The ride to the train station is very short. Effie sits in the front seat, rambling on something about the, privilege it is to be chosen as a tribute. And all the wonderful things you get to do. And how nice they make the conditions, on the train, and the training center. I don’t pay much attention. Katniss is sitting across from me, she sits there gazing out the window.

I can only imagine putting myself in her mind right now.

What about prim? Will I have to kill people? Of course I have to kill people it’s the hunger games. How will I play the game? What if know one sponsors me?

I wonder if I’m in her head right now.

Of course not. I’m just the boy who was picked in the reaping ball. Ill kill him later, and I will become one step closer to wining.

NO.I refuse to think of her that way. She has a heart, and even is she has to kill me. I don’t think she’s counting the ways she could, at the moment, at least.

I’m still shocked by Gales earlier confession, but hardly surprised. He spends most days with her. It’s hard not to fall in love with her. I wonder if she knows. She might even feel the same. I don’t know why but I feel jealous of him. But I’ve never even spoken to her.

Her eyes are dry as district 13. I wonder if she’s holding back tears, or just naturally is okay with he situation. No, it has to be her strategies. She wants to appear strong, and collected. I however can see my reflection, in the window, its clear I’ve been crying. My cheeks are puffy, my nose is red, my eyes are teary, and I can see the trail the tears have left on my skin, there’s not point in erasing them. Let them see I’m sad. That I don’t want to play there games.

When the car stops, and Effie finally stops too. We step out and we stand for a minuet to let the press get there photos. The peacekeepers clear a path though the, press weasels (that’s what I call them now) we are directed to the train. The doors shut with the slightest whisper. Were finally free to be alone. Katniss doesn’t seem frayed, but only when the train starts to move does, she show emotion. She looks surprised and impressed.

But when she is escorted, to what I presume is her room, do I see why she is impressed.

I thought the justice building was fancy. But I’ve never been in a capitol train before.

The floor is made of black marble. The windows have, a gold pattern, of vines, and flowers. The roof is silver. And there is a painting of a woman sitting on her, side I’m not sure if she’s smiling or not. And down the bottom is the word Vinci.

Before I can examine the train lobby any further I’m escorted to my room.

This room is very different to the one back home.

Which I know I will never see again. It has cloths, picked out for me, all very new. The curtains are controlled by voice. Plus there are buttons everywhere that do all sorts of things. Order food, create scents, mood lighting ect. While its all very good and nice, but I cant help but be reminded of a baker, making bread. First you throw all the ingredients together, and then you spend hour’s kneading the bread, softening it into pleasant silk dough. I becomes this beautiful light dough. But after that, you throw it in a burning oven, and watch it cook form the outside in.

That’s us, there fating us up before slaughter.

I have to be ready for dinner in one hour. I go to the closet, ready to pick my outfit, I glace at the mirror next to me. I’m changing, I’m becoming a pawn in there games. Already. I look at the clock. I still have 30 minutes left. I think about playing with all my new gadgets. But I end up just sitting on the foot of my bed.

I’m going to die. I’ve accepted that. But I wish I would die honorably. That on my death bed I know I’ve changed someone’s life, everyone’s life. I wish I could do something to let the capitol know, I don’t belong to them.

At that moment, it hit me. Katniss. She’s the key to everything. Everyone, especially me who knows I cant win this, but katniss. Even my mum said, she has it in her. If I could help her win, somehow, I could provide for my parents, brothers and he whole of district 12. Most importantly, katniss will live. This is the way I will win. By loosing.

Next: how to do that…..

“Time for dinner!”. Effie says from the door. So bright and bubbly. How does she do that?

Just stay happy all the time. I’ll tell you, she’s like know one I’ve ever met.

I walk to the dinning room; Effie sits me down, and asks me to wait there.

She’s must be collecting katniss. I wonder how katniss feels about effies..Bubbly personality, to say the least. She’s not the most, tolerant person katniss.

Katniss enters the room. And gives me a nod\curtsy, to acknowledge me.

I remember reading somewhere. That out ancestors used to greet a woman by kissing the back of her hand. Women would reply with a curtsy. I’m not sure how katniss would react if I were to pursue this particular custom.

She takes he seat across from me. Effie takes a seat a the bottom of two ends of the table

“Where’s Hamich?”. Effie asks brightly

“Last time I saw him he said her was going to take a nap”. I reply.

I don’t really know where he is. But I figure, he’s either sleeping, or he’s passed out on the floor. Either way, he’s not here, and something tells me he won’t make dinner anyways.

“Well its been an exhausting day”. Effie says with a sigh of relief. She obviously doesn’t like him much. Strange, I don’t mind him. Sure, he’s a dead drunk. But he hasn’t rubbed me the wrong way…yet.

The dinner comes in too many courses then I can count.

But even though I’ve never been faced with this much food, with so much variety before. I’m not much interested in eating. I take a few bites here and there. Manly because I need strength for the games. I think the third of fourth course; they bring out a cupcake with the number 12 on it. Obviously to represent our district. I estimate the value of such a cake at home. Its seems like a very simple, chocolate mixture, but the icing, is beautiful. It has a blood purple swirls leading on he side of the cupcake. On the top, has a very deep blue icing, with a thin layer of crystallized sugar, with specs of gold in it. On top is written 12, in a glittering gold. The whole cake sparkles in the light. This would be priceless back home. It sickens me that the capitol, Is so rich to enjoy such foods, and we are left with nothing, especially those at the steam. Katniss seems to be so impressed with the food and can’t get enough. We still have spoken to each other since…well never. Effie, senses what I guess she thinks is and awkward silence, and fills it with a comment, about how its good we use knives and forks, because, no one ever does. Even though its slightly insulting. I let it slide, but katniss seems very offended. I guess her way of showing her anger was to eat the rest of the meal with her hands. Too much has happened today, and were both too suck in our own world, to be in anyone else’s at the moment.

After the meal, the waiters come to collect our plates. I start to collect my plates but Effie shoots me look of disapproval. After a few moments, I allow the waiter to take my left overs. Its strange having them take our food. They brought you the food; it seems only fair that after eating it, you should at least take out plate away. If I were to simply expect mum to pick up my plates after a meal at home. It would surely mean a beating. Mum believes children are brought up to take care of there parents. That’s its not fair or unfair, but simply the circle of life.

We leave the dining hall to go see he recap of the reaping, leaving he servants to clean up.

Effie turn’s on the television, and they show today’s reaping’s… I don’t pay much attention, but there is someone who catches my eye. A boy name Cato, he was reaped for district 2….a career. I notice his mannerisms after he volunteers. He’s very excited, but keeps a tough face. He’s very big, and will be a very difficult contender to keep away from katniss. A plan Is already forming in my head.

I don’t take much notice at the rest of them, although katniss is different. Ever since the reaping, katniss has been, strong, and aloof. But this was different. When a small girl from district 11, is reaped, she looks, sympathetic and concerned. She looks genuinely kind-hearted. But only for a moment, and when its gone she goes back to her hard expression.

Then we come on…last as always.

I notice that katniss, doesn’t look intimidating, or scary. But. numb.

Like nothing maters, but putting one step in front of the other. Much like my strategy.

Me however, looks petrified.

After we watch them all. We turn the TV off, and sit in silence, before Effie finally says. “Your mentor has a lot to learn about presentation and about televised behavior”.

I assume she talking about Haymich’s drunken display. He fumbled on stage, yelled, well just made a fool of himself.

I giggle at the memory. “He was drunk, he’s drunk every year”. I say.

“everyday”. Katniss adds.

We share a perky look.

“Yes”. Effie adds.

Katniss and I burst out laughing.

“How odd you find it amusing. Your mentor is the lifeline to the world during the games, the one who advises you, lines up sponsors and dictates the presentation of your gifts. Haymich can well be the difference between life and death”! Effie says with conviction.

I thought it would be good, to see the difference in Effie. A detour form he usual, chirpy Effie. But this is the first time she’s mentioned the possibility of either of us dieing.

Haymich interrupts my thoughts. By tumbling into the room. “I missed supper?” he slurs

He wrenches forward, and throws up, and proceeds to stumble into it.

Uck! Effie sighs in disgust and walks out the door avoiding, the pile of puke. “so laugh away!”. She stormed.

Katniss and I looked at each other, with nod of obedience.

We both grab one of Haymich’s arms.

“I tripped?” Haymich asks. “smells bad”. He mutters

He puts his hand up to his nose, and smears this puke on his nose.

“let’s get you back to your room, clean you up a bit”. I say, cringing my nose.

We, pretty much drag Haymich up to his room, and place\throw him in the expensive bathtub. I need katniss out of here. And I figure she wouldn’t want to undress an old guy and wash him.

“it’s okay, I’ll take it from here”. I say to katniss with a reassuring smile.

“Alright, I can send one of the capitol people to help you?” she asks.

“No I don’t want them”. I say in a dismissive manor

I don’t want them; here I need to talk to Haymich alone.

Well, after I sober him up. Luckily I’ve had a lot of experience with this.

Katniss leaves. I’m left to deal with him. After years of dealing with my brother, I’ve created my own cure, I call one of the peacekeeper, to get me, a few different types of leaves, and a few other medicines. Once there all here I dismiss the peacekeeper. I take all the ingredients, and put them together and add some water, and force it down his throat. While my little concoction works its magic, I get to work on washing him.

After about an hour, of washing, feeding and pumping coffee into his veins he’s finally sober enough to be coherent. That’s a start. I hand him a rob and he puts it on, and sits on he end of his bed, nursing a hangover. While I sit on a chair across from him carving my name into the wooden coffee table with a butter knife.

“arrgg what happened?” Haymich asks puzzled.

I look up. “Shut up”. I snap.

Haymich looks up for a second, with shock on his face, and open’s his mouth about to speak. “Shut up and listen” I repeat.

He eyes widen, and he puts his coffee down and sits formally, “alright”. He hisses.

Something tell’s me he appreciates this side of me. So I continue.

“I’m going to die. I know that. But katniss, she can win, and I need your help to make her the victor”.

“Okay well-” he begins

“I’m not finished”. I hiss. He’s shock continues.

“so for katniss to win, obviously she needs to be the last one left, so my plan is to be the second last one, and kill myself so she’s remaining. So all though the games I will protect her from the careers. So what I need from you is to tell me how, to play it, and to teach me skills to do so”. I spill

He sits there silent.

“You can talk now”. I give him permission

“What’s your angle”? He asks to my surprise.

“What do u mean”.

“What’s in it for you, she wins and you die”. He asks suspiciously

He’s got me. I try to cover it up.

“Well….I…want my..Brothers..Tooo get food, and live well for a year”. I stammer. I’m blushing now.

“My my my. Someone has a crush on a fellow tribute”. He boasts.

“My feelings for her don’t matter”. I say strongly, hoping that the redness on my cheeks has faded. by the look on his face, I know I hasn’t. so I approach him, and lock my eyes on his.

“Your wrong boy”. He sands up and talk me into the wall.

“Your feelings for her mean everything. So what are you wiling to do to save her?”.

My back is too the wall. And he’s standing very close to be. I can smell the coffee on his breath. I’m determined to win. I hold his gaze, and clench my jaw, and take a step forward, forcing him back.

“I will die for her”. I confess

“ do you love her”. He says, trying to break me. I will not back down

“ yes”. I reply

“ are you pre-pared to do anything?” he asks.

“yes, I will die for her”. I repeat

He turns around and walks around the room. “ yes yes I know, you will die for her, yada yada yada, what I’m asking is, are you willing to do anything to help her win?”.

“yes”. I reply.

“Even if it means that you die with hatred in her heart for you”. He asks.

We wait there in silence, for an answer.


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