A/N: This is my first story, so please go easy on me. It's set just after Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 after winning the 74th Hunger Games. It might be a little confusing at first, but, you know, roll with it. :) I know it's a crossover with the book Airhead, but you really don't need to read that to understand this.
Big thanks to my Beta, AlisaPhenom, who currently owns my soul.
Enjoy, and please review, whether you like it or not!
It felt good to be back home.
District 12 may not have been the nicest of places, but it was home. I was glad to be back. Peacekeepers showed Prim, my mother and I to our new home in the Victor's Village. It was beautiful, of course, but... it was just too new, too different. It was going to be hard getting used to this.
But at least I was still alive.
Soon after we had finished moving in what little belongings we actually had, I was gone. I had to see Gale. Since I had returned to District 12, things have been different, even more so than I had expected things to be; me and Gale hardly see each other any more. He's most always in the mine, and when we are together, it just doesn't feel right- what, with the whole of Panem thinking that we're cousins. We had to keep up the act, and... it just didn't feel right
But I didn't get to see Gale today, didn't even get past the Victor's Village before I saw them. The Peacekeepers- about a dozen of them, with looks of grim determination on each of their faces. They were marching, marching towards me.
I wasted no time. I turned on my heel and started back towards my new house, glancing back, refusing to let myself get panicked.
Their pace only quickened. So did mine. What could they possible want with me now?
There was no one out here in the almost deserted Victor's Village to save me. I glanced back again. And then... blackness.
My eyes flew open. I was in a room- I was lying on a bed in a room that I didn't recognize. Naturally, that caused me to panic. I jolted upright, eyes flying wildly throughout the room, looking for whoever my captor might be- oh.
My eyes landed on Effie, and she shot me one of her painfully cheerful smiles. 'Good morning,' she greets. There was something strange about the way she was looking at me... she wore that cheerful smile, yes, but there was something in her eyes. It was almost like she didn't recognize me. That worried me a little. She wore a smooth lilac wig, slightly lopsided on her head, and her lips were painted a shockingly bright shade of purple. The new fashion in the Capitol, then, I thought with an edge of bitterness, purple.
'Where are we?' I asked her, only slightly relaxed at the sight of her. Effie was a familiar face, but she was a Capitol woman- I'd thought that I had said goodbye to her when I returned to District 12. So why was she here- or why was I here?
Suddenly, the lilac-clad woman in front of me looked worried. Her eyes glanced nervously around the room as she said, 'We're... we're in District 13.'
For a moment, I simply stared at her. Then I burst out laughing.
Of course, I found none of this amusing. But I couldn't help it. When one hears something ridiculous, their natural reaction is to laugh it off. I looked at Effie again, but when I saw that her expression was still strained and deadly serious, my laughter ceased immediately.
'Effie,' I said slowly. 'District 13 was destroyed years ago. You know that. Where are we?'
'We're in District 13,' she insisted. 'It wasn't destroyed- that's what they wanted us to think.' She blinked, looking quite close to tears now. It was almost ridiculous, how quickly her mood had changed from being cheerful and chipper to being an emotional wreck.
I stared at her for a few moments, then I looked away, examining the room some more. Plain grey walls, plain grey floor. *No wonder Effie's so upset,I thought dryly to myself, there's no colour in here at all.
'How long have we been here?' I had intended for my voice to come out strong and steady, like it normally did, but instead it came out quiet and slightly shaky. 'Whyare we here? Did something happen?'
Inwardly, I scowled at myself. What a stupid question. Of course something happened- would I be here if everything was as it should be?
Effie hesitated. She looked like she wanted to tell me something, but couldn't. I narrowed my eyes at her. 'Tell me,' I ordered, not caring how cold or harsh my voice sounded.
'District 12 is gone,' she said finally, her strange Capitol accent making the statement sound like a question. But this wasn't the time to question the speaking habits of Effie Trinket.
My body froze, and I stared at Effie. 'What?' I whispered. A few moments passed, and neither of us spoke until I found my strength again. 'What the hell do you mean?' I demanded, my voice no longer a whisper.
'The Peacekeepers came and took you,' Effie started, a look of pity on her face. 'President Snow ordered them to k... ordered them to kill you. They knocked you out and were on their way to take you to be executed when your cousin-'
'Gale?' to my dismay, my voice had returned to being a whisper. What had Gale done? Why had he been close enough to see them- had he been coming to visit me?
'Yes, him,' Effie said impatiently, obviously annoyed at being interrupted. Then the pitying look that I so hated to see people wearing returned to her face and she continued, 'Your cousin saw them and started shouting. A fight broke out, and, obviously, Gale was incredibly outnumbered- until others realized what was happening and started fighting, too. Haymitch-' even talking about him in this context, Effie's lip curled in distaste when she mentioned District 12's first ever victor, '-grabbed you and got you out of there, thank goodness. Then- well.' Effie cleared her throat, purple-lashed eyes flickering over to me. She looked sheepish. She looked like she was keeping something from me. But right now, I didn't actually care. 'The Peacekeepers were carrying bombs. A few people managed to get out in time, but...'
I felt numb. Peeta. Gale. My mother. Prim. 'Who got out?' I asked in a strangled voice. Tears pricked my eyes, but I refused to cry. I refused.
Effie smiled, but it was less cheerful this time. 'Peeta did, don't worry about that. Your mother, your sister and your cousin. Haymitch. A few families.'
'So everyone else is dead?' I felt horrible.
Effie didn't answer. She merely looked down. I looked over at her and she said, 'I'll leave you alone for a moment.'
With that, she stood up and left the room, shooting me a look that was mixed with pity, and that strange emotion that I had seen in her face when I first woke up- the look that said, Who are you?
I let my head fall back on the pillow, my head whirring. This was terrible. This was horrible. This was... all my fault.
Peeta. I needed to see Peeta, make sure he was okay- and Gale, and my mother, and Prim. Oh, Prim, my little sister, the giggly little duck. Was she okay? I needed to see them, all of them. I swung my legs over the size of the bed, bringing myself to my feet, despite the pain I felt. I put a hand to my spinning head in a vain attempt to soothe it, and then stiffened, eyes on my hand.
It wasn't the olive colour that it always had been. It wasn't the strong, calloused hand that I was used to seeing when I looked down at my hands. It was small, smooth and a creamy pale colour. The nails were painted the fashionable purple colour that seemed to be all the rage in the Capitol right now, and the fingers were long and slim.
This was not my hand. My eyes darted over to the sink and mirror near the door, and before I could stop myself, I was running toward it, the panicked feeling that I was becoming much too familiar with filling my head.
I stared into the mirror. No. No. No. I ran cold water into the basin in the sink, splashing it over my face and then drying it off with a towel. No. I looked up to the mirror again, eyes wide, and I saw...
Nothing. A plain grey ceiling. My breath was coming in short pants, and my face felt wet with sweat- I was still in the bed. My head began to ache. Effie, Cinna and a man clad in an unflattering grey jumpsuit with a white jacket were stood by my bed. I did not recognize the latter, who was gripping a silver cart holding bowls and bottles, and the former two looked concerned.
'It was just a nightmare,' the new man soothed. 'It wasn't real.'
I closed my eyes and nodded, letting the presence of Cinna soothe me. Since when was it like me to be so spooked by a nightmare?
Oh, yes, that's right- since I volunteered for the Hunger Games.
'You must have fallen asleep after I left you,' Effie said, looking worried. She turned to the man. 'Is she all right?'
'I'm fine,' I muttered.
'Are you hungry?' the man asked. 'We have lamb stew- Cinna said that it was your favourite.'
As if on cue, my stomach growled loudly. Yes, I was hungry. I looked at Cinna with a small, tired smile. 'Thank you,' I said.
The man nodded, and picked a bowl up from the cart. He lifted the lid and the delicious fumes of the Capitol's lamb stew filled the air around me. I wasted no time- I snatched the bowl from his hands and ate greedily, not caring how I looked.
But after the first mouthful, I paused. It was... different somehow. It didn't taste as good as it had the first time I ate it. In fact, it tasted quite horrible- I resisted the urge to spit it out and instead swallowed, never one to waste food. I looked at the stuff inside the bowl. It was the same as it had always been. It smelled the same, it looked the same- it tasted the same, I realized. But the taste didn't appeal to me.
I grimaced and looked up. 'What is this?'
Cinna frowned at me, and replied, 'It's lamb stew, fresh from the Capitol,' then something that looked like understanding dawned on his face, and he said, 'Do you not like it?'
I shook my head. 'I'm sorry. I used to love this...'
The three of them exchanged looks, and the man mumbled something about 'different taste buds'. I frowned. What was that supposed to mean?
'We'll get you something else,' Cinna said. All three of them were watching me closely. 'What appeals to you right now?'
I pursed my lips thoughtfully. What appealed to me...? 'Cheese buns,' I answered after a moment of thought. 'The kind you get from a bakery.'
'I'll go fetch those!' Effie said quickly and brightly, and she turned and bounded out of the room, poofy purple skirt bouncing.
'Katniss,' Cinna said slowly. 'There's something we need to tell you. And I'm afraid you won't like it.'
'What is it?' I asked carefully, warily. Hadn't I had enough bad news for one day?
'When you were carried out of District 12 that day, something happened. Something... something big.'
I feel dread ball up in my stomach. 'Tell me everything,' I said.
Just then, the door bursts open and a frantic-looking girl runs into the room. She is wearing a long, purple skirt and a flowery blouse with shoulder pads that look like they belonged on a soldier. With her dark purple hair in a sleek bob and with her cheeks powdered a lighter purple colour, there was no doubt in my head that this girl was from the Capitol.
'Nikki!' she squealed when she saw me. 'I've been trying to get to you all morning, but these doctors wouldn't let me see you! Are you okay? It's all over the Capitol, you know, everyone's talking about it...'
I stared at her blankly. She was talking to me. Why? What was going on. 'Um...' I said lamely. 'What?'
She rolled her eyes at me. 'Your amnesia, silly!' then she blinked. 'Oh, right... you don't remember, do you? I mean, obviously, with amnesia and all.' she smiled, rather sheepishly, and her eyes drifted over to the other people in the room. At that moment, the door swung open once more and Effie entered, looking ruffled and carrying a plate of cheese buns.
I looked at everybody in the room, eyes narrowed, until they finally landed on Cinna. Out of all of them, he was the person who I trusted most.
'Explain,' I ordered, my voice flat. 'Now.'