Storm Marlinfield...brother...son...boyfriend...victor. How will the mourners of the losers see him...how will his family greet him...will life ever be the same? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Panem.
This is...the final chapter in our story.
District 4: Storm Marlinfield
That was what I saw as I stepped off of the train and into bright sunlight and brilliant blue sky. I smiled slightly; it had been a while since I had seen the sun. The train windows were bleak and the other districts were only blurs in my vision.
"Storm!" I heard Aqua cry out to me, but it took me a while to find her in the endless sea of faces around me.
She was just like I remembered, but not. Maybe these Games had affected her as well; I hadn't thought of that, that my pain could cause somebody else suffering. I wrapped my arms around her small body, clutching her tightly towards me as though I never would again.
I saw Ellanor smiling at me, and I hugged her too, despite her struggles.
My parents stood and grinned proudly at me, and I smiled back. I would not let any of them see my pain more than they deserved.
They never deserved this; none of us did, not really. We were just pawns in a chess Game, with President Snow as the black king, his rooks and knights standing proudly beside him, leading and helping him in battle. We were simply pawns that did not matter, at the mercy of those that once we had sworn to defeat.
"You're home," my mother Lana said simply, her smile fixed in place. Unfortunately, I knew she could see through my happy exterior, and saw the blackness hidden underneath.
I nodded at her, and shook hands with Ryan, my proud father. Aqua laughed and jumped onto my waiting back, and I carefully carried her to Victor's Village, and to our new home. I would never get used to calling the strange and superior part of town home, but I supposed it would do. Anyway, it wasn't like I had any choice in the matter.
The train slowed to a sudden halt, and District 1 appeared in my bleary window, shining and glorious as all of the career districts seemed to be.
I stepped off, and worked my way towards the Justice building, my eccentric prep team in tow.
"Storm, your first victory tour! How exciting! Now, what to do, what to do..." Vivienne said thoughtfully, tapping a perfectly manicured nail onto her chin. The twins Adrianna and Alaina studied me carefully, taking in, again, every angle and imperfection of my bathrobe clad body.
"Lark, any ideas for his hair?" Adrianna asked loudly and I jumped back from the noise. She didn't seem to notice, just stared at the only male stylist in this unlikely group of strange Capitol people I called my prep team, and I was completely in their hands now.
Their manicured, buffed and polished hands.
"I'm walking on sunshine..." Lark sang in reply, reaching for a pair of scissors and an oddly shaped hairbrush. "I'm walking on sunshine...hot chocolate."
I was beginning to wonder whether or not he was somewhat insane or just completely off his head. I decided on the latter, and suddenly realised that he had mentioned chocolate twice now. Obsessions were not healthy; my mother had once told me. For once, I was beginning to wonder if her words were all too true.
"It looks amazing! See what you can do with a new hairstyle, Storm. I think we'll keep it like that for the rest of the tour, to make sure people recognise you," Vivienne commented. Recognise me? I was the victor of the Hunger Games; I had been on their screens for weeks. I'm sure that even a new hairstyle couldn't change my whole face.
"I want to do his nails! I'm sure I could work wonders!" Adrianna chimed in, reaching for a pedicure set and nail file. I groaned inwardly, and held out one foot as she knelt down beside it.
Alaina silently pricked my eyebrows with tweezers as I jerked away from them, but always she carried on plucking and pulling on stray hairs that dared to stay on my body. I suffered through the whole process, twitching every time more pain was inflicted on my unwilling body.
"All done! Now, just look at my outfit..." Vivienne declared, brandishing a clothing bag from behind her back.
She unzipped it carefully, basking in her moment of glory. She let the bag fall, and held the outfit high above her neon purple hair. It was a shining silver shirt, and a white suit complete with diamonds and other jewels I didn't recognise.
It was made for District 1, I knew, and so as I went up stage I tried not to fiddle with the uncomfortable and unfamiliar outfit.
I was glared at slightly by some members of the crowd, and I saw Isabelle's equally beautiful family stare at me with added malice. Of course, Casey killed Isabelle, but really she deserved it. Kyrix, Sophia, and Beatrix had suffered because of her, and she deserved her fate.
Parker's family looked at me with indifference, because I had never really spoken to Parker. I had only seen him once or twice in the arena, and I wasn't associated with his death. He had been a good person, and he hadn't deserved to die, career or not.
In District 2 I had on a blue, plain top and blue trousers complete with a long, white jacket. It was a suitable play on a doctor's outfit.
Cassia's parents were crying softly, but Beldon's parents just glared openly at me, thinking that the psychopath was supposed to win in my place. In truth, I didn't particularly agree, but they were mourning their dead son, killed by my dead girlfriend.
They should know by now that life just isn't fair anymore.
For District 3 I had on a sparkly red jacket and a black shirt and trousers.
Jem's parents were too crying softly, and Natalie's father was shouting curse words at the stage before he drunkenly collapsed on the floor and the Peacekeepers took him away. I embarrassingly walked off stage, ending my speech as quickly as possible.
In District 5, after we pointedly missed out my home district, I wore a collared shirt with numbers written all over it, and plain jeans.
Yoko's elder sister had a blank look on her face and her eyes were naturally narrowed. Steath O'Malley's younger brother didn't cry, just narrowed his bright blue eyes so similar to the tribute I had known eyes'. It pained me to watch the look of pain and loss on their siblings faces.
For District 6, I wore a pair of glasses and an outfit with stars and numbers on it, very similar to John's chariot outfit in some ways.
John Colby's parents seemed too out of it to know who I was and why I was here, but his neighbour shed countless tears. Morphling had caused John's death and nothing else. Maybe he could have survived longer if he had the chance.
Nicole's sisters were crying, not hiding their tears of sorrow for their older sister. I noticed that none of them were wearing red or orange, and I thought I knew why; lava was red and orange.
In District 7 I wore a green button up shirt and brown slacks.
I almost cried as I saw Casey's friend Athena drying her hard, black eyes and someone who was obviously her aunt staring at the stage, an indifferent expression on her pointed, pale face. Klent Carter's family were sniffling quietly, standing very close to the stage.
His mother nodded at me; she knew that I had tried to keep him alive.
For District 8 I had on a patchwork leather jacket, and soft felty fabric for my shirt and trousers.
Elliot Dean's parents seemed shocked that he hadn't survived the bloodbath, and obviously hadn't yet gotten over it. They stared at the stage, not really seeing it. Cetera's family were holding each other for their tribute that loved and lost, like I had. Unfortunately, I know had to live with it.
In District 9 I was dressed in a simple black suit and white shirt, as I couldn't exactly wear food for my victory tour.
I made my speech, and watched the families of both Beatrix and Finn cry for their lost son and daughter. I nodded at them, acknowledging that I was truly sorry for their deaths without actually saying the words that threatened to have me killed by the Capitol.
For District 10 I wore a low, cream cowboy hat and roper jeans and a check work top.
I watched Battler's little brother narrow his eyes up at me, trying to be strong for the rest of his family. Lyli's mother clutched something white with a splatter of brown on it and I thought it was Lyli's reaping dress. It was soaking wet from her mother's tears.
In District 11 I had on a similar outfit to District 7, with a green top and brown trousers, and I also had a reef of leaves and plants sitting on my head like a crown.
I bowed my head to Kyrix's brothers but they barely noticed my gesture, too lost in their thoughts. Sage's sister was crying with a small baby in her arms and a tall, dark man standing beside her with his hand on her shoulder. The baby was also crying for her aunt.
For District 12 I wore all black as though I was going to a funeral.
Eko's sisters and mother were crying, their hard, grey eyes streaming with tears. Selena's father was also crying, not hiding his pain for losing his only daughter.
I stopped halfway through my speech, looking at the two families, mourning for deaths that I caused. Me. Nobody else, nobody else was involved with their deaths, and their blood stained my hand. I finally understood why Casey would look at her hands sometimes, a haunted look on her face. I could almost smell the metallic liquid on my shaking fingers.
"I just wanted to say that I'm sorry about Selena and Eko's death. They were good people inside and out, and never deserved to die. They never deserved to die, not in that way. I'm sorry, and if I could go back, I would never have jumped in the cave. I just wanted to protect those I loved, just like they were. They deserved to be here, and if I could make it happen, I would. And I'm sorry I can't take it back," I told them, tears in my eyes.
I walked off stage, away from the mayor's shouts, and the escort's cries. I knew I would pay for it, in blood, but I had to tell them. I had to tell them I didn't want their tributes to die.
"Storm?" I heard a small, child-like voice ask me, and I jolted out of my trance. I looked at my family, all with worried looks on their faces, and smiled wryly.
We walked hand in hand into my new house in District 4's Victor's Village, and I prepared myself for a whole new set of nightmares that night.
"I'm fine, just... thinking things through," I told them, looking at my sisters. Hopefully, neither would be sacrificed for my mistakes. Hopefully, we would still be a family this time next year. Hopefully, I might be able to forget, but none of that seemed likely.
This was Panem after all, and the Capitol were known for playing their Games.
It's all over...isn't it? Of course not! Follow all new tributes and Storm himself in the 28th Hunger Games, where the Reapings are now over. Who will triumph like Storm did? Who will lose the Game...like the 23 the year before? Read to find out!
I'd like to take your time to remember all those we lost over the past 2 months...Elliot Dean, Yoko Trainedge, Steath O'Malley, Kyrix Fin, Jem Hedrill, John Colby, Natalie Samson, Finn Lovegood, Cetera Jellon, Sage Amerato, Klent Carter Jackson, Cassia Hester, Parker Simons, Beatrix Stein, Battler Mason, Lyli Hyrman, Eko Raylor, Sophia Sorenson, Beldon Scourn, Nicole Angel, Isabelle Luca, Casey Ellison and Selena Yodis. 23 worthy tributes, all capable of winning, all who died before they got the chance. May they rest in peace, wherever they are.
Thank you so much guys for supporting me, and reviewing the story, and for making the amazing tributes I'd love to call my own, but unfortunately cannot. If it wasn't for you I would never be writing this story, and I want to thank you for that. Over this journey we've now learnt that Evan's favourite numbers are 4 and 7, Marie gets upset over deaths on fanfiction for tributes she didn't even create, Cody loves to win, and that Drama + Death + Destruction = amazing reviews and happy readers. Thank you guys, I love you!
Bye bye, and for the last time, thank you. *sobs*