this is the chapter that just wouldn't let itself be finished, lol. i didn't have it as expanded in my outline as some of the other chapters, so i figured it would be very short, and then it kept growing... and growing... and growing... until it became one of the longest chapters i've written. if not THE longest. how the heck did i write over 8000 words for this thing? O_o
Coin took a step further into the room instead of walking out as Katniss had expected. "I'd like to have a word with you about the rebellion, miss Everdeen," she stated, straight to the topic she had clearly wanted to bring up from the beginning. Her tone was no-nonsense to the point it had Haymitch straightening up in his chair.
"What about the rebellion?"
"We have been making progress in the districts the government has already cracked down on, like Eleven and Eight," she expanded at Katniss's request. "The ones that have been punished don't need any further push into action, and have severed ties with the Capitol. In the case of the districts that are still dependent on the Capitol, they require more... convincing, let's say, to ally themselves with our cause. I'm sure you've seen at least some of our propos."
Her mind immediately went to Peeta's interview, and how his seemingly heartfelt account of his feelings for her hid a message of sedition underneath. "We have determined that we need to give the districts is a symbol to rally around. Someone to inspire them to take the leap. Give a face and a voice to our message. And that must be you."
Katniss swallowed hard. Did they intend for her to join the fight? Did they want her to film propos like Peeta had? She would be horrible at it. Weren't her disastrous interviews with Caesar Flickerman proof enough that she couldn't be convincing if she tried? She thought of Cinna, and felt her guilt returning in full force. The only thing she could do in front of a camera was make a fool of herself, and get people hurt because of it. This was not a good idea. "Why me?" she asked.
Coin didn't hesitate. "Because you started this," she stated, and Katniss flinched. It all went back to the moment she punched the Peacekeeper, and how she wished she could go back and undo it. "Because something about you rattled Snow enough that he felt he needed to contain you," she continued speaking. "Whether he meant to or not, he made you important. That is why you must become our Mockingjay."
Mockingjay. The significance was not lost on her. Mockingjays were a symbol of rebellion all on their own-- proof that the Jabberjays, muttation experiments that were disgraced after they lost their usefulness, had not only survived but thrived even when the Capitol intended for them to die quietly. It was the same for her: the Capitol took her sister, the most important person in her life, and expected her to simply take it and fade away like just another victim of the Games. But she didn't. And Coin wanted the people of the districts to be reminded of that, to be inspired by that to do the same.
But she couldn't. She wasn't a leader, she wasn't a symbol. Half the time she didn't even think before she did things, she just reacted in her desperation, and that's what led her to this point-- it was all a string of failures, not some kind of extended appeal for attention. Surely they had so many people working on these propos, so many other ideas. "I'm not the one you need," she replied, shaking her head emphatically. They had Peeta, they had Finnick Odair, they could try something else. She wasn't the right choice for this.
"Your supporters seemed to think you were when they demanded we extract you from your imprisonment," Coin declared. It was confirmed, then, that the only reason why Thirteen had even bothered sending in a rescue team to get her out of Snow's prison was because they thought she could be useful for their own purposes. She suspected as much, of course, but it was clear President Coin had no interest in even pretending it wasn't true.
ETA on chapter 30: tonight (my time), most likely!