Epilogue

As they say the rest is history. Paylor was voted in as president the following week. On the balcony where President Snow would welcome the tributes to each Hunger Games, Father administered the oath of office. Those of the council were all in attendance with Plutarch gleefully calling the media shots in the Control Room.

Katniss' trial started soon after. The war tribunal was her judge and jury. Father acted as Katniss' representation with permission from her mother and Haymitch. Vixen easily talked Plutarch into testifying on Katniss' defense. Whether he did it because of Vixen or his own beliefs is still a bit of a mystery. At the end of it, our family made a few enemies from District 13 who wanted Katniss executed. But no one in the districts wanted the Mockingjay to die.

Afterwards my family gets busy with the reconstruction. Freedom was a new concept to everyone, but we weren't without help. My parents didn't have an instruction manual that they wrote, but we had history books. Marcus' family had kept the books safe since the fall of the old world. With them we were able to get a head start.

There are a lot of firsts for our family. It's the first time we haven't had a member's name in the Reaping, first time we voted on our own laws, first time we split apart. Rotor and his family were the first to leave. For throwing her in the spotlight, Paylor threatened to give me a cabinet position, but ended up picking Lilac instead. She was the politician after all. They have an apartment at the Capitol and at first had their kids with them but that soon changed.

The Capitol life never sat well with Chance and after a year decided to move home. He joined the police force in our district along with my sons, Elian and Red. Elian and Chance married their girlfriends and have both started families. Red seems to be a determined bachelor but that's likely to change sometime.

Vixen became the most adventurous of us all. She nearly gave her grandfather's a heart attack when she announced she was going to follow in her Nana's footsteps and become a diplomat. I'd never seen Pepper so smug before. It's a cherished family story that never gets old. At first she studied under her mother, but then was off on her own with her trusted friends, Aurelia and Gaius. When she got engaged to a young man from District 3, Plutarch began his campaign and eventually won to have her wedding televised. Her next door neighbor, Beetee, is a doting uncle to her five children. Currently she holds and plans to keep the record of the most children in the family.

Sariah and my daughters, Falon and Gwen, all entered school to learn medicine. The three of them will eventually become doctors. Falon married her boyfriend since before the war while the other two are still dating.

Donner was taken in by Aron and Heather. We all would take him, but with them he'd have siblings his age. Like Red he's a determined bachelor, but a certain young woman is working on changing his mind.

Aron and Heather stayed in the district and even had another baby girl. Warrick, Karen, and Donner recovered quickly from the war because they had Alara to follow around the house. Warrick is studying to become an engineer. Like many, including his sister, he's sticking to what he knows. Karen is getting close to dating age and Aron acts as if her name is about to be placed into the reaping or something. Aron would later become governor over District Five.

Grandmother, Father, Blane, and Pepper retired from the spotlight and did exactly what they said they would do: help with the recovery and spoil their grandchildren rotten. We all miss them terribly.

Evy and I live in the district, but visit the Capitol frequently. As I told Paylor, there still needed to be a Rook. Like my war friend, Kasha said, I know how the game is played. And there is always someone who wants to play.

It's a beautiful spring day, one my parents would enjoy. The cherry trees we planted after the war are in full bloom. At the Justice Building, the nation and state flags fly strongly in the wind. Our district was renamed Dawnson State and our flag is a rising sun with five large and five small rays on a green field and blue sky. Mother would complain, but the district wanted to memorialize her. I'm just glad we talked them out of naming the state Welkin.

The whole family, whether blood and adopted in, is in town for the Cherry Blossom festival a tradition we started the first spring after the war. The first year it was just something for the district and a few others. Thanks to Plutarch, the number of visitors skyrocketed in the following years.

While taking a break from the festivities, Aurelia walks up to me. We exchange pleasantries through the handful of signals I know that Vixen and she worked out to communicate, but soon she takes pity on me and writes something on her hand held computer.

How do you like your mother's end game?

"I'm just glad the war is over," I say honestly.

Aurelia smiles and shakes her head telling me I don't understand. She gestures wide to everything around us. Even after ten years a scene like feels like a dream. Children are running around with an older sibling or a parent chasing after them, people from all districts at ease with each other, and food… lots of it waiting to be eaten. Starvation and many diseases are rarely a cause of death anymore.

Then it starts to make sense. I always knew she was never really playing the Capitol's game, but one of her own. All this time I assumed that her final move in the game was the defeat of government of Panem and eliminating Snow. She could have done that at any time, just killed Snow and help build another government that would put the odds better in her favor. Instead she wanted a world without the Hunger Games or slavery. It was the whole reason my family of more than fifty members exists. My parents wanted their children and any generations afterwards to see this world.

Turning to Aurelia I smile back, "Hard not to like her game."

While this was my parent's end game I know that this is just the beginning of a new one for us, one that we've all enjoy playing. The winter has given way to spring and the darkness of night has surrendered to the light of the dawn.

THE END