A/N: These amazing characters were created by Suzanne Collins. I'm just having fun with them.
Special thank you to windyday for reviewing my previous Finn-fic, The Calm Before. If you haven't read it, please do! And, as always, reviews are a writer's best friend. If you read something and you like it, take the time to let the author know. I know it makes my day!
Without further ado, I present Crept Up On Me. Enjoy.
Ten years is a long time for things to change.
They say it gets easier with time. That goes for the nightmares. The women. The fact that nothing in your life as a victor will ever be as easy as they make it seem when you're a kid. That you'll never be able to have or do the things you really want.
And they're right to an extent. You start to lose yourself, and you forget that your life wasn't always this way. And yeah, that makes it easier.
Still, looking at my life now, it's such a huge stretch from the year I won the Games. In District 4, you train to win, and you're honored when you do. You don't cry. You stick with the other Careers. And you hope they kill one another—including the other kid who came with you from home—before they even think to come after you. We're strong in District 4, but we also have swimmers' bodies. We're lean. We're quick. Weapons kind of kids. When I was fourteen, a kid from 1 or 2 could snap my neck. With his hands. Without a problem.
I should have known that something was wrong when Mags became my mentor the day my name was pulled from the reaping ball. District 4. Careers. How was it that we didn't have a male victor suitable for the job? You can imagine my absolute thrill at the idea of my life being in the shaky, wrinkled hands of a seventy-year-old woman who was missing half her teeth.
But hey, if first impressions were everything, who knows where I would be? I certainly wouldn't have Annie.
Mags told me to take everything I knew about the Games and throw it out the window. Another reason I didn't jump for joy at the idea of her being my link to the outside world. But there were things Mags couldn't fight. Even at fourteen, I was sexy, and there was no going against it. And Mags said that if I played up that more than my strength or intelligence or handiness with a trident, maybe the other Careers wouldn't even mind not having me. Because Mags didn't want me teaming up with them either.
At the Cornucopia, I grabbed what I could and ran. It wasn't until after the initial bloodbath that I acquired my first kill and the weapons she carried. I built a shelter and received bread and water that night. When it was time to wash the sweat and dirt off, I got soap. When my hands blistered, medicine. I focused always on my next kill instead of my last. It wasn't hard. And when I got my trident, it wasn't long before I was back home with my dad.
Of course, in retrospect I have to wonder who sent me the trident in the first place. Was Snow that desperate to make me his next puppet that he could have sent it himself? Nothing would surprise me at this point.
After ten years, I've fallen into routine. I've come to terms with the things I've done. And even though I there are things I can't change, things I hate, I'm getting used to that too. Most days, I can even say I'm happy.
It's too much to be with Annie when they broadcast Katniss Everdeen, winner of last year's Games, in a bunch of wedding dresses. I feel bad for Katniss. I've been doing this long enough to be able to discern who's acting on their own will and who's strings are being pulled by President Snow. And deep down, I know she's probably just like me. But even that can't change the fact that I'm jealous. Katniss doesn't seem to want a wedding. I do. So naturally, she's getting married and I'm not. No surprise there.
So I'm watching by myself when a boy pulls a card from a box, and President Snow makes an announcement.
And I am surprised.
I never expected to have the life I want. But now it's doubtful that I'll have any life. I know my name will be called. He'll want to get rid of the strongest among us. I know he's done with me. And I know I won't be coming back.
My mind runs through the names of friends. Which of them will I have to kill in the arena? Then I think of Mags. Of Annie. I won't do it. I won't do it. I won't do it.
But like with everything else that's happened in the ten years since I won, with this I have no choice.
I close my eyes, press the heels of my hands into my temples, let my palms drown out the sound. Just like that, ten years of footage begin to play across my eyelids.
Kind of short, but it's only the prologue. I already have another 13 chapters written with several more planned. Let me know if there's something you want to see, and I'll do my best to work it in.
And pleeeaaase review!
Thank you for reading!