Fandom: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Title: The Garden Path
Characters/pairings: President Coriolanus Snow, Katniss Everdeen
Prompt: The idiom "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," from St. Bernard of Clairvaux, watching too much Death Note, and the song "The Garden Path to Hell."
Summary: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." A glimpse of President Snow's life and death.
Disclaimer: There are entire lines taken from Mockingjay in here. Those are most certainly not mine. In fact, anything familiar is likely from Suzanne Collins or The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Notes: Because there aren't enough Snow centric fics out there.
"I met a man…"
Coriolanus Snow grew up in a beautiful white house, with a steep colonial roof that had straight green shingles and a weathervane that squeaked when it turned in the breeze. Every afternoon when he returned from school – his slacks tightly creased and his blazer spotless – his mother would be sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, reading the newspaper with frameless glasses perched on her nose. She'd bemoan the squeaking of the weather vane and the problems of the world, and Coriolanus would promise that he would fix everything.
Coriolanus was always promising to fix things, everywhere he went. He fixed the squeaky weathervane, fixed up the garden in the backyard by planting row after row of roses. At school, he wasn't well liked by anyone but the teachers. He was thin and gawky, with large ears and very thin lips, so he knew a little bit about what bullying was like, even if it didn't happen to him too often. And whenever he saw someone being bullied, he promised that he would fix everything, even if he got a few black eyes and bloody noses along the way.
"Tall and all with golden hair…"
He's as well groomed and finely dressed as ever, but weighed down with manacles, ankle shackles, tracking devices. In the bright light, his skin's a pale, sickly green. He holds a white handkerchief spotted with fresh blood. Even in his deteriorated state, his snake eyes shine bright and cold. "I was hoping you'd find your way to my quarters."
"That's where my end began…"
His father had been a commander in the army during the uprisings, and after the uprisings, he became a very prominent politician. He was away from home more often than he wasn't, and when he heard about the fights his son got into at school, he was sure it was a plea for attention.
So Coriolanus' father introduced him to the merry-go-round of political affairs, taking him to meetings in the great circular building made of pristine white marble. And Coriolanus took it all in. He watched and listened and realized just what his mother was talking about when she lamented the problems of the world. He sat with those problems at senate meetings and watched them confer with one another. And he promised himself that he would fix it.
When Coriolanus was twenty-five, his father died of a heart attack on the cold marble of the senate floor. Coriolanus watched him fall to the ground in shock, watched him choke on air and fade from the world on the floor, without his dignity.
Coriolanus' father was perfectly healthy, with a strong heart.
Not long after, Coriolanus took his father's place in the senate. He sat in the great, tall-backed chair with a civil exterior, but inside, he was burning bright. He had the power now, to make the world a better place, to stop all the corruption in the government, to fix everything.
"Led me down the garden path…"
I feel the bow purring in my hand. Reach back and grasp the arrow. Position it, aim at the rose, but watch his face. He coughs and a bloody dribble runs down his chin. His tongue flicks over his puffy lips. I search his eyes for the slightest sign of anything, fear, remorse, anger. But there's only the same look of amusement that ended our last conversation. It's as if he's speaking the words again. "Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen.I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other."
And he's right. We did.
"Can't you see the garden? It's such a lovely garden…"
Every day, he would get dressed in a freshly pressed suit with a crisp white rose in his lapel and change the world one reform at a time. He created a better system for transporting imports to their desired destination. He created a fifteen year plan to improve the air quality of his home city by reducing its reliance on coal energy. Senator Coriolanus Snow was fixing things.
His greatest legislation yet involved a complete reworking of the entire city work force by creating an underground system of labor tunnels. Inside of these tunnels, those accused of nonviolent crimes like grand theft and treason would serve their time by menial works without disrupting the lives of the general public. It was a perfect plan to build the work force of the city and justice system simultaneously.
But some did not agree, namely Senator Michael Umbra.
Senator Umbra spoke out against the legislation at every venue he attended, discussing the financial setback and noise pollution that refurbishing those existing tunnels would cost, how the system created a potential weakness in the event of a unified revolt. He dismissed the idyllic goal of clean streets and prison buildings tore down to make room for homes and stores. There was no budging him on the issue, no way Senator Snow could sway him, show him how this legislation could help fix everything.
It was then that Coriolanus Snow realized that the only way to fix everything was to ensure that he had greater control of certain events' outcomes.
So one night – after speaking privately to the very men who he had suggested live in underground tunnels – Senator Snow invited Senator Umbra for a pleasant meeting of minds over drinks. They spent the night in the two-faced cheer that only politicians could truly master, sharing petty jokes, waxing lyrical to the pretty young waitresses, and lamenting the constant oppressive eye of the media.
Shortly thereafter, Senator Umbra was found dead in his home, died of some obscure, rapid-onset disease.
The next time Senator Snow's legislation was subject to vote in the Senate, it was approved.
"I'll take you there; I know the path so well…"
Snow's laughter. An awful gurgling cackle accompanied by an eruption of foamy blood when the coughing begins. I see him lean forward, spewing out his life, until the guards block him from my sight.
"… To hell."