A/N: I can't take full credit for this. So thanks to Lily for starting this RP with me, regardless of me ditching RP ideas and being absent from the internet for, like, the past, idk, 2 years? Ha. Love you Lily! Sorry I'm pathetic!
Full Summary: A total re-write of the series, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have won the Hunger Games, making history! But as Katniss returns home, after telling Peeta their love story was a lie, she finds both the two men in her life are facing their own dilemmas. To top it off, uprisings in the districts, rumors of a rebellion, and the Quarter Quell will be in less than a year. Can Katniss set aside her problems to focus on how much Panem actually needs her? And if she does, what can one girl possibly do to start the revolution of the Panem Government?
Chapter 1. Homecoming
Katniss Everdeen watched nervously from her window as the train from the Capitol came to a stop in District 12. She continued to avoid Peeta's gaze as she had the majority of the ride for fear of the disapproval in his eyes. She slowly got to her feet when she felt the train stop and headed wordlessly to the door.
Despite the waves of mixed and negative emotions streaming through him, Peeta somehow managed to force a convincing smile before standing. He knew full well the cameras are already filming outside to boardcast his and Katniss's arrival home and has to keep up the act that he is happy, even when he is far from it. Regardless, he pushed on until he was standing right beside Katniss. Without hesitation or thinking to even ask her permission, Peeta reached down and grabbed ahold of her hand. It was time to put on another show for the audience, although this one he knew he would have to force out more then ever before.
Katniss glanced at their hands and then up at Peeta's face for the briefest of seconds before looking forward and squeezing his hand once in acknowledgement. She put on one of the biggest smiles she could muster and, forcing a bounce into her step, pushed out onto the street with Peeta, waiting to greet her family happily and Gale, less so.
The instant the doors were pushed open and the two Victors stepped out, a roar of applause and cheering quickly follows as a crowd as large as those at the Reapings stands at a safe distance from the train. In the front lines, of course, are an entire camera team and news reporters filming the audience and the two of theirs' reactions.
Without missing a beat, Peeta's grin widened as he began to wave to everybody. He tugged on Katniss's hand and began to run towards the group to greet everybody happily, pulling her behind him but not roughly. His main goal was to broadcast to the world that the two of them are still together, want to be forever, and want to be surrounded in family. And he's thus far doing a damn good job of it. Katniss burst out into the girly giggles that were showcased during the interviews before the Hunger Games and skipped quickly after the running Peeta, waving to the camera crews. She forced the sadness and weariness from her body and pretended to be completely in love with Peeta, even while searching the crowd imperceptibly for a certain dark haired hunter boy.
Both Katniss and Peeta's gazes into the crowd were quickly blocked as one of the head cameramen stepped in front of the two. On cue, the female reporter, who was obviously from the Capitol due to the yellow tint of her flesh and metallic silver lipstick she wore, stepped into the shot as well, shoving a microphone in front of Katniss's face. "Katniss Everdeen, how does it feel now that Panem's favorite love duo are finally back home? You sure made history back in your games, how about a few words on that?"
Peeta simply stopped next to Katniss once hearing the barrage of questions. He did all he could to surpress a sigh and keep smiling, but this time he was staying silent to let Katniss be the one to speak.
Katniss smiled at the reporter and leaned her head gently on Peeta's shoulder, feeling drained and just wanting to run home to Prim and her mother. She squeezed Peeta's hand and smiled lovingly at him, even though her heart was breaking even further. "I think we're just happy to be home and to continue our lives and relationship surrounded by family and love. I certainly never went into the Games wanting to make history and I know Peeta feels the same, but I'm just happy we're both still here and alive, but thank you just the same."
The reporter smiled and opened her mouth again to ask another question but a different voice called out before she could start. "KATNISS! KATNISS!" All the cameras immediately turned as a small flash of blonde pushed itself through the crowd and ran towards her. Prim dove forward passed the reporter with her left arm extended towards Katniss, a confused and hissing cat craddled in her right.
"PRIM!" Katniss immediately let go of Peeta's hand as soon as she heard Prim's little voice. She dove toward Prim and pulled her through some of the remaining people that were between them, holding her tightly against her chest and ignoring Buttercup. Prim clung onto Katniss as tightly as her arm would let her, a few stray tears falling with joy. She just continued to hold her sister, like she would blow away if she let her go, but did eventually manage to loosen her grip a little to smile up at Katniss. At this point, all cameras were all trained on the two and even the news reporter remained silent to let the scene take place.
"You really came home... You really kept your promise!"
Katniss smiled down at her little sister and tucked some of Prim's hair behind her ear, as if unsure of what to do with her hands. Her eyes were wet with tears but she held them back in front of the cameras and planted a kiss on Prim's forehead, a genuine smile on her face now. "Of course I did, little duck. I would never lie to you, you know that."
After this the cameramen must have figured they had enough footage of the reunion, or the news reporter had gotten bored with not being in the spotlight, and was back to interviewing Peeta. Peeta just answered all he was questioned with in his usual, television-friendly dementor. Katniss smiled, relieved that the cameras were gone and wrapped her arms tightly around her sister, pressing her face against her blond hair. Prim simply giggled at this before pushing her head back against Katniss's chest and hugging her tightly. At some point during the scene, Buttercup had escaped Prim's grip so the little girl was free to hug her sister with both arms. "We were all so worried and missed you so much! Mom, Buttercup, Lady, Gale, everybody!" she began, more tears streaming down her cheeks.
She pulled back slightly and looked down at her, letting one or two tears escape now that the attention was on Peeta. "Where is G-... where is everyone? I couldn't see through all the lights and the people... I'm sure Peeta is better with the camera people anyway. I'm glad you got to me first though, duck." She punctuated this with another tight, suffocating hug.
Prim returned the hug quickly, but her voice dropped half an octave. "Mom's in the crowd, waiting for us. I brought Buttercup but I think he got mad he was getting crushed in the hug..."
"You know Buttercup didn't want to be near me anyway." Katniss stood up a little taller to look in the crowd. "And... and Gale?"
At this point, Prim finally let go of Katniss so she could stand up right to look around. In the crowd, many of the usual faces were there - their mother could be seen in the back of the crowd, Greasey Sae, Darius, even Gale's mother Hazelle and his younger siblings are among the crowd but no Gale to be found. Prim just remained silent, trying to think of something to tell her but the more she stalled, the more suspecious she knew Katniss would grow of her.
Katniss craned her neck to view the entire crowd, her excited smile slowly slipping off her face into nothingness. She fell off her toes onto her feet and looked at Prim, eyes confused and brows furrowed. She opened her mouth for a moment before shutting it and taking Prim's hand, forcing the hurt and pain back down. "Come on, Prim. Let's sneak away and go see Mom, okay?"
"Don't be mad at him," she mumbled as she squeezed Katniss' hand a little. "I'm sure he wanted to come, Katniss..."
Katniss forced down the reply of "no, I'm sure he didn't" and just forced an even bigger smile. She didn't reply to Prim at all, tightening her grip on her hand, and dashing quickly into the crowd toward their mother.
"Katniss..." Prim began to call up to her, but her tiny voice was soon overpowered by the mountains of praise the citizens of District 12 were shouting towards her as the two walked towards their mother. A few pats on the back here and ruffles of the hair later, their mother walked over to the two. She seemed to have lost quite a few pounds since Katniss last saw her, but she looked overall well and even smiled a little.
Katniss plastered on her smile at all the citizens and then at her mother. She hugged her, although not with as much enthusiasm as she did with Prim. "Mom. I missed you guys."
Her mother returned the hug. "We all missed you too... Thank you for coming back to us, Katniss..." her voice was almost shaky as she spoke, like she was still afraid there was a chance Katniss wasn't coming back and she would be more alone.
"I'll always come back, Mom. You don't have to worry about that." Even as she tried to soothe her mother, Katniss's eyes flitted around the crowd for familar dark hair. She finally looked back at her mother and smiled reassuringly. Katniss' mother pulled back from the hug and gave her a smile back which, while small, showed genuine happiness in her eyes.
From behind her, Hazelle walked up with her youngest three - Rory, Vick, and Posy. "Katniss, congradulations!" Gale's mother cried as she hugged the girl, planting a small and happy kiss on her cheek as she did. "You did so well!"
Katniss smiled and hugged her back before ruffling Rory, Vick, and Posy's hair. "Thanks, Hazelle. I guess I tried my hardest and that's all I can say. How have... all of you been?" She smiled in what she hoped what an enthusiastic way, but it just came off rather confused and upset at this point.
Hazelle, not being a very suspecious woman, smiled right back at her. "We've been managing. You don't need to worry about us, though. Gale's been taking care of everything while you were gone."
Katniss's eyes snapped to Hazelle at his name, but she smiled all the same. She focused really hard to sound nonchalant. "Gale? What's he been up to? And where is he?"
"Oh... you know," she shrugged, trying to avoid the question. "He's been up to his usual..."
"He should be out of work soon to see you do, Katniss!" the middle child, Vick, spat out excited, which instantly gained him a stern look from his mother. Realizing he messed up, the child immediately put his hands over his mouth and widened his eyes.
Katniss, finally fed up of the charade, crossed her arms. "If he's angry at me, you can tell me. Everyone's been dancing around the issue. Just tell me! I just survived the damn Hunger Games! I think I can handle the truth."
Everyone remained silent, both a little shocked at the outburst and a little at a loss for words. Finally, Prim squeezed Katniss's hand again slightly before looking up at her. "Gale had to work... he got a job at the coal mines..."
Katniss chewed on her lip angrily and just looked away from Prim and everyone else, slightly embarrassed but refusing to show it. "Yeah."
"We didn't want to tell you because of dad..." she mumbled a little, almost guilty like.
Katniss nodded, pushing her dark hair as well as the worry off her face. "I understand. I'm sorry. I just... I just expected him to be here."
"Like Vick said, I'm certain he'll be at the party tonight!" Hazelle smiled, trying her hardest to cheer Katniss up. "Come on now, you're a victor! Let's start off towards the feast."
She smiled and nodded. "Thanks, Hazelle. Let's go." She wound her arm around Prim's shoulder and started off toward the feast, her mind reeling. The last thing she wanted right now was to be around anyone; she just wanted to go and yell at Gale Hawthorne for working in the coal mine when he promised he wouldn't and then punch him for missing her homecoming.