She never wanted to be a career. That is what she told herself when her father decided to push her into doing it.
When she was young, she would spend days at the end of her bed, on her knees, looking for something to cling onto as she prayed for a life where she didn’t have to train.
Where she could hope that she would grow up and she wouldn’t have to go into the games because at the end of the day, she was always going to be scared of the thought.
She prayed for a reality that would involve her growing old with a boy that she might meet in the future. Because she was a hopeless romantic at heart, and while her father tried hard to keep her focused on her training, he couldn’t stop her from learning about the world.
No one could stop her from doing that.
The nights he would walk in on her, hands sprawled out on the bed. He would look at her and wonder what she was doing.
”Annie? Whats this?” He asked her as he moved to the opposite side of her bed, kneeling down and mimicking her even though she knew that he would never know what it was like to pray.
”Im just praying for a better future.” She said to him, because there was a truth in there behind the masked lie that she was fed since she could walk.
She would one day learn that her training was vital to her survival.
Well, that is what her father told her as he tucked her into her bed, and kissed her on the forehead.
When he left the room, she wiped her forehead vigorously.
Hoping to not catch a whiff of whatever shit he was eating.
She thought he was the most disgusting man in Panem.
Just like the rest of her family.
Until one day she was out with her mother, making her way around the district square looking for exquisite ingredients in places where they didn’t exist.
Her mother asked her to look for herbs like thyme and rosemary while she bartered with the fish mongers to procure their meal for the night.
However, when Annie returned to her mother, she found her cornered against a fence, holding her bag to her chest like it was about to be ripped from her very person.
It was at this moment she realized that she had a choice to make. Be the hero, or watch her mother get robbed while she coward in the corner.
She stood up and looked out at the man, flourishing a pocketknife that she always carried on her, even when she was in her training classes when she wasn’t supposed to have outside weapons on her.
She looked at that man, ”Back away, from her, now.” Her pocketknife felt light in her hand, and she was feeling dangerous while looking at him.
She took a deep breath as she tried think of the best possible scenario to scare him off.
”Walk away bitch, this doesn’t concern you.” He sneered at her while trying to close the gap on her mother.
Her eye twitched for a moment, letting the dagger fly against the air as it pierced the mans hand.
They looked at each other for a moment, his mouth ajar and her mouth sealed. He fell to the ground in pain and she simply walked towards him.
”You little fucking bitch, what have you done?” he screamed at her and she knelt down and looked into his eyes. ”Im protecting the person that I love the most.” She growled at him, showing her teeth in all of their splendor and her hand gripped the blade in his hand and yanked it out forcefully.
”Run.” She whispered to the man, and with that, he bolted out of there quicker than she thought he was capable of.
Maybe it was the fact that death appeared in her eyes. Or the fact that she realized her training was useful right here and now.
Maybe she would thank her father for pushing her so much.
She thought about it as her mother hugged her passionately. And she simply laughed at herself.
She would never do such a silly thing.
Her mother didn’t last much longer.
She got sick and that is when Annie realized that there was a limitation to her training. She could not save lives the way she did for her mother that day.
For Annie could not fight what she couldn’t see.
So now it was just her and her father, until one of her cousins magically appeared out of nowhere.
He was a boy that didn’t understand why her father was so tough on her. When Annie tried to explain that this was what she was born to do. To fight. To kill. To bring honor the her district, he looked at her and laughed in her face. ”That’s not a way to live.” he said to her as he moved away from her father and sat idly in the foyer, watching her throw knives at a target.
”It’s the only thing I know Angel.” She told him honestly, the knife in her hand for one second and then in the middle of the target the next.
He didn’t buy it, and she didn’t care.
This was all she knew now, seeing as the voice of reason in her life died with her mother. She could have fought for more, but she didn’t because her father always taught her to never be cocky.
Cockiness was weakness that people could exploit if they knew how to.
And after watching the last couple games intensely, she realized that there were so many truths to that comment.
So her dreams changed when her father planted thing in her mind, and she could live with that because that meant she was that much closer to her freedom.