly and follow his orders as he heads into the kitchen. I hear him shifting through his cabinets and the sound of running water before he emerges with a bowl of water and a wet rag. He sits down on the couch next to me and sets the bowl on the small wooden coffee table in front of us before gently grasping my hand in his, and wiping the dried blood from my knuckles.
"You shouldn't have done that." He finally says as he moves the warm rag across my temple and down the side of my face.
"You're right." I say. "The Dauntless leadership should have."
"You know I tried right." He says clinching his jaw. "There's still so much of this faction I just don't get yet."
"I know." I sigh. "Dauntless is supposed to be about bravery yet they look the other way when some asshole uses the most cowardly way to move up through the ranks." Eric looks at me puzzled.
"He did what?"
"You don't find it the least bit curious that he would attack not one but two people just a couple days apart, two people that he felt threatened by."
"Makes since I guess." Eric shrugs. "But you shouldn't worry about your rank." He smirks.
"No, I shouldn't huh, you know since I'm ranked second,"
"First." He corrects.
"SECOND," I continue, not wanting to be reminded of Edward. "after doing absolutely nothing to deserve it."
"What?" He says furrowing his brow. "You think I had something to do with it?"
I raise an eyebrow accusingly at him.
"Whoa hey, I had nothing to do with that, I'm not even the one who does the rankings, that's all Four. Who knows," He smirks, "Maybe he has a thing for you."
"I seriously doubt that." I say with a laugh remembering all of the longing stares between him and Tris.
"Uh-just-uh..no reason." I stammer, not wanting to reveal my suspicions. Here I was thinking it was the most obvious thing in the world to see, but I guess it's just me.
"He's just Four." I shrug.
"Well no matter what you think you deserve that spot Ava, you're a true Dauntless." Eric's hand lingers on my cheek, it's warmth soothing my throbbing face.
"Eric." I whisper as he leans closer. "This, this is wrong."
Puzzled by my words he pulls back, staring into my eyes with that intensity that he only shows when we're alone.
"What do you mean?"
I sigh and gently shove him away from me. "This," I say motioning to his apartment. "Us. I mean, I'm an initiate and you're a leader, don't they have rules about that kind of stuff?"
Eric looks at me almost in amusement. "Since when were you all about following the rules?"
"I'm not, I mean, I-I don't know. What would Max say if he found out about us, what would they do?"
"They wouldn't do anything except scold me for being reckless and send me on my way, it's not like it's never happened before."
"I'm sure they'd care if they think you helped bump my ranking." I add.
"But I didn't."
"Yeah well they don't know that, and neither do the other initiates! They'll hate me." I say somberly at my feet, not wanting to look Eric in the eyes.
"Since when do you care about what other's think of you? What's gotten in to you Ava?" He says, placing a hand on my shoulder.
"Nothing, I-I just think we should hold off until initiation is over that's all." Eric removes his hand from my shoulder and I immediately miss its warmth. There's a long silence between us before he finally says,
"Fine, you can leave now." I look up at him finally and see his eyes are as dark as the first day I met him.
"Eric." I say hoarsely.
"Get out." He growls.
"Eric please." Is all I manage as the tears sting my eyes.
"Now initiate!" I wince at his words and run out of the room as the tears run down my face.
"Wake up initiates." Four's voice beams through the dormitory.
I sit up in my bed as soon as his words reach me. Sleep didn't come easy last night, Eric's words rang through my head through most of the night. I didn't understand why he had become so harsh, all I said was I didn't think our affection, or whatever this thing was between us, was a good idea at the moment, not until initiation was over. Why was that such a hard concept for him? Didn't he know the consequences for both of us if anyone found out?
The only thing, in fact, that did bring me solace was the fact that Peter had to spend the night in the infirmary, away from me and Tris, and anyone else he felt threatened by. My mind drifted to Edward. He would be leaving today. A part of me wanted to go see him, to wish him good luck, but I knew it would only make it hurt worse, for both of us, and the fact that Eric was the one showing him off, and well, things would most likely be more than awkward.
"Today is the first day of stage two. Remember, it doesn't matter how well you did in stage one, this stage is all mental, so just keep that in mind. Now get ready, and meet me in 10." Great. I thought, as Four left the room, my mental state was already questionable at the moment.
I watched Christina be carried from the simulation room by Will and Al, her whole body trembling so much she couldn't even walk. Yay. I thought.
"Ava." Four called from behind the door. "You're up."
Double yay. Tris who had been sitting quietly beside me gives me a reassuring pat on the shoulder. I give her an overly confident wink, a fake one, may I add because I am anything but confident at the moment, before following behind Four. I stop in my tracks as I see Eric leaned against the back wall of the room.
"What are you doing here-what is he doing here?" I say, more panicked than I expected it to sound. I can tell by Four's stance that he doesn't agree either, but he walks to the computer and types some things in before saying,
"He's sitting in on your landscape."
"Why?" I snap.
"I don't think that's any of your business Stiff." He hisses.
"Let's just get this over with." Four sighs, stepping towards me with the syringe.
I wince as the needle pierces my skin, and sit back into the chair as instructed.
"Remember, just relax, try to get your heartbeat steady, and be brave." Was the last thing I heard before drifting off.
When I wake I'm back in my old room in Abnegation, the bland, grey walls, feeling as if they were closing in around me. But that's how I felt everyday back there, so it didn't make me worry, not until a knock came at my door.
"Come in." I say, almost involuntarily.
The door squeaks open slowly, a dark shadow is standing right outside it but it doesn't move, it just stays there, suspended in the air. Panic rises in my chest as I stare at the dark figure.
"Who is it?" I ask hoarsely.
I go to get up when another shadow from underneath my bed slivers around my ankle and sends me face first into the ground. The shadow tugs on my leg forcefully, dragging me underneath the bed.
"Help! Somebody help me!" I scream as I claw at the ground.
Finally the shadow from the hallway emerges and it's Peter.
"It's okay, I've got you." He says gently as he yanks me from the shadows grasp.
Why is Peter here in my room? I say to myself. Why is he so nice?
"You okay?" He asks, concern in his big brown eyes.
"I-uh..yeah, what-what was that?" I ask, scratching the back of my head.
"It was me." He says solemnly. "Whaa..”
Before I have time to respond the figure emerges from underneath my bed, and to my horror, it's another Peter. This time his face is contorted into a menacing sneer.
"We need to get out of here.” The other Peter says, grabbing me by my arm, but when I turn to face him, it isn't Peter I'm staring at, but Eric instead.
"Come on.” He says again.
"Stiff.” The other one who has turned into Eric as well, growls from across the room.
What is going on? I think. What is happening?
"Ava?” Eric says brushing a lose strand of hair from my face. "Come with me.” He whispers.
"No.” I say, as the realization washes over me.
"No?” He says, sounding broken. "Why?”
"Because,” I say planting a kiss on his cheek before whispering gently in his ear, "This isn't real.”
As soon as the words leave my mouth I'm jolted out of the simulation to see a very tense Four staring wide eyed back at me. My face turns red. Oh no, had he seen all of that?
"Erase it." Eric says through a clenched jaw. I look at him confused, was it really that bad?
"What?" Four says, almost as if he can't believe what he's hearing.
"You heard what I said, now erase it!" Eric snaps.
Four hesitates for a moment before typing some things vigorously into his computer.
"It's done." He finally says.
"Don't breathe a word to anyone about this." Eric growls.
"Don't worry," Four says shaking his head. "I would never do that."
"What's going on?" I finally say. "Was it really that bad?"
"Get up." Eric orders panic evident in his eyes as he grabs me by the arm.
"Where are you taking her?" Four says hesitantly.
"The less you know the better." Eric says flatly before dragging me out the back door.
"Do you mind!?" I growl yanking my arm away from him. "What is going on?"
"How long have you known?" He hisses.
"How long have I known what? What is happening Eric? Just tell me!"
"You really don't know?" He says in disbelief.
"Know what?" I growl, frustration overwhelming me.
"You're divergent Ava." He whispers, grabbing me by my shoulders.
"Wha-what?" All the frustration melts from my body, replacing it with sheer terror and uncertainty.
"And now, you have to leave, you can't be here."
"What? No, I'm not going to leave just because of something so stupid." I scoff.
"This isn't a joke Ava," Eric says shaking me slightly. "You're not safe here, if anyone else finds out, they'll kill you, do you understand that? They will make me kill you!"
"I don't understand." I say hoarsely as panic began to cause my body to tremble.
"All that you need to understand right now Ava, is that I will NEVER let that happen, do you hear me? NEVER. You just have to trust me. Do you trust me?"
The panic I had been feeling faded away as he spoke, his eyes pleading for my trust. It was at that moment that I realized that no matter how screwed up it may seem, Eric was the only person here in Dauntless that I trusted besides Tris. And even if it meant leaving her and any life I thought I may have had here in Dauntless behind to follow this man to god knows where, no matter what the situation was, I'd do it.
"Ava?" Eric says, his eyes staring deep into my core.
I startle him as I grab him by the front of his shirt and press my lips to his, he doesn't hesitate to return it like he had before. I run my fingers down the back of his neck and he groans into my lips, his hands finding their way up the back of my shirt. The skin to skin contact sends electricity up my spine causing me to gasp.
“I take that as a yes?” He smiles against my lips.
“I suppose it is.”
The fear and intensity fills his face once again.
“This is serious Ava, you know that right?”
“I don’t understand anything about what’s happening,” I sigh, “but I trust you, and I know you’ll keep me safe.”
“I’ll fill you in on everything later, I promise, but right now, you need to go pack whatever clothes you have, don’t say a word to anyone got that? Not even Tris, the less they know the better for them, believe me. We’ll meet up by the tracks an hour after curfew.”
I nod in understanding, though the panic was still evident in my face. Eric pulls me close once again, and kisses me deeply, before gently resting his forehead on mine. We stand there for a while, wrapped safely in each other’s arms.
“Be safe.” He finally whispers, releasing me from his grasp as we reluctantly part ways.
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