Divergent FanFic Competition entry. c:

Those eyes... they looked so empty. They look as if they belonged to someone who never dared to take chances, to do things no one else would. And that definitely wasn't Tris.

Tris was like fire; beautiful to look at, hard to control, and deadly to wield.


7. Chp. 5- Old Flame

I cannot believe I'm doing this...

I stand outside the glass building, the revolving door in front of me spilling people out into the street. There was no way of telling how many of them had previously been Erudite. It was probably a lot, considering this is a laboratory.

I walk inside, pushing through the crowd to and empty elevator. It smells oddly of antiseptic and lemons. A dull gleam shines off of the silver walls. I push the arrow button that leads to the underground level, then I enter the series of numbers that is the authorization code Caleb gave me. Caleb Prior... he had never been the same after Tris's death. It was difficult just to cope with the death of his parents, and then the only other relative he held dear was gone. We talk occasionally, but it is more of a therapy session for him. Sometimes he will regale me with the innumerable details of his latest technological advancement. I think the last thing he told me about was a new chemical to restore overused soil--

"Four?" Caleb approaches me, removing his gloves. "I didn't expect to be seeing you so soon."

He is wearing a friendly smile, but I can see that the corners are strained. I glance around him to see Cara, working restlessly with several test tubes. He is putting on a show for her.

"Cara! Working hard or hardly working?" I speak over Caleb's shoulder. She brings her gaze to mine, a polite grin stretches from cheek to cheek.

"If only it could be the latter, Tobias."

"Well how about you take a break for awhile so Caleb and I can talk, huh?" I can see the hesitance on her face as she glances back and forth between Caleb an I.

"Sure," she gently sets the test tubes back in their holders, "I think it's about lunch time anyway. Do you want anything from the Cafeteria, Caleb? I would be happy to get you something while I'm there."

"No, Cara, that's okay."

"Are you sure? I really don't mind."

"I'm sure, Cara. I'll grab something later."

Her grin twitched for only a second. Was it physically possible to see someone deflate so quickly?

"All right then. I'll be back in ten minutes," she hurried out of the room. I briefly saw her cover her mouth before the elevator doors shut.

I examine the room, taking in everything from the potted plants to the various arrays of brightly coloured fluids in all sorts of containers. Finally, I saw Caleb's back to me, gripping the edge of a table so hard his knuckles were white. His shoulder blades were visibly tensed even through his stark white lab coat. As I reached a hand out to him, he spoke.

"What is it that you want, Four?" His voice was tight.

"I..." Should I tell him? "I have something I need to ask of you."

"What is it?"

"I need your help on a case I'm doing right no--"

"You know," he interrupts me, standing up straighter, but still not facing me, "I thought talking to you would make it easier. Something Beatrice would want me to do. But I didn't know it would be so damn hard.

Knowing how much she trusted you, trusted you over me, it makes me wish I could've done something different. Could've been there for her. And now, just seeing you, it reminds me of her. And it hurts, Four," he finally turned to face me, tears rolling down his cheeks, "it really hurts."

In all the time I'd known Caleb Prior, I had never seen him so openly vulnerable.

"Caleb...I... I'm sorry."

"I don't want your apologies. I just... I don't know what I want." He wiped his face with his sleeves; a childlike gesture that made me realize how young he actually was. He always hid behind this façade of indefinite maturity, making everyone see him as much older. But he really wasn't.

"I don't know what to say." I shifted my weight between my feet awkwardly.

He shook his head, taking a deep breathe and sighing. "Nevermind. What did you come here for?"

"This," I held out Susan Black's folder. Recognition dawned on his face instantly.

"Susan? What about her? What's wrong?"

"She's apparently gone missing."

"Missing? When?" Worry laced his voice.

"I'm assuming you knew her," I raised a single eyebrow.

"Of course. She was my," he swallowed slowly, "neighbor."

"Nothing more?"

"At one point I thought she could've been," his voice seemed distanced.

I lay a hand on Caleb's shoulder. "What you tell me now, Caleb... it could help me find her."

Biting his bottom lip, he unravels, telling me everything he knows about Susan; he didn't even leave out the, well, whatever it was they had between them.

"So do you think you can find her?"

"I'll try my best, Caleb. I'll see you later, okay?"

"Okay," he replies as I close in on the elevator. As I push the button, I hear him call my name once again.

"Yes?" I half turn around.

"I'm sorry about what I said earlier. About Tris..." he fidgets with his hands. "Can we just... Can we just forget that it happened?"

He lifts his head and I can see the regret in his eyes. He's being sincere. He knows that he needs me.

"Sure. Consider it already done."

A small smile pulls at his cheek. "Thanks."

The elevator door opens with a ding. "No problem," I step inside and the doors close behind me.


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