Epilouge: my heart fell dead before

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Watching the slaughter at Abnegation, I feel numb. Erudite has taken over Dauntless, made them slaves without thought or feeling. It’s a hard scene to watch, but I make myself. It’s all so fast, the fighting, and the screaming; they’d haunt my dreams if I still had them. Eric is among those uninfected with the control serum, and my heart aches when I think about what he’s been through in the last year, what he’s done, who he’s become. He is as ruthless and cruel as Dauntless could have hoped for.

My brother has changed; he isn’t the man I saw him becoming before this war started. He’s quiet, and he drinks too much, and he can’t stand the company of others. Some nights I expect to find him on the edge of the chasm, daring to walk the line that has killed so many before. There is a new initiate taken with him, and from the laughs she’s startled from him before she may just be what he needs. But now isn’t the time to focus on getting better; we’re too far down in our own hells.

***

When they bring him into Candor’s interrogation room, Eric is cradling his left side, but he doesn’t fight them. I can see the way his hands tremble even from the other side of the room, and the sweat on his face makes him seem ill. I’ve never seen him in worse condition. The other Dauntless file in, keeping their distance from him, traitor that he is, but I can feel them acknowledge that he could have been the best of us.

There’s a storm raging outside, rain pounding against the windows and thunder booming so lough it’s nearly impossible to hear. I drift away from the wall, into the crowd, closer to what will most likely be Eric’s last moments. There’s a strange undercurrent running through everyone, sharp and wild, untamed like every Dauntless was raised to be, even when they came to us from somewhere else. Several people whisper around me, but I pay them no attention.

When Tobias and Tris enter the room, Tori steps up onto the platform and holds up her hand for quiet. Tobias and Tris join her.

“Would you like me to tell you your crimes?” she asks. “Or would you like to list them yourself?

A grin splits Eric’s lip, pulling at the piercing that’s remained, but it falls flat. He scans the crowd, and his eyes settle on Tris. He settles his hands over his stomach, like he actually has the ability to protect himself in the state he’s in.

“I want her to list them,” he says. “Since she’s the one who stabbed me, she’s obviously familiar with them.”

“Leave her out of this,” Tobias says firmly.

“Why? Because you’re doing her? Or because you know she doesn’t have the guts?”

If I had any breath, it would rattle in my chest.

“You conspired with Erudite,” she says sharply. “You are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Abnegation. You betrayed Dauntless. You shot a child in the head. You are a ridiculous plaything of Jeanine Matthews.”

“Do I deserve to die?” he asks quietly, reverently.

I can see Tobias open his mouth to answer, but Tris beat him to it

“Yes,” she says.

“Fair enough,” he says, eyes blank and lifeless. “But do you have the right to decide that, Beatrice Prior? Like you decided the fate of that other boy – what was his name? Will?”

“Did you have the right you decide Olivia’s fate?” Tobias asks suddenly, and the room falls deathly quiet.

I can see Tank and Henley from where I am in the room; Tank is crying. No one else from 209 is alive. I run my hand through my hair, and curse at my brother in every way I can for bringing me into this. Eric sits up in the interrogation chair even though it obviously pains him, fury in his eyes and a snarl twisting his lips.

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