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Книга Mockingjay. Содержание - 17

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And I hate him for it.


Blindsided. That’s how I feel when Haymitch tells me in the hospital. I fly down the steps to Command, mind racing a mile a minute, and burst right into a war meeting.

«What do you mean, I’m not going to the Capitol? I have to go! I’m the Mockingjay!» I say.

Coin barely looks up from her screen. «And as the Mockingjay, your primary goal of unifying the districts against the Capitol has been achieved. Don’t worry—if it goes well, we’ll fly you in for the surrender.»

The surrender?

«That’ll be too late! I’ll miss all the fighting. You need me—I’m the best shot you’ve got!» I shout. I don’t usually brag about this, but it’s got to be at least close to true. «Gale’s going.»

«Gale has shown up for training every day unless occupied with other approved duties. We feel confident he can manage himself in the field,» says Coin. «How many training sessions do you estimate you’ve attended?»

None. That’s how many. «Well, sometimes I was hunting. And…I trained with Beetee down in Special Weaponry.»

«It’s not the same, Katniss,» says Boggs. «We all know you’re smart and brave and a good shot. But we need soldiers in the field. You don’t know the first thing about executing orders, and you’re not exactly at your physical peak.»

«That didn’t bother you when I was in Eight. Or Two, for that matter,» I counter.

«You weren’t originally authorized for combat in either case,» says Plutarch, shooting me a look that signals I’m about to reveal too much.

No, the bomber battle in 8 and my intervention in 2 were spontaneous, rash, and definitely unauthorized.

«And both resulted in your injury,» Boggs reminds me. Suddenly, I see myself through his eyes. A

smallish seventeen-year-old girl who can’t quite catch her breath since her ribs haven’t fully healed.

Disheveled. Undisciplined. Recuperating. Not a soldier, but someone who needs to be looked after.

«But I have to go,» I say.

«Why?» asks Coin.

I can’t very well say it’s so I can carry out my own personal vendetta against Snow. Or that the idea of remaining here in 13 with the latest version of Peeta while Gale goes off to fight is unbearable. But I have no shortage of reasons to want to fight in the Capitol. «Because of Twelve. Because they destroyed my district.»

The president thinks about this a moment. Considers me. «Well, you have three weeks. It’s not long, but you can begin training. If the Assignment Board deems you fit, possibly your case will be reviewed.»

That’s it. That’s the most I can hope for. I guess it’s my own fault. I did blow off my schedule every single day unless something suited me. It didn’t seem like much of a priority, jogging around a field with a gun with so many other things going on. And now I’m paying for my negligence.

Back in the hospital, I find Johanna in the same circumstance and spitting mad. I tell her about what Coin said. «Maybe you can train, too.»

«Fine. I’ll train. But I’m going to the stinking Capitol if I have to kill a crew and fly there myself,» says Johanna.

«Probably best not to bring that up in training,» I say. «But it’s nice to know I’ll have a ride.»

Johanna grins, and I feel a slight but significant shift in our relationship. I don’t know that we’re actually friends, but possibly the wordallies would be accurate. That’s good. I’m going to need an ally.

The next morning, when we report for training at 7:30, reality slaps me in the face. We’ve been funneled into a class of relative beginners, fourteen- or fifteen-year-olds, which seems a little insulting until it’s obvious that they’re in far better condition than we are. Gale and the other people already chosen to go to the Capitol are in a different, accelerated phase of training. After we stretch—which hurts—there’s a couple of hours of strengthening exercises—which hurt—and a five-mile run—which kills. Even with Johanna’s motivational insults driving me on, I have to drop out after a mile.

«It’s my ribs,» I explain to the trainer, a no-nonsense middle-aged woman we’re supposed to address as Soldier York. «They’re still bruised.»

«Well, I’ll tell you, Soldier Everdeen, those are going to take at least another month to heal up on their own,» she says.

I shake my head. «I don’t have a month.»

She looks me up and down. «The doctors haven’t offered you any treatment?»

«Is there a treatment?» I ask. «They said they had to mend naturally.»

«That’s what they say. But they could speed up the process if I recommend it. I warn you, though, it isn’t any fun,» she tells me.

«Please. I’ve got to get to the Capitol,» I say.

Soldier York doesn’t question this. She scribbles something on a pad and sends me directly back to the hospital. I hesitate. I don’t want to miss any more training. «I’ll be back for the afternoon session,» I promise. She just purses her lips.

Twenty-four needle jabs to my rib cage later, I’m flattened out on my hospital bed, gritting my teeth to keep from begging them to bring back my morphling drip. It’s been by my bed so I can take a hit as needed. I haven’t used it lately, but I kept it for Johanna’s sake. Today they tested my blood to make sure it was clean of the painkiller, as the mixture of the two drugs—the morphling and whatever’s set my ribs on fire—has dangerous side effects. They made it clear I would have a difficult couple of days. But I told them to go ahead.

It’s a bad night in our room. Sleep’s out of the question. I think I can actually smell the ring of flesh around my chest burning, and Johanna’s fighting off withdrawal symptoms. Early on, when I apologize about cutting off her morphling supply, she waves it off, saying it had to happen anyway. But by three in the morning, I’m the target of every colorful bit of profanity District 7 has to offer. At dawn, she drags me out of bed, determined to get to training.

«I don’t think I can do it,» I confess.

«You can do it. We both can. We’re victors, remember? We’re the ones who can survive anything they throw at us,» she snarls at me. She’s a sick greenish color, shaking like a leaf. I get dressed.

We must be victors to make it through the morning. I think I’m going to lose Johanna when we realize it’s pouring outside. Her face turns ashen and she seems to have ceased breathing.

«It’s just water. It won’t kill us,» I say. She clenches her jaw and stomps out into the mud. Rain drenches us as we work our bodies and then slog around the running course. I bail after a mile again, and I have to resist the temptation to take off my shirt so the cold water can sizzle off my ribs. I force down my field lunch of soggy fish and beet stew. Johanna gets halfway through her bowl before it comes back up. In the afternoon, we learn to assemble our guns. I manage it, but Johanna can’t hold her hands steady enough to fit the parts together. When York’s back is turned, I help her out. Even though the rain continues, the afternoon’s an improvement because we’re on the shooting range. At last, something I’m good at. It takes some adjusting from a bow to a gun, but by the end of the day, I’ve got the best score in my class.

We’re just inside the hospital doors when Johanna declares, «This has to stop. Us living in the hospital. Everyone views us as patients.»

It’s not a problem for me. I can move into our family compartment, but Johanna’s never been assigned one. When she tries to get discharged from the hospital, they won’t agree to let her live alone, even if she comes in for daily talks with the head doctor. I think they may have put two and two together about the morphling and this only adds to their view that she’s unstable. «She won’t be alone. I’m going to room with her,» I announce. There’s some dissent, but Haymitch takes our part, and by bedtime, we have a compartment across from Prim and my mother, who agrees to keep an eye on us.

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