She's always hated writing. School never came easy for her, all that sitting still and paying attention and behaving. No, she'd much rather run around the yards and swing on tires than sit behind a desk with a pencil in her hand. (What she'd give to go back in time all those years ago, to steal that little girl away from that place, to tell that untouched soul to savour her days before the end begins.) But that longing to be and do and run about and jump around and get her dress dirty made her who she was, sculpted her into a fighter, carried her through the arena and into her new forever. Every part of her past happened for a reason, and perhaps if she'd sat behind her desk like a good little girl and learned to write with both hands and memorized facts and figures instead of kicking up dirt in the playground and stealing coins from backpacks she wouldn't be sitting here breathing. Perhaps she would have shied away from a battle, perhaps she would have laid in the snow to die, perhaps she would have let Ewe Saw finish her off in the middle of the maze. (She inhales. It hurts. She exhales. That hurts even more.) Living hurts. Life is tough. Dying is easy. Death is simple. If she were to give up then she would have been a coward. And to give up now makes all 23 of them seem worthless, insignificant, a joke to bite down on in a classroom. She is the rust in the screws of her chair, dust that stung her eyes, and dirt gritted down to her very core.
But most importantly, she is brave. So she'll try, for them. God knows she'll try.
Her left hand is shaky and inconsistent, learning to form letters all over again. Her right hand has feeling and the Capitol did what they could to patch up the parts of her that she left behind in the arena, but it's not the same as a real hand and it's slow and frustrating - writing is near impossible. She'd promised her new best friend that she'd teach him to write, to learn again with him. (His silhouette dances in her dreams in a new flood of tears. Only now does she wonder if the floods that chased her to Ewe's death were the tides she would soon choke on over his brother, the tides they both swam through in their youth, a reminder that she cannot escape the arena no matter how many years go by.) She hears his laughter through the Capitol halls and it haunts her to this very day.
She tries their names again: Lucy, Ivana, Cerise. Thistle, Aurora, Eye. There is so much she wants to say that seems almost unfathomable to put into words. Letter by shaky letter, their names form across her eyes until the floods return and she hastily sweeps them away, abandoning the pencil on the desk once more. Stupid, stupid, stupid, she thinks with a fury that could light the page on fire. (She wishes it would consume her instead.)
The floods arrive once more, followed by tremors that tore the redwood forest down and cries of pain from all the souls within her. A calamity of curses fall from her tongue ("Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck" she mutters, a vocabulary so far from what she once knew now stuck on repeat) - because she hates this with all of her heart. It is worse than the night terrors that shake her into her nightmare reality, worse than falling back into the arena when the room is filled with a hundred people and yet nobody is paying attention, worse than drowning under a sea of Capitolites pulling at her patience. It is what she keeps buried underneath silence, stares and smiles. Weakness claws at her everywhere - today in a simple task rendered impossible. You cannot rule without strength. You cannot be brave without power. It is her job to hide it, to conceal it, to overcome it. For them. For all of them.
Someday she'll write them all letters. Someday. But part of being brave is asking for help - a courage that took a long time for her to grasp hold of.
She smiles the next day as Calder enters the room.
"AND I BLEED WHEN I FALL DOWN" _____________________________
He sat in the back of his class, his teacher going on and on about her lesson for the day. Honestly, he couldn't have told you a single thing the lady said in the front of the room all morning long. When he had finally decided to listen, she was already closing up. "Now that we are almost out of time, the principal has instructed me to ask one of you to be a writing tutor for Saffron Lowe until she can get in the habit herself again."
Everyone seemed to either straighten up in their seats, or slouch down lower, all of them either wanting to be the one picked, or be the furthest thing from it. "Most of you have terrible penmanship, however, and I won't have one of my students scribbling what Miss Lowe has to say down in an illegible mess. Which is why Calder will be the one to write for her."
He could still remember their time as children. They had never been particularly close, but had played together on numerous occasions. It was scary to think that the very same girl with firecrackers in her heart and the sun in her eyes was now a victor of the Hunger Games. She was chosen just as easily as he could have been, forced to participate, and emerged a survivor. When he really thought about it, it made perfect sense that she won them. She had always been a fighter, always someone that went for what she wanted. Even if it wasn't her's to have.
Now he was walking through the Town Square, and for the first time ever, he had a legitimate reason to go into the Victor's Village. It was really quite beautiful, with houses larger than his own, decorated to look posh in a simple manner. There were only a few of the homes in use, and from what he heard, only one would be in use all year round. He guessed the first home, with it's grass starting to grow out of control, belonged to Mace and Julian, consecutive winners of the Games that spent half of every year in Julian's District, Two, and the other half here. The next one seemed more cozy and lived in. Lights stood out against the glass windows, and when he approached the door, he found it to smell faintly of pumpkin.
He tapped on the door twice, and was greeted by Paige, the kid-sister of District Ten's newest victor. "Hey, uh, I'm Calder. The school sent me to-" "Yes, I know!" She said, moving out of the way to let him in. "We've been expecting you!" After telling him where to go, he headed upstairs. There were quite a few doors, most of them closed except for one on the very end. Through it, he could see Saffron. She appeared frustrated with something, someone, maybe even herself, but when she saw him she smiled. "Hey, Saffron." He said, entering the room. "Um... What's up?"
Her eyes were cinnamon, warm and soft even after everything they had seen. Her hair fell in perfect ringlets of strawberry blonde down her petite form, and porcelain skin made her pink lips more vibrant. He didn't spend much of his time talking to girls. His own mother had passed away when he was a child, and he now lived with his father and older brothers. They typically were only pleased when he was as macho as he could be, which was probably why they were never very pleased with him, but he doubted that was the case with Saffron. He looked at her with curious eyes, not sure what to say or do. "Um, the school sent me to uh... write for you." The he smiled. Maybe they could become friends after all of these years. Maybe the little boy that was still within him, and the little girl he was sure was still inside of her just wanted to them to remember a simpler time, when she didn't have the burden of the games, and him the burden of losing his mother.
Maybe they could just forget the world, and trick themselves into being happy for a short moment.
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ooc: wow omg first post with him. i'm sorry if it's weird, gotta get used to writing with him!