A Charming Mask

A charming mask is what he wears.

Finnick Odair one shot.

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1. A Charming Mask

“May the odds be ever in your favour!”

He stood before the cheering crowd. People sung out, calling his name over and over in a fierce chant. They were already rooting for him to win. He gave them his usual charming smile. It was pathetic really, how none of them could see how fake it was. How not one of them could see the hurt that flashed in his eyes every time he looked at Annie and her fragile mind.

“Thank you.” He raised his hand and the crowd cheered louder.

“Finnick to win it!” They shouted in unison, pumping their fists in the air.

“Finnick to win it.” He muttered to himself, letting the guards lead him through the back entrance of the stage. The faster they got him out of here, the better.

“Mr. Odair, your prep team awaits.” One of the capitol members ushered him forward, the loose strands of her hair sprayed wig scratching the side of his face.

He walked on past the exotic lady, the hallway had suddenly become all too familiar. Instant memories came flying back at him, attacking him from every angle. A young boy, with a head of flaming red hair and wide sea green eyes gripped a trident much too large for his lanky figure. A young boy who was taken from his family, with fear radiating off of him. A young boy who only had once fought to stay alive. A boy who came out of the arena a different person, a boy much wiser beyond his years. Masked with the pain and anger that came along with the fight; that came along with the kill.

“Finnick.” Elona smiled at him sympathetically. His stylist from his first Hunger Games had grown from the experience as well. Only once had she ever had to dress up the like of a fourteen year old boy to go to war. She was set he wouldn’t make it back out, knowing the shock of it all weighed too much on him.

“Elona.” He nodded back, shoving his hands into the pockets of his trunks and slumping his broad shoulders for the first time that day. “Getting more colourful with each year are you not?” He smirked, turning his charm back onto the Capitol beaut. She wasn’t like the other members of the Capitol’s team, her hair stayed black and in long neat curls. Her makeup matched her olive green dress, with a sea green butterfly sketched with eyeliner on the corner of her right eye. Her sandals showed off nail polish that matched her dress, golden straps laced their way up to her knee, giving the outfit a royal feel.

“Oh Finnick, the charm has gotten much better. I must say,” she gave him a neat wink that was quickly followed by a burst of laughter.

“Well I’m not a kid anymore.” He kept a smirk on his face, but his words held a much deeper meaning.

She nodded curtly, “Right you are. Which is why this will be what you will wear to the Capitol.” She held up a clothes hanger with two fingers.

“A skirt?” He eyed the one item of clothing with horror. He may have been known to be a charmer and sleep around in his District but this… this was too far.

“It’s not a skirt!” Elona defended, hugging the clothing to her chest. “There’s a pair of trunks underneath.” She gestured toward him, “Like what you’re wearing. Except they will be wrapped in a fishnet – chain combination. You must represent your District.”

He ruffled his hair, still hesitant about the skirt. “Fine.”

“And you will wear your necklace with it.” She pointed to the string of beaded ocean pebbles that outlined his neck, hanging down further was a thin braided rope that held onto an arrow head.

He glanced down at the piece of copper which he played with between his fingers. “It was a gift from Annie…” He trailed off, his mind somewhere else at the thought of his girl.

Elona nodded, “I know where you got it from. It will keep you focused in there. You need to win this Finnick.”

He shrugged, “I’m different now. I’m not so desperate. The things I did…”

She snapped her fingers, stomping her foot at the same time to grab his attention. “You survived. And you will do it again.” She met his eyes, the same shade of sea green that still held fear. Only now they looked ancient, well past his years. “What are you waiting for? Go change! We have places to be!” She called, spinning on her heals to get the hair products ready for him.

He changed reluctantly, knowing the girls of Panem would be swooning over all his exposed skin. Though it didn’t bring him any amusement this time, no grins or dirty snickers. The thought of killing again consumed him.

“Fabulous!” Elona cried, clapping her hands in excitement. “They will love you!”

Erickalis, the other Capitol stylist, entered the room. Saving Finnick from Elona’s gloating. “Another job well done El,” he smiled down at his co-worker.

“How is Mags looking?” Elona gave him a small smile.

“How about you take a look?” He stepped out of the way, gesturing to Mags as she walked past him carefully.

The small fragile looking lady entered the room. Erickalis had dressed her in a pair of neat black slacks and a feathery white blouse, her long grey hair was curled to perfection and contrasted against the top nicely. She looked up to Finnick with a smug smile, she never spoke but her eyes shouted a thousand words. Finnick knew she would last long in the arena, and her absence of fear didn’t comfort him.

Elona let out a sigh, “You two better be going.”

He followed the peacekeepers away from the stylists with Mags at his side. He forced a smile onto his face, knowing he didn’t want to be remembered as the scared boy. More importantly, he didn’t want Annie to be more distraught than she already was. The best thing he could do was be the charming boy the Capitol loved. The charming boy that would only charm one more time. Let the games begin.

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