Chapter 4

6K 163 4

I wake the next day to Effie's calls, as usual. Today, we should be arriving back in the Capitol - my least favourite place. At least we see Cinna again, the thought bringing me comfort. I have a feeling that Katniss will hate all the Capitolites, although she might not feel the same way about Cinna. I know because I feel the same way. Or at least I did. Being a Victor leaves me with no room for a particular opinion on the people of the Capitol. It's the way it works. I drag myself out of bed, still tired from lack of sleep, and into the bathroom. No time for a shower so I turn on the tap and splash my face and neck with the lukewarm water. Afterwards, I dry off and walk back into my bedroom, changing for the day. If we're going to the Capitol...that means fancy clothing, like always. I think back to Effie's words in my Games.

''Appearance is everything, young Vivianna,'' and so I keep that in mind every time I think about being on camera, or in front of Capitolites. When I'm on my own - my dress sense is much more casual, for example I actually don't wear dresses unless I'm on camera. Although heels are a must.

Once I'm , I exit the compartment and find my way to the breakfast table. I take my seat at the table next to Haymitch, who, despite having a wicked hangover no doubt, is chuckling slightly. Peeta is here too, holding a cup of orange juice. I pour myself a glass of water and gulp it down, grateful to soothe my surprisingly aching throat. I was probably screaming last night from the nightmares, making my voice hoarse.
I hear Effie come through, clutching a cup of coffee, Katniss trailing behind her. Effie gives my outfit a nod of approval before Haymitch waves at Katniss.

''Sit down, sit down!'' and she does.

She is immediately served an enormous platter of food. I used to be served that too, but I told them to stop. I hate indulging myself in Capitol food everyday, so usually I keep it to a minimum. Katniss eyes a cup of hot chocolate, though my guess is that she doesn't know what it is.

''They call it hot chocolate,'' Peeta says, reading her mind. ''It's good,''

I nod. ''I had three cups in ten minutes my first year here,'' I smile at her. ''Although it did make me feel uneasy afterwards. Maybe stick to just one cup.''

She takes a sip before downing the whole thing, after moving on to eating as much as she can. Peeta and I make small talk, me drinking water and eating an apple, Peeta ripping off chunks from a roll and dipping it into his hot chocolate. I keep glancing at Haymitch, who keeps his head down, drinking his juice although I can see him adding in spirit. Excellent. He'll be drunk for the ceremony.

''So, you're supposed to give us advice,'' Katniss says to Haymitch.

Peeta and I stop talking and I focus my attention on them, given the fact I'll probably be the only one giving good advice, like every year.

''Here's some advice,'' Haymitch smirks. ''Stay alive,''

''Haymitch!'' I scold him when he bursts out laughing.

''That's very funny,'' Peeta lashes out and knocks his glass to the floor, smashing it. ''Only not to us.''

Haymitch considers Peeta for a second before punching him in the jaw, knocking him to the floor.

''Haymitch - enough!'' I exclaim as Katniss drives her knife into the table between Haymitch's hand, narrowly missing his fingers. I expected him to hit her too but instead he sat back and squinted at Katniss and Peeta.

''Well, what's this?'' he says. ''It's been a few years since we've actually had a pair of fighters,''

''He's right you know,'' I pipe up. Haymitch raises and eyebrow and Katniss and Peeta look at me. ''The last two victors for District 12 are Haymitch and I. 24 years ago and four years ago. That's a huge gap. Mostly the tributes from District 12 are starving and too weak to fight. There's something different about you. You're stronger. You have fight. Although I don't think hitting them, Haymitch, is going to train them.''

Haymitch nods, ignoring my last comment, and the other two just look like they're taking everything in. Peeta slowly rises from the floor and grabs a fistful of ice from the fruit tureens and begins to hold it up to his face but Haymitch stops him.

''No. Let the bruise show. The audience will think you've mixed it up with another tribute before you've even made it to the arena,''

''That's against the rules,'' Peeta replies back.

''Only if they catch you,'' I begin to grin.

''That bruise will say you fought, you weren't caught, even better,'' Haymitch adds before he turns to Katniss. ''Can you hit anything with that knife besides a table?''

I raise an eyebrow as Katniss thinks for a second before grabbing the knife and launching it across the room where it lodges in between two panels. I look at Haymitch and we both nod slightly.

''Stand over here. Both of you,'' Haymitch nods to the centre of the room. They obey and Haymitch circles them, prodding them, checking their muscles, examining them like I remember him doing to me and my fellow tribute Lucas. Although Lucas was killed by a career in the bloodbath.

''Well, you're not entirely hopeless. Seem fit,'' Haymitch announces, drawing me from my reminiscing. ''And once the stylists get hold of you, you'll be attractive enough,''

''You'll be more than that, I promise you,'' I say and roll my eyes at Haymitch's lack of tact.

''All right, I'll make a deal with you. You don't interfere with my drinking, God knows Vivianna does enough of that already -,'' I shoot him a glare.

''-And I'll stay sober enough to help you. But you have to do exactly what we say,''

''Fine,'' Peeta agrees.

''So help us,'' Katniss looks at us. ''When we get to the arena, what's the best strategy at the Cornucopia for someone-''

''One thing at a time, Katniss,'' I smile at her. ''In a few minutes, we'll be pulling into the station. You'll be put in the hands of your stylists. You're not going to like what they do to you. Trust me, Haymitch and I didn't. Still don't. But no matter what it is, don't resist.''

''But-'' Katniss begins.

''No buts. Don't resist,'' Haymitch echoes my words. He grabs the spirit bottle and exits the car just as we pass through the familiar tunnel to the Capitol station.

I turn to Katniss and Peeta. ''He means well, I promise. He's just had a rough time. It's hard to watch kids every year be forced into the arena. That's why he drinks - so he can cope. He's an old softy really. He'll grow on you as soon as he sobers up,'' I explain.

''Better be soon...'' Katniss grumbles which makes me chuckle as we pull out of the tunnel.

''Welcome to the Capitol,'' I laugh and watch their faces when they take in all the rainbow colours of the Capitolites outside the windows.
Peeta begins waving at the people as they go past. I join in slightly, them already knowing me. They keep track of the victors. I don't though. The only victors I know are myself and Haymitch. I don't pay attention to any other games. I notice Katniss staring at me and Peeta shrugs.

''Who knows?'' he says. ''One of them may be rich,''   

Reunited // Finnick OdairRead this story for FREE!