Chap 12


7:10 AM


I'm meeting Peeta at the court house with my family shortly after nine this morning for the trial, hearing and judging of what happened with, who this criminal is, and were Peeta was. Which is pretty much what the heck happened overall.

Walking in there with my canes is still surprising to me as I head down the aisle way to where Peeta sits, chatting with Fulvia.

As I walk down, Peeta turns around at the sound of my canes clacking against the tile floor. He smiles to me, and my insides melt. I have to bite my lip from smiling in court since it's a silent ordeal. He chuckles.

Moving towards him like this suddenly triggers a thought in my mind which makes a blush rush to my cheeks. What if this was not a court, but a church? And I'm in white instead of my forest green dress with a sweater on top? What if this was Peeta's and my weddings?

I shake the thought out of my head. We just decided to be boyfriend girlfriend only a few days ago

"Hey," Peeta whispers quietly to me, helping me sit down beside him at the Plaintiff table.

"Hey," I reply.

I know that Peeta wants to kiss me, however it won't look very good for us in the court room.

I turn to Fulvia who's busy sorting through many papers which consist of all our information and evidence of the case. A few moments later, the judge, Judge Coin enters the court room and takes a seat in the head chair while we stand in respect.

One of the peacekeepers here walk over to Peeta, Fulvia and I with a Law Book, and hold it out to me first. I place my right hand on the book and hold my left hand mid-air, repeating the words that the peacekeeper says.

"I solemnly swear to promise to tell the truth and only the truth, so help me," I say while Peeta keeps a hold of me so I don't fall since non of my canes are touching the ground.

Once I'm done, Peeta has to swear on the book and so does Fulvia, then it moves to the defendants―Seneca Crane and some man with a white beard both wearing orange scrubs which state them as criminals.

The peacekeeper nods after the defendants swear on the book and Judge Coin begins the trial.

"Okay, so we have Ms. Katniss Everdeen and Mr. Peeta Mellark placing charges against Mr. Seneca Crane and Mr. Coriolanus Snow in regards to ransom notes, the possiblity of being involved with the death of the late Mrs. Katniss Everdeen, grandmother of one of the plaintiffs as well as attempted shooting, murder, involved in the accident which paralyzed Ms. Everdeen, until recently, and the kidnapping of Mr. Mellark, as discovered through investigation done by detectives affiliated with Mrs. Fulvia Cardew. Can I please call upon Ms. Everdeen to the witness' stand first?" Judge Coin asks.

I nod and with the help from Peeta, I stand up and when I am balanced on both of my canes, I walk over to the witness' stand and have a seat, waiting for a question from either the defendants' lawyer or Judge Coin.

Judge Coin directs the first question, or should I say statement.

"Please tell us your view of events, Ms. Everdeen," Coin says.

"Alright, your honour, so it starts like this," I start, and begin my whole spiel which I've recited many times before one last time, hopefully.

While speaking, I catch Peeta's eye on my and he smiles at me, assuring that I'm doing well.

Shortly after, I come to my conclusion, ending at the last comment from Peeta and then when I spoke with Fulvia's crew after Peeta's call.

"Any questions for Ms. Everdeen, Ms. Paylor?" Coin asks the defendants' lawyer.

Ms. Paylor begins to open her mouth, but quickly shuts it.

"No you honour," Ms. Paylor says.

Coin nods. "Alright, you may be seated, and I'd call upon Mr. Mellark," she says.

I stand up and walk back to my seat at the table as Peeta walks to the stand.

"Mr. Mellark, it says here you were involved in the shooting and the kidnapping. Could you please explain your view on it all?" Coin asks.

"Yes your honour. You see, on a rainy day, I had given Ms. Everdeen a ride home because she was still in a wheelchair. I was driving when she grabbed my arm and called out my name. I turned and at that moment, I saw this man, the one with the black beard, now I know as Seneca Crane, with a gun pointed at me from the road. I swerved quickly, and I drove down other streets to get away. There were a few other people around at that time, however, I don't know what they did after witnessing that," Peeta says, taking a breath and collecting his thoughts.

"Then the second time I saw this man was when he kidnapped me. Ms. Everdeen and I were at the art store and I was in one of the aisles when Mr. Crane placed a gun on my temple and then proceeded to choke me with his ar and lead me out of the store out a back exit. He tied me and blind folded me me up and we headed to a car and I couldn't get away. Just as we were driving away, I got a text from Ms. Everdeen as well as a phone call which I answered, unfortunately I couldn't say anything. We drove somewhere far away and when we reached our destination, I could see that we were in the Capitol of Panem, but it was only a glimpse when they were about to bring me out of the van and re-blindfold me.

"The next I could see was when I was inside a building which I presumed to be some Capitol building from seeing all these signs. Everyday I received the same treatment―a beating and questioning about the Rebellion. And every night at around the same time always, I received a text from Ms. Everdeen, however I was unable to type out a message with security watching my every movement. Finally one day when security level was low because of some breach and our location was going to be changed, so I was lucky enough to sneak in a phone call to Ms. Everdeen, giving her a final farewell and maybe dropping a hint at my current location," Peeta says.

I am so shocked at Peeta's view of things and now notice that Judge Coin is speaking again.

"We will now play your voice recording from the call," she says.

The recording plays throughout the court room and I am brought back to that moment when I felt so scared yet hopeful.

It ends and Coin turns to Peeta.

"What were some of the questions they were asking you?" Coin asks.

"They were asking if I knew the truth―about what truth, I would ask them, but they always would assume that I knew what they were talking about and I really didn't. I mean, I knew about the Rebellion―everyone knows about it, thought I don't know anything more about it than I've learned in school. They thought I knew information and top secret, confidential stuff and it was being passed down from family member to family member. They thought I was Katniss' husband because if they were watching us, they knew that we were always together, but I'm not, that's why they picked me, and I told them, I knew nothing, but they didn't believe me. Soon after I overheard them saying―them being Mr. Crane and Mr. Snow―that this 'game was getting old' and that they would just kill the family to hid the spreading of the truth, including me, so I just pretended that I knew the truth and told them lies that would satisfy them to stop them from going after Katniss and her family. It was just good timing that the detectives came to rescue me," Peeta concludes.

Coin nods and dismisses Peeta back to the spot beside me.

When he sits down, I reach for his hand to give him support without speaking.

Then Coin asks Seneca Crane to go to the witness' stand where he refuses to speak or make any comments regarding the case and to clear his name.

Coriolanus, on the other hand, charms Judge Coin by saying that they have nothing to do with what Peeta was talking about, and that he suggests that maybe Peeta wasn't all there when he saw who it was that kidnapped him, and maybe it was someone else who looked like the both of them.

"So what you're saying, Mr. Snow, is that those are not your initials on the note?" Fulvia asks aloud, handing the note I found to the peacekeepers who hand it to Coin.

"Well―uh, there are many other people with my initials, so it can't possibly be me," Snow says.

"But if your DNA matches, along with your partnership with Mr. Crane, and you being the only C.S. who works with him, then there's no other logical explanation, Mr. Snow. Now, what do you have to say to that?" Fulvia retorts.

Snow stays quiet and doesn't even make eye contact.

"No further questions, your honour," Fulvia finally says and she sits down, shuffling through more papers.

Coin then dismisses Snow, asking Ms. Paylor if she has anything to say, but she doesn't. So, Coin asks Fulvia to give an insight on what she found from all the information and clues Peeta and I have given.

"Thank you, your honour. After months of researching about the information given, and research done about the background of Mr. Crane and Mr. Snow, I have concluded that Snow was a part of the anti-Rebellion which occurred twenty years ago in two months. After find out information, there was an event that not many people know about which involved the death of many citizens of Panem. It happened that Ms. Everdeen's grandparents were witnesses of the massacre which highly involved Mr. Snow and Mr. Crane was involved in the present situation. Her grandparents weren't supposed to see the massacre as well as they have been sought after, questioning from many news companies.

"This is what I have discovered. I have an idea of why Crane and Snow are going after Ms. Everdeen and Mr. Mellark. Since Ms. Everdeen was close to her grandparents, there was the possibility of information transfer and the spilling of the news. So they tried to get 'rid' of anyone who might have received information," Fulvia concludes.

I gasp suddenly. I never knew anything about a massacre or even that my grandparents had a part in it.

Peeta squeezes my hand, trying to make me strong.

Coin's eyebrows raise at this information and hypothesis.

"Interesting. And Ms. Everdeen, do you know anything about the massacre?" Coin asks me.

"No, which means Peeta doesn't know either," I say.

"Okay. What about you two, Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen? And you, the youngest Everdeen?" she calls out to the jury.

My parents and Prim shake their head 'no' to knowing information regarding the massacre.

Coin contemplates this and then makes an announcement.

"I'm calling a recess, however I would like to speak with Mrs. Cardew," she says and bangs her gavel.

Peeta stands up and helps me out of my seat and we exit the court room and head to a little hallway where we sit down beside each other silently, enjoying each other's company.

"Katniss, what do you want from this court thing? Do you want to get back your grandparents? Because you want justice? Because you want it known that you almost got killed and I got kidnapped? I mean, I know why, but are you going to be happy?" Peeta asks suddenly. "If that makes any sense."

I look over at him, unsure of what to say. I never thought about that before.

"Because your grandparents won't come back if they get charged. Will you truly be happier than you are now, or will it make you miserable because you still don't get anything back," Peeta continues.

I don't look at him now.

"If you're doing this because you're tired of getting manipulated and if this is for the death of so many innocent people that I bet your grandparents were trying to help, then that's understandable. But if you're doing it to try and get back everything before all the horrible events happened, then you should stop and think. Do you really want this? Because maybe better things have happened from all of this. And even more great things are going to become of it. If you know what I mean," Peeta finally says with a tired breath.

I still don't reply.

"Come on, they're calling everyone back into court. Let's go find out the verdict," Peeta says, helping me up.

We walk slowly back to the court room, unfortunately holding hands. I guess Peeta really wants to know the answer.

I sigh and sit down when Coin asks us to.

"Alright, I found out some very interesting information about the massacre, and indeed Snow was the leader in this event and Crane was the pawn in the operation. As well as, the late Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen had a major role, helping save the citizens, unfortunately not all were saved and these were the ones Ms. Everdeen's grandparents had witnessed the deaths of. Now, if the jury could just vote if the defendant should be guilty and sent to jail on the counts of massacre murder, many murders which have evidence of them, as well as blackmailing and kidnapping along with attempted murder, or not. Start now," Coin says and the jury―except my family and Peeta's―votes.

Not long after, Judge Coin asks us all to stand to receive the verdict.

"Alright, in the end, Mr. Crane and Mr. Snow are both guilty for the reasons previously listed. They are both going to be sent to jail for twenty years each with no parole. Thank you to the jury for their time, and case closed," Coin says, banging her gavel.

I walk out behind Peeta after we both thank Fulvia for representing us in this case.

Peeta doesn't speak with me after the court appearance. I need to talk with him about what he said.

My parents and Prim wait to give me a hug, so I head over to them first.

"Come on, Katniss, let's go home," papa says, leading the way out.

"Actually, I need to go see Peeta. He'll give me a ride home," I say, hoping that'll actually happen.

I quickly walk down the same hallway I saw Peeta leave down and spot him at his car, talking to his parents who took a different vehicle than him.

I reach his car and I greet his parents.

They leave a moment later and Peeta looks at me.

"What?" he asks.

"Don't ignore me. You're right. They won't come back. And I can't change anything. And I don't think I would change anything anyways. Because that would mean maybe never meeting you. And I can't afford to think like that. But I am glad that maybe no one else will have to deal with a massacre from them and all that we've had to endure. I'm sorry that you were dragged into this mess. It's not meant for you," I say.

"But I want to help you through it. I don't care, because it got me here, and I would never trade where we are for anything else. Come on, let's go for a drive," Peeta says.

We get in his Thunderbird and before Peeta starts the car, he pulls out something from his car console.

It's a small rectangular jewelry box.

I gasp. "Peeta, you didn't have to get me anything, I mean―" I start saying.

"Shh, this is your Happy Belated Birthday present. I got it a while ago, and I meant to give it to you on your birthday, but I hadn't brought back to District Twelve yet," Peeta says opening the box.

Inside is a necklace with a small pearl as well as a bigger translucent pearl that's been carved into and is on a simple black chain. In the bigger pearl at the top looks as if there is a light shining through it, making it glow.

"Oh my―Peeta! This is gorgeous! I love it. Thank you. But I can't take it. I mean, I haven't gotten you a present yet and―"

Peeta silences me by pressing his lips upon mine.

While we kiss, I feel him moving his fingers behind my neck.

I suddenly feel something cold around my neck and at the same time, we both pull back from the kiss.

"Keep it," Peeta says breathlessly. "It's yours. And anyways, my birthday isn't till October. Lots of time in between. Now, do you love me?"

"I do," I say, looking at Peeta who stands across from me in a handsome tux.

"I do too," Peeta says as well, smiling and I blush in my vintage lacy white wedding dress.

Peeta places a simple pearl ring on my left hand and I place a silver thick band on his left hand.

Then the minister announces that we are husband and wife and tells Peeta to kiss the bride.

He does.

We kiss.

We break away for a moment.

"You love me, real or not real?" he asks me.

And I tell him,


A/N: Well, We are done STRONGER.

Just a little background information.

Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games and all its characters, I own the plot, however the story idea is not all mine.

The story idea came to me when I read an article in my local paper about a woman who was in a car accident and she was a paraplegic. She could not walk. She was going to get married, so she went to a special hospital where she did lots of therapy, with the support of her fiancé, learned to walk again. And was able to walk down the aisle on her wedding day. Just like Katniss did in this story but for Prom and her Wedding.

The starting idea was then changed drastically to make it into this story that I wrote.

I will be taking a break from writing on here, however, I have a few story ideas for the next time I have free time in my upcoming busy schedule.

I hope you enjoyed Stronger, and if you are looking for other stories by me, check my profile.

You can either follow me as an author or follow on tumblr: i-still-want-to-be-me or twitter: istillwantotbe to get updates from me on future stories, and cool stuff.

I will be posting pictures of the necklace, ring, and the dress that Katniss wore to Prom.

I would love to hear your final thoughts on the story/chapter, so please review!

Thanks again for all your support and alerts and reviews, they made my day!

Farewell for now!