There were no blessings, curses, or storms to be found in the process of her creation. She came into this world naturally, all red and screaming; only just two days ahead of schedule — and the clouds did not part to give the sky a better view of her features, and the winter flowers did not bloom to greet her, and the birds did not stop their singing to hear her cries.
The world kept turning, and the skies remained grey, and all was silent and still. A daughter of aristocracy, but with none of the fame attached. All her family had was their wealth, and the surname thrust upon her was a common one. It held no power. She was average. She existed, and with time, she would learn that was enough.
Her mother would cry at night and her father would spend his days away from home, but half of her childhood friends could say the same, and their fights never evolved into anything violent. Mama wiped her cheeks and Papa promised to change, and then they went on with their routines. They would always come back with fists raised and tears pouring, but just the same, they would always walk away with a forced smile and a shaky promise shared between them.
It would always happen, and nothing about it would ever change. Bambi would always sit at the top of the grand staircase, and she would always peer over the railing and feel the urge to run down and confront the issue that was being avoided — but she would always walk away to her room, and each time she'd pull the covers tight around herself and slip into the safety of a dream; because walking in circles would always be easier than running straight into change.
She never minded the blisters on her feet. And at times she could see how special she truly was in glimpses, but she'd turn away to notice something else that was less selfish. Her voice was sturdy and her hands did not shake, and she was not afraid of living in a frozen state — and it took her years to see the bravery in that.
To be content was a rare quality to find among all of the Capitol's greed, and that was all she ever was in her youth. Decent grades, parents that loved her enough to leave no scars, and enough friends and recognition that she never felt lonely; she knew better than to crave for more. Teeth would be flashed her way and fingers would snake through her hair, but she never understood envy.
She'd shrug away from Midas' touch and raise a single hand in defense of herself. At times she wondered what it would be like to have nicer dresses, to have friends that had more connections, and to have parents that didn't make it obvious that she was the only thing holding them together — but Atlas had never asked for the world to be placed on his shoulders, and Bambi knew at the core of herself that she was lucky to never know the truth of his burden.
Her desires were trivial, and her pain was fleeting, and for all the carnage and bloodshed that she watched annually — it never warped her kindness. She allowed the Capitol to remain gilded and hungry, and in return she asked only for safe passage through its labyrinth. Let her remain soft, and let her remain dull; it was the only wish that she'd waste time skinning her knees to pray for.
She hadn't cried when her wishes didn't come true. She got over it as she had with all inconveniences, and when her body blossomed and her skin cleared — and when the world turned to her like it did to all things that were beautiful — she steeled her jaw and she accepted it with grace.
And she knew that she would be lying if she said that she did not enjoy the glances, and she convinced herself that it was natural for a woman's views to change. A few kisses from men with bad intentions were never discouraged, and a handful of fake people nipping at her heels were hardly enough to weigh her down.
( There was no shame in being a swan — unless you were born to be a hawk. )
She assured herself that she was still that same girl who was happy with what she had, but she still crawled into the jaws that the Capitol spread wide in invitation. The rush of it all swallowed her; feeling like she mattered and suddenly having a chance to step off the path that had been forged for her. They would call her a hypocrite, but she was sure that they just didn't understand.
The roses told the violet to be weary of their thorns, and she only laughed with a reckless breath. She had never taken the time to see the evil in thinking herself indomitable; she was so unafraid of falling that she never bothered to look down and see how high she had actually climbed. And the heights were dizzying.
She never fell, though. That was the exhilarating part. The world took notice of her, and she kept living the simple existence that she had been promised at birth; but outside forces were twisting her destiny in ways that had not been expected. She graduated academy and held a party out of excited impulse, and when more faces came than had been invited, all of their screaming was louder than the whispers behind her back.
She went on to study fashion design at an institution that took more notice of her shapely figure than her sketches when accepting her application, and she was oblivious to it all. When Justice Fray had his stylist fired on the grounds of incompetence and came to select the replacement personally, she had never thought he'd want her just because of her appearance, and that he'd pay no mind to her talents. She should have known something was wrong when he hadn't bothered to browse her collection; when his assistant assured her that she was right for the job despite how unrealistic it was for her to become an official stylist for a career district so early.
She was the worst kind of liar. She succumbed to the world that she had scoffed at so bitterly, but all the while she kept claiming to be normal. Just a girl from a family like any other, with no unique qualities beyond her normality. She wrapped silk around her vision and she lined her insecurities with velvet, and she tried not to notice what wasn't adding up.
She believed her career was realistic, no matter her young age, and the people shouting her once unknown name had reason enough that she did not question them. She was sure that people could change. She held onto the validity of her newfound hunger and pushed away all feelings of doubt. She could be more than just Bambi and still keep herself. She could allow herself to be special; what would it hurt?
And there will come a day when she will sit on the floor of her shower, burning water rolling down the stretch of her shoulders and steam in her eyes — that she will curse herself for losing the one thing that made her such a star in the first place. That bravery and that individuality that was so fiercely her own.
She could have been spectacular had she just stayed content, but she got a taste of ichor, and now she drinks from a god's split wrist with each chance that is given. And she will die as all stars do; suddenly and beautifully, and no one will even notice. And Justice Fray will caress her cheek and tell her that she's amazing, and she'll assume he means the suits that she'll waste away crafting for him, but he'll ignore her and seek shelter past her lips — and she'll let him inside.
She will be foolish, and she will be gentle; and she's aware that he could ruin her. She knows how dangerous he is. And she will forgive him, and she will trust him, and she will not allow herself to love him. And he will not love her in return. And he'll grow bored of her someday, and the Capitol will tire of her when she's no longer at his side, and she will surely fall. She will burn. She will die a hawk, white feathers seared black
— or she'll scorn fate and rage against it, as she had always been destined to. The people of the Capitol would see her live beautifully and then fade quickly, but she will avoid what is inevitable. She will stay and she will prove her worth. She will rise. Let them love her for her face and for nothing beneath her skin; she'll peel it off and make them love the rest. Justice Fray will not throw her away. She'll make him realize just what she's capable of.
Because she's not like the others.
She was chosen because she's immune to his charm.
Let him kiss her.
Let him break her.
Let everyone ignore her abilities.
She'll slap his mouth without hesitation, and then she'll try to stitch up his wounds; because she knows what it means to ignore all of the blood.
This is her tragedy.
She now matters when she never meant to — and all at once, she realizes that she had never wanted to be nothing, either.
Never doubt a woman who wants to be everything; just let her be.