A/N: First things first, I do not own Hunger Games. The main characters are Katniss and Pete (Peeta - sorry Peeta's just not a modern day name), there are a few other familiar names but they won't have major roles. Katniss is a bit standoff-ish and doesn't socialize enough to have all the friends she accumulated in the original stories. A fair warning, this story contains drug use, liquor consumption and sex. For those of you that wish to continue reading, enjoy!
Loss. Death. Grief. Alone.
I was alone in the world. My guardian and Great Uncle Cornelius didn't care about me, I never saw him. He spent most of him time at his New York apartment. He never came to Denver and I never went to New York. The house-keeper, Amelia, was the one to sign my permission slips for school, take me to the doctor, manage the expenses, and anything else a guardian is supposed to do. She doesn't like me either. Before my family died she had it easy, being a paid house-keeper for an empty house. Then I came, a sad 13 year old girl who needed to be fed and cared for. Of course nannies were hired, but Amelia still thought it was unfair that she needed to be in charge of me. I didn't like to go out and I didn't have friends. I would stay tucked away in my wing of the house. My books were my saviors, I was able to forget myself and escape into exciting adventures and fantasy worlds. I dragged myself through middle school, ignoring my classmates unless assignments forced me to acknowledge them. They thought I was a weirdo. My teachers used to try to talk to Amelia about me being "anti-social" she started directing them to Dr. Aurelius, my therapist. I don't know why my teachers complained, I always did my homework and got A's throughout every class. I only truly enjoyed two classes; music class, where we got to sing three times a week, and gym class, where talking were required the least. My Father loved singing, him and I were both on our church's choir, we'd practice practically every day. When a song would pop into his head he would look at me with a smile and start singing the song, the songs ranging from Hymns to the Beatles to Waylon Jennings. I still think about singing and when I'm alone sometimes I'll sing, never with the same enthusiasm I used to. In gym class I found that when I'm physically active I was able to just focus on the sport we were doing, I liked soccer the best. When my Denver gym teacher saw me "come out of my shell" during class and told me I should join a soccer team. My therapist encouraged it. So I joined. I didn't try to make friends with my team mates, but I did go to their houses for the occasional pizza party or pool party. I thought of having one at my house, it was big enough and we had a nice pool, but I know Amelia would hate the idea. My team mates eventually stopped treating me like a social pariah and got used to my "shy" ways.
High school was different. I tried out for the school soccer team and got on JV my freshmen year and the Varsity team my sophomore year. Guys from the boys' team would try to ask me out, but when I kept refusing, they got pissed and called me a bitch. I shrugged it off, I'm sure Amelia has called me worse things behind my back. Though I didn't mind the girls on my team, I never thought of any of them as my friends. One girl on my team, Lavinia, had the "poor-little-rich-girl" syndrome and decided to take it out on her parents, she liked to throw huge parties whenever her parents left town, which was often. Since I was on her team, I got included on the guest list. I decided to start going. I quickly realized how much I liked alcohol, its numbing relief was wonderful. When joints started to infiltrate the party I found that I liked those too. It wasn't social for me though, I still didn't want to be friends with these people and they didn't want to be friends with me.
I relied on my driver, Edison, until I was 16. Then I got instructed to buy a car and that I shouldn't be so reliant on others. So I got my white BMW crossover. It was nice. I didn't gush over it like my team mates did when they got their first cars. Lavinia had demanded a Land Rover, and got it, but now her eyes were green with envy because Katie the cheerleader got a Audi convertible… We live in the mountains, where it snows... why she wants a convertible is beyond my understanding. With my own car I found more freedom, I started driving into the mountains to hike trails; that became my refuge. I started humming when I was hiking, then when I was certain that there were no other hikers I started singing. Singing made me feel free of my problems, it also helped that I was always stoned on my walks, quite the "freeing" experience. My favorite hike ended at a look-out, I could stay there for hours. In the summer I'd bring a book with me, climb a tree and relish in my solitude. I never worried about my safety, going on hikes alone. It wasn't that I didn't care about my safety, I just felt sort of, removed from it.
Even with my drinking and drugs I was still top of my class and a starter for the girls soccer team. Dr. Aurelius wasn't happy about my "free time" choices, but apart from suggesting I stop, what is he going to do? Ask my Uncle to come and ground me? Ask Amelia to take away my car? She's just get mad that I would have to bother Edison again.
Senior year came, and with it college applications. My Father had gone to University of Minnesota, so that was my first choice. Then because of their Anthropology programs, University of Michigan and the University of Chicago. With my grades I didn't think I'd have a problem getting into UMN.
My Uncle surprised me by turning up mid-November, he handed me a packet for Yale. "I know the dean, he's looking forward to meeting you."
I was not going to go to Yale. I wanted to get away from my Uncle and anything connected to him. When I turned 18 I was going to be in charge of my inheritance, so I wouldn't need his money any more.
I told him which colleges I wanted to go to. Uncle's eyes went cold(er) and his nose wrinkled, "What kind of people are you going to meet there? You would meet the future leaders of America at Yale. Clean yourself up and get a better attitude and maybe you could land a Senator. If your Mother had used her social standing to her advantage she could have married one of the richest men in America, but instead she married Jim Everdeen."
My Father had been an architect and made a very nice living, but it was nothing to compare to the grandeur of the Snow family, add that to the fact that he didn't have any relations in politics and (in Uncle's eyes) there was no worse match in his niece. Uncle never had his own children so he was hoping that his brother's daughter would marry a high ranking Politian and have lots of babies (he probably thinks he could brain wash them into taking over the East Coast). He wasn't a visible figure in the political world, he reminded me more of a creepy puppet master.
It was after this conversation that I was told that Uncle was going to sell the house in June. The message couldn't be clearer, "Get out and don't come back". I didn't ask Amelia what she was going to do and she didn't ask me what I was going to do.
My letter of acceptance into UMN came. I didn't want to be scared about the future, I knew that this was the right thing for me. I would be leaving everything I knew behind me, again.
I didn't go to graduation. What was the point, knowing no one would in the crowd to cheer for me, and no one was going to hug me afterwards. Nobody has hugged me for a long time. I got a long hug after the funerals, by my old neighbor, but that was the last time. Instead of going to the graduation parties my classmates were having, I went home and finished packing.
Astonishment couldn't even begin to describe how I felt when I saw a card from Uncle.
"I do wish you the best and sincerely hope that you decisions aren't the ruin of you. Enclosed is the account information I have set up for you. This is the only time I will give you money. This will be our last correspondence."
I checked the slip enclosed, a million dollars in a high interest savings account. I smirked, he actually thinks that I would ask him for money. If I had agreed to Yale I'm sure he would have been happy to share his billions with me, introduce me to high society. Like that was supposed to tempt me. I donate half of it to State and National Parks, I put his name on it, chuckling to myself with the though of Uncle Snow being associated with anything to do with nature. His friends consist of Politians, and Politians whose money comes from Big Oil. I wish I cold see his face when they sent him the thank you note.
I don't bring much with me, clothes mostly. The only other thing I have to bring is a photo album with family pictures in it. No one says good bye as I leave Denver.