WARNING! This chapter is going to contain some colorful language. It is Cato and Marvel after all!
Thank you so much for all the reviews! Think we can break one hundred today?
Recap: In the end, it seemed like it wouldn't matter if Clove and the others got to us.
I was dozing, Cato was poking at the fire. There was a cackling in the air, and we looked up, a little surprised. What would they be offering now?
"T-tributes! G-go to the C-c-cornicopia and wait! The Reb-rebellion has begun! S-s-stick together! Oh, god, no please, no please - "
Then there was the unmistakable sound of something whizzing through the air, Claudius' scream of pain, a thump, then static.
The mic cut out and Cato and I were left looking at each other in horror.
"What the fuck?"
My sentiments exactly.
We were staring at each other, our minds reeling.
"Are they kidding? Are they serious?"
It could have been a sick game twisted up by the Capitol…trying to make us friends before we have to kill each other. It could have been something…
Suddenly, my heart started beating fast.
"Roan! Oh my god, ROAN!"
My chest was contracting, and I felt like I was going to die.
Roan…Roan was in the Capitol.
Cato grabbed my shoulders, shaking me a little.
"Katniss! Calm down, Haymitch and the other mentors are with him…"
I shook my head, my heart beating three thousand times a minute.
There was rustling behind us right now, and we both jumped, weapons held high.
"What the fuck was that message about?!"
Cato let out a sigh, and ruffled her hair, almost in a big brother kind of way.
Glimmer and Marvel came through. Well, Marvel was carrying Glimmer, who had burns up and down her right side.
Glad for the distraction, I applied some medicine to them, and then gave her some water.
When I was done, all I could do was pace.
Where was Roan? Was he safe? Would they kill him?
Oh my god, I would kill myself if something happened to him.
Looking up to where Marvel pointed, there was a large basket drifting down, with a large '12' on the bottom of it.
"It's for you Katniss."
Cato caught the basket as it came down; he grunted, a little surprised by the weight. I was too, when he handed it to me.
I placed it gently on the ground and opened it.
My hand flew up to cover my mouth, the other gripping the basket even harder.
Inside it was Roan, peacefully asleep, clutching a letter in his hands.
To say I flipped out was an understatement.
I grabbed Roan like my life depended on it, and held him close. He jerked awake, eyes filling up to cry as he was awaken rudely from his nap.
After a moment, he stopped fussing and then buried his head in my neck.
It was all too much.
Rye dying, the Rebellion, Roan being here when I had been worried about him being killed…
As much as I hated showing weakness, I cried.
Oh god, Gale was never going to let me live this down.
When I finally calmed down enough to read the letter, a small tin fell out.
I popped it open and realized that they were the pills to make me produce milk again.
Were we going to be in the arena for that long? Wouldn't the rebels want to get us out?
Quickly swallowing them with some water, I shifted Roan into one arm and then read the letter out loud. It was written in Haymitch's script, hurriedly and the bottom was dotted with something that looked suspiciously like dried blood.
I don't have much time, but what you need to know is that you need to stick together with the other tributes, as much as I hate telling you this. You need to keep them all safe until someone comes for you.
The Rebels reacted to your story and what happened with Rye. You are the face of the rebellion, which means that the Capitol, or what is left, is trying to keep you prisoner, and the rebels are trying to get you and the others out.
Stay together, and stay alive.
I passed the letter around, and watched the other's read the letter with varying levels of emotions.
"So, what are we going to do? Just sit tight until something happens?"
"No. We need to go to the Cornucopia. The other tributes should make their way there over the next few days. It's central and near water, so we should be good as far as supplies for a while."
Cato, ever the leader.
"We need to wait a night before we go. Glimmer needs time to heal," I said back. And mentally I added, I need time to absorb the fact I am now the face of a rebellion.
Cato nodded, before turning around and helping the other sort through materials.
Roan had nodded off on my shoulder, but I kept a tight grip on him, only noticing now he was dressed in the clothes from home. If I strained, I could still smell traces of coal and smoke.
He had gotten a little plumper in the past week, his hair a little longer. He was still small, still my little baby. He still couldn't keep his head up for long, and still had trouble articulating his sounds.
But I was so happy to see him.
I headed towards the fire, and tucked him into the sleeping bag with me, his small little body reflecting heat back at me. I propped myself up on one elbow and had him play with one of my fingers.
Honestly, we could have been back in District 12, the capitol, or anywhere else.
When I was with Roan, I was home.
I stayed up most of the night, watching Roan sleep. Seeing his eyelids flicker with his dreams, his mouth move as if he was hungry, and just running my hands over his head, as if to convince myself he was real and I wasn't just dreaming.
Glimmer was a little better in the morning, good enough so that Marvel and Cato could take turns carrying her through the woods and to the Cornucopia.
My thoughts flickered to Rue, Rye and Thresh when we walked through the meadow where Rye died. The grass was still stained red.
I looked away, keeping my eyes focused on the ground until we got farther away.
Mentally counting down who was left, I realized with a jolt that there was only seven of us left, eight if you included Roan.
Had so many died already?
We reached the Cornucopia at around midday, and we all collapsed, exhausted after our first real hike after the fire; our lungs were still healing from the smoke, I don't think that they were ready for the miles long trek.
My milk had started to flow again, as I found out slightly embarrassingly. Thank god I was in a jacket over my loose shirt.
I had fed Roan on the go, letting him drink while I kept my jacket tied around my neck. I had fallen behind everyone, for my careful foot placement as I walked with Roan.
Roan had fallen asleep again after looking over my shoulder for a long time at the forest. Sometimes, when Glimmer was conscious, she would coo at him, or even Clove would give him the barest hints of a smile.
Sighing, I thought about the others, Coral and Finn and Thresh and Rue, and wondered if they would come to the Cornucopia.
I knew I would't; I would be too afraid of what they would do, if they would kill you none the less.
So imagine my surprise when I see Finn's small head poking around a tree.
I turned, putting my weapons down, making sure he saw it.
I turned, making sure to hold Roan in front of me. I saw the shock on Finn's face.
"You can come here. No one will hurt you, I promise. I wouldn't be here with my son if something was going to happen."
Finn looked cautiously over my shoulder, and when I turned, I saw Cato standing there.
"He may seem big and scary, but he can be…decent. He won't hurt you.."
Cato raised an eyebrow at my description of him, but he turned and went back to the fire that Marvel was starting.
I reached out a hand, and waited patiently for Finn to come out from behind the tree.
Finn walked slowly, poised to run if it turned brutal. My heart broke for this little boy, who should have never been here in the first place.
Finn reached out to take my hand, and I walked with him slowly back to the camp.
Clove looked up when she saw us, and even gave a little smile.
In the past couple of days, I realized just how childlike these other's were. We were only in our teens, and we had all gone through hell.
I wondered if this whole 'sticking together thing' was going to work.
If it didn't, I was grabbing a pack of food, weapons, and getting the hell out of there with the little ones.
This was a whole different ball game now.
Everything was tense for a couple of hours, and Finn stuck to me like glue. Roan was pretty quiet, and had actually been passed to Glimmer, who had been thrilled to see him.
There was rustling behind us, and when we turned, I saw Coral, Thresh and Rue, all looking at us in a mixture of distrust and wonderment.
Clove raised a hand, and Marvel yelled, "Trust me, we're not killing. We need to figure out what the fuck is going on."
And just like that, we were all a team.
Just because we were all a team, didn't mean that we weren't all wary of each other.
Rue clung to Thresh like Finn clung to me, and Coral was the in-between. Roan was never out of my sight for more than three minutes at a time.
Finally, Clove had seemed to build up from the tension and exploded, "We're not going to kill you! For crying out loud, just chill out."
Rue had laughed and Thresh had even cracked a smile.
Slowly, we realized that the Gamemakers hadn't been kidding with us. There had been no day change, just sunny all the time.
"What are we supposed to do? How are we going to get out?" Clove asked, sharpening some of her knives and showing Rue how to through them.
I smiled a little; Clove had a little soft spot for kids I realized.
Rue had her small hand wrapped around it and was trying to hit a make shift target, and was actually doing pretty well.
"I think we're pretty much screwed until they decide to take us out."
I had just finished changing Roan (they had some diapers in the basket they sent, along with a couple of changes of clothes and soap), and then turned to Marvel, who had just spoken.
"Do you think there is any way we can break down the force field?"
Cato turned to me and furrowed his brow.
"No, I don't think there is. Not unless it is bombed or something from the outside.
Glimmer, who was now fully recovered from her burns, sighed.
"Terrific. We're stuck."
I cast a look over to the mountain of supplies that we had. We would be good for a while, but then what would we do?
Coral got up and stretched, wincing when her back cracked a little.
"I'm going to go fishing. Anyone want to come with me?"
Finn stood up, waving his hand in the air. Rue also turned, handing Clove back her knives.
"OK you two, let's go!"
The three of them went to the lake.
Cato turned again, and said, "OK, now that the young ones aren't here, what are we going to do?"
Thresh, who had been a silent pillar for a long time, said, "We need to try to survive."
"No kidding. But how are we going to get out of here! We can't stay here forever, we know they're trying to capture/kill/keep us prisoner!"
I was chewing on my lip, trying to think.
I needed to get Roan, and everyone else, out.
Suddenly, there was screaming from the lake.
Everyone jumped up and grabbed weapons, before sprinting away.
Rue and Finn were running to us.
"Coral got bit by a snake!"
Quickly, I handed Roan to Rue (she had a lot of experience with holding kids, and I trusted her) and ran with Cato and Marvel to the lake.
Coral was crumpled on the shore, muffled sobs trying to escape from her mouth.
Marvel moved her hands from her ankle, where she had been bitten.
"Suck the venom out!" Cato hissed.
They must have had some sort of training with these kinds of things.
Marvel shook his head, eyes sad.
"The wound closed over. These weren't normal snakes."
Coral winced and looked at me with wide eyes.
"Am I going to die?"
Breath caught in my throat.
She was only two years older than Prim, two years younger than me. She didn't deserve this.
Cato turned to me, face an emotionless mask. I wondered if it was his way of protecting his heart or if he just didn't feel anything for the girl.
Then again, how he hissed at Marvel to help her made me thing it was the former.
"You're going to be fine Coral. There's some medicine back at the Cornucopia. Marvel, take her back. I'm going to look for some herbs to help speed along the heeling process."
Marvel nodded, before moving back swiftly, Coral cradled in his arms like a small child.
Cato turned to me, eyes hooded.
"She's not going to make it, is she?"
I didn't answer. Instead, I started carefully looking around for the snake that had bit her.
I was in luck. It was curled up in a pile sunning itself, like it had not a care in the world.
Quickly, I grabbed it behind it's head and pulled it up.
"What the hell are you doing?!"
The snake was a bright blue color, something so unnatural that it had to be Capitol engineered. The fangs were three inches long, and deadly sharp.
"Do you know what kind of snake this is?"
Cato gently put his hand over mine and too the snake from me. Grabbing the whipping tail, he pressed on a point until another sharp stinger popped out of the back.
"This is a Blue Death snake. Coral won't survive the week."
I shook my head, grabbing some more herbs and plants that would bring down fever and drain poison.
"Yes she will."
I cut him off.
"I am not going to let her die Cato."
"It would be the merciful thing."
"What do you mean?"
Cato, with what looked like a small flex of his hand, crushed the head of the snake and threw it away.
"Blue Death will cause her to have a fever at first. Normally you can suck the venom out of a bite, but their's heals over instantly. The venom spreads slowly, burning you from the inside out, leaving your skin a pale blue color. Near the end, you hallucinate, and cough up blood. You're entire body feels like it's on fire. And then, you die. You're heart gives out."
He had a far away look in his eyes, like he had been at the receiving end of the bite himself.
"What's the cure?"
"It's some kind of medicine in the Capitol. With the Rebellion and all, I don't think Coral will be getting any help soon."
Guilt threatened to choke me. It was my fault for the uprising.
I tried to convince myself that the Capitol would have killed her anyway, or someone else.
It didn't help.
I took a deep breath, and started back to the Cornucopia.
I wasn't going to let her die.
I know, not a lot of Cato and Katniss in this chapter, but next one, hopefully.
Sorry for taking so long to update, but school is literally kicking my ass. It is not pleasant.
Please review! I hope to have the next chapter out within the next week, fingers crossed!