title: a thousand polluted stars shining upon our heads
summary: "we could've been in love."
dedication: to my darling mommy, because she's getting surgery tomorrow and i'm super anxious. love you forever, even when i'm a moody girl, i love you always.
a night without stars. the capitol is polluted and scary and it makes maysilee feel itchy.
she wants to be home and kissing her brothers' heads before they fall into a deep sleep. she wants to stay up with her mother and drink the strawberry tea they made and eat the last scraps of bread. she wants to help her dad out, help him file the millions of hunting cases, even though they bought illegally poached food most of the time.
maysilee donner does not want to be in the big, foreign capitol with the mean boy that stares at her across the table at dinner. maysilee is too young to die, and she doesn't like the perpetual feeling that she is going to disappear. she always feels sluggish and lost in this city. she feels like a lamb that is lined up to be slaughtered.
she sits in the empty hallway, her nightdress tucked between her thighs. her face is clean and soft due to the countless hours of the makeup artists scrubbing the lingering dirt on her face. she feels lost and dirty without the layer of grime that managed to stay on her skin. her home has been removed from her, and now, she, herself is a stranger to the district twelve.
all she wants is to return home and hide under her covers, whisper made up fairytales to her brothers. tell them about the alien faces that can be found in the capitol, and how people change their bodies, become foreign to themselves. maysilee misses the way her brother's faces twisted into pure joy – the words that rolled off her tongue embedding in their minds. she wonders if they will repeat the words as she's in the arena, when she is dead. she hopes they will remember her, keep her face in their minds.
"you're going to die, you know."
it's the boy from the mines. his eyes are cold and distant, his hair messy – permanently sooty. he looks angry. he sits next to her, his voice all knowing. if she had seen him before, when the arena didn't call her name, sealing her death, she may have fallen in love with him. maybe she would dance at home, and her eyes might be brighter, she would tell her friends about the boy of ash. maybe, if her life wasn't swerving to it's end, she would want to stay with him under a roof for the rest of her life. he turns to her, his eyes are gray, the palest gray that look like polluted moonlight. she turns to him, her breath slow and deep.
she presses her lips to his, and she can taste ash on his tongue. the taste is powerful, as if he had spent years breathing it in. he probably has, for all she knows. she does not know him. she does not know a lot of things.
"i have someone at home, waiting for me," he says, leaning his forehead against hers.
maysilee kisses him again, reveling in the way he pulls her closer until they are molded into each other. maybe if they were one person, she thinks briefly, they could win the hunger games. he presses a finger against the back of her ear, in the crevice between neck and ear, as if he could tap into her thoughts. his other fingers spread against her neck, and she wonders if he could break her neck. if he did, right at this moment when her eyes were open as she kissed him, she could be safe from the dangerous people. his eyes are closed, and she takes her hand and links her fingers through his limp hand. she pulls away.
"if i had met you before," she whispers, her face so close to his that her lips brush his, "i would've hidden you in the sky."
"i don't understand," he says back.
he wouldn't understand. she doesn't understand much herself. but she looks at him, polluted eyes and the pain that dwells deep.
"i'm going to die."
tears roll down her cheeks, and her head falls on his shoulder. this is the truth, maysilee will never return to her brothers at home, she will never drink strawberry tea with her mother, never stay up with her father and help him. they will slowly forget the sharp edges of her face, blur the color of her eyes. one day, they will die themselves, and the image of her will no longer stay alive. she doesn't want to cry, but she does. she is trying to be older; different. maysilee donner would never rashly kiss a boy – especially a seam boy. she closes her eyes, tears still trying to escape. she and the boy of ash sit together, comfortable silence between them. she doesn't remember his name, but it seems meaningless, almost. the warmth that gathers between their fingers keeps her scared – safe. she doesn't know what to think.
"may," he says softly – so softly she might not have even heard it, "i'd seen you before this all. and i thought maybe one day, if i was lucky, we could've been in love."
she presses her lips against his, feeling his gentle touch on her body. it almost felt like smoke, lazily feeling her, as if they had all the time in the world. as if they had won each other as the prize. although, if anything, they had already lost.