What if Tobias and Beatrice transferred to Dauntless in the same year? (Cover by the wonderful Rose)


5. Five


Once everyone has successfully made the landing, we are separated into two groups. Despite being ‘Dauntless’ now, we are still treated like we are from another faction, the Dauntless born initiates separated from the transfers. We’re not considered true members of Dauntless until we pass initiation, which we are told consists of two stages; physical and mental. The Dauntless born are led off by their instructor, Eric, leaving the transfers to the hands of Amar. Seeing Amar’s face puts me at an ease because it’s a familiar face, along with Beatrice – Tris – who is in front of me.

“For those of you who don’t know,” Amar says, pacing back and forth in front of us, “My name’s Amar, and I’ll be overseeing your initiation into Dauntless. We’ll further discuss this tomorrow morning,” he says, his eyes glancing over us individually, “First, I’d like to take you on a tour through the compound.” He turns his back to us, and starts walking away, “Follow me.”

We follow him, walking in pairs, and then single file when the path is too narrow to accommodate two people. Coincidentally, I find myself paired up with Al again, in front of us, Tris and Christina. The corridors are so dimly lit that it’s hard to see where we are going. The darkness envelopes me, and I welcome it. But then the walls cave in further, and I feel like I am in that closet again, trapped between the walls, cowering in the darkness. I feel my heart beating against my rib cage and I start breathing heavily, dragging my inhales and exhales for too long. Before us, Amar has stopped suddenly and I accidentally knock into the person in front of me. Tris. I can’t see her, but I know it’s her because my hand brushes her hair which she has hastily tied back into an Abnegation bun.

“We’re about the enter the Pit,” Amar shouts, so those of us at the back can hear him. Or maybe he shouts just because that’s what the Dauntless do, since there are only about 9 of us transfers in total and we can all hear him clearly. It’s quiet in the hallway and his voice bounces off the walls, creating an echo. He continues forward, and we emerge into some kind of Dauntless gathering place. “This is the centre of life here at Dauntless!” Amar screams, navigating through even narrower paths, high above the ground floor. All around us, there are the Dauntless. They laugh. They scream. They shout. They fight. They sing. They dance. They live.

It’s so different to anything I have ever been used to that I find myself staring in awe. I am lost in the beauty that resides in this chaos all around me. “Come on,” a voice calls out, and I realise it’s Tris. The rest of the transfers have moved on, disappearing through a doorway at the other end of the Pit. We race to catch up to them, and I am breathless by the time we do, both in fear and exhilaration. The sounds of my new faction are replaced by the rushing of water. We are looking down over the rail into an opening where there are dangerous looking rocks and a stream of water. “This is the chasm,” Amar says, raising his voice slightly so it can be heard over the gushing.

“Has anyone ever jumped in there?” Someone asks, I don’t register who.

“Yes,” Amar responds, “But you don’t want to do that unless you want to get yourself killed.” That sends a chill through each of us, and then we move on through another dark corridor that ends in a door. Somewhere between entering the Pit and reaching the end of this corridor, I lost Al and Tris lost Christina and we ended up together. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Amar opens the door and we enter a large room with beds aligning both walls, creating an aisle down the middle. “This is where you’ll be sleeping until you pass initiation and you’ve been assigned your job as a Dauntless member.” He takes us to the end of the aisle into another open space. It’s secluded from the bedroom, and when I glance around, I realise why. It’s the bathroom, shower cubicles on one end, toilets on the other. There are a few remarks from the group, “Urgh!” “Really?” “Gross!” Amar just smiles, leading us back into the bedroom.

“You’ll find that fresh clothes have been placed on the beds,” he says, during which we look around and acknowledge the black piles sitting at the foot of each bed. “Change into them, and disregard of your old clothes. You’re Dauntless now.” He walks back towards the door. “See you at dinner,” he says, disappearing into the darkness.

An awkward silence falls between us after his departure, and we look around at one another unsure what we’re supposed to do. Peter walks to one side of the room and chooses a bunk. He picks up the clothing, removes his own, and gets dressed, exchanging his black and white attire for completely black. There’s something about it that makes him seem like a completely different person, like the colour moulds him into someone new. Will is the next person to choose a bunk, next to Peter’s, and change his Erudite blue into Dauntless black. A blonde Candor kid takes the bunk beside him, followed by a tall Erudite boy named Edward. I take the last bunk on that side of the room.

There are only three girls amongst us – Tris, Christina, and a Candor girl named Molly – so Al takes a bunk on the girl’s side of the room. Everyone starts changing into the clothes provided, stripping away the last of their old factions. You’re Dauntless now. Amar’s voice replays in my head as I sit on the edge of my bunk, waiting for the room to clear out before I change.

Peter is the first of us to get up. As he heads towards the door, he passes Tris who’s struggling to change into her clothes. “Check it out,” he says to no one in particular. But he’s looking directly at her, “A Stiff’s showing some skin.” All eyes in the room turn to Tris and she turns red in embarrassment. She picks up her clothes and disappears into the bathroom to change. One by one, the dormitory clears out as everyone heads to lunch. Peter first, followed by the rest of the boys. Then, Molly and Christina. Once they’re gone, I change into the black Dauntless pants. They’re a little tighter than what I’m used to, and I have to suck in my stomach to pull the zipper up.

I shrug off my grey shirt and toss it to the floor, picking up the black one. That’s when I hear footsteps behind me. They are so faint that I hardly hear them, thinking I’m just imagining it, but then I remember that I wasn’t the last person in the room. I don’t turn around to look at her. I just quickly pull on the shirt because I know she’s staring. When I glance over my shoulder, she’s standing there, frozen.

But it’s not the look on her face that surprises me the most. It’s how different she looks, standing there, covered in black instead of grey. I look down at myself, and laugh, because that’s probably how I look to her too. Instead of a bun, she’s pulled her golden hair into a high ponytail, but two locks hang loose, framing her face. And against the blackness, her eyes shine bright, like stars that light up the night sky. And in that moment, when I’m looking at her but not really looking at her, I have hope.

Though I had never been afraid of the dark, I was a little afraid upon entering Dauntless. The darkness was overwhelming, and a painful reminder of my past. But you can’t be afraid of the dark if you have light. And I have found my light. But the truth is, she always had been. In Abnegation, though everything was dull and grey, she wasn’t. She always stood out. Perhaps it was her inability to fit in that made her that way. She tried her best to hide it, so no one would notice, but I did. And every time I saw her at our family dinners, I was happy to see her. I tried my best to hide it, so no one would notice, but she did.

Perhaps we are opposites. She is everything that is light. And I am everything that is dark. I am scarred and broken, damaged from my father’s abuse and my mother’s absence. In all those years I spent in darkness, I clung onto my light and it brought me here. Now, standing this close to one another, I can feel myself being pulled towards her. And it’s not because she’s beautiful, or because I’ve known her since I was a child. It’s because we are opposites.

And everyone knows, opposites attract.

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