AN: Effie was never my favorite character, but somehow i found my thoughts returning to her every time i thought about the books. So i tried to imagine her life and how she ended up being the escort of District 12. And boy, was I surprised where that story took me...Because the Effie in my mind is not at all like the capitol puppet described in the books. She is smart, brave and amazing. Also, she isn't from the Capitol!

I think her's is a story worth telling, and if you'll have the patience to follow it (even though it might not be what you expect some times) I think you'll be surprised.

Hope you will enjoy it as much as i did imagining it!


46 years after the fall of district 13

In most districts the Reaping happens annually. Here, in District 1 it only happens once. Well, once for every person, the year they turn twelve.

All of us have to go trough the Selection. It happens quietly, behind the closed doors of the District Hall building, away from the cameras and the prying eyes of the Capitol. They usually pick more than one boy and girl and lock them away in a great ugly building at the outskirt of the town with the word Gymnasium written in big chunky letters above the entrance. Nobody knows what it is exactly that they do in there, but by the time they're 17 or 18 they come out and volunteer at the Reaping. By then most of them are regular killing machines.

We still put on a great show for the other districts though. Every year we have a formal Reaping, exquisitely organized for the cameras and the eyes of the whole of Panem. Each year the eligible children are herded together in the square, the bowls are always full to the brim with neat little folded paper squares, holding their names; the escort rants away about the glory of the Games and the greatness of the Capitol and then extracts the "lucky" names.

In our case all of it is just for show. The names of the tributes are carefully selected a good while before the TV Reaping, out of the smaller and more select pool of children that spend years training to become killers- killers of other children. That's why District 1 wins so many of the Games. That's why the other districts call them Careers.

Of course, our district is not the only one to do this. There is at least one other – District 2. And maybe 4, but I'm not sure about that one…but who knows how many others do it…They don't tell us much about the other districts- except for what they teach us in school, about what they do and how superior we are to them.

See, we create beautiful things in District 1. Gorgeous, opulent, "deluxe products"; jewelery and clothing that the Capitol people value and desire. Things for which they pay ridiculous amounts of money. Or so I've heard. Maybe that's why they close an eye on our little arrangement. Or maybe they have a stake in it all. Rumors say there are big bets made on the Games. For them this is entertainment…

I hate the Capitol people! I hate them and the clothes we make for them and the ugly trinkets they just "can't live without" and their ridiculous way of speaking. But most of all I hate them because I want to be like them. I want the luxury and the glamour and their mindless existence. And I hate them more because from where I am standing, the life I want seems like such an impossible dream…especially now- the night before my reaping…

I toss again in my bed. I can't sleep. And by the sounds coming from the other beds in the dormitory I am not the only one. But unlike the others I have a plan. I didn't spend every day since my twelfth birthday crying like Lacey, or stuffing my face like Paisley or even praying like Shine- not that that's even allowed…No. I started my plan long before my twelfth birthday.

And my plan is simple: look as weak, as unhealthy and as inconspicuous as possible- the total opposite of what the trainers look for in a prospect champion. So, I have been slowly starving myself for the last six months. I was always skinny - even in District 1, with all the attention we get from the Capitol, the food is far from enough- but now you can easily count all of my ribs and my thin, cold limbs look kind of breakable. I cut my hair short and made sure not to wash it too often. I scraped my knees and my elbows to make myself look clumsy and accident prone. Last time I took a good look at myself in the mirror I looked extremely skinny. I was pale, shaggy and bruised. Poor diet and a self-imposed lack of sleep (not that I could have slept anyway) made sure dark circles surrounded my grey eyes, making them look faded. I am pleased- I look so frail…

I feel my stomach grumble and I hug my now very tiny waist under the blanket. I haven't eaten anything in 5 days. I just took small sips of water and hoarded the least perishable food under my mattress. When this is all over, I can have my feast. "You're almost there, Effie" I tell myself over and over, careful not to voice anything out loud. "Just hold on one more day". Just one more day and it will all be over. I hug myself tighter, squeezing my eyes shut and I ardently hope that my efforts will be enough.


End note: I'm sort of new to the fanfic world and I haven't written many things so far...so please, let me know what you think and what I can do to improve :) Looking forward to your comments, M.