There was this one time when I was swimming out in the pond that is in the woods. It was when I developed my second legacy of breathing underwater. I was swimming when I began to feel lightheaded. I ended up at the bottom of the small lake, unable to breathe and gasping for air.

That is how I feel now. Breathless. As soon as I see Prim's duck tail sticking out from her shirt, I am zapped back to reality. I force myself to breathe again. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Once I have succeeded in actually living again, I rush to save Prim.

She is my little sister, and I must protect her. I won't let her die in the games. I reach her just before she is about to mount the steps. Effie Trinket is motioning her to move a bit quicker. In one fail swoop of my arm, I pull Prim behind me and in a strangled voice cry out, "I volunteer! I volunteer as Tribute!"

"No!" Prim cries, "No!"

I turn to face her just as Blade picks her up and carries her off, Prim screaming and kicking.

The realization of what I have done sinks in and all I can think about now is winning. Survival. So I clear my face of all emotion and walk up the stairs and onto the stage where everyone can see me. My breathing in steady and the thought of the Games beats through my head.

"I-I see we h-have a volunteer," Effie Trinket says, shocked. I don't think District Twelve has ever had a volunteer. There is suppose to be some special way for this, like asking for volunteers and shit, but I don't think anyone cares about that anymore.

"What's your name?" Effie is asking me.

"Marina. Everdeen." I say.

"Well I bet my buttons that was your sister!" Effie says, cheery again. I nod in response. "Don't want her to steal all the glory, do we?" She tries to make a joke of my volunteering, but no one is laughing. Effie turns back to the crowd. "Lets give Marina Everdeen a round of applause."

No one makes a sound. Not a single clap. It happens as if it were planned. Almost everyone in the square puts their three fingers to their lips then rises it in the air. A sign of respect in District Twelve. I feel my eyes begin to water and I force myself not to cry.

Effie Trinket seems a bit stunned at the sight, but she tries to keep the ball rolling. "Now for the boys!" She says, walking over to the other reaping bowl. She doesn't bother digging through, and instead, picks up one from the very top. Walking back to the podium, she opens the paper and calls out the name. "Joseph Mellark!"

No. Not him. Not Joseph Mellark. Not the one boy who I have crushed on for years.

I see him in the crowd, a shocked expression on is face. He doesn't even try to mask his emotions as he makes his way to the stage.

When he reaches the spot next to me, Effie makes us shake hands. His are somewhat sweaty but warm, and he gives me a reassuring squeeze. I don't know why though, he is the one who should be reassured, not me. But I catch a glimpse of myself in the screens and I look terrified. I guess trying to hide my expression just brought it out more.

The mayor reads the treaty that is read every year at the reapings, and then me and Joseph are led into the Justice Building. We are taken to separate rooms, to say good bye to our loved ones, because at least one of us is not coming back.

The room I am taken to is small, and only has one red velvet couch. My first visitor is Adele. At first, we just sort of stand there, as if we were having some telepathic conversation. But we aren't. I finally speak up.

"I'm sorry," I say, barely autibly.

"Shhh," Adele hushes me as she rushes to me and embraces me. "It's not your fault,"

I am on the verge of crying, and a tear escapes. Adele steps back a moment and, wiping away the tear, says, "Don't cry, Marina. You have to be strong. You have to win this."

I know exactly what she means. But we can't say it aloud. I must win because I am a Number. I have to live so that Lorien will live again. My destiny is set in stone. And me being reaped is just a way of life shoving it in my face. Marina, You have neglected your fate. You have forgotten why you still live. And now you have to remember, now you have to survive, because you are a Number.

I nod my head. "I will try," I whisper.

"You have to win," Adele repeats.

"But how?" I ask. "I can't just kill people! I-I don't want to take another Loric life!"

"I can't tell you how you can win, just that you must. For Lorien. You have to kill a few Lorics to save the whole Loric race. I'm sorry. But you have to."

I nod again. And then a peacekeeper is at the door, pulling Adele away. "Marina! Remember who you are. Never forget!" Then Adele is gone. And I am alone.

A few minutes pass and then Prim and Liala are thrown in the room. Prim immediatly wraps me in a hug, her small arms around my stomach.

"Marina..." She sobs into my chest.

"Hey," I say, prying her off me to have her look up at me with teary blue eyes. "Everything is going to be alright."

"Marina?" She says.

"Yeah?" I ask.

"Will you try to come back? For me?"

"Yeah." I say, my voice shaky, "I'll try to win. For you, Prim." I turn to Liala. "You'll look after he, won't you?"

She lets out a half-hearted laugh. "Marina, I'be been looking after Prim for years. So of course she is in good hands."

I let a small smile meet my lips and than thank Liala.

Then their time is up. And soon after, Blade enters. This time, I am the one to hug. If this were any usual time, Blade would push me away and make some joke, but now, he just hugs me back.

"Marina," he whispers into my ear, "You have to win. Prim and Adele need you. And... I need you. Please."

"Okay," I whisper back, the softness in his voice leaving me thinking. "I will try."

He lets go of me and walks to the door to leave. "Blade?" I say. He turns back. "Don't let them starve."

He nods, then leaves.

My last visitor is unexpected. Madge Undersee walks in a sits down. I take a seat beside her.

Her tone is urgent as she begins speaking. "In the games, they allow each Tribute to wear one token from their District."

"Uh, yeah." I confirm.

"Will you wear this?" Madge hands me the golden pin she was wearing earlier. I see now that it is a Mockingjay, in flight, with an arrow in it's claws. The golden circle touches it's wingtips. And I love it.

"Really? You want me to wear this? In the arena?" I ask, still shocked at her asking me to wear her beautiful pin.

"Yes. Please. It is very special to me."

"Alright," I say, taking the pin from her hand.

"Thankyou," she says, and then she rushes out.

I am all alone again. But then peacekeepers come in to take me to the train station. There will be tons on cameras there. So I have to change my image to apear stronger. Because I must win.

I am Marina Everdeen. I am 18-years-old and I am going into the Loric Games. And I will win. Because I am a Number.

Okay. That was the next chapter. Was it any good?

IMPORTANT: After finally coming up with an even better explaination, I have changed afew things in chapter 1. All it is really is that this is the 74th Games, not the 14th... maybe it will make a bit more sense...

On the note of the other characters: I will leave this up to the readers. I can either make this a sad story where the other Numbers are other Tributes in the 74th Games (example: Nine is Cato) but they all die in the end, so that is why it would be sad. OR... I can continue it with only Marina and Eight/Joseph being in the 74th Games (and no other Numbers dying...yay) and just sorta speeding up the first book. Then write a second one (re-right for Catching Fire) and introduce some of the other Numbers that way (Example: Nine is Finnick)... So which will it be? REVIEW and tell me!