A/N: I'M BACK! Finally. I feel so awful for taking so long to update. I know I said once a week, and I meant it when I said, but... Agh! This chapter took me forever. I wrote it then deleted it, then rewrote it, then deleted parts of it and added parts. So yeah.... Chapter 4. Oh and...
IMPORTANT NOTE AT THE BOTTOM. READ IT WILL YOU?
It's on fire.
The district is on fire. Burning, blazing, flickering, flaming. The fields that are supposed to be supplying Panem with food are black, dead. Images of the people working in these fields during our tour flash through my mind, and I wonder how many were there when these fires started.
"Oh God, the whole district's on fire," Haymitch says, startling me with his sudden proximity. He's standing directly behind me, peering out the window.
In the distance, where the center of town should be, a large cloud of grey smoke floats into the sky. On the top of it, I can just see a hovercraft flying back into the clouds. This is the Capitol's doing. They're destroying District 11 just like they did to 12.
"What are we going to do?" I ask Haymitch, spinning around, but he's already heading out the door.
"Haymitch!" I call, jogging after him as he hurries down a hallway towards the pilot's room.
"What are we going to do?" I repeat, but he ignores me and throws open the door revealing our pilot.
"Get out of here, now," Haymitch orders the pilot, "Fly on to ten. And radio back to thirteen. Tell them to send hovercrafts to look for survivors."
The pilot nods and Haymitch closes the door with a shake of his head.
"We aren't going to help?" I demand, angry as I follow him back to the room.
"What do you suggest we do? Use our emergency fire extinguisher to fight these flames? The others will help out the survivors, that's all we can do now," He snaps, obviously irritated with our situation, or maybe just me.
"We could do something," I say, quieter, looking out the window at the bright flames, "Go and pick up some people." The faces of Rue's and Thresh's families flash in my mind.
But Haymitch shakes his head. "You don't understand. Look, in case you haven't realized, sweetheart," He snaps, "You aren't the 'girl on fire' anymore. You go near those flames and you'll be burned."
I sit in a chair, allowing my head to fall into my hands. "I know. I'm the mockingjay, now," I say bitterly, "I know."
Haymitch looks at me sideways. "You should take more pride in that. You're everyone's hope, Katniss. These people believe in you, rely on you to bring them change. As long as your alive, people can allow themselves to dream of something better," He pauses and looks out the window at the passing sky, "You should be damn proud of that."
I fall silent from his speech. Soundlessly, I stand and go to the small bathroom.
Pride? I scoff, looking at myself in the mirror.
What exactly should I be proud about? The pain I've caused, the destruction, the death?
As I look, it's like every one of my faults is on display.
I'm a killer. I've killed people, killed them out of instinct. Killed them because it was the game. I've witnessed so many deaths, too many deaths, more deaths than anyone should ever see. And then there's the danger I've put everyone around me in. Every person of District 12 has lost their home and loved ones because of me. Cinna, the only person of the Capitol I truly liked, could be anywhere, or even dead because of what he did for me, for the rebellion. Enobaria, Johanna, and Peeta are captured, locked up somewhere in the Capitol being tortured or killed.
Would things be better if I hadn't made it out of those first Games?
I shake my head, dropping my gaze away from the terrible things reflecting back at me.
All these things, all these problems are the Capitol's doing, not mine. They may have done them because of me, but I did not do these awful things. And, right now, the situation would not be better if I were dead. Because we still have a chance, a chance at change. If we can win against the Capitol and give all of Panem a better life, then I will follow Haymitch's advice and be proud.
I slip back into the main room, sit in a chair, and watch the sky fly by.
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One. We've been to them all. Each one just as eager as the last to support the rebellion.
I didn't have to do much, just sit and listen as Haymitch talked for the two of us. By the time we were in Eight, I realized I was just there to symbolize the rebellion, not help convince people to fight for us. Not that any convincing had been necessary, except for in Two and One.
I found Annie in Four. Rescued her from the Victors Village where the Peacekeepers had her and the others locked up. Haymitch stayed angry at me for the rest of our journey for running off and 'unnecessarily endangering' myself, but I didn't care. Because I've finally done something right. I no longer owe Finnick.
Annie is different than I expected. I thought she would be insane, maybe because I had only seen her on TV, hysterical and crazy because she thought she would be thrown into her worst nightmare. But she wasn't, not really.
She remained silent for most of the ride, gazing out the window with wide eyes that reminded me of a deer who had sensed danger. Periodically, she would ask a question, which was always one of two things. Either, 'Where are we?' or 'Where are we going?' Every time she asked, I would remind her. Other than that, no one spoke.
But now we are landing back in District 13, and I can see Finnick waiting for use below. I'm glad I won't have to disappoint him.
I see Finnick's green eyes light up as he sees Annie stepping off the hovercraft.
"Annie!" He cries, running forward to embrace her.
I pass them, allowing the two to reunite privately. Plus, I need to find Plutarch.
As I walk through the district, I notice that more people crowd the space. From Eleven, I think to myself.
I find Plutarch, alone, in the usual meeting room.
"Hello, Katniss," He greets when he notices me, "I assume your trip went well."
"Except for in eleven."
"Ah, yes," He replies, straightening up, "We've had a surge of refugees from that district."
"What happened?" I question.
Plutarch shrugs. "I asked the mayor the same thing when he arrived. Asked him why he didn't wait like we had planned. He told me he had wanted to, but the district is so big, and the people are so mistreated that they took control into the own hands. Unfortunately, things did go well. I guess it just goes to show that we need to stand united if we're going to take down the Capitol."
I nod, realizing how important this trip was for the rebellion.
"Is there something you needed?" He asks, after a few seconds of silence.
"Yes," I respond, remembering what I came for. I need to find out what he and Beetee know and aren't telling me. "The Training Center?"
A look of understanding passes across his face. "Yes. You've been wondering about that?" I nod. "You see, the day after we landed one of the District Twelve survivors came to see us. Said she had found something in the rubble, watched it drop from the sky once the bombings stopped."
"What was it?" I ask.
"A case, with your name written on it. Inside was a tape from the Capitol."
"Why haven't I seen this," I ask, my anger rising, "Has Haymitch been hiding it from me?"
"No," Plutarch answers, shaking his head, "No. Haymitch doesn't even know this things exists."
"He wasn't there when it was given to us. Finnick, Beetee, and I watched what was on it. I wanted to tell Haymitch about it immediately, but Finnick and Beetee talked me out of it. They knew better than I that it would just upset him."
"Why didn't you show me," I demand, "It was for me. I want to see it."
Plutarch shakes his head. "No, believe me, you don't."
My mind is racing, trying to think of something that would upset Haymitch, that I wouldn't want to watch. I feel the color begin to drain from my face when I think I've figured it out.
"What is on that tape?"
Okay so it's not that important, but I was thinking about either having part of the next chapter in Gale's POV or the chapter after that (probably the former). Would anyone want to read that? I feel bad for neglecting him and I feel that things will make more sense if we take a look into his thoughts. I'm probably going to do it, unless everyone is completely against the idea (or if I can't write Gale). So tell me if you like the thought.
And... I've been playing around with an AU idea for THG. It's no where near ready to be posted, and I'll finish this first, but I was wondering if anyone would be interested in reading it. It would basically follow the plot line of THG (the time K is in the arena), but it would have some differences and be set in more of a present day time period. Also, the characters' main goal wouldn't be to kill each other, so we'd learn more about the others (Cato, Clove, Thresh, etc.) I don't want to give too much away, but the idea is they are locked up for an amount of time, forced to face frightening things, and end up killing each other off. Sounds lovely, no? Anyway, if anyone would be interested in it, let me know. AND I BETTER NOT SEE A STORY LIKE THIS POP UP ANYTIME SOON!!!
Oh, and while I'm here... Thanksgiving Break is fast approaching, which means one week of no school (YES!!!). So that means (well I should be able to update once or twice and) that I'll have time to read, something I don't get to do because of my homework load. So any book suggestions you have would be much appreciated. :)