A bit of time was spent in the Kingdoms, Katniss met more people than she thought existed. She became overwhelmed sometimes from all of the questions she was asked by officials and reporters.
She attended spiritual rituals for each religion. Bram, James, and Lacey taught her the ropes around synagogue. They were even around for the Passover for the three children. Though Katniss and her family were also taken to Christian rituals known as Good Friday, and Easer. The children enjoyed hunting for eggs and Katniss enjoyed learning about the symbolism behind the eggs, how they represented rebirth.
Peeta preferred making bread for Passover, but who could blame him.
Two months had passed and they were to move on to the Republic.
She was to meet the newest Malik before signing some treaty with Manaal.
The children were flying back to Panem since the Republic was still waged in Civil war, and it was highly dangerous.
Katniss felt reluctant to send her children alone, however she had no real choice.
She and Peeta spent the flight alone, they hadn't been alone since the war.
She sat comfortably in his arms as they watched the clouds create circles of rainbows.
"So Mrs. President" He whispered in her ear, "Is being president really that bad?"
She looked at him, "It's not what I was expecting, but it's not totally awful. I mean we still have to deal with Haymitch."
He laughed at this, "Well yeah. I have a feeling we'll be taking care of him longer than we'll be taking care of our children."
She laughed too, "Oh god."
Once she had laughed he kissed her tenderly, "I love you."
"I love you too." She said.
He kissed her forehead, "How did I get so lucky?"
"By being unlucky first." She said, "The odds have been against us."
"And yet some how they always come back and ease our burdens."
"Do you remember when I knocked you out to get your medicine?"
"No, because if you'll recall I was unconscious"
She laughed, "And you were so mad."
"I still am!"
"Haven't I made up for it yet? I gave you three children."
"You kept disappearing on me though. Do you know how many times I thought you had died?"
She laughed, "I'll be your cause of death someday."
"Yes you will" He kissed her again.
"How is it that after all this time I never get tired of being in your arms?" She asked causing a blush to crawl across his face.
"Because you love me." He said innocently.
"Yes I do" She said.
They landed in the capital of the Republic, a crowd had gathered to the stage. Upon exiting the air craft she scanned the crowd. Women on the left side completely covered and segregated. On the right were men looking fairly lethal.
Peeta had stepped out before her and the Malik approached.
"Hello Mr. President," The Malik said in a heavy accent, "Welcome" He hugged Peeta briskly and looked over at Katniss, "Your wife is so disrespectful, I am deeply sorry for you."
"Ummmm" Peeta said with his eyebrows contorted with confusion, "No?"
Lysander approached the Malik, "Sir, that's the President's husband"
"You allowed a gay President?" The Malik asked shocked.
"No sir, this is our President. Mrs. President" He pulled Katniss forward.
"Hello sir, an honor to meet you." She said just as she'd rehearsed.
The Malik does not look pleased and rage would be the best term to describe how his facial features contort.
She hears shouts from the right side of the crowd. She hadn't expected such a welcome, but she hadn't expected much.
They shout and shout in an angry fashion and suddenly out of the corner of her eye she sees a rock fly at her head.
She stumbles back slightly as more rocks come her way.
Are they... Stoning me? She asked herself. Which was admittedly a dumb question since it was clear to her that was indeed what was happening.
She heard both her husband and Lysander call out to her but they were being held back by guards.
Katniss was on the ground, trying to shield herself of the rocks being thrown at her with ease.
Suddenly she felt a lesser pain, like someone was blocking the rocks. She opened her eyes and saw a fully grown woman take the rocks in place of Katniss.
The girl fell down and another girl took her spot. Each girl in the crowd was no longer kneeling, each was standing. Each girl was taking a literal stand, not just for Katniss, but for their own rights.
Eventually Lysander broke free of the guards grasp and ordered everyone to stop. How he knew their language was beyond everyone, but he got them to cease fire.
Katniss was escorted back onto the air craft, but she looked down in enough time to see each stoned woman arrested and lined up to be beheaded.
Katniss had bruises running from her forehead to her chest and back. There were a few cuts but nothing fatal.
Peeta seemed so worried he was shaking when he was allowed to see her.
"They need to win their rebellion." She said when his arms wrapped around her.
"Yes. They do" He said. She realized then just how eternally safe she felt being wrapped up in his arms.
He could protect her, those other woman had no one to protect them. Fathers and surely husbands, maybe even sons and brothers, condemned them to death. Just for their genitalia. How awful? How sad? How hauntingly true even today? How hauntingly true that it will always be this way... How horrifying that this is one thing that will never fade away?