Raise some hell before we ghost
Break the rules, a broken nose
You know us
Hissing echoed throughout the tunnels, scratching at Indiana's brains and sending shivers skittering down her spine. Weapon in hand, Indiana agreed with the consensus that the group was not about to split up. Katniss needed them, even if she refused to accept it.
Covering up the traces of their overnight stay, the group set off through the tunnels once more. Their feet ached and their bodies protested but the sounds of the Mutts pushed them forward at a faster pace than they had the previous day. Swiftly moving through the tunnels, their movements were sloppier than before. Each step sounded louder than the last and the unmistakable ring of metal on metal reverberated down the tunnel as their weapons clanged against the pipes. Garbled screams rang through the air as the squadron entered into a section of neglected train tracks. Indiana's hand dropped from Cato's. She knew that sound. She had heard it more times than she ever wanted to.
"Avoxes." Peeta said immediately, confirming Indiana's thoughts.
They had both heard that sound during their imprisonment. Snow ensured they could hear the screams of the innocent.
"The Mutts are killing anything they come across."
"They won't stop until they get to Katniss." Gale said nonchalantly, not realising that would encourage Katniss to attempt to convince Squad 451 – no, her friends to leave her.
"For fucks sake, Katniss, stop being the martyr." Indiana scolded.
Whilst she knew Katniss didn't want any of them to die for her or for the cause, Indiana knew that if they left the Mockingjay on her own, she was less likely to survive. All of them had worked too hard and lost too much in order to get Katniss this far. They were not about to make careless mistakes. Eventually the screams died down but the hissing of Katniss' name returned, seeping through the walls and the floor beneath their feet. Fear rippled down the group, each one as terrified as the next. No one had any idea what Mutt had been concocted to follow them, only that it was fast and undoubtedly deadly.
Sprinting faster than their feet could carry them, they flew through the pipes after Messalla had been caught in a pod. Peacekeepers poured in from one direction whilst the hissing came from the other. Without faltering, Indiana fired arrow after arrow into the crowd of white, aiming for the weak links in their armour and impaling their jugulars. A man on his knees flashed before Cato's eyes as he stared at the uniform his father had once worn. Unaware of his mental torment, Indiana yelled for her husband, confused as to why he wasn't aiding in the defeat of the Peacekeepers. Whilst the Capitol soldiers outnumbered the rebels, they lacked the skill and emotional drive that powered Squad 451. Four-limbed reptilian Mutts slithered over the deceased Peacekeepers and began devouring them, terrifying the rebels.
"Go! Go! Go!"
Finnick and Indiana brought up the rear whilst Cato assumed his 'noble position' guarding Katniss' back. Leaving Indiana was the last thing he wanted to do during the midst of danger but they had their orders and they were nothing if not dutiful soldiers. Masses of Mutts poured onto the ledge they had just crossed and Cato yanked Katniss up, slamming her onto the ladder and following behind so she did not stop. He had no idea of knowing if Indiana was safe until she climbed the ladder and was prevented from going back for her by the rest of the team spilling out of the hole.
Gale heaved himself through the gap, face ashen. Cato gagged at the sight. His uniform was shredded and the gaping wound in the side of his neck poured blood. Indiana and Finnick had been behind him. If he looks like that, Katniss thought, it is unlikely Indiana and Finnick are unscathed. She did not voice her thoughts out loud.
An agonised cry sounded from below and Katniss attempted to dive back down. Tears in his eyes, Cato dived forward and pulled her back. It was no use, he had said, they were beyond saving. Wrapping her arms around his waist, Katniss buried her face in his chest as more screams drifted up. A gunshot rang through the air and hope flickered in Cato's chest. It was quickly diminished when a feminine scream reached their eyes.
Sliding the Holo from her belt, Katniss whispered the three words that would cause it to implode. With a choked sob, she dropped it down the hole just as a hand reached out of the darkness.
"Run!" Indiana screamed, dropping behind to let Gale clamber up the ladder first.
She had been racing ahead of them when Gale's strangled yell pulled her back to come to the aid of her companion. Soon she was pushing Finnick towards the open hole, putting herself last. Reloading her gun, she cursed at the limited bullets left but she had to hold them off long enough to let Katniss' best friend, and the father-to-be to safety. Having torn Gale free from the jaws, she refused to look at the chunk of flesh missing, knowing that if she did, she might falter to go back for Finnick. After all, she did not desire losing a limb.
Gale reached down for her to grab his hand but just before she could climb up the ladder, a scream had her darting away once more. Gale swore but continued to climb. Shooting those that were closest to Finnick (who was buried under three Mutts), Indiana wrapped her arms around his midsection and dragged him away. The stitches in her arms pulled. Blinding pain fizzled through her veins but she ignored it as she hauled her half-conscience friend free from the jaws of death. Trying her hardest to push the dead weight of her barely conscious friend up the ladder, a helpless sob escaped her mouth when he refused to co-operate. His left arm was hanging on by a tendon and his blood coated her arms and the rungs of the ladder. Her foot slipped on the blood and she slammed against the ladder, momentarily winded.
Aiming down, she sent another round into the Mutts below but the gun slipped from her hand and she was unable to reach her second one. Screeching when a Mutt attached itself to her leg, Indiana gripped the ladder with all her might so that her other foot left the safety of the ladder to kick the monster off. Light loomed closer and a small object sailed past her head. Recognising it as the Holo, Indiana urged Finnick to move faster. Unfortunately, his movements were limited due to only one working arm. Mutt and human flesh splattered over her and she accepted the end as the blast neared her.
Strong hands slid under her arms and she felt herself being lifted up. Death had come for her. Cradling the love of his life against his body and ignoring that she was plastered in blood, Cato sobbed into her hair. Whilst it was hard to tell through all the blood, his wife seemed relatively unharmed as he rocked her back and forth.
"You were safe! You were on the damn ladder, why did you come back?" Finnick demanded, head clearer than it had been moments ago.
A bandage had been wrapped around his shoulder but he had already begun to bleed through, at an alarming rate. At his side, Gale glared down at her, his own neck bandaged and beginning to spot.
"Reckless behaviour like that will get you killed. You should've just left us. It was idiotic," he reprimanded before thanking her for saving his life. He gave her an one-armed hug, thankful she was alive but his steely eyes bore into her own the entire time and she found it slightly hard to accept his gratitude.
"I couldn't just let you die! Not when I had a chance to save you." Indiana defended. "Finn, you have a family to think of."
"You had no right! You could've died and I would've been left knowing that I was my fault. No right!"
Rescuing her blonde friend from Finnick's wrath (and soon Cato's as he looked ready to explode), Katniss informed the group that they needed to be off the streets before they were spotted. Once more, Snow might believe them to be dead. Any small amount of time they could salvage to get a step ahead was time they were in dire need of.
Momentarily safe in the hidden compartment of Tigris' store, Indiana ignored the burning gaze on her back as she flitted between Gale and Finnick. Needle and thread in hand, it was her job (as the most medically trained member of the Squadron) to sew up their freshly cleaned wounds and bandage them once more. Handing each male some painkillers, she moved over to the sink and washed away the blood from her hands. It was more than likely that once he received proper medical attention, Finnick would lose his arm. Watching as the water turned pink, Indiana sighed. She had had enough of cleaning blood from her hands.
In a corner of the room, Katniss was tending to Peeta's raw wrists. In those tunnels, Peeta had been the one to remain level-headed and calm when everyone else panicked. Perhaps this was a sign that he was regaining the memories of the person he had once been and the love he had once held. Brushing hair away from Finnick's damp forehead, Indiana smiled when he moved into her touch.
"What were you going to say earlier?" Finnick croaked.
Helping him to sit, she lifted a canteen of water to his lips before tucking him back under the fur pelts, mindful of his shoulder. "It seemed important and I don't want to die without knowing."
"Oh, you're not going to die, Finn. I was just thinking that Cato and I would enjoy living near the sea, and you if you'll have us."
"Annie and I would be delighted," he smiled, eyelids dropping with exhaustion. "I can never thank you enough for saving my life, and I'm sorry I yelled. I'm grateful to have you as a friend. Both of you." Finnick added when Cato came to stand by Indiana's side.
"Get some rest, Finn." Cato smiled down at him.
Turning away from the fisherman, Cato's smile dropped and climbed into his own nest of furs, waiting for Indiana to slide in next to him before covering them both. Resting her head on his outstretched arm, she shuffled against his chest. Biting her lip, her hands twisted into his air, nervously fiddling with the strands at the nape of his neck as she waited for the angry words. His chest was tense beneath her touch and his arm hadn't wrapped around her body as it usually did at night.
Cato remained silent until Finnick's snored filled his ears. He did not want his friend to overhear his words and misinterpret them to mean he felt no joy that Finnick was alive. He had never been more relieved than when Finnick had clambered out of that tunnel, even if Indiana had perished. Despite the fact that his wife might've also died, Cato could only focus on the fact that he would have to tell Annie that her husband and father-of-her-child had died because Cato had failed to protect him.
"Just get on with it," she whispered, glancing up into his emotionless eyes.
It was an expression she hadn't seen since the 74th Games. When he stood up on the stage of his Reaping, his eyes had shone the same vacant blue; cold and calculating. Usually when he looked down at her, his eyes resembled the blue of a cloud free sky but now they were hard. Just like glass, they shattered when he felt a tear drip onto his neck.
"Sweetheart, I'm not going to yell at you. It would be unfair of me to be mad because you saved lives. I'm just hurt by you consistently attempting to throw away your life. You made me a promise, remember? You said you'd never leave me and yet at every opportune moment, you try to break that promise."
Soothing circles were drawn on her back and the warmth of his hand seeped through her uniform. Now that she had let one tear fall, they continued to run. She was exhausted. Her body was burning and she ached in place she had never known could ache. Sweat slid down the nape of her neck as she tried her hardest not to heave on the floor. Each movement brought a fresh wave of sickness.
"I know, I know." Indiana insisted. "But all I could think about was the unborn child in Annie's stomach. My hand was on that ladder and yet all I worried about was explaining to that baby how I let its father die. It deserves a chance to grow up in a free world with two loving parents."
"And what about any future children that we have? Don't they deserve to have both their parents?! I can't imagine a life where you are not by my side. I have lived in the world without you before and whilst is may have only lasted ten minutes, I have never felt pain like it. You can't leave me, baby."
"Cato..." Indiana knew that this conversation was one they should've had before but there was no time like the present.
"I don't think it'll be possible for me to have children. I never had the tests to confirm it but the doctor didn't seem optimistic when he briefly mentioned it. Peeta ran me through with that spear and whilst the Capitol fixed the hole and my stomach, I doubt they would've repaired the damage done to my reproductive organs. After all, they expected me to die once again in the Quell. I think it is impossible for us to have children together."
Cato remained silent as he attempted to process the news. He wanted to clamber out of his makeshift bed and throttle Peeta Mellark until he was blue in the face. Yet again, he had taken something precious from Indiana.
"I wouldn't blame you if," hiccupped Indiana. "-if you wanted to find someone who could- who could give you the life you dreamt of. With- with –with children."
"Oh, Baby, no." Cato reassured, brushing away a tear. He pulled her closer and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "It's you and me forever. If we cannot have a baby our own then there will be plenty of young children who will need a warm home and a loving family once this war is over. Blood or not, we can still have the family we've talked about."
Silent tears turned into muffled blubbers at her husband's declaration and she reminded him of how grateful she felt to be married to him. Over in her sleeping bag, Katniss' expression of sorrow turned into a smile. The Hadley's had been through so much pain, and despair was an ever-present cloud over their heads but hearing her friends planning for their future gave Katniss hope. It was nice to hear sounds of the world already healing.
"And if Snow captures you again? You don't even have a gun." Gale pointed out in response to Peeta's suggestion that he venture out on his own.
"I'll go with him." Indiana declared, levelling Cato with such a ferocious look that he closed his mouth before his protestations could escape. "The rest of you will continue with the mission whilst Peeta and I act as a diversion. Killing Snow is the most vital aspect of this mission, no matter the casualties."
Pressing a kiss to Finnick's cheek and one to Cato's lips, she forced them out the door after making them promise to look after themselves and each other. Cato's warm lips lingered on her own as he whispered his love for her once more. They may never see each other again but there wasn't enough time to say all the words one should say before death. The future was unknown but the future was fast approaching. True change was happening across Panem and it wouldn't be long until they were free or obliterated. If Snow won, they would be wiped from history forever.
Gripping Peeta's clammy hand, the blonde pair thanked Tigris for all her help before being the last ones to venture out into the snow. Merging with the refugees, Indiana fought the instinct to search for her husband, knowing that doing so would only attract attention. Gunfire rippled through the crowd and Peeta threw himself over Indiana as they scuttled for shelter. Darting over to the row of shops, they flatten themselves against the wall as they shuttled forward.
A lemon yellow coat lay on the ground, a small hand stained red. Indiana was pulled away from the small form on the ground as Peeta guided them forward. Blood puddled near her boot as she tore her eyes away from the glassy, lifeless ones that looked up at her. This is what they were fighting for. Four blocks on and their paces never slowed.
"Indie," said Peeta, finally breaking the silence. "I'm so sorry about your stomach. I had no idea you couldn't have child-."
So he had overheard the conversation.
"Enough. We need to be quiet."
Now was not the time to be having that conversation. In fact, it wasn't a conversation she ever wanted to be having with Peeta. She loved him but it was a pain she would never be able to move past and it was a deed she would never be able to forgive. Turning the corner of yet another block, they both agreed that they were far enough away from Tigris' shop that they could slow their pace to save their energy.
Halting for just a second, Indiana rested so as to catch her breath but the air left her lungs entirely as blunt force smacked her in the gut. Folding inwards, she struggled to breathe for a few moments. Peeta ducked as a Peacekeeper lunged for him but it was no use. Two of them held back his arms whilst another pulled out his truncheon. Indiana bellowed his name as a blow hit her across the back of the head. Collapsing onto her hands and knees, she felt a foot slam into her abdomen and she went sprawling onto her back. Gasping for air, she heard Peeta call for her in fear.
Wrapping her hand around the Peacekeeper's ankle, she yanked. Helmet rolling off his head as he fell, it came to a stop on a red-stained flagstone. A click sounded and Peeta darted for Indiana as the world went black.
Ragged breaths left their lips as Cato dragged Finnick along, both scanning the refugees for any sign of the woman they had been charged with protecting. Her cry for Gale had reached their ears after the earth beneath their feet began opening, and now they were searching ferociously. With each step, Finnick grew paler and his bandage became darker. Propping his friend against the wall of a shop, he promised to return soon but with Katniss in tow. They had spotted her on the outskirts of the barricade.
Using the bulk of his body, he shoved his way through the cold and frightened refugees. As he drew closer, she moved further away. Frustrated, Cato pushed his body to move faster before she grew to be out of reach. Unable to call out of her name lest the Peacekeepers were alerted to her presence, his task of retrieving her became harder and his patience thinned.
"Prim!" Katniss screeched, pushing through the crowd.
Katniss had almost reached the barricade by the time Cato was in arm's reach. Looking into the crowd of children and medics, Cato spotted the young girl whom Katniss had risked her entire life for. Hand touching her shoulder, Katniss had just turned to face him when the silver parachutes exploded. Balls of flame erupted from the parachutes, shooting over the barricade and attacking anyone close enough.
Wrapping his arms around the inconsolable girl, Cato turned them both away from the horrific sight and dragged her away from what little remained of her beloved sister. Scorching heat engulfed the two rebels until burning hot sunshine blinded them. All they could feel was the sizzle of their skin and the ignition of their bones. Every nerve in his body was alit with pain.
Light had never been so evil.
Smoke filled her lungs and her pores yet she did not choke. Stumbling over her feet, she inhaled deeply after realising that the black cloud wrapped around them was designed to impair their vision only. Tripping over a body, the hollow thud alerted her that she had made contact with a Peacekeeper. Not giving the soldier a chance to gather his wits, her gun was against his temple before his hand could reach his own. She emptied the first bullet into his skull. The second one went into his chest but he had already been dead. That one was just to satisfy the aching emptiness within her.
"Indie, where are you?!" Peeta's terrified voice called.
Don't let it be her, he prayed. The dull thud of flesh on flesh had her reaching for her arrows. Feeling along the shaft, she plucked out the one she had been looking for. Aiming up into the sky, she let the string go. Seconds after, a flare shot from the arrow. Using the momentary red haze to her advantage, she turned and shot one more Peacekeeper before the dark surrounded them once more.
Guided by the sounds of choking, Indiana crept towards her blond friend when a fist collided with her broken nose. Agony. It was unfortunately something she had grown accustomed to so whilst tears swum in her eyes, she did not cry out. Instead, she wrapped her arms around the neck of the Peacekeeper and flipped them. A feminine cry reached Indiana's ears as she kicked the helmet from the Peacekeepers head. Notching an arrow, she fired it into the eye of the Peacekeeper. Silence mixed with the blindness of the black fog and Indiana's heart stopped.
"Peeta? Peet, where are you?" She cried, worried when didn't immediately respond. "Peeta! Answer me, for fucks sake."
"Indie, watch out!"
His voice sounded from all directions. As she spun frantically in a circle, a large body slammed into her. Back smacking against her bow as she was crushed to the floor, she thanked Beetee's brilliance when it didn't break beneath her weight. The gun from her hand went flying and her head connected with the ground. The bow was all she had left. Large, gloved hands wrapped around her throat and she felt herself asphyxiating. Dead weight landed on top of her, blood spraying across her face. Shock made her numb to the arms pulling her out from underneath until the fog cleared and she could make out the hazy image of Peeta before her.
"You saved me," she gasped.
"You saved me first," he responded.
Blinking, she tried to clear the darkness from her vision but the black spots kept moving rapidly. Eyes flickering shut, she could feel Peeta shaking her but was unable to find the will to go on. Her arms would not move and her eyes felt heavy. As they closed once more, her body went slack. Cursing, Peeta shook her harder. Tears dropped onto her face, mixing with the blood. A pulse thrummed in her veins but it felt weaker and more sporadic each time he checked it. One job; Cato had given him one job and he had failed.
Shoving the sleeves of her top up her arms, he saw that the stitches were still intact and that they were healing nicely. A few bruises and small bumps dotted across her head but nothing that seemed outwardly life threatening. Aside from the thick scar, her stomach was flat and unharmed. All that was left was her legs. Rolling up the left leg of her pants, Peeta gasped at the state of it.
Warm to the touch, the leg had red streaks covering it, wrapping around her ankle and up towards her ankle. Unfortunately, that wasn't the gnarliest part. Ginormous bite marks had been sunk into her lower leg. Deep enough that a flash of bone could be seen in one. Green and black in colour, a foul smell radiated from them. In her mission to save Finnick's life, Indiana had been bitten by the Mutt. Infection had spread at such an alarming rate that Peeta concluded that their fangs must've been dripping with poison. She truly was dying this time and there was no medic around to save them.
Get out our way or join the riot
Hear the sirens?
Everything is burning and I love it
Sit and watch the world until it's nothing