Home > Insurgent (Divergent #2)(8)

Insurgent (Divergent #2)(8)
Veronica Roth

“No.” The group of Amity a few seats away from us bursts into laughter. They haven’t even glanced in our direction since we sat down to eat. “Keep it down, all right? It’s not something I want to broadcast.”

“Sorry,” he says, leaning over the table so that he can talk quieter. “So what were they?”

I feel myself tensing, straightening. “Why do you want to know?”

“Tris,” he says, “I’m your brother. You can tell me anything.”

His green eyes never waver. He’s abandoned the useless spectacles he wore as a member of Erudite in favor of an Abnegation gray shirt and their trademark short haircut. He looks just as he did a few months ago, when we were living across the hall from each other, both of us considering switching factions but not brave enough to tell one another. Not trusting him enough to tell him was a mistake I do not want to make again.

“Abnegation, Dauntless,” I say, “and Erudite.”

“Three factions?” His eyebrows lift.

“Yes. Why?”

“It just seems like a lot,” he says. “We each had to choose a research focus in Erudite initiation, and mine was the aptitude test simulation, so I know a lot about the way it’s designed. It’s really difficult for a person to get two results—the program actually doesn’t allow it. But to get three . . . I’m not even sure how that’s possible.”

“Well, the test administrator had to alter the test,” I say. “She forced it to go to that situation on the bus so that she could rule out Erudite—except Erudite wasn’t ruled out.”

Caleb props his chin on a fist. “A program override,” he says. “I wonder how your test administrator knew how to do that. It’s not something they’re taught.”

I frown. Tori was a tattoo artist and an aptitude test volunteer—how did she know how to alter the aptitude test program? If she was good with computers, it was only as a hobby, and I doubt that a computer hobby would enable someone to fiddle with an Erudite simulation.

Then something from one of my conversations with her surfaces. My brother and I both transferred from Erudite.

“She was Erudite,” I say. “A faction transfer. Maybe that’s how.”

“Maybe,” he says, tapping his fingers—from left to right—against his cheek. Our breakfasts sit, almost forgotten, between us. “What does this mean about your brain chemistry? Or anatomy?”

I laugh a little. “I don’t know. All I know is that I’m always aware during simulations, and sometimes I can wake myself up from them. Sometimes they don’t even work. Like the attack simulation.”

“How do you wake yourself up from them? What do you do?”

“I . . .” I try to remember. I feel like it has been a long time since I was in one, though it was only a few weeks. “It’s hard to say, because the Dauntless simulations were supposed to end when we had calmed down. But in one of mine . . . the one where Tobias figured out what I was . . . I just did something impossible. I broke glass just by putting my hand on it.”

Caleb’s expression becomes distant, like he is looking into faraway places. Nothing like what I just described ever happened to him in the aptitude test simulation, I know. So maybe he is wondering what it felt like, or how it’s possible. My cheeks grow warmer—he is analyzing my brain like he would analyze a computer or a machine.

“Hey,” I say. “Come back.”

“Sorry,” he says, focusing on me again. “It’s just . . .”

“Fascinating. Yeah, I know. You always look like someone’s sucked the life right out of you when something fascinates you.”

He laughs.

“Can we talk about something else, though?” I say. “There may not be any Erudite or Dauntless traitors around, but it still feels weird, talking about it in public like this.”

“All right.”

Before he can go on, the cafeteria doors open, and a group of Abnegation come in. They wear Amity clothes, like me, but also like me, it’s obvious what faction they are really in. They are silent, but not somber—they smile at the Amity they pass, inclining their heads, a few of them stopping to exchange pleasantries.

Susan sits down next to Caleb with a small smile. Her hair is pulled back in its usual knot, but her blond hair shines like gold. She and Caleb sit just slightly closer than friends would, though they do not touch. She bobs her head to greet me.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “Did I interrupt?”

“No,” says Caleb. “How are you?”

“I’m well. How are you?”

I am just about to flee the dining hall rather than participate in careful, polite Abnegation conversation when Tobias comes in, looking harassed. He must have been working in the kitchen this morning, as part of our agreement with the Amity. I have to work in the laundry rooms tomorrow.

“What happened?” I say as he sits down next to me.

“In their enthusiasm for conflict resolution, the Amity have apparently forgotten that meddling creates more conflict,” says Tobias. “If we stay here much longer, I am going to punch someone, and it’s not going to be pretty.”

Caleb and Susan both raise their eyebrows at him. A few of the Amity at the table next to ours stop talking to stare.

“You heard me,” Tobias says to them. They all look away.

“As I said,” I say, covering my mouth to hide my smile, “what happened?”

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