Alright, here's the final chapter. I'm kind of happy this is done; less stress on me. I haven't been in the mood to write for a long time. A mix of writer's block, procrastination and time. Now that school's out, it'll be easier, but I'm having issues. And also, I know the gun Blaze had was a little far fetched but you never know what the Gamemakers will do. Perhaps they sensed his pscyo-ness and figured after shooting someone he'd probably cut them to pieces or something. You never know. But, anyway, I hope you enjoy. :) Here we go. I also kind of like Fransisca Jones, who I made up, so I may use her in other stories.
It's now the 74th Games, so that means a whole seven years have pasts since my Games. I'm fully recovered. The only problem is, as I knew would happen, I'm no longer young, sarcastic, naive Johanna Mason. I'm a shell, you could say. I have nothing left. I'm not a part of their world. I'm just kind of... there.
A little more than two year after my Games, when I was actually doing good and I'd somewhat gotten over the trauma of the arena and I wasn't starved to death any more, Snow had proposed I offer myself to the "lovely citizens of the Capital" that "fancied my beauty". I'd understood instantly what he meant and turned him down with a scowl. "I'm no prostitute, President Snow. With all do respect, I have to say no." He threatened me, saying, "Do what I ask or there will be consequences." I, once more, politely said "no". That's when things went wrong.
My rejection caused everything- no not one, thing- to die. My brother was reaped for the Games and didn't survive. Everyone knew that his reaping had been rigged. Soon after, my mother had gone to sleep and never woken up. Then, Neddle, who I'd gotten close to, was killed by a falling tree; though common here in District 7, it was obviously set up. Then our old house, which I often visited for comfort, burned down. Now I was all alone. I had nothing.
I'd decided not to mentor when I'd first been offered, but this year I planned to. The reaping was just a week away. I actually found myself excited. It would give me something to do, as now I was kind of just a pain, since I was always pacing around outside because I could never stand to just sit there, doing nothing. The parents stared at me, the children whispered.
"Is that that insane victor?"
"Yeah. Johanna Mason. She won the 68th Games."
"No, she just..."
"Hmm, I guess so."
That's what I heard from most of the children. I liked children. I liked them a lot. After all, I was one, once. But I found it rude they whispered.
Anyway, I finally got fed up with the staring and whispering and I volunteered to mentor. Now I sat in the chairs reserved for the mentors, beside Blight, and watched through narrow eyes. Gen had gladly given up her spot for me, tired of the job. She'd finally settled down with her long-time boyfriend and they had a baby boy that they'd even named for my brother. I was Tommy Number 2's Godmother, as well.
The preppy escort, thankfully no longer Katrina Destone and instead Fransisca Jones, who had long, curly, pale orange hair and odd matching eyes along with a pale white dress. She was young; perhaps only twenty-one or so. That would make me older than her by a year.
It was the reaping itself now. She was digging through the boys' bowl, her tongue peeking out of her mouth in concentration, her brown crinkled. She was only five foot or so, so she was standing on her tiptoes and peeking over the edge. The Capital woman looked like a child peeking over her mother as she pulled the cookies out of the oven, her eyes hungry and impatient to dig in.
Fransisca pulled a slip out and opened it, shuffling over to the microphone again. "Hyde Jaines."
In the crowd a sixteen-year-old boy with black hair and brown eyes and a good build stepped forward, showing no fear. But, me having my Johanna razor sharp vision, I missed nothing and I caught the flash of fear as he glanced back. I saw a woman holding a hand over her mouth, matching his discription, and figured that she was his mouth.
I glanced at Blight. He nodded. An unspoken decision; he would mentor Hyde. That left me the female tribute.
"Ladies next," Fransisca said in her happy voice, running her tongue over her orange lips.
I leaned over to Blight and whispered, "Something tells me she loves orange."
He smirked slightly, and I leaned back so I was straight.
The escort didn't dig this time; she plucked one right off the top.
A tall girl with blonde hair, hazelly eyes, and seemingly big-bones. I smiled. Paisley looked competent.
Paisley and Hyde shook hands and Blight and I stood. He leaned over to me this time. "Good tributes. I can see it in them."
Sadly, though, we were wrong. Paisley and Hyde both died on the first day. I sat back in my chair, disappointed and upset. Blight seemed relatively calm.
"Why are you not all sad?" I asked him, uncomprehending.
"I've gone through it so many times it doesn't even faze me anymore."
"Oh." I frowned and stared at the ground for a while before I questioned, "Will I be like that one day?"
"Probably. I think all the mentors become like that after a few deaths."
I didn't respond. I stared at the big screen, watching as ten teenagers fell to the ground for the last time, thinking instantly of Avielle, Arietta, Destiny, and Aspen, who I hadn't thought of since my own Games.
"Thinking about your Games?"
I looked at Blight. "How'd you know?"
"I can tell. Your face got all sad."
I blinked. "Yeah, because I'm thinking of my allies."
"I honestly thought they would die in the Bloodbath. But they helped you get where you are now, alive, beside me."
"Yeah." I was barely listening now. I was focused on the small, brunette girl on the screen, eyes darting around warily as she burst into a clearing. The Girl on Fire, I recalled. She'd first sparked a fire when she'd been the first to volunteer in many years, being from District 12. It had been for her sister, who she had spoken highly of in her interview. The interview. I recalled Katniss Everdeen's glorious dress, curtiousy of her brilliant stylist, Cinna.
Something about her made me believe in her, that she could win and she could save us all. Something just made me trust her to lead us to safety and rescue us from this horrid Games and that damn President Snow.
Then and there, I decided I would aid her as much as I could in her mission. I had already decided she wound win these Games and bring a rebellion- one that wouldn't fail.
Payback to Snow for my family, my home. Everything. Payback to the Capital for Avi, Ari, Destiny, and Aspen, and all the other nineteen children that died. I would join the rebels and take it all down.
I'd already shown the world once that I wasn't a snivelling little girl. I'd proven that by simply winning. Now, I'd do it again. They thought I was nuts. Insane. But I wasn't. Johanna Mason was no wimp, nor a nutjob. I would show them that.
Because I was really so, so much more.