It took two years for me to return to normal. To the old Tris. I had to learn everything over again.
Learning how to walk took me the longest. I’m only now starting to run and jump again.
I often think back to those chaotic times. Though there are more than a few gaps in my memory. Tobias talks about things from the past, our first memories together. Sometimes I think he wishes we still lived in that time. Sometimes when he talks like that though I have no idea what he’s talking about. I know it frustrates him.
I remember enough from the past to know that we’ve changed. I guess experiencing as much death and war as we did would change anyone. I’d like to say we’re living happily, but the more time that passes I realize we’re just living. Existing.
I still blame myself. I know I shouldn’t. I know she doesn’t. But I do. Everything that happened at the bureau, almost losing her, it was all my fault. I know I should be over this, but every day I relive those memories. Those moments. Guilt consumes me. Maybe someday I can forgive myself. I’ve got a lot of things to let go. I suppose it’ll just take time.
It’s funny, I thought with all the craziness and violence gone it would be easy to live peacefully with Tris. Like I had always dreamed. But it’s exactly the opposite. Before, with all the fighting, I had chances to redeem myself, to make up for my mistakes. It’s hard to make yourself feel better about something when you have no opportunities to show yourself that you can be good. It’s not that I want the chaos back, or our lives endangered ever again but… the grass is always greener I guess.
I’ve seen my mother only a handful of times since the agreement we made with Marcus and Johanna. She had to leave the city. As much as I wanted her around, after so many years apart, I knew it was best for her to not be there while Tris and I worked through her injuries, and our problems.
I meet Evelyn, alone, at the place where the two worlds meet. Tire tracks are worn into the ground now, from the frequent coming and going of people from the fringe moving in and out, or people from the former Bureau compound commuting back and forth. Her bag rests against her leg, in one of the wells in the earth. She lifts a hand to greet me when I’m close.
When she gets into the truck, she kisses my cheek, and I let her. I feel a smile creep across my face, and I let it stay there.
“Welcome back,” I say.
The agreement, when I offered it to her more than two years ago, and when she made it again with Johanna shortly after, was that she would leave the city. Now, so much has changed in Chicago that I don’t see the harm in her coming back, and neither does she. Though two years have passed, she looks younger, her face fuller and her smile wider. The time away has done her good.
“How are you? How’s Tris?” She says.
“I’m… okay,” I say. “Tris is doing well, started walking not too long ago.”
Evelyn puts a hand on my shoulder and looks out at the fields. The crops that were once isolated to the areas around Amity headquarters have spread, and continue to spread through all the grassy spaces around the city. Sometimes I miss the desolate, empty land. But right now I don’t mind driving through the rows and rows of corn or wheat. I see people among the plants, checking the soil with handheld devices designed by former Bureau scientists.
“What’s it like, living without factions?” Evelyn asks.
“It’s very ordinary,” I say. I smile at her. “You’ll love it.”
I take Evelyn to our apartment just north of the river. It’s on one of the lower floors, though Tris tried to get me to agree to a top floor apartment. We were some of the first settlers in the new Chicago, so we got to choose where we lived. Zeke, Shauna, Christina, Amar, and George opted to live in the higher floors of the :Hancock building, Cara moved back to the apartments near Millennium Park, but we came here because it was beautiful and because it was nowhere near either of our old homes.
“Our neighbor is a history expert, he came from the fringe. He calls Chicago ‘the fourth city’ – because it was destroyed by fire, ages ago, and then again by the Purity War, and now we’re on the fourth attempt at settlement here.” I say as I push the door to the apartment open.
Tris is inside sitting on the couch. I can feel the tension in the room. I thought enough time has passed for them to be able to finally get along. I cringe as Tris pushes herself to her feet and walks over to Evelyn. She’s still a little awkward on her feet.
When Tobias told me that Evelyn was coming to stay with us for a while until she gets settled in Chicago, I was worried about how it would go. I know she means a lot to Tobias, and I know I should get over the past. But I wasn’t sure that I could.
Looking at her standing in the doorway though, she looks different. Changed. I walk over and shake her hand. Hugging is out of the question. Probably forever.
“Thank you for letting me stay with you guys for a little while. I promise I’ll find another place soon.” Evelyn says.
“No problem,” Tobias says. I can tell he’s nervous. I know he wants to patch things up with her. And I know that if I don’t try to bridge the gap between her and I, they won’t either.
I manage to get a few words out, “Stay as long as you need to, family is always welcome.”
They both look stunned. I want to move forward with Tobias. I want a future with him. I want a family with him. And that includes her. I have no family anymore. Tobias and Evelyn are all that I have.
It’s weird sitting down for a family dinner. I’ve never had much experience with small talk, but it’s strange just sitting in silence.
“George says he needs some help training a police force,” Evelyn says, finally breaking the silence, “You didn’t offer?”
“No,” I say. “I told you, I’m done with guns.”
“That’s right. You’re using your words now,” Evelyn says, wrinkling her nose. “I don’t trust politicians you know.”
“You’ll trust me, because I’m your son,” I say. “Anyways, I’m not a politician. Not yet, anyway. Just an assistant.”
I’d be a liar if I said becoming a politician didn’t worry me. One step closer to becoming him, Marcus. Something I have been fighting to avoid my whole life. But with Chicago the way it is now, starting over, I think it could use me. I have Tris. I know she’ll keep me grounded.
As if she knew what I was thinking, “Do you know where your father is?” she asks.
I shrug. “Someone told me he left. I didn’t ask where he went.”
She rests her chin on her hand. “There’s nothing you wanted to say to him? Nothing at all?”
“No,” I say, fiddling with the fork, rearranging the food on my plate. “I just wanted to leave him behind me, where he belongs.”
Two years ago, when I stood across from him in the park with the snow falling all around us, I realized that just as attacking him in front of the Dauntless in the Merciless Mart didn’t make me feel better about the pain he caused me, yelling at him or insulting him wouldn’t either. There was only one option left, and it was letting go.
Today’s the day we all let Uriah go. Hana and Zeke said goodbye when they unplugged him, but they knew that they weren’t the only ones who loved him like family. They agreed to let all of us say goodbye to him. Dauntless style. But being in the condition I was in, I obviously couldn’t join them. So they waited.
The spring air is cold but we leave the windows open in the truck as we drive through the city. I can feel the air piercing my lungs. We stop by the train platform near the Merciless Mart. We walk down the platform toward the group that has already gathered. Christina stands with Zeke and Shauna, who sits in the wheelchair with a blanket over her lap and the urn resting on top. The urn was perfect. Jet black with an orange ring around the nexk. Dauntless style. I notice Shauna has a better wheelchair now, one without handles on the back so she can maneuver it more easily.
“Hi,” I say, standing at Shauna’s shoulder. Christina smiles at me, and Zeke claps me on the shoulder, “Glad to see you walking again Tris. Ready?”
I give him a shaky smile, “Ready.”
“Wait!” Shauna yells, “Got something to show you,” and she tosses the blanket aside, revealing complicated metal braces on her legs. They go all the way up to her hips and wrap around her belly like a cage. She smiles at us, and with a gear-grinding sound, her feet shift to the ground in front of the chair, and in fits and starts, she stands. It’s a somber occasion, but we all smile and cheer her on.
“Well, look at that,” I say. “I’d forgotten how tall you are.”
“Cara and her lab buddies made them for me,” she says, “Still getting the hang of it, but they say I might be able to run someday.”
The train is coming. It charges toward us on the polished rails, then squeals as it slows to a stop in front of the platform. A head leans out the window of the first car, where the controls are – it’s Cara, her hair in a tight braid.
“Get on!” She says.
Shauna sits in the chair again and pushes herself through the doorway. Christina and Zeke follow. Tobias gets on last, helping me into the train. The train starts again, building speed with each second, and I hear it churning over the tracks and whistling over the rails, and I feel the power of it rising inside me. The air whips across my face and presses my clothes to my body, and I watch the city sprawl out in front of me, the buildings lit by the sun.
It reminds me of all the times I had ridden the train with Tobias. Holding onto the only person holding my world together. Sitting still together while the world around us speeds out of control. I shuffle over to him, and rest my head on his chest, as I had done so many times during our train rides. He’s warm. He wraps his arms around me and kisses my forehead, and for the first time in a long time, things felt like they did before this whole mess. Before we lost so many loved ones, before we almost lost each other.
I hadn’t realized how little Tris and I have touched until she scooted over to me on the train. It felt so new, like the first time we ever got close. The guilt, weighing me down all these years, has just disappeared and I realize I’ll lose her again if I can’t forgive myself. I squeeze her tight, and kiss her.
All of us have found new places. Cara works in the laboratories at the compound, which are now a small segment of the Department of Agriculture that works to make agriculture more efficient, capable of feeding more people. Matthew works in a psychiatric research somewhere in the city – the last time I asked him, he was studying something about memory. Christina works in an office that relocates people from the fringe who want to move into the city. Zeke and Amar are policemen, and George trains the police force—dauntless jobs, I call them. And I’m the assistant to one of our city’s representatives in government. Johanna Reyes. Tris is just trying to get back to who she used to be, before she moves forward any more.
I stand up and grasp the handles of the train car and lean out of it as it turns, almost dangling over the street two stories below me. I feel a thrill in my stomach, the fear-thrill the true Dauntless love.
I overhear Tris and Christina talking. “How is it having Evelyn living with you?” Christina asks. I try to make it seem that I am not listening.
“It’s fine. It’s not ideal, but she and Tobias are all that I have now. It’s time to move on.” Tris replies.
Tris can still surprise me. You think you know everything about someone, and then they do something like this. I never seem to give her enough credit for her character. It makes me hopeful for myself. Being with her will make me a better person.
“You going to zip-line? Or are you going to be a pansycake and back out?” Christina jabs at me.
“Yes. I’m going. I know Tris wants me to try it at least once, and I want to say goodbye to Uriah the right way.” I say.
Cara guides the train to a stop, and I hope onto the platform. At the top of the stairs Shauna gets out of the chair and works her way down the steps with the braces, one at a time. I carry her empty chair after her, which is heavy, but not impossible to manage.
It’s random, but Peter enters my thoughts. After he emerged from the memory serum haze, some of the sharper, harsher aspects of his personality returned, though not all of them. I don’t hate him anymore, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him. I heard he’s in Milwaukee. But that’s all we know.
There are still GD rebels in the fringe who believe another war is the only way to get the change we want. I fall more on the side that wants to work for change without violence. I’ve had enough violence to last me a lifetime, and I bear it still. Tris does also. We just want to move on.
We walk the streets to the zip line. The factions are gone, but this part of the city has more Dauntless than any other, recognizable still by their pierced faces and tattooed skin, though no longer by the colors they wear, which are sometimes garish. Some wander the sidewalks with us, but most are at work—everyone in Chicago is required to work if they are able.
Ahead of me I see the Hancock building bending into the sky, its base wider than its top. The black girders chase one another up to the roof, crossing, tightening, and expanding. I haven’t been this close in a long time.
Tris, who had been walking behind me with Christina so far, as if sensing my uneasiness, ran up and squeezed my hand.
We enter the lobby, with its gleaming, polished floors and its walls smeared with bright dauntless graffiti. A place that holds a very special memory. One that hasn’t been forgotten.
My first trip zip-lining.
Uriah was the first person to invite me here. I’ve been so busy trying to walk again I hadn’t realized the hole he left in me when he died. Uriah is gone. The thought feels like a kick in the stomach from Peter our first time fighting. He came to me when I was lost, and took me under his wing. Took me to a place that allowed me to bond with other Dauntless, and create a memory I’ll think back to forever. It’s one of my favorites. Zipping down the line, my screams getting lost in the whips of the wind. My face cold but beaming with life.
I had been so busy lost in my own memory that I didn’t even realize everyone else had stopped too. All as if doing the exact same thing I was doing. Whether they were thinking of Uriah, or their first time zip-lining, or both, they were all frozen in time. Even Tobias. Though I suspect that is out of fear and awe. He wasn’t so thrilled about this send off, but he figured he had to do it. For Uriah.
Zeke jabs the elevator button with his index finger. We pile in, and Cara presses 99.
I close my eyes as the elevator surges upward. I can almost see the space opening up beneath my feet, a shaft of darkness, and only a foot of solid ground between me and the sinking, dropping, plummeting nothingness. The elevator shudders as it stops, and I cling to the wall to steady myself. Tris wraps her frail arm around my waist. I never noticed how much muscle she lost from all this. I feel a twinge of guilt creeping in, but I brush it off. Now is not the time.
Zeke touches my shoulder. “Don’t worry, man. We did this all the time, remember?”
I nod. The air rushes through the gap in the ceiling, and above me is the sky, bright blue. I shuffle with the others toward the ladder, too numb with fear to make my feet move any faster.
I find the ladder with my fingertips and focus on one rung at a time. Above me, Tris maneuvers awkwardly up the ladder. I feel like I should offer help or something, but I’m too paralyzed to be any use to anyone.
I asked Tori once, while I was getting the symbols tattooed on my back, if she thought we were the last people left in the world. Maybe, was all she said. I don’t think she liked to think about it. But up here, on the roof, it is possible to believe that we are the last people left anywhere.
I stare at the buildings along the marsh front, and my chest tightens, squeezes, like it’s about to collapse into itself.
Zeke runs across the roof to the zip-line and attaches one of the man-sized lings to the steel cable. He locks it so it won’t slide down, and looks at the group of us expectantly.
“Christina,” he says. “It’s all you.”
Christina stands near the sling, tapping her chin with her finger.
“What do you think? Face-up or backward?”
I feel nauseous at that suggestion. I hope those aren’t my only two options.
Christina gets in the sling feet-first, belly down, so she’ll watch the building get smaller as she travels. I shudder.
I can’t watch. I grab for Tris’ hand and I close my eyes as Christina travels farther and farther away, even as Shauna and Cara do the same thing. I can hear their cries of joy, like birdcalls, on the wind.
“Your turn, Tris,” says Zeke. I absolutely cannot watch this. If I couldn’t even handle watching Christina or Shauna, there’s no way I can handle this.
As Tris is about to step forward I can’t help myself. I step forward.
“I’ll go next,” I say shakily.
“Alright, Four!” He says as he claps me on the back. I may have unintentionally impressed Tris. I did it because I’m selfish and couldn’t watch her go, and she thinks it’s because I’m brave. I don’t think she needs to know that though.
I cross my arms and inch closer to the edge of the roof. Even though I’m several feet away, I feel my body pitching over the edge, and I shake my head again and again.
“Hey.” Tris touches my shoulder. “This isn’t about you, remember? This is about him. Doing something he loved.”
She’s right. Of course. I can’t avoid this. I can’t back out now. I climb in feet first, as Tris had advised me to do on the way here.
I climb into the sling, my hands shaking so much I can barely grip the sides. Zeke tightens the straps across my back and legs. I stare down at Lake Shore Drive, swallowing bile, and start to slide.
Suddenly I want to take it back, but it’s too late, I am already diving toward the ground. I’m screaming so loud I want to cover my own ears. I feel like the scream living inside me, filling my chest, throat, and head.
The wind stings my eyes but I force them open, and in my moment of blind panic I understand why Tris went this way, face-first—it was because it made her feel like she was flying, like she was a bird.
The ground is only a few feet below me when I finally stop, close enough to jump down. The others have gathered there in a circle, their arms clasped to form a net of bone and muscle to catch me in. I press my face into the sling and laugh.
I undo the straps holding me in. I drop into my friends’ arms like a stone. They catch me, their bones pinching at my back and legs, and lower me to the ground. It’s just Tris and Zeke left.
“Ready?” Zeke says to me, even though he knows the answer is always yes.
“Absolutely.” I reply.
I climb in feet first, as I did the first time. I thought about trying something different, but not yet. Maybe next time. But this is the way I went down with Uriah, and it was amazing.
We decided to have Zeke go down last. That way he could have some time alone, on top of the Hancock, with his brother. Their final goodbye. It felt wrong to have anyone else there. He pats my head as he tightens up the straps.
“I know you cared a lot about him too.” He says to me, tears beginning to form.
It was one of those situations that I don’t think really needs a reply. I smile somberly crosses my face, and then I’m gone.
It’s just as I remember it. Flying through the air like the birds on my collarbone. This moment could last forever. I feel so light and free. It’s exactly like the first time. Which is what I hoped. I wanted to badly to relive an experience from my once forgotten past, and now I am. For once I feel like me. Like the old Tris.
I fall. And suddenly it’s like the first day I joined Dauntless. Dropping into the pit onto the hard net. Painful but exhilarating at the same time But that’s not really why. It’s the strong hands that help me to my feet, and the blue eyes that I stare into that bring me back to the very beginning.
SOOOOO, What did you think???
Personally, I enjoyed it! It was great to relive these amazing characters that I use to love so much through the eyes of Stephanie! I tell ya, she has Veronica's voice down! She probably wrote it better then Veronica could! Well DEFINITELY better the ALLEGIANT!!
I was able to get my long deserved closure from this Epilogue! And I can finally shut the door on this series! Sadly, I don't think I will EVER be picking up this series again! I LOVED DIVERGENT AND INSURGENT, But ALLEGIANT just ruined this series for me! And NO, I am NOT just talking about the ending. I'm talking about the whole book in general, (Refer to my REVIEW to see what I am talking) about).
Well that's it for the Stephanie's Alternate Ending, unless she decides to write more later, which I hope, but will see!
Thanks for reading Stephanie Ziel's Alternate Ending! As always, comments are always welcomed and appreciated, but leave the negativity at the door, please! You can express your opinions fully, (Good Or Bad) but, PLEASE DO IT IN A NICE WAY!!!! This is a fan fiction authors HARD WORK, and here, at ADDICTED READERS, WE DO NOT DISRESPECT AUTHORS OR THEIR WORK!!!
THANKS FOR READING!! :)