Back once again, this time with District Ten (Meghan, here are your beloved peasants :3). Our girl Inez Carmen is from LexisZ-10 and our boy Aedan Arthur is from DA Member-Hogwarts. :) Enjoy!


I awake to the harsh beeping of my alarm clock. Blearily sitting up, I glance at the small clock face. It sends me into a small panic and I tear the bedclothes away from my legs and leap out of bed. It's six forty-seven A.M. and I am usually awake by six thirty! I don't even bother getting dressed for the day before dashing to the kitchen. I feel terrible. I was supposed to make breakfast- let Mother and Father sleep in and relax and take some of the work on myself. Now I've just brought more trouble on an already anxious day.

I arrive in the kitchen with bits of dark hair frizzing in my face, just in time to see Mother pour out a portion of pancake batter onto the griddle. She hears me enter and turns around smiling. "Good morning, Inez!" her voice is tired but warm; I feel bad when I detect a hint of disappointment. I promised her I would get everything ready this morning, and now I've failed her.

"Good morning, Mother," I mumble back, "Do you need any help?"

Mother smiles at my offer. Isadora would never offer to help after she had already messed up. "Certainly, Inez, go ahead." She hands me the bowl of batter and a spatula and I turn to pouring more pancakes. I carefully scrape out more batter onto the griddle, forming the neatest pancake I can. Even my food preparation is meticulous, and-

"Isadora! What were you thinking, sneaking out like that? It's an important day today, young lady, and you disappeared in the middle of the night!" My younger sister gets all the attention. I mean, she screws up all the time, while I try my hardest to do everything right, and this makes me feel underappreciated. She does bad and gets attention while I do well and get nothing.

Mother and Father love me, but leave me on my own. It's nice to be trusted, but what point is trust when I never go outside the comfort zone my parents have raised me in? They don't even have to trust me at parties or with boys, because those things don't interest me.

Isadora has been caught sneaking up to her room, probably from a night out dancing and kissing and even some alcohol. "What, it's not like you actually had to worry," my sister replies nonchalantly. I blanch at her attitude, but focus on the pancakes again, carefully flipping them on the griddle. If I get involved with this newest confrontation it will only cause Mother and Father more stress. Isadora gives them enough problems for both of us- I have to be the one who keeps all the rules in careful order.

Maybe, if I went along with her just once or twice, I could understand my sister better, and be able to help her work with our parents instead of against them- who knows? I could even have a little fun…

"Isadora, the way you act reflects badly on all of us! Dear, think before you go out like this!"

No. I'm the one who does everything right. It would spoil my trusting, perfect relationship with my parents if they find out- and they keep on top of everything that Isadora and I do. They would find out and I would be ruined. I'm perfectly fine to stay inside the rules.

"Love you too, Mother."

I pile the pancakes on a chipped plate and set them on the table. After pouring beverages for everyone and setting the table, I quietly move up behind Mother and Isadora and tap Mother's shoulder. "Breakfast is ready," I say.

"Thank you for helping, Inez," she says absentmindedly, still focused on Isadora.

"Yeah, thanks, sis," the sixteen-year-old shoots me a grin and plops down in a chair. Mother goes to the other side of the house to fetch Father, so I take a seat as well.

"Isadora, you really should stop sneaking out and partying-" I begin.

"What, so people don't think I'm a slut?" I wince. "Oh, I forgot, you're sensitive to 'language'. Sorry, sis. Get over it. But seriously, I'm the only one in this whole family who has any real fun."

"That's not true!"

"Well, look at yourself and Mother and Father! You like to do chores and study. Our parents like to work. It's so boring. Haven't you ever wanted to just… let go? Lose control?"

"Of course not! We need morals, not alcohol. We need order, not wild behavior! Isadora, I love you, but this isn't right!"

"Says the one who spends all her spare time reading textbooks. That's unnatural." I can only pout at my sister's words until Mother and Father come into the kitchen. Isadora has the sense to stop talking. I help Mother serve the food.

"Thank you, Inez," father says warmly, patting the top of my head with his rough hand. I smile, even though I feel a bit childish. I'm eighteen and my parents still pat me on the head.

We all begin to eat, and I quickly finish my food. I need to get ready and head out- it's already eight o'clock and here in Ten the reapings begin at nine. I politely excuse myself from the table, clear away my dishes, and hurry up to my room to prepare myself. Appearance is important even if you do not judge someone by their image. You never can change a first impression.

I slip on a modest pale purple dress and brush out my long dark hair. I look all right, I suppose, nothing special but presentable and tidy. I can hear Isadora thumping around in her room, and curiously I go and peek in to see if she's all right.

She sits on her bed miserably, dressed to go but certainly unwilling to leave. "What's wrong, Isadora?" I ask.

"You're so perfect! They love you and hate me!" I barely dodge a hairbrush.

"Of course I'm not perfect. Anyway, you're the one who ends up with all the attention." I sit next to Isadora and lay my hand on her wrist- the copper colors of our skin match perfectly.

"Because you're too perfect to need watching," Isadora tries to turn away from me again.

"That doesn't mean I crave parental attention. You get so much of their time and love, it feels like I'm on my own sometimes!"

"Come party with me, then you'll get attention." I bluntly refuse the offer. I suspect sarcasm was present in her statement, but I can't risk that assumption, not really. I begin to braid Isadora's hair, and it relaxes her some. "Just don't expect things to change if you don't change too."

It's almost time to leave. I drop the finished braid and Isadora puts her scuffed shoes on.

Mother and Father will take a different path to the audience sections of the ceremony, but Isadora and I will be going to the check-in stations. "Take care, girls," Father waves goodbye as he speaks.

"Inez, look after your sister!" I nod to my mother as I walk out of the house.

Our ranch is one of the closest to the main town, so Isadora and I are there in almost no time. We check in quickly, cringing as the Peacekeepers prick our fingers, and I immediately head for my section. Isadora goes to hers as well, even without prodding from me, because she sees some girls she knows. I stand alone, though. There are some people I'm familiar with here already, but mostly I talk to them about academic things and since we're not in school right now there's not a point to go over to them. They are nice girls, but a little rougher than I'm used to.

After a few moments Emily arrives. She's the only person I've ever met with a set of morals that truly matches mine. We basically talk schoolwork as well, but we can spend time together and not be offended or put off in any fashion.

I smile at the petite blonde and she makes her way over to me. "Are you ready for your last reaping ceremony, Inez?" she chirps.

"Of course, Emily. It will be so nice to not have to worry about this every year. The Games are sad, certainly, and I will continue to mourn the tributes that we lose, but the Capitol has done this for years and deemed it effective. They would not kill without purpose, right? Even though killing is one of the worst things that one can do…" Emily nods in absentminded agreement and the conversation dies. We just don't have much to say today. The anxiety is terrible. I almost feel sick.

Mayor Winchester steps forward and begins the Treaty of Treason. I remain quiet through the entire speech, trying my best to keep my focus on the ceremony. I'm afraid but this is sort of important. The Games are terrifying so these moments cannot be taken lightly.

We have a new escort this year, an older man who calls himself Alpha Omega. He uses a cane to walk, but he has a grace in his stride that seems effortless. The man is reserved but smooth, and he seems like he could be a professional speaker. He's very collected.

"Today we shall choose another pair of brave young people to represent this majestic district in the Eighteenth Annual Hunger Games," he begins with a flourish of his cane, "And so, we shall select from the ladies first." He goes to the reaping bowl and dips his hand in, deftly plucking out a name.

It's my last year, please, I don't want to be chosen, it can't be me, please, just one more name! The poor girl will go into a terrible place, and I will grieve her. But I am afraid of death and I desperately fear being chosen for the Games. Emily slowly reaches over and grasps my hand for comfort. I squeeze her hand in return, gently, as a friend. We are afraid.

"Your female tribute is Inez Carmen!"

Everything swirls for a second and then stops. I'm frozen in place, it's like time turned into that quicksand that I've read about in books before. I fight to keep my breathing steady and my trembling under control. Isadora is freaking out in the sixteen year old section, and out of the corner of my eye I see Peacekeepers going to restrain her.

I force myself to turn my face into a blank mask and step forward. First impressions can never change, and if I want to live I need a good first impression. The Capitol values strength, so that it what I will try and show. Because I really, really want to live. I know I won't be able to kill. I know the Games change people into monsters. Maybe death would be better? No. I'm used to life. In fact, I'm rather attached to it. I am terrified of death in any form.

I make it up to the stage and Alpha ushers me to the spot where I am to stand.

The district is quiet except for my family's sobs and Emily's whimpers when Mr. Omega asks for volunteers. He moves on quickly to the boys' reaping bowl and chooses another name- the boy who will be going with me. "Aedan Arthur, please step forth!"

A tall boy with dark blonde hair and freckles comes out of the sixteens, agape with fear. He shakes it off, though, and I'm aghast as he begins to make a joke out of it- teasing the cameras, making faces, almost dancing his way to the stage. I can't imagine killing him.

I don't want to see this boy die, but how can he survive if he doesn't even take life seriously? And how could I even think about killing someone who seems so friendly?


I'm dressed and flying out of the house within minutes of opening my eyes. I don't even see my parents and siblings awake yet, but I'm bouncing around like a hyper puppy. I'm the one who gets excited over the animals. Our horses' new foal arrived yesterday and now I'm sure the little filly will be walking. I love the baby animals here, they're always begging for attention and I'm the one who bothers to give it to them.

I almost forget my shoes as I run out to the stables- in fact, I'm outside before I remember. Laughing at myself, I grab them and pull them on before dashing out to the horses.

Most of the animals are munching on the last bits of the night feed, but when I enter they look up expectantly- a few, Daire and Aoife and Caoimhe, whinny at me for more food. I chuckle and oblige, but I don't spend as much time as I normally do with each of the horses. I have a new foal to obsess over.

Roisin whickers softly at me when I come to see her- she's my horse after all, the one I ride that is, and she trusts me. I know she'll let me near her baby. I slowly approach Roisin and she steps aside a little, revealing the filly.

The little horse is black except for a white streak on her forehead. I reach out and stroke the pale stripe with one finger- the filly flinches back but I calm her down pretty quickly. She's wobbly, but she can stand and move around just fine. I grin.

Sharla will love this little horse, and she'll quickly claim her. My youngest sister is the only one who hasn't chosen her own mount yet. The rest of us just find our horses and go to work with the cattle in the fields, but Sharla needs her own. She's just getting big enough to ride, anyway, so this foal will be grown just at the right time. Perfect. I'm glad my youngest sister will get this adorable little thing. She's so sweet she deserves an equally cute equine companion.

I sit down on the dirt floor of the stable and carefully examine Roisin's baby. "Aren't you the cutest little thing? Healthy enough and certainly nice- I remember when Lorcan was born, he was the worst-tempered colt you'd ever meet!" No surprise then that my brother chose him… "Look at you, you're the only black horse we've got. A black horse, huh. Like I'm the black sheep, maybe?" I smile and run a finger along the filly's nose. She snorts and falls backwards. I laugh. "What should we call you, then? Emer's a good name. Do you like it?" She doesn't respond in any way- not that I was really expecting her to- but now she'll be Emer. I do most of the naming, really. My siblings don't care about names that much.

The little thing nudges me, maybe looking for food or a pat, but I can only supply the latter. Roisin is getting a little restless, so I let Emer go with a last rub behind the ears. "Your daughter's adorable, girl," I say to my horse, kissing her lightly on the nose, "See you later, all right?" She neighs softly and I leave, carefully closing the stable door behind me.

"Well, if it isn't my awkward little embarrassment," a voice from behind makes me jump, but I'm thrown off guard just a bit more from the shove.

"Love you too, Fergal," I reply to my older brother, picking myself up from the ground and running my hands through my dark blond hair.

"What were you doing, eating with the animals?"

"Visiting the new foal," I mutter.

"Well, we're about to have breakfast, Mom and Dad sent me out here after you. You're always out here with your precious animals, you know that? It's like you'd rather be a horse than human." I can't resist neighing loudly at that and bursting into laughter, but Fergal clenches his fists and I clam up pretty fast. Well, if I'm a horse he's a cow.

The entire family is at the table waiting for me by the time Fergal prods me inside. Six more pairs of eyes focus on me; I can feel my cheeks flushing a little bit and I smile awkwardly in greeting before sitting down. There's oatmeal, plain oatmeal. Well, for me at least. My sisters have used up the cinnamon that we have for spices. And Farah has even sprinkled some on Fergal's meal.

Sometimes I really do wish that I got along with my siblings.

"So, we've got four of you who have to be at the reaping?" my mom says wearily, "Fergal, you're done, but Farah, Cora, Emilia, and… Aiden, that's right, will be eligible this year. All right. You have ten minutes before you have to be on your way, okay kids?" We all mumble assent through mouthfuls of oatmeal.

Nobody wants to get in trouble this early in the morning so there isn't a single snide comment from Farah or Cora, no whining from Emilia- and no talking with my mouth full. Without any real conversation I'm finished eating in just a few minutes and on my way to the room I share with Fergal to change my shirt. I'd rather not smell like horse for the reaping.

WHAM! Suddenly my face is pressed against the rough wooden floor and from the corner of my eye I see Fergal drawing his foot back under the table.

"Aedan, are you okay?" Mom and Dad fret. Sharla has her hands over her mouth in the picture of concern.

I pull myself to my feet and nod. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just… took a fall." I don't have the heart to start a fight on Reaping Day.

Farah's got her pretty face screwed up trying not to giggle and Cora glares at me over her glasses. "You know, if you were in any way coordinated you would actually have a chance at popularity and intelligence. You wouldn't have to focus on watching your feet all the time. You get that, right?"

"Cora…" Dad warns. She smirks and shuts up.

Even though it was Fergal's fault, I don't argue and just creep up to my room. I may not be clumsy but I'm not popular or smart either. Just because Cora and the rest of them are, I get teased on every possible occasion. Except by Sharla of course. I pull on a clean plaid shirt and, as I hear Fergal coming to the room, I duck out the window just as he opens the door. "See ya later, bro!"

His unbelieving expression makes my day. I laugh and start off along the road to the main town, moving quickly to get a solid head start on my brother and sisters.

There are other farm kids on the road too and I wave to them and greet them as I pass by. It's a pretty nice day out, so seeing everyone dejected and nervous makes me upset. Of course, it's not a day for celebration, but we could at least make an effort to me happy while we're all still here.

"Hey, Aedan!" I speed up to reach a group of teens who recognize me.

"How are you guys?" I ask when I reach them. A chorus of 'fine's and 'all right's and 'tired's assails my ears for a few moments but it's nice to have people to just talk to.

The group nudges a pretty girl with raven hair and green eyes forward. "Aedan, could you do me a favor?" she says. I think she was in my math class this past school year. Dian, I think her name is?

Man, she is cute. "Sure, I guess. Anything." She giggles, and I see some of the guys in the group holding their hands over their mouths.

"All right, will you go climb that tree and get that bag down for me, please? It has some of my books and stuff in it." I glance over at the huge dead tree she gestures to. It looks a little dangerous, but sure. Why not? I might even end up with a girl for a while. And anyway it can't hurt. I scamper ahead of the other kids to the tree and leap up into the lower branches. The bark is rough and brittle, some pieces flaking off when I touch them.

"Geez, it's really high up, isn't it? Why did you ask me to do this?" They don't reply, but I shrug it off and start climbing higher. I'm almost to the bag when a particularly brittle branch snaps under my weight and I tumble to the ground. "Oof!" I've got the wind driven out of me as I hit the ground, but the bag is secure in my hand. "Here," I say weakly.

The group is guffawing. Dian, shaking with silent laughter, steps over to me and plucks the bag out of my hands. "Thanks, Aedan!" They move on.

After a few minutes have passed (I even hear my sisters pass by, but they don't notice me under the tree), I sit up and rub my aching side. There'll be a bruise there in a few hours. Ouch. "Aedan, this is what I've been talking about!" A hand grabs the back of my shirt and pulls me roughly to my feet.

"What?" I turn to face my friend, Caitlyn, "What do you mean, this is what you've been talking about?"

"They're using you. They think you're awkward and funny and they know you'll do anything to help someone so they use you!"

"What? No, her bag was just stuck in the tree-"

"They got you to climb a dead tree so you would make them laugh when you fell."

"She needed help! Come on, Caitlyn, they're nice people. I must have just fallen funny. Besides, I like to make people laugh!"

"Aedan, you can be so thick sometimes. You are not the entertainment of the district. Be funny, don't be a toy."

"If this is what makes people laugh, so be it, Caitlyn. Get off my case."

The dark-haired girl rolls her eyes. "Admittedly, it was hilarious."

I grin. "And that's why I don't mind!" I make a goofy face and the girl smiles a little.

"Come on, we've got to get to the reaping ceremony and watch two kids get sent to their deaths. Let's go." She grabs my wrist and drags me down the road.

"Way to be negative, Cait. Can't we just, you know, go on slowly? It's happier out here, when we are alone!"

"It won't be happy for us when the Peacekeepers see us coming in during the middle of the reaping, Aedan, let's go. C'mon, we're sixteen. Just a few more and we'll be done!"

"It's Farah's last reaping today," I remember cheerfully. Maybe my oldest sister will mellow out some without the threat of the Games looming over her head.

"Hurry up, Aedan! However terrible the Hunger Games are, this is sort of important!" I jog after Caitlyn to the town square. Sure enough, the Peacekeepers give us suspicious looks, and I feel like a bug under a magnifying lens as they stare me down, but I give them a mock salute and slip into the crowd of teenagers.

We're later than I realized. A girl already has taken her place onstage. I can imagine the furious looks Caitlyn is sending me- 'that could have been me and I wouldn't have been here' sort of things.


The fear rushes through me faster than I thought possible. My jaw drops as I step into the line of the cameras, but as the district focuses on me I immediately turn to the one thing I know how to do –embarrass myself.

I pull faces at some of the younger kids- they're torn between fear and amusement. With a weird little hopping dance I make my way to the stage and take the microphone from the depressed-looking escort with a grin.

"I don't think the arena can handle my awesome!"

But I don't think I can handle all this fear.

Please tell me what you thought! XD