It was all a game of numbers. What were the odds that you would be screwed? Of course, as the Capital would claim, anything truly could happen. But really, what were the odds? There were so many factors that contributed to the chances- but few of them actually mattered.

Which district? The district an individual resided in greatly impacted an individuals chances of being reaped. For example, if an individual lived in a lower district with a high percentage of 'career' tributes, their chances would drop down dramatically. If they lived in a higher district, they may have had to taken tesserrae. In that case, their odds could easily multiply.

What financial status? Again, tesserrae.

What age? Every year the odds would steadily increase for everybody, as their name would go in once more than the year before.

As much as the Capital would deny it to their very core, the fact was simple. Unless someone seriously pissed off the very President himself, it was all one huge, elaborate, game of numbers.


Clove

"Again!"

The knife sliced smoothly through the air, the blade glistening as it reflected the sunlight. With a soft thud, the knife stuck directly in the middle of the black bulls-eye.

"Again!"

I raised a brow, flipping the compact knife in my hand before I reached back. With a small movement of an arm and flick of the wrist, the knife sped through the air again. It moved fluently, almost like an extension of myself- right in the bulls-eye.

"Again!"

I quickened my pace, flicking a knife to the bulls-eye once more.

"Again!"

Bulls-eye.

"Again!"

"Brutus.." I groaned in protest. Training for The Hunger Games was my life, and knife throwing was my passion. Yet, the hours of training were getting tiring. I was perfect at throwing knifes- I knew it, and so did Brutus. I had more important matters to tend to, like volunteering, for example. It was finally my big day- the morning of the Reaping I was chosen to finally volunteer- and I was stuck at the Academy, with Brutus, doing something I had long perfected.

He didn't seem to see it my way, though. His features just became more stern. If it was even possible for such a jackass. "Again."

I threw the knife, hitting the bulls-eye once more.

"Again!"

I huffed, throwing the knife once more before turning to Brutus. "We're out of knifes."

"Good," He muttered monotonously, raising his arm around the empty gym. Nobody else had to come in on Reaping Day- not even Cato, the male tribute. Cato wasn't too bad- he was strong, powerful, and a somewhat sadistic douchebag. Needless to say, we got along quite well. Still, I thought it ridiculously unfair that he was probably already arriving at the District Center, while I was getting harassed. Brutus cleared his throat, "Well then, I will see you on the train." He dismissed me.

I didn't waste a moment after being dismissed before heading towards the door. "See you later, Brute."

The Academy was in the middle of downtown. It was no coincidence, either. District Two was incredibly proud of our expertise in the games. After all, how could we not be? There no doubt- we were the best. As I reached the District Center, I raised by brows at the amount of people already in place. Being a 'Career' district, nobody except the Capital workers were ever really stressed during the Reapings. The Reapings were more like an odd social event for the unsociable. Nobody really enjoyed wasting time on meaningless pleasantries. It was just not how we were raised. I walked over to the shortest line, impatiently waiting until I finally had to deal with the Capital worker.

It was a new woman, I noticed. She looked up at me with her dull hazel eyes. "Next?" I stepped forward. "Hand," I narrowed my eyes at her before offering my hand out. I liked blades, I never said anything about needles. Or the - even slight- pain that the stupid Capital machine caused. Especially not when performed by a Capital jockey. Nevertheless, she just blinked dumbly and grabbed my hand, poking it with some machine. When it beeped, she pushed my finger down hard on the paper- a small growl escaping my lips. "Next," Her voice was just as monotonous as before, almost as if my presence didn't intimidate her.

Although I had long gotten use to it, it still aggravated me more than anything when people underestimated me. From instructors calling me a "child", to strangers rolling their eyes at me when I told them my opinion. The worst thing was, I couldn't do anything about it. I had tried, only once. Then proceeded to fantasize about it every day since. It had been my second day of senior training- about two years ago. An obese, drunk man decided to tell me what part of town I couldn't go to because it was, as he had called it, 'unsafe for a pretty little girl,'. The man infuriated me more than anything I had before encountered, so I reached for my knife...

After the doctors decided to announce to my instructors that the man no longer had any use of his right arm, I was told that if I attempted anything similar, I would be thrown out of the Academy and therefor would lose my right to volunteer. I was convinced that he was just being dramatic and that if he really tried hard enough, he could manage to be limpy- the instructors didn't happen to agree.

Pressing my lips together, I walked towards the fifteen year old girls section. The girls were mostly blonde, speaking bluntly with each other. My nose twitched, the thought of the surrounding girls a bit more than slightly irritating.

My attention was grabbed my a loud, familiar, stomping of heels. I looked at the dark stage, watching as the Capital escort walked across the stage. "Welcome, welcome." She said giddily, my hand touching the hip where my favorite blade laid flat against my skin underneath the thick fabric of my dress. The sound of her Capital accent echoes in my ears, a sort of high pitched siren sound. "Now, I have a very exciting video for pleasure, and all the way from the Capital itself!" She squealed.

The video was the same as it always was. Babies, treason, the whole works. Truthfully, nobody really cared, but they showed it the dull video came to a close, the Capital barbie squeaked. "Oh, I just love that!" She announced to the silent audience.

My eyes rolled, the words absolutely ridiculous. What, exactly, was there to love about the over played video?

After a moment, she finally continued talking again. As obnoxious as her voice was, the sooner I got to volunteer, the better. Therefore, in that one occasion, her voice was worth half-listening to. "Alright, as usual- gentlemen first." The statement earned a few chuckles from the audience. From what, I couldn't be sure. It was either that they were sure Cato would win- which, by the way, I happened to know otherwise. Or, the much more likely reason, they were laughing at her word choice of gentlemen. District Two wasn't exactly known for being a chivalrous area. Regardless of what others described our District as being, the way of life was simple. Everyone for themselves. Kindness was fatal. Perhaps it wasnt exactly a universal view, but at least for those of importance. The Escort ignored the audience, as usual, and walked toward a clear bowl with folded white paper.

Unless she was truley as dense as she appeared, she took far too long to pick out a single name. Everybody knew, every year, there would be a volunteer. By the end of the reaping, everybody forgot all about the original names called. Although everyone in the Academy and their families knew who was chosen to volunteer, that still made up a disgustingly low percentage of the districts citizens. Therefore, right along with the Capital, the vast majority would watch to see who the next Victor would be.

She walked over to the microphone, clearing her throat obnoxiously loud before unfolding the white paper. "Imanii Lowers," The unfamiliar twelve year old waddled nervously out of his section, making me roll my eyes. Was the kid really so stupid that he thought nobody, for the first time in nearly fifty years, would volunteer? To be fair, it did take a few moments, but just as the skinny kid was about to hop on stage-

"I volunteer!" I turned, watching Cato as he leaped on the stage, crossing his arms and smirking at the cameras. Douchebag, I thought with a small smile. Cato might have had a rather... jackass persona going for him, but the eighteen year old and I were on rather friendly terms. Not friends, exactly, but we shared a love for sadism and sarcasm that let us tolerate each other.

"A volunteer?" The escort asked with false enthusiasm. She honestly couldn't have been legitimately that surprised. It just couldn't happen. "Well, what's your name, dear?"

"Ludwig. Cato Ludwig." His smirk didn't falter, and he just winked. A few giggles erupted from the crowd, making me roll my eyes. It was only from a few select girls- but it was still obnoxiously common. Although I couldn't quite understand why, most girls in the district thought him irresistible. I thought he was decent looking- nice features, oversized forehead. He was arrogant- not neccessarily a bad quality, but it was still irritating. Just one more reason I couldn't understand all of the hype.

"Oh, how nice." The escort beamed before continuing, "Now, for the lucky lady..." She hummed, walking across the stage. She picked out a name more quickly than she had the male name, probably figuring out that her dramatics were not necessary.

As she settled back in front of the microphone, she looked up from the paper at the audience before continuing to unfold the paper. I bit my lip, readying myself for my big moment. "And the lucky lady is...Jacie A-"

Before she could finish reading off the name, I found myself shouting steadily. "I volunteer." I didn't wait for an invitation before walking quickly to the stage, climbing up the steep steps. I walked determinedly to Cato's side, they way I had always envisioned. Cato didn't waste the time to look at me, instead keeping his smirking gaze steady on the camera. I didn't mind, though. I looked at the camera, my eyes narrowing.

"Oh!" The Escort gasped dramatically. "Two volunteers!" My fingers traced the blade under my dress. "And what if your name, sweetheart?" Her tone sweet and slow...

She did not, I assured myself uselessly. The first words the bitch had said to me- on national Panem television- and she had called me 'sweetheart'? I had to redirect my breathing, remembering what Brutus had told me. Do not lash out until the arena. Yet, as I watched the screen next to the camera, her eyes blinking rapidly, the thought infuriated me further. I took a moment to calm myself before answering, "Clove Caphry." I growled.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, District Two's tributes for the 74th Hunger Games."

The cheers were deafening, increasing only as Cato and I locked hands, raising our joined hands up in the air. One of us was going to return Victor. I was going to return Victor.


Authors Note:

The next chapter won't be in Clove's point of view, rather Gale's account of the District 12 Reaping. I probably will have Gale's point of view occasionally during parts of the story that I believe it to be neccessary. Otherwise, however, it will remain a story of Clove's point of view.

Anyways, leave a review and tell me what you think? Constructive criticism always welcome. C: