Using Caesar's Palace Prompts. Prompt: red

Many thanks to Johanna (turtledoves) for her wonderful beta reading.

Gift to Saph and Rowan as congratulations on their wedding c:


Walk downstairs, love, and look at the veins in the walls and maybe if you stare long enough they'll start to pulse, but that won't make this place any more alive.

Talk to the fruit in the walls and maybe if you speak loudly enough they'll respond, but that won't make this place any more alive.

Sing to the parrots and maybe if you scream beautifully enough they'll pick up on the fact that you need some companionship, but that won't make this place any less dead.

You got me a manor but I'd trade it for your thoughts back.


"Once upon a time, a little girl was born to two proud parents. They named her Clove, because her mother liked plants (and herbs), and her father liked weapons (nails would do), and the name just fit like that.

"The little girl grew up, dark haired, dark eyed, cheerful. She liked cakes, and the color red, and watching the television, and a lot of other things.

"Then one day, her parents thought it would be a good idea to send her to school, because that was what all the other parents were doing, and their kids turned out all right, right? They sat her down and gave her a talk and she didn't understand (they could see that), but she agreed to go with them anyway, because she thought big houses, pretty dresses, and being famous would be fun (and her parents feel the same way and tell her so)."

.

She is seven when she first hits a bulls-eye.

She is fifteen when she first hits a bulls-eye that matters.

Clove first likes school a lot, especially since she is very good at almost everything. She has many admirers, since she is the tallest girl in her class and plays with knives very well.

But that soon changes.

Big things. Big plans. Big head.

Saturday is movie night.

Her parents visit her on the weekends, looking happy and in love, less tired. She hates them for leaving her here. She wonders if they know what they do to her here. Her parents don't seem to notice the bandages around her arms, even when she puts them on the talk-table. Maybe they're just ignoring them on purpose.

Clove watches some more films to calm herself. She is strangely upset when they stop coming every week and only visit her for holidays.

.

She is thirteen when she becomes a young woman, but the first time she bleeds is at eight when the instructor cuts her chest as part of a lesson to remember, defense is important.

Clove learns that forgiveness brings failure when he slashes her arm just a week later and screams at her for being careless ("we went over this move before!") before slamming the door and leaving her alone. She walks to the hospital wing herself.

She later learns that this is part of emotional training and that she should be thankful, but by then, she is beyond caring.

.

She is fifteen when she volunteers. She isn't supposed to. She just wants to and it comes out before she can stop it. Another girl goes home crying and cursing.

Clove isn't sorry. Clove is never sorry about things. After all, nobody ever apologized to her.

.

On the train, she ignores her district partner. He tries to talk to her, make an alliance, but she has never been good with words, and she doesn't want to speak to anybody, especially those that are below her level. He won't last 'til the end if he doesn't think more and speak less.

Training is not surprising.

The pathetic tributes from the pathetic districts all look scared out of their wits, and Clove has fun intimidating them. She throws knives at a target not because she needs practice, but because she wants to show everyone that she's good. She's better. She will win.

And when the scores come, Clove gloats. Then, she becomes red with anger. Lastly, she decides to kill 12 as soon as she can.

.

Clove does not remember the start of the games, but in the Capitol, the tapes show her to make three kills within forty five seconds.

Everything goes as planned until 11 shows up. He crushes her head with a rock, and it's over.