I. ONLY BONES REMAIN
ANTIGONE CASTELLANOS - 51
PRESIDENT OF PANEM
Thirteen is in flames once again and Antigone Castellanos sits with her thumb on the trigger of the detonator to another pipe bomb that she's about to let rip. She's laughing too, the same way she laughed back in the arena as she slit her District Partner's throat and let the blood drip down to the seam of his shirt as he collapsed to the ground. His eyes rolled over behind in his head and before Antigone could even scream one last time, his cannon fired and a loud voice bled through the speakers to announce her victory.
She was satisfied then, even though she knew she had just cut off somebody's lineage for good, because the boy whose name isn't important enough to remember was dead and she was alive. And that was good. Antigone had evaded death many times during the 61st Hunger Games (and in general), so it no longer phased her. She was above death; every remaining Victor was, after all. Or at least those who were strong enough. The third Quell was meant to get rid of those who weren't… she's convinced... which of course explains why that hag from Four volunteered to save the woman gone mad. Was she really stupid enough to think that would work? Of course it didn't… of course Mags Flannagan died just like the weaklings that came after her.
And for what? She really thought Annie would be safe from the Capitol and their wrath? But maybe it was a good thing her so-called "friends" never told her about the rebellion they were foolish enough to be planning. If it didn't have room for Antigone, it surely didn't have room for her. Still, poor Mags, her death was in vain as Antigone remembered watching herself behead Annie Cresta in some poorly edited propaganda from Thirteen which claimed she was a "monster." If she really was one, why did they beg her to stop and join their side? Why did they tell her they were wrong for not inviting her to their little revolution in the first place? She was sick and tired of the rebel media painting her to be the villain that she wasn't, especially when they suddenly wanted her fighting alongside them. Couldn't fucking make up their minds.
Which led her to the fields surrounding the underground home of their little rebellion gone wrong, laughing to herself before she finally sends them into the oblivion they deserve to be in when Katniss Everdeen (the coward) runs up to her screaming bloody mercy.
"Please," Antigone is able to see the muscles of her vocal cords shake through the skin of her neck, "You don't have to do this. You were one of us."
Was she really? Was Antigone Castellanos really "one of them" if she was told to her face by the exact same girl that "we don't need your help." Yet now she had the audacity to declare the two of them equals. Never had been and never would be. Two had the help that the rebels needed, all the cadets were armed and ready to go fight for the District's freedom yet Coin said no and Katniss said no and Haymitch said no and they were given two choice but to fight alongside the Capitol. They always loved Two anyways.
"You really have the nerve to say that?" Antigone questions the Mockingjay, crossing her arms on her chest so she can't get to the detonator, "After all you fucking did to me?"
"Tell me what I did!" She's adamant, her feet brushing against the dirt leaving pebbles to fly everywhere.
Ah… where's Antigone to begin. Could start with the laughing to her face and saying she didn't need the help of the former and current Careers, that they would surely betray them. Could start with the killing of her mother and hoping it would "teach her a lesson." There's many places for Antigone to begin her rant on the horrors that Katniss Everdeen inflicted upon her, but it would be foolish for her to give the girl that satisfaction, especially when there were far more important matters at hand.
Antigone wants, needs, her dead.
And the soon-to-be snuffed girl on fire was unarmed. Coward.
So Antigone reaches to her side and detaches the gun from her belt, a small pistol that would still do the trick and she twirls it in her right hand as the detonator remains in the left. Katniss realizes what's happening and she screams louder than Antigone's mother did when she was set ablaze. They weren't even at the fun part yet. Katniss is yet to feel a single thing.
That changes quick. Antigone places her chin atop the weapon and draws it back to prepare a bullet while Katniss chases towards her and screams. Yet it all happens so fast, almost too fast. Antigone's right pointer finger presses down on the trigger as a small silver bullet fires into Katniss' head and she falls to the ground instantly. Who'd have thought she has her impeccable aim after all these years?
Katniss is on the ground when Antigone approaches her and uses her thumbs to push the bullet further into her skull, trying not to stain her hands with the crimson yet also realizing her soul's already been cast in red. And Katniss is calling for a medic, or anybody for that matter to somehow help her. As if a bird was any competition against a hunter.
At least she'll be with her lover boy now.
The only part about the experience that Antigone wishes she could change was the lack of the cannon firing to signal the fact she'd successfully stolen the life of the rebellion's crown jewel.
But it's no longer about Katniss. She still has a settlement to destroy, Thirteen's last underground settlement. So once again her thumb is on the detonator for the bombs she'd planted not too long ago, she takes a deep breath and pushes down.
And then Antigone runs, because she knows damn well that she's done her job and the rebellion will never see the light of day again.
Everyone will be so pleased with her.
For the second time in her life, Antigone is upset about sickness and death. She's spent hours upon hours with President Coriolanus Snow over the past four years, serving as his trusted advisor and managing the budget, but she never thought in a million decades he would someday be gone. And well… it did make sense, the guy was nearing ninety years old, it just caught Antigone off guard, that's all. She wasn't the sort who was caught off guard either, for the past few years nearly everything she wanted went her way. District Two (her District Two) receiving more funding form the Capitol so that they could enhance their academies and subsidize tuition? That was no problem, no problem at all.
And Three? They wanted a reward for their efforts in the war? Easy; Antigone was able to establish an Academy for them, thus an Academy after former Victor turned retired Head Gamemaker Liana Cortana Taylor was born. She was too good for Three anyways. A shame she was one of the few good people lost in the war. Her legacy deserved to be preserved somehow, and a place where kids could train in an attempt to match her wits was in order. Thus, the Cortana Institute was born and a success it was, producing a Victor after just one year. Three was always too smart to not be a Career District.
Whatever Antigone wanted, Coriolanus was sure to provide. How funny of him to sit in the lap of his own "Vice President." And that was a quick transition too; Cressida Starlett-Cray killed Antigone's predecessor Viridius Vuitton with a shot to the neck before the Peacekeepers could cause her head to roll. A shame the daughter of Careers would turn out so gnarly. But Antigone was a given for the Vice Presidency… It was the best way for Coriolanus to reward his favorite little general after all.
(Though little was a bit of a stretch considering Antigone was nearly six feet tall in heels which made her taller than the President.)
But now wasn't the time for jokes or offhand comments. She's visiting the man by his deathbed after all.
"You… you came?" Coriolanus is without the youth and vigor he had for so long, even during the war, "I can't say I expected that."
Nobody really knows what's killing him. The President's got some kind of an infection, said there's little to no air in his lungs, yet he's strong enough even in the moments near death. What an inspirational man; Antigone would miss him.
"Of course I came," Her voice is calming for once. She's without her typical forceful tone, "I couldn't resist one last talk with my favorite President."
(He's been in office since before Antigone was born but it's the thought that counts.)
But did she really want to talk to the rapidly decaying Coriolanus Snow? Not particularly… there wasn't much he could give her on his deathbed. And she's already received everything she wanted from him, at least all he could give her while he's still alive.
Yes, yes… Antigone wants the presidency. And who is to blame her? There's never been somebody so unanimously liked in the Capitol, at least not since Coriolanus in his prime. It's a given that she'll take over, especially with his son Lucien wanting nothing to do with politics (which she can't blame him for, it's not a job for everybody). Still, Antigone wants Coriolanus' blessing or rather endorsement in case she has to run in an election once he's gone. And he'll give her one. Why wouldn't he?
"You've always been so good to the cause," Antigone isn't sure what exactly the President is referring to but she plays along anyways because she knows it'll be what's best for her, "I really don't deserve you."
He's right. Nobody deserves Antigone Castellanos. Hell, her wife Armina hardly deserves her even after all these years. Maybe her son Giorgio deserves her, but even that's a stretch considering he spends all his time with Armina anyways. Antigone is busy helping run a country after all!
"I don't deserve the chances that you've so graciously blessed me with," Antigone swears she's just inches away from being offered the presidency as long as she plays her next cards properly, "I don't know what I'll do without you."
They're in a room with red and gold drapes and Coriolanus looks like he hasn't gotten out of bed in weeks, yet he doesn't share Antigone's concern, "I'm not worried at all."
"Oh?" She's nearly sure she knows what he's referring to but it's best to play coy, "I'm not sure what you mean?"
He yawns quietly, and it's a yawn so extended that Antigone fears Coriolanus Snow is dying right then and there.
But he isn't.
"I want you to follow in my footsteps," It's a bittersweet moment for him, "I can't think of anybody else more suited to lead our glorious country!"
Of course he can't! There's nobody suited to lead Panem besides Antigone Castellanos.
"Are you sure," Again, she plays coy, or humble rather, "This is just… it's such a massive honor."
Coriolanus nods. He's sure. And Antigone is sure too.
She's sure she wants this and she's sure that she'll do wonderful things with the job. It's what she was born to do and she knows it deep down inside. She knows that the bastard child from Two who counted pennies to get into the Vesuvia Academy is crying.
And Antigone wishes she could see her now and tell her that everything is going to be okay. She'll make it into Vesuvia, and she'll become Two's Volunteer, and she'll win the Games too. She'll be a beautiful Victor loved by all.
And somehow it won't end with that measly dream. Antigone Castellanos will become President.
It's always the same around these parts and Antigone couldn't be happier. She's been the President for fifteen years now and Careers have won thirteen of the titles. As they deserve, too. Gone are the days where the underdogs took over and extorted their weaknesses and a new era of Victors reigns supreme. Only two people have snuck through the cracks and that's more than Antigone ever thought would. So she's the most pleased she's been in her entire life.
And she thinks… it's all worth it now. Every up and down that she ever faced is worth it as she sits in the back of a busy ballroom at the conclusion of Athlon Pentium of District Three's Victory Tour on her throne. Antigone has gotten used to being on the high chairs hoisted above everybody less than her. It's what she deserves for all the hard work that she's put into making Panem the beautiful place that it currently is.
Personable… the people say that she's just that. They say that Antigone is the sort of president that they can relate to without even trying to relate to her. They say that it's humbling to see somebody born in the Districts in charge of the entire nation.
(But truth be told, Antigone often forgets that she's District-born. She's known the Capitol alone for nearly two decades and she's still waiting for all the glitz and glamor to feel old. Antigone feels more new than she ever knew possible.)
So when the technicolor dream lights flicker to highlight the bodies of her people, Antigone looks at them with content. Because yes, the people of the Capitol are hers… finally. She's still unable to believe it.
Her home life is well too. Ever since Giorgio moved out on his own, Antigone's grown nearly inseparable from Armina. It's like they'r'their kids again and falling in love all over. She never thought the sex would be just as good even after all these years… but she certainly doesn't mind.
She also doesn't mind when Armina stokes her leg as she sits on her throne and asks her, "May I have this dance?"
Antigone reaches out her hand, her fingers instantly weaving between Armina's like they've finally found their home and then the two of them walk along to the center of the room, everybody staring at them like the royalty they no longer have to pretend to be.
"Mrs. Castellanos, Mrs. Castellanos!" Her adoring fans call and she offers a meek wave at them before moving along with Armina. Antigone knows they want a photo or an autograph but she can't be offered to give such a thing to those who'll probably just take advantage of her name and signature for money. Because of course, anything signed by Antigone Castellanos whether it be a bill or a photograph is worth thousands of dollars.
Yet when she's dancing with Armina, Antigone doesn't care about them. Her hands are wrapped around her neck and the two of them are swaying so sweetly. It's like nobody can stop them in that moment and nobody will stop them. Antigone gets what she wants.
And when the song is over she wants to speak to Athlon, congratulate her on such a remarkable Victory Tour.
"Mrs. Castellanos!" The Three girl is just as eager as Antigone's fans were, "Thank you so much for throwing such a lovely evening."
"A lovely evening for a lovely Victor," Antigone smiles. She's got to be kind to Athlon even if teal certainly isn't her color. A president is only as good as the people who love her after all, "How've you been."
Athlon is overly polite, "Moving back to Three was a bit of a struggle at first, but my home at the Victors' Village is lovely and I can't thank you enough for it."
Admittedly, Antigone did spend money from the federal budget on improving the accommodations for Career Victors, but it's what they deserve after all. Her house back in Two really was lovely, but still more could be done. So more Antigone did when she realized that the presidential penthouse was much nicer than Victors' Village. She wanted to give those who earned it the same glorious Capitolite aesthetic.
"Again, I have to thank you for putting on such a lovely show." That Athlon did. Antigone still looks back with a grin on her moment at the finale where she poured acid on the boy from Nine and did it with a slight smile. She was just the sort of Victor that Antigone loved.
But Antigone loved all her Career Victors. They were everything that the mighty country of Panem stood for. And as long as she was in office… there would be many, many more.
Hello everybody! I honestly don't know how to start this A/N besides by saying "so I did a thing." So yeah, I did a thing. If you're not on Discord/haven't heard me vaguely talking about it over the past month, the rumors are true I am doing a partial SYOT focused on Careers. I've had this idea for a good while, to do a story focusing on just Careers, and my good friends Dawn (Firedawn'd) and David (david12341) inspired me with their two lovely Career-focused partials, Touch The Sky and They That Are Told To Survive respectively. I'm honored to have partaken in both stories, and it just seems like a really great story to try writing.
So I figured why the fuck not, what's stopping me?
And then I spent my whole winter break planning this and doing worldbuilding galore and here I am. For clarity's sake, this is in a whole separate verse than Domestic Tranquility and it's prequels, I just kept Liana and Cressida's heritage because I can. That's the theme of this project really, I did it because I can. So yeah, the writing style is a bit different, because I've always wanted to experiment with lyrical present tense shit, so I did it. And yes, when you see the blog you will see that District Three is a Career District and Laura Dern is President, and I did that because I can. Obviously, Domestic Tranquility and the Preamble is my baby and I love that verse, but I think I deserve a fun little partial as a treat.
So as of now, submissions are open and they will be until March 8th. I'll have more information linked on my profile but I'm really fucking excited to see these Tributes that I'm sure will be brilliant.
OH! And I kind of went sicko mode with the worldbuilding so you can admire all of that at semperidem . weebly . com. Please admire it because it will help you with submitting and I also learned HTML because I was getting frustrated. Thank you kindly to Corey (Jabberjayheart) for forming a weebly religion with me and geeking out over all this dumb shit. Praise weemos!
Thank you to Livefreeordie for looking this over as well! I really appreciate all your notes and critique.
Additionally, thank you to all my lovely friends for supporting me as I begin this journey and not calling me ridiculous. I'm so excited that this story is finally here.
Again, submission information can be found on my profile, and I'm so glad to have everybody here.
Have a lovely day,