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#hunger games au
chinkbihh · 12 hours ago
Text
Quarter Quell IV
Yandere Jungkook, Hunger Games AU
Warnings; Gore, death, yandere behavior, killing, strong language, literally kids murdering other kids, male on female violence (special trigger warning: in this series, there are moments where male tributes will overpower and hurt female tributes.  These scenes can be particularly triggering to women who have suffered abuse from men so please reconsider if you can handle this reading.)
Special trigger warning:  FOR MY MUSLIM READERS, THIS IS IS NOT RAMADAN SAFE!!!  In fact, I advise you to stay away from my blog as asks can reference my writing and also contain strong language, but please feel free to come back after your spiritual reflection is over.
PART ONE, PART TWO, PART THREE
Additional reading:  Tribute Catalog
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Word Count; 14.5k 
The Hunger Games typically include a feast each year.  Feasts are used to bring the remaining tributes together if the Gamemakers think the game is getting boring or slow.  Often when food is scarce in the arena, or some tributes need vital equipment, the Gamemakers will invite the tributes to a banquet at a well-known place, such as the Cornucopia, to induce another bloodbath.  
Nighttime had fallen all too soon, quickly and ruthlessly snatching away all light and visibility in the arena.  The artificial stars that painted the unnatural sky provided very little brightness, hardly illuminating anything.  This, unfortunately, left the young girl running blindly, not even being able to see where she was headed, much less what was in front of her.  
She knew she had to be silent, but the haggard sounds of her gasping breaths simply couldn’t be helped.  The incoming dread of what was coming was practically strangling her lungs, panic had officially coupled with hysteria.  Her ears were ringing loudly, the blood and adrenaline having rushed to her head, hyperventilation not too far away.  
She rose a shaky hand and glued it over her mouth, desperately attempting to quiet the involuntary sounds seeping out of her.  Her training had prepared her for stealth and hiding, but nothing could compare to the reality of actually being chased and hunted in the arena.  
It was beyond difficult to silence her footsteps.  She was terrified of making any noise at all, but she needed to get away as fast as possible.  Yet her running was proving to have alerted her stalkers even more of her presence.  It also wasn’t necessarily the safest option due to the lack of visibility and the high possibility of accidentally getting trapped in a dead-end or hurting herself.  Thus, she slowed her tread and abandoned all hope of escaping, her last resort would have to be hiding.
The girl crouched down, sticking her free arm out and blindly waving it in front of her, trying to feel if there were any openings within the rocky walls of the mountain that she could hide in.  The sounds of her incoming killers were gradually getting louder and louder, their proud strides and loud conversation making her nearly want to puke from the catastrophic anxiety of finally meeting her end.  
There were no dwellings to hide in, not even a large rock to use as a shield.  An almost silent curse escaped the girl's lips, agitation taking over her fear for a brief moment when she realized she had only left one route of escape.  
She would have to run.  
And hope against hope that the gamemakers would pity her enough to trigger the sleeping gas soon.  
The unnamed girl sucked in a large breath, preparing for her life or death haul.  Her hands twitched to tie her hair back, it having always been a pet peeve of hers when it got in her face during training.  But the incoming footsteps of the intruders told her she had no time to do so.  
The girl sprinted in the opposite direction she was being cornered from, no longer caring if they heard her or not, just planning to outrun them until the sleeping gas would make another appearance.  
“Where do you think you’re going?!”  A baritone yet gleeful voice called out not too far from behind her, causing shivers to run up her spine when she recognized the voice.  
She was hoping against hope that it wasn’t them.  
But in the back of her mind, she knew from the start who her pursuers were.  
Her future killers gave chase, several pairs of footsteps having broken into a sprint nearly a split second after she had.  The girl pushed her body forward, running so hard that she wasn’t even sure if her feet were fully hitting the ground.  Her life was on the line, and she hoped the desperation to survive would give her an edge over the others.
But this was wishful thinking.  
They were three, and she was only one.  They were all taller than her, their legs being able to cover more ground as they closed in on her.  
“Come on!  Don’t you wanna catch up?!  It’s been a while, huh?!”  Another voice hollered, this time the owner of it being female.  The girl cringed at the sound, recalling the face behind it and the less than amicable relationship between them.  
“Yeah, Joy!  Won’t you stop and talk to your old allies?!”  Chanyeol laughed, not slowing down in the slightest as he chased after her.  
Joy pushed herself harder, but her legs were beginning to cramp and it was becoming harder and harder to breathe.  The careers were close on her tail, effortlessly being able to match her speed and then some.  
Chanyeol was the tallest of the bunch, he had the longest stride.  So it only made sense for it to be him to come up from behind her and sweep her up her feet, laughing loudly at her struggles as he threw her over his shoulders.  
Jeongyeon slowed down and eventually came to a halt beside her district mate, crouching over and breathing heavily at the unexpected workout capturing Joy was.  When she finally caught her breath, she stood up and yanked at Joy’s hair, giggling at the responding yelp.  She teased, “It’s going to be really fun killing you.  Isn’t it ironic that you used to kill with us and now are going to get killed by us?”  
Joy didn’t cease her struggles, but Chanyeol’s grip was ironclad around her bruised body.  
The District Two native began to cry, something she hadn’t allowed herself to do in years.  
She knew this process, she knew what was coming and why the pair from District One was suddenly so mouthy.  
In the training centers, kids are taught to make a show out of every kill.  It was the reason careers were so favored to win, because they made the games entertaining and played into all the Gamemaker’s schemes.  So that was what Chanyeol and Jeongyeon were going to do.  They were going to humiliate and play around with her before executing her.  
Delirious and manic, Joy rushed to intervene.  “Wait, guys-”
“Long time no see, huh Joy?”  A new voice joined the three, cutting off whatever Joy was going to say.  
His footsteps were casual, not hurried at all as he slowly walked up to the scene.  His face wasn’t completely visible in the dark, but his doey eyes gleamed sinisterly and revealed his inner amusement.  
Joy’s heart dropped, her struggles stopping altogether as she allowed herself to fall limp and stare back up at her district mate.  
She had poked the bear and successfully ran away once.  
But the bear had returned, and he didn’t look nearly lenient as he was the first time.  
If there was a face to Joy’s inevitable end, Jungkook’s vengeful expression would be it.   Joy suddenly felt both unbearably hot and cold at the same time.  Her mouth went dry, her skin became too tight to bear, her stomach clenched uncomfortably tight, and only at that moment did she know what true terror was.  
Jungkook descended closer, a grin slowly growing as he took in Joy’s sobs.  He licked his berry red lips and ran a hand through his ebony hair, looking upwards to the sky as he spoke, “Tell me Joy, have you ever heard of the phrase ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’?”  
Joy was too petrified to speak, only anxiously nodding her head in agreement when Jeongyeon tugged on her hair.  
“Hmm, so you could only understand how I feel right?”  He asked rhetorically.  “You realize how pissed I am?  All four of us had a deal.  A pack.  An alliance.  Yet you decided to run away and abandon that?  For what?”  
If Joy was feeling a hundred times braver than she was now, she would’ve perhaps clapped back and told him that she didn’t just leave the group, she was forced out.  But she was in no position to instigate anything.  They already were furious with her.  
Furious enough to kill one of their own.  
Jungkook continued in his usual snarky tone, “I bet you’re extremely embarrassed now, right?”  He let out a bleak laugh.  “You lasted a whole four days without us!  How impressive!  Sure showed us!”
Chanyeol and Jeongyeon laughed with him, causing more tears to escape Joy, her vision now too blurry to even see the faces in front of her.  
“Now because of the brilliant game-changer this year,” Joy couldn’t tell if that was a genuine compliment from Jungkook or if he was just trying to maintain his image of the Capitol’s golden boy, “we don’t know what tributes are out there.  If you tell us some information, we might just be thankful enough to let your sorry ass go.”  
Joy didn’t need to be told twice.  Her survival instincts overclouded all judgment, she rapidly jumped at the chance to impress her captors enough to be released, not realizing that her fate was cemented either way.  
“S-Seven!  I killed the girl from Seven!  And the girl from Five is still out there!”  
Jungkook tilted his head to the side, pursing his lips, and furrowed his brow as if in deep concentration.  After a moment of silence, he responded, “I don’t know.  I don’t really think I care enough about Five or Seven to spare you.  How about you guys?”
The tributes from District One hummed in agreement.  
“Shame, we could’ve had a deal.”  Chanyeol chimed in, not doing a good job of feigning disappointment.  Jeongyeon chuckled along with him, also clearly enjoying every minute of Joy’s despair.  
Jungkook surged forward and motioned for Chanyeol to hand Joy over to him.  Chanyeol did so, carefully shifting her over so she couldn’t escape.  
Jungkook now had Joy by her waist, strong arms circled around her midsection, her back to his chest as he whispered in her ear, “Generally speaking, killing your own district mate is frowned upon but I think our case is an exception.”  
Joy let out a deafening scream, desperate to do anything possible to postpone what was about to happen to her.  The former career wildly thrashed her arms and legs, even throwing her head back in an effort to hit Jungkook.  Jungkook slowly but surely dragged her over to the edge of the mountain, and when Joy realized what was happening her efforts to escape only doubled.  With all that mangling, she was able to briefly twist around and use her nails to mar his face.  In response he hissed and slammed her body to the ground, clutching his now bloody face.  
“You fucking bitch!”  Jungkook shouted, aloof act far gone and now openly infuriated.  
Joy scrambled to get away, but just when she barely managed to make it past Jungkook, Chanyeol’s boot met her face in a brutal kick.  
She was knocked flat on her back, and Jungkook rushed over to take her by the neck.  
The golden boy career wasted no more time in dangling her over the edge, enjoying the sight of Joy’s dilated pupils as she furiously kicked the air below her.  
Joy clawed at his hands that were swiftly tightening around her throat, but they didn’t relinquish any power in the slightest.  The unfiltered fright that thundered upon her was so powerful and consuming that she didn’t even realize that she had lost control of her bladder, her camo pants just suddenly going wet.  
Pride and promise forgotten the survivor in Joy jumped to use the one trump card she swore she wouldn’t dare pull.  
“T-Ten!”  She was hardly able to enunciate, her windpipe already being halfway crushed.  
This got Jungkook’s attention.  
All of a sudden Joy was able to breathe again, her district mate having whirled her around and set her onto the ground.  
Joy choked and gasped in the air, raising her hands to rub the marks that were now imprinted into her throat.  She was dizzy, lightheaded, and barely coherent.  But grateful to be alive, even if only for another minute.  
“What the fuck did you just say?”  Jungkook growled, towering over her.  
“I have...information on Ten.”  She chose the word information carefully, eyeing the way Jungkook held onto every word of hers with guarded interest.  
On the inside, he was anguished for any possible hint of what his beloved could be up to.  But he was reserved in his desperation, not yet knowing if Joy had good or bad news about Y/n’s status.  
A blanket of silence had now covered the scene, no one daring to speak and break the stand-off between the District Two tributes.    
It was as if Jungkook hadn’t had water in years, and Joy just accidentally let it slip that she knew of a watering well nearby.  
The obsessed man set his eyes on her, and Joy could tell that the wheels were slowly turning in his mind.  He wasn’t quite sure how to act, his instincts were screaming to force the answer out of her by any means necessary.  But on the other hand, this knowledge was too vital to him and he couldn’t afford to mess this transaction up.  
As much as he hated to admit it, Joy held the power now.  
“Taehyung or Y/n?”  Jungkook asked, needing to know before he struck any deal with her.  
“Y-Y/n.”  
“Is she with anyone?  Is she hurt?  Dead?  Where is she-” These questions and then some spilled out of Jungkook’s mouth at lightning speed, seemingly all out of his control.  If Joy didn’t feel as guilty as she did now, perhaps she would’ve had enough nerve to feel smug at the sudden power exchange.  But now that she wasn’t literally an inch away from death, the weight of breaking the promise she made only hours earlier dawned on her.  
Was she really such a heartless career that she’d do anything to save herself?  
She made sure her last promise to Y/n was realistic enough to keep.  Joy would give Y/n the rest of the day before turning on her, and she would keep her mouth shut about Y/n if anyone asked about her.  Those two favors weren’t difficult to maintain.  But Joy guessed she must’ve underestimated her need to not only live through these games but to win them.  
Joy eyed the sky wearily, hoping that the fallen tribute segment would soon interrupt and quickly be followed by the sleeping gas.  Because this way when she did spill to the careers, they would hardly have enough time to track her down.  And the next day could begin with an entirely new arena, one where Y/n would actually have a chance in.  
But alas, the sky remained still.  Joy couldn’t help but wonder if the segment was temporarily being postponed due to the drama that was happening now.  Maybe the gamemakers were too desperate for good footage to close this day without getting some good cut scenes.  
Either way, Joy decided to just bite the bullet.  
“I’ll tell you everything I know if you swear not to kill me.”  Joy told her former ally, interrupting his tirade.  
Jungkook for once looked conflicted.  Swearing not to kill someone in the games was a big deal, especially for careers.  It was the only thing they knew how to do in the games, the only truth they accepted.  No one was spared of this, so it was extremely unconventional to excuse someone in a game where everyone would have to die but you.  
It also would be extremely foolish if Jungkook swore not to kill her, only to find out from Joy that you were among the fallen.  Hell, he might strangle her just from the grief.  
But, nothing risked; nothing gained.  
“Okay.  I swear I won’t kill you.”  Jungkook announced reluctantly, crossing his arms and stepping closer so he can bend down and make direct eye contact with Joy.  “Now spill.”  
Joy should’ve been relieved with that promise, but she felt like she could suffocate under the penetrating gaze he pinned on her.  Sensing danger if she didn’t quickly comply, Joy proceeded to hand over her personal experiences with Y/n.  
“I came across her on day three.  The girl from Seven was on top of her and was about to kill her so I knocked her off and choked Seven out.  Then I made Y/n my ally.  We were fine for the next two days but today we were attacked by the girl from Five.”  Joy took in a deep breath as she recalled how the alliance had ended.  “Y/n didn’t want to kill so she did just enough to get Five to leave us alone and run away.  We got into a fight because….”  Joy trailed off, realizing that the careers probably didn’t care why the alliance ended.  
Jungkook did care though.  
He cared all too much.  
“Because what?!”  He barked impatiently.  
“Because she basically refuses to kill!  She just accepted that she’s going to die in these games and won’t do anything about it!”  Joy exploded.  
Jungkook wasn’t as taken aback, instead just nodding his head along like he knew that this was indeed along the lines of Y/n’s ideology and behavior.  
“Where is she now?”  Chanyeol unexpectedly interjected from behind them.  Jungkook shot him a spiteful glare as if he believed everything about Y/n was meant for his ears only.  Chanyeol simply just shrugged at Jungkook, “We don’t have much time, man.  Tomorrow is going to be a new arena and then her whereabouts really will be unknown again.”  
This seemed to light a fire under Jungkook.  
He yelled, “Where did she go when you two split up?!”  
‘Sorry Y/n, I hope you’ll understand.’
“She was headed to the top of the mountain.”  
That was all he apparently needed to hear because in a blink of an eye Jungkook had stalked past Joy and his allies in favor of heading up the trail.   Joy felt like she could finally breathe again, and made a move to stand up.  
Only to be pushed back down by Jeongyeon, Chanyeol right beside her.  
“W-What?  This wasn’t the deal!”  Joy hollered, loud enough for the departing Jungkook to hear.  
Jungkook paused and glanced back disinterestedly, “What are you guys doing?”  
“Well, you promised you wouldn’t kill her.  But we didn’t promise shit.”  The girl from One called out to the leader.  
Jungkook sighed heavily as if the whole conversation was too bothersome to even be had.  “Whatever, just make it quick because I’m not waiting for you guys.  Y/n’s waiting for me.”  
-----
You stared up at Jungkook, his words still swimming in your mind and delaying the proper process of logical deduction.  
“You know, running off with my district mate isn’t a good way to get my attention baby.”  These were the first words he had said to you, a strange greeting to say the least.  
His mysterious knowledge of what you had been up to during the games was alarming, enough to for once make you not just scared to be around him, but also exceedingly confused.  
Joy was his district mate.  
And the only way he’d know about the short-lived alliance between you two is if someone had told him about it.  But there were only two possible suspects other than yourself; Joy herself or the girl from Five.  
“H-How-”  
The District Two career read your mind, placing an arm over your shoulders before enlightening you by answering the unsaid question, “I ran into an old friend not too long ago. I was kind of bitter about how she left us, but Joy was awfully quick to throw your location under the bus.”  
You quietly gasped.  
Jungkook smirked at you, eyes drinking in the mess of emotions your face must’ve gone through with psychopathic content.  
The betrayal stung you mercilessly.  
You gaped wordlessly at him, somewhat expecting him to amend his statement into something less bewildering, but no further explanation came.   You felt like a bucket of ice was just dropped onto you, chilling you to the bone and shocking your nerves.  
The pain came in waves of surprise, denial, and anger.  Each emotion overpowering the last.  
Your heart was screaming that Joy wouldn’t do that!  
But your brain was questioning if she truly would.
She wasn’t exactly a salt to the earth type of girl, but her promise to you was the bare minimum of decency.  It was hard to believe that she couldn’t even keep that.  All she had given you was the rest of the day, after that she claimed that she wouldn’t treat you any differently than the other tributes.  Also, she swore not to tell anyone about you.  Which in a game where no one can be quite sure who the fallen are, can be extremely helpful.  
It’s only been a few hours since this agreement.  
Why would she backstab you so soon?  
Why even bother swearing you those things if she had no intention of seeing them through?  
Jungkook’s sharp face gradually became blurry to you as your eyes began to water.  
“Ah, I see you’re just now realizing Joy’s true character.”  Jungkook commented, still carefully observing your face, expression somewhat sympathetic but mostly smug.  “She’s always been very selfish.  It’s why she left our alliance in the first place.  And why she screwed you over the second she had the chance to.”  
Hearing him badmouth her probably should’ve soothed your pride, but instead it made you weep even harder.  
Jungkook clutched your body to his, releasing hums deep from his chest in some effort to calm you down along with your incoming sobs.  He tucked your head under his chin, petting your hair with his free hand and whispering a “there, there”.
You had let him do what he wished with you, allowing your body to go limp like a rag doll as you blubbered the one question that was truly bothering you.  
“S-So, that last c-cannon was….” You couldn’t bring yourself to say it out loud.  
“Yes, Y/n.  Joy is dead.”  he said gently as if those words would bring you peace and comfort.  “Now you have a whole new alliance that will be much better than the one you had with her.”  
You pressed your face into Jungkook’s chest, deliriously shaking and howling silently.  
You were mourning the loss of a comrade.  One who had saved your life yet simultaneously would be the cause of its’ downfall.  
The three days that you had spent with her in this nightmare of an arena was enough time for you to humanize her, to almost consider her a friend among all the nameless enemies.  Joy had added context to herself, telling you about her district and family, adding a layer of empathy to slightly override the mixed emotions you had towards her.  In return you had been vulnerable with her as well, making her the only tribute to know the intimate details of your home back at Ten.  Knowing her career background and willingness to kill should have put you off of her, but instead, it just made you hope that she would win.  You would much rather it have been the gorgeous and outspoken Joy who had saved you sitting on the victor’s throne, rather than any of the other careers.  
You really wanted to be mad at her for telling the careers where you were.  At least then her death couldn’t hurt you as much if you were disillusioned with her character.  
But you knew you couldn’t blame her.  
Jungkook and his minions probably tortured the poor girl, and it wasn’t your place to judge because it was nearly impossible to gauge what you would’ve done in that situation.  You’ve seen firsthand how terrifying Jungkook could be and that was only outside the arena.  Actually being in the games must’ve made it ten times worse now that he was finally allowed to kill others.  
You pressed yourself deeper into Jungkook, crying inconsolably in the arms of the man you despised most.  
Distantly you were aware that you currently weren’t doing yourself any favors, that this ‘public display of affection’ would only serve to lead Jungkook on along with the rest of the viewers.  But you didn’t have the heart to care at the moment.  
It didn’t matter if it was Jungkook, you would’ve collapsed in the arms of anyone nearby when hearing about how Joy had fallen.  You momentarily took solace in the physical comfort, but your contempt for him only grew to limitless bounds.  
And at the moment, with the coos of Jungkook filling your ears and the scent of lavender and cinnamon heavily approaching, you began to reconsider the last things Joy had said to you.  
You peeked up at his boyishly handsome face, taking in his complacent expression amidst the violet haze that was now surrounding you two.  
One last thought crossed your mind as your eyes began to droop into a familiar close.  
‘Maybe some killings are excusable after all.’  
-----
“Remember who the real enemy is.”  - Haymitch Abernathy, Victor of the 50th Annual Hunger Games.
Darkness.  
It was all that surrounded you.
It had enveloped you to the core and deprived you of your senses, fully and selfishly obtaining your consciousness. You felt like you were floating, and you allowed yourself to indulge in the numbing sensation of it.  
But, it wasn’t lasting.  
The darkness began to get brighter and brighter, causing you to inwardly groan and attempt to sink yourself further into the void.  But you were gradually becoming aware enough to decipher that this darkness was actually the deep artificial sleep you had been placed under, however that didn’t mean you wanted to wake up from it.  
In fact, it was the last thing you wished for, you wanted to sleep forever and never face what was going to happen if you arose.  
But disruptive noises began to pull your focus.
Disembodied voices echoed in your ears.  Sounding so far away yet all around you at the same time, as if you were underwater.  
Without your consent, the sounds got less and less muffled to you, eventually polishing off into clear and distinct voices.  
“-how cute you are now that you got your little pet!”  
“Shh!  Wake her up and I’ll kill you.”  
“Easy there tiger, I’m sure you yelling death threats will wake her up before I do.”  
“Just let her sleep, she went through a lot last night.”
“She has to get up at some point Jungkook.  The game can’t stop just because the princess wants her beauty sleep.”  
“I’ll put you into an eternal sleep if you don’t-”
“Guys, I think she’s already up.”  
Indeed, you couldn’t feign sleep for much longer and were already beginning to shuffle and stir.  
The three voices from before fell quiet, presumably to garner if you truly were awaking.  
You groggily let out an involuntary groan, rubbing your clenched eyes before blearily opening them to behold the scene you found yourself in.  
The crystal blue sky was what you saw first, given your position of being laid flat on your back.  The sudden and unexpected brightness of it caused you to wince and hastily roll over to your side.  But during this flurry of action, you were able to catch sight of what was under you; overgrown and soft lime-green grass.  
It took a second to register that the arena around you wasn’t the same one you fell asleep in, but when it did click you were quick to snap up and furiously whip your head side to side.  
Green was the only color to be seen for miles and miles out, sharply contrasting the red rocky mountain of yesterday.  Trees were few and far between, only a handful or so standing proudly in the wide expanse of field.  Naturally high and lush grass blanketed the arena, slightly swaying in the mid-morning breeze that rolled in as you slowly drank in the landscape before you.  
You realized that you were more so looking down at the arena, rather than out.  This led to you concluding that you must’ve woken up on a hill of some sort that provided you with a bird's eye view of everything below you.  
Day Seven’s arena was grassy fields and rolling hills, clearly imitating the likes of a prairie.  
“Good morning beautiful.”  A voice called out for your attention.  
Your heart dropped at the interruption.  
You nonetheless slowly twisted around to face your new “allies”.  
Jungkook was sitting casually a few feet away from you, eyes glued to you in silent intrigue.   The intensity of his gaze unnerved you, as it made it very clear that he must’ve been staring at you long before you actually awakened.  You barely held back a wince as you discreetly took in the scratches that ran down his otherwise flawless face, they didn’t look much better than they were last night.  Hinting to you that they will probably leave a lifetime scar, as if the killer from Two wasn’t intimidating enough.  
Squatting beside him was the boy from District One, also studying you although with a modest curiosity.  When he noticed your eyes were on him he had the decency to regard you with a dopey smile, as if trying to put you at ease.  You were taken aback by the gesture and only realized then that you had never truly observed the careers from One.  
As you recalled from Joy’s anecdotes, this one must’ve been named Chanyeol.  He was good-looking; taller and bulkier than Jungkook but with his protruding ears, round eyes, and an endearingly stupid grin, you couldn’t really find it in you to be that fearful of him.  
Behind them stood Chanyeol’s counterpart.  She had her arms crossed in front of her chest as she leered down at you, apparently not at all impressed with what she was looking at.  You guessed that she must’ve been the one to call you ‘princess’ earlier and was already annoyed with you for sleeping in.  You noted with dismay that she was also extremely attractive, tall and thin with a petite face and doll-like features.  Her shoulder-length auburn hair was tied back in a ponytail, bangs hovering over her piercing eyes as they ran over you with obvious contempt.  You wanted to feel slighted by her cattiness, but you supposed you would most likely feel the same way if you were in her shoes.  She seemed to be the only sound-minded career who obviously echoed your own sentiment; what is the hillbilly from 10 doing here?
You took in the trio, basking in the silence as they all kept their mouths shut, waiting for you to say something in response to Jungkook’s greeting.
These were the careers.  
You had woken up surrounded by them, yet they weren’t making any move to hurt you.  
You vaguely remembered Jungkook telling you about your “whole new alliance”.  
But the words of a bloodthirsty career weren’t ever to be trusted.  
Too tired for tact you blurted, “Are you going to kill me?”
Jeongyeon rolled her eyes, Chanyeol snorted and Jungkook raised his brows so high that they nearly joined his hairline.  
“No.  Why would we do that?”  Jungkook questioned incredulously as if you had just asked the dumbest thing.  
While it was true that if they wanted you dead they could’ve easily killed you by now, it didn’t necessarily promise a bright future for you.
There were things worse than death, after all.  
“You’re one of us now.”  Chanyeol added, shrugging his broad shoulders as if it wasn’t a big deal.  
You gaped up at them, bewildered and speechless.  
You? With the careers?  That was like a lamb tagging along with a pack of wolves; it made absolutely no sense and neither party had anything to gain from that.  It would be borderline laughable for you to even try to fit in with these kids.  They were the predators, you were the prey.  Anyone with eyes could see that.  You bet that even the spectators in the Capitol were scratching their heads at this development.  
What possible angle could they be playing by recruiting you?  
“I have no skills to offer as an ally.”  You told them, hoping the shock on your face was enough to convince them of the validity of this statement.  
Jungkook giggled at that, eyes crinkling up and nose scrunching.  
“Cute.”  He muttered, somehow finding your utter hopelessness adorable.  
Jeongyeon scoffed, her disdain for you seemingly only grew the more your mouth opened.  
Chanyeol at least tried to maintain his facial expression, fighting back a smile and stifling any laughter that threatened to seep through.  So far he seemed to be the most normal of the bunch, maybe even the nicest given he attempted to assure you, “Don’t say that.  I’m sure it’s not true.  What did you do back in your district?  Ten, right?”  
Jungkook side-eyed Chanyeol, obviously annoyed with him for opening a line of communication with you.  Something that probably should’ve confused you, but you recalled how furious he had been when Chenle had merely touched you.  Most of his fits of rage seemed to be centered around you.  
“My family owns a ranch.”  You answered lifelessly.  
Chanyeol’s grin slowly dropped, outwardly disenchanted by your so-called “skills” and background.  “Oh.”  
Jungkook interjected, protective of your pride.  “I’m sure you will be useful to us in your own way.”  
Jeongyeon guffawed, “Yeah, if a hoard of cattle suddenly popped up in the arena!”  
The District Two boy took that as an attack and wasted no time in jumping up.  He made a move to step towards her as he barked, “Okay that’s it bitch, I’m really about to-”
The threats were left unsaid as an eerily monotone voice suddenly sounded from above, completely cutting off anything Jungkook was about to say.  
“Good Morning tributes, and welcome to day seven of the 100th annual Hunger Games.”  The head gamemaker greeted through the invisible speakers, faintly vibrating the prairie with the force of the volume.  
The careers stilled, conversation and possible confrontation totally forgotten as they all craned their heads up towards the sky as if the faces of the gamemakers were to be visible amongst the clouds.  You noted with disgust that they almost looked eager for the announcement, as if they were pets and their owners had just called out their name.  
But even you had to admit that all announcements were to be listened to attentively.  
The head gamemaker continued, “Twelve tributes remain and I’d personally like to congratulate you all on making it this far.  We know it hasn’t been easy, and as a gift from me to you I’ve prepared a feast.”  A pause and slight shuffle over the microphone, “This game has been the most difficult for tributes in terms of food and water.  So as a gesture of the Capitol's generosity, the tributes will be given a delicious spread of wondrous foods from the finest chefs Panem has to offer.  In an exact hour from now, a Cornucopia will appear here.”  
Suddenly, a large and bright orange beam struck from the sky.  You couldn’t see the exact point in which it met with the ground because it was miles out, but you were able to decipher the general area it must’ve been referencing.  
“With this temporary Cornucopia, will come the food and water you all desperately need.  Just make sure to get there quick, unless you all have no problem sharing amongst yourselves.”  He chuckled, finding the chances of tributes not willing to kill each other over a muffin seemingly laughable.  “Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.”  
A click sounded, and suddenly the Gamemaker’s voice was gone along with the giant orange location pin.  
Neither you nor the careers moved, still processing the huge development that just was just dropped onto you all.  
Feasts occurred every year, and they were thinly veiled attempts to induce another bloodbath.  They were an inevitable part of every game and traditionally happened in the latter half of the games when deaths were slowed and viewer entertainment needed a spike.  They usually came in the form of food, but some games prepared bags specifically made for each tribute and what they needed most.  Whether a guy from Four needed medicine for his wounds or if a girl from Eight needed water, it’d be perfectly packaged up and waiting patiently by the Cornucopia, acting as irresistible bait.  Other times all that would be prepared is a stale loaf of bread, and starved tributes would fight over it like it was ambrosia.  
For most tributes it was a battle of will, could they resist the temptation of showing their face to the other lingering tributes?  Exactly how badly did they need the items in the feast?  Was it worth fighting and dying over?  
For unathletic and unpromising tributes like you, the answer was clear- no.  You might as well knowingly walk into a bear trap.  
But your allies were a different story.  
Chanyeol briskly jumped to his feet, a giddy smile plastered back on his face.  “Do you think they’ll have that grape punch?”  
“Probably, let’s get a move on because it looks pretty far away.”  His counterpart replied, already turning away and beginning to walk in the general direction of the feast.  
You gaped at their nonchalance.  
Seven days of barely eating were indeed weighing down on you, but you would much rather carry the burden of an empty stomach than a snapped neck.  Were they that close to starvation that they were willing to put their whole life on the line for some Capitol cream puffs?  That seemed too nonsensical, even for careers.  
“Isn’t it a bit early for a feast?”  Jungkook muttered to himself, still gazing up at the sky in mild contemplation.  
“Yeah, can’t remember any past games where the feast happened within the first ten days,”  Chanyeol said offhandedly, tugging on one of his oversized ears.  “I guess too many tributes this year must be really close to starvation.”  
It did make sense.  During your entire time in the arena, you’d only been able to eat a roasted frog and half a snake.  You considered yourself very lucky for those two ‘meals’ because it was really Joy who made sure you two had something to eat during those days, not you.  So you could only imagine that the other tributes had even less fortune with warding off malnourishment.  
Jungkook snapped back to reality and motioned for you to get up and follow them.  
You sat there, body numb and unmoving.  
Jungkook raised a brow at this defiance, Chanyeol, and Jeongyeon even sending you warning stares from behind his back.  
You watched as the strange boy from Two titled his head to the side and pressed his tongue against his wounded cheek, letting out a ‘tsk’ at your disobedience.  “Y/n, I won't ask again.  Come along now, while I’m still being nice about it.”  
You sent him a look of misery, “I don’t wanna go.”  
Your stalker let out a sigh at that, agitation melting off his face and instead being replaced with a sad smile.  “Baby, there’s no need to be scared.  You know I will protect you if anything happens.”  
The bane of your existence continued to poke fun at your inability to protect yourself, once again painting himself as the savior you never asked for.  “Is that what you told Joy too?”  
It was a low blow.  
And you sure as hell expected a bigger reaction than what you actually got.  
Jungkook just chortled at that, unbothered as he strutted up to you.  “You’re still on about that?  What’s the point in crying over fallen tributes?”  
You yelped as you were then thrown over Jungkook’s shoulders, him not even breaking a sweat or making a sound at your sudden weight.  
“And for your information doll, it wasn’t me who killed Joy.  You have Jeongyeon to thank for that.”  Jungkook added, ignoring your half-hearted struggles as he casually worked himself into a light jog with the other careers following his lead.  
This shut you up instantly, allowing yourself to fall limp in his hold as he trudged toward the feast, the tributes from One in his tow with only their moving legs in your line of sight.  
You let his motions rock your immobile body, closing your eyes and trying to drown out the passing wind that whistled in your ears.  
It was odd how tired you felt at that moment because deep down you knew it wasn’t physical exhaustion that stemmed from a lack of sleep.  No, the violet gas provided you with an ample amount of shut-eye.  This fatigue was simply the symptom of the mental brick wall you had hit in these games.  
You always knew that there was no chance for you to win these games.  But that didn’t mean you didn’t at least try to last as long as you had.  You guessed if you truly felt hopeless you could’ve attempted suicide much sooner, perhaps as soon as the first cannon signaling the beginning of the games sounded.  But the fact that you didn’t proved some sort of ingrained self-preservation.  
Preservation that would have to be thrown out because you were now officially at the mercy of these merciless careers.  
They could dispose of you whenever and however they wished.  To even hope for an escape would be foolish of you, optimism no longer being a hail mary.  You had a suspicion that Jungkook was going to use you to increase his relevance and viewership, then kill you off when it’s just you and him who remained.  That way he’ll be a well-liked victor, maybe even a martyr in the eyes of the Capitol.  You could practically already hear the coos and sniffles of the audience when he would without a doubt tell them all how much he ‘loved’ you, but ultimately loved the games more.  
It was a brilliant plan, you had to admit.  But unfortunately, that just left your fate deduced to that of a sitting duck.  
During your time in the arena, you had been a passive tribute.  You hid before you ran.  You compromised before you attacked.  You made allies before making enemies.  Never did you consider yourself in the running for the victor’s crown.  Yet only now, with your body laid over Jungkook’s shoulders as he carried you towards the bloodbath of the feast, did you truly know what it was like to have lost all fight in you.  
All was quiet except for the footsteps of the careers, their strides being a hybrid between jogging and fast-paced walking.  You kept your eyes screwed shut all throughout the journey, deep in your own sorrow whilst also trying to dissociate from what was about to happen.  
It wasn’t until about the 50-minute mark that one of them finally spoke.  
It was Jeongyeon, and she apparently spotted the Cornucopia as she gasped and excitedly called out, “Look, over there!”
What followed was the increased marches of the pack, them hurrying towards the feast with newfound vigor.  
Jungkook in particular seemed more than motivated, his tread upgrading to a borderline death sprint.  His increase in movement only rocked your wilted body harder, causing you to finally peel open your eyes in an attempt to peek and see the feast up ahead.  
The sight was hard to focus onto, with the frenzied movements of Two shaking you and thus blurring the image that awaited you.  You had hardly managed to deduce the scene that laid a hundred or so yards away.  
Glorious and proud, it stood.  
You have seen your share of them on TV every year, but nothing compared to the feeling of actually being so close to one in person.  
The Cornucopia was massive, dwarfing all tributes with its monstrous size that must’ve been forty or fifty feet high and at least twenty feet wide.  The structure was the same horn-shaped cone with a curved tail as it always has been.  But this year, seemingly in honor of the Quell, instead of the usual silver, the Cornucopia instead looked like it had been dipped in glimmering gold.  It shone so brilliantly in the sunlight that it practically burned your retinas to look at, and if you were in any other situation than this you would’ve thought it to be such an eyesore.  
But the depravity and exhaustion of the last few days had boiled over into some odd mixture of excitement and hope when you finally came face to face with the Cornucopia.  The Cornucopia had always served as a symbol of the games and subsequently, the power the Capitol held overall districts.  But in this brief moment, it served as a symbol of relief.  Temporary relief, but a relief nonetheless.  
Because for once in this hellish game, there was one guarantee sitting patiently at the mouth of the Cornucopia- food.  
You were ashamed of the thrill you felt, but it honestly couldn’t be helped.  At the end of the day, you were just a human.  A starving human.  And as much as you hated the Capitol, one had to admit that their bait never failed to lure in hopeless tributes like some sort of siren’s song.
The closer Jungkook got, the clearer the scene before you became.  
There was a single mahogany, eight-foot-long table sitting patiently at the mouth of the Cornucopia.  Spread on every visible inch of this table were platters among platters of colorful and copious amounts of food, the occasional pitcher of water or juice perched between these dishes.
With every stride Jungkook took, the stronger and more irresistible the smell of the feast became to you, causing your mouth to salivate and stomach to growl in want.  You didn’t know just how bad you wanted to participate in the feast, until this very moment.  The buildup of malnourishment and starvation suddenly overflowed and caved your willpower now that the 5-star worthy banquet was plopped perfectly in front of you, just waiting to be raided until only crumbs and droplets remained and your hunger was sedated.  
It was a sight for sore eyes, maybe even more so given tears were beginning to well up as you desperately drank in the scene. The bigger platters were meat items; lamb chops, ham, chicken, turkey, and even pheasant.  While slightly smaller bowls were situated beside these big items, holding things like potatoes, rice, vegetables, bread rolls, stew, and so on.  Whoever was in charge of arranging this feast even went through the trouble of making desserts; pies, cream puffs, custards, pudding, and fig-stuffed cookies could also be spotted amongst the dishes.  
However, in your daze of hunger, you were openly viewing the scene with tunnel vision.  
You barely caught sight of a figure inching closer and closer to the table, hands already outreached and desperate to snatch away at the cuisine.  
You did a double-take.
It was a boy, probably around the age of 16 or 17.  He was shorter than average but very fast given he was making lots of ground very quickly.  He was erratically running towards the Cornucopia, closing in with every second and literally a hair's breadth away from the professionally prepared spread.  
You tried to study his face, to see if there was a spark of recognition in you as to who this boy was or what district he was from.  But the utter speed of his sprint blurred his face, making it impossible to identify him.  
Jungkook eagerly sped up at the sight of the nameless boy, humorously releasing a whistle to announce his presence.
The boy looked up, eyes widening in terror when he saw who he had beat in the race to the feast.  
It happened in slow motion.  
Jungkook briskly dropped into a crouch, arms reaching backward and ensuring your security as you were softly plopped onto the ground, now only a yard or so away from the table.  Whilst this was happening, the boy up ahead kept his eyes glued onto Jungkook as he finally made contact with the food, not even acknowledging you in favor of the bigger threat, and hurriedly snatched away what looked like a turkey leg before turning around to scurry away.  
He was going to run up the hills that lay behind the Cornucopia.  To seek refuge in the northern section of the arena, devour his share of the food in relief of successfully evading the careers and walking away from the feast with something to show for it.  
At least, that was his plan.  
What he didn’t know was that Jungkook didn’t do things the easy way.  A normal tribute would see that this boy wasn’t a threat and was going to quickly flee the scene anyway, so why even bother giving chase?  When faced with a table covered with food and a harmless tribute running away, who in their right mind would choose the latter to pursue?  The boy must’ve thought that the careers would be too famished to value his head over a feast.  
He was wrong.  
Your jaw dropped in a silent scream as you realized this would be a mistake he would pay for with his life.  
For the first time, you were going to see Jungkook in action.  
The boy was fast, but Jungkook was bloodthirsty.  You watched the career’s broad back as he pounded after the smaller tribute, relentless in his pace.  The boy ran faster, no doubt sensing that he was being hunted, and for a second it looked like he might actually scamper away and out of Jungkook’s sights.  But in all the adrenaline and rush, he thoughtlessly spared a glance over his shoulder to get a glimpse of his potential killer.
He fumbled and tripped.   That was all Jungkook needed.  
The District Two native descended upon the prey, literally towering over the boy’s limp figure.  The tribute was quick to recover, already perched on his hands and ready to throw himself back up to continue his dash, but Jungkook only needed one second of weakness.  Observing that he was going to try to escape again, Jungkook swung his right leg harshly and kicked the boy straight in the abdomen.  
The leg fell out of the tribute’s hand as he crumpled back down.
Jungkook grinned brutishly, bending down and grasping the boy’s nape to drag him back towards the Cornucopia.  This time, Jungkook took his time as he leisurely stalked back towards your direction, you saw his mouth moving and assumed he was saying something to the boy, but you were too far away to hear.  Whatever it was, it caused the boy to flail and writhe more, but Jungkook’s hold was unwavering.  
The killer and victim were now right next to the Cornucopia, and Jungkook swung the boy over and pinned him to the golden wall of it.  The tribute was now clawing at Jungkook’s hands that were wrapped around his throat, shaking his head furiously and crying.  
“Please!  Just one more d-day!  W-we’re all just hungry!  Please, have mercy!”  The tribute hollered out, voice cracking in panic.  “I-I don’t want to die!”  
Jungkook was silent, face emotionless as the tribute pleaded for his life.  
“Sixteen just isn’t long enough-”
The rest of the cry would forever be left unsaid, as Jungkook chose then to cut him off by taking his neck, pulling it forward, and savagely beating it back down against the wall of the Cornucopia.  
The sound of the boy’s head meeting the harsh metal of the wall was so horrendous and thundering, and suddenly your silent scream wasn’t so silent anymore.  
The boy instantly went limp, but Jungkook continued to pound the boy’s skull against the metal wall.  Two, three, four, five times.  
Then, when the career was certain that that the boy’s head was absolutely caved in, Jungkook dropped the corpse.  
Faintly, you could hear a cannon sound.  
Red hot blood splattered Jungkook’s scarred face, serving as some type of evidential warpaint, but he didn’t appear bothered by it at all.  Instead, he indifferently surveyed the body of his defeated conquest, as if unimpressed with how easy it was to kill him.  Then, with the nonchalance of an undefeated gladiator, Jungkook heaved a bored sigh before turning back to you and the feast.  
“Why haven’t you started eating?”  He asked you, dull expression melting into one of concern when he spotted the untouched food and your spot on the ground.  
You were beside yourself in shock.  
Your face was wet with tears, your mouth still agape in horror, throat burning and itching to dry heave the non-existent food in your system.  Suddenly, you were no longer hungry and food had no appeal to you, you were almost certain you would just throw it all up anyway.  
You just witnessed a murder.  
A terrible, gory, and ghastly murder that could easily earn Jungkook a seat on the electric chair.  
But this wasn’t the Districts.  This was the arena of the most grisly game to ever be televised, and instead of being punished Jungkook could only be awarded for this heinous act.  
Distantly, you were aware that this wasn’t the first murder you witnessed.  You’ve seen Jungkook’s counterpart kill before.  Yet somehow, this was different and affected you as such.  The utter barbarity of Jungkook was jolting, the reliance on his physical prowess alone to slaughter a tribute who clearly wasn’t anywhere near the same level of strength, speed or size was almost awe-inducing.  
You wordlessly shuddered as you thought of that poor boy’s parents having to watch what just happened.  No child should ever die before their parents, and theirs just did in the most gruesome way for the sake of Capitol entertainment.  Not being able to look at Jungkook with the blood still on his face, you turned around and placed a hand over your mouth to prevent any spit up now that you were full-on gagging and sobbing.  
“Baby?  Calm down!  You’re going to make yourself sick!”  Jungkook exclaimed, most likely already making his way over to you.  
You opened your mouth to tell him to give you space, to somehow insinuate that it was him who was making you ill, but something else caught your attention before you could do so.  
“Chanyeol!  Hold her arms down!”  A shrill voice screeched.  
You looked up to see what was happening behind you, a bit more of a distance away from the Cornucopia.  
The pair from District One were struggling with a third figure, a smaller and petite girl who was apparently very flexible as she kept successfully struggling out of their grasp.
Chanyeol obeyed the order and focused on securing the thin arms of the tribute, pinning them down to the ground as his District counterpart settled herself on top of the girl’s hips.  An ear-splitting scream escaped the girl’s lungs as she hopelessly wiggled between the two careers.  
“Would you shut up already?!”  Jeongyeon snapped, irritated that the girl below dare voice her well-founded fear.  
You numbly watched as Jeongyeon reached down to her combat boots, pulling and untying the shoestrings of her left boot.  While doing this, the girl began crying and begging up at Chanyeol.  
“Please, let me go…..I just wanted some water…..I have no allies…..Just kill me another time…..Not today…..Please, not today.”  You heard her moan in misery, some parts of dialogue being inaudible due to your spot so far away.
Chanyeol’s expression was laid back, a small grin still present as he gazed back down at her.  Squinting, you were able to make out an apathetic shrug of his giant shoulders, as if to tell her “what can you do?”.  Instantly you felt regret for thinking he was somehow not as bad as Jungkook or Jeongyeon, his easy-going attitude obviously bled over to his killing of other tributes.  
Unable to look away, you continued to watch as Jeongyeon handed something over to Chanyeol.  The female career then took hold of the girl’s shoulders and pinned them down as Chanyeol released his hold of her arms, now fiddling with whatever Jeongyeon gave him.  
Confusion was making it hard to understand what exactly was about to happen, but then Chanyeol did something that made it clear what Jeongyeon so cleverly gave him.  
He pulled the object side to side, as tight as it would go.  Then, he wrapped it around his knuckles, hovered it over the girl’s neck, and pulled it upwards with all his might.  
He was strangling her with Jeongyeon’s boot tie.  
The girl furiously kicked and struggled, but all effort was futile.  
Knowing that the tribute had no hope of escaping now, Jengyeon stood up and wiped at her brow. She watched on as her counterpart asphyxiated the girl, even releasing a soft maniacal laugh at the sounds that escaped the choked tribute.  
“She’s squealing like a pig!”  Jeongyeon giggled, even turning her head towards you and Jungkook to call out, “Hey Ten!  Aren’t pigs under your prerogative?  Maybe we found a use for you after all!”  
You quickly whipped right back around, not wanting to witness the final moments of the nameless girl’s life or give One the chance to see your weeping face.  
Jungkook hollered out from somewhere beside you, “Watch your fucking mouth!”
You blocked the voices out, your gaze naturally ending up on the treeline west of the Cornucopia.  The large shrubs and bushes surrounding it made the area stick out like a sore thumb in the prairie, but every Cornucopia had a spot like this nearby; a place where tributes could hide in and linger while garnering the situation of the feast.  
You wondered if there were any tributes seeking refuge in the trees or bushes, watching the scene with you and the careers while weighing the pros and cons of joining the action.  Or perhaps they arrived there first, already got their fill, and were hanging around to see what would unfold with the rest.  
As if in response to your thoughts, a flurry of movement occurred somewhere amongst the greenery.  Bewildered, you honed in on that spot, assuming your mind was pulling tricks on you, but the face that appeared in a shrub told you differently.  
You quietly gasped at the familiar face.  
But before you and the face could drink in each other’s states, exchange meaningful looks, or mouth words to one another, a bigger tribute came up from behind the face and tugged them backward.  
Your eyes widened, sensing danger, and you made move to lurch upwards and run to the pair.  
But the face didn’t seem fearful, instead just looking back at the tribute and nodding reassuringly at the larger boy. They then looked back at you, shot you a sad smile, and turned around to disappear back into the greenery, hand-in-hand with the tribute.  
You spluttered, mind reeling and tempted to chase after the only familiar and comfortable face you know in these games.  But the career next to you snapped you back to reality.  
“What are you looking at?”  Jungkook asked, attempting to follow your eye line.  
“Ch-Ch-Ch-”  You stuttered, motor skills in shambles after the many shocks of the day.  
Jungkook furrowed his brow and studied you with concern.  
Somewhere behind the two of you, a cannon sounded.  
Unbothered by the death, Jungkook continued to share looks at you and the feast table, trying to solve something unknown or spot some type of correlation.  “Chicken?  Is that what you’re trying to say?  You want chicken?”  
It was stupid, but you nodded along anyway, practically boneless with relief that Jungkook didn’t read more into your stuttering or follow your gaze to the treeline.  Instead, you allowed him to pick you up and carry you to the table, mouth glued shut in fear of accidentally blurting out what you just saw.  
Jungkook took it upon himself to feed you, using his own hand to tear into the chicken and break you off a leg, holding it up to your face for you to take small, appreciative bites out of.  The chicken was juicy and well-seasoned, but for some reason, it felt rather bland on your tongue.  After only a handful of nibbles, you pushed Jungkook’s hand away, instead making way for one of the water pitchers to quench your thirst.  
By this time, the pair from One had made it over to the table and were feasting like the victors they saw themselves as.  You noted that they seemed to be rather fond of sweets, the desserts quickly disappearing under them in record time.  On the other hand, Jungkook avoided the sweets entirely and instead went in for the pheasant and rice, occasionally taking a swing out of the grape punch pitcher.  He also went out of his way to shove things in your face, the occasional potato, roll, or cookie.
You wanted to tell him that you weren’t hungry, but both of you would know it to be untrue.  Seven days in the arena meant that even the most well-fed tributes were struggling with famine, especially in a Quell like this.  However, you couldn’t risk telling him that you were too in shock after witnessing two murders and another familiar tribute, in fear of him snapping in offense or personally hunting after the tribute.   So you silently took whatever he offered, using the action of eating as some distraction despite the impending nausea.
It was tremendously disturbing to be eating the food two tributes had died over literally moments before.  Their corpses were still warm and only feet away, increasing your guilt.  It was enough to ruin anyone’s appetite, and you guessed it was this gray cloud hanging over you that made the professionally made food unpalatable to you.  Still, you pushed yourself to eat some more, not knowing when the next chance for food would be.  
But it became too much to bear, and after a few minutes you pushed away the meat Jungkook offered you.  
“What’s wrong?”  Jungkook asked, head tilted to the side.  
“I’m going to sit down, I feel like I’m going to be sick.”  You whispered.  
Jungkook quickly dropped the food and moved closer to you, taking your face into his hands so he could observe you more closely.  You barely held back a grimace, his hands being the last thing you wanted near you after you saw what he did to that boy with them.  But you schooled your expression into indifference.  
The District Two native opened his mouth to say something but was cut off by Chanyeol’s casual drawl.  
“Kook, you probably should let her recuperate.  After days of not eating her stomach definitely shrunk and eating so much will throw off her system.  We can’t have her throwing everything back up.”  
A brief flash of annoyance spread across Jungkook’s face, but the oaf from One seemed to have made a valid point.  Jungkook regarded you with a careful look and said, “Fine.  You can sit and rest against the Cornucopia.”  
You nodded and turned around to leave.  But a sharp tug at your wrist had you falling back into Jungkook’s chest.  
His inky black eyes bore down at you solemnly as he whispered so only you and him can hear, “Don’t even think of running away.  You won’t like what I’ll do.”  
You had an idea of what he’d do, practically having had a front-row seat to the fatal beating he inflicted on the tribute from earlier.   Wordlessly you nodded, not trusting your voice to say much else.
Jungkook released you.    
You swiftly turned your back on the pack of feasting careers, treading to the side of the Cornucopia that was closest to the treeline.  You made ways down the golden wall, creating a reasonable distance from you and the others, before finding a spot you deemed far enough and sitting down, leaning your back against the cool metal.  
Silence surrounded you, and you allowed it to envelop the very core of you.
Alone with your thoughts, you clenched your eyes shut and tried to push away the procession of information that was hounding on your brain.  But it was persistent, not letting you rest before you fully understood the weight of the events that just occurred.  
Two cannons went off today, and you witnessed both deaths.  
You were complacent in these killings, not doing anything to stop the careers from offing the tributes.  To any viewers watching, it would’ve looked like you were okay with the actions of the pack, simply because you were a part of the pack.  And that thought sickened you.  
Would the parents of that boy and girl care that technically it wasn’t you who killed their children, that you were just hanging out with the careers and watched as they slaughtered their kids?  And after everything was said and done, eating and sharing food with the rest of the careers?  The very same food those tributes were willing to risk their lives over...
You choked back a sob, not wanting to alert your so-called allies of your mental breakdown.  
The food from the feast was threatening to crawl its way back out of your mouth, not feeling pleasant sitting in the pit of your stomach.  It had to make way for your shame.  
The cruel actions of Jungkook, Chanyeol, and Jeongyeon also served as a warning for what was to come.  If you tried to run, if you tried to fight back or so much as crossed an invisible line.  Jungkook could easily stomp you to death with his brute strength, and all Jeogyeon would do is laugh as she watched you die, her counterpart joining and smiling at you shyly.
The tears were overflowing now, you took both of your hands and glued them over your clenched mouth in an attempt to keep the sounds at bay.  You noted with a cringe that your hands were sticky with the grease of the food from earlier.  The gamemakers had not provided silverware as it could be used as a weapon if needed, so you and the careers were forced to eat with your hands.  
This detail only made you bawl harder, the guilt sinking to bottomless depths.  
You allowed yourself to cry your heart out in as silent a matter as possible, knowing that this may be the only time to yourself the careers ever grant you.  
But a thought suddenly struck you and put a premature stop to your pity party.  
The face in the shrubs.  
Your teary eyes hopelessly searched the treeline again, as if the pair would suddenly materialize once more.  Now, in addition to your despair, puzzlement mixed with your emotions.  
A rather large part of you was delighted that he was alive, but you were also conflicted about the tribute who was with him.  Obviously, they must’ve been allies and probably snuck off some food together before you and the careers arrived.  At least, you desperately hoped this was the case.  
You were quite embarrassed to be caught with the careers and wished you could’ve ran over, shook his shoulders, and told him that they dragged you there against your will.  You would’ve cried about how you wanted nothing to do with them, that you didn’t condone their actions and didn’t want those tributes to be killed in front of you.  But realistically, you knew how the situation appeared from the outside looking in.  You felt another tear slip down your cheek as you wondered if his last sad smile at you was due to him thinking you were one of them the whole time.  
Dizziness overtook your senses and your eyelids steadily began to feel heavier and heavier.  
It seemed as though too much excitement had occurred today, your body now wanting to shut down to recover from it all.  Stomach full and mind drained, you allowed your eyes to come to a close as you curled up next to the Cornucopia, bitterly reminding yourself that little to no harm could come to you with the careers nearby.  
Before you fully lost all consciousness, you promised yourself one thing.  
‘I’m not going to let it slip that I saw Chenle today…...or how he allied himself with the boy from Twelve.’
-- You didn’t know how much time had passed but when you opened your eyes again, the sun was higher and glaring down at the arena, making you groan from the heat and sleepily tug at your jacket.  
You rubbed your eyes and allowed them to adjust to the bright light, only fully sitting up when you no longer had to squint to see.  You weren’t really skilled at telling time in the arena, but based on the position of the sun you figured that the feast occurred around mid-morning and it must’ve been noon now.  Groggily you got to your feet and stretched, twisting around to see the feast table and what the careers were doing now.  
To your displeasure, you noticed that the pair from One were still standing around the table, but Jungkook was nowhere to be seen.  Although you were uncomfortable with Two, it was a different kind of discomfort you had with One.  Jeongyeon made her feelings toward you quite clear, if it weren’t for Jungkook she most likely would have killed you long ago.  And while Chanyeol seemed nice enough, especially in comparison to his counterpart, the image of him strangling that girl kept you from fully trusting him either.  
At least Jungkook planned to keep you around to the end, One however would have nothing to gain from following that plan.  
Wanting to avoid possible conflict, you turned around to sit back down and huddle by the Cornucopia, ready to feign sleep if you had to.  But sadly you were spotted.  
“Hey, look who's up!”  Chanyeol’s deep voice was cheery and bright as he looked up from the table and saw you.
In response to his words, his counterpart also turned around to see you.  Jeongyoen’s face was paler than usual, eyes duller and overall expression wary.  It was so contrasting to her usually pretty face that you couldn’t control the bewilderment that must’ve shown on yours, to which Jeongyeon scowled and quickly turned back around, reaching for another dinner roll.  
Chanyeol laughed and jogged up to you, “Don’t mind her.  She wouldn’t listen and kept stuffing her face to the point where it made her sick.  She threw up like ten minutes ago and has been in bitch mode ever since.”  
You nodded, not really having it in your heart to feel bad for her.  You then looked down at your feet, somehow unable to make direct eye contact with the giant from One that was now standing right in front of you.  
A brief and awkward silence.  
Scrambling for anything, and also curious about his whereabouts, you asked, “Where is Jungkook?”  
“Oh, he went to go take a piss.”  You nodded once more, silence once again dominating the very air between you.  Sensing your social awkwardness and unwillingness to talk, Chanyeol continued, “Are you okay now?  Do you feel lightheaded or anything?  We still have plenty of food and drink if you want more.”  
“I’m okay for now.”  You answered honestly, now shifting from one foot to the other.  
“It’s weird, isn't it?  Like, you spend all your time in the arena wishing to get your hands on food, and then when you finally do it makes you sick.”  Chanyeol chuckled, finding humor in the situation.  
You weren’t sure if you agreed with him.  Most tributes spent all their time in the arena trying to escape the careers, constant hunger being mere background noise to their overall survival.  And the sickness the careers felt was most likely an issue of pacing, they were uncostumed to hunger and ate too much too fast to the point of feeling ill.  Meanwhile, you were nauseated by the corpses the careers had to climb to even get to the feast.  But you couldn’t tell Chanyeol that, so you just hummed in false agreement.  
“Uh, do you maybe wanna go for a walk?”  Chanyeol asked hesitantly.  You looked up at him, perplexed by this offer.  He rushed to explain, “Walking around helps settle the food in your stomach.  It can make you feel loads better, trust me.  And you should try to get your body ready for tonight anyway.  We all agreed we should eat some dinner then try to save the rest for later.”  
You didn’t know if Two would like this, but getting away from the Cornucopia and the constant reminder of what happened was exceptionally tempting.  Plus, you didn’t know when Jungkook would return from his little bathroom break, and you definitely could’ve used some time away from him right now.  
“Sure.”  You said, hoping you sounded nonchalant and unscared of the consequences.  You took off your jacket and tied it around your waist before motioning at Chanyeol to take the lead.  
He did, and you both trudged westward toward the trees.  
It was quiet between the two of you once more, but not necessarily an unbearable silence.  You focused on matching your pace with the tall boy from One, a dutiful task given his wide stride and lengthy legs.  It wasn’t until you were fully submerged into the shrubbery and trees minutes later that Chanyeol spoke again.  
“So, um… Are you and Jungkook a thing?”  
You were struck still, momentarily pausing your steps to side glance Chanyeol with guarded disturbance.  
“It’s just that, well, Jungkook has kinda had us all under the impression that you two were some kind of star-crossed lovers type of thing.  But, you don’t really seem to be that into it.”  The giant said, also pausing his stride to turn and face you.  “No offense, but I don’t really get a ‘girl in love’ vibe from you.”  
You didn’t know what to say.  
Chanyeol was loud, carefree, and too chatty for his own good.  It was easy for anyone to write him off as a dumb jock.  But this time his observation was on point and he seemed to have picked up on what others either couldn’t or refused to.  
You had no feelings for Jungkook.  
But, could you trust him enough to tell him the truth and confirm his suspicions?  
What would he even do if he knew your true feelings or lack thereof?  Would he take your side and sympathetically smile at you the next time Jungkook forces PDA or calls you a pet name?  Or would he laugh in your face, rush to Jungkook and tell him that you’re not following the plan?  You also had to factor in that this very conversation could be recorded right now, the gamemakers focusing on this little walk you and Chanyeol are having in desperation for something remotely interesting to arise.  The audience seemed to be rooting for you and Jungkook, he won them over and declared this ‘relationship’ into existence.  Did you dare go against the grain when your fate could still be manipulated by those who needed viewings?  
You realized you had not spoken for too long, the gap between conversation had now been stretched to the uncomfortable territory.  Clearing your throat, you decided on a neutral question that wouldn’t hint at your actual stance.  “And why do you think that?”  
Chanyeol sheepishly ran a hand through his hair.  “You stayed away from us during training.  You also didn’t rush to find us as soon as the games started, even teaming up with Joy when she broke from us.  We had to practically hunt you down, and the first thing you say to us when you wake up is to ask if we’re going to hurt you.”  He paused to lick his lips, “I don’t know.  It just didn’t really add up.  I’m sorry if I’m overstepping, I thought I’d at least ask.”  
Another pause.  
Chanyeol began walking again, and you followed, this time allowing your shorter legs to stray a bit behind him.  
“Did you have a boyfriend back at Ten?  Is that why you’re acting guarded?”  He tried again.  You had to give it to him, when Chanyeol sensed something off he didn’t quit until he made some sense of it.  
“No, I don’t have any boyfriend back in my district.”  You responded lifelessly.  Dying to shift the conversational weight onto him, you returned the question.  “How about you?  Do you have anyone back at One?”  
From behind you saw his shoulders tremble as he laughed quietly.  “No way!  I mean, not really.  I fooled around with a few girls but no one really stuck around.”  
You nodded but forgot he couldn’t see you so you released an uninterested hum in response.  You struggled to ask another question, to keep the burden of talking onto him and off of you, but he spoke up before you could.  
“Hey, by the way, I’m sorry about Jeongyeon.  She can be a bit much sometimes.”  
You quietly let out a relieved sigh, ever grateful for the subject change even if it was about a girl who hated you.  
“Yeah, that’s one way to put it.”  You snickered, “What’s with her anyway?  I mean, I know I’m not from a fancy district like you guys but I haven’t done anything to her.”  
Chanyeol shrugged, “It’s not you.  She’s like that with everyone.  I knew of her back in One and everyone knows that she was training for the games.  But like most kids, she was going to wait until she was eighteen to volunteer.”  He paused to cast a glance at you over the shoulder,  “This Quell really threw off her plans, especially with the twist and everything.  It’s really a shame we don’t have weapons, she’s a fucking ace with a crossbow.”  
You nodded but were secretly terrified.  The careers were already intimidating enough to you, adding weapons into the mix was the last thing you wanted to do.  It also raised a question you never really thought about before, if this was a normal game and the Cornucopia was stocked full of weapons, what would be the careers signature one? What could you have narrowly avoided? Unable to help yourself you asked, “And yours?  Weapon, I mean.  What’s your favorite?”  
“I’m pretty decent at throwing spears, but I like swords too.”  He turned around to look at you head-on, as if sensing your morbid curiosity he continued, “As for Two, Joy claimed to be really good with the bow and arrow but Jungkook told us she was mediocre at best.”  
The words were out your mouth before you could stop them, sounding hoarse and scared even to your own ears.  “And Jungkook?”  
Chanyeol opened his mouth to respond, but someone else did.  
“An ax.”  
You whipped around at neck-breaking speed, heart nearly dropping to join the food in your stomach when you saw Jungkook standing there, arms crossed and expression irate.  
Except, he wasn’t looking at you.  His inky black eyes were focused on Chanyeol, glaring daggers at the oblivious jokester.  Through clenched teeth, he grounded out at him, “You wouldn’t believe how good I am with an ax.  I’m just itching to have one in my hand, right now.”  
Although the threat wasn’t directed at you, you felt yourself perspire at the darkness in his tone and severity in his eyes.  Rage itself seemed to vibrate in the aura around him, screaming danger and forcing you to take a step back in fear.  There was no doubt about it; Jungkook would kill Chanyeol at this very moment.  
The boy from One was silent, for once seeming to understand that there were certain times where one should just shut up.  You weren’t facing him but you could only guess the look on his face mirrored yours; petrified.  
The District Two native took an advancing step forward, uncrossing his arms and letting them hang by his sides as he tilted his head and furrowed his brow at Chanyeol in mock interest.  He growled out, “I could've sworn I asked you and Jeongyeon to focus on making rations from the leftovers of the feast.  But instead, I come back to the Cornucopia to hear that you whisked Y/n away for a ‘walk’.”  He did air quotes around the last word as if it was an obvious coverup for something nefarious.  “So, do you care to explain why you are alone with my girl?”  
You heard a choked noise from behind you and a flashback of the murder Jungkook committed hours prior flashed in your mind’s eye.  
“It was me!”  You yelped out.  
Agitation quickly dropped from Jungkook’s face, for the first time shifting to regard you as if he just noticed your presence.  
“I-I just woke up and I still felt kinda out of it so I asked if I could go for a walk to clear my mind.”  You gulped, hoping the lie was believable.  “Chanyeol offered to go with me in case another tribute was nearby and….”  you lamely trailed off, letting the unsaid possibility hang in the air.  
Jungkook pursed his lips, now solely studying you.
Silence, the only sound for the next ten seconds being the random gust of wind that rolled by.
Seemingly pacified by whatever he saw in your face, Jungkook slowly nodded and turned to address One.  “You did good by protecting her but you should’ve waited until I got back.  Now, go help Jeongyeon.  I’m pretty sure she’s sneaking bites.”  
Chanyeol quickly stalked off, and Jungkook kept his eyes on him until he was absolutely sure he was on his way to the Cornucopia.  Then, he turned to face you.  
You quietly gasped at the one-eighty and change in his mood, almost suffering whiplash from the sudden difference.  
You’ve certainly never been looked at like that before.  
Your parents had been together for nearly a lifetime, and you always said you didn’t know a man who loved a woman more than your father did your mother.  But never in your entire existence have you ever seen your dad look at your mom the way Jungkook was looking at you now.  It was as if you were the very air the man breathed, the adoration that gleamed in his gaze was enough to almost make your knees buckle.  
Passion.  So much passion you had to will yourself not to look away in embarrassment.  It felt so intimate like he was bearing his very soul to you.  It was as if you just told him you were the one who hung the moon and stars, that you were the reason the sun shone every day, or that rain was just the sky crying along with whatever sadness you felt.   You felt ethereal under his worshipping stare.  
At that moment you didn’t doubt that Jungkook would truly set himself on fire just to keep you warm.  That he truly was willing to kill Chanyeol for you.  That he truly did love you, even if his way of expressing it was borderline barbaric.  Jungkook was clearly holding himself back earlier, now the infatuated and obsessed man within was free to do as he wished.  
But somewhere in the back of your mind, your reason whispered that this was all an act.  This must be the destined lovers’ reunited scene that he practiced, and suddenly the weight of the invisible arena cameras ruined the illusion for you.  
He moved towards you, uttering a “finally, we’re alone” under his breath as he did so.  
Jungkook scooped up your limp form by your waist and pressed you up against a nearby tree.  
Instinctively, you wrapped your legs around his waist in return.  
His face was now centimeters away from yours, and he took advantage of this position, running his weighted gaze over every single one of your features.  His doe-shaped eyes got even larger as he drank in your face, a breathless sigh escaping his chapped lips as if in awe of what he was seeing.  
He pushed forward, and for a moment it looked like he was going to go for a kiss, but at the last second, he moved to the side and placed his mouth on the side of your throat.  You blushed as you felt him mouth and lick alongside the skin there, biting back a whimper at the unfamiliar sensation.  
If Jungkook was acting, he truly deserved some kind of award for it.  
“I want you to avoid being alone with One at all costs,”  Jungkook said muffled, and you shuddered at the vibration of his words on your skin.  “I’m just waiting for the right time to off them, okay?  Then we can be alone.  Promise me you’ll stay by me.”  
Chanyeol and Jeongyeon were the last things on your mind at that point, but you nodded along anyway.  It was inevitable that every career pack had a breaking point, and it made sense that Jungkook was already mapping out how to come out alive from the alliance, and that would mean killing One before they could kill him.  
But a sudden memory swam to the surface.  
“And for your information doll, it wasn’t me who killed Joy.  You have Jeongyeon to thank for that.”
The gorgeous face of your last true ally flashed in your minds’ eye, causing you to close your eyes and try to regain your composure before tears followed.  
Then, an idea struck you.  
A horrible and disgusting idea, but one that you couldn’t deny playing with.
You didn’t know what possessed you, but you weren’t about to let this chance slip by.  When else would you and Jungkook be alone again and on the same page?  
If Jungkook was acting out an intimate moment and sworn promise with you right now for the cameras, surely he would take a request from you, right?  He would have to follow it out, he couldn’t risk looking like he wasn’t in love with you.  This was your chance, the last thing you could do to be at peace with these games before your inevitable end.  
You leaned over and whispered in Jungkook’s ear to whisper,   “Promise me you’ll kill Jeognyeon first.”  
Jungkook halted his actions, stunned by your words.  He pulled back and looked at you, searching for some explanation for your sudden preference.  
You stared back at him, masking any emotions that may show on your face.  Joy was right all along, and while you still weren’t willing to kill with your own hands, Jungkook was.  In her honor, you would send her district mate to unknowingly avenge her death.  
Then, cruelly, Jungkook smirked.  He looked up at you and kissed your forehead before leaning back and announcing to both you and the viewers,  “Okay hun, I promise to kill Jeogyoen first.”
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Author’s note:  So...I’ve been gone for a while.  I feel like I’m always doing this but yeah, something kinda traumatic happened to me and I talked about it before on my blog but I just went to a really dark place for a minute.  I now have a whole new level of respect for women who have suffered miscarriages before. School/work should really give you time off for that shit cuz it’s one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to someone.  But anyway, I’ve been talking to my therapist and she recommended I should go back to writing so I reinstalled my Tumblr app and went back to my QQ drafts.  Anyway, it’s like 5 am, I’ve been sitting like Coraline's dad with my laptop trying to get this done and I’m pretty sure I have carpal tunnel so I’m gonna keep it short.  Please like and comment, I read every ask even if I don't post it.  Also, please reblog and tag your mutuals if they liked this story, I know after being gone for so long people can easily miss this chapter.  OH AND ALSO!!  I need cover art for this fic, something I can post with every chapter instead of the random Jungkook gifs so if you have anything, please submit it!!  Much love, Luna.
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edith-moonshadow · 18 hours ago
Been doing the cooking with the tv on, so you can blame that for this idea. Hunger games au, with maybe Billy as the tribute and Steve as the stylist. Or hunger games 2 where they are both victors from the past, Steve won by poison and Billy by brute force. I like the idea that they are both deadly in their own way. And they, mostly Steve, decide to help out one of the new tributes. Max maybe? Billy both hates and loves the capital, cause it gave him Steve but forced him to kill.
Spoilers For The Hunger Games Series (2012-2015)
I have never seen the Hunger Games films nor have ever read the books so I watched a youtube series called Lost In Adaptation by Dominic Noble (Highly recommend his videos) as my knowledge of the story was incredibly thin. All I really knew was that it was dystopian and that people fought for their lives, so hopefully, this isn’t an awful answer to your ask.
So if we’re going by the story you could have that Billy takes Max’s place as a tribute but due to the life that he’s lived he has a lot of bravado but isn’t prepared for the performative side of the games. When he gets to the capital Steve is introduced as his stylist and they have an instant connection, Steve wants to help Billy, make sure that he has the best chance possible so he creates the most eye-catching designs so that the public will find Billy interesting enough to save.
Thanks to Billy’s own survival skills and Steve’s designs he does survive and they start a secret love affair, which could be forbidden so they have to be very careful as being caught could result in Steve’s death as the public are completely in love with Billy.
If you’re following the actual story more closely you could have Billy become more defiant, Steve as a member of the Mockingjay group which leads to his death but his final pieces save Billy’s life in the end and help him in defeating Snow/Coin. This, of course, depends on whether you like sad endings, you could do a similar thing but he’s badly beaten or taken prisoner, could also go slightly dark with him becoming a slave who is assigned to Billy but he rescues him in the end.
In a Hunger Games two scenario, did they win as joint victors? Or did Steve survive previously and helps Billy out as a new tribute? Or you could have them as rivals who are drawn to each other which makes members of the capital fascinated by them, they become a bit of a sensation with them being given and denied supplies as support for them grows and wanes, one day they save Billy the next Steve. In the end, it’s the two of them left, they could bond over the course of the games or they figure of that if they claim to have fallen in love they can both survive. If they’ve bonded after their love grows stronger and if fake it starts to become real.
Billy then injures himself somehow, maybe like Katniss does in one of the books, I think she’s out hunting and has to jump over an electrified fence, so Billy is incapacitated when the president who hates that they both won chooses Max again for the games and Billy is recuperating in bed so Steve takes her place as tribute, maybe Steve doesn’t tell Billy because he doesn’t want to worry him and they end up back at the capital and that’s when he learns about what’s happening to Steve.
For the members of the capital, this is great because now the drama is about Steve being in danger and Billy having to watch on in anguish, maybe his reactions are focused on to see if people should send supplies to Steve. So Billy ends up in the nightmare where he has to perform in the right way in order to appease the masses in order to help Steve in the only way he can while his hatred for the capital grows. Maybe that’s when the Mockingjay group contact him about taking down the president and he starts actively working with them. When Steve finally emerges victorious in the games he’s recruited also and they bring down the president together. Do they suffer from PSTD due to all the things that they had to do to survive? If so will it have a similar ending of psychological trauma with a renewed hope for the future?
I was thinking when watching the videos what about if Steve was president Snow or Coin’s son? So Billy takes Max’s place as a tribute and goes to the capital, where he meets Steve, maybe Steve looks down on him a little bit because of the way that he was brought up but he also feels a little drawn to Billy, he’s like no one he’s ever met. Billy is instantly enchanted by Steve, maybe something happens before Billy goes into the games, he could pull Steve into a stolen kiss, a thing that is completely forbidden and Steve acts indignant but he can’t stop thinking about it.
While Billy is in the games Steve is glued to the screen and maybe at a point in the games where it seems as though Billy is going to die Steve sends him medicine and saves Billy’s life. Billy wins the games and returns to the capital, he knows it’s dangerous but he can’t keep away from Steve and eventually they begin a secret affair but later the president discovers that Steve saved Billy’s life and pays extra attention to them and when he discovers their secret he decides to punish them.
So could do this in a few ways, he could force Billy back into the games where everything is stacked against him while Steve has to watch, send Steve into the games and he’s led a pampered life and isn’t expected to survive but he has a new purpose in life and the members of the capital get caught up in the star crossed lovers theme, he sends both in with Steve being a bit of a hindrance again due to his upbringing but Billy would rather die than return without him or you could go dark like the stylist one and have one of them forced into the games and the other turned into the attendant slave with the other rescuing them and taking their revenge.
Dystopian stories are a lot of fun to play around in because there are so many interesting themes, social commentaries to explore and it’s interesting to think about how people would survive and find love in these circumstances where everything seems so bleak but the light of the human spirit can’t be completely extinguished and things like love, sacrifice and caring for other people continue to survive.
Also if you enjoy stories that are heavy on angst this is your jam.
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dingdongitsbees · a day ago
Text
BLACK-EYED SUSAN | LEVI X READER HUNGER GAMES AU
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Chapter 8: Ghosts
Previous - Next
Tw: medical syringe, vomiting, gore
Work Count: 4.8k Ao3 link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/30463341/chapters/75844241 Ask to be added to the taglist! It will be updated weekly on Saturdays
First person version can be found here
Master List
Music blared as you stroked Levi’s hair. You kept your hand there, playing as you pleased as he woke in your lap, squeezing his eyes and frowning at the noise. Neither of you bothered to move, Levi only shifted his head slightly so he could see out the window, preferring the softness of your lap.
The emblem painted itself in the night sky once more, the nine-point star, proudly letting you all know it was about to go down the list of murdered kids. Your fingers tensed for a moment as it showed Bertolt, looking somewhere ahead, his eyes full of his token nervousness but full of life, full of hope. Sorry. Next was Marcel, his hair gelled back, looking serious as ever, but still a kid. Sorry again. The rest you didn’t know, just faces you never put to a name. It ended at the girl from Nine, the music died down. Connie and Niccolo were still out there you mused; you wondered how much they wanted to kill you both. Connie would certainly want you dead.
Couldn’t blame him.
You would want the same.
“You should sleep too,” Levi muttered, though didn’t move from his spot on your thighs. He winced at nothing, his fingers twitching. A thin sheen of sweat had appeared on his forehead. He wasn’t looking good.
The poison hadn’t spread past his shoulder in colour, but whether it had gone through his whole body you had no way to know.
You shed your jacket and tore a piece of your black tank top off. He just watched you, deliriousness, as you poured some water on it and held it to his forehead. He exhaled slowly, getting a small sense of relief at the cool touch, but it wouldn’t take long until it was just boiling water on his head.
“I’ll be alright,” you said, “You need to rest.”
He wanted to argue but knew he had no leg to stand on, if he could even stand at this point. You hid your fear at the thought quickly. He would be fine.
“Wake me up when you need to sleep,” he said, letting his eyes shut again, knowing you were probably going to do nothing of the sort.
Your hand went back to his hair. You hummed under your breath, twiddling with strands, slowly letting him drift off once more to the subtleness of your care. The care he would hopefully never come to fully understand. Things are better that way.
You changed the water again and placed it back on his head. You looked up, into the dark room, searching for anything that may have had a hidden camera in it.
“Hanji,” you whispered, “We need you.”
It was a long while before anything remotely interesting happened aside from you changing that piece of fabric probably over 30 times, getting your bottle to the last stretch. You didn’t even feel tired surprisingly, maybe it was the constant moving to check on Levi or the thoughts that wouldn’t rest or the stress of the day before or the day to come. But not once did you feel sleepy. To pass the time you just talked to him, telling jokes you knew he would glare at you for, or fond memories he likely didn’t remember.
You had to catch yourself sometimes, nearly going on a tangent on how good he looked that day, or how you realised you had liked him then, or the times Farlan and Isabel had teased you for it. Stories just dropped off into nothing, not like he was awake to hear them. Maybe it was the fact millions of people may have gotten to hear them when it was only for you to know, or you were just paranoid of him waking up. Or perhaps scared he would watch back a recording of the games when he got out. It would devastate him. You hoped that Hanji would never tell him and long as she lived.
When the sun began to rise, its light just visible through the grid of buildings, a little repeating beep could be heard. A little silver container came gliding in through the window, held up by a small parachute. It landed with a clunk on the ground, going silent.
You extended one foot as far as it could go without shifting Levi, you pulled it back towards you, snagging on the parachute with your boot. After a few tries, you had gotten the tin in your hand, carefully loosening the four hooks of the parachute off, and unscrewing the lid. On top, laid a single strip of paper, in all caps:
DON’T GO DYING ON ME – HANJI
You let out a small chuckle and set it aside, peering into the container. Sat right in the middle, was a syringe filled with a clear liquid. Didn’t take much consideration to know it was the antidote for whatever was in Levi.
“Hey,” you wiggled his healthy shoulder, “Got a sponsor for you.”
He blinked harshly, his eyebrows twitching as he tried to get used to the light. He clumsily hit the cloth off of his forehead, letting it fall to the sandy floor. He raised himself onto one elbow, he shook, trying to hold himself up. You quickly held onto his shoulders, muttering out an apology when you touched his wound, and helped him sit up against the wall.
“I think I just need to inject you with this, alright?” you said, he nodded, only being able to get out a grunt.
He had never looked so powerless before. You gulped. You unzipped and pulled down his jacket, revealing his shoulder to you, had this been any other time, you would have taken the opportunity to admire his arms. You picked up the syringe, pulling down on the plunger just a little until a few drops came out.
“Ready?”
He grunted, turning his head away. Just get it over with.
You held onto him and aimed the needle as best you could to a vein which had been (un)fortunately pushed to the surface and emphasised through its now unnatural colour. Slowly you pushed it into his skin, holding back a gag at the pus that came out of the puncture wounds. Soon the entire formula was into his body, a little pinprick of blood came to the surface and you wiped it away with your thumb.
You sat back down, patting your hand on your lap. He shook his head, patting on his instead.
“I’ll wake you before noon,” he croaked, “Pretty sure I shouldn’t lay down after taking medicine anyway.”
You sighed and nodded, the night’s exhaustion hitting you all at once now that you knew Levi was going to be fine. For now, at least. You laid down, curling into a ball, your face in his shirt. He brushed the hair out of your face so he could get a better look at you staring up at him, both of you half lidded. Your breaths synced, slow and steady, his body inflating and deflating slightly each time, his warmth engulfing you.
“Sweet dreams (y/n).”
You felt a tap on your head and cracked open an eyelid, squinting up at his face. The sun was fully up now, no longer blinding you from the window.
“It’s almost midday,” Levi muttered, “We should go up, so we don’t have to worry.”
You nodded and groaned, lifting yourself up from his lap. You stretched out your back quickly, hands to the sky, as he shook out his numb leg. You gathered everything you had, throwing your knives in your bag, zipped up your jacket, threw on your hood, held your sword, and headed up to the roof. He opened the hatch as quietly as he could, trying to not make it bang against the concrete. You held your hand over your face, peering up at the sun almost directly above, trying to adjust to the light.
You both crawled out, trying to keep yourselves low as possible, not being higher than the ledge that bordered the roof. You were lucky that the roof was sandstone, letting you blend in with your sandy coloured clothes. You two went over to the side, the small wall half shielding you, shed your bags and laid on top of them along with your swords to hide them from view. You couldn’t have the sun catch on the metal and make a beacon for where you were.
If you were lucky, when the towers lowered, no one would be able to see you unless they were in a building right next to yours or decided to walk around. Everyone was likely hiding except for the careers; they’d just be met with a flat desert.
“It’s hot as balls,” you whined.
“No shit.”
“Rude coming from someone I nursed back to health.”
He rolled his eyes.
“How’s your arm by the way?”
He shuffled off his jacket a little so you could see his shoulder. The colour had mainly disappeared now, only surrounding the initial puncture wounds in scattered blotches of purple. You reached out and hesitantly brushed over it, going ahead when he didn’t attempt to stop you. Your fingers glanced over it, it felt almost calloused, not the greatest sign in the world, but he no longer bit his lip trying to muscle down the pain.
“Tell me if it gets worse or anything, yeah?”
He physically had to hold back a scoff. “I’m sure they know the proper stuff for the venom they literally created.”
“Yeah, yeah, Mr Logical.” You glanced away, trying to not let your, honestly understandable, worry show on your face.
He analysed you quickly, drawing your eyes back to him through his incessant staring. “I’ll be fine,” he said, his eyes softening, “I’m tough to kill.”
You nodded.
Finally, the ground shook, marking your 48 hours in the Games. You stayed flat to the roof as the towers lowered themselves. Sand flew in your eyes, threatening to blind you. Instinctively, your hands found each other on the trembling sandstone, lacing one’s fingers within the other’s, wanting at least something to ground you both. And if that so happened to be Levi’s hand, you certainly wouldn’t complain. You would probably nag him for it afterwards though, as if that would be enough to let him forget your hitched breath.
Eventually the earth stilled, letting the sand settle down out of your eyes and into your clothes. You looked to the right, the side that wasn’t blocked by the miniature wall, hoping you wouldn’t find yourself making eye contact with anyone on far off tower rooves. It seemed the universe decided to be kind to you, letting you two be seemingly alone in your area.
It was beyond tempting to just poke your head up and see if there was anyone beyond the ledge. Play peekaboo with death. The fear that someone could quite literally be in the building right next to yours and you would never know raised the hair on your neck. You couldn’t differentiate whether the eyes you felt watching you were the cameras, Levi’s, or someone watching you like prey.
It was silent aside from your breathing, no sounds of metal clanging or yelling could be heard. This would have been prime time for a joke had this been literally any other time. The amount of instances Levi and Farlan had to force Isabel and you to shut up cause you had had thought of the perfect joke while hiding from peacekeepers is honestly astounding. How your four lasted as a group was really a miracle.
Maybe that’s why the universe decided to balance it out.
After an excruciatingly long and hot minute, the ground shook again and pushed the towers back up. You unceremoniously crawled to the hatch and lowered yourselves in, hiding once more.
You immediately unzipped your jacket, flapping the sides to cool down your cooked your body. You both meandered down the stairs, fanning yourselves and set up in a lower floor, pushing excess sand into a corner roughly.
Levi chugged down some of his water, lazily wiping the water off his mouth with the back of his hand. You gulped. He tilted his head to you in rhetorical before handing over his bottle to you. You took it hastily, glad to have something to do with your hand after that show. He took off his jacket, throwing it to the floor, running his hand through his hair, squeezing out any sweat. You tried to avert your eyes, but it was getting very hard to remain composed. You drank some water, nearly choking on it.
In a final act or torture, he grabbed the hem of his black tank top and lifted it to his forehead, wiping off the sweat. You tried to look away, you really did. But his physique had always been something to admire, despite his low level or nutrition growing up, it certainly didn’t impact him too much. Those abs were far too defined for your health, the little white scars didn’t help either.
Your ears were already burning when he glanced up to you. He smirked. The bastard.
You tried to get out at least something that would probably be a mix of embarrassment and faux anger, though only got approximately two words out. “Shut up.”
He tried to hold back a smile. “I didn’t say anything.”
He took far too much liberty on stalling bringing his shirt back down, fanning it and getting air through to his torso. He was straight up enjoying tormenting you. Had this been any other time, you would have threatened to kill him.
You turned away from him, capping the bottle and placing it on the ground. You stripped your jacket off, sure to pop and roll your shoulders out slowly, stretching out your back. You threw it to where Levi’s was as you glanced to Levi. His smirk was gone. He was watching you like a hawk, his fingers tight around his lowered shirt.
You spared him a small smile, stretching out your arms above you, pushing out your chest casually for extra points, sighing at the release. You held the collar of your top, drawing it away from you and fanning yourself, dipping it just a little low.
He gulped. You grinned.
He glared. “Shut up.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
You were both lounging around and eating scavenged cans of food when the rain started. The last thing you had expected was the arena gods to be kind enough to bless you with un-worked-for water. With a simple look you two headed downstairs, a bottle and sword each in tow. Your fists clenched on Marcel’s sword as Levi pulled open the door, the hinges groaning against the movement, sounding rustier than before. It hopefully couldn’t be heard over the now pelting rain.
You watched for a moment, through the doorway, the roads ahead getting progressively hid by the rain and the accompanying clouds, fading into a blue darkness. It was such a simple sound, water hitting sand and concrete, pitter patter, but just for a moment, you could pretend you two weren’t here.
Dancing in the rain was something you used to do with Isabel. You’d be swaying in the cold rain, soaked to the bone, right outside of out the shack-of-a-house, the two boys leant against the doorway and watching you two, one with amusement, one with faked disdain.
You’d both call out happily, telling them to join you. Farlan would begrudgingly head over, complaining immediately as soon as the rain hit him, but the grin plastered on his face let other interpretations run a bit truer. Then the three of you would be yelling at the fourth.
“It’s a free bath!” Isabel would bargain.
“Scared Levi?” Farlan would joke.
You’d head over, a glint in your eye, grab onto his wrist, and pull him out. He’d curse at you, knowing full well he could actually stop you if he wanted to, and knew that the three of you knew that. You’d indulge his fake reactions, pretending you three didn’t know him as well as you did.
You’d twirl each other, push each other around, dip another into a face full of rain, ignoring the fact you’d probably be lying in bed tomorrow regretting all of it, sneezing your brains out.
But that wouldn’t matter. It just mattered you were together, together in the shithole of Twelve with all the love in the world. You wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
You would kill to have that again, to just go back for a day. But all you have is two dead bodies buried at home, and one soon to join them. Killing here wouldn’t bless you with a gift like that.
You both stared at the rain, just for a moment. Pitter, patter.
You extended your hand out, wanting to feel the familiar numbing cold, but Levi quickly gripped your wrist and yanked it back inside. You turned to him with a question on your lips.
“Everything is shitty here,” he explained.
He reached out his pointer finger, letting it go just outside the doorframe. A second passed and then a raindrop finally found its mark. Levi hissed; your eyes widened. He brought his finger back in swiftly and let you cradle it in your hands. You turned it over delicately, looking to where the “rain” had hit him. Where his fingerprint should be, held a droplet sized burn mark.
It was fucking acid. Of course. It was bold to assume anything came here easy or without an intent to kill.
You pecked the mark. “All better.”
He rolled his eyes, but his ears reddened just a little.
You both turned back to the outside, leaning against the doorway to just watch. You imagined you were Farlan, watching two girls dance and laugh. Neither of you just spoke, just letting the “rain” lull you with its sound.
After a few minutes you heard screaming.
Your eyes widened, hands quickly on your weapons, eyes flittering everywhere, looking for the source. Your eyes found the form of a single person through the window, wandering through the streets, banging and shoving on doors, crying out for someone to let them in. The doors had rusted due to the rain, stranding them outside. The windows were too high to pull themselves through, or they were too weak to even try.
They… no. Connie, screamed again.
You choked back something, not sure if it was a yell, a sob, or vomit. He was fucking melting. The acid poured down at him, searing his skin and morphing the clothes to him. He was protecting his face as best as he could, holding one arm above as the other reached around to stuck doors. You both watched dumbstruck, as he made his way around to each building.
He screamed to anything and anyone to just let him in.
You looked to your open doorway. It would only be a moment before he spotted his escape. With a heavy heart you headed over and gripped onto the door, ready to push it closed. If he wasn’t a friend, or at this point just someone you knew, maybe you would have let him in, to let him die peacefully and comfortable as possible. But it didn’t matter if he were two seconds from death, Connie would use those two seconds to try to kill you and Levi. You couldn’t let that happen. Sorry.
Levi watched you, reading all the thoughts that flew through your head, and nodded. You starting pushing. The hinges grinded and scraped as loudly as possible. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it still made your blood run cold. There was no conceivable way he didn’t hear it, even over the pounding rain.
Panicked, you shoved the door closed the rest of the way, ignoring the door’s protests. You slid down the door, holding your knees to your chest, preparing yourself for what was to come.
It didn’t take long for the banging to start on your door. You felt the vibrations along your spine, you could hear his harsh breathing, the sniffles he was trying to keep down.
“Let me in, please,” he begged.
Levi squeezed his eyes shut, looking away from the door.
“Please!”
Somehow, you managed out a “I’m sorry.” You didn’t think he could even hear you.
He went quiet for a moment, his voice becoming more controlled. “(y/n)… is that you?”
You didn’t respond. That was enough of an answer for him.
“Just let me in alright?” he started, “Levi’s there too, right?” There was another reason he wanted to come in now. You heard the layered malice in his voice now. “Remember all our good times? You wouldn’t cast me aside like this. Nor would Levi. You’re both good people, aren’t you?”
Levi walked to the stairs and sat down, his face in his hands, sword discarded on a step. You were both trying to not let Connie get to you, but it was getting harder by the second.
“Just let me in (y/n).”
“I can’t,” you said, you were trying to push down a sob.
“Yes, you can. All you’ve got to do is open that fucking door. Now let me in.”
You didn’t budge. He went silent again.
“You just couldn’t wait to kill Sasha, huh?” he whispered, it was quiet but you heard it clear as day. “Were you just waiting to kill her, huh? Couldn’t wait ten fucking seconds to kill Sasha? Was she just a game to you? Hugging her right before? Bet you wanted to choke her out, you piece of shit.”
You clasped a hand to mouth, biting down the rising sob.
“I didn’t want to-” you started.
“And Levi!” he shouted, full of terrifying glee, “Was Kaya fun to kill? Just a little easy thing to do? She was a kid. She trusted you and you killed her. She was a fucking kid.” Levi tangled his hand further into his hair, burrowing deeper within himself.
“We’re all kids, Connie,” you said, though it was hard to push any belief behind those words anymore.
“Always quick to defend Levi, huh? How many people have you killed so far? More than just sending a knife into Sasha’s skull?”
You couldn’t hold it back anymore, you let out a sob.
He laughed. “A lot huh?” Your shaking hands pushed on your ears, trying to block him out. “You ruined my life. Sasha is dead. I hope you die too.”
He punched the door with the final word. He didn’t cry out, but you swear it was with enough force to break his hand. When you’re on death’s door, you don’t really care anymore do you?
“Actually, you know what?” he spoke in his jokey voice that you heard over and over in that training room, but it was hollow, devoid of any of the joy that was integral to who he was, “I hope you win. I hope you win so the fact that you killed Sasha haunts you until the day you fucking die, because even then it won’t be enough.”
He was silent for a moment. All you could hear was the rain.
“Good luck.”
A minute or so later, a canon fired.
A minute or so later, you made the worst mistake of your life.
You opened the door.
You looked down to where you assumed him to be, and there he was, in his melted and melting glory, offering himself to the rain. His face was caved in, his skin pierced with holes and painted the red of muscles. Though perhaps it was because it was his muscles. His skin was entirely gone. Coming out of what you could only assume used to be his nose was a steady flow of a pink matter, it promptly sizzling as the acid hit it. The worst of all was his eyes.
They had burst, trickling down his face. The whitey goo sliding around with every push of a droplet. It left just two giant holes in his head, staring up at you, letting you see into his skull.
I did this.
You ran over to a rusted sink, gripping onto the sides as you vomited. You choked up all you had, everything refused to stay down. You stayed there, in a puddle, looking awfully too much like Connie.
You vomited up some more.
You didn’t even bother wiping your mouth, just let yourself be overtaken by sobs. You fell down on your backside, not being able to stop yourself from looking back over to the door. But instead of your eyes meeting Connie’s form, it met Levi.
He was crouched down in front of you, blocking the doorway from view. You could have snuck a glance if you looked over his shoulder or between his legs, but his gaze didn’t let you move. He looked worse for wear, his face pale, his eyes harrowed.
He cupped the back of your head and pulled you to his chest. You shook, hands gripped to him haphazardly. He kissed the top of your head, stroking your hair. There’s no words of solace for something like this.
Add a fourth to the list. You were a certified spree killer at this point.
He didn’t mention the tears on his shirt, and you didn’t mention the ones on your hair.
Sat on the bottom floor of the building is where you stayed. The rain continued; you couldn’t even leave. You had to stay at the scene of the crime.
“Keep your eyes closed,” Levi whispered.
“What-”
“Keep them closed.” He departed from you, and as you were told, you kept your eyes screwed shut. You heard the door groaning before clanging shut. “You can open them now.”
The door was closed, the sight of Connie to be pushed away, hopefully to be picked up to bring him away so you two would never have to see him again. You weren’t sure how they could even pick him up in those claw hovercrafts while he was in that state. You wondered if they hadn’t brought the rest of the bodies back to their homes yet. If that was so, you hoped he was able to rest next to Sasha.
You moved up the floors again, back to where your stuff was. Neither of you slept or spoke when the sun went down, just stared at the wall or ceiling or out the window. You rested your head on his shoulder, his hand found yours, and you two stayed like that, not budging, and letting your brains run haywire.
Midnight drew near eventually and painted the sky with the dead. You didn’t pay attention to those you didn’t know; you didn’t have the strength left to care for people. You’d leave or die ruined if you did. But up last went the shaven-head boy, his eyes full of mirth, probably stopping himself from laughing at something Sasha was doing behind the camera. District Ten. They didn’t even give him his name, something that hadn’t been done for anyone else anyway, but god they didn’t even show his name. The capitol didn’t think he deserved it.
“Eight,” Levi said, breaking you out.
A beat. “Huh?”
“Only eight left, including us.”
Your eyes widened. Only eight. You don’t know whether your shock was at the “only” or the “eight”. Probably both. You had to kill six other people, a task you seemed to be nailing spectacularly, to get Levi out. Six. Six and he could live.
Niccolo was one of them, so was two careers, and two twelve-year-olds. How fun.
He looked down at you. “Sleep.” That wasn’t a suggestion.
You laid down, nestling yourself in his lap, balling up your body. He took his discarded jacket and threw it on top of you, giving you a makeshift blanket. Your eyelids fluttered as he brushed across your face, letting his thumb skate across your cheek, he kept his other hand tight around his sword.
“Wake you up when you need to sleep,” you said, knowing he was probably going to do nothing of the sort.
Hesitantly you reach your hand out and gripped onto his tank top, curling yourself somehow even closer to him. He didn’t make a comment, his hand continuing to caress your cheek. Touching you so delicately like your skin was a petal. You sneaked a lazy glance up at him and saw him looking down at you so gently, his eyes bursting with emotions that you couldn’t place.
You wanted to cry.
Whether it was because you two were here, just knowing he cared for you, or the worst possibility of all.
That Hanji was right.
“What if it’s reciprocated?”
Were things really better this way? You squeezed your eyes shut and pressed your forehead into his stomach, hoping you would wake up somewhere else.
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ibarbourou · a day ago
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Summary:
Edi Cavani of District 11 wins South Panem's 23rd annual Hunger Games. What he doesn't know is that the Capitol intends to exploit his newfound fame and his beauty (as they typically do with victors that are deemed desirable) and he is forced into prostitution. A year later, as he's settling in to his new role as a highly coveted male courtesan for the Capitol, he witnesses his childhood friend, Luis Suárez being reaped for the 24th annual Hunger Games. Edi wants to help him, and realizes that no better advantage exists to help Luis secure his victory like knowing the very design of the game, and he is determined to obtain this information. To do this, Edi turns his focus on seducing the new talented and ambitious head Gamemaker, Diego Forlán, fully aware of the consequences that await him and Luis if his plan is found out...
Rating: Mature audiences
This work is only available to registered users.
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windyskyes · a day ago
So- correct me if I’m wrong- if AFO has been the champion of hunger games twenty years in a row, and he joined the year after his brother died to avenge him, so First has been dead twenty one years, and he was married to Inko; who’s Izukus father?
First, referred to as Shuu in this universe, is Izuku’s father! All for One merely “adopted” him, not knowing that he and Izuku are, in fact, uncle and nephew. iui
It’ll all be cleared up in the continuation, which I KNOW is coming because I wrote for it! 😉
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historianadora · 2 days ago
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thinking abt making moodboards for ditm!catradora but,,,,
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aristocratic-otter · 4 days ago
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Thank you to all my friends who voted on what I should start posting next. The winner, by one vote, is The Watford Games. Chapter 1 is now posted!
The Watford Games
Aristocratic_Otter
Summary: This story takes place in a world where the equivalent of the Hunger Games exists, but in a all-magic society, so magic and monsters take the place of machines and technology. Simon and Baz are not direct analogues of Katniss and Peeta; rather, this is an imagining of how Simon and Baz might fare in a Hunger Games scenario.
Chapter 1: The Crucible
Simon
It’s no surprise to me, or probably to any of us standing here in the miserable grey drizzle, when a feeling like a molten metal hook in my gut drags me towards the dais where the crucible was activated moments ago. It’s no surprise, but I still have to fight back a sob as I mount the steps to the incongruously cheerful stage, swathed in purple and green silk swags and bunting. Miss Possibelf meets me at the top with a sorrowful smile and shakes my hand. I nod at her, unable to even smile at the elaborate confection of silver swirls and orange flowers that her hair has been turned into, though me and my mates used to have a grand time mocking her bizarre Weeping Tower fashions when we would watch the games on the telly in previous years.
It’s also no surprise for me, when I look out over the drab sea of 50 eighteen year olds in shabby homespun, to see my counterpart for this year’s games casually strolling up as if he didn’t have a mystical magnet shredding his guts. Of fucking course it’s Baz Pitch. Who else would it be? I’ve always suspected that our animosity would lead us here; me and him, in a fight to the death for the entertainment of millions.
Continue Reading on A03
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ibarbourou · 4 days ago
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I was a fan of the Hunger Games when it came out. I saw the movies first before I read the books. It was a powerful commentary on how Western society and culture may be heading towards a society given over to cruelty, greed and debauchery if democracy combusts and if both liberal and conservative political factions continue to flirt with facism. The dystopian universe borrows heavily from Ancient Greece and Rome, while setting it in the future. While the whole universe and political structures/cultural customs are well rendered, I was  left with many more questions about it.
While talking to a group of friends from college about the Hunger Games during a Google Hangouts video chat, we talked about how much of how we’re living already is like we’re living in a dystopian society. We also discussed the sexualization and exploitation of children/teens. While first world countries don’t make children and teens kill each other for sport, or force them into prostitution, we are edging towards this already in competitive sports. Jorge Señorans, an Uruguayan sports journalist, has written a whole book which is a remarkable feat of investigatory journalism on the way children in Uruguay are robbed of their childhood, their freedom and agency by crooks who sell their parents (who are usually poor and not well educated) the promise that their child could become a famous footballer. Other essays I’ve read talk about the way children and teens  from the global south (Latin America and Africa) sign contracts which clubs do not plan on honoring and once in Europe are trafficked/forced to prostitute themselves. I wish I were making this up, but it’s all unfortunately true. In this way, I would argue that we are already living in a Hunger Games dystopia.
I’m writing táctica y estrategia, a Hunger Games AU, in part for me to explore and answer many of my own questions regarding Finnick Odair. I found him to be a compelling character, and unfortunately, there are many facets to his character that neither the books or movies explore in depth. I feel like a whole series could be written about him. Given that the books and movies are for a teen audience, it makes sense why so much of the forced prostitution scheme gets glossed over. But as an adult whose had to work and navigate in environments that have forced me to develop an impenetrable and tough persona to protect myself and my work, I think a lot about the theme of self preservation when you’re left with little agency and freedom. I think a lot about the nature of duality, of having to create a false self to shield the real self. I think a lot about the importance of developing self trust and confidence in who you are when everything around you is ready to tear you to shreds. I think a lot about how even well-meaning people whose opinions you respect may offer advice that is detrimental, or how even people you trust could be hiding their own selfish interests. I think about how virtues can only be developed after coming into direct contact with vices, and I wonder whether purity of heart, mind and body could ever be recovered after the world has tainted it.
This story gets maybe 3 hits every time it is updated because...I get it. It’s got heavy, heavy themes. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t surprised or made myself sick while writing some segments of it. I’m throwing not just the stuff that scares me for cathartic release but I’m trying to answer a lot of my own questions that I couldn’t ask myself years ago. One of my amazingly talented writer friends ( @diegoalvesisgod) who is probably the one of the few reasons why this Hunger Games AU will be completed told me that “táctica y estrategia” is s “basically an adult version of the Hunger Games,” and “it needed to be written.”
This writing project has worth for me, even if others may not see the value in it or find it of interest...and that alone is a reason for me to continue.
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rebloggingitall · 4 days ago
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I posted the first part of my Bellarke Hunger Games AU that I always wanted to write! I’ve been working on it for a while so I was very excited to post it.
For reference, this is the summary:
“I used to think that name wouldn’t stick.”
Turning around to see who would speak to her so plainly, Clarke quickly found the owner of the voice to be none other than Bellamy Blake.
“What name?” She said after a moment.
Bellamy took a few steps toward her and Clarke did the same. The young man crossed his arms as he replied, “The one the Capitol calls you, that the Peacekeeper almost said.”
Clarke tensed, knowing fully well what he was talking about. Deciding to see if Bellamy would continue to be so bold to one of District 7’s respected Victors, Clarke simply lifted her chin and raised an eyebrow, daring him to continue.
A smirk tugged at the corner of Bellamy’s lips, almost as if her actions amused him. “O mighty Commander of Death.”
6 times Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake meet over the years while living in District 7 + 4 times Clarke thinks of him
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historianadora · 5 days ago
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deep in the meadow - chapter 8 (hunger games au)
you can read it here! (tw for: death, vomit and fire)
snippet under the cut↴
Only when the sun was beginning to set did they start getting ready. They’d spent the rest of the afternoon watching the clouds and eating the small amount of food Adora still had on her. The warmth of the day was steadily receding, leaving a harsh breeze in its wake. As Adora pulled on her fleece, she glanced up the hill to the Cornucopia. They weren’t that far, but with the rapid pace the sun was setting, Rogelio and Octavia were already shadows against the orange sky.
A gust of wind whipped Adora’s hair into her face and sent a shiver down her back. She grit her teeth and clipped her sheath back around her waist. There wasn’t any point in complaining, the Gamemakers wouldn’t change anything because she was cold. In fact, they would probably make it even colder just to spite her.
They made their way back in a comfortable silence. Even though the walk from the lake to the Cornucopia was short, Adora kept one hand on the hilt of her sword. She didn’t think anyone would try and attack her in the open like that, but the Games always made people act strangely so Adora wouldn’t put it past someone.
Halfway back, just as the sun dipped below the horizon, the emblem appeared in the sky. Theys stopped walking, but their break was short. Only one face flashed in the sky, the girl from Six, the girl Adam had killed. They stood still for a few seconds before walking again.
Adora tried not to think about the girl. Her family would probably hate her, she hadn’t stopped Adam. In fact she’d told him to do it. Her death was Adora’s fault, she might not have thrown the knife, but that wouldn’t matter. She’d let Adam kill that girl. She had taken someone’s daughter from them.
When they got to the Cornucopia, stars were starting to appear in the sky. She didn’t go to sit down by the fire because she could tell Octavia would have something to say. Instead she opted to find her spot for the night. Adora knew it would be cold, the sun had only just set and her teeth were beginning to chatter, but she didn’t want to stray too far from the mouth. If her prediction was correct, something would happen and she wanted to be the first to notice it.
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imaginativemind29 · 6 days ago
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Just a random AU idea I was thinking of lately — what about a Hunger Games inspired AU?
With the Dragon Riders having to fight each other.
Viggo would probably be the Gamemaker and maybe even become Hiccup‘s Sponsor or Mentor 👀
Don’t think I am going to write it at least not any time soon, but I‘d love to read if anyone feels inspired please go ahead 😊
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aristocratic-otter · 6 days ago
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Thank you for the tags, @vampire-named-gampire, @palimpsessed, @thehoneyedhufflepuff, and @carryonsimoncarryonbaz
I find myself in the peculiar situation of having finished my massive epic, only to have two more relatively epic length stories in the works. In one, my Hunger Games AU, the Watford Games, I have over 10,000 words and three chapters done, but it will be as long as TBaTG, I think. The other, my spell mishap comedy, Back to Start, has 5800 words, may be as long as 20 chapters with 2 done now, or as short as 15 or so, but will definitely be shorter than the Watford Games (because shorter chapters).
So, herein lies the difficulty: I like to keep one story posting on a regular schedule while I write two in the background (one for the purpose of having something else to do when blocked on the first), but I honestly don't know which one to post first. So, I'm leaving it up to my friends. Below the cut, you'll find excerpts from each. If you'd like, please vote for which one you'd like to see posted first. Keep in mind, the first one posted will get more attention and will be finished first, even though they're at nearly equal stages of production right now.
TL;DR: Can you please tell me which story I should start posting first? Thanks, friends!
From: The Watford Games, 6 sentences:
My growing awareness of my preference for men coincided quite unfortunately with Simon’s growing beauty. I was suddenly in the unenviable position of desperately desiring Snow’s attention, and having no idea how to get it. I spent my childhood developing a poison tongue in reaction to my peers’ distaste for me, and now, when I actually wanted a classmate’s attention, I had no idea how to go about it. So, I began talking to Snow after years of ignoring his existence, but I only spoke a language of perfectly crafted insults, and Simon is a simple, honest soul. My chest aches when I remember our first few conversations, my snarky comments, his bewildered and then angry reactions.
From: Back to Start, 6 sentences (ok, well, 7)
By the time Penny returns with an answer, baby Baz’s sucks on the makeshift nipple have grown weak, and his newborn blue eyes are beginning to glaze over. I think he’s about to fall asleep in my arms, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, he’s Baz, my horrible room-mate, my nemesis. On the other hand, he’s so helpless and, to be honest, kind of cute as a baby. Penny’s entrance breaks the peace in an instant, though, because she blows into the room like a tornado, shouting my name. Baz starts in my arms and then his little eyes begin to well up again.
“Penny!” I growl at her, “I almost had him asleep!”
I'm going to tag a bunch of people, both because I love seeing what you are working on (I'm a nut for movie trailers and book blurbs too--anticipation is half the fun!) and in the hopes of getting enough votes to help me decide one way or the other. Love you all! Tagging: @fight-surrender, @foolofabookwyrm, @krisrix, @annabellelux, @amphipodgirl, @anika-222, @bazzybelle, @banjjakbanjjak, @caitybuglove23, @carryonvisinata, @effing-numpties, @gampyre, @hufflepunky, @knitbelove, @ninemagicks, @otherworldsivelivedin, @peachpit-gabe, @penpanoply, @phoxphyre, @singerofsimplesongs, @sourcherrymagiks, @warriorbeeofthesea,
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historianadora · 6 days ago
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the gamemakers seeing catra and adora being nice to each other
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dingdongitsbees · 7 days ago
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BLACK-EYED SUSAN | LEVI X READER HUNGER GAMES AU
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Chapter 7: Split
Previous - Next
Tw: knives, blood
Work Count: 5.6k Ao3 link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/29732859/chapters/75465533 Ask to be added to the taglist! It will be updated weekly on Saturdays
Second person version (“you” pronouns) can be found here
Master List
Both groups stared at each other, stuck in a stalemate, waiting for someone to make the first move. Metal and eyes glinted.
Levi looked to me. I nodded.
We immediately hopped over the low ledge of the building and landed on the sandy path, not waiting for the towers to go back up again. The bag slapped against my back, the litres of water no doubt giving me bruises each time. I gripped onto the straps with one hand, trying to keep it tight to my body as possible, while the other had a throwing knife at the ready. I glanced over my shoulder. They had started to take off as well, Reiner leading the charge, sword swinging. Annie and Marcel were matching his pace, weapons at the ready. Behind them ran Bertolt, clearly hating running more than anything which I couldn’t blame him for. And behind him was Gabi with a sword that looked half her size, pulling along a panting and red-faced Falco.
Levi looked to them all as well, his jaw slid to the side and the grip around his own weapon tightened. Levi no doubt wanted to get rid of them here and now, but two against six wasn’t something he was going to get himself into, let alone drag me along with him.
Behind Reiner, Bertolt stopped, drawing back an arrow. I knew that bow, I realised bitterly. But before he could release an arrow that I knew would never compete with Sasha’s skill, the ground began to tremble again. The arrow fell from the nock and went into the sand pathetically as the towers began to rise up, blocking them quickly from view.
We winded randomly around the towers as they rose out of the ground, dodging the waterfalls of sand that cascaded from the open windows. It took most of my concentration to not just fall over from the shaking ground, the sand half sucking us down with it. We had to constantly pull our legs out of the sand as the ground itself lowered as well. We gripped onto the building sides, letting it pull us up, our fingers barely hanging onto the indents of bricks, and dropping ourselves down before we got too high. We took off running again, the sand becoming more manageable. Levi made sure to keep checking on me, making sure I was still behind him. He slowed down his pace marginally to fall in pace with mine.
It was like we were just running from peacekeepers, that’s it, the only thing we were going to get was a stern talking to, not death, what kind of sick joke would that be?
We ran along the grid of buildings diagonally, hoping to any god listening that the careers didn’t see us.
When the towers were fully risen, seemingly rid of most of their sand, Levi pulled on my wrist and into the door of one immediately. We waded through the low level of sand, getting to the staircase quickly. Up and up we went, not pausing for a moment until we were at the top floor.
We finally took a breath, leaning against the sandstone. I shuffled myself over to the window, careful to stay flat against the wall. I peered down at the way we came from, looking for any sign of movement. I counted to a thousand, my eyes never leaving the landscape below. Levi stayed silent, waiting for any sign from me that something was wrong. As soon as I reached the last number, I let out a sigh and fell back on my behind, the sand cushioning my fall. Levi’s body physically deflated, and he let himself slide down the wall, closing his eyes. We didn’t speak for a long while, just glad we cheated death again.
“Well fuck that,” I finally said.
He let out a rare laugh, though fuelled by adrenaline and exhaustion, a laugh, nevertheless. I cracked a smile and joined in. Floch certainly wasn’t going to get complaints on having a boring arena anymore.
I took a sip from my bottle. “Reckon it’ll be an everyday thing?” I asked, “The towers going down and all?”
He nodded, leant on his knees. “Probably, it helps people find each other.”
That was something that made the games a lot less entertaining for the Capitol. Usually at least a third of people were killed by environmental causes, and it could go days between battles and deaths especially as the games drew on. But it was only the second day I realised. So much had happened, and it had only been a little over 24 hours since we came. Barely a day ago I took Sasha’s life after only hugging her minutes before.
I thought I had kept thoughts of her at bay, but she kept springing into my mind sporadically at the littlest things. I’d adjust my grip on a knife and I would remember how I taught her, her face scrunching up in concentration and letting out a hoot every time she stuck a knife at least somewhere on the dummy. I’d drink water and remember how she would pour me water at lunch. I’d make a bad joke and remember all the ones I told her, and she told me.
It was hell.
I could tell Levi was going through the same with Kaya. Whether we lived or died in this arena, we would be haunted until our last breath.
I wonder if they would forgive us.
We sat there for a while, just hydrating, and keeping our ears out for any sign of trouble. They were probably searching for us frantically, not being able to wait to slit our throats. We wouldn’t be able to avoid them forever, it was unlikely they’d be killed by anyone else, especially in a group that was almost half of everyone left. We had only sixteen left. Six died in the blood bath, two died from the towers. Eight in total. We were already a third of the way through.
I wondered if either of those two were Connie and Niccolo. We’d see tonight.
In my half-lidded gaze, I stared at the sand, not really focusing on anything in particular.
A ripple.
I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again, blinking rapidly, staring at the same spot I had before. It was just a pile of sand, nothing interesting. Was I just seeing things?
The sand shifted ever so slightly, little grains rolling down. I stood up immediately, not letting my eyes move from the spot.
“Bronte?” Levi questioned; his eyebrows furrowed.
“There’s…” I said, “There’s something in the sand.”
His eyes shot open and stood up as well, his sword brandished in front of him. We scanned over the surface, waiting. A ripple, and then another, and neither spot close to each other. The movement of the sand reminded me of something, the little waves that the water would make in the forest whenever there were…
Snakes.
“Go!” I yelled. I grabbed onto his hand as I leaped over as much of the sand as I could, getting to the stairwell, and not to my surprise, I saw a yellow head of a snake launch up at me.
“Shit!” Levi cursed, striking down on it quickly, but only more began to appear.
We bolted down the stairs as fast as we could, skipping steps and nearly falling in our rush. Behind us all we could hear was hissing and slithering coming from everywhere we looked. By the time we got to the ground floor I swear there was more snakes than there was sand, tens, maybe hundreds of them fighting to get to us. We got out the door, quickly looking either way down the street. To our left the sand moved, the ripples looking even bigger to the miniscule ones before. We sprinted in the opposite direction, hoping we weren’t just going to run into more. Their sounds combined into one behind us, like the whole desert was a living organism breathing down our necks. I didn’t dare look behind me.
I glanced to Levi, hoping he had some sort of plan because I sure didn’t, but just as he was about to say something, a yellow thing jumped at his shoulder. It was like everything went in slow motion. I cried out, desperately trying to reach him like it would do any good, and the snake imbedded its fangs as deep as they could go right into his skin.
He swore, quickly cutting its body off, it fell to ground, writhing, curling in on itself, like it was searching for its brain. Levi tore the head out, wincing as he did so. It didn’t look right, his blood that poured from it looked gluggy and thick, the skin around it had started to turn purple. Something was wrong.
But we didn’t have the time.
I swallowed my concerns and just stepped closer to him as we ran, making sure to not let another touch him. None other attacked us. I knew what that meant.
The snakes at their basic level weren’t here to actually kill us, injure us maybe. We were just being herded, herded like sheep. The only question was to where, though perhaps the answer was an obvious who.
I gripped my knives tightly as for the second time that day, I found myself eye to eye with Reiner Braun. He fucking grinned.
We halted. I rose a knife, Levi rose his sword, but I could tell it was taking all he had to not grip onto his shoulder, his left arm was shuddering on its own accord, it didn’t look good, but his eyes stayed the same, not wavering for a moment.
“Annie, Bertolt,” Reiner spoke, “You go after Levi with me. Marcel, Gabi, Falco, I’ll leave Bronte to you.” They all nodded with the exception of Falco, raising their weapons and charging at us.
We didn’t have a choice in the matter, we’d have to split.
“Don’t you dare die,” I commanded.
“You either brat.”
With one final look we took off in opposite directions. I turned on my heel as soon as I got a good distance away, running backwards as I readied a knife, taking aim at the tall brunette getting an arrow set up at Levi. I threw it. Bertolt sent his head and torso away from his bow, extending his arms as far away from himself, thinking I was aiming at him. Instead, as planned, my knife cut through his bow string. The wire curled up promptly, he swore, throwing his now useless bow to the sand and brought out a sword at his hip.
Levi was better in hand to hand, there’s not much he can do except dodge when the person is far away, let alone if they’re shooting at him when he’s already occupied. I lost a knife, but it was worth it as far as I was concerned.
I turned on my heel again, running away from Marcel and his 12-year-old sidekicks heading towards me. I didn’t have a game plan, Marcel was pretty skilled, probably third in hand to hand after Levi and Reiner, maybe fourth after Annie. But his ranking didn’t matter, it just mattered that it was probably higher than mine. And though I didn’t regret it, I didn’t have enough knives anymore, I couldn’t risk throwing them all to just end up unarmed.
I glanced to Gabi and Falco over my shoulder. Falco wouldn’t be a threat for multiple reasons and Gabi looked determined as ever, but I knew with a single look that she hadn’t actually killed anyone yet. I doubted she would be able to when it came down to it, especially to someone she had taken the time to half know. All I really had to deal with, was Marcel and his stupidly good combat skills.
“Hey! Get back here!” the kid yelled, already with a black eye from me.
I laughed. “Nah, I’m good.” I took another step back, a grin developing. “I really think you shouldn’t follow me, just let me go, no harm done.”
His face screwed up, going red. He dashed forward. “Why you-”
Levi stuck his foot out from behind the house, kicking him swiftly in the calf and sending the said kid to the ground. The kid scrambled up, but Levi quickly kneed him in the back and grabbed onto both arms that reached to him with a single hand. Levi pulled the kid close, brandishing his knife right to his throat.
“Now give us our shit back,” Levi spat.
Ah, that’ll work. Hope I’m better than what I think.
I slowed my pace just enough where it made it seem as if I was getting tired, I wasn’t really faking it to be honest. I heard his footsteps closer, as soon as he gained enough distance on me, moments away from reaching my shoulder, I quickly spun around and kicked at his leg, taking him by surprise. He jumped over it, needing to roll forward to deal with his momentum, giving me a perfect opportunity to stomp on his back.
He cursed and reached to his mid-back instinctually, I grabbed it, hoping my grip strength was enough, and pulled him towards my chest. He tried to swing around with his other hand, brandishing his sword. I leant my head out of the way of its swipe before grabbing his wrist with my other hand, knife still in my palm. I dug the knife as deep into the back of his hand as I could go. His blood dripped down both our arms. He screamed in pain and finally dropped his sword.
Some fucking how I manoeuvred both of his wrist in one hand, squeezing his bleeding hand for good measure. I held up the blade of my knife to his throat, drawing a thin line of red across it. He breathed harshly. I didn’t know if I could do it. Gabi and Falco stared up at me a few metres away, scared to approach. Gabi stepped forward, I stepped back.
“Come close and he’s gone,” I said. She swallowed. Marcel tried to kick my feet out, I simply sidestepped them. “No need to play games with me Marcel, I can do this all day.”
“Fuck you.”
“No thanks.”
Where was Levi? I scanned around desperately, waiting to see a face pop out from behind a building, his or one of the three that went after him. His arm didn’t look good. I didn’t know if he could do more than just run, I probably wouldn’t be able to do more.
Instead of seeing a face I heard a canon. My blood went cold.
“Was that your boy?” Marcel asked, I couldn’t even see his face but I knew he was grinning.
“Could be one of yours.”
“Eh, but we know the likelihood of that.”
“Shut up.” I pressed the knife closer, drawing more blood. He hyperventilated, trying to lean his neck as far as he could, practically leaning his head on my shoulder. Levi wasn’t fucking dead.
“Can’t keep running forever Levi! Come face me like a man!”
I swivelled around to see Levi being chased by all three of them. The canon must have been from somewhere else in the arena. Levi gripped his shoulder, his fingers digging into his swollen and purple skin. Oh fuck. There was no way he could fight in that state, the amount of pain he was in must have been immeasurable. He gritted his teeth.
Across the landscape he made eye contact with me. He let out a shaky breath at my form, the canon must have scared him too. But he didn’t have time to rest. That’s where I came in.
“Hey dickheads!” I shouted. All three looked to me, their eyes going wide at Marcel’s predicament. Their steps faltered and came to a stop. Careers are too stupidly loyal for their own good.
I looked back to Levi who was still running. Go.
He muttered something under his breath, probably cussing me out.
You’ll just have to trust me Levi.
If you die, I’ll kill you.
Fair enough, now go.
He kept sprinting, speeding up as much as he could. Right before his face went behind a building out of sight, I saw his plead. Please come back to me. I nodded.
Now I had five sets of eyes on me, the sixth still swearing profusely. Reiner approached cautiously; a sword extended. I counted in my head, making sure Levi had enough time to get himself lost in the maze of buildings. Reiner took another step. Not yet. Another. Closer. A third step. Good enough.
With a single stroke, I slit Marcel’s throat, exposing the inside of his vocal cords for all to see. Sorry. I didn’t give myself enough time to process it; as soon as his body fell to his knees, I picked up his fallen sword and took off. His body collapsed into the sand. A canon. A silence. Then lots of yelling, most of it being my name.
I didn’t let myself look back, calmed by the fact I took out Bertolt’s bow. I weaved through the buildings, looking for something anything that could lead to my temporary safety. My eyes scanned rapidly. Come on, give me something to work with here. My eyes slid to the black circle in the middle of the road. A manhole. I skidded to a stop, hoping the cover wasn’t too heavy. I could hear the footsteps encroaching. I groaned as I lifted it up, tipping it over into the sand, and slid in without a thought.
It was pitch black, I scrambled through my backpack quickly, grabbing out the flashlight, I turned it on and quickly looked around. I could still hear their running and shouting. I turned, the cylindrical tunnel seemed to go on forever, forking off. I turned around the other way. I froze.
They always got to use mutts, don’t they?
I stayed completely quiet as I stared at the pasty, white-fleshed creature in front of me. It’s surface gleamed, covered in a layer of moisture. It reflected the light horribly. It stood tall, probably double Bertolt’s height if the tunnel didn’t keep it hunched over. Its long claws and teeth shifted and scraped together like metal. The yelling on the surface was almost above me now. It raised its head, looking my way, its eyes completely glazed over. I held my breath. It was blind.
As quietly as I could, I walked backwards, most of my little movements covered by the careers. I turned off the flashlight, letting the sun streaming in being the only thing to light up the space. My eyes adjusted quickly to the dark that enveloped me. The creature stood still, waiting.
“She’s in here!” I heard Gabi yell.
Shuffled footsteps met the rim of the hole. “You two stay out here,” Reiner said.
The blond dropped himself down, Bertolt and Annie dropped in after. They didn’t know. Gabi stuck her head in, looking for me. It was too dark.
“Where the fuck-”
The creature growled. It launched forward; teeth bared. They yelped, jumping out of the way. Annie as quick as possible scrambled back up, Gabi and Falco pulling her up. Reiner pushed her and followed, hauling himself up after her. The creature snapped at his feet but cowered away from the light once Reiner was up. Bertolt wasn’t close enough to entrance, however. He slammed his back against the wall, hyperventilating. The creature swiped again, and this time carved up his chest, drawing blood. His torn clothes and skin bled as he tried to crawl away, sobbing. I stayed quiet.
Bertolt went silent for a moment catching his breath, the creature swung his head around, confused. Bertolt’s eyes went wide, realising that it couldn’t actually see him. He clasped his hand over his mouth, trying to hold back cries, shuffling back as far away as he could.
Reiner poked his head in, trying to reach the creature with his sword but it was too far away, but he wasn’t going back in. Not even to save a fellow career.
“There was no canon,” Gabi said. “She’s still in there.”
I backed further into the dark, making sure the light couldn’t reach me. But with his eyes now adjusted to the dark, Bertolt saw me. With desperation he looked at me, not daring not make a noise. Help me. We were all just kids, goddamnit, even him.
When I took a step back, I nearly tripped over something. I looked down, noticing a piece of rubble, some concrete that had broken off from the wall. I picked it up gingerly, doing it slowly and carefully, trying not to accidentally drop or scrape it against the ground and alert it of my presence. I held it tightly in my hand. I looked up. Sorry. To his horror, I threw the rock, it landing at his feet.
The echo rebounded all along the tunnel. The creature snarled, immediately heading over. He didn’t bother trying to keep silent anymore, or maybe he just couldn’t.
“Annie! Reiner!” he screamed, I screwed my eyes shut, trying not to watch as he got ripped to shreds. Cries echoed in my head. “Gabi, Falco. Please someone. Annie, please help me.”
They just watched from the manhole. Falco looked away, tears streaming down his face. Annie bit her lip, trying to not let anything out.
Crunching sounds ensued, bone cracking, flesh chewed on. I didn’t look, letting my eyes only see the creature’s feet and the pool of blood that was flooding the sewer. A canon fired.
It was time to go. I turned my flashlight back on, going through tunnels, hoping I wouldn’t have to meet the same fate.
All the tunnels I went down were abandoned. I’d hear one every now and again and just head in the opposite direction. I had no idea where I was going, I couldn’t tell if I had been going in an elaborate circle or was on the other side of the arena. No fucking clue. A few canons sounded every now and again, getting the count up to twelve dead. Half gone. Three of them because of me. A quarter.
I hoped Hanji was making do on her promise to help whoever needed it the most. Levi didn’t look good, and I hoped it hadn’t just gotten worse. Hopefully, Hanji had sent him something to help with it.
When I was sure I had gone far enough away from wherever the remaining careers could be, I pushed up a manhole, sliding it across. I threw Marcel’s- my sword and knives up, and pulled myself up, nearly slipping and losing my grip because of the sand.
It was night now, the stars fully out. I wondered if Levi was looking at the same sky. I didn’t think it was late enough for the death announcements yet, but I knew that Levi wouldn’t be up there. He couldn’t be.
The stars were brighter than last night, though maybe it was only because I was out to see them. They were probably fake, just artificial lights on the ceiling of this huge arena. But they were good enough. The nearly full moon looked down at me, watching as I wandered the streets. I wouldn’t be able to sleep, there was no way. There was no use holing myself up in a tower only to curl up in a ball of paranoia and fear, wondering where he was.
The forest was hard to navigate at night, the branches full of leaves only helped obscure the moonlight. I was a fucking idiot, thinking going out by myself was a good idea, and now I was fucking lost because I got distracted for two seconds. Levi was going to kill me, that’s if I actually found my way back. I groaned, letting my head fall back onto a tree stump.
The three of them were probably worried about me, scared of the reason of why I wasn’t home. For all they knew I had been caught by a peacekeeper and was going to get executed. Nope. Just a lost idiot. If I found high ground maybe I’d be able to see them. I leant my weight back onto my feet and let it take me further up the hill.
What if I was lost out here forever? Just waiting to die? The three of them never knowing why I disappeared. When I had finally found a group of people that I called home. I always ruin things for myself like this. God, why did they even keep me around. For the house probably. Maybe they were glad I was gone. I know I would if I had to deal with me all the time.
Leaves shuffled. I turned around, finding myself face to face with a frowning raven-haired boy, arms scraped from twigs. How long had he been searching for me?
I teared up. “Levi?”
He looked like he was about to cuss me out, but he held back when viewing my expression. He opened his arms slightly and I sent by body into his chest. He held me tight, his chin on my head.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. You’re alright. I’m here.”
Where are you now, Levi? This isn’t the forest, this is a place much further from home. It’s my turn to look for you I suppose. I was an idiot back then, still am really, but younger me took the cake. I was blind to how people cared about me and had the will to live of a leaf. Levi beat it into my head with aggressive care.
I wondered if he was curled up in pain, not knowing where I am. He wouldn’t know if I was dead yet either. I hoped he wasn’t worrying too much; he does that too often. He better not be looking for me in his current state either, I’d give him shit for it.
Everything looked the same. Everything looked the goddamn same. It hadn’t really kicked in. I would have no idea where the fuck he was. One building was the same as the next. The same sandstone rectangle with the same red rusted door. How the fuck was I going to find him?
I wandered around for a while, hoping for something to find, hoping someone else didn’t find me first. But honestly, I was getting too worried to care. I sped up, jogging through the roads, looking for something to give me a hint of where he could be. Maybe the stars could guide me? I joked to myself, but game makers aren’t that merciful.
Please come back to me.
I looked in every direction each time I passed an intersection, going down one way randomly, basing it off an unproven gut instinct. The idea that I had already passed by him without even knowing made me want to cry. I had no way of knowing if he was in any of the buildings I passed. No idea if he was close to taking his last breath or perfectly fine. Fuck.
I could have screamed for him, the only thing stopping me is because he would be mad at me. I just wanted to shout his name all over the arena and wait for a reply. Wait for something, anything, to acknowledge where he was or just if he was okay. Just something.
I can’t lose him, not like this either. Not being able to see each other once more. What if we just were split up until the end of the games or one of us died before we got there. I can’t not see him anymore. Not when we have such a short amount of time left in each other’s life. I can’t deal being even a minute away from him. I need to put everything about him to memory for the nth time over. The shape of his eyes, the exact tone of his skin, the length of each individual hair. The sound of him saying my name in the way he only does.
I just want those things to be last thing to go past my eyes and brain before it all ends. I’d die happy with him being my last sight in this cruel yet beautiful world. The world has caused me so much pain, taken so many people from me, my freedom, my life. But it also gave the best gift it could have ever created.
I just had to know if he was okay, then I could die happy.
I had been running for hours now, I wasn’t even sure if the death announcements had been shown, I hadn’t been paying attention. It wouldn’t help me anyway. Because Levi Ackerman doesn’t just die.
I leant against the side of a building, catching my breath as quickly as possible. I didn’t have time to spare. You know what, fuck it. I opened my mouth, ready to let rip the biggest call in the entire universe when a hand clasped itself swiftly over my mouth. With a muffled yelp, I crashed into something hard.
Most would have raise their sword, struck down the attacker as soon as the shock passed. I knew those calloused and scarred hands. The exact bend of them were tattooed into my soul, quite like everything about him.
“Levi,” I whispered, “I came back.” I widened my mouth into a wobbly smile, trying not to cry. He was okay.
He looked at me with such relief and softness that I would have thought he had been told that the games were cancelled. No such thing was true, but I was there before him, and he was there before me, and that’s all we really needed.
He pulled me tightly to him, his fingers almost digging into my skin, desperate to get as close as humanely possible. “I heard canons, I didn’t know if-” he sent that thought back down.
I burrowed my head in his shoulder, just listening to his pulse, letting him breath in my presence and form. I’m right here.
We’re okay.
I don’t know how long we stayed there, could have been thirty seconds or hours. Days for all I cared. It was too short either way. But it wasn’t either of us that broke us apart from each other’s warm and safe embrace.
“Bronte? Is that you?” I froze, turning my head to see Falco staring at me, wonder in his eyes.
I immediately shoved Levi behind me, raising my new sword. I glanced around quickly, waiting for Reiner to pop out and murder us. Falco rose his hands quickly in the air in surrender.
“I’m not here to kill you, we got separated from the other two.”
“We?” I questioned.
Gabi came around the side of the building, a sword in hand, ready to strike, but she stayed down. She glared at me. It was probably taking everything she had to not stab me. Wasn’t sure why she didn’t. She stayed behind Falco, watching carefully. Maybe she knew that this wasn’t a fight she’d win, even with Levi’s purple shoulder.
“You could come with us, you know,” I blurted out. I don’t know why I said that, nor did the other three really, but I didn’t take it back. They were kids hanging out with bloodthirsty killers, though the only adjective to take away from Levi and I was the “bloodthirsty”.
Gabi surprisingly looked conflicted. She chewed her lip, looking over her shoulder like she was afraid Reiner was judging her for even considering it. Falco looked to her, his preference clear on his face.
“No…” she eventually said, not meeting any of our eyes.
Falco exhaled, frustrated, but said nothing. He’d follow whatever decision she made, no matter how stupid, case in point. Falco looked up to me, giving me a smile, thanks for the offer.
“Even now? After what’s happened so far?” I pestered. I truly didn’t understand her.
“What, you mean after killing Marcel and Bertolt?”
I shrunk; she wasn’t wrong. Levi looked to me in slight alarm at that news.
“Let’s go Falco.” She started marching away, sword almost touching the sand as she swung it.
“Gabi is that you?” a deeper voice asked. My heart stopped.
Before me or Levi could even think to move, Falco shoved us through the door of the building, turning around quickly to go back to Gabi. We ducked next to the wall, close enough to hear everything going on from the door. I was too tired to fight, and Levi wasn’t in the shape to, whether we had to was not in our hands.
“Have you seen them?” Reiner asked.
There was a silence, Falco presumably shook his head.
“Gabi?”
Another silence, I gripped my sword tightly, ready to leap out. A bead of sweat made its way down my face.
“No, we haven’t seen anyone,” she finally spoke.
I let out a shaky breath and waited and listened for their feet walking away, far away from us. The sand crunching under their feet slowly became more distant and I let myself relax. I rested my head on Levi’s shoulder, just taking in everything. We were alive, we were being hunted sure, but not in the right direction. It was time to rest.
I guided Levi up a few floors, giving us a safety net.
“Sleep,” I commanded, and he did.
I stared down at the man in my lap, his quiet breaths letting me forget everything, giving me some peace. He was in front of me, I could touch him, he existed.
Falco, Gabi, thank you.
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dingdongitsbees · 7 days ago
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BLACK-EYED SUSAN | LEVI X READER HUNGER GAMES AU
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Chapter 7: Split
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Tw: knives, blood
Work Count: 5.6k Ao3 link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/30463341/chapters/75465311 Ask to be added to the taglist! It will be updated weekly on Saturdays
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Both groups stared at each other, stuck in a stalemate, waiting for someone to make the first move. Metal and eyes glinted.
Levi looked to you. You nodded.
You both immediately hopped over the low ledge of the building and landed on the sandy path, not waiting for the towers to go back up again. The bag slapped against your back, the litres of water no doubt giving you bruises each time. You gripped onto the straps with one hand, trying to keep it tight to your body as possible, while the other had a throwing knife at the ready. You glanced over your shoulder. They had started to take off as well, Reiner leading the charge, sword swinging. Annie and Marcel were matching his pace, weapons at the ready. Behind them ran Bertolt, clearly hating running more than anything which you couldn’t blame him for. And behind him was Gabi with a sword that looked half her size, pulling along a panting and red-faced Falco.
Levi looked to them all as well, his jaw slid to the side and the grip around his own weapon tightened. Levi no doubt wanted to get rid of them here and now, but two against six wasn’t something he was going to get himself into, let alone drag you along with him.
Behind Reiner, Bertolt stopped, drawing back an arrow. You knew that bow, you realised bitterly. But before he could release an arrow that you knew would never compete with Sasha’s skill, the ground began to tremble again. The arrow fell from the nock and went into the sand pathetically as the towers began to rise up, blocking them quickly from view.
You winded randomly around the towers as they rose out of the ground, dodging the waterfalls of sand that cascaded from the open windows. It took most of your concentration to not just fall over from the shaking ground, the sand half sucking you two down with it. You had to constantly pull your legs out of the sand as the ground itself lowered as well. You two gripped onto the building sides, letting it pull you up, your fingers barely hanging onto the indents of bricks, and dropping yourselves down before you got too high. You both took off running again, the sand becoming more manageable. Levi made sure to keep checking on you, making sure you were still behind him. He slowed down his pace marginally to fall in pace with yours.
It was like you were just running from peacekeepers, that’s it, the only thing you two were going to get was a stern talking to, not death, what kind of sick joke would that be?
You ran along the grid of buildings diagonally, hoping to any god listening that the careers didn’t see you two.
When the towers were fully risen, seemingly rid of most of their sand, Levi pulled on your wrist and into the door of one immediately. You waded through the low level of sand, getting to the staircase quickly. Up and up you went, not pausing for a moment until you were both at the top floor.
You finally took a breath, leaning against the sandstone. You shuffled yourself over to the window, careful to stay flat against the wall. You peered down at the way you came from, looking for any sign of movement. You counted to a thousand, your eyes never leaving the landscape below. Levi stayed silent, waiting for any sign from you that something was wrong. As soon as you reached the last number, you let out a sigh and fell back on your behind, the sand cushioning your fall. Levi’s body physically deflated, and he let himself slide down the wall, closing his eyes. You both didn’t speak for a long while, just glad you cheated death again.
“Well fuck that,” you finally said.
He let out a rare laugh, though fuelled by adrenaline and exhaustion, a laugh, nevertheless. You cracked a smile and joined in. Floch certainly wasn’t going to get complaints on having a boring arena anymore.
You took a sip from your bottle. “Reckon it’ll be an everyday thing?” you asked, “The towers going down and all?”
He nodded, leant on his knees. “Probably, it helps people find each other.”
That was something that made the games a lot less entertaining for the Capitol. Usually at least a third of people were killed by environmental causes, and it could go days between battles and deaths especially as the games drew on. But it was only the second day you realised. So much had happened, and it had only been a little over 24 hours since you came. Barely a day ago you took Sasha’s life after only hugging her minutes before.
You thought you had kept thoughts of her at bay, but she kept springing into your mind sporadically at the littlest things. You’d adjust your grip on a knife and you would remember how you taught her, her face scrunching up in concentration and letting out a hoot every time she stuck a knife at least somewhere on the dummy. You’d drink water and remember how she would pour you water at lunch. You’d make a bad joke and remember all the ones you told her, and she told you.
It was hell.
You could tell Levi was going through the same with Kaya. Whether you lived or died in this arena, you two would be haunted until your last breaths.
You wondered if they would forgive you two.
You both sat there for a while, just hydrating, and keeping your ears out for any sign of trouble. They were probably searching for you and Levi frantically, not being able to wait to slit your throats. You wouldn’t be able to avoid them forever, it was unlikely they’d be killed by anyone else, especially in a group that was almost half of everyone left. There was only sixteen left. Six died in the blood bath, two died from the towers. Eight in total. Already a third of the way through.
You wondered if either of those two were Connie and Niccolo. You’d see tonight.
In your half-lidded gaze, you stared at the sand, not really focusing on anything in particular.
A ripple.
You squeezed your eyes shut and opened them again, blinking rapidly, staring at the same spot you had before. It was just a pile of sand, nothing interesting. Were you just seeing things?
The sand shifted ever so slightly, little grains rolling down. You stood up immediately, not letting your eyes move from the spot.
“Bronte?” Levi questioned; his eyebrows furrowed.
“There’s…” you said, “There’s something in the sand.”
His eyes shot open and stood up as well, his sword brandished in front of him. You both scanned over the surface, waiting. A ripple, and then another, and neither spot close to each other. The movement of the sand reminded you of something, the little waves that the water would make in the forest whenever there were…
Snakes.
“Go!” you yelled. You grabbed onto his hand as you leaped over as much of the sand as you could, getting to the stairwell, and not to your surprise, you saw a yellow head of a snake launch up at you.
“Shit!” Levi cursed, striking down on it quickly, but only more began to appear.
You bolted down the stairs as fast as you could, skipping steps and nearly falling in your rush. Behind you two all you could hear was hissing and slithering coming from everywhere you looked. By the time you two got to the ground floor you swear there was more snakes than there was sand, tens, maybe hundreds of them fighting to get to you and Levi. You got out the door, quickly looking either way down the street. To your left the sand moved, the ripples looking even bigger to the miniscule ones before. You sprinted in the opposite direction, hoping you weren’t just going to run into more. Their sounds combined into one behind you two, like the whole desert was a living organism breathing down your necks. You didn’t dare look behind you.
You glanced to Levi, hoping he had some sort of plan because you sure didn’t, but just as he was about to say something, a yellow thing jumped at his shoulder. It was like everything went in slow motion. You cried out, desperately trying to reach him like it would do any good, and the snake imbedded its fangs as deep as they could go right into his skin.
He swore, quickly cutting its body off, it fell to ground, writhing, curling in on itself, like it was searching for its brain. Levi tore the head out, wincing as he did so. It didn’t look right, his blood that poured from it looked gluggy and thick, the skin around it had started to turn purple. Something was wrong.
But there wasn’t time.
You swallowed your concerns and just stepped closer to him as you ran, making sure to not let another touch him. None other attacked either of you. You knew what that meant.
The snakes at their basic level weren’t here to actually kill you, injure you maybe. You were just being herded, herded like sheep. The only question was to where, though perhaps the answer was an obvious who.
You gripped your knives tightly as for the second time that day, you found yourself eye to eye with Reiner Braun. He fucking grinned.
You both halted. You rose a knife, Levi rose his sword, but you could tell it was taking all he had to not grip onto his shoulder, his left arm was shuddering on its own accord, it didn’t look good, but his eyes stayed the same, not wavering for a moment.
“Annie, Bertolt,” Reiner spoke, “You go after Levi with me. Marcel, Gabi, Falco, I’ll leave Bronte to you.” They all nodded with the exception of Falco, raising their weapons and charging at you and him.
There wasn’t a choice in the matter, you’d have to split.
“Don’t you dare die,” you commanded.
“You either brat.”
With one final look you took off in opposite directions. You turned on your heel as soon as you got a good distance away, running backwards as you readied a knife, taking aim at the tall brunette getting an arrow set up at Levi. You threw it. Bertolt sent his head and torso away from his bow, extending his arms as far away from himself, thinking you were aiming at him. Instead, as planned, your knife cut through his bow string. The wire curled up promptly, he swore, throwing his now useless bow to the sand and brought out a sword at his hip.
Levi was better in hand to hand, there’s not much he can do except dodge when the person is far away, let alone if they’re shooting at him when he’s already occupied. You lost a knife, but it was worth it as far as you were concerned.
You turned on your heel again, running away from Marcel and his 12-year-old sidekicks heading towards you. You didn’t have a game plan, Marcel was pretty skilled, probably third in hand to hand after Levi and Reiner, maybe fourth after Annie. But his ranking didn’t matter, it just mattered that it was probably higher than yours. And though you didn’t regret it, you didn’t have enough knives anymore, you couldn’t risk throwing them all to just end up unarmed.
You glanced to Gabi and Falco over your shoulder. Falco wouldn’t be a threat for multiple reasons and Gabi looked determined as ever, but you knew with a single look that she hadn’t actually killed anyone yet. You doubted she would be able to when it came down to it, especially to someone she had taken the time to half know. All you really had to deal with, was Marcel and his stupidly good combat skills.
“Hey! Get back here!” the kid yelled, already with a black eye from you.
You laughed. “Nah, I’m good.” You took another step back, a grin developing. “I really think you shouldn’t follow me, just let me go, no harm done.”
His face screwed up, going red. He dashed forward. “Why you-”
Levi stuck his foot out from behind the house, kicking him swiftly in the calf and sending the said kid to the ground. The kid scrambled up, but Levi quickly kneed him in the back and grabbed onto both arms that reached to him with a single hand. Levi pulled the kid close, brandishing his knife right to his throat.
“Now give us our shit back,” Levi spat.
Ah, that’ll work. Hope you’re better than what you think.
You slowed your pace just enough where it made it seem as if you were getting tired, you weren’t really faking it to be honest. You heard his footsteps closer, as soon as he gained enough distance on you, moments away from reaching your shoulder, you quickly spun around and kicked at his leg, taking him by surprise. He jumped over it, needing to roll forward to deal with his momentum, giving you a perfect opportunity to stomp on his back.
He cursed and reached to his mid-back instinctually, you grabbed it, hoping your grip strength was enough, and pulled him towards your chest. He tried to swing around with his other hand, brandishing his sword. You leant your head out of the way of its swipe before grabbing his wrist with your other hand, knife still in your palm. You dug the knife as deep into the back of his hand as you could go. His blood dripped down your arm. He screamed in pain and finally dropped his sword.
Some fucking how you manoeuvred both of his wrist in one hand, squeezing his bleeding hand for good measure. You held up the blade of your knife to his throat, drawing a thin line of red across it. He breathed harshly. You didn’t know if you could do it. Gabi and Falco stared up at you a few metres away, scared to approach. Gabi stepped forward, you stepped back.
“Come close and he’s gone,” you said. She swallowed. Marcel tried to kick your feet out, you simply sidestepped them. “No need to play games with me Marcel, I can do this all day.”
“Fuck you.”
“No thanks.”
Where was Levi? You scanned around desperately, waiting to see a face pop out from behind a building, his or one of the three that went after him. His arm didn’t look good. You didn’t know if he could do more than just run, you probably wouldn’t be able to do more.
Instead of seeing a face you heard a canon. Your blood went cold.
“Was that your boy?” Marcel asked, you couldn’t even see his face but you knew he was grinning.
“Could be one of yours.”
“Eh, but we know the likelihood of that.”
“Shut up.” You pressed the knife closer, drawing more blood. He hyperventilated, trying to lean his neck as far as he could, practically leaning his head on your shoulder. Levi wasn’t fucking dead.
“Can’t keep running forever Levi! Come face me like a man!”
You swivelled around to see Levi being chased by all three of them. The canon must have been from somewhere else in the arena. Levi gripped his shoulder, his fingers digging into his swollen and purple skin. Oh fuck. There was no way he could fight in that state, the amount of pain he was in must have been immeasurable. He gritted his teeth.
Across the landscape he made eye contact with you. He let out a shaky breath at your form, the canon must have scared him too. But he didn’t have time to rest. That’s where you came in.
“Hey dickheads!” you shouted. All three looked to you, their eyes going wide at Marcel’s predicament. Their steps faltered and came to a stop. Careers are too stupidly loyal for their own good.
You looked back to Levi who was still running. Go.
He muttered something under his breath, probably cussing you out.
You’ll just have to trust me Levi.
If you die, I’ll kill you.
Fair enough, now go.
He kept sprinting, speeding up as much as he could. Right before his face went behind a building out of sight, you saw his plead. Please come back to me. You nodded.
Now you had five sets of eyes on you, the sixth still swearing profusely. Reiner approached cautiously; a sword extended. You counted in your head, making sure Levi had enough time to get himself lost in the maze of buildings. Reiner took another step. Not yet. Another. Closer. A third step. Good enough.
With a single stroke, you slit Marcel’s throat, exposing the inside of his vocal cords for all to see. Sorry. You didn’t give yourself enough time to process it; as soon as his body fell to his knees, you picked up his fallen sword and took off. His body collapsed into the sand. A canon. A silence. Then lots of yelling, most of it being your name.
You didn’t let yourself look back, calmed by the fact you took out Bertolt’s bow. You weaved through the buildings, looking for something anything that could lead to your temporary safety. Your eyes scanned rapidly. Come on, give me something to work with here. Your eyes slid to the black circle in the middle of the road. A manhole. You skidded to a stop, hoping the cover wasn’t too heavy. You could hear the footsteps encroaching. You groaned as you lifted it up, tipping it over into the sand, and slid in without a thought.
It was pitch black, you scrambled through your backpack quickly, grabbing out the flashlight, you turned it on and quickly looked around. You could still hear their running and shouting. You turned, the cylindrical tunnel seemed to go on forever, forking off. You turned around the other way. You froze.
They always got to use mutts, don’t they?
You stayed completely quiet as you stared at the pasty, white-fleshed creature in front of you. It’s surface gleamed, covered in a layer of moisture. It reflected the light horribly. It stood tall, probably double Bertolt’s height if the tunnel didn’t keep it hunched over. Its long claws and teeth shifted and scraped together like metal. The yelling on the surface was almost above you now. It raised its head, looking your way, its eyes completely glazed over. You held your breath. It was blind.
As quietly as you could, you walked backwards, most of your little movements covered by the careers. You turned off the flashlight, letting the sun streaming in being the only thing to light up the space. Your eyes adjusted quickly to the dark that enveloped you. The creature stood still, waiting.
“She’s in here!” you heard Gabi yell.
Shuffled footsteps met the rim of the hole. “You two stay out here,” Reiner said.
The blond dropped himself down, Bertolt and Annie dropped in after. They didn’t know. Gabi stuck her head in, looking for you. It was too dark.
“Where the fuck-”
The creature growled. It launched forward; teeth bared. They yelped, jumping out of the way. Annie as quick as possible scrambled back up, Gabi and Falco pulling her up. Reiner pushed her and followed, hauling himself up after her. The creature snapped at his feet but cowered away from the light once Reiner was up. Bertolt wasn’t close enough to entrance, however. He slammed his back against the wall, hyperventilating. The creature swiped again, and this time carved up his chest, drawing blood. His torn clothes and skin bled as he tried to crawl away, sobbing. You stayed quiet.
Bertolt went silent for a moment catching his breath, the creature swung his head around, confused. Bertolt’s eyes went wide, realising that it couldn’t actually see him. He clasped his hand over his mouth, trying to hold back cries, shuffling back as far away as he could.
Reiner poked his head in, trying to reach the creature with his sword but it was too far away, but he wasn’t going back in. Not even to save a fellow career.
“There was no canon,” Gabi said. “She’s still in there.”
You backed further into the dark, making sure the light couldn’t reach you. But with his eyes now adjusted to the dark, Bertolt saw you. With desperation he looked at you, not daring not make a noise. Help me. You were all just kids, goddamnit, even him.
When you took a step back, you nearly tripped over something. You looked down, noticing a piece of rubble, some concrete that had broken off from the wall. You picked it up gingerly, doing it slowly and carefully, trying not to accidentally drop or scrape it against the ground and alert it of your presence. You held it tightly in your hand. You looked up. Sorry. To his horror, you threw the rock, it landing at his feet.
The echo rebounded all along the tunnel. The creature snarled, immediately heading over. He didn’t bother trying to keep silent anymore, or maybe he just couldn’t.
“Annie! Reiner!” he screamed, you screwed your eyes shut, trying not to watch as he got ripped to shreds. Cries echoed in your head. “Gabi, Falco. Please someone. Annie, please help me.”
They just watched from the manhole. Falco looked away, tears streaming down his face. Annie bit her lip, trying to not let anything out.
Crunching sounds ensued, bone cracking, flesh chewed on. You didn’t look, letting your eyes only see the creature’s feet and the pool of blood that was flooding the sewer. A canon fired.
It was time to go. You turned your flashlight back on, going through tunnels, hoping you wouldn’t have to meet the same fate.
All the tunnels you went down were abandoned. You’d hear one every now and again and just head in the opposite direction. You had no idea where you were going, you couldn’t tell if you had been going in an elaborate circle or was on the other side of the arena. No fucking clue. A few canons sounded every now and again, getting the count up to twelve dead. Half gone. Three of them because of you. A quarter.
You hoped Hanji was making do on her promise to help whoever needed it the most. Levi didn’t look good, and you hoped it hadn’t just gotten worse. Hopefully, Hanji had sent him something to help with it.
When you were sure you had gone far enough away from wherever the remaining careers could be, you pushed up a manhole, sliding it across. You threw Marcel’s- your sword and knives up, and pulled yourself up, nearly slipping and losing your grip because of the sand.
It was night now, the stars fully out. You wondered if Levi was looking at the same sky. You didn’t think it was late enough for the death announcements yet, but you knew that Levi wouldn’t be up there. He couldn’t be.
The stars were brighter than last night, though maybe it was only because you were out to see them. They were probably fake, just artificial lights on the ceiling of this huge arena. But they were good enough. The nearly full moon looked down at you, watching as you wandered the streets. You wouldn’t be able to sleep, there was no way. There was no use holing yourself up in a tower only to curl up in a ball of paranoia and fear, wondering where he was.
The forest was hard to navigate at night, the branches full of leaves only helped obscure the moonlight. You were a fucking idiot, thinking going out by yourself was a good idea, and now you were fucking lost because you got distracted for two seconds. Levi was going to kill you, that’s if you actually found your way back. You groaned, letting your head fall back onto a tree stump.
The three of them were probably worried about you, scared of the reason of why you weren’t home. For all they knew you had been caught by a peacekeeper and was going to get executed. Nope. Just a lost idiot. If you found high ground maybe you’d be able to see them. You leant your weight back onto your feet and let it take you further up the hill.
What if you were lost out here forever? Just waiting to die? The three of them never knowing why you disappeared. When you had finally found a group of people that you called home. You always ruin things for yourself like this. God, why did they even keep you around. For the house probably. Maybe they were glad you were gone. You know you would if you had to deal with you all the time.
Leaves shuffled. You turned around, finding yourself face to face with a frowning raven-haired boy, arms scraped from twigs. How long had he been searching for you?
You teared up. “Levi?”
He looked like he was about to cuss you out, but he held back when viewing your expression. He opened his arms slightly and you sent by body into his chest. He held you tight, his chin on your head.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. You’re alright. I’m here.”
Where are you now, Levi? This isn’t the forest, this is a place much further from home. It’s your turn to look for you, you supposed. You were an idiot back then, still am really, but younger you took the cake. You were blind to how people cared about you and had the will to live of a leaf. Levi beat it into your head with aggressive care.
You wondered if he was curled up in pain, not knowing where you am. He wouldn’t know if you were dead yet either. You hoped he wasn’t worrying too much; he does that too often. He better not be looking for you in his current state either, you’d give him shit for it.
Everything looked the same. Everything looked the goddamn same. It hadn’t really kicked in. You would have no idea where the fuck he was. One building was the same as the next. The same sandstone rectangle with the same red rusted door. How the fuck were you going to find him?
You wandered around for a while, hoping for something to find, hoping someone else didn’t find you first. But honestly, you were getting too worried to care. You sped up, jogging through the roads, looking for something to give you a hint of where he could be. Maybe the stars could guide me? You joked to yourself, but game makers aren’t that merciful.
Please come back to me.
You looked in every direction each time you passed an intersection, going down one way randomly, basing it off an unproven gut instinct. The idea that you had already passed by him without even knowing made you want to cry. You had no way of knowing if he was in any of the buildings you passed. No idea if he was close to taking his last breath or perfectly fine. Fuck.
You could have screamed for him, the only thing stopping you is because he would be mad at you. You just wanted to shout his name all over the arena and wait for a reply. Wait for something, anything, to acknowledge where he was or just if he was okay. Just something.
You can’t lose him, not like this either. Not being able to see each other once more. What if you two just were split up until the end of the games or one of you died before the other got there. You can’t not see him anymore. Not when you have such a short amount of time left in each other’s life. You can’t deal being even a minute away from him. You need to put everything about him to memory for the nth time over. The shape of his eyes, the exact tone of his skin, the length of each individual hair. The sound of him saying your name in the way he only does.
You just want those things to be last thing to go past your eyes and brain before it all ends. You’d die happy with him being your last sight in this cruel yet beautiful world. The world has caused you so much pain, taken so many people from you, your freedom, your life. But it also gave the best gift it could have ever created.
You just had to know if he was okay, then you could die happy.
You had been running for hours now, you weren’t even sure if the death announcements had been shown, you hadn’t been paying attention. It wouldn’t help you anyway. Because Levi Ackerman doesn’t just die.
You leant against the side of a building, catching your breath as quickly as possible. You didn’t have time to spare. You know what, fuck it. You opened your mouth, ready to let rip the biggest call in the entire universe when a hand clasped itself swiftly over your mouth. With a muffled yelp, you crashed into something hard.
Most would have raise their sword, struck down the attacker as soon as the shock passed. You knew those calloused and scarred hands. The exact bend of them were tattooed into your soul, quite like everything about him.
“Levi,” you whispered, “I came back.” You widened your mouth into a wobbly smile, trying not to cry. He was okay.
He looked at you with such relief and softness that you would have thought he had been told that the games were cancelled. No such thing was true, but you were there before him, and he was there before you, and that’s all you two really needed.
He pulled you tightly to him, his fingers almost digging into your skin, desperate to get as close as humanely possible. “I heard canons, I didn’t know if-” he sent that thought back down.
You burrowed your head in his shoulder, just listening to his pulse, letting him breath in your presence and form. I’m right here.
We’re okay.
You don’t know how long you stayed there, could have been thirty seconds or hours. Days for all you cared. It was too short either way. But it wasn’t either of you that broke you apart from each other’s warm and safe embrace.
“Bronte? Is that you?” You froze, turning your head to see Falco staring at you, wonder in his eyes.
You immediately shoved Levi behind you, raising your new sword. You glanced around quickly, waiting for Reiner to pop out and murder you two. Falco rose his hands quickly in the air in surrender.
“I’m not here to kill you, we got separated from the other two.”
“We?” you questioned.
Gabi came around the side of the building, a sword in hand, ready to strike, but she stayed down. She glared at you. It was probably taking everything she had to not stab you. Wasn’t sure why she didn’t. She stayed behind Falco, watching carefully. Maybe she knew that this wasn’t a fight she’d win, even with Levi’s purple shoulder.
“You could come with us, you know,” you blurted out. You don’t know why you said that, nor did the other three really, but you didn’t take it back. They were kids hanging out with bloodthirsty killers, though the only adjective to take away from Levi and you were the “bloodthirsty”.
Gabi surprisingly looked conflicted. She chewed her lip, looking over her shoulder like she was afraid Reiner was judging her for even considering it. Falco looked to her, his preference clear on his face.
“No…” she eventually said, not meeting anyone’s eyes.
Falco exhaled, frustrated, but said nothing. He’d follow whatever decision she made, no matter how stupid, case in point. Falco looked up to you, giving you a smile, thanks for the offer.
“Even now? After what’s happened so far?” you pestered. You truly didn’t understand her.
“What, you mean after killing Marcel and Bertolt?”
You shrunk; she wasn’t wrong. Levi looked to you in slight alarm at that news.
“Let’s go Falco.” She started marching away, sword almost touching the sand as she swung it.
“Gabi is that you?” a deeper voice asked. Your heart stopped.
Before you or Levi could even think to move, Falco shoved you both through the door of the building, turning around quickly to go back to Gabi. You both ducked next to the wall, close enough to hear everything going on from the door. You were too tired to fight, and Levi wasn’t in the shape to, whether you had to was not in your hands.
“Have you seen them?” Reiner asked.
There was a silence, Falco presumably shook his head.
“Gabi?”
Another silence, you gripped your sword tightly, ready to leap out. A bead of sweat made its way down your face.
“No, we haven’t seen anyone,” she finally spoke.
You let out a shaky breath and waited and listened for their feet walking away, far away from you. The sand crunching under their feet slowly became more distant and you let yourself relax. You rested your head on Levi’s shoulder, just taking in everything. You were both alive, being hunted sure, but not in the right direction. It was time to rest.
You guided Levi up a few floors, giving you both a safety net.
“Sleep,” you commanded, and he did.
You stared down at the man in your lap, his quiet breaths letting you forget everything, giving you some peace. He was in front of you, you could touch him, he existed.
Falco, Gabi, thank you.
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Master List
I’ve created a ko-fi so if you feel like sending anything you can do so here but there’s absolutely no pressure to do so!
Taglist:
@queenofcurse @regalillegal​ @midaribaby​ @art-sparrow​
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colournotfound · 8 days ago
23!
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A—
Probably not very original or unique take on a Hunger Games AU for the Dream Team, and what George's District would be and why. George is District 1, except he's sort of bad at it, and Dream is District 4.
Here are the other notes I made for the AU, just to show I'm not reducing George completely to the above traits.
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aristocratic-otter · 10 days ago
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It feels like forever since I've done one of these! Thank you, @palimpsessed for the tag. Since The Blue and the Gray is done (!) (posting later tonight!), I'll give you a bit I wrote today from my Hunger Games AU, The Watford Games:
Baz
I’m not quite sure when I started noticing Simon Snow. He’d always been there, since I was a tiny child, and he’d always been some variety of poorly clothed or fed or a combination of the two. I do remember being actually grateful for his indifference to me, as a child, because at least he and Bunce never counted themselves among my tormentors. In gratitude, I left him alone as well, at least for a time, while sharpening my tongue on our less considerate classmates. But I watched him, and I marveled at how he always managed to find joy in the smallest things, even as he tolerated privations that were incomprehensible to me.
Simon Snow was the village orphan, and, up until the Mage declared him the Chosen One, he was universally considered a burden too great to bear. It’s hard to blame the villagers; they have always lived on the knife’s edge of survival, and an extra mouth to feed might mean your own children going hungry. So Simon spent his youth being passed from family to family; a few weeks at one place, a few months at another. I honestly think his infatuation with Wellbelove can be partly explained by the fact that, as the village doctor, her father was prosperous enough to keep Simon for over a year.
Like Pal, I've seen hardly any of these today, but Wednesday's nearly over, even on my coast, so I'll just tag my West coast and international peeps, in case it's still Wednesday where they are! (I have no understanding of time zones 😆).
Tagging: @amphipodgirl, @hufflepunky, @annabellelux, @vampire-named-gampire, @thehoneyedhufflepuff, @stardustasincocaine, @penpanoply, @otherworldsivelivedin, @scone-lover, @super-duper-twelve, @singerofsimplesongs
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