Disclaimer: I own nothing but my thoughts and words. Suzanne Collins has full credit for HG and all characters she so wonderfully created.

Chapter 1

Dust clouds billow up around my feet as I make my way down the path to the garden shed behind my house. It hasn't rained much lately and the ground is drier than usual. All this dust will probably ruin my new dress. I don't care though and continue towards the shed. The shed is old and in need of repairs. Or perhaps demolition. But that doesn't matter. It's the only place I can think to disappear to at the moment. And right now, I need to disappear. To breathe. To collect myself. To think clearly. I pull the door's rusty latch open and step inside closing the door behind me. Instantly, I lean against the wall and slide down to the floor, dress be damned. Pulling my knees to my chest I let my chin rest on my knees. My eyelids close and I inhale deeply, involuntarily taking in the smell of rotting wood and musty air.

What just happened? Did I just watch my friend volunteer herself for The Reaping? Is Katniss really on a train right now heading to her death? These questions, or thoughts really, run through my head as I attempt to wrap my head around the events of the day. Reaping Day.

Prim's name was pulled. It was her first reaping year. She only had one entry slip. When Prim's name rang through the loudspeaker, Katniss didn't hesitate to volunteer in Prim's place. The whole district knew she would. The Everdeens relied solely on Katniss for their survival. She'd been more or less a mother to Prim since their father had passed away when she was only 11 years old. She did everything for them, provided food and clothing and anything else they needed. With her gone, they would no doubt struggle. Katniss obviously knew this but Prim being sent into the games just couldn't happen. She wouldn't make it. Anyone could see it just by looking at her. Katniss at least had a fighting spirit about her. But I'm doubtful that will be enough.

And then there was Peeta, the baker's youngest son. Merchant children rarely did well in the games and I doubted anyone expected Peeta to fare differently. Sure he was strong enough, healthy enough. But Peeta, despite his strength was a soft heart. My mind couldn't even form an image of him going into a battle, much less coming out of one.

Following the selection and presentation of the tributes, I'd made my way to the room of the Justice Building where final goodbyes were being said. Final goodbyes. Yes, that's essentially what they were. Everyone knows this but no one seems to acknowledge it out loud. I only slipped into Katniss's room for a moment. Just long enough to hug her, albeit awkwardly seeing as how affection wasn't something common between us. A quick hug, no actual words. I refused to cry in front of her so I'd intentionally made kept it brief for fear I'd crack my brave facade. Knowing someone of her meager means wouldn't have a token of her own, I'd removed my own golden pin and fixed it to her dress as I quickly explained it should bring her luck in the arena. Also knowing she wasn't one to accept gifts, I'd left the room immediately after so that she couldn't refuse my gesture. I walked out of the Justice Building and unable look back as I headed across the square towards my house.

Tears threatening to spill down my face at any moment, I'd decided the shed was the only place to go. Couldn't go into to my house, what with being the Mayor's daughter and all. Capitol officials had been flooding through our house all week as we hosted them during preparations for Reaping Day. And it just would not do for a Capitol official to catch me in my tearful state. As the daughter of the Mayor I am at all times expected to lead by example, to be in full support of all things Capitol. So, here I sit on the floor of our dilapidated garden shed, alone with my thoughts and my tears.

Author's Note: This is my very first attempt at fanfic and while I make every attempt to spell and grammar check there will inevitably be errors that slip through to the final product. Please keep that in mind and accept my apologies in advance.