I'm sure I'm driving my Twilight readers crazy every time they seen an update. To my Twihards: If you haven't read THG yet, please do!
I began writing this after some conversation on one of THG forums I post on. They will not necessarily be in any chronological order, and they probably won't be on any regular basis, but I suggest you put me on author alert, so you know when I update. I say author alert only because I may post a completely different THG story, and that way you'll see it.
About this one shot: I love reviews, but I am aware of the differing opinions. No one really knows what Peeta was thinking except for SC, and the books are full of who what where when why how? This is MY opinion. Be my guest to disagree, but please don't tell me I'm wrong unless your name happens to be Suzanne Collins. It's not nice :) I didn't italicized the parts from the book, because they are only dialogue and since everyone has read the book, I know you know which dialogue it is.
Excerpts from Mockingjay, all themes and characters are © Suzanne Collins
The Vote & Coin's Assassination
"I vote yes…for Prim." I reel from her words as if I've been shot. The shiny edges of the hijacking are gone and all I see are my memories: Being sent to die, the cave, our first kiss, the fake marriage, the fake pregnancy, getting sent back to die again. Then the torture, the escape, and finally the torture of not knowing what is real what is not real. What was the point of it all?
"Haymitch, it's up to you," says Coin.
I try to get Katniss to look at me, but she's staring down at that stupid white rose. Slurs and curses escape my mouth at Haymitch as he debates his answer, but his eyes are only on Katniss.
"I'm with the Mockingjay."
I don't hear anything more. Coin is talking but I can't make out her words. For two years we fought the system, and they are both going back to it. Okay, Haymitch I could understand. Maybe he's been brained washed by Coin or something, but Katniss? She declared herself the second that arrow pierced the apple at her first private session. She refused to go quietly from the very beginning.
I stare at her in disbelief, but she's surrounded by people fussing over her, and doesn't even notice. Beetee pats me on the back as he walks out, and Annie, with tears in her eyes, squeezes my hand as she passes. They have no words of comfort for me, because they have none themselves. After everything we've lost, Katniss and Haymitch are completely satisfied to give up the tiny bit we did gain. Coin is repeating the same story, just putting a spin on the words. My careful composure, which was hard enough to keep during Coin's announcement and the vote is shattering.
"Easy," Haymitch says. I didn't even notice him standing there; my eyes too fixed on the Mockingjay. She isn't really Katniss when she was powdered up and perfect; that was never her. They made her their mockingjay with that silly costume and cinematic propos. She was fine how she was. As the girl they were drawn to in the first place. "We should go get our seats."
"I can't believe you," I growl, ripping my arm out of his grasp.
The drunk looks barely bothered by my hostility. "You should give her more credit. She's not done yet."
Haymitch and Katniss always had a level of understanding I never full got. Perhaps it was how they grew up, or that they were so similar in personality. Whatever the reason, they could always read each other. I watch Katniss in front of us reaching back to finger the single arrow in her sheath. Taken back by my sudden revelation, I look at Haymitch just to make sure I'm not making this up. "She's still in the Games." All he does is nod.
Guards lead the remaining victors onto a platform just behind where Katniss is standing with Coin supposedly on the balcony directly above us. Snow is led out and the crowd around us goes wild. In all my time at the Capitol, I only saw him a handful of times, and the gray-haired man being tied to a post only yards away is nothing like the one I remember.
I cannot take my eyes off Katniss, my eyes boring into her, desperate to read what is going through her mind. What Games is she in? Snow is practically dead already, that Game is over. Katniss never enjoyed the easy win.
Blood is running from Snow's mouth and a bit splatters on the white rose in his lapel. He's laughing. Katniss removes the arrow and runs her hands through her bow. I'm at an angle where I can just make out the side of her face, and I'm searching for any possible tell. Her head shifts just enough, and I see what I'm looking for. Her hunter's instinct is not there; at least not looking at Snow. It was like we were back in the Games, when she'd be looking in one direction but know exactly where her prey really was.
Before I can put it all together I hear shrieks and screams, as President Coin falls over the balcony, Katniss's arrow straight through her heart.
Oh, I think. That Game.
And in that instant I see the girl I used to know, the one before we entered that first arena where so much of our lives and sanity were taken from us. She looks pleased at first, but then brave. Much too brave. The guards are surrounding her as mass panic ensues in the crowd. I know what she's going to do before she even makes the move, and in one leap I'm on top of the crowd, my hand over her left shoulder. I feel my skin puncture, my hand spasming in response, but I fight it, refusing the release. She looks up, confused, and I'm just silently begging her to not give up now.
"Let me go," she snarls at me, her lips stained with my blood.
I know I have very little time now, because the guards have turned on me, pulling me away. "I can't," I manage to say. Because although Gale is right - she will pick one of us, the one she can't survive without - I know regardless of her choice, I can't survive in a world without her.
The pocket rips off and I see the pill drops to the ground, and it's only then I go quietly with the guards. They push me towards Haymitch and say something to him, but all I can hear are Katniss's wild screams.
"She'll be fine," he tells me, leading me inside.
I worry. I pace. I'm eventually moved to the hospital, which only makes me worry and pace more. In a less than rational moment I have an episode when I attack one of the attendants. All I saw for a moment was my cell at the Capitol, and I lost it. When I come to I'm strapped into a bed, a needle in my arm. I don't even know how long I've been out for. Haymitch is sitting next to me.
"What are they doing to her?" I demand, wrestling against restraints I know I have no hope of beating.
Haymitch replies with some sort of dark laugh. "Doing to her? We, my dear boy, are not the Capitol. She's being kept in her room in the Training Center trying to think of ways to kill herself." I struggle again at his words. "Oh relax, we're not that stupid. Her trial begins in a few days. You will not be attending."
"How did you know?" It's really the only question I want an answer to.
Checking to make sure we are surely alone, he leans into me. "She did it for Prim." I'm still confused, missing some obviously link everyone else seems to be in on. "Snow did not send down those parachutes." I feel the relief wash through me, and the assurance that Katniss never did give in. She had no intention of another Games.
"What are you going to tell them…at her trial?"
"That she's looney tunes. Just as bad as you are, really. Quite a pair you make."
Over the next days I'm fed little information on the trial, my only visitor being Haymitch. I almost wish Gale would walk through those doors, because I know he wouldn't sugarcoat it. He wouldn't lie to me. I'm soon allowed to visit the common room of the hospital. It's where other people "like me" go to "get better." Meaning it's for the crazies to get uncrazy. I have outbursts in certain situations, and Dr. Aurelius will come see me when I'm safely strapped down, and we'll talk them over. He makes a list of each circumstance, and soon has me exposed to them on purpose.
"Came to say goodbye," Haymitch says one day in the common room. "Taking Katniss back to 12. I assume I'll see you soon?"
"They let her go? Just like that?"
Haymitch smirks. "Like I said, you're both looney tunes. No one would know what to do with either of you."
Another few weeks go by until I can fend off the hijacked memories with a lot of concentration, and my outbursts are no longer violent. "I think it's time we get you home," Dr. Aurelius announces at the end of my session. "Just keep and touch, and please, tell Katniss I can't keep pretending to be treating her. I call and call, but she never picks up."
I take the train back to 12, along with a few workers I don't know. They all know me of course, but short of some freaky Capitol surgery, that is something I'll have to live with. The house in Victor's Village is the same, and surprisingly clean. I wonder briefly if Greasy Sae had anything to do with it, and just then I see her walk down the street towards Katniss's house.
"Sae!" I yell. She stops and smiles oddly. "How is Katniss? Is she home?"
She tells me of Katniss's depression. Her vacancy. It's something I know, probably better than anyone besides maybe Gale: She can't just be pulled out. "She does everything on her own schedule, and nothing will change that," Greasy Sae says, as if she's reading my thoughts.
I decide that it can't hurt to possibly help her a little, so the next morning I trek to the woods and search for a good hour before finding what I'm looking for. I know I look odd, dragging bushes across the entire town, but there aren't that many people around, and really, I don't care anymore. I pick the side of the house that gets the most light and I begin to dig. Manual labor was never really my specialty, being a baker's son, but I'm making decent progress when Katniss appears in front of me.
She looks awful. Worse than when we got out of the first Games. Her hair is matted and dry, her face is gaunt and tired, and I can see the burn marks up and down her side. "You're back."
"Dr. Aurelius wouldn't let me leave the Capitol until yesterday," I explain, and then remember the message I was to deliver. "By the way, he said to tell you he can't keep pretending he's treating you forever. You have to pick up the phone." I hope I got it right; my memory is not the greatest.
"What are you doing?" She's shooting daggers at the mess of bushes at my feet.
"I went to the woods this morning and dug these up. For her." I hope she understands which "her" I'm talking about. At first, I'm not sure because her eyes grow even fiercer, and I'm waiting for cruel words to leave her tongue. But then they soften as she takes in the flowers.
All I get is a nod and she turns back into the house. I can hear the lock of the door behind her, and know that is all I'm going to get out of Katniss Everdeen today. So I continue on the primrose bushes until Greasy Sae arrives. She studies my work, then me, nodding before letting herself in.
Later that morning I'm back in my kitchen, waiting on the bread in the oven when I see Katniss leave her house with her bow and arrows in tow. I smile, twirling one of the primroses I took from the bush before putting it back in its vase.
On her own time.