When I wake up, I hear a steady drip, dripping noise.
The only noise in the sterile, all white room I'm in. No windows, no doors. It smells like a hospital in here.
Groggily, I look towards the sound of the dripping and barely register that it's some sort of IV, continually feeding medicine into my arm, into my system.
And it's not the only one.
Both my arms have several tubes attached, with several cocktails of drugs and nutrients being pumped into my body.
I also feel the oxygen mask on my face, feeding me with a strange smelling gas.
Hospital. I must be in some sort of hospital room.
I shudder at the thought. I hate hospitals. Always have. Ever since I had to go into one to get my appendix removed when I was twelve.
I try to move myself into a sitting position, but I find I cannot move. I'm being held in place by some sort of restraint.
I start to panic. I can feel my heart racing. I don't want to be here anymore. Let me out of here! I don't want these needles in my arm!
Suddenly, a portion of the wall slides open and someone in a white coat comes in.
"You're awake. Good. We were wondering when you'd come to. You've healed well in the past few days…"
Few days? I've been unconscious for a few days?
"You were pretty badly injured. I'm surprised you didn't feel it more in the arena. The adrenaline must have kept you running, but once we had you here, it hit you all at once and we had to operate on you immediately…"
Who I assume to be some doctor person removes the oxygen mask, some of the tubes and needles and removes the restraints, allowing me to sit up.
The person's words blur together as I start to fade in and out of consciousness.
"…you'll be ready for presentation in another day… eyesight fixed… ankle healed… scars…"
The words all blend together, like someone's mixing fruit punch and throwing all the different fruit juices together. They merge together to form one, dark red sort of colour.
I'm seeing blood.
A river of blood is in front of my eyes, blocking my way. It stretches on for miles and miles.
All I can see is blood. It's everywhere.
Then the screams. I hear screams coming from the river as it ripples.
I try to step back, but the river of blood overflows and pools around my knees.
The blood rises in several pillars from the river and forms into the zombiefied bodies of all the dead Tributes.
The ones I killed and Graham are at the front of the pack, chasing me down.
They reach me, piling on top of me. I can't breathe, I can't see. All I hear are their screams and moans of pain…
I wake up with a jolt, sitting up suddenly, and breaking into a cold sweat.
"Just a dream, Violette. It was all just a dream…" I reassure myself. "The zombies aren't coming to get you…"
The wall slides open again and this time, it's Gina bringing me a tray of food.
She smiles at me weakly as she props me up and fluffs my pillows. Gently, she sets the tray on my lap.
"How long was I unconscious for? How many days?" I try to say, but it comes out in a scratchy sort of voice that doesn't sound like my own. It sounds as if I've been moving my lips, but someone else spoke the words.
She seems to understand me however, as she holds up three fingers.
Three days? I've been out for three whole days?!
Oh my god.
Gina must have sensed my discomfort as she pats my shoulder and smiles at me reassuringly.
I glance down at the tray. The same meal I can remember reading that Katniss had. A bowl of clear broth, a small serving of applesauce, and a glass of water.
It might not seem like much, but Katniss is certainly right. After going through all of that, I can barely manage to hold it all down.
My stomach is filled by the time I reach the applesauce and it takes quite the effort to finish it.
I drift off to sleep again and my dreams are filled with nothing but screams, moans and blood. Nothing but gore. All those days in the Arena are finally starting to sink in.
I killed five people. Five. I know for sure now because I heard the doctor person mention something about it, even in my drugged-up state.
I am a murderer. I am a Victor. Both words mean the same thing.
I killed five people. I know I had to do it in order to live, but five young people lost their lives at my hands. They would have had families, friends, perhaps significant others to go home to.
And I stopped that from happening…
The tears flow freely down my cheeks and sobs rattle my chest. How could I have let myself become so cruel?
I don't care. I don't even care about the bitches Claudette and Dominique anymore.
I should have just let them won. Let someone else win these Games. Let Titania kill me right there on that mountain. How can I possibly live with the guilt of what I have done forever on my conscious whether or not I ever get back to Montreal?
The door slides open again and in comes the doctor.
"Violette?" The doctor says softly. "It's time for you to meet your team again…"
I nod and move slowly, inching myself carefully out of bed, taking great care not to put too much pressure on myself after getting up so soon from a state of extended immobility.
Slipping on the clothes left for me near the edge of the bed, I step in front of the section of the wall that I saw Gina and the doctor come through and it opens for me.
The doctor is waiting outside for me.
"I have been instructed to take you to them." She says, smiling what she must feel is an encouraging smile but only reminds me of a hyena.
Ceres, Desdemona and… Dominique/Medusa are all waiting for me in a large room at the end of the hall.
My mentor immediately moves forward and gives me a gentle hug.
"Congratulations, Violette. You did well and I am so, so proud of you. I promise to come visit you in the Victor's Village if you'll do the same for me."
"After getting your help, how could I not?" I smile back weakly.
Desdemona is crying so many happy tears that she has to go get a box of tissue to wipe them all away, lest they ruin her hideous makeup.
Before I can react, Medusa hugs me as well; making my eyes go wide and my body immediately feels as if it's back in Hunger Games mode, filling up with adrenaline.
"So, you actually won, I see…" She whispers.
"Yes, yes I did. I bet you didn't think I was capable, did you?" I whisper back viciously.
"Yes, well, no matter. I did say to you before you left that it doesn't matter what happens to you. You would still suffer whether or not you had won. I enjoy your victory as much as I would enjoy your death."
With that, I break apart the hug abruptly and glare at her.
"Come now, Violette. Desdemona has to go dress you up now." Ceres says as Desdemona steps forward.
She leads me to an elevator which takes us to the lobby of the Training Centre. As we zoom upwards in the elevator towards the District 9 floor, I shudder when I remember that just a few weeks ago, there were living, breathing, feeling Tributes occupying these floors.
And I am the only one still alive. It's an eerie feeling.
Now the building is way too quiet. It rings with a sort of deafening silence. Not a peaceful silence, but the one you cannot stand.
I barely even notice as the elevator stops on the ninth floor and Desdemona leads me out.
I feel hollow inside. This hollow feeling feels terrible. I feel as if I would rather be dead than have this feeling.
You can't really understand it until you have experienced it. It's just one of those things…
As my prep team takes me into the dining room, chattering excitedly about their favourite moments in the Games, their voices are not the ones I hear.
"Well, what do you know? Violette survived…"
"There's a surprise…"
Their laughter coincides with my prep team's laughter.
"Oh Violette, I absolutely thought my heart would stop when you were fighting that District 5 boy!"
"The Feast had to be one of the most exciting moments. You barely got away from that Career girl!"
"Yeah, you got away through sheer dumb luck, Violette. If she hadn't played around with you, you'd be dead and she'd be here in your place!"
I clutch the sides of my head, trying to shake off the voices and the waves of nausea threatening to consume me.
As I eat, I just go through the motions. I can't even fully see or taste what I am eating. All I can feel are the motions of the fork bringing food to my mouth.
Afterwards, the prep team chatters even more as they clean me up for presentation.
My makeup is light, almost natural and they cut my hair to shoulder length, curling it tightly and leaving curly bangs in the front, which just brush my eyebrows.
Desdemona carries in a pretty, pastel pink halter-top sleeveless knee-length dress with a lilac neck, hem and a lilac bow tied to the left side.
She slips it on and finishes it off by putting a lilac headband with little pink flowers on a side in my hair and slipping low-heeled lilac shoes onto my feet.
"I've had this design in mind for years and never got to use it. I'm glad I got to use it on you though. It looks lovely on you…" She says as she commands me to twirl around in it.
"Thanks, Desdemona. It really does look nice…" I smile weakly.
But what does it matter? I may look cute, but I'm still a murderer…
A wolf in sheep's clothing can still be recognized.
I find myself in an area they tell me is directly beneath the stage. They tell me that we will all rise above to the stage. First my prep team, then the escort aka Medusa, my stylist Desdemona, the mentor- Ceres, and finally the victor/murderer.
Then they leave me all alone to get ready for their own ascensions.
I'm all alone, in the dark. There's barely any light of which to speak. I never did like the dark…
I can hear the distant noise of the crowd way above me, but I don't really pay it much mind, trapped within my own thoughts.
A Capitol attendant leads me over to a metal plate, quite like the one I rose into the arena on.
Just a few minutes later, I hear the applause above start. My prep team, revelling in all their glory. Then Medusa, the one who helped put me here in the first place- though they don't know that obviously…
Desdemona gets a nice round of applause.
Then Ceres is introduced. Of course her applause is the loudest of those introduced so far.
All too soon, I feel my metal plate start to move.
My turn to shine in the spotlight.
The spotlight is too bright and I close my eyes for a few seconds to adjust to the light as the deafening applause rings through my ears.
Ceres comes over, beaming as she leads me over to the Victor's chair, a beautiful ornate chair that more resembles a throne than anything else.
Caesar tells a few jokes and makes a few comments to warm up the audience and then the show begins.
The lights dim and the seal of Panem appears on the screen.
I'm about to watch my own Games.
The pre-arena events. My Reaping. When I shook hands with Graham. My arrival in the Capitol. The chariot ride. My training score. My interview with Caesar.
Seeing the other Tributes alive in this makes me feel sick to my stomach and I have to fight back the nausea. There's that upbeat track that Katniss says is there in hers. It's in mine too and it really does make everything worse. A lively track playing as it displays people who are now dead…
Now they get to the real highlights of the show. My time in the arena.
I don't want to see this. I really would prefer not to see this. I would just like to run and hide somewhere and forget about this.
Sadly, that's not an option, so I stay rooted to my seat, fighting back tears, the waves of nausea and the general anxiety threatening to consume me.
Me rising into the arena. Waiting for the Games to start as the countdown went on. The moment I stepped off that pedestal.
Killing the boys of Districts 3, 11 and 5. Me eluding the Careers the first time as I led them to the District 6 girl. The earthquake. Me finding Graham being munched on like a cracker in the jaws of the bear. All the tumbling about that I did. Hiding in the trees from the girls of Districts 1 and 4. The acid-blooded coyote. Killing the District 7 girl.
A death which seems particularly horrible to me. I could have killed her quickly, but I didn't. I drew it out. I'm just as bad as those Careers who like to torture people before they actually kill them…
The Feast. Me and Titania's first fight. I stabbed her in the arm. She stabbed me around the stomach.
We both escape alive, to fight another day.
A few more uninteresting moments until the day of the finale. The hail which sent me scarpering from my tree.
Running around, looking for shelter from the hail. Being in the cave for a while.
Watching Titania and Kalei's fight.
Watching as Titania wins that fight and chases me.
Our banter as we run and climb up the mountain.
Our fight once we reach the top.
I can remember everything I was thinking as I was there. Thoughts racing through my mind, thinking that I would probably die…
The death blow I gave Titania.
Me winning, sinking to the ground clutching my bleeding self, laughing…
Being carried away by the hovercraft…
All those horrid memories…
I catch a glimpse of myself on camera and my face looks completely blank- devoid of any emotion, despite the raging storm inside threatening to consume me.
The anthem plays and I rise from my seat slowly with the others as the foul President Snow joins us on stage, followed by a little boy in a suit, carrying the Victor's crown on a cushion.
His eyes are as dark as coals as they stare into mine and I feel as if his soul is the same way- if he really has one. He smiles at me, but his smile doesn't fully reach his eyes.
I resist the urge to shudder.
Going through the motions of bowing and cheering and laughing.
Caesar finally bids the audience goodnight and reminds them about the final interviews.
Then we're whisked away to President Evil's mansion for the Victory Banquet.
I don't eat much. Even if I had a moderate amount of time to myself, I still wouldn't have eaten much. My sponsors are shoving each other out of the way to meet me, Capitol officials shake my hands so much, I feel as if they'll fall off; the bright lights of the constantly flashing cameras almost blind me.
Finally I'm back in the Training Centre and all I want to do is sink into bed for the night.
My dreams are constantly filled with screams, crying, pleads and rivers of blood. Nothing else at first. Then they're joined by Ginger, Gina and Melissa all suffering here in their own ways.
Ginger, back in District 9, anxiously awaiting my return, along with my District 9 family.
Gina and Melissa as Avoxes. I imagine them being tortured, having their tongues cut out, choking on their own blood…
When I wake up, I am in a cold sweat and have a feeling of general nausea and I take off to the bathroom to throw up.
An hour later, Gina and Melissa come in and give me a group hug, before fixing up the room again and quickly leaving as Medusa descends upon me reminding me about my final interview.
I get to eat a small breakfast of toast, jam, sausage and cinnamon-flavoured milk before my prep team arrives.
The next dress Desdemona arrives to put me in is a light blue flowing-sleeved ankle-length dress with tiny purple flowers along the hem and around the deep-cut collar. Natural makeup once again. Silver droplet earrings. Silver shoes. My District token, looking all shiny and new now.
Then I'm led down the hall to a sitting room where Caesar Flickerman awaits, smiling at me. He even gets up to shake my hand.
Someone counts down and soon enough, the two of us are being broadcast live to all of Panem.
"Congratulations on your win, Violette. Tell me, how do feel now that you've had the honour of becoming a Victor?" He asks.
"Well, it's still kind of a shock. I don't think it's really settled in yet." I chuckle nervously. "I can barely believe that I'm here!"
"Ain't that the truth?" He chuckles.
He'll never know how true that is…
"How did you feel when you were Reaped? What were your family and friends like when they came to see you?"
"I didn't really know how to feel when I was Reaped. But when my family and friends came in to see me, they made me promise to not give in. To fight back. To win. To come back home to them…" I fiddle with my District token.
"And that you did." Caesar smiled.
Ceres stands in a corner, barely seen, but I can see her giving me a thumbs-up. Encouraging me.
Then the hardest question I've ever been asked:
"How did you feel when you finally realized that you'd won? Right there on top of that mountain?"
"I… I felt really relieved, actually. I finally knew that I'd get to go home for sure…"
That's the answer I give him, anyway.
A few more little comments and then Caesar signs off.
Once he does, Ceres zooms forward to hug me.
"You did very well in that interview. Now, it's time to get ready to go back home…" She tells me.
I nod, and head back to my room.
Home. Your home rather, not mine…
Getting dressed in simpler clothes, Gina and Melissa escort me down to the lobby where they shake my hands firmly, smiling weakly and I reflect their smiles.
In a blur, I am guided through the Capitol in a car with blackened windows and we quickly arrive at the train station.
I have a little time to say goodbye to Desdemona as bitch face hurries me onto the train and then we're all back on our way to District 9.
I see Dagan again for the first time since the night before the Games started and he acknowledges me with a nod before disappearing into his own quarters.
Heading for my own quarters, I stay there for as much time as possible during the ride back to District 9.
When I hear the door open and I look up to see who is there, I immediately go tense.
Dominique, in normal form.
"I know I have said zis before, but who knew a girl like you could have become a Hunger Games Victor?"
"Indeed. Why the hell are you here now? Come to taunt me some more?"
"Ah, as much as I enjoy doing that, no. Not zis time."
I blink in surprise.
"You 'ave been een Panem for a long while. I 'ave been able to jump between 'ere and the real world a few times. Who knew zey would miss you so? Television, posters, radio bulletins, Internet… For you as well as your leetle amies…"
"So? Of course they would! Our families and friends love us!" I exclaim.
"Sure zey do. You want to get back home to zem, you weel 'ave to find your own way home. I will not 'elp you."
I stand up angrily. "I thought you said you weren't coming to taunt me!"
"I lied." She reverts to Medusa form before slamming the door behind her.
I will be putting this story on temporary hiatus for now as I want to make progress with my other fics, possibly including a Danny Phantom/Hunger Games crossover. And if you like Harry Potter, please take a look at my profile, check out those stories and vote on the poll!