Retribution

Chapter 6

Katniss POV

Artemis had a rough night. By my estimation, I was just because she was over stimulated during the day. It didn't wake me up because of my nightmares. It was back to the same dream again, the recurring one where I watch helplessly as Cato snaps Peeta's neck again and again. When I woke up, I did what I usually would do. Stay there and stare at the ceiling, and try to fall back asleep. That is when Artemis woke up crying. I had put on my robe and gone over to her. Figuring that she was just hungry, I fed her and that seemed to do the trick. The reason she had a rough night, was probably that she wasn't used to the new environment. She wouldn't fall asleep for the longest time, but in all honesty, I wasn't falling asleep anytime soon either. So I walked her around until she finally fell asleep in the living room area. I quietly and gracefully sat down on the couch and let her sleep. I guess I must've nodded off a little too because when I woke up, it was just beginning to become light outside. Artemis was whimpering a little, probably because she woke before I did.

"Shh," I say, "it's okay sweetheart. I'm awake now."

She coos up at me and it immediately puts a smile on my face. This girl just knows how to make me happy. I get up to head to my room and grab one of her toys when I hear some stirring coming from the room next door and I hang out in a place where they won't see me but I am still able to observe.

Kim POV

I walk into the dining room after I woke up and took a shower. The buttons are all weird in there, with so many combinations. I guess I'm the lucky type, because I picked a correct combination that didn't leave me smelling like dandelions when I had a shower on the train. Katniss said we should be to breakfast early for some advice before training so after I showered, I woke Ron up and told him to start getting ready, before heading into the dining room. I walk past Katniss' bedroom and hear soft music playing. I assume it's for the baby, and decide not to rouse the room. If little Artemis is sleeping, Katniss will tear my head off if I wake her. As I am sitting in the dining room, waiting for Ron and Katniss, my mind wanders to my plan to get Ron out alive. It has always helped to talk through my problems to make sure they work, so I start going through strategies.

"First off," I say to myself, "get him away from the Cornucopia. Him in that bloodbath is not good. If I can get him on a head start for us shelter wise, I can get to the weapons at the center. I'm sure I am faster than 90 percent of the tributes. I just have to watch out for District 2, but I should be able to outrun them. Then I can follow Ron into the woods so we have some defense, there I can get a shelter to give Ron the ultimate advantage of protection, with me at the front, so he can be there to save himself if they get to me first."

"You just don't get it do you?" a voice rings out through the dining room and I wince because I know exactly who it comes from.

"Katniss," I say cautiously, "How did Artemis do last night? I heard a little crying."

"Don't change the subject," she snaps. Artemis is looking at her mom with an awe in her eyes, and suddenly I feel sorry if she ever gets in trouble at home. That cannot end up well for her. "If I didn't have young ears here, you would be hearing a lot more colorful language, so consider yourself lucky. But I'll restate, why are you just throwing your life away, I mean you are planning your death, so Ron can make it home. Two victors can win you know."

I look at Katniss' face and weigh my decisions carefully. On one hand, I could just agree with Katniss and promise to stop thinking like this, or I can challenge her authority. This could prove deadly, but I am banking Artemis breaking up the fight that is about to ensue. If Katniss decides to not care if Artemis is here, I could be in some serious trouble.

"Well somebody has to get Ron out. You can't certainly manage us and a baby, so I am taking matters into my own hands," I say, and pray for my life.

If looks could kill, then I would have died, sent to hell, and burned eternally with the look that Katniss gave me. She calms down for just a couple of minutes to say to Artemis.

"Hey baby, let's go see if momma can get you a toy to play with in your crib for a little."

She begins to walk out of the room and turns back around to say to me, "Stay here. If you aren't here when I get back, I will personally hunt you down, and make you wish you never crossed my judgement."

She turns and walks out of the room, and Artemis waves at me of sorts and I wonder if her makeshift goodbye is God trying to tell me to run.

Katniss POV

"Cinna," I call into the phone in my room, "can you come up to my floor. I need to speak with my tribute."

"Oh no," Cinna says, "God help her."

"Cinna," I say, "why do you assume that it's going to be bad, and what makes you think it is Kim?"

"Because you need someone to watch your child while you go off on her, and Kim has the same attitude that you had in your games. Those are bound to clash often. I'll be up in 2 minutes, I'll bring Lucy if it's alright, I'm sure she would love to meet the baby."

"Yes that is fine," I say, "thank you Cinna."

Two minutes later he comes upstairs with Lucy in tow.

"Hi miss Lucy," I say to her with a smile.

"Hi Katniss," she says grinning. I hope my daughter has this edge of politeness when she grows up, but knowing what parent she's got, it's not a good chance.

"Artemis is in my room," I say to Cinna. "She has been fed recently and has a fresh diaper on. Her favorite toy is the stuffed lion that she currently has in her clutches."

Cinna just smiles at me, and I become confused and annoyed at his grin.

"What?" I ask, with a edge to my voice.

"Nothing," he says, "just never thought I would see this day. Katniss you love this girl more than anything, and I am very proud. Now I sense that you are about to go verbally abuse your female tribute. God knows why she would piss you off, but all the same. We will watch over Artemis, go have fun." He smiles and walks toward my room with Lucy.

"See you later Aunt Katniss," Lucy says back with a smile.

I smile too and say, "I'll see you soon. Have fun!"

As soon as I see Lucy enter my room, I let the anger seep to the top of my emotions and storm back into the dining hall.

Kim POV

This is going to be bad, I think to myself as I wait for the return of Katniss. The gamble I just took turned out to be the wrong choice. My shot of Artemis holding Katniss back quickly backfired when she called Cinna up to her room to babysit. Katniss storms back into the room, and I brace myself for the barrage of insults to come my way. Just then Ron makes perfect time, to arrive in the room.

"Sit down," Katniss commands, "both of you."

Ron gives me the look of what did you do? and sits down beside me.

"Apparently I did not make myself clear the first time I said this," Katniss begins. "There will be no immediate thoughts of sacrifice between the both of you, or God so help me, I will put a fucking arrow through your temple quicker than you can think to run away."

"Katniss, what are you talking about?" Ron asks obviously confused.

"Your wife has been planning her death all morning," Katniss spats.

Ron looks at me with a look of pure betrayal. I send him back a pleading look that I would only do it if it came down to it and you would do the same for me. He seems to understand and backs me up. Suddenly a thought comes to my head.

"What if it was Artemis, would you be planning for yourself to die then?" I ask, hoping to live through this experience.

"Don't you dare bring my child into this," Katniss says dangerously, "It is completely different."

"How so?" I challenge, "You love Artemis a lot and I love Ron the same. If our places were switched, there would be no difference."

"You know what the difference is?" she asks.

"What?" I ask back with an equal edge to my voice.

"She is a helpless baby," Katniss spits out, "I may not have had the baby, but my hormones are raging enough for the instincts to protect her because that is my job as a mother. The last time that I checked, Ron wasn't completely helpless, and if you think he is you're fucking insane."

I am about to reply when Cinna brings Artemis, crying, into the room.

"Katniss," he begins, "I know that you are in a meeting and I hate to disturb you." This is just a meeting, wow. I wonder what would happen if she was chewing me out. "But Artemis will not calm down," Cinna continues, "I've tried just about everything."

Katniss gives us the death glare one more time and then her expression lightens, "This conversation is not finished," she says while taking Artemis. "In the elevator you will see a floor marked with a 'T'. That will take you down to the training center. Make sure to get some weapon training in, especially with a bow. I believe the gamemakers may parallel this to my games a little. One thing that you cannot forget about is the survival stations. There won't be a lot of kids there, but make sure you visit every one of them twice in these next four days."

With that, she takes a crying Artemis out of the room to try to console her.

Ron watches her leave and when she has left the room, he says to me, "Remind me not to piss off Katniss. It doesn't look good for my health."

I laugh and agree with him. We eat some breakfast quickly and hop into the elevator down to the training level. This is where we will find out if we can survive or not in these games.


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