Disclaimer: Everything you recognize is not mine.
Chapter One: A Volunteer
The words hung in the air and Clove was struggling to process them. A girl had volunteered. A girl from district twelve, the poorest district in Panem.
"When was the last time twelve had a volunteer, Cato?"
"Never." he replied.
Well, this definitely would not go over well with Slate and Gia, the district two tributes for the 74th Hunger Games. The volunteer had just stolen the show and everyone in the Capitol would be dying to know more about her. There was a loud scream of frustration heard from somewhere on the train.
"Let's go see what's going on with the two idiots." She told her companion.
Clove did not like either tribute. They were arrogant, mean spirited, and self centered. Just like she had been back when she volunteered for the 70th Hunger Games. She won her games and President Snow made sure she got over herself very quickly.
The two victors left Clove's temporary bedroom and headed for the lounge cart. There, they found a very angry Gia and an eerily silent Slate.
"Gia, shut up." Clove deadpanned.
"Shut up? You have no right to tell me what to do! Where the hell is Enobaria?" The 15 year old screamed, demanding that her mentor show up.
"Where are your mentors?" Cato asked.
Clove hadn't seen Enobaria and Brutus since they boarded the train that morning. It was past noon.
"Why are you two here anyway? This is the tribute train." Slate finally spoke.
"We are the Capitol's guests." Cato answered with a smirk.
Slate said nothing in response. The room was silent for a moment before the car doors opened revealing a distraught Enobaria and an intoxicated Brutus. Enobaria looked to the screen that would display the reapings. Unfortunately, they had just missed all the action and the Capitol seal occupied the screen.
"See Brutus," she spat, "We missed the reapings because of you! Can't you be responsible for once!?"
"Calm down woman! I don't have to be responsible for anyone! I'm a victor and I do as I please!" Yup. He was drunk. Clove assumed he started drinking the second they boarded. Brutus liked to start the party early.
"The girl from twelve," Gia began, "she volunteered for her sister and now everyone thinks she's a hero!"
Enobaria had no idea what had happened but decided to provide insight anyway.
"So? She volunteered but she's still from twelve. What skills could she have? Starving? She'll die in the bloodbath."
"She'll take all of the sponsors, Enobaria. There's never been a volunteer from twelve and the Capitol is going crazy over her." Slate said calmly. A guy his size could easily destroy everything in the room and Clove was surprised by the amount of self control he displayed. Definitely didn't learn that from Brutus.
"She'll have some sponsors in the beginning, but what use will they be once she's dead? She's a waste of money. End of discussion." Enobaria left the lounge.
Slate turned to Brutus,his mentor,expecting some sort of response.
"What?" Brutus slurred, "You're scared of some district twelve filth?" Booming laughter filled the room and faded away as he walked out.
Clove could not take their stupidity anymore. Didn't they notice anything strange about that girl-Catherine?Katelyn? Her name didn't matter nearly as much as her performance during the reaping. She volunteered for her sister, so that's one thing in her favor. But she wouldn't have volunteered if she knew she was just going to die. The way she walked on to the stage, showing no fear, with calm movements-it looked as though she was a trained career. And here a room full of them could not see that. Not even Cato. He was probably too busy drooling over that district one blonde.
"Are you going to stay and deal with these two?" Cato asked. The tributes were now arguing over who would have the pleasure of killing twelve.
Clove scoffed, "Of course not. I'm going to go find something to eat. Coming?" He nodded and followed her to the dining cart.
District twelve definitely stood out this year. But Clove was not going to worry just yet.
This year's opening ceremony was riveting. Gia and Slate were dressed to resemble marble statues, representing the masons of district two. District One looked ridiculous in their loud pink feather outfits and everyone else simply didn't impress. Except twelve.
For the first time in years, twelve did not come out naked and covered in coal dust. Instead, they were lucky enough to have a good stylist. More than good, genius! They were dazzling in black jumpsuits that lit up with realistic flames. The two tributes were holding hands as the chariot glided through the street and the Capitol citizens were ecstatic. The tributes from twelve were acting like friends even though in a few days, they would have to try and kill each other to go back home. What a great strategy Haymitch had come up with this year. Really adds to the appeal of the district twelve volunteer. The Girl on Fire, they called her. Her name was in everyone's mouth.
"Will you two just stop yelling!" Enobaria's patience was wearing thin. Clove sympathized with Gia and Slate, though. If she was going into the arena, she would want to have the most sponsors. District twelve would have the advantage this year.
Gia and Slate did as they were told. Clove smiled to her self;they were afraid of Enobaria. Or at the very least, afraid of her teeth. Those golden fangs screamed "Say something and I'll rip your throat out".
"Now, let's be reasonable, shall we?" Brutus laughed, but was quiet when Enobaria flashed her golden teeth at him.
She continued, "District twelve is very lucky to have Cinna this year. Sadly, they won't have fancy light up costumes in the arena. They'll have weapons and they won't be able to wear them and kill everyone by looking pretty. Once the sponsors see how useless they are, they'll turn to you two. Go to bed, training begins tomorrow morning and you need to be at your best." Enobaria grabbed a wine glass and filled it to the top;obviously, she needed something for her anxiety.
Her talk seemed to ease the two tributes and they went straight to their rooms. Brutus left right after they did, presumably to find somewhere where he could get drunk in peace.
"I have to go, Clo. I've got a meeting with some of these Capitol freaks. I'll be back in a few days." Cato said. And with a chaste kiss, he was gone, going who knows where. Only Enobaria and Clove remained in the living room of the district two suite.
"Baria, aren't you even a little concerned?" Clove asked the older victor. Enobaria had been a close friend of her brother's. She had watched Clove grow up and become a victor;she had been there when he died and Clove was left a mess.
"No. Should I be? They're from twelve, Clove. They'll die on day one, like they always do." Clove was silent, not wanting to appear ridiculous by talking about her suspicions.
"You're over analyzing. I swear, sometimes you act just like Regulus! Always stressing about the unimportant details." She complained. The pang of guilt Clove felt whenever her brother was mentioned never lessened. It was her fault he and his wife were dead. Enobaria must have noticed her melancholy expression, as she tried to comfort Clove.
"I miss him, too Clo. Stop with the guilt, okay? He wouldn't blame you. No one does." She paused to take sip of her wine. "Go back to your apartment. Check up on Max, get some sleep, anything. Just relax."
"I blame myself, Baria. It was my fault. If I had immediately accepted Snow's offer, he and Sophia would still be here and Max would have his parents to look after him. Not some messed up serial killer aunt," It was so difficult to keep the tears at bay, "I have clients tonight, so no sleep. I'll see you around, Enobaria."
Thankfully, Clove was accustomed to seeing her clients. Her hatred and disgust always neatly put away in the back of her mind. Finnick Odair had taught her how to deal with the emotions. Clove first met the district four victor while on her victory tour. As soon as he spoke to her, she wrote him off as a creep. Luckily Finnick was persistent in befriending her then, and now she couldn't imagine going without his guidance. Cato had no experience in these matters; he dealt with entirely different issues. With Finnick around, it almost felt like having Regulus back. Almost just wasn't good enough.
If you're reading this, then you probably read this chapter, so...THANK YOU! :)
This an au idea I had a while ago and I wanted to post it. I hope you all like it! I promise, it will get more exciting in the coming chapters. I'll try to update as soon as possible. Thanks again!