Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games and am making no money from this.
This story, like most Hunger Games stories I've read will be told from various points of view. As normal, I'll note when they change.
Katniss and I are covering for Gale and Beetee as they carry Johanna back to our base. We're really lucky, honestly. If not for the rain, those tracker jackers wouldn't have scattered; they'd have swarmed us. It's hard to say what would have happened then. Maybe Gale and I would have both died, maybe Johanna too, who knows.
Death by mutant bugs; not a nice way to go. Painful, disfiguring stings, horrible hallucinations and then death. Yeah, not the end I want. There's no doubt that's what Snow planned for me too. That weird assassin bot looking like Finch was low; looking like Finch with that spear through her chest was even lower.
An assassin was what it was too. Specifically targeted to kill me. I don't know what Gale's looked like, but I'm sure it was custom tailored for him. Not just mutts that attack a group that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or a natural disaster; no, this was Snow going after us individually.
It's pretty blatant. People can tell themselves it was a trap that might have had images for anyone that came, but I know better. Snow wants us dead, and if we're still here for his next try, it won't be so subtle or easily avoidable due to oddly convenient rain.
Bet some Gamemaker's going to catch hell for that one. Sure, it's dramatic, and Gamemakers love their dramatic weather effects, but it made Snow's assassins easier to deal with. Hell, not just easier, possible at all. I might actually owe my life to some Gamemaker. Weird.
Wait a minute. I see movement to the north; someone's climbing over the cars at our outer defense line.
"Glimmer" Katniss whispers to me.
"I see it." I confirm.
It's Flash, my wonderful district mate. Hmpf, he isn't even trying to be sneaky. So I guess they're all here somewhere then.
"Do we fight?" Katniss asks.
"No. Alliances have their strength in numbers and unity. We stick together." I explain. "Beetee, you need to carry Johanna yourself now. Gale, you take point, I'll watch our six, Katniss, you keep a look out for the other Careers, and be ready to help if they attack from the rear."
We change our formation and resume falling back to the building we're using as a base. Flash keeps his distance (obviously what he figures is just outside arrow range) and is soon joined by that Otho guy from 2.
"There's two of them on our six now." I announce. "That means there's three left to find."
Our supposed ally, Finnick, Enobaria from 2 and Azel from 4. That's five on three if Finnick is with them, four on four if he's with us. If he defects the surprise could help us, and Beetee with a knife can potentially do something too. Not the worst odds I've seen, but if Finnick isn't with us then things look bleaker.
It doesn't seem like anyone else is following Otho over the cars, so I'm guessing a pincer attack. We're on the move, in the open, it's as good a time to hit us as they'll get. They must know we built all these defenses and wanted to lure them in; no way they'll let us get back to our building. They've got no way to know what's inside. If I were in their situation I sure wouldn't go in; it'd be suicide.
I keep watching Flash and Otho, waiting for Katniss or Gale to spot the others. As soon as they do, it'll be on. Whichever group Katniss fires on will hang back and the other will rush us. Hopefully the range my glaive gives me will be enough to keep them back and buy Katniss time to shoot people. If not, well. Things get ugly then.
It's weird; Katniss and Gale aren't the ones to spot Careers next. I am. Finnick and Enobaria are coming up from behind us. Even weirder, it looks like Finnick's hurt. He's shuffling along with Enobaria holding him up, helping him walk. He's bleeding form a wound in his gut, pretty badly looks like.
"Two more on our six, Finnick and Enobaria. Finnick's hurt and Enobaria's helping him walk." I announce.
"What? Why are they bringing a wounded guy into a battle?" Gale asks. It's a good question. Why the heck would you bring a guy who can't even walk here? This is shaping up to be a lousy ambush they have going on.
"It doesn't matter why; there's still one more of them somewhere though. That girl from 4." Katniss replies.
"Azel." I supply.
"Yeah, her. We can't let her get the drop on us." Katniss is right. Weird or not, there's still one enemy unaccounted for.
I keep watching our rear, watching as Flash and Otho keep their distance and Enobaria and Finnick slowly work their way forward. They come even with Flash and Otho (Beetee isn't exactly fast carrying Johanna, so even injured Finnick and Enobaria are faster) but rather than meet up with their allies, they keep right on going towards us.
"Finnick! What the hell happened?" Otho asks, finally noticing his wounded ally.
"Flash." is the answer. Wait, he put a hole in his own ally? Well that sounds like a bad plan.
"Flash, why?" Otho asks, looking at his ally.
"He deserved it."
"He deserved it? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
"He's a fake. All strutting around like he's God's gift. He's nothing but talk. Just another loser from a district full of losers."
"So you tried to kill him?"
"Oh, I did more than try. I got his kidney. He'll die, but if he wants it to be fast, he'll have to beg for death. What do you think, will his tough Victor act last or will he beg for death? I'm betting he'll beg; beg like a little girl."
"Good god, killing Azel wasn't enough for you; you have to kill Finnick too? What the hell? You've single handedly fucked our entire alliance over!"
Azel is dead? That's news to me. It must be recent since I didn't see her face in the sky last night. So I guess she was the cannon we heard during the night; I'd figured the Gamemakers got that kill on some random tribute.
"It's no big loss; neither of them had any business being in the alliance."
"Well good job! Now they aren't in it, and Enobaria's gone along with Finnick." Hmm, he's right; Finnick and Enobaria have kept right on walking towards us. They're pretty close now, actually.
"Are you turning on me now too, Otho?"
Otho draws his weapon, turning to face Flash. "Your insanity destroyed this alliance. I'll put an end to you before it destroys me too. "
"That's just fine with me." Flash draws his two swords.
Flash doesn't waste any more words; he rushes Otho, attacking with both swords. Otho rushes for Flash, cleanly dodging one of Flash's blades. Flash's other blade finds its mark, running Otho clean through. It's hard to tell from here where it hit, it looks too low to be the heart or lungs, but it might have gotten his liver. He really better hope it didn't hit his liver; bad way to go if it did. It wouldn't be instantly fatal, but he'll either bleed out or die of an infection in a few days.
There's a decent chance Otho's going to die, but if he does, he won't be the first one to go. Flash scored a solid hit, but in the process, he impaled himself on Otho's sword. This wound looks a lot higher, and slightly off center. It's got to be the heart.
I was right; that was Flash's cannon. My district mate falls to the ground, dead.
"All right, we need to keep moving." Gale orders. He's right; standing around here won't get us anything.
"It sounds like there's no more loose Careers, but there's still other tributes around, plus whatever other delightful things some Gamemaker put in this arena, so we still have to keep our guard up." I add.
"I'm still here you know." Finnick croaks out, having gotten pretty close to us by now.
"Oh, sorry, didn't see you there!" I give Finnick a fake smile and wave. Nothing against him, but if the Careers were as dysfunctional as they sound you'd think he could have ditched them sooner.
"Enobaria, the axe I have, it's for Gale and the sword is for Glimmer."
"What? I will not arm my enemies." Enobaria responds coldly.
"They aren't your enemies, Enobaria. You're with me and I'm with them, so that means they're your allies." Another ally, eh? So that makes, what, six Victors now. Half of all of us in this arena are in on this. This many people and we had to threaten Haymitch to get told the plan? Not cool, Haymitch, not cool at all.
Well she may be an ally now, but Enobaria sure isn't an eager one; Gale and I still don't have our weapons.
"Enobaria, I told you, it won't be used against you. Now please, give the axe to Gale and the sword to Glimmer. You only gave me five minutes; please don't make me waste them arguing here."
"Your credibility is wearing thin, Finnick. Nothing else after this until you give me answers." Enobaria frowns.
She isn't happy about it, but Enobaria throws the sword to me and the axe to Gale. Nice tosses too, right to our hands. I catch the sword, attaching the scabbard to my belt. There might be no Careers left to fight, but we aren't out yet. There still could be other tributes around or another of Snow's assassins; even if there aren't, I'd rather have an extra weapon I carry around and don't use rather than need one and not have it.
I guess I should ditch the glaive; it seems wasteful to drop it in the street though. I suppose I can keep it for now. It's always easy to drop if I'm in a fight and actually need the sword.
"Hey, now that I'm here and you have your weapons, someone want to tell me where the hell to go? This hurts and I'd like to get it over with." Wow, forget tipping that delivery boy.
"The intersection south of here." Beetee answers. "I would advise making haste."
"Thanks. All right Enobaria, just a bit more." Finnick gets a very unhappy growl from Enobaria in response, but heads off with him just the same.
We get back to the building we're living in without further incident. I guess with every Career either with us, dead or, in no condition to come after us it's no surprise. Even so, I hate to take anything for granted in an area, especially so close to the end.
"All right, let's put Johanna down just inside. Katniss, you and Gale make a quick sweep upstairs, if it's still clear send Gale back down to help me cover, and Beetee can go up and do whatever science stuff he has to do." Glimmer instructs.
Beetee puts Johanna down and Gale and I climb the stairs, being as silent as we can be (which is pretty silent, especially in Gale's case.) We didn't cover clearing buildings too much in Glimmer's academy, but Gale and I know the basics.
We clear each room, cover the corners and look in every little closet and anywhere else someone could hide. All told, it takes us less than a minute.
"All right, we're clear." Gale says. "I'll send Beetee up." He heads for the stairs, but stops, turning back to me. "Shoot straight, catnip."
Gale continues down the stairs and a few moments later Beetee comes up.
"All right, Katniss, it's time; get in position and I'll get the arrow."
I move to the window facing that metal box I'm supposed to shoot. A few moments later, Beetee hands me an arrow with some sort of wire attached to the head.
"The wire will make it heavier than you're used to, so take that into account. Try not to miss. Once you hit, make sure you are not touching the wire and then tell me. I'll activate the power and then the current will do the rest."
I nock the special arrow and take aim. The wire isn't that heavy, but by the time the arrow gets there it'll be trailing enough wire that it'll add a lot of weight, so that means I need to aim high. I take my best guess and fire.
The arrow flies out the window, but the wire is a lot more drag than I expected and the arrow lands well short of the box.
"Did you hit?" Beetee asks.
"Sorry, I shorted it. The wire was more drag than I thought."
"Try again, and quickly. We don't have long before we draw the wrong sort of attention."
I pull the wire back into the window. Thankfully, the arrow is still attached so I have another shot. I nock my bow and aim even higher this time. If this were a normal arrow, I'd be hitting above the second floor of the building across the street.
Well, this is as good a guess as I have for where to aim; no point hesitating. I fire. The arrow flies and the wire plays out behind it. My last shot was short, but this one is dead on. The arrow hits the box, embedding into it.
"Got it!" I announce with a grin.
"Excellent, Katniss. Now make sure you aren't touching the wire anywhere."
I'm not touching the thing, but I take a step back, just to be sure. "I'm clear, Beetee."
Beetee throws the switch and there's a hum of electricity, and the wire starts to glow red. Nothing else happens for a moment. The wire keeps glowing and then parts of it catch fire. Is that it? Is this all the big plan managed to accomplish? We set some fancy wire on fire?
I'm about to say some very colorful, very Gale-like things, but before I can, the sky explodes.
The announcers have been talking like this is a big battle, but not the end of the Games; I know better, though. If this escape plan is going to work, it has to happen now. I've been wondering why it hasn't happened yet. I'm sure there's parts of the plan I don't know, things that weren't ready, but realizing that doesn't help. Not being told things really irks me.
It never used to, but now it does. Maybe hanging around Gale has rubbed off on me. He's one to hate those sorts of things, certainly. Or maybe it's Glimmer. That girl's always trying to see all the angles, know what everyone will do and figure out the best plan to get through it. Or maybe it's that I've decided to not just be the good daughter and do as I'm told. Maybe I'm finally starting to grow into something more and now I'm seeing all sorts of limits I didn't ever notice before. Whatever it is, it definitely irks me.
I'm trying to not look impatient, but it's hard. If anyone asks, I'll tell them I'm just nervous about my friends. That's believable, right? Thankfully, no one ever asks. And then it happens: the TV feed of the Games goes black. This is it.
"All right, it's time." I announce.
"I'll get our stuff." Prim says, getting up and heading for the entry closet. Rory, Prim and I have packs stored there. There was no way to know when we'd be leaving or what the conditions would be, so we packed for every possibility. Rain gear, flashlights, maps, compasses, extra clothes, food, water, all the usual camping gear. It might not be a terrible trip in good conditions, but in 12, it's already dark, so we have to lead people through the woods at night.
"What's going on?" Rory's mom, Hazelle asks.
"Um, that's a bit um, hard to explain, Ma." Not the best start for Rory there.
"Hard to explain?"
"Well, it's more that Madge can explain better than me. She's better at this sort of thing, see." Wow, I wonder if Gale's as scared of his mom as Rory is.
"Rory Hawthorne, you will tell me what is going on, now." Prim hands Rory and I our packs. "And why do you three look like you're about to go camping?"
"We need to go, right now." I start.
Yeah, I saw that one coming, but I really hoped Rory would carry a bit more of his own weight here. "I'll tell you on the way."
"Madge, the Games may be off the air, but this is still required viewing time, and 12 is full of Peacekeepers now; you know that."
"I know, but we have to go now. If we run into Peacekeepers I'll take care of it."
"These new Peacekeepers won't care whose daughter you are, and we'll all pay the price." Hazelle frowns.
"Come on, Mom." Prim takes her mother's hand, pulling the woman to her feet. I figured it'd be about that easy. Katniss has basically been the head of this household since she was fourteen years old, and Prim has been following in her sister's footsteps. Their mother over the years has just sort of gotten used to being treated like their mother, but when push comes to shove, she follows her daughters.
"But Prim, what's going on? Where are we going?"
"There's no time now, Mom; I'll explain on the way." Prim starts pulling her mother to the door by her hand. Prim's basically the same height as her mom now, so it isn't as absurd as it sounds, but I still find it a bit funny.
"Look, Hazelle, I know this sounds like a stupid idea, but Gale trusts me. In fact, he's one of the people that asked me to do this, so please, can you just come with us? I promise this will all make sense soon, but I really can't say more here." Those stupid microphones are annoying. For all I know we've already said enough to have Peacekeepers on their way here right now.
"Why can't you tell me here? This all sounds very suspect, Madge." I'm starting to see why Gale never even tries to argue with this woman.
Prim has dragged her mother to the front door and reaches to open it, but before her hand gets to the handle the deadbolt clicks shut loudly and the alarm system beeps, just having armed itself. (Yes, I live in one of only three inhabited houses in 12 that actually has an alarm system.)
"What the heck?" Prim mutters, punching buttons on the alarm panel next to the front door. She tries several times, getting an angry beep in response each time. "It won't take my code; it won't disarm." she explains, giving me a worried look.
Well, if Peacekeepers weren't on the way here before it's a safe bet they are now. I guess that means the time to be subtle is over. It's time for the sort of thing Gale or Glimmer would normally do, not me. Good thing I've spent the past half year learning how to be someone new and better than I used to be.
I pick up a chair and swing it into one of the large front windows as hard as I can, shattering the glass on my first swing. Go me!
"Madge!" Hazelle gasps, finally getting to her feet.
"Peacekeepers are on the way here. You can either stay here and deal with them or you can come with me." I say, pulling a kitchen knife out of my pack and securing it around my waist. It might look a bit out of place with my skirt, but, well, I'm not Katniss; I actually dress like a girl.
"Rory, go outside and make sure there's no Peacekeepers here yet. Prim, help your mom out the window. Hazelle, we're out of time here; I really think you need to get Vick and Posy and come with us." I order. There's no more time to talk here; as much as I want Hazelle to come with us if we don't leave now we're all dead.
"Fine." Hazelle frowns, grabbing her two children still in the house.
If that alarm hadn't armed and tried to trap us inside, I don't think there's any way I'd have gotten Hazelle out. Even then, I had to mention the fact Peacekeepers are probably coming here to get her to move.
We make our way out the broken window and to the street, starting towards the fence. It's dark out, and the path to the fence is a small trail, since only Katniss, Gale, Glimmer and I went this way. We'll wind up on roads Peacekeepers might patrol later, but at least for now we can get some distance from the house without much chance of being detected.
"Keep your flashlights low; just light up the ground in front of you." I order. Prim, Rory and I have them, but we didn't think to pack enough for everyone. I kind of wish we had, but if we'd brought enough flashlights, rain gear and clothes for everyone we'd be stuck with packs so heavy we couldn't carry them.
We're making good time and finally get to the main road that leads to the fence. This is big enough that it might be patrolled. I stop, crouching behind a bush and motion the others to join me.
"All right, we might run into Peacekeepers on this next part. If we do everyone just stay calm and let me handle it." I explain.
"Handle it? How do you propose to handle a Peacekeeper? And where are we going?" Hazelle asks.
"We're leaving the district. There's a house Prim, Rory and I have prepared. It's several miles outside the district and we'll be staying there a few days."
"What? This is insane, Madge. Leaving the district is a major crime,a death penalty offense even."
"Hazelle, District 12 is going to be destroyed in a little under an hour. What you saw wasn't just the Games going off the air; it was the start of a rebellion. With any luck, right now Gale, Katniss and Glimmer are on a hovercraft along with their allies flying to safety."
"A rebellion? A hovercraft to somewhere? What is going on here?"
"A rebellion has been in the works for a long time, Hazelle, years probably; I don't know, they don't tell me much. The point is, Snow has had his eye on Katniss and Glimmer ever since they won, and he won't just let this go. He's going to get payback, and we're basically certain that he'll order 12 destroyed. So right now there's probably hovercraft in the air, headed here with orders to bomb."
"This isn't a joke or some hoax?"
"Ma, they called us from the Capitol. Some big secret call that was supposedly way illegal." Rory finally helps. "This isn't a joke. The mayor was even there, everyone believes this. I think it's for real."
"The mayor knows?"
"He's got a plan to try and save as much of the rest of the district as he can." I assure. "I have no idea what he has planned; I just know that I'm taking care of all of you. Now please, we have a place stocked and waiting for us, but we need to go now."
After a long pause, Hazelle finally agrees. "Fine. You said you have some plan if we meet a Peacekeeper?"
"Yes." I nod. "I'll try and talk our way past, but it might not work. Just follow my lead, act like we're out on an innocent outing, and if doesn't work, well, I have a plan ready. Just stay calm and make sure everyone is as quiet as possible."
Hazelle doesn't ask any more questions. She's a smart woman; I think she knows she won't like the answer to them, so better not to ask.
We start down the road towards the fence. I'm trying to keep a brisk pace, but with Vick and Posy, we just can't manage to go nearly as fast as I'd like. I can practically hear the seconds ticking away. I know even at this speed we should be well out of the district before the bombs start to fall, but you never know.
We could be wrong about the time. Maybe Snow was suspicious so had hovercraft ready to go, maybe even already in the area. Maybe the pilot will see the house and decide to bomb it just to be safe. So many things could go wrong with this. I finally know the nerves Katniss and Glimmer told Gale he'd feel in the arena.
We're more than halfway to the fence when we come across a Peacekeeper. The Peacekeeper and I see each other at the same time; no chance to try and hide.
"You there! What are you doing out here?" he calls to us, marching over.
"Oh, good, finally! We found someone who can help us! We were watching the Games and suddenly there was nothing. We have family in there; can you tell us what happened? We're so worried about them!" I try to play up the damsel in distress angle.
"This is mandatory viewing time; you can't be out. I'm going to have to take you in for questioning."
"But I told you, the broadcast went dark…" I walk towards him, trying to close the distance and still look like a helpless girl.
"That doesn't matter. Now all of you are coming with me." Damn, it didn't work. Looks like there's just one thing left to do.
The Peacekeeper reaches for his radio, looking down to find it on his belt, and that's when I make my move. I draw my knife, slashing across the Peacekeeper's throat in the same motion; it goes just as smoothly as it did in academy practice. The guy didn't see me as any threat, so is caught totally off guard.
Blood sprays from the Peacekeeper's throat, pulsing out in sickening, warm spurts. The man falls to the ground, but from the way he's bleeding, I already know the wound is fatal. Peacekeeper armor may protect their chests but there's nothing more than fabric over their necks, so my knife met no real resistance in its strike.
Prim's mom gasps, trying to rush over, but Prim holds her tight. "Mom, there's nothing we can do." Prim explains. The woman isn't happy at all, but Prim is holding firm.
I look around, making sure the Peacekeeper was alone. It looks like he was, but there's no way to know how long that will stay the case. "Rory, keep watch; let me know if anyone else is coming."
I kneel by the Peacekeeper. I don't know if he's dead or still hanging on, but I don't have time to worry about that right now. I'd be nice to put him out of his suffering (if he's still alive) but I don't really know a good way, not with just a kitchen knife and for a guy wearing armor. Instead, I start taking things. The Peacekeeper's radio goes on my belt. Next, I check for weapons: the Peacekeeper has three.
I put his baton in my pack. The standard issue sub machine gun is for me too, but he also has the normal sidearm. I'm certainly not going to leave it, but I'm not sure who's best to give the pistol to. It's wasteful to keep it for myself. I'm tempted to give it to Hazelle, but she doesn't know what's going on, and I don't really know her that well. No, as weird as it sounds my gut is telling me to give it to Prim or Rory, my coconspirators in this little escape plan.
"Prim, come here please." She's dealing with this all a lot better than Rory. I'm not really sure why, but Prim's been the one that's been calm, collected and stepped up to do her part. Maybe I'm just a bit bitter Rory dumped me with handling his mom, but either way, I've made my choice, and it's Prim.
"What is it, Madge?" Prim asks, walking over.
"Here, take this. Don't use except as a last resort." I explain, handing Prim the gun. She's obviously reluctant, but takes it, putting it into a pocket.
"All right, Rory, help me move the body off the road. Once that's done we need to get going."
It only takes a few moments to get the Peacekeeper's corpse into the bushes. If it was light the blood might be an issue, but at night, it'll be fine. Besides, just a few more minutes and we'll be out of the district and it won't matter.
We don't have any more problems on the way to the fence. The electricity is turned off, just like planned (thanks, dad) and we manage to all slip under just fine. We've gone a short way into the woods, far enough that we can talk without fear of being overheard by anyone in 12.
"The house is several miles away still. It'll probably take us a few hours to get there, but it isn't a dangerous trip or anything. Prim, Rory and I have all made this walk bringing supplies there, so we'll be fine." I explain.
"And when we get there?" Hazelle asks.
"There's supplies for all of us for several days. A house to sleep in, sleeping bags, food, a lake for water, we have everything we'll need. I'm not sure exactly how long we'll be there, but probably three days or so is what you should expect. After that, a hovercraft will come and take us to District 13."
"District 13 was destroyed."
"Apparently they made a deal with the Capitol. The surface was destroyed, all the people moved underground. 13 is where the rebellion is run from."
"And how do you know all this?"
"My dad and Haymitch have been in on this for… well, I don't actually know how long. But as long as I can remember at least."
Any more questions are cut off by the sounds of explosions coming from behind us; coming from District 12. There's no more doubt; the rebellion has begun.
Glimmer and I see Katniss' arrow hit that special metal box, and a moment later a massive explosion as the fake sky disintegrates. "God damn." I mutter in awe.
"Yeah, really." I hear Glimmer agree.
Katniss and Beetee come rushing down the stairs. "We have to move! The shield is down, the cameras are off and we have one minute until the hovercraft touches down." Beetee yells.
"All right, Beetee, Gale, you two get Johanna and make a run for it. Katniss, you take point, I'll bring up the rear." Glimmer takes charge.
Beetee and I hoist Johanna between us, one of her arms across each of our shoulders. Carrying her while trying to run is really awkward, but we're managing. I keep expecting us to trip over Johanna's dangling legs, amazingly that doesn't happen though.
I see Finnick and Enobaria have almost made all the way to the extraction point; it's all coming together. We're just getting to the intersection we were told to get to when a Capitol style hovercraft appears (or whatever the hell you call it when they stop being invisible and get visible again).
The thing sets down in the middle of the intersection and this big gate on the back starts opening. Well, this is either our ride to some magical Capitol free place, or this is Snow's last play and we're about to be gunned down by a squad of Peacekeepers.
If you'd asked me at the start of the Games, I'd have secretly bet quite a few coins against Haymitch and his plan, but damn if this isn't the hovercraft he promised. No Peacekeepers, just a big empty cargo bay with a few seats, a few pieces of equipment, some guy dressed like a doctor and a military looking guy waving us in. The fucking drunk actually came through.
We rush on board, setting Johanna down in front of the doctor.
"What happened to her?"
"Tracker Jacker stings. It happened just a few minutes ago, we haven't had a chance to remove the stingers yet." Beetee explains.
"We got another guy who's coming that's hurt too: Finnick Odair. Somebody stuck a sword through him." I add.
"I need you both here." the doctor points to some machine shaped like a big letter c. I can't even begin to guess what the hell it is. "This is an EMP generator, electromagnetic pulse. It'll disable to trackers the Capitol put in your arms. We can remove them surgically later."
Glimmer stands watch just outside, waiting for Finnick and Enobaria to make it, making sure there's no last surprises coming for us. It doesn't take long for the two of them to make it on board, and finally Glimmer.
"Who is she?" the army looking guy points to Enobaria.
"Enobaria. Apparently she's with us." I answer.
"I wasn't told about this."
"Well now you have been." Glimmer snaps. "Want to close the back gate so we can get out of here?"
They might not like Enobaria here, but not liking the arena wins out pretty fast; the army guy hits a button and the back gate closes. A moment later, I feel the hovercraft lift off. Finally we're out of the arena.
So here we are, finally at the end of this story. I'd like to thank everyone who's read, and especially people who reviewed. So many people like Dracones, To be a rebel, and Heslen left me a lot of great reviews, which I truly appreciate. So thank you, both to them and to everyone else who's reviewed. Every one of them means a lot to me.
I had a much more action oriented, 'Hollywood style' ending to this fic in the original plan (and in fact a draft of this chapter and what would then have been the next exists) but it really didn't fit. It might be what movies have taught us to expect, but really, Glimmer taking on Flash, Gale against Otho, it might be a cool fight, but why would the kids do it? They aren't carrying their preferred weapons, they have nothing to prove, and they know they all can get out as opposed to the last man (or girl) left standing situation the rules call for. So other than because it'd be cool to see, there's no reason for that outcome. Staying as a group is their best chance for survival, and the most realistic way it would go.
Also, this ending works better thematically. As has been said many times in this fic and the one before it, the Games are a metaphor for Panem, with the Careers playing the part of the Capitol. Usually they win, crushing the districts, but even when they lose, the real Capitol still calls the shots. But this time there was another alliance, a stand in for the rebellion (even if the kids were unaware of this.) And while their alliance holds together, has unity and trust, the Career alliance is ruled by insanity, distrust and in the end destroys itself. Just thought I'd say that rather than having a ton of people ask about the ending and answering each one individually.
Now, obviously while this story ends here, the greater story of Glimmer, Katniss, Gale, Madge Prim and all the rest isn't finished yet. To state the obvious, yes, there will be a sequel. This story will not, however start right away. I published I Am Not a Victim, releasing one chapter a week and then Everyone Loves a Victor at the same pace, with no break at all in between. That's thirty nine weeks straight. It's a good run, but I'm afraid the streak will not hit forty. This is for a few reasons. For one, the sequel (which still has no name) isn't ready. It's in development, but it just plain needs more time.
Also, about five years ago I started a Star Wars story, which has sat neglected for almost half a decade now, and that's something I never liked. So I plan to try and give that story some love. I'm not making claims that it will get finished, but I do plan to release more chapters for it. I have some ancient first drafts for several more chapters in that story, they need a ton of work but I really would like to get that done. It just doesn't feel right leaving a story to hugely incomplete.
And finally, after so many weeks in a row, I wouldn't mind a break from having to have a chapter per week ready.
So I'm afraid the sequel will come, but it will not be right away. I'm not going to give a firm ETA, but guess the first chapter might come out late spring or early summer. We'll just have to see.
Well, that's about it then. This story is done, so everyone can review not just the last chapter, but the work as a whole. So please, feel free. If anyone wants to talk about the sequel, offer suggestions or whatnot, please, PM me, I'd be glad to hear from you. Discussions like that have absolutely shaped this story, and I honestly find them enjoyable. Thanks so much to everyone who read this story, I hope you all enjoyed it.