Disclaimer: I unfortunately do not own the Hunger Games. All the characters that have been presented are not mine, they are the property of Suzanne Collins and her publishers.
"Katniss, Katniss! Miss Katniss," the voice echoes through the hollows of the stone plated walls. I know eventually I will have to leave the closet, if I go missing for too long and I'm not with Gale, they will fear that I have been captured or that my generally reckless behavior has resulted in my getting hurt. A search party would have to be constructed, and honest citizens would be forced out of loyalty to take their tired hands from their work and search the neighboring woods for a sign of where I had gone. I can't force anybody to miss a day's work, I know that, no sense in taking food from the mouths of children. It wouldn't be fair.
A lot of things aren't fair though. It isn't fair I had been born the eldest daughter of the reigning monarch of our small country, Seam. It isn't fair that I am unable to take my father's place upon his death, simply because I has the unfortunate stroke of being born female. It isn't fair that my mother had slipped herself a sliver of nightlock juice in an attempt to escape the prison of her head. But what I have come to learn from my place in this world is that life isn't fair.
Leaning my head against the aged wood of the closet I am currently inhabiting, I tenderly stroke the crisp lines of marble floor. They seem to mock me with their effortless perfection. Is that it? Do the floors mock me with their perfect straight lines, their near imperfection? It's a silly thought, but nonetheless it's true. No matter how much life chips away at me, I will never be as perfect as the marble floor.
Letting out a sigh and briefly cursing the names of my forefathers under my breath, I call out from the closet, "I'm here. I'm here."
When the heavy wooden doors of the closet open, light seeps into my little corner with a near forceful nature. The wiry housemaid lifts her hands in a cry of joy as I crawl out of the closet, ignoring the rip my dress makes as the red silk catches onto a nail. Great, I think, that's the third dress I've ripped this month.
"Miss Katniss, we have been looking all over for you," she says, "There is a very important guest here and your father has requested your presence in the throne room as soon as you can be made presentable."
"Of course," I mutter as I follow the housemaid out of the chamber and into the hallway. As she guides me wordlessly to the bedchamber, I wonder what type of guest could possibly cause my father to request my presence in the throne room. Usually, when the King calls me to meet guests, often a visiting scholar or an old friend, we met in the more casual drawing room. The throne room tends to be reserved for meetings with stuffy foreign dignitaries and other, more important, people.
I can only hope that the visitor is one of my father's relatives, or perhaps a friend that Gale has made on his recent journeys to the East. Gale, my cousin and the heir to my father's throne, is a close childhood friend of mine. One day he will rule the country, with me at his side. It has been accepted over the years that we will marry when the time comes. It isn't official of course, that will have to wait, but it has been accepted amongst the nobles. There has never been anything significant between us, but I know Gale thinks kindly of me. But for the moment, we are nothing more than friends. Unlike the rest of the noble girls, I have never had the patience for embroidery, nor the excitement for fine dresses. Much to the protest of my mother, I prefer to spend my time with Gale riding horses, attending hunts in the surrounding forest, or engaging in spars and sword fights. In great part due to this, Gale and I have been natural companions since birth. Eventually, it would become necessary for the two of us to become more, but for the time being this was fine enough for me.
The housemaid slips a dainty silver dress over my head. It is an elaborate dress, a silver fabric with a floral embroidered front piece. I have only worn the dress once, during the last holiday season. Why they would put me in this dress, I don't know. No guest that I can think up would be fitting of the ensemble.
"Is this really necessary? Can't I just wear the blue silk?" I ask the maid, eying the dress dubiously.
The woman looks up at me with a weary expression, "I'm sorry, Miss Katniss. I've been given strict instructions to dress you in these fineries."
I sigh, allowing her to continue fixing the dress on my body. I wouldn't usually go along with something like this, but I know it is the woman who will suffer if I refuse to comply.
The dress hangs lower than most of my others, allowing the tops of my bosom to be viewed. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, if not hesitant about what is to come. My father would never force me to wear a dress like this without reason. It is only then, when the dress is laced and my soft brown hair is fixed up that I realized how important a meeting this must be. By the time the guards come to fetch me, I'm practically shaking in apprehension.
When the guard, decked in silver and rich brocade, open the door to the throne room, the tension in my body only heightens.
Cautiously stepping into the room, I look out into the grandeur. The walls are covered in thousands of tiny stones depicting the country's history, stories telling my family's past. My king and father sit on the plush red velvet of the gold plated throne. His usually sparkling grey eyes meet mine with only dull sorrow as he glances back at the man who must be the visitor. The visitor is quite obviously handsome, if I must admit it. A bit familiar too, with blonde hair slicked back and blue radiating eyes. He has a dominant presence, hands casually placed on the left side of the throne, in a manner that makes my family's prized possession seem worthless. He must be in his early twenties or late teens from what I can tell. Maybe as old as Gale. He is certainly wealthy in background, his clothes rich in a way that makes my father's finest look like a commoner's rags.
"Katniss," my father speaks up, forcing me to break my eyes from the blue eyed visitor.
"Yes, father," I reply to him, my tone cold and respectful.
"This is King Peeta of the great country of Panem," my father's breath is shaky, "Daughter, he has come from Panem to request your hand in marriage in exchange for protection and wealth for our country."
Author's Note: It should be noted that this chapter is very rough (and there are probably a few grammatical errors). I wrote this in a couple of hours in the middle of the day. I intended on making this chapter longer than it is (I already have the next two thousand or so written up) but because of the overwhelming support I received from people I decided to publish the two chapters simultaneously.
This is the first fanfiction I have ever attempted writing. There will probably be a lot of mistakes (tenses, etc. I had to work hard for my grade in English). Thank you for reading!