Chapter 25

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Finnick and I barely slept in fear of what today brings. I never got to say goodbye to Effie due to the aftermath of the interviews. I savour my time in the shower, knowing it could be my last and can't help the few tears streaking down my face. I could lose everything in the next few days. Effie, Katniss, Peeta, Cinna, Portia, Octavia, Flavius, Johanna...Finnick. I could be dead by next week. And I'm scared.

I meet Finnick at the elevator, both of us looking apprehensive. "I have something for you," he announces.

"You do?" I raise an eyebrow.

He nods and holds my wrist out, noticing the I already have. He pauses. "You still have this?" he twists it in his hands.

I frown. "You...you gave me this?"

He laughs slightly. "Your sixth birthday present. I thought it would be a reminder. And now," he pulls something out from his pocket. "Another reminder. So we know who are our allies are in there."

He clasps a on the same wrist as the trident. It's simple and thin, with a circle in the middle. Inside the circle is a small wave. I'm stunned. "Finnick...it's beautiful. Thank you!"

As I wrap my arms around his neck, he chuckles. "Don't forget where you belong," he whispers in my ear. As we pull away, he kisses me, soft and sweet. "I'll meet you at the Cornucopia."

We get into the elevator and make it up to the roof then separate, each getting into our own hovercraft where we're injected with a tracker in our arms and finally into our individual launch room. Haymitch is already waiting for me.

He gestures to the outfit laid out for me. "Interesting choice of clothes this year. Go put it on, quick."

I take it and disappear into the small bathroom and emerge a few minutes later. This year, it's a fitted blue jumpsuit, made out of a sheer material with a zipper up the front. There's a six inch wide padded belt covered in shiny purple plastic and a pair of nylon shoes with rubber soles. "What do you think of this?" I ask Haymitch.

He runs his hand on the sleeve, feeling the fabric. "Not sure, it's a tricky one. It doesn't give a lot away about the arena apart from the fact it's likely to be warm. It's too thin and light to protect you from the cold. We'll have to see when you're in there."

I take a deep breath. "Haymitch...this is is for us."

Tears cloud his eyes, my own filling with tears. "Anna...you mean a lot to me, okay? I'll do whatever I can for you, and Katniss and Peeta. You're popular, especially being close to Finnick - your popularity has boomed. I'm sure you'll both manage sponsors."

I nod firmly. "Thank you. For everything." I hug him tight before I let go and get into the glass cylinder. I bite my lip to stop myself from crying as the plate I'm standing on begins to rise. I wave goodbye to Haymitch for the last time before I emerge in the area, sunlight blinding me.

I can hear waves. I look down at my feet and see that my metal plate is surrounded by waves. I sigh in relief a little. Water. Something tailored for Finnick and I. Then Claudius Templesmith's voice booms out. "Ladies and gentlemen, let the Seventy-fifth Hunger Games begin!"

I look around me. It's hot. I see the Cornucopia in the distance, about forty yards away. At first glance, it looks like it's floating, but on further inspection I see thin landing strips coming from it, twelve of them. Between two landing strips are two tributes. I look to my left to see the male morphling from District 6 about as far away as the next landing strip on my right. I look behind me and see greenery far away, maybe a woods or forest? I look around for Finnick, but I can't see him. There's only one way to get to the Cornucopia.

As soon as the gong goes off, I dive forward into the water. I was always a strong swimmer, especially coming from District 4. I guess I never lost that ability. It's almost effortless to cut through the water, I'm fast, but by the time I begin to reach the Cornucopia, I already see two figures. Katniss and Finnick. I swim harder but I'm still a few yards away.

"We have a big bathtub." I hear Katniss say.

"You must," he replies. "You like the arena?"

"Not particularly. But you and Vivianna should. They must have built it especially for you both," she says bitterly.

"Finnick!" I call out as I begin to climb up. He snaps his head around and rushes to help haul me up. Instantly he wraps his arms around me and kisses me, not even bothering to think that Katniss has the opportunity to kill us, but she's still there when we pull away. For a moment, we're all frozen.

"Lucky thing we're allies, right?" Finnick grins, turning his wrist until something catches the sunlight just before Katniss lets her arrow fly. Around Finnick's wrist is a gold bangle, decorated with flames. The exact same one Haymitch was wearing earlier. I rub my wrist and feel my own gold bangle. It's a symbol we're all united. To trust each other. We're allies.

Before we waste anymore time, I go into the Cornucopia and pick up a few weapons, finding my signature - a long, thin, sharp blade with a wooden handle and a set of two smaller trident blades with a long prong in the middle, two smaller curved prongs on either side. Finnick has his own trident, full sized and deadly. When I step out, I barely have enough time to register as we hear footsteps.  


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