*Entry for the Divergent Fan Fiction Contest. Cover by River_Summers* During her mission to stop the Bureau, Tris doesn't die and still manages to succeed. Now that their memories have been erased, what are Tris and Tobias to do? *2013. I own nothing.


2. Tobias

I start back towards the city, feeling relieved with everything I’ve just accomplished. I managed to get Evelyn to make a peace treaty with the factionless and Allegiant. But, more importantly, I got my mother back. I never thought that would happen, not in all of the years of my life.

It feels so odd that I’m walking alongside a mother who used to be a woman I almost distrusted as much as my father. With Marcus, I was more afraid of his temper, but with Evelyn, I was afraid with how manipulate she was and how she could twist her words.

What’s more shocking, though, is the fact that I’m with Peter and don’t feel like punching him in the face. I thought that, whenever I’d at him after he had taken the memory-erasing serum, I’d still see the same man who shoved a butter knife into Edward’s eye, the man who tried to kill my girlfriend, and a man who was the embodiment of evil. But now, all I see is an innocent, confused-looking boy.

The journey home seems to take forever, and just when I think it will never end we soon make it home. On the outside everything looks the same, but as soon as I get to the city I know things are much different than I remember.

People are scattered around the place, looking lost and confused. Everybody seems to be panicked but doesn’t move, almost as if they’re trying to process what has just happened.

Christina, Peter and I push through the crowd of people and look around. When Caleb had been sent in to erase the memories of everyone in the Bureau, we hadn’t thought of what to do during the aftermath. What are we supposed to say to these people? How are we supposed to explain why they can’t remember anything about themselves?

My eyes suddenly land on Tris, who is also walking among the crowd of people. Her eyes look strained and her body looks tired, but I’m not sure why. Caleb’s walking beside her, looking as if he’s also trying to decide what to do with all of the people we’ve mind wiped.

I make my way towards Tris, and pull her into an embrace. We stand there for a moment until Tris finally lets go. Seeing her closer up now, I can tell how she looks even weaker than when I first glanced at her. I don’t know why, but now might not be the best time to ask those questions. 

“How did it go?” Tris asks me, and I immediately know she’s talking about my negotiations with Evelyn, the factionless and the Allegiant.

“Surprisingly well,” I tell Tris honestly. “I managed to get Evelyn to agree to a peace treaty between the factonless and the Allegiant.”

“She listened to you?” Tris looks surprised, as if that had been the last answer she had expected to hear. I’m not too shocked by her response; the Evelyn she met was the cruel, power-hungry woman who had ruled a dictatorship over her old factions. She was also a woman who did not approve of my girlfriend/ 

But that woman is gone now.

I smile at Tris. “My family isn’t completely broken,” I tell her. “I still have my mother. And you.” I place a hand on her face, and I can see Tris trying to hide the blush that’s making its way to her face. 

“So,” I say, turning around to face Caleb, “I guess the plan worked?”

Caleb bites his lip for a minute before answering. “I didn’t do it,” he finally says. He gestures towards Tris. “She did it. I tried to stop her,” he begins hurriedly, “but she had me at gunpoint and--”

But I’m not paying attention to Caleb anymore. All I can do is imagine Tris, making her way towards the death serum, nearly walking into the face of death itself. My body freezes, but I somehow manage to form words.

“What were you thinking?” I demand, turning on Tris. “I thought we agreed that--”

“I couldn’t let him die,” Tris interrupts. She turns to Caleb, giving him a solemn look. “He wanted to sacrifice himself because he felt like death would erase all the guilt that’ he’s felt. I couldn’t let him do that.” She looks up at me, as if begging me to understand. “You shouldn’t have to die just so you don’t have to live with yourself and all of the horrible things you have done. I would know, Tobias, because I tried to do it before.”

I don’t know what to say. I remember how, back when Jeanine had the Dauntless under her control and was trying to destroy all of the Divergent, Tris had recklessly thrown herself in the midst of danger, and even tried to get herself killed so she could forget about how she had ended Will’s life. Now I can see why Tris had taken Caleb’s place instead. Sacrifice isn’t bent on washing away your guilt--it has to be meaningful. Just like Tris’ parent’s death. 

I understand why Tris did what she did. But that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.

I look sternly into Tris’ eyes. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again,” I say in a low voice. “You should have at least told me what you were going to do.” I pause, easing up on my tone. “I can’t afford to lose you, Tris. You mean everything to me.”

Tris smiles at me and puts her hand into mine. “I know,” she whispers. “You mean everything to me, too.” Then she lets out a small laugh. “You should really trust me more often when I go into life-threatening situations. Considering that I’ve been in more than one in a short period of time, I thought you would have known that I don’t die that easily.”

In spite of myself, I smile.

Tris turns her attention back to the people. “Well, we stopped these people from destroying everyone in Chicago,” she begins slowly. “But now they don’t remember anything. Now she turns to me. “What are we going to do?”

I frown. “I don’t know,” is all I can say.

“We could tell them the truth,” Tris suggests suddenly. “At least a part of it.”

I give her an incredulous look. “I don’t think that will run over well with them,” I say. 

“We could just tell them about erasing their minds,” Tris begins, “but we could make up some sort of excuse as to why we did it. That it was for their safety.” She looks over at the people again. “I still can’t believe this, that the people we’ve fought against remember nothing about us.”

“Isn’t it better that way?” I ask. After all, it was her plan to erase their memories in the first place.

Tris sighs. “I know,” she says. “But it almost feels as if nothing really happened.” She shakes her head. “Ever since I found out about Edith Prior, ever since I came here and left Chicago, I feel like I know nothing.” She looks at me desperately. “Everything that I learned--was it all just a lie? Do I really know anything?”

I looked into her eyes deeply. “Not everything,” I say. “The people in your life--your friends, your family--they all cared about you.” I hold her face into my hands again. “And so do I. I love you, Tris.”

Tris just smiles. “I know,” she whispers. “I love you, too.” And then she pulls me in and kisses me.

And for a moment, we forget that we’re even here, in the midst of a ruined society, a society that doesn’t even remember its own corruption. All I can think about is holding Tris in my arms, and how I never want to let go.

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