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Fandom Divergent: Faction Before Blood // RP Thread

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure
  3. AU
  4. Cyberpunk
  5. Dystopian

Knave

pizza girl


Ghost // Male // Age 18 // Training Instructor // Erudite to Dauntless

A jolt went through Ghost like a missed stair when Jeremy Daniels, in the flesh, swaggered out of his kitchen. The dimensions of the doorway were inadequate to accommodate Daniels’s linebacker girth, and as he turned sideways to fit through, Ghost’s immediate thought was whether this bear of a man had to have all his clothes and shoes specially made. He would have wondered what the inside of Daniels’s house looked like too, and whether the interior had been designed for someone of Daniels’s proportions, if Ghost hadn’t already been inside. And no, while it had been dark as pitch without any light, he had not noted any such architectural oddities during his illicit perusal of Daniels’s property. In a way, he supposed that Daniels’s presence on the team that was tearing up Ghost’s apartment was only poetic justice. Much could be learned about a man from rooting through his personal belongings, especially when he wasn’t expecting company.
It was the first thought of many that arrowed through Ghost’s head, competing for his attention like racing horses. This was supposed to have been just a routine drug bust, one of many, a thing of protocol. Why had Jeremy Daniels, head of Dauntless security, deemed this mission important enough to preside over it in person? Why not leave it to some competent underlings while he busied himself over a box of doughnuts with his feet kicked up? Had Ghost not been as thorough in his cleaning of the apartment as he’d thought? Or did Daniels suspect that Ghost was hiding secrets of another kind? He can’t know that, Ghost told himself firmly, before his anxiety could turn to outright panic. The only two people who know what I did are Charlie and me, and she’d never tell. Ghost had done a lot of questioning about Charlie’s intentions over the past day, but that was one thing he knew to be true in his heart of hearts. No matter how much he provoked her, she would not rat him out to her father.
But some secrets refused to stay buried. Even if Charlie hadn’t told Daniels, there was always the possibility of a street camera glimpsing Ghost’s face minutes before or after the break-in. Perhaps one of the factionless prowling the streets at an unsavory hour had seen him and been rewarded handsomely for information. It had been over two years since Ghost’s last break-in, and while he might feel inclined to blame any errors on a lack of practice, he had more likely gotten smug. Or maybe he had never been as exceptional a thief as he’d always told himself. Either way, if Jeremy knew that there was more to him than the ordinary teenage boy he pretended to be, Ghost might as well go dig his own grave.
Ghost was a neat freak by nature. He painstakingly cleaned and wiped all of the apartment’s tabletops every day, and yet when Jeremy Daniels flopped onto the couch and flung his muddy boots onto the coffee table, Ghost could find no spark of anger within himself. Only a dark and insidious fear, creeping higher and higher up his body, threatening to drown him. Ghost inhaled a searing lungful of it when Daniels spoke his name, fixing him beneath a reproachful glare. Hearing his name chewed up in his enemy’s mouth and spat out like cheap tobacco almost made Ghost cringe. Fake as it was, his name somehow now felt tainted. “You presume correctly, sir,” he replied, bowing his head in the very picture of deference. Fear had turned his mouth dry as bone, and Ghost moistened his lips with just the tip of his tongue while looking at the floor, not wanting Daniels to see that the extent of his nervousness was too great to be innocent.
A few hours ago, Ghost would have killed for the protein bar that Daniels seemed determined to gobble up in two bites. Now the sight of food made his stomach somersault. Remembering the black licorice he held in one hand, Ghost tucked it away inside his coat, deciding that his audience had been given ample time to make note of it. With the uneaten half of his protein bar, Daniels threw a careless gesture in the direction of the German shepherd, whose harness he had relinquished and was now freely roaming the apartment. Her nails clicked menacingly over hardwood as she passed a bookcase, lamp, potted plant, and then arrived at Ghost’s feet. He forced himself not to fidget as the dog’s—Banshee—nose prodded him wetly and the animal began to circle him, snuffling all the while. Ghost clenched his teeth and resisted the impulse to do the same with his eyes, steeling himself for the dog to start barking or howling or biting, or whatever it did when it detected a trace of lull. He hadn’t been banking on a trained dog searching him, and he suddenly regretted not buying cologne and dousing himself in it, as he’d been contemplating. His heart slammed around in his chest, as if it might break through skin and bone.
The shepherd was behind Ghost when it sneezed, and the unexpected burst of sound made him jump. As if that singular motion had depleted all her remaining energy, Banshee padded up to the expanse of floor in front of Ghost and promptly sat, tail curled around her front paws. She cocked her head, black eyes glittering with animal intelligence, but didn’t utter a sound. Ghost stared in confusion before remembering that animals took eye contact as a challenge and lowered his eyes to the floor. There was no reason that the dog shouldn’t have been able to smell the lull when Charlie could… unless. Charlie. The only feasible explanation Ghost could come up with was that, during their very close and extended contact in the electrical closet, her scent must have adequately rubbed off on him and masked his own. Even just thinking about it, the intermingling aromas of rose shampoo and strawberry lip gloss seemed to linger in Ghost’s nostrils. As Banshee continued to intently watch him, he stifled the temptation to howl with laughter at his ridiculously good fortune.
A throaty chuckle from the couch reminded him that he was not out of the woods yet. He looked up to find Jeremy Daniels leafing through a magazine with a bikini-clad woman posing on the hood of a corvette on the cover. Ghost felt the bottom of his stomach drop out. Had Daniels’s lackeys turned those up during their search, or had Caspian been enough of an idiot to leave them lying around in plain sight? Ghost’s lips reflexively parted to apologize for or explain away their presence, but this was not the kind of social gaffe from which one could recover, even with all the words in the world. But Daniels’s interest seemed piqued by whatever he found in one magazine, and Ghost reconsidered acknowledging them, deciding that he would rather Daniels scrutinize an airbrushed model than him. Which was just as well, because he did not know where to begin explaining, except to maybe weakly protest that the lewd magazines weren’t his.
Ghost became dimly aware of the soft, impatient tapping of a foot against the floor, punctuated with an explosive sigh. He glanced toward the door, where the female officer stood with her arms crossed and lips pouted, as if she wanted to remind her boss that they had a job to do but didn’t dare. Seeing as Jeremy Daniels seemed perfectly content to keep paging through Caspian’s magazine, Ghost decided to break the silence and put an end to his increasing awkwardness. He had questions about Daniels’s appearance here, and hopefully a bit of small talk could unearth some answers. Ghost was Erudite born and raised, and he hated little more than bumbling around in ignorance when there was information to be learned.
“It is an honor to meet you, sir,” he said in his most honeyed voice. “I never would have expected to host one from the leadership panel in my own apartment, so I apologize for the ragged state of things.” Through only a sheer effort of will did Ghost manage to keep the bitterness out of his voice, as if he were at fault for the tornado that had torn his apartment to pieces. “If I may be so bold, may I inquire as to what brings you here in person when there must be a dozen more important claims on your time, sir?” “Sir” felt like an inadequate term of address for the ass-kissing that one of Daniels’s lofty rank was due, but it wasn’t like Daniels was a doctor or full-fledged general and could be called such. Ghost briefly considered going for something a little more obsequious like “your grace” but decided that Daniels could interpret it as mockery. Not that he would be wrong if he did. The system of honorifics was so much clearer in Erudite, where the gentry did not ball up wrappers and throw them wherever they damn pleased upon finishing a protein bar.
Daniels responded with a look as cold as a dead fish across the face. Dislikes boldness. Don’t do it again, Ghost noted, slightly dismayed. He pretended to wilt beneath Daniels’s criticism, which wasn’t hard. The gibe that Ghost had nothing to show for the two years that he had been in Dauntless truly stung. By casting off his family name and assuming an alias, he had traded the shadow of notoriety for a lifetime of anonymity. Most days, Ghost was happy to be a blank slate, a face with no name that no one had dirt on, a slip of a boy whom no one looked at twice. You couldn’t be a go-getter and keep a low profile at the same time. But as Jeremy Daniels calmly informed Ghost of his incompetence, of how dispensable to the faction he was, it sharply reminded him that no one would miss him when he died. No one would tell stories of his greatness or revere his many achievements. The only noticeable skills and talents Ghost had were innately illegal, and it wasn’t like he could openly brag about having been Baneberry’s finest thief, who retained all ten of his fingers and could vanish like smoke at the first sign of danger. For all intents and purposes, Ghost was as invisible among the Dauntless as his name implied.
At that moment, Banshee came to her feet and proudly stalked up to her master, as if also dismissing Ghost. It was probably a mindless gesture—and one committed by an animal, no less—but anger flared up in him all the same. Ghost was tired of being overlooked and derided by even his own initiates, and it only hurt more to know that he’d done it to himself the day he had thrown Malia Wolfharde’s offer of a position with leadership back in her face. As Charlie’s father continued shaming his worthlessness, Ghost’s lips pressed tightly together, clamping shut on the words he wanted more than anything to utter. He wanted Daniels to know that his daughter’s heart was Ghost’s for the taking, that he had tasted her skin as recently as this afternoon. He wanted Daniels to know that Ghost had been the one to slip past his home’s defenses and walk its hallways uninvited. He wanted Daniels to know that the knife at his throat had been Ghost’s, and that he had seen this strutting man reduced almost to madness with fear.
In that moment, Ghost achieved an intimate understanding of why some serial killers leave behind clues after a murder. Not because they want to get caught—no criminal wants that. But to taunt the cops. To congratulate themselves on getting away with it. Here and now, Ghost dearly wanted to drop a sinister clue that would haunt Jeremy Daniels day and night, and good sense barely prevailed over his pride. Keeping his head attached to his body was, in the long run, far more valuable than a momentary ego boost. Oh, honey, he thought disparagingly, you have no idea what a pain in the ass I can be. I’m just getting started.
In the midst of his unvoiced fury, Ghost had to admit surprise with the extent of Daniels’s knowledge of him. He had striven to keep even information of his past faction under wraps, but with Caspian as a roommate, Ghost supposed he should be grateful that half the compound didn’t know of his mysterious illness. Does his homework on potential threats, he noted of Daniels. Just the fact that Daniels saw Ghost as a threat sent a flicker of alarm through him, but Ghost ignored it for the time being. He could mull over subtexts after he survived the current encounter. Ghost was spared the ignominy of having to reply to Daniels’s scathing analysis of his character when the head officer motioned his two subordinates—Alyssa and Wolf—forward. Wolf instructed Ghost to extend his arms outward to his sides, and Ghost complied. As Wolf began the tedious task of turning out the many pockets of Ghost’s coat, Ghost rejoiced that he’d had the foresight to hide some of his more unsavory equipment, including his lockpicks and a thief’s lamp, underneath the loose hallway floorboard along with his lull. While not strictly illegal to carry, they certainly would not help the picture of innocence he was trying to cultivate.
Wolf discarded a knife he found after a minute of careful searching. Seeing that her partner would be distracted with just Ghost’s coat for a short while, Alyssa crouched in front of him and relieved Ghost of the pistols at his belt. From her persistent searching, Alyssa seemed convinced that she would find more than one knife strapped to Ghost’s thigh. Not liking the placement of her hands, he swiftly bent down, retrieved a well-hidden knife from his boot, and tossed it onto the small pile that had accumulated, making five altogether. “You missed one,” Ghost said helpfully. Wolf reprimanded him for moving, to which Ghost responded with his sincerest apology and reassumed the pose with his arms extended. A dull burn was arcing through his shoulders by this point.
Glaring at Ghost for having corrected her, Alyssa reluctantly announced that he had passed inspection, and he counted his lucky stars that they didn’t ask for a blood or urine sample. Jeremy Daniels, however, was clearly not yet satisfied with Ghost’s innocence. Ghost raised an eyebrow when Daniels swore at him. Given Charlie’s numerous stories, Ghost had been under no illusions that Daniels was a respectable human being prior to their encounter, but he hadn’t expected Daniels to be so overtly dickish, either. In Erudite the custom was to smile to your enemy’s face while stabbing him in the back, or pouring poison in his tea. The fighting was civil, the politics polite. In other words, it was a snake pit. In comparison Daniels seemed more like a wolf frothing at the mouth, circling the ring in wait for its next opponent. Ghost certainly didn’t feel like a wolf. He wondered if that made him a snake by default. Or was he something other?
Ghost was jolted from his thoughts at the words dead body in the chasm. His first thought was of Blair Avalon and his heart skipped a beat until the initiate’s name was confirmed. Not Blair. The breath whooshed out of him and his legs went rubbery with relief, as if he’d experienced a near miss in a firefight. Ghost wondered whether it made him a bad person to feel glad that another initiate had died in Blair’s stead. Any of them but her. But why should an initiate be dead to begin with? Had Ben known that he was likely going to flunk out of initiation and taken his own life rather than assimilate into the factionless? But then, that could be a convenient cover for murdering him and passing it off as a suicide. Almost too convenient, really.
Ghost’s gaze snapped to Jeremy Daniels as the big man gave an irritated toss of his long hair and muttered something under his breath. He moved to stand in front of Ghost, coming so close that Daniels’s face hovered over him like a demonic death mask. When Daniels spoke, his voice was softer than Ghost had ever heard it, and he wondered whether Daniels could really march him off to a cell for no crime other than existing. He’s Jeremy Daniels. He can do whatever the hell he wants. Don’t be naive, Ghost chastised himself.
There was a strange yet familiar cadence to Daniels’s voice, and Ghost scowled, wondering if he wasn’t being tested. He thought fast, reviewing all he knew about Dauntless politics. Daniels's policies toward other factions were almost always aggressive, whereas Parks, the leader of the faction, tended to be more peaceful, almost welcoming of outside influence. That made sense, since Parks was originally from Erudite. Daniels had already expressed his disdain for transfers, and Ghost would have bet everything he owned that Daniels was not fond of taking direct orders from Parks. Especially when one of those orders was responsible for his appearance in Ghost’s apartment in the first place. Perhaps Parks had specifically given the order with the goal of knocking Daniels down a peg. There was some deep-seated enmity here. Years of playing poker just barely kept the smile off Ghost’s face. He had solved the puzzle.
“Do you want my honest answer, sir?” Ghost asked, luring in the other man’s attention. Daniels looked ready to slap Ghost silly for wasting his time with nonsense questions, but Ghost continued talking before he could. “Christian Parks is a lazy, arrogant boy who is used to riding on his father’s coattails. While he passed Phase One with flying colors, so far his Phase Two scores are somewhat… lacking. Quite, to be frank. Just the other day Parks threatened to, ahem”—Ghost cleared his throat and let his eyes drift upward, as if remembering a direct quote—“bring down the full wrath of his house upon me, if I remember correctly, unless I replaced his fear sim score with a more flattering number. Of course I refused, and Parks did not respond kindly. Therefore, sir, I suspect that this whole dog and pony show was a misguided attempt to get revenge or bully me into submission, because as you’ve seen, Parks’s accusations are unfounded. He is unwilling to acknowledge his failure as his own and is lashing out in a blind fury at whoever is in reach. Those are my thoughts, sir,” Ghost finished, slightly breathless and bristling with self-righteous indignation.
Jeremy Daniels wore a peculiar expression. His eyes twinkled with something that could have been curiosity, or amusement, or both. Finally, one corner of his mouth slanted up, and before Ghost could react, Daniels had clapped a beefy hand on his shoulder. But not to spin him around and herd him out the door and off to a jail cell. This touch glowed with approval, the way a father congratulates a son for gunning down his first deer on a hunt. Daniels crouched until he was eye level with Ghost and spoke barely above a whisper, as if not wanting Alyssa and Wolf to overhear the pleasure in his voice. Radiating joy, Daniels told Ghost that that was the first sensible thing he’d heard him say, and why hadn’t he said it sooner. Then he straightened and roared with laughter. A belly-shaking laugh that made him throw his head back, a thunderclap of sound. Ghost suppressed the urge to cover his ears and settled for a perturbed scowl. He supposed this reaction was preferable to a hundred others he could have received instead, but to see Jeremy Daniels transform so completely was jarring. Unable to speak, Daniels gestured to Alyssa and Wolf, who were shooting him equally puzzled looks, to vacate the premises. They did, and Daniels followed close behind, brushing tears from his eyes.
Still dreadfully unsure what to think, Ghost locked the door behind them, all three bolts. He slammed them home in a way that punctured the sudden silence and grounded him in reality. Ghost had quite the mess to clean up, and while he knew he wouldn’t be able to see to it all by the time either Caspian or Maverick returned, he would prefer to keep their questions to a minimum. He started with the coffee table that Daniels had propped his feet on, wondering if the Holy Ghost wasn’t a snake after all.

* * *

A shrill ringing slowly pulled Ghost out of a deep, bone-weary slumber. He pried open his eyelids to find the numbers of his digital clock glaring 4:09 up at him in their urgent red glow. But the clock wasn’t the source of the noise, he determined after a foggy scan of his bedroom. Indulging in a soft moan of anguish, Ghost realized that the ringing was coming from his coat, and that he’d have to turn over to reach the pocket. He flipped onto his back and managed to close unfeeling fingers around his phone, pressing it to his ear. Ghost muttered something inarticulate and probably more than a little rude into the speaker. Randi’s voice answered him, and Ghost immediately stilled. They had exchanged numbers in the wake of their duel from two days ago, but he hadn’t actually expected her to ever use it, let alone at four in the morning. An icy finger ran between his shoulder blades as he detected something he had never heard in her voice before: fear. Ghost was instantly awake.
And realized that he had fallen asleep in his clothes, fully dressed from yesterday. He didn’t recall making the decision to ever fall asleep; he’d just needed to get off his feet for a few minutes after three hours of cleaning in the wake of Daniels’s visit. A new current of alarm knifed through him when it occurred to Ghost that he had been unconscious for ten hours and had no idea what he might have missed in all that time. But that wasn’t important right now, he thought as Randi’s voice turned faster, higher. “Sorry… repeat that again,” he murmured, putting his forehead in one hand. Randi repeated the details. Ghost’s eyes widened. He started asking about five questions at once, but Randi promptly cut him off, saying that they could discuss when he met her. Ghost ground his teeth and scowled deeply, frustrated. His pillow crooned a siren’s song, but he couldn’t in good conscience tell Randi to buzz off, despite the ungodly hour. “Fine. I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Just… stay where you are, or something.”
 
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Baratheon

walk in the light
Finn

Finn Day

Finn watched in amazement as Bloom expertly crafted something for the two that they had 'never tried before'. That would be a much smaller category for Aubrey than for himself, but he was curious to try anything. Bloom slid their cups over and Finn gazed at it with wide eyes. It was purple, with an orange on the rim. Woah!

"Awesome!" He exclaimed. But before he was able to get a sip in, Aubrey had him by the hands and was dragging him back out to floor. She had both their drinks and was doing her best to stay out of peoples' way. But there was too many, and she suddenly tripped beside him. With the reflexes of a cat, Finn grabbed her hips and straightened her, eyes wide. "You okay?" He laughed, almost shouting over the noise. She seemed to be, grinning back as she handed him his drink. She downed hers in one gulp, while he took a few sips to finish his own. Wait, was he still holding her? His eyes glanced down at her hip, with his hand still attached, and she did the same. She didn't try to pull away, though. Instead, she came closer.

Was he taller? He opened his mouth to answer, probably giving some kind of stupid response, only for her to bop his nose with her own. Finn's brain short-circuited and he almost fell over from shock. She was... so close...

Certainly it was the alcohol, right? The warmth in his stomach and the fuzziness in his head couldn't help but tell him this wasn't real, that she was just being a little crazy. Her arms were suddenly around his neck and he gasped, stumbling backwards into another man. He turned to mumble a quick apology, only to find lips on his cheek in the few seconds he was distracted. He whipped his head around, only to find the girl he loved looking away, dancing with a smile as if nothing had happened. Finn knew his face had to be the deepest red it had ever been as he stared at her with large, burning eyes.

"Was... was that you?"

As if it could have been anyone else.

TEMPLATE © BOKEH






Harper Day

Harper noted with a hint of pride that she was able to climb the flights of stairs easily while Ghost was trying to hide his stress under a cool tone. She smirked at his response. Showmanship had nothing to do with Dauntless. Well, perhaps for some. Bravery did tend to come with a bit of flair sometimes, but that wasn't something particularly important to her. Erudite seemed the most flamboyant of the factions, which made it no surprise Ghost would say such a thing. She nearly jumped away as he flew up close to her face, a hand slyly pulling a coin from behind her ear. She scoffed at his trick and at her spark of fear. "I'll be sure to hire you for my next birthday. You make balloon animals, too?" She asked with a small smirk.

They neared the arcade, loud noises growing louder as they approached. Music, voices, glasses clinking, and fake-sounding laser beams came from all directions. The young woman noted with disdain that she was one of only two women here. Gross. No wonder she never came very often. Other than maybe once or twice in her youth, Harper had found much more productive ways to spend her time than playing video games. Everyone here looked greasy and as if they hadn't slept in weeks. Were these really the Dauntless faction members? Harper was happy that she was on the upper end of the faction now, one that didn't have to interact with these kinds of people much. Ghost seemed much more at home.

He addressed the cashier with his familiar gentlemanly tone, although Harper was easily able to pick out his mischievous undertone. She was stuck here for... two? FOUR? No, three hours until he was ready to answer her questions. Were it not for her pride and curiosity, Harper would have turned and walked out then, without saying a word. She hated this place and her anger towards the man she was with only grew with every you win! coming from the corners of the arcade. The cashier seemed just as unhappy as her, eyeing her sword as if contemplating using it on himself. She laid a hand on it, narrowing her own gaze at him. He was older than her, which meant he had passed initiation. How?

Her thoughts were interrupted as he asked for payment. Harper reached for her money, wondering if she could somehow secretly only get like an hour, only for Ghost to fly in and pay for both. She shot him a look. "You really are the devil," She whispered to him. He knew what he was doing, keeping her here against her will. But her hand slid down from her pocket and back over her chest. So be it then. Ghost finished up and led her deeper into the dark mess of a cave, gesturing around as if they were at some kind of amusement park. Ugh.

----------------------------------------------

Harper had found her time growing worse and worse as they went on. Ghost was chilling in his chair, nonchalantly knocking her character once again off the edge of the... whatever they were fighting on. She was some kind of character that vaguely looked like her, and whom Ghost had said the name of some time ago. She didn't remember. He beat her once again and she immediately turned to ask him another question about Charlie. She knew she was playing into his hands with this whole situation, but he was playing into hers as well. The faster she lost, the more questions she was able to ask in this remaining hour. As long as she wasn't so fast it was noticeable, she could get to her next question faster. It seemed to stroke his ego enough to win, as he'd been doing all afternoon, and hadn't noticed so far.

"Why would she try to save you? There is no reason for her to do anything like that without having some kind of feelings or owing you something," She rattled off, eyes ablaze as she stared at Ghost. He answered her in a way that really didn't give her answer, something she should have expected. He ended with a comment on two ladies vying for him, something that made her face flareup with both anger and embarrassment. He knew how to hit buttons, on games and people. She turned back to the screen for their next match.

Once again, she died within a few minutes, and eagerly turned again her to companion. "Are you and Charlie, well, together?" She expected him to say 'no' no matter what the truth was, and asked haltingly, dark eyes gazing at Ghost with a hopeful expression.

Hopeful, actually, that he would say no. It was a secret to everyone that the fiery Harper had grown up with a crush on the beautiful medic, and no surprise that Charlie had never fallen for her. It would have been like a princess falling for the dragon; that could never happen in a story. The princess would always go with the knight. The fact that the knight in this story might just be Ghost made Harper want to throw up. How could someone as loving and gentle as she fall for someone as conniving and evil as Ghost?

Ghost began his story, words coming from his mouth that Harper couldn't quite tell were true. She had come onto him? Ghost? Harper and Charlie had spent much time together, and while Harper wasn't one to give her life story, Charlie knew what kind of person Ghost was. She knew who Harper was. Why, why, would she have chosen him? The young man beside her seemed reminiscent as he spoke of turning her away, of Charlie's hurt. She narrowed her eyes, but he seemed legitimate. It would make sense for him to lie about all of this to get her off of their tail. But at the same time, he seemed too calm about the whole thing. They wouldn't do well together. Perhaps Ghost had seen that and stopped it before anything had happened. A sort of reverse to Harper's own life, where she had tried to get something to happen only for it never to come to be. She heaved a small sigh. All of this was worthless. This gaming, this 'hanging out', her questions. Ghost had played her into thinking he had all of these secrets to share, only to deliver the killing blow that nothing was going on. She felt like a fool, her thoughts a mess. Harper dropped the remote and started to stand, to leave, and go home. She hated him.

And yet, as she moved, Ghost had one more thing to say. “There’s only one girl in Dauntless whom I might be interested in. And it’s not Charlie Stark." The words hit her like a bolt of lightning. What? Harper's eyes grew wide, then narrowed again out of spite. What was that for? Ghost would never say something like that. And yet, she could only stare at him in a mix of confusion and wonder. He took a moment more to meet her gaze, then stood to go off to another game. Harper blinked and looked over to the clock on the wall. Her time was up. She was free from the terms of their agreement, somehow ending the evening with very little questions truly answered, and an even bigger one in her heart. If he didn't like Charlie, then... who was on his mind?

She followed him on to the next game.


--------------------------------​


Harper and Ghost eventually went their ways, with the former having an absolute mess of a time. Somehow, after the interrogation had passed, Harper found herself having a good time. She was better at the shooting games and had even gotten enough tickets for a small keychain. It had a little moon on it, something Ghost had commented was edgy and a lot like her. She scoffed it off and the two left.

As she walked, her steps were slow and thoughtful. She had kind of had fun, although she would never admit it out loud. Her and Ghost. Who would have thought? She thought back to the only boyfriend she had ever had for a long period of time, Drex, and how he had never taken her to such a place. She couldn't recall having a good time like that in a long time. She was always so focused on her duties and being a good Dauntless that the young woman rarely let loose like that. Her form of relaxation was running a marathon and lifting weights.

She didn't want her thoughts to dwell on the man and tried to think of the day ahead. What was in for the initiates tomorrow? And yet she somehow couldn't keep her thoughts off of the past three hours. Who was Ghost in love with? It couldn't be her. And yet he had, for once in his life, seemed so sincere as he gazed at her. Had he somehow fallen in love with her despite their history of being the antagonist to each other's stories? Harper absently twisted the keychain in her hands. Whatever it was, at least he was going to stay away from Charlie. And if it was her, what a great way to finally have the upper hand once again. She would be happy to never, ever, return those feelings.


TEMPLATE © BOKEH
 

Nerdy.

Nerdy

Aubrey Amber Stark || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


Aubrey giggled as she saw Finn's face burn as brightly as a ripe tomato, his eyes were wide and adorable, his chest heaved with wary breath and his hands were frozen in place as if someone had caught him doing something wrong. He asked if that had been her and she rolled her eyes. "Oh come on! Stop having a knot in your panties, let's have fun..." Aubrey giggled, though admittedly at the word fun she batted her eyelashes at him and licked her lips suggestively. Aubrey may have been going a bit far with teasing her bestfriend, but she didn't see any harm in having fun and enjoying herself. Plus Finn was always so proper and right, Aubrey was always the one who let loose and convinced him to do so, and Finn was always the one that got the two of them out of big deep trouble. Aubrey relished doing that again. Her eyes twinkled as a thought popped into her mind. "Actually, I do want to have fun! I have an idea, just like in the old days..." She giggled as she grabbed Finn's hand and pulled him with her, her eyes bright and her chest warm with alcohol, her body was fizzing like a soda about to burst when someone opens it after it has been shaken. Her blonde hair flowing out behind her and her legs smoothly running with long leaps and bounds, she was always glad of that secure steady feeling of Finn's hand in her own. Although she had been the one to clasp it, he had gripped back just as steadily and was holding on to her just as she held onto him. She grinned with new found inspiration as she ran towards her goal, the Arcade. Aubrey and Finn had often gone to the arcade when they were little and not even very long ago, but they hadn't been since going through initiation, and Aubrey was craving that mindless entertaining fun. But... Aubrey also craved doing something a little... naughty. Just as she and Finn got there, Aubrey had to skid to a stop as she and Finn almost ran straight into Harper. "Woah... I didn't... Er.. I mean, Hi Harper! Fancy seeing you here!" She plastered on a bright smile as she let go of Finn's hand momentarily. Finn also looked sheepish, even though none of them had done anything remotely wrong. Aubrey swiveled her hips and stood on the spot wondering what to say, but it was of no need, Harper seemed to be leaving and she simply wished them good fun, though Aubrey swore that she muttered something about the place under her breath. Aubrey waved with a sincere smile and then she pulled Finn in close. "Okay... so.. here's the plan."

The plan, Aubrey was very proud of it, was to sneak into the arcade unnoticed by the salesman. That way they could get in, but to play the games one needed tickets, which one had to get from the salesman. But Aubrey knew this place well, and she and Finn had cheated the system before, as little kids they had been cute enough to have people give them tickets, but as they had gotten older they had noticed that often people were careless and didn't always keep a good eye on the amount of tickets they had received and sometimes people left a game before all the rounds were finished. A devious person could easily get in a few games and prizes if they were watching carefully and didn't make a scene about it. The first step was getting into the arcade without buying any tickets or time, for that, they just needed to time it right, they dawdled outside, pretending to be considering the prices on the board, or chatting to each other, until the moment they were waiting for. Just as a line of people came out, Aubrey and Finn dashed into the Arcade and ran until they were out of sight of the salesman. Aubrey and Finn giggled outrageously, heaving for breath through their laughter. "Yes! Okay, now we gotta find some games and tickets..." Aubrey said, as she glanced around. "Let's make it a game, whoever finds and wins more tickets gets to pick the first game we play together. Whoever wins the most games... hmm.. they get something... Well anyway, let's go; oh and, avoid the salesman or the security guards..." Aubrey dashed in one direction that she had noticed someone leaving a game with their prize tickets, however, they had left one attached to the output, and she quickly walked by and easily snagged the ticket without anyone noticing. That's how the game went, taking tickets that people hadn't remembered, picking them off of the floor, winning them out of games that had one round left when someone had left, and any other way of getting tickets that didn't involve actually stealing them. The game of "find the tickets" was over when Aubrey and Finn bumped into each other again.

After comparing tickets, they were surprised to find that they had a fairly even amount, Aubrey only just beating Finn's amount. She grinned as she bounded to one of the games that she and Finn had played many times in their youth. Dance Dance Revolution. The game was surprisingly not in high demand so Finn and Aubrey were able to quickly get up and on it. "Okay, whoever wins gets to pick the next game too, ready?" Aubrey asked, a grin plastered on her face. Finn's grin was intoxicating as she stared into his eyes, only for him to start the game, causing her to almost miss the first few steps. "Hey!!! Rude! I'll get you for that." She laughed as they both danced to the stupid but fun game in front of them. After a while of doing so, the game finally finished, and Aubrey and Finn stood sweating on the dance mat, looking at their scores. Aubrey laughed as she threw her head back. "You seriously beat me by 5 points? Damn. Okay... your turn to pick a game, fair and square... I just gotta get outta some of my clothes." She complained as she took off her jacket, hanging it over her arm, and looking at Finn expectantly, she was surprised she'd kept the jacket on, but it felt much better now that she was simply in her short shorts and a cropped formfitting red tanktop.

Interacting with: Harpr for a moment, Finn Baratheon Baratheon



Christian "Chris" Parks || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


Chris watched as everyone followed him to the cafeteria, though some of them simply got a little bit of food, others like him were quick to pile as much food onto their plates as possible. Christian watched as some, like himself, like Leah, waited for others to force a conversation. Where as Thorn seemed quite eager to create conversation, not only that but to be a host, even making food. Chris could admire that, though he himself wouldn't do that for anyone except Blair, that is unless someone asked... then he might. He looked at Fable as she sat down, asking him if he went easy on her. Chris chuckled, swallowing the food he had in his mouth before replying. "No, I must admit I was surprised you beat me, but you did so fair and square." He nodded his head, speaking truth. Remembering back on the fight, he knew that all the fights he had done before Fable had been difficult and had taken a lot out of him. 'That free-for-all wasn't easy... Getting that far in meant using up a lot of energy, and I'm impressed that you got all the way to the top, that's no easy feat, you should be proud." He added, continuing to eat his food as he let a small smile to Fable. He hadn't known any of those at the table very well to be honest. Though all of them he liked just a little. Mercy was an interesting one, a chatterbox who often talked Chris's ears off, but Christian liked him and thought of him as a younger brother, even though they were similar ages, it was fun to see someone like him still get this far in Dauntless initiation, and it meant he had a lot of spirit. Thorn and Fable were people that Christian didn't know very well, even though he'd seen Thorn here and there. and Leah was simply the girl that Christian so often fell, or bumped into somehow. They had done so, so often, that Chris was never surprised now when it happened. However, he admired Leah's form, and how she didn't feel the need to say or do anything unless she wanted to or felt it necessary.

That was until her felt his phone buzz, and he wasted no time in picking it up, looking to see who it was. Was it Blair? Had she finally decided to talk to him? His joy was lost as he saw Poppy's name. Not because he didn't want to hear from Poppy, but because he was so worried and curious about where Blair was. WHy had she not been contacting him, why had she disappeared? Was she okay? He knew she had been badly shaken by the body in the chasm... That reminded him that Poppy had also been there... and she had been missing from the free for all. Was she also okay? Chris felt a strong brotherly urge to go find out, and he texted her back. "Where are you? Are you okay?" As he finished the food on his plate, hardly listening to the conversation, if any, that was happening at the table. Until he recognized Fable's voice and his head popped up. Had she spoken to him? The look on her face declared that she had. "I'm sorry, I should have been listening." He said, although it was a genuine apology, Chris always sounded more "matter of fact" and monotone than particularly emotional. He put the phone down, having to wait for Poppy's response anyway. He watched as Fable laughed, a rather pretty laugh if he had to say, and her mismatched eyes glittered, she must have been on an interesting high from having won the free-for-all. She repeated her question, and he watched as she tucked her red hair behind her ears in order to stop it from getting in the way of her eating her ramen. "I didn't go easy on you, you won that free-for-all fair and square. My fights before you had all but taken me out, I should have been more careful but I admit that I'm not a particularly careful, or thoughtful, fighter." He thought about how Fable had been using a heavy battle axe. "The weapon you picked was an interesting choice, I would not have thought of you using such a large weapon, but you handled it well, did you often use weapons... er... items like that in... abnegation?" He had to pause in his sentence as he tried to remember where she had come from. Only remembering after a few moments of silence. He drank some more water as he waited for her to answer, politely keeping his eyes on her and not the phone that buzzed in his lap. Though when Fable had finished, he looked down to see Poppy's response, she was at the bar, and noted that she was a bit drunk. Chris sighed as he felt the necessity to go make sure she was okay. He looked at Fable though, it would be rude to not invite her, and he had to admit that he was enjoying their conversations. He sent a text back to Poppy. "I'll be there soon." And put the phone away in his pocket as he stood up. "I am going to go to the bar around the block a bit, Poppy is there and she was hoping for some company, did you want to come? I'm sure she wouldn't mind. She's probably a bit shaken from seeing Ben's body today.." He saw Fable's eyes flash with concern and he almost slapped himself for his careless and matter of fact way of speaking. "That was unthoughtful of me, I shouldn't have said anything... I can tell you about it if you want... I don't think it would be a great idea in the cafeteria though."

Interacting with: Poppy Wolfiee Wolfiee and Fable Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1
 

Knave

pizza girl


Ghost // Male // Age 18 // Training Instructor // Erudite to Dauntless

It took more like thirty minutes for Ghost to arrive at the tavern called Pennysworth, not the twenty that he had told Randi on the phone. True, he had fallen asleep in his clothes from the day before and could have waltzed out of his apartment in those, but it was bad enough that he had been forced to skip showering this morning. He couldn’t wear the same outfit two days in a row and still feel respectable showing his face in public. With much sorrow, he reluctantly decided to hang up his lovely black-and-green trench coat in his armoire. Ghost considered the various possible combinations before him and carefully selected a brown sweater vest and dark slacks. Finally he exchanged his usual combat boots for a pair of loafers polished to a mirror shine. When he was fully dressed, he looked like the son of someone important and who attended the fanciest prep school money could buy. Smart, stylish, and hopelessly naïve. It was a good look, based on the brief, disconcerting information Randi had provided about the nature of the favor that she needed.
When he strode through the saloon-style doors of the tavern, a legitimate wall of cigar smoke slammed into him, making him wrinkle his nose. It was an unintentional reaction, but a nice, snooty touch to the sheltered schoolboy that he would be playing this morning. The dark furniture at Pennysworth had once been ornate, but now crude words had been carved into some tabletops, and others had pale rings warped into their wood. The tavern was pleasantly dim, and warm amber lights from a chandelier sliced through the gauzy curtain of smoke. It was sparsely populated at this hour, and there was a general hush over the room, as if the customers were making a half-hearted attempt to simulate the sleep that they were missing out on. Absolutely no one looked up when Ghost entered.
All except for one person. The room’s corners were cloaked in semi-darkness, and Ghost was scanning them for a restroom door, calling to mind the fast-fast-slow-slow pattern that Randi had instructed him to knock with. When a flash of motion caught his eye. A head turned sharply in his direction, bumblebee tresses of hair flying. Randi’s features briefly kindled into hope, before she guilty lowered her gaze to the table before her, where she sat pinioned by a man on either side. One man had a proprietary grip on her wrist and was snapping at her in low, furious tones while the other raked in a mountain of poker chips and let them slide off the table’s edge, where a gaping burlap sack awaited. Ghost discreetly watched the group out of the corner of his eye. During a wide, aimless circuit around the perimeter of the room, he noticed a second burlap sack on the floor beside the first man’s chair. All of the man’s attention was fixed on the blond bauble in his clutches, neglecting the bag at his feet. Ghost inwardly shook his head in silent disapproval. If the first bag held the chips, then it was hardly a mystery what was in the second bag. Taking one’s eye off of that, even in a crowd as thin as this one, was a big mistake.
Ghost’s circuit around the room eventually took him to the bar at the back of the room, where he ordered a gin and tonic. The weary-looking woman behind the bar subjected his sweater vest and slacks to much scrutiny before she went off to prepare his order. He had deliberately chosen an outfit that looked a bit out of place in this dark and brooding setting, where no doubt illegal transactions were conducted in the heavy shadows. A minute later, Ghost was armed with a drink as he swayed up to Randi’s table, tripping over himself only once. There, he stared expectantly at her two captors, as if it had never occurred to Ghost to introduce himself or ask if his friend in obvious trouble was okay.
“...don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be walking away scot-free if your knight in shining armor doesn’t show, girl. You were a stupid bitch to bet more than you had, but that won’t stop me and my brother from collecting in whatever way we gotta to settle the score,” seethed the man with his hand like a vise around Randi’s wrist. He gave a sharp tug on it at the end of his threat, reeling her in close for emphasis. It wasn’t until Ghost had been standing there for several seconds that the man appeared to notice him and broke off his rant. He squinted at Ghost with eyes as flat and angry as a cat’s. Just like the bartender, this man paused to show his disdain at Ghost’s outfit. “So you’re the dandy that’s got our money, eh? I’m surprised anyone came. I thought the girlie was just fibbing when she told us her boyfriend was coming to her rescue.” The man’s brother broke off his task of tying a knot into the sack bulging with poker chips and looked curiously up at Ghost but said nothing. Randi turned as far away from her captor as physics would allow. Her eyes were wild when they met Ghost’s, her cheeks flushed with alcohol, anger, or both.
Ghost didn’t see any point in refuting the comment about being Randi’s boyfriend, so he didn’t. The man tethering her to the table was handsome in a rugged sort of way, dressed in a denim shirt with week-old stubble and a crease between his heavy brows. His companion with the poker chips was shorter and stouter, with a squarish face and close-cropped black hair.
The first man continued, “A smart boyfriend teaches his woman how to gamble, so that he ain’t the one who takes the fall when she gets fool ideas into her head and gives away all his money by the bucketful. But you’re still young. You’ll learn.” The taller man gave Ghost a sage nod. “Now, as for that eight thousand two hundred and seventy dollars the girlie promised you’d spot us…” he trailed off meaningfully.
Ghost had been idly swirling his gin and tonic throughout the man’s banter, but now his circling wrist came to a gradual stop. He blinked his eyes thickly a few times, and it was a moment before he choked out a reply, as if there were a short delay in his brain’s registry of language. “Did she now?” Ghost sputtered, as if this were all news to him. He didn’t have to feign surprise; he knew Randi had been in financial trouble prior to rushing out to meet her, but Ghost could only guess at how much her total debt must have been prior to paying off what she could.
The rugged-looking man stabbed an accusatory finger at Ghost. His voice cut like a saw through bone. “Don’t play with me, boy. If you haven’t got my money, I swear to Christ—”
“Money’s not a problem.” Ghost spoke with the slow deliberation of one who had to concentrate on his words. From a back pocket he extracted a veritable sheaf of bills and leafed through them with clumsy fingers. “Problem’s that I just got paid last night. I been looking to try my hand at a few games of cards, m’self. If you gents wouldn’t mind dealin’ me in?” Without waiting for an invitation, Ghost plopped himself down in an open seat across from Randi and the two men with a little more enthusiasm than necessary. He swore too loudly as a bit of tonic sloshed out of his glass and pooled on the table. Throughout the tavern, heads craned to glare at the intruder on the easy quietude.
“Oh, hell no,” the handsome man sneered. Randi jerked back as spittle sprayed from his mouth. With the hand that wasn’t clamped around her, the man waved in a dismissive gesture. “I ain’t about to waste my time on another stupid kid who doesn’t know his ass from his face—”
Kain,” the shorter man interrupted for the first time. He made a noise low in his throat and looked toward the small tower of bills piled onto the table, untouched by Ghost’s spilled drink. It was the sort of urgent whisper a man who had unknowingly wandered into the cave of a sleeping bear might make. As if afraid of alerting Ghost to the easily exploitable state he was in.
The natural furrow between Kain’s eyes deepened as he reconsidered. Please. Ghost gritted his teeth as he awaited an answer, because he honestly wasn’t sure whether he had eight thousand two hundred and seventy dollars. He’d just made sure that the first three bills on the top and bottom of his stack were all hundreds. Please take advantage of this very sheltered and hopelessly drunken rich boy. Please find it in yourselves to rob him of every dollar and cent in his fine cashmere pockets.
During the interval that it took Kain to rethink Ghost’s offer, Randi locked eyes with him. Her plump ruby lips parted as if to protest his willingness to gamble with these two men, but Ghost held her gaze steadily. He gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head that Kain and his brother didn’t catch during their whispered squabbling. It was true that Ghost hadn’t seen these men play, so they might have been every bit as dangerous as Randi implied. If that wasn’t enough, it was plainly obvious that the brothers would be colluding against him, likely signaling one another throughout the game. Maybe Ghost should have been afraid and tried to fork over the debt before he owed more. But he had practiced sleight of hand in a rusty sliver of mirror for hundreds of hours. He had been forced to fake his death to deter various gangs from retaliating for the countless winnings he had swindled from them in one well-played hand of blackjack after another. The queen of hearts was the Holy Ghost’s mother and the king of spades his father. The soft susurrus made by a deck of cards shuffled in dexterous hands was a piece of his soul. If Ghost couldn’t hustle these two creeps, then no one could.
Kain and the other man’s—Jarvis—consultation seemed to be drawing to an end. Finally, Kain turned to Ghost and smiled a smile so charming and easy that it belonged on a storybook prince. It was a dizzying change from the wolfish snarl on his face a minute ago. “Sure, boy. We would be more’n happy to deal you in.” He made an imperious gesture to Jarvis, whom Ghost was starting to think of as Kain’s lackey. Jarvis immediately snatched up the burlap sack on the floor containing an ocean of poker chips. “You ever played Texas Hold ‘Em before, boy? That’s me and my brother’s game of choice.”
Call me boy one more time and I’ll shove that damn sack down your throat, Ghost thought. Instead he answered, “That’s like poker, right?” He leaned his head heavily onto one hand, as if it weighed a million pounds. Now that his ploy seemed to have worked, he tucked the thick wad of cash into his wallet, barely managing to fold it into a shape that would fit into his pocket. The money he was betting with wasn’t his own; on Ghost’s pass around the perimeter of the room, he had scooped a handful of bills out of Kain’s bag while the man was reprimanding Randi. Only she had seen Ghost take the money, and then she’d had to keep a smile from crawling onto her face.
Jarvis smiled indulgently at Ghost’s naivete, eyes aglow with greed. Fleecing this schoolboy would be easier than he thought. “A variant, yes. It’s the type of poker you’ll see in most tournaments.” He withdrew a deck of cards with a pattern of red-and-white diamonds on the backs and began to shuffle them loosely. “What’s your buy-in?”
“My what?”
“Poker—or Hold ‘Em—is a betting game, played with chips. How much would you like to buy in chips?” Jarvis explained patiently.
Ghost pretended to calculate numbers in his head. “Er, what can I get for twenty dollars?”
The two brothers exchanged an amused look. Between them, Randi looked as if she were attempting to hide her horror without much success. “You’ll want to buy a teensy bit more’n that. Unless of course you’re only looking to play one or two hands with us,” Kain advised. “Two thousand is a good starting number.”
Ghost mouthed the number to himself, as if trying to visualize the number of zeroes it contained. “Is a deal,” he said resolutely, tossing his head in a vigorous, uncoordinated nod. A tuft of raven hair fell into his eyes, and he made no move to bat it away.
Jarvis counted out the appropriate amount of chips, making sure to give Ghost a few of each color. “The number on each chip represents its monetary value. You’ll see the different colors are different values,” Jarvis instructed, as if he were talking to a simpleton. Then he turned away from Ghost, his gaze alternating between Randi and his brother. “You might want to consider sending the girl away, if she has a vested interest in our challenger's victory. I’m about to deal cards.” Jarvis didn’t quite meet his brother’s eyes, and Ghost noted the careful wording of his request, as if not wanting to question Kain’s judgment and risk upsetting him. Between the two of them, it was clear who was the one calling the shots.
Kain curled his lip at Randi and reluctantly released her wrist, which was now ringed with a ghostly white imprint from the strength of his grip. “You heard the man.” When Randi didn’t immediately leap to her feet, Kain gave her a small shove that almost sent her toppling backward in her chair. She had a few choice words for him as she dragged her chair across the floor, circling around to Ghost’s side of the table. His eyes flashed warily between Randi’s close proximity and his opponents. Not wanting to give himself away as fully sober, Ghost leaned toward her, cupped a hand around his mouth, and whispered, “Back off some. I don’t want you leering at my cards like a sixth grader who’s wandered into the girls’ locker room for the first time and conveying all kinds of information to my opponents.”
In response, Randi gave him a look that he was fairly sure qualified as leering but complied with his request, sliding her chair over a few inches to the left. Then she asked if he spoke from experience. Before Ghost knew what was happening, his lips quirked into a smile. A real smile. The expression felt odd on his face and he wondered how long he had been scowling without knowing it. “A tween boy is entitled to harmless curiosity. So long as it’s nothing more than that,” he equivocated. The amusement bled out of him as he noticed the way that Randi was cradling the wrist Kain had been squeezing, which was slowly shifting from white to stormcloud purple. Ghost wanted to ask if she was okay, but he was aware of his opponents’ eyes on him. It wasn’t as though he could have an extended conversation with Randi and still pretend to be stumbling drunk. At best, Kain and Jarvis would deduce that Ghost wasn’t the cash cow they’d initially taken him for and withdraw from the game before it even began. At worst, they would beat the living hell out of him for having tried to hustle them. Ghost doubted anyone in this seedy, dead-eyed establishment except Randi would lift a finger in his defense if that happened.
An ornate chain-link bracelet on Jarvis’s wrist glimmered in the low light as he finished shuffling the cards and squared them for dealing. Before he could, though, Ghost interrupted with a hiccup of protest. “Lemme cut ‘em,” he insisted. Ghost had eyes, and Jarvis wasn’t as slick a dealer as he might have thought. If the cards were marked, it had been done too subtly for Ghost’s detection, but it was hard to miss the way that Jarvis had circled a card or two to the top of the deck.
“Don’t you trust us, boy?” Kain scowled openly, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
“Is nothin’ personal. My da tells me that real shady stuff happens in taverns sometimes. Stuff that’d make your hair stan’ on end.” Ghost shivered just at the thought.
Jarvis held out the deck. Ghost cut. Cards were dealt. Without turning them over, Ghost eyed the two cards in front of him with great suspicion, as if wondering what kind of meat a restaurant had served him. “I thought in poker all the players got five cards.”
Jarvis appeared to be in physical pain when he answered, “Yes, in another variant of poker. But as we’ve said, this is Texas Hold ‘Em. Here, each player gets two hole cards, and there’s five community cards. Anyone can use those to make a hand. The strongest hand wins.” Jarvis peeled up the corners of his hole cards to view them, then surveyed his mountain range of chips. Both his and Kain’s dwarfed Ghost’s two thousand-dollar buy-in. “Since it’s just the three of us playing, we’ll only use one blind. You know how blinds work, boy?”
It didn’t escape Ghost’s attention how Jarvis spoke as if three different individuals would be playing each other, when he knew it to be more like a two-on-one ruse. “Yeah. The blind player puts in chips regardless of what he’s holding prior to the flop. Right?”
Jarvis seemed actually impressed. “Why, yes. Since you bought in for two thousand, we’ll start out with a blind of twenty dollars. That would be one yellow chip, so—”
“Are we gonna waste the whole morning shooting the shit?!” Kain exploded. “For God’s sake, let’s just play a hand already and let the kid learn as he goes like a man.”
Chastened, Jarvis flinched and bowed his hand. “Right, then. I’ll be blind first.” He slid a yellow chip toward the center of the table.
There was a rattle and clink as the chip met wood. Something rose inside of Ghost, a low, insistent tug at his mind, like a scent in the air. For the first time, fear prickled through him, but not at the possibility of losing. He was surprised he hadn’t felt it earlier. Things happened to Ghost whenever he sat down for a game of cards, things that were a large part of the reason that the only little poker he played anymore was online. When he had a shield of anonymity to hide behind, when he wasn’t staring down an opponent directly in front of him, then he was safe. But when he was confronted with a rainbow of chips, with the sleek feel of cards beneath his fingers, with the sounds of fortunes won and lost, some dormant, alien part of him took over. Ghost went slightly—for lack of a better word—crazy whenever poker was concerned. Okay, crazier than usual, he amended to himself. He avoided real-life card tables for the same reason a recovering alcoholic avoids drink. Because he knew he would lose his head.
Ghost’s initial hand was six-two, offsuit. He folded. It was his first pre-flop fold of four in a row. At the start of the fifth hand, he had hit the blind twice, and had forty dollars less than when he started. It might have seemed like a lot, but when an opponent is looking to hustle you, he wants more than just your blinds. Kain lost his patience. “Fucking hell, boy, are you going to do anything other’n sit there and fold all day? I might as well be playing against the wall!”
Ghost threw up his hands helplessly. “How can I play when I don' even know what a good hand is!” he wailed. Jarvis cringed, looking the slightest bit guilty for taking money from such an easy mark. Randi tilted her head as she studied Ghost, and he saw a sliver of doubt creep onto her face, unsure whether or not he was acting. She reached for his untouched gin and tonic and took a deep swallow.
“Look for paired hands, like two of a number. Hands that are the same suit, close together in number, or containing high cards are generally good, too,” Jarvis offered sympathetically, making another gesture that caused his gold bracelet to shimmer and dance. His brother promptly elbowed him in the side and hissed something about helping the enemy.
After paying the blind, Ghost peeked at the corners of his hole cards. King-jack, offsuit. Not ideal for a big table, but when he had only two opponents, it was playable. Likely to win with a half-decent flop. Particularly because he knew from previous hands his opponents had played until the showdown that neither of them was a particularly tight player. Jarvis especially was willing to play shit hands that Ghost would never entertain playing in a million years. Last hand he had lost over four hundred dollars to his brother on a nine-five, offsuit.
As was his custom, Kain bet on the pre-flop. Jarvis called. Ghost’s turn came last, since he’d been blind. Mostly because he wanted to see how the brothers would react, Ghost spread his fingers wide and pushed his every stack of chips across an imaginary line on the table. “All in.” He savored the words as if they were made of ambrosia and nectar.
The two men exchanged a glance, equal parts wary, puzzled, and hopeful. Then Kain looked at Ghost and burst out laughing. “Kid, if you think we’ll go easy on you on account of your age, you’re shittin’ yourself. Call.” Kain meticulously counted out nineteen hundred and sixty dollars’ worth of his own chips, matching Ghost’s raise, and shoved them halfway across the table. When the betting returned to Jarvis, he folded. Smart play, Ghost thought. Only one opponent would have to call and match his raise to take him to a showdown and see whether or not he’d been bluffing. Since they were colluding, both Kain and Jarvis taking such a huge risk would have been unnecessary when there was a chance that Ghost was holding a hand of great value.
Much to Ghost’s relief, the flop revealed a jack, giving him a pair. Since he was all in, Kain didn’t pause before advancing to the turn, and then the river. Out of the five community cards, three were diamonds. A seed of doubt sprouted inside Ghost’s chest when he realized that his opponent was holding a flush if both his hole cards were diamonds. Or if Kain were holding a third three to match the pair that was included among the community cards, he’d have three of a kind. Either hand would beat Ghost’s, and if he lost, he would be left with zero chips. Such was the way of gambling.
Kain shifted his shoulders back and forth in the slow, unconscious motion of a lion before it pounces. The light in his eyes was hungry. “Display,” he commanded and threw down his cards. Ghost’s heart stepped sideways in his chest when he glimpsed two red cards, but upon closer look only one of them was a diamond. Kain gestured at his pocket tens. “Two pair,” he declared triumphantly, making a flourishing gesture between his own tens and the threes that he and Ghost shared. “What’ve you got, boy?”
Ghost was considerably calmer about turning over his cards. “Jacks over threes. Looks like I win, whaddaya know?” he exclaimed, as if it had all been a happy accident. He left Kain gaping as Ghost reached out and raked almost four thousand dollars of chips into his growing pile of winnings. Without looking up, Ghost felt the intensity of a shrewd gaze on him, the owner of which was carefully reevaluating an opinion, but he couldn’t tell whether it was Randi or Jarvis.
And so was the tone of the game. Ghost quickly deduced his opponents’ playing styles from there; Kain was a loose, aggressive player, willing to play a wide range of hands with staggering bets and raises. He also took a childish pride in revealing his hole cards whenever he won a hand because both Ghost and Jarvis had folded, glowing whenever he’d gotten away with a bluff. Really, Kain was kicking himself by doing so; the hands that he won via bluffs were comparatively worthless compared to the abundant information on his patterns that he was giving Ghost. The man was a regular victim of Ghost’s check-raises, in which Ghost meekly withheld from betting under the pretense of a weak hand, only to raise on Kain’s inevitable bet and lure him into paying an even steeper price to see the flop. After all, a good poker player doesn’t play his cards. He plays his opponents.
By comparison, Jarvis was a call station, a more passive player than his brother but equally loose. He rarely bet, but when he did, it was never a bluff, and Ghost learned to make a quick retreat from those hands. Mostly, Jarvis tended to just match other players’ bets, but usually had the good sense to avoid all-ins and other outrageous bets. This made him very predictable, unlike Kain, who played like a maniac regardless of his cards.
Ghost foiled this strategy by folding all hands except those of significant potential, so that he prevailed on the vast majority of showdowns. He was no stranger to aggressive betting, but he only forced one more all-in during the subsequent hands, when he’d been holding a suited ace-king. It was an absolute beauty of a hand, but the flop was less than helpful, revealing a pair of sevens and a four. Both brothers reluctantly folded with cursed mutterings, no doubt intimidated by the possibility that Ghost might be holding a third seven after his previous all-in hadn’t been a bluff.
Two hours later, the monetary value of the army of chips before Ghost was enough to buy a small car. Way more than enough to repay the debt that Randi owed.
A small crowd had tried to cluster around the table on a few occasions, but hopeful spectators learned to keep their distance after Kain threatened to break the kneecaps of a young woman whom he accused of trying to view his cards from behind. Ghost’s mind was a hurricane: reading the subtle signals that his opponents exchanged, deciding whether it would be more profitable to open the betting himself or go for a check-raise, and calculating the probability—thirty-two percent—of hitting his desired straight by the river, for which he needed either a queen or seven. So when fingers tapped his shoulder, Ghost jumped so high that he all but fell out of his chair.
Chest heaving, he blinked several times to clear his vision of the numbers and suits that were swirling across it. A female voice said his name, and Ghost found himself looking up at Randi. He glared wordlessly. How dare she interrupt his game? Already his thoughts were fading like the dying rays of a sunset, and it would take him precious minutes to recover his rhythm. Ghost was in the midst of mentally composing a very unkind rant when Randi’s voice cut through his thoughts. She sounded somehow gentle yet firm when she told him that it was time to leave. Ghost fumbled for a reply, slightly unnerved by his complete lack of awareness at how much time might have passed since he’d first sat at the card table. Randi repeated herself a little more forcefully, and his unease was swiftly replaced with outrage. She was the one who had called him here; she didn’t get to dismiss him, too. “Why don’t you make yourself useful, Brandish, love, and go back to sitting on your hands?” he said coldly, scowling at her in defiance. “Doing nothing is actually a productive activity for you, considering that a few hours ago you were my eight thousand-dollar liability.”
Randi retorted something in reply, but Ghost didn’t hear it, because just then he snapped, “All in!” and in what was almost an impressive feat of dexterity, managed to push all but one of his towering stacks of chips into the center without toppling them. Seething, his hands flew to recover the spilled chips before they “accidentally” found their way into Jarvis and Kain’s meager piles. Just as Ghost had predicted, the two men were paying far more attention to the chips than to his reaching hands, and he brushed the top of the deck in a smooth motion just as he finished rearranging his bet at the center of the table. The card he’d palmed was an ace.
Ghost was keenly aware of the fact that he stood only a thirty-two percent chance of lucking out on his straight, but after the altercation with Randi, he was seeing red. And black, and white. Ghost wanted to show Randi that he was capable of things other people couldn’t even imagine in their wildest dreams and prove her wrong to have doubted him. Going all in on those kinds of odds was a hell of a gamble, if either Jarvis or Kain matched his bet. But they had already lost so much to him. Ghost was banking on the probability that neither of them would be willing to gamble and lose twice that amount.
With an explosive sigh, Kain shook his head, leaned back in his chair, and petulantly threw his cards face down onto the table. Fold. Jarvis hesitated, emotions warring on his face. Ghost had already accumulated so many chips that there was not an equivalent amount left in the burlap sack even if Jarvis wanted to call the bet. He scratched his head in thought, looking pathetic enough to make Ghost scoff. “Your gold bracelet,” he interjected, pointing at the bit of flash around Jarvis’s wrist. “Someone willing to gamble thousands of dollars on a single hand of poker wouldn’t be strutting around in fake jewelry. It’s real, isn’t it?” Ghost tilted his head for a better look.
Jarvis first seemed taken aback, then understanding set in and his mouth thinned. With grim resolve, he stripped off the bracelet and tossed it into the center of the table. His remaining chips followed. “I call your bluff, you cheeky sweater vest bastard.”
Ghost felt more amused than offended by the insult and let it slide. Enabling Jarvis to match his bet probably worked counter to Ghost’s interests; his odds of not hitting his straight were twice as high as those of hitting. But Ghost wanted that gold bracelet.
It wasn’t about the money. Sure, it was an added perk, but that wasn’t Ghost’s reason for gambling. It was about the internal satisfaction of winning. It was about the way the game’s strategy stretched his mind in eight different directions at once, leaving him feeling exhausted but godlike after each victorious hand, like he had just scaled a mountain. It was about feeling the envious stares of strangers and the baffled ones of opponents on his back. It was about sheer power, control, and the ability to dominate, the knowledge that Ghost was invincible each time he sat down at a poker table and trying to fight him was like trying to ride a tidal wave. For other men, it was drink or sex or battle that made them lose themselves. But Ghost would never need any of those things again so long as he had his cards. Other men could keep their lesser vices; Ghost existed on getting inside an opponent’s head, learning their strategy, and exploiting its weaknesses.
The turn was a nine. Ghost’s heart clenched. One of his hole cards was a nine; he didn’t need another for his straight, dammit. With a ten, jack, ace flop—all different suits—and an eight in Ghost’s hand, he already had four of the five cards he needed. There was no more glitter of gold on Jarvis’s naked wrist when he turned over the final card. Ghost’s fists balled. Queen or seven. Please.
A three. Other than a mere pair of nines, he had nothing.
But having the right cards had never been what made him a good player. No matter his poker face, his luck, his cleverness, he’d always been the Holy Ghost because he cheated. And the key to cheating was making sure the other player never saw the sleight of hand. Ghost fingered the card that he had been holding under the table ever since he’d palmed it from the deck while collecting his spilled chips. The ace of hearts. When Jarvis called for display, the eight that Ghost had originally been holding was nowhere to be found. Just an ace-nine.
“Two pair,” Ghost declared with more confidence than he felt. “Aces over nines.” Not as good as the straight he’d been gunning for, but a damn sight better than just a pair of nines.
Jarvis revealed ace-queen. He had been trying for a straight, too, and had fallen one card short. All he had was the pair of aces. Ghost’s eyes locked onto the gold bracelet with renewed greed. He had won, all because he had cheated.
He was half surprised to find Randi still glowering in her chair at the side of the table. For the first time, Ghost felt a thorn of regret for the way that he had criticized her, and his expression softened as he looked at her. But they would have all the time in the world to make up once they got out of here. Ghost had had just over sixteen thousand dollars in chips prior to the all-in that Jarvis had called. Altogether, he was owed roughly thirty-two thousand dollars by the two poor men he’d suckered. Ghost knew when to stop testing his luck. That, and the guilt he felt toward Randi was enough to convince him to quit while he was ahead. For the first time in several hours, Ghost stood from the table, his legs sighing in relief at the ability to extend.
“I thank you for a great game, gentlemen, but it is high time that I withdraw. Now. I am owed approximately thirty-two thousand four hundred dollars. Once we deduct the young lady’s debt, that number becomes just over twenty-four, but let’s call it twenty-four even for convenience’s sake,” he said magnanimously. “Of that twenty-four, you”—Ghost nodded to Kain; calling him by his first name when they were not on friendly terms would have been a breach of etiquette—“owe me seven thousand, and you, sir”—Jarvis—“owe me the remaining seventeen. Since the bracelet is used, I will accept it for two thousand, bringing your total to fifteen. And no, that is not open to negotiation. Unless you gentlemen have a combined twenty-two thousand in cash, I would appreciate your checks at this time, please.”
Jarvis went pale, looking like he had swallowed a mouse. Nonetheless, he diligently stood and began to count out the money that was still in the burlap bag at his brother’s feet. He presented a grand total of twelve thousand two hundred to Ghost, who let out a low whistle. Well, damn. He wondered how many victims the two brothers had cut down last night before Randi. She couldn’t have been the only one for that kind of money.
With the tied-off cash bag in his hand, Ghost reached out to examine the gold bracelet wreathed in poker chips at the center of the table. Heavy, he noted with satisfaction. He turned up the cuff of his sweater vest and fastened the bracelet to his left wrist, turning it on all sorts of angles, letting amber light wink off it. A tad big, but it would do. If need be, he could always take it to a jeweler with tonight’s abundant supplement to his income. Ghost eyed Randi uneasily, unsure how she would react now that he’d paid off all her debt but injured her pride in the process. “What do you think?” He held up the gold trophy on his wrist for her to see.
Randi started to reply. And then she broke off with eyes the size of dinner plates when she saw something over Ghost’s shoulder. A shiver of fear walked up his spine. He was in the process of turning around when a burly hand clamped over his neck from behind. Fingertips dug into the sides of his throat as Ghost was bent forward and slammed face-first into the table.
Hundreds of poker chips exploded upward and outward. The force of the impact upset a glass, which tipped onto its side and sloshed liquid everywhere. Ghost was unsure whether the sticky wetness coating the side of his face from hairline to jaw was blood or alcohol. His eye stung dully, and he guessed the pain would have been much sharper if the blow to his head hadn’t muddled his senses.
Pain prickled in his left arm, and some seconds later Ghost realized that it had been twisted across his back and up toward his right shoulder blade. He tried to squirm away, but a heavy weight kept him pinned to the table, immobilized. A gruff bass voice was shouting at him. His stomach formed a knot of confusion and terror until he remembered who, and why. Then only terror remained.
“...dunno how the fuck you cheated, kid, but you musta, ‘cause we were cheating you the whole time, too. Jarvis! Get the money and go, while I show this little pissant what happens to hustlers who bite off more’n they can chew.” Kain’s breath reeked of stale beer when it billowed against Ghost’s cheek.
Jarvis didn’t have to be told twice. Footsteps slapped against floorboards and a door thumped against a wall as it was thrown open. In his wake, the tavern was as silent as the air before a summer storm. With his face pressed into the table, Ghost couldn’t see the handful of onlooking customers, but he could feel their bated breath. They didn’t dare disturb the robbery in progress for fear that Kain’s wrath would be unleashed upon them next. Apparently this thug had quite a reputation.
“Unfortunately, we’ve got company, so I’ll have to make this quick,” Kain continued, a singsong note in his voice. He tugged harder on Ghost’s twisted arm, eliciting a yelp from him. “As much as I would love to saw off each of these little thieving fingers one at a time—”
Ghost saw an opening and took it, doubtful that he’d get a second one. He kicked one foot up and back, hard, hoping his heel would connect with Kain’s knee, or his balls, or anything that would give Ghost a chance to slip away. But without being able to see where or how Kain was standing, Ghost’s foot grazed the side of a pant leg and harmlessly ricocheted away.
Kain roared with laughter. The sound boiled up from deep in his belly and burst out of his throat like notes from a trumpet. “The hell was that supposed to be, kid? Please, don’t embarrass yourself more’n you already have.” Metal sparked, and suddenly the blade of a knife was wedged underneath Ghost’s chin and nipping at his Adam’s apple. He stilled. Fear spun through his mind, wiping it as clean as a blank page. A thin line of blood ran sideways down Ghost’s neck, angling toward the tabletop that his cheek was pressed up against. As if anticipating the lethal stroke that the knife would make.
“I hope it was worth it, boy,” Kain breathed. “I really do.”
 
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xayah.

i return stronger than i left

LEAH YOUNG


erudite to dauntless | 16 | initiate​

Although Leah had simply nodded at Thorn's question out of politeness, a habit she found herself constantly resorting to during the Erudite days when she was somewhere between indifference and disinterest during a conversation, something about him cooking peaked her interest. It was truthfully nothing special. A bit basic in Leah's opinion—then again she was raised in wealth with a homemade meal every day by the best chefs her father's dirty money could buy—but she was fascinated by how satisfied he was with himself. Her eyes watched his every move as if she would miss it all with a single blink. Was she jealous of something so mundane? No, that wasn't quite it. Cooking was a useful skill, but it was definitely too much of a time investment to even attempt. Maybe it was just the fact that she could ever see something like this. All that awaited her in Erudite was a less than social existence. Leah had few friends during her time, maybe none once Ferris "died", and the only person to keep her company was her brother. If studying was human, maybe that would've been the only person her parents approved of.
The gradual realization made her appreciate what had so far seemed like a foolish, life-ending decision: choosing Dauntless. Leah was most definitely not a fit for this faction. Out of all the initiates, even the transfers, she must have seemed like the oddball in the group. Anyone who took one glance could see from her disposition to the way she walked and even the way she talked that she was born and bred to be an Erudite. So why was the most obvious successor, if not guaranteed second-in-command, struggling for survival in Dauntless?
As Leah took her seat at the table, it was inevitable for her to draw parallels to her former faction. The current food, decor, and environment was subpar at best, but there was something about sitting with Thorn, Mercy, and Chris that satisfied her, even if she wasn't particularly close to any of them. Chris was constantly a coincidental presence in her life. They had bumped into one another one too many times to call it a coincidence, but that's how it was. Thorn and Mercy couldn't even be considered acquaintances. Nonetheless, Leah was content. There was no tension, nothing even similar to the strict atmosphere that was constantly so suffocating in her childhood home. She felt somewhat relaxed, but unable to completely release the tension stored in her limbs for who knows how long. So much so that she even felt like making genuine small talk once Chris got up and left, seemingly preoccupied with something. Probably Blair.
"It's... different. Not really my forte." While her voice was as controlled as ever, a sigh welled up in her chest, threatening to escape. Leah pushed it down, just as she was trained to do, and tapped her nails lightly on the table. "It is interesting though." Sweeping her black hair, slightly damp from the morning's training, behind her shoulders to gain a second to think, Leah wondered whether or not she should say what she thought. Maybe some people had figured it out, but every advantage counted in initiation. In front of her were two people more inclined towards the Dauntless lifestyle. She would be disadvantaged if they knew; even so, Leah found herself talking anyways. Strangely. Maybe because there was no pressure to be first in her class. All she needed was to pass; whether or not that was first or last didn't matter. "Even though we're constantly sparring, it seems like the majority of people think initiation tests their recklessness and charge in first. But truthfully, events such as the free-for-alls evaluate your ability to survive. It doesn't matter if you use cowardly means. I just thought that was interesting—well, more interesting than relaying how exhausted I am of being beaten into unconsciousness."
interacting with: pix-e pix-e Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1
 

Baratheon

walk in the light

Finn Day

Finn's face was still burning a bright red and he knew he had to be quite a sight. Aubrey seemed to relish in his embarrassment, a smile on her pretty face. He reached up to cover his face with his hands, wishing for a moment to pause life. Had he just been... kissed? By Aubrey? Feelings rushed up from the pit of his stomach, chest fluttering happily. He could see them now, walking together, holding hands. She woud whisper something adorable to him. He would lean over to kiss her forehead and she would laugh in joy. Smiles on both of their faces. Finn desperately hoped this was reality and he wasn't actually dreaming this, blacked out in some corner of the bar. He peeked through his hands to see Aubrey giggling at him. No, this was real. This moment, with her, that kiss...

He wanted it again.

But before he could say another word, Aubrey had taken his hands from his face and was leading him somewhere, crowing about the good old days. Huh? Did she really not care about the moment they had just shared? Did she even see it as an intimate moment, like he had, or was it just her being her flirty self? Finn's burst of hopes and dreams shattered as he realized she had moved on already. Aubrey was Aubrey, and it was no surprise she moved fast. But he would cling to that memory forever, even if Aubrey found someone else and married him and died without a single romantic thought towards him. He would remember that kiss. And he would never wash that cheek again.

Finn barely noticed them nearly crashing into his sister- what was she doing here?- before Aubrey had the two crouched in a hiding place right outside the door. Long ago, the two of them had participated in tons of shenanigans in this arcade. Games, music, lights, prizes; what wouldn't a kid love? Finn let his feelings seep away and instead focused on whatever it was Aubrey was planning now. While they both were quite mischievous, Finn knew he would be the one busting them out if trouble called. As always.

The two perched by the door in absent conversation until a large group of kids and adults left all at once. They slipped in through the corner and dashed around the salesman. His breaths came quickly, heart hammering, but it honestly was hardly difficult. Ha! Finn's laughter was almost as loud as his best friend's beside him. "Tickets time?" He asked her, remembering how they had always turned it into a challenge. Finn was pretty good at sneaking behind machines to grab abandoned tickets, while Aubrey dared to snatch them right out from under people.

The two continued their game until they ran into each other again. Finn thought he had done well, but she had just beaten him by four tickets. "Oh! We got a winner here! What's it gonna be, Aubs?" He asked with a bright smile.

Of course she chose a dancing game. It was by mere luck, and a short stumble at the beginning, that Finn beat her. And, by the rules, he got to choose the next one. He couldn't help but smirk at his idea. He grabbed her hand and led her over to the motorcycle racing game. It stood out due to the two large, fake motorcycles players climbed on to control the vehicle in the game with. He saddled his motorcycle easily, a hand on one hip as he struck a pose. "You know I always beat you with this one, right? Zoom, zoom!" The boy laughed as he leaned far to one side, then far to the other. One could nearly touch the floor with their leg it went down at such an angle. Aubrey rolled her eyes at him and took off her jacket, leaving her in running shorts and her form-fitting red tank. Finn's face started to burn again and he quickly looked away to choose his character instead. She was thin, yet muscular and curvy. How was he not supposed to be attracted to that?

They began, both of them shouting as if they were actually there on the track. As they raced, Finn kept trying to reach over and mess with Aubrey's controls, laughing as she shouted at him and swiped at his hands. He managed to get her brakes, and she retaliated by revving the gas hard and turning the corner at a sharp angle. As such, her body jerked to the side suddenly, the fake motorcycle she was on going as low as it could. Finn wasn't expecting such a movement as he tried to reach for the brakes on her bike. Instead, his sweaty hands found another target.

Right in the middle of her chest.

TEMPLATE © BOKEH






Harper Day

A familiar yet not exactly welcome voice called out to her as Harper was making her way down the corridor. Her dark eyes flickered up and caught sight of the initiate Jaxom. He was a strong, tall kid, a good physical look for a Dauntless male. He seemed friendly, his voice kind and even a small wave with his hand. Her mind flickered back to a day or so ago, when she had given him his test serum and watched his fears emerge. With the whirlwind of emotions and thoughts running through her head, she couldn't remember if he had done well or not. Why was he here to speak to her, now? Was it about the testing? Or was he just being polite? It was an odd thing to hear such a kind greeting in the faction of the brave. Harper had grown used to keeping a scowl on her face so people avoided her and didn't initiate conversation.

It appeared as if her scowl was a little less fierce today, as Jaxom now stood before her. Harper realized too much time had passed now before she responded, and the two were now stopped in front of one another. She brushed her thoughts of Ghost and Charlie away, shaking her head in the process. Her gaze raised to meet the teen boy's in front of her.

"Jaxom," She replied, tone neutral, perhaps a hint of uncharacteristic curiosity there. What did he want? He was lucky she was in the mood she was in or she might have just nodded and gone past. "You need something from me? Got a question?" Even as the self-proclaimed best instructor of the trio, even Harper had her fill of students sometimes. She had her own life to live, and being a teacher to teenagers was not her highest priority. Still, she would see what it was he had to say this time around.

TEMPLATE © BOKEH
 

winter.

vibing with the mothman
Dakota Bishop

Male // Sixteen // Abnegation-Born Initiate


Ah, review day, the day to go over what you've already learned. Nothing's taught, nothing's introduced -- just the same old lessons being rehashed in a new way to waste time. Ahem. Needless to say, the idea of "review" possessed little --if any-- worth to Dakota, so training for the day ranked low on his list of priorities. Thankfully, he didn't have to search far for a good excuse to skip --one that he knew nobody would really blame him for. A day at the river.

***

Lifting himself out of the water with a tired huff, Dakota soon settled his weary figure against the riverbank, allowing his legs to dangle in the murky water, not caring as small rocks poked at his thighs through his swim trunks. He had been swimming since he arrived, but he couldn't tell how long he had been there. An hour or two? Three or four? Judging from the strengthening rumble in his stomach, he assumed it was the latter -- maybe even more. So much of the day had slipped past without him even knowing, but to be honest, Kota didn't really care. He was comfortable in the water; it felt like his home away from home... and that's because it was. To him, a piece of his home dwelled in the peaceful currents of the river, though he often wished she still lived next to him.

Dakota sighed, his dark-colored eyes staring into the river; he watched as silver-bodied minnows danced in the water, gliding past his feet without a care. Absentmindedly, almost as if guided by an unseen force, he lifted an exhausted arm and placed a hand gently over his tattoo. The koi fish. His sister's favorite. Abigail always admired the way they looked and swam --delicate, elegant, colorful. She would often joke about how she would love to be one in another life. Dakota could only hope she received her wish.

Trapped in his thoughts now, still staring into the river, Dakota could feel his face warming up; his vision started to blur with the mist of his emotions. He blinked several times, chasing away the tears with a heavy breath. In a week's time, it will have been two years. Two years without Abigail. Kota didn't know how to feel, and he certainly didn't know how he would react on the day of the anniversary. It was still strange --unreal, even-- to imagine that she was gone; it all weighed heavy to think about -- and Dakota guessed that it always would.

At his side, in his messy bundle of clothes and backpack, a buzz sounded. Snapped back to the present, Dakota slowly moved and dug through the pockets before dragging out his phone. Across the course of the day, he had received an occasional text, wondering where he was, what he was doing, if he was okay. He hadn't told anyone about his real reason for skipping training yet. To each text, he replied with the same simple answer: 'im fine, dont worry.' This was another of those messages, but this time, he didn't respond. Instead, he gathered his belongings and pulled himself away from the water's edge.

That was enough swimming for the day. If he stayed any longer, Dakota was sure he would break.

***

Feeling a hole where his stomach should have been, Dakota decided that he would swing by the cafeteria and take advantage of the free, pre-made food. The alternative --ramen noodles and microwaveable macaroni-- just didn't have the same appeal, y'know? With his backpack slung over his shoulder and his wet suit inside, Kota entered the cafeteria and made a beeline for the lunch line... er, dinner line, I guess. After stacking his plate with a good amount of meat and berries, Kota started looking for a seat. Low and behold, he spotted some friends already sitting at a table: Chris, Fable, Leah, and Thorn. As he began making his way towards the table, he picked up bits and pieces of passing conversations. Normally, he would have ignored the idle chatter, but a certain phrase kept catching his ear: free-for-all. Had Dakota actually missed something interesting?

Once Kota approached the table, Chris started standing, looking to be in the process of heading off. Poor timing, it seemed. Oh, well. Sitting down, Dakota commented while already lifting his fork, "Any of you miss me today?"

interacting with: Fable Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1 & those with Fable, you know who you are.
[will definitely clean up and add more details later, but enough is here to get the point. not as good as i wanted it to be, but i feel bad for taking this long already.]

TEMPLATE © BOKEH | edited by winter.
 
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Sanctuaryforall1

Pyrrha Nikos Lives On














Randi & Thorn




Mood: Serious

Location: Cafeteria, Gambler Den

Interactions: Leah, Ghost






Thorn listened to Leah and nodded slowly, thoughtfully, along with her words. “I agree.” He said after a moment. “I feel like there is a lot more to being dauntless than just acting violently or seeing who’s the strongest.” He commented in response to the former erudite girl's answer to his question. “Your thoughts on the matter are very interesting.” He added and gave Leah an appreciative nod.

As they continued to eat Thorn couldn’t help but let his mind wander in all sorts of directions. Some of his thoughts centered around his beliefs, others around Leah’s words, but most around his worries. Things had gone so poorly last night with his mother, he just wanted her safe, away from his father and uncle. It didn’t help that both had shown up last night when he was trying to convince his mother to leave, to set herself free of them.

As he finished his meal Thorn offered to clean the dishes of any others who had finished and did so quickly before departing the group. He wished them the best and that they all got some good rest before shoving his hands in his pockets and heading out the swinging doors. As Thorn walked out of the initiation training center, he let the sounds of the dauntless homeland sweep over him. The train in the distance, some yelling, some laughing, loud music. It was all so normal to him that he often forgot it existed. Tuning into it was something he only ever did on his way towards his parent's place and he did so as a survival strategy.

With his good eye, Thorn looked up at the glowing signs that littered the streets. One, in particular, stood out due to the matchboxes bearing its symbol that Thorn grew up seeing every day. As the young man began to pass his father’s favorite bar he had no plans to stop, or at least not until he heard the noise within.



~~~~~~~



Watching Ghost at play was like watching a master swordsman brandish his weapon before his opponents. It was precise yet all over the place, a display meant to fascinate the opposition so that they never see the real threat behind the show. Randi, in her drunken and semi-drugged state of mind, almost had a hard time keeping up but then again, she had a hard time keeping up with most things right now. Whatever the two brothers had dosed her with was strong and made her more than glad that she hadn’t consumed her entire drink. It seemed like every time she blinked, she missed five or ten minutes of gameplay. Randi knew she had been messed up before, but not like this, never like this, she was smarter than these pathetic schemes and yet tonight she somehow fell prey to them. It made her glad that she had called Ghost when she did.

Whatever doubt she might have had vanished the moment he got that look in his eyes. Most people wouldn’t see it, most people wouldn’t recognize it even if they did, but Randi had become rather accustomed to it in the past few days. It was the look of a man who was ten steps ahead and knew it, a man who was willing to play a game of chance because he took fate into his own hands. She had seen it in the battle simulation they had done against one another. She had then seen it again when he challenged her to a race only to hip check her into the ground. Ghost wasn’t a man who believed in destiny unless it was one of his own makings, and of that, he was a master artisan.

Blonde hair fell into her face as she watched the card game unfold and rested her head against the post beside her. For a moment her jade eyes fell on the deep marking engraved into the wood. Some were slurs, others were names, dates, tally’s, symbols she didn’t recognize, symbols she did recognize from her time hanging around some of the worst parts of the faction. It was rather enthralling to examine as the different engraved markings danced in her vision, a slight shimmer floating across her line of sight as though she could see sound on the air, a beautiful and unsettling effect of the drug. As she watched the symbols float around her and across the air her hand subconsciously came up to her wrist. As her fingers gently grazed the skin she felt a dull pain. Her gaze shifted down to the purple and blue fingerprints that were now painted into his skin by Kain’s bruising touch. Not the first and won’t be the last. The thought crossed her mind as though she were simply acknowledging a fact. She was a pretty girl in a rough world and there would always be men who thought if they grabbed her or marked her up enough, she would somehow be theirs. I am mine and mine alone. She told herself, it was what she always told herself. She didn’t need the confines of being owned in any sort of relationship because the binds that often held two people together would often leave marks sooner rather than later.

Eventually, her attention returned to the table before her, and she noticed how the tides had turned in Ghost’s favor. She had figured he would be a safe choice to help her out in this situation and it seemed he was, though the look in his eyes had changed slightly. He looked hungrier, like a starved beast finally getting to feast. Instantly a seed of ever-growing concern began to bloom in Randi’s gut. Ghost was losing himself in the game, he was seduced by the cards and the intoxicating feeling of winning, he couldn’t see the danger growing on the other side of the table from him. Shifting forward in her seat she reached out her bruised hand towards her friend and instructor. He had come to help her and now it seemed it was her turn to help him. “I think it might be time for us to go.” She told him in a soft yet encouraging tone. “You’ve had incredible luck; you shouldn’t push it.” She added, going along with his ruse of being a new player.

The words that left Ghost’s lips after that felt like acid in her heart. Yes, she had asked him here, and yes, she had put herself in a bad situation, but she had been drugged and cheated. She could have and normally would have dealt on her own like she always had but instead she asked for help. Her mistake.

“Quit trying to be a smart ass when you’re just an ass.” She shot back but could instantly tell her words fell on deaf ears as Ghost went all in. Her heart fluttered nervously in her chest and for a moment she swore she could feel it beating both faster and slower all at once. The next few minutes seemed to pass without a concept of time. Ghost was all in, then the golden bangle was brought into it, cards were played and in a twist of fate dealt by Ghost’s forethought, the young man played a winning hand. It all happened so fast, but Randi did not miss the growing rage in Kain’s eyes. Kain and Jarvis were cheaters, so she figured they were probably furious they had been outsmarted by Ghost’s own sleight of hand. As Ghost attempted to bow out of the game and show off his winnings Randi knew to keep an eye on the snakes in the room and she was grateful she did.

In a flash, Kain was on his feet and rushing towards Ghost. Her reflexes must have still been dazed by the drug because before she could fully react Kain had Ghost by the throat and was tossing the young dark-haired instructor around like a rag doll. Kain barked something to Jarvis about grabbing the money but at that moment Randi didn’t give a damn about cash. Through all the yelling and fighting, Randi struggled to gather her blurred thoughts but knew she needed to act quickly in order to save her friend. Turning around she reached onto the table behind her and wrapped her hand around an empty beer bottle. With a flick of her wrist, she smashed it on the corner of the table, turning the bottle into a make-shift weapon. Whipping back around she saw to her horror that Kain had managed to pin Ghost with a knife to his neck against the table. The thin line of red pouring from the young man’s Adam's apple was all she needed to see.

Jumping into action Randi threw her arm forward, the glass bottle ripping across Kain’s back taking cloth and skin with it. Instantly the older man reared back, his hand coming off of Ghost’s throat and taking the knife with it. Randi knew she was in danger and found herself ready for the man to turn around with blood lust in his eyes. Her empty hand scrambled across the table behind her until she felt the solid form of a glass tumbler. Without hesitation she wrapped her hand around the glass and threw it forward, golden brown liquid hitting Kain in the eyes. “Run!” She breathed as she swerved around the temporarily blinded man and grabbed Ghost, pulling him away from the table as best she could. She had hoped Jarvis would have been too focused on the money to worry about them but apparently seeing his brother get slashed caught his attention. As she tried to pull Ghost and herself away from the fray and towards the exit Jarvis managed to grab her hair and yanked her back towards him. A yelp of pain escaped her lips as she was pulled back towards the smaller man, her arm flying up blindly behind her as she slashed with the bottle. Though she didn’t hit him the threat of being slashed was apparently enough to give the younger brother pause as he let go of her hair in order to gain space.

Out of the corner of Randi’s eye, she spotted the broad form of Kain rushing like an enraged rhino towards Ghost. She couldn’t see Ghost well enough to know if he was ready for the attack, but she doubted as much seeing as he had been mere heartbeats away from death a moment earlier. Acting on a gut feeling Randi launched herself forward like a car into oncoming traffic, shoving herself between Ghost and Kain. The force of Kain’s body slamming into her and knocking her into the wall almost caused her to blackout then and there. It took her a moment to notice the hilt of a knife in Kain’s hand as well as the growing pain in her gut. Once she did her mouth opened slightly in pain, an expression that grew as Kain ripped the blade from her being, only to lift it up, ready to strike again.

Randi didn’t have a moment to react before the man and the knife in front of her disappeared, taken out by a blur that slammed Kain to the ground. Randi looked down at her front and was speechless as she the blooming crimson blood spread across her shirt. Her hands shakily came up to the wounds and she knew instantly that something important must have been hit for her to be bleeding so much, so fast. Looking around for Ghost the young blonde was surprised to see Thorn currently wrestling with his father on the ground, the normally peaceful young man locked into an intense struggle against the older male. Her eyes then shifted over to the two other figures left in the room, Ghost, and Jarvis.




code by Stardust Galaxy

OOC: Working on the others tomorrow!
 

Sanctuaryforall1

Pyrrha Nikos Lives On














Fable




Mood: Chatty

Location: Testing Center/Cafeteria

Interactions: Chris, Dakota






Chris’s praise hit Fable in a way she never expected. Instead of feeling proud of herself, she felt…relieved. He thought she should be proud of herself, that she did good, that she accomplished a great feat. Perhaps later she would be able to feel pride in her actions but for now, it simply felt like she could finally breathe. Christian Parks, one of the most Dauntless of the Dauntless born initiates, was impressed by her, she had made an impact and it felt good. She still had a world of pressure on her in order to keep herself moving forward, but for now, she could appreciate this moment and relax. It was nice, it was like breathing for the first time in a long time.

“Yeah, it really wasn’t easy. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing more than half of the time…” She admitted as she twirled her noodles in their disposable bowl. It still felt so unreal that she had won over all others, and not only that but that she also took out several people in order to do so. “I’d like to say it was skill but I feel like most of it was just primal survival instincts.” She added with a slightly embarrassed chuckle as she pushed her hair out of her face and glanced up at Chris.

It was clear he hadn’t been listening to a word of what she said as his gaze was hyper-focused on the phone in his hand. It’s probably Blair. She acknowledged and did her best not to take his lack of attention personally. Chris had much bigger priorities than listening to her ramble on about being clueless and primal instincts. He had a girlfriend, friends, probably even family though she wasn’t sure. Moral of the story being that in the end she was not his top priority and therefore had no right to be annoyed when he wasn’t listening to her.

When his attention finally fell away from his phone and back onto their conversation Fable was surprised by the genuine look of regret on his face. “No, it’s fine.” She assured him with a wave of her hand. “We all have things to worry about and by the look on your face that was clearly one of them for you.” She added, her mismatched eyes full of genuine understanding as she gave him a reassuring smile. She wanted to ask him if everything was alright but worried that it wasn’t her place to do so. They barely knew each other and from what she had seen of the blonde boy in the past he seemed rather reserved, wanting to keep his personal matters just that. She understood that, she truly did. There were definitely things from her life…her past that she wouldn’t go around sharing with someone she just met. It was why she never wore tank tops or open-back shirts like the rest of the girls; everyone has their own personal battles and issues to work through.

Chris’s question about her choice of weapon threw her for a moment. Instantly her mind went back to the one time she ever wielded a weapon in her time before Dauntless initiation. She was in her family’s bathroom, her chest rising and falling as her heart beat rapidly in her rib cage. On the floor a chunk of dark brown hair lay scattered as her mother cowered against the shower, eyes wide with fear and her hair lopsided from being cut. In Fable’s hands, a pair of shears were held as the girl glared at her mother with tear-filled eyes. “If you ever come near me with these things again, I swear it won’t be your hair that gets cut.” She growled at the woman who spent years of her life forcibly cutting and dying her hair in hopes that it, along with regular beatings, would break her down into a proper member of abnegation.

It took a moment for her to pull herself from the memory but finally, she shook her head. “No, not really.” She answered honestly. “I guess it just happened to be a lucky pick.” She added knowing it sounded stupid. “I wasn’t really thinking when I grabbed it and figured I’d just give it my all with whatever I had.”

As they continued to eat and talk Fable noticed Chris was once again looking at his phone and figured whoever he was talking with had finally replied. She was surprised when in the next moment the young man was asking her if she wanted to accompany him to a bar to meet up with Poppy. She didn’t know the girl that well but she seemed nice enough. “Yeah, sure.” She said with a nod and grabbed her things. Just as she was getting up she heard the voice of Kota behind her and smiled. She hadn’t seen him at the free-for-all today and had been wondering where the pale-haired boy had been. “Kota!” She greeted with a wave and a smile. “Chris and I were about to head to a bar. Chris is it cool if Kota comes too?” She asked looking from Chris to Dakota and back again.

Nerdy. Nerdy. winter. winter.





code by Stardust Galaxy

















Vex




Mood: Focused

Location: Street/Bar

Interactions: Charlie






Internally Vex smirked as Charlie fell for her well-played ruse. It was clear that the young medic had a bleeding heart and a natural, perhaps even maternal, need to help those in need. Honestly, Vex was surprised she was even in Dauntless since she seemed like such a doe among wolves. But then again, Vex was well aware that people were often more than they seemed and she would always need to be prepared for anything. She continued to act ashamed and like she was trying to hide being upset as Charlie did her best to soothe her. When the dark-haired medic asked her name she gave a gentle nod and pushed her hand through her hair as though she were trying to hide how awkward she was pretending to feel. “Yeah.” She stated. “I just…I guess I am not in the best headspace after today.” She sighed giving Charlie a faked saddened glance.

Hearing the offer to look for Caspian together as well as grab food Vex provided a moment of seemingly nervous hesitation, the kind someone not wanting to seem a bother would give, before giving a small nod. “Thanks.” She breathed and put her hands in her pocket like she was trying to seem smaller, less of an inconvenience. These were all movements and responses the former Erudite had studied during her years of training for espionage, ways to seem completely genuine even to the well-trained eye. “I don’t wanna interrupt your search.” She insisted with a soft, genuine tone. “Anywhere you think he would be is alright with me…and I hope I am not imposing. God, I am sorry if I am.” She added in an innocent-sounding ramble. “We can go wherever you like.” She reassured Charlie

As they entered “The Rising Storm” Charlie offered to grab them a table to which Vex gave a small nod to as she pretended to look around like a weary and wide-eyed deer at the new environment. While it might seem like she was admiring the interior of the bar, in reality, the young woman was taking in the exits, the security set up, and the most advantageous routes to get out if she needed. All things she was programmed to do no matter where she went. As they sat down together, and Charlie ordered herself a peach iced tea Vex took a moment to consider what to get before requesting a plain black coffee on ice. It was an odd order but one she was fond of even in the coldest months.

"Has the transfer been difficult for you?"

The question was one of concern and Vex continued her masquerade as one who would be worthy of such feelings. Ducking her head as though she were ashamed the young woman sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t…I just had hoped it would be different.” She admitted with a false look of insecurity in her eyes. “Initiation is fine…I guess it’s just me.” She sighed softly. “Unlike most others, I knew where I wanted to be since I was young.” She explained. “I had no question about which faction I wanted to go to because I knew I belonged in Dauntless. It made making Erudite friends…not easy.” She continued, feeding Charlie the lies as easy as breathing. “I spent all my life preparing to be part of this world and now that I’m here I just…I…I can’t manage to connect.” She continued to talk to Charlie like a misguided teen looking for advice and support even as their drinks arrived. As she spoke to the medic, she did her best to ask questions about her initiation, how she did it, if she managed to make friends and how to make those friendships last. It all sounded like innocent questions coming from someone who wanted to know how to connect with others but in reality, Vex was fishing for information about Charlie and her connection to Caspian so she could hopefully use it later.

Nerdy. Nerdy.




code by Stardust Galaxy

















Bloom




Mood: Happy

Location: The Bar

Interactions: Poppy






With Aubrey and Finn back on the dancefloor, Bloom continued to work the bar, making chit-chat with the customers, laughing with the regulars, mixing drinks, and clearing glasses. It was a lot to be done but Bloom did it with the ease of breathing and all with a smile on her face. It was no wonder that whenever she was behind the bar the tip jar began to overflow, with her looks, attitude, and skills with mixology the customers were enthralled.

Looking up from a glass she was drying as Poppy approached the bar the young bartender smiled and put the glass on the drying rack. She walked over to greet Poppy and chuckled as the young initiate asked what drink she had just made for Aubrey and Finn. “It’s called a Captain on Acid. It’s pretty fruity and fun but has quite the kick.” She laughed as the girl smiled back at her. “Want one?” She asked and was already pulling the glass out for it. After receiving a nod to confirm the order Bloom went to work twirling bottles and layering liquids in the glass until finally a perfect Captain on Acid shot was delivered to Poppy.

Bloom noticed that the girl was texting as she brought the drink over and gave her a nod towards her phone. “Are you expecting friends?” She asked with friendly curiosity. “If so, I can try and keep a spot open at the bar for y’all.” She offered. She hated to see the young girl drinking and partying alone.

Wolfiee Wolfiee




code by Stardust Galaxy
 

Nerdy.

Nerdy

Charlotte "Charlie" Stark || 20 || Medic || Dauntlessborn


The gentle medic's hear went out for the young initiate in front of her. Vex seemed so perfect for Dauntless, yet here she was having a hard time... Charlie chided herself for her irresponsibility in looking after the initiates, for the last wee while she had been so caught up in her own drama of Ghost and her father, that she had been neglecting her role as medic, and her unspoken role as the carer in this group of people. Her heart filled with guilt and her face mirrored this, a sad lookg appearing on it and she began to mindlessly twirl hair around her finger, only just being able to stop herself from chewing on it, a bad habit she had when she was nervous, a trait she got from feeling guilt. The way Vex spoke and walked was the way one who felt they were a burden did so, and it broke Charlie's tender heart, who had hurt Vex so badly that she felt she wasn't worth the attention of someone? Especially someone who's job it was to look after people? Charlie knew this wasn't her "doing her job", she genuinely wanted to care for Vex, and all the initiates. But she was surprised at how badly this Erudite transfer did feel. She wondered that if she had gone to Amity, or any other faction for that matter, whether she would have felt the same, like a burden, unwanted, or different. Vex agreed to come with her, and Charlie was glad to hear it, she worried about this girl, there had been too many people facing dark and self-harming thoughts in initiation, they thought Charlie couldn't tell but she could, and she knew how easily it was for people to think there was no hope, and to look for a way to get out. She hoped that her simple act of kindness, of spending time with Vex, would dissuade her from even considering that path. So she tried to keep a smile on her face, and an air of joy and love in her voice, genuinely, even if she was actively doing so. There was nothing wrong with actively trying to be nice, and one could do so and still be genuine about it.

They sat down at the rising tide, Charlie was pleasantly surprised to see the girl order coffee rather than alcohol, though she wondered if that was because she was with the medic, and didn't feel comfortable drinking. Though maybe not, as Vex seemed genuinely happy to receive her iced coffee. They spoke, and Charlie was glad to feel that Vex was warming up, she answered questions and was eager to talk about Charlie's own initiation. She was surprised, she doubted that anyone would have wanted to hear her story, she was basically the Dauntless Drop Out, who didn't drop out. But Vex was so interested, her eyes wide with curiosity and a look that just seemed to incur that this information was very important to her, it was strange, but Charlie wanted to be of assistance and help her feel more at home. "You know, I was exactly the same as you, I knew which faction I belonged in since I was a child. However unlike you I couldn't... well... I didn't have the strength to choose it, so I stayed here." Charlie struggled to go around the fact that she stayed to protect Aubrey. "I would have missed my sister a lot, and my mother." Charlie mentioned, taking another sip of her iced tea. Vex went on about how because of the faction she knew she belonged in, she didn't try to, or was unable to, make friends in Erudite. How sad... It shouldn't matter where you came from or where you went, why people couldn't become and remain friends was a crazy thought to Charlie. She sighed softly, but soon perked up, surprised when Vex asked her again about her initiation. "Oh... well... I didn't have a lot of friends either... I had Caspian, and Alice. We stuck together through initiation, I don't think I could have managed through without them, I owe everything to them really, mostly.." Charlie thought back to the truth that she had shared with Ghost earlier in the day. She owed a lot to Caspian, but he also owed her something he would never be able to repay. Vex continud asking about them, and Charlie wondered if she was hoping that Charlie's stories would help her make friends. Although it was hard to talk about, Charlie opened up about her friendship with Caspian and Alice, she skipped the part where she and Caspian had dated, and simply talked about the friendship they all shared. She must have done a bad job though, as Vex asked her about whether she and Caspian were an item, and if that's why she was looking for him. "No! No no me and Caspian are not an item, once... well.. a long time ago we were. He's just my friend, like a brother to me, we're basically family." She laughed. She suddenly became curious. "I don't think I heard you mention your family, do.. is that something you would want to talk about?" Charlie asked her gently.

Whatever Vex's answer, she eventually replied back asking about Charlie's family. "Well you know Aubrey is my sister, and other than her I just have my mom. Not an easy life being three girls in Dauntless, but we make do." Charlie easily spoke about her family without even thinking about Jeremy. He may have been her biological father, but aside from that he was a pure monster. She finished her iced tea and looked around the club, her eyes finally landing on a familiar looking male. Caspian! Charlie gasped as she saw him, he looked unwell... He was drunk, and had not been eating properly, his usually drop dead gorgeous body and face were showing signs of sleeplessness, bad nutrition, and too much alcohol. Charlie's heart squeezed, so hard that she almost clutched at her chest in pain. This was not the Caspian that she had been talking to Vex about. Why was he doing this? This... This was why she was looking for him. She wanted the old Caspian, her bestfriend, her brother. The one that looked after her, Aubrey and Sasha. "Excuse me Vex, I have just seen Caspian, I wonder if you'll be okay to continue this conversation another time? My infirmary is always open." She offered, waiting as Vex told her she could obviously leave. She smiled, feeling a tad guilty for doing so, and walked over to Caspian. She took a deep breath as she did, her teeth furiously nibbling her bottom lip and her fingers scratching at her palms. Caspian will listen, he has to. She hoped dearly that was true. Caspian noticed Charlie and he seemed to stop for a second to squint at her, before his eyes grew wide and a stupid grin lit up his face. He stumbled over to her, drink in hand, and drunkenly mumbled her name. Charlie wasn't sure how to react, she numbly stood there, only to yelp in surprise as Caspian pulled her into his chest as a bear hug. Charlie froze up like an icicle, he smelled so much like alcohol and sweat, his body was hot and clingy, his hands so strong and possessive. She bit her lip to stop from screaming and simply tried to gently push him back. He thankfully seemed to get the picture as he stepped back, downing the remains of his drink and slamming it on the bar counter. Another! He yelled and laughed. "Caspian... You're..." Charlie stopped herself from saying what she was thinking. Drunk. Looking awful. Making an ass of yourself. Instead she took a deep breath. "Here. I've been looking for you, it's good... to see you." She smiled. Caspian grinned as he got a new drink, starting to drink it. "Caspian you... look like you've had a lot to drink, wouldn't you want to maybe... have some water? Maybe some food? I can buy you some...." Charlie turned to the counter, asking the bartender for something to help Caspian not be so drunk. While she waited she mulled over what to say to him, he wasn't quite as coherent as she was hoping for, she was hoping she could talk to him, maybe convince him to come back to being a trainer.

Charlie bit her lip and finally broached the subject. "Caspian, wouldn't it be nice if you came back to training? The kids miss you a lot, it's not the same without you." She started with, hoping that would jog his memory and help him come back. Caspian laughed, simply saying that they were fine and he'd seen them getting along without him just fine. "Well... I miss you." Charlie finally said, her voice small and sad. It was true, she missed him a lot, he was her friend, her best friend, her guardian (before Ghost turned up anyway) and she had thought they'd never be apart. But she hadn't seen him for so long recently, and now to look at him like this, it was just... sad. Caspian seemed to genuinely understand this and he again stumbled forward and enveloped Charlie in a hug. Charlie grinded her teeth together, she hated this, Caspian knew she hated this, it made her skin crawl as if with bugs, and the warmth of his body was like fire on her skin. "Caspian..." She squeaked out, only to yelp in alarm as his hand gripped her thigh and his mouth tickled her ear. She barely even heard his voice over the beating of her hammering heart. IF you miss me so much, why don't you join me back at my place... Charlie couldn't believe her ears. Her vision blurred as Caspian's tongue whipped out to tickle her ear and neck, his hand carressing her back and thigh. No... no... no... Charlie felt her body break down, mind, thoughts, strength, sanity. Sapped away through Caspian's touch and immobolising gestures. She was stuck, she was frozen, like a nightmare in her head and she couldn't break free. Had Caspian really reverted back to this part of himself? Charlie was only able to snap out of her panic attack as Caspian's mouth graced her chin with a sloppy and alcoholic kiss. "NO!" Charlie yelled, pushing with all her might. Caspian was a big man, but he hadn't been expecting such a shove, so the push sent him reeling backwards, causing the glass tumble to be thrown back, smashing into the counter. Charlie let out a harsh gasp as a piece of glass ricocheted back, slicing her cheek. Putting her fingers gently up to her face, it came back with blood, a small cut, but a reminder of how much she hated this place, hated alcohol, hated stupid masculine authority and hated how Caspian was acting right now. Caspian looked at his spilled drink and swore, raising his voice and stepping towards Charlie almost aggressively. Charlie froze again, as if she couldn't do anything else, scared. Was she really scared of her best friend. Memories reminded her that she very much was.

But the look on Caspian's face turned from anger to concern. He reached out and Charlie shakily turned her head to try and stop him from touching her. He realized. He had hurt her. The very small cut simply showed what he had already done to her heart. His face fell, but it was also obvious that he wasn't really sure what to do, he didn't apologize, he didn't try to help, he didn't do anything. Instead... He got another drink. Charlie's eyes filled with tears as she looked at him, finally realizing how far he had fallen, and how much she meant to him had fallen as well. Half of her wanted to try again, to try convince him to come back... and the other half wanted to swear at him and leave him in the ditch. Instead she turned to the barkeeper and silently paid for Caspian's remaining tab, emptying her wallet, and walking away. As Charlie turned to look for Vex, her phone rang, and she quickly pulled it up to her ear. "Hello?"

Interacting With: Vex Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1




Aubrey Amber Stark || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


The motorbike game had always been a fun little competition between the two. As usual, Finn was messing with her controls while Aubrey was simply trying to go as fast as possibly possible. Finn would cause her to break, or to swerve or change gears or something stupid, and she would speed ahead any time Finn wasn't concentrating on his own bike. It was a cycle of annoying yet absolutely undeniably amazing fun, and Aubrey was here for it all. Of course, they hadn't done this since they were kids, so although they could reach each other's bikes much easier, it was also a lot harder to control them at this size. Aubrey had just managed to take a corner as tight as humanely possible, when Finn finally reached a button she never thought he would press. Aubrey froze as Finn's hand reached the target that must have been painted on her chest. Did he... Was he... Had he... Aubrey's freezing moment caused her to fall off the bike. The bang to the ground was painful and that made her remember what they were doing... "H..Hey! No... no fair.." She stuttered embarrassed as her mind finally whirled at the fact that Finn was the one who had touched her like that. She was as red in the face as her singlet, but she wasn't finished. Finn had frozen too, so his motorbike had stopped moving, Aubrey thought quickly, and grabbed Finn, pulling him onto the ground as she hopped onto hers again and sped just far enough to the finish line. She hopped off of the bike, and she and Finn looked at each other, then they simultaneously began to laugh, very nervously, very awkwardly, but laughing was good... right? It had just been a funny little accident. Nothing more. Finn would never mean to do such a... ahem.. intimate thing to her. She pulled her long hair from behind her so that she was holding it and playing with it in her hands. Finn finally seemed to suck in the courage to say something, and stepped forward. "No. Don't say anything.. please, it's awkward enough as it is... Can't we just keep playing?" Aubrey cut in quickly, looking at Finn's face then away. She wasn't sure what she was feeling. She had sort of liked it... obviously she'd never thought about him doing that, but it had been a bit thrilling, and exciting, and it felt sort of wrong and right. She bit her lip and smiled at Finn, then shoved him with her hand to his chest. "There see, even."

Finn seemed mortified by his mistake, and even though Aubrey had tried to ignore it, it was obviously distracting the both of them. Each game they played, they were both unusually rubbish at. Both of them missed obvious combos at the street fighter game, they were missing many zombies at the shooting games, and they didn't get any hoops at the basketball game. They also had stopped talking. Finally after winning a silly game that neither of them had ever seen before, Aubrey turned to Finn and booped him on the nose with her finger. Surprising him. "Hey. Can we go back to having fun? Just... fun. If we have to we can talk about this later... or whatever... I don't know. But come on we haven't just messed around and had fun for so long and I really wanted to just spend time with you today. I'm sorry if I made you feel awkward. Let's just... go back to whatever it was we were doing before." Aubrey smiled widely, trying to show FInn that she was just as clueless on how to feel as him, but wanted to have fun. He nodded in agreement, though... was that sadness? Did he... want to talk about it? She couldn't imagine why... it had purely been an accident, and there was no way he would think that much about it. They'd touched each other plenty as kids, in a completely platonic way of course, but now that she was more of a woman and he more of a man.... maybe it would be harder to do that without all this other stuff getting in the way. "I'm going to go to the bathroom, and then let's meet up at the candy machine." She threw him her jacket for him to hold, and waltzed off to the bathroom. Once he was out of sight though, she whisked over to one of the prize booths, and looked for something, something perfect for Finn... Maybe if she got him a little gift then it wouldn't be as awkward. Her eyes scanned everything until they found the perfect thing. A lion. A really... cheap and ugly lion, but it was perfect. Aubrey had always been nicknamed a lion, she had a huge mane of golden hair and a fiery spirit. She got the lion, and then went to the bathroom.

However she seemed to have skipped out on her luck. As when she came out of the bathroom, Aubrey was immediately grabbed from the side. "Hey... F... Oh..... K..' Aubrey cringed as she saw an angry security guard holding her arm. Damnnnnn. She bit her lip as he began to berate her, dragging her towards the office. She almost gagged at his disgusting breath, the smell of fish and garlic, and was starting to get itchy and twitchy under his sweaty grip on her pale arm. "Let me go!" She said, trying to show him that it had just been a bit of fun, and that the old security guard used to let them do it. He shook his head, stating the rules at her like a nerd. Aubrey growled under her throat, still holding the little lion in one hand. The office was quickly coming up, and Aubrey couldn't bear to get stuck in there. Just before they got there though she saw Finn, and made big blue eyes at him, trying to tell him to help her out. Finn froze, and she mouthed the words. Please... I'll owe you one. And he finally came over. All Aubrey needed was a distraction, and then she could get away from the guard. His hand was tight, for sure, but it was also slippery from sweat. Aubrey tried not to wiggle, as it was simply making him hold her tighter. Finn had made his way over and had spoken to the guard, trying to ask him about something, even while the man held Aubrey behind him. Aubrey looked around, trying to find something she could use... Finally her eyes lit upon an empty baby carrier. It was... quite obviously empty, and Aubrey began to motion at it with her foot to FInn. He ignored her at first, trying to talk the guard down, before finally he tried to think of something to do with it. Throw it... She mouthed at him, and he kept ignoring her, knowing that's what she wanted him to do. Finally she caught his eyes again. Trust me. She winked. Finn finally relented, grabbing the baby carrier and tossing it at the guard. The guard freaked out, letting go of Aubrey to gently catch the baby carrier. Aubrey wasted no time in dashing forward to grab Finn's hand and run. They heard the guard yell angrily, and Aubrey laughd, glancing behind her. "Oh sh*t, he's actually chasing us! Let's go!" She said and boosted it, her hand clamped safely in Finn's. They ran and ran, but the guard was seemingly more fit than he looked, and was slowly catching up. Aubrey looked this way and that. "Oh I have an idea! Follow me!" She whispered loudly to Finn, and he nodded, Aubrey took some sharp turns and corners before opening a seemingly random door and slamming it behind them. Finn almost protested but Aubrey shushed him with her finger, and pushed him to the corner wall. The seemingly tiny dark room was a closet for brooms, mops and jackets, obviously a cleaning closet for the dirty halls of Dauntless. Aubrey had been punished enough times to remember it, and had played enough games of hide and seek to use the jackets to her advantage. She quickly slipped into one of the heavy jackets and then pressed close to Finn in the closet. "Shh." She whispered. She hoped the man would just run past and not find them, but that was not to be. Aubrey barely held back a scream as the door began to open, however, she did manage to jump into Finn. The jump was on purpose, as she wrapped her legs around him and then harshly whispered for him to play along. As the door got swung open, the man was greeted with what seemed to be the janitor and someone else getting it on. Aubrey had tightly wrapped her legs around Finn, pressed her chest into his, buried her head into his neck and was covering his neck in fake kisses, and occasionally her lips really did make contact with his skin... To sell it even more she braved a moan, knowing how embarrassing that was to anyone who would hear it, including herself and Finn. The man rolled his eyes before swearing openly and saying that there were rooms for this, and that this was disgusting, before slamming the door again.

As soon as the door was shut, Aubrey clambered off of Finn. Her face bright red and her body visibly shaking from embarrassment and adrenaline. "I'm sorry..." She said in a shakey voice, trying to laugh but her voice choked up. She ripped the jacket off and wrapped her arms around herself. "That was super awkward.. I'm sorry. I just... improvised?" She winced at how cringey this was. "But.. b-b-but I don't do this all the time! Or ever! I mean... I mess around... but not like that at all, I just flirt with people... I just... damn... I am making a fool of myself..." She flicked on the light so that they could see each other, and saw that she had dropped the lion on the floor. She laughed, her cheeks still glowing red. "I uh... got you this." She said, trying to bend over, before realizing there wasn't quite enough space for that, and squatting instead. Though in squatting, she also was aware of her proximity to Finn in the closet and she quickly rose up, cheeks glowing with the glow of a teenager who had just kissed his crush. However... they hadn't really kissed at all, mostly just Aubrey's lips pressing together themselves and occasionally she had slipped and kissed Finn's neck. She handed him the lion. "So.... " Aubrey again wrapped her arms around herself like a small child. "What now?"

Interacting with: Finn Baratheon Baratheon





Christian "Chris" Parks || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


The tall Blonde male watched as Fable joined him, he smiled, glad for the company of the interesting female. She was definitely different than Chris's usual female companions and friends, they had all been Dauntless through and through, the least Dauntless of the lot having been Blair, who was still a Dauntless through and through. But Fable was much different to them and yet the same, she had such an air about her, and a mystery, and it was compelling as well as difficult for the plainly spoken young man to make out. However as of their few conversations, he had in fact enjoyed them, and hoped she would continue to count him as a close acquaintance or friend. She asked if 'Kota could come, which Chris could only imagine meant Dakota, the other Abnegation transfer whom Chris had also not had much interactions with. He had seem him about, the white hair that he sported was quite fashionable and made him easy to spot, he seemed fairly laid back from what Chris could tell, and he wondered if there was more behind that shell, or if he was just generally a laid back person. "Of course, anyone can come." Christian commented, as he began to walk with long strides to the exit, listening as Fable and Dakota fell in step near him. He rolled his shoulders as he walked, his body still slightly aching from the fights they had endured during the free-for-all. "I could imagine a massage would feel great right about now." Christian said as he nodded his head in the direction of a tattoo and massage parlor not far from where they were walking, an interesting place, and if the rumours were true you could get a massage while getting a tattoo, some swore that it made it better.

Christian turned his head to look at the two transfers who walked beside him.
"Do either of you have tattoos? I think I heard once that Abnegation doesn't do them." He asked, watching as the two began to make their own answers one at a time. He was curious to hear about other factions. He knew Dauntless, and he had an inkling of an idea about Erudite, as his father had come from there; He was apparently destined to be in Candor, so said his aptitude test... but he had little to know about the place. He also had no clue about what Abnegation or Amity was like apart from very small understandings from speaking to people like Fable. They were surely different, if not completely opposite of Dauntless, from his understanding. "If you ever want to get some, I could show you to some tattoo parlors that I go to, they're very good." Christian offered as they continued walking, his mind started to wonder about what he would get if he were to get another tattoo. Each tattoo he got had been the choice of another, never really his own. He wasn't much for the artistic style of it, he did think they looked really cool, he'd always been brought up with his family and friends having them, so it was only natural to also get them, but to him they were just that, natural. What would he get if he had to think about it... A question that he had never put his mind to, Christian lulled it over in his mind, it had always been a friend, usually a girlfriend, who chose his tattoo. But what would Christian do? He truly didn't know if he would choose to put something on his body, of his own accord, and that thought was interesting to him. He wondered why he had in the past, and why even now he probably would if asked.

They continued walking with light conversation ranging over a number of unimportant subjects, till they finally arrived at the bar that Poppy had told Christian she was at. He scanned the room, seeing a few familiar faces and waving to Asher at the bar, before his eyes lit upon the dark haired girl who was drinking. "There's Poppy. I'm going to go check she's okay, you guys can come with too, I'm sure Bloom and Asher can set you up with some drinks if you like, they're very good." The tall male quickly made it to Poppy's side. He wondered if she was very drunk, or if she was fine. "Poppy..." Chris said her name gently, and his hand reached out to rest on her shoulder softly, hoping not to startle her. "Are you okay?" He asked, looking into her eyes with genuine concern. He knew she had simply said she was bored and missed everyone, but he also felt bad, as he was the only one who had turned up to keep company with her, which was strange, given her close friendship to Randi and Blair. Chris squeezed Poppy's shoulder gently and let his hand drop from it, by way of sliding down her arm slightly before falling to his side. He took a seat beside her and while waiting for her answer, he waved at Bloom. Once Poppy had answered, he saw Bloom fetch drinks for all of them, Dakota and Fable too. He shook his head when she passed him one. "Sorry Bloom, I still don't drink, water will do just fine thank you." He said, watching as she laughed about how could she forget, and got him a glass of water.

Interacting with: Fable, Bloom Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1 , Dakota winter. winter. , Poppy Wolfiee Wolfiee
 
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Knave

pizza girl


Ghost // Male // Age 18 // Training Instructor // Erudite to Dauntless

As Ghost squeezed his eyes shut, one arm still trapped behind his back and knife against his throat, his final thoughts were mocking in nature. Not of the two cheaters who had tried to fleece him out of his money and in turn had let themselves be cheated, but of himself. Ghost had imagined his death a hundred times, and as slippery warmth dribbled along his neck, he felt profoundly stupid for all the incessant worrying he had done over the past few weeks about the possibility of retaliation from Jeremy Daniels or Jiao-long Young. Ghost had such a gift for making enemies that random strangers in taverns would try to take his life into their hands if given the chance. When that was the case, dwelling over any possible long-game schemes of vengeance that society’s elite might be concocting for him was utterly pointless.
“You just had to try and get clever on us, din’t ya?” Kain’s voice was low and rough, like a fine-toothed surgeon’s saw cutting away an amputated leg. The blade at Ghost’s neck sank its teeth a little deeper. His eyes flashed open in cold, paralyzing shock. With his face still pressed up against the wood of the card table, Ghost’s view of the dimly-lit tavern was tilted on its side, and some ironic corner of his mind reflected on how the tables had quite literally turned on him since his winning streak just minutes ago.
From somewhere behind Ghost there came a solid, metallic thump, chased by a howl of pain. The hand holding the knife was jerked haphazardly backward. Silver glinted, and a sharp trail of kisses was teased across his throat. Ghost sucked in a piercing breath, the air feeling terribly cold where it contacted the open wound on his neck. At the same time that the knife fell away, so did the pressure against his arm. During the minute that he had been pinned to the card table, he had allowed his legs to grow lazy and let the table take the majority of his weight, since it wasn’t like he could go anywhere even if he wanted to. So when Kain’s imperious hands disappeared, Ghost’s knees buckled, and he hit the floor hard, smacking his forehead against the edge of the table. Pain throbbed from the shoulder joint that had been threatened with dislocation, and he might have reached up to massage it if his fingers didn’t feel so numb.
The tavern erupted into bedlam. People sprang up from their chairs or barstools, knocking them over in their haste as they blindly sprinted toward the saloon-style doors at the front of the room. Ghost lay curled and wheezing on the floor, and it took several thick blinks to clear his vision before he was able to see what had caused the commotion: The spiky remains of a glass bottle were protruding from Kain’s torso, blood welling up around the edges of the wound.
Ghost was mesmerized by the lovely contrast the ruby liquid made against Kain’s cream-colored shirt when a hand flashed out and snagged his wrist. Shutting his eyes, Ghost instinctively cringed away from the oncoming blow, but then he was inexplicably flying toward his attacker, not away from them. His eyes snapped open, and he found that the hand clutching his wrist was not beefy and squared like Kain’s, but slim and elegant. A curtain of honey-blond hair lashed across his face as Randi whipped around with Ghost in tow, forcing him to stagger to his feet. She started dashing across a carpet of poker chips and tipped-over chairs, dragging him in her wake. His skin was hot where Randi’s grip pressed the gold bracelet he’d won from Jarvis against his wrist, but cold where blood dripped down the collar of his shirt. Or perhaps the other way around.
With a squeal, Randi spun away from Ghost as a hand—not his—tangled in her hair. For half a step Ghost was pulled in Randi’s new direction before her fingers detached from his wrist, but it was enough to place in his path an overturned chair that hadn’t been there before. His forward momentum was too great to immediately stop, and his brain was too scrambled to jump. So the result was that his feet caught in the legs of the chair, and he toppled to the ground. Ghost got his hands up in time to protect his face from the worst of the fall, but his teeth rattled and he lost one of his loafers.
When he eventually mustered the strength to poke his head up, the world around him rippled and quaked, the colors running down like paint on a canvas. A red firework bloomed across the back of one of his hands where blood from his throat had spattered it. Suddenly a sandaled foot stomped down barely an inch away from his pinkie finger. Ghost squinted up to find Randi doing battle with Jarvis, brandishing a broken bottle at the middle-aged man. The bottle winked in the light and Randi looked every bit an avenging angel, her face contorted in a snarl of divine fury.
Ghost’s stomach backflipped when he thought of what could have happened had Randi been slightly less careful with the placement of her foot, and how it would have broken at least one of his fingers. Possibly crippled his hand. His quick magician’s hands, which he had relied upon for years to palm an ace off the top of a deck and seduce locks into surrendering their secrets. Ghost would take a knife across the face before he lost the use of so much as one finger. He had been trying to reform from a life of crime for two years now, but Ghost wasn’t naive. He knew the nimble tricks he could perform with his hands would likely be instrumental to any chance of future success he might have. Just like his father, he was a thief first and a businessman second.
But what he wasn’t was a fighter, and that was a fact Kain seemed eager to exploit. Jagged shards still bristled from his shirt where Randi had stuck him with a bottle, his face twisted into a rictus of pain and malevolent desire. Kain’s advance was slow and shambling, with one leg dragging behind the other, but as determined as a storm cloud’s march across the horizon. Fear settled heavily onto Ghost’s shoulders. His limbs trembled with effort as he tried to stand, but the world was spinning too fast and he fell on his ass. With running no longer an option, Ghost yanked up the hem of his sweater vest and went to grab the pistol that was concealed there, though in his disorientation he was dearly unsure which end was the barrel.
He was still fumbling for his gun when Kain’s boots planted themselves in front of him. Kain raised the knife high and sliced in a deadly backhanded arc.
But the pain never came. At first Ghost interpreted this as indication that it had been a swift death, and he’d already passed on. Until he worked up the curiosity to crack an eyelid open and see Randi standing directly in front of him. Then she was driven to one knee, and Kain’s knife made a grotesque sound as it exited her body. Randi turned sideways enough for Ghost to see that she had one hand clamped over her stomach, and already it was gloved in blood.
Ghost stared uncomprehendingly, feeling as if the floor had crumbled away beneath him and the earth had swallowed him whole. He felt a soundless cry rise to life inside him.
A dark blur of motion streaked across the room, slamming into Kain and knocking him over. Icy coldness crept over Ghost as he lowered the hand that had been cradling his wounded neck. This time when he clambered to his feet, he did not stumble. He pivoted smoothly in place, freed his gun from its holster, and thumbed back the safety. The barrel was poised to take Jarvis between the eyes. Sensing that he had been fighting a losing battle, Jarvis had snatched up the heavy bag of cash and was edging toward the door, but he’d stopped when Kain had been tackled to the floor.
Drop it.” Ghost’s voice was gravel chewed up into a fine silt. He wasn’t sure whether it was a product of the cut on his throat or the bottomless black anger sweeping through him. He seriously contemplated shooting this cowardly scum right here and now. Anyone who refused to pay their debts, gambling or otherwise, was worthy of death in Ghost’s book. But he knew that if he shot Jarvis in a public tavern during a fit of passion, there would be no going back. Ghost would die in a cell for murder. The future he had striven so hard toward—recreate his father’s fortune, build an empire up and watch it burn—would go to waste. And even in the grip of mortal rage, Ghost was always in control.
From halfway across the room, he saw Jarvis’s throat bob as the man swallowed nervously. Then, raising his free hand to shoulder height, he lowered the money bag to the floor and stepped away.
Ghost’s lips pulled back from his teeth. “Now leave and pray that you never cross my path again, or God will weep when he sees what I’ve done to you.”
Jarvis did not have to be told twice. The tavern doors jostled violently in the wake of his departure.
Ghost turned to face where Kain and his attacker were fighting. Or had fought, since Kain was sprawled facedown on the floor with blood oozing out from under his hairline. The bystander who had intervened was barely older than a boy, maybe a little younger than Ghost. He sat on his heels, crouching over Kain and watching him intently, as if waiting for him to awaken.
“You,” Ghost barked. The boy’s head swung around. The light in the tavern was dim, but Ghost distantly thought he recognized the boy as one of the initiates from this year’s class. His name, however, was unknown to Ghost. “Let me worry about him. Right now you have a more pressing concern, and that’s to cut off a strip of your shirt and bind the young lady’s wound. Then apply pressure, but otherwise don’t move her. Once you’ve done that, call an ambulance.” It was an order, not a request. Ghost walked over to where Kain’s knife lay abandoned on the floor and nudged it with his foot toward the boy. From the corner of his eye, Ghost could see Randi’s unmoving, bloodstained form, and it crossed his mind that she might already be dead. Kain had gotten her with a direct shot to the stomach. However, Ghost had read that wounds to the gut generally culminated in a slow, painful trip to the grave. And as disconcerting as that knowledge was, it meant that Randi could still be saved by a capable medic. Hopefully.
Ghost felt a hot ache burning behind his eyes and refused to look at Randi. He could make no sense of it, yet the irrefutable fact remained that she’d taken a knife that had been intended for Ghost. She had sacrificed herself for him. If she died, her blood would be on his hands. Something hot and messy threatened to overwhelm him, but Ghost shoved it aside. He couldn’t afford to break down now when there were still matters to be settled.
As the male initiate grabbed the knife and moved to Randi’s side, Ghost turned and picked up the money bag Jarvis had dropped. Retrieved his loafer that had fallen off during the skirmish. Then, on his way toward the bar at the back of the room, he paused beside Kain’s prone body. Even in unconsciousness, one corner of the man’s mouth appeared raised in a sneer. His breathing was slow and heavy, and Ghost pocketed his pistol, knowing that Kain wouldn’t be waking up anytime soon. Even still, a piece of glass jutted from just below Kain’s shoulder blade. A little to the left, and it would have punctured his lung. What a shame. To compensate, Ghost carefully curled his fingers around the shard and tugged on it, wriggling it from side to side until it came loose. A torrent of blood spurted from the gaping wound in Kain’s back. Now if he dies, Ghost mused to himself with satisfaction, then technically I killed him. But no one has to know that.
He unfolded to his feet and crossed the rest of the way to the bar, behind which the bartender who had mocked Ghost’s sweater vest was cowering in fear. Now his sweater vest was stained with blood, and she said nothing on the topic. Instead, when Ghost’s shadow fell over her, she flinched and crawled toward the other side of the counter. “Please leave me out of this, I was just doing my job, no no no…” She lapsed into a series of hysterical sobs.
Ghost opened his fist, and Kain and Jarvis’s burlap sack of cash made a solid thump against the floor. “When the police come knocking, you’ll tell them that the young lady was being harassed by two drunken fools. Any injuries they might have incurred came about when she rightfully defended herself. You never saw my face. If you can do all that, ma’am, this bag belongs to you in its entirety. It holds roughly twelve thousand two hundred in cash.” Ghost spun around and started walking toward the doors, loafers clicking decisively against the floor. “I suggest you hide it quickly, though. Officers should be here any minute, and they might feel tempted to split it amongst themselves.” He passed Randi and the dark-haired boy who was tending to her wound. Ghost felt a tightening in his throat as if a fist were gripping it. He did not look in her direction as he straightened his bloody sweater vest, strode through the doors, and vanished from the scene of the crime.

* * *
An hour and a half later, Ghost attempted to check into Randi’s hospital room under the pretense of being her brother, and after he’d alternated tactics from diplomacy to heated arguing and back to diplomacy, the hospital receptionist had finally admitted him. Randi was sleeping when he entered, with an IV taped to one arm, and Ghost seated himself in one of several unpadded, armless chairs along the perimeter of the room. Her cheeks were pale, but the heart monitor was beeping steadily. A large fraction of Ghost’s panic melted away. Most, but not all, because he had no idea how long Randi might be indisposed, and while he could make excuses for her for one or two days, if she routinely failed to come to training, she would flunk out of initiation. Dauntless had little pity for the weak and wounded. In that case, she wouldn’t have sacrificed her life for Ghost, but he’d still have robbed her of a meaningful future. And in some ways a life without a future was worse than no life at all.
During the hour and a half interval he’d had to himself, Ghost had taken a circuitous route back to his apartment that had been luckily devoid of pedestrians due to the early hour. He was doubly lucky to find that neither Caspian nor Maverick was home when he arrived, because the last thing Ghost wanted was to explain his whereabouts and why he was covered in blood. After a hot shower, he focused his attention on cleaning and stitching the cut on his throat, knowing that the immediate pain of doing so would save him much regret in the long run. He used four stitches, crooked as all hell and sloppily applied in a mirror, but the wound held closed. While he’d had no anesthetic in the traditional sense of the word on hand, Ghost owed his success largely to the generous dose of lull he had taken before starting the procedure, and still the pain was nothing to laugh at.
He had exchanged the ruined sweater vest for a fashionable double-breasted red shirt with his lovely black-and-green swallowtail coat thrown over top, the black side facing out. He reluctantly omitted a tie, knowing that it would just aggravate his cut throat. Ghost flipped up the high collar on his coat, concealing the bandage from most angles. Finally, he replaced the stiff, pinching loafers with tall black boots, and started to feel a little less like Alex Young and a little more like himself. When taken in altogether, Ghost looked somewhat like a debauched ringmaster, with only the top hat missing. And of course he remembered the gold chain-link bracelet he had won from Jarvis during the morning’s final hand.
With little else to occupy him when he reached Randi’s hospital room, Ghost sat in a chair and flipped through his phone for the first time since receiving her urgent four a.m. call for help. And frowned at five missed calls from Caspian. Ghost’s thumb hovered over the call button, but his concern quickly hardened to anger. Abuse was the only word that fit Caspian’s treatment of Charlie during the year of their initiation. She had been weak then, and he had used that to his advantage. If Caspian needed Ghost’s help with something, then he could look elsewhere. Ghost remembered telling Charlie yesterday that he was tentatively planning to move out from his shared apartment with Caspian and returned to the topic, giving the logistics some serious thought.
He was in the midst of learning a new card trick from an instructional video on his phone when the mountain of white sheets on the hospital bed stirred. Randi groaned and struggled to lift her head. When she registered Ghost’s presence, she made a quip about the sweater vest that he had changed out of. He eyed Randi severely, ignoring her joke. “Why in ten hells,” Ghost began with slow calm, his voice containing an unusual raspy quality, “would you jump in front of a knife for me?”
Randi blinked, as if mildly surprised by the serious turn their conversation had taken. After taking a moment to collect her thoughts, she evenly responded that Ghost was her friend, and she cared deeply for her friends. For some reason, these words were kerosene on the conflagration that had consumed his heart. “Miss Rose. I am your instructor, and you my initiate. That is the start and end of our relationship. Before yesterday, you were just a face in the crowd to me. And that goes both ways, because you don’t know the first thing about me, either.”
As if unable to refute Ghost’s point, Randi remained silent. Or maybe she just sensed that he had more he wanted to say but was unsure how to phrase it. His hands formed claws, and he gestured in front of himself vaguely and inarticulately, needing to say something but careful not to say too much. “What I mean by that is,” he ground out, “our predicament had arisen as a consequence of my own foolish mistakes. By right, that knife was mine to take. I deserved it, in a sense. At least way before you did.
“And then you had to—goddammit—why, Brandish? Is it that you get some sort of thrill from playing the hero?” A hot welter of emotion bubbled to Ghost’s surface, his voice cracking with it. His hands anxiously twisted inside the glossy fabric of his coat. “You do not get to decide whether I am worth saving. That is not your decision to make. If you had died in my stead, how do you suppose I would find the self-respect to look in a mirror ever again? Did you think of that?”
Trading Randi’s life for Ghost’s was an objectively bad deal. Randi was healthy and young and had the makings of success within her faction. Conversely, Ghost had a handful of years to live, if he was lucky. Maybe only months if he continued taking lull in the increased doses that he had been for the past week, as to lend him strength. Ghost’s future was the blind he was forced to pay at the poker table whether or not he liked the hand he was dealt. But unlike him, Randi had the liberty of looking at her hand and deciding if she wanted to play it. She would only be hurting herself to automatically match his bet if the outcome didn’t look great for her. In other words, she would be recklessly throwing her life away when he was already at death’s door, no matter what.
Yet that was only half of the reason for Ghost’s objection, and the smaller half at that. He didn’t often think of his early life in Erudite, back when his parents were alive. He avoided the subject the same way a cripple learns to keep the weight off an injured leg. But now he was unable to hide from the memories that boiled out from the darkest crevices of his mind, that were engraved in indelible ink on his soul. The plain desperation in his mother’s voice as she pleaded with her would-be killers to spare her only child. The cold nonchalance with which one of the assassins had rifled through Ghost’s father’s collection of luxury cigars. The liquid fire that had been repeatedly injected into Ghost’s veins as his world ran with blood. That night had been the edge of the knife atop which his entire future balanced. That night, Ghost’s mother and father had died while he had lived. His parents’ killers had inexplicably left him alive when all logic said that he should have died alongside them. Maimed, but alive. It was the cruelest trick fate could ever have played on him.
And Randi had been prepared to put him through that endless nightmare all over again with her attempted sacrifice.
Years later, Ghost liked to tell himself that he had run away from Margot in the wake of his Choosing Ceremony for her own good. That he had transferred factions without telling her and never contacted her again because doing so would put her in danger, would make her the target of several gangs who were baying for Ghost’s blood. But that wasn’t the real reason. The truth: Ghost fled when his guilt had grown insurmountable, because Margot knew the secret of how his parents had died when he had lived. Because Ghost was forced to confront that darkest part of his being every time he looked Margot in the eye. He was alive only because he was a parasite, profiting off the misfortune of others. The deaths of Averill and Tabitha Jacobi were Ghost’s burden to bear.
“You,” he fumed, pointing at Randi and pausing, as if there were not a word in existence vile enough to describe the felony that she had committed. The whole length of his arm from wrist to elbow shook with the gesture, and this time it was not a symptom of withdrawal. “You are an insufferable fool with an inflated view of her own importance.” Shame and rage and dismay fought a three-way war inside of Ghost. Without full awareness of what he was doing, he stood from his chair and made his slow way toward Randi’s bedside. Tension was building inside his throat, choking off his voice, but he wanted her to hear every last word. “How dare you try to add to my suffering. You think I feel no guilt over it? That it doesn’t haunt me every waking minute of every damn day?” Angry tears sizzled in his eyes, and he loomed over Randi like a wrathful god. “Well, believe it or not, it hurts more than you could ever—”
The breath left Ghost’s body when Randi’s arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him close. But it wasn’t an attempt to punish him for all the harsh accusations he had made. Rather, she tucked her head against his side and enveloped him in an embrace, one that was gentle enough for Ghost to break free if he so desired, but firm enough that her meaning was unmistakable. As Randi’s petite, curvy form clung to his own, Ghost was faintly aware of the sound of his own heart beating. He let go of his anger and—for the moment—his guilt, too. While he did not reciprocate Randi’s hug, neither did he pull away from her, letting his arms hang limp at his sides.
And then she reached up, grabbing hold of Ghost’s lapels. Gently she dragged his face down until her lips pressed against his cheek in a brief, appreciative kiss.
Afterward Ghost remained hunched over Randi’s bedside, too stunned to move or speak, like a sparrow struck with a stone. She gazed at him as calmly as ever, her sea glass eyes aglow with sincerity. Time and space fell away, and the details of when or where he was became irrelevant. Bewilderment tinged with horror and embarrassment crashed over him. Ghost might have reached up and touched the site of the kiss if he’d had proper control of his limbs. He knew his cheeks must be flaming, yet he could not look away from Randi’s intent stare. He felt positively ensnared.
From across the room came a creak of poorly maintained hinges. A beat passed before Ghost realized that it was the sound of a door opening, and a man with longish caramel-colored hair was leaning against the frame. Ghost shot up to his full height, spine going as taut as a bowstring, and beat a hasty retreat from Randi’s bedside. In his obliviousness to his surroundings, the heel of his boot rang against her IV, almost knocking it over. Ghost swiftly hid his hands behind his back, as if to make it clear that he would never consider laying them on Randi’s copious curves even for a second. There, no one could see how his fingers nervously knotted in the sleeve of his opposite wrist. The man in the doorway was dressed in almost carelessly casual attire, evidencing that he was not part of the hospital staff. And if he had gained access to Randi’s room that meant this man, unlike Ghost, was actually part of her family. He looked a little young to be the father of a sixteen-year-old, but not unbelievably so. Ghost was already on the bad side of more than enough girls’ fathers.
One corner of the man’s mouth curled up into a smirk. He swaggered a few steps inside the room, his body a collection of lean muscles. Ghost tried not to think about how neither Kain nor Jarvis were particularly imposing figures, yet he had spent most of this morning’s brawl on his ass. “You must be Randi’s brother,” the man drawled, wearing a wry smile that made it very apparent Randi had no brother. “Funny how you two look nothing alike.”
Sweat beaded at Ghost’s hairline, and he resisted the impulse to look to Randi for rescue. He’d gotten himself into this mess, and he could get himself out as well—maybe. Ghost took a breath, forcing some of the tension out of his shoulders, and conjured a grain of composure. He decided to play along with the man’s charade, curious where it would go despite his fear. “We’re adoptive siblings. Clearly,” he deadpanned with a perfectly straight face. Not that smiling was an option when his muscles were frozen with terror. “Your face looks terribly familiar from family reunions, sir, but I cannot seem to place your name. If you would be so gracious as to remind me?”
 
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xayah.

i return stronger than i left

LEAH YOUNG


erudite to dauntless | 16 | initiate​

Leah's ears perked up at Thorn's agreement with her. She was... surprised—delightfully surprised that is and also a little confused. All her books, essays, and materials on the various factions had pushed the idea that all people were were their factions. As a Dauntless-borne, wasn't Thorn supposed to disagree with her? Wasn't he supposed to feel like strength and bravery, reckless or not, were all that mattered? She interlocked her fingers and balanced her chin on them as a look of amusement slowly manifested on her face. There had been a multitude of things that contrasted her studies on Dauntless, but this was the most prominent one. How interesting.

Now that Leah's interest was piqued, she felt more invested in the conversation. Time seemed to pass quickly for the first time since her entrance into the Dauntless compound. Eventually, Thorn got up, offering to take away their plates as he had other business to attend to. Left with Mercy, Leah felt the conversation die quickly. Recognizing that there wasn't anything left to do here, she got up, beckoning Mercy to follow because what else were they going to do for the rest of the day, and tried to remember where she had gone with Aubrey after the last training.

Somehow her feet had led her to the right area. Leah always was quick to pick up on stuff that wasn't physical, directions included. As expected, most of the initiates still in initiation had flocked here to unwind. She spotted a few familiar faces, some that she would like to avoid, and looked around for two open seats. Anywhere. Just by the counter, Leah spotted two seats right next to someone she'd seen before; although, she hadn't made any note of their name. Maybe this time she would. Leading Mercy to the two seats to claim them before anyone else did, Leah spoke just loud enough for their seat neighbour to hear.

"These two seats aren't taken, are they?"

interacting with: winter. winter. Milo pix-e pix-e Mercy
 

Baratheon

walk in the light

Finn Day

Finn's face was redder than a fox as he realized just where his hand had landed. Aubrey herself seemed taken aback, staring at him, then down at his hand plastered across her chest. For a moment, the only noise was the cheering from the video game in front of them. Then, he jerked his hand back as if he had touched a hot stove. His voice rose in panic, stammering as he tried to make right of the situation. Did he like Aubrey? Yes. Would he ever come at her like that with intent? Absolutely not.

Aubrey fell of her bike in surprise, hitting the ground with a dull thud. Finn screeched. "I'm so sorry, Aubrey! I'm- I'm- woah, are you like- that's not what- I'm-you aren't like- agh!" His words tumbled out as he tried to reach down to help her, then jerked his hand back again. He feared the same situation would happen again, and then what? How could he explain himself?

To his surprise, Aubrey reached upwards and yanked him down, causing his own fall to the hard floor. His gaze shot up to see that she had climbed back onto her bike and was now speeding to the finish line. Finn let out a noise of indignation as he got back to his feet, but by the time he could even touch his own bike, she had crossed the finish line and won. He stared at the screen, then at her, then back at the screen. He knew she was going to win- she'd been ahead of him anyways- but the fact she had used that situation to beat him was pretty cold. She definitely only had victory on her mind.

Still, as he turned to gaze at her once again, his heart nearly stopped. Was she going to be mad? He knew that while his best friend was very touchy, he would never, ever want to aggress on her like that. He wanted to cut his own hand off.

As they watched each other, Aubrey began to laugh. Nervously, quietly, but laughter nonetheless. Finn offered a small smile. He joined in, but it quickly died off. He tried to say something, but Aubrey cut him off and requested they just game. He nodded and they continued on, but the day seemed a little more dull. The colors seemed muted, the music quiet, and a wall seemed to be coming between them. Finn tried his best, but he couldn't focus on the games. His hands were a bit too slow, his brain only thinking about what a horrible person he was. He kept stealing glances at his friend, but never said anything, wondering what she was thinking. Did he still stand any chance with her? If there was at all to begin with?

Finally, Aubrey broke the silence by saying they needed to leave it behind. She seemed happier than he felt, even giving him a soft boop on the nose. He tried to smile, and respond, but simply nodded instead. It would take him some time to feel better. She mentioned going to the restroom and Finn nodded again, wandering over to where a gumball machine was. He popped in a coin, watching as a blue gumball spun around and around before finally hitting the bottom. He took it out and munched on it, enjoying the vague berry flavor. He decided Aubrey would probably like one and punched in another coin, seeing a green one spin around and around. He started to disassociate as he stood there, absently watching the gumball. He wondered if he should just leave. The teen boy was not doing Aubrey any good by ruining her day and, despite her words, still felt bad about it. He wanted to take it back so bad.

It was taking a little longer than it should, so Finn wandered over to the bathroom to see what was up. To his surprise, he found his blonde companion in the grips of a creepy, gross-looking security guard. Oh no! The employees must have found out the two hadn't paid to get in. Finn's mind whirled with what to do. He raced up to the guard, trying to explain why he and Aubrey were there. His words were jumbled and fast, and the guard gave him a look as if he saw right through his lies. Aubrey was trying to get his attention, and, after his own plan didn't seem to be working, he finally looked at her.

Throw the baby carrier! He gaped at her. What?! That was brutal, even if it was empty! However, it seemed like the best bet... Finn nodded to her solemnly and reached over to grab the carrier. With a grunt, he threw the carrier towards the guard, who gasped and let go of Aubrey to catch it.


"HAhA!" Finn shouted in victory. Aubrey's hand was in his own in a flash, and the two were darting down the walkway to who-knows-where, the people and places around him blurring. The guard shouted and gave chase.

He was faster than he looked. The duo made flew around a corner, and Finn felt his arm almost rip off at the speed Aubrey was going. He gasped as she swung him quickly around a door and into a dark room full of random supplies. The boy narrowed his eyes in the sudden darkness, asking her what she was going. She shushed him. Movement in front of him came from Aubrey. Was she putting on something? She told him to play along as she practically jumped onto him and began kissing his neck loudly. He could tell it was fake, of course, but the guard who suddenly threw the door open reeled back in disgust at the sight. He cursed at the two and slammed the door shut again, his footsteps quickly receding.

Had Finn had a right head on his shoulders at the moment, he would have been amazed at how fast Aubrey had come up with a plan and executed it. And it worked! Instead, he was too focused on the weight clutching to his body at the moment. Her fake kisses on his neck, a few making contact, felt electric. Her weight on his was warm and, although unexpected, welcome. Her body moving, her hair brushing against his face, her breath on his skin... He was frozen. The teen boy was feeling all kinds of ways he'd never before. This situation was something out of a dream. He had no idea what to do except stand there still, eyes wide and focused on the wall behind Aubrey.

After what seemed like an eternity, she hopped off and smiled at him. He finally made eye contact and gave an awkward grin back. Would it be bad to say he had enjoyed immensely what had just happened?

Finn breathed a sigh and felt his body relax. Aubrey seemed a bit embarrassed as she tried to explain away what she had just done. "It's, uh, okay..." He told her gently. He leaned back against the wall, feeling as if his legs were jelly. He took a few more breaths in and glanced down in surprise as something was thrust into his hands. A lion?

"Hey, I should be the one giving you the lion. Wasn't that your nickname?"
He told her with a grin, squeezing the plush in his hands. He was too small, too light to be a lion. Maybe something more akin to a monkey or bird. But the beautiful, glowing girl in front of him could be nothing less than a lioness. He noticed her face was red as well, as she took a step back and awkwardly asked what was next. What on earth could be next? Finn still felt like he needed to catch his breath.

"Uh, I got this, for you too. Thought you might like it although I probably wouldn't eat it now." Finn reached in his pocket and pulled out the green gumball. He had no idea where the one he had been eating had gone- had he swallowed it? Gross. Even grosser was the squished green mound in his hand, with what appeared to be a short brown hair on it. "I can get you a different one."

Aubrey giggled and took her gift, pretending to eat it before tossing it in a nearby trashcan. The two lapsed into silence for a moment. Finn glanced at the floor, then back up at her. He knew he had messed up earlier, but that seemed like eons ago after their recent adventure. There was no way the girl could hate him for that after practically leaping into his arms. He offered a small smile.

"I, uh, really had a good time. Today. With all of that. And not just because I had a beauti- I mean, a girl on top of me, y'know, that's weird, but... I mean, the arcade and escape was fun. We should do more stuff like that. Without this part, of course. Unless you, uh, liked it too. But it's okay if you didn't! Y'know? I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to and this was just kind of crazy. Haha..." He trailed off, wanting to slam his head into the wall and die immediately.

TEMPLATE © BOKEH






Harper Day

Just hello? Harper put a hand on her hip as Jaxom explained his curiosity for her teaching abilities. He didn't seem nervous, but his demeanor was different from most of the other initiates'. Harper recalled he wasn't originally from Dauntless, but his scores were pretty good. He stood a fair chance. She wondered if his simple question was really hiding a request to be trained by her. Well, after such a confusing day with Ghost, she was happy to receive a little flattery.

"I can do either. As an instructor, I am technically a tool you kids can use if you need a little extra help or have questions," She told him, her demeanor shifting slightly. She didn't mind coming across as the harsh instructor, but Jaxom didn't deserve any kind of rudeness. She genuinely wanted the initiates to succeed; as long as they had what it took, of course.

"I am proficient in several uncommon weapons," She gestured to her sword as she spoke, "So most come to me in order to be trained in something other than just fists, guns, and knives. There are a lot more weapons than just those three. I can also do physical training if you want to bulk up a little bit. Fear sims are something personal you gotta handle on your own, but I can help with anything body- or weapon-wise. Got something in mind?" A bigger boy like Jaxom could handle larger weapons that could prove to be pretty useful in combat. She raised an eyebrow as she awaited his response.

TEMPLATE © BOKEH
 

Sanctuaryforall1

Pyrrha Nikos Lives On














Randi




Mood: Tired

Location: Hospital

Interactions: Ghost






She wasn’t sure how long she was in the void; time didn’t seem to exist here but then again nothing seemed to exist in the heavy darkness except for her and she found she didn’t mind. She couldn’t tell if she was floating, standing, or even moving. She was just there but then again; she wasn’t even sure if it was really her at all or just a part of her. It was odd and yet freeing to just be and not be at the same time, as though she could finally breathe but also didn’t need to burden herself with even that. Randi didn’t even find herself wondering where she was or how she got to be there, not until a pinhole of light pierced the unyielding darkness and she heard voices. They came and went, and she wasn’t sure who they were or where they were coming from but suddenly, she could hear something beating in her ears. At first, she believed it to be some sort of drum until suddenly it dawned on her that it was her own heartbeat. The sound grew louder and stronger as the voices faded, and the pinhole of light became a beacon reaching towards her. The inky darkness vanished as she was ripped back into the world of light, noise, and…an instructional video.

Jade eyes fluttered open slowly, still heavy with exhaustion as she turned her head slightly to see the dark gaze of Ghost looking back at her. The voice that must have been coming from his phone had disappeared meaning he must have paused whatever he was listening to when he noticed her coming around. Giving him a tired smirk she looked him over, “Hope I didn’t ruin that sweater vest.” She chuckled, “It was absolutely precious on you.”

It seemed that Ghost wasn’t in the same playful mood Randi had been reaching for with her comment. The moment the words left her mouth something in him seemed to shift as he took on an eerie calmness, the calm before the storm. As he asked her why she would take a knife for him she blinked at him, her brow furrowed slightly as she did her best to sit up without causing herself too much pain. “Why the hell are you even asking me why?” She demanded in return as she looked him in the eyes without fear or hesitation. “You are my friend and I would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant sparing you.” She informed him, her eyes full of genuine passion as she spoke the honest truth.

She knew she was playing with fire the moment she spoke the words but like any arsonist, she didn’t really care. She needed Ghost to know that she cared for him, that he meant something to her, even if it meant she would have to deal with the repercussions. It seemed her words had a much larger, far more explosive impact than she had realized as Ghost’s eerie calmness became fiery anger and pain. As much as his words might have been meant to distance himself from her, to hurt her, to make her regret her decision, all it did was enforce her need to make sure Ghost wasn’t hurt again. It was true, they barely knew anything about each other, but Randi could tell by the emotion in his voice and the pain in his eyes at this was about so much more than what she had done. Someone had hurt Ghost before, put him through some level of unbearable pain, and her choice had unknowingly reopened that old wound.

As the older male got to his feet and drew closer to her bedside, his words thick with rage and agony that Randi wished she could save him from. He spoke of his pain and suffering and how she dared to add to it and that was the final straw. Despite the stabbing pain in her gut Randi bent forward suddenly and wrapped her arms around Ghost’s waist. Her hold wasn’t as strong as it usually was but was firm enough to make it clear that she meant it to be a meaningful embrace. As Ghost froze in her arms, his words dying on his lips, Randi leaned her head against him, her blonde hair acting like a curtain. “I get it.” She breathed softly. “It is never fair to be the one who survives when others don’t.” She added, her voice steady but also laced with genuine empathy. “That kind of pain never goes away…and because of it I have spent my whole life chasing death because he forgot about me.” She admitted. Her eyes closed and she thought back to the day her world burned. The day her mother and father turned to charred corpses before her very eyes, their skin melting, their bones sizzling, the smell surrounding her as she was somehow spared. It wasn’t fair. They died to keep her alive, her father using his body to hold a fallen burning roof, her mother turning herself into a human shield as she kept her safe from the roaring flames. “But your life will always be worth saving. You do not get to determine your worth, you do not get to decide what others are willing to do for you.” She told him firmly, her voice slightly choked with emotion. “Even if you were to die tomorrow, I would not regret doing what I did because it means you got to live one more day.” She informed him no matter how much he might hate the words. “You’re right, I don’t value my life.” She added. “But I do value the people in it and that is why I did what I did because my life is not worth living without the people who make it so.”

With that, the young blonde gave the older male another squeeze before reaching up and dragging his face down to her level. Gently she pressed her soft lips to the side of his face, giving him a meaningful kiss on the cheek. After a moment she released him and leaned back against her pillow. The two just looked at each other for several minutes before a creak of the door alerted them to someone new entering the room. Randi’s eyes widened as she spotted her uncle looking in on them from where he was leaning against the door frame. She was about to open her mouth when her uncle beat her to it and began addressing Ghost as her brother. Oh shit, what has Ghost gotten himself into? She thought as she glanced between Ghost and Freight and listened to their interaction. Finally, after a moment she got a chance to speak and with a small wave she uttered, “Hi Uncle Freight.” Awkwardly she avoided Ghost’s gaze as she continued to speak to the man. “I guess you are here to find out when I can be taken home?” She inquired trying to give Ghost the hint that perhaps he did not go with the best cover story this time.

Knave Knave





code by Stardust Galaxy
 

Knave

pizza girl


Ghost // Male // Age 18 // Training Instructor // Erudite to Dauntless

Before the blond man could respond with his name, Randi interjected and indirectly answered Ghost’s question. Freight, Ghost thought with mild amusement. The name itself was new to him but the trend it followed was not. It was commonplace for Dauntless-born boys to be given names that were hyper-masculine in nature, usually after an inanimate object or a mythological hero. The initiate Thorn. Jeremy’s subordinate Wolf. Blair’s brother Ares. Given some of those ridiculous names, Ghost found it vaguely hypocritical whenever strangers frowned at the oddity of his own pseudonym, and then, thinking themselves terribly clever, would come back with, “But that’s not the name your mother gave you?” their voices tipping upward at the end in uncertainty. My mother gave me an unhealthy addiction to books, Ghost would think but never say, and a too-pretty face that attracted schoolyard bullies by the dozen. With those two exceptions, Tabitha Jacobi had never had abundances of time to give her son too much else.
Randi’s voice contained a strange, strangled note that made Ghost glance in her direction, his mirth at Freight’s name melting away. Her forest-green gaze was locked on the wiry form of her uncle, pointedly avoiding Ghost. Embarrassment, slow and sickening, steeped through him as he brainstormed several theories as to the source of Randi’s displeasure with him. He felt suddenly ashamed of the display of emotion that he had failed to rein in, accusing her and yelling nonsense like a petulant child whose birthday presents had gone missing. Ghost had claimed that the extent of his relationship with Randi was the rigid formality between instructor and initiate, and yet he had gone and let her see a feral, unguarded side of him that bordered on insanity. Or was Ghost wrong in assuming that had been what put her off, when instead it had been the messy aftermath of the kiss she’d given him? He fought off a cringe as he recalled the awkward breaths they had taken, the only sound in a room where the tension was thick as stew. Well, if the latter were the case, he could hardly see Randi’s justification for being upset with him when she had been the one to initiate the contact.
Ghost’s indignation retreated as quickly as it had appeared, replaced with frustration for caring about what Randi thought of him at all. He suddenly wondered how much of his out-of-control spiral at the gambling tables had been inspired not so much by the thrill of winning as it had by the hope of impressing Randi. Despite the massive inconvenience of having to come to her rescue at four in the morning, it had felt delightful to be needed instead of scorned, for once. He had wanted Randi to rejoice in her decision to come to him for help, to see him as daring, competent, whip-smart. Ghost unconsciously fingered Jarvis’s gold chain-link bracelet as he recalled the glowing surge of pride he had felt when showing it off to Randi. And then he had made an ass of himself by letting his opponents get the jump on him and publicly knock him around for his complacency.
Freight let his gaze linger on Ghost before reluctantly turning to his niece, as if wary that Ghost would make a snatch at his wallet the moment that Freight looked away. And yet Ghost could detect no traces of outright hostility from Freight, an emotion to which Ghost was finely attuned after years of exposure to it. In fact, Freight radiated an aura of friendly mischief, as if nothing would please him more than exchanging witty banter with Ghost all day long, but he wouldn’t turn his back to Ghost for all the money in the world. Ghost wondered whether Freight subjected all strangers to the same jovial skepticism. Or perhaps did Freight have a knack for spotting an untrustworthy individual because he himself was untrustworthy? Whatever the case, the fact remained that each time Freight turned his probing spruce gaze on Ghost, Ghost felt as though the entirety of his extensive criminal record were written in blood on his fancy clothes.
Ghost returned the other man’s analytical stare, trying to parse out the reason behind Freight’s suspicious behavior. He must have already heard the story of how I hustled those two men for enough money to buy a car, Ghost concluded, feeling a dark satisfaction. It was the only explanation that made sense, given Freight’s complete lack of surprise at Randi’s injuries. Perhaps Ghost should have felt abashed—after all, any doting uncle would hardly want his niece keeping the company of someone with Ghost’s dubious skill set—but he was young and starved for notoriety, the likes of which he hadn’t seen ever since he’d left Baneberry two years ago. If Freight had already heard the story, Ghost wondered how many other people had, too, and he suddenly felt a random urge to laugh.
Freight dipped his head in a nod at Randi’s question. “I was,” he replied, sauntering toward the blue plastic chair that Ghost had been occupying not ten minutes ago. “But I’d imagine that your brother here would prioritize your health and have made a point of finding out that information already.” Freight settled into the chair. He wasn’t an overly large man, but he sprawled in the chair as if his goal were to take up as much space as possible, with his legs extended in front of him and his hands folded over his middle, elbows draping leisurely over the chair’s arms. His gaze flashed from Randi to Ghost, and Freight’s lazy twang sharpened into an air of command. “What’s your name, boy?” The playful charade in which he had been patiently indulging Ghost dropped away like a shattered mask.
“Ghost, sir,” Ghost answered diligently, too disoriented by Freight’s change in demeanor to think of a clever response.
“Well, listen up, Ghost-sir,” Freight gently mocked. If he thought Ghost’s name at all odd, he didn’t say anything, much to Ghost’s surprise. It was like someone saying “knock-knock” and then not following up with a joke. “As I’m sure you’ve figured out, I’m not Randi’s father, but for the purpose of this hypothetical scenario, let’s suppose that I am. The next time that you meet with the parents of a girl with whom you wish to get serious, bring a gift. A little cliche, yeah, but showing the girl’s parents that you’re willing to drop some cash on their little princess never hurts.” Freight punctuated this advice with a wicked smile.
Ghost could no longer feel his face. It was a marvel that he was finally able to force his lips into the shape of words, but the sound that came out was more of a squeak than a voice. He dared not look at Randi for fear of the expression that he would find on her face. “You misunderstand my intentions, sir—”
“Cut out that ‘sir’ shit, too,” Freight interrupted with such a dramatic roll of his eyes that they should have disappeared inside his skull. “Politeness might work in Abnegation or Erudite or whichever faction you’re originally from, but most Dauntless men will unfortunately think they can walk all over you if they hear it. And for God’s sake, don’t carry yourself so stiffly. You’re thin and angular enough that it makes your walk look all spidery. Loosen up. Someone so young shouldn’t look half so serious.”
Ghost just stood, struck speechless. He was intensely aware of Randi’s gaze boring into him, measuring his reaction. For a fraction of a minute, the only sound in the bitter-smelling hospital room was the steady blip of her heart monitor. If it were possible to die from shame, he would have done so nine times over.
And then Randi’s uncle roared with laughter. Into the silence, the sharp burst of sound was as loud and jarring as a thunderclap, and Ghost flinched. With his eyes screwed shut and shoulders shuddering, Freight looked remarkably boyish, not much older than Caspian. “I’m just messing with you, kid,” Freight choked out between peals. He brushed at the corner of one eye.
Ghost watched with an air of unreality, feeling as though his consciousness had detached from his body, vaguely wondering if he were in a simulation, utterly unsure of what to think. Randi’s uncle defied all analysis. Trying to predict his behavior was an exercise in futility. Fundamental things such as boundaries and social norms were pure fantasy for this man. Ghost dearly hoped never to have to face Freight in a poker game. The insane didn’t need to have a reason for their actions.
“My niece is a pistol,” Freight continued, slumping forward in his chair, his maniacal laughter incrementally dying down. "Any boy hoping to make an advance on her has gotta have a thick skin and an iron pair. That's something you might need to work on, young man." Despite the practiced casualness with which Freight said this last remark, the underlying message of his belligerent joking was clear: If Ghost was looking for a relationship of any kind, to look somewhere other than at his niece. He would not tolerate Randi's involvement with gamblers and thieves.
Feeling nothing, Ghost pivoted so that he was facing Randi. This time his walk was more mechanical than spidery as he approached her bedside. “I have to go to work now,” he said abruptly. His voice brooked no argument, no chance of being lured into a lengthy and heartfelt goodbye that lapsed into yet another conversation. “Get well soon. Do not call or text me for the rest of the day for any reason. Or I will kill you.”


* * *
The time was two after eight. Ghost still had almost a full hour before training was due to begin, and he was looking forward to an unhurried, uneventful walk from the hospital back to the compound. But that was not to be.
He hadn’t even gotten half a block away from the hospital when his phone buzzed furiously in his coat pocket, alerting him to an incoming call. Ghost’s heart leapt, initially imagining it to be Blair with an answer to the proposition he had posed to her yesterday, until he remembered that they had never exchanged numbers. He internally upbraided himself for his forgetfulness, but it wasn’t as if he was in the habit of regularly making friends and giving his number out. It was a good thing that Randi had taken the initiative to suggest they exchange contact information two days ago after their sparring session, and an even better thing that Ghost had set aside his many misgivings and reluctantly agreed.
But Blair didn’t have his number, and Randi must have taken his warning not to call seriously, because the caller ID indicated Malia Wolfharde. Now that Caspian was on (supposedly) temporary leave from his instructional duties and Ghost was filling in as head instructor, Wolfharde was his direct superior, to whom he reported official scores, data, and penalties imposed on troublesome initiates. Not without evidence, Ghost liked to imagine that he did this to a much higher degree of competence and organization than Caspian, especially when it came to translating raw data into coherent graphs. It was a job that few Dauntless had the patience or mathematical ability for but Ghost somewhat enjoyed.
Malia Wolfharde didn’t seem to care about competence or organization, though, or at least not where Ghost was concerned. The woman obviously still carried quite the chip on her shoulder from ever since Ghost had refused her personal offer to join the leadership panel. First she apologized for the last-minute notice in a tone that was rank with insincerity, and then barked out orders for him to be at the simulation rooms within a quarter hour. Apparently a new instructor was in need of orientation, and she would be filling in for an indefinite period. Ghost didn’t have to ask whom this new instructor was replacing—he had figured it was only a matter of time until Maverick tired of his brother’s antics and told Caspian that maintaining his job was his own responsibility—but when Ghost asked Wolfharde about the raise that he due in light of his promotion, she snapped something about how she ought to fire him for insolence and hung up.
Ghost knew it was a hollow threat, however, and didn’t get bent out of shape over it. If he were fired, then that would leave just Harper and Charlie on the team, one of whom was still in her first year as an instructor and officially unqualified for the role of head, and the other who had her hands full as the sole medic. So long as he didn’t abuse it, Ghost had a free pass for a little while, until either Caspian reclaimed his position as head instructor or next year when Harper was a potential candidate. But now that he had a cushy disposable income, Ghost didn’t plan to still be working this deadbeat job then. He needed his time and effort to actually mean something.
What did bend him out of shape, though, was that he was still a twenty-five minute walk from the compound when Wolfharde had ordered him at the simulation rooms in fifteen. Ghost was sure without a doubt that, despite Malia’s condolences for the short notice, she had planned it no other way. So that when he inevitably showed up late to his orientation appointment with the new instructor, Wolfharde could deduct from his paycheck. Petty bitch. Ghost wondered what she would have done if he’d not picked up at all. Perhaps he would try that next time she pulled this bullshit.
Off the dance floor, Ghost was an athlete by no stretch of the imagination. Even if he wanted to, he seriously doubted he was fit enough to make up for the lost time by running, and he despised running. Plus, pay deduction or not, the Holy Ghost did not jump when Malia Wolfharde or anyone else told him to. So he increased his leisurely stroll to a brisk walk, if only out of consideration for the instructor trainee whom he would keep waiting.
When he arrived at the simulation rooms, he was a hot mess, with damp hair falling into his eyes, his elegant double-breasted shirt plastered to his torso, and the bandage on his throat itching something nasty where the popped collar of his coat concealed it. But Ghost was only eight minutes late instead of the projected ten, which he considered a small victory. The second that he had stepped inside the compound’s musty stone walls and was greeted by a blast of cold air, the exhaustion hit all at once, moving through him like molasses. He would have traded his left hand for a Venti coffee, if his trainee weren’t already inconvenienced by his tardiness.
The young woman waiting in the central chamber had her back to Ghost. The central chamber was furnished as sparsely as could be, with chipped off-white walls devoid of any ornamentation except an analog clock, but she appeared to be looking around with rapt interest, as if nostalgic for her own lost days as an initiate. Hair tumbled down her back in a lustrous milk-chocolate sheet, and when she turned, the cool fluorescent lights illuminated a streak of red running down one side. She brushed an errant lock out of her face, revealing pointed features set in creamy skin, her dark brows carefully shaped into perfect arches. As Ghost drew nearer, he realized that she was tall, their heights within an inch of each other. Altogether she looked to be a year or two older than him. Since Harper’s birthday was four or so months before his, that now made Ghost the youngest instructor, he noted with some curiosity.
“My apologies for keeping you waiting,” he said earnestly, trying to conceal his state of near breathlessness. Without thinking, he ran a hand along the left side of his hair, smoothing down the spiky disarray that tended to form after excessive movement. “I don’t make a habit of being late, I promise. It won’t happen again.” Ghost began most training sessions by reprimanding the considerable fraction of initiates who arrived late and occasionally deducting from their scores as punishment, so having to apologize for his own lateness now was more discomfiting than he cared to admit. And then there was the probable fact that Malia Wolfharde had instructed this girl to notify her if Ghost was late, perhaps even before he had been made aware that he had a pre-training appointment in the first place.
The young woman responded with a warm smile that didn’t seem forced, but maybe Ghost was just being hopeful that his paycheck was still fully intact. “You are Miss Bloom, yes?” he asked. Ghost usually forgot half of the initiates’ first names and solely referred to them by their surnames, but he couldn’t have forgotten this girl’s name if he tried: Vernal, like the equinox. It was a strange name, and due to the fact that Ghost too had a strange name—multiple strange names, really—he was partial to strange names. Plus he was just damn strange in general.
She gently corrected him that she went by just Bloom. “Then Bloom it is,” he acquiesced graciously, with a flourishing gesture of one hand. Jarvis’s—now Ghost’s—gold chain links shimmered in a distracting way, and while that hadn’t been the intended effect of his gesture, he was nonetheless pleased with the outcome. “You may call me Ghost,” he said, and waited for Bloom to scowl at, question, or openly mock his choice of name. To his immense surprise, she seemed to take it in stride. That was both Freight and Bloom today, then. Huh. That never happened.
“Forgive me if this comes off as a bit abrupt, Bloom, but do you know why you’re here? Not philosophically, I mean,” he added hastily. “But the circumstances surrounding your promotion to instructor? Just the other day, I heard that one of our initiates was found dead by mysterious causes. Would you happen to know anything about that?” Usually when Ghost was fishing for information, he employed a subtler, more tacit approach, but he was acutely aware that the clock was ticking, and he and Bloom would be lucky to finish her tutorial in time before training was due to start. If he wanted any answers while they were alone, he’d have to get them fast. And while he had no sure-fire way to ensure that he would get the truth from her even if she did know it, springing the question on her so suddenly could be useful for catching her in a lie.
That, and then there was the fact that Ghost had lied somewhat when he said the initiate—Ben, whose name he’d omitted—had died of mysterious causes. Ghost wasn’t sure how true it was, but yesterday he’d heard from Jeremy’s squad that suicide was Ben’s purported cause of death. Perhaps Bloom’s answer would help Ghost separate fact from fiction. He cradled his chin in one hand and held her gaze unflinchingly as he awaited her move.
 
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Sanctuaryforall1

Pyrrha Nikos Lives On














Fable




Mood: Chatty

Location: Street/Bar

Interactions: Chris, Dakota, Poppy






Fable beamed a pearly smile when she heard Chris agree to have Dakota tag along. It was nice to have a familiar face among the faces of her potential new friends. While she and Dakota might not have known each other too well when she was in Abnegation, she had found that his company was certainly enjoyable since they had both transferred to Dauntless. Honestly, she believed they would have been good friends even in Abnegation if her damn parents had allowed her some semblance of freedom. Dakota was the exact kind of lively, one in a million sort of guys that her father would have exploded over if he ever found out she was friends with him. It made the idea of getting to know the pale-haired boy all the more tempting since her father couldn’t control her anymore, the same could easily be said for Chris. Both boys were bold in their own way, both were strong, both found a way to stand out in the world even if they didn’t realize it. Fable was in awe of them and wanted to find a way to be just like them.

As they walked, she heard Chris mention wanting a massage and how great it would feel. She had to admit that she would kill to get her muscles taken care of by the hands of a professional, especially after how banged up she got during the free for all. Would she ever go though? Hell no. She didn’t need to expose herself to a stranger like that. She couldn’t comprehend the idea of someone seeing the battlefield that was her back and shoulders. It would only lead to questions about a life she wanted more than anything to leave behind her.

When the topic of tattoos rolled around, she smiled and nodded her head. “It was one of the first things I did when I transferred.” She informed the blonde male with a smile. Rolling back her sleeves and flexing her arm she showed off the ink that lay on her inner upper arm. The image forever sketched into her flesh was that of a lion and mouse silhouette with the lion striding behind the mouse. The edges had a faded look to them to make it look like an artistic cave painting rather than a tattoo. “I have been thinking about getting more though.” She replied and smiled as he offered to show her some cool parlors in the district. “Yeah, that sounds like fun. Maybe you could help me pick my next one?” She offered and left it at that as they reached the bar.

As Chris made his way through the crowd Fable waved for Dakota to follow her. The two of them took up stools nearby, close enough to interact if spoken to, but far enough to respect Chris and Poppy’s space if they needed to chat in private. While the two Dauntless-born initiates spoke, Fable ordered some drinks and food for the group. Happily, she sipped on a local brew that had a hint of blueberry flavor to it, a slightly sour yet sweet surprise that she didn’t mind in the slightest. When Poppy’s attention turned to them Fable looked up at her and smiled. “Yeah, I think I got lucky at the end there, but it was a well-fought fight on all sides.” She admitted, glancing at Chris with a look of unspoken praise and respect.

Nerdy. Nerdy. Wolfiee Wolfiee winter. winter.





code by Stardust Galaxy

















Vex




Mood: Pleased

Location: Caspian's Apartment / Street

Interactions: Caspian






Playing Charlie like a fool was so easy that it almost made Vex feel bad for the older girl. She was so eager to help, to heal, to make things better for everyone that she played herself right into the hands of a predator like Vex. Perhaps Vex might have felt worse about it if the thrill of the hunt wasn’t so addicting, the idea of playing with her prey shooting pure ecstasy through her veins. Her programming was thorough and had scrubbed her clean of any true feelings of remorse or guilt. It was why she was able to play her role so well, able to lie and manipulate someone so pure without hesitation. Even as she parted ways with Charlie, the two smiling at one another as she thanked the medic for being there for her, Vex felt no remorse. Now, just over an hour later she was standing over her latest prey.

~~~

The moment Caspian opened the door, his gaze landing on her striking features and plump, pouty lip, Vex knew she would come out on top. She played the part of a lost, slightly intoxicated, and very interested young woman who was looking for her apartment but had clearly ended up in the wrong place. Between her flirting and she assets she was in the door in no time. Seduction was one of the many skills her masters had given her during her programming and reeducation. She had been tested in the field countless times and never failed; her technique was practically flawless.

Caspian seemed to find her more than acceptable as his eyes seemed to wander while they spoke. She smiled up at him, touched his chest lightly with a gloved hand as she stumbled past him in a faux drunken display. As they spoke, moved, and brushed against each other Vex herded her prey to a secluded section of the apartment without him even recognizing her influencing his direction and movements. She kept herself quiet since she knew apartment walls could be thin and she didn’t want anyone listening in.

Eventually when she felt she had found a place far enough from the other rooms she pretended to gently fall onto the nearest piece of furniture, a futon. Giggling like an innocent drunk girl she held her hands out to Caspian who was smiling at her with amusement as well as darker more passionate feelings in his eyes. Vex could tell that Charlie was right, he had been drinking. It would make things much easier. Reaching her hand out to him as though she wanted his help up off the furniture the man chuckled and held out his hand. While making it look like she had been trying to get up she pulled him down onto the futon with her, releasing a hushed giggle as she did so. Caspian laughed along with her quietly and she looked at him with eyes that grew dark with excitement that the man mistook for attraction. Leaning forward she straddled him, pushing him down as he went willingly against the cushions of the futon. With his intoxicated gaze on her face, her eyes, and her low neckline, Caspian never noticed her hand snaking into her boot and uncapping a syringe. The syringes plunger was pulled all the way back as the tube was prefilled with air. In a moment of well-practiced swiftness Vex plunged the loaded needle into Caspian’s neck and forced the air from the needle into his artery.

For a moment nothing happened but then the sensation seemed to strike Caspian as his hand swung up to his neck and grabbed the needle, ripping it from his body. Vex smirked as she looked down at him and his wide eyes. Being a dauntless man, it only made sense that he would try to fight, something Vex had been banking on. As his adrenalin kicked in his heartbeat became a race that sent the air bubbles through his body creating air blockades in his veins that barred off his arteries. For a moment he tried to stand and Vex removed herself from on top of him. His movements quickly became less stable though as he struggled to breathe and reached upwards to clutch his chest.

Vex watched as Caspian crumbled before her. His rage and sense to fight vanishing as he struggled to figure out what to do, how to help himself, how to stop the pain in his chest and the burning in his veins. Whiskey brown eyes studied the man as he died, taking in every twitch of his eye, the gasping of his lips, the way he fingers clawed at his chest before loosening as he met with the Grim Reaper.

~~~

Honestly, Vex wished it had lasted just a bit longer. She had worked so hard for this kill and felt she barely had time to enjoy it. Several minutes had passed and she checked his pulse, her gloved hand leaving behind no fingerprints as she did so. Glancing over Vex was glad to see the syringe on the floor not too far from where Caspian’s remains lay. She then reached into her pocket and pulled out a baggie that held a few thin strands of dark hair, collected when she ran into Charlie on the street, the medic unknowingly leaving behind prime DNA. Vex scattered the hair naturally on and near Caspian. With that Vex cleared out all evidence she had ever been in the apartment, proud of her rather quiet and very effective kill.

As she walked the dark streets of Dauntless in the early hours of the morning Vex couldn’t help but feel great pride in herself. In two days, she had performed two successful kills for her masters. She knew they would find her progress most pleasing and couldn’t wait to see how she would be serving them further. She had so many more wonderful ideas and just needed to find herself new prey to stalk and have her fun with.

Nerdy. Nerdy.




code by Stardust Galaxy

















Bloom




Mood: Curious

Location: Training Center

Interactions: Ghost






Her shift at the bar was certainly interesting with the influx of more and more initiates but Bloom didn’t mind. Initiation could be hell and it was common for those going through it to spend their off-hours blowing off steam. She remembered back during her own initiation when all of this was so new to her. Back then her friends Ace and Delilah had her back when it came to showing her all the perks of being in Dauntless. On her first night, Ace bought her her first drink and Delilah taught her the art of dancing provocatively, something that had her blushing at first but with Delilah’s help and Ace cheering them on quickly became a whole new world of fun. She had many fond memories of her friends and their adventures together, she still found herself chuckling any time she remembered how Ace watched someone slip something into her drink and fearlessly walked up to the creep, punched him in the nose, then downed the drugged drink himself to make a point that the drug would be wasted. That night she and Delilah had to practically carry him home and she swore it was like babysitting a dead person who would occasionally come back to life and act like a drunken toddler before passing out again.

Bloom smiled as she watched the different groups and wondered what memories they were forming together. It was a lovely thought before a somber darkness flooded her mind and she couldn’t help but wonder who among these faces would make it and who wouldn’t. She was lucky, she had sat at the top of her initiation class since the beginning, Delilah however wasn’t. Her dear friend struggled too much when it came to the fear simulations and despite Bloom's help, she ended up having a hard time with combat training as well. Bloom knew how badly Delilah wanted to be in Dauntless, it was her home, it was where she had always been, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to just want it. When the cuts were made Delilah was one of the first to go and later, she was found at the bottom of the Chasm, wanting to die in the place she felt she most belonged. It was a heart-wrenching day and once again the knife of loss stabbed Bloom’s heart. Ace did his best to put on a good face, but the loss of their friend hit him hard. He had spent so much time trying to protect them that it was clear a part of him died the night Delilah did. Bloom tried for months to help him come around, her best efforts going into trying to help them heal together, she was dying on the inside but knew Ace would need her just as much as she felt she needed him. Despite her best efforts, Ace fell into the void that she had lingered by for so much of her life. One year after initiation Ace was found on the side of the road having driven his motorcycle into an oncoming car after drinking too much. While he wasn’t dead, he was paralyzed from the waist down, and even when Bloom tried to help he pushed her away. It wasn’t long after that that Ace left the faction. To this very day, Bloom finds herself wondering if he left willingly or was forced to go, part of her felt it was likely a mixture of the two. Minty green eyes watched the happy faces before her and prayed to anyone listening that they would have a better hand dealt to them than the one's dealt to her friends and herself.

As several more hours of her shift passed by Bloom enjoyed chatting with those at the bar and raked in plenty of tips. She was surprised when the phone at the bar rang, and a cook told her it was someone looking for her. Her surprise only grew when Malia Wolfharde was the voice on the other line. Their conversation was brief and summarized to Malia telling her she had been selected as a replacement instructor for the current group of initiates. When Bloom asked what had happened to the former instructor, she would be replacing she was informed it was a personal matter but she more than qualified for the position and would need to meet another instructor at the training center in one hour. It was very sudden, and she still had thirty minutes left in her shift but due to her reputation and normal work ethic, she managed to talk the manager into letting her clock out a few minutes early.

Grabbing her jacket and hanging up her waist apron Bloom exited the bar with 45 minutes to get to the training center. The walk, at a leisurely pace, only took about fifteen minutes at most so in hopes of making a good impression on her new co-instructor she stopped by a coffee shop and picked up two large coffees. Hers was plain black but unsure of what the other instructor might like she grabbed some creamers and sugar and placed them in her pocket just in case. With that she found herself off to the training center, arriving thirteen minutes early.

When the instructor entered the room Bloom turned to face him and naturally greeted him with a friendly smile. As he apologized for being late, she laughed and shook her head, informing him that she didn’t mind at all and figured he was probably told last minute much like herself. As they exchanged pleasantries, she passed him the large black coffee and placed the sugar and creamers on a nearby table so he could use them if he wished. Her eyes scanned his features, taking in the soft brown eyes looking at her as if trying to analyze her every movement, his longish dark hair that appeared as though he had tried to keep it somewhat styled but had also had a long night, and the way he held himself, as though he wanted to be both the most important person in the room and completely unseen at the same time. It was interesting and Bloom couldn’t help but feel like she was missing something but was unable to place what it was. His name was one she found she liked, it was unique but fit him and she would never think to judge someone for their name. After correcting him regarding the name she chose to go by she was relieved when he didn’t question it. She hadn’t gone by Vernal in a long time and preferred to keep it that way, Vernal was a past life that she didn’t feel the need to dwell on too deeply.

Upon hearing him inquire as to why she was here Bloom gave a thoughtful look before sighing and shrugging her shoulders. “Honestly I’m sorry to admit that I am not sure how this job assignment occurred. I was at work when I got the call that I would be starting as an instructor. I tried to ask about what happened to the other instructor but was shut down.” She admitted freely and placed her near-empty coffee cup on the table. When she heard the question regarding the death of the boy in the chasm a stab of sorrow struck her soul for both the boy and the memory of Delilah. “I heard an initiate took his own life…” She replied and kept her eyes locked on Ghost, a genuine sadness brewing within them. “I don’t much care for the way Dauntless treats such actions. A life lost under any circumstance will always be a tragedy.” She sighed as she spoke freely against one of the Dauntless ideals that she would never see eye to eye with. “I don’t know much other than that the initiate died though.”

Knave Knave




code by Stardust Galaxy
 
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Nerdy.

Nerdy

Charlotte "Charlie" Stark || 20 || Medic || Dauntlessborn


Charlie found herself gnawing on her lip as the phone call asked her to come in to confirm the body of a boy found in the chasm. Her heart jumped at all the possibilities, but she simply said she would come in right away. She was about to hang up when, in her distracted state, she bumped into a stocky man and dropped her phone. "Oh I'm so sorry, I should have been looking... where I was going." Charlie's genuine apology faltered as Noah's face formed into view. She was reminded that not long ago he had drugged her, and had tried to take her home with him. She clamped her jaw shut, eyes suspicious and wary, as he bent down and returned her phone to her. She faltered, before saying. "Thanks." Noah let his eyes wander over her as he always did, and Charlie was grateful for the many layers she wore, as his eyes felt like fire and bugs crawling on her skin. Noah motioned towards her phone. "I couldn't help but overhear, you're going to check the boys body yes? Please, won't you contact one of us when you figure out who it is? We have to inform our superiors immediately." Charlie swallowed slowly and nodded, she would do what he said, even if it wasn't what she wanted. She found it was easier to go along, given that nothing was out of her comfort zone terribly, when it came to Noah and the others. Charlie tried to leave, but Noah walked in her way, and she was forced to stand there listening to him talk about his lonely day and watching as he pathetically tried to make himself sound as attractive and charming as he thought he was. Charlie merely said enough to keep him passive and then finally reminded him she had to go. He sighed and wished her goodbye, letting her walk past him. She let out a yelp as his hand came down, giving her a rough slap on the behind. Before she could protest he simply laughed and headed off. Her face flaming with embarrassment and shame, she hurried to the mortuary.

Charlie hadn't known him well, but she knew each initiate well enough to know that this was Ben's body. Her demeanor was lowered as she stared at the limp body of an initiate who only days ago had been full of life. Her face pale and her heart throbbing in her chest, Charlie covered his face with the cloth that lay over his whole body, as she confirmed that he was indeed one of the initiates. She was grateful it was not her job to look over his body for the cause of death, and was told that he had been found at the bottom of the chasm. A memory whisked past her mind. Caspian and Charlie off all day to prepare the surprise proposal for Alice, everything prepared but to their dismay nobody knew where Alice was. Excitement turning to apprehension, the two looked everywhere, only to be notified that a beautiful blonde girl's body had been found at the bottom of the chasm. Alice. Charlie and Caspian had gone to look over her body as well, to confirm it was she, and to say their goodbyes. Her body had been just as beautiful as it always was, her lips plump, her hair golden, but her skin was oh so pale, so grey and cold, her body no longer strong and filled with fire.... Caspian and Charlie knew that it had not been an accident, nor had it been suicide. Alice was top of the class, and was in love with Caspian, and was happy and strong. She had been pushed down there. Nobody was ever able to confirm that though, no matter how Charlie and Caspian had tried. She had even begged Jeremy to look into it, only to be told that this is how people survived in Dauntless, and reminded that had Alice not died, she would have been so low in ranking that she would have become factionless. Charlie shivered at that memory, it always made her wonder if Jeremy had been the one to kill Alice, or arrange it with Wolf, Alyssa, Harry and Noah. It wouldn't surprise her at all. He was so selfish that he would do that to keep his daughter in his grasp. She looked at the mortician and asked if there was any sign of physical struggle. The mortician laughed, an eerie sound, and reminded her that all the initiates bodies were covered in bruises and cuts from their training, and it would be impossible to tell. She nodded, that was true, and thanked him, she pulled out her phone, flicking through the contacts and finding Noah's phone number, sending him a text to notify him that it was an initiate, Ben was his name. She closed her phone and thoroughly washed her hands, before removing herself from the room and heading home.

---

Charlie's nightmares were reminiscent of the memories she had been reminded of. She found herself back in the body of her 16 year old self, happily listening as Caspian rambled on about his love for Alice. Although in real life she had had mixed feelings during this time, in her dream she was only filled with excitement and joy. She watched as Caspian showed her the ring, a beautiful golden ring that was shaped in the form of phoenix wings, with a beautiful deep red diamond situated on the top. It was gorgeous, and had cost Caspian a fortune to buy. Charlie knew that Alice would love it, and she was more than excited for the surprise she and Caspian had prepared. She couldn't quite remember what it was though, as her dream faded to her looking into the chasm and down into the watery depths, lying on the rocks, was Alice's body broken and smashed. There was a numb like quality to this dream, and Charlie found herself unusually calm as she watched the dauntless crew get the body back up to them. Caspian broke down, holding Alice's body in his arms, as Charlie fell to her knees, softly picking up Alice's hand and feeling the cold reality of death. Bile rose up in her throat as she rushed to the edge of t he chasm, letting her stomach's contents hurl themselves repeatedly into the waterfall and depths. Her hands and arms hugged her belly as she turned back to see Alice's body gone. She began to get scared, where was it? Where was Caspian? Where was she? She found herself running, towards the man she never thought she would run towards. Jeremy. He loomed taller than life, as if he were 9 feet tall, but Charlie seemed to not notice as she demanded that Jeremy look into Alice's death. Jeremy looked at her with disdain, and simply flicked her away with his hand, her body flying towards a wall. That wall, however, faded away and Charlie's body continued to fly in the air, as she screamed desparately for someone to help her, her body falling, now downward, till she was herself falling into the chasm. A scream erupted and she felt her body hit the rocks below.

Charlie screamed as she woke from her dream, her body shaking and her body cold but dripping with sweat. She gasped for air and could feel that her body trembled in fear and pain. That dream had felt so real, even if as she thought about it now, it didn't make a lot of sense. It had truly gone into her memories and reminded her of the things she wanted to forget. She dragged herself out of bed and went to the shower, checking the time as she walked into the bathroom. It was only 2 in the morning, she had slept maybe a few hours at most. She doubted she would get more than that. She hopped into the shower, turning the water to a boiling hot, to feel cleansed from that dream, and then freezing cold. As she got out of the shower, she simply put on a dressing gown as she walked over to her heater. She left her hair down to dry and picked up the book that was sitting on her bedside table, originally she had been reading it to try and gain some understanding into Christian's newfound drug addiction, but now her interests and reasons for researching it went much deeper than just Christian. She turned the heater on, bringing her feet close to the heater as she sat on her carpet on the floor, her back against her bed. She would find a way to deal with this drug addiction, surely there must be some type of cure, or assistance in... in something. She flicked back to the start of the book, wanting to make sure she didn't miss anything at all. Time seemed to pass quickly, and it wasn't long before she glanced at the clock to see that it was already nearing 8 am. She blinked in surprise, had she really been reading for nearly 6 hours? She looked at the book in her hand, noticing how far she really was into it, and set it down, reminding herself to take it with her today, if she had free time she could continue to read it. She turned the heater off, scolding herself as she realized that the power bill might now be a lot higher because of this, and she hoped her mother and her would be able to afford it. She went to her wardrobe, choosing out a pretty black dress and putting it on, then placing a warm blue jacket over top. The dress wasn't too short as to be immodest or underdressed, but it did show off the nice curves of her legs, and Charlie thought she looked rather nice in it, all things considering. She kept her hair down, as she was happy with how the natural curls were looking today. Slipping on some boots she exited her room and entered the kitchen, managing to catch her mother in the kitchen.

The two of them managed to make themselves some tea, and Sasha insisted that Charlie take and eat a scone on her way to work. Charlie didn't even try to refuse her mother, knowing that of the two, Sasha would always be able to win her daughter over. Sasha then began to ask Charlie about how initiation had been, how Aubrey was doing, what Charlie had been doing. Charlie wasn't thinking when she dropped that she might be seeing someone. Sasha's gasp of surprise was genuine, but turned into a smile as the motherly Amity transfer began to ask Charlie questions upon questions. Charlie shook her head, mentally slapping herself for slipping up like that. "He's... well I don't think he'd like me talking all about him... I think he'd prefer to do that himself." Charlie said. Sasha nodded, then said that Charlie should invite him to dinner so that she could meet him. Charlie nodded, "I can at least ask, it would be nice, I'm not sure if he will though. Either way, I have to go now or else I will be late, thanks for the scone mom." Charlie affectionately gave her mother a hug, Sasha was one of the very few to whom Charlie gave out such hugs, as she left the house. She nibbled on the scone as she made her way to the training grounds. She held the scone in one hand, and her book in the other, reading as she walked.

Interacting with: Nobody currently, open for interactions.




Aubrey Amber Stark || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


"You mean, you liked that?" Aubrey asked Finn, as she listened to him ramble on, her blue eyes wide and her heart beating faster out of excitement. She watched as Finn stumbled for what to say, confirming that she had heard him correctly. She mulled that over in her mind, and laughed, finally looping her arm in his and then enveloping him in a tight hug. She held him close to her, closer than she might have ever held someone, and yet her face held no form of being happy, instead her face was scrunched up in his shoulder, her heart beating even faster. Feelings, damn feelings. Aubrey had sworn to never let anyone get in her way, her plan was to rise in initiation and in the Dauntless leadership and government, and she had sworn that nothing and nobody would ever get in her way. She had never even considered Finn being a part of that equation, the only part he played in her mind was that he would be right at her side as always... But not like this... She had never imagined him like this, but.. the thought wasn't as off putting as she thought it would be, in fact, she wished it was. The fact that the idea of Finn in that sort of way sort of made her heart squeeze tightly in anticipation and hope, made her sick. She was scared, scared of intimacy, scared of trust, scared of love, scared of hope. Now that was all being reminded to her, and she began to shake a little in Finn's arms, and he held her tighter. He was silent, he must have been unsure of what to say, she knew she was making a fool of herself. Aubrey wasn't a fool, not unless she decided to be. Get a hold of yourself.... She tried to grip her feelings and emotions in check, and stepped back from Finn, pulling her hair around so that she could again play with it, a sure tell sign that she was nervous, or afraid. "Sorry, brain decided to overthink there..." She trailed off, before punching Finn's shoulder playfully, a small smile playing at her lips. "Doesn't usually get this much time away from training to do that much thinking. But... I've really enjoyed today as well, it was fun, all of it... " She let her eyes look down, then back up at Finn through dark eyelashes, blue eyes twinkling playfully as always.

"Let's get out of here before we really get caught." Aubrey said, not even thinking she grabbed Finn's hand, and felt it freeze, before returning the grasp. What was with the two of them today? She didn't even want to think about it, she just... she liked what they had and didn't want to ruin it. Would it be ruined though? Why... why not think of Finn in that way? He was surely very handsome, in a really cute way... not quite the type that Aubrey usually went for when it came to physical looks, but he was certainly handsome. He was fun, damn was he fun, he was good, maybe... too good for Aubrey, but he also broke the rules enough for her to not think of him as a goody-two-shoes. He was her equal, if anyone was, and she knew him inside and out, since they were babies. They were like siblings, but now she had her mind whirling, wondering if that was an awkward thing to think after what they'd done today. Yikes. Her mind really was spending too much time in her head today. They left the silly cleaning cupboard, looking around for the security guard before hightailing it in the opposite direction from whence they had come. Aubrey felt the adrenaline pump through her veins again as they ran, and she felt her worries wash away through that activity. She glanced at Finn. "You still owe me a gumball yeah? Let's go find one, surely that's the best way to end this whacko of a day, let's go get sweets and pass out from eating too much sugar!" She giggled as they ran towards her favourite sweet shop. As Finn got her the desired gumball, they splurged on getting sweets, snacks and drinks, before deciding to go crash in Finn's room at his house. "Come on, movie night sounds awesome right? How many times will we get these moments to do these again? I'm sure we'll be so busy once we pass initiation..." Aubrey laughed as they grabbed blankets, turned on a stupid rom-com and laughed, made fun of it, and wrestled, pillow fight, ate way too much, then eventually fell asleep on the floor of his bedroom, Aubrey's head eventually coming to rest on Finn's chest, with his arm lazily around her. A small part of her told her that this was dangerous, exactly what she was afraid of, but she was too tired to listen, and she let herself drift off to the scent of her bestfriend, and the sound of his breathing.

---

Aubrey felt suffocated. She tried to scream but her throat was clamped shut out of fear. The walls of the box she was in were so tight, she could feel them all around her, as if she were pressed by them. Her knees were pressed so hard against her chest it began to hurt, she couldn't breathe, there wasn't enough room for her chest, no air... no air... She lifted her hand up but it hardly got above her head before it hit the top of the box she was in. Darkness, neverending impenetrable darkness. What was she in? Where was she? How was she going to get out? She began to hyperventilate as the realisation hit her that she was going to die in this box. She began to hit at the walls, only for the walls to grab her wrists, causing her to be paralyzed. NO! Why was her body so warm? Was she overheating? Was the box being pumped with gas? She screamed and hit out as hard as she can, breaking free of the box's grasp and slamming into something. She heard a very loud yelp at that. She felt the box melt away and she began to run, but her legs tangled up in something and she fell on her face, she curled up in a ball. It wasn't until the fourth time that Finn called her name that she realised she wasn't dreaming anymore. Her eyes were wet with tears, her body trembling out of fear, and her nose hurt and bleeding from falling onto it. "F.. Finn?" She turned to look at him, eyes wide and realizing that she was in fact, in his bedroom, and was not trapped in a box awaiting death. "Finn? I... Oh my god I hit you! Your nose... I'm so sorry.. I was... my dream... I'm sorry..." Aubrey could see that Finn's own nose was also damaged, as she could see the blood dripping out of it. She curled her knees up to her face and buried it in her knees, not looking at Finn, not acknowledging him, but just crying.

Interacting with: Finn Baratheon Baratheon



Christian "Chris" Parks || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


Chris shook his head to confirm that he hadn't heard from either of the two girls, Randi and Blair seemed to be ghost's today. He worried. Blair was so shaken up from today, and had asked Chris not to leave her side, but now she was gone, missing. She wasn't responding to his messages, and she wasn't with Poppy. "Maybe they are somewhere together." He stated, thinking that was a fair option. "Or maybe they went home." Chris hoped that either of these were the right answer, but knew that there was a lot of different options possible. He helped himself to some of the food that Poppy ordered, though made sure not to eat much, as they had all just eaten recently in the cafeteria, one could almost never say no to wings though. Poppy's question about the test today made him recall just how much his body ached again, but it also reminded him of the results, of which he felt quite proud to have come second. "I came second, Fable came first actually, an impressive fighter. It was a difficult test, random weapons and everyone was against everyone, including the instructors and Charlie, though Maverick wasn't there." Chris then gave Poppy a brief overview of how the test had gone, and anyone important's scores. Noting that Randi got pretty high, but Blair disappeared so likely got a low score. He mentioned his fight with Harper though he did not relay it as one who was intensely proud of bragging, but simply "matter of fact" and as it happened. Then he mentioned Fable's own victory, and how she had done so well, especially by beating himself.

"It wasn't luck, you fought skillfully." Christian replied to Fable's humble response to her win, wanting to give her the credit that she was owed. The conversation was a happy, lazy one, that didn't really have much meaning. Eventually, it began to get late, and Christian stood up, stretching slightly. "Do you girls want to go to the dorm now? I am happy to walk with you there." His tone of voice was quite serious, as it wasn't unusual for girls to be "persuaded" by men to be waylaid on their ways home. Although Dauntless held harsh rules against Rape, it was an unfortunate thing that many girls felt too ashamed, too vulnerable and didn't feel they were able to open up about such things. Plus, rape wasn't the only thing that happened, some douchebags who got drunk would get into fights with anyone, and many people had to protect themselves from idiots when they went home. Dauntless was safe enough but Christian was not about to let these girls go without the offer to walk them home. However, his offer was not pushed, he offered it gently, as an option should they prefer it. Some girls wished for boys to walk them home, others did not, Chris did not mind, he simply wished to offer. Everyone seemed to be tired, or so Chris presumed, and most, if not all, agreed it was time to go back to the dorms to sleep. It was back to fear sims the next day, so he was certain that most wanted a good nights sleep. Though.. he had noticed that many were having nightmares, and may not be wanting that sleep.

The walk to the dorms was quick and with no fuss, the halls were quiet tonight. Poppy and Chris had still heard no word from Randi or Blair. "I'll go to Blair's house to see if she's there, but at this hour I'm not sure anyone will be awake." Chris said, he walked to the dorms with them all, before quickly making the detour to go to Blair's house. He knocked on the door a few times, before believing that there was nobody awake, and making his way back to the dorms. Poppy was still awake, and Chris shook his head. "Hopefully she's at sleep at home." He said, hoping dearly that was true. He found his bed in the dorm, one that was hardly used, he had mostly slept at his own house or at Blairs, but now he found himself situated close to Indira. His eyes narrowed as he looked at her. She rolled her eyes. "Oh relax, I don't know where your new girlfriend is Christian." Christian nodded his head, grateful that she had said that. He lay down in his bed, staring up at the bunk above him. He closed his eyes and thought of Blair as he fell asleep.

---


Christian woke up gently and lay in bed a little longer, noting that nobody seemed to be up yet. He surmised it was early, and checked his phone. 6:30 am, early but not early enough to go back to sleep. He sat up slightly, trying not to rock the bunkbed enough to wake whomever slept above him. He checked his messages. Nothing. He sighed, quickly looking through his contacts and finding Blair's phone number. He messaged her. "Did you get home last night? Poppy and I are worried about you." He sent the text, but then quickly sent a follow up. "I love you, I miss you." Then he looked for Randi's name on his phone. It took him a while, finally finding it after realizing Randi had made her name something ridiculous on his phone, he rolled his eyes but messaged her also. "Poppy and I were concerned about you last night, are you okay?" He knew Randi well enough to know that she was a strong independent woman, but even so, he felt a strange protective bond over all his female friends. Even some of his non female friends like Mercy. He was blessed with a very physically strong body, but not such a fast mind, so he thought it made sense for him to be a protector of sorts. Chris lay in bed, hoping that the morning would quicken up, or even better, that Blair or Randi would message him back.

Interacted with: Poppy Wolfiee Wolfiee Fable Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1 Dakota winter. winter.
Interacting with: Blair WanderLust. WanderLust. Randi Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1
 
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winter.

vibing with the mothman
Dakota Bishop

Male // Sixteen // Abnegation-Born Initiate


'Is it cool if Kota comes, too?'
Lifting his eyes from his plate, his fork still in his mouth, Dakota glanced to Fable with a nonplussed look. Huh? Removing the fork, he then shifted his dark-colored gaze to Chris as the other male agreed to the suggestion. Whoa, wait a minute -- Kota hadn't been expecting to be invited somewhere. He had just sat down with food, after all; and, after having not eaten in several hours... With a mental sigh, the light-haired teen soon stood from the table and began cleaning up his freshly-started meal. Of course he was going with them! What else was he going to do, eat alone at the table? Nah, no way. He wanted the social interaction; he needed it to distract him from his head, his thoughts. Therefore, with a few berries from his plate tucked away in his left hand, Kota followed after Chris, heading to the bar without much context as to why. Then again, Kota didn't really need to know the 'why.' Whatever his friends --or, in his current case, semi-close acquaintances, he guessed-- said, he went with. Besides, a day at the river followed by a night in the bar sounded pretty d*mn good right about then --and the bar also had food, so there was that. Really, why wouldn't he go?

Too bad he left his backpack under the table. Oops. Maybe he would remember later that night, or at least in the morning. It wasn't likely, but hey, stranger things have happened.

At the mention of massages, Kota couldn't help but hum in agreement, popping a blueberry into his mouth. After so much swimming, a massage honestly sounded like heaven --anything for the soreness he could feel gripping at his muscles. Tracing the direction of Chris' nod, he glimpsed over at the parlor. Admittedly, it looked a bit... weird, and not like any massage parlor Dakota had ever seen before. Wait -- was it also a tattoo parlor? Whoa. Dauntless had those??

Staring, wondering if receiving a massage and a tattoo would actually combine as easily as the shop's premise suggested, the white-haired boy listened to the conversation easily slip into the topic of tattoos.
'Do either of you have tattoos?'
Kota opened his mouth to answer, but when he heard Chris mention Abnegation, he instead gave a brief snort in amusement. "You heard right, then." he commented, his eyes momentarily focusing on the taller male, "Didn't stop me from getting one."

Having said that, Dakota fell silent and allowed Fable to talk about her tattoo first. As she did so, Kota decided that his arm tattoo would be the only one he would show,. The others --the stick-'n-pokes from his friends back in Abnegation-- weren't really in places that could be so readily displayed.

Observing Fable's ink, Kota took note of how artistically unique the lion and mouse were. Not many people went for that style, but on her, it worked. Then again, Kota doubted anything could look bad on Fable. "That's some pretty nice work. That fade effect couldn't have been easy, but it came out hella cool. Maybe I'll get something like that one day." he joked lightheartedly, glancing from Fable's tattoo to her face, lit up by a smile.
Kota was sure there was as much meaning behind hers as his own. And, one day, maybe he'd ask about it. But, for now, he didn't feel like he was close enough to be privy to that information -- same reason he kept the meaning of his own secret.

When it came to his turn, Kota pushed up his left sleeve and showed off his own inner upper arm. In the ways of tattoos, it wasn't much --just a simple koi fish, clearly caught in the motion of swimming. Artistically, though, it was quite beautiful -- a graceful creature of black and white, with the only color being the reddish marking on the animal's head.

Dropping his hand, allowing his sleeve to fall back into place, Kota listened to Chris' offer. "Yeah? Huh. I'll have to take you up on that." Honestly, anything would be better than his amateurish friends, or the semi-shady parlor he visited in Abnegation for the fish... which had actually been some guy's garage. The work came out beautifully, sure, but Kota had felt like he was going to be strangled every second he was in there. So, yeah, he preferred not to go back. Not that he'd ever step back into Abnegation, anyway.

After some more idle chitchat, the trio finally arrived at the bar. Chris broke away to go to Poppy --maybe she had been the 'why' of the trip?-- and Dakota went with Fable as she waved for him to follow. Sitting on a stool next to the other Abnegation-born initiate, Kota noticed that Chris and Poppy weren't too far away from them -- they were definitely still within hearing distance. However, as Fable ordered drinks and food, Kota's interest immediately disappeared from the conversation taking place; as soon as he bit into a chicken wing, his mind just focused in on the delicious taste and the desire to no longer have an empty stomach. He wasn't a part of the conversation, anyway; it would have been rude to eavesdrop. Probably.

However, Kota was eventually broken from his food-trance as Poppy really did bring him into the conversation.
'How did you do on the test?'
Swallowing his current bite of food, setting down his mostly eaten wing for a second, Dakota asked with a confused tone, "What test? Wait, what the h*ll did I miss today?"

Kota was then promptly filled in on the free-for-all that took place, though Chris' description of what happened was actually more directed towards Poppy. A free-for-all, huh? Man, that sounded kinda awesome. But, did Kota regret missing the free-for-all to spend time with his sister? Not for a second.
Aloud, he had little more to say on the competition than a heartfelt congratulations to Fable for winning. For a former Abnegation to beat out all the Dauntless-born, that was impressive, and it gave Kota hope.

The rest of the night passed peacefully with pleasant conversation. A good end to a good day -- for some, at least. When Chris offered to walk the girls back to the dorm, Kota joined in on the offer, because why not. The dorm was where he was headed, anyway, and if the girls felt safer travelling with him, or Chris, or even both of them, then why not give the girls the option?

When he received his answer from Fable and Poppy, Dakota headed back to the dorms, heavy and sore legs moving at a steady pace through the calm night. And, once he walked in and his head finally hit his pillow, he was out like a light.

Interacted with: Chris Nerdy. Nerdy. , Poppy Wolfiee Wolfiee , Fable Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1

TEMPLATE © BOKEH | edited by winter.
Milo Kaine

Male // Sixteen // Dauntless-Born Initiate


Being one of the first knocked out of the free-for-all didn't feel too good. It was disappointing, humiliating, pitiful... and, quite frankly, was exactly what Milo expected. Fighting was far from being a strong suit of his, and the punches hurt infinitely more when those against him wore the faces of his friends. Therefore, even though his unfortunate placement in the game held a bitter sting, Milo wasn't going to beat himself up over it. This life wasn't meant for him, and although it was his to bear, he didn't have to pretend to be good at it.
Well, to some degree, he did; he didn't want to run the risk being tossed into the life of the Factionless. So... there was a bit of pretending, here and there, but none of that had been on display tonight.

Sitting in a bar now, dragged in by Aubrey, Milo sat alone at the counter, stirring his half-empty glass idly with the steady rotation of his hand. Curiously, he glanced around for his friend. Hmm. No sign of her anymore. Oh, well. Aubrey had seemed rather distracted by Finn earlier, anyway; perhaps she left somewhere with him. A soft sigh passed over his lips. Ah, no matter. He had Bloom to keep him company, working across the counter-top. Their conversations were few and far between, as Bloom busied herself with helping other patrons and taking orders; but, their brief exchanges were pleasant nonetheless.

Sipping occasionally at his drink, Milo, despite being by himself in that moment, couldn't help but think of how nice it was to be outside --to not be stuck in his house, or at work, or fighting against his friends, that is. It was also interesting to see other people at the bar, to observe as they lived in the moment, appearing blissful and alive. Milo knew that many of the people he was watching would not be the same tomorrow as they were tonight --and so he thought how fascinating it was, to capture such a moment of inhibitions --to live like one never could, if even for a night.

Eventually, Milo felt he had overstayed his welcome in that seat at the bar. He was just taking up space, he thought. However, as he almost moved to stand, he heard a polite yet strong voice ask: 'These seats aren't taken, are they?' Turning his head, Milo's eyes soon came to rest on a familiar face. A girl, with long dark hair and eyes that could read one's soul. "Ah, no, not at all." Although he racked his brain, Milo couldn't recall her name --or if he had ever known her name. But, he definitely knew where he recognized her from. Finding potential for a conversation, and not wanting to return home just yet, Milo decided to stay and chat.

After exchanging somewhat awkward greetings and pleasantries, Milo and the girl --who he learned to be Leah-- soon fell into conversation about the free-for-all, Factions, and other topics of interest for the both of them. It was a nice talk.

Milo left the bar that night with a wave to the girl and a light smile on his face. He couldn't be sure of it just yet, but he was almost certain he had made a friend.

interacted with: Leah xayah. xayah. and Bloom Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1
[probably gonna add more detail later.]


TEMPLATE © BOKEH | edited by winter.
 
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Knave

pizza girl


Ghost // Male // Age 18 // Training Instructor // Erudite to Dauntless

Ghost watched in mild bemusement as Bloom momentarily excused herself from their conversation and pivoted toward a battered desk of drawers used to store old records and equipment manuals. From its surface she plucked two identical paper coffee cups and extended one toward him. Ghost blinked, disoriented by this unprecedented offering. He hadn’t previously seen the coffee cups because Bloom had been standing between the desk and him, obstructing his view of its contents. She smiled at him and her cheeks dimpled, radiant and welcoming. Knots of misgiving clumped together in Ghost’s stomach as he eyed her expectant hand, waiting for him to claim the gift. Suddenly he felt thrown off balance, as if he’d made an erroneous misstep during a dance that he thought he had already mastered. It wasn’t that he thought Bloom hadn’t given the coffee in sincerity, that she was just trying to butter up the head instructor to give a glowing review of her performance to leadership. In fact, he would have preferred bald-faced, empty flattery to this.
Ghost hated receiving gifts. Entrenched in the very deed itself was the unspoken implication that the giver would be compensated at a later date in some way, even if not with a gift in the literal sense of the word. But perhaps with a nascent friendship, as if the giver were now entitled to an invitation to the recipient’s next tea party, or the giver had established the closeness to ask how the recipient was doing and expect an honest answer. Ghost wasn’t in the market for friends, though. In a choice between friends or his secrets, he would choose his secrets every time, and he knew he couldn’t have it both ways. Not really. It was why he’d been resisting Charlie’s attempts to draw him into a relationship for so long. Knowledge was a currency of sorts, and it was far too valuable to be distributed carelessly. Much more valuable than a seven-dollar coffee, overinflated as the price was.
Prior to Bloom’s spell of benevolence, Ghost thought he had been handling their conversation masterfully—maintaining steady but not unsettling eye contact; asking questions that conveyed a polite interest in Bloom’s promotion; peppering his speech with wide, loose gestures as to reveal his ease in her presence. Until a thread pulled tight inside him and his pleasant affability crystallized into cool restraint. All of a sudden there was a thousand feet of distance between Bloom and him, blocked off and impassable. “I don’t drink coffee. Thanks anyway, though.” Ghost’s voice was as colorless and clear as window glass.
The corners of Bloom’s lips tilted into a slight frown as she withdrew her offering, but that was all. If she perceived an abrupt drop in temperature or suspected Ghost was telling anything other than the truth, she did a good job of hiding it. For the most part. A small array of packets of sugar and creamer lay abandoned on the surface of the desk, and Ghost’s unwanted coffee joined them. As if on cue, his stomach growled just as Bloom set the cup down, and the luscious black liquid beckoned to Ghost with tantalizing warmth. Irritation at his own weakness flashed through him, and he barely managed to remain steadfast in his decision. He had known hunger before, and then it had been practically inescapable. This was nothing.
Bloom’s personal narrative came as a welcome distraction. So it wasn’t just Ghost who Malia Wolfharde didn’t deign to tell anything to. Then again, Bloom must have curried favor with someone in leadership to have been offered the position of instructor in the first place. Or she had provoked their horrible ire. Many Dauntless didn’t realize it, but an instructor’s job was nothing to laugh at, since instructors played a crucial role in shaping the next generation of Dauntless. Of course instructing wasn’t as prestigious as being on the leadership panel, but an initiate who had graduated by the skin of his teeth had no hopes of qualifying for it, either.
Ghost studied Bloom closely for any flickering of her eyes or tightening around her mouth as she confirmed the notion that Ben had indeed killed himself. Either she was telling the truth, or she was a better liar than Ghost had any right to catch, because he couldn’t detect any inconsistencies within her story. Nonetheless, it was one hell of a coincidence that Ben had died, and the very next day Bloom was making her debut as an instructor. And a second coincidence that she had correctly guessed Ghost’s beverage of choice. Starting one’s morning with coffee was hardly a habit unique to him, but still. Ghost didn’t believe in coincidences. A dark and sinister thought squirmed in the corner of his mind: Jiao-long Young had decided that Ghost wasn’t trustworthy after all, and Vernal Bloom wasn’t here to replace Caspian, but him. Maybe it would be in Ghost’s best interest to make a few discreet inquiries and ensure that this Vernal Bloom was a real person who hadn’t been born yesterday. Perhaps another test would be in order for her later today.
He stood impassively with hands clasped in front of him as Bloom bemoaned Dauntless funeral rites, coming dangerously close to criticizing the faction. While Ghost would usually be more than happy to debate the philosophy of life and death, he couldn’t shake the suspicion that Bloom was deliberately trying to bait him into saying something treasonous. So all he gave in response to her heartfelt pronouncement was a noncommittal “Yes, indeed.” Ghost tapped his lips pensively. Bloom wasn’t the only one who knew how to probe for information. “The way you speak, you don’t sound as though you were originally from Dauntless. What was your birth faction?” He turned and headed down the short hallway that connected the waiting room with the simulations. Bloom followed, and Ghost forced himself not to panic over the fact that his exposed back was facing her. Amity, came her response after a foreboding beat. Which meant that Bloom either was from Amity and didn’t want to discuss her past or had to rack her brain for a reasonable lie. “You don’t say,” Ghost replied blandly, trying to sound hopelessly disinterested as he squirreled this tidbit of information away in his brain for later reference. He reached for his keys and unlocked the door to the first simulation room on the right.


* * *

“So that just about concludes your tutorial,” Ghost finished a half hour later, after he had given Bloom a rundown on proper administration of the fear serum and the various computer programs that needed to be running while the drug went to work on the initiates. “Like I said, learning how to work the computer is probably the most complex part about what we do. It will help if you know some basic coding skills. In fact”—he licked his lips like a student at recital; now was time to invoke the small test he had mentally devised for Bloom over the course of their half hour together—“if you’d like, I have a short list of books I could recommend in order to familiarize yourself with some coding basics. Don’t worry, it’s only like four or five books, and none of them exceed three hundred pages,” he said offhandedly.
Ghost carefully divided his attention between Bloom and the chain-link bracelet he was pretending to toy with, waiting for his suggested reading list to be met with vociferous protests or an expression of disgust. While there were always exceptions to the rule, the majority of Amity-born individuals tended to have almost as strong an affinity for books as Erudite, given the high value they placed on artistic self-expression. The Dauntless-born, more often than not, generally scorned books. Before Obadiah Parks had taken over leadership of the faction, the previous leader had made a push to exempt students of Dauntless from public schools, arguing that the faction could produce better warriors if they enrolled their children in a strictly martial education from a young age. While the movement had never successfully passed, it had gained a fair amount of traction, and to this day many Dauntless-borns regarded book learning as an unnecessary imposition on their freedom.
If Bloom met the idea of a reading list with open hostility, then it was more than likely that she had lied about being born in Amity. And if that were the case, then her birth faction probably wasn’t the only lie she had told Ghost during their brief acquaintanceship.
Bloom was in the middle of assuring him that a bit of light reading was just what she needed when a soft rap sounded against the still ajar door to the simulation room. Ghost straightened a little too fast and winced as a muscle pulled in his shoulder, still sore from where Kain had grabbed him in an armlock. Instead of meeting the smoldering-coal eyes of a hardened assassin, Ghost turned to find round orbs the color of fresh-smelt pennies. Charlotte Stark stood flush against the open door; only a sliver of her was visible, as if she were afraid of interrupting something. She shyly twirled a velvety tendril of hair around one finger, and just as the silence had begun to sour, stammered a belated hello to Bloom, as if familiar with the other woman and surprised to see her.
Bloom returned Charlie's greeting with enthusiasm, asking her how she was doing and how her work at the infirmary was coming along, and from there the two ladies lapsed into giggly small talk. Ghost spectated the exchange with slightly bewildered interest, feeling like a first-time player in a street game, the ball whizzing back and forth over his head. Despite his questions as to how Bloom and Charlie knew one another, relief flooded through him. If Bloom was Charlie's friend, then Ghost trusted her judgment. He would take Bloom at her word that she knew little surrounding the circumstances of her appointment to instructor and that there was no connection between her and Ben's death. Ghost suddenly felt very stupid for indulging his paranoia for so long, and the subsequent rudeness with which he had treated Bloom. He fidgeted with his gold bracelet and stared down at his combat boots as the women continued chattering, trying to fight off the flush of embarrassment that threatened to creep up his neck.
A warm, pressing silence swamped the room from all sides, and Ghost looked up to find that two pairs of eyes were trained on him. "Er, beg pardon," he faltered, painfully aware that Bloom now must think of him as not only an ass, but a complete idiot too. "Did someone ask me something?" Looking distinctly uncomfortable, Charlie guiltily rubbed the back of her neck and muttered something about needing Ghost's help with an uncooperative computer in one of the other simulation rooms.
Ghost doubted his computer skills were much if any better than Charlie’s and immediately recognized her odd request for code. She needed to speak to him privately, as a friend. No, not even that. She needed him to be her boyfriend, and Ghost’s heart did acrobatics in his chest that were only half desire. Not long ago he would see couples holding hands or exchanging a surreptitious kiss in a deserted hallway and scowl at them. He had always thought the idea of romantic relationships was frivolous, that anyone who needed a long-term partner to validate their thoughts and feelings was utterly pathetic and weakened by dependence. In a twisted way, Ghost was grateful for the looming shadow that Jeremy cast over his relationship with Charlie. So long as Jeremy was in the picture, Charlie could never publicly come out with the fact that she and Ghost were dating, lest one or both of them disappear to never be found.
And Ghost wouldn’t want it any other way. His feelings for Charlie—though he still questioned them on a daily basis—were for her and her alone to know. The thought of broadcasting his affections to the world made all the hairs on his body stand on end, his every drop of blood flow the wrong way. During that one fateful afternoon when he had witnessed Jeremy backhand Charlie across the face, Ghost had been filled with a fear that he did not have for even his own life. Allowing news of their union to spread would be the equivalent of Ghost serving his own heart on a silver platter to his enemies. It was the same reason that he had transferred to Dauntless without telling Margot and never contacted her again. As far as the rest of the compound was concerned, the Holy Ghost was incapable of that kind of emotional attachment, a handicap of which he had divested himself long ago.
The fact that the doors to the other three simulation rooms were still closed and locked lent no credibility to Charlie’s impromptu lie about the problematic computer. After affirming that he would take a look at the malfunctioning machine and see what he could do, Ghost allowed Charlie to lead him to the simulation room that was on a diagonal from the one in which they’d left Bloom and shut the door behind himself. The plaster walls weren’t particularly thick, so better be safe than sorry and distance themselves as much as possible from any potential eavesdroppers, even friendly ones. Then, for the first time, Ghost noticed that Charlie had her arms crossed over a crinkled paperback novel, clutching it tight to her chest. He made a murmur of interest and reached for it, surprising Charlie so that she yielded it up with minimal resistance. “What’s this?” Ghost had received it by the back cover, so he thumbed through the yellowing pages and flipped to the front. Jane Eyre. “Did you know that Charlotte Bronte owned a piece of Napoleon’s coffin?” he mused idly. “What? Don’t look at me like that,” he admonished, returning the slight scowl that Charlie had given him in full force. “Look it up if you don’t believe me.”
Ghost relinquished Charlie’s book. This time when he looked at her, he saw her for her, and not as potential leverage that his enemies could use against him. If she were a mistake, then she was the most wonderful one that he had ever made. He admired the elegant swooping curves of her eyeliner, the gold sheen of paint on her lids that complemented the warm flecks in her eyes. “Your eye makeup,” he breathed, mindful to keep his voice low. Superspy or not, he didn’t want Bloom—a complete stranger to him if not to Charlie—overhearing their conversation. “I think it’s starting to grow on me.” Her eye makeup wasn’t the only facet of her appearance that piqued Ghost’s interest; Charlie looked like an elaborately wrapped present that could be undone with one expert tug. The black dress she wore was made of a lacy, slightly sheer material, and Ghost longed to skim his hands over it and test whether it felt as sleek as it looked. He pretended that he wasn’t staring and Charlie pretended that she wasn’t encouraging him. Ghost felt a giddy bubble of laughter rise in his chest at the absurdity of the charade. “What is it you wanted me for?” he asked, reassuming the bones of his usual serious demeanor. “Let’s keep this brief—the kids are due to get here any minute. Not that punctuality ever means anything to them, of course.”
 
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xayah.

i return stronger than i left

LEAH YOUNG


erudite to dauntless | 16 | initiate​

One second. Blink. Two seconds. Blink.

Staring into the void that was the ceiling of the initiate's barracks, Leah found herself thinking over the events of the day: a free-for-all, being knocked unconscious for what could only be described as her nth time during training, and conversing with her fellow initiates afterwards. Perhaps it was the last of the three that kept her up. Actually making small talk and... enjoying it? Was her amusement a mask that had become so natural she couldn't identify authentic interest anymore? The thought, which normally would've been considered intrusive and ignored, kept her awake, and in the absolute void that was the darkness of the barracks, Leah's usually frozen eyebrows furrowed. What a relief no one could see.

The Erudite had fallen asleep somewhere after counting up to the eight thousands. That meant at the crack of dawn after a late night of enjoying the company of others. Again, the word enjoying felt foreign to her, and a slight tingle traveled throughout her body. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you think about it, Leah was somewhat predisposed to waking up early. Whether this was innate or once again the result of the pressures of being the daughter of Erudite's leader was unknown, but despite the slight sluggishness in her body, she sat up from the cot in her usual refined manner.

A few other initiates had gotten up around the same time, give or take a few minutes, and she blended into the small group's preparations. While the rest of them made some small chat, the slightly sleep-deprived initiate kept to herself, collecting the remnants of her thoughts and waking herself up. Only this time, the silence was particularly loud, and it bothered her for the first time ever. As she finished getting ready, tying her ponytail as the last step as always, something tugged at her. A small want, if not a need, was calling at her and lingered in the back of her brain, waiting to be collected with the rest of her thoughts. It wasn't an appetite for breakfast, which she never partook in anyways, and as she finished tightening her hair, it struck.

Ah. A conversation would be nice right now.

And once again, instead of pushing it aside, Leah brought the thought with her as she walked to the training hall for the day's training.

interacting with: none at the moment
 

Baratheon

walk in the light

Finn Day

Finn's head was a whirl of emotions as the day continued on. He thought Aubrey would end it there; her uncertainty about her emotions and his own created the idea in his head that she hated all of this. Unlike his own want for it to continue. He breathed a sigh as she grabbed his hand and led him on to another adventure, her face as bright and cheerful as always. He decided that, maybe, even if she didn't reciprocate his romantic feelings, their ability to be this close without conflict would be okay as well. Not his dream scenario, but one that would make both of them happy. He didn't want to imagine her in the arms of another, but at the same time knew he could never control her. Like a fire, Aubrey decided what she wanted to do and chased after her own ambitions. Finn was just here to pick up after her.

As their night of play-fighting and movies wound down, the two found themselves eerily close on the bed. The lights were dim, the sounds of others in the room or house beyond fading as Finn's family found their way to sleep. The duo had always crashed at one or the other's house before initiation, so Finn's parents had barely batted an eye. Aubrey laid her head down on his chest and, after a few moments, her breathing slowed and softened. Finn's own heart raced. Should he awaken her? Did she want to be where she was right now? He would never do anything to her, of course, but wanted to make sure she was okay as well. Looking down at her blonde hair sprawled across his body and bed, he felt his heart warm. He laid an arm gently around her. Today had been stressful, but it had ended in the best way possible. He felt more relaxed than he had in a long time.

As the credits rolled, Finn found his own eyes drooping and soon he was out as well, sitting up against the frame of his bed.

----------------------------------------------

Finn jerked awake as something spasmed on top of him. He shook his head, blinking blearily. What? He reached over for the lights and turned them on, suddenly realizing that Aubrey was still on top of him, her breathing jagged. She shouted in her sleep, reaching aimlessly into the air. A nightmare! Finn sat up a little more and grabbed her shoulders, trying to shake her awake.

"Aubrey!" He called, eyes wide as adrenaline hit his system. They had had lots of nightmares together before, but she seemed very distressed about this one. Her face was flush. He reached out to brush the hair away from her closed eyes, only for her fist to suddnely make contact with his nose. "OW!" He yelped, unconsciously letting go of the girl. She scrambled away, landing on the floor in a crash. He cradled his nose a moment before getting up to make sure she was okay.

Warm liquid dripped down his mouth and chin, but his attention was solely on the now-awake teenager sitting on his floor. Her own face was slick with tears, sweat, and... more blood? She must have hurt herself in the fall. The two made eye contact and Aubrey burst into tears. She apologized over and over before curling herself into a ball, sobbing. Finn hesitated a moment. Was she that torn up over hitting him? The two had just beat the crap out of each other a few days ago, this was nothing compared to that. Something must have really rattled her in her dream, or maybe she was upset about letting herself be so vulnerable around him as she had just been. Or perhaps both. Finn reached up to wipe the blood from his nose. Tears pricked in his eyes as her sobs hit his ears. What had happened to the peace hours before?

"Hey, hey, you're okay," He told her, sliding to the floor to sit beside her. "I'm not hurt at all. And it was just a dream, too. No one is going to hurt you. You're in my house, with me, safe and sound. Look, I've got my fuzzy socks on since we were just in bed." He stretched his foot out to show her, an encouraging smile on his face.

Aubrey barely looked up. Finn frowned as that didn't seem to help. She mumbled something about being sorry again, made eye contact, and burst into tears yet again. She curled in further, eyes going back to the floor. He didn't make any move towards her, instead watching. The blonde didn't seem to be all fully present, as if part of her was still back in the nightmare. She shook, eyes squeezed shut. What could he do to bring her back to earth? To show her she was okay? The boy slicked his hair back with his hand, eyes full of concern. What to do? What to do?

An idea hit him. In a swift, yet gentle, motion Finn reached out and cupped her chin to make her look up at him. Her eyes were hazy and filled with tears. He hesitated for barely a second before going in for a soft kiss, eyes shut, hand still holding onto her soft chin. As their lips made contact, Finn felt a burst of emotion deep within him, as if all his fantasies and joys were coming to life. Outwardly, though, he looked like a kid scared of the dark, eyes shut and fearful.

// Nerdy. Nerdy.

TEMPLATE © BOKEH






Harper Day

It was good to see Jaxom interested in learning more about weaponry. It was a lost art amongst the gun- and fist-wielding Dauntless soldiers. The two figured out a few dates and times to meet up and train, which Harper entered into her phone to remember. Then they parted ways. While they were nowhere close to friends, she found herself glad to stop and talk to the young man. He was promising. He also helped her keep her mind off of the whirlwind that had been today for a few moments. And Ghost. She shook her head, tumultuous emotions arising in her once again. She wanted nothing to do with that right now.

--------------------------------------------

Harper was up early for a quick jog the next morning, but it was soon enough time for another round of testing. She waited in the main room, a little early, snacking on a protein muffin. She idly flipped through the past information on the initiates, remembering her suspicions about Fable. Would anything come from that today?

TEMPLATE © BOKEH
 

WanderLust.

WildFlower

Blair Avalon // Female // Age 16 // Dauntless Born Initiate // Divergent
Interacting With: Ajax and Christian Nerdy. Nerdy.
*Trigger Warning - Physical Abuse/Violence*

The sunlight peering its way through the pristine glass of Blair's bedroom window was sourly unwelcome. She was not quite ready to return to reality, but regardless of what her mind may have wanted her body was slowly becoming aware of itself, various aches and pains making their presence known as her aqua orbs began to blink themselves open. What time was it? Every bone in her body protested as she struggled to push herself up onto her elbows, raising her head just high enough so that she could see the clock at her bedside, her eyes struggling to focus on the analog numbers. 6:07 am. Great, at least she wouldn't miss another day of training. She still had no excuse for up and disappearing from training the day before, no excuse that she felt comfortable disclosing anyways. She tried to fight back the memories that were forcing their way to the surface of her mind, but they washed over her like a wave, and Blair felt like the tiniest seashell lost amongst the ocean of her own mind.

Ben's body, his limbs jutting out in ways the human body was not meant to bend. Shivers ran down her spine as the image seemed it's way into her mind, she couldn't shake it, hadn't been able to since she had seen it. What had happened to him? Had he jumped? Or worse, what if someone had pushed him? But why would anyone bother to kill Ben? She felt guilty for thinking it, but the boy wasn't exactly a threat to any of the half way decent initiates, there was no reason she could think of to want him out of the picture... unless there was something she didn't know. Maybe Ben had been like her... a divergent. A stain on somebody else's family tree that desperately needed to be erased. Would someone really kill him just because he was a divergent? Or was she simply trying to find some sort of justification for her own fears? Her stomach began making the same noise it had yesterday, a rumbling warning that the contents of her stomach were dangerously close to making a reappearance.

She had been so exhausted, both mentally and physically. Her unexpected brawl with Ghost had caused a rough morning and had left one of the many marks currently littering her skin. However, that little gash on her arm was the least of her worries at the moment. She knew she shouldn't have left training yesterday, but her feet had turned to lead, her stomach threatening to jump right out of her throat as the images of Ben's body continued to plague her mind, her head aching from a new ability that she had absolutely no control over. She had barely stumbled out of the training room before she began to retch, her body protesting it's own existence, wanting nothing more than to curl up in her bed and disappear. She should've told someone, an instructor, Christian, Poppy or Randi... perhaps she should've sought medical attention from Charlie, but the thought of having to explain any of the many aches and pains currently ailing her just made her feel more overwhelmed than she already was. Before she knew what was happening, her feet were moving. She was wordlessly disappearing, her body carrying her to the only place she could perceive as safe at the moment. Home.

Blair could not for the life of her remember how she had managed to stumble back to Avalon residence. How many times she had stopped to retch along the way. Hell, if you had asked her her name at that very moment she probably just would've stared at you blankly before puking on your shoes. What the hell was happening to her? She would've done anything to crawl into her mother and fathers bed and let the tears flow, to tell them everything, her divergency, Christian's terminal condition, Ben's body, Ghost's plan to attack Obadiah, as if mommy and daddy could fix it all for her and make it disappear. But to tell them any of it was to put them in danger, and Blair would let herself get killed before she endangered her family. When she finally opened the door to her house the foyer felt cold and unwelcoming. Something was missing, the hallways were eerily quiet and void of any life. Where was everyone? And what was that smell? The odor of alcohol hit her like a brick wall, had Apollo spilled an entire bottle of whiskey on the floor? She couldn't think of another reason to justify the smell and then slurred words assaulted her ears and she blinked in the direction of the venomous, drunken voice.



"And so the littlest Avalon has returned home again..." her older brother Ajax was holding a bottle of expensive vodka, the clear glass showing that the bottle was almost empty. Blair was close with all of her brothers except Ajax, despite the fact that the two could've been twins, the blonde boy, practically her mirror, had always been hostile towards her since the day he took her home from her aptitude test. The day he had found out what she was. That she didn't belong. "But you're not an Avalon .... are you?" There was a distinct anger in his voice, as if her were talking to a rat he had found on the street, mere vermin, not his own little sister.
"Ajax... please" she stuttered, her voice sounding meek and small.
"Because everyone knows that the Avalon's are true dauntless... and what are you, Blair?"
"I don't want to do this right now..." She began to move towards the stairs, her head still spinning.
"WHAT ARE YOU BLAIR?"
She heard the sound of the glass shattering before she realized what had happened. The remnants of the empty liquor bottle dripped down onto her shoulder... or was that blood? Was she bleeding? Ajax had thrown the bottle, and it had crashed against the door mere inches from Blair's head. She had flinched away from it just in time to avoid being hit in the face, her senses too dull to go on offense as she slumped down against the floor. "Please stop..." she whimpered weakly, but she could hear his thundering footsteps approaching her, his hand roughly gripped the collar of her shirt, balling the fabric in his hand as he lifted her up by her shirt, shoving her limp body against the stairs. Blair didn't even fight back, she didn't want to hurt her brother, despite what he was doing to her. Her disoriented body crumbled against the third stair, her face crashing hard against the wooden corner, she tasted blood.
"TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE!" Ajax's voice was pure rage now, there was no remnant of her brother hiding somewhere in there. She had lost hope of ever finding that boy again, Ajax was lost to Blair and this monster was left in his place. Blair winced in pain, reaching up to touch her lip, pulling her fingers away to see the crimson of her own blood. She struggled to get back to her feet weakly, but before she could, Ajax's had a fistful of her hair. He lifted her head up only to smash it against the wooden stair once more, this time eliciting a sharp yelp of pain from Blair. He held her head down against the cold wood as his face inched closer to hers, his breath reeking of booze. "Say it." His breath against her ear sent shivers down her spine. A single tear dripped down Blair's bruised cheek, despite the fact that her throat was burning with sobs she was too stubborn to release. Her voice cracked, a hoarse whisper, "Divergent."

She laid there, broken on the stairs as Ajax released his grip of her hair. She didn't dare move as her older brother drunkenly stumbled towards the door. "You don't belong in this faction, or this family, Blair." She heard the sound of her brother spitting on the floor, followed by the prompt slamming of the door. Blair allowed her eyes to drift shut for just a moment. Why was this all happening to her. She felt like she was in a fear simulation, and yet the sharp pin pricks of pain in her left hand let her know that she was still tethered to reality, even if barely so. At some point during their scuffle, Blair's hand must've landed in the broken glass of the vodka bottle Ajax had thrown. At least she knew the cuts were disinfected from the alcohol. The next time the blonde opened her eyes she was staring at her own reflection in the mirror.



That had all happened yesterday, and yet the pain was still as fresh as if it had happened five minutes ago. Her reflection blinked back at her, a brightly colored purple bruise blossomed on her right cheek bone. A red streak cut across her lower lip, which was quite obviously split. The small cuts from the glass on her hand had scabbed over. She looked like shit. She had become so lost in her own appearance that when her phone dinged she flinched at the noise. She reached for the phone on her nightstand, her heart dropping into her stomach when she read Christian's text. She hadn't told him where she was going, hadn't even texted him last night to let him know she was okay... was she okay? Her fingers ached as she moved them across the phone to text back "I'm fine... Meet me by the river before training?" She had to think of something to explain her appearance. She couldn't let Christian know what had actually happened... to bring him into this was to endanger him even further. She was already conspiring with Ghost to attack Christian's father, she shouldn't be making his life any harder than it already was.

Blair found herself overwhelmed with guilt as she slowly began dressing herself. Her muscles protested with every move, but she gingerly pulled on some black leggings and a white sports bra. As she slowly began heading out the door, she grabbed a white jacket to throw on over the sports bra, there was no need for her to show anymore of her cuts and bruises than necessary. Her feet crunched on the broken glass as she opened her front door, she would have to clean that up later. But for now, she had to clean things up with Christian. She spent a majority of her walk to the river trying to think of something, anything to say to him. But the young blonde had never been a good liar. Why did she feel so numb right now? Perhaps her brain was just too fried to manifest the proper emotions right now, as if there were such a thing as 'proper emotions'. She closed her eyes as she sat with her feet dangling over the edge of the rocks, listening to the sound of the rushing water gurgling a few yards below. There had been a time in her life when this river had terrified her, but water hardly even made the list of Blair's top ten fears nowadays. Her blonde hair was covering her face slightly, the gentle wind kissing her skin and making her feel detached for just a moment, when she heard footsteps approaching.
 

Nerdy.

Nerdy

Charlotte "Charlie" Stark || 20 || Medic || Dauntlessborn


Charlotte held the book closely to her chest as she came towards the simulation rooms and the training areas, so far she hadn't noted anyone on their way here, initiate or trainer. She gently nibbled her bottom lip as she mulled over what her mum had asked. You should bring him over for dinner! I would love to meet the man who has you smiling so much. Charlie felt a blush warm her cheeks as she thought about that, and a smile lit up her face in a way that embarrassed her, one that she could hardly force a removal of. Ghost really did make her smile, he did make her happy... She'd never quite felt a feeling like this before by any man, in fact, she knew that the closest thing she'd felt to this was the love and care she had felt for her father, although she had only known him for about a decade, if that. Henry had been the only man who had cared for her in a way that caused respect and desire, similar to Ghost. Of course Ghost was not all like her father, he was much more sinister - for lack of a better word - than her father had been, though it was altogether possible that she just didn't know enough about her father to know that. But every other man in her life had treated her like an item, a possession and had more often than not used their hands and body on her in ways she had no control or consent. Ghost had never done that to her. He had raised his voice, scared her even, and confused her thoroughly, but he had never touched her without her consent, and/or desire. Charlie shook her head as the blush continued to grow and she kept her head lowered as she headed towards the only open door at the sims room, hoping that would be where Ghost was. She felt her heart do little butterfly somersaults in her chest and an excitement at seeing him.

Charlie could hear voices in the sims room, and her heart did another little flip as she recognized Ghost's voice, which drowned out the other voice so that she was only hearing Ghost's voice. She walked up to the door and quietly knocked on it, hoping not to disturb something important, but desperately hoping Ghost was free enough to talk for a little time before the simulations had to begin. Her eyes lit upon Ghost through the sliver of the door, and she had the same embarrassed soft smile on her face that she had had all the way here. However, her smile faltered, only to return again as her eyes lit upon the other person in the room, a gorgeous brunette with a stunning smile and personality to match. "Bloom? H-Hi!" Charlie was not expecting Bloom of all people, she had expected Harper or Maverick or someone else but not Bloom. Bloom reciprocated her greeting enthusiastically and Charlie felt the butterflies in her heart slowly flutter down as she almost forgot her reasoning to come in. She hadn't spent time with Bloom in a long time, given that the initiation had caused her to be so busy, and Bloom had been working long shifts at the bar. "How are you! What are you doing here?" Charlie asked as she stepped closer to Bloom, she almost gave her a hug, but resisted. Although Bloom was one of the few people whom Charlie felt no issues with sharing a small embrace, she was acutely aware that Ghost was in the room, and Charlie almost never shared an embrace with someone being present to observe, call it superstition or a strange habit, but she had always been like that. Instead the two girls simply stepped close so that they could converse, talking about how they had been. Bloom asked about Charlie, and she said she was good if not very tired, and Bloom replied with much the same. Charlie gave a brief overview of how her time as medic had been for initiation, and then asked Bloom why she was here. The answer surprising her. "Another instructor? This has been a strange initiation... But I am very glad to be able to see you more often! We should sit down over some tea and coffee and catch up... if we can find spare time." The two girls laughed at this, their girlish chuckles rising in the room like the sound of bells. Then Bloom asked if Charlie had needed something, causing Charlie to falter. She had indeed come in here to get Ghost, but she was now at a loss for how to do so without seeming strange. "Oh yes! I had almost forgot. Ghost.. would you be able to help me with one of the simulation computers? It was playing up and I'm a bit confused with how to.. fix it." She lied, hoping that this would be able to bring her and Ghost into a room by themselves for a small amount of time.

Ghost didn't respond immediately, and Charlie noted that he looked a bit flushed in a way that he was the one who was at a loss of information here. Her mind whizzed, realizing that it was unlikely for Ghost to have known that Charlie and Bloom were near to bestfriends, as close a girlfriend as Charlie could ever have, that was, having grown up with near to none. Ghost quickly caught himself, asking her to repeat herself, to which she did. Knowing Ghost well enough, she saw how his eyes examined her face as his brain worked, dissecting her question and taking from it the true meaning of her request. I want to spend some time with you, I want to talk with you. He then nodded, and the two of them headed outside. "I'll see you soon when the kids turn up! Harper should be here soon too." Charlie said to Bloom as Ghost closed the door. She then quickly moved to one of the other training rooms, quickly unlocking it and the both of them entered in. As she closed the door, she felt Ghost sneakily steal the book she was holding from his grasp, and she let out a small yelp of surprise and tried to snatch it back. Instead her simply began to flick through it, before delivering the strange and absurd information about Charlotte Bronte. Charlie wrinkled up her nose and frowned as she finally grabbed the book back from him, though she secretly found it hilarious and sort of adorable that he knew such a fact about Charlotte Bronte. She didn't doubt what he said to be true, but it did cause her to feel even more creeped out by the book she held, so she placed it inside her bag. As she did so, Ghost's comment caused a blush to creep onto her cheeks again, as he mentioned how her makeup was growing on him. She had sort of forgotten his abhorrence to makeup, and had worn some purely to hide how little sleep she was receiving at the moment, but it filled her heart to hear him compliment her as such, and she was secretly glad that he was starting to like it, as she enjoyed wearing it also. She watched as he gazed at her, and she gazed right back, taking in Ghost's appearance. "You look really nice." She said. He looked well put together as always, the outfit he wore today, as it would more correctly be called an outfit rather than simple clothes, reminded her of a character from a book, a sneaky ringmaster who dared to save the poor circus animals who were being abused and mistreated. She was also well aware of Ghost viewing her outfit as well, and she gently nibbled her bottom lip as she enjoyed it, hoping that it was to his liking, and finding that she felt appreciated under his gaze, rather than the usual way she felt under a man's gaze.

Ghost helped to wake them both up from their almost childlike fancying of each other, and she blinked, almost forgetting that she had wanted to talk to him.
"Hmm? Oh... Yes!" She laughed nervously, her finger going up to twirl her hair around it as she gently pulled on it for comfort. "I wanted to tell you that I accidentally mentioned to my mother that I'm seeing someone." She started off slowly and quietly, watching as Ghost's facial expression changed, before h could say anything or she could over-analyze the expression he made she continued speaking. "I didn't say it was you, I didn't say anything at all really. But... Well... My mother really wants to meet you... in fact..." Charlie began to nervously move her foot, tracing a circle on the ground with it, her head moving down so that she wasn't looking at Ghost's expression, fearing that his rejection of her next proposal would hurt her heart. "She said she wants you to come to dinner, tonight, or tomorrow... or whenever really. I... I know that isn't really your thing and I won't force you to come, obviously... but I would really like that, and my mother is really nice, Sasha is a great cook and... well.. I think she may have already figured out that someone has been protecting me from Jeremy, since he hasn't shown face for so long." Charlie walked closer to Ghost as she spoke, realizing that she was likely rambling similar to how Aubrey often rambled, she blushed and clasped her hands together awkwardly. "I would like for my family to know about us, but I will not say anything without your permission, it would just make me really happy. They're all I have." She said, before standing on tip toes and gently pressing her lips to Ghost's face, his stubble tickling her lips and his skin warming at her touch. At this angle she could only just make out the bandage under his collar, and her hart tightened, but she decided not to mention it at the moment, knowing that she would either receive a lie or he would wave her concern away. She respectfully retreated back to a larger distance from him, awaiting his answer with a soft, shy smile and her hands desperately clasping each other.

Interacting with: Bloom Sanctuaryforall1 Sanctuaryforall1 Ghost Knave Knave



Aubrey Amber Stark || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn


Aubrey couldn't comprehend reality anymore. Her fear was replaying in her head, and now reality was simply drowning her as well. The knowledge that she had genuinely hurt Finn in something other than in training, caused her great pain and she couldn't even look at him without tears flooding down her cheeks, thus she curled into the tight ball she was in, apologizing over and over as she rocked back and forth. One moment hearing Finn's pleas for her to stop crying and that it was okay, and the next moment hearing her racing heartbeat; one moment feeling the carpet under her feet and the next being trapped inside the box again, causing her to tighten her body even more into itself. She was trapped in this place of fear, adrenaline rushed to her but not in the way she enjoyed, instead it barreled in her heart so hard and so painfully that she wished her heart would just stop so that it would cease from this painful fear. She wished that she could just be standing in a shower with ice cold water reminding her of reality, but right now all she could do was sob into her knees. She hardly even felt Finn's hand as it grasped her chin gently, but her head turned to look at him her eyes red and wet from crying, and her nose running with blood and a bit of water too. But Finn wasn't turning her to make fun of her face, or slap her, or even talk to her. Her eyes widened as his eyes closed, and before she could say anything, his lips pressed against hers.

Aubrey's hand whipped out to push Finn away, but before she could, her body froze, and her hand simply rested on Finn's chest. His heart was hammering in his chest. Her heart felt like it had stopped. She felt her body shiver in response to his gentle touch, and she instinctively melted into the kiss. Foolishness aside, reality aside, it was a nice kiss. Neither teen moved, as if frozen in place, hearts beating fast in sync with each other. Aubrey's eyes closed and she pressed her lips into Finn's, reciprocating his advance. Her body bounced with mixed feelings, a two way collision happening within her. One half of her fought for her desire for a relationship like this, for love, for desire, for closeness, for care, for emotions, for enjoyment, for Finn. It reminded her of how lonely her house had been, and how she had always found her way back to Finn, always. How her house scared her, the dark halls loomed at her, the bedrooms eerily silent but memories of screams haunted her nightmares, how her mother and sister were delightful, but had always sent her away for every weekend, how she had never felt such warm and loving embraces from them for longer than a couple seconds. But Finn had always been there, she had spent most of her childhood at his house, asleep in this very room with him, had never felt alone with him, and had always been welcome in his embrace and life. So that half of her fought for the desire for that to continue, for that to be the thing she wanted.
But the other half of her fought for the very opposite. It reminded her of how her other relationships had gone, how Christian had thrown her into the river and she had nearly drowned. How Julian had tried to rape her and had caused her to feel less than human. It reminded her of how her father had died before she'd gotten to know him, how her family felt like an empty shell and how she should look out for herself, that relationships would always stab you in the back. That Finn was her bestfriend first and foremost, and if she lost him she would never be the same. It reminded her of her goal to rise up to Dauntless leadership, and in that regard Finn was just another competitor and something in the way. It reminded her of how scared she was of love.

Although this battle was happening inside of her, when Finn began to pull away, Aubrey's hand which was still on his chest balled, gripping his shirt, and pulled him back. Her eyes were slammed shut, so shut in fact that it was almost painful, and she was seeing painful colored dots in her eyelids. Her body seeming to submit to the first half of her that wanted this, and her mind being too scared to have to confront this, the only solution was to keep kissing him. Of course she hadn't thought this through, as eventually they would separate, but she simply ran with instinct, and her lips pressed against Finn with two strong emotions - Fear and desire. Neither she nor Finn were strangers to relationships, they had both been in a few themselves, they had both kissed others and knew the ins and outs of making out and how to respectfully and yet enthusiastically touch your partner without going too far. So it was no surprise that their instincts kicked in, as two teenagers who know each other so well, Aubrey didn't even think, her brain empty, as their kisses continued, and their embrace tightened.
That was, until the blood trickling from both of their noses finally reached their lips, and the taste of each other was soon shrouded in the taste of blood. As if this reminded them of where they were and what they were doing. Both eyes opened, deep blue staring into the soul of her bestfriend. Both eyes filled with fear? Aubrey scrambled back, bringing up her hand to her nose and trying to catch the flood of blood coming out her nose. Finn almost mirrored her, both abashed and a little embarrassed and unsure of what to say. But before anyone could speak, Aubrey got up, running to the bathroom. Once there, she quickly grabbed toilet paper, cleaning up her nose and face. She washed her hands once the blood had stopped, and looked at herself in the mirror. That just happened. He kissed me. I... Kissed him back? What the hell... What the HELL do I do now? I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. Her lip trembled as the tears threatened to pour again, but she held them in, sucking in a deep breath. Why did he kiss me? He wanted to kiss me? Did I want to kiss him back? I liked it... did I? Yes I did... But should I? Damnit. The sixteen year old girl felt so foolish.

Aubrey vacated the bathroom, bringing out a spare toilet roll for Finn, and sitting cross legged in front of him. He smiled, though it faltered quickly as he noted the war of confusion on her face, and simply began to use the tissues to clean up the blood that had been coming out his nose, but had also stopped. Aubrey was chewing the inside of her cheek as she struggled with what to say and do. There was no doubt about the fact that she had definitely enjoyed that. THere was no doubt that it had entirely frightened her. There was no doubt that she equally wanted it to happen again, and yet didn't want to think or mention it ever again. "Sh*t" She finally mumbled under her breath, causing Finn to look at her with concern and worry. She tried a small smile, then chuckled sadly and leaned her elbow on her knee, and then her chin on her palm. "I.... don't know what to say." She admitted, her voice small, an unusual thing to be. The chatterbox Aubrey was speechless? Almost a moment in history. Aubrey opened her mouth, but then shut it again, truly unable to formulate words. She gazed at Finn, and thought a thought she had never had before. She thought about how the only thing that had ever made their relationship different from a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, was that they never kissed or did anything like that. Otherwise, they spent all their time together, they slept over together, they went on what could be called dates, they held hands, they hugged, they wrestled and teased, they had each other's backs, they played. But the thought of them turning that, their friendship, into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, still very much scared Aubrey. Why? She could hardly explain it. Instead she finally just blurted out the obvious. "I don't know what I want." She said, watching as Finn's face seemed to show a range of emotions, one of them surely being hurt. Aubrey felt guilt at this; no no no no no... please Finn... don't do this to me... She felt her lip tremble at the idea of her and Finn's relationship changing. The hand that was still on the carpet began to scratch at the carpet nervously.

"All I know, is I want to finish initiation and be high enough up to get a good role in Dauntless. I know that I don't want to fight you to get there but I probably would, or will. I know I don't want our relationship to ever change. I know that I'm really, really, really scared of these simulations and I am failing at them. And you're not. I can't lie that I am jealous of your simulation scores, and I am... ashamed that I am so much more weaker than you, that you can fight your fears so much better than I can. I'm so f*cking weak. I don't want to be weak, I don't understand how to get stronger.... I can't just train my body for this, I never knew Dauntless initiation would be like this... and now you... you... I just don't know what to do because I really liked what just happened, but it really scared me, and I have never felt that before, and I don't know how you'd even think of me if you knew what Julian.... well... if you knew some things..." Aubrey's mouth dried as she scrunched up the carpet under hand, and stared at the floor. "Do you think I'm going to fail initiation?" Although she didn't say it out loud, the question itself showed that Aubrey had been thinking that she might.

Interacting with: Finn Baratheon Baratheon



Christian "Chris" Parks || 16 || Initiate || Dauntlessborn



When a text came into his phone Chris physically jumped to attention, his mind on one thing. Blair. However, he was only a little disappointed as he noted that it was in fact Poppy who had text him. He sighed, and was in the process of replying to the girl when another text came through, and he saw the name pop on the top of his screen. Blair. Chris sat at the edge of his bed in lightning speed, his fingers clumsily tapping her name and finally bringing up the text. She was okay? Chris had never felt such adrenaline from a simple text before, and the relief and concern that flooded his system was mixed with just a pinch of rage, as he wondered why Blair had disappeared, and what had happened to her. He wasn't angry at her, or with her, but something had happened, and that made him angry. He texted back saying he would meet her there as soon as possible, and immediately started to get changed, he dressed in a simple black shirt and dark charcoal trousers, and stepped into the bathroom to check his hair and face to make sure he looked proper. Splashing some water in his face and through his frazzled hair, he could hear Poppy in one of the showers. Although the bathroom was a communal bathroom and it was made as such to promote courage and self-security, Christian did not like to look at others when they showered or used the bathroom, out of respect. So without looking he simply raised his voice loud enough so Poppy could hear him over the sound of the water. "Poppy? Blair just messaged me saying she's okay, I'm going to meet her by the river. We'll see you at training, hopefully Randi will turn up there, she still hasn't replied either." Christian waited politely for Poppy to respond, and was glad to hear the happiness that she felt that Blair was okay. He exited the bathroom, and put on some running shoes, before jogging out of the dorm and towards the exit.

The river was such an odd place for Blair to request to meet. It had been where she and Indira had fought, and where Indira had pushed Blair into the raging water, but it had also been where Christian had saved her, rescued her, and that had been the night that they had spent together. When he had finally realized who Indira was, and how she used him, and that Blair was the best thing to happen to his life. His heart pounded in his chest, with every step that he took on his run, he wanted to know what had happened over the last day, where Blair had been, why she hadn't contacted any of them. It had driven Christian and Poppy mad that Randi and Blair had disappeared without a trace the same day Ben's body had been found. What if the same had happened to those two girls? That would have broken Christian's heart, and the only other time he remembered such pain was when his mother had died. Christian ran beside the river, his eyes alert for the blonde hair that marked his girlfriend like a beacon, and finally, to his absolute delight, Christian was blessed with the sight of that tawny mane of hair. His feet pounded on the ground harder and faster as he saw the back of Blair just sitting by the river, feet in the river, hair flowing gently in the breeze. The large boy saw as her face slowly began to turn, and her eyes met with his, like the ocean meeting the sky, Christian wasted no time, as his feet skidded to a stop beside her, he leaned down, and scooped her up in his arms, holding her tight to his chest and burying his face in her hair. The smell that accompanied Blair, as usual, caused Christian to feel that smooth and beautiful sense of calm and joy, which slowly began to melt away the fear, anger and panic that had ensued his body previously.

Christian stood there for a few seconds just accepting the fact that Blair was in fact there with him, before finally letting go and gently placing her on the ground so she stood beside him, though his hands stayed glued to her side and shoulders, his grip stronger than usual, as if he were afraid that she was just going to fall away, disappear. His heart squeezed in pain and longing, and before either of them had spoken a word he leaned down, lips smashing into each other as Christian's desire overwhelmed him and he succumbed to the beauty and love that he had for his girlfriend. The kiss was sweet, fueled by passion and longing, and both of them stood there for a pretty moment, soaking in each others body and love, embracing and locked in what felt like an eternal kiss. Finally though Blair pulled back, Christian wasn't sure why but he asked no questions, knowing it was perfectly fine for her to do so. That was when his eyes finally saw the array of bruising and cuts that marked her beautiful face. Christian's jaw clamped and his grip tightened on Blair's arms, though at her wince of pain he quickly realized this, and loosened his grip dramatically; his eyes however remained hard and he began to breathe heavily, anger tumbling around in his stomach. "Blair... Who did this to you? What happened? Why are you hurt? Where have you been? Poppy and I were so worried." He said, his hand coming up to gently hold her face, his calloused thumb gently brushing over to the lip that was cut. Whoever had hurt Blair. He would hurt them back. More.

Blair motioned to the ground, asking if they could sit. She must have been tired, Christian agreed, and they sat at the edge of the river. Christian took off his shoes so that he wouldn't get them wet, placing them beside him, and pulled Blair close, his arm looping around her shoulder and resting gently on her arm. "Talk to me." Christian begged her, his voice unusually emotional for the usually emotionless man.

Interacted with: Poppy Wolfiee Wolfiee
Interacting with: Blair WanderLust. WanderLust.

 
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Sanctuaryforall1

Pyrrha Nikos Lives On














Randi




Mood: Sleepy

Location: Hospital

Interactions: Open (She is asleep right now)






The interaction between Ghost and her uncle had been quite a scene to observe and Randi felt a bit bad for Ghost that the two had to meet under such circumstances. Freight was one of the best guys she knew, he had taken her in and raised her after her folks died and he had treated her like his very own every step of the way. Honestly, the interaction could have gone much worse, and she was grateful that Freight wasn’t aware that she had been stabbed trying to protect Ghost or she feared he might have treated the instructor far less kind. She personally didn’t blame Ghost since it had been her own choice to step in front of the knife, but with how protective her uncle could be at times she knew it was for the best that he didn’t know.

After Ghost departed Randi felt a wave of tiredness come over her. For a while she sat and talked with Freight, his hand holding hers like she were the most precious thing in the world to him. He asked her about what happened and how she ended up in such a state. Not being one that was fond of lying Randi admitted to the gambling and the fact that she thought she was drugged and that the men she was playing against were cheating. She told her uncle how she called Ghost for help, and she saw a look of pain in his eyes that she didn’t call him first. Giving his hand a squeeze, she continued to describe the evening, honestly but also in a way that gave Ghost credit for saving her ass even if she did end up getting stabbed. When Randi spoke of Kain and Jarvis she saw her uncle’s eyes darken and had an instant gut feeling that the man beside her might have some form of history with those who had tried to take advantage of her tonight. The darkness seemed to dissipate a moment later however and Randi gave the man a look, reading him carefully. Even as he pushed the murderous look away, she could still find it lingering elsewhere, in his hands which held hers a little bit tighter, in his jaw which looked a bit tenser, in his posture which looked a bit more defensive. She could see the rage was still there and knew it was probably best for her to give him a break from the tale.

“I’m pretty tired.” She admitted as she leaned back against the pillow. “I think I’m gonna crash for a bit. Maybe you could sneak a pizza in here when I wake up?” She asked, trying to give him something else to think about so he wouldn’t linger on the rage. Reluctantly the large man agreed and got to his feet to leave. Before he left he gently gave her a kiss on the forehead like he used to do when she was small and getting ready for bed.

“Get some rest Firecracker.”

His words met her ears and pulled her lips into a smile. She hadn’t had much time to spend with her uncle since the start of initiation and hadn’t realized how much she missed being called Firecracker by the man who raised her. As he left, she reached forward and laced her pinky around his, their way of hugging goodbye and silently saying they couldn’t wait to see one another again. The motion brought a smile to the blonde man’s lips and Randi’s heart warmed at the sight. She preferred to see her uncle as the loving father figure he had always been, not a man threatened and ready for war.

Her words about being tired were true and as she sunk back into the squishy hospital bed, she felt the fingers of sleep pulling her eyelids shut. She felt the pain in her side begin to fade as she welcomed some much-needed sleep with open arms. As a girl always on the move it was nice to be forced to finally get some rest, even if the circumstances leading to the rest weren’t the best.

For a moment the world was silent, she could feel a soft breeze against her face and the air smelled fresher than any air she had breathed before. Opening her eyes Randi found herself standing on a cliff's edge looking out over the vast expanse of an unending ocean. She had never actually been to see the ocean before but the sight of the one in front of her now took her breath away. It was so vast, so powerful. The waves beat against the cliff as though following the tune of some wordless song. The water was blue and gray with white foam capping the waves and swirling above the depths. Everything within Randi screamed for her to jump towards it so she could experience its power for herself.

“Not afraid anymore?”

The voice didn’t surprise her as she turned to look around but saw no one along the lush green plateau she stood upon. Nearby there were a few small boulders and upon one a bird as black as the void perched itself. The raven cocked its head and looked at her. “It could be dangerous.” It stated in a voice that sounded neither male nor female but at the same time both.

“Could be,” Randi replied with a nod. “But not anymore.” She added as though they had had this conversation before. It wasn’t the first time her dreams had taken her to this place, and she knew it wouldn’t be the last. It used to be that she was too afraid to jump into the water below her but now she knew she was strong enough to make her way out. The waves were powerful but here they bent to her will, not that of natures. It was very similar to how she used to find herself lonely when she would stand upon the edge of this cliff and so the raven appeared to keep her company. It was one of the few places she had ever been able to slow down and take a breath, a place she felt in control because she knew it was all a dream.






code by Stardust Galaxy
 

Knave

pizza girl


Ghost // Male // Age 18 // Training Instructor // Erudite to Dauntless

On Charlie’s second lunge she succeeded in reclaiming her book from Ghost, after he had held it just out of her reach the first time in order to observe the title. Not wanting to be cruel, he let her take it, though her need for secrecy puzzled him. He expected most girls would bask in the attention if a semi-attractive boy of similar age went out of his way to inquire what she was reading, but Charlie had responded with mild indignation.
There is a certain point in a liar’s life when they have told so many different lies over the years and grown so accustomed to keeping their stories straight that, eventually, they stop offering up any and all voluntary information about themselves out of habit, because any seemingly insignificant tidbit can be used to deconstruct an illusion. Ghost was one such liar, and he would have felt a similar impulse to keep something as harmless as the name of the book he was reading secret from others. Keeping secrets was his default, something he did not need a reason to do. But Ghost was also abnormal, defective, the exception to many rules, and he knew it. The fact that Charlie’s first instinct had been to conceal something as inconsequential as the book she was reading from him was truly fascinating. It made Ghost wonder whether Jeremy wasn’t the first of a deep ocean of secrets that Charlie was harboring, and whether he might ever be allowed access to them. As if his interest in Blair Avalon’s unique abilities wasn’t evidence enough, he had an unhealthy attraction to secret things.
Charlie’s exasperation with Ghost’s antics fell away, and she brightened at the compliment despite herself. A brief, electric current tingled up Ghost’s arms to know that something he had said was the reason for Charlie’s smile. He didn’t mind that Charlie smiled infrequently. The rarer something is, the higher its value, so if anything Ghost felt even more rewarded on those intermittent occasions. Because when Charlie smiled she was as lovely as the moon: not flawless, perhaps, but perfect.
And then it was her turn to compliment Ghost’s appearance, her eyes roaming over the elegant sweep of his coat, the deep candy apple-red of his shirt. At this he put one hand on his chest in mock offense, pretending to be wounded. “You say that as if you expect anything less than excellence from me when we both know you have no reason to,” he returned sardonically. Really, when the average Dauntless man went to work in jeans and a T-shirt, dressing nicely wasn’t much of an accomplishment. Nonetheless, Ghost felt his body responding to Charlie’s praise, warmth stirring in his chest, his mouth cracking into the beginnings of a smile against his will. Ghost was, unfortunately, a sucker for flattery, but at least he knew it, and there was no one in the world he would rather impress than Charlie.
He was in the process of mentally tucking Charlie’s compliment away for future ego-stroking purposes when the full meaning of her words struck him. Until then they had just been a series of sounds and letters strung together, until they weren’t. Ghost felt like he was choking on air. “Y-you did what?!” he yelped, for an instant forgetting to keep his voice low on account of Bloom being just down the hall. Twin surges of fear and shame raced through him like gouts of flame, making him feel swelteringly hot beneath Charlie’s intent stare. Ghost did not even entitle others to the knowledge of his real name, and now one of the most prominent people in Charlie’s life was aware of his affiliation with her? His stomach curled into a ball. He tracked the movement of Charlie’s foot as it traced anxious circles on the floor, and Ghost hoped that his own discomfort wasn’t so readily apparent.
As Charlie relayed her mother’s invitation to dinner, he listened in silence. Ghost felt as though he should have been angry with Charlie for divulging their secret, especially when she had fought unfailingly hard to keep others. He was not a bauble to be displayed on a shelf and admired. And yet Ghost wasn’t angry. Maybe because Charlie looked so fragile as she anticipated what she was sure would be rejection. Maybe because Ghost had never been invited to meet a girl’s mother before and was intensely curious about what it would be like. Whatever the reason, Ghost swallowed down the automatic refusal that had bubbled to his lips and compelled himself to rethink. For all he knew, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Seriously. If lull didn’t claim his life soon enough, a rival would take a lucky shot at him.
Ghost wasn’t sure whether he or Charlie was more surprised when he declared, “Tomorrow night. I would be happy to attend dinner at your mother’s house.” He confirmed his decision with a single solemn nod. While Ghost was reluctantly willing to give it a try, happy was a bit of a stretch. Unlike Caspian, who never pretended to care when he didn’t, Ghost felt like he was constantly either hiding his feelings or faking them when he had none. At that moment he was hit with an unexpected twinge of self-loathing, having never thought of himself as fake before. But now that he had it was impossible to separate the two things; the word fit him as snugly as a latex glove.
Charlie smiled so wide that the corners of her eyes crinkled upward, her happiness as palpable as a scent in the air. She looked so radiant with it that Ghost was hit with a pang of sadness, because he knew that, intentionally or not, someday he would hurt this girl very badly. Unless of course his enemies beat him to it, which Ghost would still consider indirectly his fault.
Before he could say anything else, Charlie closed the distance between them and tilted her face upward, her lips finding the junction between Ghost’s jaw and neck, her breath warm and sweet against his skin. For a moment, he felt as though the floor had tilted beneath him, deja vu battering him from all sides. Not even two hours ago Randi had kissed him the same way—grateful, affectionate, an ambiguous invitation for something more. Ghost wasn’t sure whether it was only natural for his mind to draw comparisons between the two girls and their kisses or whether he ought to feel guilty. Whichever the case, he flinched away from Charlie’s searching lips, recoiling to a safe distance, and realizing the implications of such a gesture too late. She stared at him in open confusion, and just beneath that, hurt that she didn’t quite succeed in hiding.
“Sorry. I just, wasn’t ready,” Ghost said in lame explanation. He resisted the impulse to twist his gold bracelet or retrieve a deck of cards and start shuffling, knowing that both were nervous and strange habits. He wondered if the reaction that Charlie’s kiss had just elicited was normal for a boyfriend to have. He wondered if her mother would give him a better reception tomorrow night than Randi’s uncle had earlier this morning. He wondered if any of it even mattered, considering that he and Blair Avalon would be committing treason of the highest degree later today if she agreed to his plan.
“We should get going,” Ghost finally said, shattering the silence between Charlie and him like glass. Delay much longer and Bloom would start to get suspicious. He raised his voice slightly. “Next time when it refuses to load, try turning it off and on again before you do anything else. Also be sure not to keep too many tabs open, because this particular program absorbs a lot of resources to run,” he instructed, trying to sound as helpful and authoritative as possible despite being well aware that his advice was a no-brainer to anyone who had ever used a computer before. So much for the coding books that he had recommended to Bloom. Ghost pivoted and swung open the door, holding it for Charlie, secretly glad for the excuse to conclude their conversation. “After you.”

* * *

The initiates trickled into the waiting room at a tedious rate. Harper stood against the wall opposite Ghost, as if wanting to put as much distance between them as possible, which, given his discomfiting admission yesterday, he supposed was a logical reaction. His admission had been a false one, of course, but Harper didn’t know that, and good lies require commitment. So Ghost spent the next five minutes until training was due to start with his phone dangling loosely from one hand while he snuck covert glances at Harper in turns. Sometimes he would let her catch him staring. When this happened, sometimes he would let his gaze jump casually away as if their brief eye contact were an awkward but meaningless coincidence, but sometimes he would hold her stare for a few beats, steady and unwavering. Sometimes Ghost specifically eyed the muffin that she was nibbling and simmered a little, as if intensely jealous that Harper wasn’t paying him the same attention, audience or not.
Truth be told, Ghost was a little embarrassed just acting the part of the moonstruck suitor, knowing that it was all a charade put on for Harper’s benefit and thus necessary for her to notice. He would have been mortified to have actually been caught making such forward flirtations. He wondered whether Harper admired his bold approach or despised him all the more for it. It didn’t matter, really—Ghost would never stoop so low as to fall for his rival; only fools and masochists did that. So long as Harper was thoroughly convinced that he had no particular attachment to Charlie was all that mattered.
Amid all his pining for Harper, Ghost discreetly surveyed the throng of initiates for Blair. But barely half of the whole group was assembled, and she was not one of them. Ghost tried to chalk up Blair’s absence to her being an irresponsible kid and cutting class, and almost convinced himself. In a futile attempt to distract himself, he watched as Bloom circuited the room, introducing herself to initiates individually. But that only made Ghost remember and regret the suspicion to which he’d subjected her upon their first and so far only encounter.
It wasn’t until the final minute before training began that initiates started filing into the waiting room in earnest. The air shifted with the low buzz of conversation, and Ghost’s ears pricked up when he caught a few hushed phrases, things like, “Did you hear what happened at the Pennysworth this morning?” or “A scrawny dark-haired fella, barely older than a kid, they said,” and “My aunt was there, she saw the whole thing. Kain had lost sooo much damn money to this guy before Kain finally turned a knife on him, but he musta been a ninja or something, because he walked off with barely a scratch and all of the money.”
This last tale was blown so wildly out of proportion that Ghost gave a little cough to cover the chuckle that tickled the back of his throat. First of all, it omitted Randi’s role entirely, because if anyone had been a ninja it certainly was her, and second, Ghost had sacrificed the money for confidentiality, trading it to the bartender in exchange for her silence. Embellishments or not, it was a very flattering account. So flattering in fact that Ghost turned down his collar almost imperceptibly, so that the top edge of the bandage on the side of his throat just barely peeked out. His hit of lull had worn off and his homemade stitches were beginning to throb, but he didn’t mind. The bracelet he had won from Jarvis was a trophy commemorating Ghost’s triumph at the card table, and the cut on his neck was a reminder of his folly for letting his guard down soon after. He had let all of the winning go to his head like a strong drink. It had been a valuable if humbling learning experience, and he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
Ghost gave Harper one last wistful glance and bit his lip softly, suggestively, fighting off the instinctive cringe he would have given had someone else made that same gesture at him. Then he was following the second hand of the clock on the wall as it struck the twelve. “As I’m sure many of you are aware,” he began on cue, pocketing the phone he’d only had out for the sake of appearances, “tomorrow we have no training on account of it being the faction leader’s—Obadiah Parks—birthday party, to which the whole compound has been invited. All businesses except essential ones will be closed for the day. What that means is one less day of training for you guys; therefore, you should compensate by doubling your efforts for today’s session, because it will be all the more impactful on your final scores.” Despite his best attempts, Ghost seriously doubted that many of his pupils felt particularly motivated to do any better, but he liked to think that his words resonated with a select few. He was an idealist that way.
“Since half the class still isn’t here and I’d rather not impose such a widespread penalty…” Ghost trailed off, rubbing his chin pensively, then came to a decision. He pointed at each instructor in turn where they stood along the perimeter of the room, forming a lopsided rhombus in relation to one another. “Ladies, circle up around the desk beside me. Come here, please.” Bloom and Charlie were each visibly confused by Ghost’s request, but Harper, for her part, seemed slightly piqued to be ordered around by her colleague. Ghost fully believed she would have defied him just to make a point if he hadn’t tacked on the please at the end. Bloom and Charlie exchanged a puzzled glance but complied, hesitantly approaching Ghost, and after a second Harper followed suit. Possibly just so that she wouldn’t embarrass Bloom or Charlie by creating a scene.
By the time that the three women had formed a triangle around the desk Ghost indicated, he was shuffling a deck of playing cards, finishing with a crisp riffle and bridge. These cards had a Chinese mythology theme, with each of the face cards depicting a different Taoist deity and on the backs was a blue- and green-scaled dragon. Ghost finished shuffling and squared the deck on the table, pointedly ignoring the smartass initiate asking whether he was going to read all their fortunes. “Did you know that playing cards can travel?” From the bottom of the deck he revealed three cards: the jack, queen, and king of spades. In terms of the Chinese-themed deck, they were represented by the gods Hou Yi, Chang’e, and the Jade Emperor respectively. He allowed his colleagues generous time to study and memorize the three cards before turning them over and laying them face down on the table, one by one, spacing them far enough that it would be impossible to mistake one card for another.
“As hard as some players may try to control them, playing cards have a will of their own. They resist any attempts to impose on their freedom. For instance”—Ghost plucked the jack of spades off the table—“let’s try to put this jack on the bottom of the deck, shall we?” He tucked the facedown card at the very bottom of the pile of cards, then looked at Bloom. “Would you turn over the topmost card, please?” A collective gasp shivered through the onlooking initiates as Bloom turned over the top card to reveal the jack of spades that Ghost had ostensibly placed at the bottom of the deck. He discarded the jack so that it now lay faceup on the desk.
Now just two facedown cards were left. Ghost turned his attention to the next in the row, the card that—for all intents and purposes—was supposed to be the queen. He put it at the very top of the deck, then asked Charlie, “Turn the deck over and show everyone what’s at the bottom, please?” Inexplicably, Chang’e, the queen of spades, stared impassively up at Charlie from the bottom of the deck. Another amazed murmur rippled through the gathered initiates, many of whom had crept closer since the start of the trick.
Ghost discarded the queen beside the jack and gestured to the final facedown card on the desk. “It would appear that only the king remains. Kings, however, tend to have an especial knack for trickery. It’s a necessary skill for anyone who hopes to reign a long time with dozens of enemies conspiring to kill him. To outsmart this king, we are going to have to split this deck into two.” Ghost cut the deck in the center so that two even halves piled up to either side of the facedown king. He placed the singular card at the top of what had been the upper half of the deck. When he turned it over, it was not the king of spades but the ace of clubs. The ace’s Chinese counterpart was Pangu, the horned beast who had created heaven and earth, according to myth.
Ghost nodded at Harper, then gestured at the second pile of cards, the deck’s lower half. “Harper, if you would do the honors?” Taking her cue, Harper turned over the top card, which a minute ago had been indiscriminately buried somewhere in the middle of the comprehensive deck. The king of spades sat regally upon a luminous throne of jade. The spectating initiates burst into applause, a few of them sarcastic, but most appreciative, from the sound of the comments. They ranged from “That last card was bullshit!” to “Oh my gosh, do another one!” to “Dammit, I looked at my phone. What did he do?” Indira threw back her head and let loose a dry cackle. “He’s a magician, guys!” she cooed to her posse of black-clad girlfriends, as if she were a matchmaker and Ghost a client whom she was trying to marry off.
A different girl prompted him to do another trick, but Ghost shook his head. “Not today. If you want to see another one, you’ll have to wait until day after tomorrow’s session. Consider it your incentive to attend.” While Ghost enjoyed the praise and attention from a simple magic trick performed successfully, he had done it with a more strategic endgame in mind. His deft handling of the cards proved one thing to anyone paying close attention: that, yes, he was the guy from the Pennysworth. He was the guy who had hustled twenty grand from Kain and Jarvis from a single night of poker. It was the equivalent of pouring kerosene on the rumors about him that were already spreading like wildfire.
It was true that it was already well past time for training to begin; whoever was still late would receive deductions on today’s fear sim score. But Ghost also wanted time to study up a little before he performed another trick for a live audience. It had been a hot minute since the last time he’d done close-up magic with spectators, and that was a very different thing from doing it for personal amusement. There was no room for blunders.
Ghost gathered up all his cards and boxed and pocketed them. “No more diversions. Let’s get to it.” The buoyant mood in the waiting room dampened considerably as the initiates remembered what it was they were waiting for. Ghost’s plan had been to select Blair first before any other instructor had the chance, since they needed to discuss their upcoming heist in utmost privacy. Assuming Blair agreed to it, of course, but what choice did she really have? Now that Blair wasn’t here, Ghost found himself at a loss for what to do or who to choose. Just as he was about to call Leah with the intention of finding out whether their private session yesterday had done anything to improve her scores, Ghost spun around to find himself face to face with Jaxom Blackwood. Or rather, more like face to clavicle, given the considerable height difference between initiate and instructor. Before Ghost could skirt around him, Blackwood was asking if Ghost wouldn’t mind administering his test today. On a surface level, Blackwood’s tone was cordial enough, but his eyes were as hard and flat as polished agates.
Ghost’s stomach sank with foreboding. He had a feeling he knew what this was about, and it had been smart of Jaxom to ask Ghost publicly much as Randi had two days ago, where a refusal could attract unwanted attention or elicit questions from onlookers. “Of course,” he said indulgently, schooling his features into a mask of calm. Really, he was half surprised that Blackwood hadn’t approached him before. Now that two and a half days had elapsed since the situation with Leah, Ghost had almost forgotten about it. He wondered whether that had been Blackwood’s design. “If you’ll follow me,” Ghost said and led the way to the first of the four simulation rooms.
 
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