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How it Began (Talon)

I laugh nervouly when she asks the question during our little game of Truth-not-Dare when we're camping together. "My first kiss? Why do you care?" I say, not wanting to speak of it to her. She won't let up, insisting that I tell her all about it. I think of lying and saying that the first kiss we ever shared was my first one ever, but she won't believe that. She knows all about my history with other girls. There's absolutely no way that I can talk out of this, because this is Mari I'm talking to. Even if I managed to avouid the question now, she'd ask it again later and I'd be forced to answer. I know that I have to follow the rules of the game and tell the truth.

After a reluctant sigh, I begin weaving the tale. The scene plays in my mind like a movie clip, except I'm seeing everything from my eyes. Her straight, brown hair that glistened in the rain. Her black-brown eyes, inviting me toward her. Freckles that remided me of the bright stars that lit the night sky on a clear night, unlike the stormy skies ubove us then. Her name comes back to mind, and I realized that I haven't thought of Cianna in months, maybe years.

I don't want to mention all of that to Mari though. Although she hasn't admited it, I'm prety sure that I'm her first love, and I want to also be her last. She doesn't like to think of the other girls she knows that I've dated, and so for her sake, I keep the story to a simple discription. 

"It was a rainy day. After school, I walked her home, saying that it was just so that I could use her umbrella, although she knew that was a lie. We kissed just a few paces from her house, and when I put my hand on hers, she dropped the umbrella and let the rain soak our hair and clothes."

She doesn't seem pleased at me recalling the memory, not liking that I've ever loved anyone besides her. I have to say, it was a pleasnt memory, but the memory of Mari's first kiss is much fonder. I tell her so, and she kisses me briefly, making the memory of that kiss wash over me like a wave.

She had fallen asleep next to my friend Marek, and I was thinking it would be funny to show him how close she was getting to him later, so I got out my phone and started taking pictures. It was downright hilarious, until she woke up and saw me. She chased me down the hall, yelling curse words that were aimed at me, but I was running too fast to try to figure out any sort of reply. Eventully I came to a dead end, and she pinned me against the wall, demanding that I give her my phone so she can delete the pictures, but there was no way that was going to happen. She knows I'm too stubborn for that now... but now I wouldn't have taken the pictures of her in the first place. I felt her body pressed up against mine, and I swear, shivers ran down my back. I looked down at her face, turned on, and kissed her. She tensed up, surprised by this, but when I wrapped my arms around her she seemed to melt into me. We could have stayed that way forever, or gone a little further and had some fun, but Luna suddely appeared next to us, looking enraged. That's a story for a different time though.

Mari clears her throat, bringing me back to the present, and asks what the question she has to answer is, and all of my thoughts of epic kisses leave me.

Darkness (Danica)

Everyone always asks about my story. "Danica, why are you always so mean? Danica, how did dying feel? Danica why do you hate Excel so much? And why would you like Nick of all people?" Well, you people can shut your bratty little faces. I'm writing it down, so no one will ever ask again. If you do.... just don't.

It all started a long time ago...

When Aven was reaped, my family fell apart. My mom was suicidal, Talon, Terri and I had to work overtime at the Slaughterhouse and my Aunt got sick. Really sick. Watching Aven, my only sister, die sent me into a state of depression. I could barely get up to eat, much less go to school or have a social life. I saved up my energy for weeks so that I could go to the reaping, only because I knew that I had to. I'd always been some what talented at acting, so it was easy to appear sweet and charming like my old self. No one had seen me in a while, so all of my old friends were really chatty. It didn't matter that much though, because they were also really nervous, so the moment our Escort stepped up onto that stage they all shut their mouths. When my name was called, my mask slipped for a moment, but luckily it wasn't long enough for the cameras to find me in the mob of people. I stepped forward with a stony expression, ready and actually a little excited to take out my anger on actual people, and get over with this depressing thing called life.

Everything was a drag (minus the Chariot ride incident... now that was interesting, but it has nothing to do with anyting) up until the training sessions. I remembered from the last Pain Games that Aven had allied with the boy from District 11, so out of curiosity I studied the boy that was reaped this year. He was handsome, I'll admit, and I found out that he was actually a close friend of the boy that avenged and died for my sister. I became more intrested, and I got up the nerve to actually talk to him. He was like me, sullen, mad, and ready to avenge his friend Ford. We agreed on an alliance, to honor the one our loved ones had last year, and surprisingly, many other people wanted to join and we aqquired quite a large group. I found myself getting myself up in the morning intead of being dragged, and my thoughts turned to Nick often, but I dismissed it. Who knows, maybe the sugar in my food's lifting my spirits?

We trained together often, and I realized that if I was going to die, I was glad it would be by Nick's side. I still wasn't planning on going back home, but I was warming up to that thought. After all, that is where all of my loved ones live, right? Suddenly, I had motivation besides anger and revenge. I had hope, which was much more dangerous then anger and revenge combined.

The games started and everything went pretty smoothly for a while. It felt good to be outside in the fresh air instead of locked up in that musty old training room. Nick and I spend every moment together, and when the alliance split, we went our seperate ways together. (If that makes sense) At one point, Nick and I tracked the Careers for a while and I killed one right before he was about to stab my friend and past ally, Mollaine. The fight heated up fast a-and... N-Nick jumped up to tackle Excel... but Excel st-stabbed him... and h-he could barely m-move. In that moment I knew how much I loved him, so I rushed over to his side but was relieved when I saw he was just wounded. That night, we got some medicine for him from a sponsor, and if it possible for me to love the Capitol, I did then. 

The volcano erupted the next morning, and even though Nick's leg was still wounded, we all ran through the forest as fast as we could. Mollaine was sprinting and she was yards ahead of the two of us. I ran slower to try to help Nick, but with his wound he couldn't do it. He fell to his knees, literally crawling toward us on the beach. I tried to go back to help, but in that instant Mollaine fell, staring at me with the blank grey eyes that will haunt me forever. Cariettum was standing behind her with a malicious grin on her features, and she threw a knife back at Nick who was engulfed in lava before the knife had a chance to end it for him. 

Enraged and heartbroken by watching my love die so terribly, I took out my knives and threw them all with deadly accuracy back at the girl who had just destroyed my allies. Head, chest, and neck, and then it was all over for her. At the time, I'd wished the same for myself. I'd come into these games ready to kill and be killed, but meeting him changed everything. A-And now.... he's gone....

Only 3 people left though. Myself, that random guy from 8, and Excel. I knew Excel because he was the tinest Career I've ever seen, and his features were almost permanantly twisted into either a scowl or an unnerving grin. He was friends with the bitch that killed him. He has to die. 

As all of these thoughts were passing through my head I was running as fast as I could, away from the dead bodies of my friends and enimies. I ran until I collapsed onto my knees, and finally the tears started coming. I couldn't get the image of his face while the knife was flying towards him and his legs were being eaten by liquid fire. He seemed to be trying to call for help, but most of all he looked scared. Scared of the pain of being turned to ashes, scared of leaving everyone he ever met, scared of dying. My thoughts accompanied this image of him with pressing thoughts. He's dead. He's dead and you didn't save him. You didn't even help. 

I cried myself to sleep, knowing that I had to win, for him.

The next morning I wandered around aimlessly, wondering when they would get bored and send in something else to torture us. I realized that now I was the onlya agairl left, whiach could be good or bad. It could be good sponsor-wise, but if the Gamemakers try to single us out for differences then I'm pretty much screwed. 

Suddenly, I heard a rustle in the bushes. I approached it, knives drawn, expecting it to be one of the other remaining tributes. Instead I was staring back at the all too familiar grey eyes of... Mollaine? I let a small scream escape my lips, which I instantly knew was a mistake. My enimies are searching for me. The creature reveals itself by screaming along with me, and now I can clearly see that it's a monkey in Mollaine's likeness. It tilts it's head, not looking at all hostile, but I'm not about to take my chances. I don't have time to do anything though.

The boy from 8 jumps out of the bushes, ready to attack. I realize that I'll have to kill him now and tears fill my eyes, becuase then Excel or I will have to live and neither seems like a very good option. I throw a knife at his heart, but my vision was clouded with tears and it misses his heart by inches. I shake the tears out of my eyes, knowing now is not the time for them. He charges toward me with a sword and I let him get close enough to touch before I plunge my small concealed dagger into his heart and he falls to the ground, stunned and lifeless.

I didn't even have time to step away from the body before I heard a slow, almost mocking clap. District 1 thinks they're so great. I whirl around do face him, ready to be over with this. Eather way, I'm fine with the outco-

An Image of Aven appears in my mind for the first time in months. It makes me want to avenge her, so she didn't die pointlessly. Then Terri appears. She's so kind, she has the weigt of the world on her shoulders, and no one else to help her carry it without me. Talon now. He got in fights often even with my supervision nd advice, so now he'll constantly have bruises, maybe scars. Cathy. So tiny and naieve, too young to understand that her family has all been sentenced to death for no reason except for what our ancestors did, too young to realize that we lived in horrible conditions and to realize that Aven is never coming back. And now... if I lose... neather am I...

A burst of strength surges through me. I have to win. For all of them. And to avenge Mollaine and Nick.... just thinking of his name makes me warm but at the same time makes me want to collapse and cry. I can't though, because the cameras are all trained on me. Weakness isn't an option, so I stand up straight and look Excel in the eye.

"Very good. Now its just you and me, Cowgirl." He says with an evil glint in his eye. What nerve! We're the last two people in the whole arena and he didn't even bother to find out my name. "My name is Danica." I say, and I grab the dead boy's sword and charge at him, wanting his body dead at my feet. 

The battle started -and... I-I can't tell this stpry any more.... most of you know what happened anyway...

I can't believe myself... (Talon)

What did I just do?!

I knew I shouldn't have talked to Annabeth. She reminded me of Mari too much, too much...

And now she's gone. Not Anna. Mari.

Her lips felt so good against mine, so right. They felt like Mari's and I hadn't felt her lips in so long. Or seen her...

I drove her away. I knew she would leave if I said the words but I said them anyway.

What is wrong with me!? 

I don't know what happens. Whenever we argue... I just... something happens to me.

Maybe it's a medical condition, and fighting with her makes me sick.

Either way, that's how I feel now. Sick.

I'm afraid I've gone too far now... That everything combined is too much for her, for us.

It very well might be. I left her, watched her 'die', then didn't help her when her mind and actions were being controlled by them, and then I left her again. And when she finally came to join me here, my lips were on someone elses.

I would hate me too.

No, not everything's my fault. I left her for her saftey. She didn't really die, just got halfway to Albion before she got captured, altured, and brought back to me. I couldn't have helped her if I tried, and I tried to get her away from the danger by coming here, but she didn't come with me. I didn't realize she wouldn't come until I had alredy jumped and she was left behind by her own actions. I didn't choose to put my lips on to Anna's, her's met mind and they felt so much like Mari's that I couldn't pull away...

Until Mari was there.

Her hair was blowing in the wind from the skydeck but her expression shot daggers at me. If looks could kill, I would have died that day. She held a vace and asked me for a good reason not to smash it over my head. I had none, but I was so glad to see her that I just kissed her, and she dropped the vace, taking the kiss for an answer. 

She still wanted to kill Annabeth though, who hadn't done anything wrong. I told her to quit it and it escelated to the point of her storming away, and I hvent seen her since.

Why did I do that?! I spoke the words with the intention to hurt her. She deserves someone better then me...

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