Disclaimer: Suzanne collins owns the hunger games and all recognisable content in this fic. The rest of the ideas are mine.
The first time I saw her she was fourteen. I'd just come from my home district of two earlier in the month where I'd trained to be a peacekeeper and by some stroke of luck I had been sent to the most unwanted district in all of Panem. At the time, I had yet to decide whether that was good luck or bad luck, when I met Katniss Everdeen.
I didn't notice her come in to the Hob, in fact I didn't even know she was there until I saw Sae concentrate on something behind me and subtly nod her head. Curiously turning around I was met by the sight of a young girl.
It wasn't her appearance that first caught my attention, or how young she appeared, or even how she clutched the handle of an old worn leather bag so tightly I could see her knuckles turning white. It was wariness in her sharp steel eyes and how I felt she was judging my worth with a single look.
The timid creature hesitantly stepped forward towards the table obviously wary of my peacekeeper status and the fact that I was a new face in the unusually small district. Sae nodded in encouragement and continued to go about her business as normal. Shuffling as far away from away from me as she could, yet still be at Sae's table, she put the bag on the work top.
"What you got today for me girly, 'couple o' fat rabbits?"
I raised my eyebrows thinking sae was joking when she opened her bag, still eyeing me cautiously and pulled out three brownish grey rabbits complete with fluffy white tails. If I wasn't surprised at the turn of events before, I was now. My jaw dropped and I looked at them with wide eyes. Poaching is punishable by death. That's the only way I can think of that she got them as I haven't seen any rabbits on my explorations of the district and I doubt anyone here could afford them as pets.
What's more shocking is that she is doing this in full view of the whole Hob and a couple of other peacekeepers.
"Ooh, they'll go down a treat" she says while inspecting them " 10 coins."
"12" Katniss counters.
Sae raises her eyebrows.
" there's a lot of fat on them it'll make the tastier."
Sae still doesn't move.
" I'll throw in a squirrel as well."
"Done" Sae agrees and Katniss produces a sleek grey squirrel from her bag of wonders.
As Sae's counting out the change, I see another peacekeeper coming over, but neither Katniss nor Sae seem worried.
"Yum juicy rabbits haven't had those in a while." The other peacekeeper says licking her lips. I think I heard someone call her Purina.
"Yeah springs a bit late this year, only just started."
Purina turns to me and whispers dramatically "Katniss has the best shot in the whole district, if a wild animal came running at me I'd just let Katniss deal with it. she could kill it ten times faster with her bow than I could with my gun." And then she winks at Katniss who's heard the whole thing. She turns her head self-consciously but not before I've seen the pink tinge to her dark skin.
It's only then that I notice how the animals have been killed. A small silt in the middle of each animals eye tells me that it was impaled on something sharp, most likely an arrow from the bow Purina mentioned. She must be a very good shot.
After she leaves, game bag lighter but twelve coins richer, I notice the tension I had not noticed this past month disappear and I realise I've passed some sort of secret test.
Sae eyes me knowingly, knowing I've figured it out, and then I feel stupid. Of course these people wouldn't trust me straight away with all their illegal secrets. Then I notice the pattern. Each time I'd seen a law broken the act was more and more illegal than the last, probably to test if I'd run and report it. And now I knew their biggest secret and hadn't reported it, so I had passed their initiation.
It warmed my heart a bit to know that these people trust me with their lives, even though by all rights they should fear my very presence. It's my job to arrest people who wrong the Capitol. Now I understand my district twelve introductory speech, when they said that district twelve wasn't like any other district and to forget most of what I'd learnt in training. District twelve has its own rules.
"Katniss comes in every week sometimes twice but always every Sunday."
"Why haven't I seen her before now? I've been here a month."
" you Know why boy. People around here care about that girl boy. Don't want to see 'er hurt."
I think maybe that 'stroke of luck' just might of been good after all. What do you know, I might actually like it here.