You can be an orphan in the Capitol. They don't like to tell that story on the screen very often, and who could blame them? This place is glamour, this place is fame, this place is extravagance, decadence, beauty, perfection- and above all, power . Children think that if they're born here, they have that quintessential thing needed to obtain that power from the moment they're born. And that's the lie they all tell. A lovely lie to live—a life far better than that of an orphan from District 11, or even District 1 for that matter—but a lie all the same.
You have to take that power for yourself before someone else gets to it first. And not just take - assert. Boast it, flaunt it, and make sure everyone knows just what you're willing to do to keep it that way. No one fucks with the people at the top.
And orphans? Well, they aren't.
Not unless they make it that way.
And even then it takes a thousand helpful hands, all yanking at your collar until you think you've dangled too long now, you're choking—how are you going to survive the puppet they've spun you into? You want to stop, to tell them the show is over and there's no one left in the audience, but they only grip tighter, yank harder.
"Dance," they laugh.
"Sing for us."
But you're choking, remember? You try to cut the strings and tear yourself free, but it's too late. Those same fragile strings of fraying cotton they yanked you up by are now dipped in gold, barbed into your skin. You'd have to cut away pieces of you, carve fissures and mutilate the soul just to be free again.
Is it worth it?
It can be hard to convince yourself. And then they'll remind you that the only reason you got so far is because they've been holding onto you oh so generously. They made you what you are and they'll be damned if they don't get what you're worth.
So what are you worth?
She recognizes the voice—though the weight and gait of his steps are incredibly unfamiliar—but she corrects him as she turns, shoving the mostly empty field journal back into its hidden compartment. "Von Kirk, love," she smiles, folding her hands and holding them in her lap. "Aloysia."
She's known his name for years. "Yes, sorry," He pauses, for a moment, brow furrowing. "I knew that." She giggles at that. Nothing much else to say when he's already said it all with the puzzled look on his face. His features soften though. His aunt would always shake her head as if in agony when he brightened like that, wished he'd had some 'stronger male influences' in his life to 'steer him in the right direction.' Which was always away from the books and old tapes he adored so much.
"So that was," he bites on the inside of his cheek. Nervous habit—"Fun, right?"—something not even the finest of etiquette coaches or Panem's best poker players could teach him out of. She'd watched his aunt pay them handsomely.
Not a lie. Maybe not the whole truth.
"Here," she stands, smoothing her dress and offering him a small smile as she traces his collar. "Let me help with that."
She buttons his shirt and tries her hardest not to notice that look in his eye. She's used to this, it's worked nearly a dozen times in her life already and she knows what he is saying. She knows what that look means.
And to her.
And they mean something different. Maybe. Mostly?
She knows what she wants to say. The words swirl around furiously inside—like an angry swarm or a raging hurricane begging for pain and destruction and irreparable harm—but she swallows them all back, doesn't even let them come to the surface.
See, all the money and training she never watched him take to worked perfectly on her. The von Kirks adopted her because she had a natural affinity for the piano and recreating musical history in the blink of an eye, yes, that much was true. But they kept her because she knows how to be made beautiful, she knows how to fix almost anything, and she's done nothing but take what they fucking want—what possibly could be more perfect than that in a daughter, right?
"It's okay, Oliver."
She's always known him as Ollie, but names mean a lot this high up.
She smooths out the crinkles that don't exist on the top of his shoulders. She knows it'll help him feel more at ease, that it soothes him, that this will help her get what she always wanted. But mostly she doesn't want to admit that he's been holding her up recently.