Elven is still waiting for an answer to his question, whether or not I want to know who has won. How could I say no? And yet, how could I say yes?
"The Games are over, right?" I ask him.
He nods. "They are."
"So you know who won?"
"Why don't you just tell me?"
"You need to see if for yourself," my father interrupts.
"Are you coming with us?"
He shakes his head no. "I'll see you soon," he promises before opening a door—the one we came out of after seeing my mother—and vanishing. I know what he'll do. He'll make sure that she's all right. I might be his daughter, but I'll never be his number one priority, and it doesn't really matter. He doesn't need to worry about me right now. No one can hurt me, here. No one will ever hurt me again.
"Come with me," Elven says.
I take his hand, and I let him take me wherever it is that he wants to show me who's won. I find that I don't really care anymore about the Games. If I could never know who won, I think things would be better. I would believe that they both made it or something insane like that. I don't really want to have to hope for one or the other to have made it. It's crazy. I don't want to choose between Liam and Piper. If it only were for me, I'd pick Liam. But I am not alone anymore. I am with Elven. And for his own sake, I'd pick Piper. But for both our sake, I cannot choose.
Elven takes me to a small room that I have never been in. He sits down on a chair, and I sit on his lap. I rest my head on his chest, and he wraps his arms around me. "It's going to be okay," he says.
I don't answer, and the screens opens up by itself. I thought that we'd just see who won, but what I see on the screen isn't that. What I see on the screen is how Rykeir managed to have one step ahead of me this entire time. He wasn't asleep like I thought he was when I had gotten up to walk into the woods. He had heard me, and he'd followed me. He had seen me and Elven together. That's when he figured something out. Something to break us, something to take us down, something to be sure that he would get his revenge, no matter if he would not be alive to witness it.
"I never realized how … how similar I was to Rykeir," I say. "That's exactly what I would have done for you and your sister. That's exactly what I wanted to do. But unlike him, I needed to see you both die. I needed to see it with my own eyes." I don't know if I have offended Elven because I feel him stiffen, but he doesn't say anything, as to tell me that I can go on if I have something else to say. "I'm sorry. I hope you know that I really am."
He leans down on me, "Yeah, I know," he whispers. He kisses the top of my head, and I close my eyes for a second before opening them up again. I need to look at the screen and see what happened next.
"No, you don't," I replicate.
I hear him sighing. "Maybe I don't, but you never hurt me. You never hurt her, either." He grabs my chin so that I look up, into his eyes. "You're a good person, babe. You have nothing to do with Rykeir. You're not like him, all right? Maybe you wanted to kill us"—I shoot him a look—"Okay, you did want to kill us, but it was all just words, no actions."
He leans down on me, and he kisses my lips softly. I kiss back, and I feel him smiling. I look at him, frowning, "Are you … mad that you lost the Games?" I ask.
He looks away. "No, I'm not. I knew that I wouldn't win. My only purpose was to keep my sister safe."
"And did you manage?"
He shrugs. "I should have protected her more. I never should have hesitated when someone threatened her." I can't tell if she's won the Games or not. His tone doesn't give him away. It doesn't even give me a little hint.
I look back at the screen. It's the scene where I tried to convince Rykeir that I was with him. "Why did he do this to me?" I think out loud. "He was trying to make me betray you."
"Did you want to?" Elven asks quietly.
I don't really have to think of an answer because it's been in the back of my mind a lot lately. "I honestly don't know. He offered me what I thought I always wanted on a silver plate. And even though I thought I had given up on that, it was hard to say no. But I stick to the plan because … because I didn't want to see you get hurt, because you counted on me, because I couldn't do this to you."
"When I saw you coming with his knife, I seriously thought you had changed your mind," Elven admits, and I don't feel hurt by his words. It's what I would have thought, too. It's something that I could have done if he hadn't won me over the way he did.
"But I hadn't."
"I know. I shouldn't have doubted you."
"You had all the right in the world to," I say. "I wouldn't have trusted me if I had been you. I wasn't worth it."
"Well, I'm glad that you're not me," Elven says, half-smiling.
I smile at him, and we both look back at the screen. The scene right now is the one where I am next to Elven, crying a river, wanting him to be alive so hard. But seeing this scene, it's like he's about to die all over again. I turn around, looking away from the screen, and I try to hide, using Elven's chest. He notices it, and his grip around me tightens. "It's okay, baby," he murmurs. "Dying is one of the best thing that happened to me in the Games, besides you. It caused us to be together forever."
I'm still crying, sobbing. My eyes must be all red, and I don't find the strength to open my mouth to say something back. I wouldn't have managed to finish a sentence anyway.
Then, after Elven dies on the screen, I see how my face is suddenly drained from all the emotions. It's like I didn't allow myself to feel anything else. I can see me—although it feels like it's someone else—brutally taking the trident, not caring for a second if the bodies are ripped apart. Without seconds thought, I see how I ran towards Piper and Liam. This scene, it was one that I didn't really want to see again. I lived it, and I don't really want to do it again.
"I can't believe that he killed you," Elven says.
"He didn't kill me," I replicate. "He saved me from myself. He gave me back my freedom."
Elven gives me a look and shakes his head as to say that he gives up trying to understand me. "But still, he was your brother." Elven seems to be very upset. I look into his eyes, trying to calm him down.
"Hey, hey," I whisper. "It's okay. If he hadn't killed me, maybe I would have killed him, and her. And maybe I would have won, but if I had, we wouldn't be together right now. I am not angry with him for doing that. I always knew that I wouldn't win. I never thought I'd make it this far, though. Your sister would never have had the courage to kill me, and I would have probably done something worse before she could even move. It was the only option that he had. I'm not … I don't think you can understand, but it doesn't matter, okay? It's done, and we can't change the past. We can only accept it, and learn to live with it." It's actually crazy how much grown up I feel. We can't change the past. We can only accept it and learn to live with it. Did I really say that? For the entire Games, for my entire life, this isn't what I have been doing. I didn't accept my past, and I certainly didn't learn to live with it; I tried to find a way to change it, to get my revenge, to live with it my own way. And now, all of this things that I can say that didn't occur to me before, they feel like the simplest things ever. And it kind of makes me feel dumb for wanting revenge in the first place. I still think that I had my reasons, but they're debatable, and I am able to see that now.
That's when I feel Elven tensing up. "Live with it? Jessy, do you realize that we aren't alive anymore? We're dead!"
"I feel more alive than I ever was before," I tell him.
"That's because you were so obsessed with killing Piper and I that you didn't let yourself enjoy life," he snaps.
I get up, getting off his lap, completely pissed off. That isn't fair. How many times will I have to pay for that mistake of mine? How many times will he bring it back? How many times will he talk about this whenever he thinks that I'm wrong? I won't deny all the pain that I have caused to him and to his sister and to everyone else I have ever known, but this one mistake doesn't define me. It doesn't define who I am now, and this one word doesn't represent the person that I am. It might have represented me some day, and still, I am not even sure that it's true, but it surely doesn't fit right now. Isn't he aware of the fact that I have changed? That he changed me? He's the reason why. Without him, I would have gladly taken that remark with a sad smile, but he was there, and he moved me, he changed me, he made me understand things that I didn't even know existed. And now, he dares to rub it in my face, to tell me that everything was because of me. It wasn't. As far as I'm concerned, he was there, too, when we kissed, when we talked, when we were together, when we drank that potion. He was there with me, all along. He has no right to just throw this in my face, knowing how hard I have fought for him, how hard I have tried to beat the odds, how hard I have tried to forget everything I had ever believed in. And all of this for what? Just for him, just to be with him, just to please him. And yet, he's still not happy with my performance. I mean, what else can I do that I haven't done already? I would have done anything for him, but if he never tells me what he truly wants, I will never be able to give him that. I'll never fully satisfied him. Like, ever.
"I thought that this was finally our chance to start over, but I guess that I was wrong," I tell him. "I didn't want to be like the girl you knew. I don't want to be like her any longer. But I guess that you can't forget her, and if you can't forgive me, I don't see how we can share something." I don't even have the strength to look at him. "I think you should go. I'll manage to watch the end on my own."
I only look back at him when the door closes behind him. I thought I would break, but I don't. I sit down on the chair, watching the Games, feeling lonelier than ever. I have no purpose now, nothing to hold on to. If Elven leaves me for good, what will I do, now that I have given up everything for him?
I don't know how Liam managed to kill me. I mean, he was almost dying himself. But, I think I understand how he did it, now. I hadn't noticed that my grip on the trident had loosened while I was talking to Piper. Even if Liam was tied up, his hands weren't. That's how he managed to grab the trident and to drive it through my heart. By seeing the way he's winced, I know that he paid the price for that. I see how I got on my knees, how I looked at him one last time before I fell to the ground and before the gong was heard.
That's it. The moment where I'll know who won. The camera zooms on Liam's face who's just destroyed by the pain and the guilt, maybe. I think he barely has the strength to look up at Piper. She seems in shock, and I can't blame her. She must have thought that he could easily kill her if he didn't mind driving a trident through his own sister's heart.
But he's stronger than I thought because he even manages to speak. "Don't worry," he says. "It'll be all right."
She doesn't say a word. She's just … done. She's done, too. He's done. They're done. There's nothing else left to be said.
"Why?" she slowly whispers.
"You're … you're so young." He coughs but still insists to keep going even though I know that it's a very bad idea. "You … you deserve it." He raises one arm, and he puts it on the weapon that will kill him, that could kill him, depending on what he will decide to do. I think he could manage to take it off his chest, or at least kill Piper with it. And he would have won, and the Capitol would heal him. He can still win.
He looks up at the camera, and that's when I just know what he'll do. I can see it in his eyes. It's like I can see everything he must have been thinking at that precise moment. I feel my entire body tensing up as I watch him make a decision, decision that I believe has already been made. From the moment he decided to kill me, he knew what he'd do. I watch him slowly holding the weapon back, fighting very hard against Piper, and I see her wincing as it sinks a little in her body, too.
He whispers something that I don't quite get because the door behind me just opens up. I figure it must be Elven coming back to, maybe, hopefully, apologize about his behavior, but the voice I hear isn't his.
"Elven told me I'd find you here."
I turn around so quickly that I almost fall off my chair. "Rykeir?"
He shrugs and runs a hand through his hair. He's so different than what I recall. He seems neat, peaceful, and … that's not what I thought he'd look like, even after the Games. "Look, I'm not going to stay. Lilith and I want to go somewhere else, explore the lands, maybe." He sighs. "I never thought I'd say this one day, but … I was wrong. You know, I didn't really want to do all of this. Mother and Father, they said that I was a dishonor to the family if I didn't avenge my brother. I just …" He shrugs again, looking away and back to me. "I wanted to make them proud. I wanted to prove them that I could be as good as Cato once was."
"It's history, Rykeir," I say. "Really. None of this matters now."
"I know. I just thought you'd want to know." He looks at me again, as if he's waiting for me to say something, but I don't know what to tell him. "And … just know that I never meant to be the piece of shit that you knew."
"Already forgotten," I tell him with a smile although I can't figure out myself if I'm lying or not.
A sad smile appears on his lips. "That's all I had to say." He looks at the door as to leave, but instead he takes one good look at me. "I hope you'll find what you were looking." And with these words, he leaves.
I stare at the door for a moment, wondering what just happened. Does that mean that everybody who died is here? I believe so. I don't actually know, but it just looks like it. Rykeir said something about exploring the land with Lilith. I let out a dry laugh, realizing that I had been right about them. They could have had something. It's just too bad they only realize it now. At least, they'll have forever to figure it out.
I want to look back at the screen, and as I do, the door is heard once again. This time, it must be Elven.
"Hi," someone says.
I immediately tense up, freezing. My eyes open widely, and I don't have the time to turn around to look at who just came in that I hear the gong. My head turns straight to the screen as I realize who just won the Games, and why it suddenly makes sense that this someone is in the same room than I.
In the next chapter, you shall know everything! Next chapter was meant to be the last one, but I couldn't resist, and I wrote a bonus!
JuliaMindedx: Thank you a LOT! I really did try to do something unusual!
CloveandtheMockingjay: It does mean a lot to me that you felt Katniss's anger. I tried to make it real, and wasn't so sure. I'm glad if it worked! I don't think I'll have anyone explain Finnick's death to Jessyka. Annie already did explain it to her, I'm guessing, and Jessyka didn't want to hear. But I think she's grown up, and that she understands that she can't put the blame on just one single person. Yeah. And I promise, you will know FOR SURE who won in the next chapter! And I know, haha. Jessyka's been a b*tch! I never wanted her to win in the first place. If one thing had been clear in my mind from the very beginning, it was that she wouldn't be the Victor.
HungerGamesLoverr:Why, thank you! :)
Absolutly Adorkable:So glad that you still like/love it! And you'll know in the next chapter who is the Victor!
Once again, thanks to everyone who ever read this Fanfic, commented, followed, favorited!
Next chapter is Epilogue in which you will finally find out who won the Games!