Silence [Hunger Games Fanfiction]

Traumatized by her brother’s death, Raven Verona desperately wants to escape her past. But when she is chosen for the 31st Hunger Games, that becomes impossible.


An unwanted admirer.


A true soul mate.


23 enemies.


Let the Games begin


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17. Seventeen

  I was practically dragged out of bed the next day by Leonie. I really didn’t want to get up, but Leonie insisted it was important that I made an impression that day. I threw on some clothes and followed Leonie to the Remake Centre, where I spent a good part of the day. Annabella did my hair, a plait that circled my head like a crown, and then formed a twisted knot on the back of my head. Felix worked on my nails, making them rounded and smooth before painting them black and adding patterns and swirls to my thumbs. Leonie did my makeup, sweeping brushes effortlessly across my face, until she was certain she had it right. It was similar to the makeup I wore for the opening ceremonies, with my eyes brought out with dark makeup, and relatively pale lipstick.

 Leonie took me through to a separate room to have my dress fitted. I closed my eyes as she put it over my head. I was relieved to discover that it wasn’t as tight as the one I had worn to practise in the day before. The shoes were quite high, but after practicing with Eli, I was confident that they wouldn’t be a problem. When I opened my eyes, I squealed in delight. The dress was made of leather and lace, with a fitted leather bodice and short skirt. The lace acted as straps for the dress, covering the bare skin above my chest, and stretching over my arms to act as sleeves. The lace itself was beautiful, completely black and with an intricate floral pattern. I felt amazing. Unstoppable. Sophia entered and nodded in approval.

 “You look stunning. Just beautiful. Give me a sexy smile?”

 I laughed and imitated Logan’s signature smile. Leonie cracked up, and Sophia smiled.

 “Good. You’re ready. Let’s go!”

 We met the others at the elevator. I was shy to see Logan again after the way I behaved the previous night, but he just hugged me and I whispered sorry to him. He said he was too, and that was that. I took his hand when we got in the lift, squeezing it tight as we plummeted downwards. I took the time to look at Logan. His outfit was a lot simpler than mine, just black leather trousers and a white shirt, but the shirt hung loose and three of the top buttons were undone, giving him a rugged, yet desirable, image. I was reminded of the day at the fence, when he wore his reaping outfit in a messy way, and still managed to look amazing. Though he wore minimal makeup, his blue eyes had been highlighted by blue eyeliner, and it gave the illusion that his eyes were sparkling. I resisted the urge to touch his hair, to pull him to me and tell him that I loved him. I don’t mean in that way. But he needed to know, and I would always live my life regretting that I never followed my instincts and held him to me that day.

 The elevator slowed to a stop, and we piled out of the doors. Already, Clementia and a few of the others were seating themselves on the stage. The stage had twenty four chair arranged in a semi-circle around a central couch, where the presenter, Venus Swift, and the tribute being interviewed would sit. I caught sight of Venus, chatting in an animated voice to one of the camera men. She was a beautiful, charismatic woman, who everyone in Panem loved. Even I loved her. She had a certain vibe that made people admire and desire her. She wasn’t particularly slim, which was a characteristic that Capitol women craved, but she looked good in whatever she wore. That particular night, she was in an aqua coloured suit, which contrasted with her bright red hair and pale skin. Still holding on to Logan, after a good natured shove from Valeria, I scaled the steps to the stage and sat down on my seat. I looked at Logan, who did a very funny imitation of Eli doing the squat, and I laughed, feeling much less nervous. When Logan was sat down as well, he leaned over the arm of his chair, grinning.

 “Do the smile. I’ll see if you pass the “sexy” test.”

 I did the smile and he laughed, throwing me a wink “That’ll do. Watch out. All the guys will be after you. Don’t want Eddie getting jealous, do we?”

 I swatted him lightly “Anyone would think you were jealous.”

 He raised an eyebrow suggestively “Maybe I am.”

 I stared at him. Then, simultaneously, we both started laughing, when I realised he wasn’t being serious.

 “You’re not funny,” I said, trying to be serious.

 “Unfortunately, you and I both know that is a lie,” he replied cheekily.

 “Ladies and gentlemen! Please take your seats, we will begin in two minutes!” the director called.

 “You ready?” Logan asked.

 “As ready as I can be. You?”

 “Nope,” he said with a laugh. I laughed back, and got myself comfortable. I could see Roger glaring over at me, but I tried to ignore him and focus on how to present myself. I closed my eyes and thought back to when I watched Valeria’s interview…

 Valeria had a lot of competition when she was in the Games. Though they weren’t as talented with weapons as she was, there was a strong Career pack, with very attractive members for the sponsors to latch on to. It didn’t help that Valeria’s stylist was pretty much hopeless.

She strode up to the couch with confidence, sitting beside Venus with a smile.

 “So, this is Valeria, everyone! Isn’t she stunning? She’s like a miniature me!”

 Venus threw the crowd a wink and there was a ripple of laughter and wolf whistling. Valeria said nothing, but continued to smile politely.

 “Well, Valeria, we haven’t really heard a lot about you so far, but you’ve made an impression now, with your training scores and your image tonight. Though I can’t say the outfit is particularly flattering, you honestly do look wonderful! How do you feel?”

 “I feel…amazing. I’m so far away from everyone I love, but I’ve never felt more at home. The Capitol is just beautiful. Amazing. Don’t you agree?” she addressed the crowd. They all cheered and whooped, until Venus brought them back to order.

 “Okay, Valeria, let’s talk about your training score. A nine is pretty impressive, and I’ve heard the Gamemakers are very harsh markers this year! Can you give us a clue to what you did to receive such a marvellous score?”

 Valeria glanced at the crowd, then back to Venus with a smug grin. “I don’t think so. But I’ll say this. The best is yet to come. What I performed in training was just a taster. You’ll see!”

 The crowd murmured in excitement.

 “How thrilling!” Venus exclaimed “So you don’t think that coming from District 10 gives you a disadvantage?”

 “Not at all. District 10 doesn’t have to fall. Look at me now,” she said, getting to her feet and spreading her arms “I’m powerful!”

 The crowd cheered again, so loud that the buzzer almost couldn’t be heard to mark the end of the interview. Valeria bowed and left the stage, having made the biggest impression District 10 has ever achieved.

 When I opened my eyes again, it was to the sound of applause. The show had begun. I saw Venus get up from her couch and wave to the crowd, blowing kisses and smiling.

 “Hello, Panem! And welcome, once more, to you all! May I introduce to you, the tributes of the 31st Hunger Games!”

 The crowd roared as she gesticulated to us all. I could see Clementia grinning in excitement, and I wished I was more like her. She was fine in front of crowds. I, on the other hand, feared I would faint from the stage fright that was slowly creeping up on me. I took a long breath, sucking air through my nostrils, and smiled as convincingly as I could. I was glad I had, as I could see my face being displayed on the screen behind us. Thankfully, my smile at least looked sane, if not charming.

 “Let’s begin the show! Tonight, our very first tribute is the lovely Layla!”

 She really was lovely as well. She tossed her dark hair over her shoulder with a smug look on her face, and pranced to the sofa. She had little personality, but her good looks had the crowd mesmerised. She received a large round of applause, and I began to worry that by the time I got on stage, I would seem dull and uninteresting. And then Roger stepped up, and made me feel even worse. I have to admit, he looked handsome in his red suit, which had rubies studded on it from his shoulders down his arms. His dark hair had been styled so it swept across his forehead in curls, and his stunning green eyes were rimmed with black pencil. The female audience sighed as he stepped up, smirking as usual. I tuned out of the conversation he was having until I heard Venus ask him if he had a strategy. I watched him smile, even laugh a little, before addressing the crowd.

 “I have a little something in mind for one of my…favourite tributes. Yes, she’s a particular favourite of mine. I’ll give you a clue. She’s from District 10.”

 A gasp of excitement ran through the crowd, but it was fear that pumped through my veins. I could hear my heart slamming against my ribcage, and I was suddenly too hot, suffocated by the dress. The buzzer went off, and he strode back to his seat. The crowd were going mad with utter joy, practically thirsting for him to spill my blood. I was disgusted, but I realised every camera was either on me or him. I caught Roger’s eye and he winked at me, so I smiled back, giving a slow wink back as though it was all a secret joke between us. More like a sick joke. I’d never been more terrified of anyone in my life. It was clear he wasn’t right in the head, and I wondered what he would do to me if he caught me. I vowed to never let that happen to me. I leaned back in my chair, trying to look as casual as possible. I could feel Logan looking at me to see if I was OK, but I feared that if I looked at him, I’d burst in to tears. The next interview began, but it was drowned out mostly by the crowd’s chatter about Roger’s death threat. I did, however, manage to catch the girl, Minerva, say she thought that the other tributes seemed foolish. Venus asked her what she meant, and she laughed, saying she meant that none of them were worthy of her time. Stuck up cow came to mind.

 The background gibbering of the Capitol citizens didn’t really stop until Clementia’s interview, though they quietened slightly for the beautiful girl from District 4, Avery, who was wearing a green floor length dress. Though she looked very nice, I think her dress was based on seaweed, which put people off a bit. But when Clementia took to the stage, the Capitol citizens took to cheering again. She smiled and waved before seating herself beside Venus. Though I knew it already, she came across as humorous, and she had the crowd in stitches when she told a story of how she’d accidently broken the heel of the shoes she wore to the Opening Ceremony, and she demonstrated how she had to balance on one foot for half the ride back to the Remake Centre. I had to admit she was a funny girl, and I found myself chuckling at her silly story. It made me feel better about the whole Roger situation. But then I realised I would probably be questioned about my feelings to his speech, and I panicked again. I quickly devised a plan in my head while Evelyn and Kai from District 9 were interviewed. My turn came too soon, and I found that my knees were trembling as I walked to the couch. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to show, and the applause from the crowd was very reassuring. I sat down beside Venus and she smiled warmly at me.

 “Hello, Raven! What a little star you’ve been so far!”

 “Thank you,” I managed to say.

 “So, a ten in training! That’s very impressive! How did you do it?”

 I smiled sheepishly “I don’t think I’m really supposed to say, but I’d very much like to thank my volunteer, Brigham Roach!”

 There was a small amount of applause while the cameras turned to locate him in the crowd. He was obviously enjoying the attention, lapping it up and waving. I took the few seconds directed at him to pull myself together and muster up the smile.

 “Okay, now tell me something about you and your home life. I’ve never been to District 10!”

 I gulped. The room was silent, and I knew I had to say something. Just be honest I thought honesty is good. Say something about Jonah, they like to hear stuff like that. I put on my “sexy” smile and said “Well…what can I say. I live with my parents and my father. I had a brother, but…he passed away last year. He took place in the Games.”

 There was a sigh of sympathy from the crowd, and Venus’ face looked distressed “Oh how awful! We understand completely. It’s very sad saying goodbye to some of our tributes. His name was Jonah, right?”

 “Yes,” I said, surprised she’d managed to remember his name.

 “Well, he was a lovely young boy. You should be very proud of his sacrifice to Panem. Isn’t that right?”

 The audience clapped. I even heard someone sniff and blow their nose. Pathetic people I thought bitterly.

 “Well, Raven, can you tell us anything else? Do you farm?”

 “No, actually, my father works for the Mayor. And my mother is…ill.”

 “Oh. So you must know Logan then? Your fellow tribute?”

 I considered what to say. Would it be dangerous to present us as friends? I decided it wouldn’t “Logan is a very good friend of mine. We’ve known each other a long time.”

 “Boyfriend?”

 I laughed as sweetly as I could, and glanced back at him, throwing him a wink. “He wishes!”

 The audience laughed at my joke, and Logan played along, blowing me a kiss back. I sunk back into my original position on the couch. I was beginning to enjoy myself.

 “No, actually, I’m engaged,” I added, and I outstretched my hand so that Venus could see the ring. She squealed like a little girl.

 “Oh! That’s beautiful! Hold your hand out so that everyone can see!” she said, throwing my hand in the air. Everyone oohed and ahhed, and every camera directed at my hand.

 “So, how long have you been engaged?”

 “Since reaping day. It was a bit of a surprise for me, actually. I had no idea he loved me…he proposed to me after the reaping, when we realised we might not be back together.” I lowered my head, so that it looked like I was upset. I thought of my mother at home, depressed and scared, and managed to collect some tears. “I fear that it may have been the last time I will see him. But I want him to know that I love him and I miss him with all my heart.” I looked directly at the nearest camera. “I love you Eddie.”

 There was such a long silence, that I feared I hadn’t been convincing enough. But then the whole crowd began to scream and shout, some crying, some calling words of encouragement to me. I heard the buzzer go off, and I was allowed to return to my seat. After Venus swiftly kissed my cheek, I half walked half ran back to my chair. Logan looked amazed at the performance I had just pulled off, and I gave him a slight wink to let him know it was all an act. As soon as I sat down, however, I made sure to wipe my eyes and sniff mournfully.

 Logan took his place on the couch, sitting down in a way I’m sure made Eli cry with joy. He shook Venus’s hand, and she practically swooned.

 “Hello there, Logan! What a charming young man you are! So. You and your friend Raven made a great debut at the opening ceremonies. What have you got in store for us tonight?”

 “Wouldn’t you like to know,” he said, smiling seductively. Venus laughed and the female members of the audience did too. It was as though he was flirting with all of them at once. Typical.

 “Well, if you and Raven aren’t together, is there another special girl in your life?”

 My ears pricked up at the mention of this. I was interested to know. He laughed, almost sadly, and shook his head.

 “No, not for me. There are plenty of lovely ladies out there, but none of them have particularly caught my attention. I guess I’m waiting for the perfect girl.”

 “Well, I’m certain you’ll find her soon. And remember, if you return home, all the girls will want you! I’m sure they do already. Isn’t he lovely?”

 There was some applause and I felt a warm feeling inside, because he was my friend. He could pick anyone, but he was my friend. Mine. Logan continued to chat with Venus, making flirtatious comments and the whole audience staring at him in awe. When the buzzer went off, he received a large round of applause. I smiled at him as he sat down and he grinned back. We’d both done well. I glanced at Roger, feeling no fear. His threat was just a threat. I reminded myself that the Games were designed for us to kill each other. It didn’t mean he would kill me. If I was to die, I would make certain it was not at his hand.

 The show ended after the District 12 boy had been, and Venus said goodbye to the audience while the tributes stood for the anthem. The cameras do a quick shot of each of the tribute’s faces, but they all lingered slightly on Roger, Clementia, me and Logan. The star tributes. And the Games hadn’t even begun yet.

 I was surprised to see Drew when we were allowed to leave the stage. He hadn’t been there earlier, which I assumed was because he was struggling to cope with the Games. I flew in to his arms, and he hugged me close.

 “Well done,” he whispered “Very convincing.”

 “How are you?” I asked.

 He paused “I’ve been better.”

 He let go of me and looked me in the eye “Try and get some sleep tonight. I’ll come and visit you before you…go. I won’t be joining you for dinner. I’ll see you in the morning.”

 With a quick nod to Logan, he turned and practically ran to the elevator. I prayed he was alright. I couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering in silence.

 Dinner was full of chatter, but I stayed mostly quiet. It had finally hit home that I was going into the arena. And I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to leave the Capitol behind. I looked around at all the smiling faces at the table. Even Logan was laughing and chugging wine like there was no tomorrow. What if there is no tomorrow for him? My cutlery clattered and I ran out the room, to the bathroom where I vomited. My breathing was heavy and I was sweating. I leaned my back against the wall and cried to myself quietly. Valeria was banging on the door, asking to be let in, but I couldn’t let anyone see me in this state. I reminded myself that I didn’t want to make things difficult for Logan. So I splashed my face with water, and wiped my tears away. Then I took a deep breath and opened the door.

 “Sorry. I guess the food didn’t agree with me,” I said brightly. Valeria looked suspicious, but she let it go. I returned with her to the sitting room, where we watched the replays. Everyone glanced at me when Roger made his threat, expecting a reaction, but my face stayed neutral. I could see everyone smiling at Clementia’s interview, and they all made sighing sounds when my interview came up. I heard a sniff, and realised Valeria was crying. I was horrified. I’ve never seen her cry in my life. She didn’t cry when she was in the arena. She didn’t cry when she won. She didn’t cry at any of the reapings she’s been to. She doesn’t cry, end of. Sophia and Magnus put their arms around her, and I sat awkwardly, wondering if I should go and comfort her. I decided against it, and was relieved when the sobbing subsided.  Logan’s interview was just as charming as it had been the first time, and I gave him a dig in the ribs as a way of well done. In return, he caught me in a playful headlock and ruffled my hair while I squealed and tried to escape. The others laughed, but it seemed a bit forced on their half. I could tell that they were all feeling a little anxious. This would be the last time we’d see everyone, except Sophia and Magnus, who would be with us until the Games began. The interview’s replay ended and it was time to say our goodbyes. Felix and Annabella began wailing like babies, and an Avox had to escort them out the room. I couldn’t say I’d miss them particularly, and I had little sympathy for them, but in a way, it was nice they’d made an attachment to me one way or another. Saying goodbye to Leonie was a lot harder, of course. Her bottom lip was trembling, but thankfully, she didn’t cry. She wished me all the luck in the world, and then left the room quickly. Eli was next, who bent down in his eight inch heels to kiss my cheek.

 “May the odds be ever in your favour,” he murmured, taking a step backwards. I nodded at him, not saying anything for fear of crying or shouting something insane. Then it was Valeria stepping up, and I couldn’t look her in the eye. She was tearful again, but this time, I knew the tears wouldn’t spill. She had her guard up, the way she did all the time. That was what made her so strong. She could resist anything. She wrapped her arms around me, and we stayed like that for a long time. I saw over her shoulder Logan watching me, but when he realised I’d seen him, he turned his back to talk to Magnus. It was then that I realised why Valeria meant so much to me, though I hadn’t known her long. She was everything I aspired to be. Courageous. Ruthless. Strong in heart, mind and body. Beautiful. Powerful. Everything I craved, everything I needed to survive. Not only that, but she was like a mother. Always nagging, always picking out flaws, but always in my best interest. And as we stood there, holding each other tight, as though if we let go we’d fall apart, I realised how much I’d missed having my mother. I wanted more than anything to cry, to tell Valeria all the feelings that had built up inside me, but I knew if I let my walls come down, I’d never be able to build them again. Instead, I took a deep breath, breathing in her floral scent that I associated with both her and my mother. Then we separated, smiling sadly.

 “Good luck, darling. Come home.”

 She patted my cheek affectionately, and went to speak to Logan. I waved to Magnus and Logan’s prep team, and bid Sophia goodnight. My goodbyes to her would take place in the catacombs under the arena. I’d arranged to meet Logan in his room and hour later, so I went back to my quarters for a while to allow myself to calm down. I tried not to think about the Games, or my family, or the people I had just said goodbye to, but what else was there to think about? I tried imagining I was Eli, or another Capitol citizen. Rising from slumber on the day of the Games, squashing on a plush sofa with all my silly friends and family. Getting restless, wanting the blood to spill. The agonizing sixty seconds of waiting for the tributes to run, like a rabbit from a hunter. Making bets on which children will be the first to fall.

 Disgusted at myself for thinking what it would be like to be them, I paced the room impatiently. I still had twenty minutes before I was due to go to Logan’s room. My stomach gurgled, emptied by me vomiting, so I ordered as many delicacies as I could stand the sight off and wolfed them down, not bothering with cutlery and eating in such an atrocious way, I’m certain the beggars in District 10 would be ashamed. I knew I was behaving oddly, but I couldn’t seem to stop. It gave me something to do, to distract me from everything. God knows I needed a distraction. I had so many emotions inside me at once, that it felt like there wasn’t enough room for them, and that they all mingled into one huge, angry ball. I was so, so angry, but what at? I didn’t know. I didn’t know. I didn’t know anything…

 

 

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