Sorry for the lateness of the update, I'm thinking I've got to get myself on some type of update schedule. Maybe like every Thursday or something. I don't know...I made some changes to the bombing of 8, I wanted to mix it up and lay some groundwork for some stuff...hopefully, you guys are okay with the changes...


Chapter 32

Katniss POV

Boggs frowns, "they see two waves of bombers. Targets unknown. We're dealing with the first wave. The second wave is close behind."

The roar of a crumbling building distantly echoes, my fingers twitch and I'm pulling my bow free before my thoughts can catch up. Boggs yells at me to keep it moving, I blink his voice away. My eyes narrow as the bombs drop another bomb near the last, "get to the hospital!"

Gale pulls on my arm, "we need to move, Katniss!"

The bombers veer towards the right and my eyes widen, "they could hit the hospital."

"Katniss! Come on, we have to move."

"No! The first wave isn't near the hospital, we can still get everyone out to safety!" I twist my arm free and run up a nearby stairway to get to higher ground. We're not far from the hospital, we barely stepped outside. They can't bomb the hospital, I won't let them. If it's the last thing I do, I won't let them kill those people. The people who are being caught in the crossfire because of me, because I came to visit them.

No one else will die for me. I pull the arrows marked with explosives, my eyes tracing the pathway of the bomber overhead and chew at my lip, the calm of the bow keeping my hand steady.

All these lives are in my hands, I can't afford to miss.

Someone is yelling at me, I take a slow breath and drown them out. The whining of the bomber grows closer and my opening appears. A breath in, the bow is pulled back, breath out, the arrow soars.

A smirk graces my lips as the bomber tips sideways and spirals into the bomber next to it. "We have to get back into the hospital, pull as many as we can free before the other bombers head there. We don't have much time!"

Gale frowns at me, "Katniss... It's not safe. We need to take these spare seconds to get as far as we can and get to our hovercraft. The first wave hasn't even come near the hospital."

"No! We're not too far." My thoughts dribble to that sweet innocent baby happily gurgling in her mother's arms. My heart dips at the thought, "if you won't go, I'll go by myself. I will try to save who I can."

Gale frowns and follows after me as I run towards the hospital, "okay, Katniss. We only have seconds to spare. Get who you can, but if it comes between you and them. I'm saving you."

Nodding, I pull another arrow free as ships arc back to the fallen bombers. "Shoot them down, Gale. Distract as many as you can."

Boggs runs to us and grabs my shoulder, pushing me back, "we don't have time to talk. Move!"

An edge of that ferocity from the arena pulses through my veins, "no." Before Boggs can stop me, Gale stands between Boggs and I. With a grateful nod, I sprint towards the entrance of the hospital, another bomber edge towards the building and Gale shoots it down beside me, I give him a firm nod.

While the first time the corpses lined up gave me pause, I march past them now. The inner area of the makeshift hospital is in chaos, whipping my head to the right I see Ever and her mother huddled against the cot. "Everyone! We need to move now! Help each other and head out and take cover! The second wave of bombers hasn't come in."

Sounds of falling concrete and bullets riddle the air, I grab the young mother huddled in the corner with a baby in her arms and shift the side of her missing leg onto my shoulder, helping her hobble out. "Katniss, you came back."

"There was no other choice." I pull her past the corpses to Gale and Boggs shooting at incoming bombers. Gale glances back, my gaze follows to see the slow-moving trail behind us, the ground shakes. My eyes widen in horror as part of the building collapses behind us. Bullets strike moving towards us, I tighten my grip on the woman's shoulder and tug her with me. Bombers turn back and I let go of the woman and pull an arrow free, shooting at a bomber dipping low sending bullets into the ground and taking the clump of wounded stragglers with them.

"Gale, they're doubling back..." My voice catches at the implication, the Capitol won't be letting any of these people to freedom.

Gale wraps an arm around the woman's waist and pulls her into his arms, "hold on tight to that baby." Gale breaks into a run for cover, two bombers sending bullets into the people trying to stream out the hospital. Another bomb drops and I crash to the ground with the force of it. Boggs pulls me up and urges me forward, my ears rign and my head pounds.

Screams and blood paint the scene behind me, my hunger for survival kicks in and I send arrows into the few approaching crafts. Some hit their mark and some don't, but I don't have time to debate how good of a shot I am.

Gale stops under some rubble, sweat shines long his forehead, his breathing fast. "Our hovercraft is trying to find a place to meet without getting caught in the crossfire."

Another building crumbles across from us, fire plumes into the sky. Pained screams echo and my heart drops at the sound. Boggs presses a hand to his ear, wincing, "Katniss, turn your earpiece on. It looks like this was pre-planned, Snow trying to send a message to those who try to rebel... We're going to head north, they've already cleared out from there and the pilot has found a safe place to land. We'll move in a minute. Wait for the all clear from the pilot. Hawthorne, keep the woman and child in your care. Katniss, keep any bombers off our tail."

Cressida looks back to the hospital, crumbling in on itself, flames licking the concrete. A bloody pulp of bodies sits just outside the exit, no doubt many more trapped inside, unable to get out. Gale squeezes my shoulder, "keep pace with me, we need to get back to 13." He takes a breath and turns to the shocked woman leaning on rubble cradling Ever.

"We need to go, you and Ever will stay with Gale. You'll be safe with him." I offer a reassuring smile, although it's more of a grimace. The rush of the day is beginning to die down and my head and ears are ringing together.

The woman nods numbly, she turns to Gale, her dirty tear stained cheeks shake as she talks, "my name is Ada. This is my daughter, Ever." She sets her jaw and tucks the crying baby close to her chest.

Boggs peeks from behind our hiding spot and gives us an affirmative nod. "Let's go."

We make quick work of moving through most of the rubble and bodies piled around us, Gale moves ahead careful not to jostle Ada and Ever more than necessary. Cressida falls into step with me, it dawns on me that this whole thing was caught on film. Cressida stops walking and whispers something to Pollux. "We're going to get your thoughts Katniss, can you tell us what happened?"

"Yes," my voice cracks. I swallow and strengthen my resolve, "yes. I'm here in District 8, where the Capitol, where Snow, has killed unarmed and injured men, women, and children. There were only two survivors, they barely escaped with their lives." Anger and ferocity bubbles in my chest, "the Capitol does this! They destroy everything, it's who they are! Look around, this is what they do." I step closer to the camera, the thought of Snow's sickening face swirling in my mind. "You wanted to send us a message, Snow? Well, here's a message for you. Look at that! Do you see it? Fire is catching!"

The words of my last interview bubble to the surface, "because if we burn, you burn with us!"


I'm bloodied and bruised by the time we make it to the hovercraft, this one different from the one that we landed with. Legs trembling as I step onto the ramp, bile surges up my throat and I vomit up everything I've eaten. Gale helps Ada and Ever into the craft and casts a glance to me with a small frown. "You're not pregnant again are you?"

The lightness of his tone, makes my eyes snap up to him. "No, Gale. A lot happened today."

Gale's frown deepens and he nudges my foot with the tip of his boot, "Katniss, you saved two lives today. It's war, we can't save them all. But, you chose to go back. That miner in us never gives up until the situation is hopeless. You never gave up, because you had hope. You did good today, don't forget the good you've done."

I follow Gale deeper into the craft and sit beside Ada, "we'll get you into a room and get you some supplies for Ever. And we're going to fix up that leg." My eyes travel to the damp and bloodied rags barely hanging onto the stump of Ada's leg.

Ada looks up from Ever's smiling face, "thank you, Katniss. I don't know what we would have done without you...we...we could be dead."

Some piece of me that belongs to Peeta takes over, I smile at Ada. "Don't think about that, right now try to rest some."

Remembering Boggs earlier, I switch on my earpiece and listen to static, I wince. Before I can turn the earpiece back off, the familiar voice of my worried husband echoes. "Katniss? I've been trying to get through to you for hours!"

Some bit of warmth fills me at his tone, despite how his yelling makes my skull feel like it's the playground for a rabbit. His tone is laced with worry, I suddenly miss my family more than I realized was possible. "Finnick, I'm here. I'm okay. There was so much going on, I never turned my earpiece back on."

"What were you thinking? Running back to the hospital? You could have been killed!" His words would anger me if it isn't for the fearful tone ebbing beneath it all. Finnick's voice is softer now, "we could have lost you, Katniss."

"I had to try and save them, I'm the Mockingjay, I have a job to do...Gale kept an eye out for me, we got our whole crew back safe plus two survivors."

The line stays quiet for a long time, just the subtle sound of Finnick's breathing on the other line. "I'll be at the landing dock when you get back, I'll see you soon. I love you, Katniss. Axle loves you too, be careful."

"I will. I love both of you, I'll see you soon." With that my earpiece goes back to static, Gale sits beside me and I lay back, resting my pounding head against his lower leg and taking slow breaths with the sound of a cooing baby lulling me to some form of rest.


Gale shakes my shoulder, "we're here, Katniss."

Tired muscles groan at my movement and my right knee aches more than usual. Ada tries to stand beside me and Gale supports her weight, easing her into a standing position, then eases her into his arms. "I'm heading straight to your mother. Ada needs to get her injuries checked out. And Ever should get looked over too."

The ramp opens, Gale the first to walk off as Finnick rushes inside before I can even take a step forward, his hands are all over my face and neck. Checking for injuries and he brushes loose strands from my face. "God, I was so worried, Katniss."

Finnick pulls me into his embrace, the scent of 13 issues soap and the unmistakable scent of the ocean fills my nostrils. How Finnick manages to smell like the sea is a mystery to me. I wrap my arms around his waist and tears seep out my eyes into his chest. All of the blood and death of the past day soaks me to the bone, Finnick rubs his hand up and down my back, whispering in my ear. I grip him tighter when he tries to move away, "please, don't go."

"I'm not going anywhere, Katniss." Finnick pries me away and looks into my tear stained face, "come on, let's get you looked at. Then we can go straight to Axle."

I follow Finnick to the hospital wing of the 13. My mother is seeing to Ada when we arrive, Gale bounces Ever in his arms, her soft gurgles making him smile. Ada looks up with a bewildered expression, "you're Finnick Odair."

Finnick smiles and offers a small bow, "indeed, I am. And you are?"

"Ada!" She smiles and points to Ever, "that's my daughter, Ever...woah, two Victors in one day. That's gotta be some kind of record for someone like me, right?"

Finnick shrugs and smiles at the baby in Gales' arms, "may I?"

Ada nods so vigorously, I worry she might have given herself a concussion. Finnick takes the baby from Gale and immediately begins his onslaught of baby talk on the poor child in his arms. Ever doesn't seem to mind as she waves her tiny hands around.

"Finnick," my mother's focus never leaves Ada's leg, "take Katniss to Prim. Prim can look over her injuries and make sure she gets to bed. All of you need rest."

Finnick sends me out into the hall, saying something about something, my mind is beginning to swim from being upright so long. I lean against the wall, my tired muscles screaming at me for being up and walking right now. People pass by with a glance that lasts just a moment too long, considering I'm covered in dirt and grime I'm not too surprised.

Plutarch walks past, a flesh covered plastic piece over his nose. "Katniss! I'll see you in Command for a debrief in an hour!" Plutarch disappears around the corner and Finnick walks back to me, shutting the door of the room softly behind me.

"What happened to Plutarch's face?"

Finnick's smile falls into a thin line, "nothing. Just a reminder of the lives he has in his hands when he sends teams out into 'safe' areas."

Lifting a brow, I follow Finnick to Prim's room.