A/N: This is a Snow/OC story. I will keep is as accurate as I will. If this 'grosses' you out, because you despise Snow than I would like to remind you he was handsome once. He had to be. In a society revolving around beauty he had to be at least appealing, so don't argue with me on that point. As for another point, I will share also that there's no known fact if he had a family, but I say he does. He should. There's nothing to be said on his rise in power other than that he killed those running against him or those that threatened his power/popularity. I'm going to start it with him being the President's son, running against his father's unending disappointment, his older brother, and all those other politicians out there. (Note also that he didn't start drinking the poison until later.) Trust my pacing. Trust the story, and enjoy, please. Thank you. -Taryn(:
The first time I met him I was only fourteen. My mother and I were on our way to her work, because she needed to pick up a handful of files she'd left behind at the Training Center. Of course, I was not happy about this. I was a very busy, self-centered fourteen year old who could not pause to consider taking one single breath and devoting it to someone as unimportant as my mother, let alone anyone beside myself.
How lame, right?– A more than accurate assumption of my thoughts that late evening.
She tried to hold my hand on the elevator ride up and I bitingly ripped it away, throwing a few snarls in there as well. Guilt ensued those things, blossoming like fireworks somewhere deep in my chest, underneath the pretty blue and bejeweled jacket I wore. The same one she'd bought me not a day beforehand. To hide from this particular feeling gnawing away on my insides, my eyes found the intricate gray swirls tattooed on the back of my hands more interesting.
Nothing really strikes out at me from my memory on this particular day much more than the feel of the coarse carpet underneath my feet. I can't remember what the weather was like, or what documents my mother forget. Nor could I tell you the date. Those sorts of things never mattered to me back then. Something I can tell you is that I started the day in heels; high, nine-inch heels of a sapphire resemblance. Not only was I incapable of walking in them, I persisted to run around the mall with my friends. As if keeping myself upright hadn't been hard enough before those shoes factored themselves into my life. But now I'm getting off subject. My feet, yes uncoordinated and incompetent, were also covered from heel to toe with festering, stinging blisters and in turn, in that moment of time that I unwillingly gave up to my mother, I rid myself of their pestering.
I waited outside the door of my mother's Head Gamemaker office, leaning into the wall, the harmful-yet-beautiful-shoes kicked aside. A grimace appeared on my face at the feel of the carpet between my toes.
You'd think a building as important as this would have nice carpets. Surely, the president could chip in. The guilt I felt for snapping at my mother on the way up, almost as quickly as it struck, was just as swiftly washed away and I opened my mouth to ask her precisely why the carpets were so awful. It didn't occur to me that the feelings of remorse vanished far too easily, but that was back then. Back before I learned how to be a proper human being.
"Mother, how old are these carpets? Morethan five years, do you think?"
My pinky toe, painted and decorated with a gem-encrusted toe ring, twisted into the industrial gray carpets. The color of pollution. I had a hard time finding something as equally unappealing as the carpets to compare it to, especially within the Capitol. So, almost like a reflex, my thoughts go to the place where the unappealing exists: the Hunger Games, the Districts, anywhere not here.
Gray. Like the storm clouds I once saw hanging over the reaping stage in District 3. Similar to the color of the ugly, tattered clothes tributes from District 12 had worn, because their fabrics are stained daily by coal dust. Gray, like the color of a little girl's face, as the blood drains from her gaping chest wound and she slips into death.
Ugly, was the word I concluded on. Which only made my desire to leave the Training Center ten times as intense. It would have been different if I knew tributes were somewhere in this building, preparing for their days in the arena. That would have made me excited and exhilarated at the chance of sneaking peeks at the infamous corpses-to-be. But unfortunately, for me or my mother I'm unsure, our trip to the Training Center was during a Victory Tour. The victor was due to be in District 2 that night, and on the morrow they would be in the Capitol, jumping back to District 1 to finish things off.
I remember all that and it makes me ashamed to say things like the day's date never occurred to me. I remember precisely everything about the Hunger Games that year and I remember what little money I put into it and of which tribute I watched die when my donation meant little.
"Oh not nearly so long, sweet," my mother called back to my question, (considerably late, I might add) and then said, with a sigh, "It'll take me a few more minutes. I need to enter some new things into the system. Don't wander about, you hear me?"
Do fourteen year olds ever do what they're told? No. Not even close. In fact, they particularly enjoy doing the oppositeof another persons' request. Especially me, who had never known discipline. "Of course, mother."
To think my life could have been changed by this one moment is almost painful. Possibly, my mother could have listened for a moment longer to hear the all too sweet tinge of my tone. Or picked up on the sounds of my clumsy steps taken away from the doorway. If, perhaps, my feet weren't aching I wouldn't have opted to take the elevator and could have taken the stairs. Maybe even if there wasa current Hunger Games in session I would have stayed put and, this by a contribution, would have changed my whole life. Saved me from a existence of strain and trouble.
Yet, all the hope and pain and desperation I put in that thought is full of vain.
The feel of the carpet continued to disgust me the more steps I took to the end of the hallway. When I stopped in front of the elevator, pressing the white-lit button, I noticed the edges of my nail polish were chipping. Upset, wanting to look closer, I shifted both heels I'd been carrying into my left hand and brought the finger in question up to eye level.
Nothing could have distracted me from the crises at hand. I mean, chipping nail polish had actually been all that mattered to me. Literally. Running frantically through my thoughts were ways to quick fix it until I could get in touch with my best friend or, if my free-time permitted, the local beauty shop. Phone numbers skimmed passed top of my thoughts, dovetailed by the walks I would need to take if I couldn't spend the last of my allowance on a cab ride.
And it only took one small, inconvenient gasp to drag me down twenty more levels of morality.
I didn't notice the elevator doors opening; he was just as shocked to see me as I was to see him. Clearly colored all over his face, deep in his wide, startled eyes, was a mixture of furiousness and a darker sort of fuming. Since I'd grown up watching the infamous Hunger Games, and loving them like any Capitol groomed child should, the sight of someone's pale, limp body slouched against the elevator wall next to his feet did not immediately make me flinch.
Before the sentence left my mouth the boy lurched forward, his hand clapped over my face and he ripped me into the elevator. I was shoved to the ground, on top of the cooling corpse. I wanted to scream, of course, against the palm of his freezing, icy hands... yet, I didn't.
"Don't," he said. "If you wise up, now, I'll let you walk away from this alive."
That's when I first feared him. When his strength outweighed mine, when his sharp eyes bore with a fierce determination into my face, not an inch separating our noses. And he was serious. So serious. I was a girl who didn't know serious, who would laugh in the face of serious and preferred the comforts brought on by hair dye and jelly donuts. Now this boy held me against the floor of a moving elevator, my breath forced into my lungs, and a dead man, who I dimly recognized, underneath my back.
Too terrified to resist, too paralyzed by his eyes to speak, I only nodded.
The boy released me, pulling me to my feet and steadying me. His calm, unshaken fingers smoothed out the edges of my skirt. When he looked back up at my unwavering stare, his too-full lips pulled into a smile. His face strikes up a memory. I knowhim. My hand jumped to my heart and I stumbled back into the closed doors of the elevator, grappling to wrap my head around his presence.
I'm not one to be claustrophobic, but in the tiny, metal box with a dead man and the face of the president's son grinning at me, there just didn't seem to be enough air around us. A stale, sickly smell came from the mouth of the man on the ground. Pricks of nausea pulled at my stomach, at the sight of vomit spilling from his mouth. It was new to me. Scary. While watching the Games I didn't have to deal with the smells and direct sights of the tributes' bodies; it struck me as odd that it was so unappealing to see.
"What happened to him?" I asked, waving a shaky hand toward the corpse.
For years to come I will always wonder what emotions contorted across Coriolanus Snow's face before answering me. I could have known, should have, but my mind had taken that precise moment to worry about my shoes that'd I dropped upon him pulling me into the elevator, instead of focusing on his eyes or the curve of his lips. The shoes were back on the same floor as my mother and I was quickly shooting downwards with the president's handsome, seventeen year old son.
And the dead man.
One more close look at the corpse confirmed I knew that man as well. Too boot, I knew them both from the same place: the television. The dead man was the president's closest work-related friend, Grantson Herk. A political god that was said to be running in the next election once the current president, recently taken ill, dies, and that would be Grantson's attempt to take over the government. Not anymore, I thought. He was stone-cold. Six feet under. A reeking smell of acidic zest wafting from his throat.
"I don't know. He collapsed a few minutes before your floor came up," Coriolanus said. There was a carefully indifferent, nearly arrogant tone to his voice. Yet it made me calm. It soothed me and the fear in me sunk away. I would accept his lies. He's the president's son, what could he harm? I've seen him for years growing up on television. Images of him were scattered throughout my mind; him smiling with missing teeth, just a babe, climbing up monkey bars, swinging on the swings with his little sisters, waving from the president's mansion's balcony during the Games. "I'm going to take him to the hospital floor, real quick, you don't mind the long ride down, do you?"
Anger and disobey the president's son? Oh, no. Not me. Not then.
"No," I whispered.
Coriolanus waved me over to stand comfortably at his side and my feet carried me there, albeit stiffly, but I made it there without show of gagging or shaking. I slouched into the wall, and he stared at me before frowning. He took my clammy hand into his. "I'm sorry that you had to see this," he said, his voice concerned. "No young lady such as yourself should ever be troubled with sights as this."
The elevator doors opened to the underground hospital floor that I've only known for victors, before I could reply to his statement. What would I have said? "Oh, no, young mister Snow, it is no trouble at all. I have no ails looking upon a dead man, I'm the Head Gamemaker's first daughter. Corpses do not frighten me," and then he should laugh at my morbid state, or perhaps the stupid way I ruthlessly accept death. He may even had thought me the kind who thirsted for blood. Worried about what this boy may think of me, I fidgeted with my silver rings as I stepped aside for young Coriolanus to heft the body into an upright position. Though it was far too late to save that poor man, Coriolanus approached the white floor folding out before us with determination. I was at loss for words or what to do, so I stood wild-eyed, staring after him, only to jump underneath my skin when he looked back over his shoulder.
He smiled widely, showing all his teeth like a dog when one growls. The black of his eyes stung like ice and his voice, firm as the crack of whip, was softened. "I'm terribly sorry for the way of our meeting, Miss...?"
"Miss Rose Marie Banks," I said, bowing my head in respect.
Stupid, I thought. Internally I cursed myself over and over. Why didn't I stop my mouth? Those words tumbled past my lips more as a result from an inbred instinct of being polite, rather than my willingness to flaunt at him my higher society status as a Head Gamemaker's daughter. Nor had it been the knowledge and mere hope that the president's son might be calling me by name that I permitted those words leave. Instead, the moment those words echoed outward, to be embedded into his memory, I felt my knee buckle with the weight of simply being me. As soon as the words left my mouth, I wished to take them back. My whole being withered under the silence that followed the statement and those crackling dark eyes of his stared into my soul. Like he knew me. Like I'll soon regret everything that ever was me.
You should have lied, I thought.I should have lied. Why didn't I lie?
Now, he could find me.
And, after a couple of years, he did.