Author's note: First off, thanks for checking out my story. :) This is my first Hunger Games story, so I'm really excited to share it. I normally write in past-tense, but decided to make this present-tense because that's how Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games. Let me know how I'm doing. :)

In case you were wondering, this story starts right before Annie's games and will go into Mockingjay. Most of the story will be in Annie's pov, but Finnick's pov will be added in every once in a while. Pairings will be Annie/Finnick (obviously) and probably a little Peeta/Katniss on the side.

Oh yeah, I LOVE any and all reviews, so if you gave me some, I would be extremely happy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: If I were Suzanne Collins, Prim and Finnick would be alive, Katniss and Gale would still be friends (although she would still end up with Peeta), Gale/Madge would be cannon, and so would Haymitch/Effie. Since none of this happened, I am clearly not her, and therefore, I do not own Annie, Finnick, the hunger games, or anything else you recognize.

EDIT: 7/23/14. I am making small changes to this story, mostly so it doesn't conflict with my other story, Change of Tides. Not big differences to really change the story, but enough to bring it up.

Wipe Away the Tears

Chapter 1: The Dreaded Reaping Day

As I lay in my bed once again not being able to sleep, I listen to my fourteen-year-old sister's soft breathing. I've always wondered how Arianna managed to sleep so soundly on the nights before reaping days, but she does. I, unfortunately, am never that lucky.

Suddenly, the bedroom door opens, and a small figure enters the room from the shadows of the hallway. "Annie?" the voice of my twelve-year-old sister, Ava, whispers. "Are you awake?"

Sighing, I raise my head to look at my sister. "Yes," I say softly, "what is it?"

"I had that dream again," Ava whimpers.

I sigh again. For the past five years on the night before Reaping Day, Ava has been having nightmares about Arianna and me being reaped, and clearly this year is no different. Glancing at my alarm clock, I see that it is nearly five in the morning, about a half hour before I have to get out of bed. "Well, get in then." I say, moving over to make room for my sister. Without hesitation, she climbs in beside me.

"It was worse this time," Ava whispers after a few minutes.

"How so?"

"This time, I was reaped."

"Ava, I won't let that happen," I sigh. I don't even bother telling her that none of us will be reaped because with all the tesserae I've had to take out after my mother died ,it's quite possible that I could be , and so could Arianna and Ava, although I would volunteer for them in a heartbeat if they were.

"Promise?" Ava whispers.

"I promise."

About a half an hour later, the alarm clock goes off signaling that it's time to get up. Arianna groans and buries her face in her pillow while I get out of bed and turn on the light. "Arianna, can you wake up Dad while I get Archer?" I ask, but my sister only mumbles something inaudible into her pillow.

I roll my eyes at her. "Fine. If you're not up in five minutes, though, I'm sending in Archer. Ava, will you go wake up Dad?"

"Okay," Ava says pleasantly, and cheerfully leaves the room.

Meanwhile, I go into our family's third bedroom to wake up Archer, my eight-year-old brother. "Archer," I call, turning on the light as soon as I walk in the door. "It's time to get up."

"Why?" Archer whines.

"Because it's Reaping Day, remember?" I reply.

"Oh, yeah." With that, Archer sits up, stretches, and follows me out of the room.

As we arrive back at my room, I see that Arianna is still in bed. I turn to my little brother and smile. "You know what to do."

Right on cue, Archer runs into my room and jumps onto Arianna's bed.

"Archer!" Arianna shrieks before turning to glare at me. "Okay, Annie, I'm up." With that she finally gets out of bed.

Fifteen minutes later, all five members of the Cresta family are gathered around the table for breakfast. My mother died a few months after Archer was born due to a bad case of pneumonia that her already weak immune system couldn't handle, so ever since I was nine it's just been my father, my two sisters, my brother, and me. My father is fisherman, but he also paints paintings and makes jewelry out of sea shells for a living. He doesn't make much, however, so I have to take out tesserae often, but we still just barely get by.

The majority of breakfast remains silent, with only Archer speaking now and then as he tries to brighten the mood. After breakfast, we all begin to get dressed for the reaping. Because of the warm weather, my sea green dress only falls to my knees, and its sleeves are just a few inches long. Once dressed, I tie my long, dark brown hair into a ponytail. Thirty minutes later, my entire family is out the door.

"Annie!" a voice calls, and I turn around to see Superior, my best friend and neighbor, rushing toward me with her thirteen-year-old brother Caspian. Although Superior is a year older than me, she's been my friend ever since I can remember. Her mother died due to complications after childbirth a few hours after giving birth to Caspian, and her father sailed away on his fishing boat one day right before a big storm about two months ago and hasn't been seen since, so Superior is left to raise Caspian on her own. She was forced to drop out of school because of it and has taken out more tesserae than I have.

"Are you ready?" Superior asks.

"Ready as I'll ever be." I sigh.

The seven of us walk together until it is time for us to split up. My father and Archer go into the crowd, while Superior and I walk Ava to the twelve-year-old section, Caspian to the thirteen-year-olds, and Arianna to the fourteen-year-olds. Then, I take my place with the other seventeen-year-olds, while Superior joins the eighteen-year-olds. Soon, Crystalynn Carter, district four's escort calls the crowd to attention, and the reaping begins.

The anthem is played, and so is the video that we watch every year. I've must have memorized it by now. Then, Crystalynn comes to the microphone again. "Welcome, welcome, everyone, to the seventieth hunger games! I wish everyone one the best of luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!" she calls enthusiastically, and there is a round of polite applause. "Let's start with the girls."

Crystalynn reaches into the large glass bowl and pulls out a piece of paper. She pauses for a moment, for the dramatic effect, I suppose, before reading clearly, "Annie Cresta!"

No. It can't be true, but it is. People stare at me in silence as they wait for me to walk to the stage. It is so quiet that I can hear Ava sobbing loudly. No one volunteers for me. Trying not to cry, I make my way up to the stage.

Once on stage, Finnick Odair, one of district four's mentors gives me a sad smile. Finnick is a good-looking nineteen-year-oild who won the sixty-fifth Hunger Games when he was only fourteen. He has bronze colored hair and sea green eyes that most girls go crazy over. I've met Finnick a few times because my father worked for his, but we haven't spoken in years. Finnick went into the Hunger Games when he was only fourteen. When he returned, he refused to look anyone in the eye and was withdrawn. He didn't seek me out, and as a shy twelve-year-old, neither did I.

I shake Crystalynn's hand, and stand on the right side of the stage as she directed me to do. "And now, for the boys," the escort calls, and repeats the process of drawing the tribute's name from the bowl. "District four's male tribute is… Caspian Hudson!"

Out of all the people she couldn't have chosen, Crstalynn chose my best friend's little brother.

Author's note: As I said earlier, I love reviews, so don't hesitate to do so.

Also, in case anyone's wondering, the title of this fic comes from the song "My Immortal" by Evanesance. I was listening to music trying to think of a title from song lyrics, and these lyrics from the song got my attention:

When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream, I'd fight away all of your fears

And so, "Wipe Away the Tears" was born. :)