AFTER THE GAMES:
Victor Amethyst Swift's POV:
"Amethyst, Amethyst" the sound of my name is the first thing I'm really aware of, how soft the bed beneath me feels is the second. My eyes open slowly and into my vision appears Nero and oh my Panem he's actually smiling. I scrunch my eyes closed for a moment then open them again, no he's still there, but I don't really feel like I am.
"Amethyst my girl you made it" he says with a wide grin "You're a victor" I try to take in his words, Victor. That can't be right can it? Can it? My body feels as if it is floating and all I want to do is close my eyes again, but Nero's sharp piercing eyes frighten me. Victor.
"Nero give the girl chance to breathe" scolds an older voice that must be Valda "How you feeling my girl?"
"Sleepy" is my muttered response and Nero laughs.
"Not triumphant, elated, ready for anything" he guffaws
"No" I sigh and close my eyes again to hide the sight of my mentors.
"Nero leave her" I hear Valda say again, "she's doped up on morphine and they'll be operating on her soon. Afterwards then you can pester her."
Everything fades away.
Our, no, my escort is next to see me, again all smiles and congratulations. "Oh Amethyst you look so much better than you did yesterday." She says with her sing song voice "the surgeons have done wonders on you"
"Ugh" is my reply, my mouth feels dry "water" I gasp, and Turtia pours me a little glass of water and helps me drink it. A surprisingly tender gesture for her, I guess I'm important to her now.
"So you're the newest District Two Victor" she smiles, she leans forward and strokes some hair away from my eyes "oh what an exciting time you'll have with all those illustrious victors. Oh I can't wait to introduce you to all my friends. I know you'll be a massive hit here in the capitol." She just continues to talk, telling me about parties and all the interesting people I'll be meeting. I drift off to sleep again.
The next time I wake up Valda is back, alone this time and the wires that had been connected to my body are gone. She doesn't say a word, just watches me as I shuffle into a sitting position and look back at her.
"So what now?" I ask "What does the latest District Two victor do with her life now?"
Valda smiles "looking forward to the future, that's good."
"What would be the alternative" I ask her "Dwell on those other tributes, thinking about their families and Districts" I stop before I say something stupid.
"No don't think of those things Amethyst" I'm told "This is the time to be selfish, think about yourself and your family and District Two and all will work out for you."
I nod "understood" I tell my mentor and I do understand, we've all heard the horror stories of what happens when Victors don't behave and I plan on doing everything in my power to keep safe from harm. This shouldn't be too hard if my conscience doesn't get in the way.
"So time scale wise, what do I do now?" I ask "When do I get to go home?"
"Three days, you have today to continue your rest, and then tomorrow we prepare you for the interview, tomorrow evening you'll be interviewed and then heading home the next morning"
"'spose I'd better get that sleep in now" I yawn lying back down. "Thanks for everything Valda" I say with a yawn as I drift off again.
Before I know it my rest period is over and I'm being made up by my team of stylist, they've styled my short hair, telling me it'll be all the rage in a few days time. I'm still mad my long locks have gone, but I'm still alive at least.
When they're done squeezing my new healthy body into a slinky dress I'm given a few moments of peace before being raised up back onto my stage. Where the sound of the cheering fans attack my ear drums, the eyes of the whole country are on me now and this time it's even more important I don't say something stupid. The shouts and cheers of my name continue so I give the crowd a little wave which makes them even crazier. I guess it's been a few years since a proper trained victor stood on this stage and my strength is exciting to them.
Finally they quieten down and I remember I'm not alone on the stage, beside me stands a young capitol man maybe only in his early twenties. He's wearing a bright pink suit and has white hair, which suits him despite his youth.
"Oh hello" I say with a sweet smile,
The man laughs and leads me over to my seat as the crowd applaud, I settle down easily in the large throne and smile and wave as the applause dies down.
"Hello Amethyst" smiles the man, who I wished someone had warned me about, he was rather attractive in that strangely capitol style after all, I blush.
"Hello .. urm" I blush again and the audience chuckle lightly.
"Oh dear, has no-one told you about me?" he chuckles and I shake my head.
"My name is Marcellus, but my friends call me Marc" he smiles "I'm filling in for Nina tonight as she's feeling ill"
"Oh I hope she gets better soon, Marcellus" I reply, I didn't know capitol people even had fallible body parts, didn't they just run on sweet foods and alcohol?
"Oh Amethyst you're my friend. Call me Marc" he chuckles as he lays a hand on my leg; I wince at the contact and pull away. I'm not going to be that kind of victor.
Marc laughs again and leans lazily back into his chair, making a stark contrast to me, who's sat straight up, legs crossed in an attempt to not flash the crowd in this stupidly short dress.
"What does it feel like to be here?" he asks,
"Strange" I reply honestly "I wasn't sure if I would be honestly." I look nervously to the floor, ugh why is this so hard for me to act like they want me to and why do I keep seeing dead faces in my mind. No wonder Cane went silent.
"Oh Amethyst so modest. You're from District Two my girl, show some enthusiasm" Marc is still laughing, though I don't see what's so funny.
"I guess it does feel pretty good to be back in the capitol" I reply "It is so lovely here"
"That it is. Now Amethyst do you want to watch your games?"
"Sure" I smile, though I'd rather not bother. I lived it didn't I? Never the less it's tradition and on a large screen to the left of me the capitol seal emerges from darkness and the games begin.
The crowd chuckles as I and Titus volunteer before there are any reaped tributes and react indifferently to the other shorter reapings, a few do sigh as the boy from eight volunteers however. They must be some of the old school romance types. The Interviews are similarly done with a quick glimpse of Alex and barely anything of Price before I'm up on stage muttering nonsense about puking as Nina smiles on kindly.
I blush again; I guess Nero's comment about my stupidity being forgotten wasn't all true. Just as they did the first time I watched them none of the interviews jump out, even those of the tributes I killed, except for Ayra. Oh Ayra, I watch as she laughs and flirts with the crowd before talking excitedly about her family, all those little siblings that will now miss her terribly and hate me even more. There doesn't feel much honour in that really. But no, as Valda said I can't let myself think things like that, because thinking leads to saying and saying things like that is wrong.
As we ascend from the catacombs below the arena I watch as a boy jumps from his plate and kills the girl beside himself before the bloodbath even begins. Titus is right in there killing two before going to look for me, I however wasn't.
I knew that would be an issue, why did I run, why not fight him there and then, all questions I hope they don't ask me, but I know they will. Then I watch as I spot Durian but ignore him in what appears to be another wimpy move, I'd had hoped the cameras hadn't picked up on that, that there were more interesting things happening elsewhere. But now I'm sat here I suppose what I was doing was the most interesting thing in that arena. Then woosh and Durian is dead and I go after Quinn, before beginning to hum the national anthem as I wait for her to die, in what appears to be a very patriotic move. I notice the pride on some of the audience's faces as I do so, why are they proud, I'd just killed a girl that was bad wasn't it?
No I tell myself again, it's not bad it's just the games.
The video continues to play and we watch as I move through the forest, doing nothing of note. Between these dull shots come ones of other tributes fighting, dying and of the District Five boy making some kind of poison for the boy from Eight.
I can't help but smile as I finally find Titus and find myself re-enacting our fight on the stage, ducking and moving my fists in short jerky movements that echo the ones I'm doing on screen. As I make a chop for his dick and succeed in my task of destroying it as punishment for hurting my friend, I catch a glimpse of myself on a monitor and smile more till I'm practically grinning. I keep my grin up as two more tributes die from mutts and stupidity.
Then comes the sex scene, my grin fades eyes open wide in shock as the pair from eight begin making out in an arena without alliances before ...
"Oh my Panem" I gasp as Mutts tear into two naked bodies "That's so gross"
The crowd laugh at my response for a moment before all attention goes back to the screen where Bianca hacks of Troy's head in one clean swoop before Choke is killed by mutts and Bianca is killed by Alex who then kills Fuse and Baelfire. Then I kill Alex and Clarisse before we watch as Ayra wakes up and faces the last day of her life. Seeing it all on the screen like that somehow detaches me from all the action. It's strange but I don't feel as strongly for her as a character on the screen than I do in reality and I guess that's how they see her in the capitol too. As someone distant as a character in a story, I suppose I was that to them too.
Our little exchange is funnier on screen than it felt in reality, where every word and movement was a matter of life or death. The fight is faster on screen than it felt in reality but eventually Ayra is dead again.
The show ends with the image of the District Two seal before I notice I'm back on screen again.
"So exhilarating" Marc grins "what's it like to be there living it?" my ears are ringing slightly from the noise of the crowd and I realise no-body is talking.
"I guess that's aimed at me?" I reply and the crowd laughs, I focus my brain "It's kinda a blur now to be honest. It's just a rush of adrenaline and excitement."
"Now Amethyst, we have a few questions sent in for you from your adoring fans in the capitol, would you mind answering them for me?"
"Not at all, it's just so thrilling to think that I have fans?" I say with a chuckle
"Well Mattuis Locket asks 'What's the first thought you had upon winning the games?'"
I try and remember that moment as my name rang through the arena "relief" I answer "and then It kinda hit how badly I wanted the bathroom." The crowd roar in laughter and I smile sweetly.
Marc pats my knee again and I don't wiggle away this time.
"My next question comes from Ulpa Dexter he wanted to see an Amethyst/Titus showdown in the bloodbath, and asks why didn't you go for him then?"
"I'd expected him to wait there, honestly" I tell the crowd, "I was sure it would be him not Choke left at the end and I could return and kill him then."Marcellus seems to accept that as an answer even though in my head it made no sense whatsoever.
"Keeping on the topic of Titus, Pontus Maddison wants to know, what was going through your head at that moment when you saw him again?"
"Rage" I say simply "Of all the tributes in that arena Titus deserved to die in the most horrible way I could manage."
Marc laughs "What a Victor thing to say, so you felt good when it was over, when you killed him?"
"Oh yes I did" I say "it felt like the world had brightened up a little, it was just a shame I didn't manage it earlier in the games."
"That's an interesting attitude to have towards your district partner Amethyst, were you're feeling towards your other opponents as strong?"
"No I almost respected some of them, Alex was a very fearsome girl, I could tell that from our first meeting that she wasn't one to count out because of her youth and Clarisse was also very strong, she still fought even when it was almost over for her."
I pause for a moment as a slew of words fly though my brain, feelings that are not becoming of a victor. Words like regret and upsetting. "Ayra was a good fighter" I say eventually, leaving it there.
Marc and the audience seem to accept this as an answer and he continues talking.
"The last question from you're fans at home comes from Demonica Clio who asks about your attitude going into the games and if you had one person who inspired you the most?"
The correct response for me to make now would be to thank my trainers at the centre and praise Valda and Nero for mentoring me through. But another figure leaks into my mind, a tall weedy looking man in brown overalls.
"The janitor at the training centre" I respond "I always used to stay behind after classes to practice and we'd talk as he mopped the floors. I was telling him once about the glory winning the games would give me and he responded that he'd rather have honour than glory. I'd laughed at him at the time, not really understanding what he'd meant. But something happened about a week before the reaping and I protected a friend, not for glory but because it was the right thing to do. So that's who I've thought of as I've fought in the arena, that's who I would like to thank for inspiring me towards my victory."
Marc doesn't respond, he looks mostly confused, probably because anyone who cleans for him doesn't have a voice anymore. He can't understand how I could be inspired by a man in overalls.
"That's a very interesting story" he says eventually. I begin to feel uncomfortable on this plush chair, maybe I spoke out of turn, I've been so on edge these last few hours that I have no idea if I'm still saying the right thing or not.
"Of course I'd also like to thank my mentors Valda and Nero, as well as my sponsors who provided me with food in the arena." I blabber quickly.
"Of course dear" Marc is still smiling and it's making me feel uncomfortable. "Now I think it's time for us to say goodbye to you for today and let you finally receive your well earned crown."
We stand up and I step forwards a bit as Marcellus shows me where to stand. He then retreats to what I would call a safe distance as the national anthem plays and from the shadows of the stage our president emerges. She's more majestic in person than I would ever have imagined and wears a smart purple suit; her blue eyes pierce mine as she seems to be measuring me up.
"Miss President" I say inhaling deeply, my stomach has frozen in knots of nervousness and I don't know how to act so I throw myself into a deep curtsy. As I stand up I can see she's smirking and I can hear a slight chuckle from the crowd, wasn't that right?
"I think I like you Amethyst" she says quietly, she's not wearing a microphone like I am so what she says is silent. "I think we can be friends if you'd like"
I nod enthusiastically "Very much Madam" I reply as I feel her lowering the crown on my head.
"I'll be seeing you around Amethyst" she says before waving to the crowd and disappearing into the shadows again.
Nero and Valda join me on the stage now, as does my prep team and stylist. And as Marcellus ends the show we all wave to the wild crowd before the cameras shut down. The moment the camera's turn off the crowd begin to rush towards me and people start to grab me taking my photo and shaking my hand, a pen is shoved into my hand and I'm asked to sign some pictures. It seems like everyone wants to say hello or just touch me in some way.
"Valda!" I call after a few minutes of this.
"Okay everyone" booms the voice of Nero as he parts the crowds and grabs my arm "Amethyst is going now; speak to Tertia Olden if you want a personal meeting with her."
As the crowd lets me escape to the back of the stage Valda pulls me away from Nero "Personal meeting Nero?" She shouts "we discussed this and we're not letting it happen"
"Yeah like I'm telling them that" Nero shouts back "you saw the way they're looking at her."
"I'm not that kind of girl" I tell them trying to calm the tension
Nero laughs a loud guffaw "You wouldn't have a choice in the matter" he tells me and my stomach drops
"Do you mean?" I gasp, I never believed, I never thought.
"Forget it love" Valda says, gripping onto my hand as we start the walk to the District Two apartment. "We'll keep you safe from them." And despite all logic I kind of believe her.
The three of us say a quick farewell to the prep team and my stylist as we enter the apartment and I wander slowly in before collapsing on the couch "this is all so nuts" I say as I put my face in my hands, my crown tumbles from my head to the floor. I pick it up and loot at it, it's beautiful and made of gold and jewels, one of which I recognise.
"Amethyst" I say as I run my fingers over the purple jewels of my namesake. They probably came from my parents mine back in Two. Thinking of home makes me smile, and I know that once I'm back safe with my parents everything will be okay.
A/N: Thanks for reading and reviewing and being awesome people in general. I'm posting the prologue to my next story during the next week and there will be a sequel to this story coming out next year. S x