It has been a decade and a half since the war ended.
Since then, those of us who were not needed were permitted to retire. The grass grew, and the districts slowly and painfully rebuilt their shattered homes and salvaged what they could from their shattered lives.
Since then, the people who fought in the war had families and children and watched them grow up. Some grew up to be workers, some grew up to be farmers, some grew up to be business owners, and some of those in the Career Districts grew up to be Peacekeepers and Careers.
The death of the Mockingjay was the beginning of the end for the rebellion she helped to create.
The defeat in District 2 practically wiped out the rebel army and combined with the failure to take the Capitol and the death of their leaders, this proved to be a death toll for the rebellion.
Even though the rebels tried to raise up new soldiers as fast as they could, there was no way whatsoever they could replace the veterans and battle hardened rebels that were invaluable to them nor could they replace the war supplies that were captured at the Battle of District 2; they could not ever raise the rebel moral from the depths it plummeted to. Mass desertion and (mostly in the career districts) defection/repatriation plagued the Rebel Army all the way until their defeat
Meanwhile, the combined victories in District 2 and in the Capitol invigorated the Loyalist Armed Forces, which were barley scathed by the battles there.
Due to these factors, we were able to blitzkrieg across much of Panem. District after District fell to our advance as the demoralized and inexperienced rebel levies routed. Those civilians in rebel districts that did not migrate en masse away from our advancing armies were left with a simple choice: accept Peacekeeper rule or die.
The last chance of the rebels even bringing the war to a ceasefire ended with Paylor's Last Stand in District 6; the rebels could not even raise fast levies after their disastrously failed attempt to break our momentum. After losing so many men (not to mention the rebel generals like Field Marshal Paylor who died in the struggle), the rebels could only flail around in desperation as they attempted to avert their by now inevitable fate.
After a lengthy siege the Gates of District 13 were smashed open with a drill ram, and we fought our way down the first three floors. Operatives and Raiding Missions were able to destroy enough of their farms that the people in the caves were starving and desperate. Once it became apparent that her own people will soon rip her apart in a food riot, Alma Coin put a bullet in her temple and the starving District 13 people surrendered.
While their bodies were never found, it is presumed beyond reasonable doubt that Haymitch, Beetee, Annie, and the family of Katniss all died in the infighting.
Gale Hawthorne was interrogated in the Capitol for over eight months, during which time he admitted to a large list of atrocities and crimes against humanity which not only include attempted genocide against District 2 but also construction of the infamous trap bombs which were designed to target medics. After being tried and found guilty, he was taken to District 2 and given a flamethrower execution. The Butcher of District 2 is dead, and the entire population of the Career Districts and the Capitol cheered as the flames enveloped him. I heard one of the flamethrower operators was the teenage boy whose family was murdered in District 2.
Gale's case was not isolated, as the rebel leaders and rebels who committed atrocities were all tried and made to stand for the innocent multitude whose blood they shed.
The war was over after three long years.
Once the worst war in our history was over, Panem was changed forever.
First of all not only did the Hunger Games resume as before (except with thirteen Districts instead of twelve), but every month of the year one boy and one girl would be reaped from each district to be sent to the Capitol and become Avox's; the First, Second, and Forth Districts were exempt from the Avox Reapings as a reward for loyalty during the war.
Secondly, and most significantly, the National Banner of Panem flew over District 13 for the first time in three quarters of a century. The people of District 13 were taken out of the caverns and had to rebuild the ruins on the surface. It is still not decided what will become of the now abandoned underground complex, but it seems like the government will flood it and create a subterranean lake.
Thirdly, District 12 was rebuilt. The new population comes from people who were shipped in from District 13, District 11, and other recaptured districts with large populations.
The three career districts not only got exemption from the Avox Reapings, but also regained prosperity lost in the war. All across these three Districts (and in the Capitol) monuments and memorials honor those who gave their lives in opposition against the rebellion, and those who died at the hands of rebels. These monuments, memorials, and shrines will stand as testament to the martyrs for countless generations after the blood dried. Of course, the countless ceremonies of remembrance and the honors placed upon the dead heroes also ensure this. Not that they are necessary; nobody will ever forget the tragedies and sacrifices of the loyalists so long as we live.
Even the Peacekeepers were changed during the war and in ways that would remain afterwards; now they are recruited from all three of the Career Districts, and Peacekeepers are allowed to marry and have families. Coriolanus Snow stated officially that these two changes were "in recognition for loyal and devoted effort", but we all know that it is to get more Peacekeepers. In any case, I'm not complaining.
While the nation itself was changed, so were the lives of its inhabitants.
President Coriolanus Snow currently runs the nation from the Capitol, where he lives in luxury and holds power. It is clear that when he dies history will remember him as a wise and heroic mastermind who saved Panem. While I think that he does deserve credit for running the nation in it's worst moment (I can not imagine the stress of trying to run an entire civilization while it spirals into despair), I still hope the sacrifices of the men and woman on the ground will also be acknowledged.
Headpeacekeeper Romulus Thread survived to the end of the war, and was Headpeacekeeper in most of the Districts at one time or another. Because of his wartime leadership and bravery, and because of his critical role in reestablishing order in previously rebellious districts, Romulus Thread has joined the pantheon of heroes who every Peacekeeper and every Loyalist look up to with admiration. He is the among the most decorated men and woman in Panem, and quite frankly he deserves his fame and decorations considering how far above and beyond the call of duty he went. Romulus Thread is currently married to a District 2 Victor, and has four children biologically (not bad for someone who spent his service before and during the war as a virgin) as well as having adopted the orphans of the deceased Gloss. We kept in touch, as we both lost a loved one during the 74th Hunger Games; we exchange letters and if he can than he visits. I sincerely hope he is enjoying the peace he spent his whole life trying to keep.
Headpeacekeeper Of The Armies Larsen Barca also survived to the end of the war, and is among the few and far between men more decorated than Romulus Thread. Like Thread, his exploits on and off the battlefield ensure that he will have a permanent place amongst the great loyalist heroes of the Dark Days and of the Mockingjay's Uprising. After playing a critical role in the Siege of District 13 (and ending the war), he served as Headpeacekeeper of District 1 until he could retire. The week before his retirement went into effect, he was given the highest rank in the Peacekeeper Armed Forces as an honor for his service. He still keeps in touch, and is able to come down to visit several times a year. He married a woman and had two children.
Enobaria was crowned Victor of the third Quarter Quell once the other Victors who were in the Quell died off in their failed uprising. She lives in a District 2 Victors Mansion to this day, and she married and had kids. She will likely be remembered as a heroic Career Tribute who fought to defend her home. I know that she paid for Lyme to have a burial (which for obvious reasons was unmarked), so perhaps she can enjoy her retirement.
Montgomery was also one of the Peacekeepers who was able to retire after the war ended (as appose to being kept in service for garrisoning the recaptured Districts). In the Capitol and in District 2 is known by the title "Mockingjay Killer" and has quite a few decorations for someone of his rank. He became a professor and a scientist, and he went on to make scientific discoveries in his field. He still keeps in touch, and he flys down to visit at least twice a month. I actually met his wife (who was with child), and she was not only humble but completely free of the vices that are common amongst some Capitolites.
Jacobine was amongst those who had to stay in the Districts as a garrison, but he was still able to marry a District 4 woman. His service ends soon, and we look forward to the day he and his wife will return.
Aric and Helena got married, but since they also had to stay behind as garrisons I could only stay in touch with them through letters. I look forward to the day their service ends.
Crispin returned to District 4, bought a new boat, and was a successful whaling ship captain. He took Marcus under his wing. I still exchange letters with them.
Against all the odds, Marcus not only survived the Rebel Occupation of District 4 but in fact gained military decorations for his actions and exploits as a Loyalist Partisans (which go up to and include assassinating a District 13 general). He adopted the orphan who I saw boarding the train during the evacuation, and I hear Marcus is like a surrogate father to Crispin's grandchildren. I still exchange letters with him, and I am glad to hear he is finally happy again.
As for me, I also did some things after retiring.
I was among those who was allowed to retire immediately after the war ended; this is much sooner than the date of my previous contract yet it feels like it was after an eternity.
The first thing I did when returning home was fulfill a promise I made to my black haired love. Annona and I got married, and she gave my mother grandchildren not long after. We live in my old home in District 2, and I got a job as manager at one of the concrete factories; it is a comfortable job and it pays well enough to live without hunger.
I found where Harod was buried and I gave him a proper grave with a headstone befitting a peacekeeper; he is buried next to his wife. I also placed flowers at the graves of Cato, Clove, and other unknown loyalists who died in the war.
I decided to name my firstborn child Cato, in honor of his gallant uncle. He has blond hair and blue eyes, and when he grows up he wants to be a Peacekeeper like his father. While I am glad Cato does not want to be a Career, I still know I will worry about him if he joins the boys in white. This is not to say I would ever think of outright forbidding him to join or even discouraging him, but I will make sure that he knows what it means to be a Peacekeeper. If he still wants to be one (and he probably will) than I will wish him the best of luck.
I do not think he will have to go through what I went through while he is in service; there really is peace in our time and it seems that for the time being it is not going anywhere. Sometimes when I walk in the woods I look over my shoulder for an ambush, despite the fact that it has been eighteen years since a rebel has ever set foot in District 2. When I watch the Hunger Games (I don't pay attention to them, I just have the screen on and read a book), I need to remind myself with each cannon that I am not being shelled by rebel artillery. I still exercise and practice with my Grandfather's sword and my Cousin's gladius and dagger every day; Montgomery saw Cato's gladius sword being sold at an auction and decided to buy me the best birthday present possible. I guess this is what they mean when they say that a peacekeeper can die but he can not retire.
Still, I have loved a good life so far and I am sure I will continue to live a good life until I reach my natural end. Then, if what I saw was real, I will join Cato in the place that feels like the starting point.
I am by no means disgruntled nor disillusioned; I do not regret having served in the Peacekeepers. It is true that I think the world would have had less bloodshed if the war never happened to begin with, but it did happen and I am glad that I rose to the challenge and passed the test laid before me. I learned the harsh realities of being a Peacekeeper, but this is not a bad thing. I learned that you can not win honor or glory; honor has to come from within and glory is simply another word for overcoming insurmountable adversaries. I learned that bravery can be as dramatic as throwing yourself over a grenade to save comrades, or as subtle as waking up in the morning while knowing that any day can be the day that you die. I have faced down the impossible and forged lasting bonds in the fires of war.
I am proud of having proved that I am deserving of these things, and I am proud of having fulfilled my Duty as a Peacekeeper. Now I am home again, and my home isn't cold.