A/N: THANK YOU 11-Dino (Genau genommen bin ich nich so sicher was die Leute in 13 denken. Ich mein...denen muss doch auch aufgefallen sein das da irgendwas nich stimmen kann, oder?:)), mojojojo152, DandelionOnFire (No, actually, the movie didn't have anything to do with it. That idea didn't even occur to me until you said it. I'd planned this long before. It was the only way I could imagine the Districts realizing what power they have...show it to them! It took Katniss two and a half books to realize it, after all), Aloha-Pinkly, InLoveWithPeeta, Clumsy. Mustache, kms96 (Thank you a lot. I guess that was because I liked writing this chapter so much:)), Emmy (I'm sorry. It's just, I couldn't let it end at any other point, because this chapter is very long...:)), Ajir, ASimpleObsession, DancingDP (Yeah, Johanna's definitely the best. My favs are {in this order} Johanna, Finnick/Peeta {can't decide:/} and Haymitch:) But I was sad when Johanna didn't get to go on that mission!), Husky2014, ZaraB (Believe me, I'm trying. And I fully understand why you're pointing it out. It is, after all, my weakness), LiveandBreatheWords, Kari, ilovecsimiaminyandlv, LostInTheWorldOfFiction (Thank you:D I hope you like this chapter:)) and bellacullen.c (Thank you a lot! I'm happy to hear you think so:) And yes, Gale is going to come back:))

Disclaimer: I don't own the Hunger Games


Chapter 16:

And wait, we did.

When Cann burst into the room, asking what we thought, I kept quiet and let Peeta explain. Cann wasn't very impressed by our doubts; he was of the same opinion as Sylvia. And apparently, at least that's what he told us, the government of Thirteen. He hesitated a bit before adding "Well, except Coin.". But then again, I can't imagine that woman being enthusiastic about anything and showing it.

Cann, however didn't even try to hide it. He also said that the people in Three were much like the ones in Eight. Sick of the Capitol. Angry. Willing to fight back. Same with Four. When he mentioned this very District, however, I believed for the first time that it could actually work, even if not everywhere, even if there was more needed.

But still, it would be a possibility if Cann spoke the truth, after all District four had been a Career District ever since I could remember. If they wanted to fight, who said the other Districts, who'd been treated far worse than Four, wouldn't?

Although I told myself that I was being silly, that I shouldn't get my hopes up -even if I wasn't, and still am not, sure if those thoughts should really be considered 'hope'- that this would only cause more problems, that image had stuck in my head. It does now, too.

What had me worried was Homes, who paid me a visit half an hour ago, and told me they wanted to see Prim, Peeta and me in the command. Who 'they' were this time, I didn't know. 'They' couldn't be him, could they?

When I arrived at the hospital to get Peeta and Prim, I found out Sylvia had gotten the same message and was coming with us.

What confused me even more was the fact that, when we reached the command, there were also other people waiting. I didn't talk to them, of course, I'd never been the social kind, but I was curious as to why they were there. Why we are here.

But I suppose I'm about to find out; the chatter of the others around me has stopped abruptly, and apparently, from what I was able to make out, I'm not the only one who doesn't know what's going on.

"I'm glad you accepted my invitation." Her voice is straight, almost demanding, if that wasn't completely off. After all, she doesn't want anything from us. Even though this wasn't so much an invitation as an order. That's just how it works in Thirteen.

So the welcoming, if you can call it that, Alma Coin offers us isn't a surprise for me. She hasn't struck me as the most polite person the first time I saw her and I don't believe the image I have of her is going to change any time soon.

There are a few murmured greetings, other responses, or nods. I don't do either. And for a second, I think she notices. For a second, I think I feel her eyes bore holes into my skull. Think she's trying to figure me out. And with those cold eyes on me, I wish for my bow to protect me.

But then the moment is gone, and I let it go. It's not as though she was interested in a refugee from District twelve. The poorest District in Panem. I'm nothing to her.

"You may wonder why you are here. A justified question, it is." She gives us all an…almost derogatory look though, despite her words. As if she expects better from us.

"Well, obviously, we do know about the current mood of every District in general, but not about the way they are going to react to the film. That is the reason why you are here. What are the odds that they are going to react the way we want them to? This has to succeed, after all. We can manage if there are one, two, even three Districts that won't do anything. But we need the majority of them to at least think about it." So that's what she needs us for.

Well, it does make sense. It's fitting. It reminds me of Homes asking me questions about home when I first arrived here.

But then I'm very surprised when she turns to a woman with blond hair and green eyes and declares that she, the blonde, is from District one. I hadn't thought someone from a Career District would be here, a refugee in Thirteen. At least not someone from One; Four wouldn't have been that shocking after Cann's revelation.

Her answer, unlike her presence, doesn't really surprise me; she's very doubtful, says that the people in her home District are fooled by the Capitol's pretend kindness. They won't give up their life of luxury easily. They're brainwashed, although, thanks to the Hunger Games, not quite as brainwashed as the people in the Capitol.

Also not surprising is the fact that Two is skipped; I would never think of someone from Two going to Thirteen. Even their knowledge of this place still existing seems to be highly unlikely.

When Coin comes to Three I notice Cann is also here. He tells her what he told us before; in Three it's very likely to have a great effect. And the other four refugees from Three agree.

It goes on and on and I begin to realize that Twelve is actually the most backward District, or at least one of them. Everywhere else it's at least likely, or a possibility. Except for Five and Nine; they seem to be as clueless as Twelve. I would have thought at least Ten would count to it, too, seen as there's only one man from there; a man I met in the dining room, whose name is Dalton. But he says that Ten is only very good at hiding it. They're everywhere, secretly recruiting new men and women who are willing to help the cause.

When we finally come to Twelve Coin looks at us expectantly, critically, and demands one of us tell her. Since I'm not good at talking and I'm afraid I will snap at her if she keeps eyeing me like that, I let Peeta tell her what both of us think.

But then, suddenly, I remember a conversation I had with Gale back in the woods. Gale. My best friend. I try my hardest not to think about him too often, but I can't really forget. We've known each other for so long, too long. I'd tell him anything; he'd do the same.

And one of those times, it was something about the mines. Or the miners. He was ranting about the Capitol again, so I wasn't really paying attention. I quit doing that a long time ago. I mean, of course he was right with all the things he said, but going on and on about them didn't help him.

But it helps me now. Because one thing he said has stuck in my head; why, I'm not sure.

Peeta's just finished talking, and I don't give her time to comment it. I just speak up. "But there are some people who could react. The miners. They've talked about it before, deep down in the mines, where the Capitol's microphones wouldn't work. Maybe they'll feel invigorated. Maybe it's going to carry others along."

Peeta gives me a strange glance, but doesn't say anything. I know he's going to want to talk to me about this later, but he also knows that this isn't something to be discussed in a room full of people, partisan people, I might add.

Coin, for the first time, doesn't look at me with indifference or contempt. She looks at me with some sharpness in her eyes, eyes that are the dullest gray I've ever seen, the worst eyes in Thirteen. She looks at me with interest. And for some reason, I don't like it. It makes my toes curl and once again I wish I had my bow. Or could just duck away. Since I can't do either of those things, I grip Peeta's as well as Prim's hand, clutching onto the formers while feeling the comforting touch of the latter's. At least Coin isn't looking at her that way. At least she's safe.

But since I'm still uncomfortable, I quickly avert my gaze and glare at the ground below me.

"You think so, Soldier…?" It takes me a few seconds to realize she's talking to me. I'm still not used to people calling me 'Soldier'.

"Everdeen." I don't feel the urge to tell her my forename. "And yes, I do. I know it from…" I slightly hesitate. I don't want to bring Gale into this. "…a very reliable source." That's good. It's not a lie, and the only questioning glances I receive come from Prim and Peeta. And I know I'd have had to tell them either way.

The President only nods shortly. "Well then, I don't think presence is needed any longer. However, you're required to go to the assembly room in about an hour. And watch if your predictions were right." She's been looking at a point of the wall the whole time while speaking. Now, though, she's looking straight at us, the refugees in this room.

"Dismissed."

I don't waste a second. I don't want to be in this room any longer, never want to feel her eyes on me again. So the least I can do is prevent me from storming out; I let go of the hands I'm holding and leave in a fast, but not unusual, pace.

Of course they don't let me get away; they catch up with me when I'm halfway down the corridor. I wouldn't have expected it. But they are smarter than to talk here, on the floor with the most control cameras, on the floor where anyone could hear us.

When we finally arrive at our room, though, Peeta can't hold it in anymore. "What was that out there? Katniss, I know you might think it was a good idea, but it wasn't. She's going to have expectations on our District now! That's not good, not good at all, because you know our people. They don't have weapons! They don't have the will to fight! And this small film won't be enough to change that! They'll be scared! They'll try to pretend they never saw it! Because they'll hope that's going to prevent them from being punished. Especially now with Thread. They don't have anyone to animate them.

The real problem is that I don't think Coin heard your 'maybe'. I know, she pretends to be like that, but she's one for absolutes! There is no in-between for her! I know someone like her. Well, I knew. He's died. But you've seen the way she looked at you. It was because of that 'maybe'. It was because she immediately knew you aren't like her."

My eyes are wide, my mouth slightly open. I've seen him angry, yes. I've seen him worried. I've seen him kind, gentle, nice, loving, determined, stubborn…but never like that. This isn't angry or worried. It's a mixture, an unhealthy mixture, and his face is a mask of fury as her runs his hand through his hair. But there's something behind it, something that doesn't make him seem dangerous. Something that shows this fury comes out of deep, deep sorrow. Sorrow and fear.

Nevertheless, the way he's talking to me, his voice hushed so no one outside will hear, but his glare, his accusations, upset me, make me immediately feel defensive.

"So it's my fault? What I said was true! Why shouldn't I tell her? She's going to find out either way! And if I hadn't told her, what would she have done to us if, or when, she'd found out. To you, to Prim? You really think they'd have bought an 'I didn't know'? I'm a bad liar, you said so yourself!

Yes, it may have been selfish, I'll admit that. But Peeta I…" And suddenly I don't know what to say anymore. Don't know why I told Coin. Maybe because I thought about Gale. Because that's what he's wanted for so long. A rebellion. And this possibility reminded me of him and his words.

Peeta, however, looks somewhat calmer now. And, what makes me give him scowl, kind of satisfied. "First of, you're not selfish. You know I'm never going to agree to that, and we're not having that discussion again." We both know how that would turn out; I'd still be saying I am, he'd be stubbornly clinging to his 'you provided your family for years that has to count for something' argument.

"And then, OK, it's true. I don't know where you have that information from; but that's not the point at the moment. The point is I'm not sure you should've shared this knowledge with them. I could have lied for all three of us; you know that's true. But…this way you've gotten yourself in danger, too. Well, perhaps. I'm not sure. But they may think you lied to them, told them the untruth on purpose." I'm about to open my mouth, to tell him that's not the case, but he puts a hand up, signalizing me he's not finished yet, to let him continue.

"I know you didn't. And I know you won't have to lie to tell them this. But…the thing is…you aren't very confident when you're nervous, and a group of men with a handgun in their belt demanding an answer from you may make even you nervous, and they might pass your answer off as a lie. So they'll say you lied twice to them. They're not going to be thrilled and the bad thing is that I won't be able to talk you out of it. I don't have the power I'd need to do that."

He can't protect me, that's what he's saying. And for Peeta Mellark, I imagine that being one of his greatest fears. One of the worst things that could possibly happen. But my problem is that by endangering myself, I might have done the same to the two people I'm closest to, again. And that's one of my greatest, and only, fears.

"You won't have to. I won't have to. It's…" But suddenly, I'm cut off. And not by Peeta. No. I'm cut off by non other than my little sister.

"Would you just shut up? Both of you It's no use picturing the worst outcome possible. I doubt that anyone would be interested in Katniss. Because Peeta, if you haven't noticed, she's as powerless as you. She's not important. And in this case, I suppose that's more of an advantage. So stop overacting!" She turns to me.

"And Katniss, although I haven't heard of what you said, I believe you. But believe me when I say I've seen the miners. And yes, they may be angry. But they're very few, compared to the Peacekeepers at least, and they're weakened. You really think that's going to be enough? Against Thread? Peeta's right, they're scared. Maybe, probably, too scared." She sighs.

"But we don't need to stay here, because there's an easy way to find out. The hour's almost over. So come on, and I don't want to hear another word from either of you."

I'm flabbergasted, to say the least. My little sister didn't just say that. What happened to the small, fourteen year old girl? What happened to fragile and unknowing? But most of all, why is she talking to me as though she was my mother? Treating me like the younger sister?

Still in, well, awe, I actually follow her instructions and step out of the room. We head to the television hall in silence, although I can feel the scowl on my face. Still displeased. Although, at the moment, I'm not quite sure who's the cause.

This time when we arrive, however, there are no chairs in the front to sit on. Everybody has to stand. That's not really a problem for me though; I'm used to much worse things and conditions.

Today there is no introductory speech. Today the crowd is silenced by the screen turning white and then colored. To my surprise, there are two images. One is showing the victor, the very thing the people in all the other Districts see. The other, though, is showing exactly those Districts. One by one, and the number is shown on the edge of the screen.

My heart aches when I see District Twelve, the familiar square I once walked on, even some people I recognize. The butcher, Rooba. I used to sell her the rabbits I caught. I shortly wonder if she's getting them from the Capitol now or if she's quit selling them. Then my eyes land on the major, whom I gave the strawberries, whose daughter used to be the only friend I had at school, and I, feeling a bit guilty about it now, didn't even say goodbye to her.

I'm unbelievably glad when I notice neither Peeta's nor Gale's family are there. Seeing them would…trigger memories, would make me miss them, would make letting go even harder than it already is. And Peeta…I can't even begin to imagine how horrible it would be for him to see those he's left behind.

Another pang of guilt rushes through me when I realize I have barely asked him about that issue at all…haven't even thought about it, at least not since we arrived here. This new guilt, however, only lasts until I remember I'm supposed to be mad at him…although the sight of my old home is making it hard. He's part of that home.

I shake my head to distract me, and it seems to work, as I notice how obviously, the victor isn't in a District. Judging from the bright lights in his background and the lack of a stage in any of the Districts, he is in the Capitol. It's smart, of course. I don't think this is supposed to be a message to the Capitol; they shouldn't see it; and the victor is a perfect distraction. If he knows, I don't know, and honestly, I don't care. I can only see the simplicity yet brilliancy of this plan. And I'm surprised I was able to figure it out. Maybe because I believe Coin mentioned something about him, the victor, being in the Capitol.

And then, suddenly, the screen changes. The familiar scene I saw a week ago appears on one side, but since I know what's happening, I'm watching the other. People are visibly confused by the unexpected change, but that's everything their faces show.

That is until One is shown, signalizing that they're showing the jewelry on the other side. I watch as the citizens of District one recognize their home, as their eyes are, without an exception, glued to the screen. I see their surprised, stunned, even shocked faces.

And then, cut to Two. Different people, but the most look the same. Only a few seem upset or angry. I'm not sure why -they can't have figured it out that fast now, can they?- but it's a characteristic trait I've seen in most of the tributes from Two in all the years I was forced to watch the Hunger Games.

In Three the image we see is an entirely different one. Not confused, shocked, surprised. Angry, furious, but, judging from their screams, shouts and cries, for a very different reason. They're, as Cann predicted, encouraging what's happening. They're insulting the Capitol. Whooping the anti-Capitol propaganda. And that is the reason why I watch in horror, just before my view is blocked by again different people with a blue ocean and fishing boats in the background, how men dressed in white peacekeeper uniforms begin shooting into the crowd, randomly hitting their victims, and how those drop to the ground, blood streaming from their wounds, dead.

The relief I feel about not having to see the murders in Three anymore, despite the terror I feel about knowing they are happening right at this very moment, is only short-lived. Because now I'm facing similar images in District Four. Were the people closer to the water, it would be colored red in a matter of seconds.

It feels like watching the Hunger Games, only in a greater implementation. The whole District is playing. And the Capitol, their Peacekeepers, are, too. But the camera is long enough on Four for me to see the citizens of this District fight back. Throw heavy objects like chairs, wooden stakes, oars, or other things at the men in white.

In Five, the Capitol starts fighting back with a different method; they're trying to show the tour again. The whole thing escalates in a media battle, Beetee against President Snow's technical professionals. They manage to interrupt the scenes for a few seconds, but they don't get Thirteen to stop. Which shows just how important Cann's information really must have been.

Prim's gripping my hand like back in the command. I know what she's thinking. And with one look at Peeta, I know his thoughts swirl along the same lines. Their faces are mirroring my sorrow, my apprehensions. If it's like that in the other Districts, what will it be like in Twelve? And what counterattack will the Capitol have started by the time they're shown? Will there be blood, or worse, corpses, too? The same people I saw just a minute ago, which seems now like a lifetime, will they still be alive, unharmed?

But with every image, every District I see, my hope gets smaller and smaller. Until I have to watch as it is crushed completely.

Maybe because it's my old home, because of its familiarity. Maybe because I know I could very well be there at this moment. Maybe because it's not like in the other Districts. Maybe because there's no one fighting back.

But one thing I know. What I see now is by far the worst.

Faces are distorted in agony, pain; some mouths are open, silent and not silent cries escaping their lips. Tear streamed cheeks and small hands covering bloodshot eyes. Bony legs trying to get away as fast as possible. Running, stumbling, screaming. Shots.

And as the crowd slowly parts and disappears, some lying at the ground, motionless, me trying not to look at their faces, trying to avoid recognizing them, and doors slamming shut, feet rushing over the square; I see them.

A whip, dry blood still sticking to it, next to a wooden stake with suspicious looking ropes tied to it. A pillory; rotten tomatoes and eggs at the ground. I cringe when I realize that desperate, starved children might have taken them home when no one saw them; I know I would have done that if I didn't have anything else. If I had stayed.

What really lets me freeze, though, is the gallows. Have they already hung someone, someone I knew even, right there, in the middle of the District, for everyone to see? My breathing goes still for a moment; I silently pray Gale hasn't tried to hunt since they new Peacekeepers got there. I cling to the hope that he wouldn't do that; he's smart, after all, and not suicidal.

The worst, however, is the fact that I can't seem to tear my eyes away. I must watch, no, I have to watch. I can't not.

I only am able to look at Prim, to see how she's reacting, when the screen goes blank. Around me, there is chanting, cheering again. But I can do neither. All I can do is trying not to cry. Not to break down.

Because these scenes aren't any to be happy about. These scenes are the proof and demonstration of the cruelty, the destructiveness, and the brutality of the Capitol.

And the little film from Thirteen might have just thrown Panem into chaos.


Phew. This was a long chapter. Review? I'll love you forever:)