Author's note: Using prompts from the Caesar's Palace forum. Warnings for violence, bondage and incest.
Innocence is never lost; it is always taken.
1. Brutus, prompt: Beast
When you step through the polished, stone archway, past the avox holding back the drape, you forget all but two things. First, she is beautiful. President Snow's daughter is blonde and her curves beckon your hands because she is nothing like the muscled and scowling girls you grew up with at the career academy in District 2.
Second, she wants you. You know she's paid for you, or, her father has, if he even needs to pay, but that doesn't matter to you. Seeing her sprawled on her bed, with her golden hair dangling over the edge like a waterfall, you count yourself lucky, and think that maybe, you should be the one paying for the privilege of her company.
You start to tell her that's how you feel, and your tongue tangles around itself and your words don't make it past your lips. But she smiles and beckons. You'd go anywhere for that look and she knows it too. But you don't mind that.
There haven't been many girls before her; it wasn't encouraged at the career academy, when a girlfriend might turn to an enemy after the reaping, but you're so eager to please her that you do your best.
Straddling her, you try to be as gentle as you can, but she doesn't. Her fingernails dig into your back, threatening to open scars from the arena that are barely healed. You don't notice when you start bleeding again, because she pushes you off, onto your back and wraps her pale thighs around your hips.
And she rides you, hard. With your head jolting on the pillow, you try to tell her she's amazing but she cuts you off and you realize it's the first time she's spoken and her voice isn't what you imagined.
"Shut up, don't ruin it." Her voice is cold, like her father's.
But you don't really start to think about that until she's done but you're not quite. She rolls off and stretches out on the bed, letting her breathing return to normal. You wonder if you can slip to the ensuite to finish off, but when you start to move, her fingernails on your shoulder stop you. This time, you do feel the pain.
After half an hour of trying to concentrate on anything but the pressure in your groin, she straddles you again and lets you finish, but only after you've made her screw up her eyes and curl her toes in ecstasy. And it isn't even that good for you. You've had better with Lyme, behind the sprint track when you were meant to be packing up markers.
When it's over, really over, you slide yourself closer to her and slip an arm around her shoulders, because it feels the right thing to do. She stiffens and shoves you away, so hard that your newly reconstructed skin bruises.
She looks you up and down, "We're done here."
2. Johanna, prompt: Cruel
You're trapped. His bulk is heavy on your chest and it makes it hard to breathe. There's a hundred and fifty pounds of fine wines, rich seafood and dark chocolate pressing down on you, and he smells like sour grapes.
With your eyes open, it's bad; you can see sweat on his brow and the pale folds of his stomach and the coarse black hair that scratches your skin. You can see his face, with mouth twisted in savage pleasure and you hate it. But it's easier to keep your eyes closed as he thrusts violently and your head rocks. You feel like a doll that's being shaken by a dog.
Whatever you do, you can't block out his voice. Mostly, it's little grunts, like a sated pig, except he's not dining on slops; he's taking you, in a way that nobody else has before and suddenly you realize, truly, that he has no right to touch you.
You'd saved yourself for the boy whose father ran the sawmill. Now, you've giving everything to the gamemaker in charge of the cameras. Well, you're not really giving it, because giving implies a choice.
Even his hands are sweaty and clammy when he reaches forward to caress your breast. It just hurts, and you nearly slap his hand away.
"You like that, darlin?" he pants.
And this the moment that you regret for the rest of your life. Because you tell him no. You follow your 'no' by shoving both hands into his chest as hard as you can. But it's like shoving a dead weight and he doesn't give an inch. The gamemaker laughs, yes, laughs in your face, even though you're a victor and you've killed four children.
Of course you struggle; you have to finish what you started now, but he's the one who wrenches your wrists up above your head and holds them there while he finishes. After, he relaxes on top of you, and you can't do a thing about it but lay there and try to breathe, and try to ignore the raw feeling and the blood between your legs. But that's nothing to the gnawing fear that's building in your gut.
"I'm…I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that," you whisper, and the words burn your lips like acid, because he's the one who shouldn't have dared to touch you, shouldn't have dared to buy you like a lamp, or a fine dinner.
He grins nastily and reaches for his phone, already dialing the president's personal number. "Bit late for apologies, darlin."
3. Cashmere, prompt: Nurture
When they tell you what's going to happen tonight, when your escort explains what the pale, white envelope and the wax rose seal mean, there is only one person you can talk to. Really, there's only even been the one person.
Your brother has shared everything with you, even the womb. Maybe things changed a little, maybe he grew a bit colder when he volunteered for the games a year early, so you could do it when you were eighteen. But then, after you won, maybe you were a little cold too, and you matched again.
When you were younger, you were so much alike that if you hid your long hair under a cap, you could pretend to be Gloss, and even the trainers at the career academy wouldn't look twice.
You find him where you know he will be; on the roof garden, because it's the one place that the frantic Capitol photographers find it hard to get to. For a moment, you've struck by his beauty as he stands among the camellias and the rhododendrons.
"You got your first letter," he says.
"You've got to help me, please." You're desperate.
"What can I do?" he spreads his hands.
You don't quite have the words to ask what you want, because you know it's wrong. But then, what's going to happen to you tonight, that's wrong too. Just a different kind. So you stretch up on your toes and you kiss your twin for the first time, but god, it feels so right. It feels like you've done it a thousand times.
Gloss' hands on your shoulder, pushing you away, feels like falling.
"Please, Gloss, please," you whisper, "I don't want to be a virgin tonight."
And then your brother kisses you back, just as hard as you kissed him and touching his body is nearly like touching your own. You feel like you're made for each other, and you've never felt so complete as that afternoon, laying on the turf and the crushed flower petals.
Buying love with a check is abhorrent, but this, this is an expression of your love, and you know that nobody could take care of you better than Gloss. By the time he finishes with you, you're not sure how anyone could think this was wrong.
4. Gloss, prompt: Livestock
He runs his hand over your cheek and his nails, teal this year, make you shiver. So does the feel of the cool, polished wood of the table against your bare chest. Your back hurts, but you can't stretch it out, and you can hardly move your head.
The ropes chafe your wrists, and you try not to move them too much, but you're losing circulation, the same with your ankles too. But that's the least of your worries. Bent over the small table, your wrists are tied to the legs, and so are your ankles. It forces you spread your legs, and you can't even move, can't even fight back because you're trussed up like an animal sent to slaughter, like livestock.
It might be a tiny bit easier, you think, if you could at least see him, and know when to brace yourself, but you can't raise your head off the table because the ropes pull your arms so tightly out in front of you.
You didn't think Caesar Flickerman was a sadistic man. You thought that maybe he was better than some in the Capitol, when he joked with you on stage, and didn't laugh too much when your voice slipped an octave deeper than it should have been.
Behind you, you can hear him moving, but the sting of the whip across your bare backside burns worse than a cut with a knife. It elicits a sharp cry from you, but at least for the next one, you manage to grit your teeth and only whimper.
The next blow lands on your back, and the one after that on your shoulders. You can hear Caesar grunt every now and then with the effort, but soon you loose track of such small sounds under your own choked sobs. You wish you weren't crying, but at least you're not begging yet.
You wonder if that's what he wants.
By the time he lays the whip down on the table by your head, you're almost glad you're still tied to the table, because there's no way you could get through what he does next if you had to stand on your own two feet.
An hour or two into the night, you pass out.
5. Mags, prompt: Formation
It's not your fault, but you're the one who gives the gamemakers the idea that will be the undoing of so many victors, and the undoing of some of your friends too. There hasn't been a victor like you before.
Three strong boys have won, and a girl who was too broken even to give an interview, but you're the first one who incites these levels of lust in the Capitol. They'll do anything to get a piece of you, after they saw you swimming naked in the river in your arena, then perched on a rock like a mermaid, using your own hair to make fishing line. You looked beautiful and now everyone wants that.
It starts with a cordial invitation to dinner, and in the envelope is a pair of pearl earrings, set with silver. You wear them because it's the right thing to do, and after all, it's only a dinner, isn't it?
It's not. Because you're polite, you go back to his apartment. He's a gamemaker, one of those responsible for your own arena and you compliment him on it because you don't know what else to say. He hangs a pearl necklace around your throat and his hands linger on your collarbones until you realize he's slipping off the straps of your dress.
When you try to tell him no, he insists that you must pay him back for the gifts. Your hands reach for the clasp on the necklace, but he catches your wrists and holds them firmly.
"It would be rude, to return a gift, didn't your mother teach you that?"
The mention of your mother, your family, is like cold water down your back. The tension in your wrists goes, and you stop fighting him. With difficulty, you force your lips into the semblance of a smile, and direct it to the man who threatens your family.
"Of course," you say, though you feel sick in your stomach and your legs are weak, "I wouldn't want to be rude."
6. Finnick, prompt: Arts
You wrap your arms around yourself, feeling goose-bumps on your skin even though the apartment is warm. Your clothes lie in a pile on the floor where you dropped them when he told you to undress.
You know you shouldn't be standing there, shivering, and unable to meet his gaze because you're a victor now. But this isn't what victors are meant to do, is it? They're promised peace, safety, riches, not that you did it for those; someone had to volunteer for your brother, because even though he's older than you, you know he wouldn't have survived the games. He's too good.
Mags told you to act confident as you stepped into the sleek, black car outside the tribute tower, but it's all you can do now to stop yourself visibly shaking. And you're not even sure you've succeeded there, especially when he's watching you so closely, the man who paid to have you here.
"Finnick, put your clothes back on, please," Cinna says quietly.
"Wh-what?" you stammer, terrified you've done something wrong.
He seems to understand that and smiles so gently that it makes you blush, and wonder maybe, if he's a good person, even though he's paid for your body. "It's okay, you haven't done anything wrong, you're beautiful, Finnick. Come to the kitchen when you're done dressing."
Nervously, you take a seat at the long, marble counter and avoid meeting Cinna's eye. Looking down at your hands seems easier, or the bowl of fresh fruit halfway down the bench, even though you can't name most of it.
Cinna offers you a hot drink, and you accept because you don't want to offend him, and it's nice to wrap your hands around something warm and solid. Hot chocolate is one of the few things you've come to enjoy in the Capitol.
You know he's watching you, but for some reason, it doesn't make you feel uncomfortable now, the way the cameras do, or your stylist. Tentatively, you raise your eyes and smile at him, quickly rubbing the frothed milk off your lips.
"You're fifteen, aren't you Finnick?" Cinna asks. "God, that's so young."
"Don't…don't you want me to….?" You can't quite finish the sentence, and you can't hold Cinna's gaze either.
"No, no it's okay. I don't know what I was thinking….fifteen…." Cinna shakes his head, and you see he's angry at himself, not at you. "Maybe you wouldn't mind letting me just sketch you, with your clothes on?"