Summary: This story came to me when I and still do, wonder how it was that President Snow found out about Gale and Katniss' kiss...as time went on a whole knew story evolved and I thought I'd share - this will be Book I of the Hunger Games, told through Madge's eyes.
Author's Note: It's been quite awhile since I've written fanfiction, but I'm determined to get back to writing and this was always a way to help me clear my mind for stories. :)
I lie there awake, counting the glimmering colors that bounce off the walls in my room. Just a simple reaction of light and crystal colliding, and it's beautiful. Nine crystals hang just above my window seal, nine of them; one for each year, until it stopped. I was nine years old when my mother began to lose feeling in her left leg. Every year before that she would walk quietly into my room as I slept and hang a new crystal above my window, then I'd feel her stroke my hair and whisper, "A new light for a brighter tomorrow." Then she'd kiss me on the forehead and whisper "I love you." Then leave my room for me to sleep some more. That was seven years ago, a tradition that was broken the day the cancer was found.
I think of the last present she gave me as I glance over to my dresser. There at the corner was my pin. I still recall the day, after the year the cancer was found – we did everything we could to stop it from spreading, but by the time the capitol gave the okay for my mother to have the surgery it had already began to eat away at her mind. It's because of the surgery I hate the capitol so much. We're all just a piece in their games, no matter what your station is or where you live – cross paths with the president and you're focused in for a check-mate. It took them two years to sign the release, and since the cancer already had spread so far, my father asked to cancel the surgery to let her go in peace. That didn't go to well with our president who was bothered with such cases and gave the okay for the surgery. Just excuses for the capitol to figure out what to do with their regular day to day boring lives until the Hunger Games can begin again.
My mother was sent in to surgery and the cancer was taken away, but with the damage done, she now lays upstairs in bed paralyzed from the waist down and her mind mentally wrecked. I barely see her anymore, because when I do – I strike up memories. That's where the pin comes in. I was twelve years old, the year my name was allowed to be placed inside for the games. She asked for me from father and I went up to see her. She was clutching the pin in her shaky hand. Her head twitches towards me as if her body and mind were arguing on what to do. I hated seeing her like this. She handed me the pin and told me it belonged to my aunt; and that I should wear it once I enter the games that year. Like I said my mother was no longer mentally there, and since then a new tradition was born.
"Madge," My father knocked softly on my door not sure if I was awake or not, but I was already ahead of him. I was out of my bed standing in front of my dresser examining the pin in my hands while remembering the meaning behind it just before he knocked on my door, "oh good you're awake. Mother has asked for you."
"I'll be up soon." I reply as he shut the door. I place the pin back down on my dresser and pull out my dress from the closet. The same white dress I wear every year of the Reaping, which is today. The day the new tradition between me and my mother started, where I go upstairs just to hear her tell me some new detail about the meaning behind the pin and just before I leave she shouts, "Don't worry, when you get back from the games, I'll be sure to have those crystals buried with you." I cried that entire morning the first time she told me that, but now I'm numbed to it. Dad keeps telling me that she's not thinking straight, she's mixing two different things, the games and the crystals – in a sick way he's telling me that she's trying to say she loves me every reaping. Part of me wants to believe him the other part just doesn't care anymore. I love my parents, but my mother was murdered by the capitol and they sent us back a mutt.
"Shine for me Madge," My father says as I walk down from the stairs after speaking with mom. I smile in response, "that's my girl." He kisses me on the head and heads upstairs to his study.
I love my dad I would be lost without him, I just know I would. It's just another piece of the games. Every year each mayor from each district is sent a greeting from the capitol and how much a celebration is in store for the New Year. From the way they announce it you'd think they were getting ready for a grand party instead of a grand death sentence. No one knows of this though, each mayor is sworn to silence when it comes to any private information from the capitol, and with me ease dropping now and again, he and I are the only two who really knows what goes on outside our district and inside our house. It's a part of many secrets I keep hidden inside; at least for both me and my dad, we share these scars.
My attention is turned away from a knock at the back door. I open it to find Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne, with a bag of strawberries in hand, my father's favorite. Katniss is the only girl I hang around with at school. You'd think being the mayor's daughter I'd have more friends, but everyone has marked me as the capitol's pawn. If they only knew how much I truly dislike the capitol; but that would mean I would have to tell my secrets and that, for the safety of everyone, I cannot do.
"Pretty dress." Gale's remark throws me off a bit. When it comes to Gale and me, he's one of the school kids who have branded me as Capitol material. Every now and again if we bump into each other at school he'd always say, "Well excuse me Miss Capitol." So at this precise moment he actually seems to be complimenting me on my dress, though I can't help but wonder is he being ironic or genuine?
I knew there was only one way to get him back, confuse him as much as he trapped me, "Well, if I end up going to the Capitol, I want to look nice, don't I?" I smile as his expression becomes just as confused as mine was. It must've triggered something because he shot right back at me.
"You won't be going to the Capitol," he replies coolly. I watch as his eyes land on my pin, the gold pin my mother gave me, that my aunt gave to her. The pin that means so much to me, the meaning behind it, he has no idea, and I can just guess what's on his mind as he looks longingly at the smooth gold that surrounds it. "What can you have? Five entries? I had six when I was just twelve years old."
"That's not her fault." I jump back when Katniss snapped at Gale.
"No, it's no one's fault. Just the way it is," Says Gale.
He's right, just the way it is, no matter what station, everyone is being played. But even though with all the things I see, hear – the secrets I keep – I don't think it comes close to comparing to volunteering your own name into the tessera every year for more food. It's not fair. I can't argue with Gale, so I grab the money from our counter behind me and place it in Katniss' hand as she hands me the strawberries. "Good luck, Katniss."
"You, too," she replies just before I shut the door.
I place the strawberries on the countertop and clutch onto my pin. I know someday everything will be different; everyone will be treated with dignity no matter what station. No one would go hungry, everyone would be able to live in peace, but most of all the Hunger Games would be no more. A wish I hold dearly but it's the hope of knowing that just maybe, keeps my head up and ready for the new day. That pin is one of the markings of hope for me.
"Who was at the door?" Dad comes into the kitchen while straightening his tie.
"Just our two favorite berry pickers," I reply with a smile.
"Oh yummy," He grabs a strawberry and takes a bite, "this calls for some waffles, how 'bout it?" I nod. "Those two are going to make a great couple once they find the courage to admit it to themselves." He chuckles over his remark and grabs some makings.
I role my eyes from the comment, there's a few things that strikes up conversations in our town that doesn't deal with the capitol or the hunger games, and one of them is those two. They're with each other almost every day, glued to one another since that fatal year with the mines, and still nothing. No hint of a relationship beyond friendship. To me I find that more promising, if they were to rush into anything who's to say neither one of them will be called into the reaping? Then what? That's one thing that both Katniss and I share, relationships will only end badly in a world that revolves around the games. Because even if we do make it past the ages without being picked there's still the likely hood of our children being chosen – and for me I don't think I could survive it. Neither could Katniss from what she told me once before in our few, out-of-the-blew conversations at lunch.
Though unlike me Katniss is a talk of the town with her relationship with Gale, and I bet if everyone knew all the stories I know, more possible ideal bachelors for Katniss would be lined up. As for me, I'm branded; and the hatred for the capitol is marked on me – which hides away any attraction whatsoever. And that is one thing I'm grateful for. I'm pulled from my thoughts and began to help my dad with breakfast by cutting the strawberries in half. Just a few more hours before the real games begin.
At one o'clock, I head for the square. My dad has to be an hour early for preparation. Something I find ridiculous, but he tells me it's so no one cheats. I don't see how anyone could cheat at the pick of the names unless someone was to write one name down over a thousand times. Still he never complains of going. I follow the line of sixteen year olds as we're all separated by ages. Twelve through eighteen-years-olds are herded into roped areas, the oldest in front, and the young ones in back. Family members line up around the perimeter, holding tightly to one another's hands. I look straight towards my father who smiles and does the hand gesture towards me, "Shine for me Madge" I lift my chin and smile. I watch as he smiles back and calms ever so slightly. It's our own little game, a way of helping each other stay calm and not burst into tears or burst out crazy; a way for both of us to know that we are not alone.
Just as the clock strikes two, he steps up to the podium and begins to read. It's the same story every year. He tells of the history of Panem, how it was once called North America until the war. Afterwards the only surviving were now thirteen districts surrounded by the shining capitol. I role my eyes from the mention, he continues on with the story of the uprising that led to the Dark days and as warning for it to never be repeated the hunger games was born.
The rules of the games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. I glance over to his left where the large glass ball full of names for the boys sits on a podium of its own just like to the right of him is where the names of the girls are, with my name written five times in there. Twenty-four tributes are then sent to an arena of some kind to fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. While the rest of us, sit home and watch. Basically a slap to the face telling that there's nothing we can do about it. We're just pawns in their games, more likely the president's game. Though that's not the worst of it, just before we are allowed to kill each other off, we are decorated to become celebrity like idols for the capitols amusement. This helps when you're in the arena, because it brings out sponsors, but to be honest I'd rather show up looking like a bearded goat than have the fans of the Capitol drool all over me.
"It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks," my dad nearly choked on that last line. I can't blame him, how could someone give thanks to such a distasteful function? To watch your own children murdered on screen – oh I'm sure everyone will be lining up to give thanks to President Snow every time that happens. He finally comes around to reading the list of the victors we've had in the past. Out of seventy-four years, we have had exactly two. Only one is still alive. Haymitch Abernathy, a paunchy, middle-aged man, who at this moment appears hollering something unintelligible, which is basically like every other day I bump into him while taking a walk. He staggers onto the stage, and falls into the third chair, drunk as always. The crowd responds with its token applause, but he's confused and tries to give Effie Trinket a big hug, which she barely manages to, fend off.
I couldn't help but smile, when it comes to Haymitch he's a big part in my life, whether he knows it or not. He's one of my lights to all this darkness, drunk or past out – he's one of my secret heroes. Though my father only distresses from his behavior, since this is being televised we're probably known as the laughingstock of Panem, but if Haymitch continues his act, my dad is going to be in his study for a couple of hours tonight, something he always goes to bed stressed about afterwards. He pulls himself together and quickly pulls the attention towards Effie Trinket instead.
Bright and bubbly as ever, Effie Trinket trots to the podium and gives her signature, "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!"
She's one of the names I hear in my house quite often, mostly when my mother has said a negative thing to me. My dad always gives the example of Effie, "Just think of your moms comment like Miss Trinket. She may sound harsh, but it's only because she doesn't know better." He always makes me laugh when he uses Effie as an example with my mom's behavior, though my mom has an excuse – Effie's is she's full blooded Capitol.
I find myself fidgeting a bit and to get my mind off of the irritancy of this whole speech I began to look around towards faces I may know. I spot Katniss and smile, though she's focused on someone else at the moment and I follow her direction towards Gale just across from us. As always those two are inseparable, even mentally. I then look behind towards all the young ones and realize the chances of them getting picked are as possible as any of us; it doesn't matter if you call for tessera or not, there's still a chance and my heart sinks over the idea. They're only twelve.
I'm brought back to face the podium when they announce it's time for the drawings to begin. Effie Trinket quotes another one of her famous lines, "Ladies first!"
I hold my breath as I watch her cross over to the glass ball. She reaches in, digs her hand deep into the ball, and pulls out a slip of paper. The crowd draws in a collective breath and then you can hear a pin drop. I glance towards my dad on stage as he's refraining from looking back at me, I don't blame him; the idea of his only child being called must be unbearable. I just know he'd break. So I sigh deeply before taking a large gulp as I listen carefully as Effie begins to pull the paper open. And for the smallest moment I wish for me to be called. But it wasn't, and it wasn't anyone older or close to my age, it was someone who had just been entered this year.
I choke when the name is called, "Primrose Everdeen."