"Wiress, you scored a six in training! That's right in the middle of the pack!" Caesar Flickerman said to Wiress as she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Copper and silver wires were woven through her hair that was put in an elaborate updo.
"Thank you." Wiress replied. "I put my best foot forward just like I do at school." She smiled. "I felt the support of my sister Wendy and my best friend Terrin through The Force as well as the support from Mom, Dad, my teachers and friends back home in District Three." She paused as the audience quietly applauded. Caesar smiled at her.
"For being the youngest tribute here, you certainly do not seem afraid." Caesar commented.
"No." Wiress said simply. "My district has won twice, and I believe I can win for us again." She smiled. "Spending three days with the smartest inventor Panem has ever seen gives you confidence to the infinity!" She said excitedly as her face lit up. "We'll make District Three proud!" The buzzer sounded before Wiress thanked Caesar for his time. She faced the crowd and courtseyed in her silver dress that had gear and circuitboard patterns embroidered in gold on it.
"'The smartest inventor Panem has ever seen?'" Beetee asked blushing. Wiress smiled before he settled her into his lap. She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her cheek against his chest. Max chuckled and patted Wiress' shoulder as they watched District Four's interviews.
"Well, you are!" Wiress giggled playfully ruffling Beetee's thick dark hair.
"No, you still have a crush on him." Max pointed out causing Wiress to blush as he howled with laughter. "Don't worry, I won't tease you about that tomorrow."
"You'd better not!" Wiress retorted rolling her eyes playfully before settling into Beetee's lap breathing in his scent of soldering chemicals, a clean soap type smell, and a scent that was distinctly his.
"You've grown up so much these past few days, Wiress." Beetee whispered in her ear.
"Thanks to you." Wiress whispered. "I feel stronger now." She felt Beetee's lips brush her cheek.
"Strong enough to spend all night inventing last night." Beetee chuckled. "I notice you took the liberty of drawing in my notebook."
"You didn't even hear me get up, sleepyhead!" Wiress giggled playfully poking him in the chest. "Besides, I was practicing being stealth."
"That's not hard to do when your mentor is snoring loudly." Max commented causing everyone to laugh.
"That wasn't me! It was Eustacia!" Beetee protested. "I'm too young to start snoring!" He looked at the clock and sat up straighter. Wiress slid off his lap and took his hand as they stood up. "You two should get some rest. I'll talk to you individually before you turn in."
"Ok." Max agreed.
"Goodnight, Beetee." Wiress said. She felt warm arms wrap around her.
"Goodnight, my sweet Wiress." Beetee said softly. Beetee sighed as he watched his tributes walk hand in hand as they walked down the hallway to change into their pajamas. He knew all three of them had done everything they could to ensure either Max or Wiress would leave the arena as a victor. He felt a twinge of guilt knowing he would probably take Wiress' death harder than Max's, however, he grasped onto a sliver of hope that for now, he would not experience that grief.
"Beetee?" Max asked as his door opened. He felt the side of his bed sag slightly under his mentor's weight.
"Hey, Max." Beetee said quietly. "How are you doing, son?" Max swallowed. He had felt surprisingly more confident about going into the arena than he though he would. However, being alone in the dark, he began to wonder if his and Wiress' plan would work as he let the fear finally seep in. His fear was that he would not be able to save his small intelligent district partner.
"I'm - I just know this plan has to work." Max said. "My plan was always to bring Wiress home." He said. "I couldn't live with myself if I made it and she didn't." He paused. "Beetee, I want to join Terrin and tell him that his girl made out safely. That's all I want." Max looked into Beetee's sorrowful face. "And I know that's what you want."
"I - Max." Beetee sighed. "I never wanted to choose between you two."
"It was never a choice once Wiress stepped onto the stage. It was never a choice for either of us." Beetee nodded. "I'll keep her safe, Beetee." Beetee embraced the young man and they had a good cry. "Thanks. I needed that. I'm terrified."
"I know, son. I know." Beetee said. "But I know you will do well." Max smiled.
"Thank you." Beetee smiled at Max before leaving his room. After closing the door, he looked down the silent hallway to a slightly ajar door. Soft singing wafted through the opening. "Wiress," Beetee whispered as he approached the door.
"Beetee." Wiress said opening the door the rest of the way. She was in her nightgown with a bathrobe cinched around her waist. Her eyes met Beetee's a second before his arms were around her waist. He carried her to her bed and tucked her in.
"Wiress," Beetee sat on her bed with her small hands wrapped in his.
"I will do everything I can to come home, but I can't promise you that with certainty. There are too many variables." Wiress whispered to her mentor as her fingers lacing their grip together. "Beetee, please - please don't feel guilty if I don't come home." She paused. "You don't deserve that pain."
"Oh, Wiress." Beetee whispered kissing her on the forehead. "I love you." Wiress smiled.
"I know, Beetee." She said quietly. She smiled and snuggled deeper into her pillows allowing Beetee to pull the blankets up around her chin. Taking Beetee's hand in hers, she kissed it. "I love you too." She smiled as she watched Beetee leave knowing her goodbye was sufficient if it was only for a few weeks or forever.