District 7 Tribute
Hazel was keeping her chin up the entire way to the train. Of course it was probably going to be the only time she would really get to ride on one, but the anticipation of that wasn't quite enough to keep her heart from feeling like it was breaking. Of course if both she and Leif had actually gone to the Capitol only one of them could have come home in the first place. Instead she was going with the boy that had only early that morning been pulling the two of them apart. She tried to distract herself by just looking over Oakes who was sitting on the other side of the car. He looked a lot like his brother with the medium brown hair that was due to see a pair of scissors and green eyes that were a few shades darker than Leif's. Usually Oakes has just been the thorn in her side when it comes to trying to spend time alone with the boy who didn't volunteer for him. At the moment he looks vaguely bored while watching everything going past.
Between them was still Lennox and just before the station and more cameras in her face Hazel was just trying to picture his hair starting to turn red and gold like the leaves did every autumn. The same ones she probably wouldn't be there to see in autumn. The picture in her mind at least kept her in self-amused grins until she could get on the train. Were there always this many Peacekeepers? They seemed to have multiplied overnight to surround her every time she moved since the moment her name had been called. She'd love to run, but there was already plenty of doubt there that she would get far before they would catch her.
Just from the outside the train was one of the shiniest things she had seen in a long time around the District. The bright silver just didn't go with all of the earth tones of the area. The Peacekeepers let off at the doorway which was probably the only way in or out of the train anyhow, but her jaw dropped the slightest at the first car they entered. It didn't look like anything she had ever pictured in a train with uniform seats and nothing really of interest. Instead there was a couple of chairs and sofas around a table with a large screen on the other side of the room that was currently black. None of it looked anywhere close to the furniture she was used to with the dark green velvet upholstery. She just let her fingers wander along the fabric while looking up at the next thing that caught her interest. The room was lit from the windows and a large chandelier hanging from the center of the room.
"All rather simple arrangements, but it will have to do until we get to the Capitol. Come along and I'll show you charming kids to your rooms. Johanna. Blight. I assume you both remember how to get to your rooms?" Lennox barely waited for any sort of reply before just wrapping his arms around the two Tributes and heading through the car before dropping them off at their own doors. Hazel just tried to give him another small smile before closing the door and going to investigate.
There were more clothes in here than she would ever own in a lifetime and a bathroom that didn't require waiting in order to use. She looked over the clothes just letting her fingers go over the fabrics. It was all so beautiful on the hangers she couldn't imagine how much she would take away from it by putting it on. She was just a skinny girl who couldn't completely remember the last time she had gotten enough to eat at a meal that she could actually consider herself "full".
Picking out a powder blue dress to replace the less than lucky brown frock she went in to see how long it make take to actually try drowning in the shower. Then she was sure there was someone around that would probably find a way to revive her so she would have to go through all of it anyhow. She turned the water up as hot as it was allowed and just tried to use the time to think.
So she was going into an Arena of Death with her best defense being her boyfriend's older brother in which only one of them could come back out of it anyhow… So was it really any use even trying to team up the slightest with Oakes? Other than the fact that he had never struck her as exactly a ruthless killer he could probably try to make friends with the Careers in order to save his own neck. He'd been working out in the woods as far back as she could recall where she was going to need training to get by on anything. Hazel sighed and slid down to the floor of the shower and just looked over her hands. Could she actually manage to kill someone if it came down to either her or the other person? Her feeling of self-preservation was high enough, but actually being able to take someone's life… It all just seemed kind of impossible to picture. She wasn't even going to be able to pull off a convincing Johanna Mason move of playing weak so they left her alone. Maybe she'd get an opportunity to talk to her partner enough to figure out what he was thinking. Hopefully her connection to his brother might be enough to get him to at least protect her long enough to have a shot.
She got out before she was afraid the Capitol people might come in to make sure that she was alright and find her half ready to cry on the shower floor where she could blame the shampoo getting in her eyes. She slid back into her same footwear on purpose however. They could try to strip her of everything she was over the next several days, but for now she was at least going to go to dinner with her boots on. If her mom couldn't talk her into some nicer footwear, she certainly wasn't going to let some guy who looked like a tree tell her that she needed something less than comfortable for her first official sit-down with the Mentors.
The three adults were there, or at least as much of an adult as one could consider Johanna as someone who would have been on her final reaping this year if she hadn't become a victor two years ago. Part of her wishes Oakes would have already been there as any sort of buffer especially when their Escort noticed her footwear. "My dear, weren't you able to find anything else in your room. If you'd like I can show you right where they are."
"No. I'm fine and these are a lot more comfortable." Lennox just looked at her miffed at the mere thought that she would enjoy the dusty things being on her feet. Johanna just laughed.
"I like her. She's got a bit of spunk to her."
"I thought you hated people with spunk, Jo." Hazel just felt a little more relaxed with the two from her own district that didn't have all of the odd skin colors and hairstyles. They knew what it was like to live somewhere you needed to keep covered up in order to keep the constant threat of ticks from attaching. If there was anywhere with blood sucking creatures, it was the Capitol. She just went to take a seat while they started setting out a salad with mixed greens, small tomatoes, and glazed nuts of some sort.
"No, I hate District 1 spunk where they're all look at me, I'm so, so pretty and witty." Johanna beat her eyelashes for effect. "Who somehow get along with District 2 where they're doing good if they can do more than grunt and flex… And then there's District 4 with 'Hey, I'm Finnick Odair, baby, and these are my Tributes. Sponsor them, okay, darling?'"
"Mr. Odair is not like that… Not exactly like that." Lennox waved his hand a little dismissively. He apparently didn't like getting pulled into anything were he was made to comment on the other Mentors. "He just enjoys spending time in the Capitol and knows a lot of the people there."
"Yes, well… Some people aren't quite used to all of the rich food there and prefer the simpler fare of their home." Johanna seemed to be saying more than was actually coming out of her mouth, but Hazel didn't want to push and have her suddenly mad at her when she was going to need some advice. She'd heard the recent victor's family had all died in an accidental fire that no one could quite explain how it got started.
At least there wouldn't be any lack of food tonight. Hazel kept eating like it might all vanish before she got the opportunity to finish. Before the end of the main course however she was slowing down and just trying to get down.
"I take it you two know each other before today?" Blight inquired while they were waiting on dessert.
"Yes." Hazel looked over at Oakes wondering what had brought up that sudden response without questioning why it was important in the first place. He just shrugged a little in response. "She's lived a few blocks away my entire life and same age as my younger brother."
"I still don't know why that matters when at least one of us has to die anyhow," muttered back Hazel. Part of her was hoping the not expecting him to help her would actually help out in the end. At least then if it came up it was his suggestion.
"It's nothing really. Most Tributes are still trying to size each other up at this point and possibly considering a using one of the knives on them just to help narrow down the field early. You two just seem a little more… At ease as it were." Blight smiled at both of them though. So far he didn't seem all that bad and he was going to be one of their lifelines between the fight to the death and the outside world. Plus they had already managed to survive this themselves.
"Oh." She picked up the sharpest knife still at her place setting and looked it over. It could probably be lethal, but you'd have to get close enough to use it. She was better at paper airplane tossing than knives. "Yeah, I'm kind of… Friends with Leif." Hazel noticed the glance over from Oakes when she said that, but decided against elaborating in front of anyone. If he was that curious, maybe he would come see her on his own.
District 9 Tribute
Ava was surprised how smooth the whole train moved and yet would probably have all of them in the Capitol by tomorrow morning without ever running into each other with twelve different trains carrying tributes. She was more distracted with watching the view out the window until a knock reminded her that she still had to go eat dinner. She went in to the bathroom for a moment just to look over and hope no one would actually care that she wasn't changing just to go and eat. Her dress was already about as nice as anything in the closets even if she had almost stripped down to her slip in the Justice Building to make sure that Katerina got her dress back. If they ended up having chocolate cake tonight, she was going to cry right there in front of her mentors and the boy that had saved her brother.
She still hadn't really gotten a chance to talk with the boy since things had been pretty crazy since they had left the Justice Building and he'd just gone back to his own room. Did she already know him from somewhere? Some people had romanticized the Games so much and people willing to volunteer for their true love even if it had been secret for all of these years. She was really hoping that wasn't the case considering he just gave her a bit of an off feeling. Ava couldn't really place him all that well from school either. Even Tycho had been completely mystified and unable to place him from school or any reason that he would have to protect him in particular.
The only change she made was releasing her hair so it fell down her back and used the hairpin to keep back the part that always wanted to fall into her face. At least the only people she had to try and impress today were the ones that would be seeing her at her strongest and weakest moments even if she did end up being one of the bodies that would end up littering the front of the Cornucopia.
Everyone else was already there when she made it to the dining room though it was relatively obvious that Ruffian wasn't waiting for her to begin eating while the others were caught up in a conversation and just barely paused to acknowledge her. It was a little more relaxed than she was expecting for apparently being late. Maize and Caine were two people she had only seen mostly from the Reapings every year. Two victors within five years of each other hadn't exactly been lucky for District 9 considering there hadn't been another in the last 20 years. She couldn't help but compare herself up against Maize while stirring around her soup. Maybe that could be her in another year, sitting across from two new Tributes and wondering if this would be the year that they showed themselves to be a stronger district than most people thought.
Ava waited quietly between dishes before she actually leaned over to Ruffian. "I've been meaning to thank you since the Reaping."
"What about it?" He ripped a piece of bread in half with his teeth and just looked confused. Ava's heart sank the slightest. He hadn't done this for Tycho… Definitely not for her either. A small part of her was reassured, but the larger part was getting scared.
"Well my brother was the one you volunteered for, and I'm just going to feel better knowing he's going to be safe at home for another year." And hopefully forever now after getting called once it didn't seem as likely to repeat itself. Suddenly the idea of being a Mentor was even sending chills down her back.
"Is that who that kid was? I wasn't even paying attention really. I mean I was going to volunteer anyhow, so I guess that's good?" Ava was also wondering how much of a brain actually occupied his head that he would do this on purpose. "I guess I got pretty lucky though because I mean… Serious Sponsor Bait there, babe." He grinned at her while she slowly started crossing her arms over her chest in particular.
Someone who wanted to go into the Arena and probably wouldn't hesitate to kill her as well if it would be good for the Sponsors and now he was just treating her like some piece of meat that was just there to look nice so they would send in money. If he was looking to bring her into some sort of alliance though, he was going to be sorely mistaken. Ava would rather throw herself on a sword than have anything to do with helping him win until it wasn't convenient to let her live. The food was about the only thing keeping her from getting up and storming away from the table. "I suppose that's supposed to be a compliment?"
"Definitely. Pouty face and just talking about how I saved your brother from an untimely death. They eat that sort of stuff up." Ava's fingernails were digging into her palms as she just smiled over at him and went back to her food. No way in all of the pits of hell was she going to do anything of the sort.
Caine cleared his throat, leaving Ava wondering if he was overhearing enough of this to be about as uncomfortable as she was over the mere idea. "So what sort of weapons training have you been doing for the past… Oh let's even just say decade? Swords, knives, something with a little bit of distance like a bow and arrow or slingshot?"
"Well I've been working in the fields harvesting wheat and barley and the like with a scythe. It really builds up the muscle tone." He flexed a little to make his point and just grinned to even be recognized already.
"But you haven't had any actual weapons training… And yet you're going into this like a professional Tribute that has been illegally training for years. Have you even…" A hand on his shoulder from Maize who just shook her head the slightest seemed to keep him from continuing on. "We should head back to the viewing car anyhow and from there we can get a good look at the other Tributes that you're going to be meeting in the arena. Think we can take our drinks without having everyone fussing, Roan?"
Roan just shrugged and straightened out his suspenders. Up close he didn't look quite as frightening as he usually did when she was waiting on names to be called every year. The dark blue hair looked black when it wasn't under direct sunlight and tied back with a black ribbon. "Just don't spill anything and they shouldn't have any reason." Caine used it as an excuse to refill his glass and lead the group back to a sitting room where it was already playing the Capitol anthem and filling up half the wall with their seal. Ava found a chair for herself and just curled up in it to make it obvious that Ruffian was not allowed to go and try to squeeze in next to her.
The Reapings seemed about standard with the usual volunteers from the early districts, though admittedly even sure wasn't sure what to make out of District 3's volunteer. This year it wasn't just trying to guess who might end up getting killed. This was going to be her competition, and it didn't help that the boy from 5 was probably as old as her brother with his blond hair and standing next to a slightly timid twelve year old as the cameras focused in on them before going on to 6. She sat up a little when she knew her own was coming. It was odd to see herself going up there looking stern until the moment her brother was in danger and there came the moment of weakness. Ava almost sickened herself now with how thankful she looked even at that moment for someone else stepping up to take the spot. The kids that follow all look to be on the second half of their reapings with the exception of another little girl in 10.
She tries to make note of some of the other names just to try and keep track of them so they're not just faces with numbers, but after a certain point they start to blend and get confusing. Wren, Hazel, Baylor, Robin, Juliet, Cinnamon, Anastasia… She wasn't too sure she didn't hear that one of the Career girls names was Glitter or Dazzle. Apparently there was no accounting for taste when you were a "professional tribute".
Caine waited until it was over before motioning to the screen. "Do you see those kids? They've been training since they were old enough to handle a weapon. Most of them prefer the up close approach, but that is not who you want to end up being is the ruthless killer. They have more than enough of those as it is, and it's just… No."
"I think what we're trying to say here is that we haven't really had a Tributes before that wanted to go all that much beforehand. We train you the best that we can, but none of that has ever really covered with the idea of also willingly killing other people without another thought," Maize added, trying to find some way of putting it that wouldn't send their Capitol escort into a complete tizzy. "We're just not sure what to make of a volunteer who wasn't trying to protect someone else."
"You have no idea who I'm trying to protect." Ruffian glared a little at the rest of them, getting up and heading back to the Tribute Car.
"Well that was quite unnecessary." The remaining trio looked at Roan, wondering whose side exactly he was taking here. "I mean we're all just trying to work together here to get one of these kids as a hopeful victor so there's no reason for storming out of a room. Now if you'll excuse my rudeness for leaving, I have things to attend to before we reach the Capitol." With a small bow he left them alone.
"You should probably get some sleep as well, Miss Rayns. We'll be arriving in the Capitol in the morning and your stylist is going to have it out with us if you look exhausted."
"Who can sleep?" Ava just frowned, knowing they were right even if she didn't end up getting that much rest. "I don't have to train with him or anything, do I?"
Caine smiled the slightest and shook his head. "No. I think Maize is going to be taking Mr. Boot to keep him from exchanging blows with someone before the Arena, so you just have to worry about impressing me."
"Suddenly I feel so much better." Ava's sarcasm was obvious, but she was slightly more relaxed going back to her room to get some sleep for the night.
District 11 Tribute
You really think I'm doing this on purpose? Laurel just looked a little amused at the others in the room while they were all getting breakfast and someone finally understood enough to get him a piece of paper and a pen to use. Apparently no one had thought too much of his silence last night when he would mostly shrug, nod, and make other little hand motions to try and suggest some sort of response. I know I'm not the ideal sort of candidate for something like Tribute. Just because I can't hear anything doesn't mean I am entirely worthless. You don't have to worry about me running off and telling the other Tributes about any sort of planning?
Somehow his humor wasn't going over as well as he would have hoped. Most of the signs he knew were standardized out of a book, but how many people in the Capitol were really going to be able to understand him enough to translate? He was a little surprised Petal didn't seem to have realized it either from the times they had worked together, but maybe she just hadn't thought too much of the strange boy who never said a word. That was slightly discouraging.
He watched the conversation going around which was slightly faster than he could keep up with everything while their escort was drowning his coffee in sugar and just stirring it looking bored. At least one person didn't think this was all that big of a deal, but the others just kept going on. He figured he might as well eat while he had a chance since the Capitol was supposed to be only minutes away. With only one victor, he wasn't expecting to get out of this alive. It didn't mean that he wouldn't stop fighting for his continued existence, but it would be all the more of a surprise to all of them if he did manage it, wouldn't it?
Hell, maybe they would actually figure out a way to actually allow him to hear if he won. That might have been something worth fighting for if it didn't mean the death of 23 others just for a pair of functional ears and a golden crown. His goal at the moment was trying to make sure that Petal managed as far as possible since she was the one with the better shot in Laurel's opinion. Plus she was probably the only person nice enough to actually stick with him.
Breakfast was at least quiet this way. True, every meal he'd had was quiet, but this was the most food he had ever seen put in front of him in the last 24 hours than he'd had… Well really ever. It was one thing keeping his mind off of his sister and what she must be going through. Breeze was a lot stronger than people gave her credit for, but watching her older brother going off to fight for his life had been enough to even send her over the edge into tears. He didn't think the Capitol would bring her all the way out just to be able to translate for him. Plus, Laurel figured, she was more likely to add her own spin on things that would just make him sound like he was actually swearing out the Capitol for ever coming up with these thing as a way to keep them from rebelling. It had worked thus far, but there was still plenty of discontent in 11.
He looked back up from his oatmeal with apples and other fruits in it to find that things had quieted down and no one seemed to be trying to get his attention at the moment. Which was probably good considering it was quickly distracted by the flash of color outside the window. Laurel just glanced at Petal before jumping up from the table to go out and get a good look at what he had only seen on TV.
They had more colors here than he had ever quite imagined in his life and even the screen at home hadn't done it a lot of justice when it came to the utter splendor that they were trying to get across. "Amazing" was the word that came to mind though it was also full of all of the people that enjoyed these Games the most. He still smiled down at them just because of how ridiculous they all looked that actually made Mercutio look relatively normal by comparison. They were still cheering as the train came pulling in and eventually hid them all from sight as it came into the station. Sure, it probably happened for everyone, but he still went back to his oatmeal with a bit of a grin to finish it off. After that he could grab his paper again without worrying about missing out on the rest of the food.
We could keep it a secret. Petal hasn't noticed before now and we've been working together occasionally for years. I've become pretty good at the strong, silent type personality. Plus I could teach you a few signs so I don't wear my hands out writing? If we can at least manage it until after the scores come out they can't use it against me after all?
"It doesn't mean a lot of time though if we're going to try and find any sort of translator before your interview. Because there's probably going to be rumors spreading around as soon as we start asking people and they'll want to know why we're so interested." Seeder frowned, still seeming to try and find a way around all of this. Most tributes didn't have a deformity that was so discreet, and yet still cause so many issues. He'd seen a kid from 8 once with a missing hand, but not one that he could recall just answering Caesar Flickerman's questions with a sly smirk and little more.
Laurel made a little circular motion questioningly before holding up one finger on his right hand and two on his left. He switch the two to the shape of an O for a moment and then held up nine fingers. Apparently his pseudo-signing was doing little more than confuse them all the more. He sighed and reached for the pen again when there was just a hand on his shoulder.
"Another District?" Petal inquired as he just grinned and nodded. She just shrugged in response to the Mentors wondering how she had managed that. "Everything now is a numbers game. One Two. One Oh. Nine. He skipped eleven."
Laurel knew even then what he was suggesting was risky. It would mean actually admitting to another group that you had someone who was trying to hide a disability. He had just numbered off the other really outer districts whose Mentors might be willing to also keep it from their Tributes. Or at least Tributes who wouldn't just use it against him quite as much. At least Seeder and Chaff seemed to be thinking it over which was almost more than he was expecting.
"We'll get back to you on that tonight. Part of it will be gauging the other Mentors. Depends on how they're feeling if anything were to go rumoring around that it was one of theirs instead of ours." Laurel just nodded, hoping a day could make a lot of difference one way or another, though it wasn't entirely important. More the fact that the Capitol would probably want to know something about him, but without letting on too early that he wasn't the best candidate out there to put their money on.
"Anyhow you can give it a test with your Stylist in a little bit when we turn you over for the Tribute parade. Hopefully they'll at least manage to get the two of you a couple of interested Sponsors for the Games." Chaff smiled at the pair of them. "And we'll see about these lessons and what you might be able to manage, but I'm still at a slight disadvantage here."
Here he was hoping with a possible victory he might be able to manage hearing with the sort of medicine they had in the Capitol and his mentor was sitting there with only one hand. Laurel just nodded with the slightest frown.
I'll see what I can manage. First lesson. Capitol people, Capitol (as the place), and Snow. Laurel waited until they were done reading before first shaping his hand to the letter C and then using his forefinger and thumb in front of his mouth making the motion of talking. He followed it with the came letter and then waving his fingers over his chin. It was the one that amused him more as it looked slightly more mocking even though he was just describing it as colorful. "Snow" was the only thing he didn't have to make up entirely even though the weather event of actual snow had never been something he had seen before. He then took back up the paper. The first two without the C in front are birds and color. There's not really a proper term so I made it up.
At least that seemed to amuse them. Next he was going to have to think up good signs for both of them before the end of the day. If they could even get the translator a little earlier it would make it easier on all of them in the long run though he hated to cause the extra issue.
Now to go and impress the Capitol without saying a word.
A/N: These ended up a little longer than I expected (which is to be blamed slightly on bluejellooranges for a lovely review saying how she liked District 7), so I went back to fill them out a little more and the rest just kind of expanded from there. And admittedly I like District 7 myself as well as a few others. Do tell me if you're enjoying a bit of some of the known Mentors as well as the others (Johanna's also a favorite). As always, please review.
And if you're interested in more info, I've also set up iwiwtm weebly .com with pictures of the Tributes, Mentors (though Finnick is going to get a change since I am happy with Sam Claflin. Feel free to flame me for that though it's a silly thing to flame me over, you can see my first choice up there for now), and reminders on who is who in each of the Districts as well as a blog for updates.