I sit and watch the window as Ron sleeps on the ground. He tried to make me take the first rest but I saw the fatigue in his eyes. He still hadn't built up quite the stamina since his departure from imprisonment.
"Hey," a voice says quietly from behind me.
I turn around and there is Katniss with a bag full of cans. She pulls a couple out and hands them to me.
"Not the best option," she says. "But better than nothing."
I look and see that they are canned soup with some meat in them. I pull my knife out of its holder and start to work on the lid. Everyone had been issued a knife for situations like this or hand to hand combat if it came down to it.
"How are you doing," she asks.
"Okay," I manage. "But Katniss, this isn't at all what I expected. I don't know what I expected before, but I know it wasn't this. Running across those streets today, I've never been more scared in my life. And with the injury to Ahsoka I.. I.."
I couldn't finish my sentence and I looked out the window. Katniss sits down next to me and nods.
"You know the first time I was in the games, I wasn't ready for the violence that was going to happen," she begins. "I went in, wanting to save Prim, not thinking of fighting for my life. When the realization hit that if I didn't do anything to survive that I would die, it hit me hard. But no preparation from the games has helped in this. We didn't get it much in District 8 because it wasn't an active war zone, but I got it in 2. Nothing prepares you for all the screaming and all the blood. But you can't dwell on it. You can't dwell on any of it. I know that you are scared, I'm scared too. Hell, if anyone out here says that they aren't scared is either a liar or dead."
I look back at her and see that tired look that I saw so long ago at the reaping.
"Find something to keep you going," she says. "And focus on that. Make that your goal on why we need to win this thing."
She puts a hand on my shoulder and stands up, leaving three more cans behind. She walks slowly up the stairs but I call out to her before she gets to the top.
"Do you miss him," I ask. "Peeta."
"Most cases yes," she says. "But other times it feels like he never left."
I nod and she continues upstairs. I can't even imagine losing the one that is closest to me. I look over at the figure of Ron sleeping and try to imagine a life without him. Then I understand Katniss so much more. Every year she has had to deal with more death. From Peeta to Haymitch, even all her tributes in the games. She has to be fighting to end the constant death. By ending the constant death, she also protects the thing she most cares about in her life. He little baby girl, and I hope to love Ron as much as Katniss does for that little girl.
A million thoughts run through my head as I sit next to a slumbering Ahsoka. The primary thought is on the battle that we just took part in. I have been in my fair share of violent situations, and this was no different situation, but it had a different feel to it. I dragged on my conscience more for some reason. I couldn't place why though. Was it because everyone was with us, or that Ahsoka got hurt. The battle bothered me more so than ever. I bring the can of beef soup to my mouth and take a swig. The thing is nasty. Cold beef with a broth that is less than par. Even heated, I can tell that this would have been gross. But in a survival situation, you have to ignore your taste buds.
I look up at the sleeping Ahsoka. She looks so more peaceful than when she is awake. Come to think of it, I don't think I have even seen Ahsoka with a calm look. Whenever she is happy, she still has some look like her mind is preoccupied. I look over her body and study her unique figure. The orange skin, fused together hair, tattoos, and see her pain. The capitol completely violated her in every way.
I turn back to my gun, inspecting it, cleaning it. It helps calm my nerves, being in control of something. Then, I hear Ahsoka stirring behind me. I get on my knees and turn around facing her.
"Ahsoka," I say tentatively.
"Mmmm," she replies.
Her eyes flutter open and I smile. I inspect her bandages and see that they need replacing. I unwrap the one on her leg and apply new cloth to the wound. The injury stretches to just below her underwear line. Some of the shrapnel had torn through the compression shorts that she was wearing. I go to her arm, which is much less damaged, and replace the bandage there.
"Tris," Ahsoka weakly says.
"Yes," I respond.
"Thanks," she says and I smile.
"It's just bandages," I say. "You would do the same for me."
"Do you have any food?" she asks. "I'm pretty hungry."
"Yeah," I say, moving over to our small pile of canned food. "It's pretty gross, but it's all Katniss could find. She wants us to save our rations."
"Katniss is right," she says.
I start to pry open a can while she sits up. It looks like a painful process and I stop her.
"Hey," I say. "You need to keep that leg elevated."
"I'm fine," she says indignantly.
"Ahsoka," I say sternly. "You lay back on that couch or I will not hesitate to beat the shit out of you."
She smile and does as I say, chuckling to herself.
"You'd make a fine military leader," she says.
"Hell no," I reply with a laugh and handing over a can of food. "After this is all over, I am done with fighting for my life. I want to live in peace."
"That is a respectable choice," she says as she takes the can and takes a swig. "God, this stuff is awful."
"Glad you seem to like all the effort I put in for that," Katniss says as she walks in the door.
"Yeah," Ahsoka replies. "Must have been so much effort to go to the kitchen and carry these cans all the way back here."
"How are you feeling," Katniss asks, sitting down next to me.
"Better," Ahsoka says. "I should be ready to go in a couple of hours."
"Well eat up," Katniss says. "And then get some more rest."
"How are the others," I ask.
"Good," Katniss says. "Ron and Astrid are on their turn watching while Kim and Hiccup rest. Everyone has eaten the horrible canned food. We should leave in about 5 hours."
"That's good," I say.
"Tris, why don't you get some rest," Katniss says. "I'll watch over the cripple here."
"Excuse me," Ahsoka says. "Not a cripple."
"Keep telling yourself that," Katniss replies with a smile.
"With all due respect," I say to Katniss. "You need the rest more than I do."
"Tris I-," she begins but I cut her off.
"No," I say. "You listen to me. Sleep three hours. I will wake you and get some rest after that. You have to lead this group, not me."
"Okay," Katniss says.
Ahsoka lays back down and falls asleep. Katniss leans back on the couch and looks at me.
"You are a person I trust most in this world," she says. "I trust you with my life. I was going to ask you a question a while ago, but things got in the way. I was wondering if you would be Artemis's godmother."
"I would be honored," I say. "Now sleep."
She nods and shuts her eyes. She is out in no time. I lean back on the couch too and think about Artemis and Katniss. I smile to myself that Katniss would trust me like that, my idol all through training is trusting me with her and her daughter's life. Katniss's head slides over to rest on my shoulder and for a moment in this horrible confrontation, I feel at peace.
Katniss POV 5 hours later
"Take it easy Ahsoka," I say as Ahsoka tries to get up.
We were just about to leave the house and were gathering up all our gear. I am trying to ease Ahsoka up and she is struggling at best. Once she finally gets up, she starts walking tenderly around the room. Tris is standing on the other side, ready to step in if she falls.
"Okay," I say. "You are walking pretty slow. Try a light jog, if it hurts too much, stop."
She starts jogging around the room. She doesn't stop but I can see the pain on her face.
"I don't know Ahsoka," I say. "I still think that we should call an evacuation team."
"Hell no," she says. "There is absolutely no way that you are pulling me out of this. Now grab my extra set of pants. They are in my pack."
Everyone took with them an extra uniform for this case exactly. Not for comfort, but rather stealth. The black helps us blend into our surroundings, and a white, or in this case orange, color would give us away. Tris grabs them out of her bag and hands them to her. She puts them on, through a grimace of pain, but manages.
"Well," she says. "What are we waiting for."
We all walk into the front room where the rest of our squad is waiting.
"Now," Ahsoka begins. "For the plan from here on out. We are here."
Ahsoka pulls up the hologram of the city and points to the house that we are in.
"The President's mansion is 15 blocks from here. The streets are heavily lined with pods, and the pods get more dangerous as we go. We will split into our normal groups, but Tris will be with me. Tris is third in command here and you take orders from her as well. We will make our way slowly and try to avoid confrontation. All good?"
We all nod and she deactivates the hologram.
"Alright," Ahsoka says. "Let's get going."
We file towards the back door and ready ourselves for the impending rush to the mansion. There is no noise between us, only the sound of breathing. Tris walks up to the door and opens it slowly. She raises her gun and peeks around the corners. Once the coast is clear, she motions us forward. The day is grey, and it looks like it is about to rain. We walk around the house to the street and check to see if the coast is clear. All we see are chunks of concrete that were blown up in Ahsoka's explosion, and the bodies of the dead cats. I motion to Kim and Ron and we sprint across to the other side of the street. I slide behind a bush and look over to where Ahsoka and the others are. She makes the signal to advance and we start walking, keeping our eyes peeled for anything dangerous.
We get up to a street corner and stop while Ahsoka consults her map. We are sitting behind a hedge when I turn to my right down the street. What I see catches me off guard so much that I'm speechless. I look over and see that Kim and Ron are as pale as ghosts. I finally manage to say something into my comm.
"Gold leader, you need to see this."