Chapter 1 The struggle to fit in
Tris was a blur as she sparred with Destiny, even with months of training she was still working on developing her fighting skills. The guardian in her was doing all it could to catch up on 16 years worth of knowledge. She was desperately trying to defend every single one of Tris's blows but it wasn't easy. The brown haired warrior was slowly pushing her against the wall. Destiny grunted and looked fleetingly behind her as she could feel the wall creep closer and closer, leaving her with little room to maneuver. She swung her staff low, keeping her eyes trained on her opponent. Fainting, Destiny moved into Tris's space and slammed her knees into the teen's chest, the momentum sending them both sprawling to the floor. Scrambling up to her knees, Destiny pinned Tris underneath her wiry frame.
"Got ya!" Destiny hollered triumphantly, her eyes lighting up with glee as she let off the pressure. Tris' green eyes met hers and in one swift movement, Destiny found herself thrown across the room. Letting out a grunt, Destiny pushed herself up into a kneeling position to see Tris positioned in a perfect handstand, looking as strong and graceful as ever.
"Never let your guard down." Tris remarked, giving Destiny a cheeky wink. She pushed off the ground with both hands and performed a perfect backflip, landing on her feet. The brown haired girl flipped her staff up off the ground with quick kick of her foot and straightened her shoulders, "Good effort though," She remarked casually, examining the new scraps that had come from the batting her staff had just taken, "Did Jared teach you that?"
"No, Michael did." Destiny sighed, sprawling on her back to catch her breath.
"Figured," Tris snorted with a small shake of her head, "You would've had me if you didn't let your guard down." She spoke, twirling the staff around her.
"Can we take a break?" Destiny whined, burying her face into the crook of her elbow in an attempt to block out the harsh lighting. She heard a barking laugh and shadow loomed above before the girl drooped down to the floor beside her.
"So where's su hermano?" Tris asked.
"He and Camilla are probably making out somewhere." Destiny rolled her eyes with practiced ease and chuckled before sitting up.
"Seriously?" Tris deadpanned, giving Destiny a look.
The girl didn't even hesitate, "Absolutely. But isn't the question you're supposed to be asking is where's Michael?" Destiny teased, giving the brunette a sly wink.
"Where's Jared?" Tris retorted, the unspoken challenge glinting in her eyes.
"In the library."
"With Isabelle." They both spoke in unison before breaking out into peals of laughter.
"When are the adults coming back?" Destiny asked, bending her leg back in an attempt to stretch her aching muscles.
"Tomorrow I think." Tris said.
"Why did they all have to go?" Destiny scowled at the ground, her brows furrowing in annoyance and a bit of worry.
"Discussing the impending demon attack, discussing Lucas, discussing that Maria and Gabriel still haven't been found." Tris explained, eyeing Destiny's look, "We aren't out of the woods yet."
Destiny's blue eyes faded to a stormy gray, "Poor Lucas," She sighed, biting her lip, "-to be abandoned by his mother and then constantly interrogated by the government. I feel bad for him. Isn't he too young to be put on trial?" Destiny asked,
"I know you're still new to everything still but the guardian government is mostly as corrupted as the human government." Tris scowled in thought, rubbing her arm, "-maybe guardian government is worse- but that's not the point, truly the system is a mess. Listen Destiny, it's a different world here, you can prosecute fourteen year olds and trying to leave the system is basically treason." Tris barked out a laugh at Destiny's look, "Makes complete sense right?" She asked rhetorically.
"Completely." Destiny deadpanned.
"So how's your family? Is it whole again?" Tris asked tentatively, scooching a bit closer to put her hand on the girl's shoulder.
"No. That's impossible." Destiny spoke, shrugging the hand off.
"Why? What's wrong?"
"My brother thinks he's all 'high and mighty' because he's known all about guardians for years and treats me like I'm inferior." Destiny muttered, curling her knees up to her chest, "He spends all his time with Camilla and she won't even acknowledge my existence!"
Tris tilted her head and watched the sneer creep up onto her friend's face.
"-my mother… I don't even really know what to call her anymore... First she's human then she's guardian and I don't even really know what that means yet! It was hard enough as it was to find out that your mother has been lying to you your whole life but now I can't even trust her to tell me the truth!" Destiny choked back a cry and slammed her fists against the floor. "She's a different person now and I am basically an inferior waste of space that can't even be given the time of day. I don't even know her anymore!" Destiny hollered in frustration, turning back to flop onto the floor.
Tris let out a small breath, "Far from being normal then," She chuckled half heartedly, running her fingers through her mussed hair, "Maybe your mother is still adjusting, she grew up as a guardian and then abandoned our world as an adult." Tris suggested optimistically, "It takes time."
"Yeah, it's been 6 months!" Destiny huffed, "It's almost Thanksgiving! She should've adjusted by now!"
"Take a deep breath." Tris reminded, "Have you talked to her about this?"
"You're hilarious." Destiny remarked dryly, "Of course I've tried," She exclaimed, "Multiple times! But every time I ever try she just blows me off!" Destiny snapped impatiently
"Have you talked to your brother about this?" Tris hummed, letting her chin lean against her palm.
"Hello?! You're talking to 'Scum of the Earth' here," Destiny gave a cheerless wave and scoffed, "He'll never give me time of day." She let out an irritated groan and sat up.
"Camilla?" Tris suggested.
"Just go away!" She gave a loud dramatic moan and rolled over onto her side.
"You asked me for help. I'm helping." Tris said calmly, used to the attitude.
"I don't have to listen to this." Destiny snapped, rolling up onto her feet. With a dismiss of her head she strided over to the equipment and set herself up against the punching bag. Tris said nothing for a moment as the dull thuds of flesh against leather echoed out across the empty room.
"Des..." She sighed, "Come on…"
Destiny ignored her and instead put more force into her hits.
Tris walked over to her, "Destiny you can't ignore this. You need to talk to them." She spoke, putting her hands on her hips. Destiny said nothing. Pursing her lips, Tris held the punching bag and moved in front to make eye contact with the girl, "Desti-"
Her next words were cut off by a quick decisive blow to her face. Tris ducked under the next one, as a fist landed against the dull leather behind her. She stumbled back from the girl's angry features, "Destiny stop." Tris spoke forcefully, her brows furrowing as she sidestepped another wild swing. "Knock it off Destiny!" The brunette growled, grabbing one of the girl's forearms.
Destiny wretched her arm away and began to blindly rage against the heavy weight of the bag that was lazily swinging back and forth in the air. Tris let out an angry huff and stepped towards the girl, uncaring if the blows landed against her. In one swift movement she snapped a sharp kick to her side and knocked Destiny to the ground. Throwing her gloves off, Destiny tore out of the room before Tris even had a chance to talk.
"What's her problem?" Michael asked, lazily strolling in through the door.
"Her family sucks, that's the problem." Tris spoke, "She feels alone I think; alone and probably a ton of other stuff." She sighed and picked up the forgotten gloves.
"Well tough." Michael drawled uncaringly, picking up the staffs and returning them to their home against the wall in the far corner. "It's been six months, if she hasn't realized how it is around here by now then she probably never will."
"She has to learn 16 years worth of stuff she missed out on." The brunette firmly rebutted, looking up to give the teen a disapproving look, "Her family is absolutely no help apparently." Tris affirmed, looking forlornly through the door which Destiny disappeared through, "I just wish I could help…'.
"She'll get there. It just takes time." Michael said calmly, flashing Tris a crooked smile.
"But how long? She pretends she lives a normal life for 7 hours a day and then she comes back to the base and she's a guardian again." Tris let out a small breath, "You can't live two lives, especially when it comes to this place. And don't even get me started on that family of hers. It's bad enough she can't really explain why her brother and Camilla disappeared. Cut her some slack."
"Maybe she shouldn't be living two lives." Mike snapped, his blue eyes flashing with anger and something Tris couldn't discern, "It's human or guardian, she has to pick."
"You're asking her to pick between her family and what she's grown up with. That's hard and it certainly isn't fair to someone who hasn't even known she was a guardian up until six months ago!"
"Well maybe she should've stayed out of the way" The curly haired teen scoffed, "She's seventeen in two weeks and she can barely throw a straight punch. Even Mila can do better and she's eight, not even including the fact that Destiny doesn't have any sort of talent. Face it Tris, you and I both know that she isn't cut out to be a guardian and never will be."
"What about her identical memory?" Tris argued, "That could be it."
"That's not useful!" Michael sneered, looking down on the girl, "Admit it!" He spoke, "She. Can't. Make. It."
Tris gave him a disgusted look,"I thought you would understand!" She huffed, taking a few steps back.
"I do understand the situation. She will be what she has always been, a human. A regular human. Nothing more and nothing less." Michael said harshly.
"I never knew you were so against her becoming one of us." Tris shook her head as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"I'm not against new guardians but she can't make it. It's impossible for her to cram 16 years worth of knowledge into a little more than a year."
"Well of course not!" Tris scoffed, "Whoever said anything about only having a year?"
"Eighteen." Michael spoke, raising a brow at Tris' blank stare before letting out a laugh, "You don't know do you?" He teased condescendingly.
Tris gave him a suspicious look, "Know what?" She asked tightly, pursing her lips together.
"At age eighteen we take a test. Remember? It will determine if we are of any use to our government." Michael answered, giving her a dumb look as his black curls swept over his eyes.
"She'll pass it with flying colors." Tris affirmed, steel glinting in her green eyes.
"Yeah right." He scoffed, "They'll banish her, she might as well quit now before she makes an even bigger embarrassment of herself."
"I can't believe you!" Tris exclaimed, stamping her foot, "What's wrong with you?! What if it was Issy?" The brunette challenged, moving to stand toe to toe with the teen, "She risked banishment not too long ago despite being too sick and weak to fight. Would you say the same to your-"
"Issy is different!" He growled, his voice cutting across Tris'. "She grew up as a guardian unlike Destiny who grew as a human. There's a difference." He ran his hands through his mop of curls, "My sister would make it, Destiny never will." Michael spat, his voice echoing across the room.
Tris shook her head,"Unbelievable!" She scoffed, throwing her arms up in exasperation before storming off.
Seething, Michael threw his fist against the wall, uncaring as blood streamed down from his split knuckles as he hastily made his way through the open doorway.
Myra was still doing physical therapy in the infirmary. Derek was bored out of his mind. The girls had run off to play with Eve, Wisteria, and Laura. He had found Lucas in the library. Lucas looked exhausted and defeated. He was sitting in one of the windowsills watching it rain. Derek felt bad for the boy. Being left behind by his family and constantly being prosecuted by the government. But Lucas wouldn't talk to anyone. He had closed himself off from the world and only one person had the key to unlock him. Eve. He opened himself to her and only her. She was the only one that could comfort him.
Derek had left Lucas to his thoughts and wanders back to the infirmary. He sat facing the door waiting for Myra to come out. Kat was the only adult in the building. She stayed behind in case anyone was hurt. Also because they had cripples. Well Myra was more of a cripple than Jason but still. She stayed because neither had finished their therapy. Today was the last day he thought. The Mexican girl Camilla entered the hallway. She came and sat against the opposite wall.
"So why are you here?" She asked bluntly.
"Myra is in there."
"Have you been waiting here the whole time?"
"No. I was wandering but landed here."
"Why do you care for her so much?"
"Why do you care for him so much?"
She scowled at him. "No need to be so rude. I was just trying to make conversation."
"Well then stop. I don't need the third degree." He snapped
"Please shut up."
"What is wrong with you? Can't we just sit here in peace?"
"You started it."
"I didn't start this conversation. You did so how about you shut up?"
"Same to you."
"What on earth is going on out here?" Kat hollered, throwing the door to the infirmary open. Stray black hairs escaping her bun. Her hazel eyes looked at the pair of them furious.
"He's being rude to me." Camilla snapped.
"She's giving me the third degree for no good reason."
"The pair of you shut up!" Kat hollered slamming the door shut.
Camilla and Derek glared at each other.
Destiny had retreated to the sunroom. She had curled up in the far corner hidden by a couch and end table. It was raining outside and the world was gray. Everything seemed to be painted in black and white with various shades of gray. Maybe it wasn't the world but her life that was colored like that. She looked down at the book in her lap. One of her teachers had given it to her. Left behind, it was about the rapture. She had also learned that guardians don't have any religion.
She'd learned a lot in the past months. It made her head hurt to even think about it.
But her head kept echoing what she had overheard in the training room. She wanted to go back in to apologize to Tris but caught her in the middle of an argument with Michael. His words continued echoing.
'Maybe she shouldn't be living two lives. It's human or guardian. She has to pick. She'll never make it. She'll never be able to be a true guardian. She will always be a human. A regular human. They banish her. She should give up right now.'
She leaned her head back against the glass and continued to watch the rain. She let out a yawn. She was tired. She hadn't been sleeping well. Nightmares kept her up or she had vivid dreams that left her exhausted in the morning. Maybe if she just closed her eyes for a second. The pitter patter of little feet disturbed her. Little bare feet appeared in the room. They came closer to the couch and then a whole little body dropped to its stomach on the floor. Bright blue eyes looked under the couch and spotted her.
"What are you doing back there?"
"Watching the rain. What do you want Laura?"
"Can I join you?" She asked innocently.
"Do you know how to get back here?"
"Crawl under the couch. I do it all the time. This is an excellent hiding spot."
"Come on." Destiny sighed, making room for Laura.
Laura crawled under the couch and sat facing her. Laura then crawled into Destiny's lap and leaned against the window as well. Destiny's eyes closed again. The small warm body on her lap was comforting. She slowly fell asleep.
It was getting late. Tris was wandering back to her room to go to sleep. She passed the hallway her mother's room was in and saw her mother locking her door. "Mom?"
Ali jumped out of her skin and then relaxed and looked at her daughter.
"I thought you weren't coming back until tomorrow?"
"Change of plans. The council wants to meet Lucas. So I came back to get some stuff and to get Lucas. Would you happen to know where he is?" She asked.
"Probably with Eve. She is the only person that comforts him. She is the only one that can get him to do anything." Tris said, walking closer to her mother. Her mother's brown hair was escaping its ponytail and stray pieces floated around her face.
"Tris?" A small voice from behind her spoke.
She turned around to see Wisteria. "What is it Wisteria?"
"I can't find Laura. I haven't seen her in hours. Can you help me find her?" Wisteria asked.
"Have you asked Eve?"
"And Myra, Derek, Jason, Camilla, and Jared. Michael slammed the door in my face. Jared says he hasn't seen Destiny since she was with you."
"Good grief." Tris moaned, taking off down the hallway towards the dining room. She walked through another hallway and turned into the room at the end. She pulled her phone out and turned on the flashlight. She shined it around the sunroom. She could've turned the lights on but decided against it.
She walked over to the couch, kneeled on the cushions, and looked behind it. She had to chuckle at what she saw. Destiny and Laura leaning against the window. Both were definitely asleep.
She reached down and grabbed Laura. It was a very awkward position to be grabbing a sleeping child but it worked. She grabbed the blanket off the couch and dropped it over Destiny. She carried Laura out of the sunroom and through the hallways back to Wisteria and Ali. "Unconscious in the sunroom." She handed Laura over to Wisteria. Wisteria let out a groan as she adjusted the child in her arms and took off.
"Find Destiny?" Her mother asked.
"Unconscious in the sunroom as well. Laura was on her lap behind the couch."
"What is going on between her and her family members?" Ali asked curiously.
"Can we go into your room and I'll repeat her rant." Tris suggested, gesturing to the door. Her mother sighed and unlocked the door and walked into her room.