Chapter 17

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Katniss told me a few days later she wanted to talk to Haymitch, Peeta and I, as soon as the storm blew over. Katniss' mother was kind enough to let me stay in their home, despite Gale's condition. I've grown very fond of the Everdeen family, they're always so kind to me, letting me stay in their house while there's a dangerous storm.

It takes two days for the storm to finally blow over and another day more for the paths to be cleared. As soon as we can, Katniss and I call Peeta and go over to Haymitch's house to rouse him from his drunken slumber. He complains, only less so than usual when I give him a stern look. We all walk out into the arctic weather to a secluded area, where hopefully we won't be overheard.

''So we're all heading off into the great unknown, are we?'' Haymitch asks Katniss, breaking the silence.

''No,'' Katniss states. ''Not anymore.''

''Worked through the flaws in that plan, did you, sweetheart?'' he grins. ''Any new ideas?''

''I want to start an uprising,'' Katniss says seriously.

Haymitch just laughs. ''Well, I want a drink-''

''What's new?'' I mumble under my breath.

''-You let me know how that works out for you, though.'' Haymitch finishes.

''Then what's your plan?'' Katniss spits back at him.

''My plan is to make sure everything is just perfect for your wedding,'' Haymitch says. ''I called and rescheduled the photo shoot without giving too many details.''

''You don't even have a phone...?'' I said, confused.

''Effie had it fixed,'' he replies before looking to Katniss. ''Do you know she asked me if I'd like to give you away? I told her the sooner the better.''

''Haymitch,'' Katniss pleads.

''Katniss,'' Haymitch mimics her, causing me to roll my eyes and look at Peeta. ''It won't work.''

Then a team of men with shovels walk past us, headed out to Victor's Village, so we stop talking. We step into the square and, simultaneously, we all stop.

There may have been an awful storm, but that didn't stop the Head Peacekeeper - who's name I learned to be Thread - from taking action. A huge banner with the Panem seal hangs off the roof of the run-down Justice Building. Peacekeepers, in their perfectly white uniforms, march onto the cleanly, snow-swept cobbles. I glance at the rooftops and find more of them, occupying nests of machine guns. My heart plummets as I see an official whipping post, several stockades and, hauntingly, a gallows - now all residing in the center.

''Thread's a quick worker,'' Haymitch comments.

''Oh, this is barbaric,'' I whisper.

Then, a few streets away from us, a fire blazes up. None of us say it, we all know it's the Hob.

''Haymitch, you don't think everyone was still in -'' Katniss begins, not finishing her sentence.

''Nah, they're smarter than that. You'd be too, if you'd been around longer,'' he says. ''Well, I better go see how much rubbing alcohol the apothecary can spare.''

He trudges off into the Square. Katniss looks at Peeta and I. ''What's he want that for?''

To drink, no doubt.

''Well, we can't let him drink it. He'll kill himself!''

''Or, at the very least, go blind,'' I chip in, Katniss nodding in agreement.

''I've got some white liquor put away at home.'' she suggests.

''Me too, maybe that will hold him until Ripper finds a way to be back in business,'' Peeta says. ''I need to check on my family.''

''I have to go see Hazelle.'' Katniss says worriedly.

''I'll go, too. Drop by the bakery on the way home.'' Peeta says.

''Thanks.''

''I'm going home,'' I smile, wrapping my jacket tighter around myself, thankful for the warmth. ''I'll see you guys soon, I imagine.''

They both say their goodbyes and I turn and leave, making my way back to Victor's Village. I find some of the drifts have been cleared, but there's still an excessive amount of snow. Katniss and Peeta are lucky, in a way - though they don't know it. They both have families, people to care for and who care for them.

Who do I have?

Sure, I have Haymitch, but he's hardly ideal, is he? And besides, that's one person. Katniss has Peeta and Gale, Prim and their mother, Hazelle and the rest of Gale's family, not forgetting Cinna. Peeta has his family and Katniss. I have a drunken mentor and an unfamiliar face who tells me they know me, but I don't remember him.

Ever since I met Finnick Odair, I can't get him out of my head. I've wracked my brain, thinking of where I can know him from. His eyes...they're so strikingly familiar. I know I've seen them before, I just don't know where. I've searched several books on previous Victors, trying to find more information in them. I saw a page about myself, although there wasn't anything about family history besides:

''Lost parents, moved in with Rosalind Sanderson until she died a year after her Games.''

But Rosalind wasn't family. She was a substitute mother. Who was my real mother?


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