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Finnick II

"This year the Tributes will be Reaped from the existing pool of Victors."

Annie has a panic attack right there and then.

Finnick makes sure she's calm and tucked in bed before he has his own on his kitchen floor.


"You want to what?" Theo blinks at him, fingers twitching sporadically as they were prone to doing, a by product of the morphling constantly in his system, "Finnick that's...that's suicide."

"We were part of a rebellion, some would say the same about that. And we could be Reaped all over again..." Finnick looks at him intently, "Is it doable?"

"I mean," Theo twitches again, "Finnick...fuck…"

"Look just imagine it okay?" He leans in, "Imagine flying away...going wherever we want…"

"Panem is all that's left."

"That's the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard." Finnick informs him, "A huge world, and we're the only landmass to survive?"

"But you don't know."

"No," he shakes his head, "I don't know, but I do know this. I'd rather land a hovercraft into the ocean and take my chances out there rather than live here any longer. I could still be here watching beautiful young men and women getting massacred Game after Game for another 50 years. Or I could get Reaped for these Games...and end up dead...or worse, a double Victor."

Theo twitches again, "The Rebellion."

"You and I know it's more fighting...more death...more destruction. So much suffering and we might not even win," Finnick laces his fingers together, "I'm just...done. Even before the last Games I was wondering if we could win and now...the Mockingjay." his face twists, "I can't...I'm so tired of fighting."

The morphling addict nods, hollow face full of a deep understanding, "Run away...start a whole new life…the ghosts would still be there."

"But we wouldn't have to add more ghosts every year." Finnick points out, and he sees Theo waver.

"I want to…"

"I know you do...and I know it will have to be planned perfectly...but imagine it, a new world all our own...no Snow...no District 13….no Hunger Games. Just us."

"Survival isn't easy. There'd be no buildings, no society...no safety net...nothing"

"We've done it before...and I'd rather do it this way." Finnick folds his arms and rubs them slightly

Theo nods, and Finnick grins, "Transports then."

"I can do it."

"Be careful who you recruit...one leak and…" He makes a hand motion like a throat being cut.

Theo's smile is wry.


Slowly his idea grows and spreads.


"Are you insane?" Haymitch hisses at Finnick, "one person whispers of this to the wrong person and you'll all be executed. And that's if you're lucky!"

The pair of them are in District 12, and the place is just as utterly miserable and depressing as it has been every other time Finnick has visited. The snow mixes with rain and mud to make an icy slush on the ground and he huddles in his coat, looking forward to getting back to District 4.

Wherever they end up, he's got to make sure they end up somewhere warm. He's not living in a place like this.

"Most people just know it's a plan to escape. They know nothing more about it, not who's involved, not how it's happening, nothing. They just know there will be a signal."

"I think that sea water has curdled your brain." Haymitch glares at him, "How can you be so stupid!"

Finnick glares back, "Stupid is it? They say the craziest thing you can do is keep doing the same thing and hoping for different results. Every year we Mentor and we think it'll be easier…"

"It was easier. Mine didn't die last year."

Finnick punches him.

Haymitch reels and rubs his jaw, before chuckling weakly, "I deserved that. My apologies Finnick."

The green eyed man scowls at him, before nodding. He's too used to Haymitch to hold on to the flash of fury he'd felt at his words.

"So you won't join us?" he asks, tucking his fingers into his sleeves.

Haymitch hesitates, "Let me think about it...alright? I think we have a good chance with District 13...and the Mockingjay."

Finnick pulls a face, "I don't see it."

"Fair," Haymitch moves to close his door, "Doesn't change the fact the rest of Panem can."

"Asshole," Finnick mutters, and heads down the stairs of Haymitch's front porch and glances across the street, where a fair haired young man is talking with a young blonde haired girl.

He recognises her as Katniss' sister, a year older and his stomach clenches slightly.

He can't deny Katniss' bravery, stepping up to take her sister's place. It was brave, and potentially suicidal but it had saved the life of the young girl smiling across the square.

Finnich was the youngest Victor in the Games' history, and still holds that record...no one 12 years old has ever won. This little girl would have been slaughtered.

But Sky might have lived, a traitorous part of his mind whispers.

He pushes the thought away. What if's are a dangerous, slippery slope.

Slowly he walks across the road and smiles at Peeta who grins back, a little uncertainly at first, before warming into a genuine smile.

"Peeta," he greets the young Victor before smiling at Katniss' sister.

He can't see many similarities between them visually, one dark haired, olive skinned, grey eyed, with a beauty like the moon. This young girl is like the sun, with her pale blonde hair and sweet face.

"You must be Primrose," he adds smoothly, plucking the name from his memory. It's a skill he's cultivated over years in the Capitol's service, and it always serves him well.

Primrose dimples sweetly at him, and nods, as Peeta smiles a little with relief, "Prim, this is Finnick Odair. He's a Victor too...from District 4."

"I know." Prim nods again, before solemnly holding her hand out for him to shake. Charmed he lightly brushes a kiss over the back of her hand to make her blush and giggle before turning to Peeta.

"I was wondering if we could have a chat."

He hadn't been planning to talk to Peeta, not yet, but the young man is here, and after Haymitch, Finnick wants someone on his side.

They walk off towards snow covered forests, where no listening devices lurk, and Finnick tells Peeta his idea, quietly.

Blue eyes consider him intently.

"It's tempting..especially with the Quell…"

Finnick nods. District 12 only has three Victors, Peeta has a 50% chance of being dragged back into that Arena. And this time Finnick doesn't think he'll make it back out again.

"The people we leave behind will be punished...you know that...right?"

It's been something he's tried not to think about, but he knows Peeta's right.

The Capitol doesn't react to rebellion, or being thwarted, with anything less than a sledgehammer. If they disappear? People will die, become Avoxes, and the rebellion will be almost impossible to pull off.

It's almost enough to make him hesitate.

Almost.

Sky was the one with a conscience, she worried about the everyman. Finnick can't bring himself to do that.

To pull this off he has to be selfish.

"I know," He sighs softly, "And it's something we'll have to live with if we go, the knowledge that those we left behind had to pay for it. But I can't Peeta...I can't stay. Not now...Sky...was the mouse that sank the boat. If I stay it's a choice between being Reaped again, or mentoring 50 more years of Tributes...like Mags."

Peeta's blue eyes are understanding, and for a moment they remind him of another green pair that looked at him in a similar way. But Peeta is more pragmatic than Sky, and where she would have argued with him, passionately advocating for change and caring, Peeta simply nods.

"I know what you mean." He kicks a small rock out of some slushy snow, "I'm in."

"Really?" Finnick is surprised, but can't help but be pleased. Katniss will be dragged into the Rebellion and by virtue of their story of the Star-Crossed lovers, Peeta will be the collateral damage. If he flees with Finnick...it will save him, but could condemn those he leaves...like Katniss.

Speaking of…

"The offer doesn't extend to Katniss." He forces himself to say, "I can't…"

Peeta frowns at him, "I don't agree with her, but leaving her to suffer…"

Finnick struggles against his ingrained secrecy and caves, "Katniss is the symbol for a rebellion brewing. It's not the insurgent rabble Snow fears. It's a fully fledged thing, with resources and people planted in all the Districts. Some of whom are watching over her now."

"Haymitch…" Peeta breathes, and Finnick nods, pleased the boy is intelligent enough to follow the threads, "He's guiding her."

"Yes. Apart from my own personal feelings…" he pulls a face, "If we take her, the rebellion will have no hope at all."

Peeta nods thoughtfully, before looking at him again, "You were part of it?"

Finnick nods, "Before."

"And now?"

"Now…" Finnick sighs, "No. Not now. I lost my stomach for the fight."

"Ironic…" the blond man murmurs, and at Finnick's quizzical look he explains, "Sky wasn't a fighter, she was ever the peacemaker."

Finnick snorts, "Ironic indeed. But it is what it is...I can't...not anymore. And there are only three options. Fight...which I can no longer do, Freeze, which means everything stays the same...or...Flee."

Peeta sighs softly and kicks his rock again, "Well...I'm in. How many are leaving?"

"Couple of hundred."

"Really?" Peeta looks up interestedly, "Can we have a few more?"

"Sure," Finnick fixes him with a stern look, "You have to be absolutely certain of them...that they won't betray us, and that they won't say something before we're ready. We can't take everyone, and we can't risk the Capitol knowing."

Peeta nods, face solemn.

"I'll be careful."


Finnick is visiting Lyme in District 2 when he's accosted by a woman who barks his name across an empty square, before striding towards him..

She's tall, very tall, even by District 2 standards, with fair blonde hair and sharp blue eyes that are too watchful to dismiss. She's flanked by two men too similar not to be related, one of whom has his arms folded and the other who idly flicks lint off his jumper.

"Hello…" he warily greets them after being manhandled into an alley, "You know Victors don't carry money on them right?"

The woman snorts at him, "Please, if we'd wanted to rob you, we'd be targeting one of our own myriad of Victors. We don't need a fishy one."

"Then how can I assist you?" FInnick gestures at them, "I'm assuming this tete a tete is not simply for your amusement?"

She grins at him, "Adorable. I'm Deccia Du'Grey. My brother is...was...Cato."

Finnick feels the air punch out of his lungs.

"You're Cato's family."

Deccia nods firmly, and folds her arms like the man behind her, "We are."

"We were," the man mutters.

"We are," the other corrects, shooting him a small frown, "His absence doesn't mean he's no longer a part of us."

"That's exactly what it means," the first male snarls softly.

Deccia shoots them both quelling looks, before turning back to Finnick.

"You're the mentor for District 4 yes?"

He nods, struggling to get a full breath into his lungs.

"So you were….her...mentor?"

Another nod.

"Excellent," Deccia steps forward and he wonders if he should try running for it, "Was it real?"

"What?" he blinks at them, flummoxed, "Sky and Cato?"

Three blond heads nod at him.

"Yes," he bit his lip, "God help them but it was real."

One of the men behind Deccia makes a sound, a pained whine, and she turns to the other one, impassive with his folded arms, "Satisfied Lucan? It wasn't some stupid strategy."

The man, Lucan, scowls at her.

"If he'd stuck to his strategy…"

"What if's are as much use as a fart in the wind," Deccia snaps back, and Lucan rolls his eyes, "Without her, he would have died when the tracker-jackers stung him."

"She was lovely," the remaining man says quietly, speaking to Finnick again, "Was she really that...kind?"

Finnick nods, feeling the grief heavy in his throat, "She really was. She cared….so much. Too much."

The man smiles, blue eyes kind but seeing far more than Finnick is comfortable with, and offers his hand, "I'm Septim. Come on...join us for lunch."

Finnick looks at them, seeing the grief in all of them, from the sadness in Septim's face, to the hard lines of Lucan's shoulders, to the pain in Deccia's blue eyes.

How could he refuse?


Lunch turns into dinner.


"You have any siblings?" Septim asks Finnick as they wash the dishes, the sound of Lucan and Deccia bickering in the background.

"No, only child…" Finnick sighs softly, "I've always envied people their brothers and sisters though…"

"Do you want one of mine?" Deccia calls out to him, before a clanging noise follows her words, accompanied by swearing.

Finnick wonders if he should go check on them, but when he sees Septim's amused smile, he decides discretion is the better part of valor.

"I think in time...had Sky she survived would have been like a sister." he admits quietly to Septim, who glances over as he wipes a plate, "I already loved her...wanted the best for her. I would have given your brother the 'talk' about ever hurting her…"

Septim laughs quietly at the thought, but lets him continue.

"I think she would have been a part of my life...forever. And if I feel this….messed up about her, I can't imagine what it's been like for you…"

Septim hums softly and hands him the plate to dry, "It hasn't been easy. Cato was the baby of the family, but he's always been the one I worried about the most. He's...he was...so arrogant, so determined...nothing was going to stop him. If any one of us was going to be a Tribute for District 2 it would have been Deccia...or him. And once Deccia aged out...it only made him more determinted."

"It's strange to think of the Hunger Games as something to be sought after."

Septim smiles sadly, "It gives us purpose...a sense that something is in our control. That the child we have to send will have the best chance to survive."

It makes a warped kind of sense. And it breaks Finnick's heart all over again.


Dinner turns into drinks around the fire.


"They rigged the system," Deccia informs him, gesturing violently with a pewter goblet, the contents of which slosh ominously, "That partner twist was put in to favor Cats-piss and her butterfingered boy."

"Could have been for Cato and Sky too," Lucan drawls, sprawled in an armchair broodingly, cheeks flushed from drink, "They were sucking each others faces off when they announced it."

"It was for Katniss," Septim agrees with Deccia, "It's what pushed her to go look for Mellark. It made it a battle of the couples...she wouldn't have gone to find him if it wasn't for that."

"It was for the drama," Finnick scolds them all, rolling his eyes, "And as soon as it was convenient they reneged on the deal."

For a moment he wonders what would have happened if Sky and Cato had prevailed on the Cornucopia, would the rule change have been reversed for them too, forcing Cato to kill the woman he'd grown to care for? Would he have lost Sky all over again?

Was there no way she could have survived?

"It killed my mother," Deccia whispers to Finnick, some hours later, tears gleaming in her blue eyes as she watches her twin brothers sprawled over each other on the couch, fast asleep, "Losing Cato. She thought she was ready...but...she got an infection in her chest...just after the Victory tour. It was quick at least...and my father...couldn't live without her. He just withered away…"

She looks up at him, and for a moment he sees Cato at his most gentle, "We love too deeply in this District...with our hearts...our whole hearts."

Finnick swallows and hugs her tightly, and the pair of them rock together.

"I know what you mean," he whispers into her hair as she shivers with the force of not shedding a tear.

She's too proud to cry.

So he cries for both of them.


On the train back to District 4 the next day Finnick is so hungover he thinks he's going to be sick with every judder of the machinery.

But his heart is lighter.

The three Du'Grey siblings will be joining them all, though he's not quite sure of their reasoning. Still he's not going to turn away the help.

Plus...he kind of likes them.


After that, everything comes together very quickly.


Theo contacts him from District 6, letting him know the 'liberated' aircraft are ready.

Seeder, Enrid and Fells send him coordinates for the food stores in each of their Districts that will be the easiest to hit. He'd been unsure of speaking to them, knowing their allegiance to the Rebellion, but when they'd heard his plan they'd immediately jumped on it. All of them bring things to the table they'll need if the group is to survive, and he welcomes them with relief.

Finally they are as ready as they can be.

And the date is set.

They are locked in.

No going back now.


Peeta III

The aircraft would be waiting for him and anyone else he was bringing, in the dark of pre-dawn.

That night he can't sleep, tossing and turning in his bed. His bags are packed, mostly with clothes, and cooking implements. He was going to be roughing it now for who knew how long….this was his last night in a comfortable bed.

And he can't sleep.

Finally the clock reads 3 am and he quietly gets up, showers, dresses and carries his bags downstairs and hides them behind some trees.

Then he walks to Haymitch's house.

"Are you coming?" he asks when his former mentor emerges, clearly as awake as he is.

Haymitch runs his fingers through his hair, "This is crazy...you know that right?"

"I'd rather go out like this…"

Haymitch pulls a face at him, but doesn't disagree, "Before the Quell...I would have stayed. Would have taken my chances…"

"With the rebellion?" Peeta asks, and is gratified by the shock on his face, "Finnick told me."

"Finnick told you." Haymitch sucks in a sharp, annoyed breath, "Course he did the meddling…"

"He wanted me to have all of the facts before I made my decision." Peeta holds his ground and for a moment he thinks he can feel Sky's gentle hand curling around his arm, and her voice whispers.

'He's frightened.'

So am I, he thinks back to her.

"So you know." Haymitch rolls his head, "And you still don't want to stay."

Peeta nods, "I still don't want to stay."

Both of them glance at the house across the street.

"She's not invited…" Haymitch murmurs, "If we go...we're abandoning her here."

For the first time Peeta feels his own resolution waver. He'd be dead if it wasn't for Katniss...she'd saved him in the Arena...saved them both.

But for what? For this? Had she saved them, or had she simply made them a different kind of target?

If they flee, she'll bear the brunt of the punishment...but the Capitol won't be able to strike at her directly...she's too popular. They'll target her friends...her family. Even if only one of them goes, the other will be part of the punishment, and looking at Haymitch Peeta knows he's thought of this too.

Either they both have to stay...or they both have to flee.

"So?" Peeta asks him, "Are you willing to stay and take a chance on Katniss Everdeen and District 13? Without Finnick Odair and the others he takes with him?"

Haymitch glances at him shrewdly, "You don't think we can do it."

"I don't know enough about it to make a knowledgeable statement one way or the other." Peeta answers primly, before continuing, "But...They will go...with or without us…and the rebellion will be left. So I ask you... Can they do it?"

Haymitch frowns and sighs, "Maybe. But maybe isn't really good enough is it?"

Peeta shakes his head and his former mentor opens the door to reveal his bags, smiling ruefully.

"Haymitch…"

"I hoped...you'd change your mind. But you're right...it's just hard….after all these years...all these plans."

"But you packed your bags…"

"Yes…" he smiles ruefully and shoulders them, "I guess...I hoped you'd change my mind too."

Peeta shoots him a small grin and they both head towards the forest, before the young Victor pauses once more.

"I'll meet you there,"

Haymitch arches an eyebrow at him and takes one of his bags, "Don't take too long…"

He nods and they split up, Haymitch disappearing into the forest, and Peeta slowly walking back to knock on Katniss' door.

There is someone else he wants to save tonight.