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CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN

TRIS

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THERE IS A nervous kind of quiet in the hallway, though there are people everywhere. One woman bumps me with her shoulder and then mutters an apology, and I move closer to Calebso I don’t lose sight of him. Sometimes all I want is to be a few inches taller so the world does not look like a dense collection of torsos.

We move quickly, but not too quickly. The more security guards I see, the more pressure I feel building inside me. Caleb’s backpack, with the clean suit and explosives inside it, bounces against his lower back as we walk. People are moving in all different directions, but soon, we will reach a hallway that no one has any reason to walk down.

“I think something must have happened to Cara,” Matthew says. “The lights were supposed to be off by now. ”

I nod. I feel the gun digging into my back, disguised by my baggy shirt. I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to use it, but it seems that I will, and even then it might not be enough to get us to the Weapons Lab.

I touch Caleb’s arm, and Matthew’s, stopping all three of us in the middle of the hallway.

“I have an idea,” I say. “We split up. Caleb and I will run to the lab, and Matthew, cause some kind of diversion. ”

“A diversion?”

“You have a gun, don’t you?” I say. “Fire into the air. ”

He hesitates.

“Do it,” I say through gritted teeth.

Matthew takes his gun out. I grab Caleb’s elbow and steer him down the hallway. Over my shoulder I watch Matthew lift the gun over his head and fire straight up, at one of the glass panels above him. At the sharp bang, I burst into a run, dragging Caleb with me. Screams and shattering glass fill the air, and security guards run past us without noticing that we are running away from the dormitories, running toward a place we should not be.

It’s a strange thing to feel my instincts and Dauntless training kick in. My breathing becomes deeper, more even, as we follow the route we determined this morning. My mind feels sharper, clearer. I look at Caleb, expecting to see the same thing happening to him, but all the blood seems to have drained from his face, and he is gasping. I keep my hand firm on his elbow to steady him.

We round a corner, shoes squeaking on the tile, and an empty hallway with a mirrored ceiling stretches out in front of us. I feel a surge of triumph. I know this place. We aren’t far now. We’re going to make it.

“Stop!” a voice shouts from behind me.

The security guards. They found us.

“Stop or we’ll shoot!”

Caleb shudders and lifts his hands. I lift mine, too, and look at him.

I feel everything slowing down inside me, my racing thoughts and the pounding of my heart.

When I look at him, I don’t see the cowardly young man who sold me out to Jeanine Matthews, and I don’t hear the excuses he gave afterward.

When I look at him, I see the boy who held my hand in the hospital when our mother broke her wrist and told me it would be all right. I see the brother who told me to make my own choices, the night before the Choosing Ceremony. I think of all the remarkable things he is—smart and enthusiastic and observant, quiet and earnest and kind.

He is a part of me, always will be, and I am a part of him, too. I don’t belong to Abnegation, or Dauntless, or even the Divergent. I don’t belong to the Bureau or the experiment or the fringe. I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me—they, and the love and loyalty I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could.

I love my brother. I love him, and he is quaking with terror at the thought of death. I love him and all I can think, all I can hear in my mind, are the words I said to him a few days ago: I would never deliver you to your own execution.

“Caleb,” I say. “Give me the backpack. ”

“What?” he says.

I slip my hand under the back of my shirt and grab my gun. I point it at him. “Give me the backpack. ”

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“Tris, no. ” He shakes his head. “No, I won’t let you do that. ”

“Put down your weapon!” the guard screams at the end of the hallway. “Put down your weapon or we will fire!”

“I might survive the death serum,” I say. “I’m good at fighting off serums. There’s a chance I’ll survive. There’s no chance you would survive. Give me the backpack or I’ll shoot you in the leg and take it from you. ”

Then I raise my voice so the guards can hear me. “He’s my hostage! Come any closer and I’ll kill him!”

In that moment he reminds me of our father. His eyes are tired and sad. There’s a shadow of a beard on his chin. His hands shake as he pulls the backpack to the front of his body and offers it to me.

I take it and swing it over my shoulder. I keep my gun pointed at him and shift so he’s blocking my view of the soldiers at the end of the hallway.

“Caleb,” I say, “I love you. ”

His eyes gleam with tears as he says, “I love you, too, Beatrice. ”

“Get down on the floor!” I yell, for the benefit of the guards.

Caleb sinks to his knees.

“If I don’t survive,” I say, “tell Tobias I didn’t want to leave him. ”

I back up, aiming over Caleb’s shoulder at one of the security guards. I inhale and steady my hand. I exhale and fire. I hear a pained yell, and sprint in the other direction with the sound of gunfire in my ears. I run a crooked path so it’s harder to hit me, and then dive around the corner. A bullet hits the wall right behind me, putting a hole in it.

As I run, I swing the backpack around my body and open the zipper. I take out the explosives and the detonator. There are shouts and running footsteps behind me. I don’t have any time. I don’t have any time.

I run harder, faster than I thought I could. The impact of each footstep shudders through me and I turn the next corner, where there are two guards standing by the doors Nita and the invaders broke. Clutching the explosives and detonator to my chest with my free hand, I shoot one guard in the leg and the other in the chest.

The one I shot in the leg reaches for his gun, and I fire again, closing my eyes after I aim. He doesn’t move again.

I run past the broken doors and into the hallway between them. I slam the explosives against the metal bar where the two doors join, and clamp down the claws around the edge of the bar so it will stay. Then I run back to the end of the hallway and around the corner and crouch, my back to the doors, as I press the detonation button and shield my ears with my palms.

The noise vibrates in my bones as the small bomb detonates, and the force of the blast throws me sideways, my gun sliding across the floor. Pieces of glass and metal spray through the air, falling to the floor where I lie, stunned. Even though I sealed off my ears with my hands, I still hear ringing when I take them away, and I feel unsteady on my feet.

At the end of the hallway, the guards have caught up with me. They fire, and a bullet hits me in the fleshy part of my arm. I scream, clapping my hand over the wound, and my vision goes spotty at the edges as I throw myself around the corner again, half walking and half stumbling to the blasted-open doors.

Beyond them is a small vestibule with a set of sealed, lockless doors at the other end. Through the windows in those doors I see the Weapons Lab, the even rows of machinery and dark devices and serum vials, lit from beneath like they’re on display. I hear a spraying sound and know that the death serum is floating through the air, but the guards are behind me, and I don’t have time to put on the suit that will delay its effects.

I also know, I just know, that I can survive this.

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I step into the vestibule.

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