This is probably completely different from anything else on here. If you get confused, do not give up. Continue till the end, and maybe everything will become clearer. I hope you enjoy this take on Foxface's character.
A television screen. On it, a shot of a pyramid of supplies, all covered with netting. The camera zooms out to show other supplies sprinkled around a pyramid. Then a shot into neighbouring woods, where a red haired head peeks out cautiously.
With fast, light steps, the red haired girl emerges from the forest and dashes over to where the first of these supplies is located. A careful viewer would note how she is careful not to get too close to the bag. Of course, most of the people watching are not careful viewers.
As the girl starts making her way through the labyrinth of supplies in a strange pattern of spins, jumps and very cautious steps, the camera cuts to a bush at the edge of the forest, where a grey eyed olive skinned girl is watching in growing bewilderment.
At one point the red haired girl overbalances and lands on the ground. Millions of viewers hold their breath. They all know what the danger is. Only the olive skinned girl, watching unseen, seems bewildered.
The red haired girl finally makes it to the supply pyramid. She fills her pack, taking only a few items from each bag. Anyone watching has to admire this move – it means that the people she's stealing from won't know that anything has been going missing.
As the girl makes her way out of the minefield, a person watching on a battered television whistles. Their face is in shadow in the dingy room, but the voice is obviously female.
"I taught her that trick," she tells no one, obvious pride in her voice.
An alleyway. It is dirty and narrow, but the sun shines through a crack in the clouds to illuminate it. Like a spotlight, that brief speck of light shows some ragged children walking along the alleyway.
There are three of them – two girls and a boy, all quite small. The oldest of them is a girl, about thirteen, with dirty blonde hair hanging limply around her head. Then a boy, perhaps eleven. He has uneven brown hair and hands that are fiddling with air. The youngest is another girl, nine or so, with bright red hair and fox like features. She trails behind the others, but not too far.
The three children pause in the middle of the alley, above a skylight stuck into the ground. None of them even bother to try to break it – they have too much experience for that. Instead, the boy kneels down, gets out some lock picks and puts them into the lock.
"Briar," begins the red-haired girl hesitantly, "are you sure this is the right place?"
The blonde girl nods, impatient. "Of course I am. Do you even need to ask?"
Chastised, the other girl looks away. Though not for long.
"What's in here, anyway?" she asks.
"Canned food, that's what. An old stockpile from the rebellion. There's a rich guy who owns it, and he sells it for ridiculously high prices sometimes. But as you can see, security is rubbish."
The boy finishes with the lock and pulls the skylight open. Briar pulls off a pack and takes a rope out of it. She hands it to the boy, who ties it around a handy drain before wrapping it a few times around his body for safety. The two of them act like they've done this hundreds of times. They have, but Briar runs through the drill for the benefit of their newest member.
"Ok. So Locke here's gonna lower you down into the room. You get there, you untie the rope. You pull on it three times and -"
The red haired girl rolls her eyes. "Yes, yes, I know. We've gone over this a million times."
"Well if you're so smart, let's get going."
One by one, the two girls are lowered into the room. Inside it is dark, only lit by the skylight. Their eyes are used to the dim lighting of the lower city though, so they don't mind. Shelves line the walls, covered in cans. The floor is covered in piles of cans too.
The redhead starts grabbing cans, piling them into her bag.
"No, idiot!" hisses Briar. "You don't take those ones! They'll know stuff has been stolen. Seriously - Foxy, how the hell did you manage not to get caught till we found you?"
Although chastised, a shadow of a smug smile ripples across Foxy's face.
"Oh, they knew someone was there alright. They just didn't know how to trace me."
"Oh yes, because you're so much smarter than everyone else. There's always someone who can outsmart you if you use the same tricks all the time. Better to hide the fact that there's been a crime committed in the first place." Briar reaches to the back of a shelf and pulls out a dusty can. "Take these from the back of the shelves. No one will even notice they're missing."
A corridor. Blindingly white and far too clean. The smell of chemicals lingers in the air. A door is in the wall, designed so that at first glance it's not obvious that it exists. This door hides a broom closet, and in this closet hides a red-haired girl. She's giggling with excitement – Daddy'll never find her here.
Two men walk along the corridor, arguing. She quiets down and peers out the key hole.
"- and I know what I saw. This isn't right, Mat. We've got to do something!"
The other man shakes his head. "No. No, no, no. I'm having nothing to do with this, okay? I'm going to forget this ever happened. And if you're as smart as I thought you were, you will too."
"Don't push it. What you want to do is suicide – and before you start going all heroic, remember Serena. She needs her father."
In the closet, the girl's ears perk up. The sound of her name has renewed her interest in the conversation.
"Then if I can't do anything, then can you tell other people? Lucius needs to be stopped. You have no idea-"
"No idea about what?" A silky smooth voice enters the conversation. The man spins around, now face to face with the subject of his conversation. Quickly, he backtracks.
An eyebrow raised. Then a glance back at the other man. "Mateo. Leave us now."
Mateo quickly backs off, without a backwards glance. He knows that if he stays to watch, he'll suffer the same fate as his friend. Serena doesn't have that privilege. She has to stay and watch, as her father is beaten to death before her very eyes. Serena wants to scream, she wants to cry. She doesn't, knowing that any sound will lead to her joining her father on the floor in a pool of blood.
Nobody comes to his rescue. Why should they? In the laboratories of District Five, death is instant when you see something you shouldn't.
One Cornucopia. Twenty four metal rings. Twenty four tributes. One victor. One Hunger Games – the Seventy Fourth.
She opens her eyes, finally adjusted to the sunlight. Her surroundings are surveyed. Old street instincts kick in, telling her where to run and what to do. Who to avoid, although that's obvious. Unfortunately, she can tell that she needs a lot of luck to get out of the situation she's in.
It's perhaps the worst possible location, matched only by poor Rue who is standing next to Cato. To get to a safe place, she's going to have to cross the Cornucopia.
The gong rings. Before she even realises, she's up and running. Running across the open face of the golden horn, barely slowing when she scoops up a dark green pack. Still running, hearing the thunk of a body falling behind her.
She doesn't stop. Almost in the trees – in the trees. But she still runs, leaving behind the dead and the dying. Running as fast –no, faster - as she did that day back in District Five, long ago. Before the Laboratory recruited her. The day that they were caught.
They are outsmarted. As Briar always said – says, Foxy tells herself. Says. Briar's still alive. She won't be killed, or whipped - okay, she might be whipped. But she led the band of them for quite a few years, outsmarting everyone. And in District Five, brains are what matter. Briar's too smart to waste.
The Peacekeepers are too smart for them though, this time. They lay the trap perfectly, and like fools, the gang falls for it. But they've outsmarted the Peacekeepers plenty of times before. That should count for them – right?
Foxy runs, like the coward she is. Briar was the first caught. As the leader, it was only natural. Locke is caught too, and Kee stays to protect his brother. Foxy sees Gecko disappear into the shadows. She doesn't see any of the others. As it turns out, she never will, either. She'll never know what happens to them.
She runs. Through the lower city, swerving into unknown tunnels. She goes topside once or twice, using her knowledge of back alleys and secret entrances to her advantage. No one knows the entire network of tunnels and streets in the District, but Foxy knows an awful lot.
She runs, stumbling on till she's out of breath and positive she's lost any pursuit. Afterwards she still walks, keeping to the back ways. Always on the move – that way she's harder to catch.
Later she learns the tricks of hiding in a crowd, hiding in plain sight. She doesn't learn them in time, though. The Peacekeepers are smarter than she'd thought. She underestimates them and they catch her. They appreciate her perseverance, though. And her skill in escaping them.
Later she figures out they've had their eyes on her a long time, longer than just now. Today was just a test, and she passed. The real ones she has to sit later to get her job in Laboratory Seven are just a formality.
The house they own is small. It's topside, but unlike most of District Five, none of it extends underground. Of course, Serena doesn't care. She's too young to know much about the labyrinth of tunnels which is most of her District. They exist – she knows that. Everyone knows that. But as of yet, they don't matter.
The house is small and old, but clean and tidy. It's better than a lot of the houses in other, poorer Districts. This Serena knows. She knows, because she has to listen to her father reminding her mother this every single day.
Serena doesn't like her mother, maybe doesn't even love her. She doesn't like this fact, but it's true. Often Serena wonders if there is something wrong with her – all of the other children she knows like their mothers.
But then again, maybe Serena's mother is different. Maybe mothers aren't meant to complain, day in, day out. Maybe other mothers don't tell their children what a burden they are; don't fight with their husbands. Serena doesn't think that mothers are supposed to always talk about their latest project, and what will happen once they've finished it.
Serena's mother does that a lot. She works in one of the Laboratories, as does Serena's father. Mother is always talking about what she is working on, and how rich and famous she will be when it's finished. She puts emphasis on the fact that it will only be her rising up in the world. Not her child or husband. Serena thinks this is wrong.
Serena doesn't like things being wrong. Although she doesn't understand a lot of the details, she knows this is. Wrong. Bad.
Father doesn't seem to like the idea much either, and Serena trusts her father. But when she probes deeper, in a clumsy, childish way, he tells her not to worry. Mother is all bark and no bite. Anyway, she's been working on various projects for years. For better or worse, they're stuck with her.
Then one day her mother doesn't come home. Her father brushes it off at first, saying she'll come back. At first Serena believes him.
But the days turn to weeks, the weeks turn to months, and eventually they realise that she's not coming back.
And for a few years, they are happy.
The mistress of District Five's Community Centre is surprisingly cliché, Serena will realise years later. She is small, even for her District, and shrivelled - probably only in her late thirties or early forties but appearing much older. Like most remarkably small people, she manages to overcome this disability by being larger than life. An aura of power is radiated from her, managing to reduce most people into almost mindless servants.
At the moment, Serena is feeling the full power of her intimidation. Whoever put such a strict woman in charge of the orphans of the District made a huge mistake. Children need comfort and care after undergoing such tragic circumstances, not harsh punishments. Needless to say, nobody – other than the terrorised children under her iron rule – cares.
As the woman barks out every single one of the rules and routines which must be followed, Serena says nothing. As she is dismissed from the office and issued the standard orphan clothes, Serena says nothing. As she is being yelled at for check because of her silence, Serena says nothing. In her head, the death of her father is still being played out.
She says nothing, of course. Even at age seven, she already knows not to mention what she saw. She knows that admitting that she knows things she shouldn't would lead her to an early grave.
Eventually she loosens up, starts to talk to the other children. But as an escape plan dawns in her mind, half a year after being assigned to the Community Centre, she says nothing of it to any of the others. When, almost a year after its formation, she activates it, nobody is any the wiser.
It begins a pattern. As Serena comes and goes of her own free will, she says nothing to any of the others. The few extra scraps of food she manages to filch are for her and her alone, eaten in secret.
Soon she spends less and less time at the Centre, being present only just enough to allay suspicion. When her absence is noticed and she is questioned, she says nothing. When she finally leaves for good, she leaves nothing behind.
And when the other children are asked to give information about her, they say nothing. Maybe they learned from her, an observer would say.
Serena knows better. If nobody knows anything they must say nothing, for they have nothing to say.
She would like people to think that she felt no fear when her name was pulled from the jar. That was how she looked on camera – she made sure of that. Nobody, save perhaps one or two of the Career Tributes, looked as emotionless as her. Certainly not her pathetic District Partner.
Of course, as so often happens, the reality was completely different. At first the lack of emotion was purely from shock – she worked in the Laboratories! She had the minimum number of slips in the jar. She, like her fellow workers, were too valuable to lose. Precautions were taken to make sure they were unlikely to be chosen.
But she was, and the few seconds it took for the reality of the situation to sink in was probably what saved her life. Those few seconds of shock let her keep an emotionless expression throughout the reaping and helped her to set up the image of the sly fox–girl who was one of the main contenders.
She would like people to think she felt no fear. But it was the opposite, in fact. She is one of the world's greatest cowards. She knows this. It's how she's stayed alive for so long.
She's finally left the Community Centre, and has been living by herself for about a week when she meets the gang. Meet isn't the best word to use, perhaps. Encountered would fit better.
She spots one or two of them at a time. She recognises some of the faces from previous explorations in the tunnels of District Five, back when she could still return to the Centre. It takes her another week to figure out that the half dozen odd faces are all linked.
She tails the gang next, watching how they work as a flawless team. How they survive and live a relatively comfortable life. She watches them with envy, sees the comradeship within the group. It reminds Serena of the time, years back, when her father was still alive. Reminds her of the family and friends she's had and lost.
They catch her following them sooner or later, bring her in front of their leader. Serena cringes, expecting punishment for intruding on their lifestyle. Instead she gets something better.
"How long have you been following us?" The blonde girl asks.
Serena knows better than to lie. "I don't remember. About a week or so, maybe?"
The larger girl glares at the other children of various ages sprawled around the abandoned basement they have made their home.
"And none of you spotted her for all that time? You're getting sloppy!"
"But Gecko did spot her today," points out a large boy with brown hair.
"Yeah, but she's Gecko," a smaller boy who looks remarkably like the larger one says. "She should have been able to see her ages ago."
A girl with short black hair blushes. Serena assumes that this must be Gecko.
"Regardless of who's at fault, we still need to decide what to do with her." A male voice comes from the dark corners of the room.
"Rat has a point," muses the blonde girl. "Does anyone have any ideas?"
Gecko shyly opens her mouth. "Not trying to be arrogant here, but if I couldn't spot her for that long then she must be really good. I say we could use that talent in our group."
"Does anyone have any other ideas?" asks the blonde girl. Nobody does, and after a short hushed discussion Serena is admitted into the group. She learns that the blonde girl is Briar, and that the two brown haired boys are Locke and Kee.
"What are you called?" wonders Briar. It doesn't sound like a question, but Serena answers in anyway.
"My name is-"
"No" interrupts Briar. "Your old name is part of your old life. From now on you'll be called…"
She scans Serena's face.
Names are powerful things. Many people have more than one name, or at least more than one persona. During her short lifetime, Serena Foxwood (she hated the irony) developed many different names, each belonging to a different stage in her life and development.
There are the three shown here, but there were many more, too. To her chagrin, most were variants of the fox theme. They are important, but not as important as the three main ones. These are the three names that show Serena's changing character the best. Some stages of her life deserve other names, but have received none. Other stages have accumulated hundreds of irrelevant nicknames.
They all matter. It may be our choices that make us who we are, but it is our names that show this. It is our names that have power.
Serena knew this. Most of the other contestants in the Hunger Games also did – it is interesting to note that while one or two may have remembered her real name, everyone of them thought of her as a nickname. Serena may have been her birth name, but as Briar told her many years ago, that name belongs to her old life.
To her first key stage. Serena. It is interesting to note that her life in the Laboratories shaped her as much as any of the other three stages – Foxy and Foxface – did, but did not gain a new key name. She was known as Serena, but was not actually Serena, which is why that stage is not included in this collection. It's impact – or lack therof – on the final outcome is shown by omission.
She was known by many names, all of which seemed to belong to different people and yet to the same.
Three in one, one in three. The same but different.