Disclaimer: This is Suzanne Collin's world. I just like to play in it.
A/N: This is a sequel to my first story, Standing Alone. If you have accidentally wandered into this fic, I would advise you to read Standing Alone first. You will be able to follow this if you don't, but you will understand it a lot more if you read Standing Alone.
I know a lot of you are upset that your tribute won't be in the Games, and I have to offer you my sincerest apologies. School has picked up, and I'm trying to make a varsity team my freshman year, so I'm swamped. Excuses aside, I think you will all actually enjoy this better without it being an SYOT. I will be able to update faster, have longer chapters, and I think my writing is better when it is my own characters.
I hope you all enjoy the first chapter!
Pretty Little Things (District One Reaping)
"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."
Mylar Poise POV
I sashay along the Main Square, hand in hand with my boyfriend, Gilt Wonder. We attract jealous stares from the other girls, and I toss my mane of shining, blonde hair behind my back, not even caring when it smacks some poor, beggar girl in the face.
It's not just the girls who are starting, and Gilt notices. He tugs me towards him and plants a kiss on my lips, smudging my lip gloss. I pull away from him and pout. "Gilt! I spent a long time on my makeup! You can look, but please don't touch!" Exasperated, I desperately try to smooth my gloss around with my lips, which causes the boys on the side of the street to stare.
"Sorry babe," Gilt murmurs, wrapping his arm around my waist. The starting boys turn away, disappointed. Gilt and I have been dating for three years, since we were fifteen, and, while we are a cute couple, I know all the other people our age want us to break up. After all, every guy has wanted to go out with me ever since I came to school after summer break in eighth grade, and had magically sprouted boobs. Paired with my shiny, pin straight, blonde hair, wide, turquoise eyes, and muscular, tall body, I was the hottest girl at school.
Even Silk Feora, who has been ranked the second hottest girl at school, is nowhere close to me. The teachers aren't aware of our little list that is passed around each year, ranking everybody on various scales. Gilt and I have been ranked best couple two years in a row, and Gilt has also dominated the list for hottest boy.
He has untidy, brown hair that is constantly falling into his deep green eyes, and his body is absolutely yummy, thanks to his training. We both train for the Games, even though we have agreed on only me volunteering. This is the year, when I am eighteen, where I will go into the Games, win, and come home a Victor. I know Gilt will propose once I come home, and we will live out the remainder of our lives filthy rich in our house in Victor's Village.
I reach over and muss Gilt's hair, and he looks at me in anticipation, wondering if he will get a kiss. Inwardly, I sigh. My makeup is messed up enough, so I lean in and kiss Gilt, pulling him closer with my hands still tangles in his hair. He responds, and we kiss for a few minutes before I turn away.
"I have to get back home. Mother and Vine will be waiting for dinner, and I don't want them to worry."
I give him a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll see you at the reaping, sweetie!"
I walk briskly across the Main Square, until I turn off onto a dirt road used only for transporting gems on horseback. A couple of miles down that road is the house where my Mother, my Father, my brother, Vine and I live.
We are rather poor by District One standards, and our rundown, two story house shows that. I pull open the front door and walk inside. I know Father won't be back yet; he is still working down at the jewelry store, and he won't be back until late this night.
Sure enough, Vine is sitting at the table and Mother is holding a large pan over the stove when I walk in. She smiles when she sees me. "Oh, Mylar, you're home! Could you help your brother and clean the table?"
I look over to where Vine sits "helping" setting the table. I walk over and jab him with my finger. "Sure, Mother—I'll help Vine set the table."
He stands up, groaning, and retrieves the placemats from their shelf in the pantry. I walk over to the drawer, and pull out three napkins. I don't even have to ask—I know Father won't be joining us tonight. I use the opportunity of being in the kitchen to glance in the pan. Rice noodles, snap peas, shredded carrots, and ground turkey boils softly in a sauce made with various sweet and sour spices.
Instantly, my mouth waters at the delicious smell. Grinning, I open a second drawer and take out three forks. When I go back to the table, Vine is collapsed in one of the chairs, with the three placemats haphazardly thrown on the table. Sighing, I adjust the mats and lie down the napkins and forks.
Mother takes out three plates and scoops a generous helping of pasta on to each one. My stomach rumbles audibly. "Thank you, Mother. It all looks delicious!"
She smiles, and hands me two of the plates. "Thank you Mylar. Would you mind bringing those plates to the table? I'll bring over the last one when I come over."
"Sure Mother," I say as I grab the plates and walk over to the table. I plop Vine's plate in front of him unceremoniously, and he grumbles a thank you. He is the laziest, messiest brother in the world, but we are close and I love him.
Mother joins us at the table and we all start to eat the heavenly food. I was right; the food it fabulous. Halfway through the meal Mother turns to me. "Sweetie—Are you sure you want to volunteer tomorrow? You know marrying Gilt would give you enough money already!"
I sigh. Mother and I have talked about this a hundred times ever since Em, my personal trainer, came by to tell her I qualified to volunteer. "Yes Mother, I have to do it. Gilt is rich, but I don't want people thinking that I only married him for his money!"
"Well, doesn't he want to marry you regardless of how much money we have?"
I pause. Gilt is fairly concerned with his status, as am I. I want to be the married couple of the year, and that means being a Victor. "I have to do this Mother—not for you, not for Vine, not for Gilt, but for me. You know I've always wanted this!"
Angry, I clear my plate and stomp out of the house, heading over to Gilt's. I knock several times, and Gilt opens it, an annoyed expression on his face. It stays for a few seconds, but he wraps me in a hug and, by the time he stops hugging me, he looks worried.
"What's wrong, babe?"
"Mother tried to convince me not to volunteer this year."
"You have to! It's your last year in the reaping. Doesn't she understand that you have trained?"
"To be honest, I've never told her how much I've trained. Actually, I've never told you either."
He looks confused. "What do you mean? I thought you trained in knives and sprints for a few years!"
"Well…" I look awkwardly at the ground. "I've actually been training in knives, spears, swords, climbing, sprints, and long distance running since second grade. Em didn't want it to get out, because she didn't want the girls to consider me as that much of a threat until it was time to volunteer. Do you remember what happened to Ribbon?"
Gilt slowly nods. Ribbon was murdered—along with her entire family—two years ago the night before the reaping where she was supposed to volunteer. Nobody has ever known for sure who did it, but people think it was Shier Brooks, the girl who volunteered in her place. However, she died, along with Peach Gemstone, the tribute from last year. District One hasn't had a Victor in five years, and I have to break that streak.
Gilt still looks dumbfounded. "Why didn't you tell me?"
I shrug, apologetic. "You might have told someone if we had—for some reason—broken up, and that would have put me and my family at risk."
Gilt nods, and I can almost hear the wheels in his head turning.
"You're not…mad at me, are you?"
"No, no of course not. It's just a lot to take in. After all, I did just find out that my girlfriend is a killing machine."
He cracks a small smile, and I give him a hug. "Thanks for understanding Gilt. It's getting late, so I'm going to go back home. I have to bet up early if I want to look presentable for the reaping tomorrow."
Gilt kisses my cheek. "Night, babe. I love you."
"Love you too."
I leave his house and walk the thirty minutes back to my house, where I sneak up to my room. Now, after I have had time to cool off, I am ashamed by how I treated Mother. I really don't want to face her tonight.
I snuggle in my emerald green blanket and stare out the window as the starts start to pop into existence in the night sky. I wish Father would come home soon; I know Mother tortures herself by waiting until he does, which sometimes results in a very small amount of sleep for her.
The stars and the moon bathe my room in a milky glow, and I hum a song Father taught me before he started working at the jewelry store.
Hush little tribute, a word don't say
Daddy's gonna buy you a Mockingjay
And if that Mockingjay can't sing,
Daddy's gonna buy you a hidden-knife ring
And if that hidden-knife ring won't cut,
Daddy's gonna but you your own wolf mutt
And if your own wolf mutt gets killed,
Daddy's gonna buy you a nightlock pill
And if that nightlock pill's too big
Daddy's gonna buy you a land mine rig
And if that land mine rig won't blow
You'll still be the deadliest tribute I know
I fall asleep with the vision of the reaping in my head.
Gilt Wonder POV
The events of last night still play in my head. Wow. I had no idea that Mylar was some sort of vicious warrior. This certainly puts a small hiccup in my plan. Silk, who is sitting next to me on the couch, notices my discomfort and wraps her arm around my shoulders.
"Something wrong Glitzy?"
I snap myself out of it and look at Silk. She looks so hot with her curly auburn hair, dark brown eyes, and slim figure showed off in all the right ways by her tight pink top and slinky black leggings.
Mylar truly has no clue that I have been cheating on her with Silk for the past year and a half, and I was planning on her never knowing. I thought she only knew how to train with knives! She would have definitely been killed in the Games, and I would be free to be public with Silk.
I know Mylar—if I broke up with her, Mylar would tell everyone that she dumped me. Then it would look like I was going out with the second best option. I know that Silk isn't as hot as Mylar, but Mylar is just so annoying!
My plan has to work! Mylar has to die! The only one in the District who can take her down is… I lose my train of thought as I realize what I have to do. I have to volunteer and take Mylar down myself. Then, when I win, everyone will know that it was me who decided to move on, and I can get my fairytale ending with Silk.
Returning Silk's hug, I answer, "Yeah, Silky, I'm fine. I'm just worried about tomorrow."
She pouts, confused. "Why are you worried?"
"I've decided to volunteer with Mylar. Baby, if I can win this, Mylar would be completely out of the picture."
Silk smiles, intrigued by the thought of having me completely to herself. "I've seen you practice, and you're good. I think you have a chance!"
I kiss her, welcoming her smooth, lip gloss-free lips. "Thanks for supporting me baby. I have to go to sleep to be fully rested for tomorrow, but after the reaping, this charade can be stopped."
She frowns and pulls me closer. "Can't I stay, just this one night? This might be the last time we get to spend time together!"
"You know we can't. What if Mylar walked in before you left? We'll have plenty of time once I get back."
Silk kisses me goodbye and I go to sleep, relishing the sound of Mylar's canon ringing in my ears.
The next morning I sleep in, and wake about an hour before the reaping, and walk downstairs. Satin, Mom, and Dad are cooking breakfast, and they look up when I walk in. Mom comes over and hugs me.
"Oh Gilt, this is you're last year! Aren't you so happy?!"
This is not going to go over well. I shoot them an awkward smile and clear my throat. "Well, you see, I've actually decided to… volunteer this year."
Dad laughs, and puts down his spoon. "That's very funny Gilt, but you really shouldn't do that to your mother."
Satin just smirks at me. I think she is the only one who actually realizes that I'm serious. Satin is twenty, and has been out of the reapings for two years. Neither of us ever trained for a long time, but we have done the basic District One training. I'm proficient with swords and I know the basic survival skills, but my real skill is my strength.
Standing at 6'3' and two hundred pounds, I have a lot of muscles and I can wrestle almost anyone to the ground.
Mom holds me away at arm's length. "You aren't serious, right?"
"You see, I really have to do this for personal reasons. I've trained enough, and I know I'll come home."
Dad stands up and walks around the table. Satin still sits coolly in her chair. "You realize that we don't need the money. We don't need any of this. You don't have to do this."
"I do have to do this. I'm not doing it for the money; I just have to do it for…me."
Satin finally speaks up. "I would let Gilt do what he wants. When I was almost eighteen I almost volunteered. I've regretted the fact that I didn't ever since."
Mom, whose face has turned rather pale, looks back and forth from me to Satin, and back to me. "You… you almost volunteered? And you—you're volunteering this year?"
I nod. "Please don't even try to convince me otherwise."
Dad comes over and hugs my Mom from behind. "We support your decision. I just wish you wouldn't."
"I know… I just also know I have to."
Mom hugs me. "You know we will be rooting for you."
"Thanks Mom and Dad. I have to go get ready now."
Dad hands me a piece of bacon and a slice of toast. "Won't you at least eat?"
"Sure, I'll eat it while I'm getting ready."
I go upstairs and slip into a white shirt, navy blue shirt, and navy pants. I put on my brown shoes, and try to comb back my brown hair. I look in the mirror and smile; I look good. The navy blue brings out my emerald eyes, and my shoes match my shoes.
I leave the house and start to walk to the reaping, careful not to get any dirt or dust on my shoes. I see Mylar walk towards the square, and I duck behind a tree, careful not to let her see me. She does look fantastic, with a short, light blue dress, and pristine, white sandals. Her blond hair falls straight down her back, and her makeup is wonderful, making her eyes pop.
I sign in after she goes into her section, and I walk by myself into the eighteen year old boy area. Several boys glance enviously at me as I brush a curl of my hair behind my ear, and I give them a toothy smile. The mayor, Clos Marble, walks out onto the stage and introduces our escort, Nitya Lockhearst.
Her silver hair glistens in the sun, and her long, green legs prance across the stage. "Alright District One, are you ready for the reaping?"
The crowd answers with a cheer and Nitya pauses until we are quiet again. "Ladies first!" She skips over to the large glass bowl containing ten thousand slips of paper, twenty eight of them containing Mylar's name.
Nitya plucks a slip from the top and reads it aloud. "District One, your tribute for the 35th Hunger Games is… Gemie Topaz!"
I close my eyes and breathe deeply, counting in my head. One… Two… Thr—
"I volunteer!" Mylar's voice echoes around the town square, and I open my eyes to see her striding confidently up to the stage. It's go time.
Nitya selects a boy—Sylk Reynolds—and I quickly thrown my arm in the air, avoiding Mylar's questioning eyes. "I volunteer!"
The crowd parts, allowing me easy access to the stage, and I climb the stairs, still avoiding Mylar's glare. I still have to figure out what I'm going to say to her when she asks why I volunteered!
Nitya hold my hand in the air and asks me, "What's your name?"
I respond, "Gilt Wonder," and Nitya addresses District One.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… your tributes!"
They go nuts, excited by the prospect of finally having a winner, and I take the time to subtly look over at Mylar. She appears to be calm, confident, and deadly, but I know her well enough to know that she is confused and angry at me. She looks over at me and our eyes meet.
I flash a smile at her, unsure of what to do. She shoots me a quick confused glance, and I mouth I'll tell you later in her direction. She turns back, satisfied, and I continue waving and blowing kisses to the crowd. I will win this.
A/N: I spent three hours writing this chapter, I hope you will spend three seconds writing me a review! It makes me want to write three times as fast!
Because of the messing around with the chapters, it might not let you review, so you can review anonymously, or PM me if you want. I'm afraid it will be like this for about four chapters, but then it will get back to normal.