Panem's Darling—Chapter 1

A/N: Hello, everyone! After my hit fanfic, Gray Into Brown, I needed some new ideas. Sooo, I'm doing a Hunger Games fanfic! I really hope you like it! It's going to be really fun to do this. I'm adding in some characters and keeping some old ones around. This takes place at the Third Quarter Quell. This is what would've happened if Prim had to go to the Hunger Games instead of Katniss. Enjoy Ch. 1!

Chapter 1: The Gong Sounds

Prim's POV

I'm in my jumpsuit of orange, red, yellow, and black. Flamelike. Perhaps for constant reminders of my sister. It feels unnatural, since I am the Wave. It's almost warm, and my skin tingles at the contact.

Katniss, my mentor, has her arms around me. She smells like grass and cherry. That last part must be from the Capitol showers.

My stylist, Logan, and his girlfriend, Josephine, are teary-eyed. They're normal Capitol people: Logan has blonde hair and blue eyes, Lauren dark hair and dark eyes. She's beautiful and Logan's handsome and they're madly in love. I don't want to say goodbye. They're such wonderful stylists.

My escort, Effie, and my other mentor, Haymitch, stand near each other. Effie's toned down her look: she's dressed in a sea-blue sequined skirt and is wearing a blue wig with a seashell pinned to it.

"I thought you c-could use some s-support," she says through chokes. "Oh, Primrose, you know you can do this. You've t-trained so hard. I can't i-imagine you l-losing."

Peeta, my final mentor, has a face of pure misery. "Prim. I'm so sorry this happened."

"It happened, and that's all we can do," is my reply, my voice shaking slightly. "Thank you all so much for all you've done."

Katniss starts ticking off my abilities. "You're magnificent with a knife. Good with a sword. Don't even go for the bow. You're great with plants, both edible and medicinal. You know how to make salves and other healing junk. You're quite fast and extremely brainy. You can find food easily enough. I've taught you how to hunt, barely, but it'll do. And you can do this, Prim. You can do this."

I nod, my blue eyes gazing intently at Haymitch.

He shrugs, and smiles slightly. "Ian's allied with you. So are both from 4, and both from 11. One from 10. You've got quite a pack going."

"Mm-hmm." My face pries one last piece of advice:

"Stay alive, darling."

And I grin.

My hair is in my "signature" low ponytails that trail in front of my shoulders. Just like Katniss's braid, I have my own hairstyle. And nickname: the Wave. Thanks to Lauren and Logan. They went for the opposite of fire: water. I'm the girl on fire's sister. I'm the Wave. The River. The Dewdrop. Whatever they call me.

Two minutes till I have to climb into the glass tube, rising to my death.

"Primrose," Effie says, regaining her composure, "You're a lovely young spirit who's energetic, vivacious, beautiful, and intelligent. I know you can win this, my dear. You're the sweetest, nicest person on the earth. Oh, sweetie, you can win!" She hugs me daintily, and it's about the most wonderful thing ever. Beyond all the makeup and hairspray and wig-colors, Effie's got feelings and a brain of her own.

"Hey, Prim," Peeta interjects. He hands me a slip of paper. Holding a finger to his lips, he whispers, "Don't open it till you're in the arena. I want you to read it then." Then he clears his throat. "Prim, I know you can do this. You're a medical genius, a plant whiz, and you've got your weaponry down. You're a fast learner; I can't believe you'd never worked with weapons before. I just have one thing to say: don't let your sensitivity and innocence stop you. Don't hold back for the grievously wounded or dead. Don't give yourself up for anyone who you don't care about. Stick with only your true love or your best friend. And always remember: you can't trust anyone once you're in there."

"Thanks, Peeta," I say, and kiss his cheek.

It's Josephine's turn. She's so smart, and her brown hair, up in a ponytail, is gorgeous in the light. Tear streaks line her face. "Prim," she says softly. She's only twelve and she's just a perfect stylist. But she's mad for her boyfriend. "Prim, you're going to win. I know you can. Somehow you'll make it. Just like your sister. I want you to know you're the best model ever and just so nice and my best friend." She places something in my hand. "It's your district token."

It's not a mockingjay. It's not water or anything like that.

It's a pin, though. And it's a pin of a primrose.

I love it. A single tear splashes its silver surface. I wipe the rest away and embrace her, hugging her tightly.

"I'm rooting for you, Wave," she says before dissolving into sobs.

Logan puts an arm around her. "Rose," he says, his locks shining in the light, like his girlfriend's, "you can do this. I—we—know you can. We're with you, one hundred percent. You're a great model and a great person. You're a warrior. And you—got—this." He winks. Typical Logan: always trying to keep things light.

One minute. I can tell Katniss is saving her final good-bye for the end.


"Okay, darling. Advice: find water, find shelter, and don't make fires. Probably not advice: your sister's annoying, but you're not. Thank god for that. She gave me hangovers from just looking at her."

"Shut up, Haymitch, I did not!" Katniss says, laughter somehow creeping into her words.

"Yeah, yeah, sweetheart." He rolls his eyes. "Anyway, darling, I'm gonna get you some sponsors. But you'll need to find your own water and food, too. You're Panem's darling. They'll be begging to sponsor you. More advice: Ian's a good ally, so are both from 4. Be wary of 10. 11, eh, you'll be fine. But watch out for them stinking Careers. God, they're a pain in the—"

"Yes, thank you, Haymitch," Effie says, her tone commanding.

Haymitch holds up his hands in surrender. "All right, Trinket, all right." His eyes meet mine. "Like I said, stay alive." And he actually pats my shoulder. "You're a good kid, Prim."

It's the first time he hasn't called me "darling" since he met me. I hug him tightly, and I can tell he's surprised, but eventually he squeezes me back. "Thank you so much," I whisper in his ear. He smiles sadly.

Thirty seconds.

Katniss starts. I brace myself for words of love, admiration, luck, and preparation.

I do not receive them. Instead I get something much, much better.

My poem. I love poetry. And Katniss found the perfect one for me:

"The stream winds

Cold and


Around the mountain

The mountain that hides

A meadow

A meadow beyond the


It is a


A refuge for life

A refuge for joy

And a

Refuge for


The meadow beyond the


Is a like

A slice



Her voice breaks at the ten second mark, and there are three final words: "I love you."

I repeat them so forcefully. "I love you too."

We hug, and then I'm in the tube.

I take a last look at all of them: Josephine sobbing, Logan comforting her, Peeta waving, Effie crying, Haymitch signaling for me to keep my head up, and Katniss blowing a last kiss.

I do what Haymitch instructed me to do and lift my head up high.

I can imagine the cheers from the Capitol at the sight of me, my eyes at the Cornucopia and my mouth curved in a slight smirk.

A faint breeze ruffles my hair. It's a pleasant temperature, and I can smell pine. All good signs.

Until I open my eyes.

We're by a mountain.

A mountain, of all things!

The area is so rocky; I can hardly believe that it hasn't collapsed. The Cornucopia is perched, almost tauntingly, on a thirty-foot-plateau that is also occupied by a small lake. There are numerous crevices around the plateau. We have to climb up them to reach the golden horn.

I scan the surrounding area. A larger lake to the left; a rocky incline to the right. And smack in the center is a gargantuan mountain. I can't even see the top. I do see loads of pine trees, scattered around in little patches among the rocks. Behind me is a vast area of nothing but rock towers, some hundreds of feet high.

I position myself for the large table of knives that's assorted. Some have dainty-looking edges, some have serrated edges, and one has a wicked looking spiked edge.

I want it.

There are also water bottles, backpacks, apples, and bread thrown around the table. It's the jackpot. I see a large blue backpack that looks ideal. I'm all set to go.


I see Ian instantly. He's on the plate next to me. His dark hair and green eyes are extremely visible here. I smile encouragingly at him. He just kind of gives a "heh" back. I want to take his hand, feel the sparks fly. I want to kiss him and tell him its okay.

But he doesn't love me. So I can't.

I focus on my goal. The knives. The knives, the knives, the knives.


I make sure my feet are planted right and that my breathing is normal. I need to be fast. Thinking quickly, I double-knot my shoelace and wipe my hands on my hair. I need grip, so from out of my pocket I withdraw a little bit of dirt. My fingers brush Peeta's note.




Now I'm ready. All of my senses are on "high". For some extra confidence, I remember my 11 in Training.




You can do this you can do this you can do this


Go Prim you got this


You're intelligent


And ready…


The gong sounds and I'm flying toward the plateau. Instantly finding a place to start, I clamber up. I see the Careers have started too. I have to get there first. I have to. I'm a minute ahead of their pace. I guess that having all that muscle really weighs you down, huh?

In five seconds I'm halfway done. Silently praising the guy at the Rock-Climbing Station in Training, I swing my legs up and over. Thinking so quickly, I grab about thirteen knives (I think), two backpacks, three loaves of bread, five apples, and four bags full of meat, three first-aid kits, two water bottles, and some handkerchiefs. Then I jump off and tear toward the pine tree area.

I'm up a tree before I know it. Katniss did train me well.

I get a bird's-eye view of the Cornucopia/pine tree/lake area. The bloodbath is raging. I hate it. I count them off on my fingers. I watch mutilations, stabbings, impalings, shootings, even a decapitation. I have to close my eyes on that last one.

Finally, it's over.

The Careers have set up camp by the big lake. I see 1 and 2 are part of the pack, but, for some strange reason, so are both from 7 and 8. Huh. They're strange creatures.

Even from my perch, I hear their complaints and yells.

"How did a stupid, dumb little princess of a girl beat us to the good stuff? A little girl!"

I smile. "Little girl". Oh, what idiots. I was there before they were even off their plates! Not really. But I guess after you win, you get pretty cocky.

I open up the backpack, my heart still racing. Everything went down so fast, and I didn't even touch anyone else. Unlike Katniss, who nearly died like three times during the bloodbath.

The backpack is a gold mine.

It's got medicine, a sleeping bag, a winter coat, a water heater, gloves, salt, two bottles of iodine, and, best of all, a compass and complete map of the arena! And—the best part about that—it has a labeled person with each tribute's name that moves when they move.

"Holy CRAP," I say loudly, then cover my mouth. I can't let them hear me. But this is just like the Marauder's Map in Harry Potter. Except this—this is a true Gamemaker's Map. The big G-M.

I can see the Careers, Eleanor and Jeremy from 1 and Maxine and Kyle from 2, by the lake. I can see Cal, Adrianna, Opal, and Jones from 7 and 8 with them. I can see Gregg and Quinn from 4, somewhere by the rocky area I saw to the left. I can see everyone. Including myself. I'm in a tree.

My stomach drops. What if they've copied this map? I'm visible right now if they do. Oh, lord no, lord please no…

I push that thought out of my mind. No. Stop.

But one last time I glance at the map.

For Ian.

And I see him. He's in the same area as me. He's in the Pine Tree Kingdom, as I'm now calling it. He's in a tree, too. I honestly want to jump down and find him. But I'm not going to.

No, that'd be dumb.

One last thing falls out of the black backpack. It's a journal and a pen, clipped together.

My eyes light up. I love to write. This is great! I can keep track of everything. I position my pen. And I write, neatly, on the first page:

This journal belongs to Primrose J. Everdeen—a tribute in the 75th Annual Hunger Games

I turn a page. And I write. I write and write and write.

Hello, Journal. My name's Primrose. If you don't mind, I'd like to be called Prim. And you look like a—hmm. Your name is…oh, how about Elle? I love Elle. It's so beautiful.

It's my first day in the arena. It was terrifying at first, but I beat out the Careers and got so much stuff I don't know what to do with it! Food, medicine, a coat…and a Gamemaker's Map! It's so perfect. Luck is certainly on my side at the moment.

I'm still scared though. So, I thought, you know, if I do die, I'm going to write things down and put things in here, as a legacy. For my sister, Katniss. Of course you know about her…she's the girl on fire and she won the 74th Hunger Games.

For the first day, I'm going to put a pine needle from the tree I'm staying in. It's in the Pine Tree Kingdom. It smells divine.

Also for the first day, if anyone ever reads this, I miss Effie Trinket and her fussy ways right now. She's really lovely. And her outfits are so exciting. I miss you, Effie!



I settle down into my tree.

Maybe I can win these Games.


Just maybe.