This may be a super-long fanfic of epic proportions, or a few introductions. It widely depends on how much I get into the story. I won't be including author's notes in future chapters.

This fanfic will be like the audience experience for Capitol viewers. So, if you want a tribute to get a gift, you'll have to sponsor them. Please limit yourself.

(Don't send your favorite tribute a month's worth of imperishable food.

I will take the part of mentor, processing the gifts, though each tribute will have a mentor in the story. Please enjoy.

The time in the arena will begin in 24 chapters. ;)


Reaping day. Finally.

For the first time in weeks, I allowed myself the ease of laying back, melding into the comfort of my mattress. I deserved it. Reaping day.

It was my right, really. District One will win, this year. The winner will be me. Paris Stetson. Daughter of the richest mine-owner. Trainee of a past victor, Decca Wilde. Expert with knives.

The best are the only ones who will survive in the arena. I am the best.

Blinking rapidly, I felt the light from my room's three windows spill over my face. Warm, but not uncomfortably so. In all fairness, not the nicest; though our marble floors, arched doorways, and all-around feel of grandeur are certainly among the district's highest measure of luxury, the home of the mayor is said to be wonderful.

Truly marvelous.

The homes at Victor's Village, though, are where I place my goals. When I come home from the games and complete the obligatory touring and speaking, I want to return to one of them. I am the best, but the simple fact is, the best is not good enough.

Better would be… better.

Sitting up, I felt my muscles tense. They were aching to be used, as they always were. It would be blissful, in the arena, where I could stretch, not worrying that I would kill someone on accident. It's not the killing that bothers me, though I suppose I'd rather let someone else take care of it, it's the accidental nature.

I'm a Stetson. Nothing happens to us by accident.

To ease my nature, and appease my nervous shoulders, I put one thin hand down, letting it rest on the table next to my bed. Feeling around, I clenched my fingers over the hilt of my favorite little dagger. The tension left my arm, and I flopped back onto my pillow, smiling.

How nice was it? Very. Lovely. My life was perfect. But it could always, always, be better. My smile turned to a grimace, and I felt my hand flash back to the small table, closing around the handle of a crystal bell, which I rang loudly. The noise reverberated off the stone walls.

Once I was certain that our avox had heard it, I laid it back, retracting my arm.

The air held a certain gelid tang, and I was grateful for the warmth of my body, preserved under layers of down. I hate the cold. Hate it with a passion.

A soft knock at the door alerted me to the present of our servant, who came as a gift from one of father's wealthy contacts in the Capitol. A gift, for services rendered.

She kept her face down, eyes averted, as her short, blonde hair hung around her visage. I couldn't see her; I didn't care.

In her hands lay a polished silver tray, furnished with a cut glass goblet of ice water, a plate of eggs, and a small pile of pulled-apart beef, a high protein diet which I have held to since my training began.

Hands shaking slightly, she handed the tray to me, though in the process, she looked up, hair parting to reveal watery blue eyes, displaying a nakedly terrified expression. She couldn't have been older than me.

I took the tray, and sent her off. She should have considered the consequences before she betrayed the Capitol.

Soon, it lay across my lap, empty. The snowy white bedclothes were clean, of course. My manners are wonderful.

Lightly, I deposited it on the empty table to the other side of my bed, before rolling over to my right, running my hand over my dagger for luck, and landing in a crouch on the heated floor.

Slowly, I straightened, moving to the borough, changing from my white angora night gown to a pale violet silk shirt. Before I could grab a black pinstriped skirt to complete the image, a girl caught my eye.

In the mirror. My image.

Absolutely mesmerizing. Even so early, I had to admit, I was mesmerizing. My hair, though it sorely needed to be brushed, was charcoal black and could be pin-straight, if it so desired. I had been growing it out for nearly two years, since Giorgio shaved my head while I slept, as a twisted joke.

My eyes were blue, and plenty nice to look at as well. I flashed a smile at myself, and finished dressing.

That girl was going to win. She was the best.

I was the best.

My mother and father, Asteria and Quintrell, escorted me to the square, silently. We've never really talked much, since Giorgio left for the Capitol. They pretty much staked their hopes on him, in terms of having a victor in the family.

Hey, who am I to judge? They let me alone, training-wise, and all the choices that they made for him, I made for myself. Who cares if I can't lift 200 pounds in a sitting? Throwing knives is harder, and way more useful.

I left them to find a place in the crowd, and danced through the throng of people to find a place in the Seventeens. Gloss and Cashmere sat just a few rows away, in the Sixteens, but I didn't try to contact either of them.

It had already been made clear that I was the one volunteering.

Next to a few people who looked familiar, I settle down to wait for our mayor's entrance. We watched in silence as he strode with purpose, shaking his full head of blonde hair. If you looked close enough, you could see a bit of grey around the edges, but our mayor gives off an air of youth, of vivacity.

Nothing gets past him.

The air was quiet, save for the sound of people breathing, as he began his somewhat repetitive speech on the treaty, the Capitol, and the Games in general. He closed it on a somewhat somber note.

"The Hunger Games are a time to celebrate the Capitol's forgiveness, and thank them for sparing our noble district. Be grateful for them."

He didn't need to remind me. The only thing left in my mind, though, was not thankfulness- merely a resolve to do better. And for that, I needed for the escort not to pick my name. So that I could volunteer.

I needed to win.

District One is the place of highest honor for any escort, and the irrepressible Elle Cobalt seemed to be enjoying the glory. Her predecessor had retired the previous year, leaving the position vacant, ready for her to fill.

Fill it she did, her spiky green hair staying mysteriously stationary as she danced up to the podium, her voice chirpy and excited.

"Happy Hunger Games! Enjoy the reaping!" she squeaked.

I couldn't help but envy her voice. It was as high as that of the youngest tribute, though she could have easily been my mother. Closing my eyes, I sighed deeply. I never wanted to get old.

She delivered a glowing smile, stepping up to the enormous glass bowl at the front of the stage.

"Without further delay," she trilled, "let's pick our lucky tributes! Girls go first!"

Biting my lip and closing my eyes, I silently hoped that it would not be me. Not me. Not me. Not me.

"Tiffany Mercedes!" she screeched, and my eyes snapped open as a girl towards the front walked shakily towards the stage.

With as much speed as I could muster, I leaped up, fairly screaming.

"I volunteer as the female tribute of District One!"

Okay, a bit formal, I guess, but before I knew it, I was up on stage beside Elle. She bounced on her heels with delight.

"Boys next!"

She flounced over to the next glass bowl, digging around eagerly.

"Royce Emelin!" she called over the crowd, the noise echoing through the speaker system.

It was all I could do to keep from snorting. Emelin? He sounded like an utter pushover.

No one seemed to be leaving the Thirteens or Fourteens, where I immediately cast my gaze. When I did look slowly back, I had to do a double take. The monster lumbering in from the Eighteens couldn't have a last name like that. No way. He was easily six feet tall, probably more, and cutting a wide swath of open space through the crowded square by swinging his massive arms.

Our tributes, the guys at least, are usually pretty big. He was huge.

Honestly, who would volunteer for him? When he did reach the stage, I edged away, if only minimally. I was scared. Not terrified, not cowering in fear, but he scared me.

Elle seemed to mirror my feelings her voice falling an octave.

"Well, let's… Welcome our tributes," she said, a vestige of her old spunk remaining, though she turned and whispered something to the mayor, "Err… Paris Stetson and Royce Emelin! Give it up for District One's Tributes!"

Beside me, Royce's face was a mask of utter joy, and I felt my own smile slide into a similar expression.

Because, scary or not, this boy and I were going to be stuck in the arena together within the month.

And, honestly? I couldn't be happier to have him on my side.

In all reality, he was bigger in person. Both of us refusing visitors, Royce and I were pressed together in a room that, compared with the rest of our Justice Building, was tiny. He was the sort of person who, just by sitting next to you, made you infinitely smaller in comparison.

The only weapon I had against him, in such confined quarters, was wit. Honestly, I was really just hoping he was stupid, or something. I like breathing, and someone like Royce? Even though he was smaller than some of the careers I'd seen from Two, he had sort of an air of power.

What really shocked me was that it was him that spoke first.

"We should be allies."

I nodded curtly, keeping my expression as smooth as I could. No weakness. I could not show weakness. Weakness is akin to death.

"Paris, c'mon. You've got to tell me at least something about you. There's no way I'm parading around in a chariot wearing Capitol designed costumes with someone I don't know."

I smiled as slightly as I knew how.

"My father," I said, in what sounded like an icy drawl, "is Quintrell Stetson. I have been training for this for nearly a decade, now."

"Let me guess," he said, mirroring my strangely distorted voice, "you use knives."

Frowning, I let my composure slip.

"How can you tell?"

He smiled lopsidedly, half his teeth showing. It was hard not to recoil.

"You remind me of my sister. I'm more of a spear-thrower myself, but she's a wonder with a throwing knife."

"Better than me, would you say?" I asked, delicately raising an eyebrow, grateful that I could.

"I don't see any way you could top some of the things she's done," he replied.

"I'll just have to prove you wrong then," I said, standing up, my face returning to it's former mask, though I couldn't keep the smile from my voice.

"Let's make it a friendly wager then, eh?" he quipped, standing up to tower a good six inches above me.

From the door, I heard a Peacekeeper calling, and made for the door. He beat me, of course, twisting the silvery knob, and holding it open, as if he were a gentleman.

"After you, milady?" he asked sarcastically, his smile wider than ever.

"Don't mind if I do," I replied, taking his hand as we began the journey to the train, already connected.

Yes, interesting. Royce was interesting. Scary, too. Utterly terrifying, if he wanted to be.

But I kinda like interesting people.


Please note that this is a redone chapter. Royce's own will be next, followed by Kali, Soren, Lecia, and Vance. Thank you. :)

(This disclaimer stands for every chapter in this story)

I don't own any character, except for the tributes.