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AN: Feel free to get mad upset and call me out in your reviews as I am well aware I have been a bad author at updating this story. I have to excuse other than I just needed to take a break. I hope I have not lost your faith or interest in this story and look forward to your comments. I promise that if you have any questions or concerns in your reviews I will address them at the start of Chapter 35. So that being said and apologies made there is another wonderful chapter ahead, I hope. Now there isn't a lot of action in this chapter simply because it is setting up for many things in the coming chapters.
Also I need some help. I have always had a problem trying to get the summary for the story right. If someone could review with a proper awesome summary for the story I would be most great full. So please review and help me out so I can stop tweeking and tinkering with it all the time! As many review suggestions as possible would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!
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Broken but not Beaten
Thresh watched the night sky though the dinning room window. Ever since the Games night had become something he wasn't exactly comfortable with. It was one of the many changes he noticed about himself since exiting the arena. Really they had all changed in some way from who they were before the Hunger Games. 'Same arena, different experiences, different baggage.' Thresh thought thinking about what Luctra's baggage was doing to her. Turning a moment he glanced at the others at the dinning room table. Just what were they carrying that he didn't know about? Would it eventually push them all to a breaking point?
"It's getting late and there's no sign of her transport." Thresh said looking back out the window.
"This whole situation is ridiculous. There has to be another way." Katniss exasperated looking at Cato from across the dinner table. Cato's grip tightened on his fork as he shot Katniss a dark look. Even out of the arena he still had the urge to stab her sometimes, and it was harder to resist since Luctra wasn't there telling him to knock it off.
"Well out of all of us here I guess you do have the most experience with drunks. So tell me girl on fire what do we do? Clove snapped leaning forward in her chair across the table towards Katniss.
Katniss glared daggers at Clove knowing that she really had no idea what alternative option they could use in this situation. Luctra's actions and subsequent absence from the group had caused a lot of the old tensions and conflicts to resurface between the 'Last Tributes'.
"Then back off. It's hard on all of us, but watching her self-destruct will be harder. You wanna explain to Rue and Dash why Luctra ends up drinking herself to death in a few months?" Clove continued. Katniss shook her head.
"Speaking of Dash anyone thinking they want to try and reason with him? It might help the whole Luctra issue if they were to make up." Peeta asked trying to break the tension. Everyone was on edge in their own unique way when it came to what was happening with Luctra.
"Once Luctra smartens up I'll talk with him. He's at a safe distance from her right now which is better till she get's her shit together." Cato said with a tone of finality. If one more person questioned him about how he was dealing with Luctra he was going to lose it big time. He was an extremely edgy person normally but he wasn't sleeping well without Luctra making his mood even worse.
Peeta nodded knowing Cato was probably the best one to talk to Dash. Cato had the strongest connection to Luctra and would have a better chance of relating to Dash's anger. Everyone stopped talking and tensed as they heard the front door open. They anxiously stared at each other as the footsteps approached the dining room.
"Hey. Everything alright?" Blight asked coming through the doorway immediately feeling a palpable tension in the room. The group collectively relaxed since it wasn't Luctra. They were all on uncomfortable about a possible confrontation with Luctra, whether she was sober or drunk.
"Just discussing a few things." Foxy replied smoothly. The group was keeping the truth about Luctra's bender completely to themselves and out of rebel ears. Blight could sense something was off but knew it was useless to try and get something out of the group if they didn't want to talk.
"Okay. Just thought I'd let you know that Luctra's staying at the Justice Building overnight." Blight announced. He saw Cato's jaw clinch.
"Why?" Cato asked through tightly clenched teeth. She had better not be avoiding them again because that would mean she was making the wrong choice. She had to deal with what happened which meant dealing with them no matter how uncomfortable it made her or the rest of them.
"She decided to train as part of the Search, Rescue and Extraction Squadron a few days ago." Blight informed them. "They have night training session and one was scheduled tonight so she's there with them."
"But she's the icon! Won't that put her in serious danger?" Katniss exclaimed. She like the rest of the group was stunned. Sure they were all going through basic training but all had assumed that Luctra, as the icon, would be kept out of the way of actual danger, unlike during the Hunger Games.
"Well as Luctra put it 'Who's going to believe in or fight for an icon who sits on her ass behind the wall that others are standing on protecting?' and they agreed with her." Blight said doing his best impersonation of what Luctra sounded like. Marvel had to admit it was a pretty bang on impression. Blight turned to leave but stopped as he remembered something.
"Oh and you have a meeting with Paylor tomorrow morning." Blight told them.
"Who does?" Peeta asked.
"All of you. Minus Dash and Rue, and maybe Azra." Blight answered leaving the room when an awkward silence fell over the group.
"Just what the hell has Luctra gotten herself into?" Clove snarled. If Luctra had joined that squadron as a way to put herself in danger then Clove wasn't going to carve her name into Luctra's body, she'd write the word 'idiot' instead.
"To be honest it has to be the safest place for her to participate in the rebellion." Foxy pointed out earning a glare from Cato. She looked back at him calmly. Like one would at a small child who was about to break their favourite toy. "They don't send in that squadron unless it's secure for the most part, and they won't risk putting her in too much danger. She's too valuable."
Most saw the logic in Foxy's assessment but they were still uncomfortable with it. Well Cato was down right angry with it. This is not what he had in mind when it came to Luctra taking more responsibility for her actions. He had a feeling Luctra was doing this so she would be taken away from the group more. That way she would be able to see it as her choice to not be with them and not the other way around.
"Not happening Finnick." Luctra said flatly crossing her arms.
"Where you go I go." He shot back crossing his arms and mimicking Luctra's stance.
"Look I get it. Really I do, but you're way to valuable to be wasted on Search, Rescue and Extraction." Luctra argued.
"I don't care. You are not joining a squadron without me." Finnick countered firmly. 'I can't almost lose you again because I wasn't there.' Finnick thought to himself. He was supposed to, needed to protect her for so many reasons. Luctra let out a frustrated sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"Finnick if I have to I will seriously use my position to order you as far away from me as possible." Luctra threatened. Finnick stared at her gobsmacked.
"You wouldn't…" Finnick narrowed his eyes even though he knew she very well could.
"I won't let you become my babysitter Finnick. You're way too talented to be wasted on S.R.E. You need to be on a squadron where the action is heaviest, where you might just be the reason someone doesn't die. Maybe even someone I care about." Luctra pointed out softening a little. Finnick tried to stare her down. "You know I'm right."
"You shouldn't even be on a squadron." Finnick huffed throwing his arms out. Luctra smirked. She had him and he knew it.
"Well I am. It's the safest place in the rebellion I can be active in." Luctra told him. Her meeting with Paylor had gone well. Paylor had agreed to her requests about joining an active squadron and the full inclusion of the other in rebel activities Tributes should they wish to be included. Being on the squadron would give her something to do with the continued delays in getting them to 13. Also she would have time to figure out just how to fix things between herself and Cato.
"I don't like it." Finnick stated flatly.
"You don't have to. You just have to live with it." Luctra continued to smirk. Finnick glared at her thinking that it was the 'live' part that worried him the most.
"Coin is getting anxious to have her." Paylor announced drumming her fingers on her desk.
"By your tone I take it that it's not because she's worried about Luctra's safety." Johanna remarked. Paylor looked at Johanna thoughtfully. Coin was a cause for great concern but Paylor had faith that between Johanna and Finnick, Luctra would have the protection she needed should her concerns about Coin prove valid. Paylor looked thoughtful for a moment.
"The crack down in District 10 is getting out of hand. Ms. Fanto needs to be moved by the end of the week regardless." Paylor decided. Johanna nodded. The Private Guard were taking in more and more people for questioning in District 10, and very few were coming out undamaged.
Luctra wiped the sweat from her brow with the sleeve of her shirt. She had a lot to learn about search and rescue. The hovercrafts they used were actually very different from the other transport hovercrafts. The hovercrafts used for search and rescue had huge viewing windows in the front for the pilots and massive sliding doors on both sides of the bay area.
"When preparing to jump make sure the line is clear and your ties are secure!" Everest shouted out instructions loudly. He was the squadron leader and in charge of training everyone. Right now they were getting a crash course, not literally Luctra hoped, in repelling out of the hovercraft onto the ground/water safely. They were currently hovering a few stories above the back yard of the Justice Building. There was a giant crash mat on the ground acting as their target. She wring her hands nervously as she really hadn't gotten the hang of not swinging as she repelled down.
Over the last week she had been through a gruelling schedule of technical lessons and physical training. She had been living at the Justice Building the whole time during the training as traveling back and forth would cut into her training time. She had only seen the other Tributes briefly in passing. The others were clearly sticking to the ultimatum. She wasn't sure if it was because they believed it was the right thing or because they were afraid of crossing Cato. If she was honest with herself it was probably a lot of the first and a smaller amount of the second. She had thought the good thing about spending a week separated from them was that it would give her some clarity and perspective on the issue. Unfortunately she still had no clue how to go about fixing things. Cato had already told her that an 'I'm sorry' wasn't going to cut this time around.
"Alright Goddess you're up!" Everest shouted over the wind and noise of the hovercraft. Luctra nodded and attached her harness to the repelling cable.
"Flyer Out!" Everest shouted. Luctra immediately lowered herself backwards out the open door of the hovercraft keeping her feet on the edge of the doorframe. Making a small jump she dangled in mid air, trying to control her descent to the ground. She wasn't able to control her speed properly and ended up landing on the target mat hard sending a sharp pain up her leg. Ignoring the pain in her ankle she unclipped herself from the cable and moved off the mat so that the next jumper could come down.
'I am so probably better at water entry rescues.' Luctra thought begrudgingly as she felt her ankle begin to throb. Even with the pain in her ankle she managed to complete the last few drills on how to properly secure people to the harness and evacuation airbed. After that her squad was dismissed from training and Luctra once again prayed that she was doing right by herself, by the rebellion and by the LLC in joining this squad.
"President Snow. We have not been able to locate her. The sightings stopped completely as of 2 weeks ago." The Captain announced over communicator. He swore he saw the corner of President Snow's eye twitch the tiniest fraction.
"Captain, are you informing me that she is no longer located within the confines of District 10? In which you personally locked down? As something to that degree could be views as complete incompetence." Snow replied darkly. The Captain swallowed.
"President Snow I d-d-d…o not believe she made it out. I believe that she has been hidden somewhere in District 10." The Captain stuttered.
"Tear District 10 apart and pray that you find her Captain." Snow glowered before cutting off the communication.
"Dude give it a rest already." Marvel said as Cato continued to hammer the heavy bag with punches.
"I could hit you instead." Cato offered stopping momentarily to look over at Marvel.
"Did I mention the bag called you ugly?" Marvel replied quickly. Cato rolled his eyes and went back to hitting the bag. He had barely seen Luctra all week. Once in the hallway as she was heading out with her squadron and once when she was coming into Paylor's office as he was leaving it. Neither time had given him the chance to really see how she was doing. She had met his eyes only to look down at the ground, which worried Cato since it could mean she attempting to hide from him. On top of not getting a chance to get a read on how she was doing the nights apart had only become more difficult as they passed. He was back to sleeping lightly and restlessly like he had all those years at the academy. Not to mention he was having horrible dreams about what would happen if Luctra didn't smarten up.
"How is she doing?" Thresh asked coming up to pin the opposite side of the bag against his body to give Cato resistance.
"Hard to tell. Haven't had the chance to talk one on one with her since the morning after her bender." Cato told Thresh driving his fist particularly hard into the bag.
"Her squadron is on rest tonight." Thresh shrugged. Cato stopped hitting the bag thoughtfully.
"Is Dr. Hoven here?" Luctra asked a passing infirmary warden when she entered the medical wing. Luctra had managed to limp to the hospital wing without alarming anyone. The infirmary warden looked up from her clipboard slightly peeved at the interruption until she saw who was talking to her.
"Yes Ms. Fanto. I will alert Dr. Hoven immediately that you're here." She told Luctra hurrying off before Luctra could tell her that it wasn't an emergency. Sighing Taylor hobbled over to one of the vacant beds and hopped up. Reaching down she undid her combat boot. She let out a hiss as she wiggled her injured ankle and foot out of the boot.
"Ms. Fanto is everything alright?" Dr. Hoven questioned urgently coming through opening in the wall of curtains.
"I think so. I came down hard on my ankle in training and just wanted to make sure it isn't broken." Luctra explained lifting her foot to show Dr. Hoven. He gently picked up her ankle and examined it.
"It's a bad sprain." Dr. Hoven concluded after twisting and turning it a few different directions. "You'll need to ice and stay off it for a day or two."
"Okay. Good." Luctra said relieved. The female warden brought Luctra an ice pack and bound it to Luctra's ankle.
"Lay back. The longer you can keep the pack on the better at this point." The infirmary warden told her. Luctra nodded and laid down on the bed resting her head on the pillow. As she relaxed she tried to decide if she should go back to the 'Last Tribute' house tonight. As she weighed the pros and cons she fell asleep.
She was back in the house again walking up the stairs in a pair of shorts and her sports bra. She knew he was waiting for her in their bedroom and her body flushed with excitement. Nervous butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she approached the door to their room. Placing her hand gently on the doorknob she took a deep breath before twisting the knob and walking into the room.
He was laying on his back shirtless with the sheet sitting dangerously low on his hips and she knew that he was naked under the sheet. His hands were folded behind his head stretching his biceps beautifully. Almost hesitantly she walked over to the side of the bed. He watched her but made no sound or movement as she sat beside him.
Reaching out she hesitantly traced her hand down his sternum. Again he watched her but made not other reaction. She knew she was trying to convey her regret and apology physically to him like she had in the woods in District 7. She ran her hand up to the side of his neck trying to elicit some reaction from him.
"Not enough." He told her his voice deep and stern. She bit her lip and placed her hands on either side of his face desperately trying to communicate with him what she needed, though she herself wasn't exactly sure what it was. His gaze never wavered and his body remained still. Feeling a sense of calm and defeat wash over her she laid down on his chest. Exhaling she felt as though all the weight she was carrying sank through her and into him, blending the weight between the two of them. She felt him touch the back of her head gently.
"Better, but not enough." He whispered quietly as the dream faded into a imageless sleep.
Cato walked into the infirmary trying not to let his panic show. He had heard from a member of Luctra's squadron that she might have been hurt during training. The news had caused his gut to tighten. The guy had assured him that he didn't think it was serious but that hadn't made Cato feel any better.
Looking to the left Cato saw her sleeping on one of the hospital beds. Running his eyes over her body relief settle in his stomach seeing that the only thing bound was her ankle and the rest of her body was devoid of trauma. Nothing serious had happened to her. Coming to her side Cato quietly examined her closer. She looked fine, better actually. The dark circles were disappearing from under her eyes and her face was tensionless as she slept peacefully.
She was wearing a green t-shirt and camouflage pants, typical training gear for the squadrons and it again reminded him that she was heading into the mess of the rebellion. Examining her gloved hands he wondered if she would ever feel comfortable taking her gloves off with anyone other then him. Physically at least it looked as if she had made the right choice, but emotionally and mentally were another story. What worried him now was heading into the fighting in the wrong state of mind again, which could lead to devastating consequences. He wanted nothing more then to talk with her, but knew he had to wait for her to come to him. It would be the only way to know for sure he had gotten through to her. Though he ached to touch her, kiss her, and reconnect with her physically he backed away from the bed and left the hospital wing. Internally he sent up a prayer again for this to work.
Luctra woke up from her nap when she felt someone unwrapping her ankle and removing the icepack. Looking down she saw it was the infirmary warden who smiled up at her and apologized for waking her up. Part of her had hoped it would be Cato, or at least Peeta. 'What the hell was that all about?' Luctra thought back over the dream. She felt a small sense of peace settle into her heart and realized that she had somehow in her dream let Cato take some of her burden. How that would translate into the real world she wasn't sure.
"LUC'S!" Rue shouted running into the infirmary.
"Over here Rue! Everything alright?" Luctra asked worriedly sitting up. Rue skidded to a stop beside the bed grinning. Luctra relaxed and smiled back.
"Are you coming back home tonight?" Rue questioned eagerly. Luctra could see there was something more to Rue's question. She looked up at the warden to get her opinion.
"It may be best Ms. Fanto. You're off training for the next few days at least. Might as well be somewhere more comfortable." She suggested.
"Well there's your answer." Luctra laughed smiling. The warden walked away leaving Rue and Luctra alone. "Now I know I have been away but is there some special reason you need me back at the house?"
Rue shuffled from foot to foot. She looked around the room uncomfortably before looking up at Luctra. "I've been having nightmares." She confessed quietly. Luctra felt a pang of guilt.
"Nothing to be ashamed about Rue. Even I have nightmares." Luctra comforted twisting one of Rue's braids between her fingers.
"Really?" Rue stopped her shifting and looked at Luctra. It was hard to believe that someone as strong as Luctra would have nightmares.
"Yes." Luctra confessed. She wasn't going to tell Rue that most of them were of the forest fire. In them she either didn't make it out or she wasn't able to save Rue. Both left her panting and sweat drenched when she woke up.
"So how about we go back to the house and have an slumber party in the basement? Just you and me." Luctra offered with a smile. She wouldn't have Rue crash in her and Cato's room since she didn't want to kick Cato out with how things were between them. And as far as she knew she wasn't welcome in their room right now.
"Okay." Rue bounced excitedly.
"Great. Go tell Taeran that need my escort to take me back to the house." Luctra told Rue. Rue ran out of the room to find Taeran. Calling over the warden Luctra told her she was heading back to the house. The warden gave her two icepacks and a compression bandage to wear when she wasn't icing.
The escort arrived at the house just as the sun was setting. Thankfully all of the other Tributes were still at the Justice Building so it was easier on Luctra's nerves. She was dreading the possibility of walking into a room with all of them there. Taeran helped her walk into the house and down into the basement.
"Rue can you run up to my room and grab me a shirt and shorts?" Luctra asked as she piled pillows on the 'L' shaped couch in the basement for her to recline into and some to elevate her foot on.
"Sure!" Rue replied excitedly rushing up the stairs, coming back a few minutes later carrying a few mismatched articles of clothing.
"Thanks. Now go raid the pantry and we'll get this slumber party started." Luctra grinned. Rue smiled and headed to the pantry. Luctra stripped out of her training clothes and pulled on the shorts carefully listening to Rue rattle around in the pantry. As she went to pull on the shirt she stopped and smelled it. Musk and mint. Rue had picked up a shirt that Cato had worn. Even though she knew she had disappointed and hurt him deeply his smell still brought her comfort. She pulled it over her head and pulled the collar up to her nose for a moment. 'I am so afraid that he's going to realize I'm just not enough for him.' She thought feeling moisture in the corner of her eyes.
"Is this good enough?" Rue asked coming back her arms loaded with different treats. Luctra calmed her pre-tears and looked over at Rue.
"Perfect." Luctra smiled as Rue carefully balanced all the goodies in her arms as she walked over to the couch. They didn't want to watch the Hunger Games footage so they just talked, ate and laughed. Luctra learned even more about Rue, District 11 and what type of people Rue saw her family as. At one point Luctra asked Rue to get an icepack from the freezer and help her put it on before they settled down completely. Rue stretched out perpendicular to Lutra on the 'L' shaped couch. As they shifted around Rue crawled up and under Luctra's arm resting her head on Luctra's chest. Luctra smiled and wrapped her arm across Rue from shoulder to shoulder.
"What's going on with everyone?" Rue questioned. Luctra should have known that Rue was far too observant to miss that something was up between the Tributes.
"A lot of things baby girl. The big thing is that I made a mistake and other people's feelings were hurt by it." Luctra admitted twisting one of Rue's braids in her hand.
"But everyone makes mistakes." Rue yawned.
"They do. I just forgot that being a family means sharing responsibility when things are really tough." Luctra told Rue.
"But you remember now?" Rue asked trying to stifle another yawn.
"Yes. And I won't forget it again. Now let's get some sleep." Luctra declared. Rue got up and shut off the lights. Crawling back under Luctra's arm Rue pulled a blanket up over herself.
"Yeah baby girl?"
"Don't forget I love you okay?" Rue whispered into the dark. Luctra pulled Rue up little tighter to her body. Tears streamed out of her eyes silently as some of her pain, guilt and feelings of utter helplessness involuntarily surfaced and released. They were tears of fear, of guilt, of love and disbelief at how much the little girl next to her trusted and cared for her.
"I could never forget that. Love you too baby girl. No matter what happens you remember I got you. I always got you." Luctra vowed leaning down and kissing the top of Rue's head. Wiping her eyes with her free hand Luctra fell asleep reminding herself that out of all the good and bad choices she had made, she at the very least had done right by Rue.
"Have you seen Rue?" Dash asked entering the kitchen. The last of them had just arrived back at the house from the Justice Building. Dash was fine to talk and interact with the group, as long as no one mentioned Luctra. When someone did he would bolt out of the room angrily and find somewhere, usually high up, and hide for hours.
"Taeran said she came back with Luctra hours ago." Foxy ventured cautiously. Dash tensed and walked out of the room.
"Man can that kid hold a grudge." Marvel astonished shaking his head.
"Has Luctra come around yet?" Peeta asked turning to look at Cato who was sitting on one of the barstools.
"No." Cato replied shortly. Peeta wanted to ask what exactly had to happen for Cato to determine Luctra had turned the corner, but knew that this was Cato's call and kept his question to himself. Katniss walked into the kitchen at that moment empty handed. She was supposed to have brought up items from the secret pantry but her hands were empty.
"Luctra and Rue are asleep on the couch in the basement." Katniss stated seeing their questioning looks.
"Was her ankle wrapped?" Cato asked before he could stop himself. Katniss looked over at Cato and thought back.
"Yeah. It was propped up on a stack of pillows." Katniss recalled. Cato nodded as he got up and headed up to his room. Luctra was taking care of her injury, which was another good sign, but it still wasn't enough. Cato undressed and climbed into the bed flopping onto the pillows hard. He and Luctra were in the same house and yet they were miles away from where they needed to be. Reaching over the edge of the bed Cato picked up a pillow from the floor. The pillow was different from the others since he had dressed it in Luctra's arena t-shirt. It was his way of keeping a piece of her close to himself and it helped him sleep because it still smelled like her.
"I know you're strong enough Luc's. Just show me you need us." He whispered drifting off.
A few days later Luctra was back on her feet. Her ankle was still bound for support but she could move around without too much trouble. During the time she spent at the house she had turned the basement into her own little cave dwelling. The others seemed to avoid it unless necessary. If they did come down Luctra either pretended to be asleep or darted into the basement bathroom to avoid them. The tension was only getting worse and Luctra's single real contact with the group was Rue.
"Hey Luctra where are you?" A voice called out from upstairs.
"Downstairs Finnick!" Luctra called back. Luctra sat on the couch with her foot wrapped and propped up on some pillows. She heard Finnick make his way down the stairs and to the couch.
"How's the ankle?" He asked hoping over the back of the couch to sit beside her.
"Healing. What brings you here?" Luctra asked picking at her cuticles.
Finnick feigned insult. "Can't a mentor check on his favourite Tribute?"
"I am so telling Annie you said that." Luctra snorted.
"Okay favourite escaped Tribute." Finnick corrected. He readjusted his position on the couch and Luctra knew she was in for a long conversation if he was getting comfortable.
"Spill Odaire." Luctra told him not in the mood for small talk.
"You gotta fix whatever the hell is wrong with the Tributes and fast." Finnick told her seriously.
"Tell me something I don't know." Luctra growled in frustration roughly running her hands through her hair.
"I mean it Luctra." Finnick warned. "You guys can't go to 13 divided."
"We aren't divided." Luctra snapped angrily. Finnick gave her a 'yeah right' look. "We're not divided…I'm just out of favour with a few of them." Finnick gave Luctra a confused 'go-on' look. He needed to know what was going on in order to protect her, and the rest of the group that mattered so much to her.
"Short of shooting one of them I can't see you doing anything bad enough for them to turn on you." Finnick laughed trying to ease some of the seriousness.
"I didn't do anything to them necessarily..." Luctra trailed off picking at her cuticles again. Finnick raised an eyebrow and waited. Luctra huffed not really wanting to have this conversation with Finnick but knew he would just continue to stare at her until she did. "I did something to myself and they are taking a stand on my behaviour."
Finnick shot her a smirk. "Fall asleep in the bathtub?"
"You really want to know or not?" Luctra snapped not in the mood for joking either. She looked at Finnick mentally trying to will him to say no.
"What did you do?"
Luctra looked away from Finnick and massaged her eyes as she felt the edge of a headache coming on.
"Fine, but I am not telling you where I got it from." Luctra told him firmly. Finnick felt dread settle into the bottom of his stomach. A million possibilities flew through his mind. Had she gotten her hands on designer drugs from the Capitol? Painkillers from the infirmary? Was she hurting herself?
"What did you do?" Finnick repeated slowly.
"I hit my breaking point and decided to drown my pain in alcohol." Luctra said ashamed. If she was honest with herself she wasn't ashamed of the drinking part. She was ashamed that Cato had caught her in such a state. "I got blackout drunk and the others found me. I don't remember anything beyond reaching the halfway point of the bottle."
Finnick stared at Luctra dumbfounded as he tried to process what she had just told him. Almost every Victor he knew had some way of coping with the horrors from the Games. He used his flirtations to hide the pain of what he did and what they were forcing him to do. Johanna was a defensive bitch and Blight threw himself into the rebellion to make amends. Others had turned to suicide, drugs and those like Haymitch had turned to alcohol. Very few were like Brutus whom enjoyed the bloodshed the Hunger Games provided and functioned just as well after the Games as they had before.
"No no, no, no ,no. You did not! Please tell me this is some sick joke." Finnick groaned holding his face in his hands. "Caylor is going to kill me."
"Caylor? Caylor Fanto?" Luctra asked excitedly turning her body to face Finnick. "Wait you saw my dad?" Finnick looked between his fingers and glared at Luctra.
"Yes. And he is going to kill both of us when I bring you back with a drinking problem." Finnick told her still glaring.
Luctra flashed back to the cold looked Cato had given her the morning after her bender. "I learned my lesson Finnick. It's not worth it doing that to myself and the people around me."
"Even so you need to stay away from it for a long time. Like forever is not long enough. You did it once and chances are with the fight ahead you might be tempted to do it again." Finnick stared into Luctra's eyes almost trying to will the very urge to drink from her. "Promise me you will come to me before you decide to put even a single drop of alcohol in your system?"
"Should warn you I don't have the best record with keeping promises lately." Luctra cast her eyes down to her gloved hands.
"Luctra promise me." Finnick pleaded.
"Alright I agree that the next time I'm about to have a mental break down I will come and find you, if I can't find Cato first. And you better have cookies." Luctra laughed trying to make light of the heavy conversation.
"No in return I promise not to tell your father what you did." Finnick countered. Luctra gave him a wide-eyed stare.
"You wouldn't." Luctra challenged.
"I would even if it means going down in flames with you. Though if I remember Joan of Arc burned alone…" Finnick grinned feeling comfortable with his victory over the situation. It was one of the rare times Finnick felt he actually had some control when it came to Luctra. Luctra glared at Finnick before giving way to her need for information.
"How are they? My family." Luctra asked desperate for information on her family.
"Your dad is a very intimidating person. Threatened me the first time we met…" Finnick began. He spent the next few hours talking with Luctra about her family, the families of the other Tributes and his Annie. Finnick left for the night, but he told her he would be back to crash on the couch since she was now a 'gimp tribute liability'. In his absence Luctra thought over things again and again. She hadn't figured out how to go about fixing things so she was left with only one option really. She had to talk to the only person who might even slightly understand what she had done.
"I need to talk to you." Luctra panted catching up to him. She had finally tracked him down in the Justice Building the following afternoon.
"It wouldn't happen to be about what's got all you 'Last Tributes' in a tizzy would it?" Haymitch asked his tone dry. Luctra looked at Haymitch slightly surprised.
"Is it that obvious?" Luctra asked walking along side Haymitch not exactly sure where he was heading.
"Only to anyone paying any attention to you doll face." Haymitch continued walking without really acknowledging Luctra. Luctra glared at him knowing that EVERYONE was paying attention to her. Finnick had warned her multiple times.
"Look I need help figure out how to sort out this mess." Luctra snapped throwing her hands out and halting their steps.
"And you came to old Uncle Haymitch. How sweet. But listen girly I don't do the touchy feel bullshit so you're on your own." Haymitch stated turning away from Luctra continuing to move down the hallway.
"Yeah but you've done the drunken burden shit so I think you can help me." Luctra snapped quietly but loud enough that he would hear her. Haymitch stopped walking and turned to Luctra his face suddenly serious.
"Which one?" Haymitch walked back closing the distance between them and keeping his voice low. Luctra couldn't meet Haymitch's eyes.
"Me." She whispered. Haymitch was both shocked and not shocked. She was the seemingly strongest one in the group, but at the same time she was the one carrying the most weight. She heard Haymitch sigh and waited.
"Katniss you okay?" Peeta asked coming up beside her and placing a hand gently on her lower back. They were waiting in one of the rooms for Lough to come in. Since more of the 'Last Tributes' had been asked, and agreed, to participate in the Propos shooting Lough had been in a rush to get things filmed before they were evacuated.
"The interviews were hard enough now this. It just feels…." Katniss trailed off.
"Like we're just going through the pre-game stuff all over again." Peeta finished. Katniss turned to him.
"Yeah." Katniss said frustrated. "We're training, not sure where we're going to end up and being interviewed for other people to watch."
"Sure but at least this time it's a means to a bigger end, and not just our end." Peeta replied with a small smile. Katniss looked into Peeta's eyes and once again felt bad for how much about him she had taken for granted. He was her rock when she hadn't even known she was drifting.
"Might be our end also." Katniss muttered. Peeta tilted his head to the side slightly giving him a cute pensive look.
"It could be but at least we've done enough to buy ourselves more time. More then others had." Peeta shrugged thinking about his family. It was a double-edged sword really. Without the extra time Katniss probably would never have looked at him the way she was now, but he had outlived all of his relatives. Katniss knew Peeta was thinking about his family and brought her hand to cup the side of his face. She was slowly learning how to show affection with Peeta's help and comforting him was starting to come all the more naturally to her. Peeta smiled at the gesture and began to lean in slightly towards her lips when the door opened causing them to jump apart slightly.
"Hey we're gonna shoot you two outside, make it more natural." Lough told them.
"Okay." Katniss said immediately stiff. Without thinking twice she linked her hand with Peeta's and followed Lough through the Justice Building.
"I understand you're logic kid, but seriously. That's about the dumbest thing you could have done." Haymitch told Luctra after she finished recounting the events that had caused the rift in the 'Last Tributes'.
"Go say that to the mirror." Luctra snapped.
"Aren't I looking into one right now?" Haymitch shot back. Luctra glared at Haymitch knowing that he had a point.
"Fine so I'm a budding mini you. How do I fix this?" Luctra asked trying to take the edge out of her voice.
"Our situations are very different Goddess. I was alone in the belly of the beast with NO ONE around me. None of that applies to you. You just took the easy road." Haymitch said flatly. Luctra felt her hackles rise.
"There's nothing fucking easy about any of this!" Luctra snarled losing her cool. She got up and began pacing in front of couch that Haymitch was sitting on.
"Put a pin in that ego of yours. You're screwing up shit because the idea of having to rely on others around you is scaring you shitless. The reality is that you can't escape that fear. Trust me. Eventually fear always finds you." Haymitch explained. Luctra stopped pacing and looked at the broken man who was slowly piecing himself back together.
"You think about them at all? The Tributes you lost." Luctra asked gently sitting down. Haymitch had taken the wind out of her 'pissed off sails'.
"All the time doll face. The alcohol blurred them. Their faces, their voices, it all just became one ghost I can't shake." Haymitch muttered not sure if he wasn't drunk now since he was telling Luctra all of this. Fucking chick had a way with people and he sadly wasn't immune to it.
"I just can't escape all of it. I'm the eye of the hurricane and everyone around me is getting swept up in it." Luctra admitted.
"Well it's their own damn fault if they try to weather the storm outside." Haymitch told her straight. Luctra wasn't exactly sure what Haymitch meant by that statement. "A storm is a storm kid. Nobody is safe, but not everybody has to be alone."
Luctra sat there and thought for a moment. "UUGGHHH…even the drunk has more common sense then I have." Luctra said to herself smacking herself on the forehead with her palm. She heard Haymitch give a grunt of indignation reminding her that he may have been a drunk longer but she had even for at least one night joined him in that category.
"So how do I fix things?" Luctra sighed rubbing her hands over her face before clasping them together under her chin. She looked over at Haymitch with such a deep look of desperation Haymitch actually wished he had some magic formula to tell her.
"That I can't help you with doll face. They killed anyone I would've had to answer to long ago." Haymitch told her in a dark tone laced with pain.
"Not exactly." Luctra said thoughtfully. Haymitch gave her a sarcastic dark look. "You might be the only person left for Katniss and Peeta, so in a way you might have to answer to them being their mentor."
"Key word MENTOR, not babysitter." Haymitch cut in. Luctra grinned getting up for the door.
"What ever you say…UNCLE Haymitch!" She laughed walking out the door. It was good to laugh again. Back in the room Haymitch shook his head realizing that some how he had been roped into the Luctra loop of freaky family members.
"Have any of you seen Luctra?" Blight asked walking onto the pool deck. Finnick was in the pool teaching the basics of swimming to a few of the rebels and tributes that didn't know how to swim.
"Last I saw she was trying to track down Haymitch. Why?" Finnick felt a tinge of fear remembering the last time they had all gone looking for Luctra.
"Paylor needs to talk with her immediately. Things in District 10 are getting ugly." Blight told Finnick. Finnick sighed and ran his hands through his wet hair.
AN: Okay so I got the recon squad idea actually from Prince William. He can't serve in direct combat as the heir to the throne so he works as a helicopter pilot in Search and Rescue. Hope the 'breaking' makes sense. Luctra had to break under the stress to realize that she couldn't carry it all on her own. That in trying to do it she was actually hurting the people she was trying to protect. Also I got the shirt idea from a facebook 'meme' about a military boyfriend who did the same thing with his girlfriend's shirt. When he came out of the bathroom he found the dog curled up with the shirt pillow, the 'meme' read, "Guess I'm not the only one that misses her." I have also been thinking of writing a Divergent Eric/OC based fan fiction, which will hopefully help me stay off from needing another break from writing. Thoughts?