And here it is! The final chapter! No more waiting for me to update, yay!
There is no dialogue in this, I just wanted to wrap it up a little. If there is something I missed, tell me and I'll add it, but I think I got everything.
The war was over.
The people were free.
Both of the Presidents were dead.
A new era had begun.
Paylor became the new President of Panem.
All of the arenas have been destroyed, and monuments were built in their place, the names of the dead engraved upon them.
The Hunger Games were over, and they would never return.
Everyone went back to their homes. Well, almost everyone. My mother never recovered after Prim's death. The doctors said that it was all too much. She died a couple of months after the war ended, from starvation. She refused to eat. She gave up on life.
Her death hit me hard, but I was almost numb to the pain of death by now. It was a horrible feeling. Not even eighteen years old, and I had seen more death than anyone ever should. But it could have been worse. Much worse. I just kept on telling myself that it was okay... not everyone was dead... Loads of people survived, and no one else was going to die.
I managed to get Gale free. Technically, the Mockingjay deal was still in effect, so he was safe. I never really got the whole story of what he had done; apparently, he had gone a little wild during the fight, and tried to hook up what was left of the force field with some explosives and a pod that would have set off some sort of acid fountain had it been activated. He then tried to massacre everyone he saw, Capitol or Rebel, and fought against the rebels when they tried to restrain him, but because of the deal they couldn't hurt him... Yeah, I never got the full story, but I didn't really want to know.
He stayed in the Capitol for some time, trying to get a hold of himself again. It took a while, but he eventually managed it. He learnt to be a doctor, like Rory, and helped people. He said it made him feel better about all of the horrible things he had done. But he was never the same. My Gale never returned to me. And after all this time I still can't shake the fact that it was my fault, no matter how much Peeta tells me it wasn't.
Johanna decided to stay in District Thirteen. She said she didn't want to go home, because it had too many memories. I knew the feeling.
Finnick and Annie went back to District Four. They have a son now, who looks just like Finnick. They have managed to move on, and live happily.
I wasn't so lucky.
Haymitch, Peeta and I went back to District Twelve. It was awful going home, but not as bad as it had been that first time, right after the Quell. Because this time, I knew that it had all ended. That we were ready to start again.
Everybody helped with the clean up. We were forced to do some horrible things, including moving all of the dead, but it had to be done. And we managed.
We had to knock down the buildings that were too badly damaged – which was almost everything – and rebuild. We made District Twelve into a new place. A happier place. A place where children could grow up without the fear of being torn away from their family to compete in a deadly game.
It was new, it was different, but it was the same.
Because none of us wanted to forget. We didn't want to lose our memories of those we had lost, or the things that had happened. We couldn't forget the Games. We couldn't forget our friends. And we couldn't forget our sacrifices.
Peeta and I returned to the Victors Village, but moved into different houses. I couldn't stand living in the place where my sister used to live, where she used to laugh and smile. I just couldn't. And neither could Peeta.
Haymitch refused to live in the Victors Village at all. It had been his home for such a long time, but he said he didn't want to live with the constant reminder of his time in the arena. Now that he didn't have to live there, he moved. He did the opposite of me; I didn't want the memories of the Seam and my family, so I stayed away. He went back. He built himself - well, with help, but you know what I mean - a big house in the Seam. He wanted to remember the way everything was back before he left for the Capitol, before his life was changed forever. I thought it was bad for him; I thought he was trying to live a memory. Then Peeta explained it to me. He wasn't living in the past - he was making himself a new future.
Peeta and I tried the same. We got married. We settled down. We both did everything we could to distract ourselves. We helped with the cleanup and the building. Peeta reopened his bakery. I taught him how to hunt. We cared for children while their parents worked. We tried our best to get Haymitch out of his depression, for alcohol was scarce. But it was never enough.
So we tried to think of ways to remember. We couldn't forget, so why try?
First of all, we collected tapes of every single Hunger Games that has gone past. We didn't do this to remember the tributes; the person in the Games wasn't who the tributes really were. It was hard to stay yourself in the arena. It was so hard to not turn into a killing machine. No, we saved the tapes so that no-one would forget the horror of the games, so that, one day in the future, when some power hungry and sadistic President wanted more control over the people of Panem and wanted to bring the Games back, he could look at the tapes and be reminded how terrible they really were. We don't want the Games to become legend, or an idea viewed as a way to get the people at the governments feet. We want them to be remembered the way they are now, as a dark stain on the countries history that will never be removed, but never repeated.
But this only helped us remember the horror. We wanted to remember the good things as well.
It was Peeta who had the idea of the book. We needed a way to remember, and we couldn't rely on our memory. Human minds were to flimsy; we knew that better than anyone. Then, one day, when I was going though my family's old book of plants, Peeta had the idea of making a new book.
One full of memories.
We wrote the Capitol and ordered some materials, and as soon as they came we got started.
We spent ages on that book. We wrote about the people that we had known and had not made it through the war. We wrote about the people that were affected by the Capitol.
We didn't just write down names and birthdays and family members. We wrote about the person. About who they really were.
The way Rue's eyes lit up when she talked about her family.
The way my mother could make a man who was half dead live once more.
The way Peeta's father could make a wonderful cake out of next to nothing.
The way Cinna could make a grown man cry with a length of silk.
The way Portia could make even the ugliest person look amazing.
The way Wiress worked so hard to make us understand.
The way Mags taught me how to make a fish hook, and how happy she was when I succeeded.
The way Prim could make even the most depressed person smile.
We didn't just write about who a person was; we wrote about who they were. We wrote about the important things.
When we told the others what we were doing, they all wanted to help. They sent pictures and told us about other people. Haymitch talked about the tributes he had mentored, and he talked about poor Maysilee Donner. Finnick told us about his family, and Annie hesitantly told us about her younger brother who had been murdered in an 'accident' set up by the Capitol. Beetee told us more about Wiress, who we hadn't really known. Johanna just wanted to share her memories of home.
We worked on it for a long time, and we never really finished it. Every so often there would be something else we would remember, the sparkle in Chaffs eyes or Foxface's cunning.
Thanks to the book, we never forgot, but we were able to move on.
I was okay, considering everything that had happened. I still got nightmares; I don't think they will ever go away. Sometimes I use Finnick's old rope trick, and stay up for several nights until I am so tired I just collapse. But Peeta helps. When he's there, the nightmares mostly stay away, but they never disappear completely. The most I'll ever manage without one is about three days. I'll get hopeful, wondering if maybe this time they are gone, then they'll be back with a new vigor. After a few years I just learnt to accept that they will never leave. But that doesn't stop me from waking up screaming.
I still have nightmares about the execution, about that second arrow being placed into my hand. I tried to refuse; I didn't want to kill Coin. Sure, I hated her. Sure, she was just as bad as Snow. Sure, I was a second away from killing Snow and would have done so if I hadn't needed him to goad Coin into making it was clear she was guilty. But Coin was different. She was the leader of the rebels after all. She had won us the war, even if her methods were horrific.
But still they made me do it. It was the sentence for Snow, and as they were being accused of the exact same crimes, the sentence was the same. It made sense, but that didn't stop me from trying to fight it. But I did it in the end, knowing that I couldn't get out of it. Paylor was sympathetic though.
I was glad she became President; I'm sure she'll do a good job. She was thinking about doing a vote for presidency and having different parties and stuff, just like the old days… it sounds like it has potential. Panem is becoming a democracy.
Things are getting better now. It has been several years since the end of the war. Peeta and I are doing well. Since the book, we've been able to move on and live our lives. We're still in our house at the Victors Village. But we aren't alone anymore.
There are two new additions to our family.
I'm watching them now. They're playing in the meadow where I used to play as a child with Prim and my father.
The girl dances around on her light feet, her black hair swinging around her face, framing her bright blue eyes. The boy, who has blond hair and grey eyes follows after her on fat little legs, struggling to keep up and occasionally tripping. When this happens, the girl leans down and pulls him back up, asking if he's okay. Then they both giggle and continue with their games.
They remind me so much of my past. Of my sister. They are so innocent, so pure, and yet I know that will have to end sometime.
The girl already knows about the Hunger Games. She has learnt about them in school. She knows that her parents played a part in them somehow, but I can tell she's loathe to ask. A bit of that innocence has already fallen away.
Even now, years later, the Capitol reaches out and poisons our lives.
I remember when Peeta first asked about children. He had known how much I didn't want them, how scared I was. I knew it was an irrational fear. Well, at least it was at the time. But that was what scared me; the fact that, only a few years earlier, that fear would have been a very rational fear indeed.
I did not want to have children, because the memory of the Games was still fresh in my mind. The memory of seeing mothers heartbroken and weeping after their children were reaped, seeing them empty and all but dead after they had been forced to watch those children ripped apart on the television screen. I never wanted to be a part of that.
I knew the Games were over, but I couldn't shake that feeling of dread. It had been a part of me for so long.
It hurt to see Peeta suffer though. He wanted them so much, but he wouldn't see me afraid. He didn't want me to be unhappy.
It took a while, but eventually my love for Peeta won out over my survival instinct, and I gave in.
I was still terrified. I was consumed by the fear when I felt her move inside me the first time. But Peeta got me through it. And when I held her, I knew that there was nothing in the world that I would have traded for her. Because nothing could take me away from her, and if anybody tried, the Mockingjay would come back in full force.
The Mockingjay. It had been such a long time since I last wore my Mockingjay armor – the day of the execution. And yet people still knew me as the Mockingjay. Even the children that ran about the streets, who had no idea what it had been like. They all knew me as the woman who stopped the war and prevented the wrong person from gaining power. The woman who stopped history from repeating itself.
Because it would have done. The war would have been labeled as the 'New Dark Days' or the 'Second Dark Days'. The Hunger Games would have continued. The only difference, like I had told Coin, would have been that the people were in different positions.
These days, everybody was more equal. The people in the Capitol were given less, and those in the Districts were given more. There were no longer starving children in every District, forced to watch the rich, fat people of the Capitol parade around on the T.V. Everyone was an equal.
Now, the children run about and play games on the street. Some of them play war games, with each child having their own role; Snow, the evil president in the beginning; Coin, the witch who tried to take over the world; and Katniss and Peeta, the two people to save the universe.
It hurts a little, to see the children making such a serious thing into a game.
But not as much as it hurt, all those years ago, to see the Capitol turn the idea of children murdering each other into a competition.
They may be playing war games, but at least they are not dying.
The children are safe.
And that is all I could hope to ask for.
Wow, amazing! It's finished! And in only half a year, too! I know it was pretty much the same ending as Mockingjay, but hey, the story was different enough right? (in parts at least...) Anyway, I would like to thank you all for reading! Whether you stuck with me from the begining or whether you just found the story. This was my first fic, and I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. It seems like several people enjoyed it!
And thanks for all the reviews, too! They kept me writing.
Until next time!