I've no idea where this came from and if you've read my work before then you will know I should be writing Chapter 12 instead of writng random oneshots...
I still don't own The Hunger Games, I just manipulate Suzanne's characters into what I want them to be :)
Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?
Why do I feel like this? It makes no sense. I know that I should want to watch the review of the reapings that will start with my own, that I should accept my fate and face my competition like the Career Tribute I am. For that is how the world is going to see me. I am determined that nobody will ever see my weakness, that they will never find out how I deliberately lost the race to be first to the stage this morning, that I didn't choose to be here at all.
It was my face that sealed my fate. My stupid, flawless face that has held me captive for my whole life, and by making our Capitol escort choose me instead of the first, less visually-blessed girl to get to the stage, has now most likely ended that life as well. It is at times like this that I wish I didn't look as I do, for then I would be able to blend into a crowd, and people would see past my looks to see the person I am inside, a person who is nowhere near as brainless as they choose to believe.
Of course, despite my opinion of the dubious benefits of visual beauty, over the years I have learned to use my looks to my advantage. After all, it is only right that we use the weapons that we are given to the best of our ability, but just once it would be nice if someone talked to me because they enjoyed my company for less superficial reasons. I am beginning to think that I would give anything to meet a person who thought nothing of my appearance.
However I guess that it doesn't matter now that I am on my way to the Capitol, especially as, despite common belief to the contrary, I am intelligent enough to know that I will need all of my beauty to survive. But just because I know what I should do and what I have to do, it doesn't make it any easier. I look around the sumptuously decorated train carriage that has been slowly suffocating me from the second I set foot in it and stand up, taking a deep breath.
"Please excuse me. I have a terrible headache. I need to go and lie down."
"What about the reaping review?" asks Cashmere, my beautiful and amazingly socially-adept mentor, a young woman who puts me to shame with the way she wraps anyone and everyone around her little finger with effortless ease. "Will you not wait to see the opposition?" she continues with a sly smile on her face that tells me she doesn't consider the vast majority of them to be much opposition at all.
"I will see them in person soon enough," I reply, struggling to remain polite when all I can think of is escape.
I look away from Cashmere and my eyes meet those of my other mentor as he watches me closely, his face unreadable. Gloss has been nothing but kind and considerate since the reaping this morning, subtly reassuring me without being over-the-top, however I am almost ashamed to admit that that makes me trust him less. Experience has taught me that people only usually act that way if they want something, which in my eyes makes them even more despicable than those who are openly lecherous or demanding, who are at least honest about their intentions. I narrow my eyes at him before I look quickly away and leave the room.
Once I have found my own room, I flop onto the bed and lie staring up at the ceiling, hoping that the rocking of the train will send me into the oblivion of sleep. However I quickly find that the more I try to clear my mind the more crowded it becomes.
This morning's rush to the train station replays in my head, and I can see the crowds of Capitol reporters shoving each other as they attempted to get a better view of Cashmere and I as we made our way to the train, shouting both of our names and blinding me with the camera flashes. They are still chanting my name when my mind recalls scenes from previous Games, only this time I see myself in the arena in the place of the other tributes as I alternate between killing others and imagining the moment of my own death. The reality of my situation, of the rule of the Hunger Games that insists I kill or be killed, suddenly hits me, and the next second I sit bolt upright on the bed as I change my mind about wanting solitude.
Intending to swallow my pride and return to join the others, I stand up and cross the room to the door, only to be distracted by the presence of a television screen on the wall. I push most of the buttons on it before I find the right one, causing it to spring to life so I abruptly find my own face staring back at me, looking far more emotionless than I recall feeling at the time.
My first instinct is to turn it off again, finding that seeing the replay brings the nightmare of this morning back with vivid clarity, but then, when 'District Two' flashes up on the screen in bright red letters, I change my mind as both my curiosity and my refusal to give in to my weakness take over.
District 2 looks nothing like my luxurious home, which is somewhere I have always imagined to be a scaled-down version of the Capitol, a theory that I will discover the truth of soon enough. District 2 is a forbidding-looking place, with filthy buildings and streets and obvious signs of poverty that show through however hard they seem to be trying to hide them. A Career district like my own but at the same time clearly very different, it always has the fiercest, most skilled volunteer tributes in the Games and has had more victors than any other.
This year is no exception, and the boy who volunteers isn't a boy but a grown man. If anything he appears to be even more formidable than they usually are as I watch the other eighteen-year-olds clear a path for him so he can take his place on the stage. There is no rush to be first in District 2. It is almost as though they decide who is going to the Capitol before reaping day, although I can't see how they could.
The camera focuses closely on him as he stares unwaveringly at a fixed point in the crowd with the bluest eyes I have ever seen, eyes which stand out all the more against his olive skin and black hair. As I stare unblinkingly at him I wonder who he is looking at with such intensity. I consider myself to be good at reading and interpreting people's thoughts and intentions from their body language, a skill I developed from an early age out of sheer necessity, but such is the mixture of emotions on the striking face of the man from District 2 that I don't know where to start.
I would be lying if I said that I didn't find him attractive, so maybe that should be my strategy; use my own looks to win his favour and hope that he will decide to keep me alive until I have worked out how I am going to kill him. It is a good plan, one that has worked for many others before me that I don't think I would find as unpleasant as a lot of the alternatives, but as I look at him something tells me that it wouldn't be so easy. There is something in those dark-blue eyes that tells me he won't be easily won over or fooled.
I am shocked when the garishly dressed Capitol escort calls the name of a girl and there is no volunteer. For the first time in my memory, the girl who was reaped is the one who actually pushes her way through the crowd towards the stage. I don't understand. District 2 produces the most feared tributes in Panem like the factories of District 3 produce machines, so why is there no volunteer?
I watch as she climbs the steps onto the stage and my confusion only increases. Something about the way the small, dark-haired girl moves and the way that she glares at the others, who move rapidly out of her way, tells me that she is one of their famous Careers and is probably better trained than I am. Something is going on there, some unwritten rule of the district is stopping anyone from volunteering to take her place and I wish I knew what it was.
She looks emotionless as she takes her place on the stage, a tiny figure who looks even smaller next to her hugely powerful district partner, who she stands surprisingly close to as they shake hands and the anthem plays. I notice that they don't look at each other once, a complete contrast to how the two tributes from District 2 usually behave, which generally involves looking at each other like they are enemies who are in the arena already.
The programme moves swiftly on to District 3 and I watch a very young looking boy walk slowly and reluctantly to their stage before I am distracted by a soft knock on the door.
I know that it had been my intention to return to the television room, but I change my mind again and ignore the sound, despite knowing that the noise from the television will travel through the door and whoever it is will know I'm not asleep. Unsurprisingly the knock comes again, slightly louder this time.
"Leave me. I want to be on my own," I call, silently seething when I see the handle turn.
"Gloss, did you not understand what I said?" I ask my mentor coldly as the door opens. I'm through with being polite. Why should I be when the chances are I have just been served my death sentence?
"I couldn't stand Marvel any longer. Taking my chances with you is the preferable option however angry you are," he replies, a smile appearing on his handsome face as he deliberately ignores my rudeness.
He walks into the room without waiting for my permission and sits down on one of the sofas, his every movement as elegant and graceful as ever. Here we go again. People just can't leave me alone, not even at a time like this. I feel strangely vulnerable as I wait for him to act like they always do, knowing that the usual war of words is as inevitable as ever and hoping that my subtle refusal will be enough. The consequences of the fight escalating on a tribute train bound for the Capitol don't bear thinking about, but even as I think that I know I am willing to face them if I have to. I haven't acquiesced to anybody yet, whatever the situation, and I'm not about to start now.
"What do you want?" I ask, my voice remaining as cold as ever as I decide that attack is the best form of defence.
He looks at me, surprising me when his eyes remain focused on mine rather than travelling over my body in that way that makes my skin crawl which I have seen so many times from others before him. "Talk to me, Glimmer. I can tell you're unhappy but I can't begin to understand why. Maybe I can help."
I laugh humourlessly, finding myself disappointed that he didn't have the intelligence to be a bit more original. "Do you have any idea how many times I've heard that one? 'I can help you, Glimmer,' 'I can make it worth your while, Glimmer,' 'You be nice to me and I'll be nice to you.' Do you really think I'm that stupid? I've heard it all before."
"Not from me you haven't," he snaps, his dark eyes flashing with anger for the first time.
"So what do you want?" I repeat, my voice not softening despite how I am slowly beginning to consider the possibility that I might have misjudged him and he might merely be concerned about me without wanting anything in return, something that I have never really known before from anyone.
"Who says I want anything?" he replies, surprising me by sounding slightly hurt. "I offered you my help and you didn't accept it. Now I just want to watch the reaping review in peace."
I stare at him for a second, watching him as he watches District 4's reaping, unused to being dismissed and then ignored in such a manner. It's strange how I spend most of my life fending off unwelcome attention and advances, wishing desperately to be left alone, and now that I have my wish I don't know what to do.
"Everyone wants something," I say, subtly changing the tone of my voice, only to be ignored completely once more. He doesn't even look at me, and while I know that he is playing me at my own game, trying to provoke a reaction, I somehow can't resist playing my role, probably in exactly the way he intended.
I cross the room and sit next to him on the sofa, expecting some kind of response from that and feeling irrationally disappointed when I don't get it. It is then that I realise I am doing this because I want him to react to me like virtually every other man does, not because I want him but because I don't know how to deal with him when he doesn't, because today has been painful and surreal enough without this added complication. I try again, turning to face him even as he refuses to look at me.
"So you don't want me then? That's not why you're here?"
I am relieved to see him finally react to me as he raises his eyebrows in surprise at my bluntness, but he still stares fixedly at the screen. "Of course I do," he says, still not looking at me. "You wouldn't be talking to me if I didn't, because that would make me stupid and I know already that you don't tolerate stupidity."
"But…" I start, suddenly lost for words because I have finally found someone who will answer me back no matter what I say, the humiliation at being made to feel like a lost little girl making matters worse.
"But nothing. If you think I would force my attentions on you then you don't know me at all."
"I don't know you," I start, feeling disgusted with myself when I notice a slight tremor in my voice. "I'd never met you until this morning. It's safer for me not to trust anybody. I learned that the hard way a long time ago."
He finally looks at me, a perfect masculine version of his sister despite being the polar opposite in colouring. His serious nature usually makes him appear older than his twenty-five years, but when he smiles his face transforms so he could be no older than me.
"Tell me what's wrong, Glimmer," he says. "Trust me, you'll feel better if you talk about it. Will you try? I'll sit right here and I won't move, you have my word," he continues, a wicked grin on his face as he moves over to sit primly on the opposite end of the chair to me.
"That depends," I reply, returning his smile slightly for the first time.
"On whether you want the truth or something beautiful. You can't have both."