"Haymitch Abernathy!" I hear my name called. It's me. I'm the second male tribute for District 12 in the Quarter Quell. My friends all turn to look at me. Why? Why can't they pretend they have no idea who I am? Then I can pretend to look for myself as well, and blend into the crowd. Nope. All eyes on me. No hiding.
I make my way up to the stage with a neutral expression. My hands don't shake this time. My breathing doesn't catch. I knew it was going to be me. Just like every other nightmare. It's always me because it really happened. There's one difference in this nightmare though. One small thing that doesn't mean anything. One small change in a repeating nightmare.
This time it's real. This time it's happening. This time, I'm going back into the arena to live my worst nightmare, again.
Do I have any idea how I got here? No. One second it's the one year anniversary of the end of the games. The party was amazing, and I was contently falling asleep with my wife, Effie, next to me. The next moment, I wake up 16 years old, in my shack at the Seam with my mother telling me to get up. That it's Reaping Day.
A million questions rush through my mind, but I don't ask any. Why would I? The universe hates me, it's proven it several times. So why should this be any different? Finally my world settles down. No more games, Panem putting itself back together, marrying Effie, but no, I don't get to just be happy. I know what games it is, what reaping day, because I know that the 2nd Quarter Quell will always haunt me. Because I'm going back. Because my name was just called.
My father was on the TV reaping District 1, just like every other year until I turned 23. But this year he drew four names. The second Quarter Quell. Haymitch's year. Daddy drew the names, but only two of the four actually went, two volunteered. At the end of it the two actually reaped were a 15 year boy old named Sterling and a 13 year old girl named Ribbon. It was the other two, the volunteers that were my focus. Velvet was the boy, a strong career that had died in a horrible accident, if memory was correct. And then the girl, Polish. The one who had almost killed Haymitch.
Watching the reaping should have been fun. A 15 year old girl in the Capitol on a Quarter Quell? But I couldn't have fun. Because I wasn't just any 15 year old girl. In fact I wasn't even 15 really, just trapped in my pasts body. And I was about to watch my husband be reaped and entered into his worst nightmare. The 2nd Quarter Quell. The Capitol's daydream.
After antagonizing minutes that felt like weeks it was finally 12's reaping. The jolly escort who's place I would take at 19 was smiling away. My trained eye saw right through his smile. Tyus Ambers may be able to fool the average Capitol citizen, but he couldn't fool me. I saw the sadness in his eyes...and the intelligence. The awareness that most people of the Capitol seemed to lack in their world of hazy distractions.
Maysilee Donner was the first name called. The original female tribute. Haymitch was the second male, the 'Quell Tribute' as the second names would be soon nicknamed. I knew what most people were seeing at that moment. A 12 tribute who seemed impassive, no emotion, no feeling toward his probable death. I saw what he so desperately tried to hide. That fear, that sadness, that...resentment toward the Capitol. The sick irony that formed the smirk just barley dusting his lips.
I read all this in the ten second close up as he walked to the stage. But I saw something else. Something that screamed to me. His hands weren't shaking. Once I had asked him what being reaped was like. Haymitch had said he didn't remember really, he had been kind of in shock at the time, but he could remember one thing. Just one random detail. He said that he could remember his hands shaking pretty badly, and that he couldn't get them to stop until late the next morning. I rewound the TV and watched it again, much to my mother's annoyance. His hands were still. Haymitch was going back into the arena.
A/N: Very dramatic begining! I feel like there should be a DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUN! at the end. Oh well. I didn't mean for it to be that dramatic, but this is just the proluge. The real story will start in the next chapter. I will send the happy fairy your way if you review! (She sprinkles happy dust on you. But you better smile because that stuff is expencive!)
P.S. A big thanks to Innocentlilly who came up with the District 1 tribute names!