Wiress settled into her bed on the train back to Three. "We're finally going home." Wiress said smiling as Beetee squeezed her hand.
"Yup. To your new house." Beetee said smiling. Wiress grinned and sat up excitedly.
"We'll be neighbors!" Wiress shrieked excitedly wrapping her twenty year old friend in a tight hug. "Oh, Beetee! I could come to your house every day!"
"That you can. And I can come to yours too." Beetee chuckled once he peeled the small Victor off of him and straightened his glasses that got knocked askew. "Good night, Wiress. I love you."
"I love you too." Wiress said. She smiled and dreamed about the Engineering Academy as the train rolled out of the Capitol.
"WIRESS! WIRESS!" Wiress hopped down from the train and ran into her parents' arms. "Oh, my little wire, you're home! You made it home, honey!" Mrs. Carpenter sobbed wrapping her arms around her daughter.
"Mom - Dad - I'm home!" Wiress gasped.
"I knew you could make it, Wiress, sweetie!" Mr. Carpenter said in between his tears. "We have a surprise for you back home." Wiress' large eyes sparkled with excitement as she took her parents' hands and practically skipped from the train station to Victors' Village. Beetee followed her with a small suitcase containing her reaping dress and some medicine from the Capitol that would help Wiress continue her recovery. He set it on the porch of Wiress' new house and told them that he would be over in a few minutes.
"Wow." Wiress gasped looking at the two story house that awaited her. Tears sprang to her eyes. "Oh - Mom - Dad - I wish Wendy could live here too."
"I know, honey. I know." Mrs. Carpenter whispered. "We miss her too, little wire." The Carpenters hugged on the porch and had a good cry before Mr. Carpenter handed Wiress the key.
"This is your house, my smart girl." He explained. "You earned it." Wiress opened the door and gasped. A nice couch and two easy-chairs around a coffee table were in the living room. Wiress walked into the dining room where a polished wooden table and six chairs took up a room as large as her old living room. She grinned as she went into the kitchen examining the refrigerator, stove, sink, and a microwave. She ran her hand over the stainless steel counters.
"Let's go up so you can pick your room." Mrs. Carpenter said.
"My room?" Wiress gasped. Her parents nodded. Wiress walked up the stairs and saw five doors in the hallway: two on each side and one at the end. She opened the door to one room and saw a large bed, dresser, and desk in it. The other rooms were similarly furnished. "Is your room at the end of the hallway?" Mr. Carpenter nodded. Wiress looked in one particular room and went in. She looked out the window and smiled. Her view was of the neighboring house. A window was open letting the breeze blow through vented blinds that were pulled up. Wiress opened the window. "BEETEE!" She called. "BEETEE! I SEE INTO YOUR ROOM!"
"Wiress!" Beetee laughed. "Silly girl! Now half the district knows you moved in!" Wiress giggled profusely.
"Looks like you found your room, squirt." Mr. Carpenter said. "Beetee!" He called. "May I have a word with you, son?"
"Yes, sir?" Beetee called.
"No talking through these windows to my daughter at all hours of the night, is that understood?" Wiress blushed and hid her face at her father's lecture.
"Yes, sir!" Beetee called blushing darkly.
"Wiress Carpenter?" Mr. Carpenter asked eyeing his daughter.
"Yes, dad." Wiress said. Beetee chuckled and closed his window before heading back over to Wiress' house. He met Wiress as she came back into the living room.
"Hey, Wiress, have you seen the best part of your house yet?" Beetee asked.
"No." Wiress said.
"Well, open the door in the kitchen."
"That leads to the laundry room, silly!" Wiress giggled.
"The other door." Beetee said. He took Wiress' hand and led her through the kitchen and showed her a door next to the laundry room. "Open it." Wiress opened it.
"Oh -" Wiress gasped looking at a flight of descending stairs. "There's a basement." Her parents joined them.
"Turn on the light, honey." Mrs. Carpenter said pointing to the wall near the stairs. Wiress flicked the switch and walked down the wooden steps. As she pushed open the double doors at the bottom, she was greeted with a cheer.
"WIRESS! WIRESS!" Melissa and the other twelve second year students cheered along with several Engineering Academy faculty members. Wiress squealed and ran into her friends' arms.
"Let her look around, guys!" Beetee called. Wiress gasped as she looked around her brand new workroom. Gleaming counters were along the walls. Carts with drawers containing the supplies she would need to invent were scattered throughout the room. One wall contained a built-in bookshelf that had the necessary manuals she would consult.
"Oh - wow!" Wiress gasped, her large eyes taking in the room. "It's - It's -" Tears trickled down her cheeks.
"You're welcome." The principal of the academy said embracing her. "As a victor, you are no longer required to go to school, but we will be able to tutor you after we finish teaching classes for the day. In the meantime, Beetee will be a more than adequate mentor for you." Wiress gasped.
"I - I'm not coming back?" Wiress asked sadly.
"No. But you will still be an engineer. I daresay you might sit for that exam sooner than many of your friends." The principal said smiling as Wiress blushed and looked at the floor. "That is why we decided to bring a bit of the Academy to you here in this room."
"Oh - Wow - thank you - thank you so much -" Wiress hugged the principal and her instructors. She grinned at her friends. "And of course you guys can come over any time too!" They all laughed and hugged her, grateful she had come home.
"Wiress!" Mr. Carpenter called. "Your mom tested the oven by cooking you a homecoming cake - and we probably have enough for everyone here. Yes, you too, young man." he said eyeing Beetee. "You brought her home. For all of us." Wiress smiled at Beetee and reached for his hand. With her other hand, she traced his cheek before kissing his face softly.
"Wiress, these next few months - well - whatever happens now will be awesome." Beetee said smiling at the young engineer in his arms.
"I know." Wiress said. "I made it back home. With you - and because of you." They hugged before leading the group upstairs to celebrate Wiress' homecoming and her new future. She and Beetee would always go forward as a team.