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Winner, Loser, It's All the Same

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Finnick and Johanna sit side by side on the big couch in the victors’ lounge watching the tributes’ interviews from earlier that evening. It’s something they do every year, as much to pass the time as to determine which ones their own kids should steer clear of or ally with. Johanna always picks out her favorite to win, and Finnick always picks out his favorite to lose. They never watch them in order, instead jumping around the districts at random, but that’s mostly because he lets Jo stay in charge of the remote. (They wrestled for it once, years ago, and Jo easily won. She never did fight fair.)

The girl from 5, the boy from 11, both kids from 2 (of course), the girl from 12, they all have something to recommend them to Johanna as a victor and to leave Finnick feeling cold at the thought. But it isn’t until Jo pulls up the footage for the girl from 1 that Finnick feels his stomach lurch and he knows he’s found his loser.

“Hey.” Johanna punches Finnick’s shoulder to get his attention. He tears his gaze away from the beautiful blonde girl on the screen, flirting with Flickerman and, by extension, the Capitol. Flirting with the Capitol… Finnick feels sick. Jo punches him again. “Finnick. Down, boy! I know she’s pretty, but don’t you have a girlfriend back home?”

The golden girl – Glimmer, District 1, seventeen years old – laughs at something Flickerman says. “Yes, Caesar, I am very prepared.” Her throaty purr shoots right through Finnick, but not like it did Flickerman, who was practically salivating over her hand, and those others like him all across the Capitol, men and women with more money than simple humanity.

“Oh, no. No, no, no.” Jo looks at Finnick again, no longer smiling.

“Finnick?”

“She has to die, Jo.” He can feel Johanna staring at him as Glimmer’s interview continues to play, and when he looks over at her, he can see the demand for an explanation in her eyes. “She can’t come out of that arena. She thinks she knows what they want, but she doesn’t.” On screen, Glimmer laughs again, full of promise. “She doesn’t have a clue.”