A/N: Welcome to my first SYOT! This is going to be sort of a sequel to my story "A Victor's Ally", which is the story of Juliet, the Victor of the 99th Hunger Games.
If you're interested in submitting, check out my profile! If you have any questions, shoot me a PM and I'd be happy to answer them :)
Chapter One: Prologue
Juliet Breyer, 18, District 7, Victor of the 99th Hunger Games
I returned to my apartment in the Capitol, looking disheveled and out of place in the lavish interior. The clock read 8:43 PM. At exactly nine o'clock, the Quarter Quell announcement would be broadcasted all over Panem. I had seventeen minutes to scrub every trace disgusting Capitol men off of my skin.
The shower was pure white. I turned up the faucet as high as it could go, trying to distract myself with the pain from the scalding water. Blood from various cuts on my body ran down my legs and onto the floor of the shower. The dark red was diluted in the water and I watched, mesmerized, as the pink liquid circled the drain until the water was clear again.
Snapping out of my daze, I began to scrub at my body roughly. The hot water combined with the scratchy washcloth left my skin red and stinging, but I still felt filthy.
It was an eternity until I gave up. When I turned off the water, I could hear the sound of the telephone ringing faintly from the living room. I sighed, wrapping myself in a fluffy towel and turning to look in the mirror. It was fogged up, but I could make out the blurry image of my red, sore skin.
I threw on a pair of sweatpants and a baggy shirt, thankful that there was something in my closet besides tight dresses and skirts. The phone had stopped ringing a couple minutes ago, but by the time I exited my bedroom it picked up again.
"Hello?" I held the large telephone to my ear, combing back my soaking wet hair with my fingers.
"Juliet? Why weren't you answering before? Did you see the Quell announcement?" The familiar voice of my fellow victor was slightly warped through the speaker. Luke was my mentor during the games, and my best friend before that. I was sure that he was wondering what I was doing in the Capitol, but he knew better than to ask. My gaze drifted up to the clock on the wall. It was 9:12.
"I was…out." I answered absentmindedly, grabbing the remote and settling down on the couch.
"Turn on your tele. I'm sure they'll have reruns on the main channel." He paused. I tried to determine whether the quell twist was good or bad through the tone of his voice, but he sounded neither happy or upset. "And Jules, when are you coming home?"
"I don't know." I answered truthfully. The President had called me to the Capitol a few weeks after I returned home from my Victory Tour, and I had been here since, doing everything he asked so that no harm would come to my family. I though back to the deal I made with him the night I was celebrating my victory. I promised to do everything he wanted me to if he just left Luke alone and stopped selling him to the Capitolites. Since Luke was back and District Seven and not in the Capitol with me, I could only hope that the President had kept his promise.
"Alright, well, you can call me later. I'll be up." There was a click as the line went dead. I turned my attention toward the television, skipping through channels until I came across a recap of the announcement.
The camera followed President Thorn as he walked swiftly across that stage, holding a card in his hands. His cruel eyes glinted in the light and I shivered involuntarily, wondering how one man could be so terrible.
He held the card out and cleared his throat. "For the fourth quarter quell and 100th anniversary, as a reminder that the twelve districts must depend on each other and the Capitol in order to survive, each tribute will be randomly assigned a partner and their lives will be linked in the arena."
I bit my nails, and odd feeling of hope blooming in my chest. This would be my first year as a mentor. The quell would be terrible, no doubt, but there was a chance. A possibility that I could bring home not one, but two tributes. Of course, there were many negatives to the twist and I'm sure that the President had tricks up his sleeve, but I felt a fierce determination to do everything in my power to keep my tribute safe. I reached toward the phone, dialing the number I knew so well by heart.