And here it is! If you have not read both Any Means Necessary and Born Of Fire, I would suggest doing so before reading this as it won't make too much sense if you don't. So excited for the trequel to begin, and I hope you enjoy this as much as the first two stories :)
Disclaimer (for whole story because I'm still lazy): I own the Hunger Games….psh are you kidding? I wouldn't have come up with this trilogy idea if I hadn't read SC's writing first, even with my crazy imagination.
2,043-The amount of District 12 survivors out of the original eight thousand or so who are still alive. The Capitol retaliated for Kennie's breakout of the arena. They took it out on our district with fire (the irony not lost on me) and these are the people that none other than twenty two year old Rory Hawthorne lead out into the woods to safety as soon as the plan had gone awry on the screens. He led them to the lake house where Prim had already brought all her medical supplies and Rory had brought all of our hunting gear. They knew this would happen and saved a fourth of the population. It's not enough to feel good about because that would have been everyone, but it's something. I feel somehow responsible for those six thousand odd deaths.
1,176- The number of soldiers that District 13 has made soldiers from District 12 survivors, including those who have 'died' over the last eight odd years or so and risen in the ranks, preparing for a war. A rebellion to end Panem as it stands now. 1,177 if you include me-which I don't. I'm apparently not stable enough to be a real soldier yet. Not after last month where I tried to rip to shreds the not so dead coward Haymitch with my fingernails and now I have a pretty little mentally unstable bracelet on the same wrist as my stupid tattooed schedule every day. It's not like I really follow it anyway though I make sure Kennie follows her. At least they haven't dared to take her away from me. If they did I might actually go insane. Like Annie Cresta, who is currently in some unknown floor to me screaming her head off because of her sadness and pain like the mad girl she has become. I can relate but I don't go there for Kennie's sake.
112-The number of District 7 survivors after an unpredicted retaliation from the Capitol a day after District 12's demise as payback for the part that Johanna evidently played in the breakout and the rebellion. There were more than fifteen thousand people living in District 7. Around that many people died, the forests of trees and villages set aflame and destroyed the entire district, leaving a very few starving to death and many injured before District 13 came to rescue survivors three days later. Johanna had no one left she loved to punish but the Capitol thought that she would feel bad for her district. As the uncaring person she thinks she is she pretends not to care but I do. I can't help but feel I was responsible for all of them too. Now I'm part of the complete destruction of not one but two districts. Too bad that there's literally nothing I can do to reverse that now.
38- The number of days it has been since I was taken out of the Capitol, where they drugged me to get me out while I thought that my daughter was dead. The same amount of mornings that I curse myself for becoming my mother after my father died and becoming a zombie of sorts. I hate her for giving me that. I hate myself for being like that. I hate them for tricking me into that state even if it was for the rebellion which I fully believe is the only way for a better Panem even if I don't exactly agree with all their plans or anything.
17- The amount of times which they have stupidly asked me, pleaded with me, tried to reason with me to allow Makenna, a seven year old girl, to be the symbol of the rebellion. The Phoenix.
17- The number of meetings which I absolutely refused and walked out of there believing they were all incredibly idiotic for even asking.
3-The number of tributes that District 13 picked up and saved when they were supposed to get everyone. Albert, Beetee's now eleven year old nephew who excitedly helps out his uncle with whatever it is Beetee does in the Weaponry and Special Intelligence room when he's not in class. Johanna, the ever bitter and now pissed woman (if you can call her that) who hates them all almost as much as I do for not saving everyone, including her best friend. And of course, Makenna, who is currently her curious self and explores District 13 sometimes when she's supposed to be in class. Sometimes she's found by Prim or Hazelle or even Haymitch and sent back to class with a mild scolding. One occasion Johanna found her and decided that she would take her outside much to the soldiers of District 13's annoyance, who stopped them before they could get to the gate. A few times she's found me hiding in a closet or something and just curls up to my side as I hold her to me, grateful for her presence that keeps me mostly sane.
3-The number of tributes which the Capitol captured, the ones who weren't saved from Snow's evil grasp. The ones who aren't safe at all. Cashmere, who really didn't know anything at all of what was going on and is probably fine. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she's not in custody if she's even still in the Capitol at all. Finnick, who according to Johanna knew far too much and she's actually worried sick about what they're certainly doing to him. Torture for information of which he has plenty. 'Mindfucking' as she calls it to make him say anything, probably threatening that they have Annie or someone else he loves to get him to say something without the physical torture. I do feel horrible about Finnick being captured, especially after all he's already gone through and that he tried his best to save Kennie in the Games. He accomplished that but at a very heady price.
And they have Gale. I can't even think about what they're doing to him. I don't want to think about it but it haunts my nightmares, creeps into almost every thought I have every waking hour of the day. It pains me that he's probably in pain even though he knows nothing more than I did, which is absolutely no information. They'd do it just to screw with my mind and I hate to say that if that's their goal it's working. Kennie is literally the only thing that helps me from thinking about him too much in captivity by them because she's the only thing I have left right now that's a part of him. For all I know he could be dead and somehow I don't want to know.
1-The number of things today that I'm actually going to follow from my stupid wrist schedule today. Command at 1300 hours. I suspected that it was another pointless meeting where they tried to get me to allow Kennie to be their stupid Phoenix before offering the job to me (which I also refuse every time) but Johanna heard from her 'source' (whoever that is) that it's an interview with Ceaser Flickerman. The only reason I'm actually going to go is that I know an interview wouldn't be with him unless it was something flashy and important, and for some reason I have a feeling that means Gale. I have to see him, even if it's through a screen. I need to watch him, read him, look at him to figure out exactly what they're doing to him. And even if I'm wrong it would probably be good to know what's going on anyway.
After wandering around District 13's underground halls all morning I go to lunch at the scheduled time on my wrist, scanning it for my carefully measured out meal of a bowl of some type of vegetable stew (I think squash), a thin piece of bread, and a cup of water. After getting my tray of what seems like such a meager meal after having all I could ever eat for ten years I sit down at our assigned table. Even if it is such a little amount of food I have trouble finishing it somehow, and when I'm just staring at the rest of my bread for around five minutes I snap out of my daze when a hand grabs it.
"Hey, that's mine." I protest with a frown to the stealer though I'm not actually that mad. Johanna stuffs my bread in her mouth and swallows before rolling her eyes at me with a smirk.
"It's not like you were going to eat it anyway." she points out, and I can't say she's wrong so I just shrug. Might as well not let it go to waste-not that anything ever goes to waste in this district. I don't think they even know the meaning of 'extra' here.
"Fair enough." I concede and glance at her. She's sweaty and her hair's in a tight ponytail that looks a little funny with how short her hair is.
"Where have you been?" I finally question.
"Training. Where you're supposed to have gone you know." Johanna reminds me but I just roll my eyes. I don't want to train. I don't want to be one of their stupid soldiers or follow orders. And honestly, I'm surprised that Johanna wants that.
"Didn't think you'd want to be there either." I mutter and she laughs.
"Where else am I allowed to beat the shit out of people and call it training? It's good for the frustration anyway." she exclaims as she quickly finishes her meal. Well I guess that's part of my problem. The sadness sort of consumes more of my time than the anger at the whole Gale in the Capitol thing while she's all anger that Finnick is there, but I guess she sort of has a point. Maybe I'll actually go to training one of these days…
"Please. You'd do that without calling it training." I mutter to which she laughs again with an almost vicious smile.
"So what? At least they can't get too mad at me if it's in training. I'm teaching them to get better so they don't get their asses kicked by a girl." she insists and I have to crack a smile.
"I'm sure that's exactly what they think." I mumble before getting up to go put my tray away.
"Where are you going?" Johanna questions me.
"My schedule says Command." I offer as an explanation and the look she gives me is one of unbelieving that I'm actually going but she gets the point after telling me the information from her 'source'.
"Alright I'll go with you." she declares, getting up with her own tray.
"Is that what you're schedule says?" I ask her suspiciously, thinking she might be going just to see my reaction. Or on the off chance that it's Finnick the interview is with. Or just to piss off everyone in Command (a likely possibility).
In response she snorts, "Like you're one to talk about following schedules." Alright I'll take that as a no to my question. But I don't say so and she follows me out, all the way to Command.
When we walk into the Command center all eyes are on us. Some raise their eyebrows at Johanna's appearance but no one kicks her out and no one says anything about it. I suspect it's because they don't want to be knocked out by her or anything she's so fond of 'practicing.' I take the time to glare at Haymitch who I still refuse to talk to before the woman with a look of slush and seriousness speaks up.
"Soldier Hawthorne, Solider Mason, welcome. The interview is just about to begin." President Coin of District 13 states in an almost monotone voice. I really haven't decided if I like her or not yet. And if she keeps calling me soldier when I haven't even gone to a training one more time I think I'm going to go off on her.
"Soldier Hawthorne?" Coin's voice questions me to get my attention. I look up and realize that I probably zoned out. I really am about to say something about the soldier thing when I catch sight of the television screen to Coin's right and I half freeze before racing over to stand just five feet away from the screen.
Ceaser's hair is still a neon green and even though he is most likely the best television host I've ever seen even Ceaser seems to feel slightly uncomfortable through his smiles and stage demeanor. It might have to do with the person he's currently interviewing, who is decidedly not happy and doesn't look the slightest bit willing to help him out. Finally he's doing an interview the way he's always wanted to and I can't say I blame him.
But all I can truly think at this moment is that Gale's alive and despite where he is, relief washes over me. He looks totally fine, and I can't see any scratches or bruises on him. While his eyes tell me he's tired even through the makeup they undoubtedly put on him, they are as fierce and bold as ever, ready to fight. Maybe they haven't done anything to harm him after all besides a lack of sleep? After all, he couldn't have known anything about the rebellion and maybe they figured that out quickly. While I do absolutely hate that everyone lied to us about the rebellion and everything all these years, I can't help but grudgingly concede that on this account it was probably for the best. Not knowing anything at all might just be what saves Gale.
"So…welcome back." Ceaser finally begins after a silent moment that undoubtly took too long, evidence of his clearly uncomfortable state to do this interview. Gale gives him a smirk and I have to smirk with him. No more Mr. Nice Guy for the Capitol I see.
"Never thought you'd say that to me, now did you?" Gale answers. It's not light and playful, it's serious with a dark undertone how he says it. Well, at least he's not trying to play their games, though I doubt that will help him at all. Though I can't say I'm surprised. More likely than not as soon as he heard about the rebellion he was onboard without anyone asking him to be. He was always the rebel anyway, even long ago when we were just children fighting to keep our families alive outside the district, in our woods.
Ceaser lightly laughs, trying desperately to keep this interview going at his pace even with Gale's not so playing along attitude. "I must admit, I didn't. You said it yourself that you were trying to save your daughter and didn't plan on coming back." Ceaser responds. As if Gale needed the reminder.
"You're right. I didn't plan on coming back." Gale concedes. "And while I had nothing to do with it incredulously, Makenna is still safe and sound." Yes she is, right here in District 13. Where they're trying to put her in danger by making her the Phoenix. I wonder what Gale would say to them about it if our positions were reversed, him here and me in the Capitol…what am I thinking, he would probably say yes and do it with her. Anything to stop this horribleness that is Snow's wrath.
"With the rebels." Ceaser reminds him, "Who faked dear Makenna's death and made you feel like a failure. How can you say that was for the best when they made you feel that way?"
I must admit I've been asking myself the same question, but what it really comes down to is that our families and Makenna are safe and that's what matters. "Because it's for the-" Gale begins but his eyes flick quickly to the left of the camera and I can see a slight look of dread and horror in his eyes before he composes himself and turns back to the camera. "It's not for the best. The Capitol knows what's best and the rebels shouldn't have done that to me or anyone else." Gale states in a dry tone. And despite the tone, I'm in shock at his words.
0-the amount of times I would have ever believed that something like that would come out of Gale's mouth. What the hell is going on?
Dr. Calvus's POV
"Welcome Dr. Calvus." President Snow greets me, gesturing for me to take a seat which I do. "Now tell me, how are our patients doing?"
Patients? More like prisoners but I am a doctor and he's the president. If he wants to call the people I'm ordered to torture for information or otherwise patients then so be it. "We're making large strides with Mr. Odair. It appears that while he originally resisted he has ample amounts of information." I inform, handing him a file of the information we have gathered-an impressive amount for sure and I have a feeling he knows more.
He briefly looks at the file before tossing on his desk and folding his hands, seemingly uninterested at the moment. "And what of Mr. Hawthorne?"
I try not to groan in frustration. We've gotten absolutely nowhere on the information side with him; I truly suspect it's because he really does not know anything else though. I honestly believe that the rebels kept him mostly in the dark for this very reason. Smart of them, but it's certainly not making my job any easier.
"Nothing more than we had four weeks ago sir." I inform him to which he frowns.
"And why is that? Because he's stronger at resisting than Mr. Odair?" he questions me with a hint of annoyance and I try not to gulp. While that may be true because it took almost a week of torturing to get anything out of him while it only took three days for Mr. Odair to start talking, I'm pretty confident that it's all he knew. Very little at that.
"I don't think he has any more information Mr. President. I truly believe that he was mostly not told anything at all on the doings or the facts of the rebellion." I reply, trying to hold in my fear. I'm quite aware from the information courtesy of Mr. Odair that President Snow is no stranger to poisoning Capitolites who anger him or get in his way and I realize he's not happy with my answer. I just hope he realizes the truth of it and doesn't blame me.
"But he still resists, does he not?" President Snow persists, "In the interview shown today he wasn't very convincing though he claimed to be on our side and I'm told the country isn't buying it."
I sigh. "That was because the threat we used against him to say those things was encouraging him to rebel even though he had a gun to his head. Clearly the man cares more about the rebellion than his own life."
"But Mr. Hawthorne evidently cares about him after all these years. Use that." he orders, clearly not happy with a prisoner not doing what he wishes.
"We did at first but his encouragement of resistance was not helping. We had to have him removed to another cell on a different floor." I explain.
President Snow sighs, shaking his head so he's clearly not satisfied, but eventually he says, "Very well, you may go back to your work."
I get up quickly to leave but stop when I hear his voice call out for me. "Oh and Dr. Calvus? Make sure that Mr. Hawthorne's days of resistance are numbered."