Disclaimer: All characters are the property of Suzanne Collins. It is not intended to infringe on any copyrights held by Suzanne Collins or Scholastic Press. Any original story directions and plot lines herein are the property of the author. This work is written solely for the enjoyment of exploring that world in new ways.

This story is dedicated to my friends, Susan and Jason, both of whom I lost this month.

Author's blog: gkkstitch-gkkmouse(dot)blogspot(dot)com

The "tickler" that sparked this drabble was based on the fact that watching the reapings was a mandatory thing. So what did Cinna think as HE was watching?


#1. Reaping the children in 12

The name makes an impression on me, Primrose Everdeen. Primrose, I remember, is a pale yellow flower that blooms in the spring. I realize I am smiling, and then I remember why the name is being called in the first place when a tiny slip of a girl with pale yellow hair walks stiffly toward the platform. This is not a time to feel amused. I know she has to be at least twelve years old because her name is in the ball, but she looks barely ten.

Though the cameras are centered on the child, a commotion breaks out on the edges of my television screen and an older, dark-haired girl is crying the child's name before she starts to blurt out over and over again, "I volunteer!" and pushes her way to the stage.

They have to be sisters though they look nothing alike. The little primrose starts to weep, frantic to get her big sister off the stage to stop her from volunteering, but a boy from the reaping candidates pulls the child back.

I lean forward, captivated and amazed by the complete devotion on display for all Panem to see. I know from experience that the Capitol will not recognize this action as the purest kind of love. They will see it only as rebellion, taking advantage of a loophole in their precious rules, which has been forced on them by the networks—all in the name of better ratings.

After all, even the citizen's of the Capitol find it distasteful to see babies kill one another.

But this girl... What did Effie say her name was, Katniss? This girl is something different: half young woman, half wild creature.

Katniss. Her parents must have thought it was amusing to name their children after flowering plants. I shake my head, calling once again on my knowledge of flowers and plants, but finding no irony in the name for the edible roots of these pond lilies.

The Capitol is going to eat you right up, my little spark.

And just like that, I know what I am going to do with the spark from the coal district. I am going to fan that spark and make it flame for all of Panem to see. I pull out my sketch pad and begin to draw, making notes on the sides for the kinds of fabrics I need.

When Myka comes back in the living room to watch the show, he sits on the arm of my chair and curls his fingers underneath the collar of my shirt, only giving my sketch a glance as he strokes the skin of my neck and shoulders. He knows I get inspired often and in the oddest places, so he doesn't question me.

"They look younger and younger every year," Myka says.

I move to make room for him and he slides in behind me on the chair, pulling gently on my shoulder so I rest against his chest while I draw.

There will be no unimaginative miner's uniforms or ridiculous coal dust on my beautiful little gray-eyed flame. I will help her show Panem what heat can be generated from a good coal fire. I won't let her sacrifice for her sister be so easily snuffed out. I'll make everyone remember what she has done today.

Yet even as my pencils fly over the paper, what she has done keeps wandering back across my thoughts. You don't control people with food restrictions, manual labor and guns. Those things are simply threats, and when a person's family is threatened, they react. It isn't an uprising. It isn't civil unrest. It's an expression of love and family and devotion, and needing to protect those around you.

I think of someone trying to hurt Myka like that and my pencil stops.

"He is a pretty one, isn't he," Myka remarks, and I realize he thinks my sudden reaction is caused by the view of the boy tribute taking the stage—Peeta.

I put my sketch book down and press my back against Myka, letting myself sink into him as he wraps his arms around me and holds me tight, kissing my ear.


A/N: Thanks to my friends LolaShoes, IrishGirlTaken, BrookeLockart and masenvixen for helping me discover "The Hunger Games" trilogy.