Author's note: A month since the last update? I'm so sorry. Anyways, since you probably don't care about excuses, here's the next chapter.
When I love I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does
When I feel weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
Because I see myself like my mother does
"Like My Mother Does", by Lauren Alaina
Chapter 9: The Cherished Daughter
Name: Velvet Henry-Morrison
Fate: Fifteenth place
The fifty-second Hunger games have been what seventeen-year-old Vixen Henry has dreamed of since she was a little girl. One decision, however, can make those dreams crash down in an instant. This is why Vixen stands outside her boyfriend, Azure Morrison's house, tears streaming down her face. "Can… can we talk?"
"Yeah, of course," Azure says in concern, leading her to somewhere private. "What is it?"
"I'm pregnant," Vixen whispers, and Azure freezes. He was not expecting this.
"Don't worry," he says, hugging her tightly. "I'm here for you."
"I know… but I can't volunteer. Not now. You don't have money, and my parents will kick me out when they find out. I don't know what to do."
Azure is silent for a moment. "Then, I'll volunteer for you. I'll win, and then you and the baby will want for nothing."
It wasn't a flawlessly plan, but it was worth a shot.
"Mommy, why don't I have a Daddy?" Four year old Velvet asks. "All the other kids at daycare do."
Vixen freezes. "Your daddy was a very brave young man," she finally tells her daughter. "He loved us very much, and died trying to give us a better life."
Life hadn't been easy for Vixen. As she predicted, her parents kicked her out after she told them of her pregnancy. Luckily, the despite the fact that they did not have much money, Azure's parents are kind enough to welcome Vixen and her daughter into the house. Vixen still works long hours, to help her late-boyfriend's parents out as much as possible and to save money for herself and Velvet, but life is much more bearable thanks to them.
Over the years, Velvet receives many comments on how much she resembles her mother. This pleases her, as Vixen is the center of her world. The mother and daughter are extremely close, and treasure every moment they have together.
When Velvet is seven, tragedy strikes. Azure's father suffers a heart attack. Velvet adores her grandfather, and Vixen sees him like a father, so naturally both are worried. Azure's mother takes him to the one, well-trained doctor straight from the Capitol in the district, while Velvet and Vixen stay home.
"Mom, Grandpa's going to be okay, isn't he?"
"I hope so," Vixen replies. "Want to pray with me?"
Velvet nods. Her mother is high in faith, and has taught Velvet to do the same. The bowed their heads and prayed together, something they have been doing since before Velvet could even talk. The following morning, they learn the good news; Velvet's grandfather will make it.
District One is filled with excitement when in back-to-back years, their tributes become victors. Gloss and Cashmere are a pair of siblings with an intense rivalry between them, so it isn't surprising when they volunteer for back-to-back years, and win. Velvet looks at them with admiration, and they are almost as much her heroes as her parents are. "I want to do that," the eleven-year-old says after Cashmere wins her games. Having already trained for five years, Velvet just increased her training. She definitely had her mother's spirit.
One day, Velvet comes home from training, very upset. "No one thinks I can do it. They make fun of me, just because I'm only okay at all the weapons I try." She pauses. "Do you think I should just quit?"
"Absolutely not!" Vixen snaps. "Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something, because you can. You have my spirit. Try seeing yourself how I see you, and you'll be perfectly fine. "
With her mother giving her confidence, Velvet volunteers for the seventieth Hunger Games at age seventeen. In the bloodbath, she kills one tribute, the boy from Twelve. Throughout the games, he remains her only kill.
On the third day, the Careers leader, Orion from One decides to split his alliance of four up temporally. He and Sapphire, the girl from Two, go hunting for tributes, while Velvet and Emerald from Two gather food.
"Hey, Velvet. Try some of these berries," Emerald says, holding out a handful of blueish-purpleish berries. "They're really good."
Velvet, knowing nothing about berries and being overly-trusting of someone she barely knows, doesn't realize the berries are poisonous Nightlock. Tossing the berries in her mouth, she falls to the ground instantly.
Not long after, the boy from Two runs into his remaining allies. "Okay, what happened?" Orion asked in suspicion when he notices his district partner's absence. "Where is she?"
"She ate nightlock berries before I could do anything to stop her. It wasn't my fault!" Emerald lies quickly. Orion doesn't look convinced but decides to let it slide. Meanwhile, back in District One, Vixen mourns the loss of her daughter.