Author: Kamil the Awesome PM
Sequel to 74th and Blowing on Sparks. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol, but Katniss is safe in 13. Coin has sent a group of soldiers to reclaim him, but the Capitol is in wait. And meanwhile Panem explodes with the flames of revolution.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Katniss E. & Peeta M. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 21,914 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 42 - Updated: 12-31-12 - Published: 04-09-12 - id: 8006359
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: here I am at the beginning of another story. This is the final one in my trilogy that includes 74th and Blowing on Sparks. If you haven't read either of those, go and do so. Otherwise, enjoy.
Disclaimer is on profile. 1st person is for Katniss and 3rd is everyone else (who matters).
Part 1: Ashes of Civilization
I remained in the closet until we reached District 13. I overheard some men talking about how District 12 was completely gone and that the Capitol had probably littered it with pods, hoping I would return. I was somewhat familiar with pods, since they appeared in the Hunger Games every once in a blue moon; they functioned like landmines of old. When triggered, they'd spray out some sort of horror that was created in a Capitol lab. Upon arrival, I peeked out to make sure nobody was close by; I had a feeling I'd being hiding away more in the near future.
"There you are Catnip," Gale said. He was standing in a corner, waiting for me to emerge. "I heard the news and…I'm sorry about Peeta." I wait for a comment that reveals he's lying, but it never comes. "None of us thought that he was in danger of being retaken, or else different tactics would've been used in the rescue." He released a fake laugh.
"Coin sent out a group of ex-Peacekeepers to get your husband back." My eyes widened, surprised that she was doing that for me.
"But why?" I ask, sure that she's up to something. Gale just shrugs, not sure. I glare at him; I know him well enough to see that he's lying to me right now. I don't know why and I ignore the urge to question him further.
"Katniss!" a voice calls out from the doorway. I look over to see Prim. Behind her is mother, who happens to have Buttercup in her arms. The cat hisses in my direction and I give a scowl in return. My sister races to me and I open my arms and she crashes into them. A few tears leak out of her eyes and I realize she's trying not to cry. "We heard about Peeta," she says and I can't help but smile; I'm happy they care so much for me. "I thought seeing District 12 destroyed would be the worst thing to happen today, but then that came out of a soldier's mouth while we were eating."
She now begins to openly cry and I hold myself still, ignoring the urges to release her and run away, to cry somewhere by myself. "They'll get him back," I tell her. I try to sound reassuring, but I'm not sure about Coin yet. She looks up at me and smiles, which brings a soft, sad smile to my face. I know I need to be strong for her, but I can't help but envy my mother; she didn't have a country ripping apart around her head when father died.
I release Prim and she returns to mother. They walked over to Gale and began to talk with him as another visitor entered for me. Francine walked into the room and it took every ounce of self-restraint to not attack her. She had promised to return Peeta to me and now he was in a Capitol prison where they'd test who knows what on him. Or he would become an Avox for some barbaric family close to Snow.
"I'm sorry about Peeta," she said, looking away from me. I saw that breaking her promise to me and letting him be captured embarrassed her. And that's when I realized her promise didn't revolve around his death; it was to make sure he didn't have to suffer a fate worse than death at Snow's hands.
"It's fine," I tell her. I know I'm lying, but it feels good to tell her that. Even though afterwards I feel like I've been punched in the gut. "I've been told they're sending people to get him back for me."
"Of course they are," Francine states. "They want you to be the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion. It's obvious that you must be the symbol. They're just getting Peeta so you're more helpful." She stops before saying anything else, realizing she had given too much away. "Act like I never told you that, okay?" I just nod, understanding why she said that: to cover her tracks in case I bring up that line of thought. Especially in front of Coin.
The last person to enter is an older man. His beard is scraggily and the color is fading away. It takes me a couple of seconds before I recognize him as being Boggs. "Coin has requested your prescence to discuss things of importance to the rebellion."
"Why can't she come here?" I ask. He rolls his eyes and groans.
"Haymitch said you'd be problematic," he mumbled. He straightened out after the small complaint and spoke to her. "This ship is usually stored beneath the ocean and we flood the corridors to drown out Capitol rats." A real laugh escapes my lips.
"Fine, I'll come with you to her. What's the worst that could happen?" I joke. He raises an eyebrow and I suddenly regret the statement. I can already tell that this woman Coin is not my friend.
And never will be. Lucky me.
The interior of the G-class battle helicopter was quiet. The three men sat there, staring at each other. The two from District 11 had a history together, yet they said nothing. The other man had been part of the Peacekeeper group commanded by President Snow himself to keep Peeta and Katniss together during the train ride home. They were all now on their way to the Capitol to rescue Peeta Mellark. Coin had sent them on the mission because of Mellark's importance to the Mockingjay, his wife.
"So how do we know we're on the right path?" Doug asked. His old friend, Jackson was the first to reply.
"Because there's a tracker in his system. It allows 13 to know where he's at." He glanced at the other man, who had remained silent the entire time.
"That's true, to a point," he stated. "The tracker was made to last in his system without detection by the Capitol for a period of five weeks, give or take a handful of hours. He'll still have them for a week or two after we rescue him, if the briefing was correct."
"It should be," Jackson said. "I'm surprised that someone like you would be a spy for District 13, Thomas." He smirked; knowing that one of the two knew his name. "You'd think someone who got top marks on every single test to become a Panem Peacekeeper would be happy working in, say, the Presidential Mansion. Or should I say, Snow's Mansion." The three laughed, the barrier between them smashed.
"My father was part of a small time rebellious group that had people in every single district. The children of two members are now in District 13, if that craft finally arrived." Neither of them said anything, for they could probably guess at who they were.
"It seems irresponsible of her mother to let her follow in her fathers footsteps," Doug commented. "Especially if he was killed by a 'mining incident' meant to purge the group from Panem."
"That's enough of the conspiracy theories, boys," the pilot said over the COM. "We'll be there in three minutes and there's no sign of any muttations or hovercrafts. It's too quiet, and I don't like it." The two gunners nodded, rotating their machine guns about to counter any sort of surprise attack.
"Well, it looks like we have to be serious now," Thomas said, leaning back. "I hope the Mockingjay is having better luck than us right now." He glanced out at the far stretching forests and the others didn't reply.
Coin watched me as I arrived at Command. Haymitch, Finnick, and Johanna were already there with her. Francine and Gale had come along, since Boggs had orders to bring them. The woman waited until we were all sat before speaking.
"Eight Districts are in full rebellion. One is gone, two are weakening, and the Capitol's pet District 2 remains the strongest point outside of Snow's fortressed city of gluttony. Reports state that he's contesting Eight and Four, two of the most important Districts that are in rebel hands. He can't attack 11 without 8, so it's currently the most important site. It will determine how the rebellion fares."
"But what about 4?" asked Finnick. I understood why he was asking about his home; mine was just destroyed and the Capitol was trying to take his back so they could continue their tradition of oppression.
"They'll have to wait until 8 is secured, Soldier Odair. I know how much it pains you, but if 8 falls, the Capitol can take back 11 and then there will be no use in reinforcing 4. It'll be over and we'll all be led to the executioner's block." There's a slight ting of fear in her voice and I have some horrid ideas at what she may be trying to poke at.
"And then there's the matter of the Mockingjay," Coin says, glancing at me. "The rebellion needs a figurehead, someone that the citizens of Panem can look up to and know that there is hope in fighting back. Of course, all we need is for you to say yes to my question. I can force you, but I don't want the people to see me as a name change." I realize she's making a reference to her position within District 13.
"So what do you want me to do to sign my soul over to you?" I remark. She flinches and the others glare at me but I don't care.
"Will you become the face of the rebellion? Will you be our Mockingjay?"
I smile before answering.
Peeta sat in the cold cell, watching the single guard walk past. The Peacekeeper's uniform was a shocking white compared to the dark prison. He could hear the screams of other prisoners. Some of them were being tortured, some being turned into muttations to serve the Capitol, and others into Avoxes. He was disgusted by it, but could do nothing. A pair of footsteps neared. Another Peacekeeper arrived, this one holding a gun in his hands.
"There's word that a rebel aircraft is approaching this base." The man glanced at the prisoner. "Command is assuming they're coming for him. They want us to clear out of here until they spring him from the cell and then attack." He pulled out a syringe. "This'll make it easier," he said. The other man nodded, seeing the second message and opened the gate.
He dove for the nearest Peacekeeper, but he raised his weapon. Peeta backed away from him, stopping when he hit the wall. The man continued forward, the needle in the air.
"Keep calm, Mr. Mellark. We're here to help you." He was trying to be reassuring, but Peeta picked out the violence hidden in his voice.
"I don't believe you," he stated, glaring at them. "I've heard the same thing from a half dozen Capitol fool during my entire life. And from the Mayor of 12 –" he was cut off by laughing.
"District 12 no long exists. The Capitol firebombed it the morning Coin came to get you and your damned wife. At least we put a wrench in those plans." Peeta paused, sure that the man was lying, but seeing no signs of that on his face. His hands formed fists without thought. "I see that this has made you angry. That's good. We can shape that to aim it at others."
The man's smile grew, his lips spreading. His arm sped down at the prisoner and the needle made contact, impaling itself in his body. The Peacekeeper pressed down on the plunger and the world went foggy for Peeta. The two guards grabbed his body and lowered him to the ground, laying him out. They then picked him up and placed him on the bed as to now raise suspisions; he was meant to be part of the trap for the rebel forces soon arriving.
And they were more valuable alive than dead.
A/N: don't know how constant I can update, but we'll see. Reviews do speed the process up.