I'll have a proper A/N at the end. Because, yeah...
She wakes up in a white room. Completely, blindingly white and empty other than a raised podium at one end with two thin stands sticking out of it. There are several cameras displayed prominently, and speakers. She knows that there are probably many more hidden where she can't see them.
This definitely isn't District Thirteen, she thinks. Dammit. All her work for nothing.
A door opens out of the featureless whiteness and several masked people come in. They wield guns, and wear body armour. A part of her is pleased that there is all this security just for one victor, even as she desperately reaches for a weapon that isn't there to try and find a way out.
It is only now she realises she is naked. Not that it matters, really.
A sound rings across the room. Gunshot. She freezes, just for a second, but it is enough. Two of her captors grab her by the arms and drag her towards the raised podium. She struggles all the way. It doesn't do anything; they are stronger, and the third member of the party now has his gun trained on her again.
Like they'd really shoot her when she could be so useful. But she likes being alive more than she fancies being dead, so she is wary of it all the same. It might be what makes the difference; but then again, it might not. She's here now. All she can do is tough it out and hope that the rebellion considers her important enough to send a rescue mission.
Her hands are clicked into the stands on the podium. At the same time restraints rise out of the floor to connect around her feet. The painted metal is ice cold against her bare skin, but she refuses to shiver. She won't give them the satisfaction of seeing weakness.
The three people leave the room, their job evidently done. Nothing happens. She looks around the room. There's not much to see. The walls are as white and as featureless as ever; they are not even marked from the gunshot. A lone deformed bullet lies on the floor, which is as uniform as the walls with the exception of a series of pin sized holes dotted around the podium area. It is the only evidence that someone else has even been here.
She wonders how long they'll make her wait. Maybe this is some kind of trick of theirs. Drag out the time before talking to the prisoner. Make them sweat. Drag out the anticipation, and soon enough they'll come up with ideas of what you're going to do to them. Ideas much worse than anything you have the imagination or the resources to come up with. By the time you talk to them, they'll be willing to tell you much more.
Only it won't work on her, she thinks with some triumph. She's figured them out. So she passes the hours by resolutely not thinking about the future. Notices a shallow circular groove at the edges of the podium, and deliberately doesn't ponder on what it is for. Focuses her attention on the little deformed bullet, the odd thing out. Tries to ignore the cramp that is beginning to form from spending so long in one spot.
It startles her when the loudspeakers in the corners of the ceilings crackle to life after a forever of waiting for something to happen. She had expected humans in person. Though really, she shouldn't be surprised at the distance. This is the Capitol; they would never get their hands dirty in person when it could be avoided.
The voice that emerges is the President's, of all people. "Miss Mason. I trust you have had a pleasant stay so far."
She ignores the insincere words. "Come to question little old me in person, have you? I'm so honoured."
"I am glad. However, enough of the pleasantries. I am sure that you know why we are here."
"Actually I don't," she says, deciding to play dumb. "But I'm sure you're dying to tell me."
"Apt words, Miss Mason. It would be rather… regrettable if they were to apply to anyone you know."
She glares up at the nearest camera. "You've already tried that trick once, Snow. It's not going to work."
There is no response from the President. The wall in front of her turns into a screen, displaying images. Peeta Mellark, curled up naked in a room identical to her own. Annie Cresta, with Peacekeepers dragging her from her home in District Four.
Johanna forces contempt into her voice. "I'm not Everdeen or Fi- Odair. What happens to the two of them doesn't matter. Not to me."
The screen switches to District Seven, the camera following Blight around. She is almost worried – and curses herself for feeling that way – before spotting a vaguely familiar dark-haired bowl cut in the corner of a frame. It belongs to Adric Stone, somebody she'd never actually spoken to but recognises as a member of Aaron Quincy's bomber squad. He'd been on the list of casualties from the failed uprising earlier this year. This is old footage, she realises, and feels a burst of triumph for her District. They must be causing enough chaos for Snow to not want to show her any images.
"Go on," she says. "Show me more. Where's Blue-y? I'd hate for him to miss out on all the fun."
"If you cannot be persuaded to show simple compassion for your fellow humans, Miss Mason, so be it. What do you know about what occurred in the arena of the Seventy Fifth Hunger Games?"
She fakes innocence. "What do you mean, what happened? It was a normal Games. I'd just turned on Everdeen – I needed to break away from that alliance, you see, and ended up fighting Brutus. I was on my way to find other people and then the sky exploded."
She knows her story isn't fooling anyone. She'd made her allegiance rather clear through her actions in the Quell. On national television, no less. But she might as well buy time. It's not like she's planning on telling Snow anything anyway.
If Snow is discouraged by her responses, his voice doesn't show it. "Let me rephrase, then. What do you know about District Thirteen?"
"What everyone knows. It was bombed during the rebellion and has been a nuclear wasteland ever since. Why?"
He ignores her question. "So are you saying you know nothing?"
She nods. "Exactly."
"So can you provide us with an explanation of your actions in the recent Quarter Quell?"
"I was doing what seemed best for my survival."
Still no reaction from Snow. He keeps questioning in his almost eerily calm voice, and she denies all knowledge of everything he asks for. His fall is the one thing she has left to live for. She's not going to compromise it now.
When he finally gives up on the questioning it's almost a relief. She'd been wondering when they'd start torturing her for a while now – because the thought that they'd do anything else hasn't even crossed her mind. This is the Capitol. They've never been reluctant to use pain before.
A large metal pipe descends from the ceiling to rest in the groves around her. She's completely engulfed in the darkness. Another trick of theirs, she thinks, to try and keep her mind off the anticipation. Keep you in the dark so that you can't see what will happen, so that you're left guessing. Well it's not working, not on her, she thinks as her muscles tense.
Just when she's decided that this is purely psychological she feels a jet of water hit her head and shoulders. The shock of it knocks the air out of her and she only has time for a quick gasp before the water's over her head. She holds her breath. Struggles against her bonds, though she already knows it'll do no good. Her lungs burn and she forces herself to keep the air in. She's not drowning, not now.
They need her alive, anyway. All she has to do is hold on to the lungful of air until they decide that she's in danger of dying and drain the water. She's too useful to let die. She holds onto the thought with the air. Not much longer. It can't be too much longer. They don't want her to die. So don't breathe. Not too long now.
Finally, finally, when she's almost given up, the pipe rises back up to the ceiling, letting the water spill out onto the floor. She spends a few seconds gasping for air. Salty water drips into her mouth; she spits it out in the direction of the cameras, forces herself to stand tall.
"Is that it?"
No reply from the speakers. Nothing for a long moment. And then the pain begins.
End of Book Two
So yeah. This is then end – but rest assured, there will be a sequel. It might be a while before it goes up, but I'll try to make sure you don't have to wait too long.
Trivia time and acknowledgements: the torture technique was inspired by 'The Happiness Patrol', which is a Seventh Doctor-era serial of Classic Doctor Who, though I adapted it quite a bit.
Thanks to everyone who stuck by me through Fearful to Fearsome and Saving Fire, as well as to all you later readers. I might write for myself, but I post for you guys :)