CHAPTER 16

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Disclaimer: I do not own anything from The Hunger Games trilogy all rights go to Suzanne Collins. I do however own Quinn and her story.

"Couldn't sleep either?" A voice echoed through the corridor causing her to halt mid-step and look through the doorway leading to the weaponry. Her tired gaze caught sight of Gale as he sat at the desk surrounded by large sheets of paper.

"Nope." She sighed, running her hands over her face as she approached him. "Not from lack of trying. What are you working on?"

Glancing back up, he watched as she tilted her head to get a better look before sliding into the seat in front of him.

"These are the blueprints for some of the weapons that Beetee and I have been designing." He responded after a moment, gliding the large parchment across the table to her, watching as she studied it closely before frowning whilst picking at the bandage that covered her knuckles.

"Is there any way to reduce the blast radius?" She asked, looking up. "I mean we can use it if we have to but if we could target the area directly with minimal casualties, that would be great."

Laughing lightly at her facial expression, Gale nodded in agreement: "We're working on it but we've no solution yet."

"Don't look at me, I know nothing about bombs." Quinn added, raising her hands slightly before catching a yawn that threatened to betray her. In truth, she had been kept awake by the memories of the death and decay that had swept through District 8. Each time she closed her eyes, she witnessed the fighter jet colliding with the hospital and her mind immediately concocted a thousand possibilities, a thousand ways in which a millisecond sooner would have save the hundreds of lives. The guilt gnawed at her in the early hours of the morning; prisoners running their tin mugs along the bars that caged them, calling taunts to the ignorance that guarded them.

"Hey." His voice snapped her gaze from the table to him. "I lost you for a moment. Where did you go?"

"Nowhere. I'm just tired."

Surveying her expression for a moment, the young man from twelve realised how similar they were - both motivated by their short-tempered nature with a belly full of fire and a tsunami of emotions locked behind their eyes - and so he simply nodded: "You know where I am if you need me."

Fighting tiredness once more and avoiding the conversation, Quinn rose from her seat. "I'm going to go and see if this hand is any use."

---

Sweat beaded across her brow as her muscles burned with the increase in fatigue. The knuckles on her right hand ached as she admitted defeat and cast the bow aside, grabbing one of her long-bladed daggers as a substitute. Glancing sideways, she saw Haymitch standing with his arms crossed watching her as she fought with the holographic figures that pounced on her from every direction. The system had nothing on the ones in the training centre but on the highest difficulty were enough to break a sweat and stir a flashback to the monkey mutations in the Quarter Quell arena as the scars across her torso ached in accompaniment.

Sinking her dagger into the forehead of the last image, she hopped out of the stimulation to face the man as he eyed her bandaged hand with an unimpressed expression and a raised eyebrow.

"Little misunderstanding with a wall." She shrugged, gulping down the water between breaths.

"Can you still use it?" Haymitch asked tossing her a chunk of bread from breakfast as she nodded once in confirmation. "I don't have to kick your ass then."

"Bring it, old man." The young woman chuckled, ripping the bread and scoffing it promptly as she had forgotten that meal times were something that she had to abide by on the new schedules that Coin had provided for them. Naturally, Quinn had yet to attend anything during her allocated slot.

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