'I've got scars,
Even though they can't always be seen.
And pain gets hard,
But now you're here and I don't feel a thing.'
Trauma had been unearthed during her examination and Coin decided it was beneficial for Indiana to remain under observation for one more night to ensure that the events didn't take a dramatic toll on all the 'hard work' she had done. Calmly agreeing, Indiana did her best not to scoff in disbelief at the woman's false words – she was beginning to believe Coin was doing her best to ensure Indiana remained docile and restricted in the hospital.
Seated on her bed with Cato at the other end, she pushed the meat around her plate as her blue eyes blurred when she got swept away by her train of thought.
"Indiana." Cato said more powerfully when he realised that she hadn't heard a word that had been said for the past ten minutes.
Features softening at the lost look on her face, Cato nudged their plates to one side and intertwined his fingers with hers, brushing his thumb across the scars littering her knuckles. Earlier when he had been waiting for her to return with Coin, Vasha had warned him that he was need to be patient with her for the next few days as the examination process would possibly cause her to be slightly withdrawn. However, he never expected her to be so unresponsive.
Either there was deeper wounds on her than had been revealed or Coin had forced her to do something truly evil. Despite Cato's light questioning, Indiana had remained tight-lipped on the extra task Coin had forced her to endure.
"What happened, Indie? You keep disappearing into your head and I'm supposed to stop that from happening but I can't do that when I don't know what it is your fixating on."
"I lied." Indiana's voice was barely audible as she spoke in a hushed whisper, and Cato had to ask her to repeat herself. "On the test. They asked if I still saw people and I said no. Marvel was stood right behind the medic as I said it."
Wavering words struggled to slip past her mouth as the enormity of what she had done settled in.
Surprised that she was willing to share what had happened so soon, Cato told her to take her time and speak when she was ready. Inhaling a large gulp of water, she told him everything she had been forced to tell Vasha and the guilt that plagued her from lying.
"Thank you for telling me the truth but I don't think I can condemn you for lying. In fact, I'm glad you got away with it because tomorrow I'll be holding you in my arms." Pressing his forehead against hers, Cato bumped their noses gently before kissing her on the lips. "If it's something you wish you to get past, you and I can work on getting you past the last hurdle. On the other hand, if you want Marvel to stay, I will support you through that as well."
Knowing she had been lucky enough to fall in love with someone so understanding, Indiana felt as if she owed it to him and herself to divulge the contents of her examination.
"Cato, there was something else. I know you'll say that it's fine and it doesn't matter because it wasn't real but I need you to understand that to me it felt real. I thought it was real and I did it anyway." Indiana ranted.
"What happened?" Cato pulled back and was shocked to see the anguish in her eyes.
Describing the holograph and the words that came out of its mouth, she hesitated before describing the beatings it had given her. Despite the horror on his face as his eyes traced the places she had been attacked, Indiana kept talking, forcing herself to reveal every sordid detail.
Withholding information before had done neither one of them any favours and had only succeeded in driving a wedge between Cato and Indiana. She had begun confiding in Peeta more than her own fiancé and she knew it couldn't continue that way.
Snatching his hands away when she described being kicked in the stomach, Cato was unable to look Indiana in the eyes when she explained how she had been dragged along the floor. Disgusted by what she had endured, Cato listened intently and his gaze never moved from her face. Head drooping, her breath shuddered as she admitted what she had done to gain Coin's approval.
Catching a tear that dripped from her chin, Cato attempted to comfort his tearful girlfriend. "It's fine, I promise. It wasn't real. You did what you to."
"No! You're not listening. I thought it was real! For gods sake, Cato, I thought I had killed you!" Indiana exclaimed hysterically.
"Indiana, you're the one not listening. It is okay. If I ever hurt you – or anyone – in the manner that I hurt you in that simulation then I would want you to put an end to me. I refuse to become that monster."
Taken aback at the forceful tone that hadn't been used towards her since the beginning of their alliance, Indiana was reminded of the emotional strength that had initially attracted her towards Cato and found herself smiling at him.
Both of them had changed significantly since their first Games but their underlying values had remained throughout. No matter how much life had tried to crush them, they were a strong couple and would come out of this together and stronger than before.
"Shit, I've got to go." Cato grunted, glancing at his comms with distaste. "I signed up to help with Finnick and Annie's wedding."
A twinkle replaced the pain in Cato's eyes when he mentioned the upcoming wedding. Despite the darkness, Indiana was grateful to the rebellion for the fact that a friendship had blossomed between Finnick and Cato. Both men had managed to keep the other grounded during uncertain times. Kissing the top of her head, Cato begrudgingly bid her a goodnight.
"I love you." Indiana called out before he disappeared from view.
"One more night apart, baby. Tomorrow our lives begin."
Beaming as the bride and groom kissed, Indiana cheered when Finnick and Annie were officially pronounced Mr and Mrs Odair. Clasping Cato's hand in her own, she rested her head on his shoulder as the room blessed the happy couple with a long and prosperous marriage.
Soft music floated around the room and she found herself being dragged to her feet before Cato began gliding around the room with her in his arms. Giggling when he dipped her, Indiana felt weightless. Joy coursed through her and the memories from yesterday were erased from her mind. Nothing mattered today but Annie and Finnick's love.
Cheeks and feet aching, Indiana sighed in relief when Cato deposited her at a table with the promise that he would return with drinks shortly.
Striking up a conversation with Johanna, the blonde was reminded of how their friendship had formed when she was in hysterics after just two minutes. Pulling the tortured woman from Seven in for a hug as they giggled, Indiana froze when Johanna brought up Cashmere. Quickly pulling away, Indiana informed her friend that regardless of what context they were talking about Cashmere in, now was neither the time nor place to begin unpacking that.
However, she reassured Johanna she would find some way to move past it in the meantime. Despite having forgiven Katniss and Peeta, she was struggling to pardon Johanna for the hurt she had caused, probably because she at least knew Cashmere and the struggles Indiana had with her family.
"Is it alright if I steal Indie for a moment, Jo?" Finnick gave Johanna a dazzling smile.
Johanna excused herself with some comment about finding Cato and a drink. Within a moment, she had disappeared from view, lost in the crowd of dancing people. Regardless of whether the newlyweds stayed, the citizens of District 13 would continue partying well into the morning. It was rare that they had chance for a celebration as holidays were not recognised but not they had been given an excuse for a party and the next day off.
Grateful for the distraction from a disastrous conversation, Indiana congratulated her friend on his nuptials.
"You've broken so many hearts today, Finn." Indiana teased, placing her hand is his and allowing him to pull her to her weary feet.
Chuckling, Finnick responded playfully, pleased to see the beautiful smile that had returned to Indiana's face. Her usual witty banter had showed itself once more and Finnick was happy to see some semblance of her former self coming back.
Keeping up a stream of cheerful chatter, Finnick smirked when Indiana paid no attention to him leading her further away from the party.
"Wait, where have you taken me?" She finally asked when they stopped outside a door, far away from the merriment.
"I have a surprise for you." Finnick ignored her questions, kissed her on the cheek and ushered her towards the door. "In you go."
'I've been going out of my mind.
I feel it, I feel it.
Know that I'm just wasting time,
And I hope that you don't run from me.'
Hesitantly stepping into the room, she shrieked when she turned to see Annie, Johanna, Katniss and her prep team grinning at her.
"What the fuck is going on?" Indiana demanded, waiting for her heartbeat to return to normal. "Annie, I hadn't had the chance to say but you look lovely."
"Thank you, Indiana."
Without offering an explanation, the prep team began fussing over the confused blonde, twisting her hair this way and that and examining the new angles of her face. Allowing her cheeks to be squished and stretched, she jumped out of their grasp when Phoenix began lifting up her shirt.
Snickering at her friend's distress, Johanna sat in the corner shovelling cake into her mouth. After Finnick and Annie's cake had been cut, Katniss revealed that Peeta had been the one who frosted it and that he'd asked to see her. Noticing the torn expression on the younger girl's face, Indiana had immediately agreed to go with her once the festivities had ended before Cato had whisked her away once more.
"Phoenix? You're alive!"
"In the flesh, Princess." Phoenix grinned, accepting the bruising hug from the less-muscular-but-no-less-strong girl.
Imprisonment hadn't been kind to him – heck, it hadn't been kind to any one of them – yet he still managed to radiate the aura that he was far more put together than everyone else in the room. He was glowing as he grinned at his previous tribute.
"You've been through hell." Katniss started. "But that's not stopped you from helping every single one of us in some way."
Johanna nodded in agreement and Annie wrapped a slender arm around Indiana's shoulder, squeezing gently.
"We wanted to repay you somehow." Annie smiled, lighting up her face in a way that showed the other women how Finnick had fallen for her.
"Put this on." Johanna threw something soft at the stunned girl's face and snorted as flailed about in an attempt to get it off.
"We know it's tradition in District One to wear white to your wedding but we also know what the colour white means to you so we decided this was better than getting married in that." Phoenix gave a pointed look at Indiana's uniform. "Katniss got it from her house."
"It might be a little loose on you but I thought the long sleeves would be good to cover your arms – not that you need to hide them but I know you're used to luxury and recently you've had the exact opposite of that. We just thought you'd like to look nice when you finally married the man you love."
"This is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me." Indiana sniffled as she pieced it all together, hugging the three woman as close as her short arms would allow.
"We figured we owed you one – or ten," muttered Johanna, attempting to escape the affection.
"Come on, we have to get her dressed." Phoenix clucked, glancing at his watch. "All of you out!"
"I can't believe you're here." Indiana beamed once the door had closed behind Johanna.
"Sweetheart, I've watched this relationship blossom from the beginning. Do you seriously think I was going to miss you getting married?" Phoenix gave her an incredulous look but humour twinkled in his kind eyes.
"But how are you here?"
"I've always been slightly useful to District Thirteen, passing on information. It was where my mother came from so when the rebellion took Katniss' team, they took me as well."
Nodding, Indiana sat perfectly still as her hair was pulled and pinned and pieces braided but flinched when her head was yanked back. Chuckling at the expression on her face, Phoenix was amused to see it was the exact same one she had pulled the first time he had braided her hair.
Discussing how far they had come since the first Games, Phoenix told Indiana how incredibly proud he was of her. When they had first met, he knew the young woman was more than capable of winning the Games. Watching her die had been extremely distressing for him. Being dragged out of retirement to style her for the 75th Games had given him a spark of hope for the women he had come to car for but then she had been imprisoned. However, no matter how hard life tried to kick her down, she refused to cower and take it.
Talking about how the upcoming wedding being part of a propo, Indiana answered honestly that it would be rather satisfying to know that the people of Panem and Snow would see that she was thriving after all she had been through. It would be a reminder to people that no matter how dark life got in the upcoming days, there would always be light.
"People have been having hushed conversations about a rebellion for years and yet every year they watch 23 children died and do nothing. It's odd to think that watching two teenagers in love fight each other is the reason people changed their minds." Indiana mused finding humour in the fragility of Snow's system.
"Four teenagers." Phoenix corrected.
"People loved Katniss and Peeta, sure, but watching an inter-district couple find love during the Games and begin working towards surviving together had people gripping the edge of their seats. Whilst people love Katniss and Peeta, many people – myself included – questioned the validity of their love. No one had any doubt that that boy loved you, especially when he allowed himself to be defeated after your death. He knew dying was the only way to be reunited with him. That's what made people question the Games. Katniss may be the torch of the rebellion but your love for Cato lit the flame."
Holding back tears to avoid ruining the hard work that had gone into making her look presentable, Indiana pressed a kiss to Phoenix's cheek and thanked him. Phoenix led her out the room and Indiana smiled when Marvel looped his arm through hers and escorted her towards her future.
Bouncing on the balls of his feet, Cato chuckled uneasily when Finnick joked that perhaps she wouldn't turn up. Clapping a hand on his friend's shoulder, Finnick informed Cato that the girls hadn't seen a single ounce of hesitation from Indiana in regards to the wedding. If there was anyone destined to be bound to another for eternity, it was Indiana and Cato. Phoenix darted into the room, shot Cato a thumbs-up and took his seat between Katniss and Johanna. Everyone stood in preparation for the bride's entrance.
Long legs rounded the corner and Cato held his breath as he waited for the face of his fiancée to appear. Tears pricked his eyes as her nervous figure filled his view.
Red stained her lips and the bottom one caught between her teeth as she nibbled on it. Blonde strands twinkled under the lights and some of it had been intricately twisted to form a braided band across the top of her head whilst some strands framed her face.
Pale pink adorned her form and he laughed slightly at the oversized sleeves but it caught in his throat when he realised how the colour complimented her skin and clung to her chest. It was clear the dress didn't belong to her but she managed to look effortlessly gorgeous in it. And she was going to be his.
Blue eyes shone as she smiled at him and he felt the rest of the world disappear. Nothing mattered other than the woman stepping towards him. A tear slid down his cheek when she reached for him and he held her hands tightly, praying she wouldn't slip away. Perhaps this was a dream; no one should be allowed to look that good in reality.
"You look beautiful," he mouthed as everyone sat and the officiant began.
A blush spread across her cheeks under the intensity of Cato's gaze. No one had ever looked at her with such adoration, not even Marvel, who was beaming from his own seat in the crowd.
Despite the conditions of their meeting and relationship, Indiana had never doubted the love Cato had for her. Gazing into his watery eyes, she knew she never would. Cato was her future, her family. Their love had endured the hardest tests and come out stronger. They were unbreakable.
Finnick stood to the side of Cato grinning and he winked when Indiana shook her head at him.
"Indiana, I promise to defend you and cherish you for eternity. Our relationship has never been easy but every moment we've spent together has been worth all the pain. I promise to love you even after death because we've already proven that death can't stop us," he broke off as their guests chuckled. "You are the only person I want to spend my life with and I will love you through whatever hardships life throws at us."
A tear caught on her lip as she smiled at him and he felt his heart skip a beat when their eyes connected. Love and adoration shone in her eyes. It took all the restraint he possessed to not pull her into his arms and kiss her.
"As per District One tradition, Cato will not present his gift to Indiana."
Turning to Finnick, the groom thanked him as he took the gift off of him. Due to being the most luxurious of the Districts, District One had the most extravagant wedding and their specialised tradition was to present their future spouse with a gift that reflected the love the couple shared. Being on the run from the Capitol and trapped in a minimalist underground District meant Cato had been unable to obtain a gift that represented how deep his love for Indiana ran.
Upon seeing the look on Indiana's face as he handed over his present, all his worries melted away. Made entirely from silver, Cato had spent hours melting and welding the metal until it had twisted into an intricate daisy. The details were so realistic that if not for the lack of colour and flexibility, it could have almost passed for the real thing. Stood on a flat, circular base, the daisy glittered under the soft lights.
Explaining that he had made it for the sole purpose of standing on her bedside table in their first home together, Cato glanced at his feet in embarrassment. Rolling his eyes at the flustered manner of his friend, Finnick informed Indiana to flip over the daisy and read the bottom.
Engraved in neat letters was 'Mr and Mrs Hadley' with the date of their wedding. A happy tear landed on the shiny metal.
"I-I don't have anything for you." Indiana stammered, realising she was unable to reciprocate the thoughtful gesture, eyes misting over with tears.
The beautiful, handmade gift had left her speechless and she was gobsmacked when Cato apologised for not having been able to buy her 'the gift she deserved' – how did he not realise that the daisy was far more meaningful than anything money could buy, she thought. Not only had he dedicated time to make it but also he had done it with their future in mind.
"Being your husband is the only gift I need."
Dismayed at not being able to return her fiancé's gesture, Indiana's spirits were quickly raised as she was informed it was her turn to speak her vows. Handing the gift to a cheerful Phoenix, she placed her hands back in Cato's.
"Wow, um, I don't even know where to begin," she giggled, glancing around the room at the guests and decorations. "This is amazing. What you've done tonight is – well, it means everything to me. No one has ever been as kind and caring as you have to me. I've never felt more protected and cherished than when I am with you. The one thing that kept me going when we were apart was the knowledge that somehow I would be reunited with you one day. Cato, you're my whole world. You're right, life hasn't been easy and we still have so much to survive through but I know I can do it with you at my side. You're my family, Cato."
Aaw's rippled through their small gathering as Cato brushed away tears and whispered how much he loved her.
Nothing mattered to him more than making the world a better place for Indiana to spend the rest of her days in peace and happiness. Nothing mattered more than fighting for a world where they could raise their children without fear of losing them. He would do anything if it only meant that Indiana looked as happy as she did now until the remainder of their days. Once their marriage had been sealed with a kiss, Cato's solemn duty was to keep a smile on his wife's face.
Announcing that it was time for the ritual of District Two to be performed, Indiana's smile never faltered as Finnick handed her Cato's ring and handed Cato hers (the rings were silver also had been handcrafted by Cato). Similarly to her engagement ring, the word 'Hadley' had been engraved on the rings, continuing the Hadley legacy of rings.
Masonry was the main income of District Two and so each member took pride in their creations, regardless of shape or size.
Sliding the ring onto her finger, Cato raised her hand to his mouth and pressed the softest kiss to the ring now sitting above her engagement ring.
Repeating the words Cato had uttered, Indiana lifted his hand. "With this ring, I, Indiana Cashmere Summers, wed thee Cato Ryker Hadley."
Pressing a kiss to his ring, she smiled at the red now staining his finger from her lips and clasped their hands as the officiant announced they were now bound for life.
Placing her left hand on his cheek, she traced the stubble on his jawline and gazed into his eyes. Wrapping his arms around her wait, he pulled her in close. Mouth dropping slightly at the radiant smile she gave him, Cato inclined his head and connected their lips.
Cheers erupted around them but neither one paid attention as they shared their first kiss as husband and wife.
Head resting on his shoulder and his hand on her waist, the second newlyweds of the night swayed gently to the music as their few guests mingled and enjoyed their second cake of the evening.
"I can't believe you managed to pull this off. You usually can't keep anything from me so I'm impressed." Indiana said in awe, glancing at the twinkling lights and metal decorations – a mix of luxurious masonry.
"Unfortunately, I have to give credit where credit is due and tell you that it was actually Finnick's idea for us to have a secret wedding tonight. He managed to organise it and I decorated it how you wanted – the people you cared about – minus Peeta – the minimalist decorations and no fuss over you."
"Well it's absolutely perfect. Just like my husband."
Kissing the wedding band on his finger once more, Indiana had never felt more content. The threat of war loomed over them and many days of uncertainty were rushing towards them but none of that existed as they danced in their little bubble of serenity.
"How did I get so lucky?" Cato asked himself, glancing down at his wife.
"I ask myself that all the time," she responded, kissing the ring on his finger once more.
"I love you, Mrs Hadley."
"I love you too, Mr Hadley."
'Cause I let my guard down.
Right now I'm completely defenceless.
For your eyes only,
I'll show you my heart.'