I wake up the next day feeling on top of the world. Last night was the best night of my life, disregarding the circumstances. Ron is still sleeping, so I slip on a green shirt and was at the top of my dresser and walk to the dining car. I get there and the food isn't out yet. I do notice a note on the table and it says,
The hot chocolate and bread are the best. Dip the bread in the hot chocolate and enjoy
Curious I order some and it does in fact taste delicious. I sit at the table and let my mind wander for a bit. My strategy for the games is the first thing that comes to my mind, how I'm going to get Ron out alive. Of course if I can get myself out, even better, but he is my top priority. I start devising protection strategies when a voice rings out that makes me jump out of my seat.
"Stop what you are thinking right now."
I turn around and Katniss is sitting in a chair across the car, feet up on a foot rest, and a pot of hot chocolate and tray of bread sits next to her.
"You are gonna have to tune up your senses Unstoppable, if you are coming out of this arena alive," she says.
"How long have you been there?" I sputter out, still trying to catch my breath, "and what's with the Unstoppable?"
"Little nickname I came up with, whether you like it or not, you have to deal with it," she says, "and to answer your first question, about a minute after you got here."
"But I didn't hear anything," I say trying to prove her lie.
"Yeah, I still retain a little stealth from my hunting," she says, "mostly because I still keep up to date on it. A girls gotta stay in shape somehow."
"Oh," is all I manage.
"Had a dream about you last night," she says.
"About me?" I ask, "Why?"
"Things that are bothering me usually tend to resurface in my nightmares," she says, "and as much as I like to share my dreams as anyone else, your husband has to leave."
"But Ron is not even here," I say, wondering what she is going on about.
"Man, we really need to train your senses up. These things will get you killed," she says, "Ron, be a dear and come out to where we can see your bright, shining face."
Ron sheepishly comes out from behind the door leading into the car. I hadn't even noticed that he was there, and Ron is certainly not the quietest person around. Suddenly, I am wondering how Katniss noticed him, she was sitting on the complete opposite part of the car.
"Your eavesdropping has been appreciated greatly, but you're going to have to leave," she says.
Ron starts to protest but she throws up a hand to stop and I know what she is going to say.
"Rule number one Stoppable, I am always right. Don't feel that is right, then get another mentor," she says.
He seems to get the message and starts to walk out of the room. He glances at me with a good luck look in his eyes and shuffles out the door.
I look at Katniss and start to say, "what the he-," but am abruptly stopped.
"Ah Ah Ah," Katniss says, "Rule number one. You guys are going to have to get used to that one very quickly. I am going to get tired of it soon."
I start to object but she silenced me with a look that could turn some to stone.
"Now this doesn't leave this room," she begins, "not even to your husband. If I find out you told anybody, I will personally kill you myself and not lose sleep over it, understood?" I shake my head rapidly, knowing that she means business.
"Right, well here it goes. Usually every night I have the same recurring nightmare. It's Peeta's neck getting snapped and me being too late to do anything. It will never leave my brain as long as I live."
I interrupt, "Did you love him? Or was it purely for the cameras?"
She looks at me and I see that same tired look in her face and I know the answer before she says it. "Yes, I did. As soon as that announcement that two victors could win, I saw a future for Peeta and I. Not just getting out of the arena, but together. I was too late and I blame myself every day. But last night that dream did not plague me. It opened with you laying by the Cornucopia. You were injured pretty bad, and looking for Ron. Then she came, Tris from 2. She had a knife and let it fly, directly at your head. You had absolutely no chance. Then as you prepared for the hit, a figure jumped in front of you. Ron hit the ground with an arrow in his chest. You let an arrow fly and it hits her right in the temple. You crawled over to him but it was already too late. As the announcer called your victory, you were kneeling over Ron, crying profusely, with a fist on his chest. Then the scene changed, but you were still in that position. At the end of the dream, the last scene was you kneeling on his grave."
I look at her, and try to find the real meaning behind this, but I can't for the life of me.
"Wow," I say, "that sounds horrible. What do you think it means?"
"It means," she says, getting a little annoyed, "that your little idea to sacrifice yourself right off the bat, will kill Ron. He will become what you were like at the end of the dream. So you need to get it through your thick skull that you are both coming home, end of discussion."
With that she walks out of the room leaving me with my mouth agape, wondering what my life will be like if I get out of the arena.
The back of the train has been my thought bubble through my mentoring career. The open windows have been a peaceful escape to look at the passing countryside when I can't figure out what to do with my tributes. Everywhere I go, I have a locket with a picture of Peeta in it. Whenever I feel myself losing it like my mother did when my father died, I can open the locket and It brings me back to reality. On my mind now is not my tributes, but rather on a decision I had made a couple weeks ago. I had contacted President Snow one evening and asked him a question.
"Ms. Everdeen," he says, "what a honor. What can I do for you today?"
"President Snow," I begin, "I've been noticing a little unrest in the districts. So I propose a solution to keep them interested for a while."
"And what would that be, Ms. Everdeen. It is true I am having that problem and am open for suggestions," he says.
"Being the most influential person in Pamen besides you of course," I begin, "I say that I could make the districts focus on one thing. A baby."
President Snow looks genuinely surprised, "I had always believed that you would never marry after the death of Peeta."
"That part is true," I say, "I am never going to marry, I have found a baby that I am willing to adopt and raise on my own, under one condition."
"What would that be?" Snow asks, clearly intrigued.
"Artemis will be safe from the Reaping," I say, strong, with no wavering in my voice.
"Artemis?" he asks.
"That will be her name if you agree to my one stipulation," I say, "otherwise, everything else is fine. Media as long as it doesn't interrupt her development, like bothering her late at night or at school. She will do interviews with me and be with me at all times. That might keep the people occupied for a while, watching her grow up. But she must be safe from the Reapings, I can't have the chance that I see another person I love die."
Snow smiles, "Well, I see that you are already attached to the idea of having a child. It certainly sounds reasonable, and you will clearly be invested in it. Alright I approve, when you arrive at the Capitol in a couple weeks she will be there. During that time I will send maternity pills, so you will be able to feed the young child until she is ready for more solid food. You must be prepared for her to live a life in the spotlight, most of her life will be under watchful eye for this to work."
"I am prepared," I say, "as long as it doesn't mess with her growing up healthy, she will have the same destiny as myself. "
"Alright Ms. Everdeen, we have a deal," Snow says, "I look forward to seeing you in the Capitol in a couple of weeks. Farewell." and the transmission is dead.
I look out the window and think of Snow's mood during the conversation. For the first time in my entire career, he seemed happy. I say good in him and think that he might not be such a bad guy after all. The maternity pills; however, have been kicking my ass. My hormones are raging and my breasts are enlarging so I will be able to feed my baby. I will do anything for little Artemis though. She has been injected with some of my hormones for her to recognize me as her mother. Normally I would be against this, but without the knowledge of her actual mother, it seems like this little girl should have a mother to call her own. It's really crazy how much in love I am with Artemis and I've barely met her. There was a video where I was watching a live feed from her in the nursery in the hospital. She is already so beautiful, and I have added a picture of her to my locket.
This is our family Peeta, I think, I just wish you could be here with me.
I look out the window and see a metropolis approaching quickly. We have almost arrived at the Capitol, and my mind prepares itself for two things. Getting to hold my child for the first time, and the 84th Hunger Games.