*Please don't read if you haven't already read Allegiant because it will completely ruin the ending for you.*
Despite the wretchedness searing through my trembling body, I reluctantly lowered myself into my hard, uncomfortable seat, refraining from glancing up at the sorrowful images of the fallen. Instead, I hung my head and focused on the wooden floor, ignoring all that was around me. I didn't even care; for I was numb. Completely and utterly numb.
I felt my mother trace her cold, smooth fingers hesitantly across the back of my hand, before grasping it tightly. I premeditatedly shuddered, instantly withdrawing my arm from her touch.
"I'm sorry, it's just going to take some time to adjust." I mumbled, barely audible.
Evelyn didn't reply for a couple of moments. We simply sat side by side in silence, avoiding each others gaze.
"You haven't forgiven me, have you? You don't trust me..." She whispered, her voice quavering slightly.
Truthfully, I doubt I would ever fully be able to forgive her for what she did to me, to all of us. Evelyn hadn't been the most kind-hearted or solicitous mother, but shouldn't everyone deserve a second chance? Although, if she hadn't taken command of the factionless, perhaps things would have been different. Maybe we wouldn't all be here today...Maybe she wouldn't have died... I forced the thought out of my mind as my mother tilted my face towards her. After all, I couldn't alter the past.
In the past month I'd noticed that she'd aged considerably. Her once youthful appearance was lost. Defined creases were beginning to show on her forehead that not even copious amounts of make-up could conceal. Her dark, stern looking eyes had turned cloudy, as though she had witnessed terrible suffering.
There was nothing I could say to her, but fortunately I heard the unmistakeable sound of high heels clacking up to the podium.
"Eh-hem." A harsh sounding voice echoed around the room, which hastily fell silent. I recognised that voice...
Sure enough, Johanna Reyes stood straight before the podium, brushing imaginary dirt off of her sophisticated suit. Her chin was held high, clearly displaying her authority.
"For those of you who do not know me, I am Johanna Reyes, leader of the Allegiant... We have all been deeply saddened by the devastating aftermath of the rebellion and we are here today to honour those valiant and heroic souls, who gave their lives to protect our precious city.
Their sacrifice was inexorable, requisite to our mission. Without their determination and loyalty, who knows what fate would have been bestowed upon us. We shall hold them in our hearts for the rest of eternity. Their names and their stories will remain unforgotten, and they will forever go down in history as fearless, devoted and noble soldiers."
Requisite? Their deaths were requisite? I refused to listen to another word. I felt the rage bubbling up inside me, like a volcano ready to erupt. Her face was plastered, blank, revealing no emotion at all. She didn't know them; they weren't of any significance to her. It was pellucid to me that she'd memorised this speech. She'd undoubtedly planned every last detail, and may have even practised it in front of the mirror.
I turned to scan the row behind me, searching for Christina. I found her on the edge of the second row, scowling up at Johanna. It was almost reposing, knowing that I wasn't the only one who felt this way.
Suddenly the lights flickered out, leaving a dim spotlight surrounding Johanna's tall frame. On the blank screen behind her, a large image of Uriah appeared. I recognised his tanned skin, dark hair and the unmistakeable childish grin he wore more often than not. From the back of the room, I distinctively heard Zeke's miserable sobs for his brother, and my urge to laugh instantly faded.
My stomach twisted with unbearable guilt; I should have protected him, I could have kept him alive...
His image merged into Marlene's, which, after about a minute, dissolved into Tori's. Each photo of my friends shot a pang of pain through my body, but I knew that this was nothing compared to the image I couldn't prepare myself to see.
Tris' face appeared next on the screen, looking amused. I could feel myself tear up but I refused to cry, to break down now. I simply stared into her eyes as a sharp, pointed dagger pierced my already broken heart.
She'd been the only person I had ever confided in; the only person I had allowed to see beneath what I portray myself to be. She understood me, my flaws, my strengths, everything. She made us all stronger. Now I felt like I was alone, stumbling around in the dark, waiting for her to find me again.
She was the bravest person I'd ever known and right now, I had to be brave for her.
I made the mistake of focusing my gaze upon her dazzling grey-blue eyes. Sure, she wasn't the prettiest. She may of had wide, round eyes and a generous nose, but to me, she was everything. She made pretty seem like an insult. I couldn't hold back any longer, the grief engulfed my body until there was nothing left. I felt the tears accumulating and blinked hard to ease the pain away. Too late, the tears were already streaming silently down my face.
She was gone...I wouldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it.
Tris changed me in ways words can't describe. She showed me that it's okay to let your guard down sometimes. She was the only person I'd let it, the only person who truly knew me. She understood my flaws, my strengths, and gave me the motivation to be stronger.
There will always be an empty hole in my heart that only Tris can fill - a wound that deep cannot be healed. Some scars never fade. Without her, I doubt I'll ever be the same again. She was my only love, and she'd been taken from me...How do you recover from that? My vision of that perfect, blissful future with the girl I loved had been shattered on the day I'd felt her frozen, lifeless face... The day she died. How can you pick up the fragments of who you are and move on? She completed me, she was what I was missing all my life.
I suppose there are some people who touch your life so much that it's impossible to ever forget them, to erase the memories that you created together. Not even time has that power.
Now I only see traces of her, the mark she imprinted upon the world in the places we'd visited together.
I remembered the first time we kissed, the way her thin, moist lips pressed gently into mine. I recalled our very last moment together, when she told me she loved me...My greatest regret is that I wasn't there when she died. I wasn't able to protect her, to shield her from the bullet that brutally ended her life...
Tris had always longed to be free. She resembled a bird trapped in a tiny cage, craving freedom...And now, in death, her dream had been fulfilled.