Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games, just my own characters and the plot :D

Chapter 15: Blood

Katniss Everdeen was dying of anticipation.

Katniss tried to avoid the Hunger Games viewing as much as any other citizen would. Even her mother didn't approve of the Games, just as much as her father didn't. It was odd that they agreed, but she didn't question it. Katniss would never question her mother. She also didn't want to encourage her small sister, Prim, to disrespect their mother...that, and Prim had a blabbermouth.

This was the first time that Katniss was actually excited She was trying to watch them, seeing as she had hope for their tributes this year. She thought that, if she hoped hard enough, they could win.

She sat in their small kitchen table with her arms crossed. Her legs were crossed as well, and she played with the tip of one of her braids. Flickerman was showing the map of the Arena. It was a pretty wide river, with the spots of each District split into two. At the end, there was a huge wall, and on the other side, more water. It looked pretty ancient, but sturdy.

"A dam," her father said to Katniss. Her eyes widened. Around District 12, there were plenty of dams. There were small rivers, of course but the dams weren't that big. And she had never seen anything that big in her life before. It was massive. "And look, the Cornucopia is right in the middle of it all," he pointed. It was in the middle of a speck of ground in the middle of the river, and it piled high. Katniss had noticed it from the beginning.

At the bottom of the Cornucopia stood a long length of rope. It was thick, and round. It would be good for climbing the net, if it came to that at some point.

Those who couldn't swim, though, would have a hard time reaching it. A harder time than would be thought. It wasn't really fair, in all honesty. Not everyone in Panem could swim, she thought. Even Katniss knew that, if it wasn't for her father, she would've never been able to learn how to swim.

"Now, my loyal viewers and District citizens, let the 70th Annual Hunger Games begin!" Claudius Templesmith announced as the Tributes began to rise from the underground.

The camera panned to all the tributes' faces and at the District girl, whose face was red. She got into the ready position to run, as the countdown began.

Katniss Everdeen had been dying of anticipation.

Annie was ready. She got into the stance, concentrating on finding Cole in the opposite side of the river. They would both reach the Cornucopia the quickest, that was very well expected. Annie didn't dare to look around, considering that in a few seconds, she would be fighting to the death to the people around her. She only focused on finding Cole's face, and the quickest way for her to get to the Cornucopia.

It just so happened that Cole was across the way. In her eyes, he saw the same intentions she had. They both needed one another, and it was an alliance that would be held above all the others.

Above them the numbers counted down from thirty.






And then, the loud sound of a cannon going off. Annie jumped off her spot and raced towards the water, like all the other tributes.

She dived in, and swam with all her might to the Cornucopia. Around her, chaos ensued. Screams of pains, grunts, and cries surrounded the area. There were struggled breaths and splashing all around her. She had made it halfway to the Cornucopia when the first cannon went off, followed by some after. She wondered who were the first to die in these Games, but didn't ponder on it too much. She would see it later that night.

She reached the island the quicker than Cole, something that she hadn't expected. Annie quickly straightened out her thoughts and grabbed whichever weapons were necessary...an ax, a sword...and for Cole, the trident they so needed to get by.

When Cole lifted himself from the current, he was drenched. She herself wondered how ridiculous she looked. She gave him the trident and a spear and got ready to fight.

On the horizon, she saw the young, thin District 12 girl run in the opposite direction, towards the Dam. She began to climb up quickly, and had made it halfway up by the time the Careers reached the Cornucopia.

The girl from District two, with her strawberry blonde hair in a ponytail, found the bow and arrow from the pile desperately.

She turned quickly in her spot, and aimed it at the girl. Annie saw as the District 12 girl came tumbling down, accompanied by the sound of a cannon.

Below them, the water was tinted with red. All of them had the weapons, food, and drink they needed. They were all set for the Games.

Through the middle of the chaos, Annie hadn't even moved from her spot at the Cornucopia. She held both weapons in her hands and stared around her, not really knowing what to do.

"Welcome to the Careers, Cole and Annie," the District two boy, holding a sword covered in blood and...other substances...stretched out a bloodied glove. Annie stared at it, a shocked expression slowly growing on her face. "My name is Marcus. My district partner is Licinia."

"I'm Petra," said the District One boy, stepping in as he took his jacket off. It was covered in blood. "And my partner here is Glaze." Annie slowly nodded, not taking her eyes off the blood on the other people.

Cole was the one to break the silence and take Marcus's hand. "I hope this lasts long enough," Cole smiled and shook his hand quickly, trying to close the deal with the other tributes before they could change their minds.

That's when Annie noticed that Cole had his own blood to carry around.

Finnick watched from the control room as she stood there, shocked by the bodies and blood that surrounded her. Almost immediately, she hadn't listened to him. She was the first to reach the Cornucopia, the first to get a weapon, and the first one to form an alliance.

They hadn't expected Cole to be the first to kill a tribute, either. The boy from District 5 was the first one to go at his hands. He'd cracked the boys neck as they struggled in the water. As soon as the boy even attempted to reach for Cole, he was dead.

And then Annie got him the trident. The District 7 girl was dead at his hands.

"Cole is fierce," Johanna said quietly next to him, watching their tributes. She wondered why Finnick concentrated so much, barely taking his eyes off his tributes.

Finnick nodded and sighed. Annie would never be able to kill anyone, he thought. He was grateful to Cole for getting there in time. But mostly, he was proud of the decision she made. She took in the Arena almost immediately, and used some survival strategies. She was doing good, so far. So far.

The arena was odd, though. Why a dam? IT was surrounded by water- the ideal place for a District 4 tribute. He could only wonder what the President was playing at.

"I'm sorry about your girl, Johanna," Finnick apologized for Cole, and his fellow Victor grimaced.

"We're all trying to get our tributes out, Finnick. It's not your fault, nor is it theirs. They just want to get home. They all do," Johanna whispered. Unlike Finnick, Johanna didn't suffer from the guilt; she lived with it. IF anything, it gave her more of a will to live. She wanted to prove to the Capitol that her times in the Arena didn't affect her life, that she was the same as she had been before she had been reaped, which was a total lie.

Johanna took pills everyday so that she could live through it. The Capitol called them anti-depressants., and she told the physicians that they were for her mother, when in reality they were for her. Johanna swallowed most of them, though her she and her mother (her only living relative) shared them. And the morphling meant for her 'ailing' cousin was part of her self medication.

Like Finnick, Annie lived through a lie, set up by the Capitol. Unlike many others, though, she wasn't prostituted to the elite and wealthy of the Capitol. She knew who they were, too.

Cashmere and her brother Gloss, the sibling Victors from District 2, were sent as gifts to many diplomats in the Capitol. They were considered a 'package deal'. Brutus had been one, too, when he was younger. Enaboria was a special treat for anyone who was interested in her rough personality. There were a lot of people with sick habits in the Capitol.

Finnick, though...Finnick was wanted by every citizen in the Capitol. Male and Female. He was used, torn up, thrown around and tortured by the sexual deviants of the Capitol. That's why the other Victors felt a lot of respect for him. He was always strong, no matter what. Johanna definitely felt badly for being so horrid to him the previous year.

He thought about her words for a moment, but looked down, frowning. He had been thinking...thinking about something.

"Mags, watch them for me," he said and patted Johanna's back, squeezing her shoulders, before leaving the room to go make an office call.

Marcus sat at the edge of the island, his feet in the water as he sharpened his sword with one of the tools in the Cornucopia. His partner, Licinia did the same for some of her arrows and kept glancing at Annie every once in awhile, her dark blue eyes threatening and devious. Leda sat at the campfire with Cole, cooking some of the raw meat found at the center of the pile. They talked to each other, as they had talked in the training room, and Annie made a net next to him. They both sat with their weapons. Of course, they could never be too careful.

The warmth of the campfire radiated from it massively. On a cold night in the Arena, their coats and gloves only increased the heat they needed for the night. It was no wonder that they were given such heavy jackets.

Before going to bed, they decided to wait for the message from the Capitol. But they were tired, and after what Annie saw during the bloodbath, Annie wasn't terribly excited to see who passed earlier that day.

Cole and the girl laughed. She was very flirty, but what bothered Annie was that he was flirting back with her. Annie shook the disgust away from her thoughts and kept making knots over again.

She couldn't get rid of the memory of the District 12 girl, falling.

Her grey eyes had been filled with fear as he let go of what she had been climbing on. The arrow in her back, she only felt one split second of pain before the grey eyes that feared so much, faded, and her frail body fell down against a rock at the bottom of the dam. If she hadn't died from the arrow, she...definitely died from how she landed.

Annie closed her eyes, as if it would get rid of the thoughts. But the girl's eyes just staied there. They were haunting Annie. All she could think about was the girl's family back home, mourning her loss. She wondered about what she would've been, had she lived. IF she had climbed quicker, if she had run faster. Maybe Cole's friends wouldn't have gotten her.

Her thoughts were disrupted by the Capitol anthem blaring throughout the arena.

They didn't say anything, but only showed the faces of those who died. It first showed a District 3 boy, followed by the District 5 boy. Cole's eyes shadowed at that, and he preferred not to listen. Annie looked up at their faces, and watched until she saw the eyes of the girl, whose eyes were full of fear.

"So, who's going to take the first shift watching?" Marcus asked and yawned, stretching.

"I will," Annie said quietly, taking it as an opportunity to not sleep that night. She wouldn't sleep unless she or Colin was awake.

It was going to be a long night.

"President Snow, I-"

"You storm into my office in the middle of the night, when you are supposed to be helping your tributes in the arena, and you expect me to listen to you, Mr. Odair?" The President stood, his palms pressed against the desk and frowning. He was displeased with the pathetic boy that stood in front of him, begging for the life of a stupid girl from his District.

"I just-"

"The Capitol offered you anything you could want, Mr. Odair. Do you think any other victors get as much access to this Utopia? They do not, because they are not as benefited as you. Do you not see that the women here, the most beautiful women in Panem are dying to be with you, and how could you not want that? You do not deserve any of this, and you go and get into a relationship with some hussy from your District. You both broke the law, and now she can face the consequences."

"I want to face the consequences for her," Finnick said desperately, looking up at the cold eyes of the President, who laughed at him. "I...I will see double the people. I will make double the visits to the Capitol, I will spend more time here on these visits. I won't...I won't be with her anymore," he said the last desperate promise, the only thing he could give the man. He was the only one who could truly protect her.

Coranelious Snow watched the boy's reaction, his lips pursed. The metal taste in his mouth soured, and even though he wanted to teach the District a lesson, his offer would help him achieve his goals in the long run. After all, Victors were always the best prices for good deeds.

"I can arrange some accidents that will lead your precious Annie to win. But I can't account for what may happen. You must uphold your offer no matter what. Or else."

"I promise, Mr. President."

"Now leave my presence, Finnick Odair. Do what you can to save your little harlot."

Without another word, another thought, Finnick left quickly. If she died, he wouldn't have a reason to live. Of course he would do anything they wanted, because he just wouldn't be himself anymore. If Annie lived, he would do what he could to protect her; and that was not be with her the way he wanted to. If she even wanted him afterwards. He ran his right hand over his face as he walked by the guards of the Presidential mansion, trying not to be too stressed out over the circumstances of his deal.

Finnick Odair would now, forever be, a slave of the Capitol's tortures.

A scent of roses now lingered around him.

A/N: I owe you guys a huge apology. I'm not going to lie to you guys; I'm a lazy asshole. I literally had most of this chapter already written up by last week, I just wanted to add this part and I kept postponing it. But, it's here now and I'll have some more of this by next week. Cross my heart! I hope you enjoyed!