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Peter/Caleb drabbles

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Caleb lowers his head when Peter starts teasing his sister. During their shared time in Amity Caleb has already had to be in the middle of those moments way too often, and he is tired of being pulled into them when he has no place to be there. At least when Four is around, he willingly steps between them and as soon as he starts arguing with Peter, Caleb has usually been able to just sink into the background and leave. Caleb hopes that the three of them won't start a big scene right in the middle of lunch, but before he can decide if it would be better to just go sit with some Amity people, Peter says something that grabs his attention.
“Besides I think we should all stick together now that we are all officially fugitives.”

Before he can stop himself, Caleb has already raised his hand and is ready to grab Peter's shoulder. He catches himself and stops short, instead just nudging the other guy on the back as he asks: “Wait, what do you mean officially fugitives?”
There is a pause as Peter looks back at him, and Caleb can see that Peter wants to make a point out of Caleb shrinking back from touching him in front of Tris and Four. They've had that conversation many times and Peter still thinks it's ridiculous for Caleb to be afraid of what his sister would say, but so far he has agreed not to say anything in front of them. The couple has obviously had enough of Peter so they simply leave to find a free table, and like always, Peter and Caleb follow them.

The conversation quickly turns to Tris wishing to kill Jeanine, and Caleb can't keep quiet when he hears something absurd like that. He starts to argue with his sister, telling her that she can't just go around killing people, but Peter interrupts them because he can sense Caleb getting defensive over Erudite's actions and that is something that Tris should not hear her brother voice out. At least not yet, not while they still all need each other. So to pull the focus away from Caleb, Peter does what he does best, digs at a weak spot in Tris. He can feel Caleb giving him a warning look on his side, but Peter ignores it and just pushes until he gets a reaction. Tris jumps him and Peter ends up on the ground as a result, which was not how he planned it at all. Four stops the situation before it goes any further, but Peter is still annoyed that he let Tris get him like that and in front of Amity members as well.

Caleb helps him get the table off of him, and they make their way toward Johanna's office with Four keeping his hands on Tris the whole time like he is afraid that she might lunge at Peter a second time. Peter walks behind them, gathering his cool, and Caleb comes few feet behind him. Peter knows Caleb is watching him with a worried expression, but at the moment he is too annoyed to talk even to him. He plans to assure Caleb that everything is fine after they get out of yet another talk with Johanna, and thinks it is about time for him to ask when they will leave Four and Tris behind.

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Eric's Dauntless had come out of nowhere with no warning and were now surrounding the whole area, seemingly ready to search everywhere for fugitives. There was not much options on what to do and with Eric just downstairs, Four was ushering them to escape through the window and make a run for it past the guards in the back. He and Tris shared a look and Four turned to Peter with “We need to split up.”

Peter had of course anticipated that if things would go to worst, he would be forcibly left behind by the two of them. He had just not been expecting Eric and his troops to come this early, but apparently Erudite had stopped trying to hide their actions from the other factions. Peter cursed their rotten luck, if it had just been him and Caleb then there would be no problem with this little invasion but with Four and Tris around everything was ruined.

Peter knew he'd accomplish nothing but wasting time if he'd now start arguing that three people running in the same direction was just as dangerous as four people doing it. If he'd insist to take Caleb with him then they'd be forced to reunite with Four and Tris later on, and Peter was right about done associating with these lovebirds. So he had to do what he was best at and just think on his feet, then trust that things would turn out in his favor. He agreed to Four's suggestion without any objections and turned his attention to Caleb.

Panic was quickly setting in Caleb's features and without saying anything he pleaded Peter not to leave. They had never talked about what would the plan be if they for some reason were separated from each other, and right now Peter was finding it hilarious that neither of them had considered that something like this would be highly likely to happen. What hopeless optimists they both had been. Caleb just stared at him but was completely unable to say anything that would contradict the orders given by Four. Peter couldn't blame him for this, there was still a role that Caleb needed to keep up and he was not about to force the other to break it.

“Every man for themselves.” Peter said, hoping that Caleb would understand what he'd do next and that no matter what, they'd still be able to meet up later on. He saw Caleb's brow furrow from the corner of his eye before he turned around and started yelling to get Eric's attention.

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Getting himself caught by Eric might not have been the smartest decision in his life, but there was nothing Peter could do about it now. He was not exactly thanked for alerting Eric to Tris and Four's presence, and he had been locked up ever since he had been dragged to Erudite. Max and Eric had questioned him dozens of times, but still Peter was not allowed out. It was driving him nuts, not knowing if he would eventually be let out or if he was simply waiting for an execution.

Spending all of this time alone with his thoughts was leading Peter to do something he had tried not to ever do – think about Caleb. He wondered what had happened to Caleb after he desperately ran with Tris and Four to get away from Dauntless, he wondered where the other guy was, or if he had been caught. Peter kept pushing the thoughts back because they eventually looped to him wondering if Caleb was dead, killed as soon as he was caught because he was a traitor to Erudite and – if not counting being Divergent – that was the worst thing you could be. If that was the case, then wasn't it Peter's fault if Caleb was dead? He tried not to think about it, he shouldn't care anyway, or no, he didn't care in the first place. Why should he?

Yet the thoughts kept creeping up on him, if he managed to evade them while awake they would follow him into his dreams instead. Peter would wake up covered in sweat, his breath fast and images of dead Caleb fresh in his mind. He couldn't explain it, dead people had never really bothered him before, better them than him. If Caleb was dead then... better him than Peter, right? That's all there was to it, Peter didn't really care. He couldn't.

Then the day came when Peter was finally escorted out of his cell and taken to see Jeanine for the first time. He took it as a good sign that neither of the Dauntless guards chose to keep their hands on him during the walk, and Peter started feeling like he was in the clear soon. When he arrived to his destination he first saw Jeanine's stern face but his attention was soon captured by the figure behind Jeanine. It was Caleb. He stood there dressed in Erudite clothing and looking very unsure of himself, even a little bit miserable, but certainly not afraid for his life.

Peter stared at Caleb's sad face, and he couldn't even begin to grasp what he was feeling at the moment or what Caleb was feeling. Caleb was staring back at him like he wanted to say something but knew his place well enough not to speak out of turn. All Peter knew was that there had been a persistent lump in his throat for days and at the sight of Caleb it seemed to be disappearing, along with the heavy sensation in his stomach. There really was no reason for it, but he also felt like he could smile.

Of course the intense relief Peter was experiencing was simply from the knowledge that he would get a chance with Erudite again. That had to be all it was. ..right?

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Peter had almost not made it because he had gotten left behind from the other three during their tread through the woods, and he had climbed on a different train car than the rest of them. For a moment Peter stayed put, annoyed that the rest of them had just climbed on without even a glance to see if Peter was coming or not. He was not surprised by this behavior, Four had even suggested they should split up – and by splitting up he had meant that Peter would need to split and the rest of them would stick together – but Caleb had been against the idea. He probably hadn’t understood the intention behind Four’s words but he had still managed to convince the guy that sticking together would be best and so the plan was forgotten. Peter’s thoughts were interrupted when he realized he could hear voices that did not sound familiar. And movement, lots of movement in the car ahead. Seemed like the train already had passengers on it and they were not too happy to see others joining their free ride. Peter listened closely but he couldn’t make out what was being said, only that the foreign voices grew more agitated by the minute. He had no doubt that the dream team must’ve been pushing the buttons of whoever it was they were talking to, and sure enough soon distinctive sounds of a beginning scuffle could be heard.

Peter sighed as he came to the decision that he would need to go see what was going on. Carefully he moved to the door that took him from his current car to the one ahead, and after estimating that no one was directly behind it, he entered. The car had shelves and boxes everywhere so they provided excellent cover from being immediately seen. Peter sneaked onward to get a better look and behind the second row he found a dirty man swinging a big knife at Caleb, who was horrified but managed to dodge the swings pretty well, at least until he lost his balance and fell to the floor. The attacker  tried to stab Caleb, but the boy dodged once again and his attacker stabbed the wall instead.
This section didn’t seem to have anyone else except this clearly factionless man and his soon to be victim. The odds were good so Peter decided that he might as well take care of the situation. In few long strides he closed the distance between himself and the struggling attacker, but right as Peter was about to give the man a kick to his side, the factionless managed to pull his knife free. He noticed Peter right at the last possible moment and swung his blade in an arc that made Peter pull back to avoid being hit by it. Unlucky for him, he was balancing on one leg and as he kicked – with less force than he had wanted to –  Peter was sent stumbling back. The man also stumbled but he was able to restore his balance faster, and focused his full attention on Peter because Caleb had not moved an inch from the ground and was practically paralyzed with fear. 

Peter looked around for a potential weapon but there seemed to be nothing he could quickly grab and make the best of the situation. He quickly backed up and tried to think of a plan but soon there was no more room to back up on and Peter had no choice but to attempt a counterattack. He lunged at the man as soon as he started preparing for another swing, the goal was to knock the attacker off his balance but as soon as Peter grabbed a hold he realized it wouldn’t be happening. The man reacted quickly and managed to hit Peter on the back of his head, causing Peter to fall flat on the floor. The situation was looking bad and Peter knew it. He looked up at the man with the knife and he got the sinking feeling he had lost. The man seemed confident of this too as he took a better hold of his blade, getting ready to finish the job. But just then something hard came crashing against the man’s head from the side, causing him to fall back. That something turned out to be a steel pipe being held by Caleb. He didn’t wait to see what the man would do next, Caleb took a step forward and continued frantically hitting him with the pipe.

Peter watched as Caleb continued his brutal swings until the man made no sound or movement any longer. It was a sight Peter had never even considered he might see but he couldn’t deny that seeing Caleb stand there, panting with the bloodied pipe in his hand, the sight made his own blood rush. But Caleb was dazed, only starting to realize what he had done. The boy dropped to his knees, the pipe coming loose from his hand as he shook all over. For a while the two of them just looked at each other, both stumped over what had just happened. If the train wasn’t shaking – effectively reminding Peter where he was – he might’ve stayed put for a lot longer,  but slowly he got to his feet, and watched as Caleb was still shaking on his knees and holding back sobs. Peter moved to stand next to him but he wasn’t one to comfort people so he didn’t really know what to do. His instinct told him to insult Caleb for being so miserable but Peter held his tongue because this miserable boy had most likely just saved him. So instead of a rude remark Peter offered his hand to Caleb.
“I owe you one.” he told the crying boy.
Caleb looked at him for a while and then instead of taking the hand, he handed Peter the steel pipe.
“My sister…” Caleb managed before his voice failed him. Without another word Peter left Caleb on the floor and set out to see what condition Tris and her boyfriend were in, cursing that he hadn’t simply agreed to split up.

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Caleb felt like he was suffocating, the knowledge that his sister was dead still denied by some parts of his brain. He told himself that he could deal with Tobias' rage and his accusations, that the condescending looks he got from Christina wouldn't bother him, but with each one he felt another crack form. As the days passed and Tris was laid to rest, Caleb came to a realization; he was able to hold on this long because of Peter. He didn't consider Peter to have been like a crutch to him despite all the time they spent together, the guy had always remained slightly distant and made snide remarks about Tris at every turn. He never had seemed to understand that Caleb still cared about her despite everything he had done. But now when he wasn't by Caleb's side, mockingly asking if he'd need to kick someone's ass to get that frown to be upside down, Caleb truly realized what he lost.

It was surreal to him because Peter wasn't dead, Peter was right there in the compound with them, but he wasn't the same Peter now. For whatever reason Peter chose to take a memory serum and he was a new person. If Caleb wasn't afraid of Tobias, he'd confront him and ask why he let Peter drink the serum. Part of him understood Peter's decision to go for the serum, it surely is the easy way out, but part of him blamed Peter for leaving Caleb behind like this.

Caleb watched as Cara and Peter entered the room. They had been spending a lot of time together as Cara had seemed to be the only one able to truly take Peter in as a new person. Cara guided Peter to take a seat and then left him as she went to get lunch, and Caleb watched as Peter looked around the room like it was still all so new and foreign to him. A bitterness twisted Caleb's chest and without giving it another thought, he stood up and walked over. If he can't get a new start, then why should Peter?

Caleb called out Peter's name louder than he intended. The boy who just a short while ago would've made a joke about the mean tone now just looked up at Caleb, obviously confused. He hadn't exchanged a word with Caleb until that point because the latter had been avoiding him, so his confusion was understandable. Caleb's hands were fists as he opened his mouth to say something, to reveal to Peter what he had been before the memory wipe, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Anger is quickly replaced by sorrow as he is just met by innocent curiosity in Peter's expression, and Caleb can't face that look without something hurting in him.

Part of him had still wished for there to be a glimmer of recognition in Peter's wide eyes when they looked at each other, but everything they shared had been washed away. To Peter Caleb was simply the guy that lived when he should've died, and there was no connection there. Peter wouldn't understand why they'd have anything in common, all he could do would be to pity Caleb for his weaknesses and his losses.

Caleb wanted to say something horrible, to bring Peter down with him, so he wouldn't need to be alone with these feelings. But he realized that there was nothing mean he could say that would reflect how he saw Peter. Even when Tris had hated him; when Tobias had threatened him; when Christina had told all the horrible things that the boy had done; Caleb still hadn't been able to see Peter like that. He had simply known Peter on a different level.
To him Peter had never been a boy with a butter-knife, so how could Caleb have said that to him now?