Chapter revised on: 12/29/2012
Important: As of late December 2011, I began revising this fic. It's not all that excellent and I really need to fix it. At the top of every chapter, there will be a thing in bold like this [Chapter revised on: m/dd/yyyy]. If that is not at the top of a chapter, it has no been revised. So any abysmal writing is of ocurse, my fault, but it hasn't been revised yet.
As of 1/7/2012, this first chapter is the only one revised.
A/N: I only own characters you do not recognize from Hunger Games, Catching Fire or Mockingjay
A/N2: This story will be mostly AU. It will still have the same characters, just with different events and lots of OCs :)
I remember the 60th Hunger Games perfectly. Sometimes, the memories are even clearer than the 50th Hunger Games, the ones I actually took part in. The 60th Hunger Games are among the most memorable, for me. It is the year that Rose Fairchild, my fiancée, was the female tribute for our district, District 12. When the District 12 escort called out, "Rose Fairchild," it was like the whole world was picked up and spun around a few thousand times before coming to crashing halt. Rose quickly passed the tiny thing in her arms to the young Seam girl standing next to her and put on a brave face as she made her way to the stage.
I of course, as the only living victor of District 12 I was the mentor for her and the boy from District 12. I was hoping- no, praying!- that Rose would come out victorious. I told her everything I knew. I told her to avoid the bloodbath at the Cornucopia. Rose assured me she knew what she was doing and that she would avoid it. She and the girl from District 9 already had an alliance.
On the fourth day of the Games, Rose was murdered by her fellow District 12 tribute when he ambushed her and her ally. I wanted to jump into the arena and kill that bastard myself. Instead of me having to do it, the girl from District 9 killed him that evening. "I know that these are the Hunger Games and all, but it's kind of against the moral code to kill your District partner," She said as she delivered the death blow with an ax. She would later go on to win. I think her name was Raewyn Navara or something like that.
Whatever her name was, I wanted to hug her.
I can't remember a time that I had wanted to cry so much, but didn't.
I couldn't. I had to be strong. For her.
No, I am not talking about being strong for Rose Fairchild.
I had to be strong for the tiny thing Rose had handed the Seam girl before accepting her death sentance. The thing she had handed her was in fact, a four-month-old baby girl. My four-month-old.
Ever Elizabeth Abernathy. That's the name Rose gave her. Ever was so young at the time. She has no memories of Rose. At the time of her death, Rose was 18- turning 19 in two months. Ever was her everything. Rose wanted to survive so badly for her. That didn't happen.
I wanted to marry her after Ever was born. Rose insisted on waiting a few months, until after the Games.
Not thinking she would be a Tribute, I agreed. The odds were in her favor. She was the niece of the District 12 schoolmaster. Nobody, not even doctors make much money in District 12, but doctors, the mayor and schoolmasters all have enough money to feed their families. This means that Rose, her older brother, her younger brother and her three younger cousins would never have to sign up for tesserae. At the time of the reaping for the 60th Hunger Games, her name was only in for drawing seven times. Her younger brother, at 14, had his name in three times. Her younger cousins, ages 13 , 14 and 16 had theirs in two, three and five times.
When Ever was born, Rose and I decided we would try keeping her a secret from the Capitol. We took all of the possible precautions; the baby was a home birth and we kept the only copy of her birth records hidden in the house at Victor's Village. The last name thing wouldn't be an issue, because Rose was going to educate her at home, as there are no laws dictating children to go to school. Rose was also going to keep her at home while I mentored in the Capitol.
But then Rose was reaped. I had to mentor. Ever had to come along.
That was the end of our plan to protect our daughter from the Capitol.
Every year after Rose's death I would have to bring my little girl to the Capitol. There, she was by my side almost every waking moment and often when she was asleep, too. So of course the Capitol caught on.
The Capitol citizens like their gossip magazines. Every "Hunger Games season" a special edition of one of the gossip magazines in printed out. It is basically a victor stalker issue full of pictures of past victors in the Capitol now and there is a twenty or thirty page section devoted to the victor kids. There is always a five-page article about the five cutest "victor kids." Much to my annoyance, stealthily captured pictures of Ever often ended up on those pages.
Needless to say, the plan to keep her a secret failed miserably.
So, I guess I can't blame her for her protests on the afternoon of her first reaping.
"Ever Elizabeth Abernathy, get up!" I scream at her.
"No!" She yells back.
"Damn it Ever, if you don't shut up and come with me right this second-!"
"You'll what? Hit me? Break a bottle on my head? You're too chicken!"
I pull harder on Ever's legs. "Ever! Come! On!" I say in between tugs.
"I don't want to! What if I get reaped?"
"You're not going! Your name is in there once and only once. Your chances are close to zero! Think about your friends!"
"I'm not going!"
"Ivy and Joshua Hopeflame are your age and their names are in five times each! The odds are in your favor!"
Ever lets go of her headboard and allows herself to fall to the ground. She hits her head on the hardwood floor. "Ouch!" She complains.
"That wouldn't have happened if you had just gotten ready for the Reaping when I told you to."
She rolls her eyes and mumbles something under her breath.
"What was that?" I ask her, taking another sip of whiskey.
She plugs her nose and fans her hand parallel to her face. "Firstly, your breath smells like whiskey again. Secondly, I can't believe you are drunk on the day of your only child's first reaping. Thirdly, I said nothing."
"Thirdly, I said nothing." I mock in a rather immature manner.
Ever rolls her eyes again. " Daddy, you're more of a child than I am."
"Whatever." I mumble, grabbing her hand as we begin to walk toward the Justice Building. She quickly yanks it away, protesting about how she isn't a little kid anymore. "Could have fooled me, what with the tantrum you threw this morning. She sticks out her tongue.
"Real mature." I say sarcastically.
Daddy just doesn't get it.
Not at all.
The day of the reaping...it is terrible for more reasons than one.
Daddy never tells me about the 50th games- even if ask him when he's totally wasted. The 60th Games are another story. I ask him about my mom a lot and he is always more than happy to answer my inquiries. Most of them involve the 60th Games. She died on the fourth day of the 60th Hunger Games, four months after my birth. He reminds me of that often. He always says how wonderful she was and how she would have won if she hadn't been killed by the District 12 male Tribute that year. I was worried about the Reaping, more than a normal person should. Both of my parents were Tributes. Rose Fairchild, my mother, was of course killed. Haymitch Abernathy, my father, of course is a victor, the second victor to come out of District 12 and the only living one.
Often, I wonder what it was like for him to watch two children be brought to him each year for him to have to send to the slaughter.
When we get to the Justice Building, I find myself reaching up and grabbing his arm, clinging to it like a terrified five-year-old.
He chuckles, "I thought you didn't want to hold my hand."
"I changed my mind." I say, my words muffled from burying my head into his chest. His clothes reek of alcohol, but I don't care. The smell is the least of my worries. All I care about is the fact that my father is still beside me, and clinging to him seems like the best way to be sure of it. A stray tear burns a path down my right cheek. I feel it be wiped away.
Despite the fact that he is almost always intoxicated, he's still always been a loving father.
"No crying, sweetheart." He kisses my forehead.
"Okay." The reaping hasn't even started yet Ever! Don't start blubbering now!
"Evy! Evy!" Called several familiar voices. I looked up to see Josh and Ivy Hopeflame, along with Kenton Hale and Damien Gilead- my friends. They all live in the Seam. Kenton and Damien are a bit older than me, at age 15. Josh and Ivy are 12, like me.
"Hey guys." I say softly.
Daddy smiles. "I'll leave you to your friends."
I open my mouth to protest, but he has already managed to pry his arm from my grip.
I turn to my friends to start a conversation, but before I can even open my mouth, the District 12 escort, Tanith Rudo steps up to the stage outside of the Justice Building. She gives the normal spiel about how much of an honor it is to represent our district in the Games and how she is very excited to meet the tributes. "Ladies first!" She finishes. She reaches her hand into the large bin that holds the names of all of the girls in District 12, ages 12-18. She pulls one out takes a deep breath looks at it, and looks up, puzzled.
Finally, she takes another breath and loudly announces the name. "Ever Abernathy," She lifts her head and looks around, as if trying to figure out which girl in the District looks like Haymitch's kid. Just as stunned, most of the residents of District 12 are whispering amongst themselves.
"I didn't know Haymitch had a daughter!"
"Who let that drunk reproduce?"
"I never thought she would be reaped."
"Must be a set up."
"The Games are rigged this year,"
"Wouldn't put it past the Capitol,"
"I wonder what Abernathy did to piss off the President this year, eh?"
I ignore the whispers as I walk up to the stage. Tanith Rudo has to bend down to get a good look at me. "Are you Ever Abernathy?"
"Last time I checked." I say, causing the crowd to nervously giggle.
"How...how old are you?"
The crowd begins mumbling again, the same way they do in every district when the name of a 12-year-old is drawn.
The reality of the moment finally sets in. I begin frantically looking around the stage for my father. Even a drunken father would be comforting right now. I finally find him. He looks as if he is about to faint. After I memorize his exact location, I begin looking around for volunteers.
Somebody! Anybody! I know I can rule out Josh, Damien and Kenton and all my other guy friends- they're boys. I'm not about to let Ivy take my place, she was twelve too. I have no other girl friends. What about one of the Fairchild girls, my cousins on my mother's side? No, doesn't look like I will get any help from them either. It is all I can do to keep from bursting into tears. I glance over at Daddy once more. "Daddy...help." I mouth.
"I'm sorry, baby girl." He mouths back.
"Now, for our male tribute!"
She reaches into the large bin and pulls out a name. She opens her mouth to read it.