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Forever:5th book of The Hunger Games

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FOREVR: 5th book of The Hunger Games

INFO ON BOOK:

Who can you trust during times like these? Annie visits Katniss and Peeta, along with her and Finnick's son. Altogether they bring Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie, and Katniss and Peeta's children to District 13. Why though? They all don't know. But they will soon find out in the extended Hunger Games Trilogy  Series.

Chapter 1: Part 1

I'm in the water teaching Prim how to swim.

"Just keep kicking, okay? I won't let go of you until you have the hang of it." This is the way my father taught me. He alway told me to never stop kicking and to fight my way through things.

Things have been very well, dispite the fact that not even a year ago I lost so many people in my life. I'm glad that is behind me and that I have something else to focus on now. I've heard of news about Annie, Finnick's wife until he died, and her son. Both are doing very well. From what I was told, her son looks very much like Finnick.

I can't help but think back to them all while teacking Prim to swim. Prim soon gets the hang of kicking and I find her swimming away from me to the other side of the lake. I swim past her to the opposite side in a matter of seconds and catch her as she reaches me.

"Did you see me mommy?! I swam all the way across!" Even though the lake is small, I still have joy that she did indeed swim across.

"I did, dear. Want to try again?" In return I get an egar nod from her and she is off again. She learns quick and I can't wait to teach her to hunt when she is ready. "Hunt or paint." Peeta always tells me when I bring up huntingwith her. He believes she's a painter but we will find out in a few years when she is older. Or not, whatever I think is best for her.

I swim alongside Prim as she swims back and forth, backand forth. It's not long until she gets tired and we both walk up the muddy shore of the lake. Peeta walks outside and Prim runs to him and insticntively hugs him before walking inside.

"How was the lesson, love?" He gives me a small kiss. The kiss would have lasted longer if I kept myself from smiling at him. He has paint dotted on his arms and face.

"Perfect." I reply and take his hand in mine. Peeta has desided that the walls in the house are far too plane and anounced that he'll be painting a mural on the walls. He is staring in the one new room he and Hyamitch finished. I refused to let him paint the walls of the small cement room Silver made into a home. The first few days of him painting, he has me sit infront of him as he painted claiming that I was his 'muse'. After a while I caught ont hat he just wanted me at his side as he painted. I didn't mind much but I still rolled my eyes and set out to teach Prim to swim.

The Primroses, pictures, Silver's clock necklace, and my Mockingjay pin still rest in the same place on the window sill. Prim and Peeta have been gardening and planting more Primroses to be picked and put in the vase every so often to keep the old ones from dying.

Cina is entertaining himself with a dog I found while hunting. He was perfectly harmless and the kids just loved him so I agreed on them keeping him. Peeta was, of course, hesitent, but I said it would be perfectly fine. He was probably a housedog that wandered away from a district or got lost in the aftermath of all the bombings from when Snow formed his own little rebelion. Prim is at the baby's crib, playing with Silver.

"When are you killing dinner?" Peeta asks and looks out the window. I follow his gaze and see a squirl. I grab my bow from there and aim. Perfect shot, right in the eye.


It's after dinner now and Peeta is inside putting Prim and Cina to sleep in the new room of the house. I walk into the medow with my bow in hand, just in case something wrong happens. I hate to admit it but, I'm still paranoid around the games and even Snow and Coin. Still, it never hurt to be prepared for danger.

It's not a long walk until I meet my mother's grave and Silver's. I first go to my mother's gravestone and hold in a fe tears and I whisper to the grave. I whisper thinngs such as Prim learning to swim and how me and Peeta are doing well. How Silver is now making little gurgling noises when I talk to her like she understands. I whisper how I wish she was here to see her grandchildren grow up. "But everything must come to an end though, right?" I smile a little at my stupid pun. I sniffle and let loose a few tears. "Love you, mom."

I stand up and walk to Silver's grave. I kneel over that and do the same. I tell Silver about how I noticed a red strand of hair reflect off baby Silver's headand how I blieve and hope she has the same hair color as her. I always loved SIlver's hair color. Dark with a few red and dark gray strands that reflected from the sunlight at an angle. "Forever, Silver." Is what I had her gravestone read.  It was the last thing she said to me. I stand and whisper, "Always." to her, the last thing I said to her. The wind answers me as I hold out my three fingers at both graves.

This was the routine every night after dinner for me. Peeta putting the kids to sleep, me leaving to talk to their never-leaving spirts.

I stand and walk beyond their graves, deeper in the forest. After a 15 minute walk, I meet Gale's grave. I look down at it from where I stand, three feet away. I have nothing to say to him. Nothing to say to his spirt--which also seems to never leave--or his body, 6 feet in the earth, maybe even deeper like where he belongs. He killed Silver and he killed my sister Prim. He hurt everyone I loved, he kidnapped my children, and he was apart of Snow and Coin's rebelion. What do I need to tell him, that he didn't already know when he died?

Instead I yell at his grave and fall to my knees, allowing my tear to come freely now. Not angry tears but sad tears. I'm sad that I lost one of my friends whom I have known since I was little. One of my friends who I would tell everything to, who I would hunt with, who took care of my family as I was fighting for my life. I lost a friend who I loved. And I lost him for reasons that I still don't understand.


Chapter 2

I stretch out in my bed. Last thing I remember from the night before was yelling in the forest the a distant memory of being carried home. I hate it when I fall asleep infront of Gale's grave. It feels wrong to even visit his grave, but I do miss him.

I walk down stairs relived that I had a rare, dreamless sleep. I smell eggs cooking and hear meat popping and sizzling on the stove downstairs. The aroma meets my nose and I smile because this food is the food I've grown up eatting. It's not the old capital food at all.

"Morning, love." Peeta smiles at me and wraps an arm around my waist before he plants a kiss on my forehead. I return the kiss and walk to the small table we wat at.Peeta follows and sets the food on the table for us. Prim and Cinna are outside the window with Haymitch and Effie.

"You know..." I poke the yolk and let it drain over my baccon. "I haven't seen Effie leave Haymitch's side for a while now."

Peeta smiles, "Yeah, I noticed the same thing." he says in a mouthfull of food. Being outside in the winderness has on fluenced him to loose a few mannors from his childhood.

We both look out the window and see the kids run infront of Haymitch. Effie looks up and smiles at Haymitch. She would normally be his height or taller with her old capitol heels, but nowadays she's been wearing the usual flats  which stilll look as vibrent as her heels. Haymitch puts an arm around Effie's small waist and pulls her a little closer.

I let out a small laugh and Haymitch's gaze breaks away from Effie to me and Peeta craning our necks to see better. Peeta smiles and nods and I wave and mouth 'hi'. Effie and Haymitch break away and look anywhere but at us or eachother. My laugh echos freely now.

"Busted!" I sing to no one in particular.

"Like two teens caught kissing..." Peeta smiles and looks at me remembering our kiss in the cave. We were caught kissing by all of Panem. I half hope that I wore my usual pajama's rather than Peeta's oversized shirt. He probably sliped anything on me so that I was comfortable in my sleep.

Haymitch and Effie follow the kids without being near each other like before. Effie's eyes are stuck to the floor, but Haymitch steals a few glaces at her. Who would have ever thought these two, of all people, would like each other? Hell, I sure didn't, esspecially from the first day Haymitch fell off the Reaping Stage and Effie looked at him like a pig! I supose anything is possible when you think about it. Silver begins to cry breaking me and Peeta out of our haze. I'm about to get up when Peeta tells me to sit down since he was going to get up anyway to get something. I sit down and eat my breakfast. Peeta's limp is gone for the most part. He still has a noticable limp when he runs but that is just about it. And he is still strong. He cares me from Gale's grave to our home every night. I don't know how, but he always manages too.

Peeta returns holding Silver and a box.

"Happy Anniversary, Katniss Everdeen."

"What?"

"Today was the day of the Reaping when we went into the games."

"God, those felt centurys ago..." I whisper holding the box in my hands.

"They will be soon enough." Peeta says, matter-of-factly. I look up and smile at him, not wanting to ruin the wrapping. "Open it."

I remove each fold slowly with out tearing the paper. I lay the paper carefully on the table and open the metal box, painted like the forest I love. I breath gets stuck in my throat as I look inside the box. There is a wooden mockingjay in the middle that is spining with The Hanging Tree playing. The walls on the music box are painted like miniature versions of the paintings Peeta did on the train ride back to the Captiol. One wall is me and his kissing, the other is of my on the floor with a bloody forehead. Another all is of my spining in my wedding dress with the bottem half in flames with a few mockingjay feather pecking through. The last wall is on us all as a family.

"It took a few year to make but, I think it's worth it." I'm speachless. I close my eyes and hear my father's voice sing this song to me. The song is over now and then I hear a small 'click'. I open my eyes and Peeta lifts the mockingjay. Inside is a small space, big enough to fit my fist. He pulls out a dreamcatcher made with Mockingjay feathers.

"It's for your nightmares. I thought of it after you woke me up yelling bloody murder." He gives a small laugh.

I hold it out infront of me. It twirls on it's own, allowing me to see it at all angels. Twigs are bent around a ring and the web is clearly made from the katniss roots that grow alongside the pond outside. I can recognize them any where, even when formed into a web on a dreamcatcher. Old, threading, twine dangles from the hoop, keeping the wooden beads and mockingjay feathers from leaving the web of nightmares.

I find it fiting in many ways. 1) I was the mockingjay. 2) I am still apart of a few nightmares, like the twine holding the feathers. And 3) I am and will alwas be intwined in nightmares like the katniss roots.

"So... how do you like it?" Peeta brings me out of my state of wonder. He looks almost frightened. He might think I hate it or that I want to kill something right now. Without hesitation I push the box seperating us and hug him around his neck. He nuzzles my neck and his arms wrap around my waist. I breath in his familiar sent and pull him closer.

Nothing can take this moment away from me, ever.

I remember thinking this same thought when I was with Gale. Then the 74th Hunger Games arrived... then the Quater Quell... then the rebelion... and then the fight. This time I am positive of this. Nothing will take this away.

Peeta kisses my neck, slowly making his way to my ear, and back down to my shoulder. His lips slowly meets my jaw line then our lips brush against each other. It's hard to imagine that I used to want to kill him back in The Hunger Games and how I attempted to choke him when he claimed his love for me after his interveiw.

He pulls back a little and looks in my eyes. He looks behind me and cranes his neck to look out the window. I don't care to look behind me. I just stare into his eyes. After a few seconds he looks back into my eyes and smiles. I smile back and he pulls my braid loose.

Chapter 3

I lay down on the floor eatting the rest of my food as Peeta returns with two bags in tow.

"Umm... are we going somewhere?" I could almost laugh at this. There is no where to go here! I roll over in my stomache and pull my hair to the side to rebraid it as I chew the last of my food.

"We are actully." He looks behind me at the door. I has a faint, but familiar sound of wind and engine. I stand up imediatly and open the door to find Haymitch and Effie trying to hold Prim back. I run outside and cover her's and Cinna's faces from the flying dirt and twigs every where. My half finished braid comes loose with the wind and I have the strange sense of deja` vu` from when Gale and I had ran into a hovercraft that was capturing two esacpes, the red head girl I has as a servent and a guy around her age, who was probably her brother. She was captured in a net and brought up to the sky while he was stabed and hauled up.

My hair pokes my eyes, but I leave it be. It's too difficult protecting my children from breathing in dirt when I try to move my hair from my eyes to see. It's useless because of the dirt anyway. Peeta comes with a jacket and covers us all.

The hovercraft door opens just before it lands. I hear it before I see it, so I lift up my head and squint to get a better look at who has come to see us. I'm still terified of everything the capitol once owned.

There are two figures there. One is a hunched over woman holding the hand of someone else. I can't tell who he is but his features look strong. I can see the slight curve of muscle from under his shirt and his stance shows that he is ready for anything.

Small ripples of water bounce the reflection of the sun onto the man. I stand up and tuck my hair behind my ear. I slowly make my way to him, still not believeing my eyes.

"Finnick?" My legs, hands, and face has small sratches and cuts, leaving a slight stinging all over my body. Peeta's shirt did no good to cover me from everything that was flying in the wind.

The hovercraft lands and I know for sure that it's him. It's Finnick. His messy blond hair and his sea blue-green eyes can be seen from where I stand.

"Finnick!" I yell more sure of myself. I see him head turn towards me. He stumbles back a few steps with confusion in his eyes. I run tohim and throw my arms around him. "I can't bielieve your alive!" I practicly holdmy breath as the memories flood in my mind. Our ambush by those lizard muts in the sewer. Finnick's scream as we locked him in there with a few others. Us going back to District 13 to tell Annie. The pain in my heart on loosing a friend. I know that pain far too well.

The memory of Annie brings me to look at the lady next to Finnick.

"Annie?" I stumble back and look at Finnick. Something is different in his facial features. He has different shapped eyes and his nose is different. His face looks morphaed with Annies...

"Wait... wha-" Bam! His fist meets my face and as i hold it, fully exposing my stomache, he throws another hit to my gut. Peeta comes in a hits him squarein the jaw, sending Finnick stumbling backafew steps. Only, it's not Finnick. It's not him.

I whisperthis to myself, as if I can't wrap it around my mind. Annie and Haymitch hold him back as I hold Peeta back from hitting him again. Effie hides the kids behind her, away from harm. Peeta wraps an arm around my waist and trys not to hurt the bruse that is forming on my cheek bone.

"He's not Finnick." I whisper again. "He's not him. It can't be..."

"What? Katniss, what is it? Is he apart of Snow's side?"

"No! No, Peeta. No he;s not.."

"Then who is he? Katniss?"

"It's his son."

~~

"So letme get this stright: you hit my wife because she left your father with those mutts?" Peeta isn't letting Triton, Finnick and Annie's son, down easy for hitting me. We're in he kitchen with ice on my cheek and tea and cookies in front of us. Triton leans againt the counter and picks at the crumbes off the cookie and tosses them on the floor.

"She left my dad there. She left him behind!"

"You weren't even alive, son!" Haymitch joins in now. Effie puts her hand over his and it seems to calm him down a notch. He's breathing heavy but not yelling anymore.

"Look you guys. Jus-just let him be."  I can't look at him without thinkingof Finnick. I wonder how Annie survived this long without breaking down at the sight of her son. I look over at Annie and she hardly looks like she's holding up well. Her mouth is set in a frown and hereyes don;t settle on anything longer than a second, especially on Triton.

I build up the courage to look at Triton to see his eyes settles on Annie. His eyebrows are knit together in worry. Unlike Annie, he's calm and put together like his father. For the breifest second, he looks into my eyes. I imediatly drop my gaze but not quick enough.

We're all on the beach in the Quarter Quell. Someone sent us cream to treat the burns from the toxic fog. Finnick screams at how hideous we look andhow he would never put it on. In the end we all look the same.

The memory seemed funny back then. Right now it just pulls at my heart. I pull it together and sit up strighter with my chin up higher. I look over to Effie and she nodds in aproval. I turn around to Triton to find him staring dagers into my soul.

"So what did happen down there?" His voice is barely a whisper but it feels like he punched me in the face again. Even his voice sounds like Finnick's.

I squeeze my eyes shut and take slow, steady breaths. "We were running away from them. The lizard-human mutations. They got a few of us but some made it out in time." I wrap both hands around the small cup and feel it's warmth on my fingers, reminding me that I'm alive. "I tried to help but-but they wouldn't allow me. I did what I could to end his screaming...his pain." I pick up the cup sending droplets of tea raining down my hand. Peeta sits next to meand pulls me close. We almost lost him too.

"So you did kill him?" The truth brings a dam of tears to his eyes. Annie seems lost in her own reality.

"I blew them all up. Everything and everyone down there. I said 'Nightlock, nightlock, nightlock.' And that did it." Triton's dam of tears break, sending them down his face. He looks away and wips the tearswith the back of his hand.

"I'm sorry." Is all I'm able to get out through the golfball lump in my throat. Annie looks at us confused and asks, "What happened?"

Triton wips off every trace of tears off his face, leaving his face red. He kneels next to her and takes her hand and just stays there taking in the confort of his mother. She still doesn't understand.

Chapter 4

"What are they doing here, Peeta? I know that he just didn't come here to ask about Finnick." Triton is outside skipping rocks with Prim and Annie and Cinna are picking wildflowers from the edge of the forest.

"We're going to visit District 13. I thought that it would be nice to check on Gale's family." He looks at me, waiting for a reaction. I keep my eyes down and my hand busy.

"Why would you think that?"

"Katniss-"

"No, Peeta. Why would you think that? Tell me."

"You know that you still wonder about them. I know you do."

"H-"

"You forget that you talk in your sleep, sometimes." answers Peeta. I didn't need to finish my 'how?" question. We've been together long enough forhim to predict my sentences. Thoughtout this whole converation, he hasn't removed his eyes from my face.

"Katniss..." Peeta sings my name. I keep my head down by bring my eyes up to him. "Don't you dare make me sing to cheer you u-up!?"

"Oh God.." I say undermy breath and shake my head. Peeta stands and starts singing an up beat version of The Valley Song. He begins dancing and snapping his fingers. I get up, shaking my head and trying not to laugh. He grabs my hand and spins me until I'm so dizy, I can't tell the difference between the window and the kitchen cabnets. He brings my down in dip and rests his forehead on mine.Silver begins crying and I push Peeta off of me.

"Leaving so soon, sweet heart?"  Peeta mimicks Haymitch's voice. I hit him on the chest playfully.

"You made Silver cry." I practicly laugh.

"Nah. I take it as an encoure!" I cover his mouth with my hand before he begins to sing again. Peeta kisses the inside of my palm then lets me go. I shake myhead and smile. I pickup Cinna and Prim's toys and I walk to the next room. I set the toys against the wall and take the few steps to Silver's crib. My heart stops and I feel my stupid smile fall. I spin in a circle, serching the room for a sign of anyone.

Nothing.

"Peeta!"

No answer. I feel my heart race in my chest.

"Peeta?!"

I run to the kitchen to find it empty. I push through the door. The fresh air does nothingto calm me.

"Pe...eta..." Triton is standing in the lake holding Silver in his arms. He sways with her, dips her back deep in the water then pulls her up getting a few short laughs from her. I roll my pant legs up to the knees and dip my feet in the water.

"Your daughter is a very good swimmer." Triton nods at Prim who blushes.

"Thanks. Taught her myself this morning." I wave a leaf infront of Silver's face. Her short arms reach out to the sky.

"Your wonder why I have her, huh?" Silver grabs the leave then skims her armsover the water.

"I'm wondering a lot of things, Triton."

"Well," He sways Silver. "You and Peeta seemed a tad busy so I thought I'd take Silver out of your hair for a while." Triton dips Silver again, sending her arms to get completely submerged under water. Silver busrts into a fit of giggles. The small marbled moon shapped scar on Triton's cheek wrinkles when he smiles. "This one'll be a a good swimmer, too when she learns to float."

"Where is Peeta?"

"I don't know..." He dips Silver in the water again. I skim the water and don't see Prim either.

"Where's Prim?" Triton looks at me with a blank stare. "Triton! Where the hell is she?!" He glances the surface ofte water and his eyes grow wide. I stand and let my soaking feet form puddles of mud under my feet.

"Prim?!" I call out, circling the small lake.

"She--she was here a few seconds ago...she sawm under--"

"She went under the water? For how long, Triton?!"

"I don't know. She's been under since you came here." I see bubles rise in the surface and blonde hair float to the top. I dive in the water, head first. I hit my head on a rock at the very bottem of the lake. The water is foggy and stings my eyes and cut. I keep kicking and focus on keeping my eyes open. Afew seconds later, the stinging ofthe water wins and I ecentully close my eyes. I swim with my hands waving infront of my. My hand meets the arm of someone. I open my eyes and see that it is Prim, her eyes squeezed shut.

I try to swim up but my clothes weigh me down. I scissor my legs and wave my hand but nothing works. I'm running out of breath and Prim's face relaxes a little. I hold onto Prim tightly, ready to swim down to kick off the floor, when someone grips my wrist. I open my eyes and see a blury figure infront of me. The only thing that stands out most--the only thing that I will always know in deail, even with my eyesclosed--ishis eyes and hair.

Peeta!  I want to scream out my butlungs arealready burning. The hand moves down my arm and grips my waist. I stop moving my muscles and feel myself grow heavy. I open my eyes and see him look at me, bubble rising ot of his mouth. He swims up, pulling me and Prim with him.

I close my eyes and feel cold air fill my lungs. My eyes shoot open and I see Triton next to me, swimming with one hand and he keepshis over hand wraped around both me and Prim. I look across the lake and see Peeta kneeling over the water, reaching for us. Triton passes a still Prim to Peeta. I stare into Prim's rexaled face and pushes Triton away from me. I try to swim to Prim, who is being passed to Haymitch and set on the floor on her back. Her hand is still at her side.

My clothes weigh me down and I strugle to stay afloat. I swollow gulps of water instead of air and my fist hit's Triton's face insead of the water. My muscles give in and I stop fighting Triton. He swims me to shore and helps me up. I fall on my back and stay there with my eyes closed.

"She--she's not breathing!" I hear Peeta yell. I try to open my eyes but they don't move. I feel numb all over.

"You help--you won't hurt--stay ca--" I hear Triton's voice shout orders to Peeta. A ringing in my ears making hard to focus.

"Shh--what do I--I don't wan to hu--" Peeta's voice answers back franticly.

"Haymitch, put them inside--no--1, 2--oh God,please--" I hear their voices morph together into complete nonsense. I hear mumbling then nothing at all. I feel my heart thump slow in my chest. A few seconds later of feeling at rest, I feel a second heart beat.

No. not asecond heart beat. But hand pushing under the spot right below my heart and right above my lungs. The hands push after every single heart beat. The 1-2-3 beat of their hands and the beat of my heart soon become one and they breath air into my lungs.

1-2-3, breath. 1-2-3, breath.

I hear in a voice in the distance.

1-2-3, breath. 1-2-3, breath. C'mon....please!

1-2-3, breath.

I move my eyes under my eye lids for a few soconds. I push all my strengh into opening my eyes. With what little strength I have, I open my eyes and turn to my side. Water spills out of my mouth.

I fall on my back again and see Haymitch and Effie holding Cinna in the doorway and Annie rocking Silver inside, by the window. Effie covers her mouth and I look over to Prim.

"Prim!" I grab hold of her hand and stare at her in horror. Her face is pale, her wet blondehair is fanned around her head, her legs are brused, as well as her arms. "Wha--is she--is she dead?" I turn to Peeta whose eyes are wet and red. Triton avoids my gaze completely. I turn back around and franticly try to find a pulse. After what seemed like forever, I feel a small, slow beating.

"She's alive!"

Chapter 5

Prim lays asleep in her bed, mumbling ever so often. Triton and Annie are at the kitchen table drinking tea with Peeta. Silver is sleeping in the crib near the kitchen. Cinna is sound asleep at the bed across the room. I sit in Prim and Cinna's room and listen to Prim's mumblings.

She mumbles about a man by the water. A man who pulled her down. She mumbles about a hole in the sky and of a grave, hidden behind the house. There's also a sound inbetween her sentences. An "L" noise. She tosses and turns in her sleep and being thrashing around mumbling louder and louder and louder, up to the point where it sounds like she is speaking complete words to me. I walk next to her bed, about to wake her up, when I see a silhouette in the doorway.

I stand up strait and stare at the spot where I believe their face is.

"Ahem..." they clear their throat and bring their candel up to their face. Triton has his head down but his eyes on me. A small smile forms and he looks so innocent. "I'm sorry to disturb you but, I just wanted to pay a visit to Prim..." I harden my stare at him and squint my eyes.

My gut tells me to not trust him but my brain tells me that I should. He punched me when we first met, but then he brought Prim back to life. He seemed a bit off at the lake when he had Silver, but he  saved me from drowning. He came from nowhere, and still hasn't explained why he's here. Then again, he is the son of Finnick and Annie, two people who were madly in love and who I trusted during the rebelion.

"She's asleep."

"Looks like she's having a nightmare." He steps forward, head held high. His stance gives off a don't-mess-with-me feel. His arms are folded across his chest and he sets the candel on the desk.

He changes his mood quickly, soft and kind on moment then the next intimidating and, I'll admit it, quite frightning. He is also gentel when he is in a good mood. I've seen the way he cares for Annie when she drifts off into her own world.

"I know. I was just about to wake her." I take my gaze off himm and focus on Prim. I go down on my knees and rub the hair out of her face. She starts talking is complete sentence but fade outs near the end.

"She'll be in pain then." Triton picks upthe candel and begings lighting the lantern on her nightstand. I inch my finger under her bed, closer and closer to the bow and arrows I have hidden, just in case he trys something. "It's better for her to dream of something she might not remember when she wakes up, rather than feel like someone is using her whole body as a punching bag," He looksup at me, shadows under his eyes. He whispers, "Don't you think Katniss-ss-ss...?"

The way he said my name makes me fall backward. Suddenly, it's hard to breath and I stand up. I run out of the room. I hit my shoulder on the way out. His voice echos in my mind like a broken recordstuck on a constant replay. Katniss-ss-ss. Katniss-ss-ss. Katniss-ss-niss. Katniss-niss. Katniss...niss...niss...niss. Katniss...niss...niss...niss.

I run to the kitchen and grab Peeta.

"Peeta! It's him."

"What do you mean, Katniss? How is it 'him'?"

"The voice I heard when I was in the room with all the roses! It was him. I know it was!"

"Katniss, slow down. What room with roses? Your not making any sense." He looks at me, almost scared to even hold me.

"Yes! The way he said my name. It--it echoed the same exact way." He blinks a few times and stares at me indisbelief. I look at Annie. She's in herown world again. "I'm not going crazy, Peeta. I know what I'm talking about."

"Katniss, love. Have a seat and drink some tea, okay? You almost drowned today..."

"Oh my god. You--" I stop midsentece when something else hits my mind. "I left him in there with the kids."

"Wah?--Katniss!" Peeta calls out after me, making Silver cry. He doubles back a few times after desiding to go to Silver first.

I peak my head in he room and see him whisper things to Prim. She nods and he bends over to pick up something. No. My arrows! I sit there, crouched  behind the doorway helpless. It makes sense now. The man by the lake, the one Prim was  mumbling about...it had to have been Triton! He was the onlyone, besides Peeta who left because he saw a lynx creeping around the house and desided to scare it off.

I crawl to the small cabnet and grab the knife that I hid under one of the shelfs. I go back to Prim and Cinna's room, knife held by my side, and walk slowly to Triton. He is still digging under the bed and Prim has her eyes closed, but her eyes are moving under her eye lids. I raise the knife high, about to strike, when Triton comes up again with a tedy bear.

"Here you go, Prim."

"Tha..." Prim mumbles.

"Katniss, no!"

Peeta runs inside the room as I drop the knife with a thud. Triton turns, sees the knife and looks at me in disbelief. His eyes widden and he whispers, "Katniss...niss...niss...niss?" That whisper. That creepy human from the small wakie-talke in Snow's room of roses. I squeeze my eyes shut and I walk back a few steps and into Peeta's arms. I can't tell if he is hugging me or holding me back. Prim's eyes look watery and Cinna is crawling toward Prim's bed, afraid of...me.

"Oh god, Peeta," I turn and hide my face in his chest. "I've become insane."

Peeta shushes me and pets my head, almost reluctantly. "Shh, no you haven't." I look up into his eyes to see if he's really serious. He gives me a half smile. "You've just become..." He pauses to find the right word. I begin to wonder if he's going to agree that I'm insane and that he should abandon me in the middle of nowhere with two broken legs and a dull knife. Or maybe he is just trying to find the best way to descibe the way I've become: one of thoughs who allowed their children to see death out of enjoment, like in The Annual Huner Games.

Nah, he wouldn't leave me.

But, Triton would leave me in the forest with nothing but a dull knif and broken legs.

Damn, it! These insane thoughts against him will never leave my mind. I will never deside whether ot not I should trust him. All the good and all the bad about him even up.

"Paranoid?" Peeta finishes. I know that he's unsure whether this is a right thing to say to me or not. But, I still can't tell if it is out of fear of what I will do next or if he wants to be the joking husband he's always been.

"Yeah," I nodd, agreeing with him. "Paranoid is the perfect way to explain it." Cinna and Prim are shivering and hiding under the blanket while Triton is standing up tall and his head high showing no fear. Silver is crying in the door way where she is being held by Annie. Prim pulls a hand out from under the blanket and reaches for Triton's. He looks down and squeezes her hand in reaurence that everything will be just fine.

I shake my head in disbelief, tears brimming the corner of my eyes. Peeta sees what I see and walks me outside the room.

"I think it best if you go and have some rest."

"N-n-no. No, I cam't. I won't."

"Then have some tea to calm you down, okay. It's been a long day." He stops in the middle of the hall and holds my hands. Histhumbs tracemyfingers and he looks into my eyes. I nod and he kissed the top of my head.


In the kitchen I hide my face in my hands. Peeta sets the tea infront of my and outshis hand on my knee as he kneels down to look at me better. "Drink, love."

The tea has a slight tang to it, but a sweetness all over. Within seconds I feel my eyes bluring as I fade into sleep. Peeta rubs my back and the last thing I hear is, "I'm sorry."

Chapter 6

I see white behind my heavy eyelids. There's a ringing in my ears and the feeling of silk under me. Silk? I don't own anything silk...

I pull all my strength together and will my eyes to open. I'm in a room with nothing but a bed and an electric sliding door. I take a double take at the door then at the room again. I run up to the door and press my ear against its cold metal.  The only noise that I’m able to make out is the continuous hum of the hovercraft’s engine.

The door open and I fall forward in front of a cart, full of luxurious foods. I look up at the person who rolled in the cart and I can tell that something is wrong. They bow and leave. Never turning back.  Never saying a word. My heart breaks inside as I read the folded note under the plate of pancakes with fresh fruit forming into a smiley face. I eat a blueberry eye and flip the strawberry slice upside down, in a frown. “Enjoy.” Is all it reads. I roll my eyes and toss the note back on the tray. The blueberry explodes into a bunch of flavors, leaving me to want more. I snack on the fruits as I change the pancakes expressions. I bite a section of its forehead off and change the mouth into two orange peels turned inward at each other to form a small O. I pop the strawberry in my mouth as the door slides open then shut again a second later. “Peeta..." I push the cart away from me and let it roll until it hits the wall. Peeta sits on my bed next to me and wraps me in a hug. My arms stay slack on my sides. His hug feels too comforting.

"Peeta? What are we doing here?"

"We're going to District 13." He amswers with a smile. "You can see how great everything is going there, and see Gale's family, and--"

"No."

"No? What do you mean 'no'?"

"No, I don't want to go to District 13, Peeta! This doesn't feel right."

"I could take you to a different room so you can be more comfortable." He stands and puts his hand in mine.

I pull my hand out of his. "That is the problem, Peeta! I don't feel comfortable! If I did, then I would know everything will be fine!"

"Everything is fine, Katniss."

"No, Peeta! It's not. It's not  fine. Something is wrong. I don't trust any of them!"

"Going to District 13 will help you see that everything is fine. That Panem is fine. That there is no fightings and no starving! Then people aren't dying for others entertainment."

"You don't know that! We've been isolated for years, Peeta! How did Triton and Annie find us? No one knows that we are at the cabin by the lake!"

Peeta pauses for a second and thinks. "Gale might've known about it. He did come there, before."

"Not before he killed my mother and Silver!"

"He must've known in order to come. Silver knew, too."

"If Gale and Silver knew about the cabin then that means that he must've told Triton." Peeta nods. "Gale was working for Coin and Snow, so that means, Triton might be, too!"

"God, Katniss! You're still paranoid! Nothing is going to happen!" His eyes grow wide.

"I don't trust them!"

"You trust noboday! This--this rebelion stuff is getting to your head! There is nothing to rebel about! You are not the mockingjay anymore.That mutated bird is just an animal now and nothing more."

"I don't believe you. And I still don't trust them."

"So?! Do you not trust me anymore, either?!" I stare up at him, not giving off any emotion. "You can trust them, Katniss! They are not doing anything wrong! District 13 is healthy and safe and so is every other district across Panem!"

"What does that have to do with anything?!" My voice echos off the walls.

"Trust them, Katniss!" His face becomes tomato red. "We are going to District 13! It's not like in the games where I didn't trust y--..." Peeta breaths heavyly. He runs his fingers through his hair and kicks the bed post.

I turn my head away from him, as if I've just been slapped in the face. My mouth is gaped open andI feel my eyes water.

Was he just about to say he didn't trust me? I didn't trust him in the games, but I learned to trust him. Did he learn to trust me, too, or did he always not trust me? I thought he was just acting in the games about how he liked me in order for him to survive. Was he also just acting like he trusted me?

Peeta looks back at me then storms out the door, his hands in fists at his sides. A second before the door closes I hear a loud thump noise and Peeta yell out in pain. I sit, unaffect by his screams. The door closes, shutting out all noises of outside the room.

~

I feel as if I died and came back to life.

Then died again.

Then stayed dead.

I feel like I'm going to to the Captial to be the Mockingjay that I am apparently not. Why didn't Peeta ever tell me this before? What else have he not told me? Does he even love me? Did he ever love me? I was there with him when his leg was infected. I was there for him when he went insane and wanted to kill me. And I didn't kill him when Bogs wanted me too.

He was always there, too. He practicly saved me in the games more han I saved him. I didn't even save him. He had the mind to trick people into thinking he was with them, like with the carreers. Did he trick me, too?

No. No, I can't be thinking like this. Peeta is my husband. He saved me and my family when we were starving. He burned the bread for me. He fought when he  was weak and I know that somewhere inside of him, he will do it again and again. And he would do it all for me.

When my worst nightmares came true the night Gale came and almost killed my family, Peeta was there for the kids when I couldn't be. Peeta killed Gale when I was too shocked by Silver's death to move away from Gale's gun.

"Maybe going to District 13 would be good for me."

"It may be not."

I sit up in my bed and pull out the knife that I got from thebreakfast try from under my pillow.

"You might need that for what's going to happen." Triton stands a few feet away from me. "But not right now."

"When did you get there?" I don't lower the knife.

"It doesn't matter." He tosses a dress to me and I catch it with my free hand. "Put that on and meet  us in the dinning room."

He leaves without another word. His eyes look sad and the scar in his left cheek looks even more marbled and shiny from what seems to be tears. The door closes and I'm left alone once again.

Chapter 7

The dress is white with a shimery red and gold trim at the bottem, which snakes it's way up the dress in a thin, firery pattern. I walk to the dinning room in a pair of red and gold strappy heels that were sitting in front of my door. The dinning room looks like the one on the train. I walk to the chair next to Peeta when the hovercraft jolts to the right, sending me stumbling.

"Oh, darm train tracks. They get worse and worse the closer we get to the district!" Effie exclaims. Her hair is not her hair. It's one of herwigs that she once wore. Her dress is wild and so is her make-up. I stare at Effie in confusion.

"I know. I liked her better when she didn't look like a wild unicorn." Haymitch whipsers loudly to me. He grabs Effie's hand and smiles at her.

I ignore his comment. "We're on a train?" I ask Peeta. He stays looking down at his food and nods once. I turn to Triton, who begins entering the room in a white button up witht the top buttons open. He holds Annie's handas he guides her to her seat.

"Why are we on a train?"

"It's one of the many new transportation devices created for District 13." Triton answers just as the food floods out of the doors. "We've built moretracks and upgraded the old ones." The train car jolts again anf sends Peeta's wine spilling over my lamb stew. "They"re still being worked on." Triton shrugs and tosses a napkin to Peeta.

Peeta grabs it and helps dab at the tablecloth. His hand is wrapped in white gauze and is dotted with either bloodor the wine. 3 attendents in white button ups come and clean the area in a split second.

Peeta looks at me, his  hand, then stands up to leave. I throw my napkin over the mess for the attendents to clean and follow Peeta. He enters a small hallway where me and him are being knocked back and forth from the moving tracks.

"Peeta!" He runs and enters a room, turning to make sure thedoor closes. I throw myself into the door right before it locks shut. "Open the door! Please, Peeta!" I pound on the metel door. "I'm sorry..." I don't know what I'm sorry about, really. Maybe the fact that I didn;t trut him either once or maybe for the hard times I gave him throughout our years in and out of the games. I cared for him even tthough I didn't show it very well.

I just can't seeme without him in my life, now. We both saved each other even when we had nothing or no one.

I stand up to go lock myself in my own room when something grabs hold of me and pulls me back to his room.

My face meets the cold hard metal and I fall on the floor again. I look atthe door and see that my dress hem is caught in it. I scream in fustration as I sit there and allow myself to hit the walls and the door freely by the moving train.

~

"Katniss!" My eyes shoot open and stare at the fogy figure in bright colors and a giant wig--which looks like it hardly fits in the hallway--walking toward me. "What are you doing on the floor? Get up, get up."

"Effie?" My vision becomes clear and I see her in a different oufit. "How long was I asleep?"

"A while now."

"When did you change?"

"Oh, Triton and Annie gave them to me! They brought them back from District 13."

"W-what are you talking about?" I look around and see my bedroom walls. Not the walls of my room on the train, but my walls of my room in my home. Mine and Peeta's home, of course. My childhood home is long gone from what I'm told.

"I-I thought we were..." A dream. Yes, that's it. It was all just a nightmare like the ones I had before. "I hope this one doesn't come true." I mumble to myself.

"Hmm? What was that?"

"Nothing, Effie. What is it that you wanted?"

"I thought I should check on you. From what I saw in the games, that sweet syrup that you used on Peeta to make him sleep left him well rested but he slept for a while." Peeta gave me the syrup?! "I just wanted to make sure you were still alive, which you are. I came in and you were  mumbling about all these strange things."

"Like what?" I don't want anything from my nightmare to be shared with anyone.

"Like strange things. Now, come one. Triton and Annie have a suprise for you too!"

I follow Effie into the sitting room where everyone is sitting, holding onto their new gifts. Prim has an art set, Cinna holds a small whiteball with red stitches, Effie has her clothes, and Haymitch is downing a bottle of whiskey witha red bow on it. Peeta sits empty handed.

Annie looks up and says, "Katniss," Peeta turns and smiles at me, not mad at all. "Glad for you to join us at last."

"Glad to see you wake, love." Peeta wraps his arm through mine and guidesme to the seat he was just sitting at. He whispers in my ear, "I'm sorry, I drugged you."

"No, don't be. Think of it as pay back for me drugging you..." I whisper back in a toneless voice. He doesn't catch my referance from he train. It really must've been a dream then.

I sit on the arm rest of Peeta's chair. One of his hands rest lightly at my waist while the other one, free of gauze, is holding my hand.

"This is for you." Triton avoids eye contact with me. He hand me a white box held together by red ribbon and a perfectly made bow. Unravling the bow hurts because it looked too perfect to ruin. I remove the lid and stare at the white dress with a shimery red and gold trim that makes it's way up the dress.

"Wow..." I hold it up to my body. It's a tad shorter than the one in my dream. This dress reached my knees whereas theother dress reached my mid-calf.

"Do you like it?" Triton meets my eyes for once.

"Y-yes. I do." He nodds and looks back down at his hands. "I'm sorry I tried to kill you."

A small smile forms at his lips. "Apology accepted."

I fold the dress back in the box. My bow looks like a goat ate the ribbon the spit it out after it got digested. "Why didn't you get anything, Peeta?"

"Actully, Peeta wanted to give something to you instead." Triton answers for him.

Peeta nods, agreeing. "Triton helped with it though."

"Oh. Well what is it?" Please don't be District 13. Please don't let it be District 13."

Peeta and Triton share a glance. Haymitch looks at Efiie then chugs down more whiskey. Prim and Cinna are showing Silver their gifts. Annie is off in her own world.

Peeta squeezes my hand and smiles, "A trip."

Chapter 8

The hovercraft landed softly on the rough ground. Peeta pushes me toward the open door of the hovercraft. I force a smile on my face and walk inside. Prim and Cinna already ran ahead to get a personsl tour from Triton. Prim just adores him.

"Are you sure you want to do this."

"Of Course.." I lie. I don't want to go to District 13, especially if the trip will be like the one in my dream. We stay on the hovercraft for a few hours. Majority of that time I', either sleeping or acting like I'm sleeping. Peeta comes into my room after the hovercraft engine dies. He carries me outside. The fresh air stings my lungs after breathing in the stuffy air from thehovercraft. Part of me wants to just open my eyes and run far away.

I know I won't get far before I turn around.

I take a deep breath, savoring this one last breath of oxygen before we enter the train. The air reminds me too much of the medow surrounding District 12. I open one eye and see the train doors open. I look up at the sky. It even looks the same. Only less bright and less like home.

I close my eyes after Peeta says something to me. I think it was important. I don't catch what he says before I close my eyes again and dream again.

~

I feel a falling sensation and wake up in cold sweat after being thrown out of my bed from the moving train.

"Hey, are you okay?" The train door open and Triton enters with a silver plater of food. He sets it down on the floor as I throw upon infront of me. When I finish puking, Triton take a towel and set it over my vomit. "I'm suresomeone will pick that up." He smiles a little.

"Yeah..." I sit up against my bed and set my elbows on my knees. I hide my face in my hands and relize I'm crying.

Triton lowers him head but keeps his eyes up at me."Nightmare?"

I nod.

"Want to...talk about it?" He shrugs.

"It was the 74th Hunger Games. It was Rue's death..." I choke out. Triton just nods, urging me to go on. "She screamed my name and I ran to her. She was trapped and when I helped her," I lookaway and feel more tear escape. Triton still urges me to talk. "She stood up and go shot." At this point, I break into a total mess. Triton freezes for a second then hugs me.

I hear a small noise then a quick second where I feel empty. Another pair of arms holds me. "Shh..."

"Peeta," I sob, "She was Silver. It was Rue, then it was Silver, and..." I trail off as Peeta rocks me back and forth. Out of my tear-blured vision, I see Triton stand in the door way looking dead inside himself. He looks down at his feet then leaves me and Peeta.

Chapter 9

I have reached misery. I board off the train in the white dress, my hand entwined in Peeta's. The train was nothing like my dream. I still wonder if he really trusted me...or rusts me, in present tense. The train leaves and I take my first look of District 13. I stop breathing and stare at the landscape infront of me.

Buildings reach the sky and people line the sidewalks in a rainbow of colors. Women walk their small toy poodles and kids chase eachother around in circles, winding in and out of walking people. "The whole place looks like a picture."

"I told you it would be good for you." Peeta kisses my temple and pulls me toward a stream of people.The farther away we get from the train, the closer we get to a stage.

"What are they doing there?" I ask.

"Triton says that that is what the suprise is," Peeta slips his arm around my waist and hurries me to the front of the stage, "The real suprise."

"Well, I can't wait to see what it is." I actully feel excited. everything here really does seem to be going very good. "Maybe they'll have this whole welcoming ceremony for us." We watch them roll speakers and microphones on stage for a few minutes. They are about to hang the banner that will show me what this whole celebration will be, when Peeta pulls me, telling me that he has other things he wants me to see.

~

Peeta and I wonder the streets and gardens they have. A train moves behind the buildings every few hours sending people to other places in District 13. In one of the gardens, they have treeswith colofull blossms.

"Annie told me that they found away to grow multiple fruits on one tree." Peeta points at a small sign below a tree that reads, "Lemons and Oranges and Apples, oh my." There are also trees with just one fruit scattered, but they don't compare to the trees with over three fruits growing. Some of the fruits are still flowers while the other fruits are ripe and ready to pick.

There are factories near an open body ofwater, and houses near stores. It's until I come out of the heart of the district, when I relize that they have morphed the little things from every distrcit, 1-12, into their own. I come face to face with what has to be District 12. Vibrant people still walk the streets, but there are still dirt streets and sidewalks and dark scary mine entrances.

I find a map of the disrict in one of the shops linning the street. North of District 13 are inspired version of District 7, 9, 6, 5, and 8. South on the map are Districts 2, 10, and 4. West contains Districts 3, and 1 and in the east are District 12 and 11. In the center of it all is the Capitol. I worked my way from inspired Districts 1 through 12 in under a day without even know it.

It explains a lot now. Where the train station wasmust have been District 3, electrionics. The tall trees had to be District 7 and the many stores were, of course, District 1. One area had a lot of Peacekeepers, which had to be District 2 and the large body of water explains District 4. The many gardens had to be District 11, no doubt about it. And here, where I'm standing, is District 12.

I stare holes into the district map. They gave everyone a chance to live wherever, really. Everyone here can move from District 5 to the Capitol in less than a month if they wanted, because they put all the districts together. I think of this as someone genius. It's the perfect way to keep everyone happy in this distrcit and a way for people, like Annie, who lived in District 4 to feel at home in Distrcit 13.

Only, I don't feel at home standing in this suposed-Distrcit-twelve. I feel uneasy and like someone took part of my soul out of me and put it in hell after stabbing arrows in it over a hundred times.

"Come on." Peeta pulls me back through what I know now is suposed to be District 6. We slowly make our way to the heart of District 13, the Capitol.

Chapter 10: Part 2

It looks like the ceremony stared without us. It looks like everyone from District 13 is in the crowd, pushing and shoving their way to the front to get a better veiw. I can hardly hear what the person on stage is saying from all the people surrounding me, yelling over each other up to the point where I can't make sense to what any of them are saying.

Peeta somehow found a way to snakehis way through the crowd.

"And I welcome you, Katniss and Peeta Mellark!" Effie says in her Capitol Accent. She must feel right at home.

The crowd praticly climbs over one another to either get a beter veiw of the stage or of us and our children who are now running away from Haymitch and to us.

Peeta and I grab hold of Prim and Cinna's hands while a lady comes up holding Silver. She sets her in Peeta's arms. Peeta makes Silver wave at the crowd, causing a smile to form across the crying baby's face.

The walk from the steps to the centerof the stage feels like miles. What felt like 5 years later of smiling and waving and shking peoples hands, two attendents take our children and sit at the back of the stage, along with Haymitch, Effie, and two other people--man and a woman I've never seen before.

Everything feels all too familiar. The stage, the many districts...even standing here, right next to Peeta. The crowd goes silent all at once and I see all their eyes travel to something behind us. I turn and a screen appears with the words spoken along with them, "Welcome to the 95th Annual Hunger Games!"

The crowd goes berserk with joy.

The video is finished playing and the unknown lady who was sitting at the back of the stage stands atthe microphone and a shh! is shared from the crowd, telling others to stay quiet.

"Lady's and gentelmen and boys and girls," the woman's voice is accentless and deep compared to Effie's high pitched voice, "of all districts, welcome to our 95th Annual Hunger Games!" The crowd responds with cheers of their own. Some whistle and someone even threw red, pink, and white roses everywhere along with daisies.

"We are so proud of our acomplishments over the past years and the wonderful set of districts that were provideed by those who volentered to help build every mini-district..."

Her voice fades off in my head. "District 13 is doing absolutly wonderful, Peeta!" I hiss at him from inbetween my teeth.

"Do you think they're going to put us in the games?"

"Why else would they have brought us here?! Of course we are!"

"I'm so, so sorry, Katniss." Peeta eyes are filled with worry.I see this look in his eyes rarely and when it does happen to show, I know he's scared for me.

"Now can we have our volenteers come to the stage?" The woman asks.

Volenteers? They didn't even pull out a name yet. I don't even see anyone from 12 to 18 on stage! I couldn't have missed them pulling out names.

One by one, a boy and girl from the mini-districts slowly make their way to the stage. Each one stops at a red rope and calls out, "I volenteer as tribute." The woman asks their district, they reply, and stand in a marked area for their district.

"I volenteer as tribute." A little girl yells, so her voice canreach the stage. Her hair is braided in two pigtails and her dress is dirty with patchs on it.

"What district, dear?" The woman asks.

"District 12."

I look to my left to see if there is already a girl for district 12. There is. A tall girl around the age of 17 with blonde hair stares daggers into the little girl. I sigh in relief. This little girl can't volenteer then.

"Well," Say no. Say no to her. "looks like a draw has to be done."

"What? What is a draw?" I speak out loud for the first time.

Triton comes up behind me, carrying something in a sack. "You'll find out soon." His face looks pained.

The little girl bumps into the people waiting behind her. She stumbles as she walks backward. 'Uh..n-no I'm fine. I'll j-ust..uhh.."

The lady tsk, "You know the rules. Now what are they?"

Someone pushes the little girl in the middle of the circle the crowd made. "I-if one volenteers with another tribute in its place, a draw must be taken place to choose the standing tribute." Her voice echos off the large screen for all of District 13 to see.

Triton sets down the sack and reveils a weapons. "Choose your weapon." He tells the little girl. Hesitantly, shereaches for a small knife. Onthe other side of the circle, the taller girl picks a weapon froma seperate bag. Both of them hide eachothers weapons from one another.

"What is going on?" I ask the lady. She looks directly at me and I know excatly who she is.

"Just the usual, Katniss." She smiles at me and turns back around.

"On my count," Triton calls from the circle. "One, two..." The tall girl lifts up a cross-bow and shoots the little girl in the forehead. The little girl falls into a dead heap in the dirt, her knife still hiding behind her back.

"We have mini-District 12's tribute!" The crowd cheers, except for those roped off in the District 12 area. A short, chubby woman runs, yelling "Isabell!". She holds the dead girl in her arms and rocks back and forth. The tall girl spits something at them and walks back to the stage.

I'm paralized by the sceen that just played out infront of me. "She was just a little girl." I whisper to no one in general. Peeta pulls me in a hug and Triton whispers, "That's just how it is, now."

Chapter 11

Prim holds a terrified look on her face. She has learned everything about The Hunger Games in her school and she understands what is happening now.

The Reaping is complete and all the tributes including myself, Peeta, and our children, are walked into a tall building. The tributes scatter with attendents to different places within the building. Everyone understands everything. I'm still lost and confused as to why District 13 is hosting their own games. I thought that even though everyone voted yes to continuing the games, that with Snow and Coin dead--for sure this time--that the games would be over. Forever.

"Johanna!" I call out toher asshe enters the building with the man who wassitting next to her on the stage. "Johanna Mason!"

"Katniss Everdeen." Johanna covers her mouth and shskes her head as if I wasa suprise gift to her. "You are looking well for having three kids. Almost like you didn't age a bit."

"What the hell is going on here?" I demand from her. Effie and Haymitch still look schocked about the continuing of the games, as does Peeta. He's not to blame, I know that. Peeta never knew this would happen.

"Come to dinner with us. I'll fill you in on everything." And with that, she walks away.

"An attending will show all of you to your rooms and will come to you to walk you to dinner." Triton tells us with his eyes meeting everyone's to make sure we understand: someone will always be with us when we enter or leave a room. It's as simple as that.

"What about after dinner?" Peeta asks.

"You'll meet your tributes."

~

Prim, Cinna, and Silver are told to stay in the room, by the request of Johanna, and have their food be brought to them. Someone will care for them and someone will feed Silver for me.

Once I'm seated in the chairfarthest from Johanna, I ask, "So what the hell is going on?" Without waitingfor everyone else to get settled.

"Don't you want to eat first?" Johanna calls out. A bowl of the lamb stew is set infront of me. A whole turkey, chicken, cooked veggies, soups, salada, and many other foods pile on the table.

"Not hungry."

"Well then," Johanna pushes her food away as well, "Let's begin with what happened after you went home. District 13 went into complete chaos. Everyone has been used to living with a leader. Without Coin, they didn't have a clue as to what to do or where to go. Everyone believed that Snow would come and kill them all for sure! But I knew better than that. Snow wouldn't just bomb us all. He would wait. Torture us and make everyone pay for how we went against him.

"It wasn't until a month after the majority of District 13's population died to almost a hundred when I desided to break into Coin's office. Took me a while to find the key, but when I did, I went stright to her office. It was in the middle of the night and everythingwas quiet. Everyone was either dead or dying. The night's have always been silent, but in that night, not even the Mockingjay's sung.

"I found a folder hidden in a compartment under Coin's desk. I had to walk all the way to my house as back for an ax to split the desk in two and to see what was inside." She laughs a little to herself. "Inside of that folder was a birth certificate. Silver Alma Coin Snow is what it read. Behind it was Coin's birth certificate: Alma Coin Snow. She lied. She always did. You never believe a single word she said and you were right. Her birth certificate was signed by none other than the President of Panem.

"I figured everything out, quite quickly. Snow and Coin were family. Coin's daughter is the granddaughter I wanted to see die in a Hunger Game..." She looks up at me, waiting for a reply or a reaction to her discovery. I don't give Johanna the satisfacing of either. I already know everything about Silver, and more.

"Anyway. After seeing the picture provided my the certificate, I couldn't see the resemblance of Silver with Snow or Coin. It wasn't until I focused on their eyes. All three of their eyes just stared into your soul and I knew how evil Silver must have been. I knew I had to get Gale in on it."

I can't hold in my words now. "But she wasn't evil! Silver was nice and she helped me!"

"She tried to kill Gale, Katniss. And she changed sides so many times, I lost count!"

I'm about get get up and stab her with my fork when Peeta grabs my hand and gives it a reasuring squeeze.

"Gale changed. He also tried to kill Katniss, Johanna." Peeta reminds her. "Silver was only protecting her friend. You would have done the same if you were in Silver's place. You must've known her once."

"Her mother was Alma Coin!" Effie points out.

Johanna looks like shs has had enough of our conversation. "You are all excused. You will meet your District Tribues, Katniss and Peeta. Someone will lead you to them." She looks down at her food, not meeting my eyes. She's giving me the impression that she wouldn't have killed Gale if he was after me. I don't mind. We weren't friends to begin with. It took a while for us to warm up to eachother. Me and Johanna are just at square one again...

I stand up and leave with Peeta, a hungry looking Haymitch(who just shoved a muffin in his pocket), and an upset looking Effie(who takes the wine bottle for Haymitch). In the hallway, Peeta whispers, "We're being mentors?" I nod the affirmative.

We make our way to a door that looks like every other. The attendent opens the door for us.

Chapter 12

"Hello, Mrs. Mellark. Heard so much about you and Mr. Mellark. YOu guys are praticly legends in the games and...well...the reason why I wanted to be in District 12." The kid holds his hand out.

I shake his hand and reply, "You choose your district?" I don't try to smile.

"Yeah. At the age of 12 when we're ready to join the reaping." His smile covers the majority of his face.

"What's you name?" Peeta asks and reaches to shake hands next.

"Oh, sorry. I forget to say it sometimes." He runs his fingers though his dark hair and shrugs nervously. "I'm Chase and that lovely ady over there is Aubry." His voice obviously sarcastic at the end. Aubry sits on the window sill, cleaning something in her hand. She throws the cloth on the floor and inspects the small knife in her hand.

"Your not suposed to have weapons." Peeta tells her. "Unless they changed that rule..." He looks at Chase for conformation.The rules had not changed.

"They won't know, unless they find out." A half mischievous grin forms on her mouth as she folds the small knife into what must be her token.

"What is that?" I ask, not hinting any emotion still.

"My token." She answers flatly.

"I mean what is your token."

"Why do you need to know? Because you're the ledgendary figure of The Hunger Games?" She slips a ring into her pocket rather than her finger. "The one who escaped with her life twice and who had praticly caused a war within Panem, killing more people than the games ever did?"

I try to ignore the last part and act like it didn't sting. "No, because from what I just heard five minutes ago, I am your mentor and I need to know as much as posible about you two geniuses who volnteered in these games."

There's a heavey silence for what felt like hours.

"I volenteered because I was born and raised in District 3 until I desided to be in Distrcit 12!" Chase says, trying to ease the tension caused by me and Aubry. Me and this girl may never get along this long journey until the games. "I've been trained since I was born for this moment. Pretty sure I could beat them all." Chase lifts his arms and begins flexing.

"Your overly confident. I'm sure you'll die the first week in the arena." I keep my eyes glued to Aubry but direct my statment to Chase. "You'll believe you're above everyone else, think you're too good to be a career but join them anyway, and then try to kill them all in their sleep. Yes, you may succeed in killing one or two, but someone will always be a step ahead of you and kill you before you can even make a scratch on their face." I turn to see Chase slowly put his arms down and stare at his feet. "Change you attitude. Peeta will help you with that I'm sure. He'll show you how to make friends."

"Yeah, I'll get right on that dear." Peeta looks just as embarrassed for Chase as Chase looks himself.

"Now what can I help you with, Aubry? I already know you have no problem with killing a human being." We hold stares at each other. Stare that show how much we want to hurt each other. "Maybe I can help you with your aim since, Peeta and I already have the impression that you'll kill them before even saying a single word to them." I don't sugar coat a thing about murdering someone to her. "I'm sure you will work hard in training so you know what to eat and what not to. You'll be too proud to accept anything from a sponser. Oh," I quickly add one last thing, "That is if you get one." I rest my chin onmy hand casually. "I'm sure you can do just fine on your own then, right?"

"I can and I will. I don't need help from anyone and I certianly don't need advice from The-Girl-Who-Was-Once-On-Fire." She makes her way to a door that leads to a connecting room. "Your spark is out Katniss. It has been for a long time. And everyone knows that once you put a spark out, the flame will never come back." She says one last thing though the half open doorway, "That is, unless you light a whole new flame. But even that's impossible for someone like you."

Chapter 13

Chase went to be a few minutes after Aubry's exit. Peeta tucks the children in their bed and sits back down in our small circle.

"What first, Haymitch?" Peeta asks.

"First thing you gotta do is figure out a plan for these kids."

"Oh!" Effie bursts, "We can have them be star-crossed lovers again!"

"No." Is the first word I've said since Aubry's last comment. "It'll be too predicatble and likely to end in failure."

"She has a point." Haymitch takes another swig of alcohol. "We need something else."

"Why don't they just play the games the same way as everyone else? Wouldn't that be simple?" I ask.

"Why don't we watch some clips tonight from the games we've missed, think of a plan, then show them after breakfast tomorrow?" Peeta says.

"Great! Let's do that then!" Effie stares at Haymitch as he chugs down the last of his alchol. Her stare is disapproving but with a smile.

~

Morning comes and Peeta explains everything to Chase and Aubry. Peeta seems to understand that I'm not in a talking mood and if I do say something, it won't be nice. Instead I space out into last nights conversation I had after everyone was asleep. "Mom..." Prim whispers as I kiss them both good night.

"Yeah Prim?"

She swallows and asks, "Are you and daddy going to join the games?"

"No, no dear. We're just mentoring." I don't need to ask what made her ask this qestion. She knows pretty much everything about the games. Next to her, Cinna mumbles and moves a little in his sleep.

"Okay." I'm about to walk away when she calls me back, "Mom... I keep having a bad dream."

"Honey, what you saw at this reaping was just..." I look away trying to make the tearsI'm wiping way seem casual.

"No, not about that. It's about our home." Her eyes settle behind me but I don't look away from her facetosee what it is. She comes back and looks at me. "It's about our lake and the forest and..."

"And what?"

"I don't know."

"Go back to sleep. It's just a dream." I whisper and kiss her forehead. I sing her a quick song so she goes to sleep quicker.

Peeta's voice and a slamming door brings me back to reality.

"What happened?" I ask. Chase is sitting there bitting his thumb nail looking back at the door and Peeta.

"Nothing. I was just trying to get to know them so we know how they should act during training and what she should train more on."

"And?"

"Aubry flipped."

"How? What made her?"

"She doesn't want anyone budding in on her personal life." Chase fills in after a pause. I stare at him, telling him to go on. "I haven't known her long, but since I came to District 12, I learned a lot about her. She lived a hard life. Don't blame her every time she goes crazy after a certian subject." He stands up and walks to the table with food and bites a pastry. "She just doesn't want to be reminded of it."

Chapter 14

Chase has been watching the videos without Aubry but explained them before they got wisked away toget preped and ready for their chariot ride. I know how it will all go: first they will be waxed and polished, next they will try on their oufits and get their hair and make-up done, they will ride the chariot around the Capitol(in this case, District 13's version of The Capitol), and then after that ten or twenty minute ride the Anthem(if any) will play and then they will be wisked off to the Training Center where they will live until the Games begin. Or at least part of me hopes it's not too different. I don't want anymore suprises after our latest anniverasry suprise: us being mentors.

Training is tomorrow and I still don't know how I want them to act. I don't know if they should do the things they're not good at, like what Haymitch had me and Peeta do, or if I want them to show off... Maybe I should just get drunk as well and let them live their lifes in the Games. Maybe that will be a whole lot easier on me!

Of course, I can't do that. I'd feel like their blood is on my hands. But them again they did volunteer. They knew what they were in for from the start. Chase has trained since he could barly walk. He has that carreer confidence. He was raised in District 3... Maybe he should join careers. I have the feeling that if I put him out there alone, he'll die within the first week. I wouldn't bet on his life unless he changes his ego.

Then there's Aubry. I know nothing about her. If I let her team, she may kill her alli. In the recent video from the games, sponsers didn't like team mates killing each other unless it was madatory. But if I put her on her own she may not get a single sponser and die if she needs something important, such as burn cream or healing medicine. I'm sure she can fight, but she may get too kill happy and lose a fight and need these imporant little things. Plus she may get little sleep from hunting people down at night. She seems smarter than to go kill happy for deprive herself of sleep, but a few days in the games can change anyone.

I don't know how majority of the district tributes will act throughout the games. Majority of them, I'm sure, changed districts when they were at age, such as Chase. I get the feeling that Aubry changed districts, but her mood changes so offten, I don't know what district she may have originally been in.

Let them team with each other, against each other, team with no one, or risk the chance of letting them do what they want? All the posiblities bump against eachother inmy mind, giving me a massive headache. I try to stop thinking, only to add more thoughts to the jumbled up mess. I put my elbows on my knees and rub my temples wishing I could just go back to District 12. The old one. I'd at least be with my mom and my sister again. I could relive my life as a child and try to remeber every day with my dad so I never forget like what I'd doing now.

It hits me that I keep losing my memory about my family a little more everyday. I don't remember what Prim sounded like when she was ill or when she wanted to take a squirl home because it had an arrow sticking out of it's head. I don't remember my mom's smile when he face would light up every time my dad walked through the door. I don't even think I remeber my dad's face... The old picture I have of them all if faded and so old, I'm scared it would wither into dust at my fingertips.

At the relization of this, I burst into floods of tears. Peeta runs to me and before I know it he holds me. Doesn't ask a single question. He just holds me. The memory of my dream rushes into my head and I curse myself for even thinking such a thing about Peeta not trusting me. I know he'd do anything to keep me and our children safe, even if that ment walking in the line of fire.

I feel Peeta pick my up and carry me to the sofa where I lay down. I rub my head with one hand and wip my face with the other. Peeta returns with water and sets it down on the table. He lays my head on his leg and rubs my head for me. I fall into a deep sleep a few seconds before a team of stylist come to fix me and Peeta up for the charriot ride event.

Chapter 15

Their own little Anthem plays as the tributes make their way out to the center. The tributes ride out on horse back, the male infront of th female. I think they are on horse back because District 13 is small and can't find enough horses for every tribute. District 13 has grown quite a bit, but nothing will ever compare to the Capitol's size. Although they have built many buildings and a train, majority of it all was already there and standing.

District tribute after district tribute pass. Every single horse moves in slow motion, as if it were pulling Snow's house behind it. I don't know if the horses are out of shape or if it's because Johanna wants them to take a long time for the Anthem to be played completely.

Either  way, the crowd doesn;t stop cheering to breathe,ever for a second.

I sit with all the other mentors. None of them looking at all familar. It fills me with disapointment that I can't explain. Maybe I was expecting at least one person that I would see. No Gale... The thought comes to mind before Icould even stop it. I quickly turn my head to Peeta, as if he could here my thoughts. He tries to give me a reassuring smile and sqeezes my hand.

I take a quick second glance at the mentors when one catches my eye. He leans foward, his elbown on his knees. He runs his hand through his hair and drops it on the back ofhis neck, leaving it there. His knee bouncesuo and down. Out of what? Nervous? Anxious? He drops his hand and looks around. He sees me and hesitates to look at my eyes. My mough opens and closed like a dying fish until he leans back and hides his face from veiw again.

I shake my head and focus on the slow motion horses again. "It's not him. It can't be Gale." I whisper to myself. I look at Peeta, who is looking up at the sky. He can't hear my over the music. I must just be hoping to see a familiar face really badly. Maybe it was coincidence. For all I know,after I left Gale found a wife and had a son with her. This makes my blush then getangry at myself for even blushing.

"District 12 tributes; Aubry Caverly and Chase Wakely!" Unlike all the other girls who had their smiles wide, hands around the male tribute's waist, and waving franticly at everyone; Aubry was sitting with her hand to her sides, back stright, and face emotionless. Her eye brows furrowed a little and her lips were pursed in what looked like confusion. Chase held onto the horse's reins, smiling and reaching out, as faras possible without falling offthe hourse, to touch people's out streched arms. He tuged on the reins a little and the horse stood up on it's hind legs and whinned. The crowd jumped back, with small terrified yelps.

Aubry QUickly grabed onto Chase and Chase put one hand over her arm to make sure she was holding on. A few officals came to tame down the horse. Me and Peeta were standing trying to get a better look. There was no way to get down from the balcony without entering the Training Building. Chase reacts fast and calms the horse down somehow. The horse goes back to it's usual trot and the crowd goes wild, gushing over Chase. Aubry doesn't move back to her usual sitting positon. I look at the screen and see that all the attention is on them. The rest of the tributes look back at them with angry stares.

"Well," Peeta says to me, "Our fake fire seems a lot safer after seeing that." I can't help but to smile and nod. That was one way to show team work and to get attention from posible sponsers.

All the tributes form a circle for the last minute of the song. Slowly, one by one of the horses form a line entering the Training Building. The crowd chant Aubry and Chase's name, a good sign, and a bad one. As they make their way in the building, we do too.

As we all make our way down the stairs, I see Gale-no, not Gale-the Gale-look-a-like make his way to his tributes. I'm a about to walk to him, when a horse blocks my way and Chase dismounts with ease, helping Aubry down.

"Man, did you see us?!" Chase pulls Peeta and I in a quick hug.

"Yeah, we saw you." Peeta replies.

"Nice work, by the way." I smile. "Not only did you earn yourself possibly tons of sponsers," Aubry smiles a little and Chase's face lights up, "you also got a couple of targets on you back." This confuses them. "That means, you won't have that big of an issue pairing up with people. Everyone in the games wants a hot shot who will share sponser gifts."

"Sweet!" Chase's voice echos in the room.

"I'd rather go without sharing with someone I hardly know."

"Choose your game plan wisely, Aubry." Peeta points at her.

Peeta keeps complimenting both of them when I feel eyes boring into my skin. I turn and see the Gale-look-a-like. "Hey you guys go ahead to the room and talk about training and such. I just have to tell this attendent something." I walk to the Gale-look-a-like.

"Hey, Katniss, right?"

"Uh, yeah. Katniss." I could have sworn I heard him aboutto say Catnip. My mind must be playing tricks on me again.

We stand there awkwardly for a few minutes. He rocks back and forth on his heel, hands in his pockets. He runs his hands through his hair again and we both say something at the same time. He keeps his hand on his neck and we both laugh nervously.

"Oh, sorry..."

"No, that's okay. What did you have to say?"

"Nothing, just that you look like someone I used to be firends with."

"Oh."

"Yeah. Gale. His name was Gale. Maybe you knew him?" My words come out fast and over each other.

He hesitates, "....no. No I didn't, sorry."

"Oh..that's fine."  I shrug. "What did you have to say?"

He looks at the door and back to me, "I said I had to go."

"Oh."

"Sorry, maybe we'll talk  more later?"

"Yeah, maybe." I walk away before he does and head for the door without looking back.

Chapter 16

"Okay, so your allowing us to play the games how we want?" Chase says inbetween mouhfulls of food.

"Yep." Peeta and I say.

"And we can take part in the bloodbath as long aswe believe we can do it?" Aubry asks, uncertian.

"Yep."

"And we can--"

"You guys can show everyone your skills first day in training, you can make friends, kill them, steal everything, join he carrers, whatever." Peeta inurupts Chase and Aubry's questions, "Know yourself out."

"That is if you want to get yourself killed first day, that is." I add. I'm not very enthusiastic about letting these two kill-happy teens having their lifes in their own hands, but it seems to be the best thing to do. I don't know much about them and it doesn't seem like they will tell me anytime soon with training and such. Me and Peeta agreeed that it would be best if they do as they please since they know themselfs better than we do.

"I just loved you even more, Katniss." Aubry says after swollowing her feast. "And I didn't before so that means something."

"Yeah, thanks guys! Your the best!" Chase gets up and pulls me and Peeta into a bear hug. I laugh and pat his arm and he lets us go.

"Just be wise about your choices. If you need advice before the games, just come to us and we'll help you." I mentioned before that if they change their minds and need us that they can come to us any time, day or night over a million times to them.

Aubry rolls her eyes and says, "I just lost a little love for you, Katniss." And to this I smile and keep eatting my delisious lamb stew.

At breakfast the next morning, I found everyone already seated at the table, enjoying the freshly baked rolls and coffee cakes will cups full of hot chocolate and juice.

"Good morning, sweetheart." Haymitch says as he dumps a canteen of liquor in his orange juice.

Peeta smiles and waves me over to sit next to him. I settle down and hot chocolate and rolls and served right away for me to dig into. I dip my roll in the hot chocolate and chew carefully, as I did my first time eatting breakfast before training.

"You kids already have an idea on how to train?" Peeta asks, breaking the awkward silence.

"You're letting them deside on what to do?" Haymitch asks.

"What else could we do Haymitch? They won't tell us anything." I reply.

Effie glanced a us then looked down at her plate desiding to sit out this one.

"Are you good?"

"Excuse me?" Aubry asks, leaning a little away from Haymich to look a him better.

"With a weapon. What can you do that will ensure you won't get your head chopped off the second you step in the arena?"

"I can fight. Hand-on-hand combat stuff." Chase flexs.

Haymitch pauses, looking like he wants to punch the kid. "You need to practice training on something big and pointy." He turns to Aubry and asks, "How about you, blondie, what can you do?"

"I'm good at throwing." She shrugs and pushes her food around on her plate.

"Throwing something in particular or throwing shoes at the ex who broke your heart?"

She gives him a sharp look and says out of clenched teeth, "Anything big and pointy. I'm best with knifes though."

"Good, then stop being so modest. Practice on something differnet like fighting skills or knots. Yeah focus on knots. that'll keep you entertained, blondie."

"But Katniss and Peeta said-"

"I don't care. Train on pointy things and knots."

"But they're our mentors, not you." Aubry says.

"Peeta, tell them to train on pointy things and knots."

"Uhh...train on pointy things and knots...?"

"What?!" Aubry exclaims.

"There. It's setled." Haymitch drinks he last of his juice. "You're welcome, sweetheart."

"Thanks." I mumble. Aubry lets out a loud "Arrugh!" And leaves the room.

Chapter 17

Chase and Aubry left under the ground level of the building to begin their training in similar oufits that me and Peeta wore when we trained--tight black pants, a basic shirt, and leather shoes. If it's anything like I remember, the room will be stale with recycled air and all you could hear is the loud gruns from people as they throw spears into dummies and the sound of metel on metel during combat pracice. There will be attendents helping anyone and everyone with things such as survival skills to fighting.

After Aubry and Chase left to get a good nighths reast, Johanna sent an attendent with a letter for me and Peeta. The letter contained informaion on how training and inerveiw schedules will work, since me and Peeta are the only mentors who have no clue how things work.

Training will be three days, the thrid day will be where they meet the Gamemakers so they can be judged on a scale on 1-12 on their special skill. 12 will be the best score. After all scores are brodcasted on telivision in the center of the "Capitol", interveiws will begin the following day. And after intweveiws will be the start of the 95th Hunger Games. SHe also informed us that it will be the Quarter Quell and that there will be a small twist in the games, but not a major one, being it our first time mentoring, she will talk to the gamemakers and try to make things simple for us to understand. Basic schedule, but what is the twist?

This thought drove me to such insanity, Peeta finally through a wool coat at me and told me to come wih him. He guided me upstair, to the roof. Although it was empty and small, it was refreshing and calming.

"Remember our night before training?" He asked me as he pulled me close. I nodded. I remember him taking me to the garden and us just talking, friend to friend. He spun me in a circle and pulled me back to him,swaying to nothing but the wind. "Remember the force feild that kept us both from jumping? And how we ended up createing that game with it?" I nodded. "At least they had a choice to join the games, unlike us. You know, with the reapings and such..." He had a point. That was a bright side.

Although it was a small bright side--and one bright side--they already had thier futures planned. Their family understands that they may die. Everyone they know is and was prepared for their fate. They weren't living in fear or pain. Even "District 12" looked like it was thriving. That small brightside seemed to grow bigger and bigger within every passing second.

Chapter 18

Chase and Aubry left under the ground level of the building to begin their training in similar oufits that me and Peeta wore when we trained--tight black pants, a basic shirt, and leather shoes. If it's anything like I remember, the room will be stale with recycled air and all you could hear is the loud gruns from people as they throw spears into dummies and the sound of metel on metel during combat pracice. There will be attendents helping anyone and everyone with things such as survival skills to fighting.

After Aubry and Chase left to get a good nighths reast, Johanna sent an attendent with a letter for me and Peeta. The letter contained informaion on how training and inerveiw schedules will work, since me and Peeta are the only mentors who have no clue how things work.

Training will be three days, the thrid day will be where they meet the Gamemakers so they can be judged on a scale on 1-12 on their special skill. 12 will be the best score. After all scores are brodcasted on telivision in the center of the "Capitol", interveiws will begin the following day. And after intweveiws will be the start of the 95th Hunger Games. SHe also informed us that it will be the Quarter Quell and that there will be a small twist in the games, but not a major one, being it our first time mentoring, she will talk to the gamemakers and try to make things simple for us to understand. Basic schedule, but what is the twist?

This thought drove me to such insanity, Peeta finally through a wool coat at me and told me to come wih him. He guided me upstair, to the roof. Although it was empty and small, it was refreshing and calming.

"Remember our night before training?" He asked me as he pulled me close. I nodded. I remember him taking me to the garden and us just talking, friend to friend. He spun me in a circle and pulled me back to him,swaying to nothing but the wind. "Remember the force feild that kept us both from jumping? And how we ended up createing that game with it?" I nodded. "At least they had a choice to join the games, unlike us. You know, with the reapings and such..." He had a point. That was a bright side.

Although it was a small bright side--and one bright side--they already had thier futures planned. Their family understands that they may die. Everyone they know is and was prepared for their fate. They weren't living in fear or pain. Even "District 12" looked like it was thriving. That small brightside seemed to grow bigger and bigger within every passing second.

Chapter 18

Training seemed to go well. Aubry and Chase came back chatting about their own little topics with a few random outburst of laughter from each other. Me and Peeta took it as a good sign. To be sure, we looked at Haymitch at dinner who alway nodded and rose his glass to us. Aubry began talking to me and Peeta about all the different knots she didn't know about, such as a klemheist knot which is a movable knot best for climbing and how to make water drinkable and Chase talked about the weapons he didn't know existed and the weapons he was pretty good at(the sword and the spear).

Aubry started talking to her stylist, Linden, about what her interveiw dress would look like and Chase and his stylist, Maudrie, sat back and agreed with what color would look best or if she should wear a pattern or not. Aubry actually seemed egar for the upcoming events. She didn't leave the table early and was the first to wake up the following morning.

Breakfast came and went with the reminder to stick with weapos and survival skills. Aubry hopped in the elevator and with a wave of her hand, said "Yeah, yeah. C'mon Chase!" That night was the same as before. Aubry and Chase excited, though slightly nervous. Haymitch and Effie arguing over manors and outfit choices. Me and Peeta ate and went to the roof to talk in private.

We had Aubry and Chase get a good nights rest since the next morning would be the day they meet the gamemakers. Aubry desided on showing them her knife throwing skills and Chase is taking the gamble to show them how well he can handel a spear. Me and Peeta had faith in them both, but I was mainlyhoping that they trained on what we asked them to.

I paced the hallway waiting for one of them to tell us how it went. My experiences with the gamemakers were horrible. They gave me perfect scoresjust so I can havea targeton my back. Peeta;s experience has been better than mine. His scores weren't terrible but enough to show that he's not a weak player.

"Okay, that's enough." Peeta wraped his arm through mine and forced me to sit by him. "There. Now breath evenly." I look up at him and relize how uneven my breaths are. Peeta makes a breath in-breathout gesture and I follow."Good. How just try torelax. Here's some tea."

I finish my tenth cup of tea and just feel jittery from the caffiene. Peeta laughs at me and Haymitch hands me a glass which obviously contains some sort of liquor. I gulp it down, nonetheless. Seconds faded to minutes and minutesfaded to hours and hour seemed to have faded intodays. Peetaa takes the glass away fromme andwraps his arm around me. "It'll be just fine. They seemed to know what they would do before they left."

"God Haymitch,how didyoudo this?" I said, my words pilling on top of each other and a bit slured.

"The same way you are, sweetheart." He raises his glass in cheers. I fade into bluriness and let out a small hicup before I fade to darkness in all.

Chapter 19

"Brenden. District 2 male. Score: 8." I sit up and walk to the balcony with everyone surounding it, looking out at the giant screen brodcasting everyones faces, district, and score. I sit down along side Peeta and he hands me a pill and water. I took it and sat back.

"So?" I ask trying to hide the aching pain in my head. "How do you think it went?"

"Shh!" Aubry shushes me and turns back to the screen. I take a quick look at her face and she seems to be memorizing everyones names and faces along with their score.

Chase laughs and whispered, "Everything seemed to go fine. Ask Peeta."

Peeta tells me that Aubry and Chase showed them exactly what they said they would. He also said that they desided not to kill eachother in the games, but also not to pair up. And if it was down to them two--although unlikely--they would let the gamemakers do whatever they want to. Aubry sushes us once more and Peeta and I be quite for her sake.

District after district shows up on screen until finally, "Aubry. District 12 female. Score:..." Everyone's breathing slows and Aubry sits up a bit strighter. "Ten." Cheers break out though us all. Aubry slouches and lets out a deep breath that she must have been holding the whole time. Her face shines with agiant smile. Her stylist, Linden, wraps her in a hug and Chase hugs her afterward, congratulating her.

"Chase."

"Shh..." Aubry waves her hand telling us to quite down. Chase's eyebrows furrow but his body stays confident.

"District 12 male. Score:..." Me and Peeta hold hands and hope that he also gets a good score. He showed them something he only practiced at for two days. We at least hope he did well for being a beginer. "Ten." He freezes and breaths rapidly as if he couldn't believe it.

"Woo-hoo!! Yeah!" Aubry hugs him as well as his stylist, Maudrie.

"Congrats you guys. I mean it." Peeta pulls Aubry in a one armed hug and pats Chase on the back with the other. "You guys did good." I nod, agreeing.

"Alright, I think it best if we all got some sleep now." Haymitch declares.

"Yeah, we'll work on interveiw straegies in the morning." Effie can't wait to teach Aubry how to walk in her impossibly high heels and Chase how he should talk and pernounce his words.

"I don't think I can sleep now." Chase runs his hands though his hair and lets out a huge sigh.

"Well try. You'll need to be well rested to tomorrow night." Maudrie says.

"Yeah. yeah." Chase says with a smile and walks to his room. "Night everybody!" We all say out goodnights and retreat to our rooms.

~

"So, you're going to be yourself during the interveis?"

"Yes." Aubry replies. I don't completely think her showing everyone how murderous she is would get her more sponsers but I told them that they can play their own part without our helpif they wanted.

"Fine. You can go with Effie, learn a few things about manors and heels and such then." I hand her off to Effie. Hardly anyone ate at breakfast because of our nerves. We all just sat at the table with Chase drumming on the plates and cups with his fork and spoon until one of the cups broke. He awkwardly waved the fork as if to say I'm sorry or I must've underestemated my strength then he dropped the fork and covere his face with his sandy brown hair. "Me and Peeta will busy our selfs with helping Chase and maybe some game stragegies with Haymitch." I look at her green eyes and hope that she will soon change her mind for help. I want these kids to survive but it's something about her that tells me she may need some advice.

"Yeah, fine." She shrugs and walks off with Effie.

"Great." Peeta claps his hands together and rubs them. "Let's get started."

Chase has desided on being the funny guy. He told me and Peeta a few knock knock jokes here me and Peeta replied in loud laughter, throwing our heads back and clapping our hands. We believe he has this whole thing down to a science and switch off with Effie.

Twenty minutes later and me, Peeta, and Aubry sit silentat the dinning table. Ever since she sat down across the table from us, she said nothing. Her arms crossed over her chest, her back leaning forward and strighted only when Effie passed.

"Look, are you sure that you know what you're doing?"

"Yes." She replies bluntly to Peeta.

"Aubry, you're waisting your own time. Just tell us what your doing and you'll get to leave." I say.

"I don't have to do anything you  tell me too and I know I'm leaving anyway so it's not like it matters." Her voice sounds like she's strugling to keep it even. Almost like she wanted to add emphisis on some words by yelling them at my face.

"Peeta, will you give us a moment." Mine and Aubry's stares never break contact as Peeta gets up and squeezes my shoulders and whipsers good luck to me before leaving the room to check on Prim, Cinna, and Silver.

"Look, me and Peeta are here to help you and Chase in the games, whether you want our assistance or not." I try to keep my voice even. "And you will certianly not have any sponsers if you sit at that intewrveiw like this."

"Oh yeah, and like you knew everything during your interveiw. We all have seen the footage: you sitting there, joking about that stew you eat every night and how Peeta confessed his love for you infrint if everyone! Putting you guys as the biggest target in the games!" She throws her arms up, mocking me. "I know how to play my part in the game! I don't need someone messing up my game plan!"

"Just stop it! Stop trying to act like an adult! You don't know anything about how it is in those games!"

"I'm not acting like an adult! And I--"

"You're seventeen for God's sake!" I cut her off. "You're still a child!"

"And I have everything planned out and ready!" She finishes.

I set my elbows on the table and hold my head in my hands. I try to even out my breaths and count slowly in my head until I don't feel the pounding in my head or hear my heartbeat in my ears. I look up at her and see that she settled back in her origanal position, as if she won the fight. She tilts her head as if to ask if I have anything this else to say.

"It's the quarter quell, Aubry. Are you sure you're prepared for everything the gamemakers will put in your path? Whether it be a new areana or a mutation or even a giant boulder rolling right twoard you on your way to your camp? Whether their suprise be a flash flood, pouring water into your lungs or a barrier seperating you from your suplies or even from your alli...maybe even Chase." I look up at her. Her arms dropped to her sides and her eyes look distant. "Think about that then come to me and Peeta when you understand."

Me and Peeta make our way to our seats to see Aubry and Chase's interveiws. Aubry never came to me or Peeta.

Chapter 20: Part 3

The training center's door opens and the tributes make their way to their seats. The line order is from District 1 Female, District 1 Male, and so on to the last person in line who is Chase. I recognize a few of the tributes faces from the reaping and from the trainning scores.

A man in a beautiful, suddle red color--unlike Ceaser Flickerman's style where he matched color coded--and who reminds me of Cinna with the way he walks and smiles. He speaks and his accent is unknown to me. "Hello everyone!" Someone in the crowd throws a pure white rose at him and he catches it. My heart skips a beat and I panic for a second. Peeta putshis hand on my back and I blink and I see that the rose is a bizare, unnatural neon purple. He blows a kiss to the tosser of the rose and puts it in hisjacket pocket, although it stands out from his outfit.

"My nanme is Feliz Falzone and before we get this started I would like to make a warm welcome to two special guests we have this year with us on this quarter quell," The camera's find their way to me a Peeta and show our faces on one of the two jumbo screens. Feliz Falzone looks right at me rather than his screaming fanclub on the floor, "Katniss...Peeta, welcome and I hope you are getting through everything just fine." He smiles but his eyes are unchanging and tell me that he understands why I may be in pain. Peeta gives an easy wave and I blow my head a little. "Let the interveiws begin then!" The tribtes are seating in an arc around the stage and Felix escorts the first distict female to the seat next to his in the middle of the stage.

Everyone's eyes are on Felix and the sandy haired girl who flirts with him thoughout her whole interveiw. He seems pretty young for interveiwing but Johanna might've choosen him for that reason so he can interveiw for years to come. I pay attention to the small endtable seperating Felix from the district 1 girl who just messed up on the words and said that she likes his eyes rather than she has an eye to win. On the endtable are four small bowls that coukd only be seen on the jumbo screen if the camera is on Felixat a certian angle.

The first bowl is filled with nothing but air while the other has a few drops of water, the thrid bowl has dirt and a small stem growing out from the dirt, and the last bowl terrfies me. It shows a small hologram of me and Peeta wearing our firey caps. The hologram somehow focuses on me.

They trapped me and Peeta in a bowl a guppy wouldn't even fit in... I think to myself. It amazes me just as much as it frightens me.

Felix is a complete gentleman and escorts all the females to their seat and back. He slowly makes his way to the end of the line and I feel everyone growing bored. I look up at the higher seats which are enclosed in glass and hold the gamemakers and Johanna--all of who are yawning.  

"Peeta we're loosing them..."

"It'll be fine. We madeit though the interveiws and everyone was fast sleep."

"Yes but we also had to pose as a couple." I whisper harshly.

"Hey," Peeta puts a finger under my chin so I look up at him, "It'll be just fine.Chase might make a joke and bring some life into this place so thatway Aubry would do better at her interveiw." He has a point but I'm still terrified. Peeta streaches his armms above his head and yawns, setting an arm over my shoulders.

"Not funny." I say, trying to to laugh. He smiles and plants a small kiss on my temple.

I sit and try to pay attention to the next five flirty female tributes and the next 5 tough looking male tributes. I make a mental note about each tribiute I found that a stood out in my eyes: District 4's male and female tribute Brandon and Branda--twins--who joined to strengthen their bond and to be teammates. District 7's male tribute Atlas was easy going and was no doubt the smartest boy out of everyone else and District 11's male tribute Lartius who was obviously smaller than the rest of the male tributes but stoodup strighter and seemed like he never let his height get in his way. And I'm pretty sure that he would fight the District 1 male, Balthar-who is at least six feet and muscular--if it were him or someone else he knew.

And finally, it is District 12's turn for the interview.

Chapter 21

"So, Aubry, how has your stay been here?" Felix still holds Aubry's hand after they both sat down.

"Peeta! Chase isn't before Aubry!" I whisper.

"It'll be fine." His voice is hesitant and give me little hope. I look up at the other mentors and see the one who looked like Gale. He mouthed what seemed to be "Everything will be okay." And for some reason I believe him.

"It's been really delightul." Aubry replies.

"What would be the move delightful thing about your stay?" Felix asks.

"Well, I would say tonight has most deifantly been the highlight of my stay! I'm able to see everyone's unique style and, your getup this year." She has on her best smile and the crowd cheers. Flattery is what she's aiming for and it seems to be working.

"Haha! Well..." Felix combs his hair back with his fingers and makes all the girls sign at his beauty. "I'm sure that everyone wants to know, what went though your mind when the little girl volenteered." Oh no...

Aubry's smile fades and she looks down at her hands. "I felt...scared."

"Scared?"

"Yes. I was terrified about what would happen to her in the games. I knew that she volenteered not knowing I was there--with her being so young, she must've blanked out and didn't hear when I volenteered--but I wish I understood why. I..I really wish there was something I could've done to help her, but she told me she would let me kill her. She whispered it to me when I walked past her..." A tear fallsdown her cheek and I wonder if that is actually true.

"You said you wish you know why she volenteered, correct?" Felix asks, leaning forward to comfort her. Aubry nods, not attemting to wip her face and smuge her make-up more.

"Why did you volenteer?" Felix asks the question so carfully, I feel the pain of my experience all over again. Prim's name being called and everything in my mind racing. I couldn't think stright and I shouted the four words that is said so easily now, "I volenteer as tribute."

"I volenteered...because-----" The buzzer signaling that her interveiw inturupts her. Everyone turns to eachother, whispering "What did she say?" and "Can she repeat that?!" Aubry trys to cover her face but Felix brings her in a hug, covering her face for her. He whispers something and walks herbackto her seat. Chase stands up and hugs Aubry as well.

The cameras capture Felix's face which looks close to tears. He obviously heard what was said. Chase pats him on the shoulder and makes his way to the chars when he slips on something and falls right on his back. The crowd forgets the whole thing and laughs.

Felix helps Chase and falls as well. Eventually they both give up on standing and crawl to the chairs. "So! Chase." Felix says, all too causually.

"Yes, sir?" The crowd laughs. Chase really did bring the life back into the interveiws.

"What happened with that fall, man?!" Felix laughs trying to dust off his pant leg.

"Hey, you fell too!"

"Yep! And got the dirt stains to proove it!" Felix shows his back, which is covered in dirt.

"Hey, me too! I even got a scrap!" Chase shows the microsopic scratch on his arm. "Battle scars!" Me and Peeta find everyone, including us, laughing. "Maybe we should dust each other off?" Both of them stand and wip the dirt off each other's perfectly tailored suites.

Chase's interveiw goes back and forth like that until his time is up. Joke after joke after joke. Felix throws in a few halrious ones as well.

The interveiws are finished and the mentors make their way to the training building to talk to the tributes before going to the room.

"Aubry! Chase!" We call out to them and Chase pulls us all in a hug. Together we all ride the evevatdor to our floor recalling the events of Chase's interveiw and the tributes I think they should team up with and watch out for.

No one brings up Aubry's interview.

Chapter 22

Peeta and everyone else is asleep as I lay in bed, restless. I hear Aubry and Chase down the hall whispering among themselves. Aubry says something loud and Chase tells her shush before someone wakes up and makes them to go sleep.

I understand this. Before I went into the games I couldn’t sleep and in those short five minute naps where I did, they were always filled with nightmares. I wonder if it was the same for Peeta, too. If maybe that was why he was on the roof or if he actually painted all those pictures that one night.

The voices quiet down and I swing my legs over the bed and get up without moving Peeta a much. I casually walk past Aubry’s room with cookies and ice cream, when I hear sniffling. I never meant to go inside, but I find myself opening the door.

"What do you want?" Her head is down and her voice shows how much she despises me.

"Umm..."

"Well?" She's loosing her patience.

"Is everything okay?"

She sniffles, "You don't want to know. Just get out."

"I know it's scary first going into the games." The silence that follows afterward is thick. "That is what it is, right? You're scared?"

"No. I'm not scared." Her voice breaks and she looks away again.

"What happened during your interview?"

"I don't want to talk about it. I messed everything up! I messed things up for me. I messed things up for Chase! How he's going to die and his blood will be on my hands!"

"No, Aubry. No you didn't."

"Yes, Kitniss! I did!"

"Your starting to yell. Do you want to talk somewhere else? I know a place where you can tell me and no one will hear." She looks up at me and nods. She whispers so quietly, I only see her mouth for the word, "Okay."

I lead her up the stairs to the roof, glancing behind me every few seconds to make sure she hasn't run off. We sit on the ledge in silence for a while. We sip our tea and I wait until she speaks.

"My brother volunteered. He could've killed them all." She begins and I stay quiet. "My mothered cried and my father yelled. He never told me about it, because I already made up his mind for him."

"How?" She shakes her head and I let it go.

"It was my brother and the last tribute. We were all watching. I told my parents that I told him that he could win. They yelled at me. They blamed me for him being there, even though he killed practically all the tributes." She hugs herself and looksup at the moon. "He made it to tribute’s camp, easily--it wasn't that hard to find it. And that was when tribute woke up."

I panicked and yelled at everyone to help him. I was so scared and I didn't know why."

They fought for ten minutes then my brother got in some sort of hold he couldn't escape. My mom ran because she didn't want to see him die. I wanted to run too. But me and my dad were frozen in place. The other tribute got this huge rock..." Not thinking, Aubry lifts her hands to show how big the rock was.

"He lifted the rock up high, right over my brother's eyes. He rolled over and eventually broke free. My brother kicked the tribute in the face and he flew back into the tree. The tribute got up fast though and punched him. They were at it again and I hid my face. I couldn't watch any more." She breaks into a sob then tried o control her breathings.

"The next thing I heard was a smash and the crunching of bones. It sounded like squashing a bug. There was a gurgling noise and when I looked up, the gong went off and my brother..." A tear falls down her red, tear stained cheek. She's been crying this whole time. "He fell next to the dead tribute and the gong went off! We were all shocked and hugging everyone. Me and my dad were crying along with everyone. We were all just so happy that he won... I saw my brother smile and it made me feel so good inside. My heart was pumping and I felt so warm." She smiles and wipes her face. I smile along with her and find myself wiping my own tears.

Her smile falls and her eyes go dark. "At that moment, I heard my mom yell 'My baby!’ and--" She chokes on a sob. "And I saw her hit the floor from a nearby building next to the screen." She covers her mouth and doesn't bother hiding her face. She leans back on the wall and sobs. My own jaw drops and I feel the hot tears fall again. "Me and my dad ran to her and my last thought was, 'She died thinking he was dead. Now she’s all alone.' After that, everything shattered into a million pieces. My dad died during a stupid accident. He got drunk and—" She breaks off and tries to controls her breathing, but instead holds her tea cup, trying to steady her shaking hands with all the strength she could muster. The small strength of a little girl who lost both her parents. "My brother got home and realized what happened. He died 2 months after from grief." Her tears fall in a steady stream now and she doesn't make a sound. The tears she hasn't shed for years have finally broke their barrier and fall down her cheek, into her mouth and on her shirt. "And there was nothing I could do." She whispers, barely audible.

Aubry’s eyes look distant as she looks at the screen. She cringes, falling to the floor, spilling her tea, sending her tea cup shattering into a bunch of small pieces. Her hand turns bright red and begins to blister and a piece of porcelain is in her arm. I grab a napkin and wrap it around the tub of ice cream and have Aubry hold it in her hand. I pull glass out and bandage her arm with the hem of my shirt.

"Just leave me here." Aubry says as she falls into a deep sleep she hopes she doesn’t wake up from. I carried her to an attendant who sends her to the health care area. I go to the bathroom and wash my face and arms. I remove my ripped shirt and don't bother changing into another one. I just lay next to Peeta.

"Hey...What's the matter?" He sits up and his smile fades and he holds my face in his hands. I run my finer over his lips. Oh, those always smiling lips. After his mother never had hope for him in he games...him going into a second game...him being kidnaped and taken to the capitol where he was tortured, his family dying, him forgetting who he was, him being forced to love me... How could he still smile? How is he not as broken as Aubry?

Aubry. Her life story is too much to think of...too much to take in on one night.

"Hey... shhh. Shh, don't cry. It'll be alright, okay?" He kissed the top of my head. "Everything will be okay." He rubs my bare back and holds me close. We lie down again and he hums the song "Deep in the Meadow." I always sung it to Prim when she was ill and not feeling well and I run it to Rue when she was dying. It brings back memories of both, but it also soothing and calming. My eyes get heavy and I eventually fall into a deep sleep that I also hope I never wake up from.

Chapter 23

"You both are strong tributes. You each have your strengths and your weaknesses, but you've improved in more ways than one. You've strengthened your strengths and weaknesses and you both have a shot at this." Peeta pumps them both up before we send them away with Triton who is going to take them to their stylists where they will both enter the games. "Do what ever it is you can to--"

"Stay alive." Haymitch inturupts. We all turn to him and glare.

"Really?" Peeta asks.

"Hey, you were about to steal my advice!" Haymitch holds his hands up in defense.

Peeta sighs. "Yes, stay alive, as Hatmitch said. You've both talked with District 4's tributes Brandon and Branda, District 7's male tribute Atlas, and District 11's male tribute Lartius, as we hoped you would. You know that District 1's male tribute, Balthar, seems very dangerous and that you want to keep a close eye on him."

"Maybe one of us should..." Aubry trails off.

"Should what?" I ask. It's the first sentence I've said all day. I've never been good at pep talk and Aubry's story has taken a toll on me.

"I was thinking that I could pair up with him and the carreers...to know what it is their doing then tell Chase and everyone else."

"Absolutely not!" Me and Effie exclaim.

"He'll rip you to sheds once he realizes you're betraying them. Him and the carreers." Haymitch says, bluntly.

"It's too late." Chase says, looked sadder than he did this morning. "She already paired up with them on the late training day."

"You did what?!" Maybe that was what they were talking about last night, I think. Aubry just looks away.

"Hey, now. Maybe it'll work?" Peeta says.

"Of course it would, dear! Because when you were with them, they weren't planning on killing you the whole time! Not like they were using you to get to me! NO way that could happen." I raise my voice and regret what I said immediately.

"One minute." Triton peeks though the doorway and tells us. He senses the tension in the room and slips off back in the hallway.

"Look, just try to make things work, okay you guys? Aubry you have a sealed bond with Balthar, correct?" She nods. "Good, then it might work out. Just be careful."

"Time." Triton enters the room and ties Chase's hands with Aubry's and Aubry's hands to his own. Chase looks away from Aubry, almost with hatred and sadness in his eyes which scare me. Triton looks at the plastic restraints and says "We had some issues in the past years with tributes..." He shrugs and says his good byes to us.

They both leave with Peeta, Effie, and Haymitch shouting their good lucks at them. Before I know it, they're both gone and I didn't even say one good thing to either of them.

Peeta puts an arm arund my shoulders and kisses the top of my head. "It'll be alright." He tells me. I can only hope.

~

Me and Peeta are rushed into a room filled with the other mentors.

Aubry and Chase left the room to get changed and an hour or so later, me and Peeta were asked to follow two attendants to a floor higher than the rest to watch the start of the games with the other mentors. We were prepped, waxed, hair done up, and put in outfits looking sparkly than ever. In the long ride up to the floor, someone gave each of us a book full of the Mentors names, pictures, district, tributes that they are looking after, a brief introduction about them such as how they won their games, family, friends, and interests. The attendant in there with us quickly goes over the list and by the time we're at the top, I realize how I wasn't paying attention to anything he told us.

Now we're in the room big enough to be a ballroom to fit over hundred, yet, it finds itself completely full.

Full of people, seats, tables that take up a whole wall full of food fit for a complete three course meal--maybe even more. There are waiters walking around holding trays of beige, bubbly drinks that must be alcohol, even though it's still morning. Peeta and I grab a glass and just stand still looking around. The mentors are all practically wearing the same clothes as us. sparkly dresses and shiny suites with ties that match the dresses. I know some of these people aren't mentors since I don't remember them from the chariot rides or anything else. Maybe that is one of those things where they bring a date?

A drink man comes and snatches my hand from Peeta and slobbery kisses it. I try to pull away and Peeta causally takes my hand back and introduces me and him to the drunk man. He mumbles something, smiles, and stumbles off.

"Maybe it'll be best is we hide out in the corner." Peeta offers.

"Yep." I down my bubbly drink. It slides down my throat easily. Smoothly. And burns a little. But it's a good burn. "Good plan."

Peeta laughs and takes a sip of his drink before handing it to me.

After a few glasses of the drinks, my face feels flushed and my limbs feel free. Everyone begins to dance to a loud orchestra that makes me want to shoot an arrow at them.

"You know what Haymitch would do right about now, Katniss." Peeta says half holding me up.

"Yep." I give a small burp and Peeta lets me drink more. The next thing I know, someone has come to ask Peeta to dance with her. He looked back at me and says something then eventually walks with her after giving me a brief kiss I hardly remember. I watch a hazy Peeta and a girl, obviously one of the people who took up the capitol style, dance round and round, making me dizzy.

Someone sits next to me and says something I can't hear very well. He takes my wrist and flips my arm and injects something into me. My vision gets more foggy and I see Peeta disappear into the crowd of other dancers.

"Come on." The man next to me says as he takes me hand and practically drags me to the dance floor. My vision improves the more I move and I feel more in control with my limbs and I feel not as flushed.

"Feeling better, Katniss?" I look up and see it's the man I saw the night of the carriage rides. The one who looked like Gale.

"Yes... What did you put in my arm?" I look at my raised arm, hand in his.

"It's an experimental drug..." Panic sets in and I can hear my heart beating in my ears. "It's supposed to help with the effects of alcohol. Even though your tributes are over a screen, doesn't mean they won't need your help. Even for the bloodbath." He points at a giant red clock, counting down the minutes and seconds until the games begin. The digital clock doesn't tick, but I still hear a ticking noise in my ear.

"How have you been, Katniss?" He says my name with such familiarity, as if he's seen me everyday in his lifetime. But this can't be Gale. It just can't. Gale is buried in my backyard. He's the one who killed Silver. Who hurt me. He hurt my heart.

I try to attempt swallowing the golf ball sized lump in my throat. I blink away the tears and say, "Fine. How about yourself?" I look up at him. Really look at his face. His facial features are softer than Gale's, but his gray eyes hold the same look of pain, as Gale's did. His skin tone is like mine and his hair is dark.

He stares down at me too. "You really don't remember me, do you?" He whispers.

He drops my arm and I let go of his waist. "Rory?" He gives a small smile and bows a little, as do all the other males, now that the song has ended. He disappears into the crowd as Peeta comes up from behind me.

"Hey there." He kisses my cheek. "You look more sober. What happened?"

"I just danced with Gale's brother."

Chapter 24

"You what?" Peeta blinks.

"I danced...with...with Rory."

"How can that be?" Peeta straightens his back, trying to look over the crowd of heads to see if he can find him.

"Five...four..." The crowd chants. The 95th Annual Hunger Games is about to begin.

"...three..." I look around and see Johanna on a small balcony looking over the ballroom and she's looking down at me.

"...two..." I faintly hear Peeta calling my name, shaking me, trying to bring me back to reality. My vision blurs in and out and my ears start ringing like what happened after the mine explosion in the 74th games.

"Katniss!"

"One." My head snaps to the screen and see all the tributes run. All but one.

~

Chase is off running to the cornucopia when he looks behind and around him for Aubry. Except he won't be able to see her around him. She's on the other side of the cornucopia, away from everyone they befriended, even the career tribute Aubry befriended, Balthar. Aubry is stuck to a trap. She tugs and tugs at he leg but isn't able to move.

So many thoughts run though my mind.

How does this happen? This can't happen. Johanna must be behind this. The gamemakers. Someone has to be after her. Someone is after her!

Not someone, but something...

It crawls out of the bush. Tons of them. A pack of wolves, that have to be a mutation of some sort, stalk their way toward Aubry. She see's them and tugs at her leg harder with a scared, yet determined, look on her face. One of the largest cats looks ready to pounce on her when a speak flies straight into and out of its head. Multiple knifes follow at a cat behind it, which was in mid air. A figure jumps in between Aubry and the cats with their arm raised with a weapon, pointing at the cats. More join and they battle the cats.

Balthar comes, throwing knifes this way and that, all directly in the cat's eye, head, and heart. He moves swiftly, dodging his allies weapons and attacking wolf mutants. He grabs his spear out from the dead wolf's head and makes his way to Aubry, who looked in shock. Balthar smiles and cuts the rope and pries her foot out of the metal trap, which I can now see looks like an old bear trap. I used to see old rusted ones when I was in the forest when I was younger with my father and even a few times with Gale.

My father explained to me what they were and even told me that if they had enough rust, they could transport an infection called tetanus, when the bear trap cut open your leg. He also told me that the infection can kill a person if it's not treated properly.

This memory scares me, but Aubry smiles as Balthar puts his arm around her waist and half caries her into the surrounding trees.

The camera moves to Chase who watches Aubry limp to the forest with Balthar. He runs to the opposite end, toward the open desert with District 4's Brandon and Branda, District 7's male tribute Atlas, and District 11's male tribute, Lartius. Everyone else scatters.


RETURN: 6TH BOOK OF THE HUNGER GAMES ------> http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:ArleneLove%27sTHG/Return:_6th_book_of_The_Hunger_Games

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