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CHAPTER FORTY-SIX

TOBIAS

Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)

MY FEET SLIP on the snowy pavement.

“You didn’t inoculate yourself yesterday,” I say to Peter.

“No, I didn’t,” Peter says.

“Why not?”

“Why should I tell you?”

I run my thumb over the vial and say, “You came with me because you know I have the memory serum, right? If you want me to give it to you, it couldn’t hurt to give me a reason. ”

He looks at my pocket again, like he did earlier. He must have seen Christina give it to me. He says, “I’d rather just take it from you. ”

“Please. ” I lift my eyes up, to watch the snow spilling over the edges of the buildings. It’s dark, but the moon provides just enough light to see by. “You might think you’re pretty good at fighting, but you aren’t good enough to beat me, I promise you. ”

Without warning he shoves me, hard, and I slip on the snowy ground and fall. My gun clatters to the ground, half buried in the snow. That’ll teach me to get cocky, I think, and I scramble to my feet. He grabs my collar and yanks me forward so I slide again, only this time I keep my balance and elbow him in the stomach. He kicks me hard in the leg, making it go numb, and grabs the front of my jacket to pull me toward him.

His hand fumbles for my pocket, where the serum is. I try to push him away, but his footing is too sure and my leg is still too numb. With a groan of frustration, I bring my free arm back by my face and slam my elbow into his mouth. Pain spreads through my arm—it hurts to hit someone in the teeth—but it was worth it. He yells, sliding back onto the street, his face clutched in both hands.

“You know why you won fights as an initiate?” I say as I get to my feet. “Because you’re cruel. Because you like to hurt people. And you think you’re special, you think everyone around you is a bunch of sissies who can’t make the tough choices like you can. ”

He starts to get up, and I kick him in the side so he goes sprawling again. Then I press my foot to his chest, right under his throat, and our eyes meet, his wide and innocent and nothing like what’s inside him.

“You are not special,” I say. “I like to hurt people too. I can make the cruelest choice. The difference is, sometimes I don’t, and you always do, and that makes you evil. ”

I step over him and start down Michigan Avenue again. But before I take more than a few steps, I hear his voice.

“That’s why I want it,” he says, his voice shaking.

I stop. I don’t turn around. I don’t want to see his face right now.

“I want the serum because I’m sick of being this way,” he says. “I’m sick of doing bad things and liking it and then wondering what’s wrong with me. I want it to be over. I want to start again. ”

“And you don’t think that’s the coward’s way out?” I say over my shoulder.

“I think I don’t care if it is or not,” Peter says.

I feel the anger that was swelling within me deflate as I turn the vial over in my fingers, inside my pocket. I hear him get to his feet and brush the snow from his clothes.

“Don’t try to mess with me again,” I say, “and I promise I’ll let you reset yourself, when all this is said and done. I have no reason not to. ”

He nods, and we continue through the unmarked snow to the building where I last saw my mother.

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