So this is my second story, and I changed a lot of the actual book, I hope that doesn't drive anyone away it's the first time I do something like this but It was another Idea that started to nag me after I finished Reconstruction. So hopefully enjoy, and if you like it please Review? =D
Chapter 1: Trains
I hate trains.
Too many things seem to happen while I'm on them. The food is good though, at least the trains I've been on. I guess in the Capital it's considered bad manners to underfeed your human sacrifices.
This occasion is in no way different. The victory tour has been a living hell, especially having to face Peeta after I told him that my love for him was an act. I still haven't told him about my conversation with President Snow, I've been trying to figure out how to integrate it into a conversation. Though I'm assuming the first step would be to attempt a conversation.
It was during our first meeting with Effie, as usual her zeal as she explained the importance of keeping a proper schedule was irritating me, I lashed out at her and stormed out of the train the second it stopped. It was unfair, Effie hadn't done anything that she wasn't supposed to, but I didn't want to be in that small room with Peeta, even as I looked away I could feel his eyes locked on to me, burning holes through me.
I followed the train tracks for a while; it was nice to see some greenery for once. So this is district 11, I think to myself. I sit on the floor to catch my breath and minutes later I hear footsteps fumbling towards me. "I don't want to hear a lecture" I say menacingly at the road behind me.
"Don't worry, I don't plan to." Says Peeta nonchalantly.
The sound of his voice catches me by surprise, "Oh, I thought you were Haymitch…Sorry."
"No, he's still preoccupied with his food." He sits awkwardly a few feet behind me, stretching out his prosthetic leg and supporting his body with his arms, letting his head fall back slightly.
"Bad day?" he says, staring intently at the sky.
"I don't want to talk about it." I do, maybe I do, want to explain the situation that we're in.
"Oh" is all he says.
"How's your leg?" I ask trying to fill in the gap of silence.
"It's fine, as good as it will get I guess." He stops for a moment and says, "I need to talk to you, about how I acted, on that last train ride. I hate that we ignore each other then have to act madly in love every time there is a camera nearby." I say nothing, I only listen carefully. "I'm sorry I expected anything from you. After the games were over I mean. I always knew you had something with Gale, I guess I just got caught up in the fantasy."
A few moments pass, heavy with silence, before he speaks again. "I thought maybe if I stop acting wounded we might have a shot at being friends."
His offer makes me feel better much to my surprise. "I'd like that. Thank you."
"So you want to tell me what's wrong?" he says brightly.
"Eventually" I say, instantly ruling out any conversations about our staged romance and our perfect shining bright future together. "I just don't really want to talk about it now."
He gets up slowly, struggling with his leg, and lends me his hands for assistance. "Let's go back to the train; I'm sure Effie is waiting for you."
"Damn! Was it really that bad?" I say as I realize the lengthy lecture that is sure to come.
"You should have seen the look on her face; I've never anyone tighten their lips so hard." I manage a smile. Maybe "friends" is something we can accomplish.
Luckily I escape with only a five minute rant about how people lack etiquette in this world, not to mention the importance of keeping a proper schedule.
Tired from the day, I lock myself in my room, shower and fall asleep until there is a knock on my door signaling that dinner has been served.
I find only Haymitch and Effie in the dining room. "Where is everyone else?" I say while looking at the empty chairs.
Haymitch doesn't acknowledge my question as he struggles to bring a spoonful of soup to his mouth through his drunken haze.
"Cinna and Portia are preparing some outfits for your first day in district 11, they will be eating dinner in their rooms. I have no clue why Peeta hasn't arrived yet, I'm sure he was properly informed that dinner was being served." Says Effie as she sips some hot chocolate.
I consider eating but decide that I can't stand an hour of no one but Effie. "I'll go get him; maybe he didn't hear the knock."
I walk over to his room and knock firmly on his door. There is no answer.
"Peeta?" I say close to his door. "Are you alright? Dinner was served already."
For a moment there is no response but then I hear rustling inside the room. "Yeah, I'm fine; I'll be out in a second. I'm just washing up." I hear him yell from inside the room.
Satisfied with the knowledge that I won't have to make small talk with Effie I walk back to dining room and begin to eat.
Peeta enters shortly after, his eyes red and puffy. Before I have a chance to speak Effie shrieks "What happened to your eyes? This won't do, you two are being paraded around the town tomorrow!"
Peeta frowns and says "Is it that bad? I was washing my face and I pressed some button by mistake and some thick soap got in my eyes. Don't worry I'm sure it will be fine in a few hours."
"It better be!" says Effie in a continuously shrill tone "If not your prep team is going to have to perform miracles tomorrow."
I look at Peeta for a moment and he gives me an awkward glance at first before turning his face to his food. Dinner goes by quickly, with Effie only interrupting periodically to check Peeta's eyes and lecture us about the magnitude of physical appearances.
After dinner I return to my room and fall asleep. Tomorrow, I have to face Rue's family.
I rub some cold water on my face to make sure the swelling goes away. I don't need my prep team badgering me about why I've been crying. I inspect my eyes briefly, they look normal again. I dry my face and head to bed. Tomorrow Katniss and I will be in love again…or at least I will be.
Sleep doesn't come easy but eventually my body gives in. In the morning my prep team busts through the door, energetic as ever, and puts me in some simple grey slacks and an orange dress shirt. I wonder what Katniss will be wearing. As they place products on my hair, mindlessly babbling about parties and other "Important" events my mind struggles to think about something that isn't Katniss. Soon enough though I don't have to imagine, Effie escorts me to the justice building where I see her, wrapped in a beautiful knee length orange dress a black lace bow tied off center, with her Mockingjay pin in the middle of the knot. I swallow hard…can I really smile and kiss her and still see her as a friend?
We are escorted through the city and its torturous, the Peace keepers in this town seem much more aggressive than those back in district 12. They make no attempts to keep any pretense of being there for the security of the people. They watch the people, riffles poised and ready to respond to any act of insubordination.
I squeeze Katniss' hand and she gives me a knowing look.
When the "joyous" parade is finished we are escorted back to their justice building, where we give citizens of the district. That's when it all goes wrong. The first mistake was when I gave the families of Thresh and Rue one month of my yearly winnings for the rest of my life, but after Katniss makes her speech and an old man in the crowd whistles a tune, it quickly spirals downward. The peacekeepers hurry us inward to the justice building, guns in hand. And when Katniss insist of getting her flowers, we see the worst possible thing happen, as two peacekeepers pull the old man out of the crowd, force him to kneel on the steps of the justice building and fire two shots into the back of his head. As if out of instinct, I get in front of Katniss and force her back into the justice building before any peacekeepers feel the need to "assist" us.
Once inside it takes me a few seconds to fully register what happened, and when I see the expression in Katniss' face I realize that there is something she hasn't told me. I grab her roughly by the arm and drag her to Haymitch. "We need to talk?" I say quietly to Haymitch. He doesn't respond, he merely turns around and signals me to follow him with his index finger.
He takes us to a dusty dome shaped room. It doesn't look like it has been used in decades.
Katniss rips her arms from mine and looks away. "What's going on? I know you two know something, you always have some secret way of communicating, just like you did in the arena."
Katniss continues to avoid my face. "Katniss!" I nearly yell "What the hell is going on, why did they just shoot a man for whistling?"
Haymitch's eyes shoot open. "They what?"
He stares intently at Katniss, but her eyes won't budge from the crack in dusty tile near her feet.
"Katniss!" Haymitch yells as he grabs her harshly by the shoulder and turns her around. The sheer force rattles her small frame and I can see her struggle to keep her balance. "What happened out there?"
She breathes in deeply and finally looks at me and Haymitch.
"President Snow came to visit me." She says shakily. And I instantly see the fear spread over Haymitch's eyes.
She explains how Snow told her that our act with the berries did not fool him. How it might be misconstrued as an act of rebellion to the other districts, and most importantly how he might hold us and our families responsible for the "misunderstanding."
My heart sinks. "And why is it that I'm just hearing about this now?" I say angrily, my eyes darting back and forth between Katniss and Haymitch. "You knew something about this too didn't you?" I say accusingly to Haymitch "It hasn't changed since the arena, like if I'm too stupid to deal with this situation." In my frustration I grab a nearby lamp and send it hurling against the wall, shattering it to a thousand pieces. I'm ready to go on a rampage, but the shocked look in Katniss' face subdues my rage.
"She hadn't told me anything either, but I figured something like this would happen." he places his fingers on his eyes and scrounges his face as he rubs them. The situation is difficult enough even more when he's completely hung over.
"Ok, that's all that's happened that's all I know ok? So just help us out Haymitch, just get us through this tour without any mista—" his annoyed scoff cuts her off. "You still don't understand do you? You never escape the games sweetheart!" The bitterness in his voice is palpable. "Do you think it all ends with this tour? What happens during the next games Katniss? You two will always be under the scrutiny of the Capitol when you're mentor's."
My eyes open wide at the realization of what he's telling us, and shortly after Katniss does the same. "You mean…" she says hesitantly.
"Yes Katniss" Haymitch says slowly "The second you brought those berries to your mouth and told the nation you would die for Peeta you signed your fate over to the Capitol. You two will be expected…" he stops and rethinks with approach "No, demanded to give the Capitol their star crossed lovers for the rest of your lives." He pauses for breath. "You're going to have to marry this boy Katniss."
I can see the pain in her face as it twists and forms torturous expressions. I guess the idea of being with me, let alone marrying me, is the most disgusting thing she's ever had to think about.
I turn around and start to walk out of the room. "Where do you think you're going?" says Haymitch bluntly.
Without turning around I say "We're done here aren't we? I'm going back to the train…I'm tired." I walk out the room and gently close the door. I walk back to the train and avoid all eye contact. I enter my room and fall limply on the bed. I feel like screaming but I won't.
I hate trains.
It seems like every time I'm in one a part of me has been sentenced to death.