Chapter 11: everybody else means to fight

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Tobias drags me out of the infirmary at the end of the day. I have a splitting headache, and my stomach is still queasy, but he insists that I have to attend the initiation celebration; apparently the other transfers convinced the Dauntless to hold off on the party until I was well enough to attend. It’s a nice gesture, even if I don’t really want to go. I tell my brother that if I’m going anywhere other than back to bed then I want a shower, a toothbrush, and a change of clothes.

None of the other transfers are in the room we once shared; now that we’re fully fledged members of Dauntless, we’ll be assigned more private and personal quarters after job selection. I grab my toothbrush and my towel and head towards the bathroom. My brother follows me and sits outside the shower stall while I wash my hair, talking about nonsense and gossip.

“People won bets on you, you know?” he asks as I pull on my pants behind the shower curtain.

“Really?”

“Yeah. A lot of people thought you’d washout or quit before Stage One was up. The few who thought you wouldn’t won pretty big. And then when you came out of Stage Two, they won even bigger. And then, well, now you’re first in your class. They’re pretty happy.”

“And what did you win?” I ask.

“Oh I can’t bet on the initiates,” he says innocently, “on account of having inside information.”

“Yeah, right,” I laugh. “You better be sharing the prize since I’m the one who did all the work.”

“You’ve got double water rations for the next six months,” he grins.

“I knew there was a reason I kept you around!”

***

When Tobias and I wander into the Pit, it seems like the party has already begun, like the Dauntless couldn’t wait any longer. There’s nothing but noise, noise, noise echoing against the walls and down the tunnels, but it’s happy noise. My brother guides me through the crowd, who seems determined to stop me every few feet for congratulations and drink offers. I smile and keep moving. There’s a table in the center of the mass where the other initiates, Dauntless born and transfer alike, are seated.

Az spots me first and waves me over, cheering and sloshing drink out of her bottle. The others join in and soon enough I’m smiling like an idiot as the whole of Dauntless cheers for us. My brother puts a drink in my hand and ushers me over to the table. Az and Harper have both passed, along with Alice, Tamsin, and Connor, but I don’t see Jack or James amongst us. I can’t say it’s too much of a shock.

I watch as Tamsin downs the rest of the drink in her hand, smashes the bottle on the ground, and hauls herself onto the table. Her boots thud as she stomps them on the table top to get everyone’s attention. Slowly, everyone quiets, though a constant murmur buzzes through the crowd. Everyone is looking at her.

Alice hands her another bottle, and Tamsin raises it in the air, “To Olivia!”

“Olivia!” Dauntless cheers, and I feel the blush creeping up my face. The people that can see me laugh.

Tamsin raises her bottle again, and everyone falls quiet.

“To Dauntless!” she cheers, and this time I join in.

***

I’m walking through the tunnels with the same beer bottle in my hand. I’m not drunk, but I’ve never indulged in any kind of alcohol before, so I suppose I’m feeling the effects a little more than someone who has. My head is a little fuzzy, but my vision isn’t doubled and I can remember everything that’s gone on tonight, so I assume I’m not too bad off. I know that when I left the party, the rest of the new members, and my brother, were well on their way to being hammered.

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