"Thank you so much for that wonderful outfit Kim," Caesar says.
"Hey," I say. "The pleasure is all mine."
"Well that is all the time we have." Caesar says. "Another round of applause for Kim Stoppable."
The crowd starts cheering and I take my seat in the front row along with the other tributes. Most are glaring but my attention is not on them. I glance at Katniss and she gives me a reassuring smile and then focuses back on the stage. I turn my gaze back to the stage and await the next interview.
"Now let's all give a warm welcome to the last person to be interviewed, Ron Stoppable."
Ron comes out from behind the curtain and my breath is taken away. Ron is wearing a wonderful black suit with a white undershirt and a red tie. He looked amazing, and the crowd thought so too. There were numerous cries from the girls in the audience and it took Caesar about five minutes to calm them down.
"There he comes," I say, watching Ron come on the screen.
"Well," Rex says. "Very little things we need to watch here."
"Yes," I say. "We just need to make sure that Ron doesn't do something stupid that could throw Kim off track. If it does we will need to contact Katniss or Tris to snap her out of it."
She looked at Ron on the screen and had a bad feeling about this interview. It was the same feeling that she had when Anakin was about to do something. She had to smile about that. Anakin was very reckless at times but he never came out of the situation with a scratch. He and Obi-Wan, however, was a different story. The look on Ron's face was ominous though. She had a very bad feeling about this.
"Ron welcome," Caesar said.
"Hello Caesar," Ron says. "Lovely weather we are having."
"It is indeed," Caesar says while the crowd laughs a little.
"So, where to start. Ah, how about this lovely young lady in the front row," Caesar says and I blush.
"That's actually something I want to talk about," Ron says and I smile. Ron has always bragged about how good I was for him, and now he is going to do it on national TV. He is so sweet that way.
"Over the course of the last couple of days things have changed between us."
My smile disappears with a frown instead. What is he talking about?
"I've realized that there was the same girl I met so many years ago physically, but not mentally anymore. I wonder where that girl has gone at times. I have a confession to make."
I am staring at him in horror, what he is saying?
"Yes, what is it Ron," Caesar asks with a troubled look on his face.
"We were never married officially, Kim just said we were. And now, I'm not so sure that I want to get married anymore," Ron says.
Tears are streaming down my face right now and Ron stands up and walks over to me. He has a sad look in his eye and takes off his ring.
"Maybe someday we can work this out," he says.
He reaches for my hand but I bat it away.
"Someday?" I ask. "I don't even know you anymore. Ron, you're breaking my heart. You are going down a path I cannot follow."
"Kim," he says. "Why are you turning against me?"
"Because of the things you have done," I spit. "Because about the things you are going to do."
I get up and storm out of the interview hall. The crowd is silent as I leave. I take one last glance at Ron. I don't see any regret but a sad face on him. I look at Katniss and there is a mixed look of anger and shock on her face. Then I don't care anymore, my life is ruined. Now the only thing I have to look forward to is this Hunger Games and Revolution. Frankly, I don't know how hard it is going to be looking after myself in the games, but it may prove to be easier.
I can't believe what Ron just did. The boy that I saw head over heels for this girl merely a week ago, has pushed her away entirely. The whole relationship is gone because of his boneheaded decision. My guess is that Kim won't even work with him in the another relationship that the games has torn apart. But what of Kim? Is she mentally ready for the revolution? I need to talk with Commander Tano immediately, but I have to wait for this stupid interview process to be over. The crowd is restless, they are used to drama, but not this kind. They saw a girl before that was hopelessly devoted to this man, who then not ten minutes later threw it right back in her face. I take a look down at Artemis and see that she is getting scared by the noise of the crowd. Even though we are in a secluded box, the noise carries up here. The anthem starts blaring out to try and quiet the crowd, but doesn't work. Eventually the Capitol has had enough and cuts all power and the screens go black and we are all left in darkness.
"God dammit," I yell and slam my fist on the table.
Captain Rogers had his head in his hands and Rex threw his cup of coffee across the room, shattering it on the wall opposite.
"Everything was going perfectly," Rogers says. "Until this guy screwed us over."
"He had one fucking job," Rex says. "Don't get her emotionally away from the revolution, and now we might lose her altogether and there goes the insurance for Sgt. Everdeen."
"We have to find out if she is emotionally incapacitated," I say. "Contact Soldier Prior and Sgt. Everdeen."
Rex pulls up the communications and soon the holograms of Katniss and Tris are standing in front of us.
"Soldier and Sergeant," I address them both.
"Yes Commander," they say.
"The events tonight may have created a rift in the plan for revolution," I say. "Sgt. Everdeen, your task is to confront Ron, find out why the hell he did that, and mostly keep him occupied. Soldier Prior, you will be charged with finding out Kim's mental state. If you determine that she is not good enough for the revolution, knock her out and contact us immediately. We will be able to manipulate her memories so she has no recollection of the revolution. Then destroy her communicator. We cannot have mistakes ladies. Are your orders clear?"
The nod and I ask my second question, "Any questions?"
They shake their heads and I feel somewhat relieved. We will at least be gaining two solid soldiers out of this.
"Very well. May the force be with you."
"Yes Commander," they say and the transmission ends.
"These girls are our only hope," Rogers says.
"Well," I say. "Worst case scenario is that we lose Kim. We may contact Tobias from district 2 to get him on board. If they can stay hidden, we have a better chance. Katniss will still be able to pull support from the other districts, but district two is a top priority."
I storm to floor 12 to have a little chat with my male tribute. Kim is still crying profusely when Tris brings her into the elevator with me. We are both clear on our objectives and I whisper to Tris.
"Let me get out of the elevator first and wait until I am yelling at Ron. Then take Kim and Artemis to my room and complete your orders."
Tris nods and I take a good look at Kim. She looks like she is on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.
"Hey Kim," I say try to get her attention.
She looks up at me with tears in her eyes, barely able to stand.
"Do you think that you could take care of Artemis for a little. After all you never got to hold her and she is just a ball of sunshine. She needs a diaper change, to be fed, and sent off to bed. Tris here can help you."
To affirm my assurance on Artemis being a ball of sunshine she reaches out her hands towards Kim and says, "Kim-Kim."
Kim laughs in between one of her sobs and grabs Artemis from me. She holds her tight to her chest and stares into the abyss that is Artemis's blue eyes. She looks genuinely happy for a second and looks back at me.
"Thanks Katniss," she says. "I just want to let both of you know that I am prepared for all of the games, all parts."
"Just let Tris help you," I say. "I am going to have a conversation with my district 12 team, but I am excusing you from the meeting tonight because you are on another mission from me."
"Hey Katniss," she says.
"Can you give this to Ron for me," she asks.
I open my hand and her engagement ring falls into my hand. I laugh a little at that.
"It would be my genuine pleasure," I say.
She nods and the elevator door opens and I give her one last reassuring look.
"Don't worry, I'll be back soon," I say. "I can't say the same for some other people in this building though."
She laughs a little and I walk out of the elevator and into the living room.
"STOPPABLE," I yell into the hallway.
Ron comes ambling in, not a shred of guilt on his face.
"Yes all powerful mentor," he says with heavy sarcasm to his voice.
"What. the. hell. was. that." I spit at him.
"You see that was my pre Hunger Games interview," he says. "You've done this ten times you should know the routine."
"Quit it with the fucking sarcasm," I say coldly. "Why?"
"Well," he says. "Caesar asked a question and I answered it honestly."
"And in turn you absolutely destroyed that young girls heart," I say. "Did you even hear her interview? She talked about how much she loved you for most of the time."
"No," Ron fires back. "She talked about you and that stupid dressmaker Cinna. She mentioned me once but that was it."
"Don't you even start on insulting Cinna," I say. "He is 3/4ths of the reason you guys are in this position, and the other fourth is Kim and what she did at the Reaping because if she hadn't, your sorry ass wouldn't be here."
"That's the point Everdeen," he says. "It's her fucking fault that we are in this mess. I wish I was at home right now, living the lie that she was a good person. But she forced me to come here and throw my life into an arena where anything can happen. Not only that, but she worsened our chances with her stupid interview. My best chance of survival was to get away from her and lengthen the distance as far as possible. Maybe the gamemakers won't take their anger out on me then."
"Nobody asked you here dipshit," I say. "I didn't. Kim pleaded for you not to volunteer, I saw it in her eyes. Hell, the Capitol even didn't. They reaped some other poor boy."
"And how would that look," he asks. "Me to abandon my fiance and keep my own skin safe."
"A hell of a lot better than it looks now," I say. "You're on your own now. No sponsor gifts, no help, this will be the last time I talk to you in my life and your short time you have bought yourself."
I turn around and begin to walk out of the room but I remember the ring.
"Oh yeah," I say. "Just one more thing."
I walk back to him and get right up in his face.
"What now that I'm single you want to give me a kiss. I still got some power in these hips if Artemis wants a sibling," he says.
"Complements from Kim," I say and jam the ring into his arm.
His yells ring out when I walk out of the room and continue for about ten minutes.
Caring for Artemis was the only thing that was calming me down. She must have a weird calming effect surrounding her because I relaxed as soon as she was in my arms. Tris accompanied me to Katniss's room and even though we weren't supposed to spend time together, I was glad she was here. I just needed some support right now from someone who could understand me. Katniss was busy with who knows what, but someone was getting hurt.
"So Kim," Tris asks. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," I stammer while changing Artemis's diaper. She was staring up at me and I couldn't help but smile at her, she is so cute.
"You sure," she asks.
"Yeah," I answer. "Plans will have to be adjusted but I'll manage. The most important part is protect the lives on the line around us."
I finish changing Artemis's diaper and sit down on the rocking chair and start to feed Artemis her bottle. I look over at Tris and she is studying me closely. I figure out why she is so intent on my and how I am doing.
"Ahsoka asked you to see if I was mentally okay, didn't she?"
"Yeah," Tris says not breaking the stare.
"Well I assure you that I am good," I say. "Katniss always said be prepared for the worst to happen and be able to let go. I didn't think that it would be in this way, but I guess I have been prepared for everything."
Just then a male's scream echoes out throughout the floor and I smile. Katniss must have finished the conversation with Ron. She walks into the room and sits down on her bed.
"Well," Tris says. "I'm gonna head out. Tobias is probably looking for me. Good luck tomorrow Kim."
"You too Tris," I say.
She leaves the room and I look at Katniss. She has her eyes closed and is looking up at the ceiling, probably trying to figure out what to do. Before I can say anything I hear voices outside the door.
"What are you doing here," Ron says.
"Shut the hell up," Tris says and a loud smack is heard and a groan comes from a male voice.
"Looks like Ron is getting pretty beat up tonight," I say.
"He deserves everything," Katniss says. "Kim, I am so sorry for what has happened. I have no idea how you could possibly go on with this whole idea, but we desperately need you."
"I know," I say. "What happens in the past is in the past. I'm looking towards a bright future with you and Tris. I am completely ready."
Artemis lets out a huge yawn and Katniss walks over to me and scoops up Artemis.
"We should get you to bed young one," she says.
Artemis coos and Katniss lays her down in her crib. She looks back at me,
"You need to get to bed too, a good nights sleep is important because you never know how much you will get in the future."
I nod to get up to go to my room, but I stop and look at Katniss.
"Can I sleep here tonight?"
"Yeah," she says. "Hop in the bed. I know I won't get a lot of sleep but you do.
"Thanks," I say and lay down on the bed.
Katniss smiles and turns back to Artemis, coaxing her to sleep. I close my eyes and mentally prepare myself. Tomorrow I will enter the games, alone. I push away the fear and remind myself that I can do anything. I analyze my competition and think to myself, let the games begin.