Chapter 8: Coriolanus Snow

Pushover [poosh-oh-ver]

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: something someone easily influenced

Synonyms: breeze, child's play, chump, cinch, duck soup,easy game, easy mark, easy pickings, fool, kidstuff, picnic, piece of cake, setup, snap, softtouch, stooge, sucker, victim, walkover, President Snow

~:~:~:~:~:~

"Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
I seen you 'round for a long long time ,
I really 'membered you when you drink my wine
Why can't we be friends?"

I sing to myself as I walk in my garden, pruning my yellow, red and blue roses. Not white, though. Never white. White was a mean color, and I am anything but mean. In 5th Grade of Panem National School, I won the President's Prize for Kindness... two hundred and seventeen times in a row. As my high school superlative, I was voted, "Least Likely to Be an Evil Dictator and Take Lots of Other People's Lives for Own Personal Gain'. It was a hard-won title.

"President Snow! Prezzie Snow!"

I turn, a wide, genuine grin stretched across my lovely, kind face. "Ooh! Hello, Seneca! What can I help you with today?"

The impossibly-skinny, beardless woman stumbles up to me and flicks her long, brunette hair over her shoulder, adjusting her pink be-dazzled rhinestone sunglasses as she does so. "Prezzie Snow, I have to report a complaint. Now."

"Of course, Seneca. What is it?" I ask, concerned.

"There weren't any chocolate croissants at this morning's a la carte buffet! There were meant to be, and there weren't!" she whines, raising her voice so that some of my private gardeners look up from their work.

I wave them back to their jobs, promising pay raises a-plenty. They nod, used to it. Maybe I should dock their pay a little. I shake my head, smiling. No. It would be mean to dock even a cent off of their eight figure salaries. How else would they feed their families? No one can feed their starving children on only a million dollars. It's preposterous!

"Seneca, Seneca, I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so sorry. I honestly have no idea why there were no chocolate croissants. This will be fixed immediately," I reassure her.

"Well, maybe," she huffs, flipping her brown bangs out of her eyes and snapping her bubble gum, which she is chewing voraciously. "But can't you fire the Avox responsible?"

"I'd love to, Seneca, I really would, but that would be mean-"

"Oh, come on, Coriolanus! Please? Pretty please? Pretty please with raspberry sprinkles and dead Tributes on top?" she begs, lacing her hands together.

"Maybe…" I ponder. I just can't say no to anybody, which can be a disadvantage at times, especially when it comes to times of passing laws. How I said 'yes' to 'National Killer Kittens Day' and 'Superbabies: Baby Geniuses Movie Marathon Week'. "I'll think about it Seneca."

"That's not an answer." Seneca stamps her foot angrily and I smile.

"Fine, fine!" I raise my hands in defeat. "I'll fire them!"

"That's grrrre-aaaaat!" Seneca yells, hugging me. I hug her back, happy for the human contact. I need a boyfriend. Maybe.

"Okay! Now that that's over, wanna come watch My Little Pony with me?" I say happily, straightening the bright yellow rose in my lapel. Not white. Never white.

"What version?" Seneca asks suspiciously. She only likes the Original Version.

"Well… I was going to suggest My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, because I love that silly Pinkie Pie, but if you want to watch the Original Version-"

"No! I will not watch Friendship is Magic because-"

What follows happens to be a three-hour debate on which version was better, which seemed to consist mostly of Seneca yelling, "Original!" and me saying, "Okie-doki-loki," in a very quiet, sad voice.

"Right!" says Seneca triumphantly. "I'll go put the tape in! Let's watch The Great Rainbow Caper! No! The End of Flutter Valley! NO! The Ghost of Paradise Estate! NOOOOO! Rescue from Midnight Castle! YEAH!"

"Excuse me, Seneca," I say wearily, glancing towards my hedge-maze. "A shadowy man over there is subtly trying to signal that he'd like to speak with me in private."

The shadowy man face-palmed himself and motioned me over towards him. Before I went, I turned to Seneca quickly.

"Oh, hey, Seneca?" I ask, and the woman turns, an annoyed look on her face. "Sorry, but I was wondering. Maybe perhaps possibly we could have gorillas with pies in the Games? You know, for hungry Tributes?"

"Gotcha. Gorillas with chainsaws for nearly-dead Tributes. Can do, Prezzie!"

"What? No-" But Seneca's already gone. "How does 'pies' sound even remotely like 'chainsaws'?" I ask no one in particular.

I walk over to the shadowy man. "Hi, I'm President Coriolanus Snow," I say, sticking out my hand for him to shake. "I'm very pleased to meet you." I will never say "WHAT IN FREDDIE PANEMERCURY'S NAME ARE YOU DOING IN MY GARDEN, INTRUDER?!" because that would be rude.

"Hey," he says in a cold, creepy voice. "You need to kill Katniss Everdeen."

"Why?" I ask, surprised. "The Meatball on Fire? The Boy Who Was a Meatball? The Boy Literally on Fire? But he seemed like such a nice boy! Especially on live television!" Memories of Katniss' interview with Caesar flash back to me, and I wince. That was a disaster. And as for Caesar… well, I didn't like to think about it. Ugh. "Why would I want to kill him?"

"Because he's an underdog. And you don't like underdogs," the shadowy man intones.

"Ooh! Ooh! Yes, yes, I do! I've been to the Districts before, and they're all underdogs! I love them all!" I answer enthusiastically.

"No, you don't."

"I don't?"

"President Snow, have you ever been hypnotized?" he asks.

"No, I can't say I have. I don't think I'd like it."

"I'm going to hypnotize you."

"But- well, okay, I guess."

The man comes out into the sunlight a little further. His stringy gray hair falls to his shoulders, and his eyes look like slush that you wish would melt away. Where have I heard that before? Come to that, where have you heard that before?

Anyhoo, the man holds out a watch and swings it back and forth, chanting, "You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary. You will kill Everdeen by any means necessary."

"Okay."

~:~:~:~:~

"Are you sure this will work, Seneca?" I look doubtfully at the DREAM INTERFERER CHAMBER. It doesn't stand for anything. An angry man named it, and he had a habit of screaming in all Capitol letters. Geddit? Cause we live in the Capitol, and-

Hahahahaha. I'm so hilarious. Anyways.

"Yup. Just put this helmet on, and my GENIUS CREATION," she yells, to attract attention, "and you will be inside the dreams of a random Tribute."

"Uh, which Tribute?"

"A random one!" she shoves the helmet, wires and all, down onto my head.

"Uh, Seneca? This is safe, right?"

"Yeah. Sure. Good luck, Prezzie!" she chirps, slamming a big red button.

I pass out within a few seconds.

~:~:~:~:~:~

"Hello?" my voice sounds echoic in the dark black void that is a Tribute's dream. Hopefully this random Tribute will be someone evil and soulless, someone who won't be afraid to kill Katniss Everdeen…

"Yes? Who is it?" a voice sings out of the darkness, and a blonde angel appears.

"Ah. Peeta Mellark, right?" I'm disappointed, but very happy I get to meet the beautiful girl in person.

"Yes! I'm Peeta. And you're President Snow, right? It's so very nice to see you! Is this a dream?" She flicks her hair over her shoulders and fixes me with a violet stare that looks into my soul. Thankfully, I'm not too worried. My conscience is clean as a whistle. I've never killed anyone! On purpose.

"Uh, no, dear." I wave my hands in scary motions. "Whoooooo. I'm a ghooooost."

Peeta cocks her head. "No, you're not, silly. I have magical specter-senses, and I would know if you were a ghost."

"Fine. You're very clever." I drop the façade. "Peeta, I need you to kill Katniss Everdeen."

"But – but why?" she asks, looking horrified. "He's kind of cute, and I would never kill anyone! That would be horribly un-Sueish of me!"

"I know, sweetie, I know." I gather her into a warm hug, feeling the pulses of the hypnosis inside me. "But a man whose identity will be revealed at a later date told me that you had to."

She pushes away from me, tears streaking down her porcelain face. "What if I refuse?" she asks bravely.

"Then…" I struggle to repeat what the shadowy man told me. It's horribly out-of-character for me. "Then… I kill your family!" I have to restrain myself from bursting into tears. I don't want to kill anyone!

"No!" she whispers, putting her hands over her face. "You really are evil, President. Wait – how would you kill them? Do you even know who they are?"

I pick up the ghost idea again. "That is irrrreelevaaaaaant!" I howl. "You must kill Katniss!"

"Okay," sniffs Peeta. "For my family." A box of tissues appears out of nowhere and she wipes her nose mournfully, looking oddly sexy in the half-light. "But I will have my revenge on you."

"Of course you will, sweetie. Good luck to you." I pat her on the head, wipe away a tear of her own.

Next to me, Peeta sits down and pulls out a notebook and a biro, presumably to write some beautiful poetry. She looks up at me. "How… h-how do I… kill Katniss?"

"Um…" I consider this. I'm probably the worst person in all of Panem to answer this question, as I have absolutely no experience in the field of murder and killing. "Make him your lover." I repeat one of the lines from the many soap operas that I watch on a daily basis.

"Okay." She looks sad.

"I have to go," I say, feeling the helmet twitch on my head. "Good luck killing Mr Everdeen."

I disappear, leaving Peeta to stare into a pool of water that just appeared, contemplating her terrible future.

~:~:~:~:~

"Seneca, I feel horrible! I don't want to be responsible for anyone's death!" I cry, leaning on the other woman's shoulder.

Seneca rolls her eyes. "Just forget about it, Snowy. You want to go watch some My Little Pony?"

"Can we watch the Friendship is Magic version?"

"No. Original Version."

"Okie-doki-loki," I sigh.

~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~

A/N: Whooooooo! Whooooo was that mysterrrrriooouuuussss maaaaaan? That was my ghost voice, if you couldn't tell. Mysterious man hints: remember, genders are reversed and all characters are actually in the book.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and please review! Please?

Just so you guys know, this is my last chapter for any stories for the month of November - I'm taking a hiatus/holiday and will be back in December!

NEXT TIME ON GENDER REASSIGNMENT:

"Love not Kids Killing Each Other! Love not Kids Killing Each Other! Love not Kids Killing Each Other!" I chant in a dreamy voice, hoisting a poster in the air.

Everyone around me ignores me, as per usual. But that is normal, man. Considering I do this every morning, you would have thought that someone would have responded by now. Oh, well. Peace out. I stand in front of the Justice Building, one lonely, peace-loving hippy rallying and chanting. While some others might want to rebel, I'm willing to launch a peaceful protest - no violence, just demonstrating for as long as it takes. I already have six PanemTwitter followers on my fanpage!