Quark Kirchhoff, 15, District 5 Male Tribute's POV

"Hello tributes! Please bring your attention to the closest television or radio, because I've got an announcement that you won't want to miss!"

Through the fuzziness that filled his ears, Quark could hear the sugary sweet voice. He blinked hard a few times, as if that would clear his ears, trying to find where the sound was coming from before his eyes settled on a LED television screen. The TV, which had likely been mounted to the wall, was hanging diagonally, with part of the screen fuzzy from its fall. Despite this, the screen still flashed an array of colors vaguely resembling the face of the head gamemaker.

"There will be a new set of supplies being replenished in the courtyard tomorrow at dawn. May the odds be ever in your favor."

Quark rose to his feet, but pain shot through his leg and brought him crashing into the floor in a kneeling position. An obscenity hissed through his clenched teeth and Quark swung his body to bring his leg in front of him. He pulled the pant leg up, and thankfully no bones were sticking out. His ankle, however, had seen better days. The entire joint was swollen and red - a bad sprain at the worst.

Even though it was a good sign - falling a story could've easily killed him or broken a bone - the pain was still severe. This time as he rose, he took care to take his time. He tentatively set the foot flatly on the ground, wincing, and took a step.

'I look like a fucking idiot…' He told himself, shaking his head. How was he going to stand a chance now? Hobbling around, without his partner and without a weapon. Dead meat. That's what he was, dead fucking meat.

There had been a few cannons - or at least, he thought there had been. Quark wasn't sure how long he had been knocked out from his fall. It could've been an hour, or it could've been a whole day for all he knew.

'I hope Raven is alright.' He hadn't seen his partner fall with him, which was both a blessing and a curse. It meant she was safe at that moment, but now he had no idea where to even start looking for her. Or if she was one of the cannons that went off in his dazed state.

No. He wouldn't allow himself to think like that. Had she been with him now, she wouldn't let him say that. A smile tilted up the corner of his lips. He could practically hear her scolding him. 'You have to believe in yourself! Prove those people at home that think you can't do it wrong.' Raven never let him indulge in his usual snarky hatred of the world around him

Would she go to the courtyard for the supply refill? It seemed like it would be his best shot at trying to find her. Quark sighed. That meant that he would have to go, too. Without a partner, he was hopeless this late into the game.

Quark took a few more steps. Slowly. Painfully. Even if Raven wasn't at the supply refill, he was in desperate need of some sort of medication. Or a really well timed sponsor gift. The thought pushed a snort out of his nostrils. The sponsors had to be dying to get a gift out to the kid that had fallen down a story. What would they send the little crippled boy from Five?

It's not like it mattered that much, Quark thought as he pushed himself to take a few more steps. White hot bolts of pain shot up his leg and he took a deep breath in through his nose to keep from crying out. He should've died the first day of this stupid extravaganza. Nobody thought he;d win. Not even Quark himself thought he would.

Somehow he doubted that anybody was really rooting for him. He couldn't imagine anyone - other than his family, maybe - would be sitting at the edge of their seats, waiting for the lanky dark haired boy to suddenly rise from the ashes as a mighty dragon.

No. Just a dopey little salamander that had bitten off more than he could chew. Raven might be dead. If she was, then he would undoubtedly be rushing to his own painful ending at the supply refill.

A small glimmer of hope sat in his stomach, though. Almost like a vague nausea. It was unlike his usual pessimism. Maybe he did have some sort of a chance… Maybe Raven's undying light had left a last waning bit of warmth on his icy heart.

Quark stretched his leg out as hard as he could. This little injury might make him dead meat, but he had made a promise when he and Raven became a pair. He couldn't give up if there was a possibility that she was alive.

She couldn't get rid of him that easily.

Kukla Kuria, 18, District 4 Female Tribute's POV

Most of the trek through the house after Bethany's death had been a hollow dream-like state for Kukla. She couldn't feel the soreness of her feet or the strained ache of her shoulders. Instead, she simply kept walking, her mind devoid of a single thought to break the deafening silence. It was the only way that she would stay sane. If any thought would trickle down the stream of her consciousness, then it would only invite more and more until it was a roaring riptide.

Kukla could not allow herself to think about her allies that had died. She could not allow herself to accept her role in their deaths. She could not allow herself to dwell on the children's lives that she cut short or how similar her life could have been to theirs had she merely been born somewhere else.

The existentialism of her own life would threaten the once sturdy marble walls that was Kukla Kuria. The monument was faulty. It was empty. It consisted of nothing. Kukla had spent her whole life training for the moments in the arena and now that she was in it… She felt less and less like herself. Or perhaps more like herself?

Who even was she?

Without warning, Arius yanks the rope in his hand, bringing Raven to the ground. Given a relief from her own probing thoughts, Kukla brought herself back to reality as Raven made a small murmur of pain from the ground. "What was that for?"

"You're leading us nowhere." Arius snapped.

"Arius, you're overreacting." Asher took a step towards him.

"No! She's a little weasel and she always has been." Arius yanked the rope once more, hefting Raven up to dangle momentarily from his wrists as she yelped. "You're wasting my time."

"N-No! I'm not." She landed on her feet - barely - and narrowed her eyes at Arius. "This house is just giant!"

Through her mask of strength, Kukla could see the glittering of fear in Raven's eyes. Arius continued to fume. "Little rat, I shouldn't have even given you a chance. You're going to tell me where he is or you're going to lose that lying tongue-"

There was a flash of silver, but Arius' hand moved faster than Kukla could comprehend. Even quicker, however, was Milo to grab the wrist before the weapon plunged into Raven's face. She warbled out a scream, falling backwards on the ground to get away from him. Thinking quickly, Kukla's foot shot to stamp on the rope attached to her. She kept her eyes on the two Career boys as she bent down to grab it.

"Enough." Milo's voice comes from behind his gritted teeth, "I will not continue to let your delusion endanger the pack. You agreed that if she helped you then her death would be painless."

"And she didn't keep up her end of the deal." Arius whipped his wrist out of Milo's grasp.

"Being a Career is about honor." Milo straightened his body out with a shake of his head. "We don't need to play these games. The mighty lion doesn't play with his food."

"Well, you can go fuck off with your honor. She doesn't even belong here. She took someone else's hard earned spot. That's not honor, is it?" Milo was silent for a moment. Arius scoffed and let out an exasperated chuckle. "Honor. What a joke. There's no honor here."

Kukla turned her gaze to Raven once more, who was still on the ground watching the argument with wide eyes. Something about it felt so… Wrong. The way that she was watching people argue about how quickly or slowly to kill her, yet this girl from District 2 refused to cry. There was a fight in Raven that Kukla had lost somewhere on the journey to the arena.

"We need to keep moving." Asher moved his eyes from Kukla to Arius to Milo. His uncertainty was clear in the tenseness of his stance, the lilt of his voice. "To the refill spot. We can't keep searching for the Fives."

"We need to hunt them down."

"No, there's going to be a refill in the morning. Those supplies could be valuable."

"Then I can kill her right now."

"I don't think Arius should be the one to kill her. I don't think it would help."

"I didn't ask for your opinion, blondie."

"We're wasting time."

"Then let me kill the rat and we'll go!"

The rat. The weasel. Raven was nothing more than an object of Arius' rage. Kukla wondered if she had become something similar. The conversations that Asher had with her still lingered. Kukla was raised to be a Victor. To be a killer with no remorse. A symbol of grace and strength for her district. Under all of the words, the accolades, the achievements, what room was there for a soul? For a person with her own thoughts and dreams?

Kukla met eyes with Raven. Though no words were uttered, Kukla felt that they shared a thought: Life. This was not the way Kukla wanted to win. If she were to reclaim her true self - the true Kukla - then she needed to find her humanity.

Kukla released the rope. It fell to the ground, slowly as if it were the first snow to waft along a cold December breeze. Raven's eyes widened, darting from the rope to Kukla in confusion. Kukla simply gave a curt nod. Raven ran.

A knife whizzed past her, landing in the wall before Raven turned it with a thud. Kukla spun around, only to find a flaming hot Arius in her face. "Kukla! What the fuck?!"

"Kukla, did you..?" Asher furrowed his brow in confusion, but Arius turned to face the District 12 tribute.

"What the hell is wrong with all of you? Am I the only one here ready to do what it takes to win."

"I won't win that way." Kukla said. "Milo is right. There's no honor in killing like that."

"Oh, not like the honor of letting your allies get killed? What kind of drug are you on?"

Kukla stiffened. "I didn't let them die."

Arius' fingers curled in a disgusting, unnatural way as they trembled with anger. "I don't know what sort of shit you're up to, Four, but if you wanna fuck with me I'll fuck you right back." Kukla barely had a moment to dodge the fist that came swinging at her.

"Arius, stop!" Asher screamed. Kukla pushed herself out of the way as Arius swung another fist, this time stumbling slightly. Kukla swiftly put her arm through one of the supply bags and began to run.

"Get back here!"

"Kukla, wait!"

None of the cries of her allies could stop her, though. Former allies, actually. Kukla may have been a part of the Career alliance once, but it was not as the Kukla she needed to be.

Victor Kukla needed to win this on her own.

Alina Chandler, 17, District 5 Female Tribute's POV

Grrrgrggggggr.

Alina pulled her knees up to her chest, hoping that the bending would somehow fold her stomach until it didn't feel so empty. She was hungry; Not a huge surprise, considering this whole thing was called the Hunger Games. Maybe that's why they were fed so decadently before being thrown into the arena - to make the hunger feel even worse in comparison.

Alina had felt this sort of hunger before, though. When she was little, she remembered that she would often go to bed with the claws of hunger scraping at her insides. Her mother's income from the factories was meager, so meals were few and far between before she met her stepfather. Some nights she would pass out, with no calories to use even to just keep her eyes open. It had been awhile since she was hungry like that.

After her mother had remarried, she got normal meals. Sure, her family was still poorer than many. But a meal on the table every night was a luxury to young Alina, so she never took it for granted. The gorging that she had done at the Capitol was minimal, compared to other tributes that had never had a full plate to eat from. Instead, Alina had allowed her eyes to be the gluttons after her Reaping, shoving mouthfuls of neon lights and skyscrapers that stretched to the heavens and not a single spot of dirtiness or plainness in sight.

However, the glitz and glam of the Capitol had all but worn off now. Her memories and the bits of excitement she had managed to find in the haystack of misfortune that was being Reaped were all so distant. She couldn't remember the fine tastes of the sugary sweets that waltzed along her tastebuds or the beds so fluffy that her body sank into clouds of comfort. All she knew now was pain. The pain of her grumbling tummy and the cuts from the jagged ends of her broken alliance and the throbbing of her feet that had never needed to work this hard back home in Five.

At least her anger at Raul had mostly subsided. Now it was just replaced with a feeling that she couldn't quite place - somewhere between regret and loneliness. At least when she had him by her side there was someone else to blame for the stupid decisions they had made. He might have eventually led her to her death, but at least she wouldn't have died alone.

That stupid boy, Alina thought to herself with a huff. At least she wasn't having delusions of grandeur like he was. She knew that if she made it out of the arena alive it wouldn't be because she was a hero. It would be pure dumb luck.

The sound of feet pounding onto the floor brought Alina briskly to her own feet. Someone was coming. She moved as quickly as she could without being too loud, slipping around a loveseat and end table into a closet door. Almost as soon as she shut the door, there was a smash in the room.

"You're finished, Four!"

Alina hunched her body into the corner of the closet, making herself as small as possible. The voice was from one of the Careers - she couldn't place which one, though. There was another sound, of something large crashing to the ground and a flutter of papers. It was probably one of the large wooden bookshelves.

"Don't make me kill you now." A female voice warned.

"I dare you to fucking try." Another crash.

The star alliance was having infighting? Maybe it was inevitable, but Alina definitely thought that they would last the longest. What were they fighting about? Curiosity played in small tingles over her fingertips. Peeking through the cracks to see the commotion would surely cost her her life, though, so Alina stayed put.

"Arius, please stop. Just let her go."

A third voice entered the fray. Alina was getting a front seat to the show. She could only pray that she wasn't in some sort of violence splash zone.

"I won't put up with this. You will not disrespect me and get away with it!"

Alina screamed as the door of the closet cracked straight in two, splintering from the weight of something being thrown into it. There was a beat of silence.

"Who's hiding in there?"

Terror dried Alina's throat. She held her breath. There was a small scuffle and light poured onto her from the room. With wide eyes she stared into the face of the boy from District 1.

"Five."

The number rolled out of his mouth in a warm breath, animalistic and horrifying. He raised a large chunk of wood that must've been a leg of a table at one point of time before letting it fall onto her curled up legs.

With a crack that made Alina sick to her stomach, her legs flattened. She cried out in pain, but it only made his lip curl into a smile. She tried to turn her legs to stand - to run if she could - but they didn't move the way she wanted. When she tried to come to a kneeling position, she realized that her kneecap must've shattered and fell forward onto her hands.

"Guess you're Kukla's lucky break." He slammed the hefty wood into Alina's back, breaking her shoulder blade into two. She screamed again, but it did nothing to ease the fiery pain in her back.

"Please don't do this. It hurts." Alina whimpered.

"Trust me, this is only the beginning."

The force of his next swing sent Alina into the wall of the small closet. Like a cornered animal, she whimpered. When her eyes turned downwards, she saw that her ribcage had collapsed in from the hit, making the tight fabric of her arena suit billowed against the new concave. She tried to speak again, but there was a sharp pain in her chest and she coughed up a bit of blood.

"This is for you, Adam."

Alina saw a flash of white in her left eye. There was a ringing in her ear but it didn't last long. She weakly moved her hand to her head where the wood had struck her, but her once beautiful dark hard was becoming sticky with blood.

This was how her mother would see her last. She remembered playing with her best friend Quinn when they were little. They would pretend they were from District 1, shopping in their lavish strip malls and playing with cheap paints as if they were luxurious make up powders. She had glamorized the idea of living a life like that. But as the strength left her body and her dull eyes looked up at Arius Armani of District 1, it finally dawned on her.

The beauty that was District 1 was exactly this. It was the ruby red of the blood along the antique mahogany piece of wood that even had small bits of skull peppered along for a bit of contrast. It was the fervor glimmering like stars in the sky of his irises, pinpointed to his prey. It was the strength in which he heaved the weapon as if it were weightless.

Alina would never be like him. She would never enjoy the excitement of his life. But maybe that was okay.

Maybe she could still be something more.

A clock chimed through the house.

Victor of the 100th Quarter Quell Ashby McKnight's POV

Snip snip snip.

The sound of scissors and hair dryers immediately greeted Ashby's ears as she opened the door to the salon. A pair of women in their thirties whispered to each other excitedly, undoubtedly at the awe of seeing a Victor out in the wild. It made her feel like a freak of nature - people would gawk at her no matter where she went.

"Ashby!" Grizzly greeted her, opening his arms for a hug that she gratefully accepted. "How have you been? Good, I hope?"

"Been better." She murmured as she was released from his grip. A sympathetic look dressed his face, like the veil of a mourning widow. He had surely seen the news of Elken's arrest too.

"Come on, let's get started."

Ashby was led back to Grizzly's space. A lot of stylists existed in the Capitol, but it was only the best of the best that got to work with tributes for the Hunger Games. It was easily the highest rung of the ladder of fashion and cosmetology. Grizzly had been on the District 10 stylist team for so many games that the half blind man was practically as much a celebrity as Ashby herself, making the salons they worked for during the off season a hotspot for starstruck Capitolites to linger.

He opened the door to his office - where only the most important clients were done up, away from the prying eyes of other customers - and Ashby nodded her head in thanks as she took her spot in the styling chair.

"What are we thinking today?" Grizzly whipped a satiny fabric around her neck, billowing it around Ashby's body before snapping the buttons.

"Just a trim is fine."

He raised the eyebrow of his good eye. "No touch up your highlights?"

"You're the genius, whatever it needs." Ashby replied flippantly. She was never one for the glitz and the glam - kids back in District 10 would often make fun of her hair back when she was little. It probably didn't help that she wasn't particularly plussed about keeping it brushed and perfect. Straw was almost always hidden between the locks of hair, pulled up into messy buns to keep the sweat from pooling on her neck.

For the first ten minutes or so, the room was filled with silence. Only the sound of Grizzly's tools and the rustling of foil around her hair existed, leaving her mind to roam to places she'd prefer it stayed out of.

"Are you going to tell me about your brother?"

Ashby stiffened in the chair. She noticed that he was peering at her through the giant mirror that adorned the wall. "I don't really want to think about it right now."

"Oh?"

The victor averted her gaze, pulling her hands together on her lap under the cape. "If he killed somebody, then he should face the consequences."

"Sometimes things aren't quite so black and white. Do you believe that he killed somebody?"

"It's not for me to decide." Ashby closed her eyes and breathed deeply through her nose. "I… I would've said no. I would've never believed that. But… I think that there's a lot that he hasn't been telling me."

"So you think he did it."

Ashby didn't respond. Her head started to tingle as the dye on her roots started to heat up. "I think that he should've been more honest with me."

"He loves you very much."

"He has a funny way of showing it… Did you know?"

"Did I know what?"

"That he was fucking the gamemaker."

Grizzly paused, slathering her hair against the foil and folding it up against her head. "I knew that he was determined to keep you safe after the Quell twist was announced."

"I didn't need his help."

"Of course you didn't. But he's your big brother. And he loves you." Grizzly pulled his gloves off. "I've got to mix up some more color for you. I think you need a little bit of toning."

Ashby chewed the inside of her cheek as Grizzly went through his cabinets. "I… I'm scared. For him. Like… I'm still pissed that he didn't tell me, but he's still my brother."

"Then maybe you'd be interested in getting a little bit even? He helped you, after all. You could help him."

"I-" She turned the chair around, shaking her head with frustration. "I don't know how. His cell is in one of the most high security parts of the Capitol and his public hearing is bound to happen soon."

"It sure would help if you knew somebody that had connections, huh?" Grizzly returned to the chair, spinning Ashby back towards the mirror where she noticed a small smile on his lips. "You ever heard of District 13?"

Ashby furrowed her brows. "Yeah? Everybody knows about that wasteland. What does that have to do with helping my brother?"

"How would you feel about visiting?"

"There's nothing to visit there, it's been uninhabitable for decades."

"So they say." Grizzly practically hummed the words. The smile on his face only served to confuse Ashby even more. "But it would sure make a good place to hide a wanted criminal, wouldn't it?"

Her eyes widened. When she spoke, her voice was barely a whisper. "Are you trying to recruit me into a rebellion?"

"Depends. How badly do you want to see your brother live?"

Ashy wanted to sink into the chair. She knew that there was talk of rebellion. Everybody knew. It was one of those things that was always hidden just below the surface of the water, hidden by waves and darkness just enough to make the idea of dipping your toes feel safe. Ashby had never been super interested in rebellion - her family was well enough off that she didn't want to risk her own comfort.

That was, of course, before she and her brother became Victors of the Hunger Games. Before her brother was wanted for first degree murder of one of the most powerful people in Panem. Ashby swallowed her fear.

"I would do anything for my brother."


10th place: Alina Chandler (D5F) killed by Arius Armani (D1M) with a wooden table leg.

Alina was simply too hopeful and too beautiful for this Arena. Sometimes it's nice to have a character that's not a badass or pessimistic. Alina was the ray of sunshine that I needed. She just wanted to wear something pretty and enjoy her time on TV, and you know what? I think we all want those moments to enjoy. I knew that she would never be Victor material necessarily, but don't think that I didn't love her any less for it. Thank you Annabeth for sending her in.

Confirmed Alliances:

Career Pack: Arius, Milo, Asher
Hackers4Lyfe: Raven, Quark
Tough Girls: Viola, Emmeline