Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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27. Therapy

    The President demanded she stay in the Capitol for therapy, both mentally and physically for the sake of controlling her emotions. Snow was informed of her outbursts while she was being recovered and thought it was ‘best’ for her to stay in the Capitol until she was presentable. Hopefully she would good and ready before the Victory Tour.

    So being alone in her own home was too dangerous? Keeping her in a prison located in the one place that was the main cause of her trauma was ‘best’ for her?

    Emily was forced to stay at the Tribute Tower so her therapist would come to her floor one hour a day and so she could go down for physical therapy downstairs right after lunch. And there she was hoping she wouldn’t have to see the rooms so soon . . .

    The all-powerful heads told her not to take her emotion numbing medication so they could communicate with the real Emily and understand how to control her. She recalled having attacked the medics when they were cleaning her up from time to time, so she wasn’t expecting there to be a positive turn out with the decision.

    The Avox served a filling meal for Emily on the first morning, something with enough protein and nutrition for her physical training to let out some steam. But she barely had a bite. Her therapist came in midway through breakfast and the Avox went back in their little corners of the room until further notice. “Good morning, Emily,” she greeted with a soothing voice.

    The redhead merely nodded and moved her food around with a fork as her therapist sat across from her. Emily didn’t look up to her, her hand rest against her cheek, her dark lashes hid her dull eyes, and her curls around her face in a delicate manner.

    “Since this is our first session, I’m only getting to know you.”

    Swell . . .

    “How has your stay been?”

    Seriously? Emily glanced up at the brightly colored woman then down at her food. “Alright . . .”

    “Is that all?”

    She shrugged.

    “What is it that makes your stay . . . ‘alright’?”

    “It’s just . . . alright,” she answered. Was therapy a normal thing for the other victors? Did they have to stay in the Capitol so their brains were constantly picked at? Although, there was no comfort in the idea of other victors having to go through the whole thing. It only showed Emily what her future was from there onward. Something she didn’t want . . .

    Her shrink pursed her thin lips, seeing as how Emily wasn’t participating in the session and leaned back at her dining chair. “What’s bothering you, Mrs. Aldair?”

    The redhead’s fork stopped in it’s place, her body froze at the name. She didn’t correct Caesar on her choice to not take his last name because it would have earned her more love out of pity from the Capitol, as uncomfortable as it made her. But being called an Aldair drilled into her head on what had happened and Emily wanted the memory to go away. Emily twisted her fork between her thumb and her index finger, thinking about halfassing her answer just so the woman would give up and go away. She didn’t trust the woman enough to give what she was looking for. It was just uncomfortable and made Emily’s skin crawl just thinking of telling her what was on her mind.

    It always took time for her to warm up to a person. Even with Winnow, Emily won’t tell everything to her, though she trusted the stylist. But, more so than not, Emily had to feel like she could put her life in someone’s hands and not have it crushed to come out of her shell.

    “What’s bothering me is that I can’t really enjoy a good meal with someone watching me like a vulture . . .” she answered.

    The Capitolite woman sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. Two minutes in . . . fifty-eight more to go . . .

*****

    “Go!” Thwack! “Go!” Thunk—clang! “Go!” Thwack! And then she was out of knives to throw. Emily wiped sweat from her brow and took a sip from her water bottle before she walked over to retrieve the knives from the target she was using for the time being. “Your form is still lacking,” the trainer told her.

    That was because she WASN’T a Career.

    “Since it’s day one, I’m letting it slide,” he told her.

    Oh joy.

    Emily collected all the knives and put them back on the rack then fixed her bobby pins to keep her short curls back. “Why don’t we try hand-to-hand combat for the rest of the day?” he asked and Emily looked up at him, remembering the last time she sparred with a Capitolite and how it resulted in her getting a low score. “You did well in the Games, but it was messy and you obviously used more strength than speed. That resulted in you getting hit a lot more because you used all your strength and got weaker sooner. With your size and speed, you could wear people out.”

    Why did it matter? She wasn’t going back in the Games anyway. Honestly, when was the next time she was going to fight someone?

    “Come on,” he waved her over to the sparring mat and Emily stiffly walked over. She brushed her fingertips against the cloth tied around her wrist, still stained with blood and sewer water, but smelled much cleaner than when she came back with it. Emily asked Winnow not to take them out, that it would keep her in reality. And even though it was a stupid decision she made and stupid of him to have agreed with her, it was still special . . . it still meant something . . .

    Feeling the soft cloth against her skin made her wonder, for the millionth time, was THIS the future he truly wanted for her . . .?

    Her red curls brushed the middle of her neck and when she bent her knees to ready her stance her curls tickled her chin. The trainer immediately crouched into a ball and swiped underneath her feet, but Emily took his shoulders and pushed herself over him and landed just behind him when she swung her leg into the back of his head.

    And suddenly, hitting something alive felt better than ‘killing’ a target the shape of a person.

    Emily kicked her boots off, then her socks, feeling all the air cool her warm feet as the trainer got back up and rubbed the back of his head. Cracked her knuckles and swung a leg at his knee from the side, which he blocked, brought her leg up higher to his arm, blocked it, and switched to her other leg to his shoulder, that time he caught by her ankle. Within that second, Emily jabbed to his chest, caught it right there.

    Alright. Switching it up.

    With the strength he held on her from hitting him, she pulled her weight to her abdomen and straightened her leg with her foot at the man’s face to release her. His hands still gripping her ankle and had switched over to her wrist to keep hold of her. Alright, being stubborn too. Emily slipped her foot from his face and pushed herself closer to him and clamped his head between her thighs and threw all her strength into swinging backward and brought the trainer down with her. The redheaded victor grasped by his forearms to keep her in place, found herself between the man’s legs and landed on her stomach when he landed on his chest with a loud BAM!

    She kept the man trapped in her thighs, her breasts hurt from hitting the floor so hard with the man hitting the ground like a fallen tree. Emily let go and crawled out of her person sized prison and rolled her shoulders back. Her eyes had grown brighter, though not with the spark of life it once held before the Games, but the same glow when she sought out the Careers.

    The trainer saw that, but didn’t back away from her. The whole point of the physical therapy was to find a breaking point and control it. It was to take away all the anger that burned in that tiny little body.

    Emily took long strides into a sprint when she launched herself forward, the trainer ducked out of the way and the redhead just flew over him, landing softly just behind him. When he turned around to face her, her leg had already met his jaw and it swung back over Emily’s head behind her, allowing her leg to turn her body around to face him. Her eyes were much angrier than seconds ago and the atmosphere in the room grew heavier. Emily’s hands thrust to his throat in a choke hold, he backed away and rammed himself into one of the weapons wrack off to the side when Emily kicked the back of his knees to force him down.

    She slipped her toes underneath a knife and tossed it up enough for her to catch with one hand and had the blade pointed to him when a hand grasped her wrist and pulled her back. She tried to fight them off and tried to push the knife to the trainer, but their strength outmatched her own. A thumb pressed against a pressure point of her wrist, forcing her to let go of the knife, and something sharp tweaked her neck that made her growl angrily and fight off the Peacekeeper.

    Emily’s body grew weaker and weaker, her muscles losing all feeling and then all strength. Eventually, her eyelids became heavy within seconds. No . . . stay away . . . got to . . . stay . . .

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