A/N so I have decided to end this story with that last chapter. And I just want to say that I am very proud of this, you guys are all so amazing! I mean over 500 reviews! That's awesome. Thank you for your overwhelming support on this story! I love you all, and because I love you all so much, I've decided to make an epilogue which shows the children seeing the video of the games. This takes place 12 years later when Rye is 12 and Willow is 17.
I hope you enjoy this little extra chapter!
Today my biggest fears come true.
Today we show the kids our tapes from the games. The horror brought to eyes again. Peeta tells me it will be okay, but the fear is still there. Will it scare my children? They will watch as I murder people.
It was for Prim, I tell myself. It was for Peeta. It was to survive.
I crawl into the attic where we kept every evidence of the games. In a box in the far corner, the tapes lay packed. They are covered with dust and webs. I blow off the dust and read the title.
"The 74th Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen/Peeta Mellark."
"The 75th Hunger Games: Quarter Quell."
Inside the box is other elements from the games, like a parachute and my hospital bracelets. Everything but my pearl and Amulet are in here. I pick up the box of my nightmares and make my way downstairs where my family is.
We've decided that we'll watch our own games with our children and then watch the Quell all together. Except for Annie who has already been through all of this since Finn is way older than any of our children. And she shouldn't have to go through this again. But Finn will be there because he wants to see his father.
I set the box down and take out the tape. Peeta looks at me with an emotionless face. I pop it in, and then sit down next to him. He wraps his arm around me and clasps our hands.
We both flinch when we hear the anthem playing.
It starts with the symbol and then goes to Ceaser Flickerman and Cladius Templesmith. They do an intro for the games and then it cuts over to district one's reaping. I watch as Marvel and Glimmer volunteer.
Both of which I killed.
My mind flashes to when I dropped that tracker jacker nest on Glimmer and then took her bow. And then to when I shot Marvel after he killed Rue. I use to be angry at them for being mindless killers, but now looking back. I can't blame them. They were just pawns. Children brainwashed to kill.
Clove and Cato.
She was talented for all the wrong reasons.
And Cato was looking for victory in the wrong way.
And Foxface was very smart, but was ignorant in the end.
And sweet sweet Rue. She was too pure for the games. She deserved better. And Thresh, who truly was a good person.
We lived in a circle of horror.
I killed Glimmer and Marvel, who killed Rue, who wouldn't hurt a butterfly. Peeta was stabbed by Cato, who I killed, who killed Thresh, who killed Clove, who tried to kill me.
Then District 12 is shown.
Effie pulls out Prim's name. I volunteer. I watch with tears in my eyes as my sister screams in Gale's arms as he pulls her away as I'm being taken to the front.
By now, my children know about Effie and Haymitch and the rolls they played. Peeta tightens his grip on me as his name is pulled. Together we watch 16 and 17 year old us stand on the platform together.
I was still a child. In fact I was younger than Willow is now. She's the same age as Peeta was when he was picked.
"Woah, you guys were so young!" Rye says.
"Damn mom, you were beautiful!"Willow says.
I smile at my daughter for a brief second before I hear Effie announce our names. "Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark."
We've come so far. We use to be scared children just trying to survive. Now we need each other to survive.
"What was going through your head when you saw each other be picked?" Willow asks.
"I remember thinking 'no not him'. I felt in debt to him because of the bread. I didn't want to have to kill him in the arena, but I needed to come back for Prim."
"I was thinking about how ironic it was that I was always so scared to talk to her, and now when I could talk to her, it would be in these circumstances."
When the tribute parade is shown. Our kids are amazed when they see that we are literally on fire.
Next the interviews show. I try to block all of them out, but the voices of those who I killed fill my mind. There's a girl from 7 who Peeta cringes at and I see a tear roll down his face. He must have killed her.
Then finally, it's my interview.
I watch as Ceaser welcomes me and asks me my first question, but I hear nothing because I'm so focused on the crowd.
"What?"I say snapping out of it.
"I was just saying how brave it was of you to volunteer for your sister." He says laughing.
Peeta nudges me as we watch this and says,"I always wanted to tell you how beautiful you looked that night."
"You looked so handsome that night,"I say,"sorry I ruined it by shoving you into a vase."
He smiles and says,"I've healed."
My children watch in amazement as I twirl and my dress catches on fire.
"Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire!" Ceaser announces.
Next is Peeta's interview.
"So tell me, Peeta, is there a girl back home?" Ceaser asks him.
He blushes and looks down,"no, not really."
"Oh come on, a handsome boy like you, tell me Peeta." Ceaser says.
"Well, there is this one girl,"young Peeta says,"but I doubt she ever noticed me until the reaping."
"Well, this is what you're gonna do. You're gonna win the games and when you come back, she'll have to go out with you."
"I don't think that's going to work." He says.
"And why not?" Ceaser asks looking worried.
"Because she came here with me." He says.
Willow awes and says,"dad that's so sweet!"
"Oh, that's unfortunate..." Ceaser says in the video. "The best of luck to you."
"How did you react when you heard all that mom?" Rye asks.
Peeta and I both chuckle a little at my reaction. "I yelled at him and pushed your father into a glass vase which cut his hands."
"What? Why!" They say.
"I thought he made me look weak, but I was wrong. He helped me."
Next they announce the scores. Peeta got an 8. And I got an 11.
"Whoa you got an 11? That's higher than anyone in history!"
"It was because I shot an arrow at them. They wanted me to be a target for the careers."
The next thing that shows is the beginning of the games. Peeta holds me tighter as we watch the clock count down. It shows all the careers getting ready to run. Then I see myself catch sight of that bow. Then I look at Peeta who is shaking his head at me.
Then the gong rings and everyone takes off, except for me who is too stunned to move. It shows the ruthless murder of children. I watch as Cato stabs a little boy hiding in the cornucopia.
I run through the arena and grab that orange bag, using it to shield myself from that boy who tried to stab me. Then he is killed by Clove. The commentary speaks of the careers, and then they talk about how Peeta ran away from the cornucopia. How he acquired no equipment.
"Why'd you do that, dad?"Rye asks.
"Your grandpa had told us not to be sucked into the bloodbath. He told us to just run and find water."
It's focused mostly on the careers. I watch as Peeta comes out into the clearing with his hands up in the air. All the careers arm themselves, but Cato is the one who walks forward. This, I've never seen before.
"I can help you find her,"he yells.
"Wait, let me get this right. You- lover boy will help us find your little precious girl on fire?" Clove asks.
"We all have to survive some way,"Peeta says.
"Dad!"our kids say, completely taken aback.
"I did it to save us both. I knew there was some way I could protect her if I joined them. Not that your mother needed any protection. If anything, I was the one who needed protecting."Peeta says.
I lean in and kiss him.
We turn back to the screen and continue to watch as Peeta persuades the careers to let him join them. Peeta was always good with words.
"Fine." Cato says. "But I'm watching you."
Then it switches over to a few other tributes. After a few minutes, it shows me sleeping in the tree. There's noise signaling the start of the fallen tributes. Then it shows the careers and Peeta walking near me.
The girl with the fire is spotted, and we watch in horror as they make Peeta kill her. I hold onto Peeta, trying to comfort him. I look at his face to find it stone hard. Our kids are silent.
"Where is she lover boy?" Cato asks.
"That was her snare back there. She's gotta close."
We watch other tributes for a while, until it flashes to me. I'm half asleep when the first fire ball is thrown. I drop out of the tree and start to run. I dodge another one, but the next one catches my leg. I scream in pain until I reach the water.
That's when I hear them.
I run as fast as I can to the tree and climb it, the careers close behind me. Cato tries to climb up after me but the branch breaks and he falls to the ground. I hold back a laugh as I continue to climb.
Next Glimmer shoots an arrow and misses horribly. "Why don't you throw the knife,"I yell to them. Peeta and I both start to laugh a little as we watch this part.
Young Peeta looks at me with sad eyes as he watches the careers attempt to catch me. He looks at me before saying,"why don't you just wait her out. She's gotta come down sometime." He buys me more time.
My first parachute lands right above me with the medicine. I apply it to my burnt leg and watch as it heals me.
I tear up when I see Rue point to the nest that I drop onto them. She was too pure for that arena. I cringe at myself when I see me grab the bow from a plump Glimmer. I know that helped me, but I'm slightly disgusted.
I watch as Peeta runs up and tells me to go. We watch as I stumble around and finally pass out. Rue jumps down from the tree and starts to help me. Then it switches over to the careers.
They are fighting with each other. And that's when Cato starts to yell at Peeta for letting me get away. I watch in horror as he stabs him in the leg and pushes him to the ground. Peeta tries to put up a fight but can't.
"Let me finish him!"Clove yells but Cato stops her.
"Let him suffer from an infection. Come on, let's go."
The next thing that shows is Foxface trailing a few people and stealing supplies. She was very sneaky.
After a few minutes of that, it shows me again. I'm waking to find that Rue has helped me. I watch as she teases me about Peeta and we make our plan to destroy the supplies.
I try to prepare myself for what's going to happen soon. We watch as we set up the fires and make our code. Next it shows me at the center, blowing up the supplies. I fall back from the blast.
I remember being deaf in my left ear after that. I take off running in search of Rue. But I'm too late. She's in the trap. My nightmare for a long time is being played out in front of my children.
Marvel throws the spear and I shoot him with an arrow. For the first time, I purposely kill someone. And my children watch. Peeta's grip on my hand tightens and he kisses my knuckles.
"You don't have to watch this,"he whispers but I shake my head. No, I must watch.
"Can you sing for me, Katniss?"Rue asks.
I cry as I hold her and start to sing my lullaby. The one I sang to my children. To Prim. For a second time, I see Rue fade away from me. I start to rock back and forth as I cry next to her. Then I gather flowers and give her a proper burial.
As I stand, I lift three fingers to my lips and raise them to the sky.
It switches over to Peeta who is covering himself with the mud and rocks. He looks so sick and in pain. He winces when he has to cover his leg. It shows me searching for him by following his blood trail.
It stops and I call out for him. Little did I know that I was right next to him. His hand comes up and grabs my ankle. I jump, nearly falling over.
"Whoa, dad! You couldn't even see you!"Willow says amazed.
"Decorating cakes came in handy." He says.
We turn back to the video to see me helping him to the river. I help him undress, so I can clean his clothes. I cover Willow's eyes because they don't sensor anything. Peeta teases me about being pure as I wash his clothes.
It's funny to think how far we've come. Before I would blush just at the thought of him, now I barely bat an eye at his nudity. "No so pure anymore,"Peeta whispers for only me to hear.
I smile at him and roll my eyes.
Next it shows us finding the cave. I put some of that medicine on his cut but he has blood poisoning so it does little to help. I lean into kiss him briefly. It's humorous really. That kiss was horrible! I completely understand Haymitch's note now.
The parachute lands outside the cave with the soup. It shows me feeding Peeta and then us cuddling before it switches to Thresh.
"So wait, you guys didn't actually like each other at that time?"Willow asks.
"Well, I've been in love with your mom since I was 5. But shedidn't love me until the quell, and even then she didn't know that she loved me yet."
"Our love story here was just to survive, but as things went on, I realized I really did love your dad,"I say.
He kisses me on the cheek and then says,"I love you, Katniss."
"I love you too, Peeta."
Next is the announcement of the feast.
Younger Peeta grabs younger me and says,"no, Katniss. It's just a trap to pull you in."
"But your medicine. You need it." I say.
"Katniss-" he starts but I lean in and kiss him hard.
"I can't let you go,"he says.
I hear another parachute. This one has the sleep medicine. I slip it into his food and wait for him to sleep. I take off to the feast where I watch Foxface run straight into the middle and get her bag. After a minute of waiting I take off.
Clove rushes after me and attacks me. Peeta gasps beside me. He's never actually seen this part. He's heard about it though.
She taunts me about rue and runs the knife across my face. That's when Thresh grabs her and yells at her about Rue. Then he smashes her against the side of the cornucopia.
"Only this time, 12,"he says to me,"for Rue."
I nod and take off running in the opposite direction.
It shows Cato running up to Clove who is dead on ground. He bends down and I think I see a tear roll down his face before he gets up, grabbing his sword and walking away from the scene, his head down.
It shows me back at the cave, injecting the medicine into Peeta's arm before I run a hand on my bloody forehead and I pass out.
When Peeta comes to, he panics seeing the blood. I watch as he bandages my cut and tucks me into the sleeping bag with him.
When I wake up, he tells me about the wonders of that medicine and then he takes care of me. I smile as I watch younger Peeta wrap my feet into his jacket, trying to keep younger me warm.
It shows Thresh being killed by Cato before it goes back to us. It shows Peeta telling the story of when he first fell in love with me.
"Peeta,"I said,"You said at interview you'd had a crush on me forever. When did forever stay?"
"Oh, let's see. I guess the first day of school. We were five. You had on a red plaid dress and your hair... it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out when we were waiting to line up."
"Your father? Why?"
"He said, 'see that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner,' " Peeta says.
"Wait, what!" Our children say turning to us.
Peeta nods. "It's true. My father was in love with your grandma. But she fell in love with your grandpa. But clearly it worked out for the best." He says smiling at me.
Our lips meet at the same time that they meet in the video. Only the video one is broken up by the noise of a parachute landing outside the cave.
Peeta and I both laugh when we start to talk about how Haymitch hated me. Oh how things have changed.
"Grandpa use to drink?" Rye asks.
"Yes, it was how he coped after his games. He was always drunk and very angry. But we asked him to stop when we found out I was pregnant with your sister."
We continue to watch the video and I notice exactly how many sneaky little kisses Peeta got in there. I smile to myself. I glance over at my husband. He's no longer that scared love sick boy he was in the arena.
Specks of grey are mixed in with his blonde hair, and there are a few wrinkles by his eyes. But he's just as handsome, and twice as sweet. Peeta definitely aged well. It's funny to think of how shy I use to be.
I use to be so scared to kiss him. Now I'm scared if he doesn't kiss me.
The next day it's clear enough to hunt. Peeta gathers as I hunt. We separate until I hear the sound of the cannon. It shows Peeta gathering nightlock and Foxface tailing him.
"Nightlock,"my kids say under their breath.
As soon as Peeta hears the cannon he's on the look for me. We run into each other and hold on tightly. "I heard the cannon,"I say then glance at his hands. I knock the berries out of his hand and say,"that's nightlock, Peeta! You'll be dead in a minute!"
"I'm sorry. I didn't know..."He says scared.
"Damn you,"I cry.
"I'm sorry,"he whispers into my shoulder.
Soon comes the part with the mutts. I hold onto Peeta tightly as I see the eyes of Rue in a mutt. Peeta and I run to the cornucopia with Cato chasing after us. I attempt to shoot him but he has body armor.
A mutt gets a hold of Peeta's leg, which later on causes him to lose his leg.
He gets a hold of me and starts choking me until Peeta is able to push him off. But that's when he gets a hold of Peeta. Both our children gasp as Cato holds Peeta and threatens to snap his neck.
"Shoot me and he goes down with me."
Peeta draws an X on Cato's hand until I realize what he means. Then I shot him in the hand and Peeta pushes him off. His screams fill our ears. The gamemakers prolonged Cato's death for entertainment.
I run over to Peeta and wrap a touniquet around his leg, hoping to keep him from bleeding to death. After a long night, Peeta tells me to shoot him with the arrow keeping his tourniquet together.
The cannon fires and Cato is dead. But nothing happens besides the mutts going into a hole. Peeta and I look at each other confused until we hear Cladius Templesmith.
"Greetings to final contestants of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games. The earlier revision has been reviewed. Close examination ha disclosed that only one winner may be allowed. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor."
"That's not fair!" Our kids shout in anger.
"Do it,"Peeta says giving up.
"I can't. I won't."
"Do it, before send mutts. I don't die like Cato."
"Then you shoot me." I say.
"You know I can't."
"Fine, I'll be the first to go anyways,"he says reaching to rip off his bandage.
"No! You can't kill yourself!"
"It's what I want."
"No, you're not leaving me alone here."
"Listen,"he says,"we both know that there needs to be a Victor. It can only be one of us. Take it, for me."
"No, I won't let you."
I pull out the berries and say,"trust me. On the count of three."
"Wait, but mom-" Rye says but trails off.
"The count of three."
"Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the Victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you the tributes of District Twelve!"
Peeta and I cling to each other in relief.
As we watch this, I turn to Peeta and kiss him. I'm glad that we didn't kill each other or ourselves at the end. I wouldn't have this wonderful life without him.
It shows our crowning next and then our interview after where Peeta shows everyone his new leg. When that is all done I take out the tape and reach for the next but I accidentally grab the wrong one. This one says "bonus footage".
"Peeta, come look at this."I say. He stands and walks over to where I am.
"What is this?"He asks.
"I'm not sure."
"Should we find out?" He asks.
I pop it in, and sit down next to Peeta.
The first thing that shows is Peeta sitting on the roof of the train at night. I recognize this. It's when Peeta says that he doesn't want to be a piece in their game. I walk up to Peeta and sit down next to him.
They were filming all this time. I knew that. But I didn't know they kept it.
After this, it turns to a part after out first games. It's me asleep but I'm screaming. Peeta runs in right as I wake up. "It was just a nightmare. I get them too."
He goes to walk away but I say,"wait Peeta... stay with me?"
He walks over to the bed and gets in. I lay my head on hos chest and he wraps his arms around me. "Always."
The next thing that shows is us having our picnic. I'm laying on his lap while he plays with my hair. "I wish I could freeze this moment and stay in it forever,"he says.
As we watch this, Peeta grabs my hand and says,"I'm finally living that moment, but now it's even better."
I smile at my husband and he says,"you love me, real or not real."
"Real. Very real."