Author's Note: I'm going to give credit where credit is due. This was inspired by my friend Flashback from the Future's story Don't take Nothin' from Nobody, it's great so please check it out!

These chapters are kind of short for my usual writing, but seeing as this is my first Hunger Games fanfic, whatever! :)

Also, I'm considering this an AU because everything is a bit more 'lax' than in the books, but it could be a 'before'…

Disclaimer: I don't own the Hunger Games franchise; this is just an idea that spurred upon me.

Chapter 1 The Meeting

My name is Cleopatra. Or, rather, it was. My grandmother had changed it when my parents had died in the rebellion when I was three. She tells people my name is Patrice. She says it's a 'safe' name. Though how a name could be dangerous, I don't know.

My 'loving' grandmother hands me a dress and tells me to get in it. I don't want to, put I have to because tomorrow is the reaping and she wants to make sure it fits.

I haven't told her, but I'm going to volunteer. I'm going to leave Patrice behind and be Cleopatra. I hate my life in the urban district 8, complete with my wedding after the Games, if I'm not chosen.

Or if I hadn't decided to volunteer already.

Don't get me wrong; Samuel is perfectly nice, but I'm me and he's him and there is no way I'm going to spend the rest of my life with a guy five years older than me who already has a child to take care of! I refuse to be tied down to a fate like that.

As I get dressed, the dress feels smooth against my skin. It's silk, and it belonged to my mother. I don't know why I'm wearing it to the reaping, but I am.

I look into my mirror. The dress fits perfectly, and I wonder if I look like my mother in it. There are no pictures of her, and I'd never heard about her from my grandmother.

My grandmother opens the door. "That will double as your wedding dress." She tells me.

I take it off and hang it on my closet doorway.

I get dressed into a pair of jeans and a button up. I'm on my way out the door when my grandmother yells my 'name.'

I walk into the kitchen to find her standing over a mess that I guess was suppose to be dinner. I silently get a bucket of water and a rag and clean up the mess. It smells horrible, so I'm left guessing if it was food or dye for fabrics.

I fight myself from gagging on the smell, but I clean it up. I don't know what leads me to do this. Maybe I want the house to be presentable if some poor sap comes to the house. Or, it really shouldn't matter, because I'm leaving tomorrow for good.

It doesn't matter if I die in the 13th Hunger Games. The Capitol is looking for something to sate their queer appetites, and I'll do my best.

I get up and brush myself off. I turn on the faucet and grab a glass. My stomach feels so funny I know that I need to drink.

"Hello," I look up and see Marcus Ulmstead. He is the newest escort for District 8, this only being his second year. "Cleopatra Shaft, yes? Age sixteen, and to be married to Warehouse manager Samuel Eerstein later this year."

"My name is Patrice." I correct him.

His head turned to the side a little bit, observing me. "Your birth certificate would state otherwise." He told me.

"Why are you looking at that?" I asked him, folding my arms.

"I'm an escort. It's what I do. What truly interests me about you is this," he took something out of the inside of his suit jacket. I had to think that even though he couldn't possibly be much older than me, he was dressed like he was twice his age; like an adult.

He handed me a paper, but I can't read. I look down at it, my eyes scanning over the page.

"Cleo…you can't read, can you?" He asks me. I shake my head and give it back to him. "Can you speak?"

"A lil'," I tell him. Truth is, my vocal chords were damaged when I was younger.

He comes closer and tilts my head up. I meet his amber flecked hazel eyes as I slowly come around to the fact his face is undeniably close to mine.

"You want to get away." He assumes. "You want to leave this wretched place and never come back. You don't care if you die or not. You're just so sick of toxic fumes and pricking your fingers and that terrible woman that raised you because your parents died."

All I can do is nod.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Cleopatra." He told me.

I just stand there, even after he's left. My grandmother comes back eventually. She asks me why it isn't completely cleaned up yet, and all I do is shrug. If she wants it to be freaking cleaned, she can do it herself.

I go to my room, not caring if she's yelling at me or not. I close and lock the door, knowing she won't come in. I just go to sleep on my bed, even though it's only nine o'clock. I'm tired and I'm not quite sure what's going to happen tomorrow.

My dream was filled with wolves, sheep, deer, and fish. Sheep were eating fish as wolves ran away, and a deer walked beside me in a field of red. The sky was black, but the moon was white, full, and bright. I saw in front of me, but I didn't want to.

Innards were being ripped out, and charred bodies lay in unnatural positions.

I felt like I was being suffocated as my vision became blurry. Then, who knows who, pulled me up, into his strong arms.

"I won't let you die." He told me.

I jolted awake, and saw my clock said it was only twelve thirty. I could go back to sleep. I took deep breathes, and closed my eyes. I thought of a fantasy; being held by a man who wanted me to be me. I could just imagine him telling me the things I wanted to hear.

I wished he was real as I drifted back off to sleep.

Author's Note: Thanks for reading the first chapter! This should be kind of long, but I won't be working on it as much as other stories unless there's expressed interests in it...