When I walk into the room I'm not sure what to expect. Rotor and Vixen are there along with Brianna Paylor and four others that I know have questioned the new leadership. I sit down wanting to know what is going on.
Paylor stands up and looks at Rotor, "Sure you want her in here?" When he nods she continues, "This meeting is borderline treason, even probably over that line, so anyone who wants to leave, leave now."
No one moves, we all know what we're going to talk about here.
"We all know what we saw the night the parachutes went off. What I haven't told anyone is what happened in that office when we took Snow. I know I shouldn't believe anyone that we found in there, but looking back at everything I'm having more than just doubts. It's possible that the parachutes were ours."
Her words are met with silence. No one offers any debate until Vixen speaks up.
"It's more than possible." All eyes turn to her. "I saw plans in Special Defense back in Thirteen that detailed a trap very similar to what happened, but we also know that the Capitol did this sort of thing time and again during both rebellions. But that's not everything."
I sit stunned as Vixen describes her time as a captive of the Capitol.
"All I can tell you is what I saw and what I was told was being said. I saw Snow with cameras ready and on him and a piece of paper on his desk. I was told that the children were to be gathered up and placed in the barricade. The, uh, window that I was by could zoom in to the City Circle and I saw it was all children of all ages."
She has to stop for a moment to get her bearings. Rotor comforts her asking if she wants to keep going and she nods.
"I saw the first round go off, watched the Peacekeepers and our medics run in and I- I knew somehow that the other parachutes were going to go off and so I hid. I didn't see the second blast but what I did see was the reaction in the office. The two people that knew him best were angry but not at him. I was told Snow said that he wasn't the only one that murders children. That's all that's relevant on that subject."
My brave niece shuts her eyes trying to block out what I think is a flashback. Until now I hadn't heard a word about what happened to her and now I know why. Her knowledge changes everything.
Now the debate begins. If there was a hovercraft he would've used it to escape. Maybe this was his way of making sure the new government failed. Coin would never do such a thing, but she wants to have another Hunger Games. Our own medics were killed in that blast, but there was no way for Coin to know they would be there at that precise moment. Primrose Everdeen was in that group. Why was she even there?
Then the debate turns against Coin. We go through everything that we know about her. She made promises going into this war but has backed out on most of them. Thirteen mostly stayed out of the fighting until all the districts were winning. They had a couple months before the Hunger Games, surly they could've pulled the Mockingjay out of harm's way without going through another arena. Coin has demonstrated more than just knowledge of Capitol games, she should've known the consequences of an arena break out and taken on the Capitol planes. They were only forty-five minutes away, yet it took three days and the hovercraft used in the breakout to find the survivors from District 12.
Kasha, a commander from District 9 leans forward. Her eyes remained unfocused for a bit but then she speaks up, "I don't trust Coin, but I do trust you, Welkin. Your family knows more about these political games than the rest of us and I think she plays them. What do you want to do?"
One at a time the others nod their head and I'm faced with a room of people wanting to know what we should do next. This was not what I expected to come out of this meeting, being a leader, but I'll do what I can to see this thing through.
"We do nothing," says Vixen. Once again the eyes turn to her. "Not yet. We know the truth and that's dangerous. I've had tails on me ever since I got here that only leave me alone if I stick to my schedule. Snow's execution is tomorrow and probably the vote for the Hunger Games. What we need is time which we won't have a lot of if they vote to hold the games."
There's more staring, mostly on Rotor and my part, and I see just how much she has changed since we sat in the living room watching Peeta propose to Katniss during their Victory Tour. It seems most of the happiness that I've wanted to protect is drained from her and that I'm looking at a younger version of my mother. But what she's said is true and we all agree.
Morning comes and I'm in the control room with Beetee and Plutarch. This is the place where they would run the Hunger Games from the Reaping to the finale. For now only one death is being planned, but there might be more on the way. I get to see the model for the execution and where Katniss will be standing and the victors. "Oh, and you will be right here next to the victors just like the wedding."
A stab of pain hits my heart. The wedding wasn't all that long ago and yet it feels like forever. Finnick and Annie, the true star-crossed lovers, were finally together, but during the battle he died cruelly by mutts. Annie, understandably, is devastated and will be returning home to District 4 shortly after the execution.
A guard comes in to collect Beetee for a meeting and Plutarch watches him every step of the way. This must be the meeting to vote the Hunger Games. Plutarch's expression is unreadable and I don't know where he stands with the idea.
Gale Hawthorne comes in dejected. When he spots me he comes over, "Glad you made it out."
"Right back at you," I say.
"Um, haven't seen Beetee have you?" he asks.
"He's in a meeting of some kind. I imagine it's something to do with the execution."
There's an uncomfortable silence between us so I change the subject. "You'd think we'd get a party or something to celebrate the end of the war. Wouldn't mind dancing again. Your brother is a good partner."
He gives me a half-hearted smile, "I think Rory still has a crush on you."
We joke around a bit, which is odd for us since we didn't really have many encounters outside of thing to help Beetee. But we have one now. Our chattering stops when Plutarch announces to the room that we should all get to our positions.
"Well, if you're ever in District Two, look me up," says Gale.
"Count on it. Same if you're passing through Five or you might even catch me in another district." He looks at me confused so I explain. "My mother is going to be one of the ambassadors between our district and the others. I'm going to be her assistant for now and then see what happens. No one but my parents knows that yet, so keep your mouth shut."
Outside the City Circle is packed with people all wanting to see the execution. Just like at the wedding, I push Beetee's wheelchair into position and stand near but not with the victors. Peeta is angry about something and I wonder if it's safe to have him out here. President Coin takes her place in the balcony and his attention shifts to her. So, they voted to have the Hunger Games.
Katniss comes out and then Snow to earsplitting cheers. For just a moment, Snow's eyes meet mine and there's a flicker of fear that quickly disappears. Did he recognize me or see my grandmother? Afterwards his eyes are only focused on Katniss.
It happens fast. Just like in the arena, one moment she's aiming her arrow at her enemy and the next second she changes her target. I can hardly believe what I'm seeing as Coin crashes to the ground with an arrow in her heart. My head jerks to Katniss and see Peeta covering her sleeve just as the guards are descending on her.
"Vixen, inside now," says Beetee.
Immediately I grab the handles of the wheelchair but one look at the door and I know that isn't going to happen. Haymitch is over with the guards getting them away from Peeta while Katniss is taken into the mansion. Johanna elbows me to get my attention. We back track to a window, break it, and lift Beetee's wheelchair through. The rest of the victors follow and we gather in the room that they said they had the meeting.
Haymitch is the only one not completely shocked by what just happened. In Thirteen, he was the one looking out for the other victors. And he's looking out for them now telling them not to say a word to anyone what our opinions are on the topic not until they've had time to think. His attention shifts to me.
"Same goes for you, sweetheart."
"Yes, dear," I reply a little affronted that he'd call me sweetheart. Unintentionally I've lightened the mood in the air.
Johanna asks the question that's on everyone's mind, "So what now?"