"They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them."
First words out of Glimmer's mouth were, "Goddamn, he's hot."
From the smirk on Gale's face, he heard her.
"Gale, you scared the ever loving crap out of me!"
Glimmer and I slid down the tree branch and headed over to the hovercraft, which landed in the small clearing.
Gale laughed and slid out of the hovercraft, walking over and throwing an arm around my shoulders.
"I love you too. And this is Glimmer, I suppose?"
Glimmer nodded, her eyes still sparkling with mirth.
Rolling my eyes, I shoved his arm off of me and said, "Let me guess. District Thirteen?"
Gale's smile widened; I could tell he was more than happy about the turn of events that was sure going to come with all the allies of Thirteen.
"Yup. We managed to get your trackers offline for the Capitol, but we've been trying to track you with the signals. But you have been too far into the forest for us to really find you unless we got within a mile. Come on, we need to pick up the rest of them. Where's Roan?"
"Roan is with the others, Glimmer and I were supposed to be hunting. I'll go get the others, you two behave."
Gale raised a hand in mock salute, and Glimmer gave me a little wave.
Rolling my eyes, I headed back to camp.
Rue was sitting on the floor, her ankle elevated a little on a backpack. Roan was on his back next to her, a jacket cushioning him from the hard ground.
Cato was sulking again, Marvel was absentmindedly carving a piece of wood, Clove was poking at the fire, and Thresh and Finn were cutting apples into thirds. When I walked in, their eyes snapped behind me looking for Glimmer.
"Pack up guys. I have a surprise for you."
"Waiting with the surprise."
I bent down and picked up Roan, cradling him in one arm as I hooked by bag with the other.
In less than three minutes we had broken camp. Marvel and Thresh took up the rear to make sure we wouldn't be attacked and Clove carried Rue on her back. Finn held my hand all the way back to the clearing, where Glimmer was flirting with Gale.
"Guys, meet my cousin Gale. Gale, meet the survivors of the Hunger Games."
"There's a sentence I never thought I would hear…" he mused, crossing his arms.
"Where are you from? What's with the hovercraft?"
Gale didn't even respond to the tone of Cato's voice, although by the tightening of his jaw I knew he was annoyed by it.
"Well, I was born in District Twelve, but District Thirteen sent me, and before you go all 'they don't exist, the Capitol bombed them off the map,' they are alive, they are underground, and they are the reason behind the rebellion. I worked with them to find you guys, and we're bringing you there."
Marvel spoke then.
"Not that I'm ungrateful, but why do we have to go with you?"
"The Capitol is clamoring for your heads, so be my guest if you want to stay behind, but I don't think Coin, that's our president, would be too happy with me if I let you get yourselves killed."
"Any other questions?"
There were none.
"Good. Hey, gimme my little cousin!" Gale made grabby motions to Roan, who gurgled and flung his hands around when he recognized Gale's voice.
I laughed and passed him over, before walking to the open door of the hovercraft, Finn still clinging to my hand.
Some more quickly than others (Rue, Finn and I, Glimmer) moved quicker into the hovercraft. Others (Clove, Cato, Marvel, Thresh) moved like they expected to be attacked.
The inside of the hovercraft was cramped, with not a lot of places to sit. Gale motioned through another door into a lounge like room, where there were more couches.
"You need to get your trackers removed, so just hold still and I'll yank them out."
I was the first to bare my arm; I hoped showing everyone else that I trusted Gale would make them less wary around him.
Once all of our trackers were out, Gale lead us to another room where some food was spread out. It was no where near the caliber that Capitol food was, but for someone who was used to doing without, it was a damn near perfect feast.
We all fell on the food like a hoard of wild animals, except Rue, whom I made a plate for.
Gale watched in amusement, Roan curled in his arms with a fist in his mouth.
"I haven't seen you eat food that fast since you were pregnant with Roan…"
I pointed the bone from a piece of meat at him threateningly.
"You shut your mouth."
Glimmer snorted, but she was eating her food just as fast, albeit with a little more dignity than I was.
Unbidden, Cato's eyes shot up to look at mine. I had to look away.
Goddamnit, I couldn't deal with him…not without wanting to smack his stone-cold look off his face.
Clove raised an eyebrow at me from the side she was sitting on, and I could tell from the smirk on her face she knew exactly what I was feeling.
Gale prattled on and on about what was going on in District Thirteen, telling us how a good portion of our District made it out.
Rye's father didn't make it, but his older brother and mother made it.
Great…there was one confrontation that I was not looking forward to.
Roan was handed back to me after a while (and by handed back to me I mean I literally brow-beat Gale into giving my son back), and I just cuddled with him until we started to land.
Rue and Finn clung close to my sides as we descended, and almost climbed up my legs when we walked out of the hovercraft.
Immediately, we were blinded by flashing lights and screaming.
My eyes flashed around despretly, trying to find the source of the voice.
There was a blond haired blur and then Prim had thrown her arms around me, being mindful of the little bundle in my arms and the two kids on either of my sides.
I threw my one arm around her, pressing her head to my shoulder. My heart was racing, and I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulder when I felt her safe and sound in my arms.
Mom wasn't far behind and she enveloped me in a hug that displayed a surprising amount of strength.
When the hugs were out of the way, I introduced Prim to Rue and Finn, and she immediately started chattering with them, while helping Rue hobble to the infirmary where someone could help her ankle.
Rory, Vick and Posy hugged my legs, excited with all the energy flying around. Hazelle gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before running to try and corral her children.
With Rue gone, Thresh looked a little lost. His face brightened considerably when a small voice cried out his name and a small girl, maybe about thirteen, ran over to him to give him a hug. I assumed it was his little sister. And older woman, maybe his grandmother, enfolded him in a hug as well.
Clove and Glimmer were standing with each other, a little out of place and awkward. Cato and Marvel hovered behind them.
After extracting myself from the others, I hurried over to them.
Glimmer saw me coming and threw a grateful arm over my shoulders.
"So, what do we do now?"
"You all need to come with me to meet President Coin and to be debriefed," Gale said as he appeared behind me.
"Do we have to?"
All I wanted to do was find a room to sleep.
Well, give Roan a bath, play with him for a little while, and then go to sleep. Preferably with everyone in the same room as me. My paranoia was going to stick with me for a while.
Gale gave me a sad smile.
"Yes you do. But then you will be assigned rooms and then you can sleep."
Glimmer's arm tightened over my shoulders almost undetectably.
"Can we room together?"
Gale shrugged. "I don't know. Bring it up when they ask."
I shot a small smile to my mother, who was watching us. Roan curled against my chest, still asleep, surprisingly enough.
Gale lead us down a hallway, past people who stared and through a door that needed Gale to scan something on his wrist to let us through.
Again, I found myself attacked as soon as we walked into the room.
"Katniss! Oh, Katniss! We were so worried about you and Roan! Thank goodness you're alright!"
It was Effie's voice, but it did not look like her.
Gone was the outrageous wig and her bright, bold makeup. She was dressed in a professional pair of black pants and a soft-looking gray sweater. Her blond hair fell in lose waves down to her shoulders, and her eyes looked a more natural and prettier shade of blue without all the make up.
She winced dramatically, her hands fluttering all over herself.
"I know darling, I look a fright, but there wasn't enough time for any of us to grab anything-"
"Oh no! Effie, you look…beautiful. Less is more in your case."
She gave me a genuine smile and a pat on the cheek before cooing over Roan. I let her hold him before I saw the others in the back of the room.
Haymitch saluted me, but the glistening in his eyes made me think he actually cared more about me than he let on.
Cinna was there was well, but I didn't know where my prep-team was. Portia blew me an air-kiss.
I also spotted a number of past victors; Johanna Mason, a victor from District Seven who tricked everyone into thinking she was a weakling, and then used the axes from her home to kill every last one of them. Finnick Odair, a legend in the Capitol from District Four as a womanizer, even though women weren't the only ones he spent time with. Beetee, a victor from District Three who won his games by setting an elaborate electrical trap.
Even Enobaria and Brutus, Cashmere and Gloss, Career victors, were there. They nodded to Cato and Clove and Marvel and Glimmer respectively; my friends looked a lot more relaxed when they saw familiar faces.
"Victors of the 74th Hunger Games…welcome to District Thirteen."
A/N: Sorry this chapter took so long in getting up. I have posted two new stories (what have I gotten myself into?!) but I wanted to give you this, even if it is disjointed and not the best. Please keep reviewing, and also check out my two new stories, "With Arms Wide Open" and "Ashes and Dust," and the lastest chapter in my 101 Oneshots. I wrote a Hunger Games/Percy Jackson crossover and it was so long and I was so proud of it and no one reviewed :(
Thank you for the reviews, please keep them coming! I promise Finnick and Cato will have more action (that can be taken more than one way...)in the next chapter!