Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games. Definitions found in this fic can be found at dictionary. com, Emily Gems and Sensational Color and I own none of them.

Rating: for language (twice) and sexual themes.


Artists can colour the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must colour things the way they really are or people might think we're stupidJules Feiffer


Blue, Noun: The pure colour of a clear sky; the primary colour between green and violet in the visible spectrum.

In school and at home, Glimmer has always been told that water is blue. She's been shown pictures of lakes and they always have blue water. It's something she has always taken as a given.

When she looks at her mommy crying, she wonders why the tears sliding down her cheeks aren't blue, like the outside sky, but see-through. Tears are meant to be water. A streak of blue should be plain on her mommy's face.


She doesn't hear. Glimmer clenches her fists and walks towards her. She wraps her small arms around her legs but there's still no reaction. Eventually, Glimmer wanders away.

Her daddy is in the next room along and he has his head in his hands. But he looks up when she enters the room. His cheeks are stained with the see-through tears which aren't blue. She immediately walks over to him and hugs him. His arms wrap around her.


"Yes?" His voice is remarkably strong. Her voice is always quivery when she's been crying.

"Where's Shine?"

The arms unwrap. Her daddy looks at her.

"Honey ... you know where Shine's been for all this time?"

"Yes. In Mommy's stomach. She said he was gonna come out yesterday. But ... where is he?"

"Glim, sometimes, babies aren't ready for the world. They grow and come out but ... it's just not their time. So they say goodbye to their family and promise to see them when we're leaving the world as well."

Glimmer thinks about this. "But couldn't he have waited till tomorrow?"

"He was never going to make it. It ... he had to move on."

"Is that why you and Mommy are crying?"

He's silent. Finally, he says in a voice so quiet that she can barely hear it, "Glim, we loved Shine very much. We didn't want him to leave. It's ... hard."

"So I don't have a baby brother?" she asks and as she says this, she remembers all of the fun things she'd planned to do with her little brother. All of the games they were going to play. She'd been looking forward to meeting Shine. And she doesn't like it when her parents cry.

"No," her daddy chokes out. "You don't." He stands up. "I'm going to check on Mommy." He strides out of the room, missing the look on his daughter's face.

Glimmer wanders through the house. Her mommy's sobs are echoing through the halls and she finds herself walking into the room which was supposed to be Shine's. In the corner, she sees the toys she'd put for her little brother – a surprise for when he came home.

A surprise he's never going to get.

She walks over to the toys as tears finally overwhelm her. Her tears are still see-through. But it doesn't matter. She'd still be sad, even if they were as blue as the painted walls surrounding her.

Blue, Adjective: Depressed in spirits; dejected; melancholy; holding or offering little hope; dismal; bleak


Red, Noun: any of various colours resembling the colour of blood; the primary colour at one extreme end of the visible spectrum.

Glimmer finds the colour red quite scary. Red is the colour of blood. It's the colour of errors in her schoolwork. It's apparently the colour of anger. And it's the colour of her Games trainer's hair. And her trainer is really scary.

She's been going to training for over three years now. At first it was just a way to escape going home – the people at school had told her she had the potential to train and it was the same time that her brother had died shortly after birth. Her parents were still crying every night. And Topaz, her friend, had encouraged her to start. When she'd asked her parents, they were so lost in their grief that they mindlessly agreed.

By the age of nine, Glimmer is competent with weapons like knives and axes but her speciality is the mace. She knows she's being trained for the Hunger Games and she also knows that her parents don't want her to volunteer. For her, the answer is easy. Plenty of girls want to volunteer. She just won't. She only did this to get away from the sadness inside her house anyway.

She's had a bad day today. Her teacher caught her talking to Topaz and made her stay behind after school. This made her late for training and her trainer punished her as a result before placing her in a fight against an older girl who gave her several cuts, before Adin ran forward and knocked the girl over which resulted in both of them getting punished. Then her mom yelled at her for being late home.

When her dad finds her, she's been missing from her room for two hours. But the nice thing about little kids is that they're predictable. He finds her sitting on the roof – where she always goes when she's upset.

"Mind if I join you?" he asks.

"Are you gonna yell at me?"

"Thought never crossed my mind."

She shrugs. "Go on, then."

He sits down next to her. "Bad day?"

She shrugs again. They don't say anything as she stares studiously at the setting sun.

Finally, her dad speaks again. "Know what I like to do after a bad day, Glim?"


"I like to talk to someone about what made it such a rotten day. Someone I love. The other day, for example – the machinery in the factory started acting up so I had to miss lunch to fix it. My boss got angry at me and shouted at me in front of everyone when it wasn't my fault. So I came home and told your mom about it. She couldn't do anything about my boss but I felt better getting it off my chest to her."

Glimmer nods and then, slowly, describes her awful day. Her dad doesn't say anything as she talks which encourages her to talk more.

"And my arms really hurt and it's not my fault Adin jumped in which made me late and Mom wouldn't let me explain it."

Her dad nods and then realises she's finished. "Glim, your mom was worried. You're never late home. I think if you told her this now, she'd apologise for shouting at you." He scratches his head. "Do you still want to do training?" he asks. "You don't have to."

"I want to do training," she says. "I have fun."

What she means is, it stops her from thinking too much. It stops her thinking of any of the bad things which happen.

He nods. "OK. So you like training. Your cuts alright?"

"They sting."

"Good thing Adin jumped in then. I wouldn't like you coming home more cut up!"

"But he got us punished!"

Her dad laughs. "True. But he was trying to help you. Sounds like a good friend to me. So you've got one thing going for you today – you've got a friend who'll push a maniac with knives away from you."

"I guess."

"And Topaz came round an hour ago to say sorry for getting you in trouble at school."

"I wasn't mad at her," Glimmer says but she smiles. That's just like Topaz, to take the blame.

"And you have this beautiful sunset to look at with your old dad."

She wriggles closer to him and rests her head on his side. The cut on her hand starts to bleed, a shocking red which she's seen far too often today. But she got it because she's friends with Topaz and she isn't covered in more red because of Adin. As she looks at the blood and then at the red streaming from the sunset, she decides that maybe, just maybe, it's not such a bad colour after all.

Red, Energy: Has strong symbolism as life and vitality. Brings focus to the essence of life and living with emphasis on survival. Also the colour of passion and lust.


Yellow, Noun: a colour like that of egg yolk, ripe lemons, etc.; the primary colour between green and orange in the visible spectrum.

Sometimes, in summer, she feels as though the whole district is full of yellow. The sunlight streams throughout the streets, making things grow and colouring everything. Houses painted yellow gleam. New yellow plants grow. Her hair, determined to defy her wishes, seems less yellow and more golden (but she would still colour it yellow if she had to draw herself).

She likes it. She likes being warm and she likes the carefree attitude people take in summer. Even the Hunger Games don't detract from it because the whole district views it as a festival. She sometimes wonders what it would be like to live in a District like District 12 where no one volunteers and almost no one wins. Maybe it's less of a festival to them.

Her first Reaping is in just over two weeks. She isn't too worried as she's heard about a girl planning to volunteer. She still doesn't think she wants to take part herself. For all of the training she's done, she doesn't think she has it in her to kill someone.

After school, she walks to training with Topaz. They always walk to training together. Topaz is another reminder about yellow – topaz stones can be yellow and Topaz is her best friend. She grins, feeling stupidly amused at the connection she's just made.

"Hey, girls," Adin yells from behind. He's followed by Lames who always surprises her by both enjoying beating people up and being a friendly and kind soul. She's never been able to put the two together.

She turns and smiles. "Hey. Are you two coming to training?"

"Yup," Lames rumbles.

She knows they're in trouble when their trainer turns out to be in a terrible mood. Whenever the woman is this angry, something bad usually happens.

She first makes them run laps before practicing swings with swords. Topaz always manages to hit perfectly, including neatly de-capping an egg. Adin and Glimmer manage to make the yolk drip onto the floor, earning punishment press-ups.

After that, they have sparring. The trainer storms out. Glimmer hates it when she leaves because the older boys seem to have some kind of grudge against her and Topaz. She doesn't know if it's because they moved up in training quickly or because the boys were kept back or because they just enjoy being annoying. One of the boys walks up to Glimmer.

"So, you're still here?" he asks, stopping about two feet away from her. "Haven't chopped off your own head?"

He's thirteen and full of himself. Glimmer decides it'd be best to walk away.

He follows her and asks again.

"Leave her alone!" Adin yells and runs towards the boy. He's promptly tripped up. As though acting on a signal, some of the other kids grab Lames and Topaz. They snicker as Glimmer continues to back away from the boy. She's scared of him and he knows it. She's been scared of him for months.

"Come on, Glimmy. Can't fight your own battles?"

"No," she mutters, unwilling to antagonise him. He places his hands on her shoulders.


"Just leave me alone."

"I don't think that would be much fun," he laughs. "Maybe I should practice on you. You can be my first kill before the Games. Like the sound of that?"

His hands have been moving along her back, ignoring her discomfort. She hears Adin yell in pain and, suddenly, she snaps. She forgets she's still holding a sword and swings around. The blade sinks deep into the boy's leg. He swears loudly and lets her go. She backs off, still waving the sword around. Then she sees the blood falling down the boy's leg.

"What'd you do?" one of the other guys shouts.

"His leg!" a third boy yells. Then he looks at Glimmer. "You're dead, bitch."

She takes one look at the charging boys and runs for it. She sees Topaz, Lames and Adin trying to slow them down. As she passes the weapon's rack, she drops her sword and grabs a mace. Then she realises she has nowhere to go.

She's never been this scared in her life.

The boys come closer. She tries to hold the mace in the Ready position which makes one boy falter because she is easily the top of the group for the mace. But the others come even closer.

"I'm sorry," she gasps out. "I didn't mean to ... he ... don't hurt me!"

"Too late," one guy snarls. He swings his sword expertly and Glimmer just manages to catch it on the head of her mace. But there are three of them and only one of her. She catches the boy on the arm in a blow fuelled by sheer terror. As he screams, she feels something sharp slice at her stomach.

"What is going on here?" a woman yells as Glimmer falls to the floor, her body curling around her wound. "Why are ... Lames, get the bandages from the office..."


When she wakes up, she's lying in bed. She's told she was lucky because the blade didn't go too deep and she received almost immediate medical attention. All she'll be left with is a long scar on her stomach.

Her dad asks her again whether she wants to stop training. But she doesn't. She wants to make it so that no one will pick on her again. She doesn't ever want to run away in terror. She wants to be the one who stands there bravely.

"Bravery can get you killed," her father snaps, uncharacteristically angry.

"Terror got me here," she snaps back.

"I've already had one child die. I don't want another one dead."

"If I can't fight for myself, someone will kill me."

He storms out of the room. She looks at the sunshine streaming outside and makes a vow. She'll never be scared again. She'll stand up to everyone who tries to pick on her and her scar will prove it. That way, she won't hurt anyone unless she wants to. Yellow might be her favourite colour but it will have no other association with her.

Yellow, Synonyms: Craven, Timorous, Fearful


Purple, Noun: any colour having components of both red and blue, such as lavender, especially one deep in tone.

"I'm sorry, purple hair just looks stupid. On anyone. Including our District Escort."

Topaz laughs at Glimmer's insistence. "All I was saying is that Graecus actually looked kind of good. And it's more lavender than purple."

"He's got purple hair. That doesn't make anyone look good. It's just showy and stupid."

"How about we agree to disagree?"


The girls laugh. It's the weekend and neither of them have anything to do so they're wandering around the District centre, just chatting. Glimmer likes having nothing to worry about.

"So, you heard about Burgundy?"


Topaz laughs. "I'd better not tell you then."

"You know, that's incredibly annoying," Glimmer says. "What's the point of asking if you don't want me to know?"

"You'll find out soon."

Glimmer sighs. "Oh, come on. He's with Silk, isn't he? He's not going to ... he's going to, isn't he?"

"A lot of guys are prepared to look past your less-than-prestigious background, you know."

"What you mean," says Glimmer sourly, "is that a lot of guys are prepared to feel me up."

She was flattered the first time a guy asked her out. But after it became clear that every boy who asked her out had ulterior motives, she's stopped agreeing to anything. She hates the feeling of meaning nothing more to them than pleasure.

"That's not true."


"Guys will get with anyone. They'll be prepared to admit they were with you though."

Glimmer laughs. "Thanks for that, Topaz. And here was me thinking that, actually, I've got such a great personality that guys will want to spend time with me with all our clothes on." She pauses as Topaz giggles. "Besides, not all guys are like that."

"Name three."

Glimmer decides to remain silent. Topaz laughs again because she doesn't want to probe the real reason for Glimmer's silence. Of course they know guys who aren't like that. But if Glimmer admits it, it'll open a whole can of worms which Topaz knows she doesn't want to get into.

They walk in silence for a few minutes. Finally, Glimmer says, "If Burgundy comes near me with any intention other than a friendly chat about life in general, I will personally maim him."


"I've already told him I'm not interested!"

"Maybe you should say it louder?"

"How? Breaking his arm?"

"How about now?"


"Burgundy's coming this way."

Glimmer sees him, in his royal purple shirt, and all of her nerve deserts her. Whatever she says in private, she's never been good at facing people who annoy her in person. She still has the scar on her stomach to remind her of the last time. And even though she's gotten better at sticking up for herself, people still don't take her seriously.

She debates running for it. Everyone would laugh at her but it has to be better than facing a pompous prig of a boy. But her fingers trace the line on her stomach and she remembers the vow she made. She'll see this through. Hopefully.

"Hi, Glimmer," Burgundy says in what is clearly meant to be a charming voice. He's fourteen years old, tall and slim. He's not bad looking. He's just not a nice person. "Fancy seeing you here."

"Oh, well, too late. Sorry, I've got to go."

He reaches out. "Can't you spend some time with me?"

"Um ... I really have to go."

"Come on, you know you like me. Let's eat somewhere. I'll buy. My treat."

She decides that it has to be now or never. Perhaps she can do it gently.

"Burgundy, look. You seem like a nice enough guy but ... I don't see you like that. I'm sorry. Maybe we can be friends?"

"You don't have to play hard to get with me, Glim."

Inwardly, she rolls her eyes. She hadn't really expected her statement to work but it would have been nice if it had.

"I'm not," she says. "What I am doing is asking you, politely, to leave me alone. Please."

He moves closer and tries to loop his arm around her. She glowers at Topaz before turning back to Burgundy.

"Look, you wouldn't want to date me."


"Because ... I'm in love with Topaz!"



"That's right," she says desperately, ignoring Topaz's spluttering. "I am passionately in love with Topaz! I'm sorry, Burgundy."

Burgundy looks between Glimmer and Topaz and scowls. "Whatever," he says dismissively. "Everyone knows you sleep with Adin Cole and Lames Whedon. Maybe you only give it up for people who are as low as you?"

Glimmer feels like her blood has turned to ice. "Say that again."

"You heard me."

She walks up to him and, furiously, punches him in the stomach. He doubles over and she punches his chin, knocking him over.

"If you ever say that about me again, I will kill you," she says in a low voice. She's pleased to see the fear in his eyes as he nods. She lets him get up.

When he's far enough out of her range, he turns back and sneers, "Whatever, you pompous bitch. You can be as violent as you want – you're still a slut."

He runs off before Glimmer can catch up with him. Topaz comes towards her, looking worried, but Glimmer just turns and storms away. It might be childish but then, Topaz knew Burgundy was going to do this and didn't offer any help at all.

She wishes she wasn't such a joke to everyone. Even her best friend thinks it's funny to watch boys try to take advantage of her. Ever since she turned thirteen, all she's had are boys not listening to her asking them to go away. Her mom once told her guys are often only after one thing. At the time, she'd dismissed this because Adin and Lames weren't (and aren't) like that at all. And she knows a lot of guys aren't like that. But the ones who keep trying to talk to her are.

It's because no one takes her seriously, she thinks. If she were as vicious as some other people, they would stop laughing at her and would take "no" for an answer. Her dad might stop treating her like she's a little girl.

People like Graecus, with his stupid purple hair, get laughed at, she thinks. But people like Cashmere Ludovik, who won the Games four years ago, are respected. She's only with the people she wants to be with and no one thinks about crossing her.

In fact, all of the Victors are treated like that.

She pauses as she thinks this through. She does well in Training class just because she enjoys it so much. If she had the motive, she could be unbeatable. She could win the Hunger Games. Not only would she never be scared again, no one would dare to laugh at her.

She smiles as she thinks this through. If it's the only way to be taken seriously then she'll do it. What does she have to lose?

She won't be the purple-haired freak, she decides. From now on, she's going to aim to be the Victor.

Purple, Symbolism: embodies the balance of red simulation and blue calm. Can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone.


Green, Noun: any of a group of colours, such as that of fresh grass, that lie between yellow and blue in the visible spectrum.

Glimmer has stopped sitting on the roof when she wants to be alone and has taken to finding a quiet spot in the corner of one of the few Gardens in District 1 instead. Partly because she realised her parents knew exactly where she was going when she was eleven and partly because she likes to be surrounded by green plants, especially the grass. When people look at her eyes, they tell her they're exactly like emeralds. Because emeralds are precious and beautiful. But grass and plants are necessary for the world and they're just as green as emeralds.

She supposes being told your eyes are as green as grass isn't exactly romantic. She'd probably be annoyed at the speaker simply for lack of effort. But she thinks that, if given the choice, she'd always opt for the grass over the emeralds. Pretty stones are useless.

With one year to go until she's due to volunteer for the Games, she's opted not to go out with her friends. She wants the time to think things through. She's been training seriously for four years and has improved by leaps and bounds. She can beat everyone in her group. She's used her new-found skills to make it painfully clear to guys when no means no. She's even cultivated a bit of a reputation for being mean. Not that it keeps people away for long.

But she can't help wondering about who she is. She's taken to making jokes when close friends challenge her on things. Which somehow, to her, is missing the entire point. She's trying to stop people laughing at her, not encouraging them. But she feels bad when she snaps at her friends and so she tries to overcompensate by joking too much. And if she's in a foul mood, her jokes aren't always complementary and then she ends up trying to be extra-nice to make up for it. She sometimes wonders why they stick with her.

The other reason she didn't go out with her friends is because Topaz and Lames both have partners and she thinks Adin might as well and she doesn't feel like being the odd one out. Her desire to be taken seriously hasn't stopped her from occasionally agreeing to propositions to go out with guys but hardly any of them wanted to know her for her.

She sometimes wonders whether she's looking for too much. Topaz tells her she takes things like this too seriously. She always thought love was supposed to be something wonderful: some inner connection which makes everything better. She thought it was supposed to be like her parents – finding someone who understands you completely, who can talk to you about anything after a bad day and will stick with you through thick and thin. Someone who will just hold you when your son dies after just a few hours.

But recently, she's wondered whether her parents are the odd ones out. She doesn't have anyone she can really confide in but does that mean she doesn't love anyone? Maybe love is what all of her friends tell her it is – just meaningless fun. Maybe she should just agree to be with the next guy who looks good and isn't a complete jerk to her. At least they'll like something about each other.

Perhaps that's all it is. Liking something. Physical attraction. And then pretending nothing happened in the meantime.

She shreds grass as she thinks this through.

Weeks moves on and Glimmer frequents the corner of the garden more and more. Her shredded grass pile grows bigger and her friends stop asking about her constant absences. But one day, she arrives and finds someone already there. She's about to find a different corner when the figure turns.

"Hey, Glimmer."

"Adin?" she asks. She's surprised but at the same time, she isn't. Adin's always been the one person who has looked out for her when she's been down. He probably knows her better than Topaz does.

He grins wryly. "Thought it was you who was always sitting here."

"You've seen me here?"

He shrugs. "I was wondering where you always disappeared to. And I walked past one day and spotted you."


"Not going back to Lames' today?"

She shakes her head. "Didn't feel like watching everyone getting off with each other. I'll drop by Topaz's tomorrow and hope her boyfriend isn't there. Or just kiss her boyfriend, if that's what joining in means." She's watching Adin who isn't laughing. "Why aren't you there?"

He smiles. "I felt lonely."


"When you're not there, all I get to do is watch. I don't have anyone to talk to."

She starts to laugh. "I'm sorry, Adin," she says. "I didn't realise I was such good entertainment." He smiles but he seems distracted. "Are you OK?" she asks.

"Yeah ... when was the last time someone propositioned you?"

With Adin, all of the "romantic" encounters she's had become jokes. Because he understands how humiliating and degrading she finds them.

"Huh? I don't know. A few months ago, I think."

"So the anger's worn off, right?"

"Is this a trick question?" she asks suspiciously. "There isn't someone else coming for me, is there?"

"You could say that..."

"Oh, great."

"It's me."

"You're what?"

To her surprise, Adin blushes. "I ... look, I know you've had a bad time of it but I'm different, I swear. I like you for you. You're funny, you're confident, you can kill anyone within twenty feet at any given time, you're smart ... please?"

She stares at him for a moment in complete shock.

"That was your criteria?" she hears herself asking. "That I can kill someone?"

"I'd have said beautiful but you don't like that one."

And it's so sweet and so typically Adin that she hugs him. Tightly.

"Is that a yes?"

She hesitates for a moment but whenever she's wondered about how her parents view love and how everyone else views love, she's always placed Adin as someone who would fall in the first category.

"It's a yes."

They spend the next few months together. She can't remember the last time she was this happy. Her parents like him and she joins in group activities enthusiastically. When she's upset, she talks to him and he does the same to her.

It's the prospect of her volunteering which splits them up. Adin asks her, while they're in the garden, if she still plans to volunteer and when she says yes, he asks why.

"So people will take me seriously," she says.

"I do," he says.

"I know but-"

"And I love you," he adds. "Isn't that enough?"

Part of her wants to say yes. But how does she even know if she's in love, she wonders, when all she wanted was for someone who wouldn't treat her like an object? Does she love Adin because he's Adin or because he treats her like she's Glimmer?

"I just ... people still think I'm just..."

"But I don't," he says firmly. "If we love each other, if your friends and family love you, what does it matter what everyone else thinks?"

And he would say that because he's never dealt with it. But even now, boys ignore the fact they're dating and ask her to do things. Girls make snide comments about what she spends her evenings doing.

If she's as confident and serious as she wants to be, should she mind? If this is love, should she care or not?

"It's what I've been working towards for years," she says.

"So change your goal. If it doesn't matter what people think-"

"I have to do it."

"So you won't stay here for me," he says. "You're just going to risk your life so people will stop treating you in a way you don't like."

"If I stay," she responds sourly, "it shouldn't be for you. I'm not your pet."

"That's not what I meant!"

"Isn't it? You want me to stay because you love me and think I should stay here because of that."

"No! I want you to stay because you don't need to prove anything."

She wonders whether the fact she leapt to the worst conclusion so quickly means anything.

"So if you didn't love me, you'd say exactly the same? If I had no one who was willing to be with me for me?"

"I ... yes ... well ... I guess if you felt you had to..."

"You see," she says. "If I wasn't yours, you wouldn't mind."

"That's not true," he says quietly. "I would. I just wouldn't feel like I could say anything."

She nods. "I'm sorry, Adin. I ... it matters to me. When people speak to me like that, it hurts. When they laugh at me because they think I'm stupid or when my dad acts like I'm a little child ... just dating you doesn't change how it makes me feel."

"I'm not going to change your mind, am I? Even though I love you."

"No. I've worked for this for years. People are expecting me to pull out. I won't do it. I'm not ... I have to do this."

Because what is love? Is it giving up her dreams for his? Is it being the person she doesn't want to be and allowing people to laugh at her and treat her however they want? Or is it being her own person?

He sighs. "If I can't stop you ... I guess I shouldn't try. If I can't make you stay for me..."

That again. As though she's his pet.

But she knows he doesn't mean it like that.

"I'm sorry," she says.

He nods and then kisses her deeply. "I'll still be here if you come back," he says. "I want you to know that."

She nods and he walks away, leaving her alone in the green grass.

Green, Chakra: the colour of the Heart Chakra which allows a person to love more, empathize, and feel compassion.


Pink, Noun: any of a group of colours with a reddish hue that are of low to moderate saturation and can usually reflect or transmit a large amount of light; a pale reddish tint.

She sits, alone, in her pink dress, by the window – the closest she could get to a roof without going out of bounds. She's never been a fan of pink and today is no exception. Pink is what the Capitol has seen her in. Once again, just an object of affection and beauty. Sexy is what her mentor told her to go for. She can just imagine all of the boys in District 1 leering at her. Marvel only stopped when she told him, in the threatening voice she'd mastered in Training, that she would skin him from head to toe.

She didn't think she was as good an actress as she apparently is. Watching herself on the TV – beautiful, confident and charming – was strange. But getting in with Cato and the others was even weirder. It was acting like she does when she's high on victory or angry all of the time.

But she'll say this for Cato, Clove, Zita and Kornel: they haven't treated her as anything less than an equal. Cato and Clove might have been threatening but they've listened to anything she's said with respect. They haven't been as keen on Marvel, who seems to be going out of his way to annoy everyone, but he's shown regular flashes of being both intelligent and skilled.

It's just a pity they've all been talking about the other tributes based on their abilities. Glimmer's found it worryingly easy to join in with the mocking. But how is it different to people treating her like an object?

She wishes she had some grass to shred.

There's a knock on the door. After a second, she yells for the knocker to come in. Her mentor, an old man called Spark, enters.

"I thought you looked a bit down, Glimmer," he says as he walks to a nearby chair and sinks down.

"No, no, I'm fine," she says in the same bright voice she's been using since she got here. It's a wonder she doesn't turn lights on as she walks.

"Not worried about tomorrow?"

"Nothing to worry about," she says as breezily as she can. "I'm the best in District 1. I can take any of them on."

She wants to add that she wishes her district token hadn't been taken off her. She supposes she should have considered that her trainer would try giving her something dangerous but she didn't think anyone could be that stupid. She'll just have to go to the arena alone.

"OK then," he says. He looks at her. "Why do you still have your dress on?"

She hesitates. "I don't know."

He smiles sympathetically. "Your attitude is wearing you down, right?"

She wants to lie but Spark has seen through her every time. He's been mentoring for over fifty years. He's probably used to it. "It just ... it doesn't feel like me but it's starting to. I feel like everything I came here to escape and everything I didn't want to be when I was little."

"And now that you're older?"

She looks away. "I want to be the sort of person people don't mess around with – someone people take seriously."


"But I don't think I want to be ... well ... I don't think I want to take it out on everyone. It's just not who I want to be. None of this is." She gestures at her dress. "I mean this. This is what I'm not and this is who I'm telling everyone I am!"

"That you're a beautiful and confident young lady?"

"Don't pull that one on me, Spark," she snaps. "You said yourself, yesterday, I have to be 'sexy'. Sexy."


"They're not the same! Being beautiful is one thing. It's looking good because you are good. Sexy is pretending you're better and having people just want you for one thing. And I don't do that thing."

"I'm sure-"

"No!" she snaps. She can feel hysteria coming on and she hates herself for it but, somehow, she can't stop talking. "I won't be used like that. I've never done that. I can't be that and I want to be more than that." She stops for breath. "Why are you smiling?"

"Because," Spark says, still smiling, "I was just thinking that you could easily win. You want to know who I see when I look at you?" She nods uncertainly. "I see a passionate young woman who could strike fear into the hearts of people who underestimate her and command the respect of those who understand her."


"Whatever you say about yourself, it's an underestimation. You can be taken seriously. You just need to let people do it." He stands up. "And now, you need to sleep. Best of luck, Glimmer, and I shall see you tomorrow."

He holds his hand out and they shake before she pulls him into a brief hug and thanks him. Then he leaves. She looks down at her pink dress again. Perhaps this is her. Perhaps she can kill people and come out as the victor.

She wonders whether what Spark has said has always been true. It sounds suspiciously similar to Adin's conversation with her in the park. But she hasn't felt so powerful until she came to the Capitol. Here, she can do anything and be anything and people believe it. She just has to make sure they know it.

It must be something about the Games, she decides. Something which brings out who she is. Even if she doesn't know who that is. And even if she has to act differently to how she was at home.

She smiles as she wriggles out of the pink dress.

She's finally who she wants to be.

Pink, Gemstones: used to promote love, self-worth, order and protection from violence or aggression.


She stops feeling the pain from the Tracker-Jacker venom as colours swirl around her. Scenes from her life flash in front of her but figures are disproportionate, words are cruel, people attack her. She screams but she doesn't know if it helps.

Blue washes over her as her mother cradles a dead baby. Her hand extends towards a blood-red sunset as her father reminds her that life is still worth living. But it hits a yellow forcefield as she runs away from the sword which slits her and she stumbles into a purple clearing where people laugh at her. And when she opens her eyes, she's surrounded by green grass as Adin holds her and tells her it's going to be OK, stroking her pink dress and telling her...

Telling her she's one more death in the Hunger Games. A lost betting-odd. A fallen gamepiece.

Colours swirl around her and fade into black as Adin lets go of her.

Even in death, she was nothing more than an object.