Author's Note. It's been so long since I've updated this compilation. It feels good to be writing again. I didn't intend for this chapter to be this long, but let's suppose I did as an apology for taking so long to post.
This features the young man from District 2 who shot Katniss in Mockingjay, pg. 214-217.
Shakily, he draws his weapon, raising it up toward her head.
He ignores the ache in his cheek, the sharp burning sensation in his back. He is entranced by the appearance of the Mockingjay, so beautiful yet dangerous. So beautiful that, even without the Capitol paint on her face, she glows. And so dangerous that, even as she approved the blowing of the Nut, she stands before him in pretentious diplomacy and he almost believes her to be sincere.
The Mockingjay flits a few steps back, raising her beautiful weapons above her head in surrender.
"Give me one reason I shouldn't shoot you," he garbles. He wants to know what the Mockingjay has to lose, he wants to know that she truly is vulnerable.
He watches her carefully, sees her lips form the surprising words even before he hears them with his own ears.
"I can't," is what she says.
The young man pauses, forefinger tense on the trigger. But something draws him to her, a feeling that there is more, so he waits.
"I can't," she repeats. "That's the problem, isn't it?" She lowers her bow, and he tenses. "We blew up your mine. You burned my district to the ground. We've got every reason to kill each other. So do it. Make the Capitol happy. I'm done killing their slaves for them."
She drops her elaborately designed weapons on the group, kicking it away with enough force to send it grazing at his knees. Now she is vulnerable, but not harmless. No, not harmless. The young man is convinced that the Mockingjay will never be harmless.
The young man swallows. "I'm not their slave." I think.
The Mockingjay surprises him again. "I am," she says. A pause. In that second, with the guilt painted across her features and regret tainting her tone, the young man believes her. He believes her. He lowers his gun slightly, but her next words catch it and hold it in place. "That's why I killed Cato... and he killed Thresh... and he killed Clove..."
The mention of Cato, of Clove, of the young man's old friends, slaps him in the face. Reminds him of why he truly is here. Why, after surviving the blast, his first and probably last move is to shoot the Mockingjay.
His pupils dilate, the Mockingjay goes out of focus, the whole world goes out of focus. She speaks, but he does not listen. Vaguely, he is aware of words passing through his lips, but all that is passing through his mind are the memories. The memories of Cato, of Clove, of the young man's old friends. And finally, the memories of their deaths.
Blood. Anger. Revenge. Rage.
He was right. He isn't a slave of the Capitol. But perhaps he is a slave of rage.
As he reaches that conclusion, his vision clears and pans together in an instant. Now he sees the Mockingjay. She's on her knees, reaching out her arms toward him.
"Please! Join us!" she begs.
The young man almost smiles. Yes, he will join them. He will join them in sweet death. He joins them in sweet death. He has long joined them in sweet death.
He waits. Her words die in the cold night air. She looks up, and his fingers close the distance between trigger and gun, life and death.
He watches the Mockingjay plunges backwards into the ground, unconscious. Almost surreally, he hears guns being fired, feels bullets penetrating his already frail skin, and he falls back as well. But he dies smiling.
After all, he joins them in sweet death.