The Mayor's Daughter

(Timeframe - during The Hunger Games)

Summary: Throughout these next chapters we revisit Madge s life through excerpts in time. Chapters are arranged in chronological order, starting with The Hunger Games. Each chapter is based on information we already know, just shown from Madge s point of view.

Disclaimer: This story has been written as fan fiction only and is for entertainment purposes. I do not claim to own any property of The Hunger Games trilogy nor do I have any relation to Suzanne Collins. Any copyright infringement is unintentional. Please note that while I am not associated with Suzanne Collins, I deeply respect the universe that she has created. Therefore, all fan fiction written by myself are written with the intention of staying true to that universe and would be considered cannon in my own respects. I do not bring back the dead or change the course of history (affecting what would happen in the epilogue). Please enjoy and feel free to comment!

Chapter 1: The White Dress

It felt odd to be wearing this white dress, only because the situation was so dreary. But it'd be worse if I was wearing my red dress. That'd almost be like volunteering for the games, it just seemed too risky. But this white dress, it felt so pure. Like something that shouldn't be touched at all, especially by the Games, by the state of our world. Or maybe something that I should be saving... but for what? I hated dresses and only wore them when it was needed. I guess today is as good a day as any, if I had to. I straightened out the short, capped sleeves and looked at myself in the mirror. My curls hung loose around my face. This just didn't feel right. I never wear my hair down. I walked over to my dresser, searching for a ribbon. I came across a pale pink one, which was by far my least favorite color. But it seemed that since I was stuck wearing this white dress, might as well wear the pink ribbon too. If I had to dress up for the Capitol, if they had to take me, I wanted to maintain some semblance of myself. Back in front of the mirror, I tied my hair back.

"That' s better," I said aloud to myself.

I slipped on my shoes and was just about ready when I realized that I'd forgotten to put on my Aunt's pin. I'd worn it every year for the reaping since I was old enough to be reaped. It was the only thing that remained of my Aunt. It was made of gold, a circular ring with a mockingjay in the center, connected to the ring by only the tips of its wings. She had worn it when she died in the Games. My mother would've worn it if she had been a tribute, too. They were twins, they shared everything, except for the same fate. Now it was my turn, and I d wear it proudly if it was my fate to enter the arena as well. I fastened it to my dress and took one last look at myself. I hated this, I hated it even though my gut told me that I'd never be reaped, that it d never be me. But that's a dangerous game to play, because, in reality, it could be me. It could be anyone. All you need is your name on just one slip of paper. It really could be me. And if it was, I d follow in my Aunt's footsteps carrying her spirit, bravery, and pin with me.

As I was descending the stairs, I heard a knock at the door. I hastened my step to ensure I arrived to answer it first. I stopped short of the knob and squinted my eye to look through the peep-hole. It was reaping day after all, Peacekeepers were sure to be extremely active. I wouldn't like to be the one who answered the door if it turned out to be Peacekeeper. I was delighted to see Katniss on the other side, with a carton of strawberries in her hand. My heart skipped a beat when my eyes fell upon Gale, who was standing behind her. Gale, I thought. I sighed deeply, preparing myself to open the door. Not even the chance of being reaped makes me as nervous as he does.

Katniss was his hunting partner, that was the only thing I knew about him at first. I hadn t seen him around town, as my family lived in a different area. I didn t see him in school because he wasn't in our class. Katniss rarely spoke of him. Actually, Katniss and I rarely spoke at all, we mostly sat in silence at lunch, enjoying the lack of conversation about dresses and boys. When Katniss did mention him, it was in passing, informing me that he'd shot a turkey or squirrel the day before. I only knew him as the hunter. Over time, that changed. In early summer, when Katniss and Gale were lucky enough to find strawberries during their hunting trips, the pair would drop by my house to bring my father some. He loves strawberries, and they are hard to find, so he overlooked the fact that Katniss and Gale are technically breaking the law to get them. For a couple summers now, I've grown accustomed to seeing the two of them together at my doorstep, strawberries in hand.

The first time they came, I was taken aback by Gale. He towered over me. His dark brown locks reflected the summer sun and he smiled ever so slightly when I opened the door. Maybe I was imagining it, but I liked to think that he d go along with the strawberry gathering because it was an excuse to see me. Sometimes my mind wanders off to a place where I'm in that field with Gale, instead of Katniss, picking strawberries, soaking in the sun, laughing, playing. It made me a little jealous of Katniss from time to time. Steadily, this crush that I've been cultivating has grown. I found myself longing for the days when there was a knock on my door, hoping that it was always Gale on the other side. And today, he was. I opened the door and smiled, probably more than I should've been on reaping day.

"Hey guys," I said nonchalantly.

"Hi, Madge. We brought some strawberries for your dad, fresh from the field this morning," Katniss said, handing over the carton.

Gale stood behind her, squinting his eyes, with no smile on his face today.

"Thank you. He certainly does appreciate it, I ll take them inside and get your payment, I ll be just a minute."

I slowly turned and retreated to the kitchen, my head hung low. No smile today? He hadn't even greeted me. Have I done something? Is it this dress? Surely, it must be the dress. They've never come on reaping day before, he's never seen me in such a state. It must be the dress. I found my father and delivered the strawberries to him.

"Make sure to thank Katniss for me," he said, handing me her payment.

I nodded and returned back to the door, where they were waiting for me. I could tell they'd cut their conversation short upon my return and behind her Gale cleared his throat and moved in towards me. My heart skipped a beat again. I looked at him intently, waiting for him to speak.

"Well Madge, you certainly look ready for reaping day. Pretty dress," he said.

It felt horrible to hear those words come out of his mouth. It felt so condescending. I didn t understand why he'd say such a thing, he's never been anything but nice to me before. It was this stupid dress that he was looking at. He hated it, he hated me in it. It felt like he stabbed me in the chest. I couldn t bear it, but I couldn t let him see that this upset me, I had to play it off.

"Well, if I end up going to the Capitol, I want to look nice, don t I?" I said sarcastically.

Katniss giggled a little. But Gale just glared at me, his eyes piercing through my heart once more. I tried to hold myself together.

"You won't be going to the Capitol. What can you have? Five entries? I had six when I was just twelve years old," Gale retorts.

Another piece of my heart broke.

"That's not her fault," Katniss snapped at him, defending me.

"It's no one's fault. Just the way it is," he shot back at her.

I scowled at him, and despite my feelings, my eyes longed to meet with his, but he had already turned and began walking away. I couldn't hold my feelings in much longer, I needed them to leave. I handed the money to Katniss, whispered her good luck, and quickly closed the door. I was crushed, and I think she could tell. Maybe I'd been imagining everything, maybe I'd just been fantasizing. None of this was real, maybe Gale could never love me. Why would he? Why would a boy from the Seam ever want to be with a girl like me, the mayor's daughter? Gale was too proud for that. I didn t know him well, but this much I did know. I hated this moment, I hated this dress, I hated it all. With my back leaning against the door, I shed a single tear. Maybe I d have to give up on Gale. After all, there was probably nothing there to begin with.

Chapter 2: The Volunteer

I heard it. Clear as day. They called her name.

"Primrose Everdeen."

No, not her, this couldn t be right. It was her first reaping, how could this happen? I guess all it really does take is just one slip of paper with your name on it. Then I saw it, I saw her, volunteer. Something that was rarely seen here in District 12. Katniss is probably one of the only people who d volunteer for their sibling. Her and probably Gale. I was in shock. Not her, not Katniss. If only I was brave enough to volunteer for her, let her stay here with her family, with Gale. But I was frozen, all I could do was watch. All I could do was stand by and watch. Gale took Prim back to her mother, Katniss made her way to the stage. The crowd fell still as she introduced herself. She stood there, completely taken aback, this was the last thing she expected today, the last thing any of us did. Not Prim. Not Katniss. Not today. The silence in the square was deafening. No one clapped when they were asked to. Effie Trinket s words hung in the air with no response. Suddenly, as if predecided, all the citizens of our district lifted three fingers to their lips then stretched them out to the sky, never taking their gaze off Katniss. I followed suit, it was the only thing I could do in that moment, the only movement I could muster. A tribute to our tribute.

Then they announced the name of the boy.

"Peeta Mellark."

I searched for him in the crowd and saw him emerge. Not Peeta, too. Two classmates of mine, two people I actually knew, entering the Games. Two people I knew. I watched them shake hands. Katniss recognized him too, but only as much as I did, only as classmates, or as the Baker s son. As far as I knew, the two of them had never spoken. Two people I knew yet two total strangers. Now enemies.

Once the ceremony was over, I waited for the crowd to leave, I didn't move an inch until I was one of the only people left in the square. I just stood there. For how long, I don't know for sure. Then, without warning, I was jolted into movement. If I could not take Katniss place, I would give her something to take with her. I would give her a piece of the district, a piece of me, and piece of hope. My mockingjay pin. I d certainly be able to get in to see her, to say goodbye. It d be an easy thing to do.

When I found the rooms that the tributes were in, there were Peacekeepers guarding each door.

"Excuse me!" I blurted out, "Which room is Katniss Everdeen in? The girl tribute?"

The Peacekeeper I was in front of pointed to the other door.

"Can I see her?"

"You may, but you must wait. Someone is already with her," he responded.

"What about the boy then, can I speak with him now?" I asked, surprising myself. What would I have to say to Peeta? Would he even recognize me? I decided I had to try, maybe I could convince him to take care of Katniss, keep an eye on her. Maybe.

"Yes, you may. He is alone," the Peacekeeper responded as he reached for the doorknob.

I walked in slowly and there he was, head in hands, sitting on the bench by the window. He looked up inquisitively, as if wondering who would be visiting him. I felt a pang of sadness in my heart, he d been crying.

"Peeta, I don t know if you know who I am..." I began, "but my name is Madge, I m in the same class as you and Katniss."

"Yes," he responded, pausing to clear his throat. "You're the mayor's daughter, right?"

"I am. Look, Peeta. I know we ve never spoken before, but I wanted to ask a favor of you," I continued. He nodded and waited for me to finish. "Please, take care of Katniss for me. She probably won't let you, but please, at least watch out for her. If it's not too much to ask, that is. I know you may end up enemies sooner or later, but if you could just keep your eye on her for awhile?" I pleaded.

"Well I appreciate the sentiment for your friend, but I'm way ahead of you, Madge. Trust me when I say that she's all I ll be able to think about," he replied. He wiped a tear from his eye, sniffled, and finished, "I'll do whatever I can. And she'll never be my enemy, Madge. Never."

"Thank you," I whispered, "and good luck, Peeta."

I leaned over, put my hand on his, and kissed him gently on the cheek. Back out in the hallway, it was my turn to see Katniss.

"Make it quick," the Peacekeeper insisted as he let me in.

Katniss was standing in the middle of the room, holding a white paper package. The room smelled like freshly baked cookies. I walked straight to her without hesitation and held the pin up for her to see.

"They let you wear one thing from your district in the arena. One thing that reminds you of home. Will you wear this?" I insisted.

"Your pin?" she replied, confused.

"Here, I ll put it on your dress, alright?" I said, as I pinned it to her dress without permission. But she didn't resist me either. "Promise you ll wear this in the arena, Katniss? Promise?" I begged.

"Yes," Katniss quietly replied. I could tell she didn't know what to make of this. I put my hands on each of her shoulders and took one last look at her. I could feel tears welling in my eyes. I couldn't let her see me cry. I leaned in to kiss her on the cheek, just as I did Peeta, then exited the room as quickly as I'd entered it. I couldn't look back, I just had to go. I could feel the tears begin to flow. Almost immediately after I closed Katniss door, I ran straight into someone, almost knocking me over, instead of them. I brought my hand towards my face to wipe away a stray tear then looked up to see who I'd hit. It was Gale. I couldn't bare this too, seeing Gale right now. I couldn t even muster up an apology, I just kept moving.

"Madge!"

I heard Gale call after me as I ran down the hall. I couldn't stop, I couldn't respond. I just kept running until I was outside. I felt like a child, a weepy sensitive mess. How could I be so selfish? What had I just done? I begged Peeta to watch out for Katniss. I forced her to wear my pin. I ignored Gale. What was my problem? I wasn't the one who had just been reaped, I wasn't going into the Games. Why could I not hold it together? Millions of thoughts flowed through my mind as I ran. I was halfway home when I finally slowed to a walk. And then it dawned on me, I stopped right in my tracks. I realized that I cared more for Katniss that I had ever realized. She was my best friend, the only one I had in this world. I was forced to face the fact that I might not see her again. She was my friend. My best friend. My only friend. I was forced to deal with the fact that I might not ever see her again.

Chapter 3: The Meadow

It had been far too long since I left my room. It'd been longer since I left my house. All I did was watch that screen, all I'd done was concentrate on the Games. I watched Katniss and Peeta's entrance to the Capitol. I'd seen their interviews with Caesar Flickerman. I gazed in awe as Peeta confessed his feelings for Katniss. I lost my breath when the Games began. My hope wavered when Peeta joined forces with the Careers. I cheered Katniss on after the tracker jacker attack. My faith was renewed in Peeta when he risked his life to protect Katniss from Cato. I cried along with Katniss when Rue died. I felt so much joy when they announced that both could live, that both Katniss and Peeta could survive. I fell in love with their star-crossed lovers story. This was more than I could've hoped for, they were protecting each other. I was on edge as they ran from the mutts. I couldn't contain myself when they battled Cato atop the Cornucopia. I cried again when they agreed to eat the berries together. Was I really to lose both of them now? I almost fainted out of relief when they were declared the winners. I sat happily on my floor, watching their final interview with Caesar, impatiently awaiting their return to District 12. My eyes were glued to that television for weeks.

When there was finally nothing left to watch, when all that was left to do was wait, I finally emerged from my cocoon. I needed to stretch my legs. I needed to occupy my time with something... anything. I grabbed a sweater from my dresser on the way out of my room, just in case. It was just before dusk and the weather had the potential to be a bit chilly. I slipped the sweater on just outside my front door and looked out into a world that I hadn t set eyes on in quite a long time.

I wasn't sure where I was headed or if I really had a destination at all. I just wanted to walk, to see the district, to soak it all in. I found myself walking through Merchant Center first. I passed by the Apothecary, the second hand book store, the fabric store, the bakery, and the liquor store. Shiny bottles of medicine and clear liquor, stacks of books, rolls of multi-colored fabrics, and beautifully decorated cakes were all on display in the windows. Patrons exited some of the shops with handfuls of packages, shopkeepers locked their doors signifying the end of the night, and a group of miners passed by me, taking bets with each other about what kind of dinner would be waiting at home for them.

As I continued, I found myself passing by the Hob, a place where I knew that Katniss and Gale spent much of their time. I wasn't familiar with it myself, my father would never allow me to visit such a place. In fact, he'd probably be upset if he knew that I was even this close. The Hob was bustling with people, making trades, bartering items, and selling off their goods. Steam and scents of stews brewing poured out of the open forum. A couple of Peacekeepers stood near the edge, each enjoying a bowl of something hot.

I made my way into the Seam next, another part of the district that I had rarely found myself in. I'd never visited Katniss at home. This is where those miners would discover what meals were awaiting their return, this is where Prim and Mrs. Everdeen were at home, hopefully making dinner for themselves. And this is where Gale would be taking care of his family. I wasn't sure where any of these occurrences were taking place, but I was certain they were all close by. Smoke rose from the chimneys of the rundown cabins as I walked by, the sun was slowly setting over the trees and I realized I was close to the meadow. This also meant that I was close to the district fence, and close to where Katniss told me her and Gale would go hunting.

I kept pace until I reached the meadow. The wildflowers swayed in the soft breeze that blew through the tall grass. It was so quiet out there, all you could hear was the crickets sing their chorus and the fence buzz with electricity. The night sky was so clear, the nearly full moon now shone bright as the sun just above the treeline and I could barely see the burnt orange remains of the sunset. I found a spot in the middle of the field and sat down. It was getting chilly so I rubbed my arms over my sweater to warm myself up a bit. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths.

Just as the last bit of light disappeared over the horizon and the wind died down to complete stillness. I knew my father would be looking for me, so I considered returning home. Suddenly, I heard a clink against the fence. I hadn t noticed that it was no longer buzzing, something or someone had been waiting for the electricity to leave the chain links. A tall, dark silhouette emerged from underneath it and was slowly making its way towards where I was sitting. I couldn t decide whether to sit still and hope that this person didn t notice me, or if I should get up and leave before they could spot me. I had to move before it was too late. I jumped to my feet and ran a few steps before I heard a voice call out in the dark.

"Katniss?"

I recognized the voice immediately, if not for the fact that I'd memorized the way it sounded, I could've guessed based on what name he spoke. It was Gale. I stopped running and turned around to face his direction.

"No, Gale, it's Madge," I responded. I stood in that spot, waiting for him to find me.

"Madge?" he questioned, "What are you doing out here? In the dark?" He'd finally made it to where I was standing.

"I don t... I don t know. I just went for a walk and found myself here. I miss her, Gale," I confessed.

He gently wrapped his arms around me as I began to cry. I'd ran myself into the ground with all the emotions I'd been feeling during the weeks since the time I saw him last, I no longer cared that he saw me cry. I was no longer nervous in his presence. Gale had fallen on my list of priorities of the heart, but with this embrace, he shot right back up to the top.

"I know," he whispered, "so do I."

He was amazingly comforting, he ran his hands across my back as I brought myself back to reality. I wiped the tears from my eyes and finally looked up at his face. He was being strong for me, he stood there supporting me, someone he hardly knew. He brushed my bangs out of my face and gave me a weak smile. But it was a smile nonetheless. I wanted to melt in this moment, but he slowly let me go.

I took a deep breath and returned to the earth. I needed to gather myself for just a minute. Gale took this as a cue, so he removed his pack from his shoulder and settled down at my side. Together we sat in silence. It was perfect. This was the first time that I d been alone with him, and I knew that he actually wanted to be there, with me. It was perfect just knowing that in this whole world, it felt like there was just him and I. After a short while, Gale released a sigh that he seemed to have been holding inside for quite some time then began to speak.

"Well, I should get you back home. It's dark and I m sure your father is worried about you. My family is waiting for me as well, I've got their dinner," he said, showing me the four squirrels that he must ve just shot.

We stood up simultaneously and made our way out of the meadow, through the Seam, past the Hob, and into Merchant Center. All parts of the district were still now, everyone was warm inside their homes, except for us two. Once we reached my doorstep, I realized that this may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity; I may never get to be alone with Gale again.

"Thank you for walking me home, Gale," I said softly.

"Of course," he responded, "I couldn't just leave you all alone, could I?"

I giggled at this remark. I could feel my face blush. He cared enough about me to make sure I made it home safely. Maybe there was hope after all. I looked up at his face and his eyes locked with mine. The grey tone sparkled with a hint of white, a reflection of the moonlight. I turned to reach for the doorknob when I was overcome with a jolt of pure bravery. I peered over my shoulder and he was still standing there, waiting, so I leaned in quickly and kissed him on the cheek.

"Goodnight, Gale," I whispered, and disappeared into the house.