The Train Rides

District Seven: Willow Cerese

When Willow was brought to the train station, she expected nothing more than the grandest train in the Capitol. Her expectations were met.

Her mouth opened and closed like the actions imitating a fish as she stood before a long, sleek, silver and green painted train that would take her to the Capitol. She didn't want to go inside, but at the same time she did, her curiosity getting to her. She wanted to see what kind of life that the Capitol people lived, the pointless luxury, the wasted joys.

In the end she just stood there unmoving, rooted to the spot, not knowing what to do.

There was a pat on her back and Willow flinched when she realized that it was Tamara, their escort.

"Come on, don't be scared!" she said loudly and Willow stepped away from her. "Let's get on the train now. Wouldn't want to waste time before a journey!"

Willow glanced behind her, where her district partner, Ethen Leawood was standing and staring at the exchange. He'd had his hands in his pockets the entire car ride here, which Willow found strange, but then again it could be just an odd habit. She looked back at Tamara, who was already hopping forwards and through the door leading to the inside of the train.

She followed her, and she could see Ethen following her as well from the corner of her eye. The inside of the train was even more fascinating than the outside, unsurprisingly. The carpet was deep burgundy and the walls were covered in green and brown wallpaper. Willow thought that it could be meant to represent the trees of District Seven.

"Take a seat," Tamara said when Willow and Ethen caught up with her. She patted on a group of armchairs and lounges and Willow chose the seat nearest to her. It was made of dark red velvet, the finest of District Eight, and she couldn't help but admire the colour.

Then footsteps were heard entering the room. In came two people, a man and a woman. They were both completely different, and Willow knew exactly who they were. The man was Leo Forrest. He had won his Games thirteen years ago, and Willow understood why they called him a bit of a loon. He had some crazed look in his eyes, but the rest of his face just looked stone-hard and emotionless.

The woman was Cherry Birch, who probably looked much saner than Leo did. She had dark hair and dark eyes, and there was something about her eyes that made her look friendly and inviting. But as she looked at the tributes, Willow saw a sad look pass Cherry's face. Just because she managed to survive her punishment didn't mean that she wanted others to suffer with her.

"Hello," Cherry said and she gave what looked like a forced smile. "I'm Cherry, this is Leo. We're your mentors. Why don't you tell us your names, ages and what you can do?"

The mentor looked straight at Willow. She felt like a deer in the headlights, under the eyes of everyone in the room, and suddenly felt self-conscious. But she spoke anyway.

"Willow Cerese, seventeen. I can chop down trees, like most of us, and I can probably handle any weapon with a similar weight to an axe. I know how to climb, too."

Cherry smiled. "Thanks, Willow. And you?"

She casted her eyes to Willow's district partner, and she followed her gaze. "Uh, Ethen Leawood. I'm sixteen. I work on a lumber yard, so yeah, I can use an axe. Pretty well, actually."

"Good," Cherry said, nodding. "We've got some tributes we can work well with. One more thing; do you guys want to be trained together or separately?"

Ethen looked at me the same time Willow looked at him. They held gazes.

"I feel like working alone," Ethen said and Willow felt a bit disappointed. He could have been a useful ally.

"Yeah, me too," Willow said, giving a slight lie. "For now, unless I find an ally from another district."

"Good plan." Cherry clapped her hands together. "Alright. Go get some rest; Tamara will show you to your rooms. Lunch is at one. We'll come around and wake you up then."

The two tributes stood up at the same time and Tamara stepped up towards them. Just as Ethen was standing up his hand slipped out of his pocket, but only Willow noticed. Because where his hand should have been were a stump and a few scars.

He only had one hand.

District Eight: Catalina 'Catie' Perez

When Catie got to the dining cart at exactly ten past one, there was nobody there except for her district partner.

They had never seen each other before the Reaping that day. Then again, maybe they have, having maybe bumped into each other in a crowd, or worked in the same station in the factory. But still, when Catie looked at Blake Lynx, she saw not much more than a complete mystery.

He was fourteen. Like Catie, he was a volunteer. They were both volunteers and from an outer district, yet there was something in his eyes that told her that he had his own good reason. He obviously had no relation to the boy who was actually reaped, unlike Catie, who volunteered to save her best friend Lavender. Maybe he was one of those strange, vaguely-crazed people who wanted to go into the Games for 'glory and honour'?

Catie approached the table and silently sat across from him. He looked up from his empty plate and Catie noticed his deep blue eyes.

"Uh, hello," she said, laying her arms on the edge of the table. "I'm Catalina, but you can call me Catie. Can I call you Blake or would the second-name basis work better for you and I should call you Lynx?"

"Blake is fine," the boy said and smiled slightly. "We're both volunteers, huh? A bit weird, since we're from an outer district."

"It is," Catie began as she scooped some potatoes onto her plate. "Definitely wasn't expecting another volunteer after me, not even in the next five years."

Blake followed her lead and took bits of food onto his plate. "Was that girl your sister or something? That Lavender girl you volunteered for?"

Catie stopped. She wondered if she should tell him – who knew how much of this boy she could trust? But in the end, she put the bowl of food back in the middle of the table before picking up a fork.

"Best friend," she said. For a while that was all that was said, until their mentors, Vincent Bruschwick and Thalia Amberson, came in. Vincent sat nearby but Thalia sat farther off, more distant than the most of them.

"Perez and Lynx, right?" Vincent spoke up and Catie realized that he was talking to them. Only, he was referring to them with their last names.

She silently nodded and glanced at Blake to see him staring blankly at Thalia. Thalia was staring back at him and Catie wondered what the connection was between the two.

"Do you want to be mentored separately or together?"

"Together," Blake said, which surprised Catie, but she didn't argue.

"Alright," Vincent said. He resumed with piling his own plate with food. While they ate, Vincent spoke, barely caring that he had his mouth full.

"We'll watch the recaps of the reapings after lunch, and then we'll give you guys time to sleep early. We're arriving early in the Capitol tomorrow morning. Your stylists will be waiting for you, but don't worry, someone will escort you to them. Then after about a few hours of preparations-"

"Hours?" Catie asked, sounding mortified. She despised everything to do with beauty and makeup, never bothering with how she looked much, let alone hours of having to endure it.

Vincent smiled crookedly as he swallowed. "For the guys, it isn't too bad. You'll just be a bit cleaner, that's all. But as for the girls…"

He glanced over at Thalia, who shook her head. "Painful. You feel like they've ripped half your skin off after they're done, and that's only the beginning."

Catie felt like banging her head on her table, but Blake sounded like he was laughing. Not really loudly, so that the mentor's couldn't hear, but Catie was right in front of him. When he realized what he was doing, he stopped, like he was forbidding himself to be close to either of the mentors. Or maybe it was just one of them?

"Okay, now!" a voice with a thick accent called from near the door. Latania Delone, their escort, clapped her hands as she reached the dining table. "No talking with your mouths full, please! I will be doing the preparations for the Reaping recaps while you eat, so hurry up and I'll give you half an hour at the most. Now, chop chop!"

Latania skittered away and they stared at her in silence as she left the cart. Blake snorted and Catie burst into laughter.

District Nine: Katrin Arianna Lee

Katrin generally stayed away from the men on her district team. That included more than half of them, and the only person she was comfortable to be around with was Wesley Vreaten, a sixty-something year old mentor who's seen a lot in her years. As they sat next to each other in the lounge chairs and the others chatted away on the other side of the room, Katrin's district partner Alrik arguing with the escort, she tuned them out and popped a purple berry in her mouth.

The large LCD television screen transferred from a Capitol commercial advertising a washing machine that folded your clothes for you to an intro of the Hunger Games Reaping recaps, the anthem blaring through the speakers. The berry that Katrin ate was really juicy but not too sweet, and it tasted a bit like raspberries and grapes combined.

Caesar Flickerman's face lit up the screen and he announced the long-awaited event. This year, he was co-hosting the reapings with another lady who introduced herself as Charlie Meckendoff.

"Eighty-two years, Caesar!" Charlie exclaimed, her overly Capitol-induced smile lighting up the set. "And more than twenty of those you've hosted! How do you keep yourself looking so young?"

Caesar laughed at the compliment, and Katrin noticed that he wasn't as genuine as the last laugh he'd made. "Oh please, Charlie. I've only been on this show for eighteen years."

The other host giggled. "Silly me! But really, let's get onto your appearance. Always in fashion, looking fabulous, hair always different… you must give me some tips."

They continued on and on, and Katrin tuned out of that, too. Soon enough they finished with their personal conversation (which, to Katrin, seemed unbelievably uninteresting even for Caesar himself) and the hosts smiled at the camera.

"First off, District One!" said Caesar Flickerman, and the screen changed to the extravagantly decorated Town Square of District One. Both of the tributes were volunteers this year. A pretty girl, who Katrin believed was called Diamond, strode onstage confidently. The boy was called Danny Jones, and he wasn't much different.

District Two was also all-volunteers. A tall girl with dark hair was what you'd typically expect of a female Career, but the boy was more lanky than muscular. He looked like he was more brains than muscle. Surprisingly, in District Three, there was a thirteen year old girl who volunteered for a younger twelve year old, probably her sister or something, and Katrin took note that her name was Mecha. Then a boy, who to Katrin appeared to be autistic, was reaped.

District Four was another Career district, but they were more humane than the other two. The tributes were a tough Career boy and a blonde-haired girl who looked like she never really trained. The next district reaped a girl who seemed to be hung-over and a boy who seemed to be more confused than scared. District Six was the second non-Career district to have a volunteer, and the volunteer seemed to have some sort of connection with the girl.

It was around District Seven that Katrin began to tune out. Both tributes in District Eight were volunteers, which seemed odd to her, but she supposed they both had reasons. Then, when they came to District Nine, Katrin sucked in a short breath. Surprisingly, she didn't look half as scared as she'd thought. There was the slightest tremor on the edge of her lip as she tried to smile for the cameras. A pat on her shoulder brought her back to reality and she whipped her head around.

"You did good," Wesley said, a small smile on her lips but a distant look in her eyes. Katrin smiled back and turned to the screen once again.

Alrik Oden was her district partner's name. His reaction wasn't as prepared, but Katrin knew better than to underestimate him. Ever since she'd seen him when they left the crying rooms, he spoke quickly in a large vocabulary that she only half-understood. Behind his dull blue eyes, if you looked closely, it's like he's scanning every inch of everything, and he probably is. Right from the start, Katrin didn't want to trust him, and it was unlikely that she ever would anyway. But if he was willing to ally with her, then he would be crucial to her survival.

Katrin spent the last few districts eating the raspberry-slash-grape berries. When she asked Wesley what they were called, she told her that they were some sort of new discovery and didn't exactly have a name. Katrin nicknamed them graspberries.

A/N: Um. Okay. Hi.

Long time no see! Forgive me for my terrible updating times. I haven't really got much of an excuse, other than that I have other story projects which I'm working on and I keep forgetting to come to this. BUT IT HAS FINALLY COME!

I've decided to put my other story on hold for a little while so that I get more time to work on the SYOT. I'm also planning to write ten chapters in total before the actual Games begin; first the four chapters that we're on right now, then the chariot rides, then another four chapters on training days and Gamemaker sessions, and finally the interviews. Now, onto the questions!

Who were the tributes from District Seven in the 75th Hunger Games?

Who were the refugees that Katniss found in the woods during Catching Fire, and which district were they from?