Author: aimmyarrowshigh
Fandom: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins; Matched, Ally Condie; Across the Universe, Beth Revis
Story Title: "What They Don't Tell You About History"
Character/Relationships: Cassia, Ky, Xander, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Johanna, Cinna, The Official, Snow, Amy, Elder, Jason
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Spoilers for Mockingjay, Matched, and Across the Universe. Some second-person POV, if that needs a warning?
Wordcount: 5,000
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. All characters, settings, and proprietary language are owned by the author of the work from which this is derived.

What They Don't Tell You About History

Surely you know that once there was a country called the United States of America. 38°0' N, 97°0'W. 12,380 miles of coastline back then. Only 12,380 miles.

You did know that? Good. Then we'll start from the beginning.

In the country of the United States of America there was a land parcel called Colorado, and the capitol of Colorado was called Denver. Oh, you knew that? You're a smart one. We can dig deeper, then. What we bet you don't know is that it was in Denver that Amy Martin used to run, around a circular path in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where things were lush and green, back then. They mentioned that, did they?

You think you know everything?

What they never tell you is that it was in those foothills that Amy Martin met Jason Snow.

Permit us the luxury of telling you this story out of order. If the past has taught us anything, it's that perhaps Order is wrong. Oh, it's not capitalized anymore, is it. Order. It's only order now.

Apologies, apologies. You're the first to inquire about this story and it's a little hard to tell. A little hard to hear.

What you need to understand is this: these people are not heroes. They are ordinary people – girls, mostly, and a few very good boys – who did what they needed to do to save their own lives, the lives of their families and friends and the children that they did not think they would ever have.

But there are villains in this story. There are very bad people – women, mostly, and a few very bad men – who will have no redemption. If you are looking for a tale of peace and understanding and conflict resolution, this story is not that one. This story is what happened to the United States of America, and it is not a pretty story. There is blood, and there are dead children, and there are words, so many words, such a horrific carnage of words that are lost.

So please, permit us the luxury of lingering over our own. We don't know when they will be taken from us.

What we'd like to tell you next is that Ky Markham was a good boy, despite what they may say. He was a good boy, and he was born Ky Hawthorne.

Sins of the father, they say. Or they used to say. Sins of the father.

After the great ship Godspeed launched, a very grave mistake was uncovered. I'm not speaking of that fuel error, not of the uranium. Though there was uranium, of course, it was in the bombs. But those came later.

That error was that if all of the greatest minds and biggest hearts in the United States of America were gone, hurtling off towards Centauri-Earth on the Godspeed, there were no great minds or big hearts left on Sol-Earth; that is, Earth as they knew it. The economy had collapsed, the sea was closing in: the land parcel called California had broken off and floated away. That made the economy worse. They used to make films in California; there are a few left in the library, if you're interested. There's a particularly lovely one called The Wizard of Oz, where the world lights up in color, somewhere over the rainbow. It's a good, cheerful story. You may wish to see it after this. Be careful with the disquette – it's old and weak now, and we've only the one.

There's a witch in The Wizard of Oz, too.

What we would like you to remember, or rather to try, is that Jason Snow was not a bad boy. He made mistakes. He did not treat Amy Martin well. But he was not bad. He was not a bad boy. He should not be held responsible for the bad acts of his uncle. He never told Amy Martin that his uncle was that Snow, the one on television. Amy hated that man, and Jason didn't blame her. He hated his uncle, too, but his uncle loved him. As much as that bad, bad man could love anything, he did love his nephew, and we implore you to remember that as much a monster as that first Snow was, he was also a man whose nephew died alone.

Jason Snow died alone for the dollar – an old currency, printed on paper and once very prominent, if you can believe that – in his pocket. A little boy killed him; beat him with a bat in an alley for that dollar so he could buy bread for his mother.

That little boy was not bad, either. He just wanted to survive. A child will do anything to save himself, save his family and friends and the children he is too young to comprehend someday having.

Once that first Snow learned that, it ate at him, rubbed him raw from the base of his oozing black pit of a heart. It colored the black words in his daily televised speeches; the ones that we now realize caused that economic collapse that stole his nephew away from him. It's funny what a little time will tell, isn't it? If that first Snow had never been on television in the land parcel that floated away, he never would have set into motion that violent rhetoric that scared the Witch and made her turn all those people against the ideals that left the United States of America in the Godspeed. The economy might have bolstered if people weren't so afraid of their neighbors' children. We'll never know, now.

What they may not tell you about History, and we will be impressed if they do, is that though it is written by the Victors and can be rewritten by the Elders, it never really changes. It cannot.

Before there was a Society, before there was Panem, there was the United States of America. 38°0' N, 97°0'W. 12,380 miles of coastline back then. Only 12,380 miles.

It was less than six months after Jason Snow died alone that the country South of the United States fractured and crumbled and sank into the ocean. It was an old country, lush with pyramids and old kings and haunting rituals with black obsidian stone. And it was a new country, with large cities and flourishing language and 113,000,000 people. It once shared a border 2,067 miles long with the United States of America.

When Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos sank into the sea, almost sixty million of its people survived crossing that border.

It was everything the first Snow and the Witch had warned them all about.

Aboard the Godspeed, they got the first warbling message of trouble from a daughter of the Witch, the one with pretty eyes, the one who died defying her mother and so died at the first Snow's hand.

Oh, you didn't know that? You believed those stories about her, that she was killed by District rebels?

The first Snow killed her after she made that transmission to the Godspeed, when she begged them to reanimate the President and let him tell her what to do. He was always so good at inspiring people to good, she remembered, and she needed help now, so badly. It was wrong, penning in all those people, it was wrong, killing off – all they wanted was to get married, they wanted to adopt all those orphaned children, how was that so wrong? Really? It was wrong, building those fences.

So she sent the transmission to Godspeed. Here is what remains.


Remember, dear one. The sins of the mother.

Two years later, the second transmission came through to the Godspeed, in the fruity, unctuous voice of the first Snow.


But the Godspeed did not turn back.

That was the true First Rebellion. And no one in Panem ever knew.

Azimuth Everdeen was a good and kind man. His great-grandfather opposed the first Snow in the District Rebellion and was put to death by firing squad.

His great-grandfather had been a learned man, a professor at a centuries-old university that was no longer there, and he taught classes in silly, impractical things – literature, poetry, voice and style and prose. It was a joy he had shared with his uncle, a military man who had been chosen for the Godspeed's voyage to Centauri-Earth. His cousin, Amy Martin, had been supposed to come live with their family after her parents were frozen, but she never came out of the building.

Before they left, Katriel Everdeen had gone to the bookshop with his uncle. Books were expensive after the finance collapse, but this was an important occasion if there ever was one. Uncle had bought Katriel a book of poetry by Dylan Thomas and helped him pay for a matching copy, and they signed their names to each others' front covers. Just think – one existing in the United States of America then, and one all the way on Centauri-Earth in five hundred years. That is the power of words.

Azimuth Everdeen never knew Katriel, but his grandfather, Dylan, made sure that he grew up knowing how to read and to write and to appreciate all of the things his own father, such a learned, smart man, had died to protect. He pressed books from Katriel's office, with their sweet-scented leather covers and creamy white pages, into his grandson's hands and together they read the poem the smart man had wanted on his gravestone, if he'd gotten to have one.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

And Katriel Everdeen did not go gentle into that good night. He prayed to his forbidden Adonai as the first Snow yanked the bag over his head and walked him into the field that was once the college green, and Katriel said from behind the burlap, We were right to compare you. He was a wise man, but he was wrong. His words forked lightning.

Katriel Everdeen did not get a gravestone engraved with the words of Dylan Thomas. His bullet-riddled body was tossed into a dumpsite with a hundred others, all intellectuals whose crimes were made of words.

Words can be taken away, dear one. So can those who write them. Just give us a little more time.

Through all of this, Amy Martin hung suspended in ice aboard the Godspeed. She dreamt of running around that path in the foothills of Denver. She dreamt of Jason Snow.

Lucas Cornelius led District Thirteen in its bloody rebellion against the first Snow's Capitol. They killed the Witch, do you remember? But they saved the baby. They weren't monsters. They didn't kill children.

Does his name sound familiar? No?

Perhaps his code name would help you.

Lucas Cornelius was History's second Cinna the Conspirator.

The Godspeed received no transmissions for the next seventy-five years. Generations died, and others were born. Skin tones began to meld into beautiful golden-blue shades of brown, like the coffee with cream that no one left alive – on Godspeed, in Panem – could remember, all the magnificent strange trees washed away. These were the generations who would never see Centauri-Earth, but their great-great-great-great-grandchildren would. Oh, their great-great-great-great-grandchildren would, and they would have a wonderful colony there on Centauri-Earth; do you remember who they put in that vault down below? That president, he was so wonderful. He was so good at inspiring people to do good.

Everyone knows what happened in the 74TH Hunger Games. Maybe there never would have been those Hunger Games if Jason Snow hadn't been killed, all alone, by a hungry child who just wanted a ration of bread. We'll never know. You can poke at the threads of History, wind and unwind them, cut them out and tie new on, but the holes will still be there, the unraveling. You can't get rid of History, no matter what the Victors write.

What you may or may not know, dear one, is the importance of names. Have you noticed? The Snows, the Cinnas, the Hawthornes and Everdeens. Names matter.

But there's a name missing, isn't there? Yes, sometimes names die off – oh, now don't look at us like that; it's nothing bad, not for him, never. It's just that sometimes, names die off in generations of only daughters, but that's the best way, isn't it?

"Xander" is a family name, too. Isn't it a lovely one? Once upon a time it meant "man's defender." Isn't that nice?

Two Xander Mellarks died the day the Capitol dropped bombs on a bakery in what was then District Twelve.

We are so sorry you didn't know. History never tells that part.

Of course you know what happened to the Mellark who lived. Peeta. He went mad in the Capitol, tortured by the last Snow, and then he got better, was saved by the man Cinna, whom Peeta thought dead. He did die, shortly after, after confessing that he was who put Peeta up to it all.

That was a lie, mostly. It wasn't a bad lie.

The man Cinna was not the same elegant creature Peeta had known, when he died. Cinna had always been so good at what he did; channeling his rebellion quietly into his work, so no one could be hurt but himself. But he heard Peeta Mellark screaming, and his work had hurt someone else, a good boy, and Cinna – Cinna was a good man. He confessed, the third Cinna the Conspirator, and he died knowing that outside the walls of his prison, a war raged for the good of Peeta Mellark's someday-children. Cinna the Third Conspirator died knowing he was the man who set Panem on fire.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Of all the things written and said about Katniss Everdeen, very few are true. There are many true things about Katniss Everdeen that are never written or said, and many untrue things that have been. If you will permit, we would like to tell you a true thing:

Katniss Everdeen inherited not only her father's singing voice, but his books. Her son inherited Xander, and she gave him the gift of Thomas.

Now, please, this next part is hard to tell. We don't want to trouble you with the details; they've been lost to History even among our own. What you need to understand is that Gale Hawthorne was a good man. He made mistakes, oh, yes, he made mistakes. But he was a good man. He did not know about the Other Countries.

That was Snow's fault. First Snow, last Snow. All of them. It was Snows' fault that Gale Hawthorne did not know about the Other Countries when their bombs began to fall.

We do not know which of the Other Countries' bombs fell on the generators in District Three. Understandably, that information has been lost. When District Three went up in a great mushroom cloud, all of the information was lost. Panem Populi – that is, Gale's Panem; Bread for the People – depended entirely on technology, the old spidering scripts written by Beetee that dispersed the grain and the seafood and the textiles and the coal and the diamonds. They all went up in a great flash and then the quiet – the quiet – and then that roar. That roar like you have never heard.

And then more quiet. Silence.

Please believe, Gale Hawthorne did not know about the Other Countries. He sent his wife and children away that day only because his wife had not seen her home in District Seven in so many years. Gale Hawthorne was in District Three when it fell, and Johanna Mason was in District Seven with their children. Far north, far west.

Weeks later, when the bombs stopped falling and troops in all-white marched through District Seven, building the fences back up, Johanna Mason laid stones along the river outside her home. Then she filled her pockets with more stones, and walked into that water. She left a note at home, in beautiful clear cursive, telling only the story of Sisyphus.


••• - - - •••



••• - - - •••






What Panem Populi had taught Godspeed was that you must tell your countrymen the truth. When District Three did not answer their distress calls, the bridge captain of the good ship Godspeed told his countrymen the truth: their children would not see Centauri-Earth. Their children's children would not see Centauri-Earth. Their great-grandchildren might, in their final days. But they may not reach Centauri-Earth at all.

So many people died, in the days that followed the truth.

That does tend to happen, doesn't it? History shows us that. When the last Snow made a deal always to tell the truth, he died, and Primrose Everdeen died, and Alma Coin died, too. When Gale Hawthorne was not told the truth, he died, and District Three died, and Johanna Mason died, too. The truth is a deadly thing, and terrible. The truth reminds us in its every syllable, every half-breath pushed out to form every sound of every word, of how those are lost to it; those gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years' animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time! Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!

But you may ask, how do we know of the Howl? That poem was lost. It was not one of the Hundred Poems.

We know of the painting too; the Persistence of Memory. We know of Starry Night. We know the Water Lilies and we know David. We remember Guernica.


We'll get there, we promise. This story, remember, does not quite go in order. We're sorry. History doesn't always go in order, either.

What the first Eldest did not know was that a girl who knew Jason Snow slumbered away, frozen, in the belly of his ship.

It is funny what only is revealed to time, isn't it?

Do you remember that baby the District Thirteen rebels saved when they killed the Witch? She grew up. She had children, and her children had children, and so on, as they do, until one daughter became the High Official. She was not a bad woman. She learned from the Witch's mistakes and the bloody, terrible errors of the Snows. There would be no weapons in the Society.

But she also learned from the Witch's mistakes, and the errors of the Snows, and she understood what they had not since the first Snow killed Katriel Everdeen: words are weapons too, and their blades never dull. They are fierce and sharp and leave behind shrapnel wherever they fall; they cut to the bone without leaving a mark and they poison the brain to make it stronger.

What she did not understand about words, however, was their ability to regenerate endlessly. Once they have planted their metal seeds in the ground, they remain, hidden by the dirt, and all it takes is one footstep to set them off again, still fierce and still sharp.

Finna Everdeen was asked to be on the Committee of the Hundred Poems out of respect for her lineage. She would be the last Everdeen. She would marry Neil Reyes, and then there would be no more. She was Everdeen only because it was custom; the boys in that family were Mellarks, the girls Everdeens. Across the continent, exiled in the Outer Provinces, were the Hawthornes. That would end.

Oh, that would end. The Society would not allow for Mellarks and Everdeens and Hawthornes. Finna Everdeen would marry Neil Reyes, and there would be no more Everdeens. The branches were far apart now, the Mellark line and the Everdeen. Four or five generations; please, forgive us, the ink is smudged. It was written in a hand so unused to writing, you see.

But the Hawthornes, out in the Outer Provinces. We're sure you remember what happened to them.

It always ends in bombs for the Hawthornes, doesn't it?

We did warn you. And we are so sorry.

If one believes Homer, Sisyphus was the wisest and most prudent of mortals. Sisyphus stole the secrets of the beings known then as gods, and Sisyphus, like all heroes – good girls and bad men, good boys and bad women – was clever. He was cast into an endless terrible place, Tartarus, and was meant to be chained to a plow for all eternity and work over the earth. He turned the chains on his captor.

But when he had seen again the face of this world, enjoyed water and sun, warm stones and the sea, he no longer wanted to go back to the infernal darkness. Recalls, signs of anger, warnings were of no avail. Many years more he lived facing the curve of the gulf, the sparkling sea, and the smiles of earth. War came and seized the impudent man by the collar and, snatching him from his joys, lead him forcibly back to the underworld, where his rock was ready for him.

This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth.

Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain. We see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate.

He is stronger than his rock.

Elder and Cassia Maria Reyes were born on the very same day. Isn't that funny, how History aligns its heroes sometimes? Neither of them would ever know, but we do, and now you do, too. And that makes it History. You remember, please, so we can keep it.

Hyacinth Cornelius lost her name when she became an Official with the Matching Department. That was alright. She did not need her name. She had an Artifact that told her everything she needed to know, a relic that Headquarters had wanted since the Dark Days. No one knew it still existed. It was beautiful, bound in sweet-smelling leather – now cracked with age – and the thick white pages were yellow and fragile.

Inside, there were very few words, but as they used to say, a picture paints a thousand. These were pictures of a beautiful bronze-haired man wearing gold netting and seashells and carrying a three-pronged weapon, looking virile and fierce and perfect. These were pictures of a blond-haired boy in a crisp tuxedo, fast sketches of a messy-haired woman looking out towards the sea, a sharp-eyed girl slinging an axe like a purse.

And there were those pictures, too. The girl on fire.

So when Hyacinth Cornelius was given the chance to choose which Province she would like to Match, she chose Oria. She made sure that a green dress she had seen in the book would be included in that year's selections.

Hyacinth Cornelius, Matching Official, made certain that Cassia Maria Reyes, of the lineage Everdeen, would be Matched with both Xander Thomas Carrow (lineage Mellark) and Ky Markham.

You remember, don't you? He was born Ky Hawthorne, in the Outer Provinces at the River Sisyphus, where Johanna Mason died.

Hyacinth Cornelius, who had her name taken from her by the Society, was History's last Cinna the Conspirator.

Elder unplugged Amy Martin on the day of Cassia Maria Reyes' Matching Ceremony.

Elder and Amy never knew about Cassia or Xander or Ky; they never even knew about Peeta or Katniss or Gale. But neither did Cassia and Xander and Ky know about Elder or Amy. They were creatures of three disparate worlds, and they had no bearing on each others' futures.

But of course, you can see that isn't true. Can't you?

Finna Everdeen had a compact that once belonged to an ancestor so far away on the family tree that her name was forgotten. It was gold, and beautiful, and had been a gift from Katniss Everdeen to her younger sister. She had gotten it from her designer in the Hunger Games. It had a hidden compartment in the bottom, and Finna Everdeen ripped a page from Katriel's book and folded it up small and hid it there.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

She ripped another page, too, another beautiful, wild poem that would not survive. She gave it to Xavia Mellark, the last Mellark, in the dark of night, and Xavia engraved it, tiny, tiny, on a set of silver cufflinks.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares,

We are sorry.

That's all of that world that has survived.

We don't understand how that world ended, if it was made of angelheaded boys and girls on fire, raging against the dying light. Do you?

Will you tell us, please? That can be your story for us. Give us the ending. We gave you the beginning.

Go on. We're listening.