Chapter 16: to sleep upon the world

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“I have to get up,” I whisper into Eric’s neck.

“No you don’t,” he says, curling his arms tighter around me.

“I told my brother I’d have breakfast with him before I left.”

“Don’t go.”

“He’s my brother,” I say. “I’ve spent the last two days with you.”

He kisses the top of my head, but doesn’t let go.

“Eric,” I try to say sternly, “I have to report for patrol in two hours. I want a shower and food before I leave.”

He hums and ducks his head, placing kisses on my cheek, my jaw, my neck. When he reaches the hollow space between my collarbones, he pauses, waits. I scratch my nails through the short hair on the back of his head, and he hums again. I feel his hands slip under the edge of my shirt, feel his fingers run over my stomach, my ribs. I shudder.

“Too much?” he asks, and I nod.

He pulls his hands out from under my shirt, and smoothes the fabric back down my stomach.

“Better get going,” he says begrudgingly, kissing me one last time on the mouth and drawing his hands away like it hurts him to do so.

“I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow,” I tell him sliding off his bed. “Try to be up at a decent hour?”

“Six am is not a decent hour!” he calls after me as I slip out of his apartment.

***

I shower and change into the standard patrol uniform I was given when Max assigned me to a patrol group: a plain, sturdy, black jacket with the Dauntless insignia printed on the back in red, and black pants, each garment padded at the elbows and knees. I braid my hair back and let it fall to my waist. I lace my boots up to my knees, and head out for breakfast.

The commissary is full, but not noisy as early in the day as it is. Several groups huddle around tables together wearing the same uniform I am, but underneath their Dauntless emblems numbered patches have been sewn on. Each group has its own number, and they don’t seem to intermingle. I slip through the line and fill my tray with fruit and grab a bottle of milk before searching the room for Tobias. He’s in a corner by himself, picking at a stack on pancakes that he doesn’t seem too keen on eating.

“What’s wrong with you?” I ask as I sit across from him.

“Just tired,” he says, inching his tray away. “You ready for your first patrol?”

“I guess,” I shrug. “I don’t know.”

“You’ll be fine. Nothing really happens on the patrols; they’re just a show for the factionless.”

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