Sorry that it's late. Hope you enjojy
Disclaimer: I do not own THe Huner Games.
Dinner was quiet. No one was willing to talk about what happened in the private sessions. Everyone knows that the two sixteen year olds asked to be trained separately. Then:
"So, what did you show them? What did you use?" Katniss asks. Septa stood suddenly and stalked out of the room. Lin shook his head.
"Typical of her." He thought, thinking of Katniss. "Is she playing favorites this year or is she just stupid at the moment."
"I showed off my new sword skills. They seemed impressed. I wonder what Septa did. I heard something clatter to the floor." Lin had to bite his tongue. He knew what she had done.
"Where did she spend most of her time?"
"Katniss" Lin said warningly. It was against the rules to get information on tributes from other tributes.
"What? No one is going to know. Besides, she won't tell me anything."
"Joel, go to your room. Someone will come for you when we get ready to watch the scores." Joel hurried out of the room followed by the two stylists. Lin turned to Katniss. Her eyes were narrowed and she was shooting daggers at him.
"The reason she won't tell you anything is because she does not trust you. I have seen you trying to earn her trust."
"I am trying to keep her alive."
"She asked to be trained separately. Yet, you ask, when both of them are sitting in the same room, what they did today in the private sessions. That does not keep her alive? What she did, what she can do, she wants to keep secret from Joel. Or did you not notice the heaviness in the air the other day? If you want to keep her alive, stop it."
"Who are you to tell me how to mentor my own tributes?" Katniss finally yelled. "You have not had to watch them die year after year!"
"Yes I have!" Lin roared. "You did not see me, but I was watching! I watched them all! For the past twenty five years! I have watched every single one die! Like giving a lion a lamb!"
"How much did you mentor them? Answer me that!"
"As much as you! Where do you think all the sponsors came from?" Lin responded harshly. Katniss didn't respond. He stood up and followed the others out of the room, leaving Katniss alone.
I stare out my window, angry at Katniss. Why did she do that? She knows that Joel and I want to be trained separately. She knows that. I don't want to watch the scores tonight, but I know I have to. I hear my door open and am about to yell when I notice that it's Lin. I look back out the window.
"I never knew she was like this." He explains. "This is the first time I have actually worked with her." I don't answer and I know he doesn't expect me to. "I'll get you what sponsors I can. But they have to sign the deals with her. I did the same thing for your brothers and all the tributes from Twelve."
"Thank you." I whisper.
"So, what did you do? Joel mentioned he heard some sort of clatter." I smirk.
"I did what I do best. I was a smith. The clatter was the blade falling from the top of the weight."
"They had hammers?" I nod.
"I don't know who else saw them or used them, but they were there. No one used them during training. And I threw a knife into a dummy on my way out."
"Feisty one, aren't you." I shrug and grin.
"I had their attention, that's for sure."
"I know you did. Now come on. They will be showing the scores in a few minutes."
I get off my bed and follow him into the sitting room. The others are already there. I sit on the loveseat next to Lin. Katniss sits in a chair by herself while Joel, Rynna, and Vian sit together on the couch. Katniss turns on the TV and we all watch in silence. The tributes from One, Two, and Four all receive scores in the eight to ten range like I expected. The others get scores ranging from five to seven. One girl gets a three. But this could just be a trick so the rest of us forget her. Joel receives an eight. I hold my breath. It's my turn. My picture appears on the screen. I don't blink. Then, in glowing gold numbers, the number twelve appears on the screen. We sit in silence. Not only do I have the highest score of this pool of tributes, I also have one of the highest in history. Only two others have scored a twelve before. It was twenty-five years ago to the second, at the third Quarter Quell. Lin gives my shoulder a squeeze. Katniss looks at me, a strange light in her eyes. She stands so swiftly I actually question if she was even sitting down and grabs my arm and drags me out of the room. She doesn't let go until we have gone through another door and are standing outside.
"What did you do?"
"None of your business." I retort.
"Why don't you trust me with your secrets?"
"Because they are my own! Just like my heartache is my own!"
"What did you do?"
"What I do best." I say. "If you haven't figured it out yet, then you are more Capitol than I thought." I storm back through the door and to my room. The nerve of her. After everything, just because I met her score, she thinks I am going tell her my strength. I am never going to do that. No one will ever know. Who knows, I might end up back in the arena one of these years.
He lay in the dark and thought about his fellow tribute. "Why is she being so secretive? Doesn't she trust us?" He knew the answer to that. She trusted everyone except for their mentor. "But then why doesn't she trust me? What could be her talent? She didn't spend much time with the weapons. And she rose through the hand-to-hand combat weights quickly. Where does her strength come from?" The images of her drawing that he had seen the other day. He dismissed it. Drawing wouldn't get her a training score of twelve. "So what did she do?" He whispered. He lay there some more before finally deciding he wouldn't be able to sleep. He got up and went into the hallway. He was going to talk to Septa. He was about to knock when he felt someone behind him.
"What are you doing?" He turned. It was her.
"I wanted to talk to you." She shook her head and walked past him. Her brown hair floated as she did and then she was gone. He frowned and was about to knock when he thought better of it. He walked back to his room and sat by the window. He couldn't get past the way she looked at him. Under the fire, he could see her fear and her sorrow. "Is she sad that I may die? Or is she truly hoping she is not the one to have to kill me?"
I wait at the table for the others to get in. I wasn't able to sleep much last night and had been awake when the sun rose. We get one day to practice for the interviews. I am not looking forward to spending half a day with Katniss. Though, what she has to teach me, I have no idea. They come in about seven-thirty and I refuse to look at Katniss. Joel sits next to me and Lin and Katniss sit across from us. "What's the plan?" I ask, skipping the pleasantries.
"We practice for the interviews." Katniss answers. "You will each spend half a day with both of us."
"Joel," Lin says, "you'll be with me first." I hide a smirk. Lin knows how to keep me calm and can get me into a better mood if Katniss ends up making me angry with her constant prying into my talents. Lin looks at me with knowing eyes. I don't say it, but he knows I am thankful.
As soon as we are done, Katniss leads me to her room and hands me a long dress, similar to what I wore for the Opening Ceremonies. I change and then she hands me a pair of heels. I sigh and put them on without complaint. When I look up, I see she is in a similar dress and heels, though, she doesn't look happy to be in them. She takes me through how to walk in the heels, making sure I don't pull my dress up above the ankle. She's not harsh when I do, but she does make a cutting remark about it and my mood darkens a little. Once I have mastered the walking, she instructs me on the proper way of sitting in the Capitol. My comments I made on the train come back. She is Capitol, not District. Finally, it is noon and I am able to change back into my pants and shirt.
"Septa," she says as I am about to walk out. I stop.
"Never mind." I walk out, not caring about what she has to say. I eat a quick lunch and then meet up with Lin in the sitting room. I sigh, relieved not to have to worry about Katniss for the time being. I notice Lin looking at me.
"What?" I ask, though not as harshly as I did with Katniss.
"I'm trying to figure out your angle. You are regal, yet also mysterious. You are not shy and you took your place on stage without the threat of tears. How do we present you? Tell me how you got that wonderful score?" He asks suddenly and I know what he is doing.
"That is my secret." I say slyly. He smirks.
"What is your occupation in District Twelve, Miss Águila?"
"Sorry, I cannot say that either." I earn another smirk.
"Well, well, well, that's a good start, Septa. Though, what are you going to do if Caesar asks about your family? Your name is being whispered as being recognized. There are suggestions that you are the last of a family to have come to the Games."
"I will tell the truth. I will tell them that I am the last of my family to come here. That the rest of my family is dead. And when it comes to my parents, when they ask, I am going to tell them that they died two weeks before the Reaping."
I adjust the skin tight dress as I step out of the elevator. It shows off too much of me, I think. It shows too much curves that I had not been aware of before. Not to mention that the neckline is far lower than I am comfortable with. I get the feeling that the dress was Lin's idea, trying to get me more sponsors. I get into line and make sure my hair is coming forward over my right shoulder. Rynna had that idea since she saw how uncomfortable I was with only having one strap to hold the dress on me. I try not to dwell on what is pinned to the strap. It is the Capitol Seal. I try to think of it as another part of my family history, the coming to the Capitol. I have gold designs stenciled all over me with a little bit of gold glitter on my face. I keep myself from touching my back. The only piece of material there is the strap going from my right up to my left shoulder. With my hair over my shoulder, my back is exposed and a gold eagle has been drawn there for the crowd when I return to my seat.
I take a deep breath as we walk single file onto the stage and to our seats. I watch as Caesar Flickerman walks onto the stage. He has dyed his hair gold for these Hunger Games. I think back to the weapons I had to make and will have to use. So, there is a theme this year, and I end up being part of it in my golden dress and designs and glitter. I watch as each tribute goes up, playing some sort of angle. None of them have my angle, I know. I may have a very slimming dress, but none of them are mysterious the way I am. Then I am being called up. A hush settles over the crowd as I walk to the center stage. I know they are admiring my dress. Caesar shakes my hand and we both sit, me sitting like I have been taught by my mother, which is much preferable than Katniss's method.
"So Septa, that is an astounding dress."
"Yes, Rynna has done a wonderful job, don't you all agree." The crowd cheers in approval.
"Tell us about this." He says, pointing at my pin.
"It is actually connected to what I wore in the Opening Ceremonies. It was my family who gave the gold to the miners. Now I am representing when my family came to live in the Capitol for a time." This stuns the crowd and they are speechless. I hide a smirk. No one knew this.
"It is interesting that you bring up your family. Your name, particularly your last name, has been buzzing around the city since you got here."
"Really? Well, I don't think it should be surprising." I say, playing up the mysterious angle now.
"Yes, why don't you tell us?"
"I suppose I could. The whole story would be too long, but I am the last in my family to return to the Capitol. My three brothers and my little sister all came here before me." The City Circle is silent. Caesar cannot think of anything else to say. No one expected me to say this. Caesar glances to his left and then looks at me.
"Have any of your family gotten a score such as yours?"
"No." I say and it's the truth. None of them have gotten higher than a ten or eleven.
"So how did you get yours?"
"Caesar!" I admonish almost flirtingly. "You should know better than that." The crowd starts laughing at his expense. "Just know that it is what I do best." I say right before the buzzer goes off.
"We are out of time. Best of luck, Septa Águila, tribute from District Twelve." He helps me off my seat and I walk back to my chair. Immediately, I hear a collective gasp as the eagle on my back is exposed and then the clapping. I look at Lin and Rynna once I have sat down. They both nod approvingly. I know I have a chance. I am barely paying attention all through Joel's interview and dinner. It's not until I am watching my own interview that I am paying any attention. I have the audience hooked since I stand and walk to Caesar. Then I see the eagle on my back. It's not painted on or even stenciled. Why didn't I feel it? I know that it will never come off. And I don't want it to. It is me. I have a chance. I have made myself unforgettable. Rynna accompanies me to my room and helps me out of the dress and then takes it with her. I fall asleep quickly, eagles, large and small, flying in and out of my dreams.
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