The same metallic train and crystalline mirrors; the polished
furniture and the strange people with clueless smile and unnatural faces.
The same sleepless nights and tears on your pillowcase; the
same overwhelming dread in your stomach that knotted with your fear and
settling into a pit of helplessness in the crevices of your bones.
Your trip to the Capitol the second time is quite the same
the second time as it was the first time.
But not entirely.
You see, the second time, you’ve already had your hands
stained with blood, your eyes already tainted with the sight of death and mind
twisted by your own primal instincts.
The second time, you’re not the same girl as you were a few
You’re a diminished version of the girl who once skipped
freely along the shores of the ocean; now you lie on the receding shoreline and
stare at the endless horizon. You no longer hope for a life, for a future, because you know that every
dream can be twisted into a nightmare.
Your smile comes out a little dimmer now; your touch a
little coarser, your words a little sharper.
You look over your shoulder and you sleep with one eye open.
You’re a chipped, cracked, broken version of the girl you
But you must remember, things are different now – and not
just because of your fractured spirit and shaky hands – things are different
because this time, you’re not alone.
You have Ashton.
You have the boy who had the sun in his eyes and sand in his
hair; who had the same calluses on his hands as you, who had the same ghosts in
his bones and demons in his head.
You have the boy who held you close against the roaring
ocean; shielding you from the darkness that crawled into your mind with shaky
hands just like yours.
You have the boy whose half-smile is just as crooked as
yours, who held your hand as the both of you foraged forward together in hopes
of finding something whole again.
And even though the Capitol was insistent on tearing the two
of you down over and over again, you’d still fight for that hope with your
dying breath, Ashton by your side.
In all honesty, you’re not sure if it’s better or worse to
have Ashton with you.
You’re grateful for his arms to bury yourself in at night,
the scent of the ocean clinging onto his skin your anchor to your home – in the
dead of the night, if you lean in close enough to him with your eyes closed,
you can pretend you’re on the shores of the beach and not in some cold bed in
You’re thankful for his hand to encompass your shaking ones;
for his whispered words that banish the fears that overtake your mind on a
But you remember – you always remember – how it’s your
How if it wasn’t for you, he wouldn’t be in this position.
How he volunteered because it was your name
that was called; that you were chosen to die and he followed because it was
You, who he couldn’t lose.
And he tells you, he tells you that it wasn’t your fault – the odds just weren’t in our favour –
but you can’t help but to feel the guilt wash over your system, that it was
your name that drove the both of you to your inevitable death.
It’s not your fault.
The odds weren’t in your favour, but Ashton – Ashton could
have had a life, he could’ve lived.
But he chose death over living, he chose you over living.
You’d do the same for
And you would have, you would’ve jumped to the stage if it
was his name that was called, but it wasn’t it wasn’t his name it was yours and in a way, it was your fault.
You wonder what life would have been for Ashton if he hadn’t
sacrificed himself to protect you, for a girl with voices in her head and blood
on her skin.
What it would’ve been like for him if he had loved another
girl who didn’t have pieces of her drowning in the ocean, lost at sea. If he
had a life without you.
That’s easy, he
says. It wouldn’t have been a life at
You don’t miss it.
You don’t miss the shameful tut tut of the designers when they see your pitiful figure, the
disappointed shake of your escort’s head when you refuse to answer her
questions of did you miss the Capitol as
she tries to prep you for the interviews.
You don’t miss how you don’t recognize yourself in the
mirror when they’re finished with you; how your skin feels dirty after they’ve
scrubbed you down.
They’ve washed away what was left of who you’ve tried to
Days and months and years of trying to piece together the
shards of a broken girl that shattered after the Games, and they break you all
over again in a matter of seconds.
They strip you down and they push you out to a crowd of thousands
that are screaming your name, eyes hungry for your blood on a screen.
Ashton wears the mask that he’s constructed so carefully –
the one that he’s built specially for the Capitol with the dimpled grin and
carefree eyes, but you think you’re the only one who sees the crack in his
hazel orbs, who can see the shaking fingers that he hides from the crowd.
When they wheel the both of you out on the carriages, he’s
smiling and waving and he has the crowd wrapped around his finger; people
throwing flowers and screaming his name.
They’re too busy looking at the golden boy to notice the
small, mousy girl behind him.
But he wraps his hand around yours and it gives you the
strength to stand up tall despite being paraded around for thousands to see the
cracks that line your smile.
The Opening Ceremony is a torture in itself – President Snow
staring down at you from his podium with a snake grin as he announces welcome, my dear victors, his cold eyes
And you hate it.
You hate how he was
the one to put you through hell and back – to condone it, to construct it – and to watch with a smile
as it plans it out for a second time despite his hollow promises.
You hate how he was the one responsible for your shaking
knees, for the nightmares that haunts you when you’re awake and when you’re
sleeping – and worst of all, you hate how he stands above you while you’re
forced to look up.
You start to shake, but no longer out of fear – your hands
are trembling violently out of anger for the injustice.
Ashton can feel the sudden change in you; the way your eyes
narrow and teeth grit, how your shoulders tense and fingers shake before
He reaches for your hand as Snow talks and rubs his fingers
against your knuckles soothingly, his hazel eyes calming your raging ones when
you turn to look at him.
He mouths the word soon,
but you’re not sure what he means.
His hand squeezes yours, and it gives you a flicker of hope.
He tells you.
He takes you to the rooftop – we can’t let anyone hear us – and you can see all of the Capitol
glimmering below you.
You wonder how many families are in the glowing windows
tonight, watching the shows that narrate the upcoming Hunger Games with your
face and Ashton’s flashing across the screen.
You wonder how many children are in those richly furnished
houses, well fed and laughing while your people back at home are starving and
huddled over the screen in the middle of the market, crying when they see how
unfairly portrayed you are to the world.
How they make it seem as if it was an honour to play their sick games, how they dress up their pigs just
before the slaughter.
You wonder what it was like to be living in one of those
Capitol homes; to be able to eat until you were sick and worry about nothing
but the next latest trends and current styles, to be so clueless and happy with
their lives, with all the things that were handed to them on a silver platter.
But the thought of cheering as you watch the Games makes you
sick, and you think you’d rather be starving and humane than living the life of
luxury as something as unnatural as
those Capitol people.
Ashton’s arms encircling your waist interrupts your dark
thoughts, and his presence clears away the shadows that plagued your mind just
a moment before.
He has a way of doing that.
He buries his head on the crook of your neck and you lean
into him, his arms pressing you tight against him as the cool winds blew past
His mouth brushes your ears, his breath hot despite his near
We’ll fight back.
His words take you surprise, and you turn back to look at
him, alarmed. He nudges you to look back at the city below you, his touch
You try to rid your face of your perturbed expression,
trying to focus your eyes on the lights below, though your ears strain to hear
his next words.
We’ll end this. All
of this. We’re finding a way.
He pauses, and you turn to whisper the word how into his collarbones.
To an outsider, the two of you looked like nothing but mere
lovers embracing in the moonlight, him holding your in his embrace and your
head buried in his chest.
But there’s a faint tenseness in his hold on you and your
jaw is set behind his arms; they couldn’t see the hardness in his eyes and the
worry that laces your touch.
To them, you are just lovers.
But what they see, what they understand – has been distorted.
You were two pieces of driftwood that clung onto each other
in an ocean that stormed around you; you were two specks in the sand that lost
themselves every night but never lost one another.
You were two fragments of the people you once were, and now
you were trying to find a way to make your cracks fit with his dents.
There’s lots of us –
here and outside – who are finding a way. We can join.
You’re not sure what his words mean – no, you know perfectly
well what Ashton is trying to say, but you hold your breath, afraid of what it
Afraid to hope, afraid to dream that his words could
possibly be true.
Because every wish you’ve had is always torn down by the
Capitol, just as every rebellion is demolished by them.
We just – we just have
to survive the Games. They’ll get us out of there, and we’ll plan how we’ll
But you know this is impossible, and the faintest slivers of
hope that you harboured are dashed away.
Ash, only one of us
can survive – only one of us can win.
Not anymore. We’re not
playing their Games any more.
His voice is biting and hard, and you can feel his grip on
you tighten with his words.
We won’t play by their
rules any more.
You find it funny how the days fly by faster when they’re
You only remember snippets of your days – Ashton’s trident
soaring through the air during training, crawling into his bed in the dead of
the night, his whispers in your ear before you entered judging.
You remember his score of ten and your lowly 6, and you
remember crying into his arms that night because your odds will always, always
never be in your favour.
He whispered I’ll
protect you and you only cried harder because you couldn’t return the words
Not with your feeble throws and weak aim, not with your
shaking hands and quivering lips.
And god, did you
want to be strong for him, for yourself –
to be the girl who could smile in the face of death and to banish fear on her
But you were just a girl with one too many demons and one
too few abilities and you barely survived the first time – you aren’t even sure
how you managed to live through it, really – but this time, you’re certain you’ll
die in an arena like Snow wants.
Like he planned for you.
You remember Ashton’s interview the most in your blurred
Not yours – you were a stuttering mess with quiet, dull
answers that everyone forgot soon after, and you’re quite content with that.
But Ashton – Ashton was a spark in the Capitol, and he knew
how to glow when he wanted to, how to captivate anyone he wanted.
(You’re still not certain why he chose you. Perhaps it’s
because you still saw him even when he closed himself off, when he was at his
He said he wanted to recite a poem, and you were watching
him with curious eyes backstage, a faint smile playing on your lips.
My love, you have my
heart for all of eternity.
He’s looking at the camera the way he looks at you, and you’re
certain that his words are for you, despite the hoard of screaming Capitol
girls who’d like to convince themselves otherwise.
And if… if I die in
that arena –
It’d be your fault; it was because of you that he even
volunteered, it was because you couldn’t protect him like he could for you.
– my last thoughts
will be of your lips.
He’s smiling that dimpled grin, and you’re covering your
lips, trying to hide your own smile.
The crowd is screaming – noticeably female screams – but your
voice is quiet when you embrace him after he bounds backstage.
How silly you are,
Am I? I thought it was
You’ll have those
girls in the Capitol fainting left and right.
But will I have you in
The day of the Games arrives too quickly.
You’re a mess; jittery nerves and bloodshot eyes with tears
that threatened to spill that you forced yourself to hold in.
I can’t go back in I can’t
go back in I can’t –
Ashton holds you close but you can feel him shaking just as
much as you.
You stay like that – silent, in one another’s embrace –
until they pull you apart.
They always do.
You try to memorize his face – his hazel eyes and the gold
flecked in them, the tanned creases of his skin, the unruly waves of his dark
blonde hair – blinking back the tears that blur your vision.
You try to hold on to the memory of his lips on yours and
the sea in his presence and his touch caressing your skin, the bruises on his
palms rippling over your own.
But when his hands leave yours, you feel as though you’re
letting go of an anchor and you’re floating, floating, floating away.
They whisk you away to an empty room with a tube placed
dauntingly in the middle, and you’re forced to step inside.
The glass doors close around you, and you feel the hysteria
bubble in your stomach as the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in that
glass tube started to rise, the panic escalating as you ascended.
The world slowly changes from metal pipes to bright sunlight
that blinded you.
You squint through the brightness, blinking as you tried to
readjust your eyes to the unfamiliar world around you.
You start to scan the landscape around you as the booming
voice in the speakers start to count down.
The Cornucopia in the middle, overflowing with weapons that
spill from the wide opening. Metal spokes from your small platform that led to
it, and water in between – separating you from the other tributes around you.
The water leads to a shore of a beach before extending into a thick rainforest,
dark and daunting, its leafy terrain hiding god knows what.
You swivel your head, looking for Ashton with wide eyes.
You spot him mere seconds later, a few platforms over to
He catches your eyes and offers an uneasy smile, eyes
Your heart is beating uncontrollably in your chest as the
voice counts down, the numbers diminishing faster than you’d like.
You don’t even have a plan – am I going to run am I going to jump do I head to the beach do I try
for some weapons – and all you wanted to do was survive, but you knew that
twenty three other tributes wanted the same as you, and they were willing to
pay the price for it.
But are you?
The voice counts down before you can make up your mind.
A canon erupts, the deafening boom echoing in the vast arena around you, ringing in your ears.
Pass the happy along! When you get this answer with 5 things that make you happy, then send it to 10 people in your activity <3
ahhh thank you so much! ;u; /sobs. okay here I go:
✰ cloudy/rainy days
✰ my family & friends/mutuals (and all my dear followers of course ♥)
✰ when people laugh at my jokes lmao
✰ bts & exo (those dorks always make me smile ;;)
✰ wi-fi connection in public places (?)