*Setting: Katniss Everdeen killed President Snow as planned during the executions after the war, meaning that Alma Coin is still very much alive and ruling.
The Capitol Hunger Games are now official and Panem has a lot of mixed feelings about it.
President Coin and the Victor Council have decided to divide the Capitol citizens up by region, of which there are 11. Coin herself will be reading the reapings.*
Being sandwiched inside a huge, anxious crowd is never a good thing.
But that is the situation Felicity found herself in on that gray, fateful day. The fumes of sweaty, perfume soaked bodies poisoned every breath she inhaled, causing her to gag.
Peering over the chartreuse wig of the boy in front of her, she gazed curiously at the large screen, suspended over the Square, across which scrolled the Seal of Panem and the first few lines of the new Constitution. So this is what it feels like to be a Districter, she thought.
Of course, I won't be reaped, being from such a high class Region, but curious, all the same.
She rubbed the back of her neck absently, an anxious habit she'd picked up after her father, Seneca Crane, had mysteriously disappeared the year before.
Snow had told her family it was Gamemakers' work- "The Quarter Quell, you know"- nothing to worry about, of course, but when Plutarch Heavensbee had shown up as Head Gammaker for the 75th Hunger Games, they knew he was gone.
Suddenly a trumpet blasted the opening notes of the Panem National Anthem, and President Coin strode onto the stage. "Citizens of Panem!" she began. The audience quieted.
"Today is a special day. We have gathered you here to witness the first Capitol Reaping, in which the citizens of the Capitol will finally get the chance to immerse themselves in the Game they love so much!
I'm sure you are all very- excited- to see how it plays out. So why must we wait? Panem, let the Games begin!"
There was a roar from the crowd as Alma Coin walked purposefully over to the first two glass balls, which were filled with slips of paper. Names.
"Quiet, now," she said with a spark of amusement, "so we can all hear clearly." A hush settled once again as the President slipped her hand into the first ball, and rummaged around.
"For our female tribute from region Argentum..." An unexpected grip of anxiety chilled Felicity's spine. Would it be one of her friends? Would she ever see them again? "...now let's see...
And our tribute is... Ellibette Candlemeyer!" Relief and pity washed over Felicity at the same time.
She didn't know Ellibette, but it must feel terribly frightening for her, going into such a savage place.
The slight frame onstage looked to be trembling, but either President Coin didn't know or didn't care, because she merely said brusquely, "Our first tribute! You should be proud."
Coin finished her remarks and began to fish out the name of her male counterpart.
The list grew. Ellibette and Herod. Victoria and Aristotle. Saffron and Favonious. Decadence, Leon, Chandelier, and Pharoah.
At last, President Coin arrived at the Cranes' region, Rome, and for the first time in her life, Felicity was overcome by real fear.
Not startlement, or anxiety, or jumpiness, but cold, bony-fingered fear that crept up the back of her neck and made itself at home inside her head.
"Now," continued Coin grimly, deprived of her falsely cheerful attitude and energy, "Rome. One of the upper regions, I believe. For their female tribute, let's see..." She reached her hand in.
"Let us see... Ah. Here's one. And the lucky girl is... Felicity Crane! Felicity Crane, please come up to the stage now, like a good girl, hmmn? And for our boy...:"
Felicity didn't hear her. No, no, no. This isn't how it went.
She was supposed to stay at home in her comfy, feather-stuffed recliner and watch the Games, knowing her father was in control, like always. It was simply the way it was done. But now she...?
"In the arena?" she gasped aloud to herself in utter dismay. "Yes," growled an irritable voice on her right. "So get up there, buttercup. Don't keep Gilder waiting."
Gilder? She snapped to her senses at the name. "What..." she began to ask before she saw him standing on the stage, tree trunk arms crossed powerfully across his chest. "On, no. Oh, no..."
As she made her way numbly to the stage, her thoughts raced like caffeinated squirrels. Gilder Sequoia, her childhood bully and lifetime rival. Her enemy would surely kill her...
I don't want to die, the thought came, quiet and whimpering at first, but slowly swelling.
"I don't want to die," she murmured hoarsely to herself, and then, gaining panic, screamed soulfully, "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!"
She yelled her curse over and over until she began to run, frantically, anywhere, before she was caught in the hash embrace of a rebel soldier and dragged to the stage forcefully.
"Well," said President Coin in mock surprise, "Looks like someone doesn't enjoy our little game.
Tell me, Felicity, it would seem as if you would love the opportunity to take part in these Games, seeing as your Gamemaker father was so familiar with them."
Felicity just stared at her president. "Oh, come now, it's not all that bad, is it?" Yes, it was, she thought.
She didn't know how to wield any sort of weapon, she was so gentle and timid it pained her to kill a fly, and she had never been outside the city. It was all that bad.
Most likely she would die at the bloodbath, or even in training. "Is it...?" prompted Coin. When Felicity still didn't answer, she leaned in conspiratorially.
But instead of offering comfort or advice, she said in a low growl, "Every dead tribute over the past 75 years thought the same as you, you know, honey.
I'll be sure to make certain that the Gamemakers play a big role in your Game, just as your father did with your life, and the Districters' Games.
Have a little taste of your own medicine, eh? No more laughing and cheering at children's televised deaths. We'll be laughing and cheering at YOURS."
Then she straightened up, plastered on her fake smile once more, and said cheerily, "Who's next?"
Finally all the regions had been gone through, and 22 terrified Capitol youth stood shaking on the platform.
Two tributes- a twelve-year-old girl from Mardigral named Sparkle, and a 16-year-old stick of a boy from Loistia named Estreya- had been replaced by volunteers.
Estreya had been replaced by his eager older brother Galileo, a sturdier, sly-looking weasel of a boy.
But as there were only 11 regions, the Games lacked two tributes, and Alma Coin said as much. "It seems we only have 22 tributes and no more regions," remarked the president.
"So we have prepared a special reaping for you: two names will be picked from Snow's grand-nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and extended family."
A shout of agreement erupted from the throng, while a small group of children in a far corner of the square wailed in dismay. "That's right," said President Coin firmly.
"Who shall it be?" She approached two smaller glass balls on the far end of the platform. A handful of names filled each one.
She slipped her hand inside the girls' ball, and withdrew a slip of paper. "Ruby Snow," she said in satisfaction. The whole crowd knew that the girls' ball had been rigged. They had to pick Snow's granddaughter. But the boys' was a surprise. "Liszt Belt'abre." The former president's grand-nephew. "It seems as if we have all our tributes!" she chuckled.
"So may the odds be ever in your favors, children. And let the games begin!"
The herd of wailing tributes was shepherded off the stage and to a waiting hovercraft. Without even the chance to say goodbye to their families.
Shouts of "Pharaoh!" and "Saffron!" carried through the crowd, but Felicity only had ears for the cry of "Tia! Tia, wait!" Her younger sister Angelica sobbing her family nickname.
"Angel!" she wailed in return, "Angel--" But the doors of the hovercraft slid shut before she could deliver her message, and she found herself pounding on the glass with the rest of the desperate tributes as the craft rose into the air, and carried them into the deepening city dusk.
Hope you liked that, guys! That was only chapter one, so more to come. Tell me in the comments what you think Felicity's weapon should be (because without one she'd be killed in the bloodbath, and I can't have my main character dying on me). Happy Hunger Games!