The Girl From the Seam: Surface, rated K+

Disclaimer: I don't own them.

A/N: Events before, during and after the books are fair game. Let me know what you think.


My gaze raises from the cracked surface of my desktop, curious at the sudden tension in our crowded room. That's when I see her.

It's not that death is so elusive for the rest of us. Though it will never be a true equalizer between merchant and miner children, even a baker's son like me won't be spared from the reaping when the time comes. The Capitol dictates this reality.

What else is true is that the whole of District 12 resides above those treacherous caverns; the faces of the five other kids in this class whose mothers or fathers were killed there eliminate any lingering novelty of death.

The difference is that their parents died years ago. Not yesterday.

Everyone is still silent as she passes to my left.

Her thin shoulders are hunched up like a baby bird's, dark gray eyes fixed to the scuffed tiles of the floor. She can't weigh more than a half sack of flour and yet her light steps have created a pounding in my temples. I'm forced to bite my lip hard, so many of my questions threaten to break this wordless spectacle.

Why is she here? Why would our teacher, who must be accustomed to this exact situation, allow it? Why would her mother allow it? The need to understand this seems unbearable.

Then a small voice in my mind that sounds almost like my own mother demands, Why does it matter?

"Miss Everdeen," our teacher finally speaks up. "The administration is aware of your situation. You're not required to be here today."

The whispered response is so soft I nearly miss it.

"He wanted me to learn."

I continue to stare at my fingertips as they explore those ragged edges, because there is no point in turning to see the expression on her face as she sits behind me.

I am positive it would not have revealed anything at all.