Evelyn stands across from me atop the Sears tower. The wind is blowing so violently that I am struggling to stand straight, let alone stay in one place. But she stands, sturdy as a rock, with emotionless eyes as unmoving as her body though the wind must be affecting her too. It doesn’t seem like it.
Intimidation. That’s the first emotion I feel. Coursing through me like the before-effects of fear.
But I don’t feel fear anymore. Not with Evelyn.
She towers over me like her son always does, leaving me feeling powerless and small. But with Tobias, this smallness is comfortable. This powerlessness feels safe because I know he has enough power for the both of us.
Not with her.
I’m surprised anyone trusts her; her very air is distrustful to me. She reminds me of a poison that creeps into your veins, unnoticed, unchanging, until one moment you’re dead.
“I am his family. I am permanent. You are temporary.”
The words sting me, reminding me that this woman hates me. She has no faith in my part in Tobias’s life, though she herself used him to gain the trust and control of the Dauntless. She is only temporary, yet she feels as if making me feel small and temporary will make me disappear.
She couldn’t be more wrong.
“Hello, Beatrice.” Her use of my real name makes me slightly uncomfortable and very angry. Only my old faction knew that name. I know she was from there, but the fact that she dares pretend that she is still Abnegation, still selfless, infuriates me so much that my blood feels like its boiling. I want to kill her, I want to so badly; I want to wrap my hands around her neck and squeeze the life out of her.
I want you dead, Evelyn Eaton.
“Hello, Evelyn.” I respond, flatly, trying to ward off any emotions from sneaking into my tone of voice. I want to be monotonous, uncaring, and emotionless. I want her to think she has no hold on me.
“So, Beatrice, are you going to work with me or not? You and I both know you’re in the seat of power, here and everywhere else. So what are you going to do? Use it in the way your teeny tiny brain deems fit, or use it in a way that can bring you and I to power such as we’ve never known?”
“I think you and I both know what the answer to that is, Evelyn.” I respond, coolly.
“Ah, I thought just as much,” she replies, all too calmly and with much too great of a calculated demeanor, “which is why I brought a little persuasion tool.”
My heart starts to race. Persuasion tool? What kind of persuasion tool?
Then I see him. And my heart stops.
Tobias, eyes as lifeless as a shark’s, walks towards Evelyn with robotic movements. “As you can see,” Evelyn begins, “My son is under a serum that I found in Jeanine’s collection before we destroyed the Erudite faction. When tested on you, you were too strong for it. But my son is a weaker Divergent, and has succumbed rather nicely to the simulation.” She turns towards Tobias. “Tobias, to the edge.”
I watch with wide eyes as Tobias lifelessly obeys, walking with one foot in front of the other straight to the edge of the building. His toes hang over nothingness as I pray the wind won’t shake him loose from his already timid heel grip on the building.
“You would do this to your son, Evelyn? Your only child? You would destroy him for power?”
She laughs, condescendingly. “My son wouldn’t cooperate with me unless he was under the serum. What kind of son is that, one who won’t work with his own mother?”
Her sick, twisted ideals churn my stomach as I wait, breathlessly, on the tips of my toes, to jump after Tobias.
“You still have a choice, Beatrice. Work with me and Tobias lives. Choose your own, selfish ambitions, and he dies. The decision is yours.”
The anticipation runs through my veins, burning my every fiber with a fear I thought I could never feel. I cannot, I simply cannot, live without Tobias; I cannot go on without him. He is the only reason I’ve made it as far as I have, he is the only thing on this earth I have worth living for.
I cannot lose him.
But I know that if Tobias was here, and I mean really here, he would insist that I give him up and keep my power for good.
But I can’t do that; I can’t make that decision; I’d rather live through an apocalypse with Tobias than through paradise with him gone.
Just as I open my mouth to respond to Evelyn, to tell her that I will indeed work with her to give her what she wants most, a strong gust of wind pushes Tobias off balance. He seems to wake up from a deep slumber and shouts when he sees where he is.
It is one of his four worst fears. Heights. I can see in his eyes that he is simply terrified. He claws the air, trying to push himself back onto the building, but it is too late.
“Tobias!” I shout, sprinting towards him, trying to save him. But I can’t. His arms reach for me as he falls off the side of the building, swept away by the wind.
“Tobias, no! Don’t go!” I scream as I throw myself off the building after him. I can’t live without him; so I will die with him. As I drop through the air and reach him, our hands interlock and he pulls me into his arms.
“Why’d you jump?” He questions, in a shaky voice.
“You die, I die too; remember?” I shout back, on the verge of tears.
The wind blowing into my face from the fall makes me tear up anyways, and all the emotion rips me apart so much that I feel the tears streaming down my face, falling down, down, down until I can’t see them hit the ground that we are headed to so quickly.
Tobias takes me and pushes me, hard, away from him. After a moment of surprise, I realize that there is water under me, and I have a chance of living if I fall into it. But now he is too far away to pull towards me, and there is nothing under him.
I watch with wide eyes as the ground comes closer and closer. “Tobias, no, please, let me die with you!” I scream, petrified. He looks up at me one last time and shouts, “I love you!” before embracing the ground.
“NO!” I scream as loud as I possibly can and shoot out of bed in a cold sweat. “Oh God, please don’t let that be true. Oh my God, please God no. Please.” I pray, shaking and quivering like a leaf until I feel his sturdy arms around me.
It was just a dream. Oh, thank you God.
“Tris, Tris are you ok? What happened?” He pulls me close to him and rocks me back and forth gently, pressing one hand to my back and one against my head so I am leaning against his chest. The gesture is so comforting, so loving, and so familiar that I begin to sob at the thought of losing it. Of losing him.
“I had a dream,” I say, between sobs, “tha—that you died. Your mom killed you—you were under a simulation.”
“What?” He asks, confusedly. He doesn’t understand.
Oh, Tobias, please. Don’t make me relive this.
“The simulation made you go to the edge of a building, and you woke up just as you were falling off. I jumped wit—with you,” I sniff, my voice quaking and tears threatening to resurface twice as violently as before, “and you pushed me aw—ay. Promise me, Tobias. Promise me that if you die, I die too.” And with that, I begin to sob. I’m crying so much that it hurts, my body convulses with each torrent of tears. I feel him wrap his arms around me even tighter, like a vise, protecting me.
“Hey, it’s ok, I’m still here Tris.” His voice breaks a little as he holds me against him, placing his forehead against mine. “I’m still here, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll always be here, Tris.”
“I knew we shouldn’t have trusted Evelyn, I knew it, I knew she was trou—”
“You were right,” Tobias interrupts, cutting me off, “I know that now. I knew it the moment she took all of our guns. She’s power hungry and we’re her next target. But I will not let her have us, neither you nor me, she won’t get us. Okay?” He presses his lips against mine, calming me.
“I’m here forever, Tris. If you die, I die too; but if you live, I live too.”
I nod as I shrink into Tobias’s arms, pushing as far as I can to dissolve into his chest and only feel his heartbeat as I try to steady my own.
© Copyright Christina Boothe, 2012.
All roots of this story are directly linked to the work of Veronica Roth from her book series, Divergent. Such content belongs to Veronica Roth and I have no intentions to plagiarize or steal her work in any way.