|Flight of the Mockingjay
Author: Lady Flick PM
MJ. Peeta is hijacked, Annie is dead, and suddenly all of Panem is in danger. 'My name is Katniss Everdeen. I survived the Hunger Games. And I don't know which side I'm fighting for anymore.' KP/KFRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Peeta M. & Katniss E. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,630 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 04-15-11 - Published: 04-08-11 - id: 6888447
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
woo thanks to everyone for all your support! i believe i've replied to all my reviews. anyways, i've had a sudden burst of inspiration and wrote up three pages of plot for this story. so you guys are in for a real adventurous treat! i cut this chapter shorter than i intended, because i believe it's a decent place to stop without continuing on for another 2000 words c: i'll save that for the next chapter. but that just means i'll be updating sooner, which is hopefully good. reviews are always appreciated! hope you enjoy c:
Flight of the Mockingjay
"Most of my nightmares are about losing you. I'm OK once I realize you're here."
Peeta Mellark, CF
Once, when I was younger, before the mining accident and before Prim, I saw a butterfly floating about a few flowers in someone's yard. I didn't know who lived in the house at the time, but now that I think about it, I might have been wandering around the Victor's Village, lost and distracted on my way to school. It was morning and the sun was just bursting through the sky, rays of orange and pink shone through the smog hovering over our District, but a single beam managed to land on the butterfly's wings, and I couldn't turn away.
I decided that I wanted to keep the beauty forever, because nothing ever lasts. I removed a jar from my red backpack and poured its sticky contents onto the grass. Quickly, so that no one would see, I trapped the butterfly inside and closed the lid. It flew all around, hitting the glass, and for a moment I wondered if it was crazy. Then it died.
Seeing Peeta, trapped behind glass, reminds me of that butterfly. When he was first incarcerated, he banged on the windows, screaming, going utterly mad…
He looks normal enough for now, sitting in a chair, no restraints, eyes focused on a television placed in the upper corner of the room. There are men in white lab coats staring through the one-way mirror, noting any changes in activity, murmuring nonsense at their clipboards as they scribble down seemingly useless information. They're talking about his fidgeting, his breathing, his blinking - and all I can think is to tell them that he is human. Of course he'll fidget and breathe and blink. But I know they won't listen and so I remain silent as I watch him in the glass jar.
My butterfly. Suffocating.
His stillness is terrifying. I expected him to be manic, to hope for a way out, but I suppose after however many days trapped in there, he has given up, which, in itself, is his form of death.
"He's been calm all morning," says a familiar voice behind me.
I already know who it is. "And last night?"
"He couldn't sleep much," Haymitch answers, coming to stand beside me, clouded eyes studying the boy he mentored. "Kept tossing and turning. Eventually he just turned on the TV and watched until morning." There's a hint of desperation in his voice. It might be his lack of alcohol, but something inside me insists that it has entirely to do with Peeta.
"What was he watching?"
"Everything," the older man replies darkly, "he channel surfs through everything." Haymitch tears his eyes from the forsaken baker and fixes them on me. "For all we know, he could still be incredibly unstable. Would you like guards to stand in there with you?"
I think of Peeta and the boy whose smile could always brighten a room, whose words could frighten and exhilarate me, whose kisses were warm and sweet, and shake my head. I can't seem to form words, however, and instead walk towards the door. It slides open and I step into the blindingly white room. Men stand right outside at once, prepared to shoot sedative needles if necessary, but I take no mind to them. There's nothing I can do for their precautions. The door slides shut and I am alone in the room with this boy who I don't know. And at least a half dozen people watching.
The moment I take another step he looks up and offers this fragile smile. "Oh! It's you. I was starting to worry I'd never see you again," he says with relief, brushing a hand through his golden hair.
Relief floods through me. "I'll always be there for you, Peeta. You know that."
"Of course," he answers in something akin to his old manner, "but we've been trapped in this stupid forest for so long, I didn't know what to think. I waited for your signal but you never replied."
"Look, I gathered nuts and berries, just like you said."
I try to keep the pain from seeping into my face, but I know it's not possible. Still, I maintain a smile. "That's…that's great, Peeta." Despite my efforts, my voice still manages to crack.
"I'm just not sure what is and isn't edible, but I did find the berries you fed me that one time, see?" He holds out his hands, palms up, showing nothing but air. I nod, unable to speak for fear of breaking his illusion. He is happy in this temporary lapse, where was just the two of us against the odds, against the world. "I guess I should have stopped by that greenery station to learn about plants and stuff, huh?" A careless, familiar laugh. "Here, have a berry, you look starved."
One look into his eyes, hopeful and happy and hopelessly lost, and I turn on my heel and walk away.
There is no way I can face Peeta in that sort of mental state.
I just can't do it.
Even as the sliding door shuts him behind glass, I can hear his voice calling after me in some sort of panic.
"Katniss? K-Katniss? Where are you going? You said you'd never leave me! Katniss? Katniss!"
When I run, nobody stops me.
"I thought I might find you here."
Finnick always knows where I go. Maybe it's because we're in similar boats; both helpless, desperate and lonely, trapped in ourselves and grasping for constants to stabilize this slanted world. But there he is, pushing the clothes aside, the hangers creaking against the metal rod. He lets the light in and I can't help but turn away. How symbolic is it anyways?
'And Finnick arrives to show me the light!'
What utter bull.
We're both wandering in this endless darkness, with nothing but tactile senses and fear driving us forward.
The boy, in all his statuesque glory, practically fills up the threshold of the closet, the faint light from the room silhouetting his perfect form. Like a God. I can't see his face as he stares at me, but the empathy in his voice fills in the blanks. "Betee told me what happened."
Silence hangs between us for some time before he shifts so that he can sit beside me, looking rather ridiculous hunched over in such a compact space. And yet even in his strange position, he manages to retain a certain finesse. Is that what confidence and beauty does for you?
Awkwardly, he pats my head.
"What are you doing here?" I sigh, tilting my face away to avoid the degrading show of affection.
"I thought you might like some company," Finnick says, replacing his hand behind his head and trying his best to look cool sitting on the closet floor. "Even if you don't feel like talking, it's OK. Sometimes just having someone there can remind you that you're not alone, even though you feel like you are."
To the public eye, Finnick is nothing more than a sex god. Shallow and lustrous and physically perfect beyond compare. But to me, Finnick is so much more than that. He knows a kind of pain people from the Capitol probably can't even imagine. He's far deeper than the colorful, glittering puddles running Panem. Even knowing this, it's still so hard for me to accept his help because when he's holed up with Johanna and calling her Annie, something in my gut twists and a part of my brain decides that I hate him.
But am I any better?
The thought of Gale's lips comes unbidden and I realize that no, I'm not.
"I know people think I keep company with my fair share of women. They think I'm this perfect specimen of man, the very living dream…nobody would guess that there's only one person out there who could ever hope to have me." Finnick's voice is low, strained, and he remains silent for a moment. In the dim light seeping through the clothes, I can almost see a tear trickle down his perfect cheek. "She snuck up one me," he whispers, "Annie. I mentored her, actually, and it's funny because when she was reaped I thought she was this pathetic little thing who likely wouldn't win anyways. She hated blood, had this intense fear of it, so I turned my attention to the male tribute. But it was crazy. The more I watched her struggle, the harder I found it was to tear my eyes from her. There was this, I don't know, spark in her that only glowed brighter as the Games went on…"
"You were falling in love with her?" I whisper, not exactly a stranger to love on the battlefield.
Finnick chuckles, reminiscing, "Oh no. Not at all. She was far from the stand-out Tribute. In fact, she didn't have many sponsors, despite her beauty - which was also played up. Like yours," he adds and I try to not feel somewhat insulted. "Her partner, Theo, was among the favored, though. They formed an alliance at Mags' insistence and, well…they seemed like a team to contend with. And then Theo was decapitated and Annie snapped. That was when I felt myself attach to her. She was never that strong, my Annie…and to witness something so terrifying…"
"You wanted to protect her."
He smiles, "I imagine you feel the same way about your fellow Tribute."
"Do you know how she made it through those games?"
I do remember. Clips of videos race through my head. Late nights with Peeta, reviewing our competitors, strategizing, memorizing. In my head I see a stunningly pretty girl with flowing dark hair and eyes mirroring the sea. "There was a flood and she survived it."
"I meant mentally survived."
Mentally? And here I thought she was a nut-job…
"Oh, she went crazy, don't get me wrong," Finnick continues, reading the look on my face, "but she swam herself to victory, relying on the most basic of her instincts. Even after she won, she wasn't in any condition to be presented as a victor, let alone interviewed. I spent days with her, reintroducing her to reality, to the present, re-teaching her things she already knew. It was rehabilitation at its greatest."
"That's when you fell in love with her."
He shrugs then, avoiding the question, but brings his face so close to mine I can see the clear color of his eyes. "Point is: I was there for her, and I brought her back. It's possible, Katniss, even though it might not seem that way. Now Peeta needs you. And you should be there for him; bring him back. Just like Annie."
I feel a hand brush through my hair, cradling my chin, and suddenly I can't breathe.
"One of us deserves to have some sort of happy ending after all this."
He kisses my forehead and my eyes close, skin memorizing the shape of his lips.
They're wider than Gale's, softer than Peeta's and much, much cooler. Peppermint breath.
His arms embrace me then, comforting.
I fall asleep.
It isn't until after the designated curfew that I decide to finally visit Peeta again.
I wake up in my hospital bed, alone in the dark but with a familiar stretch of rope in my hands. A series of knots riddles the length of twine, and I set it aside, looking around. Finnick must have carried me here, but how long ago? The smell of mint lingers in the air. He must have left just recently. I stand, prying the sheets from my legs, and head straight to Peeta's confinement.
Only a single doctor is keeping watch, sitting in front of a computer and typing away. A pair of glasses reflects the screen, a white lab coat loosely hang from narrow shoulders. I clear my throat and he looks up, jumping in his seat. "Oh! Miss Everdeen, you nearly gave my a heart attack!" he says in that trembling voice. "Are you looking for Betee?"
"No," I answer shyly, wanting to assure this jittery man that I'm no harm, that he should like me, that he should trust me, "actually, I'm here to see Peeta."
Hesitation. Ah, I remember him now, he's the quietest among the scientists and is often interrupted. Easy prey.
"Well, Miss Everdeen, I'm actually not authorized to-"
What's this man's name again? "Oh, Cornelius," I say with a charming laugh. Coy and pretty and winning, "you must be kidding. How could one of the top researchers not have access to his research subject?" I bat my lashes, give a slanted smile, all pomp and glory and feminine wiles, "I'm sure you're more than qualified to let me try once more to connect to my fellow Tribute?"
"Er…" he's watching me now, clearly confused as to my sudden change of attitude. He must have known me to be stubborn and hostile. Even so, I can see his defense faltering. "The complications for the procedure would be out of my hands, Miss Everdeen, I-"
"Call me Katniss," I insist, pouting then, a look entirely meant for the cameras. "But all I want is to be able to talk to Peeta without being studied. We went through so much, Peeta and I…he…he's given all he could to save my life, and I can't even reach out to him in the intimacy of our own whispers…"
"Well…maybe for just a minute…"
A beaming smile followed by a well-placed kiss and the sucker opens the door.
Peeta turns from the television and grins when he sees me. There are bags under his jaded blue eyes. I feel a deep stirring in my stomach. "Peeta," I say quietly, closing the door behind me. "Oh, Peeta…" My body moves of its own accord as I stride across the room and take him into my arms. Wetness seeps through my shirt and I pull away to see tears running down that angelic face. "Peeta, no, please don't cry," I soothe, wiping them away.
"Katniss," he murmurs, voice hoarse from disuse, "I don't know what's real anymore. I don't know…"
"You're real," I tell him firmly. "You're real and I'm real and this," I say, taking his hands, "is real."
Those large blue eyes are skeptical as they study my face. "But you tried to kill me."
"No, Peeta. I would never do that. You…you mean so much to me…"
"What do I mean to you?" Peeta asks, broken and torn and bewildered.
My gaze shifts from his face. "I don't - I don't know," I confess quietly, "But you mean a lot." A weak answer for such a heavy question. I can sense the disappointment fill his eyes and a veil of shame falls over me, separating us once again.
You could do much worse than Peeta, hisses a treacherous voice in my head.
"Katniss…it's happening again," the boy says in genuine panic. His hands stiffen in my grasp and I look at him then. Blue eyes wide in absolute terror. Before I can ask what is happening again, his entire body goes rigid and I step back, prepared to bolt towards the door. "…again, not again, please, please- …the nuclear supply? It has been confirmed that the nuclear supply is outside of Panem. We must get a hold of it and transport it to the the new Base-"
And he convulses out of his chair, onto the pristine floor.
Cornelius rushes in at once, asking me all sorts of questions and a couple of large men follow after him, taking Peeta on a stretcher and strapping him down. Cornelius is talking to me, by the contortions of his face, possibly yelling, but all I can hear is a dull screaming in the back of my head. It isn't until I am alone in that glass box with Haymitch and his hand comes down to slap me do I realize the screams were coming from me. The warmth from his hit stings my cheek, and I am in momentary shock. Before I have time to do anything, he sticks me with a syringe.
All I remember is the white of the tiles and Haymitch's garbled voice at the end of a conversation -
- And then there's nothing.