Heyyy friends. This is a rewrite of a story I wrote when I was young and inexperienced, called You're Still An Innocent, named after Taylor Swift's song. Here's some of the lyrics (not all of them), because they make a lot of sense with Katniss and Finnick's relationship.
I guess you really did it this time
Left yourself in your warpath
Lost your balance on a tightrope
Lost your mind tryin' to get it back
It's alright, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been
You're still an innocent
Did some things you can't speak of
But at night you live it all again
You wouldn't be shattered on the floor now
If only you had seen what you know now then
Wasn't it beautiful runnin' wild 'til you fell asleep
Before the monsters caught up to you?
It's okay, life is a tough crowd
32 and still growin' up now
Who you are is not what you did
You're still an innocent
Time turns flames to embers
You'll have new Septembers
Everyone of us is messed up too
Minds change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new
K that's all
No one, not even the Capital, likes it when a twelve year old is reaped. When that same twelve year old forms an alliance with other twelve year olds? The Capitol thinks that's adorable and will sell all their possessions to make sure one of those kids wins. Then, when one of them does win… they become the Capitol's favorite Victor.
I was small and scrawny from years of starvation in District 12. I was reaped the year of the 66th Annual Hunger Games, along with an older boy from the town. His name was Lucius, and he was 150 pounds of pale skin and fragile bone.
My stylist, Cinna, was incredible. He found a way to stimulate fake flames to set my black jumpsuit on fire. He refused to have his first tribute covered in coal dust, and I appreciated that.
I was surprised when the District 4 girl ran up to me before the parade.
"You look amazing," she told me, staring at my outfit. "I'm so jealous. My stylist is an idiot."
The District 4 tributes were dressed as mermaids that year. The girl wore a long scaly skirt that she could barely walk in, and a seashell bra. She didn't look bad, just uncomfortable.
"You don't look that bad," I told her. She smiled.
"You don't have to lie," she said. "I mean, did you see District 10? They look terrible!" We both smiled a little, but neither of us laughed.
"I'm Katniss," I held out my hand.
"Lana," she shook it. "Alliance?"
I shrugged. "Maybe. You're fourteen, right? I was thinking about recruiting the girls from District 7 and District 11. They're both twelve, I think. Maybe we can have a little girl's alliance."
She smiled. "We'd get a lot of sponsors."
"You can say that again."
I turned and walked back to my chariot. We only had a few more minutes before the parade began. I felt someone come up behind me and stiffened, prepared to defend myself.
"Are you trying to kill my tribute?" A boy's voice asked. I turned around and saw a kid, maybe fifteen years old. I guessed he was the tribute from District 4, although he didn't match Lana. I thought it was funny that he called Lana his tribute, but internally shrugged.
"Nope. We're actually thinking about starting an alliance."
"Hmm…" He looked uninterested. He opened his hand and held it out to me. "Wanna sugarcube?"
I frowned and looked down at his hand. I took one and pretended I was considering it. Then I threw it at him, hitting him straight in the eye.
"Ow!" The by complained as he rubbed a few straggling grains of sugar out of his eye.
"Don't ever try to poison me again. Save it for the arena, pal."
"I'm not going into the arena. I'm a mentor." he told me, shocked.
"You're a…" I repeated. Then I remembered. Finnick Odair. He won the Hunger Games the previous year, youngest Victor ever. He was so handsome that he scored the most expensive sponsor gift. A trident. He would weave nets and snare unsuspecting tributes, then stab them with the trident. He single handedly took down the entire career pack, including his eighteen-year-old district partner, by throwing his trident twenty feet and impaling her in the chest. His training score was a nine, which made the pack a bit weary of him, so they began tracking him, but Finnick hunted them all down first, then also succeeded in killing seven more tributes. He set three records that year. Youngest Victor, most expensive sponsor gift, and highest Victor body count. "... mentor" I finished.
"But you're so young!" I protested.
"No younger than you, sweetheart."
"You aren't much older, either," I countered.
"Touche. Unfortunately, there isn't an age limit for mentors. As long as you've been through the games. Mags is training me this year,"
My district partner, Lucius, approached the chariot.
"See you around, 12." Finnick popped a sugar cube into his mouth. He switched to a ridiculous Capitol accent that I sometimes used with Gale in the woods. "Happy Hunger Games," he put his remaining sugarcubes in my hand, even though I didn't really want them.
"And may the odds be ever in your favor," I finished in my own ridiculous accent. Finnick Odair winked at me and turned away.
I put a sugarcube in my mouth and turned to Lucius. "Wanna sugarcube?"