Summary: The country is in chaos. Rebellion is inevitable. The only way to live is to win. And the only way to win is to fight.
Disclaimer: (for the whole story): I, sadly, do not own The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, or the nameless third book.
A/N: First, do NOT read if you haven't already finished Catching Fire. This story contains MAJOR spoilers from the book. And I don't want to ruin it for anyone. Anyways, I just had to write this after I finished the second book. This may be the only way I survive the wait for the last book. So hopefully it helps you make out the wait, too.
It has been too long.
Five days. That's how long I have been in - well, under - District 13, but it feels like forever.
I silently get up from the cot I have been lying on. Prim sleeps soundly on the other side of the room. I am so thankful she and my mother made it out of the bombings in District 12 safe. I pull back the curtain that separates our room from the rest of the underground district and into the maze that is this place.
It is basically a big tunnel down here. The dirt from the ground is packed tightly against the walls and wooden supports hold the roof up, preventing it from caving in. Rooms come off the many halls that the refugees stay in, most from District 12. Curtains act as doors to give families privacy.
Only one building stands above ground here, the hospital. Recently, more people are living there then underground. Most people who escaped District 12 during the strike were seriously injured. The one time I went into the hospital with my mother, I was astounded my the number of people coated with burns and cuts. I have made a point not to go back since.
I wander the endless halls as I have done every night I've been here. Sleep seems like a foreign concept to me by now. I walk by one room and a bloodcurdling scream causes me to jump. I pull back the curtain and immediately wish I had not.
This room causes me the most remorse. It is the room for the orphans, the kids whose parents died in either District 12 or in other districts during uprisings. I may completely understand the feeling of losing one parent, but I cannot even begin to imagine what the lose of both is like. No matter how many times I have felt alone, I always know there is someone who cares whether I live or die. These kids have only themselves.
By now the yelling has stopped and I hurriedly back out of the room. My back hits one of the dirt walls and I sink down, dropping my head in my hands.
How did everything go so wrong? Winning the Hunger Games is supposed to be a good thing, a great thing even, for the victor. It should assure us the one thing that only the Capitol has, safety. All of District 12 should have been protected from starvation for a year. My mother and Prim should have been freed from hunger for life. Everyone should have had this assurance because Peeta and I won. Peeta...
I feel unbelievably useless. Haymitch told me that I am needed if we are going to have a chance in getting the other districts to join the fight. Apparently, though, I am not important enough to attend the secret planning sessions he and a few others hold every night. Sure, if I pass the room they are in on my midnight jaunts, I will stop and eavesdrop, but I think I should at least be given the option to go to their meetings. If I am such a necessity, I should be given a say.
I search the halls for their room. They use the same one every night, but everything looks the same here. I know I am close when I begin to hear the voices. Soon, I'm standing outside the door, hidden in the shadows, listening to the conversation.
There is five of them, the same people every night. Haymitch, Plutarch, Beetee, Finnick, and a man named Greyson. Greyson is the grandson of a resident of District 13. His grandfather and a handful of others were the survivors after the destruction of their district. They are the people who started this underground society. And now Greyson acts as the leader of 13.
"We need some sort of advantage," I hear Finnick say.
"Sheer numbers won't be enough," Haymitch agrees.
His voice makes me frown. I have done nothing to mask my resentment towards him for the past few days. He lied to me before the games, so the least he could do now is include me in the planning of a rebellion I am supposed to lead instead of making me feel so unimportant and worthless.
A plan begins to take form in my head. I have to do something, and if I cannot fight the Capitol right now, I will do something else. So, I push myself off the dirt wall and into the bright light of the meeting room.
The five men sit around a wooden table. They fall silent as they notice me striding into the room.
"We're busy, sweetheart," Haymitch says. He's been just as hostile with me as I have been with him.
The four others exchange concerned looks. To be honest, Finnick and Beetee have earned a small piece of hatred from me for lying and playing me just like Haymitch. I scowl at them all before talking.
"I'm leaving," I announce. More worried looks are passed around the room.
"Where to?" Haymitch asks calmly, the only one of them who seems to be uncaring.
Finnick decides to step in. "Katniss, you can't just-" He tries to say, but Haymitch interrupts.
"No, I want to hear this," He says then turns to me, "So how do you plan getting there? By walking?"
"If I have to," I respond, realizing I should have given this more though before barging in here and making a fool of myself.
Haymitch just nods, sarcasm starting to creep into his voice, "So after the five or six week hike to the Capitol, how are you planning to get inside?"
My frown deepens. "I'm sure I will figure something out if it's going to take so long to get there," I snap, not wanting to give Haymitch the satisfaction of winning.
"I hope so. Because once your spotted, you'll be arrested and killed immediately."
"Look," I say, "I'm tired of sitting around here doing absolutely nothing. You won't let me come to these planning sessions and share any ideas I may have, and you don't even bother updating me on what you all talk about. So you five can stay here, have secret meetings, and do nothing, but I'm going to the Capitol and I'm bringing back Peeta. And, I won't be arrested or killed because I'll stay hidden."
Once I am finished, I turn on my heel and head out of the room. They call out for me to wait, but nothing they can say will make me stop.
I freeze, halfway across the room, from Haymitch's words. They echo through my head, causing a sick feeling to rise then settle in my chest. Dead. I shake my head, trying to erase the thought from my mind. Impossible, it cannot be true. It just can't.
I slowly turn back around to face the table of five again. Four pairs of eyes have suddenly become interested in the floor, walls, table, ceiling, everything except Haymitch and I.
"How do you know?" My voice is only whisper.
"Why would they let him live?" Is Haymitch's answer.
And I realize, he doesn't know. He's lying. Always lying. Willing to tell me anything right now, so I won't leave. So I won't risk my life. So his plan stays in motion. But I had my own plan in the arena, and I have my own plan now. I'm done with laying low.
I shake my head at him once and say, "Your wrong." Then I flee from the room.
Fifteen minutes pass and I am outside of the underground world, trekking through the surrounding forest. A bag of supplies rests on my shoulder as I move stealthily across the ground. I like the forest up here. It reminds me of my own. So unlike the strange jungle I was surviving in just over a week ago.
I begin to create a game plan in my head. The Capitol is at least five weeks time away from where I am now. Thinking about the amount of food I packed, I realize my first problem. I only have enough food to last for one week, maybe ten days if I conserve it. I could try to hunt when my food supply runs out, but I don't have a weapon with me. District 13 may have an ample stock of nuclear weapons stashed underground, but there is a surprising lack of bows and arrows.
So, by the looks of things, I may not even make it halfway to the Capitol before starving to death.
Stopping, I throw down my pack in frustration. This is hopeless. I have no actual strategy on getting into the Capitol. And even if I somehow did reach and enter it, where would I even begin to look?
I turn around so I am facing the way I came from. District 13 is out of sight, and I'm grateful for it. I cannot go back just yet. I would be too ashamed to come back now.
It is still dark out, so after retrieving my bag from the ground, I climb up a decent sized tree and make camp for the night. The pack serves as an slightly comfortable pillow and soon enough I am pulled into a world of blackness.
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