To say the Games are simple for Districts One and Two is of complete ignorance. Underneath the murdering persona, there's still fear, fright, and love.
The Victor's Village—District 1
The Victor's Village of the Luxury District was beautiful in comparison to the rest of its plain looking counterparts; its buildings made of white masonry and front lawns were well kept short—grasses were green and flowering bushes were kept trimmed. Its cookie-cutter image just missed the painted white picket fences that should've been there instead of its flimsy, wiry replacement, and fancy convertibles parked on its empty paved driveways. But cars weren't really a thing of Panem and white picket fences symbolized the complete American apple pie life—they were things of the past: ancient and obsolete, objects eradicated to remind Panem's people they didn't deserve that "apple pie life"—not even the Capitol's lapdogs, who in the end, were just as expendable as District Thirteen…
"If I had a penny for your thoughts, I might be rich, dear sister." A young man spoke out to a young woman who was sitting in front of a lit fireplace, gazing into the dancing flames; a wine glass almost filled to the brim was loosely held between her fingers.
"As if we aren't already rich, brother," the woman whispered, her mouth barely moving, yet her soft and quiet voice seemed to carry throughout the room. Pressing the glass to her parted lips, she hesitated before draining the wine down in one go; gently settling down the glass afterwards onto the coffee table before her. The young man stood at the doorway, silent for a moment, before taking long strides to the couch and sitting beside his sister, who made no movement or reaction to his close and sudden proximity.
"What's on your mind, Cashmere?" Her brother asked quietly. He was holding onto a glass bottle of gin, his fingers sliding towards the lid, caressing the bottleneck with a calloused thumb, yet not making any effort to open the beverage.
"I'm worried." Cashmere began softly, bright blue eyes never leaving the burning logs. "Glimmer wants to volunteer, and I'm scared for her—frightened—she doesn't understand. She's so confident she'll win—so driven that it scares me." For once, Cashmere's attention slips from the fireplace and she looks desperately into her brother's face. "You know the little saying: arrogance is the downfall of us all?
"She's like a baby sister to me." Glimmer mummers. "I can't let her go in, Gloss. Help me talk her out of it, please… She's young—she doesn't understand…" Her brother shakes his head, smiling sadly at his sister's heartbroken face.
"I didn't stop you from participating—if I remember correctly, you were just like her, so bold and determined. You can't stop her from volunteering if that's what she wants. Glimmer is—she's headstrong with the things she does." Gloss pauses and looks up at the textured ceiling thoughtfully. "The best you can do is train her hard—prepare her to kill and survive. Don't let her see how it's hurting you, because it'll only drag her down. Fake a smile, and when you're scared, strengthen and raise your voice. Glimmer's tough. It'll be worth it when she returns to us in the end."
"I can't lose her, Gloss." Cashmere reiterates. Her tone is distressed as she closes her eyes, taking in air sharply and slowly exhaling—it's as if she's pulling herself together, refraining herself into going to panic mode. Gloss purses his lips before reaching over to rub his sister's nearest shoulder in comfort.
His thumb maneuvers around the bottle's lid and twists it open, pouring some of the alcohol into his sister's glass. Taking it with a calloused hand, he gently wraps Cashmere's fingers around the glass, eying her seriously, fierce cobalt colored eyes holding her scared cerulean ones.
"You haven't lost her yet."
In an empty locker room—District 2
The Career Districts 1, 2, and 4 are the Capitol favorites, and with favoritism comes great advantages. Each year a boy and a girl are selected to play the annual games. Of course, the career districts aren't exempt from sending their children, but to their advantage, their children receive training—something that none of the other districts can provide. It's the closest thing to comfort a Career parent can get, but usually the training isn't enough, because in the end only one child can make it out alive—meaning five Career Children out of six make it home in a box…
"Are you joking me?" A tall, muscular boy shouts in outrage as he paces back and forth the empty locker room, frustrated. A small girl, sitting on a bench with her legs swinging freely, huffs with impatience, and rolls her eyes while crossing her arms. "You must be fucking joking me!" There's a note of hysteria lingering in his tone, causing the girl to scowl.
"Oh yes, I'm totally joking! Watching you bitch is fun and not at the slightest annoying!" She snarks back snippily. "No, I'm not joking! Now suck it up, Cato, because I'm not changing my mind." The boy stops pacing and shoots her a glare, before running his fingers through his cropped, dirty blonde hair.
"How am I supposed to play with you there, Clove?" He growls loudly, and for a moment, the girl named Clove wouldn't be surprised if her best friend started pulling handfuls of his hair out from his scalp. "You do know I might just have to kill you right? If not, then it's the other way around?" She doesn't respond, and when he looks up again, he lets out another demanding shout. His eyes hold more than just anger, but also wounded from her betrayal as well as a small glint of fright.
"ANSWER ME, DAMMIT!"
Clove snorts before hopping off the bench and shoves the boy hard, sending him staggering backward so his back hits the lockers. His expressions is now of surprise as the smaller girl stares up at him, invading his bubble of personal space, her hands resting on her hips, chocolate brown eyes shining with wildness.
Clove Wilkerson isn't scared of Cato. She's known him for years, the boy acting as her older surrogate brother after her parents have died in an accident she's come to forget. They've had their fights, and Clove isn't scared to get physical if it means to knock Cato down a few notches.
"Why are you volunteering with me?" Cato asks quietly. His eyes are pleading this time, still holding that accusation and hurt, but the anger is gone, and Clove has to look away, because it's as if she's staring into the eyes of a kicked puppy.
"Because I'm a selfish bitch, that's why." She croaks out, ignoring the slight break in her trying-to-be-haughty voice. "I can't have you going in there and snatching up all the fame!" She hears him snort disbelievingly, not buying her stupid attempt at a smart-ass comment. When she looks back at him, he's still frowning down at her, brows joined and forehead wrinkled.
"It's because I want to, okay?" Clove whispers dejectedly. She awkwardly shuffles her feet, looking down onto the grey tiles. "I want this—I want to be out there. It's all I've been trained to do. It's been my future all these years…"
"Yeah, well, can't you wait until next year or something?" Cato's question is filled with hurt, and Clove has to wince, because strong, self-assured Cato shouldn't sound so pitiful like this.
"Yeah, well, who's going to keep you grounded out there, big boy?" Clove asks quietly. She braves the decision to look up at her best friend who's played her older brother for years, and swallows down the lump that builds in her throat. "Someone's got to keep your head straight out there—can't risk you pulling an Annie Cresta on us." Cato snorts and releases a small, weak laugh, whilst tucking his chin down onto his chest. The sound tugs a weak smile on Clove's lips, but it fades as she watches him shake his head 'no' in denial.
"Very funny, Clove. I don't break easy; we both know that." His attention flickers to the smaller girl, humor drained from his face. "So you're serious about this—you and me, huh?" Cato mumbles, before sliding with his back against the lockers and sinking to the floor. His eyes are closed and he's pinching the bridge of his nose. To him, Clove's decision reeks of disaster. The brunette takes the opportunity to scamper off and retrieve her bag before sitting next to him.
"I think that's what I'm telling you." She says, and pulls out two bottles of beer, a smug smirk on her lips. Cato doesn't bother asking her where and when she got the alcohol, and doesn't even question how—sneaky little minx—he simply just takes a bottle, rather gratefully, as Clove clinks her bottle against his.
"Cheers, to us." She announces cheerily, before popping off the cap and taking a swig. Cato gives her a look of utter disgust before slowly pressing the bottle to his lips.
"You're way too happy about this." He grumbles, looking away. Clove shrugs, before resting her head on Cato's shoulder.
"I've made my decision, Cato. It'll be boring here without you. You and I know fairly well that I don't play well with others. I want to enter the games, and tomorrow's the reaping. I'm going to volunteer, and you know what? We'll have each other's backs, until the very end. We'll take the tributes down, one by one—the both of us. Screw alliances, we don't need them." Clove takes another long swig from her bottle. "We'll show them—we'll show everyone that no one messes with District Two—we'll be victorious—We'll be royals."
"You're nuts," Cato scoffs, nudging the younger girl gently, and Clove looks up at him, grinning widely, the mouth of the bottle resting on her bottom lip.
"You'll have to admit it though; we'll be pretty bad ass out there together." She presses, and the corner of Cato's lips slightly twitch as he looks away, shaking the beer in his hand between loose fingers, and the both of them just listen to the soft sloshing of the swirling liquid for a few seconds, not forcing to close the silence.
"Yeah," The blond speaks out at last, before taking a sip. "Yeah, we would."