I can't believe that it's over myself. This is a short chapter because it's the Epilogue. I can't even believe what a journey this has been, and I really want to thank you all for reviewing, favoriting, following, or even just for reading it. I never thought that this fanfic would turn out to be so appreciated, and I will miss you all so much. I will miss reading your reviews and knowing that there's something else coming for this story.
BUT. It isn't over yet. I think that I, myself, got a little ... nostalgic about it since it's been a few weeks that I wrote that chapter. There is one more chapter left. It's a bonus that I wrote for you. I thought that this epilogue ended the story like ... sort of well, but it didn't say everything.
So, one more bonus after this.
It's a beautiful day, she thinks as she turns around to smile at her lover. It feels like he hasn't changed over the years. Their relationship started as hate. They just despised each other, trying to find a way to ruin the other, until love came across, and ever since that moment, they had been together. They had tried to fight the feeling for a while, but it had been too strong, too consuming, too … real to be ignored.
She has grown up. She is older. Years have gone by, but somehow, things are still the same. He grew old, too. It hasn't changed at all since he has been in the Games.
"Hey, babe," she says. "Want to get the kids for a walk before ..." The words get stuck in her throat. She can't manage to pronounce them. Deep down, she's always hoped that someone would courageously stand up and fight for their beliefs, but no one ever did. Everyone was just too scared. And she is, too.
"They should stay home," he tells her. "It's safer." He sighs. "And I want to enjoy every single moment I can have with them. I don't ..."
He shakes his head, and she wraps her arms around him. She knows how he feels about that day every year. She knows that he despises it, maybe not as much as she does, but they both hate it. It's the worst day of the year, the only one that they would like to sleep through. But they couldn't. What if they had to say good-bye to someone they loved?
The kids were fifteen. They have been lucky so far, but she's afraid that luck won't always be with them. Maybe the odds won't always be in their favor. And she fears that day, so desperately. She can still remember when her own name was called, when she walked up the stairs for the entire District to see, when she fought for her life in the arena, when she thought that she had lost her mind, lost herself, lost everything she ever cared about. She still has nightmares about these days. She still can't fish or even see a weapon, even if it's not meant to hurt humans, without starting to shake, to just panic. And when she does, only her soul mate can calm her down. She knows that her children are aware of that fact. She knows that they've seen her lose it. And she's tried to be strong for them, but there are days when she doesn't even know how she'll manage through the day.
He still remembers it, too. He still remembers when his name was called. It was totally unexpected. The odds had always been in his favor, and it was supposed to be the last year that his name would be in the jar. The odds betrayed him. He still remembers how he had to get up on that stage, next to a girl he knew and cared about. He remembers thinking that if he won, she'd die. He still think of her sometimes. From time to time, he feels her presence around him, as to kiss him goodnight.
But it's worse for his lover. No one can ever totally get over the Games, but he tried to move on. He tried to forget, he tried to be normal again. He knows that she tried, too, but it seemed that she never reached the point where he is. There are days where she wishes that someone else than her had won. There are days where she wishes her brother was still here with her. Days where she wishes that the Games hadn't slip them up.
She cries herself to sleep from time to time. She tries to sob quietly, but someone always hears her. Sometimes it's the kids, sometimes it's her husband. But they're all aware that she's falling apart, that she's breaking into pieces, and that there's nothing that they can do to save her, that there's nothing to do about it, that even she doesn't know what to do to get better.
Everyone thought that talking about her experience would make things better, but today, there's nothing that will make her feel better. Today's Reaping day.
Every Reaping day, she feels like she's gone mad. Maybe she has. She can't tell. It's a nightmare. Every Reaping day, she would have dressed the kids up, make sure they look lovely, and pray to anyone that their names won't be called.
And that's what she'll do today. She'll pray that she won't hear Liam, Jessyka or Elven's name during the Reaping. She prays that her kids will be all right. She named them after people that she knew, and that have saved her life, in a way. They're the reason why she's still here. And she hopes that the real Liam, Jessyka and Elven will look out for her kids, that they will protect them like they did for her.
She looks up at she watches Jessyka running around the house, her dark brown hair tied up in a ponytail, chased by Elven and Liam, and she can't help but wonder how they can be so … happy in a day like this.
She hasn't even noticed that a tear has fallen off her eyes until her husband wipes it off. "It will be okay, Piper. They're looking for them."
By "they," he means Liam Kozak, Jessyka Odair and Elven Mellark.
Elven. Her brother. He died out of love. He died to protect her, and every year she tries to honor that memory by reminding herself of everything they've been through. And Elven appreciates it. Wherever he is, he's watching her, making sure that she'll be all right. He might be powerless to help her, but he's still there, looking out for her.
Liam. A friend. He died for her. That moment, when he was about to give up, when maybe he had already given up, she truly thought that he would decide to kill her instead. But no. He just told her that she deserved it, and that he was sorry before he drove the weapon himself into his own heart.
Jessyka. An enemy. Her brother's lover. They never quite got along. Jessyka wanted revenge, but deep down, Piper knows that wherever she is, she's happy, and she's gotten over her old demons. Piper doesn't know what Jessyka has become, and if she could see it, she'd be so damn surprised. Jessyka herself was. She's always there, looking out for her lover's sister even though she never thought she'd do this some day. Jessyka's there, every Reaping day, every other day, holding Elven's hand, being with him, being there for him. That's what they were meant to be, even if they didn't want to be. They were meant to be together. Forever. And that's what they'll be. Forever together.
"I'm scared," Piper whispers as her lover wraps his arms around her in a tight embrace.
"You'll never forget, will you?" he murmurs.
She looks at him, and at her kids, and to the sky before shaking her head and saying quietly, "I can never forget."
I feel like crying because it's over but I won't, don't worry. I'll take the time to thank everyone who has reviewed, like usual.
JuliaMindedx: I think that your review wasn't complete? Because you said "although Elven doesn't ex.." and nothing else after, so I was sort of confused, but thank you for the review!
CloveandtheMockingjay: I don't want the story to end either! A really big thank you for reading me, I think that you've been doing that almost ever since the beginning, and I am so grateful.
Absolutly Adorkable: Haha, don't worry. I wanted the Victor to be announced in the very last chapter, that is why. I hope that you liked it!
I really don't feel like letting this story go, so ... I don't know, if you ever have any idea about a scene that I haven't written, you could tell me about it, and maybe I'll write bonus scenes! I think I would like that a lot!
I can't wait to hear what you guys thought. Have a lovely evening, xx