After our call for alternate mockingjay endings, we received some INCREDIBLE gems from y'all (and were we surprised? HELL NAH). So grab an Effie, settle into yr comfortable, non-fire-bombed chair and enjoy these takes on what SHOULD have happened in the conclusion of Mockingjay. VIVA CINNA!
BONUS: Deleted Scene from Brian Katcher (aka A REAL AUTHOR YOU GUYS):
It was clearly a room from which most of the occupants never left. Concrete block, grated floor, at a depth that would make District Thirteen jealous. A single, bare bulb cast the cell into sharp contrast. Somewhere, in another part of the cellar, a heavily accented voice screamed 'Do it to Julia! Not me! Do it to Julia!'
One lone figure slumped in a chair, his bonds preventing him from collapsing on the floor. Due to his bruised eyes, it was impossible to tell if he was unconscious or merely contemplating the small pile of tooth fragments below his chair.
The metal door clanged open. In a district where all doorways moved with quiet electricity, the clang was an expensive effect. Worth it, though.
The figure on the chair stirred, and squinted at the newcomer through long, matted, though surprisingly glossy hair.
"Missed you, honey," rasped the prisoner.
The man at the doorway said nothing. He was a nondescript man, with a face designed not to be noticed. His uniform bore the most frightening insignia of all: none.
As he approached the chair, the bound man flinched in spite of himself. In the many months down here, he'd never begged, never pleaded. But he knew what was coming, and wasn't ashamed of his fear. But what the captor said next took him utterly by surprise.
"District Two has fallen."
He tried to focus. "Two...you mean...?"
The man nodded. "Two weeks. Maybe three. It's all over."
Tears streamed down the captive's broken nose. "I never dared hope..."
The jailer stepped to the left, out of his charge's line of site. "You know, I have to admit I'm impressed by you. I've known soldiers who couldn't stand up to..." He stopped himself. One never talked about that, not even to the victim. "What were you, a hairdresser?"
The man's head lolled. "You know damn well who I am." He paused. "And I know why you're here. You wouldn't have told me about District Two unless--"
"For what it's worth, she thinks you're dead. We only kept you around in case we needed some leverage. Thought she might react if we aired footage of one of her friends. Bad idea, as it turned out."
The prisoner was openly weeping now. "She...if anyone could have done it, it was her. I think of her every day. I always will."
Just behind his ear came a metallic clicking sound.
"No, you won't."
Dude, Brian. WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE US CRY ALL OVER AGAIN? No happy mockingjay for you! Let's get to some HAPPY ENDINGS.
I look up from sharpening my knife and turn to the open kitchen door. Sunlight glares into the room, obscuring the haloed figure in the doorway. I squint to see -- and my knife and sharpener fall, clattering onto the floor. Buttercup darts away before he can be clipped, unfortunately.
He steps from the light. "Yes," he says, grinning. "How are you and Peeta?"
How are me and -- he was supposedly murdered and now here he is, wanting to know how Peeta and I are?
"It didn't work out," I tell him. Once I was revived in the hospital to find Prim still alive and well -- silly drug-induced nightmares -- and after Snow blew his brains out, Peeta and Haymitch and I were sent back to our old homes in Victor's Village. Peeta and I got together, but we moved into the realm of Strictly Friends after that pregnancy scare. But he just met a girl, a cook from District 11, and the baby's already on its way. Obviously the boy works fast when it's not me he's after.
Cinna steps closer. "That's good," he tells me. His voice is much more gravelly than I remember, and his appearance is rougher. But he still has that thin line of gold eyeliner under his eyes.
"Why is that good?" I say, confused. After all, he's one of the people who helped Peeniss, as Haymitch can't help but call us in drunken (and not-so-drunken) stupors, come together.
"Gale is some military adviser guy now. Besides, I think he's with Madge." Turns out Madge and her family had made it safely into their secret bunker just before the bombing of 12 blew up their house. Go figure.
He nods and takes another step closer, then seizes my hands and pulls me to my feet -- and there's no way he's doing what I think he's doing. But he is. He kisses me.
"I'm not gonna lie, Cinna," I say after reluctantly breaking away. "I thought you were into guys."
Cinna laughs. "It's true," he says, "that you're the only woman I've had Romantical Feelings for. And now . . . well, now I know you're interested as well." He raises his perfectly sculpted dark brows in question.
What? I'm not inter -- Oh, fuck it. I think I might be. I kiss him in answer.
We sit down at the kitchen table, straightening our clothes. I bend to pick up my knife and sharpener while Cinna pulls a needle and sparkly pink thread from a hidden pocket of his raspberry-colored tunic. After he snatches a frayed towel from the kitchen counter to mend, his eyes meet mine. He smiles brightly. I smile back.
Oh, and Finnick is still alive, too. Those lizard muttations were totally just playing around.
Katniss cleared off the leaves on the rock under the hunting tree. She counted the little nicks and scars on her hands as she waited. Finally, the silence was broken.
"Come here often?"
"Don't be cute, Gale."
"But I'm so good at it." Gale, comfortable, sat down next to Katniss. "How long have you been waiting?"
"A pretty long time."
"Peeta hasn't shown up yet? Your mother?"
"No," Katniss said. "Not yet. But I tried to teach Cinna how to hunt yesterday. It went about as well as you'd expect."
"Missed everything by a mile?"
"Actually, no, he took down a turkey. But then he made a headdress out of it and forced me to wear it to dinner. It was weird."
"Did this one light on fire?"
"No. But it scared the cat, and Prim spent hours trying to coax her out from under the bed. So. I have to say, I wasn't expecting you here so soon."
"I wasn't exactly rushing to get here. But a soldier's life takes many twists and turns." Gale paused, rubbing a dried and long-dead leaf between his fingers. "How long are you going to wait here for them?"
Katniss smiled. "As long as it takes."
"Katniss? Did you ever think, after all those years, with so much invested, we'd end up here?"
"In purgatory, you mean? Waiting to move on?"
"Yeah. I don't know; it all feels so . . . . it's like no one knew how to finish our story, but they didn't want to give any answers, and they sort of ran out of time and maybe got a little drunk, so they came in the next day, hungover, and just wrote down a bunch of nonsense about dead people going to heaven, and called it emotional resolution."
"True," Katniss replied. "And I still don't understand where the polar bears came from."
"Prim!" I reached out as she ran toward me. The world shook around us as the second round of bombs blew, the blast wave knocking us to the ground. My ears were still ringing when I felt myself being hauled to my feet.
"Gale?!" I spat dust from my mouth. "Prim, she.."
"Right here!" my little duck dusted off her uniform.
"We've got a clear path to the president's mansion." Gale, always focused on the task, reminded me.
"How did you escape the guards?" He just smiled, and we started running toward President Snow's mansion. Once inside, it was easy to find our way. I just followed the scent of roses. Coin's people were already there, but the no one stopped us. I guess my face was finally paying off. Bow and arrow drawn, we entered the president's office. Coin turned around and regarded me dispassionately. "We've got it, Katniss."
But this kill was mine. I stared at the man who had made my life hell for the past two books. I raised my bow, just as Coin's men charged me. Gale tossed Prim a gun, and together they cleared my path, one by one. Now it was just Coin standing in my way.
"You'll pay for this." She ground out. She did not see Peeta slip in the window behind Snow, knife drawn. As Peeta slid his knife through Snow's flabby neck, my eyes refocused on Coin. "We already have." Coin's fury turned to puzzlement as she looked from my eyes to the arrow now embedded in her chest, before collapsing to the ground. Then it was just the four of us, and we clung to each other. These three. My family.
"What happens now?" Prim wiped a tear from my cheek. There was so much that would have to be done. I felt suddenly tired, deep in my bones, but with that exhaustion came relief. Whatever we had to do to make Panem a better place, we would do it. But from now on, I was no one's puppet. As I looked into the eyes of Prim, Gale and Peeta, I knew the nightmare was over.
From Christina R:
When I get to the Meadow, I see Katniss sitting on her rock, watching, lost in thought, as the children run and play in the tall, lush grass that now grows over what used to be a graveyard. I smile as I spot our daughter Prue dancing to music only she can hear. It's her mother's song in her heart, I tell her as I'm tucking her in at night. It's only a matter of time until her voice hushes the birds who have come back to populate the trees of District 12, just as theirs once did.
That's her favorite bedtime story, the one of the first day I fell in love with her mother. That had been one of the hardest memories to salvage from the hijacking, but I was able to wrest it back, back when I was still trying to convince Katniss that things were different, that we no longer had to fear the Capitol. It had taken fifteen years to convince her of that, but she eventually agreed. She had had panic attacks while carrying Prue, but they melted away when she finally held her in her arms. The attacks came back while she was carrying our son, Finna, but they weren't as bad.
I can tell by the way she sighs watching them that she's still worried. We know one day we will have to explain to our children why Momma still awakes with nightmares, and why Papa occasionally has panic attacks because of something Momma does. But I keep telling her it will be okay. We have the book, and when the time comes, we'll be able to explain everything in a way that will make them stronger, braver.
I can't help smiling wider as Prue stops dancing and runs to her little brother, a giant grin on her face. He reaches his chubby hands up to her, and she dances him around, their giggles filling the once stagnant and oppressive air. I watch Finna's gray eyes twinkle and his soft blond curls bounce as they dance and feel my heart swell.
"They're so beautiful," I whisper as I come up beside Katniss on the rock.
She starts at first, but a sweet smile settles on to her lips. "They are," she sighs, though concern creases her brow.
I sit next to her on the rock, and lay a protective arm around her shoulders. "They are fine, Katniss," I tell her. "Things are better now. They're not going anywhere."
Katniss nods and turns her nose into my neck, breathing deeply. "My name is Katniss Mellark," I hear her whisper into my collar. "The Hunger Games no longer exist. The Capitol no longer exists. Peeta is back," she continues, squeezing me a little. "He is my husband, and we have two children. Everything has changed. We are safe."
I turn and kiss the top of her head. "We are safe," I repeat. "That, I know is real."
From Posh D.
"Ugh, the traffic on the Finnick Memorial Highway was f*cking awful this morning!" Lisbeth slams her helmet down on the conference table and shrugs off her leather jacket. She earns the typical eye roll from Frankie. "Lis, you say that every morning."
"Here," I say, pushing the tray of croissants towards her. "One of these will make you feel better."
Lisbeth spares me a rare half smile and chuckles. "I'm surprised Peeta was able to unwrap himself from around your finger long enough to bake these."
"This, from the girl who has Panem's number one journalist at her beck and call? Please." I look over at Frankie, who simply shrugs and says, "You don't get to be a national leader by standing behind your man. I taught Alpha that the first year we met."
"I bet that's not the only thing you taught him!" Lisbeth cackles, artfully dodging the piece of croissant aimed at her head. "Speaking of sexy business, I heard Gale was coming back to town for the legislature meeting..."
Now it's my turn to roll my eyes. "Yeah, so?"
"Sooooo," Frankie says, one eyebrow arched, "Think there might be a repeat of last year's secret little rendezvous?"
"I NEVER should have told you guys." I sigh, shaking my head.
"Are you kidding? We have the highest security clearance in the country. We need to know EVERYTHING." Frankie closes the file folder in front of her and looks at me expectantly.
"Well, we haven't made any plans, but... "
"But you purchased a hot little number from Cinna's latest collection just in case?" Lis can barely contain her smugness.
"LISBETH. I told you to stop hacking into my computer! Seriously! Besides, what I decide to do in the privacy of the bedroom is my business! It's not like Peeta and I are married or anything. Why do I have to choose when I can, uh, enjoy both?"
"Spoken like a true badass!" Frankie high fives me, then reopens the file folder. "Ok, Madam President, enough of the boy talk. Let's get down to the serious business of running this country."
"Yes, let's!" I say, smiling at my two favorite advisers. "It is, after all, my favorite game to play."
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