Zelda Morrison, Victor of the 52nd Hunger Games

When she woke up, she felt nothing but a slight throbbing pain in her head and the feeling of absolute emptiness. Zelda was awake, but she did not dare open her eyes. She hated to admit it, but she felt relief and comfort in her position. Beneath her back was the soft cotton duvet on a thick mattress. There was a thin blanket covering her body. She was clothed in what felt like a robe with the strings loosely tied around her stomach. She wore nothing else.

Finally she opened her eyes, the curiosity of where exactly she was engulfing her. She could hear nothing but the soft sound of her steady breathing and the first thing she saw was the blood red ceiling. Immediately on impulse, she hid under the covers. Red. She was tired of it. She didn't think she could bring herself to seeing anything red.

Then there was a knock on the door.

"Don't come in," Zelda groaned.

The door opened with a creak. Zelda's head popped out from under the covers, brown eyes flashing.

"Welcome back, Erizelda." Roman Valdez, Zelda and Burton's mentor, walked in. Strands of white still stood out in his dark hair, and his brown eyes had become significantly brighter since Zelda last saw him. He wore a fancy suit with a pair of sneakers that didn't really match the whole outfit. He held a glass of wine in one hand and a thick stack of papers in the other.

"Glad to be back, I guess," Zelda sighed, sitting up and stretching.

"Are you really?" Roman raised an eyebrow.

Zelda hesitated. "Of course I am. I'm the victor. I get to… I get to go back…"

"Home?" Roman offered.

"Yeah," Zelda chuckled. "Yeah, I guess."

"You don't sound very excited."

"Because I'm not. I'm really not."

Roman tilted his head a bit.

"Stop looking at me like that," Zelda snapped irately, slamming her back down on the mattress and pulling the blanket over her head.

"Like what?"

"Like that," Zelda hissed, shutting her eyes as she began to remember.

"Zelda, you need to talk."

"About what?"

"About what just happened."

Zelda abruptly sat upright with a wild look in her eye and her hair disheveled. "I know what happened! I was in the Hunger Games and I won! But did I really? Because I wasn't going to. I was going to die there. That was the plan but it didn't happen!"

"Then why didn't you just let Terra kill you then?" Roman asked coolly. "If you wanted to die so much–"

"Who wants to be killed by Terra, Roman?" Zelda said snippily.

"I thought you wanted to die."

The brunette fisted her hair. "Yeah, but– but– Argh!"

She lay back down on the bed with her face in the pillow and her fist heatedly pounding the mattress. She screamed into the pillow, but her voice was muffled. Roman stood on the same spot with an amused look in his eye as he watched the scene before him. He took a sip from his glass of wine. Only when she had been screaming for way too long, he knew he had to put his foot down. Taking long strides towards Zelda's bed, he put his glass of wine and papers down on the bedside table and clutched the end of her bed covers. With one mighty pull, he ripped the covers away from her body and Zelda lifted her head, hissing.

"Quit acting like a child and listen to me," Roman said in a low, threatening voice. "You can't do anything about what just happened, but you know what I think happened to you out there? You got scared. You thought you were brave enough to face death. Really, you did. But when nothing happened when you cut that flower, you thought twice. Terra was going to kill you. You knew it. You had to fight back if you valued your life. And guess what? You did! Which is why you fought back. Now stop overthinking about what's in the past and think of the present. You are alive. And nothing can change that."

Zelda breathed in and out, letting her mentor's words sink in her head. He was right. Everything he had said. She just needed someone else to tell her before she could believe the facts herself. She was alive. She was the victor. She needed to go home. But where was home? All District Eight could offer her were the cruel things that had happened to her and what it had caused her to become. All District Eight could offer her was the memory of who she had been and who she had been with. It wasn't a very good description of home. She had no home.

She looked at herself in the mirror. She wore a frilly glowing white dress with knitted black pattern at the hem. The pair of brown eyes that stared back at her was unfamiliar. Just staring into them made her feel like she was staring at complete nothingness and a hint of pain. The worst part was her hair. Her prep team had insisted on making her look exactly the same as she did during her first interview so they attached extensions on the tips of her hair to make them longer. Besides the dreadful look in her eyes, she looked the same. She was the same Zelda. Nothing seemed to have changed, and she hated it.

Tears stung in her eyes as she looked away from the mirror. Her purple-haired stylist, Tannica, grinned at her, waiting for her reaction.

"Don't you look beautiful?" she gushed with wide emerald eyes filled with awe.

"Of course, I do," snapped Zelda, tugging on her extended hair. "I always do, don't I?"

With squared shoulders and her chin up high, she fiercely pushed Tannica out of the way and made her way to her stylist's desk. A pair of scissors hung on the wall by the mirror. Grabbing the tool by its handle, she split the blades. With one clean swipe, curled locks of brown hair scattered over the shiny marble floor. Tannica gasped dramatically and seized the pair of scissors out of Zelda's grip. The victor could not care less as she stared satisfyingly into her reflection once again. Although the shape of a wave still molded her thick brown hair, she was pleased with the result as she looked almost like she did when she left the arena. She was Zelda Morrison again. The Zelda Morrison that the Hunger Games had changed. Whether or not it was for better or worse, she felt most contended with how she appeared to be and how she was now.

Zelda gulped. She was never looking forward to the after-games interview, but she just wanted to get it over with. "I'm ready," she said with fake confidence.

"You were much more beautiful with longer hair." Tannica shook her head with a click of her tongue.

"Get over it," Zelda mumbled, heading straight for the door.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our very own victor of the fifty-second Hunger Games: Erizelda Morrison!"

Deafening cheers filled Zelda's ears. That was her cue. Step after step, she felt the dread heavier and heavier on her shoulders. She had to lift her hand up to keep the light from blinding her, but the audience misinterpreted it as a wave. The people upfront went wild and waved back. Zelda offered them a hesitant smile. She sat on the vacant couch by Caesar Flickerman's chair after bumping her bony cheek against his. He looked like how he had been when he interviewed her with the same red hair and smile. Zelda purposely kept herself from lifting her chin to avoid looking at the color of his hair.

"Congratulations, Zelda," Caesar said with a twinkle in his eye. "You definitely deserved that win. How did you feel when you heard your name when they announced the victor?"

"All I can remember was the pain," Zelda chuckled. "I didn't even hear the announcement. I blacked out before they could get to me."

"I keep asking myself though," Caesar spoke with a hint of curiosity, "did you really want to die at one point in the finale? Or maybe it was part of your plan on becoming victor?"

Zelda hesitated. "I guess I was just so fed up with everything that I was completely content with the thought of dying, but when nothing happened… I got scared."

"Understandable." Caesar nodded solemnly. "Are you aware, Zelda, that something was really supposed to happen? I heard the one responsible for the malfunction of the black flower will be severely punished."

"What?" Zelda sat up straighter and her ears perked at the unexpected news. "But what happened? Why did nothing happen when I cut it?"

Caesar opened his mouth to reply, but he caught sight of something over Zelda's shoulder and off-stage. Clearing his throat, Caesar's eyes were focused right at Zelda once again.

"I suppose that's a story to tell another time," Caesar answered regretfully.

Scrunching her eyebrows, Zelda swiftly turned back to see whom Caesar had seen. Quite peculiarly, no one stood anywhere near the steps up the stage. Caesar hurriedly switched the topic.

"Let's watch the replay now, shall we?" he said with an uneasy chuckle.

The replays started with District Eight's reapings. Despite the rocky relationship Zelda had with her district partner, her chest ached and she felt her stomach drop when the camera focused on Burton first. He was standing on stage with a smile on his face and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. It was all before the games. She had not even seen him when they were both in the arena. She wished she attempted to at least find him and have one civil conversation. Now he was dead.

Then she heard her name called by Merry Pladdens. Zelda felt her lip quiver as she remember how she had felt. She knew she had lost hope the second her name was announced to the whole of her district. After Merry introduced both tributes to District Eight, the scene shifted to the chariot rides. It focused on Burton and Zelda entirely, and Zelda wished it didn't. But she forced herself to watch herself in her and Burton's matching costumes as they smiled and waved to the crowd.

The interviews were next, and Terra, Necali and Amelie were given a few seconds on screen. Burton was given a few more seconds, but Zelda's entire interview was shown. At this point of the replay, Zelda was already contemplating on walking out. But she knew she couldn't. Her eyes were wide and glued to the screen, unable to look away.

When the games started, Zelda knew she'd never be able to tear her eyes away from the screen. She needed this one last time to see what she had experienced, and for it to convince her that everything had actually happened. It focused on her and the Careers wholly. A few scenes had shown Burton and his alliance though. The bloodbath was rather short as Zelda merely ran into the trees and hid until she plucked up the courage to talk to the Careers.

She watched herself use Burton as an excuse for the Careers to accept her. Then she and Necali were talking. A choked sob echoed in the auditorium. Caesar flashed her a look of pity. She did not dare turn to see what looks the audience was giving her. Returning her attention back on screen, Rowen and Colleen were taking care of her and her sprained ankle. She took a deep breath and swallowed her tears. This was not the time and place to cry. But the longer her scene with District Ten dragged on, her heart felt heavier in her chest.

Then the scene shifted to the one with Terra and Necali. Terra was holding a dagger by her throat, and Zelda was already holding a throwing knife. Then Rowen was dead. The sound of the boom felt like Zelda was hearing it for the first time again. Zelda escaped, and the scene changed.

The replay didn't feature Colleen's death. Instead it jumped immediately to her scenes with Necali and the finale. It had not featured Burton's death either. Zelda felt slightly angered at this, but did not protest. She forced herself to watch Necali dying the second time around. Then she tackled Terra. The scene shifted to show Terra and Amelie's fight, then Zelda's move of cutting the tulip. The battle for victor was cut, and instead focused on Zelda and Terra after being pulled through a red sphere together. Terra was obviously the more affected one by the poison, but Zelda could hardly watch herself in absolute pain as the white foam began to seep out of her gashes. When the final announcement was proclaimed, the replays ended.

The audience burst into cheers and applause. Zelda was feeling sick to the stomach. A lone tear slid down her cheek when she turned back to Caesar.

"Why did nothing happen when I cut the flower?" Zelda demanded, feeling more alone than ever. "Tell me!"

"Zelda, that's hardly important now," Caesar replied agitatedly. "You've won. You're alive. That's all that matters. Everybody, your victor!"

Caesar pulled Zelda up on her feet and lifted her arm. There was a standing ovation, and Zelda thought nothing more but to get out of there. She needed to know. She needed to know why she was still standing there on stage, alive and healthy, when she was supposed to be with Necali and Burton in a better place.

Caesar put the interview to a close. Zelda sprinted out of the stage.

It was the day after the interview. Zelda sat in her room with the red ceiling and the soft mattress. It was the same room she had slept in before she left for the games, and the first day she had been in the Capitol. It was the same room she woke up in right after she won. The first day she had slept in here, she couldn't wait to leave it. Now she clung on to the cover of the soft mattress in hopes of staying on it forever. She did not want to leave. She feared leaving and heading home. She would probably see smiles on the faces of her parents for the first time in ages. They never got along with their daughter, but now that she was a victor they were bound to treat her much better than they did before. She would hate it.

She hated everything that had happened, was happening and what was about to happen in the future. She desperately wanted time to stop. The after-feeling of the games was much worse than anything she had felt before in her life, and she only felt the worst of it right before she was about to leave the Capitol. As she sat on the bed, she waited for her escort to the train that would bring her back to her District. She knew what to expect. All the girls that had been jealous of her, all the boys she had dumped after a day and her family that had disapproved of her would be cheering because of her win. District Eight felt no more like home as the Capitol did so she wondered why she was even going back there.

There was a knock on the door. Zelda stayed silent. The door opened anyway and her mentor stepped in.

"Time to leave then?" Zelda asked, not sparing him a glance.

"No," Roman answered.

Her head snapped to his direction. "No?" she scrunched her eyebrows.

"No," Roman repeated. "We're heading to a short detour. No worries. It won't take long."

"Even if it doesn't, I'll be taking my time," Zelda said with a scoff, getting up on her feet. "Where are we going?"

Roman chuckled darkly. "You'll see. You might even be a bit happy after this. You'll finally know the answer to your biggest question."

Zelda tilted her head blankly. She followed him out the door.

When they arrived at the place, it was crowded. There were even more people gathered than the audience present at Zelda's most recent interview. The second the victor stepped out of the vehicle that got her and Roman to their destination, she recognized where she stood. It was where the chariot rides were held, right outside the President's Mansion. Thousands of citizens of the Capitol assembled in a circle, and there was a small space in the middle of the crowd. Roman grabbed her arm in case she was to get lost.

He pushed his way through the crowd. Those who recognized the pair had given them space to pass with apologies. There were more stubborn individuals who refused to give them way in order to keep their place to watch the show. It was only when a gamemaker, who singled Roman in the crowd, called them did the victors finally made their way to the center. The gamemaker had spiky purple hair and olive skin. He was rather familiar to Zelda. He shook Roman's hand with enthusiasm and congratulated Zelda as soon as they reached him.

"I'm Lewis Henderson, in case you didn't know, Ms. Morrison," the gamemaker introduced himself to her, his accent prominent.

"Please, call me Zelda," she said with a small smile. "What's happening here? I thought I was supposed to be heading home this morning."

"My apologies," Lewis said. "There was a bit of a problem in the Control Room during your finale, and we were going to set things right today. We just thought you'd be interested to watch. She is after all the reason for your victory, but also the reason for the malfunction of the cut tulip."


But Zelda stopped abruptly when she saw what exactly was situated in the middle of the circle the crowd formed. There was a wooden chair with handles, and on the handles were a pair of chains, enough to lock a pair of thin wrists. There was another set on the chair's front legs. She knew exactly what was happening, and she did not like it one bit.

Zelda had hoped that after her Hunger Games, she wouldn't be seeing any more deaths until the next. She only just realized how wrong she was.

"This is a public execution," Zelda squeaked, wide-eyed.

"Yes, it is." Lewis nodded with a grin. "Exciting, isn't it?"

Zelda could not formulate words to reply.

"Oh, look. They've arrived," Lewis added thoughtfully.

Zelda watched as a part of the crowd dispersed to create an open path from the President's Mansion's entrance. Two peacekeepers in their white uniforms with readied guns dragged a battered redheaded woman of about twenty through the pathway. Whispers erupted immediately from the crowd. Behind the trio, President Friselbee walked, his silver hair trimmed and his face completely blank. Beside him was the Head Gamemaker, Franco Creswell. There were heavy bags under his pale blue eyes, and his hair was very messy to the point that it looked untouched since he had gotten out of bed. His clothes were dull compared to the vibrant colors of clothing surrounding him. He walked with clear agitation in his posture. His right hand dug into the pocket of his trousers, something bulky outlining the fabric.

The peacekeepers roughly pushed the redheaded woman on the wooden chair. In an instant, the shackles locked her wrists and ankles. Black tape covered her mouth, but muffled screaming could still be heard if the people were to listen closely. The peacekeepers paid no attention to her cries and stalked away to the sides, keeping the crowd from getting any closer. President Friselbee and Franco Creswell stood a few meters away from the chair facing the prisoner. Her eyes were wide and filled with mercy as they darted from the president to the Head Gamemaker. Friselbee merely stared back with little emotion in his eyes. Franco was torn between looking indifferent, and panicked.

"Why would you ever think I would want to watch this?" Zelda rasped, taking deep breaths to calm down.

Lewis gave her an odd look. "I know an attempt when I see one, Zelda. We all know what you wanted to happen when you cut that flower. She's the reason why you're still here."

"But you don't have to do this to her," Zelda cried, raising an arm. Roman took her wrist before she could do anything rash. Lewis smiled sympathetically.

"Desiree Hawkins ruined the plans of the president," he said, "and since the victor who stood before him during the coronation wasn't the one he had wanted, consider this a warning from him."

Zelda blinked. "A what?"

Lewis pursed his lips. "That's all I can say. Good luck, Zelda."

With that, he joined Franco Creswell and President Friselbee in the circle. Desiree Hawkins continued to struggle in her seat. Zelda watched Friselbee whisper something into Franco's ear. Franco shakily nodded and pulled out whatever he had in his pocket. Zelda stood aghast at what she saw him holding. It was a basic gun; loaded, most probably. Then it hit her. The peacekeepers weren't going to be the ones to kill the redheaded woman. Franco Creswell was, and based on the look on his face, he did not want to.

"When you're ready, Mr. Creswell," Friselbee sighed.

Franco didn't spare him a glance. But Zelda could have sworn that Franco's head had tilted slightly, and his eyes locked on hers for a full second. Then they shifted back to who was in front of him. Zelda was too engrossed in what would Franco Creswell's next move would be to realize immediately that the president was looking directly at her. When she finally met his cold gray eyes, she felt her spine tingle and her heart skip a beat in fear. She held his gaze until she heard the gunshot.

"We are reporting from the City Circle, and we stand in the site of gamemaker Desiree Hawkins' public execution at exactly eight fifty-six this morning. Notable figures present were President Euros Friselbee, Head Gamemaker Franco Creswell–"

"Turn it off," Zelda snapped from her seat on the moving train.

Roman sighed and switched the television off with a press of the button on the remote control.

"You didn't even know her, Zelda," Roman said with a roll of his eyes. "I don't understand why you're so affected."

"Didn't you hear that gamemaker?" she barked with an incredulous look.


"Yeah, Lewis," she said through gritted teeth. "He said I should take it as a warning. How is that supposed to be a warning?"

"It only means he's about to give you orders."

"Orders?" Zelda sat up straighter. "I'm not going to take orders from anybody."

"And that's the kind of attitude that's going to get you sitting on the same chair as Desiree Hawkins and having your brain blown out by a single bullet," Roman retorted.

"It's a threat then," Zelda concluded shakily. "I'm going to have to follow whatever he wants me to do. Is that it?"

"And I thought all that poison from the arena had lowered you intelligence." Roman smirked. "About time for you to figure that out."

"Did he ask you to do anything after you won?"

The older victor snorted. "Of course not. I was the perfect victor."

"And me?" Zelda asked daringly.

"Well you're not Terra Johansenn, are you?"

When the doors opened to reveal District Eight to Zelda, she could barely even see the area. People flooded the station, and the moment she stepped out, they were cheering louder than ever. They called her name, trying to get the victor to notice them. Zelda had not known where to look. She waved back at a few people in instinct. In her head, she began to remember the names of the people she had known before she left.

Everyone, even those who had loathed her very existence in the District, was jumping up and down to try and get her attention. The enthusiasm and energy in the atmosphere had gotten Zelda to smile fully in days. She held as many people's hands as she passed and thanked everyone who had congratulated her. Only when she had seen Xavier did she finally realize that the only one in the crowd was truly glad to see her alive and well, and had all the hope that she would return. Zelda left the group of teenagers who were asking for a picture and sprinted to her older brother.

She threw her arms around the older Morrison, and almost tackled him to the ground. Xavier buried his teary face into his little sister's shoulder, and they both began to cry, tears of total relief and happiness. Zelda had never felt so happy. She was faintly guilty that she had dreaded returning home so much just a few minutes ago. She had almost forgotten of Xavier who probably lost sleep every night, wondering if his little sister would return.

"I'm sorry," Zelda sobbed. "I'm so, so sorry."

"Why are you saying that?" Xavier laughed. "You've nothing to be sorry for. I'm just glad you're alive."

Only now did Zelda realize how lonely she had been when she was taken away from her brother on reaping day. She couldn't express how immensely ecstatic she was to finally see him again.

"Funny how I've only been away for about three weeks," Zelda sniffled. "It felt like forever."

Xavier kept her in his arms for a little longer, savoring the moment. After all, he'd barely be seeing her in her victory party later in the Victor's Village. Too many people would be dying to catch up with her.

Zelda wobbled over to her living room and collapsed heavily on her new couch in her new house. Her head was throbbing from the alcohol she had been forcing down her throat since the party had started. Xavier had already scolded her twice for drinking too many shots. Nothing he said could stop her, so he had given up and left. She was enjoying herself. Why couldn't he understand that?

But was she really enjoying herself? Or was she just using the alcohol to get rid of whatever kind of depression she was starting to feel? She hardly cared about that now; she already drank one too many to question if what she was doing was right. She was also getting sick of all the people, whom she hardly knew, trying to start a conversation with her outside. That was the reason why she was lying down on her couch inside the house alone, while the party still continued in her backyard.

At least, she thought she was alone.

"Hey, Zelda."

The brunette sat up with a jolt and squinted her eyes to see clearer in the dark.

"Who's there?" she whispered in slight irritation. "I don't want you to get me a drink."

"Good, because I'm not going back outside when I've already got a drink for myself," the mystery boy chuckled.

Zelda took a deep breath, feeling more sober. She muttered for him to turn the light on. With a flick of the switch, she hissed at the sudden brightness. After uncovering her eyes, she took a good look at the boy who stood before her. The second she laid her eyes on his brown locks of hair and eyes, his name was clear in her head.

"Cal," she said in surprise. "Hey."

The pranking mastermind, Calico, stood before her with his own drink in hand. Burton had been part of his little gang. They were all rather popular in school, but they knew Cal the most. He could get away with almost anything. He had taken Burton under his wing after the poor boy lost his parents. He sort of started to use Burton to pick up girls at one point. The fourteen year-old boy's sob story had gotten pity from tons of them at school, and Cal taking him in like an adopted brother just won them over. Zelda had respect for him. He was brilliant with a mind of a manipulative strategist. He taught Burton rather well too.

"Congratulations," he said with a small smile. "I knew if Burton didn't win, you'd be the one to take the crown."

"I know you two were close." Zelda looked away from him in guilt. "I'm sorry he had to die."

"He did even better in the arena than I thought he would," Cal admitted. "He died fighting, kind of, and I'm glad he did. He wouldn't have died any other way. Killed a Career too. The kid was clever."

Zelda snorted. "Are you surprised? You taught him after all."

Cal chuckled, looking rather flattered. "Yeah, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised then."

"He was pretty bigheaded too," Zelda sniggered. " Any idea where he got that?"

Cal grinned. "Guilty."

The pair laughed. Cal then noticed the bottle she held.

"You're going to be a drinker then, eh?" he raised an eyebrow. "I had hoped you'd be different from the rest of the victors."

"What?" Zelda blinked. "No, of course not."

"That's what they all say." Cal winked.

"No, I won't." Zelda shook her head, but hissed at the pain in her head. She put away her drink and rubbed her temples.

"Hopefully," he chuckled. "Anything can happen, you know?"

"I'm not going to drink because I'm not going to lock myself in here," Zelda said hastily. "That's how all the other victors begin their drinking habits. They lock themselves in their new homes and keep themselves in the presence of nobody and nothing else but alcohol. They find comfort in alcohol and alcohol only."

"So you're leaving?" Cal asked in surprise.

The brunette nodded. "I can't stay here. It doesn't feel right."

"Why not?" Cal demanded. "This is District Eight. This is your home. Your family is here."

"District Eight is hardly home for me," Zelda answered blankly. "It's just where I used to live. But it's not home. Home for me is yet to be found."

"So where are you going to go?"

Before Zelda could answer, there was a sudden knock on her front door. She cursed. She could have sworn that everybody was already in her backyard. Who could possibly be coming three hours late? Mumbling irately under her breath, she pulled her front door open and instantly her frown disappeared. Mouth open in utter shock, she found herself face to face with the one and only Head Gamemaker who stood gawkily on her front porch.

She almost did not recognize him for a second. He looked so different than he had this morning during the execution. His hair was given a bit more time to look more presentable and the expression on his face was no longer distressed. Instead he had an awkward smile on and his hands fiddled with the hem of his shirt. Zelda had to remind herself that she was standing before the Head Gamemaker who plotted everyone's deaths in the Hunger Games one by one.

"Hey," he greeted her with a small wave.

"Franco Creswell," Zelda said, blinking. "Why are you here?"

"I just– I need–" He took a deep breath, calming himself down. "I need you to come with me."

Zelda furrowed her eyebrows. "With you?"

"Yes." He nodded.

"Why?" Zelda asked. "Do you need something from me? Are you going to take me to the president?"

"What–? No!" he exclaimed. "No, of course not. I'd never do such a thing. That's suicide."

Zelda gulped. "Someone told me what happened this morning was a warning… for me. You– You killed that girl."

Franco winced, began to breathe quicker and buried his head in his hands. He bounced on the balls of his feet as he tried to slow his breathing.

"I– I didn't choose to do that," he stuttered, looking up with wide eyes filled with strong indescribable emotion. "She was– She was a good person. Friselbee was her uncle. I didn't understand why he would sentence her to death. He seemed so kind to her before."

"Why do you need me to go with you though?" Zelda asked again. "Do you need anything from me?"

"The president isn't going to leave you alone, Zelda," Franco said, his voice dark.

"I know that," she snapped. "But what can I do about it? He's already threatened me. I have no choice."

"Desiree stopped the tulip from reacting when you cut it because she based the victor on your sense of morality. But who would listen to the newly appointed, twenty year-old victor? The obvious favorite in the Control Room was Terra. President Friselbee was satisfied with her as victor. She would be perfect as victor after all."

"Why are you telling me this?" Zelda was beginning to get the depressed feeling again, all because Franco Creswell had shown up.

Franco bit his lip, hesitating. "Because I want to help you. Desiree… I'd consider her a friend, and this is the least I can do for her. Now that she's dead, I mean."

Zelda eyed him with suspicion. "And how are you going to help me? What is it that the president wants me to do anyway?"

"All you have to do is come with me," Franco insisted, "and I'll be able to answer all of your questions."

"And where will we go?"

"Anywhere you like."

Zelda blinked, and felt a smile tug on the corners of her mouth.

"If I leave now, no one will know where I'll be going."

"Do they have to?" Franco raised his eyebrows.

Zelda stared at him with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. She looked back inside her house only to find the living room empty again. Cal had already gone. She looked back outside. Franco still stood there with an expectant look on his face.

"Will you have me back by morning?" Zelda asked, still a bit uneasy.

"Only if everything goes wrong," he replied.

After a few more seconds of making a decision, she finally closed the front door of her house behind her. Franco smiled, gestured for her to follow him and jogged down the steps of her front porch. She eagerly followed him without looking back. If she had, she would have seen a tall brown-haired boy standing by the side, hiding behind the corner of the victor's house. She would have known that he was eavesdropping all along.

Cal stepped out of his hiding spot, and sat on the bottom step of Zelda's front porch. He sat in the remaining hours of the night, waiting. By the early hours of the morning, people had started going home, talking amiably about the party. None of them had suspected the disappearance of their victor. Only Cal waited until the sun began to rise, and still Zelda had not returned.

"Hey, Cal!" a scrawny boy of thirteen called from the sidewalk. "What are you still doing there? The party finished ages ago!"

"Yeah, I'm coming," Cal chuckled, getting up on his feet and stretching.

He jogged away from the house, sparing it one last backwards glance. It was unlocked and empty, and little did the teenage boy know that it would be uninhabited for the next year.

Sorry this chapter was a bit long... I actually did not intend for it to be this long, but lots of things happened after Zelda's win. So yeah. Almost 6000 words. Hope ya enjoyed it!

Cant believe I'm doing this but... RIP Desiree; a character made by jessicallons-y. Yup, she's really dead. Not sure if you all expected that but yeah. She was a character that I really enjoyed making and bringing to life. She will be missed most especially by me.

Anyway that's that! One SYOT finished! Yay! I'm so excited to start the next one. I'll have the first chapter in a day or two. It won't be long because I've already started on it. I would like to thank all my readers, followers and reviewers on this story. You all motivated me to finish this and I can't thank you all enough. Thank you to all of the submitters. Your characters were so fun to bring to life. I couldn't have done this story without you guys. I hope I see you all in the next story! Free and Forgotten will be up in a few. Zelda will be featured in the first chapter. Thanks a million once again! Our Last Day is officially finished. :)